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|Invasion of the Falkland Islands|
|Part of the Falklands War|
Argentine naval infantry AAV in Stanley
|Commanders and leaders|
Governor Rex Hunt|
Major Mike Norman
Major Gary Noott
|Rear Admiral Carlos Büsser|
|Casualties and losses|
The Invasion of the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Invasión de las Islas Malvinas), code-named Operation Rosario, was a military operation launched by Argentine forces on 2 April 1982, to capture the Falkland Islands, and served as a catalyst for the subsequent Falklands War. The Argentines mounted amphibious landings and the invasion ended with the surrender of Falkland Government House.
We have apparently reliable evidence that an Argentine task force could be assembling off Stanley at dawn tomorrow. You will wish to make your dispositions accordingly.
The Governor summoned the two senior Royal Marines of Naval Party 8901 to Government House in Stanley to discuss the options for defending the Falklands. He said during the meeting: "Sounds like the buggers mean it."
Major Mike Norman was given overall command of the Marines due to his seniority, while Major Gary Noott became the military advisor to Governor Hunt. The total strength was 68 Marines and 11 sailors from the Antarctic patrol ship Endurance's survey team, commanded by RN Lieutenant Chris Todhunter. That number was greater than would normally have been available because the garrison was in the process of changing over – both the replacements and the troops preparing to leave were in the Falklands at the time of the invasion.
This was decreased to 57 when 22 Royal Marines embarked aboard HMS Endurance to join the 13-man British Antarctic Survey (BAS) team under base commander Steve Martin to observe Argentine soldiers on South Georgia. The Royal Navy and author Russell Phillips state that a total of 85 marines were present at Stanley.
Their numbers were reinforced by at least 25 Falkland Islands Defence Force (FIDF) members. Graham Bound, an islander who lived through the Argentine occupation, reports in his book Invasion 1982: Falkland Islanders at War that the higher figure of 40 members (including 15 ex-FIDF members) of the FIDF reported for duty at their drill hall. Their commanding officer, Major Phil Summers, tasked the volunteer militiamen (including his son Brian Summers) with guarding such key points as the telephone exchange, the radio station and the power station. Skipper Jack Sollis, on board the civilian coastal ship Forrest, operated his boat as an improvised radar screen station off Stanley. Four other civilians, former Royal Marines Jim Fairfield and Anthony Davies, a Canadian citizen, Bill Curtiss and Rex Hunt's chauffeur, Don Bonner also offered their services to the governor. Rex Hunt himself was armed with a Browning 9 mm pistol.
Prior to the main Argentine landings, nine of the British sailors present were placed under the command of the Chief Secretary, Dick Baker, and rounded up 30 Argentine nationals living in Port Stanley and placed them in protective custody next to the Police Station. He recalls:
There were a few local people to arrest, and I remember being terribly apologetic to them, and saying, 'Because you are Argentine or married to an Argentine, or work for LADE [an Argentinian airline], we have got to take you into custody.' We put them in the refreshment room of the Town Hall, which was near the Police Station.
The nine sailors came back to Government House, where they established an information service, leaving the prisoners in custody of RN Lieutenant Richard Ball.
The Argentine amphibious operation began in the late evening of Thursday 1 April, when the destroyer ARA Santísima Trinidad disembarked special naval forces south of Stanley. The bulk of the Argentine force was to land some hours later from the amphibious warfare ship ARA Cabo San Antonio near the airport on a beach previously marked by frogmen from the submarine ARA Santa Fe. The operation had been called Azul (Blue) during the planning stage, but it was finally renamed Rosario.
ARA Santa FeEdit
Rosario began with the reconnaissance of Port William by the submarine ARA Santa Fe and the landing of 14 members of the Buzos Tácticos near Cape Pembroke, including the commander of this elite unit, Lieutenant-Commander Alfredo Raúl Cufré. The reconnaissance mission began as early as 31 March, when the trawler Forrest was spotted through the periscope at 10:00 p.m. off Port Stanley. The next day, Santa Fe learned that the authorities in Stanley were aware of the Argentine plans, so a change was necessary. Instead of landing right on Pembroke, the commandos would initially take a beach nearby.
The commandos left Santa Fe at 1:40 p.m. and from the beach headed towards Pembroke peninsula in Zodiac boats. They reached Yorke Bay at 4:30 a.m. on 2 April. After planting beacons for the main landing, they took over the airfield and the lighthouse without encountering significant resistance. After the British surrender at Port Stanley, this team was given the task of gathering the Royal Marines and taking them into custody.
Attack on Moody Brook barracksEdit
On the night of 1–2 April 1982, Santísima Trinidad halted 500 metres (1,600 ft) off Mullet Creek and lowered 21 Gemini assault craft into the water. They contained 84 special forces troopers of Lieutenant-Commander Guillermo Sánchez-Sabarots's 1st Amphibious Commandos Group and a small party under Lieutenant-Commander Pedro Giachino, who was second-in-command of the 1st Marine Infantry Battalion and had volunteered for the mission to capture Government House. Argentine Rear Admiral Jorge Allara, through a message radioed from Santisima Trinidad, had requested from Rex Hunt a peaceful surrender, but the request was rejected.
