Battle for the Falklands (2) : Naval Forces (Men-At-Arms Series, 134)
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In the early hours of the chilly late-autumn morning, April 2 1982, substantial forces of Argentine Marines, with heavy naval and air support, had invaded the Falkland islands, quickly and almost bloodlessly overwhelming a token garrison of Royal Marines. The following day Argentine forces also invaded the Falklands dependency of South Georgia, forcing the garrison of just 22 Royal Marines to surrender – though not before they had inflicted disproportionately heavy losses on their attackers. In this companion to Men-at-Arms 133 & 135 Adrian English and Anthony Watts examine the naval forces of both sides who fought in the battle for the Falklands.
Royal Fleet Auxiliaries. Adm. Woodward's 'Big Match' was about to commence. by long training to operating in Arctic conditions, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines faced new hazards in the South Atlantic. There were gales reaching 100mph, whipping up waves of up to 50 feet, giving rise to some of the roughest waters in the world, with freezing spray which can coat everything it touches in ice—lethal to the unwary on board ship. Although this particular hazard was not so widespread as expected due
jet fighter-bombers of Xos.800 and 899 Naval Air Squadrons on the flight deck of HMS Hermes in rough weather—note the wave breaking over the 'ski-jump' ramp high on the carrier's bow. The fighters carry 100gal. drop-tanks on the inboard wing pylons and AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles outboard. They are painted glossy dark sea grey all over, with low-visibility blue and red roundels on intakes and upper wings; normal ejection, rescue, and 'keep off stencils are retained. A top Troops of 5
British Parliament on 3 April gave the government a predictably hard time; but all parties agreed that such a breach of international law could not go unavenged, and expressed almost unanimous support for the despatch of a naval task force, reservations being expressed only by the extreme and traditionally pacifist Left of the Labour Party. Two days later the concensus view that the disaster had been the responsibility of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was marked by Mrs. Thatcher's
for a new class of conventionally powered hunter-killers to supplement and eventually supercede the 'Oberons' and 'Porpoises'. The two assault ships Intrepid and Fearless, completed in 1965/67 to a design based on the American LSD, displaced 11,000 tons and carried eight smaller landing craft, with facilities for up to five Wessex helicopters, to disembark a maximum of 700 troops with their equipment. They carried a defensive armament of a quadruple Sea Cat launcher and two 40mm guns. The six
erode, the British military presence in the South Atlantic was confined to a single platoon of some 40 Royal Marines at Stanley, the Falklands' tiny capital, and the 3,600-ton Antarctic patrol vessel HMS Endurance. Defence cuts announced in June 1981 by British Defence Secretary John Nott included the withdrawal of Endurance from service without replacement, and thus the end of any permanent British naval presence in the area. The path to military annexation of the islands without the risk of a