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#OTD 3 Commando Brigade leave Portsmouth for the #Falklands aboard SS Canberra.
A section of BBC News from 9th April 1982: the Soviet Union describe the UK’s task force as "an immediate threat to international peace"

Fascinating to watch, the rest can be found here:
A CIA brief from 9th April states "the Argentines are reportedly lengthening the air strip in Port Stanley to accommodate A-4, MIRAGE, PUCARA, and C-130 aircraft and reinforcing the island with additional troops and air defence equipment"
ITN News at Ten from 9th April 1982. Full headlines here:
#OTD 10th April 1982, the European Economic Community approved trade sanctions on Argentina, to come into force on the 16th.

New York Times piece from that day found here: nytimes.com/1982/04/11/wor…
BBC News headlines from the day 👇👇
U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig arrives in Buenos Aires to continues mediation talks.

His arrival coincided with tens of thousands of Argentinians gathering at the Plaza de Mayo to show their support for President Leopoldo Galtieri.
Falklands #OTD 11th April.

HMS Splendid and HMS Spartan arrive inside the 200 mile Maritime Exclusion Zone (MEZ). They subsequently site Argentine activity, but are ordered not to engage to ensure their presence remains secret.
Quick word on the MEZ.

Covered a circle of radius 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the centre of the Falkland Islands.

The British government stated that all aircraft and vessels inside the zone "will be regarded as hostile and are liable to be dealt with accordingly".
That said, the government made clear that activity anywhere in the South Atlantic would also be responded to.

This was particularly important when on April 22 an unmarked Argentine Air Force Boeing 707 flew over HMS Hermes.

Harriers were scrambled and the 707 turned back.
Archive story on that here: nytimes.com/1982/04/22/wor…
Interview on BBC radio on 11th April, Foreign Secretary Francis Pym is asked whether Argentine vessels will be sunk if found within the exclusion zone.

Pym replies "That is the position"
HMS Antrim leaves Ascension Island en route for South Georgia with M Company 42 Commando on board.

Antrim was the flagship of Operation Paraquet, the mission to recapture South Georgia. More on that another day....
U.S. Secretary of State sends a telegram to London urging Thatcher not to escalate until she’s seen Argentina’s proposals.

"Confrontation must be avoided at all costs until you have been able to consider this draft proposal"

"Some progress has been made"
Thatcher was typically robust with her response.

"Argentina is the aggressor, and is still trying to build up the occupying force in the Falklands. The Argentine Government has had plenty of warning".
#OTD Falklands 12 April 1982.

Haig returns to London to continue shuttle diplomacy.

On his arrival he receives info from Washington that there are 34 Soviet fishing vessels around the Falklands that are providing intelligence to the Soviet Union. This would force the US hand.
He also receives a phone call from Buenos Aires telling him not to return unless the UK concedes.

Shuttle diplomacy at this stage seems hopeless, but Haig maintains that he’s keen to continue.

"The talks have been exceedingly difficult, but some progress has been made" he says.
Thatcher receives a letter from her Japanese counterpart Zenko Suzuki, who says "We strongly hope that the withdrawal of the Argentine forces will be promptly realized"
Also on this day, the submarine HMS Spartan arrives 'on station' just off Port Stanley
The BBC New headlines from the day 👇👇
Excellent update from Keith Graves, the BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent. Definitely watch it all.

The UK’s "message to the Argentine’s is the same: get out, or be put out".
Falklands #OTD 13 April

Few quick things:
-New Zealand bans all Argentine imports
-Negotiations between Alexander Haig and Thatcher continue
-Planning meeting at the Ministry of Defence to discuss Op Paraquet (recapture the island of South Georgia)
The Director of Brazil’s National Intelligence Service General Medeiros meets with the British Ambassador to Brazil George Harding (pictured).

Medeiros describes the Argentine invasion as "completely crazy and incomprehensible".
At a meeting of the OAS Permanent Council, the Venezuelan representative states that Argentina has a "total right" to defend its territory.

He adds that the Security Council's Resolution 502 is biased against Argentina.

@ChathamHouse doc on this: jstor.org/stable/4039542…
@ChathamHouse Not a particularly busy day.

Tomorrow there would be debate in the House of Commons, accompanied by more task force progress.

More on that tomorrow.
@ChathamHouse Oh, and one last thing.

Found this picture today - if anyone has any details please let me know.

Obviously Portsmouth. Not sure which ship.

Maroon berets so probably Paras?
@ChathamHouse Falklands #OTD 14 April 1982: time for an Ascension Islands update.

Without Ascension, and specifically Wideawake Airfield, the operation to retake the Falklands would not have been a success.

It served two purposes: logistic support for the ships AND a base for RAF aircraft.
For those interested, there’s an excellent @thinkdefence piece on some of this 👇👇

As ships started to arrive, Ascension was used to move supplies between ships and from the airfield to ships.

Air transport to and from Ascension was provided by VC-10, C-130’s and even a number of ex-RAF Belfast’s chartered from Heavy Lift Cargo Airlines.
Supplies were also flown in via USAF C-5 Galaxy, including (secret at the time) new air-to-air AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles for the Harriers.

The US "moved us to the head of the queue" for missile delivery - Rear Admiral Woodward.

"The special relationship was alive and well".
12 RAF C-130 Hercules had flown to Ascension via Gibraltar and Dakar on 3rd April, bringing stores and personnel that allowed the base to be established.

It was hardly ideal: one runway, no parallel taxiways, only one jetty for ships.

Two shops, both run by NAAFI.
HMS Hermes and two of her escorts HMS Broadsword and HMS Yarmouth at Ascension.
The fuel storage facility on Ascension was controlled by the US.

On 13 April the US agreed that British forces could use 950,000 gallons of the 12.5 million gallons stored on the island

Sappers from the Royal Engineers built a pipeline to connect the fuel farm to the airfield.
The station commander at RAF Marham Group Captain Price became the senior officer on Ascension.

Security at Ascension was vital, although the few residents were reportedly keen to help British troops on the island.
It was kept fairly secret at the time, but the Task Force waited days at Ascension. Canberra stayed for two weeks.

Ships had sailed so hurriedly that all none of the equipment was organised.
The number of personnel on the island increased to just under 1,000, of whom around 120 were Navy, 60 were British Army, and 800 were RAF.

This was too many for the island’s fresh water supply, so bottled water had to be flown out.
Cargo planes were arriving at a rate of 8 per day, and stores were poorly labeled in the hurry to get them south.

As a result, D Squadron 22 SAS helped themselves to special ammunition and weapons belonging to 3 Commando Brigade, which they thought was just lying around.
Troops trained on the island too - in one day, a 3 Para platoon fired 37 year’s worth of training rounds....
Soldiers also had to learn landing craft assaults.

Here’s 2 Para in fashionable orange lifejacks conducting a hasty landing craft 101 lesson.

They would later be first ashore at San Carlos....
Each unit also had an afternoon on the beach

(Having also swum in the sea at Ascension, I can confirm it’s as nice as it looks)
In preparation of expected combat losses (in reality not a single one was lost through air to air combat), a ship was needed to transport Harriers south.

#OTD 14 April the SS Atlantic Conveyor was requisitioned to carry extra Harriers.
In 10 days, the ship was converted to carry Harriers, helicopters, munitions and vehicles.
14 April: Margaret Thatcher makes a speech to the House of Commons (audio in full here margaretthatcher.org/document/110948)

"We seek, and shall continue to seek, a diplomatic solution".

[But] "diplomatic efforts are more likely to succeed if they are backed by military strength".
She announces "HMS Intrepid is being recommissioned for operational service. She will significantly add to the amphibious capability of the task force now entering the South Atlantic, which already contains her sister ship HMS Fearless".
Falklands #OTD 15 April 1982.

US President Ronald Regan speaks to President Galtieri in a phone call.

He then reports back to Thatcher: "General Galtieri reaffirmed to me his desire to avoid conflict with your country".
"He said that the advance of your fleet and the blockade of the islands were making his situation difficult".

Shuttle diplomacy was continuing through Secretary of State Alexander Haig.
Argentina submits proposals to the US Embassy in Buenos Aires:

1) Withdrawal of 🇦🇷 forces from FKL
2)Royal Navy to retreat 3,000 nautical miles from FKL
3)🇬🇧to carry out "decolonisation" of FKL, to be complete by 31 December 1982
4) in interim, Argentine appointed governor
The crucial bit of this document: "The Argentine flag shall continue to fly over the Islands"

That wasn’t going to be acceptable to the UK
Islanders who had been flown back to the UK arrived at London Gatwick today.

Governor Rex Hunt was there to meet them.
This is fascinating: Thatcher speaking to Haig.

"I have done everything possible to support President Reagan and the US Government on every single occasion they have asked for help, and the moment we need your help you aren’t there".

U.S. neutrality was now becoming an issue.
Read this in Thatcher’s voice.

She was not one to be messed around.

She knew exactly what she wanted. The U.S. was playing diplomacy on both sides but she was having none of that.
Archive news from @nytimes for 15th April 1982

@nytimes Falklands #OTD 16 April 1982

Fairly quiet day:
-Haig (pictured with Francis Pym) returns to Buenos Aires. On arrival, he was informed that Argentina’s red lines had not changed.

He knew this would be unacceptable for Thatcher.
-Thatcher write to Reagan: "Thank you for your...conversation with General Galtieri".

"It was not Britain that broke the peace but Argentina. The mandatory Resolution of the Security Council....requires Argentina to withdraw its troops from the Falkland islands"
Meeting at Downing Street of the war cabinet to discuss rules of engagement for the coming weeks.

Few crucial points:

UK "may attack any submarine that demonstrates hostile intent"

"To achieve transit, take any necessary action"

Thatcher agreed that their Rules of Engagement could be approved and sent to the fleet.

There’s no recorded resistance to this decision in the minutes.
Controlling media speculation was proving hard. There were frequent MoD press briefings, but nonetheless it seems a lot was being leaked.

Haig was having a similar issue in the US. This was hampering diplomatic channels.

Interesting note here 👇👇
May be a few ships missing here, but a useful summary of where assets were around now (16th April 1982) 👇👇
Haven’t managed to get any BBC News footage from today (if anyone knows somewhere other than YouTube that has archive news footage PLEASE PLEASE let me know!)

Instead, here’s @BBCNewsround from 16th April 🙂

@BBCNewsround Falklands #OTD 17th April 1982.

Few things I’ve missed from previous days - apologies.

First, a big MoD meeting that took place yesterday (16 April)
Few takeaways from this:

INTELLIGENCE - Argentina had approached West Germany, Italy, Austria, and Israel seeking arms and equipment. The FCO was to take "appropriate diplomatic steps" to prevent this.

This is VERY interesting....
INTELLIGENCE CONTINUED: Argentina’s fleet was staying away from South Georgia and out of the exclusion zone. They would "probably move south" to counter reported Chilean Navy activity.

Ambiguity regarding whether Soviet submarines were in the South Atlantic. To be monitored...
OWN FORCES - the Harriers due to be carried by the SS Atlantic Conveyer would have to be on deck and therefore exposed to the weather.

MoD therefore agreed to fly them to Ascension, and then embark them on to Atlantic Conveyer.
MEDIA: Both the BBC and Reuters had managed to get reporters to Ascension. The minutes aren’t clear, but there’s some suggestion that they got there unofficially - not necessarily authorised by the MoD.

Decision made not to allow the already embarked press ashore at Ascension
The MoD’s Permanent Under Secretary was to "discuss with the BBC the balance of its television news coverage".

Can anyone enlighten me as to what the BBC were saying that wasn’t acceptable to the MoD??
Full minutes can be read here 👇👇

This plan was sent to Downing Street by the MoD on 16 April.

Hermes and Invincible due to leave Ascension tomorrow (18 April)

Antrim, Plymouth, and Endurance would arrive within the exclusion zone on 20th April (within a few days).

All with the caveat that weather could change
Also on 16 April, the FCO sent out an important briefing note.

Concerns raised regarding airline flights to Argentina and banking.

Conclusion reached to maintain the current position regarding sanctions.
Thatcher and Reagan telephone call.

Crucially, Reagan did not think the UK should have to compromise "any further"

This was the beginning of the end for diplomatic efforts to avoid conflict.

Opinion time: I suspect by now both Reagan and Thatcher knew Argentina wouldn’t budge.
BIG MOMENT: on the evening of 17 Apr Thatcher held an "informal meeting" with some of her war cabinet

Agreed that Royal Navy submarines would be authorised to attack "any Argentine naval warships" inside the exclusion zone

15 days later, HMS Conqueror sank the General Belgrano
MoD daily meeting: reports that the Argentine navy had laid mines in the entrance to Port William.

Next week, I’ll do an explanation of all the landing sites that were being considered, and the strengths and weaknesses of each on.
In a nutshell though, Thatcher supposedly favoured the 'quick kill'. Land close to Stanley and attack fast.

Indeed one of the planning team onboard HMS Fearless reportedly said "I think we should sail into Stanley harbour and just go whap!"

Mines would scupper that plan.
For context, these are some photos of Stanley Harbour and Port William that I took back in 2014 👇👇
Few other points from the MoD meeting:

-Chief of the Naval Staff would privately speak to some retired RN officers and politely ask them to stop speaking to the press - they were giving away information that Argentina could use......
-There was discussion regarding delaying landing operations in the Falklands in case there were any political speed bumps to the go ahead. Concerns regarding sufficient fuel etc.
Also today: legal discussion on whether a public announcement is needed before British Forces engage Argentine Forces.

In simple terms: legally an announcement is not required, but one might be useful nonetheless
Also also today: John Nott wrote to Thatcher saying that if diplomacy was to fail "we must move fast" regarding military action.

It would looking more and more likely that Haig’s negotiations would fail, and the UK was contingency planning as a result.
Few more things:

A US intelligence briefing from 17th April. The crucial part - "The Soviet Union is reported to be ready to offer Argentina ships, aircraft and land based missiles".
Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser writes to Reagan saying that if negotiations failed, "it would amount to a serious blow to western values, and to the western alliance itself, if the United States did not unequivocally support Britain."
The Soviet Foreign Ministry make a statement: "We consider impermissible the attempts by the United Kingdom to re-establish colonial status and we openly oppose such attempts.

We qualify them as contradictory to the decision of the UN General Assembly on decolonization".
HMS Splendid arrives inside the exclusion zone.

With the relevant rules of engagement now confirmed, she’s permitted to engage Argentine vessels.
Falklands #OTD 18 April 1982

Some late departures prepare to leave the UK: HMS Argonaut and HMS Ardent. They’d both sail on the 19th.

They served as escorts for other late departures including RFA Plumleaf and RFA Regent.
Diplomacy continues through Haig.

He calls U.S. National Security Advisor William Clark on a non-secure line to tell him the UK were about to take action, knowing Argentine intelligence would be listening in.

He later sends this message to clarify that this was tactical 👇
Haig also sends a message to UK Foreign Secretary: “I believe we now have some movement toward a workable solution”.

This is reflective of what Haig defined as workable compared to what the UK defined as workable. The Argentine proposals remained unacceptable.
Phone call with Thatcher & Pym later that day.

The important bit: Thatcher - “we’re pretty well near the end of the line that we can go to” (regarding negotiations).

[Haig was] “discussing things that went way beyond what we could agree”

Diplomacy was now coming to an end.
Last thing today: meeting at Downing Street regarding whether Royal Air Force Vulcans should begin bombing practice in Scotland.

The concern being that training will fuel speculation about potential targets in the South Atlantic/Argentina.
Falklands #OTD 19 April 1982

Foreign Secretary Francis Pym makes a statement in the Commons: "We are stepping up the military....pressure on Argentina. Our naval task force is steadily approaching the area of the Falklands, and we are continuing to strengthen its ability"

"The 22 marines who were captured in South Georgia and the remaining seven from the Falklands, as well as 13 British scientists evacuated from South Georgia, have arrived safely in Montevideo. I am glad to say that they are now on their way back to Britain"
Full transcript from Hansard can be read here 👇👇

Some late departures for the Task Force on April 19.

