SAS Raid On Pebble Island 1982
SAS Raid On Pebble Island 1982 Pebble Island is one of the smaller Falkland Islands, lying north of West Falkland.
The site was being used as a forward operating base for T-34 Mentor and Pucara aircraft by the Argentine Air Force; British Special Air Service (SAS) operatives were tasked with destroying the aircraft on the ground, in an operation that echoed back to some of the unit’s first missions during the North African Campaign of World War II.
SAS elements, then embarked on HMS Hermes, were tasked with eliminating the airfield, with naval support from the Type 22 frigate HMS Broadsword as Hermes defensive escort and the County class destroyer HMS Glamorgan to provide naval gunfire support with its Mark 6 4.5 inch guns.
During the night of the 14th of May, two Westland Sea King HC4 helicopters of 846 Naval Air Squadron, part of the Commando Helicopter Force, departed with 45 members of D Squadron on board.
The force infiltrated the airfield without alarm allowing them to lay charges on seven of the aircraft.
Once all the aircraft had been prepared the raiding team opened fire on the aircraft with small arms and L1A1 rockets.
All of the aircraft were damaged, with some having their undercarriages shot away.
Following this cue Glamorgan began shelling the Argentine positions on the airfield using high-explosive rounds, hitting the ammunition dump and fuel stores.
The defending force did not engage until the entire raiding party had re-grouped and were preparing to move out.
One British soldier was wounded by an Argentine IED while the raiding party returned fire, resulting in the death of the Argentine commanding officer (according to British assessments) and the suppression of any defensive effort.
The wounded man was hauled back to the recovery site with the raiding party reaching the aircraft by the required time for transportation back to HMS Hermes.
SMS Raid On Pebble Island Written by Harry Gillespie
Harry Gillespie is a military historian who resides with his wife in the United Kingdom.
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Gracious thanks to the Imperial War Museum for the use of images: Imperial War Museums (iwm.org.uk)