British Triumph On East Falkland CSC 1984 SUBJECT AREA History WAR SINCE 1945 SEMINAR British Triumph on East Falkland Major Timothy J. Hannigan, USMC 2 April 1984 Marine Corps Command and Staff College Marine Corps Development and Education Command Quantico, Virginia 22134 ABSTRACT Author: Hannigan, Timothy J., Major, USMC Title: British Triumph on East Falkland Publisher: Marine Corps Command and Staff College Date: 1 April 1984 The United Kingdom won a brilliant victory in the 1982 Falkland Islands War. Responding quickly to an unexpected Argentine invasion of the Falklands in April 1982, the British government quickly sent a task force to the South Atlantic to recover the islands. Within 74 days the task force defeated the large Argentine occupation force, captured 11,400 prisoners, and returned the Falklands to British control. How the British won the war's land campaign forms the focal point of this paper. Following a brief introductory chapter, Chapters Two and Three describe the organization and operations of the British land forces from initial mobilization through the Argentine surrender. The narrative covers the task force's movement to the South Atlantic, the Royal Navy's effort to create the conditions for a successful amphibious operation, the surprise landing at San Carlos, and the landing force' s bold thrust across East Falkland to seize Port Stanley. Ten maps help depict what took place. The next three chapters analyze the problems and solutions Britain experienced in waging the land campaign. First, an analysis of the British amphibious operation. Before the landing at San Carlos, six British sub- marines forced all Argentine surface ships to return to their mainland ports for the remainder of the war. But the submarines and surface ships, including two carriers, failed to (1) eliminate the Argentine submarine threat, and (2) gain air superiority in the area. The amphibious group sailed dangerously exposed to air and submarine attacks for a day and a half before making a surprise landing at San Carlos. Even then, British air-defense inadequacies nearly allowed Argentine aircraft to thwart the landing during five days of heavy air counterattacks. Unexploded bombs helped the British to survive the air attacks. In ultimately securing a beachhead on East Falkland, Britain illustrated the value of amphibious forces that can strike when and where they please. Chapters Five and Six evaluate British land operations in the war and the landing force's use of weapons. Essentially, Britain's strong, profes- sional landing force overwhelmed Argentina's weak, conscript army. It marched extraordinary distances to out-maneuver the Argentines. It patrolled aggres- sively and executed well-planned night attacks. It used artillery, naval gunfire, and anti-armor weapons effectively to support attacks. It called upon combat engineers to breach minefields. The British ground units showed exceptionally high standards of tactical skill, physical fitness, teamwork, leadership, and morale in striking the crushing, victorious blow. Despite serious power-projection deficiencies, Britain soundly defeated Argentina in the Falklands War. Although the British profited from their opponents' mistakes and shortcomings, aggressiveness and competence, not luck, gained them a triumph on East Falkland Island. The paper draws material from (1) personal interviews with a former Argentine destroyer captain and Royal Marine officers, some of whom commanded at brigade and commando levels during the Falklands War; (2) Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins' comprehensive study of the war, entitled The Battle for the Falklands; and (3) many journal and magazine articles. TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vi 1. INTRODUCTION 1 2. ARGENTINA'S INVASION--BRITAIN'S RESPONSE 5 ARGENTINE INVASION 5 Invasion Plan 5 Seizure of Port Stanley 6 Seizure of South Georgia 8 BRITISH MOBILIZATION 8 Initial Political-Military Responses 8 Task-Force Mission and Composition 10 ASCENSION ISLAND 12 Description 12 Task-Force Use 12 Soviet Surveillance 13 Departures 13 WAR STRATEGY 14 NAVAL SUPPORTING OPERATIONS 14 Blockade 14 Submarine Operations 15 Air Operations 17 Surface-Ship Operations 18 Failure 19 SUBSIDIARY LANDING IN SOUTH GEORGIA 19 Plan of Attack 19 Improvised Assault 20 PREASSAULT OPERATIONS 22 Pre-D-Day Reconnaissance 22 Pebble Island Raid 23 Fanning Head Raid 23 3. THE BRITISH LAND CAMPAIGN 28 SAN CARLOS LANDING 28 Final Preparations 28 Amphibious Landing 29 Ground Defense 31 Air Defense 31 SAN CARLOS BREAKOUT 33 Breakout Plan 33 Battle of Darwin-Goose Green 34 3 Parachute Battalion's Movement to Mts. Estancia and Vernet 36 45 Commando's Movement to Mount Kent 37 42 Commando's Movement to Mts. Kent and Challenger 38 Displacement of Brigade Headquarters 39 40 Commando's Defense of Beachhead 39 THE SOUTHERN AXIS 40 Landing of Landing-Force HQ and 5 Infantry Brigade 40 Movement to Fitzroy-Bluff Cove 41 Fitzroy Tragedy 43 BATTLE OF PORT STANLEY 45 Attack Preparations 45 Phase-One Attack 47 Phase-Two Attack 50 ARGENTINE SURRENDER 52 Negotiations 52 Casualty and POW Totals 53 Clean-Up 53 4. AMPHIBIOUS OPERATIONS 58 PLANNING 58 Pre-embarkation 58 Landing-Site Options and Proposals 58 Choice of San Carlos 59 Landing Plan 60 EMBARKATION 60 Time Shortage 60 Shortage of Ships 61 Cross-Decking at Ascension Island 61 REHEARSAL 62 MOVEMENT TO THE OBJECTIVE 63 Training 63 Organzing for Combat 64 Ship Transfers 64 Movement Thru the TEZ 64 SUPPORTING AND PREASSAULT OPERATIONS 66 Value of Nuclear-Powered Submarines 66 Power-Projection Deficiencies 66 Reconnaissance/Sabotage Successes 67 AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT 68 Tactical Surprise 68 Ship-to-Shore Transport 69 Lack of Air Superiority 70 Beachhead Defense 72 5 INFANTRY BRIGADE'S LANDINGS 73 San Carlos Landing 73 Fitzroy-Bluff Cove Landing 74 5. LAND OPERATIONS 77 CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS 77 Principal Attributes 77 General Scheme of Maneuver 79 Port Stanley Attack 80 Designation and Use of Reserve 81 NIGHT OPERATIONS 82 Night Opportunities 82 British Training 82 Friendly Casualties 83 PATROLLING 83 Agressiveness 83 Preparation for the Port Stanley Attack 84 Leadership 85 COMPETENCE AND FITNESS OF GROUND FORCES 85 Sine Qua Non 85 Quality of Individual Soldier 86 Leadership 86 Unit Cohesion 87 Training 88 Physical Fitness 92 COMBAT-ENGINEER CONTRIBUTIONS 93 Minefield Reconnaissance and Breaching 93 Other Tasks 93 6. WEAPONS AND THEIR USES 96 ARTILLERY 96 Air-Transportability 96 Artillery Use in the Battle of Port Stanley 97 Most Effective Supporting Arm 98 NAVAL GUNFIRE 98 Capabilities and Control 98 Uses 99 OFFENSIVE AIR SUPPORT 100 Shortage of Air Power 100 Supporting Operations 101 Support of Land Operations 102 AIR-DEFENSE SYSTEMS 104 Air Threat 104 Mix of Air-Defense Systems 105 Royal Navy's Air-Defense Support 106 Landing-Force's Air-Defense Effort 107 Air Defense at San Carlos 109 Control of Air Defense 110 Air-Defense Inadequacies 111 INFANTRY WEAPONS 112 Anti-Air Weapons 112 Machine-Guns 113 7. CONCLUSON 118 MISSION: RECOVER THE FALKLANDS 118 ARGENTINE SURPRISE 118 NAVAL SUPPORTING OPERATIONS 119 SAN CARLA LANDING 121 LAND OPERATIONS 122 WHY THE BRITISH WON 123 APPENDIX A - Geographical Location of the Falkland Islands 125 APPENDIX B - Falkland Islands 126 APPENDIX C - Composition of the British Landing Force 127 APPENDIX D - Argentine Forces on the Falklands 129 APPENDIX E - South Georgia Island 130 APPENDIX F - Amphibious Landing at San Carlos 131 APPENDIX G - Beachhead Defense at San Carlos 132 APPENDIX H - Battle of Darwin - Goose Green 133 APPENDIX I - San Carlos to Port Stanley 134 APPENDIX J - Battle of Port Stanley: Phase One 135 APPENDIX K - Battle of Port Stanley: Phase Two 136 APPENDIX L - Command Relations of British Task Force 137 ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY 139 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Many people helped me research and write this paper. Most notably, a variety of Royal Marine officers generously shared their time and views. Major-General J.H.A. Thompson CBE, OBE, prepared a 60-minute cassette in response to my questions. Colonels A. F. Whitehead DSO and N. F. Vaux DSO discussed the war at length in interviews they granted me. Likewise, Lieutenant-Colonels P.A.C. Howgill and J. R. Hensman, the Royal Marine representatives to the U.S. Marine Corps' Education Center, offered invaluable assistance in patiently explaining British Army and Royal Marine customs and procedures. Major Christopher J.E. McDowall and Captain Toby Hunter provided further background information about the British effort in the Falklands. To all of them I extend my sincere thanks. Captain Jose Ferrer, the Argentine Navy's representative to the Inter-American Defense Board, also kindly granted me a long interview. Because I focused in this paper on British war operations and faced strict length limits, I regret that I couldn't use much of the interesting material he provided about Argentine operations. He broadened my understanding of the war. I warmly appreciate his candor and willingness to help. Many thanks also to Lieutenant Colonel Donald F. Bittner, USMC, for his overall guidance in the War Since 1945 Seminar; Lieutenant Colonel Timothy E. Kline for his detailed editing; Major Ronald R. Cruz for arranging the interview with Captain Ferrer; Mr. David Brown for his library help; and Mrs. Marge Kruzinski for her superb typing. My most heartfelt thanks goes to my wife, Mary, who cheerfully and patiently carried out her duties as a spouse, mother, and pinch-hitting father while I wrestled with this project. CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION The Falkland islands lie in the South Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles east of Argentina, 780 miles west of the island of South Georgia, and 1,500 miles north of Antarctica.1 Although 200 islands form the Falklands, two main islands, East and West Falkland, constitute over 98% of the island group's total land area of 4,697 square miles.2 The narrow, 5-to-10 mile-wide Falkland Sound separates these two islands.3 (See Appendixes A and B for general and detailed maps of the Falklands.) The relatively barren terrain on the islands consists of low hills; large, rocky outcrops; and wet, spongy peat bog.4 Shrubs and wild grass make up the sparse vegetation able to prosper on such terrain and in the cold and windy climate. High ground reaches elevations ranging from 1,300 to 1,800 feet above sea level in the northern half of the two main islands.5 Of the 1,800 people who live in the Falklands, most are British citizens.6 Slightly over half reside in Port Stanley, the island's capital situated on the east coast of East Falkland. The rest dwell in a dozen or so widely scattered hamlets,7 the two largest of which - Goose Green and Darwin - have estimated populations between 80 and 140.8 The islands contain no more than 30 miles of paved roads, located mostly in and around Port Stanley.9 Dirt tracks which connect the various hamlets allow Land Rovers and tractors to traffic between settlements only with great difficulty.10 With most hamlets having a grass landing strip, residents rely on air transportation to travel within the islands. Over 30 such strips exist along with the 4,100-foot paved strip at the small International Airport six miles south of Port Stanley.11 Although based years ago on the whaling industry, the island's economy today rests almost solely on sheep-raising and wool-processing. Over 600,000 sheep roam the open countryside.12 The British Falkland Islands Company owns half of the Falklands land and employs half of the work force. The British crown is the second biggest land-owner.13 Those few Argentine citizens allowed to immigrate to the Falklands must seek special permission from local authorities to buy land. A governor appointed by the Queen and a locally elected council administer these and all other governmental affairs as Great Britain's governing body on the islands.14 Potentially, the Falkland Islands could contribute more than wool to a nation that controls them. Within striking distance of the Cape Horn-shipping route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the islands could serve as a base for protecting or disrupting shipping traffic along this important maritime route. Also, since one of the world' s largest unexplored sedimentary basins lies in the ocean east of the Falklands, the islands could provide access to vast amounts of oil and natural gas. The Falklands could thus prove to be strategically valuable in the future. During the period April-June 1982, the remote, rural, and tradition- ally peaceful Falkland Islands hosted the savagery and horror of a modern war involving tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians from the United Kingdom and Argentina. How these men fought the war's land campaign forms the focal point of this paper. More specifically, I aim to explain how and why the United Kingdom won the land battle so decisively. To lay the basis for such an explanation, I will first describe in Chapters Two and Three the major military developments of the land war. Having established who-did-what-to-whom, I will devote the next three chapters to an analysis of the problems and solutions that Britain experienced in waging the Falklands land campaign. Length restrictions on this paper permit me only to examine British amphibious operations, land operatons, and use of weapons. I have excluded any detailed analysis of the political developments that led to the war; Argentina's military activities during the war; and British command-and-control, intelligence, and combat-service-support efforts. NOTES 1U.S., Department of the Navy, Lessons of the Falklands: Summary Report, (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1983), D-1. (In subsequent notes, DON refers to Department of the Navy.) 2William Chaze, "At the Heart of Battle for the Falklands," U.S. News and World Report, 7 June 1982, p. 32. 3"The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 7," NAVY International, July 1982, p. 1162. 4Edgar O'Ballance, "The San Carlos Landing," Marine Corps Gazette, October 1982, p. 36. 5DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. D-1. 6Chaze, p. 32. 7O'Ballance, p. 36. 8New York Times, 31 May 1982, p. A-4, cols. 1-2. 9DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. D-1. 10O'Ballance, p. 36. 11O'Ballance, p. 36; "The Falklands: the Air War and Missile Conflict," Armed Forces Journal International, September 1982, p. 33; DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. D-1. 12Chaze, p. 32. 13Chaze, p. 32. 14Chaze, p. 32. CHAPTER TWO ARGENTINA'S INVASION -- BRITAIN'S RESPONSE ARGENTINE INVASION Invasion Plan. Argentina has claimed sovereignty of the Falkland Islands since the early 19th Century. Frustrated with the delays in negotiating a settlement of the dispute with the British, Captain Jorge Anaya of the Argentine Navy first developed a plan for invading the Falkland Islands in the late 1960's. Since that time,Anaya had moved up through the ranks and assumed the Navy's top position in the fall of 1981. During the mid-1970's, Anaya and Admiral Emilio Massera, then head of the navy, refined the plan they named Plan Goa. The plan called for the Argentine Navy and Marines to make a surprise landing on the Falklands and to remove the Falklanders to Montevideo. Argentines would then resettle the islands. Admiral Massera proposed the implementation of the plan a couple of times during the 1970's, but the Jorge Videla junta feared British submarine power and rejected it.1 When Admiral Anaya assumed his position in the junta and General Leopoldo Galtieri became president of Argentina in December 1981, the junta developed an increasingly stronger interest in using military force to seize the Falklands. The Argentine leaders knew that the use of limited naval force in various places of the world during the 1970's had caused a change in rule on five islands (or parts of them).2 Feeling they too could pull off such a successful naval operation, the junta members renewed their interest in the Falklands-invasion plan. The junta initially planned to invade some time between July and October 1983. By then, the British would have withdrawn the ice-patrol ship ENDURANCE from the South Atlantic. If Britain chose to fight to retake the islands, its forces would have to fight in almost prohibitive conditions. On the ARgentine side, the Navy would have received new French Super Entendard airplanes and airborne EXOCET missiles, and new Argentine conscripts would have completed their training. The Foreign Minister would have had time to develop some legitimate grievances against the British.3 But Britain (1) projected an air of indifference about the Falklands through 1981 legislation that denied British citizenship to third and fourth generation Falklanders, and (2) advertised a plan to withdraw ENDURANCE, its only naval presence in the South Atlantic. This apparent "window of opportunity" enticed the Argentines to change the timing of the invasion and thereby sacrifice the advantages for a fall 1982 campaign. Seizure of Port Stanley. At some point during the last couple of days in March, the Argentine junta decided to invade the Falklands on 2 April. On 31 March the Argentine fleet was moving towards the Falklands. On 1 April Argentine radio stations reported the junta had said "'by tomorrow the Malvinas will be ours.'"4 Having monitored closely the rising tensions and the bellicose Argentine statements of 1 April, Falklands Governor Rex Hunt broadcast a warning to the islanders on that same day and deployed an enlarged Naval Party 8901, the Royal Marine garrison, to secure the Port Stanley airfield, the main road leading into Port Stanley, and the Government House. The Royal Marine force of approximately 70 men contained two detachments: one had just arrived for deployed duty in the Falklands, and another was about to return to the U.K. Governor Hunt also summoned his 120-man territorial defense force, but only 23 men reported for duty.5 Neither Hunt nor the British Ministry of Defense had developed contingency plans to defend the islands.6 The invasion took place on schedule. Declaring a state of emergency at 0425 on that day, Governor Hunt ordered the Marines to resist the expected invasion and, if necesary, to retreat for a final stand at the Government House in Port Stanley. At 0430 a force of 150 Argentine Marine commandos landed at Mullet Creek about three miles south of Port Stanley. Ninety minutes later, part of the black-uniformed commandos attacked Moody Brook, the Royal Marine barracks just outside Port Stanley. Since the Royal Marines had already deployed elsewhere in the area, the phosphorous grenades and automatic rifle fire used in the attack caused no casualties.7 The commandos then reinforced the other part of its force which had moved directly on foot from Mullet Creek to attack the Government House. This force had already engaged the Royal Marines dug in and around the Government House. At 0800 the main Argentine landing force arrived at Port Stanley Harbor.8 The force involved most units of the Argentine Navy, including the aircraft carrier VINCIENTINO DE MAYO and at least one Type 42 destroyer. Argentina's Second Fleet Marine Force (FMF) - consisting of the First and Second Marine Infantry Battalions, First Amphibian Vehicle Battalion, First Marine Field Artillery Battalion, heavy mortar company, anti-tank missile company, and engineer company - made the amphibious landing. A-4 Skyhawk aircraft from the DE MAYO supported the landing.9 As amphibious assault vehicles and heavy guns arrived ashore, Governor Hunt realized that his small force of Marines could not stop the overwhelming attack expected to ensue shortly. At 0830 Hunt surrendered. The British suffered no casualties during the battle. For the purpose of publicizing the British humiliation, the Argentines photographed the captured Royal Marines lying face down. As planned, Argentine C-130 Hercules aircraft flew Hunt, the Royal Marines, and any islander wishing to leave the Falklands to Montevideo shortly after the surrender.10 By 5 April the Royal Marines had returned to the United Kingdom.11 The junta appointed General Mario Benjamin Menendez, the 52 year-old commander of the First Army Corps, to be the new governor of the Falklands.12 See Appendix D for the locations of the Argentine units sent to the Falklands. On the mainland, Argentines set aside their political differences and economic frustrations to unite in celebrating the historic victory. As intended, the invasion had successfully rallied popular support for the junta. Seizure of South Georgia. One day after the seizure of Port Stanley, an Argentine force already deployed at South Georgia demanded the surrender of the British base at Grytviken. But sometime before the invasion, Lieutenant Keith Mills and his 23-man Royal Marine detachment had debarked the ENDURANCE and had set up a tactical defense of the port settlement. Under orders not to surrender, Mills' detachment bravely battled a much larger Argentine force for over two hours. Using all of their available weapons, including 84mm Carl Gustav anti-tank rockets, they hit a Puma troop-carrying helicopter and the corvette GUERICO. But with such a small force, Mills had no chance of successfully repelling the attack. He surrendered, having suffered one British NCO badly wounded in the arm. His men killed four Argentines.13 BRITISH MOBILIZATION Initial Political-Military Responses. As the organization within the Minstry of Defence responsible for defense of the Falklands, the Royal Navy started organizing contingency plans for South Atlantic operations during the last couple of weeks in March. The Royal Navy decided on 28 March to send three nuclear submarines to the troubled area and sent an RFA ship on 29 March to support the ENDURANCE. Also on 29 March First Sea Lord Sir Henry Leach met with his senior staff at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall to organize a naval task force for possible use in the South Alantic. The group decided to include all available resources - aircraft carriers, surface escorts, submarines, and amphibious ships - in the planned task force. The First Flotilla, under the command of Bear Admiral John "Sandy" Woodward, would form the core of the task force.14 On 30 March the Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Sir John Fieldhouse, met Woodward aboard a ship at sea to discuss the plan.15 Woodward's task group was, at the time, participating in Exercise Spring Train, a training operation in the mid-Atlantic. Putting the fleet on the highest state of alert on 1 April, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ordered Leach to have Woodward consolidate his task group and prepare to steam south covertly.16 At 1800 on 2 April, Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington and Defense Minister John Nott confirmed the surrender of the Falklands at a joint press conference in London. The Thatcher government knew that the political and military setback would trigger widespread demands throughout Britain for an effective response. That evening prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet met and decided to send a naval task force to the Falklands. At the meeting the British service chiefs pointed out the great logistical problems that a task force would have to overcome to operate in the South Atlantic. But Leach confidently asserted that the Royal Navy could carry out such an operation. Two considerations probably induced the Cabinet to send the task force: (1) the necessity to maintain the momentum of military preparations already begun, and (2) the need to show Parliament that the government could and would react firmly to the aggression. The Cabinet did not declare war on Argentina. The Cabinet recognized that the sending of ships, although a military response, meant no immediate hostilities and gave it breathing space to negotiate a peaceful settlement.17 As the Cabinet had anticipated, the House of Commons on 3 April strongly criticized what it felt was a shameful defeat that Britain and, more specifically, the Thatcher government had suffered. Both Foreign Minister Carrington and Defense Minister Nott offered their resignations to Mrs. Thatcher. She resisted them initially, but Carrington refused to reconsider. On 5 April Mrs. Thatcher accepted his resignation and appointed Francis Pym to be the new Foreign Secretary.18 Task Force Mission and Composition. The general mission of the naval task force ordered to the South Atlantic was to effect a withdrawal of Argentine forces from the Falklands with a minimun loss of life and to re-establish British rule of the islands.19 To carry out this mission, the task force had to prepare itself to carry out three possible courses of action. They included (1) a naval blockade of the Falklands, (2) the sinking of Argentine ships and/or aircraft as a signal that the task force meant business, and (3) a counter-invasion to regain control of the Falklands.20 See Appendix L for a diagram of the command relations within the task force. Five categories of shipping constituted the sea element of the task force. The carrier-task group initially included two small carriers; three Type-42 destroyers armed with Sea Dart air-defense missiles; two Type-22 frigates armed with Sea Wolf air-defense missiles; and various other destroyers, frigates, and support ships. The amphibious task group consisted of seven ships: a dock-landing ship (LPD) and six logistic landing ships (LSLs). A second LPD later joined the group.21 Ships in the other three categories sailed at different times during the war. The submarine group eventually numbered six submarines. Twenty-two Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ships, government-owned and civilian manned, provided logistical support to the task force.22 Finally, the sea force included merchant ships which the government chartered or requisitioned to provide logistical and transport support. Fifty-nine of these ships taken up from trade (STUFT) supported the task force during the course of the war.23 Initially, 20 Sea Harriers deployed on the two carriers as the air element of the task force.24 Eight more Sea Harriers and 14 Royal Air Force GR3 Harriers later reinforced the task force. Almost 200 helicopters participated in the war. They included seven types: Sea King, Wessex, Lynx, Gazelle, Wasp, Scout, and Chinook.25 The ground element of the task force at first consisted of the Royal Marines' 3 Commando Brigade, the 3rd Parachute Battalion, and elements of the 22nd Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment all under the command of Brigadier- General Julian Thompson, the Commander of 3 Commando Brigade. The 2nd Parachute Battalion joined Thompson's brigade while the latter visited Ascension Island on its way to the Falklands. After 3 Commando Brigade seized a beachhead on the Falklands, 5 Infantry Brigade landed there and doubled the size of the landing force. The 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards; 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards; and the 1st Battalion, 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles made up this brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Anthony Wilson. Major- General Jeremy Moore, RM, assumed overall command of the two-brigade landing force. (See. Appendix C for a detailed listing of the landing-force units.) First alerted about the Falklands crisis on 31 March, Brigadier Thompson met with his staff at Plymouth on 2 April to start planning for a possible operation in the Falklands. On 4 April he hosted a major meeting of his staff and subordinate commanders at Hamoaze House to discuss arrangements for an immediate deployment to the South Atlantic.26 Over the course of the next week, the various units of the landing force quickly embarked personnel and equipment on both ships and aircraft. On 5 April the SAS's D Squadron flew to Ascension Island, a British island in the Atlantic about half way to the Falklands. The next day the 3rd Commando Brigade staff sailed from Britain aboard the LPD FEARLESS. Three companies of the brigade flew to Ascension island, while the remainder of the landing forces sailed on the LSLs, the USS CANBERRA, and the carrier HMS HERMES. CANBERRA, a 45,000-ton-civilian- passenger ship, carried 650 men when it sailed on 9 April.27 Within a week of Argentina's invasion of the Falklands, Britain had launched a major sea, air, and land force tasked to recover the islands. The task force's first stop was Ascension Island. ASCENSION ISLAND Description. British-owned Ascension Island lies off the west coast of Africa, 4,225 miles by sea from the U.K. and 3,750 miles from the Falklands. (See Appendix A for the island's approximate position in the Atlantic.) Thirty-four square miles in size, it has no native inhabitants. Its climate is hot and arid, and most of its lava soil supports no vegetation. The united States leases the island from Britain for the purpose of operating a civilian- manned, tracking station.28 Under normal circumstances, aircraft periodically resupply the Americans through use of the island's Wideawake Airfield. Task-Force Use. Located halfway between the U.K. and the Falklands, Ascension Island gave the British a logistical base from which to operate in the South Atlantic. Upon leaving the U.K. early in April, the various elements of the British task force sailed or flew to Ascension to make final plans and preparations for the Falklands-recovery operation. While there, the task force accomplished many