The Battle of Grytviken, a intense fight between Argentina and the U.K. in 1982, is not one many people know about but it showcased an awesome exhibit of bravery.
During the battle, 22 Royal Marines and one sniper in particular, beat back a warship with a swarm of Argentinian forces.
The Marines were under the command of 22-year-old Lieutenant Keith Mills who landed in the island South Georgia in April 1982. They were stationed at at Shackleton House in King Edward Cove during the conflict.
With news that an invasion was fast approaching, the Marines took defensive positions.
The Argentine warship, the Guerrico, made its way into the cove after a call for help was placed by Argentinian ship, the Alouette. The warship entered the cove and just as it began to firing on the Marines, its 20mm and 40mm guns malfunctioned, leaving the crew momentarily defenseless.
The Royal Marines seized the opportunity to hold back the Argentinean naval vessels, two helicopters and assault troops. Among those Marines was Sergeant Major Peter J. Leach, a qualified sniper. “(He) was reportedly capable of putting a hole in the center of a man’s forehead at 1,000m,” according to War History Online. Leach was also armed with a L42A1 rifle, the perfect weapon for the job.
Leach, 37 at the time, peppered the Argentinian warship with a “rapid succession of accurate shots” that gave the Marines the upper hand, if only for a moment.
Leach moved from window to window in the Shackleton House, firing at the quartermaster, the helmsman and Captain Alfonso, who at one point had to duck to avoid being shot.
Leach even managed to shoot Guerrico’s anti-ship missile launcher, rendering it useless.
The Guerrico managed to find its way out of the cove, but not before damage was done.
“When Guerrico approached King Edward Cove, it was a well-armed and dangerous warship. Not even fifteen minutes later, the ship was little more than a floating wreck in desperate need of repairs,” Morgan wrote.
All of this was accomplished with the assistance of one Marine who refused to let being outnumbered stop him from giving it his best shot, literally.
Realizing that the small crew could not survive the opposition, Lieutenant Mills, did eventually surrender, but his crew could say they did not go down without a fight. South George was eventually recaptured in a battle over 50 days following, War History Online reported. The island is still British territory today.
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