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Helicopters and Helicopter Carriers

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Ian Dunn
584085.  Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:29 am Reply with quote

It appears that the French are getting angry with the British again of the issue of Joan of Arc, in that they are worried the British are going to burn her again.

It should be pointed out that this Joan of Arc, or Jeanne-d'Arc in French, is not a person, but a 45-year-old 13,000-ton helicopter carrier and naval training ship. It is due to be decommissioned and chances are that it will be dismantled by a specialist scrapyard, Able UK, on Teesside. This scrap has dismantled other French warships before such as the aircraft carrier the Clemenceau.

However, French newspaper Le Monde has reported that French naval top brass has been bombarded with messages from naval officers demanding that Jeanne should not be "martyrised" or "burned a second time" by "les Anglais".

The man in charge of scrapping warships in France, Vice-admiral Hubert Jouout, said: "The English are Europeans and have the same values as us but, occasionally, just like in sporting contests, a certain kind of [French] national pride manifests itself [against them]."

Source: The Independent

Sadurian Mike
584428.  Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:45 pm Reply with quote

We should sink it. Bombard it in harbour, somewhere in North Africa by preference.

Janet H
584466.  Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:11 pm Reply with quote

Sadurian Mike wrote:
We should sink it. Bombard it in harbour, somewhere in North Africa by preference.

A job awaits you in the Diplomatic Corps, young sir................

584472.  Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:17 pm Reply with quote

I fear he's already served his apprenticeship...

584501.  Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:44 pm Reply with quote

Is Mers-el-Kebir a North African name, strikes me as Arabic?

584539.  Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:18 pm Reply with quote


Mers el Kébir is Frenchified Arabic, as are most of the forms we use for North African place names. It's on the Mediterranean coast of Algeria, about five miles west of the city of Oran.

584542.  Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:24 pm Reply with quote

Thanks for that suze. I did know where it was, it just struck me that it 'sounded' Arabic.

Was looking up things to do with us bombarding the French fleet in WWII Most places said it was in Oran, one place had it as Mers el Kebir near Oran

584547.  Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:28 pm Reply with quote

Of course the original Joan of Arc wasn't burned by the English, but by the Burgundians (post 18029). But they probably don't have a suitable scrapyard in Burgundy, so at least we're spared that controversy.

584613.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:38 am Reply with quote

Perhaps we shouldn't be burning Jeanne d'Arc, as Able Shipbreakers tends to take in ghost ships that are rejected by other countries as too toxic, including 13 US ships with lowlevel radiation and a French ship with a load of asbestos.

585183.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:54 pm Reply with quote

Helicopters, of course, are the things which, if we had more of them, the Taliban would be running up the white flag tomorrow.

I wonder how many helicopters the Taliban have?

Some people will probably think that Leonardo DaVinci invented the helicopter in between writing codes but the idea actually emerged in China around the year 400 BC.

Sadurian Mike
585193.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:05 pm Reply with quote


Russia deployed hundreds of helicopters to Afghanistan but still came off worst. I'm not sure that pure numbers are the key to victory out there.

585200.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:16 pm Reply with quote

They were phenomenally effective until the Charlie Wilson got stingers to them though; then they had to fly a bit higher. Before, they flew at any height they fancied and mowed down any combatants they spotted. Complete battlefield control.

Sadurian Mike
585236.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:59 pm Reply with quote

Not quite. The Mi-24 was their armoured attack helicopter of choice and it was pretty much invulnerable to anything less than a 23mm AAA from the front. The tail, however, was still vulnerable to simple small-arms fire and especially the 14.5mm HMGs used by the Afghans as portable (often truck-mounted) AA.

That was just the attack machines; the transports (Mainly Mi-8s and Mi-10s) were vulnerable to small arms all over, and were often ambushed whilst deploying or collecting troops. Over 300 helicopters were lost through accident and combat in the 11 years that the Soviets were in Afghanistan (the British Army Air Corps is estimated to have around 200 operational helicopters in total at present). Shades of Vietnam, of course, where the US lost many helicopters in similar circumstances.

The Stinger just made it all worse, because it could pluck even the Mi-24s off from any angle, and frequently did so because the Afghans delighted in picking them off. With the forced additional height, the pinpoint accuracy of the helicopter gunship was somewhat negated.

The Taliban, of course, have access to SAMs a-plenty....

585247.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:16 pm Reply with quote

Not me they don't.

585281.  Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:57 pm Reply with quote

If you look at the nature of the warfare in afghanistan, you would realise that tonnes of gunships unleashed on a threat hidden within an unarmed population is useless.

As for the french are concerned... What are they going to do??

I dont know much of the situation, and I dont suspect it will be of any importance either. They shouldnt wouldnt couldnt do anything about it :P


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