tasks. The senior commanders - Sir John Fieldhouse (CINCFLEET), Admiral John Woodward (Commander, Carriers), Commodore Michael Clapp (Commander, Amphibious Warfare), and Brigadier-General Julian Thompson (Commander, Land Force)-met to plan the upcoming naval and land campaign.29 In a major cross-decking operation, the landing force restowed weapons, equipment, ammunition, and stores aboard the ships it planned to use in an amphibious assault on the Falklands. During the hasty embarkation of ships in the U.K., embarkation officers and cargo handlers had jammed the gear on the ships as expeditiously as possible. In the Ascension Island restow, Commando Logistics Regiment arranged the gear on the ships based on the order of tactical off-load in the amphibious objective area.30 Also at Ascension, the brigade managed to accomplish some training, to include weapons-firing, amphibious assault drills, equipment checks, and physical fitness workouts.31 Soviet Surveillance. The Soviet Union showed its first noticeable interest in the task force during the reorganization of Ascension. A Soviet Bear aircraft flying below 1,000 feet surveyed British activities.32 Soviet Bears later periodically shadowed the task force as it steamed to the Falklands. The Argentines have yet to reveal how much information the Soviets provided them on British military operations. Departures. Woodward's carrier task group sailed from Ascension on 18 April. In moving ahead of the rest of the task force, it sought to win the antici- pated sea and air battle before the amphibious task force arrived to begin the land battle. The amphibious task group moved at different times. The slow- moving LSLs, carrying parts of the landing force, departed Ascension on 30 April. On 8 May the remainder of the force, including CANBERRA and command ship FEARLESS, ventured south. Just before leaving, the task group had received valuable reinforcements in the form of another LPD, HMS INTREPID; a container ship, ATLANTIC CONVEYOR; and the 2nd Parachute Battalion.33 With the addition of 2 PARA, 3 Commando Brigade numbered over 4,000 men. WAR STRATEGY The task force's strategy envisioned three phases for the Falklands campaign. In the first phase, Woodward's carrier-battle group would prepare the Falklands area for the planned amphibious assault. The mission required the accomplishment of three main tasks: (1) a naval and air blockade of the islands, (2) the defeat of Argentine naval forces, and (3) the securing of British air superiority in the area. Phase two called for the amphibious task force to make a landing and to establish a beachhead on the Falklands. Finally, in phase three, the landing force, supported by naval forces, would defeat the enemy's ground forces.34 NAVAL SUPPORTING OPERATIONS Blockade. To accomplish the air and naval blockade required to isolate the amphibious objective area, the British government announced clear rules of engagement for its naval forces to honor and enforce. Many of these rules notified forces on both sides where the British would and would not engage Argentine forces. In imposing a 200-mile Maritime Exclusion Zone (MEZ) around the Falklands on 12 April, the British declared that its task force would attack any Argentine naval ships within that zone.35 British submarines patrolled the zone to enforce the restriction. Over the next few weeks as the task force began operating in the area, the guidelines regulating a task-force attack became increasingly permissive. On 23 April the British government warned the Argentines that any "threat to interfere with the mission of British forces in the South Atlantic would be dealt with appropriately."36 Tightening the blockade even further, the British changed the MEZ to a Total Exclusion Zone (TEZ) on 30 April. The TEZ covered the same 200 miles around the Falklands, but it restricted both ships and aircraft, either military or civilian, from moving through the zone.37 On 7 May the British government declared that its task force would treat as hostile all Argentine naval ships and military aircraft that moved beyond 12 miles of the Argentine coast. On 11 May Arentina retaliated by designating a vast war zone that imposed similar restrictions against British forces.38 At this point, the British task force had gained the authority to attack Argentine forces practically everywhere except on the Argentine mainland. Concerned about the political and military risks of escalating the war, the British government prohibited any types of attacks on the mainland. Such attacks might well have undermined world support of the British campaign and assuredly would have increased Latin American support for Argentina. Since Argentina probably would have enjoyed overwhelming air superiority over its air bases on the mainland, the task force might have suffered prohibitive losses if it had tried such attacks. In any case, the British decision to refrain from attacks on the mainland provided Argentine air forces a sanctuary from which to strike at the task force.39 Submarine Operations. Six British submarines, five nuclear and one conven- tional, deployed to the South Atlantic.40 Along with enforcing Argentine compliance with the exclusion zone, the submarines tried to accomplish two main tasks. They sought to monitor the movements of Argentina's surface ships and attempted to destroy its two 209 submarines.41 In dealing with the surface ships, the submarines produced invaluable successes. Since they could steam faster than any of the Argentine ships, track vessels at long distances, and kill without detection, they posed a serious threat to the small Argentine Navy. HMS CONQUEROR proved the lethality of thin threat on 2 May, when it torpedoed the GENERAL BELGRANO, a 13,645-ton cruiser, some 35 miles southwest of the TEZ. The British War Cabinet had authorized the strike outside the TEZ, even though it would escalate the conflict. The attack killed 368 sailors, while 800 more survived the attack by floating in life rafts for 30 hours before escorting Argentine destroyers returned to rescue them.42 The surprising and deadly strike dealt a stunning blow to the Argentine Navy. The fleet, including the carrier DE MAYO, returned to bases on the mainland and remained there for the rest of the war. British submarines had, in fact, completely neutralized both Argentina's surface navy and the menacing air power the carrier could have generated against the task force. Major contributions from the submarines. The submarines were less effective in carrying out their second main task. Although aided in their anti-submarine warfare (ASW) by RAF Nimrod aircraft flying partrols from Ascension island and task-force heli- copters with ASW equipment, the submarines failed to destroy the enemy's submarines.43 One Argentine submarine, the SAN LUIS, operated in the main areas of the British task force during a 36-day patrol. Because the fire-control panel for its main torpedo malfunctioned, the SAN LUIS fired all of its torpedoes on incorrect bearings.44 Very obviously, Britain's ineffective ASW operations could have led to major, even prohibitive, setbacks for the task force. British submarines made one more contribution to the war. After the Argentine Navy withdrew, some of the submarines patrolled off the coast near Argentina's air bases. They used their electronic, sonar, and communications equipnent to detect and report the take-off of aircraft sorties towards the Falklands.45 Air Operations. During the pre-assault supporting operations, British aircraft carried out both offensive air and anti-air missions. RAF Vulcan bombers attacked the Port Stanley airfield on 1 and 4 May. Refueling 17 times during the round trip on 1 May, one bomber dropped twenty-one 1,000 lb. bombs from 10,000 feet over the airfield. The bombers caused limited cratering damage to the runway.46 To complement the Vulcans during the first couple of weeks in May, Sea Harriers from the task force's carriers regularly attacked both Port Stanley and Goose Green, whenever the weather permitted air operations. Task-force helicopters and Harriers also attacked any of the few Argentine ships steaming at sea. On 3 May Lynx helicopters fired Sea Skua air-to-surface guided missiles to sink one patrol craft and damage another.47 On 9 May a Harrier sank the NARWHAL, an intelligence-gathering ship.48 Although the Harriers suffered no losses from enemy fire, three Harriers crashed into the ocean during flight operations.49 In executing their primary mission of providing longe-range air defense for the task force, the Sea Harriers flew extensive combat air patrol (CAP) sorties. They turned away an Argentine Boeing 707 trying to gather intelli- gence and helped to turn back most of the relatively few enemy-air attacks on the task force.50 Except for the first day of the air battle, the Argentine A-4 Skyhawks and Mirages chose to try to out-run the Harriers rather than dog- fight with them.51 On 4 May two Argentine Super Entendards carrying EXOCET sea-skimming, guided missiles did penetrate the protective screen of the Harriers and shipboard air-defense systems. One EXOCET missile hit the HMS SHEFFIELD, a Type-42 destroyer on radar-picket duty west of the Falklands. Although the missile failed to explode, its ignited fuel caused extensive fire damage. Twenty-one men died, and all others abandoned the ship. Six days later, the ship sank while in tow to South Georgia.52 The sinking of the SHEFFIELD jolted the British government and public and caused the task force to change air tactics. Concerned that the Harriers and shipboard systems could not guarantee protection against the threat of low-flying aircraft with stand-off missiles, Admiral Woodward decided to keep his carriers 100 miles east of the Falklands beyond the range of enemy aircraft.53 The change in the operating area meant that the Sea Harriers would have longer sorties to the islands and reduced time over their targets and at their CAP stations. The move doomed to failure the task force's effort to gain air superiority in the amphibious objective area. Surface-Ship Operations. Surface-ship operations during this phase of the war included carrier-escort duty, anti-air warfare, and shore bombardment. Once the Argentine fleet returned to port, the surface ships had only to contend with submarine and air threats to the task force. They fired on many suspected submarine contacts but scored no hits. Except for the SHEFFIELD disaster and bomb damage to Type-42 destroyer HMS GLASGOW, they managed to protect the task force from the air threat. The destroyers and frigates even went so far as to patrol near the East Falkland coast to ambush enemy aircraft with their Sea Dart and Sea Wolf weapons. The tactic destroyed at least six A-4 Skyhawks.54 The British surface ships bombarded East and West Falkland with naval gunfire periodically during phase one of the war. The bombardments sought to prevent the build-up of Argentine strength on the islands, disrupt enemy communications, and to alarm and tire out the Argentine conscripts. The night before the amphibious landing, the naval-gunfire ships struck at various places on East and West Falkland to divert Argentine attention away from the actual landing site.55 Failure. In the pre-assault supporting operations, Woodward's carrier group succeeded in achieving only two of its three objectives. It did impose a reasonably effective blockade and did eliminate the threat of Argentina's naval forces. But in failing to eliminate the submarine threat and to gain air superiority, the carrier group failed to create the conditions necessary for a successful amphibious landing. If the British were to make an amphibious landing on the Falklands, they would have to do it under the intimidating threat of submarine and strong, land-based air attacks. A risky proposition! Call it an amphibious gamble. Briefed by the service chiefs about the amphibious force's vulnerability to enemy air, the War Cabinet on 8 May made the crucial decision of the war to send the landing force into the South Atlantic despite the lack of air superiority.56 SUBSIDIARY LANDING IN SOUTH GEORGIA Plan of Attack. With the British public anxious for a military victory and the Foreign Office looking to reinforce its diplomacy with a show of resolve, the War Cabinet decided in early April to make a landing to recover South Georgia. Intelligence reports indicated the British would meet little resistance on the island. Planning for the operation started on 6 April. Major Guy Sheridan, the second-in-command of 42 Commando, took charge of a team that included M Company of 42 Commando, elements of SAS's D Squadron, and a Special Boat Squadron (SBS) party. At Ascension Island the team embarked aboard HMS PLYMOUTH, HMS ANTRIM, and RFA tanker TIDESPRING for movement to South Georgia.57 Sheridan's plan called for the SAS detachment to land on Fortuna Glacier north of Leith and to proceed via Husik and Stromness to Leigh. Meanwhile, two SBS teams would land by boat or helicopter in Hound Bay southeast of Grytviken and make their way to Grytviken via Moraine Fjord. M Company would serve as a quick reaction force that could land wherever required.58 (See Appendix E for maps of South Georgia.) Improvised Assault. On 14 April the small squadron of ships rendezvoused with HMS ENDURANCE 1,000 miles north of South Georgia. After transferring to ENDURANCE, the SAS detachment landed by helicopter on Fortuna Glacier as planned on 21 April. But in the deep snow and severe weather, the SAS found they could not move across the terrain and asked to withdraw on 22 April. It took three helicopters to execute the withdrawal. The first two experienced whiteouts and crashed on the glacier. Almost miraculously, the crashes caused no casualties. A third Wessex helicopter finally managed to lift out the SAS troop and returned it to the ANTRIM.59 The SAS had narrowly avoided a catastrophe. Shortly after midnight on 23 April, the British tried again to penetrate the island. Two SBS sections landed in helicopters at the northern end df Sorling Valley, while five SAS teams tried to land on Grass Island in Gemini inflatable boats. Only three of the boats reached the shore; two drifted away into the night. A Wessex helicopter rescued one of the boats the next morning. Because of the ice and snow, neither the SBS nor the SAS could move very well to carry out its reconnaissance missions.60 The next day heli- copters moved the SBS sections from Sorling Valley to Moraine Fjord. But the main event of 24 April was the British discovery of an Argentine submarine operating in the area. Faced with such a deadly threat, the British ships had to disperse. The RFA TIDESPRING with M Company embarked on it with- drew some 200 miles to the north.61 Prospects for effective reconnaissance of South Georgia and an amphibious landing seemed a long way off. British fortunes changed on 25 April. Early in the morning, a Wessex helicopter sighted the Argentine submarine SANTA FE near the surface of the bay five miles from Grytviken. Three Wasp and a Lynx helicopter attacked the submarine with machine guns and an AS-12 missile. The attack forced the submarine to beach at Grytviken.62 Heartened by the successful attack, British officers aboard the ANTRIM decided to press the attack, even though their main assault forces were still 200 miles away. Major Sheridan formed a 75-man composite company from the various Royal Marine detachment, SAS, SBS, mortar, and reconnaissance troops embarked aboard the ANTRIM. Two naval gunfire support parties also worked with the company.63 At approximately 1345 Major Sheridan issued his order for the operation scheduled to start at 1445. At 1415 naval gun fire spotters in a Wasp heli- copter started calling in naval gunfire to support the landing. The composite company landed in helicopters near Hestlesletten and moved across Brown Mountain still under the cover of naval gunfire. In all, the ships fired 235 rounds of naval gunfire. Within 1,000 meters of King Edward's Point, Major Sheridan ordered the landing of more troops and requested that the ships make a demonstration of their strength in Cumberland Bay East. Before either could take place, the Argentines surrendered at King Edward's Point.64 Major Sheridan accepted the surrender of the Argentine-garrison commander in Grytviken at 1715. The next day more forces surrendered at Leith.65 Casualties were light for both sides. The Argentines suffered one WIA and one non-battlefield death. Since a helo recovered the lost Gemini landing craft on 26 April, the British amazingly escaped from many near-catastrophes with no KIAs.66 They took 156 military and 38 civilian prisoners - no small feat for a composite company that attacked on one-hour notice.67 The victory of South Georgia aided the British cause in two ways. First, the securing of South Georgia gave the Royal Navy a limited anchorage in the South Atlantic. Secondly, the win dealt a psychological blow to the Argentines.68 The British had handily won round one of the land battle. In so doing, Britain demonstrated that it would, and could, use force effectively. PREASSAULT OPERATIONS Pre-D-Day Reconnaissance. SAS and SBS reconnaissance teams provided the only effective reconnaissance of enemy activities on the Falklands before D-Day. In early May the teams landed by helicopters and inflatable boats at night to assess the enemy's strength, condition, and deployment of forces. They also scouted landing sites, removed mines, and made small-unit sabotage and diversionary raids. The raids helped to confuse and disorganize the Argentine forces.69 The six SBS teams concentrated on reconnoitering coastal landing sites, including the site eventually used at San Carlos. The patrols reported no evidence of mines in San Carlos Water or on its beaches. They also pointed out how the surrounding high ground would protect ships anchored in San Carlos Water from low-flying EXOCET missiles. The eight 4-man SAS patrols operated further inland. Three worked on West Falkland, one each at Darwin and Bluff Cove, and three around Port Stanley. The SAS used their portable satellite- communication radios to transmit their findings to the officers planning the land campaign.70 Aside from the SAS and SBS efforts, practically no other reconnaissance took place. Because the U.S. had no reconnaissance satellites flying near the Falklands, the British received no satellite photographs of the battle- field.71 Aircraft offered no better reconnaissance. The task force con- tained no dedicated aerial reconnaissance aircraft, and the Harriers had no high altitude cameras.72 in this high technology era, preassault recon- naissance depended on the daring and skill of foot patrols. Pebble Island Raid. Elements of the landing force carried out one major raid in the amphibious objective area during preassault operations. On 14 May a 53-man SAS patrol raided an enemy airfield on Pebble Island, located off the northern coast of West Falkland. (See Appendix B for the location.) In the raid, the SAS patrol sought to destroy some enemy aircraft based at the airfield and some small, mobile radar stations that could direct Argentine air attacks on the task force.73 On the night of 11 May, an 8-man SAS reconnaissance patrol landed by helicopter on West Falkland and later paddled canoes to Pebble Island to confirm the target. Three nights later, the rest of the SAS raiding party under the command of Major Cedric Delves, heli-lifted to the island to carry out the raid. A naval gunfire spotter with the patrol directed over 100 naval gunfire rounds onto the airfield in 30 minutes. The SAS used hand-emplaced demolition charges to blow the aircraft. After a brief Argentine counterattack, the SAS patrol withdrew back to the ships having suffered only two wounded men. In destroying 11 Pucarra turbo-prop aircraft and the mobile radar stations, the SAS patrol eliminated a part of Argentina's imposing land-based air threat.74 Fanning Head Raid. The night before 3 Commando Brigade landed at San Carlos, a 32-man SBS patrol heli-lifted to Fanning Head, at the northern entrance to San Carlos Water, to destroy an Argentine garrison guarding the entrance. A Wessex III helicopter using a thermal imager had located the garrison of 20 or so earlier in the evening. The SBS landed at 2300 and used naval gunfire and machine-guns to disperse the Argentines. They took nine prisoners at dawn the next morning.75 Another successful and helpful pre-assault operation. These successes helped pave the way for the successful main landing at San Carlos on 21 May. NOTES 1Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins, The Battle for the Falklands (New York: W.W. Norton, 1983), p. 21. 2James Cable, "The Falklands: Causes and Consequences," NAVY International, August 1982, p. 1229. 3Hastings and Jenkins, p. 48. 4Hastings and Jenkins, p. 73. 5Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 72-73; "The Falkland Islands," NAVY International, May 1982, p. 1035. 6Stewart W.B. Menaul, "The Falklands Campaign: A War of Yesterday?" Strategic Review, X, No. 4 (1982), 82 and 85. 7Hastings and Jenkins, p. 73. 8Hastings and Jenkins, p. 74. 9Adrian English, "Argentina's Military Potential," NAVY International, May 1982, pp. 1046-47. 10Hastings and Jenkins, p. 74. 11Hastings and Jenkins, p. 94. 12Hastings and Jenkins, p. 75. 13Hastings and Jenkins, p. 74. 14Hastings and Jenkins, p. 62. 15Hastings and Jenkins, p. 63. 16Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 70-71. 17Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 76-78. 18Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 78-80. 19Lawrence Freedman, "The War of the Falkland Islands, 1982," Foreign Affairs, 61, No. 1 (1982), 203. 20"The Falkland Islands," p. 1032. 21DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 40. 22Neville Trotter, "The Falklands Campaign Command and Logistics," Armed Forces Journal International, June 1983, p. 34. 23A. D. Baker III, "Sealift, British Style," Proceedings, June 1983, p. 111. 24Hastings and Jenkins, p. 88. 25U.K., Secretary of State for Defence, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1982), pp. 19-20. (In subsequent notes, SSD refers to Secretary of State for Defense.) 26Hastings and Jenkins, p. 87. 27Hastings and Jenkins, p. 97; "The Falkland Islands, p. 1039. 28Trotter, p. 40. 29Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 121-122. 30Hastings and Jenkins, p. 180; Commando Logistic Regiment. "Miracle or Nightmare," The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, p. 254. 31Hastings and Jenkins, p. 182; D. V. Nicholls, "Amphibious Victory," The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, p. 220. 32"The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After April 13," NAVY International, June 1982, p. 1095. 33Nicholls, p. 221. 34David Drysdale, "The War at Sea," The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, pp. 228-30. 35Hastings and Jenkins, p. 116. 36SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 5. 37"The Falkland Crisis: Operations and progress After April 13," p. 1097. 38"The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 7," pp. 1158 and 1160. 39Hastings and Jenkins, 162; Freedman, p. 204; Jeffrey Record, "The Falkland War," The Washington Quarterly, 5, No. 4 (1982), 44; English, p. 1047. 40DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 8. 41Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 146-147. 42Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 147-150; "The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After April 13," p. 1098. 43"The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 25," NAVY International, August 1982, p. 1223. 44DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 8; Personal interview with Jose Ferrer, 22 February 1984. 45Hastings and Jenkins, p. 157. 46Hastings and Jenkisn, pp. 143-44. 47Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 150-51. 48Hastings and Jenkins, p. 158. 49Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 156-57. 50"The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After April 13," p. 1097; Menaul, p. 83. 51DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 5. 52Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 150-55; "The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After April 13," p. 1099; Ezio Bonsignore, "Hard Lessons From the South Atlantic," Military Technology, VI, Issue 6 (1982), 34. 53Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 156 and 193; Drysdale, p. 229. 54Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 157-59. 55"The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 7," pp. 1158-59; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 196. 56Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 163, 169, and 317. 57Hastings and Jenkins, p. 119. 58"Retaking of South Georgia," The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, p. 234. 59Hastings and Jenkins pp. 126-28. 60"Retaking of South Georgia," p. 234; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 128. 61Hastings and Jenkins, p. 128. 62"Retaking of South Georgia," p. 235; Hastings and Jenkins, 129. 63Hastings and Jenkins, p. 129. 64Retaking of South Georgia," p. 235. 65Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 129-30. 66Hastings and Jenkins, p. 130. 67"Argentina: Malvinas Yes, Army No," The Economist, 1 May 1982, p. 21. 68SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 5. 69Hastings and Jenkins, p. 176; Nicholls, p. 220; Gary L. Guertner, "The 74-Day War: New Technology and Old Tactics," Military Review, LXII, No. 11 (1982), p. 67. 70Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 177, 184, and 186. 71Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 58, 90 and 290; "Battle Order: The Balance of Forces," The Economist, 24 April 1982, p. 28. 72Hastings and Jenkisn, p. 290; SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 24; J.H.A. Thompson, cassette (np.: n.p., February 1984). 73"The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 7," p. 1160; "The Falkland Crisis:" Operations and Progress After May 25," p. 1222; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 186. 74Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 186-87; O'Ballance, p. 37. 75Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 196-97; Nicholls, pp. 222-23. CHAPTER THREE THE BRITISH LAND CAMPAIGN SAN CARLOS LANDING Final Preparations. Towards the end of the pre-landing supporting operations, the amphibious task group rendezvoused with the carrier group and readied itself for an amphibious assault. On 19 May, two days before the scheduled landing, 3 Commando Brigade carried out a major cross-decking operation in the open seas. To facilitate the off-load of troops at the landing site, the 3rd Parachute Battalion and 40 Commando moved from the passenger ship, CANBERRA, to LPDs INTREPID and FEARLESS. Fortunately for the amphibious task group, an unusually calm day allowed the pre-D-Day transfers to take place. At the end of the operation, the following ships hosted 3 Commando Brigade's main combat units: Click here to view image Taking up space throughout the ship, including the Wardroom, 1,500 men billeted aboard FEARLESS.1 The transfers produced one tragic episode. A Sea King helicopter moving a SAS party to INTREPID struck an albatross and crashed into the sea. Twenty- two men died, including 20 from the SAS.2 A wretched loss for the elite SAS! At last light on 19 May the amphibious task group crossed into the TEZ on its way to the San Carlos landing site. In retrospect, this 36-hour transit exposed the landing force to the greatest hazard it would face in the entire war. Steaming within range of Argentine land-based aircraft without having gained local air superiority, the task group bared itself to potentially devastating strikes from enemy air. Likewise, the not-yet-eliminated submarine threat made the task group vulnerable to sub-surface attacks. Some well-placed bombs or torpedoes against FEERLESS could have killed 1,500 men of the landing force quite quickly. But with fog on 20 May helping to hide the ships and making flight operations difficult, the Argentines missed their best opportunity to strike a decisive blow at the clustered and very vulnerable landing force.3 Amphibious Landing. At 0300 on 21 May, FEARLESS docked in the San Carlos area. (See Appendix F for a diagram of the landing site.) San Carlos Water extends southeasterly into East Falkland from the northeast corner of Falkland Sound. A couple of miles inland, the water forks. The smaller, northern fork, called Port San Carlos, leads to a 30-person hamlet, also called Port San Carlos, on the northern shore. Two good beaches for landing - Green 1 and 2 - exist on this nothern shore. The terrain around Port San Carlos is soft and hilly. The southern fork, which retains the name San Carlos Water, leads to San Carlos, another hamlet of about 30 people on the eastern shore. Two good beaches - Blue 1 and 2 - also exist near this settlement. On the western shore of San Carlos Water lies Ajax Bay, site of an abandoned refrigeration plant originally built to market sheep carcasses. One beach - Red - exists near Ajax Bay. Below San Carlos Water, the Sussex Mountains protrude as an obstacle for movements to the south.4 Under a bright moon and amidst calm seas, the rest of the amphibious ships anchored in San Carlos Water and started off-loading 3 Commando Brigade's assault units. During phase one of the assault, 40 Commando and 2 Para moved in landing craft (LCUs) through San Carlos Water to Blue Beaches 1 and 2 near San Carlos. At about 0340 2 Para waded ashore unopposed at Blue Beach 2 and quickly headed south to secure the Sussex Mountains. 