B L U F F C O V E
SIR GALAHAD and SIR TRISTRAM were unloading the last set of troops for the final assault on Port Stanley, the Welsh Guards, at Bluff Cove. Some of the troops were already ashore but others were helping to unload ammunition when the overcast skies suddenly cleared and Mirages and Skyhawks bombed both ships. The bombs exploded setting alight the ammunition. Those who were not killed instantly were severely burned and soon the sea was full of soldiers trying to escape from the blazing ships. Over 50 Guardsmen were killed and many more injured. Several men of the RFA were also killed. A small landing craft was sunk with 6 killed. The Fleet Air Arm again became heroes out of the tragedy. Flying their helicopters in thick, blinding smoke they rescued many servicemen who would otherwise have died.
While the ships in Bluff Cove were being attacked, HMS PLYMOUTH was receiving similar treatment elsewhere around East Falkland. She was attacked with bombs, rocket and canon but despite being seriously damaged, she managed to bring down two enemy aircraft before limping back to the safety of the carrier group. Attacks were going on ashore but here the Argentines had little success and at the end of the day the Scots Guards had shot down four Skyhawks with machine gun fire, and two Harriers brought down two further aircraft, one each. The Argentines did not get everything their own way. Two more GR 3s flew in from Ascension and although one crash landed at the Forward Operating Base, our 'air force' was slowly increasing.
By now most of the Navy's contribution, except the air operations and Naval Gunfire Support, was beginning to take a back seat as the troops prepared for the battle for Port Stanley - the one everybody had been waiting for, the one which would win the war and send the invader back where he came. The Argentines still persisted with their desperate tactics of bombing ships at sea, this time 400 miles north east of the islands. Unfortunately the Argentines were not too good at recognition and it was an American owned tanker flying the Liberian flag. None of the Italian crew was injured but it was subsequently found that an unexploded bomb had lodged inside the hull and the ship was ordered to leave Rio De Janeiro after she had limped there carrying a 6 degree list. We now know that she was taken out and sunk as being too dangerous to defuse.