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WEEK NINE (end), Falkland Area Operations, 27th-30th May 1982

Sea King helicopter with dipping sonar

on to 40. 5th Inf Bde lands at San Carlos


Summary of Main Events

First 4 of 10 Sea King HAS.2A's of No.825 NAS [Lt Cmdr H S Clark (awarded DSC) RN]
1 Chinook of 18 Sqdn RAF [Wing Cmdr A J Stables RAF]

CV Hermes, Invincible; DD Bristol, Antrim, Glamorgan, Cardiff, Exeter; FR Brilliant, Broadsword, Active, Alacrity, Ambuscade, Avenger, Arrow, Andromeda, Argonaut, Minerva, Penelope, Plymouth, Yarmouth; Assault ships Fearless, Intrepid; RFA's Fort Austin, Olmeda, Olna, Regent, Resource, Tidepool, Tidespring; LSL's Sir Bedivere, Sir Galahad, Sir Geraint, Sir Lancelot, Sir Percivale, Sir Tristram;Transports Atlantic Causeway, Elk, Europic Ferry
plus submarine force, hospital ships in RCB, repair ship and tugs in TRALA, and some tankers
(Sheffield, Ardent, Antelope, Coventry and Atlantic Conveyor lost so far)


1. 2 Para, 8 Bty RA approach to and battle for Goose Green (26th-28th)
2. 45 Cdo moved from Port San Carlos, first to New House (27th)
3. 45 Cdo reached Douglas (28th) and dug in (29th)
4. 3 Para in two columns moved from Port San Carlos towards Teal Inlet (28th) and stayed there over Saturday (29th)
5. 45 Cdo moved on to Teal Inlet (30th)
6. 3 Para moved on ahead from Teal Inlet to Lower Malo House (30th) on their way to Mount Estancia
7. J Coy 42 Cdo helicoptered from Port San Carlos to Darwin (28th)
8. L Coy 42 Cdo at Port San Carlos
9. 40 Cdo in defence of San Carlos area
10. D Sqdn SAS helicoptered to Mt Kent (28th), followed by K Coy 42 Cdo, 7 Bty RA (part) (30th)

Argentine aircraft lost near Port Howard [a57] Skyhawk (27th)
12. Argentine aircraft lost over San Carlos Water - [a61] Dagger (29th)
13. Argentine aircraft lost to east of Mount Kent - [a62] Puma (30th)
14. Argentine aircraft lost east of Falklands - [a63,a64] Skyhawks (30th)
15. British aircraft lost east of Falklands at 51.48S, 54.29W - [b29] Sea Harrier (29th)
16. British aircraft lost east of Falklands - [b30] Harrier GR.3 (30th)

From South Georgia - Transports Canberra, Norland, RFA Stromness


As 2 Para fought the battle for Goose Green, 45 Cdo 'yomped' and 3 Para 'tabbed' across the rough, boggy ground towards Stanley by the northern route. Often in the dark and wet, and heavily laden, they moved at a fast rate first for Teal Inlet. 3 CBAS helicopters supported 45 Cdo on the way and 3 Para was followed by 4 Troop of The Blues and Royals with two Scimitars and two Scorpions.

Starting on the morning of Thursday 27th, Lt Col Whitehead's 45 Cdo first moved by LCU from Ajax Bay to Port San Carlos before setting out the 12 miles to New House, reaching there late that night. After resting up they completed the eight miles to Douglas on Friday and dug in ready to move to Teal. Lt Col Pike and 3 Para were to follow behind, but instead took a more southerly, direct route in two columns. After marching for 24 hours they met up on Friday a few miles short of Teal Inlet, and when darkness fell, completed the journey late that night and stayed throughout Saturday. On Sunday, 45 Cdo pushed on to join them at Teal Inlet, but 3 Para and the light tanks were ordered to head for Mount Estancia as part of the plan to occupy the heights to the west of Stanley, and by the end of the day had reached Lower Malo House. 45 Cdo stayed put for now.