40 Commando landed to the north moments later and advanced to clear San Carlos. Meeting no resistance, the Royal Marines raised the Union Jack above San Carlos at 0730.5 In phase two, 45 Commando and 3 Para landed. At dawn 45 Commando departed INTREPID and STROMNESS in four LCUs and sailed to Red Beach in daylight. After making an unopposed landing, the Commando's companies seized Ajax Bay and moved into defensive positions on the high ground. To the north, 3 Para fell behind schedule but managed to move ashore at Green Beach 1 by 0700.6 A SBS team met 3 para on the beach and reported no enemy activity in the area. Shortly thereafter, 3 Para's lead company observed an Argentine platoon moving eastwards out of Port San Carlos. The company engaged the enemy with mortars and machine-guns but inflicted no casualties. With small-arms fire only, the Argentines downed two British Gazelle helicopters that prematurely strayed into the Port 5an Carlos area. Three of the four pilots died in the crashes. 3 Para then cleared Port San Carlos and organized its defense.7 Having established four battalions ashore against practically no opposi- tion, the amphibious group achieved complete tactical surprise in the San Carlos landing early on the morning of 21 May. The landing force never once had to request the air and naval gunfire on-call fires planned for use if needed. Casualties were minimal. Ground Defense. After completing their assaults, the four battalions started organizing a defense of the San Carlos area. Artillery and air-defense weapons landed during phase three of the amphibious operation. On the afternoon of21 May, 42 Commando moved ashore to help 3 Para at Port San Carlos. At 2030 that evening, the Brigade's tactical headquarters landed and set up near 40 Commando's position at San Carlos.9 Within 36 hours of the initial landing, the brigade had organized the tactical defense of a 10-square-mile beachhead.10 (See the diagram in Appendix G.) SAS, SBS, and units of the battalions patrolled forward of friendly lines. All troops lived in, and prepared to fight from, fighting holes. Since the high water table filled many of the fighting holes, many Marines and soldiers built sangars, rock breastworks built and camouflaged above ground.11 3 Commando Brigade remained static in this defensive position for six days. Brigadier Thompson knew he had to continue the attack but wanted to build up his logistical support before moving from the beachhead. So 3 Commando Brigade carried out a massive supply build-up ashore to sustain itself on land. The build-up became even more critically important when menacing Argentine air forces threatened to drive the support ships away from the beach. After D+1 the support ships left San Carlos Water during daylight hours and unloaded only at night.12 Because of this limitation and the lack of port facilities in the San Carlos area, the supply build-up moved slowly. Thompson's brigade occupied and defended the beachhead for an agonizing six days. But theArgentine Army and Marines made no effort to mount a ground attack against the beachhead. Air Defense. Conversely, the Argentine Air Force and Navy launched massive air attacks against the British sea and landing forces. The attacks started shortly after dawn on D-Day. Four Pucara ground-attack aircraft bombed 2 Para as it moved up the Sussex Mountains but inflicted no casualties. An SAS team shot down one of the Pucara with an American-made Stinger ground-to-air missile. It was the only aircraft downed by a Stinger throughout the war. A little later, two Aeromacchi aircraft attacked the RFA ship, FORT AUSTIN, and the frigate, ARGONAUT, anchored in San Carlos Water. The FORT AUSTIN escaped damage, but the ARGONAUT incurred a hole in its surveillance radar and some wounded crew members.13 The attacks on the ships began what turned out to be a five-day air assault on the ships supporting the landing force. Starting at 1030, Argentine Mirages and Skyhawks made 12 separate, low-level attacks from the east on D-Day. With six aircraft making up each attack wave, the Argentines sent a total of 72 aircraft to attack the British force.14 The destroyers and frigates screening the amphibious and support ships constituted the main target for the air attackers.15 The Argentines sank the Type 21 frigate ARDENT, crippled the frigate ARGONAUT, and struck the frigates BRILLIANT and BROADSW0RD with cannon fire. The troop and supply ships, including the CANBERRA, drew some fire but escaped the full weight of the attacks.16 The attacks practically ignored the landing force. To protect itself, the amphibious task group set up a layered defense consisting of: (1) Harriers at combat air patrol (CAP) stations, (2) missile- firing destroyers and frigates, (3) ships firing anti-aircraft guns on the "gunline", and (4) troop and supply ships firing small calibre weapons. The landing force also contributed its Rapier and Blowpipe missile defense systems to the air-defense effort.17 On 21 May the British force shot down 15 of the 72 attacking aircraft.18 Probably because of bad weather over their bases, the Argentine aircraft did not attack on D+1 (22 May). But, again concentrating on the British escort ships, they resumed their powerful attacks on 23 and 24 May. They managed to sink ANTELOPE, another Type 21 frigate, while the British destroyed 10 of the attacking aircraft on the 23rd and 18 on the 24th.19 To help honor Argentina's National Day on 25 May, the Argentines attacked with fury on that day. They sank COVENTRY, another Type 42 destroyer, and ATLANTIC CONVEYOR, a container ship carrying critically important helicopters and supplies.20 The British shot down another eight aircraft.21 25 May marked the turning point in the battle of San Carlos and maybe even the whole war. Two significant developments occurred. First, Admiral Woodward elected to withdraw the carriers further from the Falklands in the face of the Argentine air threat. The decision had the effect of shortening the times the Harriers could remain on station, a step that weakened the amphibious task group's air defenses. But, second, the Argentines took heed of the more than 50 aircraft losses they had suffered in five days and chose to cut back their own attacks. In so doing, the Argentines acknowledged their inability to dislodge the British from the beachhead.22 The British had won the Battle of San Carlos. SAN CARLOS BREAKOUT Breakout Plan. Brigadier General Thompson's original plan for the breakout from the San Carlos beachhead called for his battalions to leapfrog across East Falkland using helicopters. But the loss of three huge Chinook trans- port helicopters in the sinking of ATLANTIC CONVEYOR on 25 May gave him insufficent helicopter assets to lift the troops, equipment, ammunition, and supplies for such a helicopterborne move. Especially adamant about the need need to provide artillery support to his advancing infantry, Thompson recognized that he would have to employ most of his helicopters for equipment and supply transport, not for troop movement. Under strong pressure from military and political authorities in London to maintain the momentum of the attack, Thompson formed a plan for his brigade to continue the attack towards Port Stanley on foot.23 Battle of Darwin-Goose Green. As early as 23 May Thompson had ordered 2 Para to make a battalion raid on a supposedly weak Argentine battalion occupying the small settlement of Goose Green, approximately 13 miles south of San Carlos. But poor weather that prevented the helicopter movement of artillery forced 2 Para to cancel the attack shortly after it started on 24 May. Two days later, at the direction of impatient London authorities, Brigadier Thompson ordered 2 Para to make a full-scale attack on both Goose Green and Darwin, another small hamlet of 80 people 2.5 miles north of Goose Green. Thompson felt the two hamlets were strategically irrelevant for the prose- cution of the land campaign but had to comply with political authorities preoccupied with both public demands for action and possible U.N. efforts to arrange a premature ceasefire.24 During the night of 26-27 May, Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Jones marched 2nd Parachute Battalion halfway to Goose Green and rested his men in a sheltered harbor position at Camilla Creek House. (See Appendix H for a diagram of the attack.) At 1600 on 27 May, while still occupying the harbor position, Lieutenant-Colonel Jones issued his attack order calling for "a six-phase night-day, silent-noisy battalion attack to capture Darwin and Goose Green."25 The plan called for 2 Para's companies to move down both the eastern and western sides of the isthmus leading to Goose Green. During darkness 2 Para would seize the outer Argentine defensive positions protecting Goose Green and Darwin. To minimize civilian casualties, the battalion would then move on the settlements during daylight. As 2 Para prepared to attack at Camilla Creek House, Lieutenant Colonel Jones monitored a BBC World Service news bulletin reporting that 2 Para was attacking and had advanced to a position five miles north of Darwin. No doubt trying to boost morale at home, a senior official in London had confirmed to a BBC radio correspondent that 2 Para was moving to attack Darwin and Goose Green. The Argentines reacted to the public report by moving a reserve battalion from Mount Kent to Goose Green early on the morning of 28 May. The leak of vital tactical information made 2 Para's task indeed more formidable.26 On the night of 27 May, C Company secured the start line for 2 Para's attack, and A and B Companies crossed the start line early on the morning of the 28th. Naval gunfire supported the attack. As daylight broke, A Company occupied Coronation Point and B Company engaged the Argentines at Boca House on the western side of the isthmus. As 2 Para pressed the attack during daylight, it encountered fierce resistance from a large force deployed, alerted, and dug in across the narrow isthmus. Supported only by artillery fire and their own mortars, the British had to advance across open ground against heavy machine-gun fire. In trying to help A Company advance, Lieutenant-Colonel Jones fell mortally wounded from rifle fire.27 Major Chris Keeble, the second-in-command, assumed command and continued to press the attack. As the day wore on, A and C Companies finally seized Darwin and pushed south along the east coast to the northern outskirts of Goose Green. B and D Companies moved down the western side and then swung east to threaten Goose Green from the west and south.28 By nightfall, Keeble's men occupied the hills around Goose Green after a victorious day on the battlefield. The Argentines landed reinforcements south of 2 Para but applied no pressure to 2 Para's ring around Goose Green. During the night Keeble planned a major attack for the following morning, to include a demonstration of Harrier and artillery firepower. Helicopters and BV202 vehicles resupplied 2 Para with mortars and small-arms ammunition.29 But no further fighting ensued the next day. Keeble sent two Argentine POWs into Goose Green to arrange possible surrender negotiations. The Argentine commander, Air Vice-Commodore Wilson Pedroza, met with Keeble and surrendered. Expecting 80 Argentines to walk out, 2 Para observed with shocked disbelief as over 150 airmen and 900 soldiers emerged to surrender. Including those taken during the course of the attack, 2 Para took 1,200 prisoners in the Battle of Darwin-Goose Green. The Argentines suffered 50 dead, while 2 Para had lost 17 killed and 35 wounded.30 As one of the decisive actions of the war, the battle showed Britain's firm resolve to win the war. The Argentines, too, had fought hard initially but then had crumbled quickly, a pattern they repeated in later battles. In victory against great odds, 2 Para showed leadership, aggressive fighting spirit, maintenance of momentum, and proper use of terrain and weapons. The whole landing force enjoyed a boost in morale.31 Probably most importantly, 2 Para's strong showing established "a psychological ascendancy over the Argentines which our (British) forces never lost."32 3 Parachute Battalion's Movement to Mts. Estancia and Vernet. At 1300 on 27 May, the day after 2 Para headed out to Goose Green, 3 Para marched almost due east out of its defensive position enroute to Teal Inlet, a small hamlet on the Port Salvador Bay about halfway from San Carlos to Port Stanley. (See Appendix I for a diagram of 3 Para's route of march.) Carrying enormous loads, 3 Para reached Teal Inlet on the night of 29 May and immediately pushed on towards Estancia House the next day. The battalion secured the few farm buildings at Mt. Estancia on 31 May, and moved to Mounts Estancia and Vernet on 1 June. 3 Para had marched approximately 50 miles in six days and had encountered no opposition. From 1-11 June, it anchored 3 Commando Brigade's northern flank as the brigade prepared for its final push on Port Stanley.33 45 Commando's Movement to Mount Kent. 45 Commando also departed the San Carlos beachhead on 27 May. At dawn, 45 Commando boarded LCUs and sailed, relatively exposed, from Ajax Bay up San Carlos Water to Port San Carlos. Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew F. Whitehead, the commanding officer of 45 Commando, himself can't explain why Brigadier Thompson sent his unit from the southern flank of the beachhead for a breakout to the north. Possibly because 2 Para was in the process of securing the southern flank at Goose Green, Thompson felt the enemy threatened 45 Commando's position less than those of the other battalions. In any case, 45 Commando set off on foot towards Douglas Settlement carrying up to 120 pounds per man.34 (See Appendix I for a diagram of 45 Commando's route of march.) Marching 13 miles to New House that night, 45 Commando continued the next day to Douglas Settlement, a small hamlet at the northwest corner of Port Salvador Bay. During the march, four-man teams of the Reconnaissance Troop moved a mile ahead of the commando column. The Surveillance Troop guarded the flanks, and the lead company deployed tactically. The Command Group marched behind the lead company. With the Marines spread 10 yards apart, the column stretched out for 2-3 miles. Seven BV202 Volvos - three fitted for radios and four carrying ammunition - moved with the column. Blowpipe missile launchers and machine guns were available for emergency air defense as the commando moved across the exposed terrain.35 45 Commando deployed tactically with two companies up, one back, and mortars in support to seize Douglas Settlement. But the formation encountered no resistance as it entered the hamlet in the early morning darkness of the 29th. Lieutenant-Colonel Whitehead immediately deployed Blowpipes on the high ground surrounding the town. Having moved 25 miles in 36 hours over soggy and very rough terrain, 45 Commando sustained about 25 injuries, mostly ankle, knee, blisters, and wet feet problems. Only 5-6 Marines had injuries requiring evacuation. The others rested at Douglas under a sergeant's supervision when 45 Commando departed the hamlet, but 15 of them rejoined the commando within 48 hours.36 On 30 May 45 Commando pushed to Teal Inlet, arriving there that evening just after 3 Para had departed the town. Islanders' tractors and trailers helped move some of the Marine packs and equipment during this leg of the march. After resting for four days in the shelter of Teal Inlet's few trees and shearing shed, the commando on 3-4 June made its last march ("yomp" as the Marines dubbed the marching with such heavy loads) to Mount Kent, approximately 10 miles northwest of Port Stanley. Establishing a patrol base here, 45 Commando prepared for the assault on Port Stanley.37 42 Commando's Movement to Mts. Kent and Challenger. On 27 May SAS patrols near Mt. Kent reported that the Argentines were only lightly defending this key terrain that overlooked Port Stanley only 12 miles away. Probably the movement of the Argentine reserve from Mt. Kent to Goose Green triggered the SAS report. Seeing an opportunity to seize the dominant approach to Port Stanley, Brigadier Thompson directed 42 Commando, the brigade reserve still deployed near Port San Carlos, to seize Mt. Kent. Lieutenant Colonel Nick Vaux, the commander of 42 Commando, tried to heli-lift K Company and three 105mm artillery howitzers to Mount Kent just after dark on 30 May. But blizzard conditions and whiteouts forced the Sea King helicopter pilots to abort the mission after almost two hours of heliborne terror. Lieutenant Colonel Vaux tried again the next night, this time success- fully. He flew to the base of Mt. Kent with 2/3 of K Company. As they landed, a nearby SAS patrol drove off a small Argentine force. K Company moved immediately to seize the undefended summit of Mt. Kent. The next night, Sea Kings flew in the rest of 42 Commando. (See Appendix K for a diagram of 42 Commando's movement.) L Company secured unoccupied Mt. Challenger, south of Mt. Kent, and the commando prepared defensive positions, to include critically important observation posts (OPs), on both hills. For six days, 42 Commando endured the extreme cold of the mountains, with temperatures dropping to as low as 11oF at night.38 Displacement of Brigade Headquarters. During the night of 31 May, the Brigade headquarters displaced from San Carlos to Teal Inlet in BV202 Volvos, two Scorpion and four Scimitar reconnaissance vehicles, and a Samson recovery vehicle. On 3 June, the headquarters displaced to Mt. Kent.39 40 Commando's Defense of Beachhead. Throughout the breakout, 40 Commando remained defending the San Carlos beachhead. As the other battalions left the area, 40 Commando had to spread across a wider and wider frontage. C Company moved to defend Ajax Bay, and B Company moved to the Sussex Mountains after 2 Para's departure. 40 Commando assumed the mission of Brigade reserve, and later became the force reserve after 5 Infantry Brigade landed.40 The only major attack 40 Commando experienced while defending the beach- head occurred at dusk on 27 May. Two A-4 Skyhawks hit 40 Commando's field entrenchments with 500-pound bombs. The Commando suffered two dead and three wounded. A second wave of three Skyhawks with 500 pound-bombs and cannon attacked the Brigade Maintenance Area (BMA) at Ajax Bay. Luckily for the British, only 4 of the 12 bombs exploded. Two unexploded bombs landed in a building housing the Medical Squadron and 100 or so Marines of Commando Logistics Regiment. The attack killed 6 and wounded 27. Had the bombs detonated properly, they could have wreaked catastrophic destruction.41 Except for minor skirmishes with Argentine patrols, 40 Commando faced no more attacks on the San Carlos beachhead. It remained at the beachhead to provide protection for 5 Infantry Brigade's landing and to guard against a paratroop attack on the BMA. THE SOUTHERN AXIS Landing of Landing-Force HQ and 5 Infantry Brigade. When intelligence sources reported that Argentine forces on the Falklands greatly exceeded the strength of 3 Commando Brigade, the British War Cabinet decided to reinforce the brigade. British military authorities chose 5 Infantry Brigade, Britain's "out-of-area force", for the mission. Commanded by Brigadier General Anthony Wilson, the brigade had just formed in January 1982. 2 Parachute Battalion, 3 Parachute Battalion, and the 1st Battalion of the 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles constituted the combat units of the brigade. Since 2 Para and 3 Para had already deployed to the Falklands under the command of 3 Commando Brigade, 5 Infantry Brigade picked up 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards and 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards to replace them. Because the brigade staff had only participated in one exercise since forming and had not worked with the two new battalions, Brigadier Wilson sent his brigade to the Sennybridge training area on 22 April for a two-week training exercise. During the exercise, code-named Welsh Falcon, the brigade practiced battalion attacks, live fire, helicopter movements, and amphibious assaults.42 On 3 May the Ministry of Defense requisitioned the luxury-passenger liner QUEEN ELIZABETH II (QEII) to take the brigade and the overall landing-force command group to the Falklands. With the high-level staff and 5 Brigade hastily embarking the ship, QEII sailed from Southhampton, U.K., on 12 May. Although under the impression that it could restow its gear at Ascension, the brigade found no chance to accomplish this task. QEII sailed instead to South Georgia, where 5 Infantry Brigade transferred to the ships CANBERRA and NORLAND. The British government intentionally avoided putting the potentially lucrative target close to the Falklands.43 While at South Georgia, Royal Marine Major General Jeremy Moore, the new overall commander of the two brigades, transferred with his staff and Brigadier Wilson to the destroyer ANTRIM for immediate passage to San Carlos. Arriving there on 30 May, he boarded FEARLESS, the amphibious task group's command ship, and assumed command of all British land forces on the Falklands.44 On 1 June the Gurkhas led 5 infantry Brigade ashore at San Carlos and marched immediately to Goose Green. With the two Guards battalions landing on 2 June, the British landing force had eight battalions on East Falkland Island. Movement to Fitzroy-Bluff Cove. Upon taking over command of the land campaign General Moore faced the immediate decision of how to employ both brigades for the attack on Port Stanley. You will recall that 3 Commando Brigade at this time was moving battalions into the hills around Mt. Kent. Brigadier Wilson, eager to get his brigade into action, urged Moore to open a southern axis of advance from Goose Green to Fitzroy-Bluff Cove and on to Port Stanley. Moore agreed to the plan and placed 2 Para, still at Goose Green,under the command of 5 Infantry Brigade. But because 3 Commando Brigade needed all available helicopters to build up combat power and supplies at their relatively exposed position at Mount Kent, Moore denied Brigadier Wilson the use of helicopters for transporting his brigade along the southern axis.45 Brigadier Wilson rejected no for an answer. On 2 June 2 Para discovered via a commercial telephone call to a Fitzroy resident that Argentine soldiers had departed the Fitzroy-Bluff Cove area. Quickly commandeering the force's one available Chinook helicopter, Brigadier Wilson packed 78 men of A Company 2 Para, into the Chinook and sent it 36 miles up the southern coast to high ground near Bluff Cove, across the bay from Fitzroy. (See Appendix I for a diagram of the move.) That evening the Chinook lifted another 78 men from B Company into the area.46 The improvised troop movement appalled General Moore and his staff, especially since Brigadier Wilson had sought no authorization to make the move. General Moore now had a company-size force dangerously close to the enemy but beyond the range of any artillery fire support. The landing-force staff and 5 Infantry Brigade had to devote all of their efforts towards getting help for the exposed unit at Bluff Cove.47 On 3 June the Welsh Guards compounded the problem. The battalion tried to march from San Carlos to Goose Green but had to turn around after walking for 12 hours. Fresh from public duties in London and not yet acclimatized to the cold, the Guardsmen buckled under the physical demands, heavy loads, rugged terrain, and severe weather.48 So, if 5 Infantry Brigade couldn't fly or walk to Fitzroy-Bluff Cove, how then could it get there to reinforce 2 Para's exposed companies? General Moore arranged with the Navy to move the brigade by ship. On 5 June the Scots Guards embarked the LPD INTREPID at San Carlos, sailed over- night to Port Fitzroy, and landed in LCUs at Bluff Cove the next morning. (See Appendix I for a diagram of the move.) On 6 June the Welsh Guards tried to execute the same kind of movement in the LPD FEARLESS. But because foggy weather prevented the movement of two LCUs from Bluff Cove to FEARLESS, only half of the Welsh Guards could taxi ashore in FEARLESS'S two LCUs. FEARLESS returned to San Carlos with 300 Welsh Guardsmen aboard. At this point, the Commodore Clapp, Admiral Woodward, and Admiral Fieldbouse decided against further use of the two amphibious assault ships for such transport duty outside of the range of the main destroyer and frigate screen. Brigadier Wilson would have to use the 5,700-ton landing ships (LSLs) to move the remainder of his brigade.49 Fitzroy Tragedy. On 6 June the LSL TRISTRAM, carrying some Welsh Guards- men and artillery ammunition, arrived unannounced at Fitzroy while FEARLESS was trying to off-load its welsh Guardsmen. Rather than returning to San Carlos with FEARLESS, SIR TRISTRAM remained in the Fitzroy Harbor all the next day. Since the Argentine air threat had seemingly vanished, the urgency to follow prudent air-defense practices apparently vanished also. The ship lay anchored in broad daylight with no escort protection. The troop commanders ashore made no effort to set up their Blowpipe missiles and machine-guns to protect the ship. To make matters worse, 5 infantry Brigade still hadn't transported its communication equipment to Fitzroy-Bluff Cove and so couldn't talk to either SIR TRISTRAM or Landing Force Headquarters at San Carlos.50 At 0700 on 8 June another LSL, SIR GALAHAD, also arrived at Fitzroy unannounced. Carrying the rest of the Welsh Guardsmen and 16 Field Ambulance unit, the ship appeared at dawn because the medical teams had delayed embarkation by four hours. (See Appendix I for a diagram of the move.) Although SIR GALAHAD's captain wanted to sail the following night so the ship could off-load in darkness at Fitzroy, Commodore Clapp had directed the ship to move immediately. This fateful decision led to tragedy.51 An Argentine mobile Westinghouse AN/TPS-43 3-D unjammable radar on Sapper Hill near Port Stanley detected the landing at Fitzroy.52 At 1310 two Mirages and two Skyhawks attacked SIR GALAHAD and SIR TRISTRAM with bombs. Minutes before the attack, the Sea Harrier CAP at Fitzroy had diverted to West Falkland Island to help the frigate PLYMOUTH fend off an air attack from five Mirages. The Skyhawks and Mirages had a free ride to the LSLs anchored at Fitzroy. Bombs hit both ships. One bomb on SIR GALAHAD ignited petroleum which the brigade intended to use for Rapier generators.53 Although heli- copter pilots made heroic efforts to save lives, 50 soldiers and seamen died, and 46 more suffered wounds. The figures include 32 Welsh Guardsmen killed. SIR GALAHAD sank, and SIR TRISTRAM sustained severe damage.54 Two more waves attacked at Fitzroy that afternoon but inflicted minimal damage. One wave did go on to sink a British LCU loaded with brigade trucks as it moved along the southern coast of East Falkland. Six Royal Marines died in the strike. The Harrier CAP managed to destory four aircraft with- drawing from Fitzroy.55 To add to the day's gloom, the Mirages badly damaged PLYMOUTH. Indeed a tragic day for the United Kingdom. General Moore responded swiftly to the disaster. Not wanting to delay the impending attack on Port Stanley, he reinforced the decimated Welsh Guards with A and C Companies from 40 Commando in reserve. He also emphasized to his subordinates that the landing force would attack Port Stanley on schedule.56 BATTLE OF PORT STANLEY Attack Preparations. By 4 June 3 Commando Brigade had gained positions west of Port Stanley from which it could launch an attack on the Falklands capital. 3 Para occupied Mts. Vernet and Estancia at the northern end of the brigade area, while 42 Commando held Mts. Kent and Challenger at the southern end. 45 Commando operated out of a patrol base behind Mt. Kent. 40 Commando, at San Carlos, had become General Moore's overall reserve force and 2 Para, at Bluff Cove, was under the control of 5 infantry Brigade. 