Ships Diary: 24.04.82 -> 03.05.82
24/04/82 (Bill)Buzz that Hermes lost helo last night.
24th April (Chris)Better get this posted then darling. I'm not sure what chance we'll get for mail again after this, and I'm sorry this letter has been so short but I've a feeling this is going to be a long night for me.
HMS Conqueror transferring SBS (IWM)
Sat 24/04/82 (Grahams Diary)
We arrived in the area around the island earlier than expected and we did a RAS for more fuel very cold now but sea has calmed down considerably. We have been told there is a submarine in the area, so the atmosphere slightly edgy at the moment.
Submarine in area orders to sink us when we land or now. We can only passively hear sub when she charges her batteries at night. Not using active sonar so as to not draw attention to us.
Wessex found submarine inshore our helicopter going to sink it
Closed up at action stations Arg sub 16 miles south of Cumberland Bay running for it (on surface) attacked by Wessex slight damage our Lynx missed with a Mk46 torpedo SW122 12 c attack being
Carried out by Plymouths LinxTwo near misses with Mk 2 Depth charges (Wessex.) Plymouths Wasp hit fin
8 Miles from Cumberland Bay 3 AS12 attacks have hit now us Antrim and the rest Closing our pacific going to go in for a Carl Gustav attack
At North of Cumberland Bay subs going alongside personnel on subs bridge
Sub alongside King Edwards point jetty smoke billowing out Argentineans running about lads seem unconcerned that we are killing people . In mouth Of Cumberland Bay, Antrim and Plymouth 6 miles behind.
Argentineans mounting guns on headland Captain going over to Antrim to have discussions on whether to land Skipper pressing hard for it (6 Miles along coast) oil pouring out of sub
Sante Fe running for Cumbreland Bay
Thanks to Smudge (Tony Smith )
Antrim and Plymouth Landing troops Cumberland Bay 25th April (Photo by Kirk)
Antrim and Plymouth Landing Bombarding Cumberland Bay 25th April (Malcolm Smith)
Brilliant shoruded in gunsmoke
Brilliant shoruded in gunsmoke (IWM)
HMS Antrim (IWM)
Medical team Ashore
SF Royal marine,POMA,Crash Evans,SF Royal marine,CaptainsSteward,and the Doc
(Thanks to Crash Evans)
We have now taken South Georgia a beautiful place high rugged mountain peaks with glaciers running off them into the sea. Massive albatrosses with 5 foot wingspans gliding effortlessly over the waves. The whaling station isn't much to look at but a few buildings and a jetty with a tilting submarine by it. I'm writing a daily diary so that will explain exactly what's happened as I'm not allowed to tell you yet. Tomorrow a hundred or so SAS blokes are coming on board to be carried to the Falklands about 20 in each mess (no more model building for me when I come off watch).There definitely a load of animals, wild eyed and intelligent too. It's certainly going to be cramped.
I've taken so great photos I just hope they come out. We are not going to receive any mail until we reach the main task force. I think there are 13 mail bags waiting for us.
The casualties haven't been bad here. One stoker (Argentinean) got killed by a booty and one got his leg blown off the former was a mistake which is sad. War is definitely a pointless exercise all be it necessary in these circumstances. I've a six hours on and six hours off life at the moment which isn't so bad although I do lose track of whether its night or day and what day it is. I've been commissioned by the chief stoker to draw a picture of a yacht he won a race in he wants to pay me cash but I think I'll get him to give me some black and white film instead and he'll develop it as well.
Sante Fe before her move to Grytviken
Fallen out from Action stations. Now about 16 miles offshore buzz that were landing in afternoon found out that AS12 is a wire guided rocket same as 3? It?s a nice cushy job fearnought suit lying on your back. CSB Beer Barrel bomb they made last night 60 odd pounds of plastic explosive and about 10 scare charges diving officer made in the chippys shop leaving plastic explosive ingrained in the plastic mats much to the dislike of the chippy Machine guns were tested on the aft sea wolf deck
First glimpse of South Georgia hurriedly scribbling down, as it?s bloody cold up also were in yellow circoats and the Skipper just flew back. Caught a glimpse of glaciers running into the sea.
This afternoon Antrim and Plymouth are going to blast the harbor Argentine positions on King Edwards Point with 4.5s then at nightfall booty?s going in Brilliants two lynx and Antrims wessex. The Endurance and ourselves are laying off to the North
Just been roused from my sleep to hear the cap on the main broadcast say Argentinean commander is talking to captain of Antrim channel 16 saying they surrender Medical orderly being sent ashore. Marines and pongos landed around 14.30
Now sat in Cumberland Bay scenery is very impressive glaciers running into the sea etc Had scran next to all these pongos off Endurance the fact that one of them was carrying a sawn off shotgun and the others had armalites is explainable I suppose with long hair and wild eyes.
The union jack has been raised over South Georgia The Buzz is that there were about 17 Argentineans at the harbor area another 17 and about 40 odd civvies are going to the whaling station Subs crew caught Antrim and Plymouth gone to station with SBS to capture them
Embarking 40 prisoners god knows where we will stow them According to SAS bloke in POs Mess there were no casualties one Argentinean matloe got his leg blown off and one SAS bloke got a sprained ankle It was a laugh listening to the news they think the sub was grounded not likely Since its in 27 fathoms of water.
