One thing I remember from the documents I got for briefing was an Argentinean magazine showing the HMS Invincible seemingly burning out of control. [ I may still have the documents in my files – should try and look them up]. However, the photo on the cover looks very much like the photo shown here as “proof” of the sinking of HMS Invincible.
I also remember that there were several British rebuffs to this article and correspondence from the Press who were on Invincible at the time. It was widely reported as yet another wild Argentinean claim – all part of the propaganda war that was going on at the time.
Now in fairness, this was definitely a two-way-street. The Argies went along with the deception of the Poms over the bombing of Stanley airfield and showed their photos to “prove” substantial damage to the airfield – which British recon flight confirms. In fact, the Vulcan bombers id not significant damage to the runway at all and the Argies simply brushed off the dirt at night, flew the airlift sorties and then returned the dirt ready for the next morning. The Poms never caught on to this.
Likewise, the Argies did not fuse their bombs correctly and the very brave attacks by the A4 pilots, bombing from deck-height, did score several good hits. They were reported as hits and touted in the Argie press. The problem was, the bombs were blinds. Like the hit on HMS Antelope – she was towed into San Carlos and evacuated while a Royal Engineer bomb disposal team went on board to defuse the bomb. Unfortunately – the Brits are now minus on bomb disposal team. All the time, Britain was able to effectively counter Argie claims that the ship had been hit or sunk, simply by taking the press to the ship and showing them it happily sailing along. However, for the Poms, the disaster came when a member of the Press corps revealed “why” the bombs were not exploding and then after, the Argies changed the settings on the bombs and the effects were felt with Sir Galahad.
So you see, the war was as much about a military confrontation as it was a propaganda war – one in which fairly the Poms won – simply because the Argies too often over-stated the case and we caught out. Many of what they reported as hits, were definitely hits – but little more than holes in the hull – not the devastating effect that they predicted of a bomb strike.
The invincible may well have been a similar story and in an effort to “show” that she was hit, the photo was “doctored” – by whom…? The Poms may have wanted the Argies to think that the Invincible was gone, the Argies wanted to believe it was gone.
Twenty years later, we still squabble over the effects of propaganda.