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Battle Atlas of the Falklands War 1982



Elk and an assault ship

on to 13. 3 Commando Brigade

Vital Need for Merchant Ships - Up to the surrender in mid-June, 40 merchantmen totalling over 500,000 grt reached the South Atlantic. Without them, the war would not have been won as the Royal Fleet Auxiliary lacked the ships to transport the land forces and then support them and the warships 8,000 miles from home.

Chartered (Ch) when available ......

requisitioned (Req) when under contract ........

the Ships Taken Up From Trade (Stuft) from Britain's dwindling merchant fleet were rapidly converted to their military role in naval and civilian dockyards, but mainly Devonport and Portsmouth. All received:

Minimum naval communications and
some Satnav (SN) and
Satcom (SC) equipment,
Most were fitted for RAS,
Many with one or two helipads (H or 2H) and
Some with extra accommodation and light AA weapons.

Crew of tug "Yorkshireman" at South Georgia (Courtesy - United Towing Ltd)

Soon loaded, most sailed with Naval Parties embarked for ciphering, RAS, vertrep and other duties. Taking only those ships which arrived on station before the end of the war, their main military roles, starting with the troop and equipment transports were:

Transports reaching TEZ mid-May with 3 Cdo Bde and more aircraft
  "Canberra" 44,800 grt Req/2H
  "Elk" 5,500 grt Req
  "Europic Ferry" 4,200 grt Req/SN/SC
  "Norland" 13,000 grt Req/2H/SN/SC
  "ATLANTIC CONVEYOR" - aircraft and helicopter support ship
(sunk by Exocet)
15,000 grt Req/flight deck/SC
 Transports arriving end of May with 5th Inf Bde and military stores
  "Queen Elizabeth 2" 67,100 grt Req/2H
  "Baltic Ferry" 6,500 grt Req/2H/SN/SC
  "Nordic Ferry" 6,500 grt Req/2H/SN/SC
  "Lycaon" - ammunition ship 11,800 grt Ch/SC
  "Atlantic Causeway" - helicopter support ship 15,000 grt Req/flight deck & hangar/SC
Transports arriving in June 
  "St. Edmund" - troopship 9,000 grt Req/2H/SN/SC
  "Tor Caledonia" - transport 5,100 grt Req
  "Contender Bezant" - aircraft and helicopter carrier 11,400 grt Ch/flight deck & hangar
Oil Tankers, mostly used to replenish RFA's in the tanker holding areas set out in the order:
  "British Esk", "British Tay", "British Test", "British Tamar",
"British Trent"
all 15,600 grt All chartered
  "Anco Charger" 15,600 grt Chartered
  "British Dart", "British Wye", "British Avon" all 15,600 grt All chartered
  "Alvega" 33,300 grt Chartered
  "Eburna" 19,800 grt Chartered
  "Balder London" 20,000 grt Chartered
Other vessels and approximate order of departure were:
  "Irishman", "Yorkshireman" - ocean tugs both 700 grt Req
  "Salvageman" - ocean tug 1,600 grt Req
  "Wimpey Seahorse" - mooring vessel 1,600 grt Req/SC
  "Stena Seaspread" - repair ship 6,100 grt Req/SN/SC
  "Fort Toronto" - water tanker 20,000 grt Ch
  "Uganda" - hospital ship 16,900 grt Req/H/SC
  "Cordella", "Farnella", "Junella", "Northella", "Pict" - minesweepers 1,200 to 1,600 grt Req
  "Iris" - despatch vessel 3,900 grt Req/H/SC
  "Saxonia" - refrigerated stores ship 12,000 grt Ch/H/SN/SC
  "Geestport" - refrigerated stores ship 7,700 grt Req/H
With 40 merchantmen already in the South Atlantic or on their way by Week Nine, more were needed.

Before the surrender a further eight set out, including during the week, tanker "Scottish Eagle" from Milford Haven and offshore ship "British Enterprise III" from Rosyth. The complete list was:

Tankers "Scottish Eagle" (33,000 grt, Ch/SC) and "G A Walker" (18,700 grt, Ch)
Despatch vessel "British Enterprise III" (1,600 grt, Req)
Repair ship "Stena Inspector" (6,100 grt, Ch/SN/SC)
Helicopter carrier and repair ship "Astronomer" (27,900 grt, Req/flight deck and hangar)
Ammunition ship "Laertes" (11,800 grt, Req)
Refrigerated stores ship "Avelona Star" (9,800 grt, Ch/H)
Minesweeper support ship "St Helena" (3,100 grt, Req/H/SN/SC)


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revised 31/5/13