Malcolm Smith 25/4/82
Chris and a gentleman from the SAS
25th April (Chris)Hello my darling. It's Sunday evening, and by now you'll probably have heard that Britain has re-taken South Georgia, one of the Falkland Islands, and now I can tell you that that is where we have been. I'm not too sure what is happening at the moment, but I've just heard over the main broadcast that the Argentine commander has surrendered to our troops. It didn't take as long as I first thought, especially as things didn't start happening really until this morning, when us, along with other ships in the group down here, attacked an Argentine submarine, damaging it and forcing it to go alongside (I say 'we', it was actually the helicopters from the ships that did it) and at the moment that's about it. You've no need to worry about me, though, I'm fine. In fact, just to ease your mind a little, after we'd tangled with that submarine, and while the assault on South Georgia was going on, I was in bed - asleep. So you see, it's not that bad down here really. We get the odd scare, which means we have to close up to action stations, but they're few and far between, and so far nothing's come of any of them.
Endurance (Thanks to Kirk)
25th April Steve (Taff)Got turned in at 0730 went to A/S at 0930. First time in Action, my guts were churning and I've never felt so tense and scared!!! I can't believe this is happening.
(Dit On)........ Whilst
closed up at A/S Daisy Adams (POMEM(L) ) and myself went out on the Quarterdeck
to have a quick look see, we were both admiring the view, when we the water
in front of us exploded, and we heard gunfire. "F...... Hell they are shooting
at us" say's I, but Daisy is already heading for the Airlock. I certainly
don't remember opening or closing the Airlock Doors but was cockahoop to get
inside without getting shot. We later found out that the gunfire was from Mark
Neat the RM who had been on the flightdeck and had a problem with his rifle
and was just clearing the damn thing!! Hence the bullets hitting the water in
front of us. The fact that we were miles away from the shore or the fact that
there was no way we could be seen from land, did not occur to us, all I knew
was they were trying to shoot me! How embarrassing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sante Fe alongside Whaling Station Grytvken
25/04/82 Lynx Flight Diary
Having rendevoued with the Antrim Group, one aircraft launched to search the North coast of South Georgia (possible fast patrol boat threat)
Antrim Wessex 3 sighted and attacked submarine Santa Fae with depth charge.
Brilliant Lynx 341 (Bryant/ Butler joined the Wessex and launched Mk 46 Torpedo attack against surfaced submarine (submarine captain later disclosed hearing Mk 46 circling below). Submarine remained on the surface because of torpedo threat . Continued attacking with GPMG and submarine returned machinegun fire. Having reversed course to return to Grytviken, Santa Fae abandoned the fin and continued navigating by periscope.
Second Lynx 342 launched (Clark/McKay) armed only with GPMG HMS Endurance Wasp achieved hit with AS12 missile on submarine fin. Both Lynx continued strafing as the submarine continued towards Grytviken
Plymouths Wasp carried out AS12 missile attack with some success.
Santa Fae alongside, damaged oil escaping and smoking.
HMS Antrim (Thanks to Kirk)
HMS Antrim ( Thanks to Ginge Offord)
Well the last two days have been pretty hectic and we have taken South Georgia. We were aware that there was a likely submarine threat in the area and joined this group late to supplement their helicopter and ASW assets. Antrim who was I/C is not impressive organizationally - we have been watching their signals for some time and that for this or that reason the landings could not go ahead.
We were not surprised to fine the submarine Sante Fe on the surface at first light yesterday or that she was off Cumberland Bay (or indeed that she was taking re-enforcements in). Antrim was all for holding off at the Torpedo Danger Range even after the submarine ad been damaged but we charged in so Antrim and Plymouth followed (needless to say, that is not the way Antrim's signals read!).
Despite being hit by a depth charge, GPMG fire and 2 Wasp launched AS12 missiles the Sub. Co. took the submarine alongside. Amazingly Antrim wanted to delay again! John Coward went over and 'excited' them a little so shore bombardment was then conducted - followed by rapid troop re-enforcement.
The Argentineans in Grytviken did give up pretty quickly (I think it was the naval gunfire which made their minds up for them) and the men on the ground took over. Antrim failed to get enough men in (despite having plenty) and so some 80 ended up guarding some 120+. Meanwhile Plymouth + Endurance went round to Leith and the Argentine Civilians surrendered immediately. The 16 Arg. Marines surrendered after the dawn landing the next day (today).
Today the Captain has been off the ship for most of the day. He was tasked with scuttling/destroying the submarine but found that, despite being in a fairly dangerous state, it had enough battery power to drive away from the Jetty and further up and away - so leaving the Jetty free. The Argentian CO + XO + Crew of 6/7 agreed to help and I saw the submarine moving up the bay with Captain John up on the fin.
Things went wrong however because of one trigger happy Marine! Basically, the submarine was listing to port and possibly going to turn over. The Crew were down below with the Royal Marines watching them v. carefully. On the fin (bridge) was JC "guarding" and the Arg. CO. As the submarine went ahead in the final stages of the manoeuvre the Arg. CO. called down the hatch into the dimly lit interior and one crew member started winding off on valves (presumably doing what he had been told). The Marine guarding him promptly shot him though the head (!) and then ran up the hatch still shooting his pistol shouting "It's going to sink" - "Get me off". Obviously off his rocker - all had gone so well. No dead - one Argentinean with leg shot off just above knee by an AS12 missile and a couple of "walking wounded". Now, however, one of their Prisoners of War while helping us has been shot. It is most regrettable and has soured the whole campaign.
