HMS Ardent, a Type 21 frigate, was lost in San Carlos Bay on May 22nd, 1982. HMS Ardent was part of the Task Force trying to remove the Argentine forces from the Falkland Islands and she was in San Carlos Bay to protect the men from the Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment who had already landed there.
HMS Ardent was launched on May 9th, 1975 and commissioned on October 13th, 1977. She displaced 3,250 tons and had a top speed of 32 knots. At 17 knots, HMS Ardent had a range of 17 knots. At 30 knots, this was reduced to 1,200 miles. The ship had a crew of 177 men.
HMS Ardent was armed with one 4.5inch gun, two 20mm Oerliken guns, four Seacat SAMS, two Corvus chaff launchers and one Type 182 towed decoy. During the Falklands War, HMS Ardent also carried on board a Wessex Lynx helicopter.
While protecting the ‘transport’ ships carrying the men to shore in San Carlos Bay, HMS Ardent was attacked by planes from the Argentine Air Force. She was hit by nine 500lb bombs. Three exploded and took out most of the ship’s power. Though HMS Ardent could power its engines, she was disabled. The damage to the ship was very bad and the crew had to cope with containing the damage and fire, looking after the wounded and countering any more attacks from the Argentine Air Force. Later in a one-hour period (15.00 to 16.00 on May 21st) Ardent was hit by more bombs. With the power that she could generate, HMS Ardent sailed to Grantham Sound where she sank. 22 of the crew were killed in the attacks.
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