HMS Argonaut and HMS Ardent leave Devonport, while RFA Plumleaf and RFA Regent leave Portland.
April 19th also saw the departure from Southampton of the fresh water tanker "Fort Toronto"
Alexander Haig sends a message to Francis Pym saying he is "close to what is probably the maximum obtainable from the Argentines".

In a separate message today, he also concedes "I can do no better at this point" with regard to negotiations.
Pym responds to Haig: "The Prime Minister and I fully share your disappointment"

Falklands #OTD 20 April 1982

Before doing today's events, I'm going to do a quick explanation of what the voyage south was like.

It felt like limbo. Ships cruised at well below top speed, and on occasions even sailed in a circles to waist time for diplomatic purposes.
"We are strong. We are tough. Because we eat our wheaty-puffs" - the Royal Marines exercise chant aboard Canberra
The deck and hanger seen on HMS Hermes - she was carrying more aircraft than she had ever carried before
So many had entered the London Marathon and would now not be competing. As a result, some ships organised a substitute marathon around their flight decks.
Once ships entered the Total Exclusion Zone, communication was via Aldis lamp, with radio silence enforced.
On a more personal note, below is a picture of my grandfather's cabin on board Canberra 👇
Meanwhile the Royal Marines used flight decks for weapons training, and the Harriers monitored the surrounding airspace.

Some of the weapons pictured below include 1000lb General Purpose bombs, Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and Sea Skua air-to-surface missiles.
There was also the chance to sunbathe - morale was a concern.

Organised chaos?
Few things I missed yesterday

MoD daily meeting: window for the landing operations was now between the 7th and 21st May. Henry Leach, the First Sea Lord, said 16th May was the "optimum date".
Concerns were raised about the wear and tear of the task force. Leach warned that the carriers "could not be relied upon" beyond August.

This chart/timeline was attached to the back of the meeting's minutes 👇
Now back to #OTD

Haig messages the UK and requests that that Pym and Thatcher travel to Washington, saying "we need a face-to-face discussion".

He also says:

"It is imperative that you maintain military pressure"
Pym responds saying he will travel to Washington on the 22nd April.

Thatcher would stay in the UK.
A full cabinet meeting is held, with various ministers arguing that "emergency legislation" may need to be passed prior to military action.

Thatcher concludes that legislation wouldn't be necessary, but a "draft bill" should be ready.
Full MoD Chiefs of Staff meeting today. Two intelligence points:

1) How much info regarding the task force are the Soviets giving to Argentina
2) Can the Argentines fly helicopters directly from mainland Argentina to the Falklands
Discussion regarding Operation Sutton, the name for the British landing on the Falklands.

The need to bomb Port Stanley airfield was crucial - only Vulcans could do that.
Rather remarkably, plans so far had only been focused on getting troops onto the islands.

The army were "disappointed" that nothing had been planned beyond that.

Possibility of landing SAS via Hercules to attack Port Stanley airfield was raised, but this was ultimately rejected
Falklands #OTD 21st April 1982

Francis Pym speaks in the Commons: "Messages from the Falklands suggest that the islanders are still able to leave if they wish: a further party of 30 are on their way to Montevideo. Most of those leaving appear not to be permanent residents".
Argentina issues 'Decree 757', renaming Port Stanley to 'Puerto Argentino'
Pym sends a message to the UK Embassy in Washington: "A firm decision has been taken to recover South Georgia shortly".

(I'll do an Operation Paraquet (South Georgia recapture) explanation tomorrow)
This was a concern for Haig. He suggests the UK must warn Argentina before attacking South Georgia.

In other words, alert the enemy before your intended surprise attack.....that really sounds like a good plan 🤨
BIG moment today: the UK identifies the location of the Argentine fleet, and orders a submarine to "proceed in the direction of the area".

This would allow the submarine to carry out an attack, if ministers decided on it.
Confirmation that yesterday (20 April), the RAF began Victor reconnaissance flights. This was "highly successful"
Also today: reports that firms in West Germany have offered to sell Argentina torpedoes and machinery 👇
Falklands #OTD 22 April 1982

Following political disagreements, the Royal Navy submarine that had yesterday been ordered to pursue the Argentine fleet is now ordered not to do so.

Political indecision 👇
The War Cabinet meets and among other things, agrees to discuss future plans at Chequers - the country residence of the Prime Minister - on the 25th of April.

They also agree that Vulcan bombers should not be sent to Ascension until diplomacy has run its course.
There was also a full cabinet meeting today:

-No Argentine ships have yet entered the exclusion zone
-To enforce a blockade of the Islands, Port Stanley airfield would need to be unusable
-Confident of air superiority
-Difficult politically to turn back after leaving Ascension
MoD meeting today: some concern regarding Soviet satellites sourcing intelligence for Argentina.

Also reference to an Argentine Boeing 707 carrying out surveillance. Will explain that shortly - definitely worthy of separate mention!
Regarding the issue of Vulcans operating from Ascension: the below message explains it well.

Essentially, the US/UK agreement over Ascension only allowed for the "provision of logistic support".

Vulcans obviously weren't logistic support....
The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires send an important report

One of their sources said "If there is a major incident in which large numbers of Argentines are killed (“A ship is sunk and 400 die”) the public will be uncontrollable. Among their targets will be the U.S. Embassy"
NOTE: I'm not forgetting that Operation Paraquet began today. I'm saving recounting that for tomorrow, when I have a train journey during which I can do it justice!

In the meantime, here's a great photo of Royal Marines after the liberation of South Georgia.
Also today: 1,500 miles from Ascension, HMS Hermes detected a high altitude unidentified contact.

A Sea Harrier was sent up and found an Argentine Boeing 707 at 35,000ft.

The anti-air warfare readiness of the fleet was immediately raised amid concerns of an air strike.
The Carrier Group commander Rear-Admiral Sandy Woodward has since said “this sort of thing could not be allowed to continue”.

He asked Northwood to “leak...that we now had instructions to shoot” down reconnaissance aircraft.
To his surprise he actually got permission to shoot down aircraft if they returned.

Flt Lt David Morgan, the Harrier pilot: there was “a definite change in attitude. The enemy was no longer a vague intangible concept. We had seen him and had been in a position to shoot him down”
That’s the end of today.

I’ve found a new book, and so I’m going to share a bunch of random facts in no particular order. Timeline will resume tomorrow.

HMS Conqueror was undergoing maintainence when she was ordered to leave on 31 March.
Much of the crew had to be recalled from leave.

She had 2 types of torpedoe: Mk 8 diesel anti-ship, and Mk 24 Tigerfish for both anti-submarine & anti-ship.

Just before she sailed, 9 SBS were embarked. Their equipment weighed 13 tonnes so had to be stored with the torpedoes.
More fun facts: the UK had “virtually no intelligence sources on the ground in Argentina” - Cdr Robert Denton Green, Air Commander Northwood.

American satellites couldn’t distinguish between vessels: merchant, naval, or fishing, so Northwood always had to assume the worst case.
Despite these difficulties, GCHQ was able to break Argentine codes fairly easily.

It usually took around 12 hours to decipher and then translate the messages.

“We had a reasonable picture of what was going on inside the minds of the main Argentine commanders” -Denton Green.
Pictured: The BBC team on Hermes

Standing on a bar table on Hermes “I am Brian Hanrahan from the BBC. We will be coming with you on Hermes. I know you’re not very keen on the press, but I hope you will come to trust us. In the meantime, I would like to buy a round of drinks”
“Over the next few months I was to become close friends with the BBC team and there would never be a single occasion when they did not treat us with scrupulous fairness and honesty” - Flt Lt David Morgan, a Harriet pilot on Hermes.
The April 19 cover page of @Newsweek 👇

No description needed
Time for a South Georgia explanation:

Like the Falkland Islands, South Georgia is a British Overseas Territory. It’s 170 kilometers long and by far the largest island in the territory (South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands).

The current population is less than 50 people.
The main settlement is Grytviken, a former whaling station.

The Argentine invasion began on 19 March, when a group of civilian scrap metal workers arrived at Leith Harbour on board the transport ship ARA Bahía Buen Suceso and raised the Argentine flag.
Rex Hunt, the governor of the Falklands at the time, sent HMS Endurance and 22 Royal Marines to South Georgia.

On 31st March, Endurance landed her heavily-armed Royal Marine detachment at King Edward Point.
Lieutenant Keith Mills was the most senior officer of the Royal Marines detachment.

On the 2nd April he received an order from London to only show a passive resistance to the Argentine invasion.

He responded: “Sod that, I’ll make their eyes water”.....
The Argentine navy ordered the ARA Guerrico towards South Georgia, equipped with two helicopters and carrying 40 marines.

Meanwhile the Royal Marines fortified their location at King Edward Point with barbed wire and landmines.
April 3rd, 7.30am local time: the Argentine commander demands the Royal Marines surrender

The British commander declines

An Argentine Puma is then shot down, killing all those inside

“That kicked off the battle and we were 16-nil up from the start” - Section Commander Thomson
ARA Guerrico then gives supporting fire, but her 100mm gun jams after the first shot.

One Argentine on the Guerrico is killed by small arms fire from Royal Marines on the shore. The marines then fire directly at the ship, both with small arms and an anti-tank missile....
The ship retreated out to sea and repaired her main gun, despite having been hit over 200 times by marines on the shore.

Once she was out of range, Guerrico reopened fire, and the Royal Marines surrendered at 12:48.

The retaking of South Georgia will be covered tomorrow...
Falklands #OTD 23 April 1982

John Nott, the Defence Secretary confirms Vulcans can be deployed to Ascension: "The US Administration has today confirmed that there would be no objection to deploying Vulcan aircraft to Ascension".
In response to an Argentine Boeing 707 overflying the fleet yesterday, the UK sends to following message: "All Argentine aircraft including civil aircraft engaging in surveillance....will be regarded as hostile and are liable to be dealt with accordingly"
Explanation of 707 situation below.

Also below - HMS Conqueror is no longer needed at South Georgia and so is being sent back towards the Carrier Group. She's given new rules of engagement: assume any submarine that isn't nuclear is Argentine and can therefore be engaged.
Also published today: further details on submarine rules of engagement within the exclusion zone.

It should be noted that over the past week or so, rules of engagement have got progressively more aggressive as politicians accept military advice.
Draft of the Total Exclusion Zone announcement, likely to be released on April 26 when the first ships arrive in the area.
Intelligence briefing from today.

There was a lot of concern about the Argentine 707s, and the need to deter their flights was recognised.
MoD meeting: things were moving forward regarding Vulcan raids.

Interestingly, the RAF were confident that after the first one raid, "additional raids every alternate night could be sustained for a reasonable period".
Lot's of people confused by this. Ascension is/was British but there were various complicating treaties.

Essentially, the US/UK agreement over Ascension only allowed for the "provision of logistic support".

Vulcans obviously weren't logistic support....

Basically, the legalities were far more complex than: 'British island, British base, we can do what we want'.

Indeed there's still some U.S. presence there - I remember seeing it when I visited.

I believe it's part of the Five Eyes ECHELON program.

Falklands #OTD 24 April 1982

Unfortunately I missed yesterday, so temporarily OTD stands for 'On That Day', not 'On This Day'.....

The Argentine Government ask NASA for satellite images of South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. NASA cite "technical problems" and decline.

Meanwhile NASA were passing imagery to the Royal Navy.
Shuttle diplomacy continues to get nowhere, as Haig writes the below letter to Thatcher.

"We are at the point now where we have only the finest tolerance between a peaceful solution and tragedy"
Thatcher since wrote in her book about the letter: "I told Francis [Pym] that the terms were totally unacceptable. They would rob the Falklanders of their freedom and Britain of her honour and respect. Francis disagreed. He thought that we should accept what was in the document"
"Despite my clear views expressed that morning, Francis put in a paper to the War Cabinet recommending acceptance of these terms. Shortly before 6 o'clock that evening Ministers and civil servants began assembling outside the Cabinet Room. Francis was there, busy lobbying"
"It was John Nott who found the procedural way forward. He proposed that we should make no comment on the draft but ask Mr Haig to put it to the Argentinians first"
"If they accepted it we should undoubtedly be in difficulties: but we could then put the matter to Parliament in the light of their acceptance. If the Argentinians rejected it - and we thought that they would, we could then urge the Americans to come down firmly on our side....
....as Al Haig had indicated they would as long as we did not break off the negotiations. This is what was decided.

And so a great crisis passed. I could not have stayed as Prime Minister had the War Cabinet accepted Francis Pym's proposals. I would have resigned"
Letter from yesterday to No. 10.

Concern that the UK's warning that Argentine surveillance aircraft will be shot down might be perceived as "aggressive" on the international stage.

Diplomacy is weird sometimes...
MoD daily meeting: Atlantic Conveyor due to sail with 5 Chinook and 6 Wessex helicopters.

Harriers would be embarked at Ascension.
Quick aside - found this useful comparison between HMS Hermes, Invincible, and Atlantic Conveyor.

Although Atlantic Conveyor wasn't exactly conventional, she would nonetheless have proved useful had she not been sunk.
Also on the 24th: the first British casualty of the war, Petty Officer Kevin Casey (26).

A Sea King HC4 crashed in poor weather while moving stores between ships (VERTREP - vertical replenishment).

The pilot was able to escape when the aircraft hit the water, but Casey drowned.
Okay now up to date.

#OTD 25 April 1982

Less than seven days from combat, the carriers rendezvous with the Advanced Group ships: HMS Coventry, Glasgow, Sheffield, and Arrow
The full battle for South Georgia will be covered shortly, but in a nutshell: a message was sent to London

"Be pleased to inform Her Majesty that the White Ensign flies alongside the Union Jack in South Georgia. God Save the Queen"
Earlier that evening, statements were released to the press 👇
Across Whitehall, most people had now accepted that diplomacy had failed, and anticipated U.S. assistance as a result. A paper was written analysing key areas where help was needed.
The U.S. was already providing "substantial intelligence support". But if negotiations failed, they could provide help using their U-2 and SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft.
Air to air refuelling support was a possibility.

At this point, sending 5 Brigade as reinforcements on QE2 was a possibility, but the MoD could avoid requisitioning the QE2 if the US provided shipping.
The MoD prepared a 'shopping list' of things they'd like the U.S. to supply.

Some of it they got. Some they didn't.
The shuttle diplomacy of the past few weeks may give the impression that the U.S. was neutral.

They were far from it, but they had to be temporally in order to act as a mediator for negotiations. Once diplomacy failed, Thatcher had Reagan's full support.
Falklands #OTD 26 April 1982

Australia's PM Malcolm Fraser makes a statement: "The British Government's decision to use force to re-establish its administration in South Georgia is a natural consequence on the invasion of the Falklands and South Georgia by Argentine forces"
Thatcher speaks in the House of Commons:

"As the British task force approaches closer to the Falklands, the urgent need is to speed up the negotiations, not to slow them down. We remain in close touch with Mr. Haig"

Full transcript: hansard.parliament.uk/commons/1982-0…
Thatcher sends a message to Admiral Fieldhouse, congratulating him on the recapture of South Georgia.

"A job well done in the best traditions of our Armed Forces"
MoD daily meeting:

-Argentine soldiers captured on South Georgia should be termed 'prisoners', not 'prisoners of war'
-Ships to remain on station in South Georgia (so as to avoid counter-invasion).
One thing I missed from yesterday - Thatcher statement to the press on the retaking of South Georgia
Falklands #OTD 27 April 1982

14 islanders are detained by the Argentine military at Fox Bay, West Falkland.

They'd been broadcasting intelligence about Argentine movements on civilian radios in the hope that the Royal Navy would hear. They did....
With Haig having failed at diplomacy, President Reagan steps in and calls Galtieri.

He needed to ensure that all diplomatic avenues had been tried before committing to backing the British.
This works: the Argentines agree to see Haig one more time.

Haig sends a message to Pym: he believes the retaking of South Georgia may help negotiations.

