Author Topic: Falklands / Malvinas Air War Scenes - Bloody Thursday - 27th May 1982  (Read 19706 times)

Offline Doom!

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JP, some really nice work you've been doing on this project.  :)
Doom!
Jeff G.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Oh..that is nice.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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

Offline JP Vieira

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Thank you all.
Perhaps another one today...;)

Offline JP Vieira

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The raid on Ascension Island
2nd-3rd April 1982


In the late 1970ís the Argentinian armed forces went through a modernization and expansion program.
Most of the new hardware bought was from Soviet origin.
Among the equipment for the Air Force, none was more controversial that the Tupolev Tu-16.
The Soviet Union delivered a total of 5 standard tu-16s, alongside 3 tanker versions.
Ostensible, the regular Tu-16s were bought not as bombers but as long-range patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
Either these aircraft were standard bomber or where modified to that standard latter, the fact was that by the early 1980ís they were used in exercises in the bomber role.
One of the main aspects of the Argentinian plan to invade the Falklands/Malvinas Islands was to delay the response of the UK armed forces for as long as possible.
In that sense, disabling the UK bases on Ascension Island was deemed as crucial.
The Island was host to forces of the RAF (Patrol aircraft) and RN.
In the Argentinian arsenal, only the Tu-16 force could do that mission with any chance of success.
For that mission, 3 bomber versions supported by 2 tankers were designated; the bomber aircraft were stripped of almost all non-essential equipment and left with a reduced bomb load; the tanker version
The mission package had also the assistance of one Boeing 707 that acted as command and control aircraft, not only detecting enemy activity but also guiding the bombers to their targets.
The aircraft took off from BAM Palomar, near Buenos Aires, at the night of 2nd of April expecting to arrive at the target around dawn of the 3rd.
The in leg of the mission was uneventful, with the aircraft refueling (both the Tu-16 bombers and the Boeing 707), the last one just around the early hours of the day; after that, the tankers turned around and the other aircraft headed to their destination.
One of the Tu-16 attack first with cruise missiles and was followed by the other two that launched free fall bombs.
The damage inflicted was more noticeable on the naval facilities; the Air Base was not put out of action and only one aircraft parked was destroyed; the runaway was hit by some bombs but the damage was small.
Some communications and radar facilities were destroyed as were some fuel reservoirs.
As stated, the naval facilities took the heavier toll and needed extensive repairing.
Having completed their mission both the Tu-16 and the Boeing 707 turned around and headed to a pre-arrangement point to perform a new air-to-air refueling.
What followed next what was certainly one of the most bizarre episodes of this conflict and even perhaps of the entire history of air warfare.
As the airplanes were moving away, the Boeing crew alerted the other planes, that an aircraft had managed to take off from Ascension and was heading in their direction.
As no reports were known of fighter planes stationed at the time at the islands, this caused a lot of puzzling to the Argentinian crews.
With fuel low and the need to meet with the refueling planes on schedule, the Boeing commander ordered to all planes to continue with their flight path.
A few minutes later, the mystery revealed itself when the tail gunner of one of the Tu-16 spotted an approaching aircraft and identified it as a British Nimrod MP aircraft.
The Nimrod was stationed at Ascension and was being fuelled and prepared to take off on a maritime patrol mission when the attack started; having managed to escape the bombing, it was decided to arm it with AAMs and gave chase to the Argentinian aircraft.
The Nimrod managed to launch two missiles; one of them was launched at the limit of its flight enveloped and did not lock on to any target; the other one locked on, but some evasive maneuvers and the deployment of chaff managed to divert to missile just enough so as it would not impact the target aircraft; this missile exploded near the aircraft and cause some damaged to one of the Tu-16.
With the concentration of defensive fire by the Tu-16 tail gunners and with no more AAMs to fire, the Nimrod crew turn the aircraft around and headed back to Ascension.
Having managed to meet the tankers, the Argentinian aircraft headed to their Air Base; however one of the Tu-16 had to divert to Brazil, due to the damaged inflict by the AAM explosion. This incident would cause some tension between both countries.
Although the damaged to Ascension was not crippling to the war effort of the British it had two major positive effects to the Argentinian side; first it slowed down the buildup of the UK forces and offered the Argentinian a little more time to consolidate its defenses; secondly, it forced the UK forces to station some fighters and SAM forces on Ascension as a deterrent to further Argentinian incursions and thus preventing those same equipment to be committed to the Falklands/Malvinas TO.