5 Infantry Brigade was still in the process of trying to open a southern axis to Port Stanley via Fitzroy-Bluff Cove. Between General Moore's forces and Port Stanley, a series of well- prepared defensive positions opposed the British advance. General Menendez had organized what he thought was an impregnable defense of Port Stanley. In the outer defense, Argentine forces stretched in an arc from Mt. Longdon in the north through Two Sisters Hill in the center to Mt. Harriet in the south. Further to the east, more Argentine units manned a tighter ring around Port Stanley with defensive positions on Wireless Ridge, Tumbledown Mountain, Mt. William, and Sapper Hill. Minefields and clear fields of fire protected the defensive positions; infantry with machine-guns and recoilless rifles occupied them. Thirty 105mm and four 155mm howitzers supported the defense with artillery firepower. In such a position of strength, General Menendez felt he could stalemate the British for months.57 While 3 Commando Brigade waited in the north for 5 Infantry Brigade to move to Fitzroy-Bluff Cove, Brigadier Thompson had his brigade take advantage of the time to prepare for the attack. Helicopters lifted 7, 8, and 29 Batteries of 29 Commando Regiment Poyal Artillery with 1,000 rounds per gun into position near Mt. Kent from which they could support the attack on Port Stanley.58 Artillery forward observers and naval gunfire spotters called in harassing strikes on Argentine positions from observation posts established on the forward slopes of the British-occupied hills. The bombard- ment also included Harrier air strikes against Argentine artillery positions and defenses on Two Sisters and Mt. Longdon. For their part, the Argentines tried to hit 3 Para and 42 Commando with limited artillery fire and air strikes but inflicted little damage.59 Along with building up supplies and harassing the Argentines with fire, 3 Commando Brigade aggressively patrolled forward of its positions. The patrols provided security for the brigade and sought to identify the precise location of Argentine defensive positions and the best routes of advance to them. The latter mission often required the patrols to reconnoiter and breach minefields very near the enemy, always a tense and formidable assignment.60 At least two Marines suffered shattered legs from the detonation of anti-persornel mines. Some patrols operating close to Argentine positions engaged the enemy. A nine-man patrol from 45 Commando infiltrated the position on Two Sisters and killed nine soldiers without taking a casualty.61 Another patrol from 42 Commando killed six in their defensive positions on Mt. Harriet.62 Led mainly by junior officers or non- commissioned officers, these patrols gained valuable enemy and terrain information for staffs to use in planning the attack. The nine days of wait and preparation did exact a fitness cost on 3 Commando Brigade. Caught in open mountains in continual rain, snow, wind, and cold, many brigade members found little shelter even in dry fighting holes. Many suffered from exposure problems of hypo-thermia, diarrhea, and trench foot. The brigade had to evacuate some to Teal Inlet to recover in local homes or LSLs anchored there.63 While the troops patrolled and endured the bitter elements, the landing force commanders and staffs planned the attack. Brigadier Thompson convinced General Moore that British forces should attack across the entire Argentine front to open up many resupply and casualty-evacuation routes. General Moore agreed and decided to make a phased attack. In phase one, he would have 3 Commando Brigade attack the Argentine outer defenses on Mt. Longdon, Two Sisters, and Mr. Harriet. In phase two, 5 Infantry Brigade would pass through the Commando Brigade to attack Wireless Ridge, Mt. Tumbledown, and Mt. William. Moore would continue the brigade leapfrogging until he forced the enemy's collapse.64 Phase-One Attack. On 10 June, Brigadier Thompson issued orders for phase one of the attack. (See Appendix J for a diagram of the attack.) Calling for a night attack on 11 June, he directed 3 Para to seize Mt. Longdon, 45 Commando to seize Two Sisters, and 42 Commando to seize Mt. Harriet. He used the reinforcements which General Moore assigned to him for the attack to support the brigade. After it moved by helicopter from Bluff Cove to Mt. Kent on 11 June, 2 Para would support 3 Para's attack on Mt. Longdon. The Welsh Guards battalion would first secure the start line for 42 Commando's attack and then assume the misison of brigade reserve. Five artillery batteries and four ships would provide fire support for the attack.65 At Mount Longdon, 3 Para attacked elements of the Argentine 7th Regiment from the north. The Argentines engaged the paras with heavy mortar, recoilless rifle, machine-gun, and sniper fire. Under the support of intense and accurate artillery fire, 3 Para sections and squads advanced up the hill. The paras used 84mm, and 66mm rockets and wire-guided Milan missiles to destroy the enemy's weapons positions. As dawn broke, riflemen of 3 Para with fixed bayonets captured the top of the hill. In fighting one of the toughest and bloodiest battles of the campaign against a determined foe, 3 Para suffered 23 killed and 47 wounded, a relatively low price to pay for securing a well- prepared and defended position.66 To the south of Mt. Longdon, 45 Commando attacked Two Sisters. X Company skirted the southern end of Mt. Kent to attack the western peak of Two Sisters frontally. Y and Z Companies moved around the northern side of Mt. Kent to hit the northern flank of the eastern peak. The plan called for X Company to attack first, followed by the northern flanking attack. Y and Z Companies would serve as commando reserve during X Company's attack, and X Company would assume this role for the two- company assault. But Lieutenant-Colonel whitehead had to wait 50 minutes at the start line near Murrel Bridge for X Company to attack. Willing to wait no longer, he launched Y and Z Companies on the northern flank at 0400, just as X Company made its frontal assault. In effect, 45 Commando executed a three-company-no-reserve attack. Relying heavily on artillery, naval gunfire, and organic rocket fire, the Marines advanced aggressively by fire and movement. Within 2-1/2 hours and well before dawn, 45 Commando secured Two Sisters.67 For 45 Commando, the casualties were light: 4 killed and 8 wounded.68 But, along with the troop casualties, the British destroyer GLAMORGAN providing naval gunfire support to 45 Commando, suffered damage. At 0235 an Argentine ground-launched EXOCET missile struck GLAMORGAN. Although the missile failed to explode, it killed 13 men and wounded more.69 In part three of 3 Commando Brigade's attack, 42 Commando advanced to seize Mt. Harriet at the southern edge of the Argentine outer defense. After a detailed study of the terrain, including analysis of reports from aggressive patrols, Lieutenant-Colonel Nick Vaux opted for an "extended right hooking" maneuver. At 2100 K and L Companies started moving through mine- fields and open terrain around the southern end of Mt. Harriet to a position in the rear of Mt. Harriet. After a delay caused by difficulties in linking up with the Reconnaissance Troop of the Welsh Guards, the two companies crossed the start line and advanced undetected close to the Argentine lines. Artillery rounds and naval gunfire from three destroyers pounded the defenders. Over 1,000 shells landed on Mt. Harriet that night. As K and L crossed the start line, J Company staged a noisy, diversionary attack on Wall Mountain, a small, undefended hill between Mts. Challenger and Harriet. The distraction helped K Company to move within 100-200 meters of Argentine positions before drawing fire. When the shooting started, 42 Commando effectively used mortar-illumination rounds to light up Argentine machine-gun positions identified in the pre-attack patrols. Milan missiles and 84mm and 66mm rockets silenced the machine-guns. Just before dawn, K Company secured the top of the hill, and L Company maneuvered along its western edge to tie in with 45 Commando on Two Sisters. Completely surprising what was probably an Argentine battalion, 42 Commando achieved a brilliant victory on what Brigadier Thompson thought would be the brigade's most difficult objective.70 For the comparatively low price of 1 dead and 13 wounded, 42 Commando captured the key terrain and 70 prisoners.71 Phase-Two Attack. General Moore's original plan called for 5 Infantry Brigade to press the attack the very next night of 12-13 June. But when helicopters had not yet arrived at Bluff Cove to move the Scots Guards battalion to its assembly area behind Mt. Harriet, Brigadier Wilson asked for a 24-hour-delay in the attack. General Moore approved the request.72 Harriers maintained some momentun that day by striking enemy positions on Tumbledown Mountain and Mt. William.73 A Wessex helicopter managed to penetrate into Port Stanley to fire two rockets at the Argentine command group. Neither missile found its target, but the helicopter escaped unscathed.74 Argentine forces tried to strike back with supporting fire on the 12th. A-4 Skyhawks attacked 3 Commando Brigade's headquarters behind Mt. Kent but missed their target.75 Although troublesome, artillery fire on the brigade's new forward positions caused little damage. After dark, 5 Infantry Brigade launched a four-pronged attack. (See Appendix K for a diagram of the attack.) Once again working for 5 Infantry Brigade, 2 Para attacked in the north to seize wireless Ridge, east of Mt. Longdon. At the same time, the Scots Guards went after Tumbledown Mountain east of Two Sisters. After the seizure of Tumbledown, the Gurkha battalion intended to pass through the Scots Guards to seize Mt. William to the south. The Welsh Guards would then push east to Sapper Hill, the last high ground west of Port Stanley. In the north, a 60-man combined unit from the SAS and the Royal Marine Rigid Raider Squadron made a diversionary night attack against the east flank of Wireless Ridge before 2 Para made its main attack. Overwhelming the small unit with fire power, the Argentines forced it to withdraw. At 2030 2 Para attacked from the north under its own overwhelming fire power. Artillery, naval gunfire, the 76mm guns of the Scorpions and Scimitars, and Rarden cannon pounded the ridge. The battalion secured the objective relatively easily before dawn but then had to repel 40 enemy paratroopers in Argentina's only counterattack of the war. As the paras saw Argentine troops fleeing into Port Stanley only three miles away, Brigadier Thompson approved their request to advance towards the capital.76 At Tumbledown, the Scots Guards fought the toughest battle of the night. At 2030 the battalion's Headquarters Company tried to make a diversionary attack on an enemy position southeast of Mt. Harriet, but it too had to with- draw under heavy enemy fire. The main attack opened at 2100. G Company seized the first summit of the hill complex facing no opposition. Left Flank company passed through G Company and confronted Argentina's best outfit, the 92 men, 10 machine guns, and mortars of the 5th Marine Battalion. A fierce fire-fight raged practically all night. At a cost of 7 dead and 21 wounded, Left Flank Company finally secured Tumbledown's second summit. At 0600, Right Flank company started a six-hour drive to secure the final summit. In capturing one of Argentina's most strongly defended positions, the Scots Guards lost 9 men dead and 43 wounded.77 With Tumbledown secured, the Gurkhas passed through the Scots Guards and on to Mt. William against only sporadic shelling. The Welsh Guards, two of whose companies were the replacements from 40 Commando, moved to the road south of Mt. William. As Argentine troops retreated into Port Stanley, the Welsh Guards flew by helicopter to Sapper Hill, just outside the town.78 The British dead for the second night of fighting totalled 20.79 General Moore's forces now controlled all of the high ground surrounding Port Stanley. Argentine resistance had crumbled. ARGENTINE SURRENDER Negotiations. The Argentine surrender followed quickly. For several days, Royal Marine Captain Rod Bell and SAS Lieutenant Colonel Mike Rose had broadcasted appeals in Spanish over the island's medical radio circuit for the Argentines to surrender. On the afternoon of 14 June, Dr. Alison Bleaney, a Falklander physician in Port Stanley, urged the Argentine command to heed these appeals. General Menendez agreed to talk to the British. A Gazelle helicopter took Bell and use to Port Stanley for talks at the Government House.80 Although General Galtieri in Buenos Aires ordered the Argentine force to counterattack, General Menendez believed such a step would lead to a senseless massacre. Menendez instead agreed to surrender all Argentine forces on both East and West Falkland.81 Using the SAS's portable satellite radio, British authorities in London monitored Rose's progress. These authorities only intervened to disapprove the use of Argentine ships to ferry prisoners back to Argentina.82 After a delay caused by poor flying conditions, General Moore flew into Port Stanley and signed the surrender document at 2100, 14 June 1982.83 The war had lasted 74 days. Moore radioed to London, "The Falkland Islands are once more under the government desired by their inhabitants. God save the Queen."84 At 2215, 14 June, Mrs. Thatcher announced the surrender to the House of Commons.85 Stunned by the suddenness of victory, British fighting men felt great relief about not having to fight another battle. They eagerly looked forward to leaving the Falklands. Casualty and POW Totals. For the full war, the British suffered 255 killed and 777 wounded.86 At one point, Argentina announced it had lost 652 men either dead or missing in action from the war.87 At another time, it admitted to 1,798 dead or wounded and 3,300 missing in action.88 The British captured 11,400 prisoners.89 Clean-Up. Following the surrender, British troops faced numerous tasks throughout the islands. In addition to processing the great number of POWs, they had to clear minefields, detonate unexploded bombs, restore water and power to Port Stanley, and find shelter for 7,000 men. They also had to clean up large messes of food, ammunition, and even human excrement that the Argentines had left in the Port Stanley area. British military authorities recognized that the air and sea blockade of the Falklands had been less successful than what they had previously believed.90 NOTES 1Nicholls, pp. 221-222; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 190. 2Hastings and Jenkins, p. 191. 3Nicholls, pp. 221-22; Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 192-94. 4O'Ballance, p. 38; "The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 7," p. 1162; "Sheltered No Longer," Time, 7 June 1982, p. 37. 5DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 11; Nicholls, p. 222; 40 Commando. "Falklands Diary," The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, p. 236; Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 197-98. 6Hastings and Jenkins, p. 198; 45 Commando. "Ajax Bay to Stanley," The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, p. 249. 7"The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 7," p. 1162; Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 202-03. 842 Commando, "Ascension to the Falklands and Back Again," The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, p. 242. 9Nicholls, p. 223; Thompson cassette. 10Menaul, p. 84. 11Personal interview with A.F. Whitehead, 24 January 1984. 12Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 213-14. 13Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 203-04. 14Hastings and Jenkins, p. 208. 15Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 210-11; O'Ballance, p. 39; "Falkland Islands: The noose round Port Stanley," The Economist, 5 June 1982, p. 19. 16Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 205-06 and 208-09. 17SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 9; Trotter, p. 36; Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 116-117. 18SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 9. 19Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 215-16; SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 9. 20Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 224-28; "The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 7," p. 1166. 21SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 9. 22Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 228-29; Drysdale, p. 230; Trotter, p. 36. 23Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 229-231 and 262. 24Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 231 and 236-37. 25Hastings and Jenkins, p. 240. 26Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 239 and 255-56. 27Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 240-46; Nicholls, p. 224. 28Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 246-249. 29Hastings and Jenkins, p. 249; Nicholls, p. 225. 30Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 250-251. 31Nicholls, p. 225. 32SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 10. 33Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 232, 264, and 266. 34Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 232. 35Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984. 36Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984; 45 Commando, p. 250. 37Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 264; 45 Commando, p. 250. 38Nicholls, p. 225; Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 264-66; 42 Commando, p. 243. 39Nicholls, p. 225; Personal interview with Toby Hunter, 29 March 1984. 4040 Commando, p. 236; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 274. 41Nicholls, p. 224; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 222; Commando Logistic Regiment, pp. 255-56. 42Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 267-68. 43"The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After April 13," p. 1098; G.W. Field, "Operation Corporate - The Falkland Islands Campaign," The Royal Engineers Journal, 96, No. 4 (1982), 235; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 269. 44Hastings and Jenkins, p. 270. 45Hastings and Jenkins, p. 271. 46Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 272-73. 47Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 273-74. 48Hastings and Jenkins, p. 274. 49Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 275-76. 50Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 276-77. 51Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 277-80. 52Menaul, p. 85. 53Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 277-282. 54SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 12. 55Hastings and Jenkins, p. 281. 56Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 281-82; 40 Commando, p. 236. 57Hastings and Jenkins, p. 285. 58Nicholls, p. 225. 59Nicholls, p. 226; 45 Commando, p. 251. 60Thompson casette; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 290. 6145 Commando, p. 250. 6242 Commando, p. 245. 63Nicholls, p. 225; 42 Commando, p. 245; N.F. Vaux, "Commando Night Attack," Marine Corps Gazette, October 1983, p. 41. 64Hastings and Jenkins, p. 291. 65Nicholls, p. 226. 66Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 297-99. 67Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 294-96; 45 Commando, p. 251; Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984. 68Hastings and Jenkins, p. 299. 69Hastings and Jenkins, p. 296; "The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 25," p. 1227. 70Hastings and Jenkins, p. 294; 42 Commando, pp. 245-46; Vaux, pp. 42-46. 71Hastings and Jenkins, p. 299. 72Hastings and Jenkins, p. 300. 73Hastings and Jenkins, p. 299; 40 Commando, p. 238. 74Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 299-300. 75Nicholls, p. 227. 76Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 303-307. 77Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 300-303. 78Hastings and Jenkins, p. 307; 40 Commando, p. 237. 79SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 12. 80Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 309-10. 81Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 324-25. 82Hastings and Jenkins, p. 310. 83Hastings and Jenkins, p. 311. 84George Russell, "And Now, to Win the Peace," Time, 28 June 1982, p. 25. 85Hastings and Jenkins, p. 311. 86SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 27. 87Hastings and Jenkins, p. 317. 88O'Ballance, p. 45. 89SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 28. 9042 Commando, p. 247; Russell, p. 25; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 314. CHAPTER FOUR AMPHIBIOUS OPERATIONS PLANNING Pre-embarkation. No contingency plans for a military operation to recover the Falklands existed at the time of the Argentine invasion on 2 April.1 All elements of the task force had to start planning for the operation without benefit of preliminary staff preparations. Brigadier Thompson met with his commanders on 4 April and offered them some broad guidelines. He felt the brigade would spend a long time at sea because the amphibious force would do nothing until the Navy won the sea battle. He indicated that SAS and SBS teams would reconnoiter the islands before the landing. And he pointed out that limited assault craft and helicopter assets would rule out any direct assault on Port Stanley.2 With only this minimal but perceptive guidance, 3 Commando Brigade sailed frcm Britain to make a major amphibious landing 8,000 miles away. Landing-Site Options and Proposals. Enroute to Ascension Island, the staffs of the amphibious task group and 3 Commando Brigade developed three possible courses of action for the amphibious landing on the Falkland Islands. One course called for a landing at Steveley Bay on West Falkland, a long distance from the main Argentine forces at Port Stanley. A second course proposed a landing at San Carlos, same distance from Port Stanley but on East Falkland. A third recommended a landing on Berkeley Sound, only a few miles to the north of Port Stanley's defenses.3 (See Appendix A for the locations of these potential landing sites.) In a 17 April meeting at Ascension Island, the landing force, amphibious, and carrier task groups presented proposed courses of action to Admiral commander of the task force. Brigadier Thompson preferred the San Carlos option.4 Admiral Woodward suggested establishing a beachhead in West Falkland for the purpose of building an airstrip for C-130 Hercules and F-4 Phantom aircraft. Another option he discussed was a landing on Lafonia, a flat area south of East Falkland and connected to it only by a narrow isthmus. Admiral Fieldhouse indicated that he wanted to seize quickly East Falkland's vital objectives, including Port Stanley.5 Choice of San Carlos. The San Carlos landing site offered the amphibious force many advantages. San Carlos Water would provide sheltered water in which the ships and landing craft could easily unload the landing force and its equipment. By closing off relatively narrow Falkland Sound to the north and south of San Carlos Water, the Navy could defend the amphibious ships against any enemy surface or sun-surface attacks. Since the site lied 50 miles over very rough terrain from the enemy's main force at Port Stanley, the Argentinescould probably only attack the British beachhead with a relatively small helicopterborne force. Finally, the high ground that surrounded San Carlos Water would prevent Argentine aircraft from using their feared, sea-skimming EXOCET missiles to attack the ships unloading in San Carlos Water.6 interestingly, as long ago as the 1930's, a British naval task force had cited many of these advantages in recommending San Carlos as the best landing site for any possible operations in the Falklands.7 The San Carlos site also posed a couple of disadvantages. The surround- ing hills that would help defend against the EXOCETs would also restrict the acquisition of low-flying air threats until the aircraft emerged over the high ground. Also, the narrow width of Falkland Sound would give the Navy ships little room in which to maneuver away from eneny air attacks.8 In late April, Admiral Fieldhouse approved the recommendation by the amphibious task group and landing force to land at San Carlos. He briefed the Chief-of-Defence Committee and formally presented the San Carlos plan to the War Cabinet on 27 April. The task force received a time window of 19 May - 3 June in which to make the landing.9 Landing Plan. On 13 May Brigadier Thompson issued orders for the San Carlos landing to 60 officers in the wardroom of FEARLESS. At the time, the ship was 900 miles from Port Stanley. Again, the plan directed 40 Commando and 2 Para to secure San Carlos and Sussex Mountains in phase one. In phase two, 45 Commando and 3 Para would secure Ajax Bay and Port San Carlos settlement. Artillery and air-defense weapons would move ashore in phase three. 42 Commando would serve as brigade reserve. Two key points about the plan. Contrary to all doctrine for amphibious warfare, the plan acknowledged that the Royal Navy would not have air superiority in the landing area. Since the War Cabinet had decided on 8 May to make the landing without air superiority, the landing force had no choice but to execute.10 Second, the plan covered only the landing and defense of the beachhead. Although Brigadier Thompson and his staff had begun planning for follow-on land operations, the plan for the amphibious landing on the Falklands focused solely on the landing. EMBARKATION Time Shortage. The shortage of time available for 3 Commando Brigade to embark ships in Britain offered a major challenge to the brigade and its senior headquarters, Headquarters Commando Forces Royal Marines, which coordinated the embarkation. Because of political requirements to launch an amphibious task group immediately, the brigade embarked and sailed within eight days of the Argentine invasion. With practically no preparatory warning, the brigade's Commando Logistics Regiment loaded two-thirds of itself and allof the brigade's War Maintenance Reserves over the weekend of 2-4 April.12 Although the brigade had to restow much of the equipment later at Ascension Island, the rapid embarkation demonstrated 3 Commando Brigade's exceptional readiness to respond to a crisis. The 3rd Parachute Battalion demonstrated a similar capability. Shortage of Ships. Along with time constraints, 3 Commando Brigade faced a shortage of amphibious ships to use for the operation. The Royal Navy had only eight amphibious ships: two LPDs and six logistic landing ships (LSLs). But as part of their preparation for possible operations in Norway, the Royal Navy and Marines had prepared books listing merchant ships that they might have to use for troop and equipment transport.13 The services used these books to charter and requisition merchant ships to support the war effort. Critical to the Marines at the time of embarkation was Northwood's decision to requisition CANBERRA, a 45,000-ton cruise liner. The use of this ship solved the immediate transport problem for the Marines. 