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Subject: HMS Invincible?
merman    2/20/2007 3:18:58 PM
Hello everyone! There's much controversy around what happened that 30 may 1982 during the Falkland War. Some say the Invincible was not attacked, that it was attacked but not damaged, attacked and damaged, while others go as far as to claim it was ultimately sunk. The thing is that there is supporting evidence to at least doubt in some way the official british version. For example, after the war all the Task Force returned to port but the Invincible, which remained at sea for two more months (?). It wasn't seen until august when it docked in the Falklands. It later returned to Portsmouth in mid September but (here another particularity) it looked brand new, instead of battle wary, like HMS Hermes looked upon returning (though it supposedly wasn't damaged during the conflict) There are a number of theories supporting each point of view, however I'd like to know what do you people think about this matter. I'll provide links shortly. Thanks
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merman       2/24/2007 9:11:04 AM

"If the exocet was heading for the wreck of the Atlantic Conveyor, then it must have had some undisclosed sub-surface capability, considering that the Atlantic Conveyor was hit and sunk."

"It's entirely possible that a 4.5" shell could hit an Exocet. It may not be particularly probable but that shouldn't rule it out."
(Instead of "not particularly probable" i would say it is quite a fluke hit)

"I also note that a number of sites espousing this theory suggest that decoys were likewise inffective, citing the atlantic conveyor as an example. Being as the Atlantic Conveyor was not fitted with decoys and was hit because the decoys were successful on other ships, that's not the best reasoning."


However HMS Sheffield was a modern Royal Navy warship, and still... Anyway this sailors recolections do imply decoys didn't work since the missile was heading straight at them. What saved them was a fluke hit from a 4.5'' shell.

But if thats possible - if they managed to hit a sea-skimming missile flying at around 3 meters above the waves at a speed of mach 0.9 - with that kind of targetting skill they should have downed all 4 A4s.

It's quite unbelievable though!

Besides the Argenitne pilots proved quite proficient at what they were doing. The A4 pilots made a positive ID with their own eyes, and I doubt they could take a type 21 frigate for Invincible.

They also observed smoke coming out of it (black smoke not white curtain smoke). But if we are not going to believe the pilots (which is silly because they don't have the need to lie now) then why didn't Vinci came back right after the war, like the rest of the Task Force? Why remain two months more before arriving at Port Stanley?

It is not at all improbable that Invincible was damaged by an Exocet - though not particularly bad - and had to undertake repairs before coming back two months later. Then the brits decided there was no point in telling anybody about it.

But thats what i believe, there is of course no hard proof of it, aside from the Argentine pilots.

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flamingknives       2/24/2007 9:26:41 AM
Fluke hits happen.
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Phaid       2/24/2007 9:28:16 AM
Well, there are all sorts of eyewitness accounts.  Here is the Falklands diary of a sailor on the HMS Yarmouth.

His version of the events on the day Invincible was supposedly damaged:

30th May
1040 Action stations
1200 GLAMORGAN used Sea Slug in NGS mode on Port Stanley airfield
1511 Air red contacts to the North West Friendly
1512 Air yellow
1625 Air red
1643 Explosion heard ashore (old ammo)
1710 Air yellow
2108 Fall out

1 Harrier lost to AA fire

Group came under Exocet attack, two fired non hit, two A4’s splashed. AVENGER shoots down an Exocet. The 2 A4’s were from Grupo 4 pilots Lieutenant Vasquez and Lieutenant Castill both killed EXETERS Sea Dart.

His later entries make no mention at all of Invincible being damaged, but do mention Invincible being in the battle group.  He also mentions it sailed north for a time to do maintenance in mid June.

Anyway, all of this stuff is just wishful thinking on the part of Argentine supporters.  You have the accounts of two pilots versus the recollections of thousands of British sailors and press, and no evidence whatsoever to support that Invincible was damaged by enemy fire.
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Yimmy       2/24/2007 10:24:19 AM
When Sheffield was hit by Exocet, her countermeasure gear was not switched on, as the sat-phone was in use.  Had the countermeasures had been on, the missile may well have missed.  I don't see any evidence in the Falklands conflict pointing towards the counter-measures not working.

As for the 4.5 inch gun splashing an Exocet - it sounds very reasonable to me, and I have heard it said before that a 4.5 inch shell destroyed an Exocet during the Falklands.  The 4.5 inch gun is a duel purpose weapon, and is radar guided.  I don't know, but can only assume that in the AAA role it uses air-burst shells.  In which case, I don't see why an escorts gun should not be considered a capable CIWS - especially against non-maneuving targets such as Exocet where their flight path can be predicted by computer.

Lastly - Sailors GOSSIP.  Even if there was a decision by the British government not to mention that Invincible was damaged (why on Earth would there be?), word would have got out.

