The Falklands War: Key dates

Thirty years ago Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, which had been held by Britain for 150 years, leading to a short but bloody war.

In the two months of fighting that followed, 255 British and about 650 Argentine servicemen were killed, along with three Falklands civilians, before Argentine forces surrendered.

Argentina still claims sovereignty over the islands, which it calls Las Malvinas.

Here are the key dates in the conflict.

  • 2 April 1982

    Argentina invades

    The Sun newspaper with the headline IT'S WAR
    Argentine forces invade the Falkland Islands, entering the capital Port Stanley early in the morning. The garrison of Royal Marines is outnumbered and outgunned, and after some brief skirmishes Governor Sir Rex Hunt orders them to lay down their arms. Other British South Atlantic territories including South Georgia are also seized.
  • 3-4 April 1982

    UN condemns Argentina

    British Task Force chiefs inspect a map of South America
    The UN Security Council condemns the invasion and demands the immediate withdrawal of Argentine forces. Soon afterwards, the British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror sets sail from Faslane naval base in Scotland.
  • 5 April 1982

    Task force sets sail

    British soldiers prepare to leave for the Falkland Islands
    Aircraft carriers HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible sail from Portsmouth as part of a task force of more than 100 ships. It will take nearly three weeks to travel the 8,000 miles to the South Atlantic. Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington resigns over the invasion and is replaced by Francis Pym.
  • 19 April 1982

    Haig plan dismissed

    Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US Secretary of State Alexander Haig
    US Secretary of State Alexander Haig attempts to mediate with the Argentine military junta, travelling between London and Buenos Aires to negotiate. His proposals include calls for Argentina to withdraw and for an interim administration on the islands. However, the junta rejects the proposals and signals its insistence on adding guarantees for eventual Argentine sovereignty. The talks are effectively over.
  • 21 April 1982

    Weather hampers SAS

    Sea King helicopters attempt to land
    The British destroyer HMS Antrim arrives off South Georgia, but a reconnaissance operation by the SAS on Fortuna Glacier almost ends in disaster after two helicopters crash in severe weather conditions. A third helicopter manages to extract the SAS men.
  • 25 April 1982

    South Georgia recaptured

    Royal Marines
    South Georgia is retaken by Royal Marines, who quickly overcome the small Argentine garrison following a bombardment by Royal Navy ships. Argentine submarine Santa Fe is badly damaged after being attacked by British helicopters off the capital Grytviken. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher tells reporters to "rejoice" at the news of the recapture.
  • 1 May 1982

    Stanley airfield bombed

    British Vulcan bomber
    Following initial landings by SAS and SBS special forces on the islands, British Vulcan bombers launch the first air raid on Stanley airfield. The mission is a logistical nightmare, involving several tanker aircraft refuelling bombers during the 8,000-mile round trip from Ascension Island.
  • 2 May 1982

    General Belgrano sunk

    Argentine General Belgrano sinks after being torpedoed
    The veteran Argentine cruiser General Belgrano is torpedoed and sunk by British submarine HMS Conqueror. It causes the biggest single loss of life in the Falklands war as more than 320 Argentines are killed. The sinking becomes a cause celebre for British anti-war campaigners, who claim the ship was sailing away from the conflict. But British officials say the task force has the right to defend itself against any potentially hostile vessel.
  • 4 May 1982

    HMS Sheffield lost

    HMS Sheffield
    British destroyer HMS Sheffield is hit by an Exocet missile that kills 20 crew and starts a fire in the control room, which in turn leads to the ship being abandoned. A British Sea Harrier jump jet aircraft is lost over Goose Green, the first to be shot down during the conflict.
  • 14-15 May 1982

    Pebble Island raid

    Pebble Island
    SAS soldiers attack Argentine forces on Pebble Island, a remote spot on the north coast of West Falkland, leaving six Argentine ground-attack Pucara aircraft - viewed as a major threat to a British landing - burning on the airstrip.
  • 19 May 1982

    SAS troops killed

    Sea King helicopter
    A Sea King helicopter transferring SAS soldiers between ships ditches into the sea, killing 22 men.
  • 21 May 1982

