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The Special Air Service (SAS), along with men from the Special Boat Squadron (SBS), attempted to carry out a diversionary amphibious raid on Port Stanley Harbour on the night of 13–14 June 1982. The plan was, as 2 PARA attacked Wireless Ridge, 4 Rigid Raider fast landing crafts (steered by Sergeant Buckle, Lance-Corporal Gilbert and Marines Kavanagh and Nordic) and carrying SAS soldiers (some 30 men from D Squadron) and SBS reinforcements (6 men from 3 section) would travel across the harbour and attack the oil storage facilities on Cortley Ridge.

Incursion[edit | edit source]

The British commando force was spotted by a National Gendarmerie Special Forces officer aboard the Argentine hospital ship Almirante Irízar (preparing to collect Major José Ricardo Spadaro's 601 National Gendarmerie Special Forces Squadron on Navy Point[1] in order to insert them behind British lines on Beagle Ridge), before it could reach the fuel tanks.[2] A massive volume of fire, including 8 Hispano-Suiza 30mm anti-aircraft guns from 101 Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment's B Battery (under Major Jorge Alberto Monge) was concentrated on the SAS/SBS raiders from positions along Cortley Ridge. Nevertheless, most of the raiders landed but heavy fire from Lieutenant Héctor Gazzolo's 3rd Marine Platoon[3] prevented exploitation from the narrow beach,[4] causing the SAS/SBS force to withdraw. According to John Parker's book SBS: The Inside Story of The Special Boat Service (Hachette, 2013), the four Rigid Raiders were damaged beyond repair and three British Special Forces were wounded in the attack:

A six-man team from 3 SBS ... with D and G Squadrons, SAS, with the object of creating a diversionary assault from the sea ... were to move across the Murrell River by four fast power-boats ... The raiders had no option but to withdraw. One of the RRCs was badly damaged and limped back on hardly any power. The coxswain steered her by the hospital-ship for a shield and the boat died on them just as they reached the water's edge. Another sanks just offshore, but close enough for the team to swim to safety ... An SBS corporal and two SAS troopers were wounded ... The RRCs were riddled with holes and had to be destroyed.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

The wisdom of this attack was later questioned in British circles as it was seen by some as a reckless operation with little strategic benefit. However, the shore bombardment and British raid in Stanley Harbour scrapped a major Argentine Special Forces operation and convinced the Argentine High Command into believing that a major landing was taking place that would bring the major buildings in Port Stanley within enemy small-arms fire. The Argentine Army Special Forces in Stanley, that were preparing with the Gendarmerie commandos for a major insertion behind British lines on Beagle Ridge, were instead sent aboard the Coast Guard ship Forrest to help Major Jorge Monge on Cortley Ridge and Spadaro on nearby Navy Point defend the anti-aircraft guns and round-up any SAS stragglers.[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Gendarmería en Malvinas: Alacrán, un Escuadrón con justa gloria
  2. "Next night, they met up with the Special Forces at Blanco Bay and then, with nine soldiers to each Rigid Raider, they sped across Port William Bay, but had the misfortune to be heard by a Border Guard commando collecting supplies on board the Almirante Irízar for an Argentine special forces infiltration operation en route to Beagle Ridge to raid and direct air and 155mm artillery fire on the British rear." Nine Battles to Stanley, Nick Van Der Bijl, p. 211, Pen & Sword Books, 1999
  3. La Sección Marinería en Camber
  4. "Most of the raiding party landed but heavy fire from the defending marines prevented exploitation from the narrow beach." Nine Battles to Stanley, Nick Van Der Bijl, Pen & Sword Books, 2013
  5. "Los ingleses estarían allí a “tiro de honda” de la capital. La operación sobre Freycinet quedaba cancelada, pues las Compañías eran requeridas para rastrillar aquella lengua de tierra y proteger los cañones." Comandos en Acción, Isidoro Jorge Ruiz Moreno, Emecé Editores, 1986

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