The Argentines had been surprised by the effectiveness of the British attack, particularly given it led to no casualties.
FCO sitrep: on 26 April, a Royal Marine shot dead an Argentine sailor who was being held prisoner. It was one of the most controversial moments of the war, but the marine was later cleared of wrongdoing.
Also in the FCO update: Italy "in two minds" about the retaking of South Georgia.

That's a bit of a theme. Throughout the war, Italy never really condemned the UK, but nor did they support the UK.
Meeting of the War Cabinet.

Vulcans could be deployed on 28 April (tomorrow), unless ministers pulled the plug that morning. They'd meet again at 09:00 tomorrow.
MoD daily meeting

-FCO to warn the Israeli Ambassador that Israel must stop supplying Argentine with arms
-Contrary to what was agreed yesterday (Argentine prisoners to be termed 'prisoners', not PoWs), FCO now said prisoners must be classified under the Geneva Convention (PoWs)
-Discussion regarding threat to Ascension Island. Exclusion zone could also be declared around Ascension if other nations took an interest.....
-Argentine aircraft carrier: "Essential to neutralise that threat from the outset"
Lord Bramall said he did "not wish to be associated with a military decision to sink the carrier....before she had committed a hostile act".

Bramall went on to become Chief of the Defence Staff in October 1982, having been at D-Day in June 1944.
Missed yesterday: HMS Onyx left Gosport and headed south.

She was the only non-nuclear Royal Navy submarine to take part in the Falklands War.

She later took these photos of Weddell Island through her periscope. They were needed to assess the suitability for an SBS landing.
Falklands #OTD 28 April 1982

The UK make a statement: "from the time indicated, Port Stanley airport will be closed; any aircraft on the ground in the Falkland Islands will be regarded as present in support of the illegal occupation and accordingly is liable to attack"
A final Resolution is adopted by the OAS (Organisation of American States), calling for a peace "taking into account the rights of the sovereignty of the Republic of Argentina over the Malvinas Islands"

(Stock OAS photo)
Leaving the meeting, Argentine Foreign Minister Costa Mendez tells the waiting press that “The first phase – OAS endorsement of Argentinian sovereignty – is complete.”
The Argentine peace proposals are circulated to the cabinet. I won't go through it all (it's very long), but it wasn't acceptable.

Thatcher would be signing away the islands by agreeing to the terms.

They can be read here: …f00f32175760e96e7.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/442F855EF10A4B…
Despite how unacceptable the proposals were, it would (supposedly) be frowned upon internationally if Argentina accepted them but the British didn't.

Far better for the British if Argentina also rejected them.

Argentine army and air force were in favour (keen to avoid war?)👇
Later that day: UK Embassy in Washington sends message to FCO

Argentina were dragging their feet. Keen to bring in "the others" (presumed to mean Russia)

Concern that "the Argentines were stringing us along"

Argentina "had no doubt" 🇺🇸 would side with 🇬🇧 if negotiations failed
Meanwhile, the First Sea Lord tells the war cabinet that bad weather was slowing the task force.

The timetable for amphibious landings was now a few days behind schedule, and Whitehall still hadn't agreed where they would land (it was a very interesting debate - will cover soon)
The Foreign Secretary briefed the cabinet on the peace deal:

-"withdrawal pro­visions were unbalanced"
-"excessive Argentine representation on the local Councils and might allow massive Argentine immigration"
-Islanders "would not be allowed to retain their present status"
MoD daily meeting:

-Met Office had stopped publishing detailed forecasts for the South Atlantic, instead only passing them to the MoD
-Press to be told about the dead Argentine prisoner
-Argentine aircraft carrier: give 48 hours notice to return to port. If not, engage?
Falklands #OTD 29 April 1982

Three Vulcan bombers leave RAF Waddington and head for Ascension Island. The first attack on Stanley airfield would begin tomorrow (30 April).
Thatcher updates the House of Commons:

"On 12 April we declared a maritime exclusion zone. It has been enforced against Argentine warships and naval auxiliaries. It has been completely successful, and the Argentine forces on the Falkland Islands have been isolated by sea."
"The latest of our military measures is the imposition of the total exclusion zone round the Falkland Islands of which we gave 48 hours notice yesterday. A complete blockade will be placed on all traffic supporting the occupation forces of Argentina"
Her full statement and the debate can be read here: hansard.parliament.uk/commons/1982-0…
Thatcher writes to President Reagan.

The letter represents the formal end of diplomacy. "One stage in the effort to settle this crisis has now ended".

She makes clear that she would feel "deeply let down" if the "US were not now to give us its full support".
Pym sends a similar message to Haig: "It is therefore our very firm expectation...that we shall henceforth be able to rely on the active support of the United States".
The UK Embassy in Washington contacts London.

Whilst the US "would not be in a state of war with Argentine...the President was fully aboard"
Indeed later that day, Reagan responds.

"There can be no doubt about our full support for you"

The US would announce "a new posture towards Buenos Aires"

Read this letter in full: it demonstrates the special relationship, and it's a case study in how diplomacy should be done.
MoD daily meeting

-Argentina negotiating with a South African company regarding purchase of Exocet missiles
-Paper on full options for retaking the islands needs to be written and considered
-More discussion on force numbers. 5 Brigade needed?
-Regarding Ascension, "the possibility of an attack had to be recognised". Early warning radar needed?
-South Georgia airstrip: extend the runway for Hercules operations?
Falklands #OTD 30 April 1982

The Argentine Junta in Buenos Aires impose nationwide censorship for reasons of "national security".
Investigative journalist Jack Anderson is interviewed on Good Morning America. He alleges that the British Task Force is armed with tactical nuclear weapons and that the Northwood has permission to use them....
In April 2010 the MoD admitted "We did have some nuclear depth chargers. We did have some being carried with the Task Force and they were being transferred from ship to ship for safety reasons and to meet our obligations under the Treaty of Tlatelolco".
US Deputy National Security Advisor Bud McFarlane informs President Reagan that the Soviet Union had repositioned a satellite in order to monitor the British task force.
President Reagan formally ends the diplomatic effort.

Haig sends a message to Pym, outlining the steps the US will take, including sanctions on Argentina and "material support" for the UK.
MoD daily meeting
-Small arms being sent to in case of Argentine attack. Early warning radar at 48 hours notice to move to the island.
-5 Brigade at 7 days notice to move. Decision to deploy needs to be made by 2nd May
Argentine reconnaissance flights were continuing over the task force.

A Boeing 707 was intercepted by a Harrier earlier today.

Technically, the rules of engagement existed to allow for it to be engaged.
Also discussion about bringing HMS Illustrious into service early. Construction work on her had been sped up since the war began.

Useful if either Hermes or Invincible was sunk.
BUT the big news of today.

The first Black Buck raid took off from Ascension Island.
Denying Argentina use of Stanley airfield was seen as vital.

In its current state, it could only be used by Pucara, but there was concern that it could be lengthened for use by Argentine fast jets.
The first raid would require:

-2 Vulcans (one as back-up)
-1 Nimrod
-13 Victors

19 separate in-flight refuellings, 1.5 million pounds of aviation fuel, and crucially, 21 1,000lb general purpose bombs.
The aircraft began taking off from Wideawake at 23:50 at one-minute intervals.

The Vulcans were technically well over their maximum takeoff weight of 204,000 pounds (93,000 kg).

Below is the refuelling plan.
Good visualisation here 👇👇

Falklands #OTD 1 May 1982

The first Black Buck bombing raid is completed. Coverage from the BBC here 👇👇
After the Vulcan raid, the Harriers had their turn from HMS Hermes, carrying out a follow up attack on Stanley airfield and Goose Green.

Not a huge amount is known about this particular raid, but we do have this great line from BBC correspondent Brian Hanrahan 👇👇
Finally, HMS Glamorgan, HMS Arrow and HMS Alacrity attack Stanley airfield.

They’re approached by Argentine Mirage jets. Alacrity was narrowly missed by a 1,000 lb bomb, while Glamorgan was hit by canon fire.
The Spanish government issue a statement: "the British air attack on Port Stanley constitutes a serious escalation in the conflict"
President Galtieri addresses the nation "today, the arms of the Argentine Nation have answered a new act of aggression perpetrated by the United Kingdom in the South Atlantic. They have and are still attacking us, but, we have and will continue to repel them".

Define "repel"....
Thatcher receives the following update.

I suspect she was rather pleased....
MoD daily meeting

-Total strength of Argentine forces on the Falklands understood to be "about 10,000 men"
-Weirdly, MoD agrees "the involvement of Vulcan aircraft should not be admitted".

Can anyone shed some light on the reasoning behind that?
The FCO were not invited to the latter half of this particular meeting, and part of their update is redacted....
Francis Pym sends a message to Thatcher - more discussion about sinking the Argentine aircraft carrier.

It seems that the Attorney General was fairly confident about the legality of an attack.
ITN coverage from today.

(Really hard to find this sort of thing - if anyone has any tips on finding archive news footage please let me know!!!!)
Part 2 👇👇
Falklands #OTD 2 May 1982

Francis Pym makes a statement in Washington: "The British people are very grateful to the United States for coming down in their support. We never had any doubt that they would come down in support of the victim and against the aggressor".
Spain's Prime Minister also makes a statement, saying that while Spain rejects the use of force, Britain had negotiated "little and badly".

He reportedly added that Spain has a clearer claim to Gibraltar than Argentina has to the Falkland Islands
FCO update from today:
-Raids on Stanley airfield "were successful"
-Argentine Mirage and Canberra aircraft shot down
-Argentines may have shot down one of their own aircraft
-Some European fishing vessels still in the exclusion zone - need to leave ASAP
MoD press statements on the raid.

"We can categorically deny reports that a British ship has been seriously damaged"

Argentine state media talking rubbish (again...)
International reaction to the raid - nothing particularly surprising.

Brazil, Cuba, Spain, USSR, Mexico, Venezuela, and China all condemn the attack.
The war cabinet meet at Chequers and agree the rules of engagement that would later that day allow HMS Conqueror to attack the Belgrano 👇👇👇
Meanwhile, Haig and Pym meet privately in Washington.

Crucial line here: Reagan believes that the UK was "doing the work in the free world"
MoD daily meeting:
-Russian and Polish fishing vessels remain the exclusion zone
-More concern about BBC coverage
-Discussion regarding landing plans

Not a particularly exciting meeting - oh well 🤷‍♂️
One key point - the Argentine Boeing 707s had stopped flying reconnaissance flights over the task force.

Likely because the MoD had made very clear that the Harriers were authorised to engage with them.
The sinking of the General Belgrano

Sandy Woodward, commander of British Naval Task Force, was determined that the Belgrano needed to be "immobilised".

The concern was that even outside the exclusion zone, the Belgrano's Exocets and guns were still a significant threat.
Based on the new rules of engagement, Woodward told his commanders that they now had a "free hand to sink, burn, destroy, or even capture anything Argentinian that moves".
According to Rear-Admiral Anthony John Whetstone (Northwood), "Thatcher never said "Sink the Belgrano". It was more prosaic than that. She said "You have freedom of action to engage enemy warships"".

Still, it's a good scene in 'The Iron Lady'
Continued: "When this freedom of action signal was received by the captain of the Conqueror, it just so happened that the Belgrano was in his sights. It made no difference that she was steering towards Argentina at the time. She'd been steering all over the place that day".
HMS Conqueror spent more than two hours getting in to an attacking position off the port side of the cruiser. It was still daylight, but the visibility was variable.

Twice they were in reasonable firing positions but then Belgrano zig zagged in a different direction.
Eventually, HMS Conqueror fired three Mark 8 torpedoes at a range of 1,400 yards.

Two of three hit the Belgrano, destroying the engine room and fire fighting systems.

A "big cheer" went up in the main control room and Conqueror immediately dived deep and headed away at speed.
275 men were killed in the first few minutes by the ensuring fire and smoke. The Belgrano was originally of the U.S. Navy as the USS Phoenix, launched in 1938.

She lacked complex fire suppression systems.
Although the ship should have been "at action stations", she was sailing with the water-tight doors open.

At 19:24Z, 27 minutes after the attack, Captain Bonzo ordered the crew to abandon ship. Inflatable life rafts were deployed, and the evacuation began.
This image shows two figures still on the ship after the evacuation. One is supposedly the captain Hector Elias Bonzo. He was the last to leave the ship.
Eventually, the Belgrano goes under.

Instead of pulling life rafts under too, it produced swell which pushed the life rafts away.

They couldn't be rescued for over 24 hours. Many of the 368 who were killed died from exposure well after the sinking.
Thatcher has since remarked: "That ship was a danger to our boys. That's why that ship was sunk. I know it was right to sink her, and I would do the same again".
Falklands #OTD 3 May 1982

Defence Secretary John Nott is asked whether Britain is at war with Argentina.

He replies "Certainly we have hostilities with the Argentines. It is not in legal terms, however, a war, although the ordinary layman would class it as a war".
In response to the Belgrano's sinking, Buenos Aires recalls its surface fleet to shallower water.
Argentine media reports on government released propaganda:
-HMS Exeter has been sunk
-11 Harriers and one helicopter have been shot down

MoD refutes the claims for obvious reasons.
Confirmation that the Belgrano had been sunk is included in the FCO's daily sitrep 👇👇
The Irish Government issue a statement, saying they are "seriously concerned at the escalating military situation."
VERY important development: discussion begins regarding whether the U.S. could loan the UK an aircraft carrier if either Hermes or Invincible was sunk
Falklands #OTD 4 May 1982

First, a few things I've missed. Task force departures had been continuing:

Yesterday, the nuclear powered submarine HMS Valiant left Faslane. Instead of heading straight for the Falklands, she was tasked with surveilling the Argentine coast.
Valiant would arrive off Argentina on 17 May. She spent 101 days on patrol and transmitted over 300 early air-warning alerts during that period.
Also yesterday, HMS Ambuscade left Gibraltar.

A great account of her time during the conflict can be read here: ambuscade.org.uk/AmbFalk1-1.htm
Okay, back to today - 4 May 1982

Francis Pym makes a statement in the House of Commons: "I wish to pay tribute to the efficiency and courage of our forces. Our relief that British lives have not been lost is inevitably tempered by our deep regret at Argentine casualties"
CONTINUED: "These military achievements have been in support of our overall strategy; they have not been, and will not become, a substitute for it".

There was a lot of backlash from Labour regarding the sinking of the Belgrano. It's on Hansard here: hansard.parliament.uk/commons/1982-0…
Meanwhile, there are accusations from the Argentine press that the Royal Navy had American assistance to sink the Belgrano.
Little bit of analysis: there may well have been indirect help - intelligence etc

But sinking the Belgrano was't that complicated. Conqueror had been tailing her for days. Then the rules of engagement changed, and she promptly attacked. It wasn't a particularly complex operation
Meanwhile the US State Department circulates this document internally. Most of it is redacted, but the map shows the last reported position of the Belgrano before she was sunk.
The morning's FCO sitrep: Pym had a "singularly unproductive meeting" with the President of the UN Security Council

Side note: I haven't really been covering the UN. It's not that they weren't involved, but that they did very little of any significance (bar pass resolution 502)
Meanwhile, the UK Embassy in Tel Aviv sends a message to London: Israeli media reporting on arms sales with Argentina, despite the Israeli government's previous denial that this was the case.
Then Dublin decide to get involved.....

Calling for a peace settlement and the suspension of economic sanctions on Argentina.

They fail to condemn the Argentina aggression.
Meanwhile Belgium are supportive of the British actions.
Germany, not so much...
Later that day, Ireland say they're keen to withdraw their economic sanctions against Argentina in response to the sinking of the Belgrano.

I suspect Thatcher was utterly furious.
In response to the international reaction regarding the Belgrano, the FCO issues advice to all British embassies to counter the the criticism.

Thatcher writes to Reagan, thanking him for the US support.

"This will be of the greatest value to us"

"Let me thank you once again for your splendid support. It will make all the different".

Even in their letters, you can tell they were close.
MoD daily meeting:
-Concern about strength of Venezuelan Armed Forces - they may help Argentina
-RAF regiment and early warning radar to be sent to Ascension Island to defend the airfield.
The 2nd Black Buck mission takes place.

