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The Battle for the Falklands - 40 Years On (Pt 1; April - May 1982)

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

Search all dits on the Falklands War Here or follow the links for each post to read the full story.

Mike Samuelson a Royal Marines Officer; 40 decades of War and Peace (Keeping) Pt1

March - July 1982

During 'Op Corporate' the Battle of the Falklands Mike was with 3 Commando Brigade HQ as GSO3 Amphib, Operations & Exercises, Mike was at the centre of many of the Amphibious planning decisions and had a unique perspective on the conduct of the war.

Listen on the RM History POD here.

1st April 1982

At the time of the Argentine invasion the islands were defended by NP8901 that consisted of a Royal Marine garrison of about troop strength, in the middle of a rotation the party was unusually at double strength, minus 9 of the outgoing troop that had already sailed to South Georgia aboard H.M.S. Endurance under the command of Lt. Keith Mills..

The Marines fought a brave delaying action, destroying an Amtrack and probably a Landing Craft and causing numerous casualties amongst the invaders before being ordered to lay down arms by the Island Governor.

Returned home most of the party volunteered to return with the task force and formed J Company 42 Commando, they would have the honour of once again raising the flag at Government House.

SBS Mobilised - sail South on HMS Conqueror

1st April 1982

SBS were given orders to mobilise on 1st April 1982.

Initially the plan involved using the SSNs to get Special Forces to the Falklands as fast as possible, and 6 SBS joined HMS Conqueror at Faslane before she set off. This involved loading about 6 tons of equipment (weapons, ammunition, explosives, inflatable boats, breathing apparatus, canoes and possibly diver propulsion devices) into the torpedo room the already heavily laden submarine.

She sailed on 4th April for the South Atlantic, transferring the party off on the 26th April, and going on to hunt and sink the General Belgrano.

'Mills Marauders' - The Battle of Grytviken

3rd April 1982

During the two-hour Battle of Grytviken on 3 April 1982, Lieutenant Mills' detachment of 22 Royal Marines inflicted damage on the Argentine corvette ARA Guerrico, hitting her with an 84mm anti-tank rocket and many rounds of small arms fire, and shot down a Puma helicopter as well as imposing casualties amongst the Argentine force.

Seriously outnumbered and under renewed and accurate shelling from the ARA Guerrico's turret, with one Marine wounded and in a critical condition the decision was made to surrender.

Operation Paraquet - Recapture of South Georgia

25th April 1982

A message was sent by the Task Group Commander, Captain Brian Young, after the surrender at Grytviken:

Be pleased to inform Her Majesty that the White Ensign flies alongside the Union Jack in South Georgia. God save the Queen.

Just rejoice at that news, and congratulate our forces and the Marines!

Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher

The first air-to-ship storming of a hostile vessel in military history

9th May 1982

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

RM Band Service - SS Uganda - Falklands War

12th May 1982

Royal Marines Bandsman operated on board the hospital ship SS Uganda, working as stretcher bearers and in direct support to medical staff including manual lung ventilation of several casualties in intensive care.

She received her first casualties on 12 May: wounded men from the Type 42 destroyer HMS Sheffield, at the end of May Uganda anchored in Grantham Sound, 11 miles northwest of Goose Green, where casualties from both sides arrived by helicopter and were treated, by 31st May she had 132 casualties aboard.

SBS Operations - East Falklands - Fanning Head

20th May 1982

The task of clearing Fanning Head fell to 3 SBS, supported by HMS Antrim. The Argentine position was located by using a thermal imaging device attached to Antrim's Wessex helicopter.

An SBS assault force of some 25 men, many armed with GPMGs, was delivered into the vicinity, piecemeal, by Wessex helicopter.

Landing at San Carlos - 21 May 1982

21st May 1982

The British Task Force started to land at San Carlos Bay on May 21st 1982 after receiving approval from London, under command of Brigadier J H Thompson, Royal Marines of 3 Commando Brigade.

