Saturday, 26 May 2012

26 May 1982 We arrive

Log Book entry:  Captain to Invincible and return .20 minutes (day) .30 minutes (night)

So the Bristol Group arrives and we disperse into the fleet.  We take the Captain to Invincible for briefings and while he is in his meetings we join up with the Lynx flight that's been deployed in her for the war.  Very useful chats all round in particular how we are likely to be used in the future.  As the government saw fit to get rid of our fixed wing carriers this included our airborne early warning aircraft.  The only way we have of detecting an Etendard/Exocet attack now is to use the Lynx way up threat, listening on Orange Crop for the targeting radar of the Etendard (codenamed 'Handbrake' for some unearthly reason).  It's a pretty makeshift solution but the best we are going to get.  We also tell them about the jammer and how it works and discuss tactics.
It seems that Andromeda, being the third Sea Wolf ship will be primarily there to defend the Carriers against air attack and Exocet.  The Wolf has now been modified to be able to take out crossing targets so we can target missiles wherever they are going.  With three frigates with Sea Wolf and two Carriers our other role will be on the picket line of three ships up ahead of the Task Force as the first line of defence - a fairly lonely place at times.
The previous day had been dreadful as we soon find out.  Coventry and Broadsword had been on picket duty and the Argies made a determined attempt to take them out.  The result was Coventry sunk and Broadsword damaged with a bomb that bounced up off the sea and through the flight deck taking the nose off the Lynx parked there.  On the same day Atlantic Conveyor was hit by one, possibly two Exocet and a great deal of stores and Chinook helicopters were lost.  On the plus side the Argies lose eight more aircraft.
That evening the BBC announce 'the Paras are marching on Goose Green'.  Once again the Argies believe it is deception.  No national television service could be so cretinously stupid - could they?

What happened to Broadsword's Lynx when a bomb went up through the flight deck and took off her nose.   Note the torpedo - a Mark 46, full of explosives and very unstable propellant fuel. A few inches to the right and there would have been a very large bang!  She was almost ditched over the side as a write off but was kept in the end to fly another day.  She proved quite useful as we and other flights went over and stripped her of any useful spares.

1 comment:

  1. Not forgetting that May 25th is an important day in the Argentine Calendar. It is when the country celebrates The Day of the First National Government of Argentina following the May 25th, 1810 Revolution, so we were to expect some all out action that day.