    British land at San Carlos

    UK Defence Minister John Nott announces Britain's advance on the Falkland Islands
    British landings begin at San Carlos on East Falkland, with 3,000 troops and 1,000 tons of supplies brought ashore in order to establish a beachhead. But the British frigate HMS Ardent is sunk by Argentine aircraft, leaving 22 dead. HMS Argonaut and HMS Antrim are hit by Argentine bombs that fail to explode; two die. Fifteen Argentine aircraft are shot down.
  • 23 May 1982

    HMS Antelope hit

    Argentine 'Air Macchi' fighter-bombers used during the Falklands War
    British frigate HMS Antelope is hit by an Argentine bomb which fails to explode. One crewman dies. Ten Argentine aircraft are shot down.
  • 24 May 1982

    Antelope abandoned

    HMS Antelope in flames
    A bomb disposal officer is killed after the bomb he is attempting to defuse explodes aboard HMS Antelope. The badly damaged frigate is abandoned and later sinks. Landing craft RFA Sir Galahad and RFA Sir Lancelot are hit by Argentine bombs which also fail to detonate. Seven Argentine aircraft are shot down.
  • 25 May 1982

    Two more ships lost

    An Exocet missile used by the Argentines in 1982
    British destroyer HMS Coventry sinks after being attacked by Argentine aircraft, with the loss of 19 crew. The British Merchant Navy container ship Atlantic Conveyor is set ablaze after being hit by Exocet missiles. It is abandoned with the loss of 12 crew and three vital Chinook transport helicopters.
  • 26 May 1982

    British head for Goose Green

    British soldier checks the area with binoculars
    The 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment (2 Para) is ordered to set out for the neighbouring settlements of Goose Green and Darwin, which are held by Argentine forces.
  • 27 May 1982

    Fury over BBC report

    A microphone used for radio broadcasting
    British forces are furious when the BBC World Service broadcasts that the men of 2 Para are advancing on Goose Green and Darwin, but the Argentine commander is convinced the report is deliberate misinformation.
  • 28-29 May 1982

    Battle of Goose Green

    Goose Green littered with Argentinian helmets, ammunition and water bottles
    2 Para attack Goose Green and Darwin. After fierce fighting, the Argentines surrender. Seventeen British servicemen die during the battle, including commanding officer Lt Col "H" Jones. Although initial reports speak of 250 Argentine dead, the figure is now thought to have been much lower - possibly below 50. British troops, who are vastly outnumbered, take more than 1,000 prisoners of war.
  • 31 May 1982

    Advance toward Stanley

    British soldiers advancing on Falkland
    British forces advance towards the capital Port Stanley from San Carlos, taking the Argentine positions on Mount Kent and Mount Challenger.
  • 8 June 1982

    Landing ships attacked

    RFA Sir Galahad ablaze at Bluff Cove
    Landing craft RFA Sir Galahad and RFA Sir Tristram, with units of the Welsh Guards on board, are bombed by Argentine aircraft off Fitzroy. More than 50 men die.
  • 11-12 June 1982

    Peaks captured

    British troops marching
    British troops take the key objectives of Mount Longdon, Two Sisters and Mount Harriet from the Argentines after bloody hand-to-hand fighting. British destroyer HMS Glamorgan is badly damaged by a shore-launched Exocet missile. Three Falklands civilians, all women, are killed during a British naval bombardment of Stanley.
  • 13-14 June 1982

    Argentine positions overrun

    British soldiers position artillery
    British forces take Argentine positions on mountains overlooking Port Stanley on Mount Tumbledown, Wireless Ridge and Mount William amid further fierce fighting.
  • 14 June 1982

    British forces enter Stanley

    British soldiers enter Port Stanley in June 1982
    White flags are seen flying over Port Stanley, and by noon British forces have advanced to the outskirts of the Falklands capital. General Mario Menendez surrenders to Major General Jeremy Moore, and 9,800 Argentine troops put down their arms. British troops march into Stanley.
  • 16-17 June 1982

    President Galtieri resigns

    War memorial
    UK Defence Minister Peter Blaker announces that the official count of British war dead is 255, with approximately 300 wounded. The following day, Argentine President Leopoldo Galtieri resigns as leader of the country's military junta.

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