The Naval War in the Falklands, Part 5

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Timeline of significant events

Here is a barebones outline of significant events during the war. In the next couple of entries, we’ll take a look at the operational significance of these events.

All Dates 1982

2 April– Argentinian forces invade the Falkland Islands.

3 April- Argentinian forces occupy South Georgia- UN Security Council condemns invasion, removal of Argentinian forces, calls for peaceful solution.

4 AprilHMS Conqueror, a nuclear attack submarine, sorties from England toward the Falklands. Two more sail within days.

5 AprilHMS Invincible and Hermes sail from England toward the Falklands. The carriers form the core of the British task force.

9 AprilSS Canberra, a civilian passenger liner “taken up into service” as a troopship, sails with the first wave of ground forces.

12 April– Britain announces a 200 mile “Total Exclusion Zone” or TEZ around the Falkland Islands.

18 April– The main body of the British task force sails from Ascension Island, roughly 2000 miles from the Falkland Islands.

April 25/26– Royal Marines and SAS from a small, two-ship task group retake South Georgia from a token Argentine force.

1 May– The war begins in earnest. The main body of the task force arrives on station in the TEZ. Large scale Argentinian air raids attack the task force. Two British Vulcan bombers, staged out of Ascension Island make the first “Black Buck” air raid on Port Stanley airfield in the islands. Harriers from the task force’s carriers make their first raids on the Falklands. Small parties of SAS and SBS troops are landed in the Falklands for reconnaissance missions.

2 May– Deadliest single day of the war. ARA General Belgrano sunk by torpedoes from HMS Conqueror.

4 MayHMS Sheffield struck by Exocet missile. Burns, abandoned, later sinks.

14 May– SAS troops raid Pebble Island

19 May– 21 SAS troopers killed in helicopter crash.

21 May– First landings of the main body at San Carlos Bay. Large Argentinian air raids. HMS Ardent sunk.

23 MayHMS Antelope lost

24 May– British amphibious ships RFA* Sir Galahad and Sir Lancelot damaged by bombs.

25 MayHMS Coventry sunk, HMS Broadsword damaged, MV Atlantic Conveyor struck by Exocet missile.

27/28 May– Battle of Goose Green/Darwin. MV Atlantic Conveyor sinks.

8 JuneRFA Sir Galahad destroyed, RFA Sir Tristam damaged in landings at Bluff Cove

12 JuneHMS Glamorgan damaged by shore launched Exocet missile.

14 June– British forces occupy Stanley, effective end of hostilities.

*RFA=Royal Fleet Auxiliary

Invasion begins in part 6.

8 thoughts on “The Naval War in the Falklands, Part 5”

    1. That acronym always tickled my funnybone for no good reason. It just did.

      Roamy and I were also discussing that you guys have some terrific names for ships.

      Who wouldn’t be proud to sail on HMS Splendid or Conqueror, or Indefatigable?

      Not some much HMS Pink.

  1. Summary of RN total losses:
    HMS Sheffield, Ardent, Antelope, Coventry, Sir Galahad
    MV Atlantic conveyor
    …and this was against third world air power armed with mostly obsolete jets – on a par with maybe old PLAAF Q-5…
    scenario much reminding possible US marines intervention on Taiwan under air cover from carriers versus PLAAF tacair and PLAN

    1. We’ll address the losses as we go forward. And don’t make the mistake of chalking losses up to the level of technology. The losses were because of operational issues, mostly.

  2. Argentine pilots had balls the size of hot air ballons and pressed home their attacks with skill and determination, most did not carry any form of defensive weapons beyond guns and flew int the teeth of a NATO strength maritime force.

    There is also an enduring myth about the paucity of land forces, its a generalisation because there were patches of excellence. The defensive positions around Stanley for example were positioned and built with considerable skill.

    Ship naming is a very emotive subject, especially if like you guys, they get named after people of recent memory

    I also like the Royal Navy names, though not so sure about these


  3. I really liked your Falklands posts. Thanks. One Hundred Days: Memoirs of the Falklands Battle Group Commander by ADM Woodward was very frank. I was amazed at the level of engineering casualties they put up with.

    At least C-4 CASREPS on the flagship HMS Hermes, IIRC.

  4. one thing, it seems Argentinians are building their first SSN…
    lessons from the General Belgrano?

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