I think that perhaps the whole thing when viewed that these had been cooped up for 3 weeks when then knew they could win the war on their own and it was all we could do to stop them doing this when the Argentineans hoisted their white flag!
One of the chaps brought me back a harpoon end - God its heavy - I'm going to have it cleaned up and given to the mess. (I don't know what I could do with it!)
It is now 9pm - we have been under surveillance by Argentinean A/C three times today and been to action stations at 5.30pm when one closed to 45 miles - we had every intention of engaging it had it come in range but perhaps fortunately it did not.
What now - well we will
embark 83 SAS tonight and do a fuel replenishment prior to being invited to
rejoin the main battle group for the Falklands phase. I hope it does not come
to this but it is really so much bigger than this operation itself. It is really
about the Free World and its defence
Felix's Grave (Sandy Saunders)
Thanks to Duchy Boore (Cumberland Bay)
The Skipper and Captain Bicain
26/4/82 Steve (Taff)0530 the 16 Argies in Leith surrender. Skipper went ashore to move the Santa -Fe away from the jetty, it is badly damaged. HMS Conquror came in with stores for the troops. Continue airlift of stores, we can expect around 80 SAS onboard for trip to the Falklands. Antrim, Endurance and Tidespring heading North to Ascension with Prisoners, Brilliant and Plymouth head off to join Main Task Force.
Surrender on board HMS Plymouth (IWM)
27/4/82 (Bill)SBS No2 Section SBS RM left with there mountain of stores .Found a hat with ear flaps after they had gone . They brought Armalights grenades explosives rapier missiles mortars landmines geminis shotguns. We had 127 on board altogether.
27/4/82 Steve (Taff)Nothing much happened. Feel drained, first time in Action but must admit it was very one sided! What will it be like when they fight back???????? Weather very rough 60-knot winds.
28/4/82 Steve (Taff)So much gear from the SAS onboard we can hardly move, they have taken over the PO's Mess. exchanged plaques with the SAS boys and they appear to be a good bunch of lads.
This adventure is a bit of strain and just a little unreal some how. The whole thing is about principle and the position and standing of UK in the world today. With every day that goes by, it seems more and more unlikely that Argentina will move their troops off the Falklands. Our "reading" of the way things will go from here is:-
1. The Argentineans disregard
for life and haughtiness/fiery temperament will not allow them to withdraw without
at least trying to use force against us.
2. They are not well practiced in multi-coordinated attacks and don't like night operations either on the sea or in the air.
3. We cannot re-take the Falklands by simply landing an army to fight their army so a blockade of sorts is required.
4. We don't think it is likely they will commit their naval forces initially; rather we believe they will attempt one massive air attack on the group and then review the situation. If they have broken our defences then send in Navy etc if not then probably start negotiating! It is rather pathetic but this war will be over quickly (one way or the other).
Our intention is that noting tomorrow (Fri 30th) is the establishment of the Total Exclusion Zone at 1100 to complete all liquids and solids replenishments then and approach within 500 miles of TEZ (to the East). Late PM tomorrow may be the first Vulcan strike on Stanley airport. Overnight Fri 30/Sat 1 we will insert troops on the Falklands for assessment of enemy positions prior to the main landing. To this end, we have just joined the Invincible/Hermes group for the first time and disembarked 80 SAS men and an "incredible" amount of their kit to Hermes for this operation.
Saturday we made an overt (everything on) passage and are fully prepared for any Argentinean reaction - Obviously it is to our advantage to try to taunt them into attacking us as far out from their home and bases from which we expect the attack to come. Despite Stanley and Argentina being Z-3 hours time we are keeping Z time (1 hour behind you) so we are half way through our forenoon before dawn even breaks -a little disconcerting! The navigator remarked that the forenoon may soon have to be regarded as a night watch! (Civil Twilight) (The first lightening of the sky (at Stanley is 1037 (our time) and sunrise 1107 (our time) = Sunset is 2046 and (Civil Twilight 2116. Thus 0827/2236 local is Civil Twilight.
By dusk on Saturday we will have approached to the edge of the TEZ and a second (or perhaps first) Vulcan raid will be conducted. Naval gunfire support and Surface Action Group ships and Anti-Submarine Warfare ships will be dispatched as required. The bombardment of Stanley will begin - Brilliant is earmarked to defend Invincible from air attack and hunt out submarines. The group will be operating to the NE of the Falklands with the "Carriers" at about 80 miles from land.
Sunday the 2nd will be our first day in the TXA with total reaction to the Argentinean response. After this well .?
Perhaps it being Sunday
will help - the RAF don't fly much then!?! It is a good plan? God knows but
if we can produce enough military pressure quickly while keeping our losses
to a minimum the Politicians will be able to talk again! If we win it certainly
means M. Thatcher becomes a "steel" lady and presumably secures the
next election! If not then presume she loses - nothing like success to breed
Life on board - we are all in good heart but it is a rather false feeling and conversations about this issue leaving us asking "Why"? The organization of the ship is good. We are working easily as a team but could be a little sharper. As you know I am v difficult to satisfy re: Ops Room organization! Most certainly our Portland training will have helped particularly as the majority of that team are still here.
