One of the frigates making up part of the Task Force was HMS Ardent, which was positioned in San Carlos Bay to assist with removing Argentine troops from the Falkland Islands. The vessel was lost on 22 May, 1982.
A Type 21 frigate, HMS Ardent was stationed in San Carlos Bay, acting as part of the British Task Force working to capture the Falkland Islands from the Argentine forces. The frigate was in the bay working to protect British Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment from the enemy threat.
First launched on 9 May, 1975, HMS Ardent was commissioned two years later, on 13 October, 1977. With a maximum running speed of 32 knots, the vessel had a 177-strong crew. In her work during the Falklands conflict, HMS Ardent was equipped with two 20mm Oerliken guns, one 4.5 inch gun, four Seacat SAMS, one Type 182 towed decoy and two Corvus chaff launchers. These weapons were all in addition to her biggest defence of all – she carried on board a Wessex Lynx helicopter.
However, HMS Ardent’s Falkland Islands journey was not to end well – while she was protecting the ships that were delivering British troops onto the shores of San Carlos Bay, she came under attack from Argentine planes. The ship was hit by nine 500lb bombs, three of which detonated, wiping out the vast majority of her power. The crew was tasked with fire-fighting and trying to limit the damage on board, as well as trying to prevent any further Argentine attacks coming their way. However, more bombs swiftly followed and HMS Ardent was forced to sail away from San Carlos Bay. She managed to make it to Grantham Sound where she sank on 22 May 1982. Her crew suffered the loss of 22 men as a result of the Argentine attack.
See also: San Carlos Waters
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