Giachino's party had the shortest distance to go: two and a half miles due north. Moody Brook Barracks, the destination of the main party, was six miles (9.7 km) away over rough terrain. Sánchez-Sabarots, in the book The Argentine Fight for the Falklands, described the main party's progress in the dark:
It was a nice night, with a moon, but the cloud covered the moon for most of the time. It was very hard going with our heavy loads; it was hot work. We eventually became split up into three groups. We only had one night sight; the lead man, Lieutenant Arias had it. One of the groups became separated when a vehicle came along the track we had to cross. We thought it was a military patrol. Another group lost contact, and the third separation was caused by someone going too fast. This caused my second in command, Lieutenant Bardi, to fall. He suffered a hairline fracture of the ankle and had to be left behind with a man to help him. We were at Moody Brook by 5.30 a.m., just on the limits of the time planned, but with no time for the one hour's reconnaissance for which we had hoped.
The main party of Argentine Marines assumed that the Moody Brook Barracks contained sleeping Royal Marines. The barracks were quiet, although a light was on in the office of the Royal Marine commander. No sentries were observed, and it was a quiet night. Sánchez-Sabarots could hear nothing suggesting any action at Government House nor from the distant landing beaches. Nevertheless, he ordered the assault to begin. Sánchez-Sabarots's account continued:
It was still completely dark. We were going to use tear-gas to force the British out of the buildings and capture them. Our orders were not to cause casualties if possible. That was the most difficult mission of my career. All our training as commandos was to fight aggressively and inflict maximum casualties on the enemy. We surrounded the barracks with machine-gun teams, leaving only one escape route along the peninsula north of Stanley Harbour. Anyone who did get away would not able to reach the town and reinforce the British there. Then we threw the gas grenades into each building. There was no reaction; the barracks were empty.
The noise of the grenades alerted Major Norman to the presence of Argentines on the island, so he drove back to Government House. Realising that the attack was coming from Moody Brook, he ordered all troop sections to converge on Government House to enable the defence to be centralised. Around this time, most of the Falkland Islands Defence Force received similar orders and fell back to Drill Hall. Sergeant Gerald Cheek from the FIDF recalled: "We were requested to phone in to HQ whenever possible, and when I made the routine call at 06.00 hours Phil Summers informed me that the Governor had said FIDF members were not to engage with the enemy under any circumstances, and they were to surrender when ordered to do so without offering any resistance."
Although there were no Royal Marine witnesses to the assault, British descriptions of the state of Moody Brook barracks afterwards contradict the Argentine version of events. After the Royal Marines were allowed to return to barracks to collect personal items. Norman describes walls of the barracks as riddled with machine gun fire and bearing the marks of white phosphorus grenades – "a classic houseclearing operation". The Argentines maintain that the barracks were damaged in an air attack by Harriers from No. 1 Squadron RAF on 12 June 1982—involving Flight Lieutenant Mark Hare and Wing Commander Peter Squire—that killed three conscripts and wounded their commander.
Amphibious landing at Yorke BayEdit
There was a more pressing action on the eastern edge of Stanley. Twenty LVTP-7A1 Argentine tracked amphibious armoured personnel carriers from Lieutenant-Commander Guillermo Cazzaniga's 1st Amphibious Vehicles Battalion, carrying D and E Companies of the 2nd Marine Infantry Battalion (BIM-2) from Puerto Belgrano, had been landed from the tank landing ship ARA Cabo San Antonio at Yorke Bay, and were being watched by a section of Royal Marines under the command of Lieutenant Bill Trollope. Two Argentine-built landing craft also took part in the landings later that morning and would fall into British hands at the end of the fighting in June.
The armoured column drove along the Airport Road into Stanley, with three Amtracs in the vanguard, and, near the Ionospheric Research Station, at exactly 7:15 a.m., was engaged by a section of Royal Marines with anti-tank rockets and machine guns. Lieutenant-Commander Hugo Santillán later wrote an official post-battle report.
We were on the last stretch of the road into Stanley. A machine-gun fired from one of the three white houses about 500 metres away and hit the right-hand Amtrac. The fire was very accurate. Then there were some explosions from a rocket launcher, but they were inaccurate, falling a long way from us. We followed our standard operating procedure and took evasive action. The Amtrac on the right returned fire and took cover in a little depression. Once he was out of danger, I told all three vehicles to disembark their men. I ordered the crew with the recoilless rifle to fire one round of hollow charge at the ridge of the roof of the house where the machine-gun was, to cause a bang but not an explosion. We were still following our orders not to inflict casualties. The first round was about a hundred metres short, but the second hit the roof. The British troops then threw a purple smoke grenade; I thought it was their signal to withdraw. They had stopped firing, so Commander Weinstabl started the movement of the two companies around the position. Some riflemen in one of the houses started firing then; that was quite uncomfortable. I couldn't pinpoint their location, but one of my other Amtracs could and asked permission to open up with a mortar which he had. I authorized this, but only with three rounds and only at the roofs of the houses. Two rounds fell short, but the third hit right in the centre of the roof; that was incredible. The British ceased firing then.
