HMS Hermes

As an armchair admiral, I’ve been playing what if with the Falklands War of 1982. Having mountains of hindsight, it’s easy for me to win by taking either side and while the British won, it was not a foregone conclusion. They had the better fleet and the better submarines, but the loss or heavy damage to one or both British Aircraft Carriers on May 1-2, would have lost them the war.

At minimum the conflict would have been longer, and the Royal Navy would have needed to get the new carrier Illustrious rapidly into service, or even re-commission the Bulwark, a commando carrier that had recently been paid off (this was examined at the time but considered too time consuming and costly).

ARA Veinicento de Mayo

If the Argentine Navy had gone all in with its British-built light aircraft carrier ARA Veinicento de Mayo task group. Had they launched a strike on the British as planned, and had the Argentine escorts fired their twenty Exocet missiles at the British battle group as planned, the odds of hits was good.

We know the submarine HMS Spartan was in contact with the Argentine carrier and had been denied permission to attack on the 1 May. If ARA Veinicento de Mayo had launched a strike package, there’s little doubt that the Spartan would have torpedoed her, but the strike would have been airborne. The loss of the Argentine carrier would be significant, but if they would have succeeded, the British amphibious fleet could not have landed troops and supported them in light of effective Argentine land-based aircraft attacks.

The British operation to retake the Falklands was very high risk and ran against the clock.

This can be discussed in great depth and I’m not doing that here. My point, if there is one, is that holding back and not attacking, and saving the navy can mean losing the war as surely as using them boldly (and maybe carelessly).


Royal Canadian Navy Submarines

HMCS Victoria SSK-876

The Royal Canadian Navy operates four Victoria class British built diesel-electric fleet submarines designed in the late 1970s to supplement the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarine force.

In 1998, Canada purchased the submarines to replace their aging Oberon-class submarines. The troubled history of Canadian submarines is a very open secret and is detailed here: “The Saga of This Long-Busted Submarine…”

Canada might consider purchasing submarines that could operate under the ice, because so much of its territorial waters are icebound at least half of the year. In practical terms that would mean nuclear propulsion and the word “nuclear” is almost a swear word in Canada.  When you consider the sad state of Canada’s submarines, they’d be money ahead to scrap them and just pretend to have submarines.

In 2015, the Canadian Navy lost its area air defense capacity and its underway replenishment capacity, which has nothing to do with the problems that they’re having with their submarines. Canada hopes that the US will defend their interests at sea against foreign aggression. And when you visit Vancouver and see how many Chinese people (non-English/French speaking) live there, you might be inclined to deduce that the invasion took place already.


  1. As a chest beating proud Canadian, I found your comments on our submarines, our air service left coast immigration and political philosophy to be dead on and shameful for me and my peers.
    In the future Sir, I expect you will continue to express yourself in an accurate and forthright manner, such as you did here.
    Many thanks

    • I take no pride in beating up Canadians or anyone else when it comes to armed services. I’m hardest on the USA. The Canadian Navy should be able to stand on its own feet, but all that’s left are some capable ice breakers and a few coastal patrol boats that are more suited to fisheries enforcement than to any naval mission. I recall back in the 1980’s when the Canadian Navy was a force to be reckoned with. That’s simply not the case today. The submarines are too dangerous to put to sea. The sailors assigned to those boats aren’t getting the training they need to be competent, and if there is one place where it all needs to work, it’s under the ocean. What remains is the pride in what was, without much hope in what will be for the officers and men of the Canadian Navy.

      • In the current circumstances, Canada might as well be money ahead and just pretend to have any military forces, at all.

        This is not to impugn the honor or skill of Canadian Armed Services personnel at all – they have a long and good reputation; they have kicked our asses a couple of times and the CMBG was by all accounts hot shit back in the REFORGER days.

        The government has let them down though, and they no longer have the numbers or gear to be a significant, non-ceremonial force.