We are most certainly at risk - considerable risk (even at war with Argentina). It's really all about shore based air cover - we will see
Now 1130pm - have had hot shower after completing a long final RAS and its time for bed.
29/4/82 Steve (Taff)Met up with Task Force at 1200 hrs. Airlifted the SAS and their gear to Hermes. No one seems to know what is happening, will have to wait and see but something is in the wind????
(Thanks to Chris Sherman) Brilliant Cumberland Bay 1982
Orders from Chief of Staff in London saying the SSN should sink the carrier. Invincibles harriers should destroy the aifield andother targets.
Alactrity sent to order a factory ship to go away otherwise the Admiral gave the orders she should be sunk Quote ?tell it to fuck off, if it doesn?t blow it out of the water?
Subs lost carrier
Vulcans bombed Port Stanley flew over us at 40000 ft
Bz Subs know where Arg fleet is and one underneath Trinidad (42) Most of there codes cracked there intentions and positions of main fleet known even defects of individual ships Lads exited possibility of being killed thought about but no hassle Just resigned to the fact more than anything. Carrier isn?t going to be zapped until she comes South.
Fri 30th 1600 (commenced)
C-Day has been advanced. It is now tomorrow and we will attack at dawn. I am in no doubt that the Argentineans will respond with their Air Force and perhaps with their Navy. We do not know the rules of engagement for our submarines - but Roger Lane-Nott, who is I/C of Splendid is shadowing the Argentineans carrier "De Mayo" - Sinking her alone would be a major loss of prestige for the Arg's but doubtless they feel the same way about Invincible!
Seemingly Invincible is v. pleased to have us back from South Georgia as we are providing their direct protection. Our pilot was talking to Prince Andrew about South Georgia and he told him that on sailing from Portsmouth he had had to leave the flight deck to receive a telegram from Prince Charles wishing him well and that he wanted to come too!
Invincible have seemingly
taken up all cushion covers and there is not a mirror anywhere. We have not
done this and I feel we are right. The whole organization is working well and
apart from "better people" we will be a ship very much "all of
Around 4 o?clock there time Day 1 so to speak Vulcan flew over at 0830 Out on the Quarterdeck its cold and the seas calm Pitch black only the lights of helicopters A dim light shows position of Invincible At 10.50 9 Harriers supposed to be going to raid the airfield
Small sonar contact stews fired at 10.03 A few people were on the quarterdeck at the time No1 (Chinese laundry fella) who weighs about 18 Stone ran aft to the quarter deck with his life jacket on ready to jump over the side Sebastian Coe would have been no match the speed he moved.
Second torpedo fired first detonated soon after entering the water
Whale Oil sighted by Sea King
Olys wound up don?t know why, I think Ill join green peace
Closed up at Action Stations 2 planes coming in
2 mirages closed in and were chased off by CAP (Carrier Air Patrol) which consisted of 2 harriers
Yarmouth and us to carry out ASW Looking for San Lois NE of the Falklands Group detached to bombard southern coast, Type 42s are defending carriers 10 minutes time harriers due back from there Air Raid. P 2 Mirages closed to see what our reaction would be As Soon as attacked they revved up and scarpered at supersonic speed Success of harriers not yet known Sea wolf just been put back on line
Closed up at action stations. Invincible reported large number of aircraft closing from the West also exocet reported fired. Feeling slightly nervous but something happening at last edge relief even P1 exocet launched from very long range no chance of hitting anything. The aircraft are coming from the mainland. Skipper seems to be loving every minute of it just hope he?s not to glory grabbing up to now he?s been asking to get sent to places where there?s some action. Despite the air raid our orders are still to detach and find this sub. Message from flag to Glamorgan planes came to limit of range fired 1 of their ten air launched exocet then went away as they had no in-flight refueling
Fell out from action stations Both torpedoes that we fired hit whales Score so far Britain 1 corvette 1 sub 150 POWS and 2 Whales
Action stations aircraft closing
3? chaff rockets fired Olys straight up to 90 lever The three planes turned back at 120 miles, chased off by CAP
Action stations 2 super entard with 2 mirages closing 160 miles
Action Stations Glamorgan Ardent Alacrity bombarding Packora splashed by harrier
Action Stations Air Raid coming in from SW
Air Raid didn?t materialize fell out Buzz Vulcans bomb left a scar 70m wide by 50m deep 4 Seakings doing this ASW with us refueling and recrewing in flight
Back to action stations Sea King sonar contact definite riser 6 miles away The Doc doesn?t like pot mess and had 2 slices of bread and butter for supper Sea King depth charged contact
(2) rockets fired
(2) rockets fired 2 aircraft closing 5 miles away Aircraft intercepted by CAP patrol 12 Miles Sea King blew another whale up
2 Mirages shot down
1 rocket fire
1 Canberra 400 miles away squawking on iff emergency
Canberra attack were all lying down it?s a bit difficult to sleep with a BA on
Canberra 6 miles away
Turned away P1 Glamorgan Ardent and Alacrity were attacked by several aircraft Mirage Arrow hit 1 casualty Glamorgan thought she was. The Canberras that closed in on us only circled and were seen by the OOW before the RPs, pretty horrifying. The computer didn?t Ti them because they weren?t a threat to us ,so it thought. If they had seen super entards we would have had it. A chopper was refueling above our flight deck with only 10 minutes of juice left and a sub threat 6 miles away Alacrity splashed 1 Mirage Harrier 1 Mirage Arrow has damage to superstructure Sea Cat tracker jammed 18 chaff rockets fired so far, Alacrity's Lynx shot at sustained major fuel leak but got back on board.
