ARA 25 de Mayo

The 25 de Mayo was actually a British built aircraft carrier from WW2.

During 25 de Mayo was used in support of the initial Argentine landings on the Falklands and then in defense of the occupation she was deployed in a task force north of the Falkland Islands, with the ARA General Belgrano to the south. The British had assigned HMS Spartan, a nuclear-powered submarine, to track down the 25 de Mayo and sink her if necessary. Rear Admiral Sandy Woodward, commanding the British Task Force from HMS Hermes stated in his book "One Hundred Days", that had Spartan located the carrier, he would have "Recommended in the strongest possible terms to the Commander-in-Chief Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse that we take them both out this night".

After hostilities broke out on 1 May 1982, the Argentine carrier attempted to launch a wave of A-4Q Skyhawk jets against the Royal Navy Task Force after her S-2 Trackers detected the British fleet.

However, what would have been the first battle between aircraft carriers since World War II did not take place, as poor winds prevented the heavily-loaded jets from being launched. After the British nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror sank the General Belgrano, the 25 de Mayo returned to port for safety. Spartan never tracked down the carrier.

Her A-4Q Skyhawks flew the rest of the war from the naval airbase in R'o Grande, Tierra del Fuego, and had some success against the Royal Navy, sinking HMS Ardent, although three Skyhawks were shot down by Sea Harriers.

Falklands War | Argentine Ships

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by Stephen Luscombe