Tuesday, 12 June 2012

12 June 1982, More Exocets

Log Book entry:  Pax transfer .40 minutes night
                           Pax transfer and Vertrep 1.45 day
                           Stores transfer  1.25 day

Another busy day most of the details of which are lost in the mists of time.  The first two sorties must have been pretty standard stuff but he last wasn't.
Now those readers who have read 'Sea Skimmer' will be familiar with this bit of the story.  Having run out of air launched Exocet the clever Argies took the weapons off the destroyer Guerrico that had been shot up by the Marines in South Georgia earlier and mounted them on a shore trailer to defend the approaches to Stanley. There is still doubt about whether they were technically competent enough to do this and of course this is one of the plot lines in the novel.
However that they did it somehow is in no doubt and that morning they took two pot shots at HMS Glamorgan.  She had been using her 4.5 guns to support the guys ashore as the battles for Mount Longdon, Two Sisters and Mount Harriet came to a rather bloody conclusion.  The Exocet were fired at extreme range and the first missed, the second didn't.  Glamorgan was quite old and her radars were not up to detecting a fast sea skimming missile but luckily it was seen at the last moment and the ship turned hard.  It is understood that because of the angle of heel the missile went up through the hangar rather than into the body of the ship. I've spoken to several of the crew and many strongly feel that the warhead went off.  My opinion and that of others is that if it had there would not have been a hangar or flight deck left. As it was I landed on her several times on the last sortie of the day.  It's quite amazing what you can infer from simple radio conversations but it was quite clear that here was a ship in shock.  We all felt very sorry for them.

The shore trailer with two Exocet mounted on it - not  my photo but I did see it when we went ashore after the surrender.

Two photos of the damage caused by an Exocet on the only ship that survived a direct hit from one.

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