Author Topic: My contribution...  (Read 5174 times)

Offline Litvyak

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My contribution...
« on: May 10, 2012, 10:21:12 PM »
To start, a profile:



A CF-110N Spectre of VFA 870 based on HMCS Bonaventure. This particular Spectre was the only one to have scored air-to-air victories in two wars - Vietnam and the Falklands War, after it shot down an Argentine Etendard.

There will be some story coming, too, describing the involvement of the Royal Canadian Navy in the campaign to retake the Falklands from the Argies. :)
"God save our Queen and heaven bless the Maple Leaf forever!"

Dominion of BC - https://dominionofbc.miraheze.org/wiki/British_Columbia

"Bernard, this doesn't say anything!" "Why thank you, Prime Minister."

Offline Litvyak

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Re: My contribution...
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2012, 11:47:45 PM »


The cover of Maclean's news magazine after victory in the campaign...

This was fun to work on, but I wish I could've done better recolouring the planes on the deck...
"God save our Queen and heaven bless the Maple Leaf forever!"

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"Bernard, this doesn't say anything!" "Why thank you, Prime Minister."

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: My contribution...
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2012, 03:32:35 AM »
Interesting...
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline Litvyak

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Re: My contribution...
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2012, 10:58:41 AM »
Well, I guess I didn't finish this... ah well. I hit a snag in my plotting, and then got distracted with other stuff... :(

"God save our Queen and heaven bless the Maple Leaf forever!"

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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: My contribution...
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2012, 11:04:18 AM »
You should still have the best part of a day... >:(
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline Litvyak

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Re: My contribution...
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2012, 11:42:30 AM »
Well, too brain damaged tonight after work to do much, but tomorrow's the 30th, so I'll see what I can do.

Part of my issue was that Bonnie deploying with her usual air complement (though perhaps swapping some/most of the ASW element for CA Dynaverts?) would alter the balance immensely: CF-110s protecting the fleet would free up all the Harriers for strike missions, and the CE-121 Hawkeyes would mean that the Commonwealth side would have a very clear picture of what's going on in the air at all times. Spectres standing on CAP and a Hawkeye up all the time, would the FAA/COAN be able to hit the fleet as hard as it did RW?

I'll think about this more and see if I can come up with something plausible...
"God save our Queen and heaven bless the Maple Leaf forever!"

Dominion of BC - https://dominionofbc.miraheze.org/wiki/British_Columbia

"Bernard, this doesn't say anything!" "Why thank you, Prime Minister."

Offline Litvyak

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Re: My contribution...
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2012, 03:17:46 AM »
Well, this was a bit rushed, but hopefully it's at least a little bit reasonably plausible!

On April 2, 1982 Argentine forces occupied the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, and on April 5 a Royal Navy task force, including the carriers HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes departed Portsmouth to retake the islands. By the middle of April, the RAF had established a base at Ascension Island.

On April 6, the Prince Rupert class submarine HMCS Prince George set sail from Chile, where it had been visiting Santiago as part of a redeployment from HMCS Esquimalt to HMCS Cockburn Town (Trinidad). On the evening of the 8th, the Argentine navy detected what they believed was a British Oberon class submarine, and attacked and sank the Prince George. The 'mistaken identity' was understandable inasmuch as the Prince Rupert class was a Canadian-made copy of the British sub.

It wasn't until April 10 that the Dominion government confirmed that the Prince George had been lost, and announced that Canada would take an active part in the liberation of the Falkland islands. Two days later, a Canadian carrier group centred on HMCS Bonaventure departed Halifax. Two submarines also set sail, from Cockburn Town - HMCS Petrolia (another Prince Rupert class boat) and HMCS Lord Stanley of Preston, Canada's only nuclear submarine at the time. The Stanley was a modified Oberon design, somewhat larger and powered by a CANDU reactor adapted to submarine use.

