Without the considerable efforts of the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy, Great Britain would not have been able to retake the Falklands from Argentina.
However the successful recapture of the South Atlantic islands came at a heavy price for the British naval vessels involved in the task force. The majority of these loses were inflicted by the Argentine air force. The conflict proved the effectiveness of the Exocet missile used by Argentine planes.
The first ship lost was the Type 42 destroyer HMS Sheffield sunk by an Exocet 0n May 4 1982. The landing of ground forces at San Carlos Bay put British ships at a greater risk. The two sister ships Ardent and Antelope were sunk within three days of each other.
Loses continued on May 25 when the destroyer Coventry was sunk as well as the supply ship Atlantic Conveyor. The Atlantic Conveyor had been carrying extra Harrier fighters that could have offer improved air cover.
The Argentine bombers could not sink the landing ships Galahad and Tristram but they did kill 51 soldiers and sailors. However once British troops landed the Argentine army soon fell apart.
Hastings M & Jenkins S (1983) The Battle For The Falklands, Michael Joseph, London