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The Falklands War: A chronology of events


On 19 March 1982, Argentine scrap metal workers illegally arrived at Leith Harbour, South Georgia, on board the transport ship ARA Bahía Buen Suceso and raised the Argentine flag. This move led to a brief, but bitter conflict on the Falkland Islands, a remote UK colony in the South Atlantic. During the ten week battle a total of 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel, and three Falkland Islanders lost their lives.

Friday, 19 March — Scrap metal workers arrive at the derelict whaling station at Leith on South Georgia and raise the flag of Argentina.

Sunday, 21 March — Endurance, at Stanley, sails for South Georgia with two helicopters and a Royal Marines detachment.

Monday, 22 March — The Bahia Buen Suceso leaves Leith Harbour; forty-eight scrap metal workers remain behind.

Wednesday, 24 March — Royal Marines detachment from Endurance lands to monitor Argentine activity at Leith.

Thursday, 25 March — Argentine marines land at Leith from Bahia Paraiso.

Monday, 29 March  Replacement Naval Party 8901 arrives in Stanley.

Wednesday, 31 March  Royal Marines detachment disembarks from Endurance at Grytviken.

Thursday, 1 April — Naval Party 8901 for the 1981–82 deployment passed operational command to the new Royal Marines detachment; both take up defensive positions in and around Stanley; submarine Splendid leaves from Faslane; orders given for the SBS to mobilise.

Friday, 2 April — Argentine invasion of the Falklands begins; after brief resistance Governor Rex Hunt surrenders; the UN condemns the act with Resolution 502; Task Force begins to assemble.

Saturday, 3 April — Royal Marines at Grytviken, outnumbered and outgunned, surrender; NP 8901 is flown to Montevideo for repatriation.

Sunday, 4 April — Brigadier Thompson briefs his COs at Plymouth; Submarine Conqueror leaves Faslane.

Monday, 5 April — Task Force sails from Portsmouth with HQ 3 Commando Brigade and elements of 40 and 42 Commando; Naval Party 8901 arrives back in the UK.

Tuesday, 6 April — Naval Party 1222, intended for the island’s defence, arrival at Ascension.

Thursday, 8 April — Broadsword and Yarmouth depart from Gibraltar.

Friday, 9 April — Canberra departs from Portsmouth carrying 3 Para and most of 40 and 42 Commandos.

Saturday, 10 April — Antrim Group arrives at Ascension.

Sunday, 11 April — Antrim Group sails for South Georgia from Ascension with M Coy 42 Cdo aboard.

Monday, 12 April — UK imposes 200-mile Maritime Exclusion Zone around the Falklands.

Wednesday, 14 April — Brilliant Group leaves Ascension; Rear Admiral Woodward departs from Ascension aboard Glamorgan, with Alacrity, Broadsword and Yarmouth.

Friday, 16 April — Task Force sails from Ascension; Hermes arrives at Ascension; Invincible leaves Ascension; Woodward discusses campaign strategy with Clapp and Thompson aboard Fearless.

Saturday, 17 April — Admiral Fieldhouse, C-in-C Fleet and Major General Moore, Land Forces Commander, fly to Ascension to meet Woodward, Thompson and Clapp aboard Hermes.

Sunday, 18 April — Carrier Battle Group leaves Ascension: Hermes, Invincible, Glamorgan, Broadsword, Yarmouth, Alacrity and RFA Olmeda and Resource.

Tuesday, 20 April — Canberra and Elk arrive at Ascension; Royal Marines captured at South Georgia arrive in the UK.

Wednesday, 21 April — SBS and SAS teams inserted by helicopter on to South Georgia.

Thursday, 22 April — SAS team rescued from Fortuna Glacier; two Wessex crash.

Friday, 23 April — M Coy 42 Commando lands on South Georgia.

Sunday, 25 April — Intrepid, Atlantic Conveyor, and Europic Ferry depart from the UK; Carrier Battle Group joins with Sheffield group.

Monday, 26 April — Argentine forces on South Georgia surrender.

Tuesday, 27 April — Cabinet in London gives approval for Operation Sutton; Norland and Sir Bedivere depart from the UK.

Wednesday, 28 April — UK declares 200-mile Total Exclusion Zone, now including aircraft and ships of all nations; hospital ship Uganda arrives at Ascension.

Thursday, 29 April — Uganda departs from Ascension.

Friday, 30 April — UK begins enforcing the Total Exclusion Zone; main Task Group arrives in TEZ.

