Monday, 23 May 2011

*Falklands War 1982*

Falklands War 1982

 The Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas/Guerra del Atlántico Sur), also called the Falklands Conflict/Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom (UK) over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The Falkland Islands consist of two large and many small islands in the South Atlantic Ocean east of Argentina; their name and sovereignty over them have long been disputed.

The Falklands War started on Friday, 2 April 1982, with the Argentine invasion and occupation of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Britain launched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Argentine Air Force, and retake the islands by amphibious assault. The conflict ended with the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982, and the islands remained under British control. The war lasted 74 days. It resulted in the deaths of 257 British and 649 Argentine soldiers, sailors, and airmen, and the deaths of three civilian Falkland Islanders. It is the most recent external conflict to be fought by the UK without any allied states.

Two separate British naval task forces (surface vessels and submarines) and the Argentine fleet were operating in the neighbourhood of the Falklands, and soon came into conflict. The first naval loss was the World War II vintage Argentine light cruiser ARA General Belgrano. The nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror sank the Belgrano on 2 May. Three hundred and twenty-three members of Belgrano's crew died in the incident. Over 700 men were rescued from the open ocean despite cold seas and stormy weather. The losses from Belgrano totalled just over half of the Argentine deaths in the Falklands conflict and the loss of the ARA General Belgrano hardened the stance of the Argentine government.

Regardless of controversies over the sinking, it had a crucial strategic effect: the elimination of the Argentine naval threat. After her loss, the entire Argentine fleet, with the exception of the conventional submarine ARA San Luis, returned to port and did not leave again for the duration of hostilities. The two escorting destroyers and the battle group centred on the aircraft carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo both withdrew from the area, ending the direct threat to the British fleet that their pincer movement had represented.

In a separate incident later that night, British forces engaged an Argentine patrol gunboat, the ARA Alferez Sobral. At the time, the Alferez Sobral was searching for the crew of the Argentine Air Force English Electric Canberra light bomber shot down on 1 May. Two Royal Navy Lynx helicopters fired four Sea Skua missiles against her. Badly damaged and with eight crew dead, the Sobral managed to return to Puerto Deseado two days later, but the Canberra's crew were never found.

United Kingdom – A total of 255 British servicemen and 3 female Falklands Island civilians were killed during the Falklands War.

  • Royal Navy – 86 + 2 Hong Kong laundrymen (see below)
  • Royal Marines – 27 (2 officers, 14 NCOs and 11 marines)
  • Royal Fleet Auxiliary – 4 + 4 Hong Kong laundrymen
  • Merchant Navy – 6 + 2 Hong Kong sailors
  • British Army – 123 (7 officers, 40 NCOs and 76 privates)
  • Royal Air Force – 1 (1 officer)
  • Falklands Islands civilians – 3 women killed by friendly fire
Of the 86 Royal Navy personnel, 22 were lost in HMS Ardent , 19 + 1 lost in HMS Sheffield , 19 + 1 lost in HMS Coventry and 13 lost in HMS Glamorgan. Fourteen naval cooks were among the dead, the largest number from any one branch in the Royal Navy.
Thirty-three of the British Army's dead came from the Welsh Guards, 21 from the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, 18 from the 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment , 19 from the Special Air Service (SAS), 3 from Royal Signals and 8 from each of the Scots Guards and Royal Engineers Only one dead was from the 1st battalion/7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles.
Two more British deaths may be attributed to Operation Corporate, bringing the total to 260:

  • Captain Brian Biddick from HMHS Uganda underwent an emergency operation on the voyage to the Falklands, was repatriated by an RAF medical flight to the hospital at Wroughton where he died on 12 May.
  • Paul Mills from HMS Coventry suffered from complications from a skull fracture sustained in the sinking of his ship and died on 29 March 1983; he is buried in his home town of Swavesey.

    Relations between Argentina and UK were restored in 1989 under the umbrella formula which states that the islands' sovereignty dispute would remain aside.   

Ships lost and Damaged

Saturday 1st May 

HMS Alacrity - Slightly damaged by bomb near Misses 
HMS Arrow - Slightly damaged by cannon Fire 
HMS Glamorgan - Slightly damaged by bomb near Misses, All off Stanley by Daggers of FAA Grupo 6. 
Tuesday 4th May 

HMS SHEFFIELD - mortally damaged south east of Falklands by Exocet missile fired by Super Etendard of CANA 2 Esc. Burnt out and SANK in Tow on Monday 10th May. 

Wednesday 12th May 

HMS Glasgow - moderately damaged off Stanley by unexploded bomb (1) dropped by A-4B Skyhawks of FAA Grupo 5. Bomb Passed through Hull Damage but took some days to repair and she shortly Returned to UK. 

