I N V A S I O N - T
H E 2 1 S T M A Y
The first aim had been completed, men ashore with sufficient supplies to hold their ground. However it now had to be defended and this task fell to the escorting frigates and destroyers. What happened over the next five days proved to be the highlight of the war from a naval point of view. They were days of sadness, horror, jubilation, thankfulness, pain and joy.
The following day saw the talks finally breakdown and we were told that the invasion was to go ahead and that the landing would be on the 21st at San Carlos water off Falkland Sound on the west side of East Falkland. The ships formed up and split into two groups. The carrier group remained to the east and the troop carriers and assault ships guarded by ANTRIM, BROADSWORD, BRILLIANT, ARDENT, YARMOUTH, PLYMOUTH and ARGONAUT headed for the beach-head with 4000 troops and all their vital supplies. This was the day that would win or lose the battle. We had to get all the troops ashore.
One hit on the CANBERRA and all would be lost. Surely this was the moment for which the Argentines had been saving their remaining air launched Exocet? The weather was on our side - misty with lots of low cloud to hide our position. As we set off from the carrier group on the evening of the 20th May we waited and waited for the inevitable air attacks, but non came. Maybe we could do it after all! We pressed on towards our goal. During the night creeping ever closer to the landing area, GLAMORGAN and the Harriers were carrying out diversionary bombardments of other possible landing sites and when at last as we in the Sound were putting men ashore, the SAS and SBS attacked strategic positions to add to the Argentines confusion. As dawn broke on the 21st we had achieved the beginning of the end for the enemy occupation of the Falklands. Every single soldier of the original 4000 was put ashore safely and after few skirmishes with some Argentineans a beach-head was established.
The Great White Whale