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Tragedy Averted: In 1982, Two Aircraft Carriers Nearly Went to War.

Sebastien Roblin

Sebastien Roblin

Security,

Some details that are sometimes forgotten from the Falklands War.

Tragedy Averted: In 1982, Two Aircraft Carriers Nearly Went to War.

On the afternoon of May 1, 1982, crewmen on the deck of the Argentine carrier Veinticinco de Mayo (“May 25”) scrambled to load six A-4Q Skyhawk attack planes with four Mark 82 bombs each.

The subsonic jets were to be the tip of the spear of Argentine Navy Task Force 79 as it attacked a British Royal Navy fleet roughly 140 miles away, including the carriers Hermes and Independence, eight escorting destroyers and fifteen frigates.

The opposing fleets were facing off over the sparsely-populated Falkland Islands, known as the Malvinas in Argentina. A month earlier, Argentine troops had seized the disputed archipelago. Now the British warships were covering amphibious forces moving to take the islands back.

Few of the half-dozen Argentine aviators expected to survive the attack, dubbed “Banzai Night” after the famous Japanese battle cry. In the book A Carrier at Risk by Mariano Sciaroni, the Skyhawk squadron’s leader Rodolfo Castro Fox reveals the grim calculations behind the planned attack:

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