Operation Black Buck, The Longest Bombing Raid Ever, Was A Grueling Task
RuthAS / Wikimedia Commons
Can You Imagine Siting In A Tight Cockpit For That Long?
Step back to the year 1982 when a ten-week war erupted mostly unbeknownst to most of the world. The fighting began over the Falkland Islands which were a British territory presumably since 1833 when they colonized it. Located right off of Argentina, the Argentinian claimed right to the islands (Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands) and on April 2nd, 1982, invaded to take them back.
The war was described by an Argentinian writer as “a fight between two bald men over a comb”
In response, although not directly declaring war, the British sent troops to the islands which eventually resulted in 255 British KIA and 649 KIA on the Argentinian side. In the end, no side truly won although most residents of the Islands identify as British and are covered under British defense.
The most daring attack on the islands, however, was Britains decision to launch Operation Black Buck. The mission consisted of three squadrons leaving RAF Ascension Island and performing five attacks on radar and runway targets all the way down in the Falklands. It was a logistical feat as Vulcans were built for bombing raids in Europe and had a range of about 2,500 miles. The targets were almost 4,000 miles away and that, of course, was just one way. So, in all, during the 16-hour journey, all the Vulcans had to be refueled several times, including their refueling refuelers being refueled. Get the logistical nightmare now?
We found a short news clip featuring some of the people involved in the raids and placed it below for you. They’ll give you some neat tidbits about the challenges they faced during the whole operation.