madclarinet (madclarinet) wrote,
madclarinet
madclarinet

Falklands War - 25 years on

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the end of the Falklands War. A short war which lasted from the 19th March 1982 to 14th June 1982. I won't go into the full details - you can read a decent enough on Wikipedia. There are a few things I would say.

This was the first war that I 'saw' in the media etc, as one of my interests is military battles, tactics etc etc - even at that time I was interested. I have a cassette set that my parents got me of the news reports etc which I'm planning to digitise so I don't ruin the cassettes. The UK went to reclaim the Falklands because there were (and still are) British subjects there - soverignity is only for discussion if the people living there are in agreement.

The 'Black Buck' raids were a series of five bombing attacks by Avro Vulcans launching from Ascension Island. These bombers needed refueling and required the use of 11 refueling aircraft to get 2 Vulcans from Ascension to the Falklans (some to refuel the refueling aircraft as well as the Vulcans). The distance of 8000 miles was only surpassed in 1991 during the 1st Iraq war by B52 bombers launching the the US (although these used forward-positioned tankers instead of all aircraft leaving from the same airfield).

The war really 'hotted up' when the Argentine Crusier AGA General Belgrano (this ship was formally the USS Phoenix which survived the Pearl Harbour assault) was torpedoed by HMS Conqueror using, would you believe, two World War 2 vintage torpedos (with some upgrades). Interestingly this was the first (and currently) the only time a ship has been sunk in battle by a nuclear submarine. This single act made the rest of the Argentine Navy stay in port as they did not have any anti-submarine capability.

Several UK ships were sunk and many damaged during the battles - out the the sunk ships only 1 seriously hampered the battles - the MV Atlantic Conveyor on which was lost all but one of the Chinnock helicopters, other helicopters and other supplies (The land forces had to walk across the islands instead of flying in a helicopter). The others, as all picket ships are, expendable - the only reason there are 'small' ships are to protect and if needed take the hit instead of a more important ship (a carrier for example). Not a nice fact but a true one all the same.

The Harrier 'jump jet' proved its worth in battle - they were assisted by having some of the lastest missiles from the US, who - after initial reluctance, supported the UK's stance. A lot of people in the world had laughed about the Harrier (useful for airshows as it could fly backwards and 'take a bow') - they were proved incorrect. Another 'Harrier' fact is that the Harrier is the only airplane which was designed and developed outside the US which has been bought by the US army.

There is never a good war - but the war in itself did a lot for the UK as a whole and probably was indirectly the cause to the UK dragging itself out of the mass of problems it was in.

On this day story from BBC - includes a timeline with other stories
Comments from veterans
Comment from a Falkland Islander

Realplayer Links
Report from Brian Hanrahan - the famous 'I counted them all out' report - this is probably the most famous line of the conflict.
Brian Hanrahan again - on the news reaching of the Argentine surrender

Wars are often 'hidden' away - much like Argentina did to the Falklands veterans and the US did for Vietnam. The UK and France did as much during the Suez conflict too. It doesn't matter if you like or hate a war - put pressure on the politicians but don't have a go at the people fighting for you. An army does what its political masters/mistresses tell them.

PS Did you know that Prince Andrew (son of the Queen, at that time second in line for the throne) was a helicopter pilot during the conflict and later admitted to have flown as a missile decoy?
Tags: falklands war
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