Saturday, 1 May — Vulcan bomber attacks Stanley airport; Sea Harriers also conduct attacks; naval bombardments commence of the same area; SAS and SBS patrol inserted on East and West Falklands; UK government requisitions RMS Queen Elizabeth II.

Sunday, 2 May — Conqueror sinks the cruiser General Belgrano.

Tuesday, 4 May — Black Bluck 2 raid against Stanley airport; Sheffield struck by Exocet missile; Sea Harrier shot down over Goose Green.

Wednesday, 5 May — Eight RAF Harriers arrive at Ascension.

Thursday, 6 May — Argonaut group leaves Ascension; 2 Para arrives at Ascension.

Friday, 7 May — Norland arrives at Ascension; most of Amphibious Group departs.

Saturday, 8 May — First of refuelled air drops flown to the Task Force.

Monday, 10 May — Sheffield, heavily damaged six days previously, sinks while under tow; Bristol group leaves UK; Nimrods begin work in support of the Task Force.

Wednesday, 12 May — Queen Elizabeth II departs from Southampton with most of 5 Infantry Brigade aboard; Glasgow damaged by Argentine aircraft; Cardiff leaves Gibraltar; 3 Commando Brigade HQ issues Operational Order for the landings in San Carlos Water.

Friday, 14–Saturday 15 May — SAS raid against airstrip at Pebble Island.

Wednesday, 19 May — Cabinet gives approval for amphibious landings; Sea King carrying SAS crashes into the sea during cross-decking.

Thursday, 20 May — Sea King lands in Chile; crew turn themselves in to authorities and are repatriated.

Friday, 21 May — 3 Commando Brigade executes landings in San Carlos Water; Ardent sunk.

Saturday, 22 May — 3 Commando Brigade all ashore; Brigade Maintenance Area established at Ajax Bay.

Sunday, 23 May — Antelope sunk.

Monday, 24 May — Sir Galahad, Sir Lancelot and Sir Tristram are bombed in San Carlos Water, but the bombs fail to explode in all cases.

Tuesday, 25 May — Coventry and Atlantic Conveyor hit by Exocet missiles, the former sinking.

Wednesday, 26 May — 2 Para leaves Sussex Mountain for advance on Goose Green.

Thursday, 27 May — 3 Para and 45 Cdo tab and yomp, respectively, from San Carlos Water; SAS patrol flies to Mount Kent; Queen Elizabeth II, Canberra and Norland rendezvous at South Georgia; 5 Infantry Brigade begins cross-decking on to troopships.

Friday, 28 May — 2 Para engages Argentine defenders at Darwin and Goose Green.

Saturday, 29 May — Major Keeble accepts Argentine surrender of 1,100 troops at Goose Green; Atlantic Conveyor sinks under tow.

Sunday, 30 May — Moore arrives off the Falklands.

Monday, 31 May — 42 Commando move by air to Mount Kent; Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre defeat Argentine troops at Top Malo House; 3 Para arrives at Douglas settlement; 45 Commando arrives at Teal Inlet settlement.

Tuesday, 1 June — Black Buck 5 raid strikes radar position in Stanley; 5 Infantry Brigade begin disembarking in San Carlos Water; 3 Commando Brigade forward base established at Teal Inlet; in preparation for major engagements, 3 Para and 42 and 45 Commandos begin patrolling areas in vicinity of planned objectives.

Wednesday, 2 June — 2 Para fly to Bluff Cove.

Thursday, 3 June — Black Buck 6 raid conducted against runway at Stanley.

Saturday, 5 June — Scots Guards embark in Sir Tristram for Bluff Cove.

Sunday, 6 June — Welsh Guards embark in Fearless for Fitzroy but the ship is ordered not to sail; Scots Guards land at Bluff Cove; 5 Infantry Brigade establishes forward base there.

Tuesday, 8 June — Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram hit by bombs in Port Pleasant; LCU Foxtrot Four sunk by Argentine aircraft in Choiseul Sound; Plymouth damaged by unexploded bomb; Moore explains plans for offensive against Stanley.

Friday, 11 June — Major assaults on the outer ring of Argentine defences around Stanley: 42 Cdo at Mount Harriet, 3 Para at Mount Longdon, and 45 Cdo at Two Sisters.

Saturday, 12 June — By sunrise all attacks have succeeded; Glamorgan struck by land-based Exocet missile; Black Buck 7 Raid conducted against radar installation at Stanley.

Sunday, 13 June — 2 Para attack Wireless Ridge; Scots Guards attack Mount Tumbledown; 1/7 Gurkhas occupy Mount William.

Monday, 14 June — By early morning all assaults successful; Argentine forces surrender.

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