Friday 21st May 

HMS Antrim - seriously damaged in Falkland Sound outside San Carlos Water by unexploded bomb (2) dropped by Daggers of FAA Grupo 6. UXB removed but Damage took some days to repair. 
HMS Broadsword - Slightly damaged outside San Carlos Water by cannon Fire from Daggers of Grupo 6. 
HMS Argonaut - Slightly damaged outside San Carlos Water by rockets and cannon Fire from Aermacchi MB.339A of CANA 1 Esc, and then seriously damaged by two unexploded bombs (3/4) dropped by A-4B Skyhawks of FAA Grupo 5. Removing the UXB's and Carrying out Repairs took A number of days and Declared Operational Although, she soon sailed for the UK. 
HMS Brilliant - Slightly damaged outside San Carlos Water by cannon Fire from Daggers of Grupo 6. (Different Attack from "Broadsword") 
HMS ARDENT - Badly damaged in Grantham Sound by Bombs - hits, UXB's (5 +) and near misses - dropped by Daggers of Grupo 6, then mortally damaged by bombs from A-4Q Skyhawks of CANA 3 Esc off North West Island. SANK the following Evening. 

Sunday 23rd May 

HMS ANTELOPE - damaged in San Carlos Water by two unexploded Bombs (6/7) dropped by A-4B Skyhawks of Grupo 5. One of the Bombs Exploded That Evening Being defused and while she caught Fire and SANK next Day. 

Monday 24th May 

RFA Sir Galahad - damaged by unexploded bomb (8) and out of Action for some days, 
RFA Sir Lancelot - damaged by unexploded bomb ( 9) Fully Operational and not for Almost Three weeks, 
RFA Sir Bedivere - Slightly damaged by glancing bomb, All in San Carlos Water Probably by A-4C Skyhawks of FAA Grupo 4. 

Tuesday 25th May 

HMS Broadsword - damaged North of Pebble Island by bomb from A-4B Skyhawk of Grupo 5 Bouncing up through her ​​stern and out Again to land in the sea. 
HMS COVENTRY - sunk North of Pebble Island in Same Attack by Three Bombs. 
ATLANTIC CONVEYOR - mortally damaged North east of Falklands by Exocet Missile fired by Super Etendard of CANA 2 Esc. Burnt out and later SANK in Tow. 

Saturday 29th May 

British Wye - hit North of South Georgia by bomb Dropped by C-130 Hercules of FAA Grupo 1 Which bounced into the sea Without Exploding 

Tuesday 8th June 

HMS Plymouth - damaged in Falkland Sound off San Carlos Water by four unexploded bombs (10-13) from Daggers of FAA Grupo 6. 
RFA SIR GALAHAD - mortally damaged off Fitzroy by Bombs from A-4B Skyhawks of Grupo 5 and burnt out. Later in June towed out to sea and sunk as A War grave. 
RFA Sir Tristram - Badly damaged off Fitzroy in Same Attack and Abandoned, but later Returned to UK and repaired. 
LCU F4, HMS Fearless - sunk in Choiseul Sound by bomb from A -4B Skyhawk of Grupo 5. 

Saturday 12th June 

HMS Glamorgan - damaged off Stanley by land-based Exocet Missile.

During the Falklands war, British submarines were the first warships to reach the islands and began to enforce the Exclusion Zone around them. Of these vessels, H.M.S. Conqueror (Arrived 16th April) was the one to gain fame, becoming the first nuclear powered submarine to sink an enemy ship in combat. The diesel powered Oberon/Porpoise class H.M.S. Onyx (Arrived 28th May) served in a patrol area along with the two Swiftsure submarines: H.M.S. Spartan (Arrived 12th April) and H.M.S. Splendid (Arrived 19th April). As well as patrolling against Argentine submarines, these Submarines kept the Argentine carrier in dock, along with most of the Argentine Navy. Of those ships and submarines which made sorties against the Task Force, the British submarines prowled for Argentine ships outside the Total Exclusion Zone.

On 12th April, a 200-mile Maritime Exclusion Zone came into operation around the Falklands, this being changed to a Total Exclusion Zone on 30th April. Any Argentine vessels found within the zone were liable to be sunk without warning. The 26th April saw helicopters from the destroyer Antrim, the frigates Brilliant and Plymouth attack, damage and force the Argentinean submarine Santa Fe to run aground and surrender.

H.M.S. Conqueror On the afternoon of the 1st May, H.M.S. Conqueror sighted the cruiser General Belgrano, a World War 2 US-built warship lacking sonar, and its escort of two Exocet-equipped destroyers, which were a pre-eminent threat to the task force. The 2nd of May saw the War Cabinet clear the Conqueror to remove the Belgrano from the theatre. H.M.S. Conqueror fired a pattern of torpedoes from around 2,000 yards and scored two hits. The Argentine cruiser sank rapidly thereafter, although her escort did try to sink the Conqueror with depth-charges they were unsuccessful. The loss of one of its most prestigious units probably caused the Argentine Navy to recall its other units, including their only aircraft carrier, the Veinticinco de Mayo to port.


  1. A little more history here -

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