Article on San Luis
The ARA San Luis is a Type
290 diseal powered submarine in the Armada Republica
Argentina. The ship was built in Germany as a batch of four. San Luis has a
displacement of 1,285 tonnes and was introduced to the ARA in 1978.
San Luis is most famous for serving in the Falklands War from March to June
1982. Only one other submarine, the ARA Santa Fe was operational at this time.
After the Santa Fe was captured by the British in South Georgia on April 28, and
the nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror had sunk the ARA General Belgrano on May 2,
the Argentine fleet retired to port for the duration of the war. This left the
San Luis as the only Argentine naval presence facing the British fleet. The
presence of the San Luis was worrying for the British as she was relatively
modern and difficult to detect. San Luis reported two attacks on the Royal Navy
during the war.
On May 1, the Royal Navy ships HMS Brilliant and HMS Yarnmouth were sent to
intercept the San Luis in the Falkland Sound channel. San Luis reported firing
two torpeados at the ship which subsequently missed.
San Luis attacked again on the night of May 10. HMS Alacrity had made passage up
the Falkland Sound, sinking an Argentine merchant navy ship on the way. As it
left the channel before dawn, its sister ship HMS Arrow was waiting to escort
her bac to the Task Force. San Luis detected the two ships and fired upon them,
For the rest of the war, San Luis tracked the British ships, but with no
This article is licensed
under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses
material from the Wikipedia article ARA San Luis.
For the submarine "Santa Fe" (S-21), the operation in Malvinas start with the retrieval itself, denominated "Rosario Operation". In this operation, two missions are assigned to the old and noble ship. The first of then consisted of brining the crew of the grouping of tactic divers (seals) to the vicinities of cape San Felipe, on the north of Puerto Argentino. The tac- tic divers are the strength of special operations of the Fleet force, specially trained to operate in coasts, ports and enemy beaches. The mission of this section of the seals was the one
of surveying and mark the beaches where the force of main disembarking would c carry onto the landing. After that the "Santa Fe" would be designated to an assigned pa- trol area until the operation was finished.
On march 27th 1982, at 23:00 hours, the "Santa Fe", commanded by Lieutenant Commander Horacio Bicain, set off the Navy Base of Mar del Plata trapping on board crew of the seals under the command of the Lieutenant. Commander Alfredo Cufre. In spite of the modernisation of Guppy.II in 1950 and the precautionary maintenance the S21 had almost forty years on this hull with the consequent general decay. The quick arrival of the submarine TR-1700 from Germany did not advice any important inversion and in fact its twin one the Santiago del Estero S-22 had passed to reserve previous a radiation in the late days of 1981 and the one of the Santa Fe was programmed for Aughust of 1982
Finally it could be stated that it had void military value.
Its batteries were so worm away that it needed 24 hours of charging to get a very reduced time of immersion. Not all its torpedo tubes could work besides, a lot of its systems worked in a precarious and this handicap was noticed almost from the very moment of its departure.
On 28th, in spite of high winds, the navigation goes by with out novelly. The day after and with a calmer weather, the crew of Seals carries out a drill of landing of boats and men having suc- cessful results with condition of sea 2/ 3. In the afternoon the weather start to worsen with and increase of the wind speed of about 40 to 50 Km/h.
On 30th at 22:00 hours, the order off postponing the operation for 24 hours
is received on board the ship planned initially for April 1st owed to unfavorable
weather conditions. On 31st the submarine approaches the north western coast
of Malvinas at night hours in order to carry out a previous reconnaissance of
the place, of the marine currents and to define the point of landing of the
section of the Seals more precisely.
In the submarine sensors noises of propeller were detected. Through the periscope light in the coats were observed movement of vehicles and the weighing of anchor of some ship from Puerto Argentino
On 1 st April at 12:30 hrs, a problem of electric current leaves the ship without radio and without RATT. At 17:30 hs the commanders of the submarine and of the tactic divers analyze
the situation and decide to perform the operation in spite of their not having contact with their superiors. It is agreed to bring about the landing on the north of Punta Celebrofia, in the vicinities of Rifion island.
At 23:50 hs, the radar of the ship is out of order and some minutes after the lighthouse San Felipe is observed with its ligths off. With intense work of the crew on board they are able to put in service the radar by one a.m.. At 2:50 hs, they start the manoeuvres of movement of boats of the tactics divers that are detached from the "Santa Fe" at 3:35. Immediately, the submarine assign itself to the patrol area 60 milles at the east of San Felipe cape. At 4:05 The "Santa Fe" identifies and crosses the destroyer ARA "Hercules". Then it remains the rest of the day in area of patrol until, at 21:45 hs, the Commander of the Submarine Force orders the return to the base of Mar del Plata, objective that its accomplished on 7d1April at 2:00 o'clock. The voyage have left the "Santa Fe" with the following news :
Radio with lessened service.
RATT (feletype) out of service
Cold storage room with conditional use
The bilge pumps only worked
at periscope depth
Motor with remarkable oil leakage
Batteries with a very low output
Ejector of waste out of service, having the
external cover been left stuck an open.
