Skip to comments.Thatcher urged to steal French-made Exocet missiles during Falklands war
Posted on 12/28/2012 10:47:05 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
Thatcher urged to steal French-made Exocet missiles during Falklands war
National Archives papers outline plan of attorney general to hijack missiles being transported through South America
One of Britain's most senior law officers at the time of the Falklands conflict, the attorney general, Sir Michael Havers, urged the prime minister to steal deadly French Exocet missiles to stop them ending up in the hands of the enemy.
The ingenious scheme is revealed in previously secret documents released to the National Archives on Friday which show how the UK government attempted to subvert South American solidarity with Argentina.
The Chilean junta offered secret help to British forces during the Falklands conflict, the documents disclose, including the use of remote airfields. The clandestine relationship involved arms sales to General Augusto Pinochet's regime while agonising over its human rights record.
But it was the French-manufactured Exocet anti-ship weapons, used by the Argentinian air force against the British relief convoy as it steamed into the south Atlantic, that most exposed the weakness of the Royal Navy's anti-aircraft defences. HMS Sheffield and the SS Atlantic Conveyor were among those sunk.
On 1 June 1982, the attorney general sent a handwritten note to Margaret Thatcher, the prime minister, outlining his plan to hijack missiles being transported through South America. It was dreamt up by a friend, Charles Hughesdon, who ran an air freight company.
"The risk of resupply to the Argentines of further air-to-sea missiles justified consideration of all options to prevent this even the most way-out, which may be thought to be more appropriate to a James Bond movie," Havers told Thatcher.
The idea was to tender for the cargo contract "where the exporting country will not want to risk its
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...
HMS Sheffield was hit by an Exocet missile fired by the Argentinian air force on 4 May 1982 and sank while being towed to safe water. Photograph: Pa/PA Archive/Press Association Ima
A French Exocet missile, sold to Saddam Hussein, hit an American destroyer or cruiser in international waters in the 1990’s and killed over a dozen sailors. Don’t remember whether it was the USS Vincennes or not.
The French, like a whore, sell to the highest bidder.
I’d steal their missiles and fire them back at their ships just as a remember about doublecrossing U.S.
Why are all the interesting articles from Brit publications these days? Even a pinko rag like THE GUARDIAN?
That was the USS Stark. We lost 37 men that day.
It’s not smart to build your warships like tinderboxes. It’s not that the exocet is such a miracle tool.
Its not smart to build your warships like tinderboxes.
If I recall the rationale, they built them that way because they were not expected to survive a war with the Soviets. The Soviets would use nukes and heavy armor wouldnt help. Therefore, why not build them faster, lighter, and able to deliver a significant punch before they got hit? Then, as with everything military, they got used in a different conflict environment than they were intended for.
Im certain that there are other calculations involved as well. For example, how much more money would it take to armor and operate an armored ship with no aluminum? How many more lightly built ships could you build with cheaper material? Then, theres politics, Im sure aluminum suppliers were big spenders on the campaign trail and offered jobs to retiring well-placed procurement types. The safety of the crew is probably WAY down the list of considerations.
Well stated, General. That probably summed it up perfectly over there.
"The classic Jack Higgins thriller
In the hotly contested Falkland Islands, an underground struggle rages between Argentinean agents seeking to buy black-market Exocet missiles and the British officials who will do anything to stop them.
British intelligence dispatches two operatives to prevent the spread of the state-of-the-art weapons, and the odds are stacked against them. Tony Villiers and Gabrielle Legrand must overcome their complicated past and take down the international arms dealer at the center of the conflict before two nations are brought to their knees."
Maybe he was right.
Just give us the Cliff Notes and sources, please.
Two things contributed to the fiasco.
One was the tinderbox ship.
The other was a networked fire control system which was amazingly incompetent and buggy, it more or less went catatonic at the enemy approach and allowed clear shots.
This is not the only unfortunate British navy design - the used subs they sold to the Canadians are another example.
This is better.
Aluminium was not the problem. HMS Sheffield was all steel. Look at the photo - no structural damage.
The problem was use of flammable materials and internal fires.
I did some reading on the subject. There were 3 ships sunk that had Aluminium superstructures, i.e. the top part of the ship. The Sheffield was not one of them.
The single biggest problem seems to have been the missile cutting the fire-fighting main H2O supply when it hit. Most of not all of the fire suppression systems were cut off simply by where the missile hit.
Another contributing factor was the strike was near a diesel bunker that caught on fire. Lastly, there was no significant damage control effort because the fire mains were cut. The ship was almost immediately abandoned.