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AussieEngineer       2/24/2007 10:41:58 AM
Just from an interested observer, but, Yimmy makes a very good point.  If the Invincible had been hit or sunk don't you think at least one of the thousands of RN sailors would have said something about it over a beer at the local.
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merman    AussiEngineer   2/27/2007 12:14:55 PM
Well, to start, Yimmy states there is no evidene in the conflict showing that countermeasures didn't work. There were four Exocet attacks:
1.HMS Sheffield, which didn't even detect the missile hence its chaff weren't used by her crew.
2.Atlantic Conveyor, which didn't have countermeasures so...
3.The third attack, according to argentines on Invincible and according to british on Avenger. Any of these two warships is supposed to have been equipped with chaff countermeasures, but british sailors indicated the missile was heading straight at the ship. In this third case at least countermeasures didn't seem to work.
4.HMS Glamorgan is hit by a land fired Exocet. It's countermeasures didn't work against it.
Against Avenger it is supposedly downed by a radar guided 4.5'' gun. But I find that hard to believe first becuase Avenger should have first detected the missile with their radar, something not easy to do with a sea-skimming missile flying at mach 0.93. A feat sheffield couldn't accomplish.
Then there is the pilots side of the story, which aside from making sense is quite different from the british story. But about the british keeping quiet about a hit on Invincible, well, there are reasons not to spread it: Invincible was one out of two capital ships sent to the war and the lost of it meant the whole operation was jeopardized. To show to the world such an underrated military as the argentine managed to attack Invincible and score a hit - albeit not a serious one - would send a very bad image to the rest of the world. Everyone who fought the war is likely to remain silent since the opposite would surely damage the RN reputation and Englands image world wide too. They are expected to defend british interests not damage them. They did so with their lives, it is obvious they would keep doing it by remaining silent. Besides if it is a secret, to reveal information about it would surely grant them a court martial. If i were them i would even be careful of what i say even under the influence of alcohol. The argentine government doesn't need to show it managed to endanger Invincible since they lost the war. Damaging invincible would have never eclipsed that. In fact, I suppose that to insist too much on the matter would have been counterproductive, reminding the people constantly of a lost war.
Invincible was in campaign for 166 days, thats 58 more days  than the rest of the Task Force. Why? There are reasons to believe Invincible was subject of an Exocet attack, and there are reasons to believe Britain hide it. However, there are no proofs, so this will remain undecided forever. I tend to believe it was hit, not very seriously, by an Exocet. But that's me of course.
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Herald1234    If there is one thing that we've learned about air combat reports.   2/27/2007 12:35:07 PM

1. The pilots are honest to the point of being saints.
2. The pilots are busier than an one-legged  Republican at a Democrat posterior rectification meet.
3. Pilot's reports tend to be reconstructed snippets of intense activity spread through minutes or hours of boredom.
4. Honest pilot impressions don't match the gun camera footage
5. Debriefers take pilot's claims and factcheck as best they can, but still produce wild overestimates as a result of their follow ups.
6. HMS Invincible may have been laid up for wear and tear repair for two months. I find that more plausible than a battle damage repair. Where was the work done? In the US? Not likely. In France? Again not likely. Italy? Not likely.

You would hear about damage repairs from shipyard workers. CF INS Hanit and its crane. No matter how you try, you can't hide that news for long.


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Yimmy    Merman   2/27/2007 1:40:38 PM
I am talking about electronic countermeasures, not chaff, which are an additional defence.
Both of these combined do not garuntee a ships safety - they simply make it harder for a missile to hit.  For instance, HMS Glamorgan was hit at the extreme rear of the ship, in the hangar.  Had the missle been woking without interferance, it would have hit the centre of the radar return, and so the centre of the ship.
A missile seen heading directly for a ship means nothing.  The countermeasures could have caused the missile to dive into the sea before the ship, or missed by other means.
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flamingknives       2/27/2007 2:17:43 PM
Sheffield didn't have it's radar up when attacked, due to using its communication systems. A second Exocet missed.
Atlantic conveyor wasn't targetted by Exocet. AIUI it was hit after the countermeasures of the nearby British Warships were successful.
Glamorgan was hit from land, so that's less than four minutes to detect it against background clutter. And she wasn't hit full-on.

That HMS Sheffield was unable to down an Exocet with its 4.5" gun means nothing in relation to HMS Avenger. A parallel might be drawn with land warfare. Something like 10,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition is expended per casualty inflicted. By the same reasoning we should conclude that no-one could ever get hit, as 9,999 shots fired were unable to find their mark.
Flukes happen.

Merman. With regards to the Sailors abord the HMS Invincible, you are not them, so what you claim you would do in their place is immaterial. Bear in mind that there were also civilians and reporters in the fleet.

Hermes was commissioned in '59, Invincible in '80. Is there any surprise that Hermes would look more worn?

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sizzle       10/1/2008 1:07:02 PM
anything is possible it did go missing for a while whoes knows what happend to it. British are renowed for lying i was just researching HMs Dasher in WWII how it was sunk and nobody new till 30 years later. HOw disrespectful to all its sailers.
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