It was a near identical mission to the 1st raid, but the final approach to target was different in order to evade the now alert Argentine air defences.

As a result, all the bombs missed Port Stanley's runway.
Also today, HMS Sheffield was hit by an Exocet missile. 20 men are killed.
The British feared an attack was imminent after the sinking of the Belgrano.

The Task Force was south-east of the Falklands, with Sheffield 30 miles west of the carriers. She was acting as a radar picket (used to increase the radar detection range of a force).
At around 07:50, Sheffield was detected by the below Argentine Lockheed P-2 Neptune.
Later that morning, two Argentine Navy Super Étendards, both armed with Exocets, took off from Río Grande air base.

They were refuelled 260 miles from the Sheffield by a C-130 Hercules.
Captain Augusto Bedacarratz led the mission to sink the Sheffield. He's seen here in the cockpit, and then returning after the flight.

He was later pictured next to a kill mark of HMS Invincible on a Super Etendard.....
The conditions were unfavourable for the pilots. 1 mile visibility, cloud base at 300 feet.

The Task Force was at 'Air Threat Warning White' no enemy aircraft detected within 100 miles.

Both pilots launched their Exocets from 20 miles out. They flew parallel, but only one hit.
50% of all electrical power was lost instantly, as well as nearly all communications.

The ship was in total darkness. The fire couldn't be fought: the firemain had been fractured and there was no water pressure.

The bridge had to be evacuated shortly after because of the smoke.
HMS Yarmouth and Arrow were alongside quickly and passed over portable firefighting hoses.

The main concern was the fire spreading to the Sea Dart magazine and causing an explosion, so they established a "damage control centre" on the emergency conning position.
NOTE: all quotes on this are from Captain Sam Salt - HMS Sheffield.

"The sailors did everything I expected of them and more. They reacted totally calmly and sensibly. They used their common sense and initiative".
In the absence of firefighting equipment equipment, the sailors lowered buckets into the water, filled them up, and used that to fight the fire.

Salt has since said it was "something I'll never forget. A pathetic attempt but marvellous spirit".
The decision to abandon ship "was awful", but the right call.

Engines gone, ops room irrecoverable, fire close to Sea Dart and 4.5-inch gun magazines.

The fire was tying up HMS Arrow and Yarmouth who should have been providing radar cover to the Task Force, plus some Sea Kings.
While the casualties were flown to HMS Hermes, the rest of the crew stood on the foredeck and sang 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'.
While most of the crew were transferred to HMS Arrow and Yarmouth, Salt flew to HMS Hermes.

He reported to Rear Admiral Sandy Woodward. Salt since said: "What he actually said to me - 'Sounds as though you've been pretty careless Sam' - didn't help my rock bottom morale".
Salt defended the words, saying it was just a "knee-jerk reaction" but it's still an extraordinary comment.
Salt was subsequently treated awfully by the media.

A journalist came to his house one morning: "I hear from a Ministry of Defence spokesman that you're going to be court-martialled. I'd like your comment."

The journo was lying (obviously), and Salt later rose to Rear Admiral.
A few hours later, the MoD informed the media
This statement was also released by the MoD at 2100 that evening.
BBC News from the day (with John Humphrys)
Part 2 👇
Falklands #OTD 5 May 1982

Argentine operation to rescue the crew of the Belgrano was still ongoing.

MoD had instructed the Task Force “not to interfere”.
Australian PM Malcolm Fraser is asked about the Falklands situation.

“Argentina captured the Falkland Islands by unprovoked aggression”

Stresses the importance of the islanders choosing “the kind of life they want and the kind of government they want”.
As statements go, this is incredibly supportive.

I’ve trawled through countless nations’ responses to the Falklands. They all vary.

There have even been times when the support from the US (basically just Haig) hasn’t been great.

But Australia have been unfailing.
British Embassy in Tel Aviv receives a call from Israel Aircraft Industries apologising for any part they played in the sinking of the Sheffield.

Unsure of the context of this - will investigate.
After throwing its toys out of the pram in response to the sinking of the Belgrano, there is a “slight easing” of Dublin’s attitude.......
Routine reminder: this thread actually begins below. I accidentally managed to start the thread and then split it in two......oh well!

@Twitter if you'd let me combine two threads that would be wonderful 🙂

Falklands #OTD 6 May 1982

UK Embassy in Brazil contacts London.

Some concern that Brazil may offer the Argentines use of British equipment.

Brazil had already sold Argentina two Embraer Bandeirante aircraft.
Further discussion regarding the legality of sinking the Argentine aircraft carrier.

Conflicting intelligence regarding how many aircraft she has.

Attack on carrier outside exclusion zone "would be extremely difficult to justify".
Falklands #OTD 7 May 1982

Pym in the Commons: "The morale of the task force is very high indeed. It is setting about its work with the professionalism that we have come to expect from all our Services. It is, of course, aware of...what reinforcements are coming up behind"
US State Department circulates this document to all diplomats - "With the announcement of U.S. support for the U.K. April 30 and the sinking of General Belgrano May 2 Latin sentiment for Argentina has solidified"

Says the conflict has "revived latent anti-Americanism"
Thatcher meets with Rex Hunt, the Governor of the Falkland Islands.

-Affirms islanders wish to remain British
-Islanders who had been sent back to the UK could use NHS
-Discussion regarding whether Thatcher could address the islanders via broadcast
MoD daily meeting

-Confirmation that Argentina only received five Exocets. Two had already been used against Sheffield
-Concern that UK were losing the 'public relations war'.
-Plans for the SBS to sink HMS Sheffield. Better for UK to sink her than Argentines take credit
Falklands #OTD 8 May 1982

Quiet day today, but there was still the MoD daily meeting

-Soviet and Polish fishing vessels remain in the area
-Embarked correspondents frustrated with the restraints regarding how they could release reports
-Important to retain goodwill of the media
One thing I've missed: on May 6, two Harriers from HMS Invincible went missing while on patrol near the now abandoned HMS Sheffield.

It is widely believed that they collided with each other.

No trace of the pilots or their aircraft were ever found.
There was no mayday call or activation of an emergency beacon.

Both aircraft were flying in cloud, with the pilots staring at their radar looking for contacts.

It is thought they were converging on each other at such an angle that neither radar picked up the other aircraft.
Each aircraft would have been outside the "lateral coverage of the other aircraft's radar beam" (quote from a book. I'm not great on radar. If anyone can explain what that means then please do - @scottmox?!)

Lt Cdr John Eyton-Jones and Lt Alan Curtis were both lost.
Falklands #OTD 9 May 1982

UK Embassy in Washington messages London: the moderate opposition in Buenos Aires were hoping that the UK could "delivery a few more military blows" (similar to sinking of the Belgrano).

Belief being that more Argentine loses could mean the Junta falls
VERY IMPORTANT MoD daily meeting:

-Appears that 4 more Exocets have left France on their way to Argentina

-More could be delivered from France via Spain in 10 days

-Argentina also seeking Exocets from Brazil, South Africa, Libya, and Iraq

A big concern for the Task Force.
Right, time for a Falklands update. I missed yesterday as they was very little on record of note that happened.

As promised, I'm now going to lay out the landing plans and options that were being discussed, with help from @googleearth.
In essence, there were 6 potential landing sites.

1) Blanco Bay/Port William.

Very near to Port Stanley/enemy HQ, so a 'quick kill'. Thatcher's favourite. But strongly held, and a risk to civilians.

Risk of mines in the bay.
2) Uranie Bay

Stanley was only 25 miles away (good). Major General Julian Thompson liked this plan. Others feared counter attack.

Risks outweighed the close proximity to Stanley.
Argentina thought the British would use Volunteer Point (which Google only thinks is a penguin colony...)

In reality this was only briefly considered. Not sheltered/very exposed. Nice strategic foothold, but MASSIVE chokepoint between it and Stanley (I've circled with my mouse).
3) Cow Bay.

Slightly better than Volunteer Point. Far enough from Stanley to give time for a build-up. Thomson's favourite (but choke point still not great).

Navy/Marines not keen.

Short beach would mean a staggered landing.
4) Port North/Stevelly Bay

Sheltered. Nearby King George Bay also useful. Potential airfield site. Could take C-130. But they'd have to spend weeks building it before they did any actual retaking of territory.

Woodward's favourite. Thomson pointed out 180km from Stanley....
Also small issue: they'd land. Yomp east. And then have to get back on the water to cross Falklands Sound (big bit of water separating East and West Falkland).

Thomson pointed out how stupid that was.
5) Low Bay

Good beach - easy landing. But still far from Stanley. Would have to go via Goose Green (large Argentine garrison).

Woodward's 2nd choice.

But VERY flat. Thomson worried about air attack.
6) San Carlos

VERY sheltered. Good beaches for landing. Lots of high ground for Rapier batteries. Dominates both islands. 65 miles to Stanley.

Woodward's 3rd choice. Thomson's 2nd. COMPROMISE.

Bizarrely, the Argentines didn't think it would be used, so left it undefended....
It was rightly pointed out that just off the bay was a disused whaling station. Could this be useful? Yes.

It would become 'The Red and Green Life Machine', a field hospital operated by the Paras (red) and Marines (green).

Photos my own, taken from a FIGAS aircraft.
From the air 👇👇
Another view of one side of the bay from the air (I think the south west corner)
Note how calm the bay is.

The day I filmed this it was VERY windy, but the water was completely flat.

No matter the weather, the Task Force knew that landing craft would be fine.
The beach to the right of the circular thing (Blue Beach Cemetery): that's where the first (with the exception of Special Forces) British troops came ashore.

Side note: 2 Para were first ashore, won the first battle, and were first into Stanley.....

Utrinque Paratus
Another angle of said beach.
Good angle of the bay. Plenty of space. Flat calm. Protected on either side. Easy shoreline - no jagged rocks etc.
It obviously wasn't all perfect - this buoy marks the spot where where HMS Antelope sank.
Sussex Mountain looks down over the bay.

The first British troops landed and headed straight up here for a few days.
Thanks to Falkland Islands Government Air Service - the friendly pilot let us circle over the bay to get the footage, and see the cemetery where H is buried from above.
Falklands #OTD 11 May 1982

Anthony Grant MP complains to the Director-General of the BBC: "I do not expect the BBC to be biased in Britain's favour but, in the interests of 'balance' if nothing else, need they be so obviously on the side of the enemy?"
Worth adding this for context 👇👇

HMS Bristol and RFA Olna both leave Portsmouth.

Bristol stayed in the Falklands after the surrender until September when HMS Illustrious, now operational, took over from her.
HMS Active, HMS Avenger, HMS Andromeda, and HMS Minerva all leave Devonport.
HMS Penelope also leaves Devonport.

They were termed the 'Bristol group'. They’d reach the Falklands on 26 May.
Concern raised surrounding decision to sink Belgrano.

Someone informally says it was a conscious decision at a Eurogroup dinner - not true. The rules of engagement changed to allow Conqueror to engage.

It wasn’t Thatcher making an executive decision.
Agreed that Thatcher will briefed on the landing plan on the 13th.

-More intelligence needed
-Formal objective needs to be agreed (harder than it sounds)
-Air superiority?
-Attack on Argentine mainland via Vulcan/Harrier/SAS?
-Should task force limit damage to personal property
Note the line "once repossessed".

Whitehall was fairly confident (internally) the the Falklands could be retaken.
The ARA Isla de los Estados is sunk by HMS Alacrity north of Swan Island in Falklands Sound. She had been laying mines in the area.

Alacrity engaged with her 4.5-inch gun, and the Isla de los Estados blew up after several hits detonated her fuel store. 22 were killed.
Falklands #OTD 12 May 1982

Aircraft loss: Sea King from 826 NAS on HMS Hermes has an engine failure. Successfully lands in the sea. All four crew are rescued unhurt.

Hermes sends the below message to London.
The FCO sends the following document to all embassies and missions.

Argentines trying to discredit the Falkland Islands Company (still exists - runs most of the services on the Islands - the-falkland-islands-co.com).

FCO explains how to counter the propaganda.
Also today, the QE2 left Southampton carrying 3,000 troops and 650 crew.

Every inch of space was used. Carpets were covered in wood, and the ship was adapted to be able to refuel at sea - it could only carry enough fuel for a one-way trip south.
There were 650 volunteers from Cunard onboard - those who had opted to stay.

The first half of the's voyage was marked by regimental dinners and evening entertainment by the various regimental bands. Officers were assigned to eat in the luxury Queens Grill restaurant...
Helipads were fitted 👇

As with Canberra, many of the modifications continued even after she left Southampton. Construction workers were flown back to the UK once the work was done.
Exercise was of massive importance - I’ll do some separate tweets about how they stayed fit on board, but the Gurkhas in particular took fitness extremely seriously on the voyage south.
The MoD wanted to make the departure of the QE2 a symbol of national pride.

Internally, they were pleased with how the press covered it.
Excellent footage from @AP here. Definitely worth watching

Falklands #OTD 13 May 1982

The 188 Argentine soldiers captured on South Georgia are handed over to the Red Cross on Ascension Island and flown to Montevideo.
Their commander, Alfredo Astiz remains detained on Ascension. Both the French and Swedish governments wanted to interview him in connection with ongoing murder investigations.
More info on that here 👇
Politics is bizarre.

Today, Defence Secretary John Nott writes to his French counterpart, saying "I sincerely regret" that France had been criticised by British media for supplying the missiles that sank HMS Sheffield and killed 20 sailors.
FCO update on international opinion:

-US support "firm"
-Latin America hardened against UK since Belgrano sinking
-Chile, Columbia, and Mexico remain neutral
-Soviet Union supporting Argentina with propaganda (no surprises)
-Soviets denouncing UK as colonialist
-China supporting Argentina
-Japan being cautious, but have announced sanctions on Argentina
-Africa: Senegal, Sierra Leone and Gambia providing support to UK. Kenya and Nigeria also remain supportive.

No surprises in any of the above, but nonetheless interesting.
Some suggestion that the Pope may cancel his visit to the UK over the Falklands Crisis.

FCO makes Number 10 aware👇
Later that day, Reagan calls Thatcher: "He thought she might like to hear a friendly voice."
In order to ease negotiations, he asks if the UK "could hold off military action." Thatcher unsurprisingly not keen.

Reagan says image of Argentina as the aggressor is fading.

Now like David and Goliath image. Thatcher points out you can't be Goliath 8,000 miles from home...
Thatcher also outlines why it's important to the US that the Falklands are "in loyal hands".

Talks about "strategic importance".

Good phone call for Thatcher. Reagan too comes across well. #SpecialRelationship
Routine reminder for all those who are scrolling to the top of this thread and retweeting the first tweet - the thread actually starts below!! I accidentally managed to split them....apologies.

Falklands #OTD 14 May 1982

White House outlines measures of support for the UK:

"Suspension of all military exports to Argentina", removal of their certification to receive military sales, and "withholding of new Export-Import bank credits" to Argentina.

Note redacted section.
Cabinet briefing paper warns that England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland "should be ready...at short notice" to withdraw from the FIFA World Cup.

BUT "Government has no powers to ban sporting contacts (although this could change in the event of a state of war)"
MoD daily meeting:

-UK unable to assess how many Exocet missiles Argentina have
-False Chilean media reports that HMS Hermes was damaged and needed dockyard repair
-Concern raised over Argentine hospital ship Bahia Paraiso
UK had intelligence that the ARA Bahia Paraiso hospital ship was carrying weapons. @ICRC want to inspect the vessel to see if it's in breach of the Geneva Convention.

If it is found it should be stopped and searched. Buenos Aires is informed via the Swiss Embassy.
FCO notes Argentine air losses 👇👇
In light of increased Argentine surveillance activity over the task force, the MoD drafts a press release for if the UK shoots down one of the aircraft 👇👇

Focus on Argentines would have had prior warning, and that the activity posed a "consequent risk to British lives."
Further concern raised about air defence of the task force - "shortcomings" of Sea Dart and "limitations" of Sea Harrier in air combat at low levels.

