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The Falklands War diary, 25 years later.

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  • #31
    An Ungentlemanly Act was on RTE last night.

    Recounts the events of April 1 & 2 1982 in the Falklands.


    • #32
      Shite. Missed that. Good tvm.

      Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


      • #33
        Taped it and just finished watching it. Interesting enough. Didn't portray the Falkland Island Defence Force in a good light.


        • #34
          Didn't think the Falkland Island Defence Force existed then. Thought it was a unit of Royal Marines in Stanley when the Argies invaded.
          The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity.
          (George Bernard Shaw, Playwright, 1856 - 1950)


          • #35
            The FIDF consisted of about 80 persons, of whom 23 actually showed up when asked to.

            Driver, tracks, troops.... Drive and adjust!!


            • #36
              The FIDF at the time would not have been as well trained as the FIDF of today. They were more like a few locals who knew how to march and shoot. Many however did assist greatly in the logistics of the operation later on.

              Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


              • #37
                The war begins...

                In the early hours of the morning, this day 25 years ago, a single RAF Vulcan bombed the airfield at Port Stanley. (Remember the Vulcan in Thunderball, the best of the James Bond films?) The flight to and from Ascension Island lasted sixteen hours and required a total of seventeen air-to-air refuelling operations from RAF Victor tankers. The Vulcan came in at 300 feet to avoid radar detection and then climbed rapidly to release twenty-one 1,000lb bombs from 10,000 feet while the aircraft was still two miles out from the coast. Only one hit the runway. (The RAF had been desperate to get in on the action in the Falklands, which was primarily a Royal Navy/Royal Marines affair. Their argument for using the obsolete Vulcan in this way was the deny the possible use of the airfield to Argentine fighters.)

                Later that morning, while HMS Invincible’s Sea Harriers provided combat air patrols (CAPs) over the task force, the twelve Harriers from HMS Hermes launched at first light from 70 miles out. Three attacked Goose Green, later the scene of 2 Para’s epic battle; four were tasked to hit Stanley’s radar and AA defences, while the remaining five headed for the airfield. The defences had been woken by the Vulcan attack earlier, so the Harriers were met with plenty of fire from the ground. One aircraft was hit, but all made it back to the carrier. (I remember the BBC TV News reporter on Hermes making the famous comment: “I'm not allowed to tell you how many aircraft were involved, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back again.”)

                Three ships were also detached from the task force to close the Falklands to shell Argentine positions around Stanley. It was 1.25 p.m. when the first counter-attack of the day appeared, four Mirages closing fast from the west. They came in so fast that the ships main armament did not have time to engage. HMS Arrow was hit by cannon fire and one seaman was injured; HMS Glamorgan had two 1,000lb bombs explode just off her stern, causing a small amount of damage underwater. Sea Harriers from the CAP shot down two of the Mirages and another was brought down by ground fire from their own forces on the island. Two Argentine Canberras were then detected at high level; one was shot down by a Harrier, prompting the other to turn back.


                • #38
                  first boots on the ground...

                  British troops returned to the Falkland Islands on this day, the 1st of May, 25 years ago, although at the time, no-one knew about it. Brigadier Julian Thompson of the Royal Marines and Commodore Michael Clapp of the Royal Navy – respectively the Land Force and Amphibious Group Commanders – had to have intelligence on Argentine dispositions and strengths to plan the landing. Air photographs were not available so SAS and SBS men would have to carry out a ground reconnaissance and send back the necessary information.

                  The seven four-man SAS patrols were given tasks related to the forthcoming land campaign, while the six SBS teams were tasked with reconnaissance of possible landing sites. The SBS men could not be landed by conventional submarine – a normal procedure – because the Navy had none in the area. There were nuclear submarines, but these were too big and drew too much water to approach the coast. The SAS proposed a HALO parachute insertion but this was rejected as too hazardous. The decision was to insert by helicopter at night.

                  The SAS in the Falklands campaign were commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Michael Rose, later to become well-known as General Sir Michael Rose, UNPROFOR Commander in Bosnia from 1994 to 1995. He had earlier been in charge of the operation to free the hostages of the Iranian Embassy Siege in 1980. He was a controversial figure, and his high-profile command style in Bosnia is sometimes compared unfavourably with that of his successor, General Sir Rupert Smith.


