Swap UK with France during the Falklands War.

helmutkohl

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France had a colony in the Falklands in 1764, and referred the islands as Iles Malouines, from which the Spanish name Malvinas later derived from.
Eventually France left the islands due to pressure from Spain.

So in this scenario lets assume the following:
1. The islands remained French this whole time rather than British. This alternate colony is roughly the same size as what the British had there in reality at that time
2. Aside from that, the rest of history remained the same. Argentina split from Spain. WW1 and 2 happened
3. Rather than acquiring French aircraft such as Mirages and Super Entendards.. the Argentines bought British instead (also works with their carrier!). However the war still happens in 1982. Like how the French worked with the British, the British work with the French in this scenario.

so some questions are
1. What would the French response be? what would they send to reclaim the Falklands?
2. What kind of equipment would Argentina buy from the UK prior to the war before the UK stops in respect to France? Buccaneers instead of Super Entendards? Harriers? Lightning?
3. Would the outcome be different?
 

Archibald

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Let the fun begin !

Politics: Mitterrand is at the other end of the political spectrum from Thatcher, but no love either for the barbaric junta. Note that they killed some French nuns in the late 1970's, the case is still hanging.

Weapons: no Nott on the French side, the Navy is relatively fine at the time.

Foch and Clemenceau, MASURCA and Tartar air defense ships (three and six, respectively) TCD Orage and Sirocco, ASW frigates.
No Rubis SSN, too early (1983 IOC, was in trials)
Crusader and Super Etendard (the irony) Etendard IV for reconnaissance. No AEW whatsoever - maybe a problem.

As with the British, the Armée de l'Air is out. If Buccaneers can't make it even with tankers support, neither can Mirage IVA. Even from Africa (the southern tip of Congo is 8000 km from the Malouines - wrong side of the ocean !)

Our Ascension island is French Guiana (no closer, unfortunately: distance is nearly exactly the same !), so C-135FR, Transalls, DC-8s and Air France charters there, en masse.
 
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Archibald

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Not sure the outcome would be much different. If the British pulled it with a weakened Navy (Nott plus Ark Royal gone) the French should be safe.
Although the fewer air defense ships and the similar lack of AEW are disturbing.

This would impact head-on the CdG program. Giscard went forward with PA.75 in September 1980; but it took until February 1986 for the construction to start.

Considering the distances involved, you can bet nuclear propulsion would end even stronger than OTL.

Maybe the second CdG would not agonize as it did for twenty years (1988 - 2008)

The AEW issue would be very interesting. It took a helluva long time before the Armée de l'Air bought AWACS (late 1980's) and even longer for Hawkeyes (2000).
I can see the issue jumping to the forefront, for the navy at least. The one and only solution would be E-1B Tracers: just retired from USN in the late 1970's.

By a lucky coincidence, the Sécurité Civile bought fire fighting Trackers at the same moment.
Later they got turboprops: Turbotrackers.
So how about E-1C Turbotracers ?
 

zen

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Assuming Argentinian aircraft are from the UK....
Fighters would be either Lightnings or old Javelins....or Sea Vixens.
Strike and Attack is either Buccaneers or Jaguars....and Hunters.

Naval aviation might have Gannets but to fly from a Majestic Class Carrier is either going to remain Sea Hawks like India or US sourced Skyhawks.

Flipside is instead of Type 42s they'd have French AAW Destroyers......presumably with Tartar?
If we assume a French sourced CV then either Arromanches or another Clemenceau?

If the latter, then Sea Vixens, Buccaneers and Scimitars are possible.
A limited number of Buccaneers foes put the MN in more serious jeopardy than facing Etendards but the flipside is Sea Eagle has yet to get IOC.
 

Archibald

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Unlike the two Independence-class Lafayette and Bois Belleau which were gone by 1964, because Clemenceaus - Arromanches life was stretched until 1974 because it became the French Navy "Swiss knife" for all kind of missions:
ASW, training with Fouga Zephyr and Alizés (yes, these two could land onboard) helicopter carrier (larger than Jeanne d'Arc), commando carrier, "crisis hospital ship".

This meant that Arromanches was probably worn out by 1974, plus nobody wanted Colossus by this point. Well Argentina had had its share of them already: ARA 25 de Mayo and another one, earlier (Independencia, from memory: gone by 1971).
IF they get Arromanches in 1975 it can only be for De Mayo spares, but what's the point ?

