26-28 April: CONSOLIDATION OF PARAQUAT FORCES
Three days of constant trooping, vertreps and medivac in an effort to consolidate the Royal Marine garrison before BRILLIANT’s departure. Some POW evacuation to RFA TIDESPRING carried out during the 27th.
262000- 342 (BRYANT/BUTLER) recovered a platoon of 9 SAS and their equipment (underslung) off a small beach between Stromnessand Leith at night in extremely poor visibility, a blizzard and gale force winds. Three trips were required . SAS had been ashore for 5 days and at that time were low on food and endurance.
271345- BRILLIANT Lynx carried out what is believed to be the first landing of a/c type on a Type 12 (HMS PLYMOUTH). Champagne gratefully received. Vertrep continued with prospect of detaching pm 28th.
281330- Departed South Georgia, in company with Plymouth, and with 22 SAS (83pax and 3000cu ft of stores) to rejoin CTG 317.8.
The two aircraft flew a total of 56 hours in support of Operation PARAQUAT 25-28 April, often in appalling conditions, without missing one sortie or take off time.
Having joined the main Task Group comprising of INVINCIBLE, HERMES and a number of smaller combatants, a reluctant 2 SAS were again moved , this time to HERMES. Whilst transferring SBS (from PLYMOUTH) on 28th, 341 spent the night in INVINCIBLE after a rapid deterioration of the weather. Completed the transfer of 22 SAS and SBS (from PLYMOUTH) to the two carriers by 1800 on the 30th. An extract form ship’s . or.ex 101 (Captain’s comments) reads
” Both aircraft and aircrewmore or less dead beat after a week’s flat out flying. They have done absolute wonders, without them the invasion of South Georgia could not have happened. “I greatly hope that this will not be overlooked in the accolades that follow this operation.”
For once, the Captain’s hiopes were not fulfilled.
1May- ‘C’ Day AND ASW ACTION NORTH OF THE FALKLANDS
This day marked the first offensive on the Argentinian shore positions around Port Stanley by British Forces. A combination of shore bombardment and Harrier bombing raids continued throughout the day, the main target being Stanley Airport. A number of Argentinian air raids (Pucara, Mirage, Canberra and Entendard) were thwarted without the loss of a single harrier – up to four enemy aircraft were splashed. Brilliant was tasked to take YARMOUTH and 3×826 Sqdn Seakings to an area along the North coast of East Falkland to attempt to localise and destroy the s/m SAN LUIS. In an area swamped with bottom targets, wrecks and the odd whale, ships and aircraft expended an arsenal of ASW weapons against everything but the SAN LUIS. Sending 3 SKD to be supported by HIFR over an 8 hour period was an interesting idea , but severely restricted the ship’s ASW and helo operations whilst the dippers virtually emptied out tanks of AVCAT.
The MAD Lynx was used extensively as a weapon carrier and surface search vehicle throughout the day. During the afternoon 342 , not appreciating the full extent of the air actrivity happening above and to the East , carried out a close recce of the North coast from Dolphin Point to Cape Carysfort without incident or sighting enemy aircraft. At 2200 the ASW action was broken off; a day remembered for numerous attacks on non-subs, an influx of firm sonar and MAD contacts and the day the whales of the Southern Ocean began their journey Northminus a few of their number. BRILLIANT rejoined the main group late that night.
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.
Sent a party ashore to blow up the Santa-Fe, got a souvenir off the sub for the mess.
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.
Heading North / West. Skipper on main broadcast quote ” Brilliant has a key role to play when we are with the Main Task Force, in other words we will be in the front line all the time” unquote. Don’t like the sound of that one little bit.
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 success!
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.
HMS Hermes Flight Deck
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 Atlantic.
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 antitank 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 it.
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.
No doubt you’ve heard the news today about the incidents that have occurred between us and them, and you’ll be glad to hear that we weren’t the ones who were damaged. To be quite honest, I don’t know how close we came to being hit. I’m down below and don’t really get much information as to what’s happening until it’s all over, but I’ll be glad when it is all over and I’m on my way home. I’m afraid this sort of thing is going to go on for a while yet though. It must be awful for you at home, as all it says on the news is “one frigate has been damaged with one casualty”, and you don’t know if that’s us or not. Well you’ll be happy to hear that I’m okay!
Quite night! Entered Zone at approx 0700 hrs, all waiting for Action Stations, Fwd Seawolf is playing up!!!!!!! 1750 we have been closed up and stood down from Action Stations six times since 1045. Aircraft threats which turned back ( so they say ) when confronted by C.A.P. (Combat Air Patrol ). It appears that a whale got zapped today because someone somewhere couldn’t tell the difference between a whale and a submarine. The bombing of Stanley Airport was a success today. Still no joy as to the where abouts of the submarine San Louis???? Some ships have started NGS. 1912 A/S Arrow has been hit, one casualty. One Argie Aircraft splashed. I’m sleeping fully booted and spurred tonight.
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.
Razzing with Omega Dieso and Avcat Sea Kings took a months worth of Lynx fuel. All our ships regrouping for protection. Signal
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
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
Relative positions of opposing forces
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.
It has been a very quite day, A/S once for 2 hrs but nothing came of it. Had to RAS more Ammo. The food tonight was shite, I’ve spent a bloody fortune in the NAAFI since I got back onboard.
STOP PRESS One of our Nukes has Zapped Argie Cruiser, 2 torpedo’s, it is badly damaged / sinking?????
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).
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!
3/4 may- THE PREPARATION FOR ARGENTINE COUNTER ATTACK ON MAIN GROUP
The eve of May 3 had BRILLIANT back with the main GROUP in readiness for an ?Argentine counter attck, thought to be a pincer movement from GENERAL BELGRANO group to the SW and the 25 DE MAYO group to the NW of the Falklands. The Lynx was tasked for surface search , regrettably without skua as this aircraft had been transferred to SHEFFIELD prior to detaching to South Georgia. The day was full of incidents begining news of the GENERAL BELGRANO sinking by HMS CONQUEROR and later by the successful COVENTRY and GLASGOW Lynx Skua attacks on two surface ‘snoopers’ close to the force. The following day SHEFFIELD was hit by an air launcehdExocet and withinhours 342 was airbourne on what was to become a more common ESM upthreat as a warning against subsequent air attacks.
Photo (Malcolm Smith) Sea Skua Lynx
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 not tugs
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 inch 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.
Photo Bill Watching Sheffield
Helo’s attack and wipe out one Gunboat and damage a 2nd with Seaskua. Very quite day, we await a reaction from the Argies, they don’t appear to want to play! For how long remains to be seen????
3rd May (Chris)
Well, sweetheart, no doubt you’ve been listening to the news over the past day or so about the Argentine cruiser and patrol craft that were attacked. I’m glad to say we were no-where near any of that – I’m no hero as you know – but it’s good to hear that there has been so little damage to our units so far, and only one casualty to date. Let’s hope it stays that way.