Falklands War: SAS and SBS role

January 15, 2019 0 By Jagerhobby
Falklands War: SAS and SBS role

Falklands War: UK Special Forces

 

Weeks before the first regular British soldiers arrived on the Falkland Islands, four-man SAS and Special Boat Service (SBS) patrols were flown in at night to hide up and report back on enemy positions.

The reconnaissance teams were highly exposed with no natural cover, concealing themselves for days and weeks at a time in shallow ditches covered in camouflage nets and soil.

One patrol even hid in the wreckage of a ship, reporting on enemy air and sea movements around Port Stanley via satellite phone – a new technology at the time.

“We were literally flying blind, picking out routes around areas where we felt there were unlikely to be Argentine troops.”

Colonel Hutchings, then a young lieutenant, flew seven missions in less than three weeks in Sea King helicopters, flying as low as 20ft (6m) at times to avoid enemy radar. “From time to time we needed to resupply. We’d fly back using different routes, they would hand over bergens full of leftover food and dead batteries, and we’d hand over new supplies,” he said.

The SAS patrols eventually called in Harrier jet strikes against Argentine helicopter bases and a fuel dump near Goose Green, which restricted the enemy’s movement.

One of the most notable SAS raids of the 74-day conflict left six Argentine ground-attack Pucara aircraft burning on a grassy airstrip on Pebble Island, a remote spot on the north coast of West Falkland.

An air strike had been ruled out because of the site’s proximity to civilians, so 42 SAS men in three Sea King helicopters were dispatched to eliminate the threat posed by the Pucaras.

Amid supporting fire from HMS Glamorgan, the assault teams assaulted the airstrip and blew up the planes, choosing the same section of each aircraft to avoid any later reconstruction from spare parts.

“It was the best example ever of a combined operation special forces mission since World War II,” said Col Hutchings, who flew one of the helicopters on the mission in near-hurricane winds.

But he said events on 15 May 1982 did not run like clockwork because the bad weather delayed the Sea Kings’ departure.

“The mission originally had been the destruction of the aircraft and the killing of the service personnel, but because we were running late their lives had to be spared,” he said.

“Some of the pilots that survived could have been redeployed, but there had to be last-minute replanning.

“In special forces operations, it’s the spur of the moment decisions that win the day or not, not the planners at Hereford.”

A few days after Pebble Island, the SAS lost 18 men in a Sea King crash – the most fatalities suffered by the regiment in a single day since World War II.

The helicopter had been attempting to land on HMS Intrepid when it ditched in the sea, killing the SAS soldiers and four others. Some got out but most drowned.

The cause remains unclear but has been blamed on both a bird strike and mechanical failure.

Robin Horsfall recalled: “People knew them and were sad about it, then you’re stoic and get on with your job. In a war of that nature, everyone was taking casualties.”

 

Weeks before the first regular British soldiers arrived on the Falkland Islands, four-man SAS and Special Boat Service (SBS) patrols were flown in at night to hide up and report back on enemy positions.

The reconnaissance teams were highly exposed with no natural cover, concealing themselves for days and weeks at a time in shallow ditches covered in camouflage nets and soil.

One patrol even hid in the wreckage of a ship, reporting on enemy air and sea movements around Port Stanley via satellite phone – a new technology at the time.

“We were literally flying blind, picking out routes around areas where we felt there were unlikely to be Argentine troops.”

 

Colonel Hutchings, then a young lieutenant, flew seven missions in less than three weeks in Sea King helicopters, flying as low as 20ft (6m) at times to avoid enemy radar. “From time to time we needed to resupply. We’d fly back using different routes, they would hand over bergens full of leftover food and dead batteries, and we’d hand over new supplies,” he said.

The SAS patrols eventually called in Harrier jet strikes against Argentine helicopter bases and a fuel dump near Goose Green, which restricted the enemy’s movement.

One of the most notable SAS raids of the 74-day conflict left six Argentine ground-attack Pucara aircraft burning on a grassy airstrip on Pebble Island, a remote spot on the north coast of West Falkland.

An air strike had been ruled out because of the site’s proximity to civilians, so 42 SAS men in three Sea King helicopters were dispatched to eliminate the threat posed by the Pucaras.

Amid supporting fire from HMS Glamorgan, the assault teams assaulted the airstrip and blew up the planes, choosing the same section of each aircraft to avoid any later reconstruction from spare parts.

“It was the best example ever of a combined operation special forces mission since World War II,” said Col Hutchings, who flew one of the helicopters on the mission in near-hurricane winds.

But he said events on 15 May 1982 did not run like clockwork because the bad weather delayed the Sea Kings’ departure.

“The mission originally had been the destruction of the aircraft and the killing of the service personnel, but because we were running late their lives had to be spared,” he said.

“Some of the pilots that survived could have been redeployed, but there had to be last-minute replanning.

“In special forces operations, it’s the spur of the moment decisions that win the day or not, not the planners at Hereford.”

A few days after Pebble Island, the SAS lost 18 men in a Sea King crash – the most fatalities suffered by the regiment in a single day since World War II.

The helicopter had been attempting to land on HMS Intrepid when it ditched in the sea, killing the SAS soldiers and four others. Some got out but most drowned.

The cause remains unclear but has been blamed on both a bird strike and mechanical failure.

Robin Horsfall recalled: “People knew them and were sad about it, then you’re stoic and get on with your job. In a war of that nature, everyone was taking casualties.”

Jager Hobby are very proud to bring a 1/16 Resin Figure of a SAS / SBS  trooper from the the Falklands conflict

1:16 SAS Falklands Resin Figure