June 14, 1982 - Falklands War

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by EDelahanty, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,273
    Likes Received:
    312
    This marks the 30th anniversary of the ceasefire between Argentine and British forces, as well as the surrender the same day of the Argentine garrison, which ended the 74 day Falklands War.

    The unpopular military junta running Argentina had concluded the British would have no interest in defending the sparsely populated archipelago 250 miles from the Argentine mainland. This turned out to be untrue, and rather than consolidating the junta's power, the failure led to its overthrown and a return to democratic government.

    During the 74 day war, nearly 1,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen on both sides were killed. The largest loss of life occurred when a British nuclear submarine sank the ARA General Belgrano and over 300 died (fortunately 700 were rescued from the cold South Atlantic waters). Before it was sold by the USA to Argentina in the 1950s, this cruiser had been known as the USS Phoenix. It had been stationed at Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and saw extensive action against the Japanese during World War 2.

    The war was watched with great interest around the world. In addition to ground combat, modern technologies were employed by both sides. The British used their Harrier "Jump" jets, which could take off vertically. The Argentines terrified the British with their French-made Exocet (flying fish) missiles, which sank the HMS Sheffield. The French were kind enough to provide the British with codes to the missiles' guidance systems. (Lesson: Don't buy weapons from the French)

    Although their intrepid forces prevailed against the conscript Argentine army, the British made things difficult for themselves. The British announcement that they would not attack the Argentine mainland allowed the Argentines to relocate their few SAM batteries to the Falklands. Perhaps more significant was the reporting by the BBC of a British defense official's disclosure that bombs dropped by Argentine jets on British ships were failing to explode. To avoid British anti-aircraft defenses, the Argentine pilots had been releasing the bombs from low altitudes. The bombs' fuses had insufficient time to arm, and the damage was much less than it would have been under normal operation. Confirmation of this by the BBC permitted the Argentine air force to revamp the fuse technology. A British officer later remarked that if six more fuses had been good they would have lost the war.

    Argentina has refused to accept British offers to return the bodies of Argentine casualties from their places of interment on the Falklands.
     
  2. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,001
    Likes Received:
    301
    Seems hard to believe that was 30 years ago. Talk about a serious misreading of the opposition- the Argentines were certain that Britain wouldn't do anything , and continued to be certain of that right up until they sank the "General Belgrano" by the HMS Conqueror which killed 323 sailors. At that point I think they suddenly realized they had bitten off more than first realized. They really misread Margaret Thatcher!

    I was in Ft Sherman Panama CZ at that time- it was interesting to see all of the demonstrations across Latin America against the Brits ("Las Malvinas son de Argentina!"), though virtually nobody demonstrating knew that the Falklanders speak English, that the Falklands are 300 miles out in the Atlantic and that they were never occupied by Argentina at all; and finally, that the Junta was trying to divert Argentinians attention from the regime that had recently fought "the dirty war" against its own citizens.

    There is a lot to be learned from the Falklands War- it reemphasized the dangers faced by not having having adequate air support (the British TF was in serious danger during the landings as a result of the lack of British fighter cover - the Harriers that they had were make do, with no OTH radar and really short legs- the Brits were fortunate to not lose the entire landing force - as it was I think they lost 5 ships. The Army learned that physical training and hardening is critical -The "Yomp" from Goose Green to Stanley was really tough and it was really hard on a Brigade that had trained as Mech Infantry. The Argentine regime was thoroughly discredited and shortly became history which was a real positive for Argentina.

    A really good read about the Falklands War was written by Max Hastings Called "The Battle for the Falklands"- another was written by Admiral Woodward the TF Commander.
    It's a very interesting study- amazing to me that it has been 30 years.:eek:
     
  3. greeneagle5

    greeneagle5 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    16
    Wow...I echo Bruno at being "shocked" that it was 30 years ago...My dad had just been USMilGrp CO in B.A......I actually had toured aboard the General Belgrano at Mar Del Plata with him and visited the airbase that launched the fighters attacking the British fleet at Comodore Rividavia a few months prior to the invasion and 74 day war.
     
  4. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,001
    Likes Received:
    301

Share This Page