  2. As the saying goes, Hong Kouver (well, Hongcouver — but I think it looks better mimicking Hong Kong). A key question is how many of the Chinese there are the wealthier ones that fled Hong Kong to get away from the Communists, and how many are Chicom agents or sympathizers.

    The other issue of course is culture, regardless of the politics of the H-Kouverites. Personally I’m less comfortable in a Chinatown than in French Canada. I can’t speak Cantonese and don’t understand it either, and frankly it’s an ugly, choppy language that grates on the ear. Then again, most south-east Asian languages are ugly to my ear. Anyway, a Taiwanese friend said to me the other day, “I don’t want the US to become more Asian. I want to live in American society, not a Chinese society!” He’s a bit of a bad thinker by Chinese standards (“I’m NOT Chinese, I’m Taiwanese!” — whatever).

    • Vancouver/Hongcouver is an interesting place to visit. I worked in conjunction with the RCMP and the Vancouver Police on transnational crime issues when I was running an operation in Southern California. The same bad guys (Chinese) who were operating there, were also operating in the greater LA Area, in Houston, etc. It was at that time period when I also spent time at Interpol in Lyon.

  3. Glad to see you have overcome the Communists once again, and returned to the internet, LL!


  4. Regarding the Falklands, I’m pretty sure that the upshot of more Argie success would have merely been a CVBG and a MEB off their coast, erasing all their military assets a month later.

    Good result for pride, but kinda Pyrrhic.


    • It’s pathetic that the British Royal Navy even came close to having their ass handed to them by Argentina. How the mighty fell. I realize that they won — but they won against Argentina. That’s like the US invading Mexico and bragging about how we beat the the Mexican Air Force in the skies over Chihuahua.

      • The RN is about a quarter that size, today.

        There’s no limit to how far the fall takes you.

        • Kle – The REAL problem is not the hardware itself, but the lack of institutional knowledge that is necessary to crew an aircraft carrier or a submarine. In the case of the Canadians, the people who actually understand how to crew a submarine and have experience in operating them is quickly leaving as they retire or leave the navy. The RN found that out with their new aircraft carriers and the US pitched in to help. The RN and RAF are manning aircraft and even with that, there are US F-35’s cross platformed to work with them and help restore that which was lost.

  5. I remember the Falklands War very well. It happened during my move to Kalifornia. The buddy driving my little X1/9, and me in the U-Haul van, listened to the news on the radio, and chatted about it with the walkie-talkies we brought with us.

    The General Belgrano was sunk on the day we arrived in Kalifornia.

      • I was working with an ex-pat Brit when that happened and he said, and I quote, “Why, we’ll whip their bloody asses, we will!” However, inasmuch as he didn’t fly home to volunteer, it seems the “we” of which he spoke didn’t include “him”.

  6. I worked with an Argentine, and dated one of his sisters. Their father had been a policeman. What they had to say was the Army and Navy did not get along. The Navy wasn’t supportive of occupying the Maldives and the Army, mainly conscripts, was highly politicized in the upper echelons.

    The family had passionate views and visiting their homes always resulted in rousing discussions, not that I ever pulled their chains.

    • There’s often an unhealthy army-navy-air force rivalry and nobody wins. The navy is very heavy in hardware and it must be maintained perfectly in a salt water environment and replaced when it ages out. The air force has a similar situation. The army (any army) is heavy on manpower and logistic to keep manpower in the field.

      In peacetime the military is a school.

      In wartime it’s a vast human machine that has as its only mission to put ordnance on target.

  7. They’re all hoping, of course, that they’ll never have to fight another war. As an irregular Commandant of Horse (COH) I’d say they’re misguided and foolish. But let’s game it out.

    A company of Turkish marines takes over Parliament, followed by a battalion of Houthis who take over the East End. Easy, hearts and minds. The West End, riddled by Eastern European infiltration, capitulates without a shot.

    Sure, there’s resistance in the Midlands (Juliette) but so what. The fight’s over. Not there was a fight in the first place. And that’s just it, not with a bang but a whimper.

    City of Brass.

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