On Friday 28th, with J Coy 42 Cdo flying down towards Darwin, the rest of 42 Commando prepared for the Mount Kent operation. K Coy was already at Port San Carlos, and was joined from Sussex Mountains by L Coy, after they in turn had been relieved by B Coy of 40 Cdo which had to stay in defence of the beachhead. That same night, D Sqdn SAS finally completed its helicopter move below Mount Kent, but an attempt to follow them up with 42 Cdo Tac HQ, K Coy and three 105's of 7 Bty over Saturday night was stopped by blizzards. Late on Sunday, No.846 Sea Kings and the lone RAF Chinook managed to get in, but in the middle of an SAS fire-fight with Argentine troops, after which K Coy moved on to the summit. The Chinook was slightly damaged on the flight back, but support helicopter strength was increasing. The first No.825 Sea Kings flew ashore from "Atlantic Causeway" on Saturday and joined the other Navy, Marine and Army helicopters as well as the Chinook already flying from the Forward Operating Bases (FOB's) scattered around San Carlos Water.

Although there were few Argentine aircraft attacks between now and the second week in June, they nevertheless chose Thursday afternoon (27th) for their first strike against land targets, when two pairs of Grupo 5 Skyhawks bombed and strafed troop and supply positions. Coming in over the Brigade Maintenance Area at Ajax Bay, one pair killed six men of 45 Cdo and the Cdo Logistics Regt, wounded others and landed UXB's near the Field Dressing Station. This is where Flt Lt Swan later slept beside the bombs to reassure the staff and patients. The second pair hit San Carlos and killed one man each from 40 Cdo and the 59 Ind Cdo Sqdn RE; but during the attacks, one of the Skyhawks was hit by 40mm Bofor fire from "Fearless" or "Intrepid" and crashed over West Falkland near Port Howard [a57].

More sorties took place over the weekend. Early Saturday morning (29th), Canberras of Grupo 2 carried out the first of a series of night time harrassing attacks on San Carlos Water, followed in June by raids on the Mount Kent area, and at mid-day when Daggers of Grupo 6 reached the anchorage, one was shot down by the defending Rapiers [a61]. On Sunday morning an Argentine Army Puma was lost near Mount Kent, possibly to its own forces [a62]. And that afternoon, two A-4C Skyhawks were brought down in the first coordinated CANA/FAA mission. The plan was for two Super Etendards to launch the last airborne Exocet at the Task Force carriers, and for four Grupo 4 Skyhawks to finish off the target with bombs. Coming in from the south after tanker refuelling, the aircraft mistakenly released the missile from 20 miles at "Avenger", then east of the Falklands. The Exocet was apparently deflected by chaff, and although the Etendards escaped, two of the Skyhawks were destroyed by Sea Darts from "Exeter" as they went in to attack, although "Avenger's" 4.5 inch may have hit one of them [a63, a64].

As the Sea Harriers continued to fly CAP and drop bombs on Stanley airfield and the GR.3's fly ground support from the carriers, a total of three were lost over these few days. Apart from the GR.3 near Goose Green on Thursday, next to go on Saturday afternoon (29th) was a Sea Harrier of No.801 NAS which slid of "Invincible's" deck as she turned into wind in heavy weather, although fortunately the pilot ejected and was rescued from the water [b29]. Then at midday on Sunday, the RAF found itself down to just three GR.3's. One of four aircraft over the Stanley area was hit by small arms fire from Argentine troops, and on the way back to "Hermes" ran out of fuel [b30]. Sqdn Ldr Pook parachuted into the sea and was soon rescued by a No.826 Sea King.

Apart from all the shipping activity around South Georgia, Task Force warships continued to bombard Argentine positions and escort supply ships into and out of San Carlos Water, where only now were "Argonaut" and "Sir Lancelot" finally relieved of their UXB's. "Elk" went in Thursday night (27th) to continue unloading her ammo, and over the weekend, "Argonaut" and "Plymouth" finally left, with only "Yarmouth" of the original escorts remaining for a few days more. And now 5th Inf Bde started to arrive. "Fearless" left San Carlos Water on Thursday to later meet "Antrim" to the east of the TEZ, and with General Moore on board arrived back early Sunday. When Brigadier Thompson returned to San Carlos from Teal Inlet to find his commander there, final plans were made to receive 5th Inf, put 2 Para under Brigadier Wilson's command, and move 3 Cdo Bde HQ to the Inlet.

British Gallantry Awards included:

  Bomb and ordnance disposal - Ajax Bay, and later Goose Green and Darwin
Flt Lt A J Swan (QGM) RAF, CO No.1 EOD RAF

Chinook of 18 Sqdn RAF - 'The Survivor'
Sqdn Ldr R U Langworthy (DFC) AFC RAF


RAF Harrier GR3 (Courtesy - MOD, RAF). A total of ten aircraft from No 1 (F) Sqn,
lew with the Royal Navy and four were lost; two during this period, (b27) during the
Battle for Goose Green and (b30) above


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