Suggestion that Thatcher should bring it up with CDS, informally.
The SAS raid on Pebble Island also happened today, but that'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Have to be up early tomorrow for the @RUSI_org Sea Power Conference.
Falklands #OTD 15 May 1982

The Río Carcarañá, an Argentine cargo ship is attacked by Sea Harriers off Port Stanley.

She catches fire, but doesn’t sink until 23 May when she’s attacked again, this time by Sea Skua missiles fired from a Lynx.
Pebble Island

Unusually flat, the Argentines arrived there shortly after invading Stanley.

They stationed Pucara at the airfield. It was also an ideal location for an early warning radar watching Falklands Sound - the body of water RN ships would transit before landing.
The task force viewed Pebble as a significant part of the Argentine plan for defending the Falklands. A successful raid was therefore incredibly important.
In a nutshell: the SAS were inserted ashore from HMS Hermes, with HMS Glamorgan and HMS Broadsword in support.

Glamorgan provided support fire with her main gun, while the SAS began the raid: they destroyed the aircraft both by puncturing fuel tanks and using grenades.
Six Pucara, four T-34C and one Skyvan damaged or destroyed.
I’ve deliberately not gone in to too much detail - I’m trying to keep these tweets concise.

But seriously, if you have any interest in the Falklands, military, or just enjoy a good book, read this. It’s a first hand account of the SAS in the Falklands

Falklands #OTD 16 May 1982

ARA Bahía Buen Suceso is attacked by Sea Harriers from HMS Hermes while at Fox Bay. She was storing ammunition.

Because she was so close to civilians, the Harriers use 30mm cannons rather than bombs. The main engine room is damaged substantially.
MoD daily meeting:

-Defence Intelligence examining reports that Argentina may have more Exocets
-No clearance yet for Sea Harriers to use Precision Guided Munitions
-Concern regarding proposed BBC Panorama program
-Rapier (pictured) reinforcements should be despatched
Meanwhile, HMS Glamorgan was pottering around the coast of East Falkland, trying to deceive the enemy.

She was trying to convince the Argentines that the amphibious landing would take place on the east coast, and no where near San Carlos.

She went as far south as Choiseul Sound
Falklands #OTD 17 April 1982

FCO say it is "unlikely" that there is any uranium in the Falklands.

There was concern that Soviets could buy from Argentina any uranium found.
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser writes to President Reagan: “Support for the British position and for what Mrs Thatcher is trying to achieve is of critical importance to the western alliance."
A Sea King from HMS Invincible lands near Punta Arenas in Chile and is destroyed by its crew.

The crew gave themselves up to Chile and were returned to the UK. It's believed that they were dropping off special forces in Argentina.

Read more here: naval-history.net/F40-Sea_King_h…
MoD daily meeting:

-Lack of intelligence being sent back to London from the task force
-Confusion regarding whether Argentine aircraft at Port Stanley airfield are still serviceable after the Vulcan raids
-BBC Panorama program not as concerning as was originally thought
-Argentines probably have 2-3 Exocets still available. BUT they could have 10 within 4 weeks.
-More Rapier missiles to be despatched ASAP
More concern about French Exocet involvement. "Essential that all deliveries should be stopped altogether".

Thatcher to meet with French President Mitterrand. She's briefed on what she should ask him.

These docs are important - French were not being particularly compliant.
Based on this, Thatcher applies the pressure, and Mitterrand agrees to delay delivery "for as long as possible."

He would cite technical reasons for the delay so as not to jeopardise his relationship with Peru and Argentina.

A win for Thatcher.
Falklands #OTD 18 May 1982

Thatcher won't give the Commons advance notice of the landing: "To say that we have to consult people in the House, apart form being constitutionally wrong, would give notice to the invader of when we intended to take action. That would be stupid."
A few miles from HMS Hermes, a Sea King ditches after a radio altimeter failure. All four crew are rescued.

Hermes attempted to salvage the fuselage, but eventually decided to sink it with small arms fire. It had been carrying depth charges and there was concern they’d detonate.
FCO update: NATO meeting expresses "solidarity" with UK over Falklands.
Today, the amphibious landing plan, named Operation Sutton, was presented to the war cabinet.

The Defence Secretary John Nott gave the below presentation.

Intention to create uncertainty for the Argentines. Concern regarding onboard correspondents - need to keep plan secret.
The meeting began at 09:30.

Thatcher described it as a "major political decision".

CDS Admiral Terence Lewin said the "landing should go ahead as soon as practicable". Risk of air attack though - the attrition of Argentine forces so far had been less than ideal.
Once ashore, CDS was confident they’d have a "very good chance of success."

Chief of the Air Staff agreed. Blockade not possible. Landing the only option. BUT Argentines still had a significant numbers of Skyhawk, Super Etendard and Mirage aircraft at their disposal.
CAS warned that delaying the landing now would lead to further losses.

First Sea Lord said "some losses from air attack were likely". But he was less worried about other threats. Advantages outweighed the risks - landing should go ahead.
Chief of the General Staff agreed with CDS. Luck was needed, but he said whatever happened, British forces could "win through."

Air superiority had not yet been achieved, but he saw no alternative than to go ahead with the landing.

Once troops were ashore, "risk would decrease"
Attorney General confirmed that the landing was "legally compatible" with self-defence provision of the United Nations Charter.

Thatcher said all were in agreement - landing should take place. Final approval would be down to the Task Force Commander.
Sorry for that long bit, but the decision to reinvade was a massive one, and I thought it important to explain.

For context (photos in order):

CDS: Admiral Terence Lewin
CAS: Air Chief Marshal Michael Beetham
1SL: Admiral Henry Leach
CGS: Field Marshal Edwin Bramall
Message from London to Geneva: concern that some islanders may have been removed from Port Stanley against their will.

ICRC to investigate.

At this stage, London didn’t know that 100 islanders were being held inside the hall at Goose Green.....
Falklands #OTD 19 May 1982

Now within the TEZ, the Atlantic Conveyor disembarked four Harriers to HMS Invincible, and four to HMS Hermes.
In anticipation of the landings, there was some troop movement between ships via landing craft and Sea King.

Some of 40 Commando went to HMS Fearless, while 3 Para went to HMS Intrepid. 42 Commando stayed on Canberra, and 2 Para initially stayed on Norland.
With the landing plan now approved, the task force began to split into groups.

The Amphibious Task Group headed for Falklands Sound: HMS Fearless and Intrepid, Canberra, Europic Ferry, Norland, RFA Stromness and Fort Austin.
Alongside them were HMS Antrim, Ardent, Argonaut, Plymouth, Yarmouth, Brilliant and Broadsword.

Faced with sailing across the north of the Falklands through daylight on the 20th, the Type 22's Sea Wolf could prove crucial in fighting off Argentine aircraft.
Cabinet Secretary Robert Armstrong briefs Thatcher on tomorrow’s cabinet: he advises her NOT to them that the amphibious landing is imminent.

Important to remember that this landing is 'D-Day', not another Pebble Island style raid, he says.
Falklands #OTD 20 April

Something I missed yesterday: Sea King crash while cross-decking between HMS Hermes and HMS Intrepid. Image is of that Sea King.

21 of the 30 men on board were killed, including 18 SAS, some fresh from their Pebble Island triumph.
Flight Lieutenant Gareth Hawkins was a forward air observer attached to the SAS. He was the only RAF fatality of the conflict.

This photo was chosen by his widow for the media because "it shows Gareth in his element, in the middle of the jungle, in his favourite country, Belize"
Some of the SAS casualties: Corporal Ray Armstrong, originally a Rifleman in the Green Jackets.

Sergeant Sidney Davidson from the Paras.

Corporal John Newton, originally from REME.

Corporal Edward Walpole, also Green Jackets and apparently a lifelong Arsenal fan.
HMS Glamorgan bombards Berkley Sound to distract the Argentines from the Amphibious Force entering Falklands Sound in preparation for the landings.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Robert Muldoon offers to send HMNZS Canterbury to assist the Task Force in the Falklands.

London declines the offer but was grateful.
Photo from today: soldiers of 2 Para wait on board the ferry NORLAND before the landings at San Carlos.
The beginning of BBC News from the day.

The ensuing debate can be read here: hansard.parliament.uk/commons/1982-0…
Analysis from Keith Graves, the BBC's Diplomatic Correspondent 👇
The War Cabinet meets - authorisation to land tomorrow still stood.

Final discretion with the task force commander.
Something I missed yesterday - Treasury keen for a reduction in interest rates. Bank of England disagrees and cites Falklands uncertainty as their reason.
Falklands #OTD 21 May 1982


That was the code they were waiting for. The message from London that the Task Force could execute Operation Sutton and land on the Falklands

At 1125 on May 20th, Julian Thompson arrived at a meeting on HMS Fearless: "Gentlemen, we go"
It was decided that H-Hour would be 0230 local (0630 GMT) on 21 May.

Troops would land at Ajax Bay, San Carlos, and Port San Carlos (note they're two separate places).

The SBS would go ahead of the main group to land at Fanning Head and deal with an Argentine detachment there.
My photo from earlier this year: that's the entrance to San Carlos Water. Fanning Head is on the right hand side of the gap.
Robert Fox, then a BBC Correspondent, and now Defence Editor at the Evening Standard, has since described the situation on Norland the day before the landings.

"The bar was shut up and the space-invader machines switched off...."
"The afternoon was a rush to scrounge the last items of kit. I still could not persuade anyone to provide a shovel".

The journalists were keen to help with digging in once they'd landed. H offered Fox his personal shovel, "as he thought he'd be too busy to use it himself."
There was an informal service on board. "An occasion to sing a few hymns together and say a prayer or two before we landed." 'I Vow to Thee, My Country' was the final hymn.

According to Fox, H was stood in the middle of the congregation, sharing his hymn sheet with a young Para.
The service was held by 2 Para's chaplain, David Cooper.

He held daily services on the voyage south on Norland, a service after the liberation of Goose Green, and conducted the temporary burial of 2 Para's dead at Ajax Bay.
11 ships sailed directly for Stanley, to give the impression of a direct assault.

Then as night fell, they turned right and headed for San Carlos.

HMS Antrim landed the SBS, a Naval Gunfire specialist who would direct the Antrim's fire, and a Spanish speaking Royal Marine.
Initially, the plan went well. The only life encountered when they landed were apparently some penguins.

But then the Argentines refused to surrender, so Antrim opened up with her 4.5 inch gun. Not ideal....the original plan was for the whole landing operation to be silent.
A few Argentines were killed, most were captured, but some fled.

Crucially though, the SBS had control of Fanning Head. The rest of the ships were clear to enter San Carlos Water.
There were only enough landing craft to land two battalions/commandos at any one time.

Commodore Michael Clapp has since said he was keen "to get 2 Para onto their objective as early as possible, [so] we decided to put the Paras ashore in the first wave"
The plan was simple enough. 2 Para would be picked up by four landing craft from HMS Intrepid at Norland. Said landing craft would take them to 'Blue' Beach (each beach was given a name).

2 Para would then disembark, and head straight up to Sussex Mountain.
They'd then be followed by 40 Commando. 45 Commando meanwhile would secure Ajax Bay (a flag now marks the spot).
It was Helmuth van Moltke who famously said "No plan survives first contact with the enemy".

Except in this case, there wasn't really any enemy. But the plan still went rather wrong...
First, there was Fanning Head. That was meant to have been a covert operation. It was meant to be quiet.

But then the SBS started shooting, and HMS Antrim engaged with her 4.5 inch main gun.

Then the timetable slipped.

The landing craft sent to pickup 2 Para arrived late, and the whole process of loading the troops into them took far longer than expected - the Norland was a civilian ferry and not designed for speedy disembarkation.
Matters were made worse by the fact they'd only rehearsed doing an amphibious landing once before - back at Ascension....
Eventually, they were all ready. They headed for 'Blue' Beach 65 minutes late, escorted by HMS Plymouth (she was later damaged by Argentine bombs and cannon fire).

They were waiting for green flashing lights from the SBS, giving the all clear to land. But they didn't see any.
Then the echo sounder alarm on one of the landing craft went off as they entered shallow water. This should have been turned off.

Apparently H wasn't particularly impressed with the whole debacle: "This is a bloody shambles" he said to the Royal Marines officer who was with them
Right, Falklands #OTD shall continue tomorrow. I’ll have some catching up to do then....!
Falklands #OTD (still on 21 May 1982).

Various cases of miscommunication - the navy hadn't kept the SBS up to date of the plan, so 2 Para arrived at Blue Beach despite it technically not having been secured.

In hindsight, this wasn't an issue - the beach had not been mined.
At this stage, they were still the only battalion ashore. 40 Commando were due to land 10 minutes later.

2 Para headed straight for Sussex Mountain 5 miles to the south-west. It was considered crucial that this high ground was denied to the enemy, as I shall now explain....
Blue Beach is bottom centre of the Google Earth image. The image from 1982 illustrates the dominating position British troops would have from up there.

Similarly, if Argentine troops took the mountain, it could be a perfect foothold from which to drive the British landings back.
Having been up on Sussex Mountain, I can absolutely appreciate this - you really dominate the surrounding area.

It's very clear why they were keen to get troops onto the mountain as soon as possible after the initial landing.
Panoramic view, featuring a cameo from my sister....

By midday on 21 May, 2 Para had secured the mountain.
2 Para up on Sussex Mountain. They'd stay there for 6 days, keeping watch over the surrounding area. They set up mortar positions (1st photo) in case of an Argentine advance.
Every unit, wherever they landed, had to dig in. But that was near impossible - one foot down in Falklands ground, a hole just fills with water.

Instead, soldiers built up, using clumps of tussock grass, peat, and small boulders. Some of the fortifications are still there today.
Great footage from the landings. Initially they were unopposed, and went well 👇👇
Part 2.

Highlights the shortcomings with the Rapier missiles: they took hours to set up, some had been damaged during the voyage, and they couldn't be used at night - the radar guided version arrived later.
3 Para landed around the corner at Port San Carlos: 'Green' Beach.

They immediately moved into the settlement itself, where they were greeted by the Ford family. Fred Ford had been down at the beach waiting for 3 Para, his Land Rover ready to carry heavier equipment.
Ford was awarded the South Atlantic Medal for his help during the landings.

Another islander, Alan Miller went down to the beach to greet them.

One of the officers saw him and said "Ah, good morning Mr Miller"

They'd done their research and knew exactly who the islanders were.
Miller later said "that absolutely floored me, that he knew my name."
While supporting the landings at Port San Carlos, two Gazelle helicopters are shot down by Argentine troops on a hillside.

The first crash lands in the water. The crew swim out but are shot upon by Argentine troops. Sgt Andrew Evans is killed. Sgt Edward Candlish escapes unhurt.
The second Gazelle hits the ground near Port San Carlos.

Lt Ken Francis and LCpl Brett Giffin are both killed.
3 Para later found his flight bag and kneepad floating in the water. On it were times, places, plans etc for the landings.

The Argentine commander later defended his troops for firing on the swimming pilots: "they were only conscripts...and knew nothing of the Geneva Convention"
Backtrack a bit - BBC journalist Robert Fox had landed with 2 Para. He'd been quietly speaking into his tape recorder as they went: "This is the moment we have been waiting for. The ramp is down. We're going forward. I'm in the water".
Sgt Watson from 3 Para with the first prisoner: an Argentine conscript wearing a jumper he'd looted from the Royal Marines barracks after the invasion.
"Mmmmm, it's going to be a day to remember" said one of the Royal Navy officers on board Canberra.

He was right. At 1015 on the 21st, HMS Argonaut was hit by cannon fire and a bomb from an Argentine Aermacchi MB-339.
An excellent first hand account of that attack can be read here: mentalcrumble.com/blog/bq8bgqcy4…

There was a second attack at 1337, this time from A-4 Skyhawks. Two sailors were killed.

Both bombs were defused.
Most of the crew were evacuated to HMS Fearless.
HMS Ardent wasn't so fortunate. That afternoon, two bombs hit her stern. Six other bombs were dropped but all missed.

Bomb 1 destroyed the port generator and cut most of the electrical power.

