Falklands War Day by Day Account

For further information visit Wikipedia or a more detailed account can be found at The Falklands War

Retaking of Falkland 13th May Onwards 1982

May 14th - An SAS team was put ashore on Pebble Island that had had a small airfield built on it. The British were worried that the small Pucara airplanes could disrupt their intended invasion fleet as it approached the Falklands Sound. The team destroyed or damaged all the aircraft on the island and so removed the threat.
By now, it was clear that the British could not fully achieve its goal of definitively drawing out and defeating the Argentine Naval and Air Forces. They simply would not commit themselves fully to complete that task. The British had to make the unenviable decision to launch an Amphibious Assault without Air and Naval superiority. The Amphibious Assault vessels were ordered to leave Ascension Island for the Falklands, but Air defence became a priority as they approached the war zone.
May 21st - the British launched their invasion. They had achieved strategic surprise, there were no Argentines waiting to repel them - although sightings of the British were radioed back to the Argentine command. The first wave of British soldiers got ashore safely and secured the bridgehead. Landing Craft and Mexeflote’s shuttled the forces to and fro between the ships and shore.
By 10am, the Argentine Air Force began its response and it was a furious one. Realising that there was a high density of targets in a tight formation, the Argentine Air Force descended upon it in full fury.  
Wave after wave of Argentine planes screamed down the valleys and bays and dropped their ordinance on whatever was in their sights. The Royal Navy found that it was fighting off a determined and highly skilled enemy. The planes came in low and fast - possibly too low as many of the bombs they had dropped failed to go off even when they hit their target. It was going to take a while to set up the land based Rapier Anti-Aircraft system. Until they were available the Royal Navy had to fend for itself. It was found that the humble machine gun was still an invaluable tool on the modern battlefield. The volume of lead and tracers unnerved many of the pilots who frequently dropped their bombs too early just to get out of the danger zone.  Fortunately for the British, the pilots were aiming for the escort ships rather than the troop carriers. This was not much comfort for those Royal Naval sailors who were finding themselves to be the targets, but it would at least allow the Royal Marines and Paratroopers of the Commando Brigade to get ashore relatively unmolested. The Harriers were called upon to provide air cover and were found to be proficient in fighting against the much faster Argentine planes. The acceleration of the Harriers more than made up for the deficiency in its top speed. However, there were just not enough Harriers to meet the demand required. Also, the Harriers had little time to spend over the landing zone. The British wanted to ensure that their Carriers were not in danger of being hit by Exocet missiles and so were a long way out to sea. This meant that the Harriers had to travel to and from the landing zone and so did not have much time to keep guard over the invasion fleet.
May 23rd - Bombs rained down on the picket ships of the Royal Navy. HMS Argonaut was on the receiving end of many of these bombs. It was crippled but still afloat. Many of its sailors had to be evacuated to nearby ships. However, it was HMS Ardent that was to be the first major casualty of the landing force as it was hit by 1,000 pound bombs. HMS Yarmouth came to her aid and was at least able to get the majority of the crew to safety. HMS Antelope would be another casualty. Yet again, it was hit by a series of bombs, not all of which exploded. Bomb disposal officers were sent to the ship but they caused a catastrophic explosion that would see the ship ripped apart.