3 Commando Brigade could spread out in a way comfortable enough for it to pursue a needed physical fitness program aboard the ships.14 Cross-Decking at Ascension Island. Because of the hasty embarkation in the U.K., the amphibious task group and 3 Commando Brigade had to undertake a massive restow of the brigade's equipment at Ascension Island. Had the opportunity for such a restow been unavailable, 3 Commando Brigade could not have departed Britain anywhere nearly as fast as it did. In the Ascension restow, both helicopters and landing craft worked for days to complete the job. Although no major problems developed, the restow did place a strain on the amphibious task group's small staff which, at the same time, was trying to plan for the upcoming operation. Also, the extensive use of the helicopters and landing craft made it almost impossible for the brigade to practice the landing plan.15 REHEARSAL The commander of the task force, Admiral Fieldhouse, denied the amphib- ious group and landing force an opportunity to rehearse their landing plan. Brigadier Thompson desired to take his whole force to South Georgia to help recover that island and rehearse the landing. But Fieldhouse dismissed this notion as too great a diversion from the force's main mission to seize the Falklands.16 Ascension Island offered Thompson an alternative rehearsal site, but terrain and surf conditions there plus the transportation demands of the restow greatly restricted any large-scale rehearsal. The brigade couldn't use helicopters on Ascension because the island's volcanic dust stirred up by rotor wash would have damaged the aircraft. High swells at the island's beaches posed a safety hazard to landing craft and thus prevented the brigade from practicing anything more than some limited turn-away landings.17 3 Commando Brigade had to content itself with carrying out only limited weapons, fitness, and equipment training at Ascension.18 The amphibious group and 3 Commando Brigade would have to make Britain's first major amphibious assault since World War II without rehearsing the landing plan. MOVEMENT TO THE OBJECTIVE Training. While sailing the 4,000 miles from Ascension to the Falklands, 3 Commando Brigade continued training for the expected fight on the Falklands. Since a number of ships moved the brigade, the facilities for training varied. Commando and battalion commanders prescribed training which their units needed and the ships could support. The training generally included classes on first-aid procedures; weapons handling; Argentine weapons, equipment, and tactics; and radio procedures. The first-aid training emphasized emergency treatment of wounds, to include the use of the morphine capsules each Marine and soldier carried around his neck. In the weapons- handling classes, the units worked on "cross-training" their men - teaching them how to operate weapons other than their assigned weapon. The Marines placed special emphasis on reviewing the operation and functioning of the 84mm Gustav anti-tank weapon which they had recently acquired. Finally, to counter the atrophying effects of living at sea for a month, all units concentrated on fitness training. Commanders mapped out running routes on the decks of the ships and had their men run them with packs on their backs. Although such training helps to keep men somewhat in shape, it couldn't simulate the rigorous demands of long marches over rough terrain - the physical challenge 3 Commando Brigade faced in the Falklands.19 The training and anticipation about upcoming action stimulated high morale amongst the troops. Said Lieutenant-Colonel Whitehead of 45 Commando, "I have never known the men so enthusiastic, motivated, and with such high morale."20 Organizing for Combat. The brigade had to make one last-minute unit reorgani- zation as it steamed towards combat. Since M Company had detached from the brigade to make a landing on South Georgia, 42 Commando found itself short one rifle company. Lieutenant-Colonel Vaux used men from his Defence and Milan Troops plus Marines from NP 8901, the former Royal Marine garrison in the Falklands, to form a new J Company. Having never trained together in the field, Juliet fought admirably well during its 47-day life.21 Ship Transfers. The ship transfers on 19 May put the landing force on the ships from which they could most expeditiously execute the ship-to-shore movement. Neither comfort nor security seemed to dictate the assignments to shipping. Fifteen hundred men, including all of 3 Commando Brigade's staff, wedged themselves aboard the amphibious command ship FEARLESS.22 The day-and-a-half of discomfort hurt no one permanently. But the massing of both the amphibious group and brigade staffs on one ship offered Argentine aircraft an excellent opportunity to destroy the force's leadership with an effective strike on one ship. Belatedly, after completing the transfer, Brigadier Thompson acknowledged that he should have dispersed his staff.23 Movement Thru the TEZ. In my view, Britain gave Argentina its best chance to win the war on 20 May. On that day the amphibious task group steamed all day within the range of Argentina's powerful, land-based air forces. Although destroyers, frigates, and a Harrier CAP escorted the task group, this protective screen left open some gaping holes through which Argentine air- craft could have easily penetrated. Over the next five days, Argentine aircraft proved how vulnerable was the amphibious group as they pummelled the British ships in the San Carlos anchorage. Had they attacked on 20 May with their air superiority, they could have inflicted considerable, if not mission-ending, damage to the amphibious task group and landing force. Contrary to the thinking of many amphibious-warfare experts, the ship- to-shore-movement phase is not the landing force's most vulnerable phase during an amphibious operation. The landing force exposes itself to the most risk when it rides clustered on a few platforms near its objective area. At this time, threats lurk dangerously and latently below the sea, on the sea, and in the air. The landing force must entrust its security to the capa- bility of its navy. If the navy allows just one penetration, then the landing force stands to lose not a fire team, a squad, or a boat-full of troops, but a whole company or even a battalion. Such a loss could stop the landing force before it even started to land. Dependent upon a navy unequipped and unprepared for a power-projection mission, 3 Commando Brigade exposed itself to such a disaster on 20 May. To the surprise of the British ship captains and with the aid of friendly fog, the amphibious group and landing force almost literally weathered the danger on 20 May. Said reporter Max Hastings: If the sun had broken through even for an hour, if the enemy had launched a series of sorties as determined as those that were to come the following day, something close to disaster could have overtaken the landing force.24 But the Argentines missed their chance, and the amphibious task force emerged from the danger unscathed. SUPPORTING AND PREASSAULT OPERATIONS Value of Nuclear-Powered Submarines. British nuclear-powered submarines achieved the Royal Navy's most notable success in the "supporting-operations" phase of the Falklands amphibious operation. Argentine ships had no means of defending themselves against the fast, silent, and deadly submarines. By forcing the Argentine Navy to withdraw from the war, the submarines eliminated the surface threat to British ships in the South Atlantic. But even more importantly, by driving the aircraft carrier DE MAYO back to its port, the submarines greatly reduced the effectiveness of the Argentine air threat. Restricted to flying from their mainland bases, Argentine aircraft had to operate at their range limits to attack British sea and ground forces. They had time only to drop their bombs, not to dog-fight. Since Admiral Woodward stationed his carriers far to the east of the Falklands, the land-based aircraft couldn't strike at the source of Britain's aviation power in the area. Had British submarines not scared off the DE MAYO, Argentine carrier- based aircraft would have posed a much greater threat to British air, ground, and sea forces than the notorious land-based aircraft did. The enemy's carrier air might have stopped the amphibious operation. Power-Projection Deficiencies. Given the equipment with which it had to operate, the Royal Navy performed well in the South Atlantic. I agree with Hastings' statement that, "As an achievement of seamanship, logistics, (and) ship handling, the British campaign in the South Atlantic was a triumph for the Royal Navy."25 Nevertheless, the battle-carrier group and submarines failed to create the conditions necessary for the execution of an amphibious landing. Unable to gain air superiority in the objective area, the carrier group couldn't provide adequate air protection for the amphibious task group and landing force. The cause of this failure lies not with any lack of courage, leadership, or tactical thinking on the part of the officers and sailors who fought in the South Atlantic. The failure occurred because British governments had underfunded Navy ship-development programs since the mid-1960's. The two small, carriers in the task force couldn't accommodate anywhere near the numbers and types of combat aircraft necessary to gain air superiority in the area. HERMES, the largest of the two, carried only 18 Harriers. During their peak operational period, the two carriers together operated only 30 Harriers. Such a small number of aircraft had no chance to dominate over 150 land-based aircraft. To make matters worse, the small carriers had to refuel often and had to stack much ordnance on their flight decks because their magazines were so small.26 Short of aircraft and vulnerable to air attack, the small carriers couldn't win air superiority and had to steam far from East Falkland just to protect themselves. The submarines and carrier escorts also contributed to the task force's inability to project power effectively. They couldn't eliminate the deadly Argentine submarine threat that threatened to devastate the British force. Underfunded programs had prevented the Navy from developing adequate ASW and air-defense systems, to include protection against sea-skimming missiles and multi-aircraft bombing attacks.27 The destroyers and frigates also lacked the multiple hulls, armor plate, and redundant damage-control systems so important for ship survivability.28 The submarines and escorts couldn't fully protect either the carriers or the amphibious task group. Reconnaissance/Sabotage Successes. SAS and SBS teams enjoyed much success in reconnoitering enemy positions and landing sites before the landing at San Carlos. They also carried out very successful raids at Pebble Island and Fanning Head. In an unusual deviation from standard amphibious-warfare procedures, 3 Commando Brigade established no Advance Force Commander, per se, to direct the reconnaissance and sabotage efforts. In consultation with Commodore Clapp and the SAS and SBS commanding officers, Brigadier Thompson aboard FEARLESS developed tasks for the teams and signalled them forward to Admiral Woodward operating in the South Atlantic. Admiral Wdodward, serving as a modified Advance Force Commander, passed on the instructions to the teams and units that had to support them.29 Unorthodox and reliant upon satellite communications, the system still worked. AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT Tactical Surprise. The British task force succeeded brilliantly at San Carlos because the landing achieved the most critical objective of any amphibious operation: surprise. The amphibious group and landing force capitalized on the greatest strength an amphibious force possesses: the ability to strike with power when and where they please. Says military-analyst Jeffrey Record about this capability: The Falklands War affirmed the inherent value and unique operational properties of amphibious warfare... The innate mobility of amphibious forces at sea and their capacity to remain offshore indefinitely allows them to strike when and where they please. Defending forces ashore can never be sure where the blow will fall and, when it does, whether it is a feint or the real thing. The defender is kept continually guessing, and is compelled to disperse his forces among the more likely spots.30 Not by chance did the British achieve tactical surprise in their landing. First, they chose a landing site a long way from the enemy's main defenses. They kept SBS-reconnaissance teams near there to report if Argentine forces moved into the area. Third, the Ministry of Defence convinced the media that the task-force commander planned to execute one, or a combination, of three possible courses of action: (1) a massive, head-on assault on Port Stanley, (2) more nibbling raids, or (3) a tightening of the blockade. The media, of course, duly reported these bogus intentions to the world, to include gullible Argentine authorities.31 Fourth, the assault occurred in the dark at 0400, a time when Argentina's daylight-only aircraft could not observe what was taking place. The landing force wisely made a silent landing; no air or naval gunfire bombardment signalled to the Argentines that a large force was making the main landing. Finally, the British had made raids at South Georgia and Pebble Island, so that even when they became aware of activity at San Carlos, the Argentines reacted tentatively and slowly to what they probably thought was another diversion. Surprise! Ship-to-Shore Transport. The landing force had to contend with a shortage of landing craft and helicopters for the ship-to-shore movement. To move approximately 4,000 men and their equipment and supplies, the landing force had only (8) LCUs, (6) LCVPs (landing craft vehicle personnel), (3) Mexefloats (large, flat barges), and (1) rigid raiding craft (rubber boat).32 Unlike the U.S. Marines, the Royal Marines have no assault amphibious vehicles. They find them too big, slow, and cumbersome and feel they offer little more protection than landing craft do.33 So, for the landing and subsequent, major logistical build-up, the landing force had to recycle continuously these few available landing craft. No wonder the build-up proceeded slowly! A shortage of helicopters also plagued the landing force, not only during the amphibious operation but throughout the campaign. During the landing at San Carlos, 3 Commando Brigade had available to it only (11) Sea King heli- copters and (5) Wessex helicopters, each capable of carrying 20 and 10 men respectively. Four of the Sea Kings had night-vision equipment mounted in them for use in night-flying, leaving only seven available for use during the day. Each of the two LPDs permitted only two helicopters at a time to land on their flight decks; the other amphibian and support ships permitted only one. With such few helicopters and limited flight-deck space, the brigade could move only a relatively small amount of men and equipment ashore.34 The brigade's decision to make a silent landing on the 21st ruled out the use of helicopters before dawn and limited helicopter use even further. One other point about helicopters. Four huge Chinook helicopters, each with a capacity of 8-1/2 tons or over 50 men, were aboard the container ship ATLANTIC CONVEYOR until an EXOCET sank it on 25 May, four days after the San Carlos landing. Why didn't the landing force use these helicopters at the outset to help with the ship-to-shore movement? Brigadier Thompson explains that the ship was moving to San Carlos when the EXOCET struck.35 But the ATLANTIC CONVEYOR departed Ascension on 8 May at the same time as the amphibious ships. Unless the ship had steaming problems that slowed up its transit to the Falklands, I don't understand why the landing force couldn't, and didn't, use the valuable Chinooks to help in the ship-to-shore movement. Lack of Air Superiority. Lack of British air superiority distinguished the San Carlos landing from textbook cases of historically successful amphibious landings. The Harriers did not dominate the skies, nor did the British ship and ground-based missile and gun systems prevent Argentine aircraft from striking British ships during the landing and subsequent logistical build-up. Yet the British overcame this potentially crippling disadvantage. How did they do it? First, they gained a jump on the Argentine air forces by achieving tactical surprise in the landing. Second, after the second day, they moved their supply ships out to sea during the day to prevent Argentina's daylight-only aircraft from striking them. Off-loading at night slowed the build-up but protected the ships. British commanders made sound decisions in pursuing both of these courses of actions. The third and fourth, and maybe most significant, reasons for why the task force overcame its lack of air superiority had nothing to do with prudent British decision-making. They reflect Argentine errors. One error was the Argentine decision, intentional or otherwise, to attack the escort ships in San Carlos Water and not the amphibious and supply ships.36 All Royal Navy warships at San Carlos, except the frigate YARMOUTH, suffered some damage. Bombs sunk both the frigate ARDENT and the destroyer COVENTRY. The majority of the amphibious group and supply ships emerged unscathed. Had Argentine aircraft concentrated their attacks on these less protected ships, they might have destroyed the landing force's ability to sustain itself on land. With little ammunition, food, and even petroleum, 3 Commando Brigade couldn't have fought very long nor effectively. The second major Argentine error was the use of delayed action fuses on the bombs the aircraft dropped at San Carlos. Argentine pilots flew mostly low-level attacks to penetrate below the British air-defense radar. Since their ordnance fuses were for high-level use and pilots didn't "pop up" to deliver their bombs, many of the bombs failed to detonate when they hit ships. The British magazine, Economist, and the Washington Post estimated that 50% of the Argentine bombs failed to explode and that unexploded bombs could have sunk or crippled six more ships had they detonated.37 The Pentagon study of the Falklands put this latter figure at nine.38 Proper fusing of Argentine bombs could have greatly increased the cost the British task force had to pay for not gaining of air superiority. In fact, proper fusing could have priced a British victory in the Falklands beyond the British public's willingness to pay. But the outcome speaks for itself. The British gambled when they landed without air superiority at San Carlos. They played smart, they cunningly achieved surprise, and they bravely fought off massive air attacks. Their boldness forced a lesser competent enemy to make mistakes. Plenty of "what-ifs", but the fact remains they seized a beachhead under very difficult conditions. Beachhead Defense. Brigadier Thompson selected as landing-force objectives the key terrain that dominated San Carlos Water and the three colored beach areas over which his troops, equipment, and supplies had to move. He aimed to protect his force and beaches from a counterattack coming from any direction. In hindsight, beachhead security may not seem all that critically important. But at the time the brigade expected a counterattack at the beachhead, probably an airborne or heliborne attack. Thompson put his commandos and battalions in reverse-slope positions on the key terrain and had them prepare vigorously for defense.39 (See Appendix G for the beachhead-defense diagram.) 45 Commando occupied the high ground above Red Beach from Wreck Point North to Wreck Point South. 2 Para defended in the Sussex Mountains against penetration from the known enemy position at Goose Green. Thompson feels the paras could have held off a brigade in these mountains. 40 Commando in the Verde and Rocky Mountains east of San Carlos protected the Blue beaches and could have quickly reinforced 2 Para. 3 Para occupied the high ground north and east of Port San Carlos and guarded the Green beaches from there.40 On D-day the brigade landed the critical equipment and support which the infantry units would need to defend the beachhead immediately. The first artillery pieces started arriving ashore just after dawn. All artillery batteries with enough ammunition for fire missions were ashore by nightfall. The brigade also moved its 12 Rapier missile launchers ashore on D-Day. In early afternoon, Brigadier Thompson ferried ashore in a helicopter to lend the weight of his intellect, experience, and rank to the organization and supervision of the defensive effort. His command element moved ashore in landing craft soon after dark.41 By the end of D-Day, 3 Commando Brigade had (1) units occupying the high ground in reverse slope positions, (2) artillery and air-defense missiles functioning ashore, (3) small units patrolling well forward of the main defensive positions, and (4) command element on land controlling the beachhead. With respect to defending against a ground attack, the brigade had the situation well in hand. 5 INFANTRY BRIGADE'S LANDINGS San Carlos Landing. Along with 3 Commando Brigade's main landing at San Carlos, 5 Infantry Brigade made two landings on East Falkland. The first, at San Carlos, was an "extremely difficult and frustrating off-load",42 although the Argentines did not contest it. The brigade had to share the limited landing craft and helicopters with 3 Commando Brigade, already committed in the Mt. Kent area. The transport shortage greatly slowed the off-load. The haphazard loading of the ships in Britain caused a second major problem. Cargo handlers had to sift through equipment and supplies to get what they wanted. Many of 5 Infantry Brigade's important vehicles and pieces of equipment never made it ashore until after the surrender because of improper stowage.43 Fitzroy-Bluff Cove Landing. The tragic sinking of SIR GALAHAD marked this series of unit landings. The problem started when the task-force commander at Northwood denied the Welsh Guard battalion the use of the amphibious assault ships. Commodore Clapp's order for SIR GALAHAD to proceed to Fitzroy for a daylight offload set up the tragedy. The lack of ship escort, the poor ship-to-shore communications, the movement of the Harrier CAP right before the attack, and the delay in setting up protective Rapier launchers on the high ground above the cove contributed to the outcome.44 The British inexcusably left themselves wide open to an attack in this landing. Why? Commented one Marine spectator at Fitzroy, "'There is an assumption that amphibiosity is a mystique created by Marines for their own salvation. But amphibious warfare is not a battle on the north European plain.'"45 As a distinct form of warfare, "amphibiosity" requires careful study by both naval and landing forces. Both forces showed little appreciation of the principles of this warfare form in the Fitzroy-Bluff Cove landing. NOTES 1Menaul, pp. 82 and 85. 2Hastings and Jenkins, p. 91. 3Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 178-79. 4Thompson cassette. 5Hastings and Jenkins, p. 122. 6Drysdale, p. 230; Freedman, p. 205; SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 7. 7Peter F. Beck, "The Falklands - Had the Argentines Visited Kew: Some 1930 Insights on the Defence of the Falklands," NAVY International, October 1982, p. 1390. 8"The Falklands Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 7," p. 1162; Drysdale, p. 230. 9Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 180 and 184-85. 10Hastings and Jenkins, p. 169; Nicholls, p. 221. 11Hastings and Jenkins, p. 123. 12Commando Logistic Regiment, p. 254. 13Thompson cassette. 14P.A.C. Howgill, "Falkland Islands War," Command and Staff College, MCDEC, Quantico, Virginia, 20 October 1983. 15Thompson cassette. 16Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 121 and 125. 17Thompson cassette. 18Hastings and Jenkins, p. 182; Nicholls, p. 220; Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984. 19Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984. 20Hastings and Jenkins, p. 187. 2142 Commando, p. 242. 22Nicholls, p. 222. 23Hastings and Jenkins, p. 193. 24Hastings and Jenkins, p. 194. 25Hastings and Jenkins, p. 160. 26U.S., Department of the Navy, The South Atlantic Conflict: Lessons Learned, Volume I, Summary of Principal Conclusions and Recommendations, Report of the Falkland Islands Study Group to the Secretary of the Navy (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1983), EX-4. (In subsequent notes, DON refers to Department of the Navy.) 27"The Falklands: Power Projection and the War at Sea," Armed Forces Journal International, September 1982, p. 46. 28DON, Lessons of the Falklands, pp. 3-4. 29Thompson cassette. 30Record, p. 49. 31O'Ballance, p. 38. 32Nicholls, p. 225. 33Personal interview with P.A.C. Howgill, October 1983. 34Thompson cassette. 35Thompson cassette. 36Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 210-211; Drysdale, p. 230. 37"The Falklands: the Air War and Missile Conflict," p. 36. 38DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 3. 39Thompson cassette. 40Thompson cassette. 41Thompson cassette. 42Field, p. 236. 43Field, p. 236. 44Hastings and Jenkins, p. 283. 45Hastings and Jenkins, p. 282. CHAPTER FIVE LAND OPERATIONS CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS Principal Attributes. How did the British manage to move two brigades over 50 miles in a little over three weeks, capture an army larger than its own, and sustain light casualties in the process? One could cite hundreds of reasons for how and why this occurred. I will cite briefly those attributes of the British land operations that contributed most principally to the success of the land campaign. Surprise. Just as it did in the San Carlos landing, 3 Commando Brigade surprised the Argentine Army by moving through the mountains to attack Port Stanley from the northwest. The Argentines expected an attack from the north or south and originally thought the movement to the northwest was a feint. They had to make some hasty defensive adjustments, including some frantic mine-laying.1 Mobility. Even though the tough terrain and peat bog limited vehicular trafficability and a shortage of helicopters existed, the British retained their mobility, primarily by moving units on foot.2 While the Argentine Army remained relatively stationary at Port Stanley, 45 Commando and 3 Para marched, fully loaded for combat, as far as 75 miles to maneuver into favorable positions for an attack. Firepower. The British directed a great amount of firepower on the Argentines both before and during attacks. They meticulously built up large supplies of ordnance and carefully planned its use. Before the attacks at Port Stanley they effectively demoralized the Argentine defenders with harassing artillery and naval gunfire. During the attacks, they massed their supporting fires with devastating impact. For the last 12 hours of fighting, over 6,000 rounds of artillery hit the Argentine positions.3 Flexibility. Having no contigency plans available for such an operation, the British had to improvise a plan quickly in response to the unexpected Argentine invasion. As the campaign progressed, ship losses, a lack of air superiority, a shortage of helicopters, and the poor traffic- ability of the terrain forced them to continue to improvise. The land force succeeded because it remained flexible. 3 Commando Brigade marched where it couldn't fly. It formed "porter troops" to move supplies in the hills. It used anti-tank weapons to destroy fortified positions. The British were flexible, "prepared to seek and immediate, perhaps unorthodox, alternative to...(a) well thought-out and lengthily-planned solution to a problem."4 Speed. As they had planned, the British carried out their land operation relatively quickly. They had no choice. Had they dallied, they would have faced worsening winter weather, greater difficulties in keeping their ships operational in the area, and stronger political and diplomatic pressures to end the war.5 Even with their lengthy supply build-up on the beach, the landing force met the challenge of these time demands by completing their difficult mission in only 25 days. Minimal Casualties. For three reasons, the British made extra efforts to minimize friendly casualties throughout the campaign. First, the Argentine Army outnumbered the landing force. An outnumbered attacker can ill afford excessive casualties. Second, the British had to guard against making the cost of victory unacceptable to their public.6 As might be the case with any democratic nation fighting beyond its boundaries, public support for the recovery of the lowly populated, distant Falklands might have faltered had the landing force sustained high numbers of casualties. Third, the British ground units were closely knit, tradition-shrouded organizations whose men in some cases came from the same region of the country. Leaders at all levels in these units knew and respected their men and carefully avoided wasting them unnecessarily.7 Implacable Determination. The British made a commitment to recover the Falklands and refused to let any obstacles, however formidable, stop them from achieving their objective. The landing force landed without air superiority; marched great distances carrying mule-like loads; endured terribly cold, windy, and rainy weather in the mountains; maneuvered through extensive mine- fields; and soundly whipped a larger force occupying positions prepared for over a month. As a combat-engineer officer in the Falklands stated it, "The message is: once committed there is no room for slackers and no chance of free-wheeling. Get stuck in and WIN - as soon as you can."8 Night Operations, Patrolling, and Trained Forces. All three were vitally crucial to British success in the Falklands. Later in the chapter I'll cover them in detail. General Scheme of Maneuver. The British planned and executed a sound scheme of maneuver to seize Port Stanley. In attacking unexpectedly from the northwest, 3 Commando Brigade maneuvered across terrain that helped prevent the road-bound Argentine Army from attacking it. Unavoidably, the brigade had to run the risk of drawing enemy-air strikes while moving across the open terrain. But 45 Commando and 3 Para minimized the danger by marching much of the way after dark. 3 Commando Brigade's combined foot-marching and helicopterborne northern thrust was the bold stroke of the Falklands land campaign. By forcing the Argentine Army to assume a completely defensive posture in a relatively small area around Port Stanley, the brigade's northern thrust greatly restricted Argentina's tactical flexibility. 5 Infantry Brigade's southern axis of advance complemented the commando move in the north. Recall that General Moore approved the opening of this second route to Port Stanley, but Brigadier Wilson, the brigade's commander, rushed the cadence by shoving 2 Para forward to Fitzroy without any fire support. Wilson allegedly feared that 3 Commando Brigade would try to seize Port Stanley single-handedly.9 His rash move turned the southern part of the scheme of maneuver into a series of impromptu, catch-up actions that led to the SIR GALAHAD debacle. Sound scheme, but poorly executed! Did 3 Commando Brigade need the active support of 5 infantry Brigade to seize Port Stanley? Or, more sensibly, should General Moore have used 5 Infantry Brigade as a reserve for the commandos? In hindsight, one could probably fashion a credible case for the latter course of action. But, as Brigadier Thompson points out, the British had to attack a larger force, deviating greatly from the standard rule of thumb that a force should attack with a 3-to-1 numerical advantage. Thompson feels General Moore correctly brought 5 Infantry Brigade into the attack. He also points out that his brigade's wait in the mountains for 5 Infantry Brigade's movement into position was neither harmful nor unnecessary. His brigade needed the time for proper reconnaissance.10 Port Stanley Attack. General Moore's concept of a phased, brigade-leap- frogging attack on Port Stanley proved to be sound. Initially, his second- in-command, Brigadier John Waters, had proposed concentrating the attack in the southern, Mount Harriet-Mount Tumbledown area. But Brigadier Thompson's advocacy of a broad attack convinced General Moore to strike all the way across the front.11 In retrospect, the brilliant success of the attack proved Thompson right. The pressure at many points restricted the Argentines from shuttling reinforcements to a single, threatened area. The defending army collapsed quickly from the multi-direction pressure. To be fair, Brigadier Wilson's scheme might have worked had General Moore tried it. One final point about the Port Stanley attack. The landing force unleashed tremendous artillery and naval gunfire bombardments on its objectives both before and during the attacks on them. Proper and skillful use of supporting arms figured prominently in the success of the British attack. More on this in Chapter Six. Designation and Use of Reserve. British commanders wisely designated, and used, reserve forces throughout the land campaign. Brigadier Thompson prudently committed a company from his 42 Commando reserve to support 2 Para's attack on Goose Green. When he made his northern thrust out of San Carlos towards Port Stanley, he kept 40 Commando in his rear to protect his Beach Maintenance Area (BMA). General Moore adopted this reserve as his own landing-force reserve when he came ashore with 5 Infantry Brigade. He used two companies of 40 Commando to bolster the Welsh Guards battalion after its decimation at Fitzroy.12 Finally, both brigades designated quickly usable reserves in the two-phased attack on Port Stanley. 