Bomb 2 hit the hanger, destroyed Ardent's Lynx, and cut the fire-main.
"Up forward it felt as though a giant was holding the ship by the stern and whacking it down on the sea. There was a great deal of smoke. I saw our Sea Cat launcher go straight up into the air and fall back on top of the flight deck" - Commander Alan West, Captain HMS Ardent
Lt Cdr John Sephton was awarded a posthumous Distinguished Service Cross.

He organised the crew into a last-ditch air defence team. He was seen on the exposed flight deck, firing a sub machine gun vertically up to an A4 Skyhawk just before it dropped the bombs that killed him.
Ardent's final moments, seen through the Sea Wolf camera on HMS Broadsword.
The MoD situation report for the evening of the 22nd. Few things in there I haven't yet covered - I apologise for that.

I'd rather do this properly than rush through recounting the extraordinary sacrifice made by so many 🇫🇰
Falklands #OTD - a brief recap

British troops are now ashore, and firmly established in the area surrounding San Carlos Water.

Naval casualties: Ardent (sunk), Argonaut (damaged), Antrim, Brilliant, Broadsword (hit by bombs that didn’t explode).

More was to come today.
MoD meeting from yesterday:

-Three Phantom FGR2s from No. 29 Squadron to deploy to Ascension, allowing Harriers currently there to be used in the Falklands if necessary
-Request for runway matting from the US to repair Stanley airfield
Yesterday (22 May), HMS Brilliant and Yarmouth took part in what is thought to have been the only ship-to-ship engagement of the war.

The Argentine vessel ARA Monsunen was carrying fuel to Port Stanley. She was spotted by a Royal Navy Lynx from HMS Brilliant.
Both HMS Brilliant and Yarmouth engaged the Monsunen, which was forced her captain to beach the vessel at Seal Cove.

Her crew fled, and she was later towed to Darwin.
Yesterday, the BBC's Robert Fox sent this report back to the UK 👇👇
Defence Secretary John Nott's statement from 22 May: "Tactical surprise was achieved and our troops landed safely with almost no interference from Argentine forces. We are now ashore on British sovereign territory in considerable force"
Brief story I didn't mention yesterday: 18 year old Able Seaman John Dillon was awarded one of only two George Medals in the conflict.

He was part of the damage control team on HMS Ardent when a second bomb was dropped and he was knocked unconscious.
When he awoke, there was a large shrapnel wound on his back, and his anti-flash hood had been ripped off, exposing his face to the flames.

He proceeded to rescue a fellow sailor who had fallen through a hole in the deck. At points he had to swim under the water to do this.
He's pictured here lifting the injured sailor out of the tiller flat on the stern.

You can read more about what he did here: telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandr…
His citation concluded: "There is little doubt that but for Able Seaman (Radar) Dillon's selfless acts with complete disregard for his personal safety the other man would not have escaped from the ship which was then being abandoned and sinking"
I wouldn't usually go into this much detail on a single story, but his personal account of what happened is utterly extraordinary 👇👇
The sinking of HMS Antelope

At around 1600 on 23 May, four Argentine A4 Skyhawks attacked her. Two bombs were dropped, although neither exploded.

One of the bombs fell through into the Petty Officers Mess, killing 17 year old Steward Mark Stevens.
One of Antelope's Seacat missiles was launched and damaged a Skyhawk.

After initial damage control was complete, she headed towards HMS Fearless where two bomb disposal experts were waiting to come aboard: WO John Williams and SSgt Jim Prescott.
It was decided that the bomb on the mess deck could wait, and instead the one nearer the engine room became the priority.

Everyone was ordered out onto the flight deck and forecastle. By now it was getting dark, and the crew were helpless. They just had to wait.
The bomb disposal team worked through the night. The rest of the story will be covered tomorrow - Antelope's end was to come early on the morning of the 24th.
Situation report for the end of today👇👇
Finally for today: the BBC News evening headlines
Part 2: analysis from the BBC's defence correspondent Christopher Wain
Enjoying the thread?

If so, watch this video - despite the VERY irritating music, it shows the barren and harsh Falklands landscape very well 👇👇

Falklands #OTD 24 May 1982

Defence Secretary John Nott makes a statement in the House of Commons: "On the night of Thursday 20 May, Her Majesty's forces re-established a secure base on the Falkland Islands and the Union Flag is today flying over the settlement of San Carlos."
CONTINUE: "The whole House will have been delighted to see the expressions of delight on the faces of the islanders and their children—published widely yesterday"

Full statement can be read here (worth a read - very interesting): hansard.parliament.uk/commons/1982-0…
HMS Antelope update - down below, the two bombs were still in the process of being defused.

On deck, the fire was getting out of control, and the decision was made to begin disembarking the crew into life rafts.
Once in the water though, some of the rafts were blown back towards the burning ship. Molten metal fell onto a raft and it began to deflate.

"It was the first occasion I can remember, apart from when I was a child, when I really wanted my mother" - Leading Seaman Jeffrey Warren
Meanwhile, attempts to defuse the first bomb were failing

On the 5th attempt, it detonated, killing Staff Sergeant Jim Prescott (pictured). He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal

John Philips was more lucky - hit by a door blown off during the explosion, losing his arm
HMS Antelope sank several hours later
MoD daily meeting:

-Public relations team struggling to control the media receiving information regarding ships being hit
-Names of Ardent’s casualties to be released

Fairly uneventful meeting given what was going on 8,000 miles south....
FCO letter to Number 10 - Pope’s visit to the UK will go ahead as planned.

Government to keep out of the visit "in order to emphasise its pastoral nature."
Falklands #OTD 25 May 1982

Thatcher speaks to the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding Pope’s visit:

-Government’s offer to stay out of visit was "helpful"
-No Ministers would attend service with the Pope on 29 May. BUT Prince of Wales would attend, as would backbench MPs
Portugal grants permission for Nimrod aircraft to refuel at Lajes Air Base in the Azores
Carrying on from yesterday (I’m behind again, apologies for that) - May 25 is an Argentine 'National Day', so it was anticipated that they’d make an extra effort to impede the British landings.

As expected, A-4 Skyhawks approached HMS Broadsword and Cardiff at dawn on the 25th.
Broadsword and Cardiff were positioned just off Pebble Island.

Admiral Woodward had sent them there to intercept/draw the Argentine air attacks. His priority was protecting the more vulnerable ships in San Carlos Water that were still unloading supplies.
As the first wave of Argentine attacks began, a Sea Dart missile launched from HMS Coventry at long range and hit the lead Skyhawk, killing its pilot.

The other aircraft turned around and headed for home.

First round to the Royal Navy, but more was to come.
This picture is taken from HMS Broadsword looking towards Coventry, shortly before the next attack.

Four A4 Skyhawks returned. Nearing their target, they split into two groups of two, and approached Broadsword and Coventry from opposite angles.
Broadsword spotted one Skyhawk and was about to fire Sea Wolf when the target spilt into two and her targeting computer crashed.

This picture shows the attack on Broadsword from one side, anti-aircraft fire hitting the water in vain.
Just one bomb hit Broadsword: aft starboard side, ricochetting off the surface of the water and then tearing through the flight deck + damaging the Lynx (on loan from HMS Brilliant.)

Aircraft cannon fire hit the hull just above the water line, seen in one of the below photos.
Meanwhile Coventry was struggling to track the other pair of Skyhawks.

She fired a Sea Dart missile blind (without radar guidance) in the hope that it would scare the pilots off, but it was easy to see and both Skyhawks managed to evade.
The attack on Coventry occurred at 1821hrs local. The Skyhawks attacked from the port side, flying low to avoid radar detection.

Three bombs hit her. "I felt thuds, no bang, just shudders" - Marine Engineering Mechanic Toby Own.

(Photo 1 shows one of the explosions)
The entire sequence took roughly 20 minutes - 19 men were killed, most in the initial explosions.

Lifeboats couldn’t be lowered initially because there wasn't power. The angle of list made disembarking safely difficult. Scrabbling nets + ropes were lowered. Most just jumped in.
Falklands #OTD 27 May 1982

In a War Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister identifies the importance of some "earliest possible progress" regarding the land campaign.

2 Para by now had left Sussex Mountain, and were on their way to Goose Green. More on that later.
The MoD confirms it'll withdraw from two upcoming NATO exercises, for rather obvious reasons.
The latest FCO briefing on international opinion is circulated:

-US being tricky. Haig was having a change of heart, and the US representative at the UN had described Argentine as an "old friend". US couldn't risk loss of diplomatic ties with Argentine.

Not ideal for London...
-Commonwealth support remained steadfast. NZ and Australia being helpful. Pierre Trudeau (Canada's PM and Justin's father) also speaking out in favour of the UK
-European sanctions remain in place
-UK can "count on continued German support"
-Dublin continuing to be difficult
-Portugal being cooperative but concerned about risk of "excessive" military force
-Mexico and Brazil still moderate.
-Bolivia and Uruguay have become more critical since amphibious landings
-Chile remain neutral
-Soviets and Chinese being critical of UK action
Quick aside - I know I've missed the Atlantic Conveyor sinking.

I'm still reading a long but fascinating account of what happened. Once that's done, I'll cover her sinking.

Apologies for the delay!
For those who've followed along so far, thank you. I'm hugely grateful.

We're now turning a page and entering the next chapter of this story - the first major land battle of the campaign: The Battle for Goose Green

2 Para were tasked with retaking the settlement.
2 Para packed up their kit, and left Sussex Mountain where they'd been for the previous five days.

They packed light. Each solider had a sleeping bag, two days of rations, weapon, every round of ammunition he could carry, two field dressings, and a saline drip.
At dawn on the 27th May, they met at Camilla Creek House, a large derelict farm, halfway between Goose Green and Sussex Mountain.

The soldiers had breakfast and caught up on sleep.

Lt Col H Jones is pictured here with his morning tea while an Argentine prisoner is watched over.
Captain David Wood (centre), 2 Para's Adjutant, is pictured here at Camilla Creek House.

He was killed during the battle.

Also in the photo is Captain David Constance (right), their Royal Marines liaison officer.
The 'O Group' (Orders Group) at Camilla Creek House, 1500hrs local.

H laid out his plan to the 20 or so officers present.

Robert Fox (BBC) was also there. He said it was "calm and orderly and gently good humoured. We sat in a little bunch beneath a yew hedge."
An Argentine patrol had been captured, giving fairly up to date information as to the situation at Goose Green.

There were a few restrictions to the plan:

-Goose Green had to be taken in daylight. They needed to identify the civilians in order to keep them out of the action
-But the topography of the area would give the Argentines excellent daylight observation

-2 Para would therefore have to eliminate the enemy in darkness, and be positioned on the edge of Darwin and Goose Green by dawn
There were only 14 hours of darkness, and 14km between Camilla Creek House and Goose Green.

2 Para would have to advance at 1 km/h, bearing in mind the closer they got the more resistance and pressure they'd face.

There wasn't a lot of time for error.
Darwin is now home to a very lovely Labrador, but this video I took in January also shows the topography of the battlefield well.
For obvious reasons, there are very few photos of the Battle for Goose Green, so most of the coming tweets are likely to be just text.

Apologies for that!
No aerial photography was available, and 2 Para only got maps of the area the day before the battle.
London had intelligence of a large number of Argentine air force personnel at Goose Green.

This wasn't passed to 2 Para, because "they lacked the necessary security clearance to receive intercept intelligence"

Thankfully, these men didn't fight or affect the outcome in any way.
The objective for 2 Para was simple and clear: 'To capture Darwin and Goose Green'.

It would be a six-phase attack. 2 Para would advance to contact in darkness, and would then assault the settlements in daylight so the civilians could be identified.
Silence would be maintained until the first assault. They'd approach from the north, and tackle each enemy position in turn after crossing the start line.

A phased battle could be flexible - one phase would not begin until the previous one had been completed.
The number of unknowns made this principle important - where exactly were the enemy positions? How well prepared were they? Were there minefields?

Night attacks are also difficult to control, and disorientation is a genuine risk.
Moreover, the isthmus (a narrow strip of land forming a link between two larger areas, in this case East Falkland and Lafonia) was just 5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, with few prominent features.

No trees, hedgerows, or woods. Just a central track used by the famers.
The full plan is below:

A Company in reserve initially, securing the start line. They'd then capture Burntside House in Phase Two, and take Coronation Point in Phase Three.

Reserve in Phase Four. Approach Darwin in Phase Five, and take it in Phase Six.
B Company would advance on the other side of the isthmus. In Phase Two they'd take Low Pass. In Phase Four they'd attack Boca House. In Phase Six they'd be involved in taking Goose Green.
D Company would follow the advance down the centre line. In Phase Three they'd overtake B Company. Phase Four they'd assist at Boca House if needed. Finally in Phase Six, they'd advance into Goose Green.
HQ Company (Tac 1) would follow behind the leading companies in all phases.

They consisted of around 12 men including H, his bodyguard Sergeant Norman, Major Tony Rice (Royal Artillery), and a Mortar Officer - Captain Mal Worsley-Tonks.
That was the plan. As ever, no plan survives first contact with the enemy.

Frustratingly, I will have to continue that tomorrow. Other commitments now beckon.
And so the advance began. It was a typical Falklands night: cold and windy. Ideal for the attack.

There were 7km between Camilla Creek House and the start line. A Company led, followed by Tac 1, then B Company etc etc.

The only noise was that of 550 soldiers on the move.
By 2230hrs local, 2 Para was ready to cross the start line (reminder of the plan is below).

By now it was raining.
But just before H-Hour (the moment the battle would begin), HMS Arrow’s gun jammed.

She had been due to provide naval gunfire support throughout the night.

The crew assured 2 Para they could fix it. Various deadlines came and went until 2 Para eventually gave up waiting.
This meant a change of plan.

Instead of the simultaneous attack by A and B Company in Phase Two, supported by HMS Arrow and three 105-mm guns, they’d now have to attack sequentially, A followed by B, with only the artillery in support.
Then there was another delay. A Company had to cross a fairly large pond (centre of the below image), but they were told by their Royal Marine liaison that it was shallow.

It wasn’t, so they had to skirt around it.
The net result of all this was A Company’s assault didn’t begin until 0252hrs.

They’d been ready on the start line at 2230hrs....
Nonetheless, as planned, A Company secured Burntside House (it transpired that the Argentine troops there had already left).

They then moved on to Coronation point at 0314, 80 minutes behind schedule. At this point they were only at Phase Three of their plan.
H wasn’t impressed. Speaking to those around him, he considered sending D Company through the centre line.

They were due to do so anyway as part of the plan, but H wanted to accelerate that.
I’m going to be cautious about recounting what happened with A Company between leaving Burntside House and dawn breaking at 0630.

There are two conflicting accounts.
The first is that A Company asked Tac 1 for permission to continue their advance but H ordered them to wait.

This in theory would have made sense: H wouldn’t have wanted one company to advance ahead of another - that would have exposed an unprotected flank.
The second account is that H was eager for A Company to continue as quickly as possible. They were supposedly sitting on the ground just north of Darwin.

Tac 1 then turned up and H told them to "get a bloody move on".

The aim was to reach Darwin by dawn.
Whatever the truth, we know A Company approached Coronation Point with caution - intelligence had suggested there was an enemy company there.

There wasn’t. So they continued on to Darwin Ridge, 1.5km further on. It was now almost dawn.
Brief side note: HMS Arrow was still not active, and the mortar and artillery fire was proving ineffective in the high wind.

There had already been a number of British casualties.
Over with B Company, they were still advancing down the isthmus and approaching Boca House.

But they were now slightly disoriented.

When H asked Major Johnny Crossland (B Company’s commander) where they were, he reportedly replied "400 yards west of the moon for all I know."
Up to now, they hadn’t seen much contact. The enemy had been falling back as B Company approached.

But when the light improved, the Argentines had the advantage. They had the high ground and now had a great field of view. B Company were about to have a very unpleasant few hours.
D Company were still in reserve, behind the action, as were C Company.

Tac 1 reviewed the situation at dawn: they were badly behind schedule, and had yet to engage a substantial enemy position. They were still 4km away from Goose Green.
A Company then became pinned down by an Argentine position on a ridge near Darwin.