In spite of the already mentioned limitations, the Naval Dockyard Mar del Plata and the same crew start to get the "Santa Fe" ready to shape the war patrol. On account of this, it is worked for eight days during the 24 hours in the already described news and some other minor ones, to reach, at least, a minimum of operativity. 23 torpedoes, fuel, drinking water and food for several weeks are loaded. It is work to make remarkable that the naval dockyard only had the 12 original torpedoes that had been brought from USA the S-21 and S- 22, the rest were supplied by friend countries.
Meanwhile, the Command of the Force received orders of sending a way in haste
the submarine "Santa Fe" heading for the Georgias island with the
purpose of transferring at group of marines, in accordance with the evolution
of the military and political events. This decision was based in the great autonomy
of the ship and the possibility of reaching the objective with has much caution
is possible. Notwithstanding; the Commander of the "Santa Fe" is warned
that in case of an uncertain evolution of diplomatic negotiation, it should
not shot first at all. This order is precisely strange in the case of a submarine
whose only possibility of success lies in the facts -that it can attack with
out being detected. However it is assigned a war patrol area on the north of
the Georgias, since part of the British fleet was navigating towards the South
In the execution of the order, the Commander of Marines section Luis Lagos commanding the Golf Group was sent with about four tons of supplies in order to reinforce the garrison of port Grytviken and to take charge of the com- manding of the town. This group was made up of 11 men to see to different existent services in the ex whaling station
and 9 marines equipped with some Bantam missiles, a recoil- lees gun and ani:itank rocket launcher. It is not the aim of the actual work to make an analysis of the convenience of taking over and reinforcing militarily the Georgias island, the ones which for the low political echo obtained, £inally cost heaving causalities of marines, important losses and material badly damaged for an objective of difficult upholding because of
the distance of its geographic location.
The "Santa Fe" weighed anchor from Mar del Plata on April16th at 23:30and only a few miles of its bases its utter
penuries started. Electrical failures in the propulsion control obliged them to stop the march and make repairs while adrift, which demanded over three hours of work. The next day, a piston leaves motors number one out of order. 24 hours of endless
the work to get the ship into services.
On the 19th, the breakiing of the pulling gear of the water pump causes the overeating of
Motor N° 4. An emergency repair with epoxy adhesive obliges the crew on board to work continously for 48 hours.
Up to that moment the navigation had been taken places on the surface and the limitations regarding disponibility in the using of the motors delayed considerably the forseen moment to reach the objective.
On the 20th, the meteorology get adverse and the S-21 has to submerge advancing at slow march to save the little available power in its batteries. The delay start to increase.
A south west storm beats the ship between the 21st and 22nd. The "Santa Fe" get submerged again. Some damaged are caused to the sail and there are detachment in the superstructure. The navigating turn noisy and affects the passive sonar.
On the 23rd the ship looks for the surface because of a strong noise in the
port axis. By them, the delay whose of 36 hours. On the 24th, at down, a board
the ship, the information that the enemy will tray to recover the Georgias island
militarily, is received. The therefore, the "Santa Fe" received the
order of accomplishing the mission in the less times.
The Commander decide to make a direct course to Buller Cape and them a coastal navigation to Cumberland Bay. The submarine navigate on the surface all night; it submerges at 5:00 and a combined march is made electrical-diesel with snorkel. At 14:00 hs, the above mentioned Cape is reached and the "Santa Fe" put about South West searching the bay. With the dimness of the afternoon it is returned to the surface. In this condition the Vago Cove is reached at 23:30 hs.
Immediately, they start the landing of the Golf Group equipment and provisions. The Commander decides according to the numerous news the ship had, to leave in readiness and reach afar a way cove where they would be able to make repairments.
On April 25th at 4:50 hs the "Santa Fe" leaves Vago Cove. After an
hours of travelling, the combat alarm shocks the crew: The radar has detected
an aircraft, making clear the existence of British observers who noticed the
departure of the ship. 1
A Wessex English helicopter approaches the Argentinean submarines and launches two depth charges that burst out on the stern said near the starboard band. Imme- diately, they passed on to condition "B". Because of the attack the light of the hull opening, the ~epth pressure gauge, and the interior communication are out of order. Before the impossibility of passing onto immersion the crew laid hands on the only disposable resource: to intent repelling the attack with FAL rifles of the crew from the sail.
Then there are two "Sea Lynx" helicopters, the ones which approach the "S-11" and shoot with automatic gun's the ship. Some moment later a missile AS-12 shoot by a "Wasp" helicopter impact on the sail, damaging the big intake valve and the snorkel mast Fortunately, the sail of reinforced plastic allowed AS-12 to go through it an explode out of the same one. The petty officer Macias who was fighting in that places is' not able to take sure cover during the attack and is injured in a leg.
The "Santa Fe" turns about searching again for the Vago Cove, before the persistence of the enemy's attack. At 7:30 hs, the submarine is moored to the quay under the pro- tection of the arms of the marines troops. In a unusual action, an Argentinean infantryman shoots an antitank missile "Ban- tam" against a helicopter. Though the shoot did not hit the mark it is useful to have the enemy helicopters to retreat The
1 The nigths of 20th /21 " April the submarine HMS "Onix" infiltrated
12 men of the SBS for reconnaissance. The dayafter, other 15 men of Regiment
22 of SAS were transported by a helicopter "Wessex" to be lowered
on the Fortuna glacier, but high wins shoot down the aircraft. The same happened
to another "Wessex" which went to rescue them. Finally, a third helicopter
could rescue the
members of SAS and the crews of the smashed helicopter.