I don't think Argentina could afford any carrier larger and more expensive than second-hand Colossus / Magestic, even in the early 1960's.

Which in turns severely limits ARA naval aviation to OTL Skyhawks... and S.E, the irony.
 

Archibald

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OTL Mirages were already at the end of their rope reaching the Falklands; Lightnings are probably worse, except perhaps late series F6 with belly tank and drop tanks everywhere.

Tartar, yes. Six ships.


Air defense is also three MASURCA ships: two Suffrens plus the retroffited Colbert 12000 tons cruiser.



So total nine air defense ships plus two dozen of Crusaders (left of the initial batch of 42 procured in 1964).

How many Sea Dart / Sea Slug / Sea Wolf ships had the British in the Falklands OTL ?

....

Bulk of the non-AAA escorts would be as per below: T-47, T-53, Aconit, Tourville, and some early Georges Leygues.





 
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Archibald

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- Two carriers plus one helicopter carrier (Jeanne d'Arc) plus the Colbert "hybrid cruiser"
- The amphibs


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouragan-class_landing_platform_dock
- submarines
Arethuses would be too old and Rubis too young, so Daphnés and Agostas it would be...



Rubis was in trials, probably no way it can be dispatched to the south... and Redoutable boomers had other jobs to do.

 
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RLBH

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Assuming Argentinian aircraft are from the UK....
I'm not sure why they would be: the only French combat aircraft in the Argentine air forces in 1982 were 16 Mirage IIIEA and 4 Super Etendard.

The Mirages were exported to Argentina in the early 1970s, around the same time that Argentina was also purchasing Canberras from the UK. Politically, I doubt there'd be any issue with buying Mirages in this timeline. The Neshers were bought from Israel, and I expect that pipeline would be totally unaffected.

The Super Etendards were purchased to fly off the VIENTECINCO DE MAYO, due largely to non-availability of spares for their Skyhawks. This one is a bit more open to question; presumably the Dirty War and associated US arms embargo still happen. The VIENTECINCO DE MAYO wouldn't be able to operate Buccaneers, so the choice would be Super Etendards, Harriers, or trying to get by with the Skyhawks. I suspect that Super Etendard and Exocet would still be the Argentine preference unless France blocked the sale. Without an anti-ship missile, the Harrier is just a Skyhawk with shorter range; I doubt if the Argentine Navy would be willing or able to forward-base them.

The absence of French nuclear submarines is more interesting, IMHO. That gives the Argentine navy a much freer hand.
 

RLBH

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The thing is, at the times that Argentina was looking for aircraft and bought French, the UK didn't have anything that fits their needs. The British aircraft didn't work with their aircraft carrier, and the UK didn't have an interceptor fighter available when Argentina bought the Mirage III. The difference is essentially zero, except that Argentina might have four Harriers armed with bombs and rockets instead of four Super Etendards armed with Exocets.

Something similar applies on the naval front, though not as extreme because warships are pretty much bespoke anyway. The only French-designed ships in the Argentinian Navy were three DRUMMOND class corvettes, which are the kind of ship that any competent warship yard could have built. Vospers could have knocked one out no bother, and they'd be virtually identical in functional terms. They'd probably even still carry Exocet - the German-built ALMIRANTE BROWN class did, and the Royal Navy bought Exocet rather than develop an indigenous missile.
 

Archibald

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One thing is sure: France would look quite dumb facing its own Mirages and Super Etendards... :p
And Exocet, damn it. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot.
Considering the fact that the British Task force faced Argentina Type 42 destroyers and Canberra bombers - such things happen.. but Dassault, really - stop selling aircraft to our ennemies, thank you (Gulf War 1 Iraqis F1s, cough !)
...
Also OTL France cut spares and missiles to Argentina to help the British; you can bet they would do the same ITTL to help... their own selves :rolleyes: (ROTFL, this absurdity underlines how absurd the Falkland war was in the first place).
...
Hmmm, Colbert vs Belgrano gun battle...
 

Michel Van

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Two things the Argentinas military will learn to fear:
extrem low flying French Combat aircraft
and the French Legion of Honour
 

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Tartar, yes. Six ships. Also three MASURCA ships: two Suffrens plus the retroffited Colbert 12000 tons cruiser.
So total nine air defense ships plus two dozen of Crusaders (left of the initial batch of 42 procured in 1964).