H and Tac 1 went forward to assess the situation.

When they arrived, A Company had a firm base at the bottom of the ridge, but were making little progress.

It was "organised chaos."
Meanwhile an Argentine sniper had taken a position on the ridge and had shot dead several paratroopers.

Another issue was that 3 Platoon were 650 metres away - the dodgy intelligence had sent them to an area where in reality the enemy wasn't.
A Company therefore were in the open, with only two effective platoons, against an enemy that had the high ground and were securely dug in.

No progress was being made, despite a number of skirmishes up the hill.
H and Tac 1 were now on the edge of the inlet, sheltering behind a bank (which can sort of be seen in the below photo).

H started to reorganise. He ordered C Company, who were at that point in reserve, to join D Company to the north.
He also spoke to B Company, and found out that they too were pinned down at Boca House.

The width of the isthmus meant a flanking attack wasn't possible, and there wouldn't have been enough soldiers to do so anyway.

The enemy would have to be dislodged frontally/head-on.
H turned to his bodyguard, Sergeant Norman: "Right, I'm not having this. Come on, we're going"

"Where?" asked Norman.

"There" replied H, pointing to the gully leading up to the ridge.
(All quotes are from this book)
So Tac 1 advanced 100 metres to the gully, throwing smoke grenades to provide some cover.

They found A Company's HQ there.
Worth adding the following quote, direct from the book. It's far better than anything I could write myself:

"H has been criticised for going forward, as if somehow it was tactically unsound and unprofessional.
"On the contrary, the commander should habitually place himself where he wants to bring about a decision. This is standard military doctrine, and on that basis alone any infantry commander worth his salt would have been well forward.
For a man like H, never asking his men something he would not do himself, influencing events from a distance was unthinkable".
Sergeant Norman recounted the moment they arrived at the scene: "They [A Company] weren't going anywhere. They wouldn't have got out of that hollow. Yet once the CO got there and instilled his form of authority on them, things started to happen"
Vital time was passing. With every minute, the light was improving, favouring the defenders.

It was now about 0830hrs. H and his team had been stationary for 45 minutes.

Most of the soldiers had been on the ground, and motivating them to get up and continue was difficult.
But over the next 20 minutes, efforts resumed to reach the top of the ridge.

2 Para's Adjutant Captain David Wood (centre) urged those around him to "remember Arnhem"
In one of the assaults, Captain Chris Dent, Corporal David Hardman, and Captain David Wood were all killed.

H was nearby at the time, and was particularly close with David Wood.
H concluded that as things stood, A Company were not going to take Darwin Ridge.

Without that ridge, 2 Para would not be able to achieve their objective. The first land battle of the campaign would fail. This would impact the whole endeavour of retaking the Falklands.
H understood this quickly. In this instance, if he could not persuade others to act, he would do it himself.

He took command of the few men around him, and set out to regenerate the lost momentum.
He deliberately led an out-flanking movement to set the example. He wanted to show the way. To tip the balance at this critical moment.

According to Norman, "The CO decided to go right flanking. All he said was "follow me, we're going right," and off he went."
At 0900hrs, H ran up the hill. Noticing a trench to his left, he engaged it. He briefly fell to change his magazine, and then continued.

He was now in sight of another trench to the right. A bullet found its mark and H fell to the ground.

The cairn can be seen in both images.
In this video, I'm standing roughly where H was attacking. The cairn is where he fell.

Where I zoom in on the left is where he was hit from.
"Sunray is down"
The balance then shifted. Major Hector Gullan (who had command the SAS team in the Iranian Embassy siege) recounts the feeling: "They've killed our CO. They'll have to kill us all to stop us now"

Shoulder fired grenades were fired at the trenches, and progress was made.
H was at this point still alive, and a Scout helicopter was ordered to pick him up.

Sadly, it was shot down by a passing Pucara, killing the pilot, Lt Richard Nunn.
Falklands #OTD 31 May 1982

Reagan calls Thatcher and urges her to consider a ceasefire (in the wake of victory at Goose Green).

UK has now has "upper hand militarily" so should "strike a deal."
Thatcher emphasises that Britain had lost "precious lives."

She would not let "the invader gain from his aggression."

She goes a step further, and asks Reagan to put himself in her shoes. Uses the Alaska example.
MoD meeting:

-Possible that some Argentine troops moved to Goose Green from Port Stanley prior to the battle, meaning Port Stanley would now have fewer soldiers holding it
-Discussion re Argentine hospital ship
-Army field hospital at 7 days notice to move
Thatcher is interviewed by the BBC: “I cannot...see a role in anything relating to sovereignty, for the Argentines on the Falklands. You saw what happened in Goose Green and Darwin, how our people have been treated. They'd never wanted to go to Argentine before".
Australia say they'd understand if the UK changes its mind regarding selling HMS Invincible (as had been the plan prior to the war).

UK should not feel "held to any moral obligation."
Time for a big Falklands update. First, some diplomatic stuff.

In a vote on the latest OAS (Organization of American States) resolution, US Ambassador William Middendorf abstains. This was seen as an insult: the resolution was heavily favoured towards Argentina.
I've highlighted the particularly contentious bits. London unsurprisingly assumed the US would vote against.

Choosing instead to abstain didn't go down well.
JUNE 1ST: Some suggestion that Libya may be supplying arms to Argentina. British pilot had observed an Argentine 707 land in Tripoli. Then informed it was loading missiles, described as a "mini Exocet".

Follows the understanding that Argentina was now out of Exocets.
Message from UK Embassy in Washington to FCO on the state of US support:

-Haig has "tendency to shift his position from day to day." He's "hyperactive and anxious"


-Intelligence cooperation, satellite communication, weather info, plus equipment worth $120m.
This includes Sidewinder missiles for the Harriers, Phalanx for HMS Illustrious, Shrike missiles for Vulcans, helicopter engines, Stinger ground-to-air missiles, temporary accommodation at Ascension.

Many of this is requested by London, and then made available within 24 hours.
MoD release a statement regarding the sale of HMS Invincible 👇👇
Very important development: as of yesterday, the Harrier airstrip at Port San Carlos was now constructed and ready for use. Will cover that in more depth shortly.
Missed this yesterday:

Thatcher drafts a message to Galtieri: "You initiated this crisis, and you have it in your power to end it."
Falklands #OTD 5 June 1982

Prior to the G8 summit, Thatcher meets with Reagan in Paris. Reagan didn't want anyone else there.

-Thatcher only interested in an Argentine ceasefire, followed by withdrawal within 14 days
-Reagan unaware that Argentines had napalm bombs
From reading both the above, and recent docs from Haig, I'm not sure he and Reagan were really on the same page at this point.

Haig was improvising. Reagan meanwhile was working off the principle of supporting the UK and trying to help.
MoD daily meeting: risk that bases in the UK may be sabotaged by Argentine "agents."

Security measures to be reviewed.
Meanwhile on the ground (don't have all my photos with me so this bit will just be words ☹️)

HMS Cardiff and Active were patrolling near Stanley, on standby to bombard if necessary came. They were also enforcing a blockade.
Glasgow and Argonaut had been released from operations due to various bits of damage. They were now leaving the TEZ.

3 Para were north-west of Mount Longdon (will do an extensive update on them tomorrow).
'Two Sisters' (two pointy mountains in my below photos) was due to be attacked in the next 48 hours, although which units would do it was yet to be decided...

In reality, this battle didn't happen until the 11th, but as of now it was meant to happen within the next two days.
Falklands #OTD 7 June 1982

CIA report on Falklands situation:

-Low level attacks on British ground forces increasingly less likely (Rapier now in operation)
-Argentines likely to focus on logistic ships instead (Bluff Cove attacks were to take place tomorrow....)
-Argentine Air Force has lost 1/3rd of its frontline jets
-Unlikely to be able to maintain their current number of daily sorties
-Big bit of the section on Exocets is redacted....
-Concern that the UK may be hiding number of Harriers they've lost (in reality this wasn't the case)
John Nott memo on the burial of British personnel killed:

-Important to safeguard morale of those still on operations
-Likely to establish cemetery on the Islands
-Difficulty of transporting bodies back to the UK, BUT could be possible if there was public/family demand
MoD daily meeting:

-Argentine concern that a Chilean exercise could be a cover for direct action
-Argentine troops may have been airdropped onto West Falkland. This gives them a new bridgehead from which to launch ops
-Pebble Island still in use, despite SAS raid
Falklands #OTD 8 June 1982

On a visit to the UK, President Reagan addresses Parliament: “On distant islands in the South Atlantic young men are fighting for Britain. And, yes, voices have been raised protesting their sacrifice for lumps of rock and earth so far away”
CONTINUED: “But those young men aren't fighting for mere real estate. They fight for a cause. For the belief that armed aggression must not be allowed to succeed, and the people must participate in the decisions of government.”
Full speech can be watched here 👇👇

Not really relevant but still cool: later that day, he went horse riding with the Queen
While on patrol in Falklands Sound, HMS Plymouth is hit by four 1000lb bombs, although none of them explode.

Her flight deck is damaged nonetheless, and five of her crew suffer minor injuries.
The Bluff Cove air attacks

It was for the UK one of worst losses of the war. The bombing of RFA Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram left 53 dead and 46 injured (some sources say more injured - some say less. There’s a bit of debate).
I may do a more full explanation on why/how such a thing happened in due course, but for now I’ll stick with description.

A group of Argentine A-4 Skyhawks approached first, tracked by nuclear submarine HMS Valiant. She sent an early warning message, but this wasn’t received.
At roughly 1402hrs local, RFA Sir Galahad (seen here in happier times) was hit by three bombs. Sir Tristram was hit twice.
20 minutes later, a second raid came: a pair of Mirages. The attack is covered well in the below video.
Those ashore could only watch the horror unfold, totally helpless.

Two were killed on Sir Tristram, although the ship was saved and later moved to Stanley harbour after the surrender. She was returned to the UK in 1983 and repaired. She returned to service in October 1985.
48 men were killed on Sir Galahad.

The helicopters arrived quickly and began a rescue operation.

In the strong wind, some life rafts drifted back towards the burning ship. The pilots brought their aircraft down to water level so their wash would drive the life rafts away.
This for me remains one of the extraordinary images of the war.
Lt Phil Sheldon (left) and Lt John Boughton (right) were both awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal.

They carried out some of the rescues, which "were conducted close to masts and rigging with little clearance for the aircraft and no regard for personal safety.
CONTINUED: "Ammunition and pyrotechnics were exploding and there was a threat of further attack by enemy aircraft. Evacuation and rescue continued until darkness"
Falklands #OTD 11 June 1982

Quick thing I missed yesterday: Defence Secretary John Nott makes a statement in the Commons.

"British forces have moved forward to positions surrounding Port Stanley, and are in firm control of high ground on an arc surrounding the town"
Responding to the attack on RFA Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram, he says: "I must tell the House that the task force commander's plans have not been prejudiced by these attacks and the losses of stores and equipment are already being made good from other stocks held ashore"
Full transcript and debate can be read here: hansard.parliament.uk/commons/1982-0…
Prior to his statement, Thatcher was sent this memo.

RN wanted to use his statement to provide inaccurate casualty figures for the purpose of misinformation. Nott understandably wasn't keen, and didn't give any figures.
As of yesterday, British land forces were as below. Key aspects:

-3 Brigade HQ was at Estancia (pinned on the map)
-42 Cdo on Mount Kent ready for their assault
-45 Cdo nearby
-2 Para still at Fitzroy (would soon head for Stanley)
-Note that 40 Cdo hadn't left San Carlos....
BBC News headlines from yesterday 👇👇
On to today (11 June 1982). MoD daily meeting:

-Concern re French military exports to Argentina. Peruvian Super Etendards and a 707 were seen at the Dassault factory in France. To be raised with the Ambassador.
-Argentine Air force operating on an "increasingly selective basis"
-Argentine forces gaining "significant intelligence" through intercepting Task Force communication. Not ideal.....
-US C130 to be used to repatriate PoWs
-Possibility of fitting Harpoon (supplied by the US) to Nimrod. Ministerial approval would be sought.
The MoD gives approval for 'Black Buck Seven', to be flown on 12 June.

It would target areas across the Port Stanley airfield, instead of the runway. May need to divert to Brazil - weapons would be jettisoned first if so. Maritime reconnaissance sortie would be the cover story.
John Nott sends a memo to Thatcher regarding the BBC World Service reporting that 2 Para would assault Goose Green imminently.

He denied any MoD indiscretion, saying the report reflected "newspaper speculation", and that "armchair strategists" could easily have worked it out.
At the time, the finger was pointed at Robert Fox - the BBC Correspondent who was with 2 Para. It wasn't him.

Then it was assumed that the MoD Press Office released it in error. That was denied by Nott.

The fingers now pointed at political leak. Backbenchers were restless...
Then there was a suggestion someone in the War Cabinet (who exactly is unclear) was eating lunch and someone overheard him say something.

Ultimately, no one was ever held to account and the issue went cold after the end of the war.
It's now time for our next chapter.

I shall imaginatively name it 'The Final Battles'.

There are just 49 hours until 21:00 on the 14th June, when Argentine forces would surrender. Everything now moved very quickly.
I've slightly neglected most of the land forces since Goose Green. That's partly because not a lot happened after they landed. That however was about to change.

Most units (with the exception of 40 Cdo who stayed at San Carlos) marched/yomped/tabbed East towards Port Stanley.
A Brigadier Julian Thompson put it: "The only difference between us and Hannibal is that he had elephants and we walked"
The Daily Telegraph correspondent Charles Laurence has a great quote which I'll use in full. He accompanied 45 Commando.

"My boots, issued new on board Canberra just three weeks ago [when journalists were kitted out] now look as if they had been in service since World War Two.
"We have yomped ankle-deep in marshland, waded rivers, hauled up mountains. We have kept going through up to six hours of darkness, stumbling through the tussock grass. Sleet, snow, and torrential rain have fallen.
"Where possible we have taken refuge in farm buildings, where the first task has been to dry out boots and sleeping bags to prevent trench foot and assure rest. We have eaten meals cold to avoid the giveaway light of a hexane cooking stove"
Lines of soldiers would stretch for miles.

They'd always keep total radio silence - messages would be passed backwards and forwards man to man.
Not being a military strategist, I'm probably not very well placed to say this.

Nonetheless: Port Stanley is surrounded by mountains. Whilst not being particularly tall, they're an absolute nightmare to walk across (I speak from experience).
Stanley is thus a great place to defend.

Position your troops in an arc around the town, atop of the very conveniently placed mountains.

That is exactly what the Argentines did.
Google Earth has its uses.

Mount Kent.
Mount Longdon.
Two Sisters.
Mount Harriet.
Mount Challenger.
Goat Ridge.
Mount William.
Mount Tumbledown
Sapper Hill.

All in this picture. All defended.

They all stood in the way of British troops and Port Stanley.
Mute the irritating music. Here's a reminder of some of the terrain they'd have to fight across 👇👇

On June 11/12, there were three (ish) separate operations:

-Take Mount Longdon (3 Para with 2 Para on standby)
-Advance from Mount Kent and take Two Sisters (45 Cdo)
-Take Mount Harriet and then Goat Ridge (1 Welsh Guards + 42 Cdo)

(I've deliberately slightly simplified it)
Let's start with Mount Longdon.

It's basically a long narrow feature of rocky terrain, running from east to west with two summits. The issue was only one company attacking could advance along it - it was just too narrow.
3 PARA was tasked with taking Mount Longdon to coincide with attacks on the Two Sisters by 45 Commando and Mount Harriet by 42 Commando.

29 Commando, Royal Artillery, would provide support with six 105mm guns.

HMS Avenger would also be in support.
3 Para's CO Lt Col Hew Pike gave his orders on 10 June. He's seen here alongside the BBC's Robert Fox with a rough model of the area. The white tape is the start line.
Not an ideal battlefield 👇👇
They were told to expect around 800 Argentine soldiers who were well dug in.