Given the precarious floating state of "Santa Fe", the only possibility
of travelling those four hundred meters was emergency rotocompressor to blow
the tanks, stabilize the leveline and propel itself with the remainder remainder
of the batteries. It is worth to make outstanding tha the mentioned system of
only worked for twelve minutes, at the end of which an automatic mechanism stopped
In this way, the submarine started to move slowly from the manoeuvre would bring about fatality. The Petty Officer Felix Artuso did not speak Englisn and the infantryman who guarded him knew nothing about submarines. The Argentinianean seaman had to operate very hastily about 24 valves and possibly some of these quick movements scared his guard who shot him a machine gun blast at point blank, causing his death at once
After some minutes the Santa Fe the water break of the Factory, it was moored the crew left the ship and a few hours after it sank definitley. The noble submarine was left lying on the bottom of the sea at 20M of depth listed to portleaving on the surface only part of the sail
In the summer 1984/85, the Head Office of Services of the defense ministry of Great Britain Ordered the Rescue Operations of the Santa Fe in order to take it away the anchorage of the Vago Cove. The submarine was refloated an lifted to the dry dock to seal off the damage of the hull. After four months of work with the backing of the rescue ship RMAS Gooseander" and of the tug ship "Salvageman", the "Santa Fe" started to be towed along, bound for Great Britain. However, a storm at high sea obliged to detach the dragging cables and the veteran ship sank definitley in the South Atlantic.
1st May (Chris)
02/05/82 (Bill)Main body of Argentinean fleet to NW 200 Miles Splendid and Sparten flanking De Mayo will be sunk if as soon as carrier launches planes, been a quiet night.
Alacritys Lynx got shot
at by a patrol boat she found in the vicinity of Kidney Island NGS Bombardment
commenced 1935 all ships fired 50 rounds before backing off. As they did were
attacked by 4 Mirages with canon and bombs. Damage Alacritys small ingress of
water in Ancillary machinery Room Glamorgan minor splinter damage on green sea
cat detector Withdrew to South going in again after dark Arrow had 3 5? holes
in Tyne uptakes speed not affected 1 chap got metal splinters in his stomach.
Action Stations no radar information but intelligence reports that an air attack is being mounted Intelligence reports say 4 Mirages 2 A1s and 1 Canberra didn?t get back out of 14 planes sent
Air Raid warning red
Fell out The expected attack never came maybe due to the fact we withdrew to far to reach. The subs have been ordered to sink their targets
Courageous scored two hits on General Belgrano with Mk 8 torpedoes
http://www.cibernautica.com.ar/gralbelgrano/ Account of the sinking of the Belgrano by one of the survivors
Informed that there are 3 corvettes coming towards us from the North could be as little as 50 miles away. All there corvettes are exocet armed nasty things with a range of 40 miles, which would kill everybody on board if Sea wolf didn?t
02/05/82 Steve(Taffl)Quite night but feel knackered, did not sleep well last night. Spent 5hrs at A/S yesterday, Arrow, Alacrity and Glamorgan in the thick of it, all slightly damaged, one man hurt? Heard that at least 7 Argie Aircraft were splashed how true that is I don't know. Hope we do something positive soon!!! All this closing up / standing down, is starting to get me down, Lets just get in there do what ever it takes and go home.
PM Sunday 2nd May
Well fairly naturally absolutely no time to write anything yesterday. It was very exciting and pretty heart stopping on occasions. We went boring into the Total Exclusion Zone and a Vulcan attacked Stanley runway with several 1000lb bombs from 8000ft.
This was a noble effort but regrettably only one hit the runway - having said that, it made one hell of a hole. After this (at dawn) 9 Harriers went in with various bombs - some of them cluster. They made a line of shallower holes all down the runway and one Harrier on seeing some 400 troops in tents dropped a cluster bomb on them and flattened the field. In this engagement one Harrier had a bullet through one wing but returned quite safely. It was then a combat air / missile direction exercise and it went well.
Despite their inferior speed the Harriers proved more than a match for the Argentineans. 4 Argentinean Mirages were downed by Argentinean shore AA guns! Ha! Also one Canberra and another Pucara dropped weapons in the water before running away.
As the day progressed, the Carriers together with the Type 42s providing air defence stayed pretty much away from the action at 50 miles from Stanley. We were sent with Yarmouth fairly close off the NE shore to limit their submarine San Luis which we did by deliberately making underwater noise and as "target" for a while. The aim being to draw him out from the shallow water or else to entice him to give away his position by having a "go".
During this phase, which lasted the whole afternoon and evening until 1am we HIFR fuelled 3 Seaking helicopters who were acting as screening Units and they gobbled 1 months worth of Avcat fuel at Lynx flying rates!
Now while all this was going on Glamorgan, Arrow, Alacrity were tasked to conduct Naval Gunfire bombardment of key targets around Stanley in broad daylight. Hermes provided Harrier CAP under Glamorgan control for this little exercise which was only some 40 miles from our position (across the eastern edge of the Islands).
