Some MQ webfinds before dinner.
Some MQ webfinds before dinner.
Many thanks to DrakeGoodman for his continued contribution of superb images, most of which I haven't seen before.
Sharkey Ward's book, Sea Harrier over the Falklands and another, The Battle for the Falklands by Hastings/Jenkins both strongly suggest that in the early stages an effective Argentine air attack might have routed the expeditionary force as it reached local waters. While the Sea Harrier was undoubtedly the most glamourous star of the fleet air defence at the time, there were only twenty operational aircraft on two light carriers at the start: Argentina refused to deploy her own, larger, carrier and after losing roughly ten percent of available combat aircraft, the Argentine airforce was reluctant to commit more fighters to the fight.
A few waves of agile Skyhawks and exocet-armed Etendards covered by Mirage CAP fighters might have been enough to turn the British fleet around if they'd been properly deployed early in the conflict. As it was the Argentines were no doubt overly careful and as a result lost the initiative to the Royal Navy near the start, and found themselves on the back foot for the duration of the war.
I think you need to fully research the capabilities of the Argentine aircraft - neither the various Mirage/Dagger variants or the Skyhawk were even in the same ballpark of agility or combat capability as the Sea Harrier, and the Argentine air-to-air weapons were of a much earlier generation. Glamour had nothing whatsoever to do with it, the Sea Harrier was the better aircraft by a long margin.
Whilst Argentina's carrier had an air wing embarked, this air wing had no air defence fighter capability, only the Skyhawk fighter bombers, as the Super Etendards were at the time not carrier qualified.
In theory, the Argentines may have stood a better chance had their carrier been properly deployed, but if they had taken it into the TEZ, then it would undoubtedly have fallen prey to a spread of torpedoes launched from one of our SSNs on patrol in the area thus greatly increasing Argentine losses.
There is no doubting the calibre and tenacity of the Argentine aircrew, both air force and naval, but they were not of the same calibre as British aircrew, nor did they have the same level of equipment or training doctrine.
What about if Argentina had properly deployed her submarines?
There is considerable doubt just how many submarines Argentina had operational at the time - but probably not more than two, including the ARA Santa Fe damaged/captured at South Georgia, and one of the German-built SSKs then in service, the other being u/s in port.
The sub returned to Puerto Belgrano in order to repair it`s faulty systems, but the crew was unable to do it before June 14th.
5th Air Brigade pilots pose with "Bombola" Mk17 bomb
IA-58s Pucaras and A-4Cs from AAF in mainland base
Kc-130 taking off from Port Stanley
MM38 Exocet launcher known as ITB, in Port Stanley. Similar launcher was able to hit HMS Glamorgan
MB-339 Macchis from COAN - Naval Air Command in Port Stanley's airport
Ajax Bay landing
RN Sea Harrier in the HMS Fearless's deck
IAI Dagger low pass