^ The best so far! Also a little bit worrying!  :o

Offline Logan Hartke

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^ The best so far! Also a little bit worrying!  :o

Agreed.  Always been a fan of the Badger.  I think it gets short shrift for Cold War bombers.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline Brian da Basher

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Wow you've really taken this and run with it, JP! While I like all your profiles, I think the Nimrod is my favorite. It's great having the recon side of the story told too.

Outstanding!!!

Brian da Basher

Offline JP Vieira

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Hello
Many thanks for all your comments :)

Offline JP Vieira

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Bloody Thursday - 27th May 1982

A week after the major confrontation between the carriers, both sides again opposed each other in one of the major air-naval operations of the entire war.
Although the operations of the carriers of both sides had taken some impediments, neither of the carriers were put out of action and continue to operate.
 The day known as Bloody Thursday (27th May) resulted from the wishes of both sides to inflict a major blow to the others ability to wage war; from the UK side, the objective was  to disable the ability of the Argentinian Navy to continue to operate around the Islands; from the Argentinian side there was the objective to inflict such damage to the Royal Navy as to forces the UK forces to postponed any plan to stage a landing on the Islands.
The day started with a coordinated attack from aircraft from the two British aircraft carriers against two groups of surface vessels operating around the waters of the islands; these attacks were conducted by Buccaneers with the escort of the Phantoms.
The first phase of the operation were several air attacks made by Harriers of the amphibious assault groups against targets on the islands; these attacks also had the objective of diverting Argentinian fighters and pulled them away from the area were the Phantom and Buccaneers would performe their missions.
By the early hours of the day, several attacks were made by the Harriers against land targets on the Islands; at the same time several CAP missions were also flown by the Sea Harriers.  These attacks were successful in drawing in almost all the Island-based Argentinian fighters; several engagements were fought between the attacking and defending aircraft.
As these attacks were made, the Phantoms and Buccaneers were launched from the carriers and began attacking several surface vessels of the Argentinian Navy; the buccaneers used both guided missiles and bombs to attack the ships.



With these simultaneous operations, the Argentinians had to split their fighters and soon reinforcements were called in, both from the carrier ARA 25 de Mayo (Mirage F-1MA) and from the bases on the Mainland (MiG-23 and Mirage III).
At the same time, The Argentinians decided to take the chance to launch attacks against the ships of the British task force, with the main objectives being to force some British aircraft to abort their planned attack mission to defend their ships and also to inflict as much damage as possible to the task force.
The Argentinian plan called for the Island based-fighters to engage the attacking Harriers and also their Sea Harriers escorts (mainly used were the MiG-21 and MiG-19); the Mainland-based aircraft (MiG-23, Mirage III) and carrier based aircraft (Super Etendard and Mirage F-1MA), were assigned to engage the Phantoms and Buccaneers and also to attack all the possible British ships.




In the end of the day when the operations dwindled, a heavier toll had been paid from both sides.
The major implication for both sides from this terrible day was the postponement of any major air-naval operations for several days.
The Argentinian Navy lost 2 patrol ships, a corvette and fast-attack craft, sunk by the British aircraft; there was also damaged to another patrol ship and 2 frigates; The Argentinian Air Force lost 5 aircraft (a MiG-23, 2 Mirage III,  1 Mig-19 and a Il-38 Patrol aircraft) and had several aircraft damaged.
On the British side the result was also worrying; the Royal Navy lost a frigate, a landing ship and a tanker; one of the amphibious assault ships also sustained damaged; on the air assets sides, there was the loss of 2 Buccaneers, one Phantom and 2 Harriers and 1 Sea Harrier.

As both sides retreated to regroup and repair, it was evident that neither side could carry on with their main objectives for some days to come.
The Argentinian forces had to reinforce their naval and air forces deployed to the Islands with assets drawn from the mainland; the British had to wait for ships and aircraft to arrive from Ascension Island and even form the UK.
Bloody Thursday serve to definitely show that, both sides of this war, were not willing to give up without putting up a ferocious fight.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2012, 03:01:24 PM by JP Vieira »

Offline Logan Hartke

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I love these action shots!  They look great!

Cheers,

Logan

Offline GTX_Admin

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Ditto!
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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

Love the action shots! The Bucc doesn't have to worry about being hit. It'll just bulldoze that flak out of the way!  :icon_jedi:

Offline JP Vieira

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Thank you all for your comments.
This has been great fun and really help me to improve some skills and techniques regarding composition and other working methods.

Offline taiidantomcat

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Too much fun!!  :D
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Offline JP Vieira

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Thank you; perhaps I will do some more... been experimenting with some new time-reducing working methods and perhpas will produce some more of these.