As 2 Para fought the
battle for Goose Green, 45 Cdo 'yomped' and 3 Para 'tabbed' across the rough, boggy ground
towards Stanley by the northern route. Often in the dark
and wet, and heavily laden, they moved at a fast rate
first for Teal Inlet. 3 CBAS helicopters supported 45 Cdo
on the way and 3 Para was followed by 4 Troop of The
Blues and Royals with two Scimitars and two Scorpions.
on the morning
of Thursday 27th, Lt
Col Whitehead's 45 Cdo first
moved by LCU from Ajax Bay to Port San Carlos before
setting out the 12 miles to New House, reaching there late that night.
After resting up
they completed the eight miles to Douglas on Friday and dug in ready to move to Teal. Lt Col
Pike and 3 Para
were to follow behind, but instead took a more southerly,
direct route in two columns. After marching for 24 hours
they met up on Friday a few miles short of Teal Inlet, and when darkness fell, completed
the journey late that night and stayed throughout Saturday.
On Sunday, 45 Cdo pushed on to join them at Teal Inlet, but
3 Para and the light tanks were ordered
to head for Mount Estancia as part of the plan to occupy
the heights to the west of Stanley, and by the end of the
day had reached Lower Malo House. 45 Cdo
stayed put for now.
On Friday 28th, with J Coy 42 Cdo flying down towards Darwin, the rest of 42 Commando prepared
for the Mount Kent operation. K Coy was already at Port San Carlos, and
from Sussex Mountains by L Coy, after they in turn had been relieved
by B Coy of 40 Cdo which had to stay in defence of the
beachhead. That same night, D Sqdn SAS finally completed its helicopter move below
Kent, but an attempt
to follow them up with 42 Cdo Tac HQ, K Coy and three 105's of 7 Bty over Saturday night was stopped by blizzards. Late on Sunday, No.846 Sea Kings and the lone RAF
Chinook managed to get in, but in the middle of an SAS
fire-fight with Argentine troops, after which K Coy moved
on to the summit. The Chinook was slightly damaged on the
flight back, but support helicopter strength was
increasing. The first No.825 Sea Kings flew ashore from
"Atlantic Causeway" on Saturday and joined the
other Navy, Marine and Army helicopters as well as the
Chinook already flying from the Forward Operating Bases
(FOB's) scattered around San Carlos Water.
Although there were few
Argentine aircraft attacks between now and the second
week in June, they nevertheless chose Thursday afternoon
(27th) for their first
strike against land targets, when two pairs of Grupo 5
Skyhawks bombed and strafed troop and supply positions.
Coming in over the Brigade Maintenance Area at Ajax Bay,
one pair killed six men of 45 Cdo and the Cdo Logistics
Regt, wounded others and landed UXB's near the Field
Dressing Station. This is where Flt Lt Swan later slept
beside the bombs to reassure the staff and patients. The
second pair hit San Carlos and killed one man each from
40 Cdo and the 59 Ind Cdo Sqdn RE; but during the
attacks, one of the Skyhawks was hit by 40mm Bofor fire
from "Fearless" or "Intrepid" and
crashed over West Falkland near Port Howard [a57].
More sorties took place over the weekend.
Canberras of Grupo 2 carried out the first of a series of
night time harrassing attacks on San Carlos Water,
followed in June by raids on the Mount Kent area, and at mid-day when Daggers of Grupo 6 reached
the anchorage, one was shot down by the defending Rapiers
[a61]. On Sunday morning an Argentine Army Puma was lost near Mount
Kent, possibly to its own forces [a62]. And that afternoon, two A-4C Skyhawks were brought
down in the first coordinated CANA/FAA mission. The plan
was for two Super Etendards to launch the last airborne
Exocet at the Task Force carriers, and for four Grupo 4
Skyhawks to finish off the target with bombs. Coming in
from the south after tanker refuelling, the aircraft
mistakenly released the missile from 20 miles at
"Avenger", then east of the Falklands. The
Exocet was apparently deflected by chaff, and although
the Etendards escaped, two of the Skyhawks were destroyed
by Sea Darts from "Exeter" as they went in to
attack, although "Avenger's" 4.5 inch may have
hit one of them [a63, a64].
As the Sea Harriers
continued to fly CAP and drop bombs on Stanley airfield
and the GR.3's fly ground support from the carriers, a
total of three were lost over these few days. Apart from
the GR.3 near Goose Green on Thursday, next to go on Saturday afternoon (29th) was a Sea Harrier of No.801 NAS
which slid of "Invincible's" deck as she turned
into wind in heavy weather, although fortunately the
pilot ejected and was rescued from the water [b29]. Then at midday on Sunday, the RAF found itself down to just
three GR.3's. One of four aircraft over the Stanley area
was hit by small arms fire from Argentine troops, and on
the way back to "Hermes" ran out of fuel [b30]. Sqdn Ldr Pook parachuted into the
sea and was soon rescued by a No.826 Sea King.
Apart from all the
shipping activity around South Georgia, Task Force
warships continued to bombard Argentine positions and
escort supply ships into and out of San Carlos Water,
where only now were "Argonaut" and "Sir
Lancelot" finally relieved of their UXB's.
"Elk" went in Thursday night (27th) to continue unloading her ammo,
and over the weekend,
"Argonaut" and "Plymouth" finally
left, with only "Yarmouth" of the original
escorts remaining for a few days more. And now 5th Inf Bde started to arrive.
"Fearless" left San Carlos Water on Thursday to later meet "Antrim"
to the east of the TEZ, and with General Moore on board
arrived back early Sunday. When Brigadier Thompson returned to San
Carlos from Teal Inlet to find his commander there, final
plans were made to receive 5th Inf, put 2 Para under
Brigadier Wilson's command, and move 3 Cdo Bde HQ to the