An emergency meeting of the British government authorized the formation of a task force with the mission of taking back the Falkland Islands. Over the next few days, the British task force was formed and by 25 April, South Georgia was retaken. Thatcher reacted to the news by saying, “Just rejoice at that news, and congratulate our forces and the marines!”
Full-scale operations to take back the main Falkland Islands started on May 1, 1982. A British Vulcan bomber flew from the Ascension Islands and bombed the runways at Stanley airport. This initial action was followed by air and naval battles. The most notorious incident of the conflict was the May 2 sinking of the Belgrano with the loss of 323 Argentinean lives. It later emerged that the ship had been retreating from the conflict.