                  • #39
                    Week Five

                    26th April(Mon)
                    Departures from UK:
                    HMS Onyx, HMS Intrepid(saved from disposal), Norland(with 2 Para), RFA Sir Bedivere, RFA Bayleaf, British Avon.
                    Arriving at Ascension: RFA Tidepool(also saved from disposal to Chile, was on delivery voyage when she was "borrowed" back.

                    ARA General Belgrano, Survivor of Pearl Harbour as USS Phoenix, put to sea from Ushuaia on Monday 26th April escorted by two Exocet-armed Sumner Class destroyers, ARA Hipolito Bouchard(Former USS Borie) and ARA Piedra Burno(formerly USS Collett)

                    27th April(Tues)
                    Departures from UK:
                    Trawlers Cordella, Farnella, Junella, Northella, Pict as 11th Mine Countermeasures squadron.

                    28th April(wed)
                    General Belgrano ordered to patrol south of the shallow Burdwood Bank.

                    29th April(Thurs)
                    Departures from UK:
                    HMS Leeds Castle, Cable ship Iris.
                    2 Vulcan B2 bombers arrive in Ascension

                    30th April(fri)
                    TEZ came into force, and on Saturday 1st May, the Royal Navy sailed in to start the softening-up attacks designed to establish air and sea superiority.
                    Leaving Ascension late on Friday with a second Vulcan and eleven Victor tankers, some of which refuelled each other, the first air-raid on Stanley was about to be made. 260000 gallons of fuel would be used in the mission, or 925 tons.The flight out would require 15 fuel transfers between the 13 aircraft on the bomb run of 3750 miles, and 18 transfers in total.

                    Handley Page Victor K1

                    Nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror, Commanded by Commander Wreford-Broen made first contact with General Belgrano at long range,

                    1st May(sat)
                    Departures from UK:
                    HMS Dumbarton Castle, RMAS Goosander
                    Black Buck 1.

                    Avro Vulcan B1
                    21x1,000lb bombs were dropped from 10,000 feet early that morning. Only one hit the runway, but the attack signalled the RAF's ability to strike in the South Atlantic and against mainland targets. The Vulcan returned safely from its nearly 16 hour, 8,000 mile round trip, and one of the Victor captains - Sqdn Ldr Tuxford, was decorated for his part in the operation.

                    Arial Photo of Stanley Airfield after Black Buck 1.
                    The Aircraft Carriers with 20 Sea Harriers between them prepared to go into action. Keeping to the east of the Falklands to reduce the chance of air attack and screened by their anti-submarine Sea King's HMS Invincible flew off Sea Harriers for combat air patrols as HMS Hermes aircraft followed up the Vulcan raid with ground strikes. Soon after 8.00 am, nine of them hit Stanley airfield, destroying installations and stores and damaging a civilian Islander and a wrecking Cessna(Property of Governer Hunt) aircraft with CBUs. The Cluster Bombs were 600lb units with 147 bomblets each . The other three went in at Goose Green, wrecking one Pucara and badly damaging two more. All Harriers returned safely to the carriers.
                    All this time, type 22 HMS Brilliant and Rothesay class HMS Yarmouth with three ASW Sea Kings from HMS Hermes searched all day for the suspected Argentine submarine ARA San Luis, but failed to find her. Also detached were HMS Glamorgan, and type 21's HMS Alacrity and HMS Arrow for the first of many bombardments of the Stanley area. Alacrity's Lynx took off that afternoon to provide naval gunfire spotting, but stumbled on Argentine patrol craft "Islas Malvinas" sheltering near Kidney Island just to the north of Stanley. Going into attack with GPMG, she damaged the vessel, but was hit by the return fire, and HMS Arrow's Lynx later took over the spotting duties. Just before 5.00 pm, as the warships continued their bombardment, they were attacked without warning by three Grupo 6 Daggers, and all received minor damage from cannon fire or near misses.
                    The Grupo 6 attack was part of Argentina's response that Saturday the 1st to what was believed to be a full scale landing. Sorties were launched from the mainland by Skyhawks, Canberras and Daggers, and with some Mirage flying cover, and also by Falklands-based aircraft. Around the time of this strike, four Argentine FAA aircraft were lost towards the north of the Falklands to Sea Harriers and their Sidewinders. HMS Glamorgan vectored two 801NAS aircraft to two Grupo 8 Mirage, one of which exploded over Pebble Island in the first air-to-air kill of the war, and the other, damaged by a missile and approaching Stanley was shot down by Argentine AA. Next, two Sea Harriers of No.800 NAS claimed the Squadron's first victim in combat by downing one of two Grupo 6 Daggers flying escort . Then further to the north, two more No.801 Harriers accounted for one of three Grupo 2 Canberras looking for British ships. The May issue of AFM has an article on this action, from the point of view of the Argentine Pilots.
                    SBS and G Sqdn SAS now went ashore on the Falklands to check out landing sites and to target aircraft, troops and stores for naval bombardment and Harrier strikes. Some of the teams stayed in position, close to the Argentines and in bad weather for many days at a time. Areas of operation on East Falkland were believed to include Bluff Cove, Stanley, Berkeley Sound, Cow Bay, Port Salvador, San Carlos Water, Goose Green and Lafonia, and over on West Falkland, Pebble Island, Port Howard and Fox Bay.
                    The first patrols started flying in Saturday night in "Hermes'" four remaining No.846 Sea King HC.4's, which equipped with PNG(NVG) for night flying, played such an important role over the next six weeks.

