The First Carrier Battle Since WWII; That Almost Happened:
On the 1st May 1982, the Argentine carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (pictured top) detected the Royal Navy Task force on route to retake the Falkland Islands. Veinticinco attempted to launch a wave of A-4Q Skyhawk jets to attack the British fleet. However, high winds prevented the Skyhawks which were heavily loaded with fuel and ordnance from taking off.
If the Argentine jets had managed to take off they would have engaged the Harrier’s of the Royal Navy’s Combat Air Patrol launched from two aircraft carriers (HMS Invincible - centre and HMS Hermes - bottom).
This would have been the first battle between aircraft carriers since the Second World War, when the US destroyed the last of Japan’s aircrews during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944. Instead the ARA Veinticinco de Mayo was forced to return to harbour on the 3rd May after the cruiser ARA Belgrano was sunk by a British Submarine, HMS Conqueror.
To this day modern fighter jets launched from opposing carrier groups have not fought a battle at sea.