Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

April - July 1982
Falkland Islands Battle
45 Cdo RM & 59 Indep Cdo Sqn Story

5th April
Troop deployed to the South Atlantic aboard RFA Sir Percival, with elements of 45 Cdo RM.

Cross-decked from Sir Percival to Sir Lancelot at Ascension Islands.
A few miles out of the Exclusion Zone, cross-decked to HMS Intrepid.

21st May
Landed as part of 45 Cdo RM at Ajax Bay, during the early hours.

Following the disasterous bombing at San Carlos Water, with Sir Gallahad hit, Troop "yomped" to Bluff Cove Peak, via Douglas Settlement and Teal Inlet.

Extensive patrolling with 45 Cdo, in small groups attached to Recce Troop, with fighting Company patrols. Condor Troop sections split and placed with each fighting Company.

The 45 Cdo yomp from San Carlos Water, via Teal Inlet, ended to the West of Mount Kent on Friday 4th.
The next week was spent patrolling towards Two Sisters, which instigated a number of bloody clashes with the Argentines.
On their 2nd patrol, Lt. Fox's - Recce Troop, reached the end of Two Sisters, they were discovered and fought their way out, killing up to 13 of the enemy, without loss to themselves.
Lt. Stewart - X-Company, broke out in a similar action

8th - 10th June
45 Cdo had reconnoitred the main Argentine positions towards the Western end.
Over the next 2 days, Sgt Wassell and other men of the M&AW Cadre, completed the picture, by covering the Eastern and the ground between the Two Sisters - Mount Harriet, Tumbledown Mountain and Goat Ridge.
Sadly these successes did not come without a price, on the 10th June, Y Company accidentally fired on a supporting Mortar group, killing 4 men.

11th - 12th June - Battle of Two Sisters
Sapper Chris Jones was killed in action, with Y-Company.

45 Cdo plan was:
The night attack would be Silent, with no preliminary artillery fire.
X-Company would leave their start point at 21.00hrs and having 'taken' the South-west peak (Long Toenail) around 2 hours later, would set-up a fire support base, that included 40 Cdo - Milan Troop.
Z-Company would then assault the Western part of the North -east peak (Summer Days), with Y-Company assaulting the Eastern part.

On the 11th, 45 Cdo less X-Company, left their positions behind Mount Kent and moving around the North side, reached the main start line (Pub Garden) as planned. X-Company, marching down between Mount Kent and Challenger, heavily weighed down, especially by the Milans, arrived at their start line 2 hours late. After a short rest, they began their move towards 'Long Toenail' at 23.00hrs.

X-Company headed across the open ground towards 'Long toenail' led by 1 Troop, then less than a mile short of the Peak, 3 Troop took the lead. Halfway up, the Troop was stopped by heavy machine gun fire and temporarily pulled back.
The enemy positions were hit with Milans and Mortar fire, then 2 Troop pushed onto the summit, under artillery fire. Reaching there, they were forced back by more shellfire, but shortly returned, driving off the enemy machine gunners.
Soon after middnight, as X-Company continued its fight for 'Long Toenail', Z-Company followed by Y-Company to their right, moved off from 'Pub Garden', on their Silent uphill approach.
The enemy were still distracted by X-Companies attack, the other 2 Companies went to ground, until a flare near Z-Company, led to the right hand - 8 troop opening fire.
The return enemy fire included artillery and motars, which were so heavy, it killed 4 men. This led to Lt. Dytor leading 8 troop in a charge towards the summit. They were closely followed by 7 troop and involved in a heavy firefight, that still left them short of the objective.
On their right, Y-Company swung further right, to come up alongside them, managing to knock out some of the heavy machine guns, which were holding up Z-Company.
This allowed 8 troop to advance towards the top, covered by 7 troop and went on to clear the enemy positions on the Southern side of their objective. whilst 7 troop split and cleared the Northern side.
2.5 hours after crossing the Start line, Z-Company had cleared the Western part of 'Summer Days'.
During this time, 9 troop had stayed back in reserve, after suffering casualties from enemy artillery and mortars.

Y-Company nowmoved between the Two Sisters peaks and below Z-Company's - 8 troop and headed for the Eastern part of the North-east summit, under vheavy machine gun fire.
Pushing on and again using anti-armour Milans against enemy positions, all of Two Sisters was in 45 Cdo's hands before dawn.
As 45 Cdo re-organised and dug-in, heavy enemy shelling started.
Lt Col. Whitehead prepared to move towards Tumbledown Mountain, but was stopped by Brigadier Thompson.
45 Cdo had now taken one of the Argentines major defenses, for the loss of 3 Marines and Sapper Chris Jones, who were killed by shellfire or mortars.

14th June
As dawn broke, the British Forces now controlled almost all of the 'high' ground around Stanley.
45 Cdo were on Two Sisters, 42 Cdo were on Mt. Harriet, 3 Para were on Mt. Longdon, plus 2 Para had just taken Wireless Ridge, the Scots Guards were on Mt. Tumbledown and the Argentinians on Mt. William were running away from the advancing Ghurkas.
This just left Sapper Hill, which was originally the objective of the Welsh Guards, but after the disaster on RFA Sir Gallahad, the Welsh Guards were severely reduced in numbers.
A-Company and C-Company from 40 Cdo were sent to join them on the 10th-11th June, to bring the Battalion up to strength. On the 13th-14th June, this composite battalion were to be in reserve for the attacks on Mt Tumbledown and Mt William, before proceeding to Sapper Hill. While in reserve, they became bogged down in a Minefield, which took them a very long and frustrating time to extract themselves.
45 Cdo was then routed from Two Sisters to Sapper Hill.
Whilst 45 Cdo yomped towards Sapper Hill, the Welsh Guard Battallion Composite, had escaped from the Minefield and helicoptered on to the top of Sapper Hill, just as 45 Cdo had reached the bottom. Both Units remained on the Hill.

With the end of the Battle and the Argentines ceeding defeat, Condor Troop re-form at a Minefield, a few miles from Port Stanley. Whilst breaching this Minefield, S/Sgt Peter Thorpe was badly injured and casevaced to the SS Uganda.

The rest of the Squadron converge on the Stanley Community Centre and is engaged on clearing minefields.

25th June
Troop return to the UK on-board SS Canberra, with Condor Troop Banner flying and added comment on the Banner " Get me Home".

From Southampton, flown to RAF Leuchars, then Coach to Arbroath.