It was not long before the Mirages etc came over the hill and our ships were attacked by an 8 A/C raid at about 4pm. All the ships sustained damage but of a minor nature. I do however feel they should have been better served with air defence cover in the shape of a 42 or maybe even us.
Fortune favors the brave - or God is on the side of the good or something for both we and they got away with this. Overall the Argentineans appear to have been pretty easily repulsed. They fired weapons at extreme range, dropped bombs when harassed and have not really ventured forward. The loss of their A/C and casualties on the ground will not have helped morale.
Today started with an early fuel (Dieso and Avcat) replenishment for us (pitch black night) and this went well. We had been told De Mayo, their carrier, had entered the NW of the TEZ and that we had moved away to the East - again to ensure their A/C had to operate to maximum range.
It was the intention, I understand that Spartan and Splendid who are believed to be marking De Mayo would attack her as soon as she commenced her launch. The idea being to leave the A/C in the air with no airfield to return to! (Pretty miserable trick - huh!) Since then however there has been a strange lull - the dawn strike we expected and were very prepared for did not happen and we have waiting till now 3pm to see what happens now - but nothing has. As I write therefore we have reversed course and are no heading NW again, in the general direction of the Carrier.
My assessment is:
a) There has been a major change of Argentine political intent or
b) They only intend to act in a defensive role or
c) Everything stopped because it was Sunday
But whatever, unless someone says something soon, we are about to take the war back to them when they like it least (at night). The Captain got v. little sleep last night so I am standing in for him at the moment.
All is very well on board; many of the men are v. tired because yesterday we were up and down from action stations like bell boys in a lift! The NAAFI has run out of T. paste and shampoo and only had for days of "nutty" left! Also run out of razor blades - a lot are growing beards (except me and the CO!)
Continued Sunday 11pm
It has certainly turned out to be a low pressure day. We are amused and amazed at the Argentinean news re: Hermes being badly damaged etc and loss of A/C. The one thing that is true is that we did not attack them on the Falklands today. It seems the Admiral was under tight control from No. 10 - presumably to gauge the political reaction on all sides. We are therefore dubbed incapable of continuing further action! What a hoot!
Anyway Glamorgan + have been detached to exercise a short sharp period bombardment of Stanley defences tonight while a second wave of helicopters inserts SAS/SBS on the island for advance recce. The intention tomorrow is to retire SE again and await developments - watch this space . This war diary will make interesting reading for me later!
The Corvettes found to be
2 tugs Lynx hit both tugs, 1 sunk the other still floating. They were probably
for the cruiser whose maximum speed is now 5 knots. General Belgrano reported
sunk 900 lives lost Intelligence suggest the helicopter sunk 1 and damaged frigate
Closed up Action Stations explosion reported on board HMS Sheffield cause not known suspected low level air attack. Sheffield has been hit by an exocet launched from a fighter at long range
2 3? rockets fired straight up to 90 lever
2 more 3? rockets fired looks like it?s going to be full-scale war. With news of General Belgrano going down felt sorry for Argentineans not any more maybe its self preservation taking over feelings death feels a lot closer to home so to speak
2 more 3? rockets Everybody?s very subdued no conversation except for a few halfhearted remarks everybody lost in their own thoughts. Hope our sea wolf can take out exocet It raises the pressure inside the ship 10lbs/sq?? even if it doesn?t explode inside blowing all the doors doorframes intact out. Time passes slowly when you are having fun.
Sheffield was hit amidships Glamorgan has pinged a periscope people beginning to talk again. Our role is goal keeping for Hermes.
Report that Sheffield wasn?t hit by an exocet but by torpedo smoke can be seen on horizon when the report came through there was a bit of nervous laughter a wave of relief seemed go through the men Maybe because we are better equipped against submarines. Although their torpedoes would only kill a few of us whereas an exocet would kill the lot, not a pretty thought Skips Pipe 1 possibly 2 subs in our area 3 destroyers 90 miles from Falklands. Vulcan bomber went in this morning to destroy remaining bit of runway + Harriers
Report by Admiral says Sheffield was hit by 1 of a pair of Exocets he thinks the submarine contacts are imaginary even though Yarmouth and Arrow say they have had torpedoes fired at them. Aircraft were sent out to sus out surface contacts and were found to be rocks
Sheffield?s floating upright but she has a bad fire in the FAMR
Fell Out from Action Stations
Closed up action stations aircraft contacts off Falklands
Fell out contact thought to be Hercules Sheffield being towed to the East 219 lifted off alive out of 270 The Sheffield pinged this missile coming in and DWO said it was a Harrier the Yarmouth then pinged it a few seconds after it blew up The Arrow was only spared because the last bit of chaff
closed up action stations surface p4 arg Sheffield shoved up diverted the missile over the top. The Buzz is that they are getting vectored in by the radar station on the governor?s house If they don?t job it tonight we might get jobbed tomorrow It now looks like we are going east out of range of their fighters an expensive lesson. The Sheffield has brought a lot of questions to a head for the senior rates their attitude is one of deep grief is as close to their eyes as I can get. The pointlessness maybe, what are we doing here,.Is it only because of political face, five hundred people dead. Are peoples lives worth nothing.
Watching Sheffield (photo Bill)
HMS Sheffield casualty evacuated to HMS Hermes (IWM)
Lynx Sea Skua (Malcolm Smith)
3rd May (Chris)