How many Sea Dart / Sea Slug / Sea Wolf ships had the British in the Falklands OTL ?

The Royal Navy deployed 6 Sea Dart destroyers (1 T82 + 5 T42), 3 Sea Wolf frigates (2 T22 + 1 Leander) and 2 Sea Slug shooters.

In addition to the 9 AAW destroyers available, the French had 6 ASW frigates with Crotale (3 F67 + F70). These would have been very useful against low level attacks.
 
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H_K

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The AEW issue would be very interesting. The one and only solution would be E-1B Tracers: just retired from USN in the late 1970's.
The French had AEW capability already, just not a lot of public info available. The brand new Iguane radar on modernized Alizés had a detection range of 50nm against sea skimming targets (officially… maybe more). The first modernized Alizés ALMs were delivered in mid-1981 and by Jan 1982 one squadron (6F) had been fully equipped with ~8 Alizés ALMs.

So a pair of Alizés on patrol should provide a decent detection bubble ahead of the fleet along the approach path of Argentine attack aircraft.
 

Archibald

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Thanks @H_K
The Crotales I forgot them. Did the Clems had them at the time for self defense ?
And the Alizes for AEW - wow. A limited capability probably but still better than nothing. I checked some forums about it, seemed the AEW capability was related to doppler able to find tiny submarine periscopes in the clutter; and a sea-skimming Skyhawk or S.E is a bit larger than a periscope.

Didnd't Nimrod Mk.2 had something similar in the Falklands ?
 
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CV12Hornet

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Don't the French have four Tartar ships, not six? So the French have seven AAW vessels, not nine.

I wouldn't expect French Masurca and Standard to do much better against low-level attacks than Sea Dart - the Standards the French have are at best RIM-66Bs, with an analogue conical seeker. RIM-66E and its monopulse seeker are still a year away.
 

Archibald

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Oh damn you are right - about the Tartar ships. 4, not 6.

D'ooooh !

Breguet Atlantique 2 should have the range to make the French Guiana - Falkland - FG trip and back.
Plus the Alizés on the carriers.

I wouldn't expect French Masurca and Standard to do much better against low-level attacks than Sea Dart - the Standards the French have are at best RIM-66Bs, with an analogue conical seeker. RIM-66E and its monopulse seeker are still a year away.

Crotales should be able to fill the gap...

The big problem for the French is the lack of nuclear subs. Without them the Argentinian Navy is back in play and has the potential to cause serious damage.

I found this - MN Rubis as it stood in the spring 1982.

 
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TsrJoe

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Vulcan for Argentina ? ... Air Enthusiast, No.66, Nov-Dec 1996
'Conversations had recently been held (1981) with the British Government with a view to purchasing 12 redundant former RAF Avro Vulcans to provide the Argentine Air Force (FAA) with a heavy and long-range bombing capability'

 

Archibald

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The last link is the newspaper Le Monde, date June 18, 1982. Interesting date, it also says that "trials were done, but it still lacked a shakedown cruise" (TLD : traversée longue durée) to be done in the fall - it entered service in February 1983.
Also the crew was exhausted, they had spent the year 1981 ironing out the sub last flaws.

I wonder if the submarine could cut short it trials and make its TLD, to the Falklands ? In a case of absolute emergency ?

I think the French Navy would not miss such a golden opportunity to try and test its first SSN against very real ennemy warships (the RN certainly went full bore there - Belgrano of course - but 25 de Mayo also very nearly became toast).
 
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Archibald

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Vulcan for Argentina ? ... Air Enthusiast, No.66, Nov-Dec 1996
'Conversations had recently been held (1981) with the British Government with a view to purchasing 12 redundant former RAF Avro Vulcans to provide the Argentine Air Force (FAA) with a heavy and long-range bombing capability'


I think even a MASURCA could score a hit against a Vulcan... then again, the deal went nowhere OTL.
But you can bet Crusader pilots would sell their mother for a kill against a Vulcan.
The closest analogy I can think off OTL is 1987 when a Hawk battery disintegrated one of Gaddhaffi Tu-22 Blinder trying to attack N'Djamena airfield.
In the charred cockpit they found a (very dead) East German mercenary pilot...
 

