Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Falklands War: SAS role in the conflict

When HMS Sheffield was destroyed by an Exocet missile 30 years ago, Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) was mobilised to take out the Argentine aircraft which carried them - one of a number of daring missions at the heart of the Falklands War. Here, those at the sharp end of the special forces operations recall the highs and lows. After 30 years of counter-terrorism work in minor conflicts, the SAS grabbed the chance to engage in its first large-scale conflict since World War II with both hands. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote If you're not prepared to die, you're a bluffer” Robin Horsfall Former SAS soldier HMS Sheffield was patrolling at the edge of the British fleet in the South Atlantic on 4 May 1982 when it was hit by the Exocet, killing 20 of its crew. The newly acquired French-made weapons were highly effective and threatened a humiliating defeat for the British fleet. To counter the threat, the SAS was called in to destroy the Super Etendard aircraft which carried the Exocets. They were based at Rio Grande on the Argentine mainland, 400 miles west of the Falkland Islands. Operation Mikado aimed to fly 55 SAS men on to the heavily defended base in two C130 Hercules transport aircraft, keeping the engines running while they carried out the attack. It was a daring mission. If they were able to take off again, they would head for a base in Chile; if not, the surviving SAS and aircrew would have to flee into the mountains on foot. HERE