Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Amazing Raid on Port Stanley 30 years ago

One should never underestimate the ingenuity of man when it comes to warmaking.

On May 1, 1982 the British launched one of the longest distance air raid ever when they bombed Stanley Airfield from Ascension Island, 3,750 miles away.

As shown in this graphic, taken from Clash of Arms' South Atlantic War 2nd Ed.  the raid involved a complicated dance of refueling tasks to pull off. It took 11 tanker aircraft to support the one Vulcan bomber that conducted the actual bomb run. (That bomber was the "spare" aircraft assigned to the mission, the primary aircraft had to abort.)

The bomb run did some key damage to the airfield, closing it to high performance aircraft. (The light Pucara attack plane and C-130 transports could still use it).  Things might have been tougher for the British if the Argentinians had been able to base jets at Stanley.

While the Vulcans conducted their mission without loss, other attacks that day were a harbinger for things to come for the the Argentinian airmen. Three Pucara aircarft were destroyed on the ground by attacking Sea Harriers from the British task force. Meanwhile, Argentinian attacks on the task force were costly. Three Argentinian aircraft were shot down by Sea Harriers -- a Mirage III, a Dagger and a Canberra bomber. Another Mirage III damaged by a Sea Harrier was lost when downed by friendly fire. The British frigate Arrow was damaged.

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving the Falklands War stuff, keep it up.