When the incoming missiles came into view, officers on the bridge were ‘mesmerized’ by the sight
Some 35 years after the events, the MoD report into the loss of the Royal Navy’s Type 42 destroyer HMS Sheffield in the Falklands, following a hit from an Argentine Exocet missile, shows why is was redacted and withheld for the past several decades.
From The Guardian:
Some members of the crew were “bored and a little frustrated by inactivity” and the ship was “not fully prepared” for an attack.
The anti-air warfare officer had left the ship’s operations room and was having a coffee in the wardroom when the Argentinian navy launched the attack, while his assistant had left “to visit the heads” (relieve himself).
The radar on board the ship that could have detected incoming Super Étendard fighter aircraft had been blanked out by a transmission being made to another vessel.
When a nearby ship, HMS Glasgow, did spot the approaching aircraft, the principal warfare officer in the Sheffield’s ops room failed to react, “partly through inexperience, but more importantly from inadequacy”.
The anti-air warfare officer was recalled to the ops room, but did not believe the Sheffield was within range of Argentina’s Super Étendard aircraft that carried the missiles.
When the incoming missiles came into view, officers on the bridge were “mesmerized” by the sight and did not broadcast a warning to the ship’s company.