3 Commando Brigade had 2 Para and the Welsh Guards in reserve during phase one, and the Welsh Guards again served as reserve for 5 infantry Brigade in the second phase. Throughout the campaign, the landing force had capable reserve forces ready to reinforce committed units. Commanders used them sparingly but soundly - an historically-supported recipe for successful command in combat. NIGHT OPERATIONS Night Opportunities. After witnessing the Falklands land campaign, British reporter Max Hastings commented, "One of the overwhelming lessons of the war both on land and at sea was that, even in the radar age, the night was still precious to those who were able to make use of it."13 Lieutenant-Colonel Nick Vaux of 42 Commando agrees with him. He feels that the landing force's domination of the Argentine Army at night was the key to the British victory in the land campaign.14 Except for the battle for Goose Green and Darwin, the two forces fought all major ground battles at night. British commanders chose to fight at night because they felt that darkness would cover their movement and reduce their casualties. They believed their trained and skilled troops could out-perform their inexperienced opponents at night. They did. Leery of fighting at night, the recently inducted Argentine conscripts fired their weapons needlessly and ineffectively. By so doing, they gave away their positions to the observing British and wasted ammunition. Although they possessed more and newer night-vision devices than did the British, the Argentine commanders failed to use them to their best advantage.15 A unit needs to train at night to develop the skill and confidence to operate effectively under conditions of darkness. Not surprisingly, the trained British troops totally controlled the numerically superior, but untrained troops in this war fought almost exclusively at night. British Training. Brigadier Thompson had complete confidence in the ability of his brigade to fight at night.16 Every winter 3 Commando Brigade deploys for training in Norway, where daylight often lasts for no more than four or five hours. Since the brigade trains almost all the time in darkness while in Norway, Brigadier Thompson knew he had officers, NCOs, and troops prepared to fight at night. With such extensive brigade emphasis on night- time training, Lieutenant-Colonel Whitehead of 45 Commando had full confidence in his command's night-time abilities even though, because of a deployment to northern Ireland, the commando had not practiced a night attack for at least a year. Based on considerable previous training, his subordinate commanders and men knew what to do at night.17 From work with the parachute battalions and the British Army, Brigadier Thompson knew they too trained regularly at night and thus had confidence that all of the landing force's battalions could fight at night.18 The Port Stanley attacks proved him right. Friendly Casualties. Reporter Drew Middleton of the New York Times reported that British troops inflicted some friendly casualties by firing on some of their own men during night operations on the Falklands.19 I found no documentation of casualty numbers or the frequency of such incidents. That one or more of such incidents may have occurred doesn't surprise me. Units risk the possibility of their own men shooting each other whenever they engage in battle, both during the day and at night. Well-trained and disciplined units can reduce the risk but not eliminate it, especially the much larger night-time risk. Since the British sustained an exceptionally low number of casualties for the whole campaign, they couldn't have incurred many self- inflicted ones, if any at all. If regrettably they did experience one or more during night operations, one must recognize that the risk of heavy daylight- battle casualties usually outweighs the risk of inflicting friendly casualties at night. PATROLLING Aggressiveness. The post-war, Ministry-of-Defence report cited aggressive patrolling, along with night operations, as a decisive contribution to the land-campaign victory.20 SAS and SBS teams patrolled aggressively to reconnoiter both East and West Falkland before the San Carlos landing. At San Carlos, the frontline battalions and commandos joined the effort with extended security patrols in front of their positions. In moving from San Carlos to Mt. Kent, 3 Commando Brigade patrolled forward and on its flanks. These patrols eliminated the units of Argentine special forces sent to monitor the progress of the brigade's move.21 Finally, before the Port Stanley attack, 3 Commando Brigade patrolled intensely, both to protect itself and to reconnoiter the enemy's defensive positions. Lieutenant-Colonel Vaux of 42 Commando stressed the value of aggressive patrolling with his post-war remark, "...those who gain domination of No Man's Land will always hold the initiative, while poorly trained troops inevitably reveal their position to resolute reconnaissance at night."22 Preparation for the Port Stanley Attack. Especially since, quite shockingly, the British had no aerial photos of the Port Stanley defenses available to them, patrolling emerged as the preeminent activity of all pre-attack preparations. Brigadier Thompson felt his patrols had to, and did, accomplish two objectives: (1) detailed reconnaissance of the enemy's defensive positions, and (2) domination of the ground between the positions of the opposing forces.23 In the reconnaissance efforts, the patrols pinpointed the locations of enemy companies, platoons, mortars, machine guns, and minefields; determined the sightings of the machine guns; and cleared paths through the minefields.24 Their work served as the basis for planning the extraordinarily successful main attacks. Leadership. British patrols succeeded because junior officers and non- commissioned officers led them well.25 Under demanding and dangerous conditions, patrol leaders demonstrated strong field skills, sound judgment, endurance, and bravery. They mastered their men, the weather, the terrain, the night, and the enemy. More on such combat leadership in the next section. COMPETENCE AND FITNESS OF GROUND FORCES Sine Qua Non. The official, post-war Ministry of Defence report said it best: "The most decisive factors in the land war were the high state of individual training and fitness of the land forces, together with the leadership and initiative displayed by junior officers and NCOs."26 Yes, with the notable exception of the 5th Marine Battalion and some special forces, the Argentine Army fought poorly. Having not fought against an external enemy since 1870, the army showed no understanding of strategic and tactical principles, patrolled ineffectively, defended lackadaisically, and distributed supplies poorly. Too, some Argentine officers mistreated their men, and avoided battles by staying in the rear.27 But the worst of armies rolls over only for a reason; in this case - the British landing force. Throughout the land campaign, the landing force demonstrated superior leadership, fitness, training, and morale. Although it faced a less competent opponent, that opponent outnumbered the British force and had had the opportunity to prepare its defense for over a month. The landing force also had to contend with harsh weather, inhospitable and nearly untrafficable terrain, and an 8,000-mile supply line. Collectively, the enemy, weather, terrain, and line of communication posed a near staggering challenge to the British landing force. The force prevailed because it possessed what the post-war Pentagon study called the "primary determinates" - the sine qua non- for success on the battlefield: "The quality of men and their training, leadership, morale, and physical fitness."28 Quality of Individual Soldier. The Ministry of Defence report focused even more acutely on why the British landing force succeeded so brilliantly: The most important factor in the success of the task force was the skill, stamina, and resolution displayed by individual Servicemen. The value of professional, volunteer, highly trained and carefully selected Armed Forces, was amply demonstrated.29 Although British weapons influenced the outcome of the campaign in no small way, remember that Argentine soldiers used modern weapons also. A "secret weapon" - the fitness and professionalism of British troops - distinguished Britain's landing force. Careerists who viewed their work more as a vocation than an occupation, the Royal Marinesand British soldiers fought with determination, skill, stamina, nerve, and courage. Under grueling conditions, they endured casualties and reverses without quitting. "Exhausted men, not missiles, still cap victory in the 20th Century."31 The British troops reminded the technological world of an historical truth: on the battlefield it's not how many show up, but who shows up, that counts! Leadership. British combat leadership at all levels followed closely behind the quality of the individual soldier as a critical contribution to the victory. Start at the top. From Prime Minister Thatcher to Major-General Moore, British officials and commanders demonstrated competence, vision, and resolution. But Brigadier Thompson emerged as the man of the hour. He deployed the combat units and sent the troops into battle. He built up the necessary supplies on the beach contrary to the anxious exhortations of higher authority. He shared the tough living conditions of the troops. He endured the loneliness of command. The strength of his character and skill dominated the landing force that dominated the enemy. In folklore terms, Brigadier Thompson was the hero of the Falklands War. Leadership thrived throughout the British ranks. The exploits of Major Chris Keeble inspiring 2 Para at Goose Green, Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Whitehead marching 45 Commando 70 miles across East Falkland, and Lieutenant- Colonel Nick Vaux maneuvering 42 Commando to a stunning win on Mt. Harriet testify to the quality of the leadership at the battalion level. Within the battalions and commandos, British leadership at the small-unit level contributed equally, if not more importantly, to the victory. Junior officers and NCOs drove on the troops during the long marches. They cared for, and encouraged, their men in the harsh weather. They led the critically important and dangerous patrols near the Argentine defenses at Port Stanley. They controlled the fire and movement - "the pepper-potting" - of the aggressive assaults against prepared positions. Captains, lieutenants, sergeants, and corporals - they seized the initiative and did what they had to do. Small-unit leaders run a close second to Brigadier Thompson as folklore heroes. Unit Cohesion. It's as old as the hills! On the battlefield, men fight not for national-security objectives and patriotism but for the small group with whom they share the common danger. The highly reputed British regimental system of recruiting troops from only one area for a specified unit certainly helps to mold unit cohesion. The Gurkhas, Welsh Guards, and Scots Guards were the battalions on the Falklands who benefitted from this practice. The Royal Marines and paras receive recruits from throughout the United Kingdom, but their emphasis on traditions and their reputations as elite forces produce the same cohesion in these units. Lieutenant-Colonel Whitehead of 45 Commando cited the mutual respect his officers and men shared with each other as the most important reason for his unit's success. Military analyst Jeffrey Record said it best when he pointed out that British units "...promote among their members social and psychological bonds impervious to the shock and horrors of the battlefield."32 Training. British units fought efficiently and effectively in the Falklands because, in peacetime, they had prepared well for combat. For the British, "it was the peacetime stress laid on basic military skills like physical conditioning, night operations, combat logistics, seamanship, and weapons familiarity that paid off."33 The British military attracts quality volunteers, but equally importantly, it trains them well. Jeff Record cites the 20th Century successes of the German and Israeli conscript armies to argue that the training of an army contributes more to its success or failure than the methods used to raise its men. He summarizes his view, "In short, volunteer militaries are not all alike; what counts is not how potential recruits are brought into service, but rather what happens to them once they don their uniforms."34 Those units that fought in the Falklands land campaign have historically emphasized realistic combat training at all levels. Such realistic training instilled in them the physical and mental toughness which they demonstrated so conspicuously in the Falklands War. 3 Commando Brigade's training probably best prepared its units for the war. With a 32-week-recruit-training program, the Royal Marines drill their men to endure the rigors of combat. Marine recruits fire all of the infantry weapons, practice small-unit tactics, and undergo strenuous physical-fitness training that aims to develop stamina and self-confidence. Most directly applicable to conditions they would experience in the Falklands, Marine recruits complete a 30-mile march through Dartmore, a desolate, wet, boggy area subjected to unfriendly snow, fog, and rain on a regular basis. Terrain and weather similar to the Falklands. Groaned most Royal Marines on the Falklands, "Bloody Dartmore again!"35 Beyond recruit training, the Royal Marines mostly orient themselves to fighting against the relatively sophisticated forces of the Soviet Union, the threatening menace to all of Europe. As the operating force for the Royal Marines, 3 Commando Brigade regularly participates in NATO military exercises which challenge it to fight under the most developed and demanding warfare conditions that exist today. The NATO commitment not only readies the brigade for war against a formidable opponent, but since 1969, it has called for the brigade to prepare for fighting in Norway. From 1969 to 1975, 45 Commando trained every winter in Norway. Since 1975, practically all of the brigade has trained there each year. The Norway deployments especially prepared the Royal Marines to fight under two difficult conditions: cold weather and darkness. In effect, the Norway training has made 3 Commando Brigade an arctic commando force, equipped for, and skilled at, fighting in extremely cold temperatures. The cold conditions in the Falklands didn't surprise, intimidate, degrade, nor deter the Royal Marine arctic professionals. They had seen and conquered worst conditions in Norway.36 Likewise, Norway's long periods of darkness during the winter prepared the brigade for night operations. Both for shortage-of-daylight and tactical reasons, the brigade trains mostly at night during deployments to Norway. It had learned how to use the cover of darkness to support its own efforts and thwart those of the enemy. Operating efficiently and comfortably at night in the Falklands, the Marines intimidated, even terrorized, the far less- experienced Argentine conscripts. In fact, both cold weather and darkness turned out to be supporting conditions that strongly favored Marine operations in the Falklands. Said Lieutenant-Colonel Vaux of 42 Commando, one could ask for "no finer preparation" for the Falklands combat than that gained by the brigade from the Norway training.37 Two other training experiences helped prepare 3 Commando Brigade for the war. As Britain's primary amphibious force, the brigade regularly makes practice landings, including major landing exercises in Norway each winter and in Scotland or Norway each summer.38 The brigade's veteran amphibians developed amphibious procedures that greatly facilitated the efficient landing at San Carlos. Commando units of the brigade also deploy periodically to Northern Ireland to help control "the troubles" in that area. Many of the troops had experienced danger and had practiced strict security measures there. In fact, 45 Commando had spent July-November 1981 in Belfast with the very commander, staff, and subordinate commanders who later directed operations in the Falklands during the spring.39 Providing a glimpse of armed conflict, the Northern Ireland deployments helped to steady the Marines during the Falklands combat. The training of the other British forces that fought in the Falklands certainly prepared them for the war also, although probably not quite as specifically for cold-weather, night, and amphibious operations as had the Marine training. As special units, the parachute battalions train in terrain as tough as Dartmore; manage a centralized NCO promotion system like the Royal Marines; and take pride in being an elite, fast-moving, light-infantry force. Their readiness enabled them to fight every bit as effectively as the three Marine commandos. The Gurkhas, of course, hail from the mountains of Nepal and thrive on foot-marching with packs in the hills. Also a unit that traditionally enjoys great esprit, the Gurkha battalion had no problems in moving and fighting in the Falklands.40 Finally, the two Guards battalions train vigorously, although normally in environments less hostile than those in which the other units generally operate. Both enjoy deserved reputations as disciplined, spirited, and closely-knit units.41 But they suffered the distinct disadvantage of serving on London ceremonial duty for the period immediately before their deployment to the Falklands.42 Since they hadn't trained in the field for some time, the Guards battalions had lost their fitness and field-skills edge. Along with a lack of arctic-warfare equipment, the dip in training readiness hampered their ability to fight and move in the Falklands. Specifically, their inability to march on foot from San Carlos to Goose Green necessitated the amphibious lift to Fitzroy that led directly to the infamous SIR GALAHAD tragedy. To be fair, although the Scots Guards may have had mobility problems, they certainly proved their fighting abilities by dislodging the tough Argentine Marine battalion from Tumbledown Mountain. A task quite unlike trooping the colors at the Queen's birthday ceremony! One last point about training. The British forces continued training for combat right up until the time they landed to face the enemy. Units that didn't depart the U.K. immediately after the Argentine invasion organized field exercises to practice tactics and procedures they expected to use in the Falklands. 2 Para worked up a battalion field exercise in April.43 All of 5 Infantry Brigade practiced battalion attacks, helicopter movements, amphibious assaults, mine laying and breaching, and live-firing of weapons for two weeks in April during Exercise Welsh Falcon at the Sennybridge training area.44 As I have mentioned, the units of 3 Commando Brigade trained at Ascension Island during their temporary layover there, and all units trained intensively aboard the ships during their passage south. On the whole, exceptionally well-trained British units landed on the beaches at San Carlos. By the time they reached Port Stanley, they had proved the merit of their emphasis on peacetime training and readiness. Physical Fitness. How right was the Duke of Wellington when he said, "Wars are not fought in grassy meadows on sunny afternoons."45 Rugged terrain and uncomfortable weather conditions inevitably force men in war to exert themselves physically just to live in the field. Add to that both the physical work of marching, crawling, digging, and lifting and the physical fatigue which a shortage of sleep and an extended field-ration diet generate. The sum yields the requirement that all men who serve in wars be physically fit. The British landing force, especially the Royal Marines and the paras, showed extraordinary physical prowess in the Falklands. The physical fitness of 45 Commando and 3 Para allowed the two units to march through hills for 70 miles across the island. Physical fitness helped 2 Para press its attack against a much larger force at Goose Green. Physical fitness enabled 42 Commando to survive ten days of terrible weather conditions at Mt. Kent. In short, the physical fitness of the British forces gave them mobility, enhanced their ability to endure fierce conditions, and strengthened their will to win. The physically fit British defeated the relatively unfit Argentines. A basic, but time-honored, lesson! COMBAT-ENGINEER CONTRIBUTIONS Two combat-engineer squadrons of the Royal Engineers, 59 Independent Commando Squadron and 9 Parachute Squadron, supported 3 Commando Brigade and 5 Infantry Brigade respectively. Minefield Reconnaissance and Breaching. Although the combat engineers, or sappers in British parlance, carried out many tasks during the war, their extensive minefield reconnaissance, probing, and clearing served as their greatest contribution to the landing-force cause. They first had to clear mines after the battle at Goose Green. In the process they acquired some helpful intelligence about Argentine mines and minelaying procedures.46 In patrolling with the infantry before the Port Stanley attacks, the sappers undertook their most demanding and dangerous work. The burden fell on them to reconnoiter the vast minefields in front of the Argentine positions and to breach lanes through them. Often they probed with mine detectors or bayonets within shouting distance of the enemy.47 Their superior work allowed the infantry to move unharmed through the minefields to assault the various enemy positions. Other Tasks. The sappers also cleared booby traps in San Carlos buildings and prepared CP positions at the San Carlos beachhead.48 Along with all these engineering duties, the sappers lived, marched, and fought as infantrymen. Just like the infantry, they showed superb physical stamina, bravery under fire, and a strong will to win.49 NOTES 1Freedman, p. 206. 2O'Ballance, p. 45; DON, The South Atlantic: Lessons Learned, p. 16. 3Hastings and Jenkins, p. 305. 4C. M. Davies, "Op Corporate - I Had the Privilege," The Royal Engineers Journal, 96, No. 4 (1982), 244. 5Hastings and Jenkins, p. 285. 6Hastings and Jenkins, p. 184. 7Personal interview with A. F. Whitehead, 16 December 1983. 8Davies, p. 245. 9Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 273-74. 10Thompson cassette. 11Hastings and Jenkins, p. 291. 12Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 281-82. 13Hastings and Jenkins, p. 146. 14Personal interview with N. F. Vaux, 16 December 1983. 15DON, The South Atlantic: Lessons Learned, p. 16. 16Thompson cassette. 17Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984. 18Thompson cassette. 19Drew Middleton, "War in the Falklands: From Darwin and Goose Green, a Lesson in Tactics. British Gains Show Mobile Infantry Can Defeat a Larger Stationary Force," New York Times, 31 May 1982, p. A-4., cols. 1-6. 20SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 17. 21Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984. 22Vaux, p. 41. 23Thompson cassette. 24Vaux, p. 43; Thompson cassette. 25Vaux interview; Thompson cassette. 26SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 17. 27Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 295-96. 28DON, The South Atlantic: Lessons Learned, p. EX-1. 29SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 16. 30DON, The South Atlantic: Lessons Learned, p. 16. 31David J. Kenney, "The Fascinating Falklands Campaign," Proceedings, June 1983, p. 101. 32Record, p. 47. 33Kenney, p. 101. 34Record, p. 48. 35Personal interview with P.A.C. Howgill, 8 December 1983. 36DON, The South Atlantic: Lessons Learned, p. 16. 37Vaux interview. 38Personal interview with J.R. Hensman, 12 January 1984. 39Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984. 40Howgill interview, 8 December 1983. 41Howgill interview, 8 December 1983. 42Trotter, p. 38; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 274. 43Hastings and Jenkins, p. 235. 44Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 268-69; Davies, p. 245. 45Davies, p. 244. 46Field, p. 234. 47Field, pp. 236-37; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 290. 48Field, p. 232. 49Field, p. 243. CHAPTER SIX WEAPONS AND THEIR USES ARTILLERY Of the five batteries from the Royal Artillery with the British landing force in the Falklands, four supported 3 Commando Brigade, and two supported 5 Infantry Brigade.1 Since each battery contained six 105mm howitzers, a total of 30 cannon supported the landing force. This number of cannon adequately covered the landing force's requirements. Air-Transportability. The air-transportability of the 105mm howitzers proved to be as vital to the artillery's effectiveness as the number of cannon. Because the rugged terrain in the Falklands prevented the efficient displacement of artillery pieces by ground vehicles, the Sea King helicopter became the prime mover for the howitzers. Helicopters externally lifted the four batteries supporting 3 Commando Brigade from the ships to the high ground ashore during the landing at San Carlos. Later in the land campaign, helicopters lifted (1) a battery of howitzers and their ammunition to support 2 Para's attack on Goose Green, and (2) five batteries with ammunition to the Mt. Kent area to support the force's attack on Port Stanley.2 Had the British taken larger cannon, say 155mm howitzers, to the Falklands, they probably couldn't have moved them easily, if at all, to usable positions. The Falklands War demonstrates how, under some conditions, light cannon can support light infantry forces better than heavier cannon can. Force-mission assignments usually call for vehicle-mounted infantry to operate in terrain that allows vehicle trafficability. Since foot-mobile infantry can expect to fight in terrain that limits or denies vehicle use, it makes sense to support those forces with light howitzers which helicopters can easily move to forward positions. Effective British use of 105mm howitzers in the Falklands proved the wisdom of this approach. Artillery Use in the Battle of Port Stanley. Along with moving five batteries to the Mt. Kent area before attacking Port Stanley, the Sea Kings shuttled great amounts of artillery ammunition to the battery positions. As the ammunition built up, artillery forward observers from observation posts called in harassing artillery fire on the Argentine defensive positions. Although Marines and soldiers of all ranks had learned how to call for fire, these forward observers and the battery commanders called in most of the fire missions. In British artillery-support procedures, a battery commander moves with the commando or battalion commander he supports. He carefully develops a fire-support plan to support the unit's scheme of maneuver. Since he demands fire from his battery rather than having to request it, the British feel their artillery units respond rapidly to their supported infantry units.3 Artillery support in the Falklands backed this claim. All five batteries of the landing force supported 3 Commando Brigade's phase-one attack against Port Stanley's outer defenses.4 Since the three attacks on Mts. Longdon, Two Sisters, and Harriet started at different times, the centrally directed batteries could weight each attack with considerable artillery support. Over 1,000 artillery rounds landed on Mt. Harriet alone that night.5 On both Mts. Longdon and Harriet forward observers called in very accurate artillery fire within 100 meters of advancing friendly troops.6 The artillery batteries repeated their massive and accurate fire in support of 5 Infantry Brigade's attack two nights later. In all the 30 howitzers fired nearly 17,500 rounds on the Port Stanley defenses.7 That's over 1-1/2 rounds per Argentine defender and almost 20 rounds for each resident of Port Stanley! Some howitzers fired as many as 500 rounds in the last 24 hours of the battle.9 Most Effective Supporting Arm. Responsive and accurate, the artillery gave the landing force its most effective supporting fires. British field commanders praised both the artillery support and the fire-support plarning of the battery commanders assigned to them.10 The massive artillery barrages outside Port Stanley caused much destruction and greatly weakened the willingness of the Argentine conscripts to resist. War correspondent Max Hastings paid the artillery the highest tribute when he commented, "...indeed, the (artillery) gunners' contribution to most of the battles of the war was decisive."11 NAVAL GUNFIRE Capabilities and Control. Seventeen British destroyers and frigates with a combined total of (21) 4.5-inch naval guns fired approximately 7,900 rounds in support of the landing force. The guns' small caliber limited their hitting power and the range of the guns.12 Nevertheless, they did provide valuable fire support. Naval gunfire spot teams from the British Army's 148 Naval Gunfire Observation Battery moved with the infantry units and controlled the naval gunfire through direct radio communications with the ships. These spot teams regularly practice calling in naval gunfire with Royal Navy ships at Portland in Great Britain. These "Portland work-ups" help to sharpen the skills of both the spot teams and the gunners.13 Uses. Naval gunfire supported friendly troops, suppressed enemy fire, destroyed enemy supplies and aircraft on the ground, and, most importantly, seriously hurt the morale of the Argentine conscripts.14 The naval gunfire attacks started on 1 May with a three-ship, daylight bombardment of positions around Port Stanley. Thereafter, the threat of Argentine air attacks against the ships caused all bombardments to take place at night.15 Night shellings alarmed the inexperienced enemy troops and helped wear them down by keeping them continually