In the early hours of 15 May 1982, three Sea King helicopters carrying 42 men of 22 SAS Regiment and attachments, lifted off from the carrier HMS Hermes and headed towards the remote Pebble Island on the north coast of West Falkland. Their task? To destroy the Argentinian Pucara aircraft stationed on the grassy airstrip above the isolated Pebble Island settlement, eliminate the defending garrison and neutralize the threat posed by the airfield as an Argentinian forward operating base. The raid ' codename Operation PRELIM ' was the largest and most ambitious airfield raid undertaken by the SAS in a quarter of a century and with every aircraft destroyed it was heralded as a resounding British success. But debate still rages as to whether it was truly a strategic coup, crippling the Argentinians' ability to strike at the British Task Force and significantly reducing their capability to oppose the eventual amphibious landings at San Carlos, or a political sop for a British public eagerly awaiting news of a success. This book, covering the history of the Argentinian threat and the planning, preparation and execution of the raid, also includes sections on the opposing forces and weapons used. It also deals with the controversies and, for the first time, examines the terrible consequences of the raid for the men and ships of the British fleet as the Argentinian pilots, rousing themselves for glory on their National Day, prepared for a deadly act of revenge.
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