In the cool early morning darkness of the 15th May, a Nimrod MR. The Argentine forces suffered further losses when, due to poor visibility, two A-4 Skyhawks of Groupo 4 flying at low level to attack Royal Navy ships crashed into the steep sides of South Jason Island off the North West coast of the Falklands. In the event although Wg Cdr Squire delivered his strafe attack on the target area no damage was observed.
When told they had the lead of the mission, a long silence fell over the cockpit which was only broken by Martin Withers words:. The lack of a Ground Liaison Officer is going to be a severe limitation. The recce of Atlantic Conveyor confirms that with some modifications, the deck can be used as a platform for both Harriers and helicopters. This task arose as a knee jerk reaction to a report of swept wing aircraft, possibly Etendards, being parked adjacent to the eastern threshold. The weapon struck with devastating effect, hitting the centre of the ship and starting raging fires which quickly spread.
Sqn Ldr McDougall flew around for 40 minutes while the Argentine radar operators switched their radars on and off. However due to extremely bad weather on the mainland prevented the Argentine Forces launching any air strikes until later in the day when a pair of Skyhawks ran through San Carlos Water at last light, dropped their weapons with no effect and sped clear. He also expected to see a Sea Cat missile leave the launcher but for some reason it refused to fire. The target was easily acquired, the arrangement of jerry cans and 40 gallon drums had been set out to avoid all being destroyed by a single bomb, this however meant that they were laid out in a pattern ideal for engagement with Cluster bombs. The armed recce was carried out but nothing was seen so the pair returned to the Carrier.
The required modifications include an I-Band transponder for IMC recoveries , deck restraint shackles on the main undercarriage, active nose wheel steering, hardened limiters for the JPTL Jet Pipe Temp Limiter system and anti-corrosion treatment. The three aircraft launch at HMS Avenger then claimed to have engaged and shot down the Exocet missile with her 4. The armed recce was carried out but nothing was seen so the pair returned to the Carrier.
One item of note that did occur was in the area of Port San Carlos. The improvised bomber released eight bombs, all of which missed except one which struck the ships superstructure and bounced off harmlessly without exploding. The build up of land forces was complete with some 5, tons of stores ashore and 5, men ready to break out of the bridgehead. Around late morning and at midday Small groups of Skyhawks penetrated the trough to the landing area. With this incident a series of unrelated factors were coming together that would have a decisive influence on events later in the day. Turning on his radio locator beacon for two minutes every half hour gave him something to concentrate his mind, and he was sure that the Carriers would be sending helicopters to look for him.
Three bombs impacted Coventry penetrating deep into her and exploding, blasting a great hole in her side. The Argentine forces suffered further losses when, due to poor visibility, two A-4 Skyhawks of Groupo 4 flying at low level to attack Royal Navy ships crashed into the steep sides of South Jason Island off the North West coast of the Falklands. In all the confusion, however, the missile fins go astray and these are eventually found on HMS Intrepid. The first Argentine response to the arrival of the Task Force was to send a Pucara on a dawn reconnaissance.
She was taken in tow but finally sank outside the Exclusion Zone on 10th May, becoming an official war grave. Skyhawk — Groupo 4 — West of West Falkland — Crashed into the sea having been engaged by multiple weapons. Remarkably no one was seriously injured.
McDougall flew a complex pattern over the Islands to identify the targets and make sure they knew which was which. All the Harriers returned safely with two receiving minor small arms damage. The pilot Major Tomba ejected. The Wasp escaped damage and scored its most damaging hit, striking the periscope standards.
Previous missions by the Learjets had not encountered much in the way of resistance to their missions from the British forces below. Apart from being shot at he is unable to see or hear anything of Iveson. Under the cover of darkness and poor weather, two Sea Kings of NAS with 45 men embarked between them, approached undetected and landed on Pebble Island.
As he turned away Ward was convinced the aircraft would never go down when he saw Major Tomba eject, the Pucara drop and slide over the peat to a halt. Morgan would later receive the Distinguished Service Order for his Actions. On its return trip to the mainland from Port Stanley a C of Groupo 1 popped up North of San Carlos Water to make a brief sweep of the area for British ships, to aid targeting of the attack aircraft. It was decided that there was a need to make a show of force using the naval and air forces at the disposal of Admiral Woodward.
About four hours later they arrived at their final rendezvous with a Victor tanker off the coast of Brazil. Remarkably all three Argentine pilots ejected safely. Dawn broke with British forces well established ashore and sending out patrols to secure the high ground. Speculation as to the mission it was involved in was, and remains today, shrouded in secrecy. In the confusion Lt Micheloud made good his escape.
- The two Etendards climbed and launched their single Exocet before turning for home leaving the four Skyhawks to follow the missiles smoke trail to the fleet. A split second after Luna left the doomed Dagger it smashed into the ground, so close that Luna could feel the heat and blast. The British Wye, a 15, ton ship carrying fuel for the Task Force, came under attack from a modified C Hercules of Groupo 1, about miles due east of Buenos Aires. The shortage of Harrier GR. All the Harriers returned safely with two receiving minor small arms damage.
- The body of Lt Giminez would be found, recovered and repatriated in Moments later the guns started firing and McDougall saw the explosions from four shells below them. However, at this stage he suffered a total radio failure and also noticed that his fuel was decreasing rapidly. Seeing the Sea Harriers the Skyhawks accelerated and turned to starboard, at the same time jettisoning their under wing tanks and bombs.
Reports of the ships positions were relayed first to Port Stanley and from Stanley to the Mainland in short order. After the conflict was over Flt Lt Hare went ashore with a group of 1 F Sqn members to help repair the damage. The Nimrod returned to Wideawake Airfield after three air to air refuellings and being airborne for 18 hours and 5 minutes, covering a distance of 8, miles. Sqn Ldr Harris later described this:. The Dagger tried to out accelerate Hale, but Hale dropped in behind the aircraft at a range of about half a mile, got a good tone and fired a Sidewinder.
The aim will be to see if the deck offers sufficient space for Harrier embarkment. In what appears to be a million to one freak event it is assumed that the aircraft, in appalling weather, suffered a mid-air collision. It had also been hit by some of Morrellls 30mm cannon rounds.
Search for a location
A C Hercules again flight refuelled from Ascension dropped more high priority supplies to the Task Force. News of the invasion began to reach London at around midday on 2nd April — 8am Falklands time, and was publicly announced in Britain that afternoon. The same pattern will then be repeated be repeated on Tuesday and Wednesday. On this day however a new Argentine unit appeared. The aircraft would be airborne 18hrs and 51 minutes and cover 8, miles at the time the record holder for the longest operational reconnaissance mission ever undertaken.