They'd be supported by artillery cover from three Argentine 105mm howitzers from Moody Brook and a further 155mm gun on Sapper Hill.

To add to that, the area had been heavily mined.
Quick bit of backstory: Major General Jeremy Moore (right, with Brigadier Julian Thompson next to him) had hoped to launch this final offensive on June 6 to coincide with the anniversary of D-Day.

Troops were ready, but bad weather, Bluff Cove, and lack of ammunition delayed it.
Back to the attack.

H-Hour was 0001hrs 12 June. B Company would take the two summits. Straight up and follow the ridge line.

A Company would come from the left in the below photo and clear the western side of the summit.

C Company in reserve.
As ever, things went wrong. First they crossed the start line 15 mins late. Not terrible, but late is late.

It was meant to be a silent advance, but then Corporal Milne of B Company stepped on a mine. The enemy opened fire. The Argentine troops had night vision. 3 Para didn't.
One man was killed and four wounded, including 4 Platoon's commander.

Sgt Ian McKay (pictured) then took command of 4 Platoon and they advanced.

Initially they were trying to maintain cover and identify where the enemy positions were. McKay instead decided to begin an attack.
Taking three others with him, they broke cover and charged the nearest enemy position.

One of those with him was killed, while the other two wounded. McKay continued, hurling grenades at the position. This allowed the rest of 4 and 5 Platoon time to move in to better cover.
He was killed moments later, falling yards from the enemy position.

His citation states: "His was a coolly calculated act, the dangers of which must have been all too apparent to him beforehand. Undeterred he performed with outstanding selflessness, perseverance and courage.
He came from downhill.

Note the lack of cover, and yet he still made it to the base of the cliff where the enemy position was.
I saw this plaque back in January. Three boys, all younger than me, killed that day.
Private Jason Burt was 17 and was with McKay during the initial attack.

Shortly later, he was part of a 4 and 5 Platoon group that charged uphill. He was hit by a machine gun round.
Alongside him were his friends Privates Neil Grose and Ian Scrivens.

Neil Grose was shot alongside Jason Burt and fell wounded. He'd celebrated his 18th birthday only the day before
Private Ian Scrivens came to their aid, but was shot by a sniper moments later.

He'd joined the Junior Parachute Company (JPC) in 1981. and his parents said "He loved every second of it"
There have been a few emotional moments while writing this Falklands thread.

That was one of them....
Good work lads
Right, back to the battle.

A Company were attacking from the northern side of Longdon, but they were coming under heavy and accurate enemy fire.

Lt Col Pike therefore pulled them back and they headed round to A Company.

It was now one unified advance instead of two.
This worked. They took the first summit, and after hours of sustained artillery fire from 29 Commando, they took the second.

They were calling in fire on targets just 50 yards ahead of them. Pike later described the precision from HMS Avenger and the Royal Artillery as "superb."
They finished the job bayonets fixed with gruelling fighting.

Mount Longdon was taken by 1100hrs on the 12 June. By this time, 3 Para had been fighting for ten hours. 22 men were killed and 47 were wounded.

~50 Argentine dead, 39 prisoners, and 10 wounded.
On Mount Harriet meanwhile, 42 Commando achieved more surprise.

In support were Welsh Guards and Gurkhas who secured the start line.
The brief was simple: "This is going to be a straightforward, no-nonsense, Warminster style attack"
Many soldiers wrote their last letters home.
The Battle of Mount Harriet started out as a ‘noisy’ battle. Whereas other attacks were silent, the battle commenced with an artillery bombardment of targets that had been carefully selected for maximum impact.

The plan went fairly well.
John Witheroe (The Times, now editor) was with 42 Cdo: "The whole mountain seemed to erupt in flame. It seemed impossible that anybody could survive an attack like that. This went on for well over an hour. Eventually this was lifted and the Marines went in"
CO Lt Col Nick Vaux stated in planning: "The enemy are well dug-in in very strong positions but I believe that once we get among them they will crack pretty quickly"

He was right. The determination from 42 Cdo meant most of the Argentine troops either retreated or surrendered.
Worth mentioning: the Argentines (logically) expected an attack from the west.

Instead, 42 Cdo came from the south-east. They used Milan missiles to clear the rock face initially. Then artillery fire was directed ahead of the advancing commandos, providing perfect cover.
They captured 300 prisoners in the attack and suffered just 2 fatalities themselves – one on Mount Harriet and one on Wall Mountain.

Once the battle ended, a search began for hiding Argentines. To their surprise, 40 appeared....

The wounded were given water and first aid.
45 Commando advanced from Mount Kent on to Two Sisters.

HMS Glamorgan was offshore to provide fire support. Having been in the area since 4 June, they had a fairly good idea of where the Argentine positions were.
The attack was to be silent. It started two hours late: they had to cross one of the stone runs - a bizarre rock feature, found hardly anywhere else in the world, that basically just look like rivers of rock.

If you're a bit of a geography nerd (like me), they're really cool.
Assisted by accurate support fire from artillery and HMS Glamorgan, 45 Cdo made good ground. By 0230 on June 12 they'd secured the first summit. That was just three hours after the attack began.
Platoon commander Lieutenant Dytor (left) won a Military Cross:

"Listening to our rate of fire and I realised we were going to run out of ammunition. The next thing I knew I was up and running on my own, shouting, 'Zulu, Zulu, Zulu’, which was our company battle cry"
His Troop followed him, bayonets fixed.

By dawn, Two Sisters was complete. By any standards, the attack by 45 Commando had been a resounding success.

They lost three Royal Marines and a Royal Engineer Commando.
Itinerary for tomorrow:

-Mount William
-Mount Tumbledown
-Wireless Ridge

And ultimately.....

The Argentine surrender

We pick up the action with the situation as below.

If we ignore Mount William as a bit of an anomaly, British forces had a clear line of Mount Longdon, Goat Ridge, and Mount Harriet from which to advance on to Port Stanley.

5 Brigade's HQ was based on Goat Ridge.
Let's start with Mount Tumbledown (far left, with Wireless Ridge on the right).

It's about 4 miles to the west of Port Stanley.

The task of attacking it was given to 2nd Scots Guards, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Scott.
They'd be supported by 4 Troop, Blues and Royals, with their two Scimitars and two Scorpion light tanks, mortar troops from 42 Commando, and 7th Ghurkha Rifles.
Both HMS Avenger and Active were also available if needed.
A diversionary attack started at 2030hrs on the June 13. This attack gave the impression of being much larger than it actually was because of the involvement of the light tanks.

This tied up some of the Argentine troops, while 2 Scots began the main attack 30 mins later.
It was initially a silent attack, advancing towards the target.

Shortly later the attack began. They approached from the west and and were faced with mortar fire and grenades being rolled downslope. Several soldiers were killed in the first hour.
The decision was made to fire flares to identify the enemy bunkers. Doing so also lit up their own positions.

Meanwhile HMS Active began laying effective fire onto the mountain.

Progress was slow and arduous. The Argentines were well dug in and determined.
By 0230, the attack was going well and good progress had been made.

Bayonets were used once in amongst the rock.

By dawn Tumbledown was theirs. It had cost them nine dead and 41 wounded. 30 Argentine soldiers were killed.
Fun (ish) fact that helped them: the rainfall had meant the peat was particularly soft. This absorbed mortar explosions and often lessened their impact.
CORRECTION: "while 2 Scots began the main attack 30 mins later" above should actually be 2 Scots Guards/2SG.

Thanks to @Jamies73 for pointing that out 🙂
Next up: Wireless Ridge

A ridge (surprise surprise) that runs East/West north of Port Stanley Water.

Like all features in the area, it's rocky. 2 Para were tasked with clearing it. They were now under the command of Lt Col David Chaundler who'd flown south from the UK.
They'd be supported by HMS Ambuscade, 29 Commando, and light tanks from the Blues and Royals.

They began their advance at 2030 on 13 June. Updated intelligence had led to various changes of plan - D Company launched their attack at 0045, coming direct at the enemy from the West.
They were met with mortar fire, but the initial line of Argentine troops abandoned their positions shortly after. So far, so good. They advanced further along the ridge.

Then D Coy came under fire from Argentine artillery and stalled.
Meanwhile A and B Company began their advance

Prior to the attack they'd taken an Argentine prisoner who had a map with a minefield marked on it . Useful to know...

As they advanced, they could see Argentine troops retreating. They got to some positions and found them abandoned
The battalion were able to dig in and shelter from the heavy shelling. They'd already advanced swiftly and made good progress.

As dawn approached, the enemy launched a counter attack, which was resisted. This signalled the final Argentine resistance and they retreated.
By first light Wireless Ridge was 2 Para's. They'd lost three men, with eight injured.

I've heard conflicting accounts of what happened next.....
This video is from where 2 Para were. Port Stanley was right there. Right in front of them.

One story is they didn't wait. They just headed straight down.

The other story is they had to wait for permission to advance.

Either way, 2 Para were the first British troops to arrive.
The Surrender

For the past week, Spanish-speaking Captain Rod Bell (part of 3 Commando Brigade's HQ) had been broadcasting daily on 4.5MHz, usually used by hospital staff in Stanley to send medical advice to Camp (Falklands speak for anywhere that isn't Stanley).
These broadcasts appealed to the Argentines to surrender in order to avoid further bloodshed.

They also asked an Argentine Air Force officer captured at Goose Green to broadcast a message, which he did, appealing to his fellow Argentines to surrender.
PSYOPs (Psychological operations) needed to be used to avoid the possibility of street fighting in Stanley.
With British troops having surrounded Stanley, and 2 Para already approaching, Dr Alison Bleaney tuned into 4.5MHz and heard Captain Bell saying that this was the last chance for the Argentines to surrender before the British took the town by force.
She found one of the English-speaking Argentines and persuaded him to alert General Menendez. An hour later, Menendez authorised a meeting with British troops to discuss a surrender.

He'd called Galtieri, who was keen to fight for Stanley, but Menendez persuaded against this.
From here, there's an informal story, and a formal story.

The informal story is British troops arrived in Stanley and celebrated. They were greeted with cups of tea.

Then there was the formal side, which is slightly more interesting.
A Gazelle from 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron (XX412 - actual aircraft pictured) flew to Port Stanley with a white cloth attached below.

Occupants were Captain Rod Bell, Lt Col Mike Rose (22 SAS), and a signaller with a satellite communications link to London.
They were escorted to meet Menendez. Upon arrival, the room had already been laid out with pencils, paper, and water for each place.

Before the meeting began, Mike Rose stood to salute Menendez, and commended him for a tough but honourable fight.

The meeting then began.
Menendez initially explained that he could only surrender his forces on East Falkland, saying that West Falkland was a separate matter.

He argued that West Falkland wasn't held by the British. They'd only favour surrender when they were in an overwhelmingly futile position.
The British team conferred with London in real time via the communication link, and were subsequently able to sway Menendez

They argued that West Falkland was dependent upon the Argentine position in Stanley, adding that they'd also lost the air and sea battle around the islands
Menendez was under pressure from Buenos Aires, but shortly afterwards gave in

Major General Jeremy Moore was then flown to Stanley in a Sea King from 820 NAS, flown by Lt Cdr Keith Dudley

Menendez was waiting when the Sea King landed. The two men saluted, but didn't shake hands
The surrender was signed shortly afterwards, to come into effect from 2100hrs local on 14 June.

Note the crossing out of Lafonia (southern chunk of East Falkland), and "unconditional".
While General Menendez was flown to HMS Fearless, Major General Moore went to West store (one of the only supermarkets in Stanley) where many of the civilians were sheltering.
"Some people cried and everyone wanted to shake his hand. David Castle [the store's owner] invited everyone to help themselves to the liquor shelves".
A few hours later, Moore sent the following message to London. It was symbolic - they were already aware of the surrender.

"The Falkland Islands are once more under the government desired by their inhabitants"
FCO roundup:

-1530Z was a big moment: rules of engagement changed to "fire in self-defence"
-14,800 Argentine prisoners. Transferring them back to the mainland would begin ASAP
-ICRC needed to get involved in order to facilitate
It's time to bring this massive Falklands thread to a close.

Over the coming weeks I'll tweet some aspects of the aftermath etc, and I'll include these in the final document I'll publish.

But for now, there are just a few final stories to tell......
A bit of context for those that aren't aware. As of now there are 719 tweets in this thread. I have no idea how many words, but it'll be a lot.

I'm going to turn it all into a document that can be read as prose, rather than separate tweets.

More on that later......
There are a few aspects of this conflict that I haven't covered in as much depth as I'd have liked. I apologise for that, and will ensure they're covered better in the coming document.

I'll touch on them briefly now.
The Medics' War

This is one of my biggest regrets. I haven't done justice to the extraordinary work done by medics during the war.

The Red & Green Life Machine at Ajax Bay:
-Two operating theatres
-Four surgeons
-Three anaesthetists
-100 nurses
The numbers get more and more extraordinary. 202 major operations at Ajax Bay, plus 108 done elsewhere on the islands. 1/3rd of these were on Argentines.

With the exception of two gravely injured men, everybody who got to Ajax Bay alive left alive.

They did a remarkable job.
The Helicopters

"They were wonderful. Just when you thought "God I really need a helicopter now", there it would be, coming over some fold in the ground like the Seventh Cavalry. They were the bravest of anyone. Superb" - Para doctor
One pilot later remarked: "Oddly enough, it's easy to be calm. The point is that the helicopter engine makes such a noise that you can't hear the gunfire outside. It's quite peaceful in a way"
From moving stores at Ascension, to lifting casualties to safety, to rescuing crew from sinking ships.

They did it all, and they did it brilliantly.
Artillery in the Falklands

Two units of Royal Artillery went to war: 29 Commando Regiment and 4th Field Regiment.

For the final assault they joined forces to pound the Argentine positions.
After Goose Green, there was a massive movement of both 105mm guns and ammunition: ~15,000 rounds in all.

By the end, some guns were left with just six rounds. Their accuracy was remarkable - they'd lay down fire just 50 yards ahead of the British troops.
The Gurkhas' War

For them, the first victory is that they went. The FCO, concerned about tensions with Nepal, hadn't wanted them to be part of the Task Force.

Once there, their reconnaissance skills proved invaluable, rounding up Argentine patrols.
They were also heavily involved in the final battles.

One of the bizarre stories I've heard is of flying 'Gurkha style' in a Scout: two men inside with notebooks, and two hanging off the skids scanning the ground.....

Apparently that's just how they did it. And it worked.
And finally, The Reporters' War

From the outset, the MoD had their 'Regulations for Correspondents', which states: "the essence of success in war is secrecy; the essence of success in journalism is publicity."

There was plenty of censorship. But the press saw everything.
Max Hastings (Evening Standard) won the Press race into Stanley. Hands on his head, he went in to interview locals as the surrender was being agreed.
Many of the photos came from Petty Officer Peter Holdgate, who flew from unit to unit.
From left - Derek Hudson (Yorkshire Post), Bruce Laurence and Robert McGowan (Daily Express), John Shirley (Sunday Times), and Alasdair McQueen (Daily Mirror).

The reporters lived (and could have died) with the soldiers.
Charles Laurence (Sunday Telegraph) and Ian Bruce (Glasgow Herald).
This where I'd now like some feedback/input. As I see it, I have two options.

The crucial issue is the thread includes photos from Google that I don't own. They're free to use on Twitter. But I couldn't include them in a publication/profit from them without buying a licence.
Option 1: Turn the thread into a document. Make some edits to make it flow/read better, and add in things I've missed out. Keep the pictures I've included in it. Release the document online for free. I would not be allowed to print it.
Option 2) Turn into a document and edit to make it flow/read better. Most of the work is already done - it would just be formatting issues. Remove all photos that I don't own.

Release online with an option to donate, and if demand existed, try to have it printed.
Those are some very rough thoughts. I'm keen to hear all views on what I can do now and potential next steps.
All that remains now is for me to thank all those who've followed along with this thread.

It's been a pleasure writing it, and I've learnt a huge amount in the process.

We must never forget the extraordinary sacrifice made by all those who fought for the Falkland Islands 🇫🇰
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