Friday, June 8, 2012

A Final Sting -- Bluff Cove 1982

Sir Tristam loaded on a heavy lift vessel for transport back to Britain in 1983 after the war.
While heavy losses had forced the Argentine Air Force to slacken its raids on the British in the Falkland Islands, the threat was not entirely neutralized,a s the events of June 8 would show.

While the British were trying to keep up the pace of their advance on Stanley by ferrying troops in landing ships closer to the front, the Argentinians launched two strikes from the mainland. While both strikes were spotted by British submarines on picket off the coast, the early warning wasn't enough to thwart the aattck.

The first, and most destructive run was by five A-4 Skyhawks (out of 8 launched) that surprised the British landing ships Sir Galahad and Sir Tristam and supporting craft at Bluff Cove. Both British landing ships were hit and heavily damaged with 51 killed and 46 wounded. The Sir Galahad was dmaged too badly to save and the Sir Tristam had to be carried back to England on a heavy lift ship after the war for extensive repairs, so both ships were, in effect, "sunk." None of the attacking planes waslost.

A following wave of four Skyhawks was less fortunate, as the British defenders were now alerted and three of the four planes were downed by misisles and Harriers without causing any damage.

The second strike was comprised of five Dagger aircraft (of six launched) that attacked the frigate Plymouth  in Flatland Sound. Four 1,000 pound bombs hit the ship and it would certainly have been lost if any of them had exploded. Instead the four duds severely damaged the frigate. None of the attacking planes were lost.

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