on alert.16 Before the San Carlos landing, the landing force used naval gunfire at Pebble Island and Fanning Head. Naval gunfire ships also fired on Goose Green and other coastal locations during the main landing to divert Argentine attention away from San Carlos. Since the landing itself was a "silent" one, naval gunfire provided no direct support to the assault units at San Carlos. Fire-support planners had prepared "on-call" missions for naval guns to fire only if the landing force met resistance on the beach.17 In the land campaign, naval gunfire supported the attacks at Goose Green and Port Stanley. At Goose Green, the frigate ARROW supported 2 Para's movement during the night of 27-28 May. But to the distress of the paras, it had to abandon station during the heavy daylight air attacks to seek protection in the open seas.18 Since the fighting at Port Stanley occurred at night, no such problems arose. Four frigates supported the attacks on the Argentine defenses. Again, their fires greatly helped to devastate the morale of the Argentine conscripts. OFFENSIVE AIR SUPPORT Shortage of Air Power. Beyond the range of one's own land-based aircraft, shipborne air power is the key to success in a naval campaign, especially if the naval task force operates within range of the enemy's land-based aircraft.19 Facing such circumstances in the Falklands, the British had to rely primarily on their Sea Harriers, based on two carriers, to carry out three roles: (1) support the amphibious assault, (2) gain absolute air superiority over the Falklands, and (3) protect the naval task force.20 The Sea Harriers possessed neither sufficient numbers nor capabilities to accomplish all of these missions successfully. Only 20 Sea Harriers sailed from the U.K. with the original task force - 12 on HERMES and 8 on INVINCIBLE. During the second and third weeks of May, 8 more Sea Harriers and 14 Royal Air Force (RAF) GR.3 Harriers arrived in the Falklands area aboard support shipping.21 A total of 28 Sea Harriers and 14 RAF GR.3 Harriers deployed to the South Atlantic, less than a third of the total number of land-based aircraft available to the Argentines. A pitifully small force tasked to accomplish the three demanding missions! But the force made a good go of it. The Sea Harriers flew 1,100 combat- air-patrol (CAP) missions and 90 offensive air support missions. The GR.3s flew another 125 ground-attack and tactical-reconnaissance sorties. The whole force achieved 95% availability at the start of each day and flew 99% of its planned missions.22 Destroying many enemy aircraft, the Harriers themselves lost only nine aircraft.23 Excellent statistics! Still, the relatively few numbers of aircraft failed to accomplish completely the three missions, especially that of gaining air superiority over the Falklands. Along with a shortage of aircraft numbers, the Harrier-only force lacked the capability to carry out tasks required to accomplish its missions. Amongst the force's shortcomings, the absence of airborne-early-warning aircraft, the lack of long-range air-defense fighters, and limited electronic countermeasures (ECM) capabilities stood out as most significant.24 I will explain the problems associated with the first two shortcomings in the air-defense section of this chapter. As for the third, the Harriers lacked the defense-suppression weapons necessary to attack enemy radars. Although Vulcan bombers attacking Port Stanley from Ascension island gained some success in striking radars with Shrike anti-radiation missiles, the Harriers had no such capability and exposed themselves often to heavy and accurate ground fire.25 Supporting Operations. During supporting operations before the San Carlos landing, the British used aircraft offensively to attack both sea and ground targets. In sea attacks, Lynx helicopters carrying Sea Skua air- to-surface guided missiles scored eight hits with eight firings in destroying one patrol craft and seriously damaging two others.26 Wasp helicopters also disabled the surface-riding submarine SANTA FE near Grytviken during the attack on South Georgia Island. In ground attacks, Vulcan strategic bombers and Sea Harriers tried to strike targets on East Falkland. With the aid of multiple refuelings, the Vulcans flew five single-plane missions from their base 4,000 miles away at Ascension Island. In two of the missions, the Vulcans struck Argentine radars with Shrike missiles. In the other three, the single Vulcans attacked the Port Stanley airfield, each with (21) 1,000-pound bombs.27 Although the bombings damaged the runway, the airfield remained usable until the end of the war. Britain lacked the use of the JP-233 advanced airfield-attack weapon it was developing at the time. The JP-233 scatters small concrete-penetration bombs in a strip across the runway and plants anti-personnel mines in the rubble to discourage repair teams.28 The Vulcans might have closed the airfield had they had the chance to use such ordnance. The Sea Harriers also attacked the Port Stanley airfield and radars during pre-landing supporting operations but achieved little success. Likewise, their strikes against Argentine positons at Goose Green produced little apparent damage. In general this last assessment applies to all of the Vulcan and Sea Harrier offensive air-support efforts before the main landing. The British lacked the aircraft numbers and capabilities required to inflict significant damage to the Argentine land forces. Support of Land Operations. The Sea Harriers and RAF GR.3 Harriers flew a total of 215 offensive air-support missions, most of them in direct support of land operations.29 The attacks made little impact on the land campaign's course of events. Delivering less than 200 general-purpose bombs and only four laser-guided bombs against the enemy, the Harriers caused minimal damage, especially compared to that which the heavy use of artillery and naval gunfire wreaked.30 Four conditions limited the effectiveness of offensive air-support operations. First, after subtracting those Harriers required to fly air-defense missions, the small, overall Harrier force could make available only limited numbers of aircraft to fly attack missions for the landing force. Second, the two small carriers from which the Sea Harriers operated had to protect themselves by steaming beyond the range of the Argentine land-based aircraft.31 This carrier-protection measure forced the Sea Harriers to fly a long way to reach the objective area and limited their time on target. Third, much of the equipment required to build a Harrier forward- operating-base (FOB) sank aboard the ATLANTIC CONVEYOR on 25 May. Having to improvise with other surfacing material, British engineers didn't finish constructing an FOB at Port San Carlos until 5 June. Even then, since runway panels often buckled from aircraft use, the shortages of material slowed repair efforts.32 The problems in building and maintaining the FOB limited the number of Harriers that could ground loiter, or base temporarily, at the FOB. In turn, this limited the number of aircraft which could respond quickly to requests for air attacks. Finally, because most of the British ground attacks occurred at night and the British had no effective means of delivering ordnance accurately in the darkness, the Harriers could provide little direct support to the landing force's attacks. The Harriers used a limited mix of ordnance in making their ground attacks. The Sea Harriers carried free-fall bombs, cluster bombs, and 30mm cannon.33 The armament of the RAF GR.3s included either three 1,000 pound bombs or three BL-755 cluster bombs.34 Late in the campaign, the British used laser-target-marking equipment to guide four bombs from GR.3 aircraft precisely on to their targets outside Port Stanley. I'm not sure why the British used this effective delivery method so little, although the large size and heavy weight of the laser-target marker may have delayed its airlift forward to the Mt. Kent area. Brigadier Thompson indicated the British possessed few laser-guided bombs. In any case, the effective British use of laser-guided bombs and Argentine use of guided EXOCET missiles in the Falklands highlighted the advantages of stand-off, guided ordnance over free-fall bombs and unguided missiles. AIR-DEFENSE SYSTEMS Air Threat. Since the Argentine Navy withdrew to port and the Army fought so poorly, Argentina's air forces posed the greatest threat to the British task force and inflicted the greatest damage. To appreciate the British task force's air-defense problems, one must first appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of the Argentine air threat. First, about 150 tactical, fixed-wing aircraft made up the combined air forces which the Argentine Air Force and Navy had available at the start of the war. The types of tactical aircraft included 68 A-4 Skyhawks, 20 Mirage III-Es, 6 Super Entendards, 9 Canberras, and 45 Pucaras.35 This force enjoyed a distinct numerical superiority over the 20 Sea Harriers which the British first brought to the South Atlantic. The Argentines capitalized on this superiority by mounting large-wave attacks on British forces, especially the ships at San Carlos, that saturated the British air defense systems. Super Entendard aircraft carrying EXOCET guided missiles gave the Argentine air forces a second major strength. The stand-off weapons system allowed the Argentines to launch and guide a 364-pound conventional explosive from a range of 26 miles.36 Since the missile can't guide over hills, it posed little threat to forces on land, but it terrorized British ships on the open seas. Two of the five EXOCETs launched from the air struck their targets, sinking the destroyer SHEFFIELD and the container ship ATLANTIC CONVEYOR.37 Fortunately for the British, the Argentines possessed only a small number of air-launched EXOCETs, probably less than 10, and western embargoes on armament shipments to Argentina during the war prevented the Argentines from gaining more. Along with these strengths, the Argentine air forces contained some serious deficiencies which limited their effectiveness. First, all of the tactical aircraft, except some of the Pucaras, had to operate from Argentine air bases.38 Airfields on the Falklands couldn't support them, and Argentina's one aircraft carrier dared not venture out of its mainland port. The mainland-basing for the aircraft forced them to operate at the extreme limits of their ranges when flying missions in the Falklands area. With limited time on target, the aircraft could make only single passes over their targets and could not afford to dogfight against the British Sea Harriers. To compound this range problem, Argentina possessed only two KC-130 Hercules refueling tankers. Very few tactical aircraft could refuel on their way to, or from, the Falklands.39 Many Argentine aircraft ran out of fuel returning to their mainland bases and had to ditch planes in the sea. Other deficiencies included no airborne-early-warning systems, no fighter escorts, no all-weather and night-flying capability, and improperly fuzed bombs. The first two hampered the Argentine pilots in their efforts to penetrate the Sea Harrier screen. The third gave the British free use of the night to carry out their business. Since the Falklands enjoyed only eight hours of daylight at the time of the war, the Argentine air forces could only threaten the British force for less than one-third of the time it operated in the Falklands area. Mix of Air-Defense Systems. The British task force relied on a mix of systems for protection against the Argentine air threat. These systems included limited electronic detection systems, fighter aircraft, electronic counter- measures (ECM), medium-and short-range missiles, medium-caliber guns, and close-range point-defense systems.40 After the war the British Ministry of Defence claimed 72 "confirmed" and 14 "probable" aircraft kills for these systems.41 Royal Navy's Air-Defense Support. The Royal Navy's air defenses played a crucial role in protecting the landing force while enroute to the Falklands and especially during the San Carlos amphibious operation. The 28 Sea Harriers worked as fighter-interceptors at CAP stations on the outer edge of the Navy's defenses. The Blue Fox forward-and downward-looking radar of the Sea Harriers worked well in helping them to spot targets as far away as 40 miles. But it experienced some problems in seeing low-flying targets against both land and sea backgrounds.42 During their standard 90-minute missions, the Sea Harriers normally carried two heat-seeking AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles and two Aden 30mm cannons. A tail-warning radar and both chaff and infrared dispensers rounded out the Sea Harrier's armament.43 In their fighter-interceptor role the Sea Harriers performed quite well. They flew over 1,100 CAP missions and maintained an incredible 95% avail- ability rate. Each Harrier flew up to six 90-minute sorties a day. Individual pilots flew 3-4 sorties a day.44 Estimates of aircraft kills by the Sea Harriers vary. The Ministry of Defence report used the figure of 20 kills, 16 by Sidewinder missiles and 4 by 30mm Men cannon.45 Others report Harriers destroyed 31 aircraft, 24 by Sidewinders and 7 by 30mm Aden cannon.46 Since the Argentine pilots only actively engaged the Harriers in serial combat on 1 May, the Sea Harrier force sustained only six losses - four to accidents, one to small-arms fire, and one to a bland surface-to-air missile (SAM).47 As fighter-interceptors, the Sea Harriers shot down a lot of aircraft. But keep in mind that the Argentine planes had to operate at their range limits and couldn't fight back. For all their success, the low number of Sea Harriers and their slow speed, short range, and small payload prevented them from providing complete protection for the task force.48 Missiles and guns formed the Royal Navy's inner air defenses. The Sea Dart semi-active, radar-homing missile on the Type-42 destroyers provided high-and-medium-altitude coverage out to 30 miles.49 The missile claimed eight aircraft kills, but even more importantly, it forced the Argentine pilots to fly low-level attacks that limited their effectiveness and caused their unexploded-bombs problem.50 To complement the Sea Dart, the Sea Wolf GWS 25 point-defense system on the Type-22 frigates provided close-in defense against low-flying aircraft and sea-skimming missiles. The missile uses pulse doppler radar and high rates of fire.51 Sea Wolf claimed the destruction of five aircraft and one air-to-surface missile. The close, inshore ground clutter around San Carlos hindered the Sea Wolf's tracking radar.52 The other air-defense systems on the various ships included the Sea Cat and Sea Slug missiles and 4.5-inch, Bofors, and 20/40mm anti-aircraft guns.53 Landing-Force's Air-Defense Efforts. The landing force used various air- defense weapons not only to protect itself but some of the task force's ships. The largest of these, the Rapier missile system, provided coverage up to 10,000 feet.54 At Brigadier Thompson's insistence, 12 Rapier missile launchers accompanied 3 Commando Brigade to the Falklands.55 Relatively light and portable, the missiles performed quite well and, with 14 confirmed and 6 probable kills, had a major impact on the campaign.56 They protected not only the landing force's maneuver elements but the Base Maintenance Areas (BMAs) at San Carlos and Teal Inlet as well. Rapier operators used only the missile launcher's optical guidance system to engage aircraft because the Rapier's radar-guidance system interfered with naval identification-friend- or-foe (IFF) radio transmissions.57 One of 3 Commando Brigade's most urgent tasks on D-Day was to move 12 Rapier missile launchers up onto high ground overlooking San Carlos Water. Brigadier Thompson wanted to protect his force against air attacks. But, in an interesting twist to standard procedures for amphibious operations, Admiral Woodward desired Rapier protection for the ships anchored in San Carlos Water. The naval and landing forces had practically reversed the anti-air warfare roles they normally play in amphibious operations. Instead of the Royal Navy providing air superiority for the landing force, 3 Commando Brigade had to provide air defense for the ships.58 Some problems with the Rapier launchers occurred on D-Day primarily because the missile operators hadn't fired live missiles for almost a year. The threat of an Argentine submarine operating near the task force had caused the cancellation of a scheduled test-fire earlier at Ascension. The Rapier operators scored only three hits out of ten missiles launched on D-Day but improved markedly thereafter.59 The landing force achieved more aircraft kills - 9 confirmed and 2 probables - with the Blowpipe point-defense system.60 Being subsonic, the Blowpipe missiles can't catch aircraft but can effectively engage head-on and crossing targets.61 The Blowpipe killings of four Pucara aircraft in the Goose Green attack probably deterred the Argentines from using these aircraft very often to attack the British land forces. The British also used various other weapons for air defense. The SAS fired six Stinger missiles but scored only one kill on a Pucara. More than likely the Stinger's poor performance resulted from a lack of training with the weapon. The SAS's only expert on the Stinger died in the 19 May heli- copter crash that killed so many SAS men.62 Machine-guns and small-arms weapons also fired frequently at enemy aircraft. I have no statistics on how successful they were, but a couple of observers reported they proved effective against low-flying aircraft.63 Air Defense at San Carlos. The landing force required effective air defense most critically just before and during the amphibious operation at San Carlos. As I discussed in Chapter Four, the vulnerability of the landing force was probably greatest during the amphibious task force's final two-day transit to San Carlos Water. Sea Harriers and escort ships helped to protect the force at the time, but the foggy weather on D-1 undoubtedly offered the best protection. Recall that at San Carlos large numbers of Argentine aircraft attacked in multi-plane waves for five days. The landing force ashore and especially the valuable supplies aboard ships and moving ashore lay dangerously exposed to these concentrated attacks. Again, had the Argentine aircraft sunk the supply ships, the landing force more than likely would have had to withdraw from East Falkland. The Royal Navy and the landing force organized a layered defense of the San Carlos anchorage. The Sea Harrier CAP formed the outer layer. A "missile trap", consisting of a Type-42 destroyer with Sea Dart missiles and a Type-22 frigate with Sea Wolf missiles, constituted the second layer at the northern entrance to Falkland Sound. Just inside the Sound's entrance, three or four ships using all available anti-aircraft guns made up the third "gunline" layer. The amphibious and supply ships in the anchorage itself - "bomb alley" - used small caliber guns and Blowpipe missiles as a fourth layer. The Rapier and Blowpipe missile launchers on the high ground surrounding the anchorage formed a final layer. Although Argentine aircraft sank four British ships and damaged many others during the amphibious operation, the layered air defense at San Carlos did help to protect the landing force and its supplies. Who knows what might have happened if the Argentines had attacked the supply ships instead of the escorts or if the many unexploded bombs had detonated! What did occur is that the air-defense system at San Carlos destroyed over 50 aircraft during the amphibious landing and, in so doing, defeated the only force which, in hind- sight, threatened to prevent the landing force from accomplishing its mission. Control of Air Defense. Essentially, the Royal Navy and the landing force controlled their own air-defense assets. Overall control of air defense never passed from the Navy to the landing force. The Sea Harriers remained under naval control and operated beyond the range of any of the landing force's air-defense assets. Only when Harriers flew offensive air-support missions over East Falkland did a requirement exist to control carefully the firing of the landing force's air-defense assets. Both the Rapier and Blowpipe missile launchers had identification-friend-or-foe systems that helped them to dis- criminate between firendly and enemy aircraft. The landing-force units received warnings over the radio about planned friendly air operations in their areas. They established "guns-free" and "guns-tight" conditions to ensure Blowpipe operators fired on enemy aircraft only.65 Although somewhat loosely organized, the air-defense-control procedures for the entire task force did prevent friendly forces from shooting down friendly aircraft. But whether the task force controlled the firing of air-defense assets efficiently I remain skeptical. Air-Defense Inadequacies. Although ultimately successful in driving away the Argentine air threat, the British task force's air defenses revealed four major inadequacies. First, the British lacked airborne-early-warning aircraft that could both identify air threats far away from friendly forces and coordinate the intercept of these threats. To overcome this asset deficiency, Britain asked the United States in early May to loan some highly capable AWACS planes to the task force. But the U.S. refused to cooperate because the AWACS planes require American crews, and the Reagan administration wanted to avoid the direct involvement of U.S. servicemen in the war.66 Without the early warning aircraft, the British task force had no choice but to (1) try to avoid the air threat, and (2) fight at close range those Argentine aircraft able to find their target. In trying to avoid the air threat the British carriers had to operate a long distance away from the Falklands, a tactic that degraded the battle-carrier group's ability to provide air defense and offensive air support to the landing force. Fighting the Argentine air threat at close range exposed the task force to saturation attacks that almost overwhelmed the task force during the amphibious operation. An airborne-early-warning capability could have greatly alleviated these problems. A second air-defense inadequacy of the task force was the lack of long-range fighter-interceptors. The short range of the VSTOL Sea Harriers forced them to establish a relatively close-in outer defense screen which gave the other air-defense systems little time to react to those attacking aircraft that penetrated the screen. These other defense layers revealed the third and fourth major inadequacies. The destroyers and frigates possessed little capability of defending the task force's ships against sea-skimming missiles. Of the seven EXOCET missiles the Argentines fired during the war, three of them struck British ships. Had the Argentines possessed more of them, they probably could have inflicted much greater damage on the task force. Finally, the British ships lacked effective close-in weapons that could reliably shoot down aircraft and missiles that penetrated the outer defense layers.67 Low flying aircraft frequently managed to punch through shipborne anti-aircraft fire to release their bombs directly over their targets. Again, had more of the bombs detonated, these major air- defense inadequacies could have doomed the task force, including the landing force, to failure. INFANTRY WEAPONS Of the various infantry weapons used on the Falklands, two types contributed prominently to the British success: anti-armor weapons and machine-guns. Anti-Armor Weapons. The landing force used anti-armor weapons effectively against fortified defensive positions, especially those that housed enemy machine-guns. The commandos used wire-guided Milan missiles to strike machine-gun positions during the night attacks outside Port Stanley. Since the Milan has no night sight, the commandos used mortar-illumination rounds to make the targets visible through the Milan day sights.68 In the actual assaults the British units used 84mm medium assault weapons (MAW) and 66mm light assault weapons (LAW) to kill enemy soldiers defending from behind the many rock formations found amongst the hills around Port Stanley. Since the Argentines fired visible tracer rounds on a one-to- one basis with their ammunition, the 84mm and 66mm gunners could easily identify precise locations of enemy positions and direct their powerful area weapons against them.69 Although grenade launchers would also have worked well against positions in the rocks, only 2 Para had them available in the Falklands.70 Grenade launchers are not standard in British units, but 2 Para brought 12 American M-79 grenade launchers to the war and used them effectively.71 Machine-Guns. The commanders of 42 and 45 Commando stated that machine-guns greatly helped, even dominated, the attacks on Mt. Harriet and Two Sisters.72 The devastating fire of the assault weapons and the machine-guns enabled riflemen to move forward during the assaults to close with and destroy the enemy. Fortunately for them, some units of the landing force had wisely increased their machine-gun numbers just before the war started. The Marine commandos had added a light machine-gun to each rifle squad to augment the general purpose machine-gun (GPMG) each squad already possessed.73 Thus, in the Falklands campaign 3 Commando Brigade fielded twice the number of machine-guns than it had possessed a year or two earlier. 2 Para doubled its machine-gun numbers specifically for the Falklands War.74 The added machine-gun fire power helped considerably. NOTES 1Nicholls, p. 226. 2Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 240-41 and 249; Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984. 3Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984. 4Nicholls, p. 226; Field, p. 236. 5Vaux, p. 43. 6Vaux, p. 43; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 298. 7SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 23. 8Trotter, p. 40. 9SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 23. 10Vaux interview; Whitehead interview, 16 December 1983. 11Hastings and Jenkins, p. 319. 12DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 42. 13Hensman interview. 14DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 12. 15Hastings and Jenkins, p. 146. 16"The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 7," pp. 1158-59. 17Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984. 18Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 241 and 244-45. 19Bonsignore, p. 31. 20"The Falkland Islands," p. 1038. 21J. E. Greenwood, "Harriers at the Falklands," Marine Corps Gazette, October 1982, p. 42. 22SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 19. 23Greenwood, p. 43. 24DON, The South Atlantic Conflict: Lessons Learned, p. EX-5; Gregory Copley, "The Falklands War: Update," Defense and Foreign Affairs, May 1982, p. 26. 25SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 24. 26SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 22. 27DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 6. 28"Invasion: Best Guesses," The Economist, 1 May 1982, p. 18. 29DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 27. 30DON, The South Atlantic Conflict: Lessons Learned, p. EX-10. 31DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 28. 32Field, pp. 4-5. 33Menaul, p. 88. 34Greenwood, p. 42. 35Menaul, p. 87. 36George P. Steele, "Warnings From the South Atlantic," Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs, 26, No. 3 (1982), 577; "The Falklands: the Air War and Missile Conflict," p. 38. 37DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 3. 38"The Falklands: The Air War and Missle Conflict," p. 33. 39DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 27. 40SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, pp. 20-21. 41SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 21. 42"Harriers, American-Style," The Economist, 12 June 1982, p. 22; "That Magnificent Flying Machine," Time, 7 June 1982, p. 38. 43DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 27; Menaul, p. 88. 44Greenwood, p. 42. 45SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 45. 46Greenwood, p. 43; Hastings and Jenkins, p. 207. 47SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, pp. 19 and 46. 48Bonsignore, p. 34. 49O'Ballance, p. 37. 50Hastings and Jenkins, p. 229; SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 45. 51"The Falklands: the Air War and Missile Conflict," p. 38. 52Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 206 and 229; SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 45. 53Menaul, p. 85; DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p.7. 54O'Ballance, p. 38. 55Hastings and Jenkins, p. 92. 56DON, The South Atlantic Conflict: Lessons Learned, p. EX-8; SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 45. 57"Air Defense Missiles Limited Tactics of Argentine Aircraft," Aviation Week and Space Technology, 19 July 1982, p. 22. 58Hastings and Jenkins, p. 211; "Air Defense Missiles Limited Tactics of Argentine Aircraft," p. 22. 59Thompson cassette; Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 181 and 211. 60SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, pp. 22 and 45. 61Whitehead interview, 24 January 1984. 62Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 203-04. 63Middleton, p. A-4; Guertner, p. 68. 64SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 9. 65Whitehead interviews, 16 December 1983 and 24 January 1984. 66George Russell, "Girding for the Big One," Time, 21 June 1982, 42. 67DON, Lessons of the Falklands, p. 40. 