Bonnie set sail with a non-standard air complement. Of the usual air wing, only VFA 870 and VFA 871 with their CF-110N Spectre fighters were deployed at full strength. VAQ 860, the jammer/EW squadron, was just being formed at HMCS Shearwater with their brand-new CEF-110N Spirit aircraft and thus were not ready for deployment, and HS 50, the ASW helicopter squadron with CH-124 Sea King, was not sent at all to save space; CH-124s did, however, accompany the Canadian carrier group on the DDH HMCS Saguenay and on three frigates, HMCS Nabob (Batch I Niobe class), HMCS Wallaceburg and HMCS Comox (both Batch II Niobe ("La Malbaie" class). Thus only a small ASW element was sent on the carrier, consisting of two CP-121 Trackers of VS 880. Lastly, only a part of VAW 890 was sent, limited to two (as opposed to four, as was usual) CE-121 Hawkeyes. The reduction of the standard air complement allowed for the deployment of Canadian Army CH-147 Chinook helicopters, to be used for landing troops for the actual retaking of the Falklands. Thus was 706 Transport & Rescue Helicopter Squadron (Canadian Army) carried on the carrier, along with two companies of troops of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada.

On April 13, Canadian troops air-deployed to Ascension Island. Consideration was given to sending CA-131 Dynaverts, but it was found to be unsuitable for deployment aboard ship - the lack of wing folding ability meant that they could not be stored in Bonnie's hangar, so 429 Sqn (RCAF) was sent to Ascension with the Third (paratroop) Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

On April 30, the Chilean government gave permission for the Royal Australian Air Force to operate from its airbase at Punta Arenas. The RAAF had initially considered deploying Mirage IIIO, but in the end it was decided that the risk of friendly fire accidents would be too great, and so No 76 Sqn was sent instead. No 76 Sqn was the only unit operating the Avro Arrow. The Arrow could almost reach the Falklands from Punta Arenas, and was thus able to cover a portion of southern Argentina that included the air force base at Rio Gallegos. No 76 Sqn arrived at Punta Arenas on May 6, and on May 7 the idea's merit proved itself, when Arrows intercepted a flight of Argentine Canberra bombers departing Rio Gallegos. Four Canberras, escorted by four Mirage IIIs, departed the base to attack the British fleet. The fastest aircraft in the theatre, six Arrows were sent to intercept the bomber group before it could reach the RN ships. The interception was successful, with two Canberras destroyed, one damaged, and the fourth aborted undamaged, along with two Mirages destroyed. One Arrow was lost, however: a Mirage was able to get into dogfight range, outturning the Arrow and killing it with two R550 missiles. The long-held assumptions about the Arrow were proven correct - even at its age and very near to retirement, it was still an excellent interceptor, but vulnerable in a turning fight. Even so, the presence of the Arrows so close to the Rio Gallegos base meant that the Argentines were unable to meaningfully use the airbase. This meant that the Mirage III were effectively removed from the war, and any thoughts of bringing the 25 de Mayo to port for safety had to be discarded: the carrier was the only means for Argentina to provide any sort of fighter cover to Canberra bombers, who continued to operate from Gral. Mosconi airbase.

Canadian forces saw their first action on May 1, when COAN Skyhawks flew from ARA 25 de Mayo to attack the Bonaventure group, which led to the first battle between aircraft carriers since the Second World War.

Aware of the advantage the presence of AEW aircraft gave the Canadian carrier group, the Argentine attack was coordinated between the Navy and the Air Force and was executed in three prongs. The first prong was a flight of Mirage IIIs sent from the mainland towards the Bonnie group. Duly detected by the CE-121 aloft, the Spectres of VFA 870 which had been standing CAP were directed to intercept the Mirages, with six more quickly launched to assist the three that had been up; this gave the Canadians a 9-6 advantage in numbers, and the Spectres claimed four Mirage kills against the loss of two of their own number.