CV12Hornet

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Crotales should be able to fill the gap...
Like the British Sea Dart vessels, Crotale is not on the French AAW vessels and like Sea Wolf isn't universal among the ASW ships - the converted Surcoufs don't have it and neither does Aconit or the corvettes.
 

Hood

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My English edition of Flottes de Combat 1980/81 offers the following line up/info:

Submarines might be a real problem for the French if they wanted to deploy any. The snorting range of the Agosta is given as 8,500nm at 9kts, about half of the Oberon's range (15,500nm/8kt). The Daphnes at 4,500nm would be useless.

Surface Ships
Not every single ship could be sent with some in refit and others on other deployments but this is what theoretically the French could select from.

Clemenceau and Foch - both newly refitted and both with Senit 2 (taken from other ships), reliant on 100mm guns, air group of 16x Etendard IVP, 10 F-8E, 7 Alize & 2x Alouette (though doubtless more would be crammed aboard),
Jeanne de Arc - Exocet & guns, may well have still be in her planned 1982-83 refit and unavailable which would be a huge blow for both troop lift and helicopter provision without cluttering C&F
Colbert - CG, Mascura & Exocet & 100-57mm guns plus has some armour
2x Suffren - Mascura & Exocet & Malafon plus they have the DRBI-23 radar
Probably 1-2x Georges Leygues available - brand new, Exocet & Crotale plus Malafon and 2x Lynx each (note French Lynx is ASW only)
3x Tourville available - Exocet & Crotale (think all had it by 1982) plus Malafon and 2x Lynx each
Anconit - Malafon and guns
La Galissionneire - guns & 1x Alouette helicopter
Duperre - Exocet, guns, 1x Alouette
5x D'Estrees - Malafon & guns, no Senit, D'Estrees had a SCOT terminal though as experimental fit so might be able to make use of UK intel
4x Kersaint - Tartar SAMs & guns, some probably had DRBV-22 radar by 1982
Forbin - now a training ship but its a destroyer with another helicopter platform and guns and could be sent
8x Commandant Rivierre & Balny - most have Exocet but most lack the 30mm guns and have Bofors still
2-3x E-52 class - guns
D'Estienne D'Orves class - could be sent as additional escorts, can carry 17 (probably more) troops

Amphibious Warfare
Ouragan and Orage - LSDs, 350-470 troops, 2x EDIC or 18x LCM(6) each
5x Argens - LSTs, 1,800 tons or 170-807 troops, 2x ships have hangars for 2x Alouette each
2x Champlain - LSMs, 138 men & 12 vehicles each
Only 12 EDIC exist and 16x LCM (8) plus 11 LCM(3)

Support Fleet
Jules Verne - repair ship
5x Rhin - tenders
2x Durance - replenishment tankers
Isere - replenishment tanker
La Seine - replenishment tanker (think still operational in 1982)
La Charente - tanker plus fitted as a command ship
2x Punaruu - tankers
Saintonge - provisions ship

Plus other ships that could be press ganged into the task force
Henri Poincare - missile-range tracking ship, could be used as command platform at a push
Ile D'Oleron - Crotale and Exocet test ship
Berry - EW equipment trials ship
Triton - underwater research ship, could be used as a tender
Aunis - towed-sonar test ship, former transport so could be used as a transport
D'Entrecasteaux - research ship, could be used as troop ship, can carry 3x landing craft and has a helicopter platform

It's clear that any French task force would be smaller than the British task force (which was 43x RN, 22x RFA, 62x merchant) and so would rely on merchants for additional transport tonnage. The replenishment fleet looks pretty thin given some of the French ships have short range plus there is no backup from Ascencion.
The amphibious fleet isn't too shabby and broadly comparable with the RN's but would need assistance from commercial ships for lift, especially heavy lift.

The combat fleet is patchy - a lot of 1950s retreads and some newer destroyers - only 7 SAM ships plus 5 destroyers with Crotale - ironically the French have exactly the reverse of the RN, a lot of ships armed with SSMs and ASW missiles but few AA platforms. Ship-borne helicopters probably limited to 10 Lynx and a couple of Alouettes on the destroyers ignoring any transport types on Ouragan and Orage and if Jeanne d'Arc is in refit its a serious loss.

It's a big gamble, could the French do the same with up to 1/3 less ships? Fewer modern SAM ships and perhaps limited submarine escort (snorting all the way from Lorient they might be too late to do any good) but on the upside have two fleet carriers with decent airwings.