68Vaux, p. 43. 6942 Commando, p. 246; 45 Commando, p. 251; Whitehead interview, 16 December 1983; Vaux interview. 70SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 17; Whitehead interview, 16 December 1983. 71Hastings and Jenkins, p. 235. 72Whitehead interview, 16 December 1983; Vaux interview. 73Howgill interview, October 1983. 74Hastings and Jenkins, p. 235. CHAPTER SEVEN CONCLUSION MISSION: RECOVER THE FALKLANDS In the words of Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies at King's College, University of London, the Falklands War was "a textbook example of a limited war - limited in time, in location, in objectives and means."1 Although one may label the war as "limited," the British government fully committed the nation to forcible recovery of the Falklands. Had the military effort failed, Britain would have suffered not only the loss of the Falklands but a humiliating drop in credibility as a world power. Wisely rejecting caution and compromise, the British government deployed a military task force to the South Atlantic with orders to defeat the Argentine forces occupying the Falklands. Following such clear guidance and with the aid of serious Argentine errors, the task force overcame major power-projection deficiencies to win the war and return the Falklands to British sovereignty. ARGENTINE SURPRISE Argentina's surprise invasion of the Falklands caught Britain without prepared contingency plans to defend or recapture the Falklands. But poor Argentine timing and British political-military responsiveness made the invasion's success only temporary. Had General Galtieri postponed the attack for six months or a year, Argentine forces would have been much more ready to fight. First, the air forces would have greatly increased their inventory of air-launched EXOCET missiles, the weapon that most threatened British shipping. Possessing only a handful of EXOCETS at the time of the invasion, Argentina penetrated the task force's porous air defense to sink two ships with the stand-off missile. More EXOCETS probably would have caused more kills. But the premature invasion forced the Argentine air forces to fight with an EXOCET inventory too small to inflict mortal damage to the British task force. Second, the accelerated timing of the invasion denied the Argentine Army the chance to train its new, conscript soldiers. Their poor performance in the war reflected their inadequate training. Overall, the timing of the invasion significantly curbed Argentine chances for long-term success. On the other hand, bold and efficient British mobilization in response to the Argentine coup helped to compensate for the lack of pre-invasion contingency planning. The British government immediately asserted its intention to regain the Falklands, if necessary through the use of force. British naval and ground forces immediately deployed a major task force to contest the Argentine aggression. And British planners immediately designed and implemented a brilliant strategic logistics system, to include the use of STUFT ships and Ascension Island, to support large-scale operations in the South Atlantic. In short, Britain countered the surprise Argentine blow with an assertion of political will, military readiness, and logistical innovation that, in the end, nullified the invasion's temporary accomplishnent. NAVAL SUPPORTING OPERATIONS Britain's task force accomplished one major task during the pre-landing naval supporting operations. After the British submarine CONQUEROR sank the cruiser GENERAL BELGRANO, the threat of more submarine attacks forced the Argentine Navy to withdraw all surface ships, including the carrier DE MAYO, to mainland ports. The withdrawal eliminated not only the navy's surface threat but the potentially serious threat that Argentine carrier aviation could have posed to the task force's ships. But when trying to create other conditions necessary for a successful landing, the British task force revealed two serious power-projection deficiencies that nearly prevented the force from succeeding. First, British anti-submarine warfare (ASW) systems failed to defeat the Argentine submarine threat. Probably only a faulty torpedo-firing mechanism on the SAN LUIS denied the Argentines the opportunity to inflict serious damage to British shipping. Second, the task force failed to gain air superiority in the amphibious objective area, a condition generally accepted as an absolute requirement for a successful landing. Underfunded defense programs for the previous 15 years permitted the Royal Navy to send only two small carriers and pitifully few fighter and attack aircraft to challenge Argentina's fleet of over 150 land-based aircraft. With no airborne-early-warning planes and long- range interceptors, the battle-carrier group had no chance of gaining local air superiority. Again, circumstances and Argentine mistakes helped protect British ships, planes, and ground units from the powerful Argentine air forces. Because the Falklands lie at the range limits of tactical aircraft operating from Argentina's main-land bases, Argentine aircraft could spend only a limited time in the target area. They had to attack quickly and couldn't afford the time to dog-fight the Sea Harriers. A shortage of airborne tankers kept them from extending their range through aerial refueling. Also, the Argentines made a critical error in not developing Port Stanley Airfield to accommodate tactical aircraft, a step that would have eliminated the range-limit problem. As a result of these circumstances and mistakes, the British carriers could steam safely beyond the range of enemy aircraft and still launch air-defense and offensive-air sorties in the objective area; British aircraft faced no air-to-air threat; and the landing force enjoyed both fighter cover and offensive-air support during its amphibious and land operations. SAN CARLOS LANDING British ASW and carrier-aviation inadequacies exposed the landing force to major risks during the San Carlos landing. The amphibious group sailed almost fully exposed to air and submarine attacks for a day and a half before the landing. A shortage of amphibious shipping compounded the risk by forcing the landing force to billet on relatively few ships. Successful Argentine attacks on the ships at this time could have destroyed the landing force. As much as anything else, fog on D-1 prevented such a catastrophe. A sudden change in weather could have changed the outcome of the amphibious operation possibly even the war. Nonetheless, through skillful reconnaissance and planning, the amphibious group achieved tactical surprise in making an unopposed landing at San Carlos. The success illustrates the value of amphibious forces that can strike when and where they please to secure a beachhead. Unsure of Britain's true intentions, Argentine forces never recovered from the surprise landing launch a ground counterattack. A serious error but one forced on the Argentines by the superior choice of San Carlos as a landing site. The massive Argentine air counterattack against the amphibious forces exposed Britain's air-defense weaknesses. The few Harrier fighters and the layered missile-gun air defense at San Carlos Water couldn't effectively repel the courageous Argentine pilots flying low-level, saturation attacks against ships supporting the operation. After suffering some ship losses and damage, the British wisely off-loaded landing-force supplies under the protection of night. Two Argentine mistakes contributed once again to the failure of the air attacks to defeat the landing. First, Argentine aircraft attacked the escort ships, not the more vulnerable amphibious supply ships whose destruction could have denied the landing force the support necessary to sustain land opera- tions. Second, improper bomb fuzings caused many Argentine bombs to fail to detonate when they hit British ships. Both errors limited the effectiveness of the potentially devastating air attacks. Another close call for the British task force. LAND OPERATIONS Upon completion of the supply build-up within the beachhead, Britain's strong, professional landing force opposed Argentina's weak, conscript Argentine Army. Though outnumbered, the British totally dominated the untested Argentines. They achieved tactical surprise by marching extra- ordinary distances through allegedly impassable mountains in preparation for the main attack. They patrolled aggressively to protect themselves and to gain information about the enemy. They called upon trained combat engineers to breach minefields. They executed well-planned night attacks that capitalized on their opponents' night-fighting inexperience. They used artillery, naval gunfire, and anti-armor weapons to support their attacks effectively. And they distributed supplies and ammunition efficiently. Not by chance did the British landing force win the land campaign so decisively. Well-trained units constituted the force. In peacetime the Royal Marines and British Army carefully select their men, develop their tactical skills, mold them into unified teams, and prepare them physically for the rigors of combat. In the Falklands War, competent officers and non- commissioned officers led these well-trained men. Completely out-performing the Argentine draftees, the professional British ground units surmounted other force deficiencies to strike the crushing, victorious blow. WHY THE BRITISH WON Despite serious power-projection deficiencies, Britain soundly defeated Argentina in the Falklands War. As victors in war have always done, the British profited from their opponents' mistakes and shortcomings. One could even assert that when Argentine bombs and torpedo systems malfunctioned, lady luck seemingly favored the British effort. Maybe so. But Argentine incompetence and bad luck alone don't account for Britain's success. Why then did the British win the 1982 Falkland Islands War? First, they targeted military victory as their immediate goal in the Falklands dispute and boldly committed the resources and national will necessary to win. Second, they hastily improvised an innovative and flexible logistical system that for two months sustained a large, multi-service task force 8,000 miles away. Third, they skillfully made a surprise amphibious landing to gain a base from which to operate against the enemy. And fourth, they fielded a proficient and well-led landing force that overcame severe weather and transportation shortages to out-maneuver and out-fight a larger adversary. To recover the Falklands, the British took the fight to the Argentines. The tenacious pressure forced Argentina to make mistakes and compensated for Britain's power-projection deficiencies. Aggressiveness and competence, not luck, gained the British a brilliant triumph on East Falkland. NOTES 1Freedman, p. 196. Click here too view image NOTES 1Hastings and Jenkins, p. 95. 2Hastings and Jenkins, inside cover. 3Hastings and Jenkins, pp. 352-53; SSD, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons, p. 42. 4Nicholls, p. 222. 5"Reataking of South Georgia," pp. 234-35. 6Hastings and Jenkins, p. 201; Nicholls, p. 221; OPERATION CORPORATE (Manouevre Map) 21 May - 14 June 1982 (London: Director of Military Survey, Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom, 1982). 7OPERATION CORPORATE (Manouevre Map); Thompson cassette. 8Hastings and Jenkins, p. 234. 9Nicholls, p. 224; OPERATION CORPORATE (Manouevre Map). 10OPERATION CORPORATE (Manouevre Map). 11DON, The South Atlantic Conflict: Lessons Learned, p. 3. ANNOTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Personal Interviews Ferrer, Jose. Personal interview. 22 February 1984. Captain Ferrer, Argentine Navy, commented on the political developments that led to the war and Argentina's military activities during the war. An excellent presentation of the Argentine perspective. He served as an Argentine destroyer captain during the war. Hensman, J. R. Personal interview. 12/15 January 1984. Lieutenant-Colonel Hensman, Royal Marines, explained various combat procedures of the Royal Marines and British Army. Howgill, P.A.C. Personal interview. October 1983. Lieutenant-Colonel Howgill, Royal Marines, reviewed amphibious practices of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. Howgill, P.A.C. Personal interview. 8 December 1983. Lieutenant-Colonel Howgill discussed the general training practices of the Royal Marines and British Army units that served in the Falklands. Hunter, Toby. Telephone interview. 29 March 1984. Captain Hunter, Royal Marines, provided useful background information and statistics about the war. He served as the Operations Officer for 40 Commando during the war. Vaux, N. F. Personal interview. 16 December 1983. Colonel Vaux, Royal Marines, discussed his impressions of the British land campaign in the Falklands. He served as the Commanding Officer of 42 Commando during the war. Whitehead, A. F. Personal interview. 16 December 1983. Colonel Whitehead, Royal Marines, discussed his impressions of the British land campaign in the Falklands. He served as the Commanding Officer of 45 Commando during the war. Whitehead, A. F. Personal interview. 24 January 1984. Colonel Whitehead responded to prepared questions about how 45 Commando lived and operated in the field during the Falklands War. Cassettes Thompson, J.H.A. Cassette. n.p.: n.p., February 1984. Major-General Thompson served as the Commanding Officer of 3 Commando Brigade during the Falklands War. In response to my questions about the war, he prepared a cassette-tape that addressed his unit's amphibious landing; land operations; supporting arms; logistical effort; aviation support; intelligence-gathering and processing; and command and control. A very candid discussion of the war by a high-ranking participant. Lectures Howgill, P.A.C. "Falkland Islands War." Command and Staff College, MCDEC, Quantico, Va., 20 October 1983. Lieutenant-Colonel Howgill, Royal Marines, presented a general description of the Falklands War and outlined many lessons which British ground units learned from the war. Government Publications U.K., Secretary of State for Defense, The Falklands Campaign: The Lessons. (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1982). A detailed report to Parliament on British sea and land operations in the Falklands. Highlights the lessons that British forces learned from the war. Provides official British statistics about the war. Very useful. U.S., Department of the Navy. Lessons of the Falklands: A Summary Report. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1983). An unclassified summary of the report submitted to the secretary of the Navy by his Falkland Islands Study Group. The study group's purpose was "to assess the impact of the performance of British and Argentine forces and their equipment on the programs and direction of the United States Navy and Marine Corps." Emphasizes sea operations. U.S., Department of the Navy, The South Atlantic Conflict: Lessons Learned. Volume I. Summary of Principal Conclusions and Recommendations. Report of the Falkland Islands Study Group to the Secretary of the Navy. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1983). The first volume of the classified report submitted to the Secretary of the Navy by his Falkland Islands Study Group. Note the study group's purpose in the bibliographic item above. A detailed analysis of British operations during the war. Have included only unclassified material from the report in this paper. Books Hastings, Max, and Simon Jenkins. The Battle for the Falklands. New York: W. W. Norton, 1983. A very thorough account of the political and military developments of the war. Hastings reports his first-hand observations of what took place during the land campaign. Jenkins offers a complete analysis of the political maneuverings of Britain and Argentina before and during the war. Immensely readable and informative. A superior description and analysis of the Falklands War. Periodicals "Air Defense Missiles Limited Tactics of Argentine Aircraft." Aviation Week and Space Technology, 19 July 1982, pp. 21-22. A short analysis of the effectiveness of British sea-and land-based air-defense missiles. Outlines the roles and accomplishments of the various air-defense systems. "Argentina: Malvinas yes, army no." The Economist, 1 May 1982, pp. 21-22. A short analysis of political conditions within Argentina as the British task force approached the Falklands. The article offers sane background information about Argentina's air forces. Baker, A. D. III. "Sealift, British Style." Proceedings, June 1983, pp. 111-118. Explanation of how the British government chartered and requisitioned merchant ships for use in the Falklands War. "Battle order: The balance of forces." The Economist, 24 April 1982, pp. 26-28. A short description of British and Argentine forces used early in the Falklands War. Provides information on intelligence-gathering assets and air, naval, and land forces. Beck, Peter F. "The Falklanders - Had the Argentines Visited Kew: Some Insights on the Defence of the Falklands." NAVY International, October 1982, pp. 1390-91. Account of how a Royal Navy squadron analyzed the terrain and potential landing sites of the Falklands in 1933. Points out that the report, maintained at the Public Records Office in Kew, recommends San Carlos as the Falklands' most suitable landing site. Bonsignore, Ezio. "Hard Lessons from the South Atlantic." Military Technology, VI, No. 6 (1982), 31-36. Excellent analysis of the Royal Navy's weapons and equipment deficiencies evident in the Falklands War. Cable, James. "The Falklands: Causes and Consequences." NAVY International, August 1982, pp. 1228-31. Reviews the historical and political causes of the dispute over the Falklands. Criticizes Britain's "undue preoccupation with the single threat and the single scenario" of conflict with the Soviet Union. Chaze, William. "At the Heart of Battle for the Falklands." U.S. News and World Report, 7 June 1982, p. 32. Short, background review of the Falkland Islands and the British- Argentine dispute over the islands. Includes a description of the Falklands' government and economy and the U.S.'s interest in the sovereignty dispute. Commando Logistic Regiment. "Miracle or Nightmare." The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, pp. 254-57. Insider's report of the regiment's activities during the Falklands War. A standard column in the Royal Marines' bi-monthly magazine. 40 Commando. "Falklands Diary." The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, pp. 236-41. Insider's account of 40 Commando's activities during the Falklands War. Provides detailed information about the landing force's reserve. A standard column in the Royal Marines' bi-monthly magazine. 42 Commando. "Ascension to the Falklands and Back Again." The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, pp. 242-47. Insider's account of 42 Commando's activities during the Falklands War. Describes the commando's shipboard training, landing, and attack of Mount Harriet. A standard column in the Royal Marines' bi-monthly magazine. 45 Commando. "Ajax Bay to Stanley." The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, pp. 248-52. Insider's account of 45 Commando's activities during the Falklands War. Describes the commando's epic march across East Falkland and attack of Two Sisters. A standard column in the Royal Marines' bi- monthly magazine. Copley, Gregory. "The Falklands War: Update." Defense and Foreign Affairs, May 1982, pp. 6-7, passim. A perceptive analysis of the political background and early stages of the Falklands War by the magazine's publisher. The article covers Britain's intelligence failure, the use of new weapons systems, and Argentina's relations with the Soviet Union and the United States. Davies, C. M. "Op Corporate - I had The Privilege." The Royal Engineers Journal, 96, No. 4 (1982), 243-47. Major Davies, MBE RE, reviews the lessons he learned while commanding 9 Parachute Squadron during the Falklands War. He emphasizes physical fitness, flexibility, determination, training, kit, and command and control. Offers good insight into engineer operations in the war. Drysdale, David. "The War at Sea." The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, pp. 228-32. Major Drysdale, RM, briefly describes the British battle-carrier group's contributions to the war during pre-landing operations, the amphibious assault, and the land campaign. Having served as a member of Admiral Woodward's staff during the war, Major Drysdale offers much insight into how the Royal Navy supported the landing force. English, Adrian. "Argentina's Military Potential." NAVY International, May 1982, pp. 1046-50. Overview of Argentine naval, amphibious, land, and air forces used in the Falklands War. "The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After April 13." NAVY International, June 1982, pp. 1094-99. Report of war events during the last two weeks of April and first week of May 1982. Covers American mediation efforts, British force build-up, and the sinkings of HMS SHEFFIELD and Argentine cruiser GENERAL BELGRANO. "The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 7." NAVY International, July 1982, pp. 1158-63. Report of war events during the last three weeks of May 1982. Covers the Pebble Island raid and the San Carlos landing. Good account of the Argentine air attacks at San Carlos. "The Falkland Crisis: Operations and Progress After May 25." NAVY International, August 1982, pp. 1222-27. Report of war events from 25 May 1982 to the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982. Covers the movement of British units across East Falkland and the Fitzroy-Bluff Cove tragedy. Offers few details about the battles fought outside Port Stanley. "The Falklands Islands." NAVY International, May 1982, pp. 1028-45. A thorough analysis of the political developments that led to the war, the Argentine invasion of the Falklands, British mobilization, and the role of British merchant ships in the war. Contains useful tables that compare British and Argentine forces. "Falkland Islands: The noose round Port Stanley." The Economist, 5 June 1982, pp. 19-20. Description of the British landing force's breakout from the San Carlos beachhead. Points out the opportunities missed by the Argentines to thwart British land operations. "The Falklands: the Air War and Missile Conflcit." Armed Forces Journal International, September 1982, pp. 30-32. Excellent analysis of the Falklands' air war. The article addresses the strength of Third World air forces, the value of the AIM-9L Sidewinder missile, Argentina's unexploded bombs, aerial refueling, aerial reconnaissance, the adequacy of the AV-8B Harrier, and air-defense missiles. Provides table of air-combat statistics and a comparison of British and U.S. V/STOL aircraft. "The Falklands: Power Projection and the War at Sea." Armed Forces Journal International, September 1982, pp. 40-46. Excellent analysis of British and American ability to project power at sea. Emphasizes the value of nuclear-powered submarines. Argues against big carriers and for the ARAPAHO concept of basing aircraft on container vessels. Recommends adoption of the AH-64 aircraft over the AV-8B Harrier. Criticizes the shortage of British air-defense weapons in the Falklands War. Lists the British and Argentine ship losses during the war. Field, G. W. "Operation Corporate - The Falkland Islands Campaign." The Royal Engineers Journal, 96, No. 4 (1982), 230-43. Thorough review of engineer contributions to the British effort in the Falklands. Lieutenant-Colonel Field, MBE RE, was General Moore's CRE during the war. He discusses the building of a Harrier FOB, bulk- fuel handling, minefield reconnaissance and breaching, bridge-building, and post-war clean-up problems. Freedman, Lawrence. "The War of the Falkland Islands, 1982." Foreign Affairs, 61, No. 1 (1982), 196-210. Broad overview of the political dispute and the sea and land campaigns. Praises the superior logistical support of the British task force and the competency of the British landing force. Warns about "fixation on technological prowess and weapon inventories." Greenwood, J. E. "Harriers at the Falklands." Marine Corps Gazette, October 1982, pp. 42-43. Praises the performance of British Harriers in the Falklands War. Claims the performance proves the concept of sea and land loiter by V/STOL aircraft. Guertner, Gary L. "The 74-Day War: New Technology and Old Tactics." Military Review, LXII, No. 11 (1982), 65-72. General description of the Falklands' land campaign. Emphasizes the contributions of helicopters and combat engineers. Praises the British infantryman's ability to march long distances and the overall professionalism of the British forces. Warns of the threat posed to amphibious operations by precision-guided missiles. "Harriers, American-style." The Economist, 12 June 1982, p. 22. Short article that advocates the developnent of a better radar for the British-American AV-8B advanced Harrier. "Invasion: Best guesses." The Economist, 1 May 1982, p. 18. A remarkably prescient forecast of (1) the air attacks the British task force would face in the South Atlantic, and (2) the amphibious and land operations the landing force would carry out. Kenney, David J. "The Fascinating Falklands Campaign." Proceedings, June 1983, pp. 100-01. Captain Kenney, USNR, discusses the lessons offered by the war in the areas of national will, logistics, operational skills, and technology. Good analysis. Menaul, Stewart W. B. "The Falklands Campaign: A War of Yesterday?" Strategic Review, X, No. 4 (1982), 82-91. Retired RAF Air Vice-Marshall Menaul reviews British logistical, aerial, and tactical successes in the Falklands War. He criticizes Britain's outdated air-defenses and electronic warfare capability. Britain must modernize its forces to fight in a NATO scenario. Nicholls, D. V. "Amphibious Victory." The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, pp. 220-27. A thorough overview of the entire British campaign in the Falklands, including both sea and land operations. Good maps of 3 Commando Brigade's landing, the landing force's movements across East Falkland, and Argentine force dispositions. Captain Nicholls, RM, served as 3 Commando Brigade's Public Relations Officer during the war. O' Ballance, Edgar. "The San Carlos Landing." Marine Corps Gazette, October 1982, pp. 36-45. Detailed account of the landing at San Carlos and the ensuing Argentine air attacks. Record, Jeffrey. "The Falklands War." The Washington Quarterly, 5, No. 4 (1982), 43-51. General analysis of the war's political background and military operations. Cites the superior quality of the British forces as the main reason for Britain's victory. Emphasizes the importance of amphibious warfare and force survivability. "Retaking of South Georgia." The Globe and Laurel, July/August 1982, pp. 234-35. Short but detailed account of the British seizure of South Georgia. Includes two maps that help to portray the maneuver of the British force. Russell, George. "And Now, to Win the Peace." Time, 28 June 1982, pp. 24-28. A review of the Argentine surrender and the immediate post-war problems faced by Britain and Argentina. Describes General Galtieri's resignation and Mrs. Thatcher's high public approval rating. Russell, George. "Girding for the Big One." Time, 21 June 1982, pp. 40-43. Report of the Fitzroy-Bluff Cove tragedy and British preparations to attack Port Stanley. "Sheltered No Longer." Time, 7 June 1982, p. 37. A description of the terrain, population, and environment of Port San Carlos during 3 Commando Brigade's occupation. Discusses the problems Marines had in digging fighting holes. Steele, George P. "Warnings from the South Atlantic." Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs, 26, No. 3 (1982), 573-78. Vice Admiral Steele, USNR, makes the point that "Britain's military weakness invited aggression." He stresses "the importance of a superior navy" as a national security asset for the U.S. "That Magnificent Flying Machine." Time, 7 June 1982, p. 38. Praises the capabilities of the British Sea Harrier. Describes the Harrier's "viffing" maneuver techniques, Blue Fox radar, and Sidewinder missile. Trotter, Neville. "The Falklands Campaign Command and Logistics." Armed Forces Journal International, June 1983, pp. 32-41. Excellent analysis of how Britain commanded its forces and supported them logistically during the Falklands War. Offers many useful tables on ship and aircraft losses by both sides. The author is a Conservative MP who specializes in defense matters. Vaux, N. F. "Commando Night Attack." Marine Corps Gazette, October 1983, pp. 40-46. Very detailed account of 42 Commando's brilliant attack on Mt. Harriet by the Royal Marine Colonel who planned and led it. Includes an excellent map of the assault. Newspapers Middleton, Drew. "War in the Falklands: From Darwin and Goose Green, a Lesson in Tactics. British Gains Show Mobile Infantry Can Defeat a Larger Stationary Force." New York Times, 31 May 1982, p. A-4, cols. 1-6. Short description of the Darwin-Goose Green Battle. Reporter Middleton comments about British mobility and use of small-arms against Argentine aircraft. He speculates about the future landing of 5 Infantry Brigade. New York Times, 31 May 1982, p. A-4, cols. 1-2. Briefly describes some of the main settlements on East Falkland. Maps OPERATION CORPORATE (Manouevre Map) 21 May - 14 June 1982. London: Director of Military Survey, Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom, 1982. A 1:100,000 scale map that depicts the movements of British ground units during Falklands land campaign. Clear, detailed, and very useful.
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