While the Mirages and Spectres were busy to the west of the carrier group, the second prong of the Argentine fork made its way towards the carrier group. This consisted of Learjets flying a profile that would be expected from Canberra bombers; as such, after the CE-121 detected this group, eight more Spectres were launched to intercept. At this point, 17 of the 36 available CF-110Ns were in the air.

A short while later, the CE-121 detected a third group of inbound aircraft. Approaching from the south, this group could only have been coming from the Argentine carrier, and indeed it was - a group of A-4 Skyhawks made their way towards the Canadian ships. Flying low above the waves for most of the way, it was only as they climbed to an attacking altitude that the Hawkeye detected them - the clutter caused by the choppy waves made detecting the low-flying Skyhawks difficult, and the fact that the Hawkeye's crew was busy monitoring and directing two other engagements didn't help them much, either. To help ease the burden on the Hawkeye aloft, Bonnie's air commander ordered the second CE-121 aloft...

...right as the six Skyhawks arrived in range. The carrier group included three Resolution-class guided missile frigates intended for air defence: HMCS Warspite, HMCS Discovery and HMCS Repulse. Carrying the RIM-8 Talos SAM, these three ships managed to shoot down four of the six Skyhawks.

But the Armada Argentina nevertheless considered the mission a success - by virtue of dumb luck. One of the Skyhawks hit by a Talos missile exploded, and the tail section crashed onto the deck of HMCS Bonaventure right as the CE-121 was launching. Debris from the wreckage hit the starboard wing of the Hawkeye as it cleared the deck, damaging the engine. The Hawkeye was able to circle and land, but the damage was significant enough to render the aircraft useless for the remainder of the war. Further, the wreckage of the Skyhawk damaged one of the catapults. This damage took several days to repair, which hindered air operations for the duration of the repairs.

This in itself would have been enough for the Argentines to consider the operation successful, but the A-4s also managed to cripple the helicopter frigate HMCS Wallaceburg. A Skyhawk attacked from the aft of the ship, and the bomb landed inside the hangar. The bomb's explosion set off the helicopter's ready fuel, and the second explosion of the fuel reached the torpedoes, causing a cascade of explosions over the ship's after section. The damage reached the engine room, and the resultant blaze soon enveloped the ship's fuel as well. The order was given to abandon ship, but of the 270 crew only 97 survived. No effort was made to fight the fire beyond minimal attempts to control it to assist in rescuing crew, and the hulk burned for three days before finally sinking.

Over the next several days, Argentine aircraft harrassed the Canadian group, often using the tactic of flying Learjets as decoys to annoy and distract the Spectres.

The largest naval battle since the end of the Second World War had begun in earnest. On May 2, the nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror sank the cruiser ARA General Belgrano, and two days later, Argentine Super Etendards sank the HMS Sheffield.

The sinking of the Belgrano precipitated a turn of events negative to the Commonwealth: Brazil announced it would enter the war on the Argentine side on May 4. This was a great help to the Argentines, as it made a second aircraft carrier available: as Brazil had no carrier-borne fighter or strike aircraft, COAN's Skyhawks and Super Etendards were split between the 25 de Mayo and the NAeL Minas Gerais. By May 7 it became obvious to the Argentines that this was a vital new development, as the RAAF Arrows operating out of Punta Arenas in Chile made using the Rio Gallegos airbase difficult. On May 9, the COAN Skyhawks and Super Etendards had arrived on the Brazilian carrier, and Minas Gerais spent the next several days trying to keep away from Commonwealth ships and aircraft out looking for her.

The United States and France immediately condemned the Brazilian entry into the war, and unilaterally imposed embargoes on Brazil. After Chile announced it would open all its airbases to Commonwealth forces - and rumours abounded that they were considering declaring war on Argentina - the United Nations managed to pass a second Security Council resolution with regards to the conflict on May 11, condemning Brazil and requiring their immediate withdrawal from the war. Interestingly, both the Soviets and the Chinese abstained; neither wanted to vote in favour, but neither were keen on the idea of the regional conflict escalating into a continental war in South America.

