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HMS Endurance 2 (Ex- Anita Dan) Ice Patrol Ship [IPS]

The Royal Navy's Ice Patrol Ship Endurance was withdrawn from service under John Nott's notorious 1981 Defence Review. Reports that "Endurance" was to be withdrawn in 1982 immediately led to serious misunderstandings on the part of the Argentine Government that Her Majesty's Government were no longer prepared to defend the Falkland Islands. This action contributed to the Argentine belief that Britain was unwilling and unable to defend her possessions in the South Atlantic. Combined with other mixed signals sent by the Britishduring negotiations, this led Argentinean military strategists to believe that seizing the Falklands would be met with only token resistance, followed by acquiescence.

On 19 March 1982, Argentina initiated the conflict by landing 30 scrap metal salvagers on South Georgia Island and raising the Argentinean flag. The next day, HMS Endurance was dispatched from Stanley with half the Falklands garrison embarked - 22 Royal Marines and one lieutenant. They were under orders to deport the salvagers back to Argentina. The ship was armed with 2 Oerlikon 20 mm cannons and 2 Helicopters Wasp with sixteen AS 12 missiles and with GPMG 7.62 mm. This was enough armament to deal with 39 unarmed civilians.

Endurance arrived on 23 March and landed the Royal Marines. On 26 March, 100 Argentinean troops arrived by sea, purportedly to defend the salvagers. The outnumbered British force observed thetroops until 03 April, when the Royal Marines on South Georgia surrendered after the fall of Stanley. This Argentinean diversion on South Georgia achieved surprise, and provided a pretext for the 02 April invasion of East Falkland Island and the capture of Stanley. Most importantly, it removed half the British Falklands garrison and its only warship from the main action to come at Stanley.

After the Falkland Islands were retaken in 1982 the decision to scrap Endurance was reversed and she was scheduled to remain in service until the mid 1990s. However by the end of the 1980s she was over thirty years old and in 1989 she collided with an iceberg. This breached the hull and caused serious structural damage to the aging vessel and she was consequently subject to annual strucurtal inspections. The 1991 structural survey reveald that her hull was not sound enough for the forthcoming deployment to the Antartic, and Endurance was decommissioned.

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Page last modified: 05-08-2011 20:01:58 ZULU