• Simon 'Peters' Biggs

Battle for the Falklands - The first air-to-ship storming of a hostile vessel in military history

On 9th May 1982 two teams of SBS assaulted an Argentinean spy trawler the ARA Narwal that had been shadowing the British fleet.

The ship had been damaged by bombs and cannon fire from an earlier attack by Navy Sea Harriers and was listing badly when the assault force arrived in 2 Seaking helicopters.

Using techniques developed for maritime counter terrorism, the SBS assault team fast-roped onto the deck and quickly secured the ship without any shots fired.

Along with the shaken crew, vital intelligence documents were also retrieved and flown back to the fleet.

Meanwhile, an Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma of the Argentine Army was sent to recover the crew of Narwalafter receiving a distress signal, but was shot down by destroyer HMS Coventry with a Sea Dart missile, killing all three members of the crew.

The vessel was taken in tow but sank the next morning.

This was the first air-to-ship storming of a hostile vessel in military history.


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