As to CIWS - well like the RN it's mostly 40mm Bofors and a lot of 100mm mounts which might prove quite handy. Nothing like Sea Wolf but Crotale is effective too. What is French EW like? presumably they know best how to jam Exocet.
Does the French admiral use his superior number of Exocets in a surface action supported by carrier air?
The Belgrano southern wing won't be sunk by an SSN so its possible it might come to reliance on missile power. I think freed of any SSN threat the De Mayo will be out and a danger once the fog clears and the wind picks up enough to launch her aircraft.

Interestingly Flottes de Combat 1980/81 claims for De Mayo "The British Sea Harrier V/STOL attack aircraft is to be acquired to augment the A-4Qs carried"....
 

Desertfox

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Interestingly this scenario actually leads to a true naval battle with the possibility of a carrier vs carrier and cruise missile exchange with even a gun battle as an option if Belgrano gets in range, and Belgrano might even be able to do so, having actual armor that could survive Exocet strikes (seeing how Exocet had an issue with detonating).
 

CV12Hornet

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Clemenceau and Foch - both newly refitted and both with Senit 2 (taken from other ships), reliant on 100mm guns, air group of 16x Etendard IVP, 10 F-8E, 7 Alize & 2x Alouette (though doubtless more would be crammed aboard),
I'm actually not sure more can be crammed aboard. Not because of any capacity limitations, but because according to Navypedia the French Navy only had 17 Crusaders, 24 Etendard IVMs, and 20 Super Etendards in total as of 1980. If both carriers are sent the French don't have enough Crusaders to outfit both of them and expanding the Etendard wings is going to be problematic.

Though admittedly that might be understating how many aircraft the French have. If anyone has different numbers I'd love to see them.

Probably 1-2x Georges Leygues available - brand new, Exocet & Crotale plus Malafon and 2x Lynx each (note French Lynx is ASW only)
George Leygues and Dupleix are available, with Montcalm completing at the end of May 1982.
 

H_K

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The combat fleet is patchy - a lot of 1950s retreads and some newer destroyers - only 7 SAM ships plus 5 destroyers with Crotale - ironically the French have exactly the reverse of the RN, a lot of ships armed with SSMs and ASW missiles but few AA platforms

Seems much more even to me:

Royal Navy
8 Sea Dart destroyers (1 T82, 7 T42)
4 Sea Wolf ASW frigates (3 T22, 1 Leander)

Marine Nationale
7 AAW destroyers (3 Masurca, 4 improved Tartar)
6 Crotale ASW frigates (3 F67, 3 F70)

Not counting the 2 Sea Slug cruisers and Sea Cat frigates as those are no better than the canon-armed French escorts. Including the 3rd F70 Montcalm as it was doing its “TLD” (long distance deployment) prior to commissioning and was in the mid-Atlantic with stops in Senegal + Caribbean.
 

Archibald

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there is no backup from Ascencion.

French Guiana is the exact same distance - flying distance at least, except it means overflying the South America cone - luckily enough, only grazing Argentina.

Distance: 3,956.41 mi (6,367.23 km)

Distance: 3,957.95 mi (6,369.70 km)
 

Archibald

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One of the Crusader squadron shifted to attack with S.E in 1978.



Complete web page on the French Crusaders


13 out of 42 had already been destroyed before 1982 - no surprise one squadron was shifted to Super Etendard.

That leaves 29 Crusaders, on paper at least.

One thing about Foch and Clemenceau: just like the British Invincibles, there was clearly not enough aircraft for both; usually they were rotated and the other was either in maintenance or used as a giant helicopter carrier.

I would say Foch would cram as much operational squadrons as possible to get the best possible, BALANCED air group - and Clemenceau would get helicopters and what could be scrounged off - spare Etendard IVs, spare Crusaders and Alizés (or "fresh" Super Etendards, I should check when the squadrons converted OTL)

Lack of pilots might be a major issue, TBH.
 

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H_K

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according to Navypedia the French Navy only had 17 Crusaders, 24 Etendard IVMs, and 20 Super Etendards in total as of 1980. If both carriers are sent the French don't have enough Crusaders to outfit both of them and expanding the Etendard wings is going to be problematic.
Navypedia’s numbers are wrong. The Aéronavale in early 1982 had 29 Crusaders, 57 brand new Super Etendards, and 15 Etendard IVPs for recon/buddy tanking. Not all operational though… the 4 front line squadrons would have had ~15 Crusaders, ~40 Super Etendards at their disposal.

