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Mine Sweeping from LCVPs - Teal Inlet

Without sufficient helicopter availability following the Exocet attack on and loss of the MV Atlantic Conveyor, 3 Commando Brigade had ‘yomped’ and ‘tabbed’ itself the 50 miles across East Falkland to go firm to the north west of Port Stanley but needed more immediate access to support.

It became important to establish a Brigade Maintenance Area (BMA) closer to the Brigade but mining of the access route through San Salvador to Teal inlet was a clear possibility. Attention was given to using the adhoc Assault Influence Minesweeping System Mk 1 to explore the inlet for mines.

In darkness on 30 May 1982 two of the LCVP's (Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel) Tango 5 and Tango 6 from the embarked 6th ASRM (6th Assault Squadron Royal Marines) were launched from Intrepid at the entrance to San Salvador inlet to deploy their improvised and unproven and improvised shallow water magnetic and acoustic influence sweeps.

LCVP Tango 5 of 6 ASRM of HMS Intrepid (

The operation was led by Lieutenant Commander Bruce Mackay, (MCD) with his 2-i-c, Chief Petty Officer (Mine Warfare) Bryan ‘Bill’ Hayley on the second landing craft.

Each LCVP was commanded by a Royal Marine Coxswain and had aboard specialist mine warfare junior ratings.

No mines were actuated, even after several runs up and down the inlet, to the great relief of those manning the craft. That result would now ensure Landing Ship Logistic (LSL) access and the setting up of the forward BMA at Teal.

Leading Seaman (Diver) Anthony (Thommo) Thompson approaching the live Argentinean Sea mine after it had been swept and towed to sheltered waters. (Vernon Project)

Lieutenant Commander Mackay and the two Royal Marine Coxswains were subsequently Mentioned in Despatches for their part in this hazardous operation with an unproven system that could well have ended in the loss of both landing craft and their crews.

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