The accelerating debate over the potential place of nonnuclear submarines in the U.S. Navy recently was joined by a pair of unlikely participants: respected British journalist Patrick Robinson and Royal Navy Admiral Sandy Woodward.
Patrick Robinson, author of several books on thoroughbred horses, entered the debate with his just-published novel Nimitz Class (HarperCollins, 1997). His chief advisor on the book was Admiral Sir John (Sandy) Woodward, who was the naval force commander during the 1982 Falklands Conflict. Robinson previously had collaborated with Admiral Woodward on the admiral's outstanding and highly personalized account of the Falklands campaign, One Hundred Days (Naval Institute Press, 1992).
In One Hundred Days, the two relate how, a few weeks before the Falklands Conflict, commanding a force of one missile destroyer, three frigates, and three fleet auxiliaries, the admiral "sank" the U.S. carrier Coral Sea (CV-43) during an exercise in the Arabian Sea. The carrier, of course, had some 70 aircraft on board. Only Woodward's destroyer flagship, the Glamorgan, armed with four Exocets with a range of 20 miles, could hurt the carrier.