On May 12, two Vulcan bombers left RAF Ascension Island to head west for a surprise attack on the Brazilian airbase at Salvador-Deputado Luis Eduardo Magelhaes. The two bombers arrived before dawn, dropping conventional bombs. Unlike Black Buck One, this raid was completely successful in rendering the main airstrip unusable. This attack was not without controversy, however, as the airfield is also a civilian airport, and is located very near the city centre (though immediately on the waterfront). Fortunately, the strike was made with great precision, all bombs falling within the airport area, and the RAF had scheduled the raid to take place in the pre-dawn morning, before the day's civilian airline operations would begin. Despite the controversy, the action resulted in public opinion in Brazil swinging drastically against involvement in the war, and on May 13, the Brazilian government announced that it was recalling all its ships to port and would take no further part in the war. Prior to the public announcement, however, Brazilian navy command on the afternoon of May 12 ordered Minas Gerais to turn back and to launch all Argentinian aircraft as soon as they were in range of an Argentine airfield, and the announcement on the 13th - and the subsequent order to Brazilian Navy vessels to disengage and return home - came about after the COAN aircraft had left the Brazilian carrier, thus avoiding the necessity of impounding the Argentine aircraft.

On May 17, a group of RN Sea Harriers, escorted by RCN Spectres, attacked the airfield at Port Stanley, destroying several Pucaras on the ground. The Canadian carrier group positioned itself about 150 miles northwest of the islands, in a perfect position to intercept any Argentine aircraft operating out of either Comodoro Rivadavia or Rio Gallegos, while the RAAF presence at Punta Arenas meant that Argentine operations out of the latter base were essentially nil. However, having only one CE-121 Hawkeye operational meant that the RCN couldn't maintain a round-the-clock AEW watch, and the Argentines continued with aerial operations - C-130s to resupply their forces on the islands, Canberra and Super Etendard strikes on the Commonwealth fleet, and distraction operations by Learjets and other transport aircraft.

On May 21, Operation Sutton was launched, the first wave being the pre-dawn parachute insertion of the 3rd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment at Fanning Head. The objective here was to secure a beachhead for the main force that would be landing via ship. However, on the flight down, one of the CC-127 Keewatin transports had a technical problem and was forced to turn back to Ascension Island, leaving only half of the intended force to land at the DZ. Even so, it was a monumental undertaking rivalling the Black Buck missions, requiring multiple inflight refuelings of the Keewatin that didn't abort. Even though only half the intended force landed, it was enough to occupy the Argentine forces at Port San Carlos, allowing the landing of 2 Para, 3 Para and 40, 42 and 45 Cdo to proceed smoothly.

On May 23, HMCS Lord Stanley found and sank the Argentine destroyer ARA Piedrabuena, giving the Canadian submarine force its first - and to date only - kill.

As the landings of the 21st were happening, the Argentines stepped up their aerial assaults after HMCS Bonaventure relocated to support the landings, and to deploy the two companies of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada and 706 Transport & Rescue Helicopter Sqn (Canadian Army) with its CH-147 Chinook helicopters to the islands. These Argentine strikes led to the sinking of HMS Ardent on May 21 and HMS Antelope on May 24.

Commonwealth air operations to the west of the islands forced the Argentine Navy to move assets about, sending 25 de Mayo south and east. Bad weather made it possible for the carrier to avoid detection, swinging south around the islands and putting it into a position by May 23 to attack from the east. The carrier laid low, however, until May 25, when it unleashed an attack in coordination with an air force Canberra strike against the Commonwealth fleet. The attack from the east was unexpected, and the result was the most successful Argentine air strike of the war. Lost that day were the MV Atlantic Conveyor and the HMS Coventry, while badly damaging HMS Argonaut, HMS Brilliant, HMCS Repulse and HMNZS Taranaki - the only RNZN ship to have been deployed to the war. The loss of the Conveyor was a bad blow, as only one of the Chinook helicopters aboard survived. Though this served to hinder the movement of ground troops to some extent, the Canadian Chinooks that arrived off Bonnie compensated for the loss to some extent.

