This post started as a continuation of the post from yesterday when I was talking about the collision of the U.S.S John Kennedy and the U.S.S Belknap and the resulting fire with the aluminum superstructure. I thought the H.M.S Sheffield suffered the same fate, but I was in error. What caused the Sheffield sinking was a lucky hit in the place where it can do the most good against the ship, and training and policies.
I was in the 10th grade when the Falkland war started, and I with my JROTC classmates supported the British over the Argentinians. Britain had the island and Argentina invaded it. We believed that Argentinians started the war because the Military Junta was having a lot of problems and wanted to distract the public and focus them in an external enemy. It worked for a bit until the war turned against Argentina, then the resulting junta lost power and a civilian government took over. It was different for Britain though, despite the loss and casualties, this war restored the British faith in themselves as a nation and gave them pride again. The funny thing was that like Saddam Hussein in 1990 the Argentinians had rotten timing, the British Tory government was considering some austerity measures and scrapping the British carriers were an option, if Argentina had waited a year, the British wouldn't have the forces to retake the island. I pulled the info off Wiki and the pics were compliments of "google".HMS Sheffield was the second Royal Navy ship to be named after the city of Sheffield in Yorkshire. She was a Type 42 guided missile destroyer laid down by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering at Barrow-in-Furness on 15 January 1970. She was launched by Queen Elizabeth II on 10 June 1971 and commissioned on 16 February 1975.
An explosion during construction killed two dockyard workers and damaged a section of hull which was replaced with a section from an identical ship, Hércules, being built for the Argentine Navy.,
That is some Irony there considering that the Argentinians will factor in the loss of the Sheffield , The first of a new class of Royal Navy destroyers, Sheffield spent its first years trialing its new systems and the Sea Dart missile system, particularly as the intended Sea Dart trials ship, HMS Bristol, suffered serious fires and problems with its steam systems restricting its use in the late 1970s. It was not until 1980 that Sheffield became effective, with Sea Dart and partial installation of electronic warfare Abbey Hill systems. The ship was part of the task force sent to the Falkland Islands during the Falklands war. She was struck by an Exocet air-launched anti-ship missile from a Super Etendard aircraft belonging to the Argentine Navy on 4 May 1982 and foundered on 10 May 1982.
Sheffield was first detected by an Argentine Naval Aviation Lockheed SP-2H Neptune (2-P-112) patrol aircraft at 07:50 on 4 May 1982. The Neptune kept the British ships under surveillance, verifying Sheffield's position again at 08:14 and 08:43. Two Argentine Navy Super Étendards, both armed with AM39 Exocets, took off from Río Grande naval air base at 09:45 and met with an Argentine Air Force KC-130H Hercules tanker at 10:00 hours. The two aircraft were 3-A-202, piloted by mission commander Capitán de Fragata (Commander) Augusto Bedacarratz, and 3-A-203, piloted by Teniente (Lieutenant) Armando Mayora.
At 10:35, the Neptune climbed to 1,170 metres (3,840 ft) and detected a large and two medium-sized contacts at the coordinates . A few minutes later, the Neptune contacted the Super Étendards with this information. Flying at very low altitude at approximately 10:50, both Super Étendards climbed to 160 metres (520 ft) to verify these contacts, but failed to locate them and returned to low altitude. 25 miles (40 km) later they climbed again and, after a few seconds of scanning, the targets appeared on their radar screens.
Type 1022 set was available); the operations officer informed the missile director, who queried the contacts in the ADAWS 4 fire control system. Critically, the Sheffield did not have an ECM jammer fitted and lacked other critical ECM equipment, and failed to go to action stations or a heightened state of readiness, or to do anything to prepare weapons or the decoy system. The launch aircraft had not been detected as the British had expected, and it was not until smoke was sighted that the target was confirmed as sea skimming missiles. Five seconds later, an Exocet hit Sheffield amidships, approximately 8 feet (2.4 m) above the waterline on deck 2, tearing a gash in the hull.The other missile splashed into the sea a half mile off her port beam.
The flagship, HMS Hermes, dispatched the escorts Arrow and Yarmouth to investigate, and a helicopter was launched. Confusion reigned until Sheffield's Lynx helicopter unexpectedly landed aboard Hermes carrying the air operations officer and operations officer, confirming the strike.
Such was the lack of warning that there was no time to engage in defensive manoeuvres, leading to a change in British policy whereby any Royal Navy vessel that suspected it might be under missile attack would turn toward the threat, accelerate to maximum speed and fire chaff to prevent a ship being caught defenseless again. The codeword used to start this procedure was 'handbrake', which had to be broadcast once the signal of the Agave radar of the Super Étendard was picked up.
Ministry of Defence (MOD) Board of Inquiry on the sinking of the Sheffield concluded that, based upon available evidence, the warhead did not detonate. However, some of the crew and members of the task force believed that the missile's 165 kilograms (364 lb) warhead had detonated. This was supported by a MOD re-assessment of the loss of Sheffield, which reported in summer 2015. In a paper delivered to the RINA Warship Conference in Bath in June 2015, it was concluded that the Exocet warhead did indeed detonate inside Sheffield, with the results supported by analysis using modern damage analysis tools not available in 1982 and evidence from weapon hits and trials conducted since the end of the Falklands campaign.
- Failure to respond to HMS Glasgow's detection and communication of two approaching Super Etendards by immediately going to action stations and launching chaff decoys;
- Lack of ECM jamming capability;
- Lack of a point defense system;
- Inadequate operator training, in particular simulated realistic low-level target acquisition.
As Sheffield's crew were waiting to be rescued, Sub-lieutenant Carrington-Wood led the crew in singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
Over the six days from 4 May 1982, five inspections were made to see if any equipment was worth salvaging. Orders were issued to shore up the hole in Sheffield's starboard side and tow the ship to South Georgia. Before these orders were effected, however, the burnt-out hulk had already been taken in tow by the Rothesay-class frigate Yarmouth. The high seas that the ship was towed through caused slow flooding through the hole in the ship's side, which eventually sank her. The ship sank at on 10 May 1982, the first Royal Navy vessel sunk in action since World War II. Twenty of her crew (mainly on duty in the galley area and in the computer room) died as a result of the attack. The wreck is a war grave and designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.
The sinking of Sheffield is sometimes blamed on a superstructure made wholly or partially from aluminium, the melting point and ignition temperature of which are significantly lower than those of steel. However, this is incorrect as Sheffield's superstructure was made entirely of steel. The confusion is related to the US and British Navies abandoning aluminum after several fires in the 1970s involving ships that had aluminum superstructures. The sinking of the Type 21 frigates Antelope and Ardent, both of which had aluminum superstructures, probably also had an effect on this belief, though these cases are again incorrect and the presence of aluminum had nothing to do with their loss.
The fires on Sheffield and other ships damaged by fire caused a later shift by the Royal Navy from the nylon and synthetic fabrics then worn by British sailors. The synthetics had a tendency to melt on to the skin, causing more severe burns than if the crew had been wearing non-synthetic clothing.
The official report into the sinking of Sheffield, disclosed in 2006 under UK Freedom of Information laws after an extensive campaign by ex-RN personnel, severely criticized the ship's fire-fighting equipment, training and procedures and certain members of the crew.