                    2nd May(sun)
                    8 Sea Harriers from 809 NAS arrive in Ascension, to Embark aboard Atlantic Conveyer.
                    General Belgrano was torpedoed and sunk by the HMS Conqueror at 4.00 pm by two conventional Mark 8 torpedoes. She was soon abandoned, and went down with heavy casualties and her helicopter . A third torpedo hit ARA Hipolito Bouchard without exploding but possibly caused some damage, and HMS Conqueror was therefore presumably counter-attacked by Piedra Bueno, which later returned with other Argentine ships to search for the cruiser's survivors. Shortly after the sinking, the main units of the Argentine Navy returned to port or stayed in coastal waters for the rest of the war.

                    RFA Tidespring and HMS Antrim departed South Georgia for Ascension carrying the Argentine POW's.
                    two CANA Super Etendards flew from the mainland for an Exocet attack on the Task Force, but turned back with refuelling problems.

                    ARA 25° de Mayo(Vientecinco de Mayo

                    By early Sunday morning (the 2nd), carrier ARA 25° de Mayo(originally HMS Venerable, Built in Birkinhead by Cammel Laird, sold to Dutch Navy and served as Karel Doorman before being sold to Argentina in 1968) to the north was preparing to launch a Skyhawk attack which was aborted because of light winds, and that same day both escorting type 42's were involved in separate incidents. ARA Hercules readied but fails to fire a Sea Dart against an approaching No.801 Sea Harrier, and ARA Santisima Trinidad lost her Lynx in a flying accident . By then, submarine ARA San Luis may have carried out the first of a number of unsuccessful attacks before she returned to port around the end of the month.
                    Last edited by Goldie fish; 1 May 2007, 22:35.

                    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


                    • #40
                      The Vulcan came in at 300 feet to avoid radar detection and then climbed rapidly to release twenty-one 1,000lb bombs from 10,000 feet while the aircraft was still two miles out from the coast
                      Loft bombing technique. Classy. Never knew the Vulcan would be up for it.
                      "The Question is not: how far you will take this? The Question is do you possess the constitution to go as far as is needed?"


                      • #41
                        Hi Zulu
                        It wasn't.Lofting requires the releasing aircraft to bomb as it climbs, so that the bombs prescribe a ballistic arc to the impact point, the release aircraft then either continuing in a loop or a steep turn to run out. The Vulcan bombed from straight and level.


                        • #42
                          Hi Gttc,

                          Sorry, mis-read the posts. Thought the Vulcan came in low and hard before pulling up and releasing on the way to 10,000ft. Remember a friend saying that the loop radius was around 8000ft.

                          Long day.

                          Last edited by ZULU; 2 May 2007, 04:59.
                          "The Question is not: how far you will take this? The Question is do you possess the constitution to go as far as is needed?"


                          • #43
                            loft bombing

                            There was some loft bombing by Harriers later in the campaign.


                            • #44
                              Argentine AML-90s

                              Pictured in the the Falklands in 1982..... Look familiar?


                              • #45
                                HMS Sheffield

                                Following the sinking of the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano on the 2nd of May 1982 - sunk by two torpedoes fired by the British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror, causing the deaths of 323 of her crew in an attack that had been personally approved by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher - two days later on the 4th of May, the British destroyer HMS Sheffield was hit by an Exocet missile fired by an Argentinian Super Etendard. The warhead failed to explode but the missile’s propellant started a fire, which could not be controlled. The ship burned to the waterline and was scuttled a few days later. Twenty sailors were killed in this attack.