HMS Cornwall- Rubber Inflatable Boats, RIBs-Lynx mk8 w/missiles
If I was the CO of the Cornwall I would have been sitting an 1/8 mile off the merchant vessel with my 4.5 inch main gun pointed right at him.
And when I saw the Iranian gunboats coming up, I would've manuevered to put the Cornwall between the gunboats and my people in the Zodiacs. I would have gone to battle stations, just so folks could hear the claxons blaring. Both my Lynx mk 8 gunship helo's would have been air borne. I would have told Lt. Chekov to ready photon torpedoes.
I would have swiveled my both Quad Harpoon missile launchers, my 4.5 inch main gun just to make sure the Iranians noticed them, which delivers a message, "My boys got their finger on the trigger pal, you better watch it".
Just to be clear, I have never served. Those who have, might agree with my sense of what the protocals in that environment would be. I'm guessing I got it more right than wrong, in fact more right than the CO of the HMS Cornwall did. I think it goes without saying that if the Cornwall was there, Iran would not have 15 sailors at this juncture.
Why I know the Cornwall was nowhere to be found on that fateful day.
1) Tony Blair said so:
Text of Blair’s remarks on capture of British sailors by Iran:
"...another additional fact: by the time HMS Cornwall knew that our forces had been detained unlawfully by the Iranians, they were in Iranian waters,"
Ah, thats how they got the drop on them, those pesky Klingons had a cloaking device......
Canterbury and Whitstable MP Julian Brazier had a problem:
“If the rules of engagement allow a hostile power to sail into allied waters and kidnap British servicemen and women without a shot being fired, something is going badly wrong."
MP Julian Brazier, the reason the Iranians got off with your people without a shot being fired, is that the HMS Cornwall was not there. The area on the map outlines Iraqi Territorial waters. After the intial news reports, I guessed that the incident took place in the area marked with a solid red line. This area is roughly framed by 2 major outflows of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers enter into the Persian Gulf. Time to take a jaunt over to the Royal Naval briefing on the incident, where the Royal Navy adamantly proclaims the HMS Cornwall was within Iraqi waters.
2) The Royal Navy said so:
MOD briefing shows Royal Navy personnel were in Iraqi waters
"The briefing, at defence headquarters in London, was given by Vice Admiral Charles Style, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff.....who is responsible for providing strategic advice to operational commanders, explained in detail where the Royal Navy personnel were located when they were seized. "On 23 March a boarding team consisting of seven Royal Marines and eight sailors - who were embarked in two of HMS Cornwall's boats - conducted a routine boarding of an Indian flagged Merchant Vessel which was cooperative throughout.
They investigated this vessel after witnessing her unloading cars into two barges secured alongside. Since early March the force has conducted 66 routine boardings. So the one that I'm talking about was entirely routine business, and conducted in a particular area where four other boardings have been completed recently".
"As shown on the chart, the merchant vessel was 7.5 nautical miles south east of the Al Faw Peninsula and clearly in Iraqi territorial waters".
To be truthful, thats not the MOD chart, which is at the Royal Navy link above. I incorporated the nautical mile scale next to the ships location, becuase I didn't believe what the chart was telling me.
The HMS Cornwall was 10 nautical miles from its RIBs,
and in no position to support its 15 sailors.
To us landlubbers, thats nearly 12 miles. The Cornwall did not even have a visual on its sailors. At 32 knots the Cornwall was a good 20 to 25 minutes away, forget about blasting the Iranians to bits, the Cornwall wasn't even in the position to use her hull as a screen, between the Iranian gunboats and the RIBs.
I have been mulling this over in my head for nearly 48 hours. Maybe the rountine of 65 prior boardings lead to sloppy habits. The Cornwall's crew & her CO had gotten lax. Or maybe a Mossad commander (some guy with an eye patch, right?) was on board directing the operation to be sure the sailors were left behind, as bait. All right, joking... But somebody screwed up, Do you think the Captain of the Cornwall will ever make Admiral....
If Iran executes one sailor, I can think of one Royal Navy Captain whose career is toast.