Darkest Day of the Task Force

Darkest Day of the Task Force Malvinas War Exequiel Martinez

June 8, 1982.
The British Army had been stationed in the Georgias Is during the Battle of San Carlos and had not met the Fuerza Aerea Argentina yet.
They arrived in San Carlos when the Royal Navy troops were arriving to the edge of the defenses around Puerto Argentino. Their CO, General Wilson, rushing to ensure that the Army was present during the final push for Puerto Argentino requested their transportation on board of two transport ships bound for Bluff Cove. As soon as the Fuerza Aérea Argentina learnt that two ships were on open sea and very close to Puerto Argentino it was decided to send to fighter bomber flights.

The two flight leaders were unable to RIF from their KC-130 tankers due to the formation of ice in their systems and thus were forced to return to base. At that moment the famous phrase by Capitan Carballo was born:
“-You are in command Cachon! And take them to the Glory!”.
The 1st Lt. become Flight Leader for the first time in the middle of the war.
Flying low in the target area (Fitz Roy bay) he was not able to locate any enemy ship but his #5 who was flying slightly higher was able to see the ships on the bay at his right. Turning right Cachón attacked RFA Sir Galahad from the East with his two wingmen and 3 seconds later the other 2 wingmen attacked RFA Sir Tristam.

The commander of the former had decided not to unload his men immediately because the last was still unloading the ammon. Galahad had a full regiment on board at the moment who were enjoying the warmth of the ship.

The 3 bombs dropped by the leader entered deep into Galahad and exploded in the machine room, #2’s did not fall and #3’s skipped on the water.

The second hit Sir Tristam with 2 bombs.
It was a sunny and clear day, there was no time for the anti aircraft gunners to react because the planes had achieved a total surprise attack. The bombs that skipped on the water passed between the ships and exploded on the coast among the cargo and soldiers on the ground. In London on TV the British were witness the terrible consequences of this attack.

I chose this subject because it is the one that striked the British and the World the most and showed everyone what the FAA pilots were able to do with 25 year old planes that we already on dispaly in Museums in the country were they had been manufactured (Smithonian in the US). In the meantime the Argentine pilots were still flying them and hurting the 3rd most powerfull Navy in the world.

This painting is a hommeage to our aviation that surprised the world an was able to bridge the huge tech gap with bravery and hard work.
The FAA did not lose her war.

Adm Woodward said in his memoirs: “It was a race till the end, with the RN and the FAA head to head”. When he was asked to get the plane carriers to Puerto Argentino to join the celebrations of the Argentine surrender he refused adding that it was Menéndez who had stopped fighting but that the FAA had not and that by putting the plane carriers within reach of the Argentine Air Force these could turn the carriers upside down and he would have been forced to start it all over again. Until the moment that there was a formal cease fire issued by the Argentines he was not going to risk his fleet by putting it within reach of the Argentine planes.

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