The absolute maximum air group would have been:
12 Crusader
14 Super Etendard
4 Etendard IVP
6 Alizé
… or if needed trade more Super Etendard for fewer Crusader.

There were also 25 Etendard IVMs but relegated to lead-in fighter training duties (with only 10 in use and the rest in storage… hence my “what if” in the other Falklands thread if Argentina had bought a squadron of surplus IVMs).
 
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uk 75

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An enjoyable device to game the French Vs Argentina lineups in Spring 1982.
Wouldn't have happened though as France would have ensured the Malouines had a decent airport and a detachment of Mirages plus the Legion doing training there full time. It would also have had an armed Ice ship and at least one A69. Oh and Jean Reno and the Action Service would have eliminated Galtieri for trying.
 

Archibald

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French Aéronavale squadrons

It would be something akin to
11F Super Etendard (1978)
12F Crusader (until 1999, cough)
14F Super Etendard (1980, from Crusaders)
16F Etendard IV (reconnaissance, until 1995, cough)
17F Super Etendard (1980)

No idea how much Crusader airframes were available after 14F switched to S.E.

With 13 lost out of 42, on paper at least 29 could be available.

Also if needed, a crapload of Etendard IVM having just been retired.

The way things worked back then, the retired aircraft would be stored at France very own Davis Monthan Boneyard: Chateaudun air base in central France.

Main problems would be
- pilots
- hangar space onboard Foch and Clemenceau.
- more pilots

Navypedia’s numbers are wrong. The Aéronavale in early 1982 had 29 Crusaders, 57 brand new Super Etendards, and 15 Etendard IVPs for recon/buddy tanking. Not all operational though… front line squadrons would have had ~15 Crusaders, ~40 Super Etendards at their disposal.

The absolute maximum air group would have been:
12 Crusader
14 Super Etendard
4 Etendard IVP
6 Alizé
… or if needed more Super Etendard and fewer Crusader.

There were also 25 Etendard IVMs but relegated to lead-in fighter training duties (with only 10 in use and the rest in storage… hence my “what if” in the other Falklands thread if Argentina had bought a squadron of surplus IVMs).

71 Super Etendard had been bought but again, no idea what was numbers in squadrons.

The usual business I presume: three squadrons strength + spares + planned attrition.

Quick search on the web shows that the basic strength of a French Aéronavale squadron is 12 aircraft. Three squadrons of Super Etendards would be 36 aircraft - yet 71 were bought - twice as much !

I am at lost there... !
 
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uk 75

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Would France have had an equivalent of the AIM9L Sidewinder for its Crusaders and Etendards? 2 Matra 530 was the original Crusader fit. Had it got M550 Magic by 1982?
I think for reasons given above Argentina's air force would still have been Mirage based, with Israeli variants. Lightning was too short ranged and specialised. If the US had supplied instead, not much to offer. F5 or F104?
Not sure that Argentina would have bought land based Bucs. If they had it might have the S50 South African version with AS30 missiles.
A French task force would not have been able to keep the Argentine fleet in port. The RN needed three SSN to do that. Rubis on its own might have managed to sink Belgrano or DeMayo though. Not sure about conventional subs
 

zen

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So in terms of basic resupply, and intelligence. UK can assist. This might even include UK stocks of Exocet and production slots.

There where a number of ex-Phantom FAA crew still around..........for advice obviously ;)

US might have some F8 in reasonable enough shape for conversion. But likely they are only going to be available after the war as replenishment.
 

Archibald

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I checked: 1982 has Magic 1 on both sides: France AND Argentina.

Magic 2 not before 1986.

Crusaders also have Magic 1, and also the clunky old R-530 - the Super 530F / D were Mirage F1 / 2000 only.
Would the consequences of this see the second CdG class carrier?
Hopefully ! :p

I'm still rooting for second hands E-1B Tracer - if the Alizés even with their Iguane radar fail to prevent Skyhawks and Daggers and S.E to bomb the shit of the French Task Force...

I think that, per lack of a better solution, whatever Crusader airframe that could be scavenged (29 ?) would be rushed back into service.

12 Crouzes is not enough to protect the fleet. How many SHARs OTL ?
 
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