After consolidating their position and securing Port San Carlos and San Carlos, ground operations began seriously. 2 Para, along with the two companies of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, supported by 8 Commando Battery, Royal Artillery, attacked Darwin and Goose Green on May 27. After Goose Green was secured on the 29th, the Commonwealth forces began a slow, measured advance out of the San Carlos beachhead eastwards towards Stanley, while further British and Australian troops arrived on the island.

From then on, the Argentines continued the air strikes as best as they could, their decoying tactics being effective in keeping the RCN Spectres busy and distracted. However, losses were sustained, and June 1 was the last significant attack made by Argentine aircraft, in which RFA Sir Galahad and RFA Sir Tristram were severely damaged, killing 56 and injuring over 150. On June 2, British Harriers and Canadian Spectres undertook an attack on 25 de Mayo, which had since been located by HMS Conqueror. The British sub, however, was unable to prosecute, as it was driven off by the carrier's ASW element. Though the attack only managed to slightly damage the carrier, two more Skyhawks were destroyed, and the Navy ordered the carrier to sail away southwards, and to head for Ushuaia. This removed the carrier from combat, and after June 3 Argentine air activity was only sporadic. Pucaras and Aermacchis based on the Falklands briefly tried to operate, but this became difficult after the 4th.

The decisive battle began on June 6 after British, Canadian and Australian units converged on Stanley and attacked the Argentine defenders with Harriers providing air support. The battle lasted three days, until the Argentine commander surrendered on June 9. On June 14, the South Sandwich Islands were retaken and an end to the hostilities was declared.

Footnote: In July, Britain announced that it would fund the reconstruction of the Brazilian airport damaged by the Vulcan strike. Within a year of the end of the war, the military dictatorship in Argentina was deposed and democratic elections took place.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 06:18:42 AM by Litvyak »
"God save our Queen and heaven bless the Maple Leaf forever!"

Dominion of BC - https://dominionofbc.miraheze.org/wiki/British_Columbia

"Bernard, this doesn't say anything!" "Why thank you, Prime Minister."

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: My contribution...
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2012, 04:00:25 AM »
A good read. :)
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Re: My contribution...
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2012, 06:39:49 AM »
Intriguing!

Offline Cliffy B

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Re: My contribution...
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2012, 07:59:58 AM »
A very good read indeed sir!!!  I'd be extremely interested to know more about those RCN ships, especially the Talos armed ones!!!  :o
"Radials growl, inlines purr, jets blow!"  -Anonymous

"Helos don't fly.  They vibrate so violently that the ground rejects them."  -Tom Clancy

"If all else fails, call in an air strike."  -Anonymous

Offline Litvyak

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Re: My contribution...
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2012, 08:14:19 AM »
There's more to be expanded here, of course, but it's a start into describing the ships of AltCan's RCN: http://altcan.webs.com/rcn-ships.htm. The Talos-armed ships are the Resolution-class frigates, though I don't have much detail worked out on those besides the missile system, the names and the service dates...
"God save our Queen and heaven bless the Maple Leaf forever!"

Dominion of BC - https://dominionofbc.miraheze.org/wiki/British_Columbia

"Bernard, this doesn't say anything!" "Why thank you, Prime Minister."

Offline Cliffy B

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Re: My contribution...
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2012, 08:49:14 AM »
I'm really liking this rundown of ships!!!  8)  If you'd like any help in designing any of them just ask.  Whiff ship designs are my passion.
"Radials growl, inlines purr, jets blow!"  -Anonymous

"Helos don't fly.  They vibrate so violently that the ground rejects them."  -Tom Clancy

"If all else fails, call in an air strike."  -Anonymous

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: My contribution...
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2012, 04:18:24 AM »
Simply outstanding, Litvyak!

Work at this level really sets the bar!

Brian da Basher