Men from 40, 42 and 45 Commando were landed in San Carlos Bay along with men from 2nd & 3rd Parachute Battalions.

Brigade Maintenance Area established at Ajax Bay

22 May 1982

The disused refrigeration plant of the old mutton-processing factory at Ajax Bay that was used as the Brigade Maintenance Area and field hospital (© IWM FKD 93)

Coming soon

Loss of 2 Gazelle and 3 crew from 3 BAS - San Carlos Water

21st May 1982

Landings began on 21 May 1982 under the codename Operation Sutton.

That day, Sergeants Andy Evans RM and Eddy Candlish in Gazelle XX411 were flying armed escort to a Sea King helicopter that was heading towards Port San Carlos, when they came under fire and had to ditch in San Carlos Water.

Fired on when swimming ashore - Evans was fatally wounded.

Acting Colour Sergeant Brian JOHNSTON, Royal Marines, QGM

24th May 1982

Colour Sergeant Johnston, coxswain of LCU F4, was working in the vicinity of HMS ANTELOPE when her unexploded bomb detonated, starting an immediate fire which caused her crew, already at emergency stations, to be ordered to abandon ship. Without hesitation Colour Sergeant Johnston laid his craft alongside the ANTELOPE and began to fight the fire and take off survivors. At approximately 2200Z he was ordered to stay clear of the ship because of the severity of the fire and the presence of a second unexploded bomb.

Colour Sergeant Johnston remained alongside until his load was complete. In all LCU F4 rescued over 100 survivors from the ANTELOPE.

On 8 June, LCU F4 was attacked by enemy aircraft in Choiseul Sound. During this action Colour Sergeant Johnston and five of his crew were killed.

NGS in Fox Bay - SBS and 148 Bty

26th May 1982

A team of 2 Naval Gunfire Support (NGS) specialists from 148 Commando Forward Observation Battery escorted by a 5-man SBS delivery and protection team were inserted 5 miles south of West Head by HMS Plymouth.

Read 'Dit' here

45 Cdo 'Yomp' Across the the Falklands

27th May 1982

Memories of the Yomp coming soon

Battle for the Falklands - Double DFC's at Goose Green - 28th May 1982

28th May 1982

On Friday 28th May 1982, the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment was engaged in fierce fighting to take enemy positions in the area of Darwin and Goose Green. Two Gazelles and two Scout helicopters from 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron Royal Marines were tasked to support the attack.

Bill O' Brien - Only RM DFM

28th May 1982

During the attack on Darwin and Goose Green Sergeant O'Brien piloted a Gazelle helicopter of M Flight, 3rd Commando Brigade Air Squadron. For two days his helicopter conducted supply and casualty evacuation operations, often under enemy fire. With his Flight Commander he also took part in 17 night flying sorties to evacuate wounded personnel and resupply vital ammunition. At times these sorties necessitated flying forward to company lines in the heat of battle and in appalling weather. The conspicuous gallantry and cool professionalism displayed on all these occasions was superb and Sergeant O'Brien made an outstanding contribution. His expertise and competence as a pilot has been widely admired and recognised.

Mount Kent is captured by SAS and 42 Cdo RM

3o May 1982

On the night of 30 May, the spearhead of K Company of 42 CDO boarded three Sea King helicopters and moved forward of San Carlos to secure the commanding heights of Mount Kent—at 1,504 feet, the tallest of the peaks surrounding Stanley—where D Squadron from the Special Air Service (SAS) had already established a strong presence and were exchanging fire with the enemy.

Mine Sweeping from LCVPs - Teal Inlet

30 May 1982

In darkness on 30 May 1982 two of the LCVP's (Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel) T5 and T6 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.

Battle for the Falklands - The Skirmish at Top Malo House

31 May 1982

The Skirmish at Top Malo House was fought on 31 May 1982 during the Falklands War, between 1st Assault Section Argentine Special Forces from 602 Commando Company and a patrol formed from staff and trainees of the Royal Marines Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre.

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