The Amtrac on the right manoeuvred itself off the road into a little depression and as it did so, disembarked the Marines inside—including one wounded, Private Horacio Tello—out of view. This encouraged the Royal Marines to think that Gibbs had scored a direct hit on the passenger compartment of the APC. According to Santillán, this vehicle took 97 rounds and another lost its tracks.
Trollope, with No. 2 Section, describes the action: "Six Armoured Personnel Carriers began advancing at speed down the Airport Road. The first APC was engaged at a range of about 200 to 250 metres. The first three missiles, two 84 mm and one 66 mm, missed. Subsequently one 66 mm fired by Marine [Mark] Gibbs hit the passenger compartment and one 84 mm Marines [George] Brown and [Danny] Betts hit the front. Both rounds exploded and no fire was received from that vehicle. The remaining five APCs which were about 600 to 700 metres away deployed their troops and opened fire. We engaged them with GPMG, SLR and sniper rifle [Sergeant Ernie Shepherd] for about a minute before we threw a white phosphorus smoke grenade and leap-frogged back to the cover of gardens. Incoming fire at that stage was fairly heavy, but mostly inaccurate."
According to Governor Hunt in his memoirs, Marines Brown and Betts brought the leading Amtrac to a screeching halt with a direct hit in one of the forward tracks while Marine Gibbs scored another hit in the passenger compartment: "About this time, we received the heartening news that the section led by Mike's second-in-command, Bill Trollope, had knocked out the first APC. They put an 84mm rocket into the tracks and a 66mm rocket into the passenger compartment. They stood ready to shoot anybody who got out, but nobody did."
Trollope and his men withdrew along Davis Street, running behind the houses with Argentine Marines in hot pursuit, and went to ground firing up the road when it became obvious they could not reach Government House. Corporal Lou Armour, commanding '1 Section', was positioned at Hookers Point when the invasion began. Shortly after the attack on Moody Brook, he was ordered to withdraw to Government House, meeting up with Corporal David Carr's section along the way. "The marines, now numbering sixteen, decided to try and work their way around to the back of the ridge where the Argentinians were positioned, and then charge down to Government House, hopefully taking the enemy by surprise. But as they moved through the edges of the town they came under fire at every street corner and it was eventually so heavy they had to abandon their plan."
As both sections headed off to find Trollope's men, Armour decided to have one more try at getting into Government House. Using fire and manoeuvre to cross a football pitch they then crawled along the hedgerow leading to the gardens where they experienced friendly fire. According to Armour: "I had a running battle with a bunch of Argentines in armored vehicles who were chasing me and my section back toward Stanley. When we eventually got to government house, we were taking fire from three directions: the Argentines who were attacking the house, both behind and in front, and our own guys, who were in the house and thought we were another Argentine snatch squad trying to get in. So that was a bit hairy. An Argentine was killed that day and a few more wounded."
They eventually made it to safety via the kitchen door. Again according to Armour: "One Section pepper-potted down the road towards the wood where we knew Government House to be. Movement was slow as we had to crawl and monkey run until we reached the hospital. It was now broad daylight. From there the section fired and manoeuvred behind the nurses' home and across the football pitch until we reached a hedgegrow. I informed Marine Parker to call out, 'Royal Marines!' as we approached the house. We were eventually heard by Corporal Pares, who told us where the enemy were. The section, under cover from Corporal Pares, then dashed into the house where we were deployed upstairs by Major Noott."
In the meantime, Corporal Stefan York and his section had been patiently manning their hiding place on the western end of Navy Point. As Argentine landing craft were reported approaching Stanley Harbour, Marine Rick Overall fired a Carl Gustav anti-tank round which the British, in an interview with military historian Martin Middlebrook, claimed to have penetrated the side of an Argentine Marine Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel, killing all on board. According to Lieutenant-Commander Hugo Jorge Santillán, an Amtrack Amphibious Recovery Vehicle around this time had entered Stanley Harbour after the capture of Government House, to carry out emergency repairs on the two amphibious armoured personnel carriers that had been damaged in the earlier gun-battle near the Ionospheric Research Station.
Major Mike Norman wrote in his book about the Navy Point defenders: "All well and good, but if an enemy landing craft had been sunk in the Narrows, by Corporal York's 4 Section, I would certainly have heard about it – they were in constant radio contact with my HQ. No such incident was ever mentioned."
Battle of Government HouseEdit
Lying on a small hillock south of Government House, Lieutenant-Commander Pedro Giachino faced the difficulty of capturing this tactically important objective with no radio and with a force of only sixteen men. He split his force into small groups, placing one on either side of the house and one at the rear. Unknown to them, the governor's residence was the main concentration point of the Royal Marines, who outnumbered the commandos by over two to one.
The first attack against this building came at 6.30 a.m., barely an hour before the Yorke Bay amphibious landing, when one of Giachino's squads, led by Lieutenant Gustavo Adolfo Lugo, started to exchange fire with the British troops inside the house. At the same time, Giachino himself, with four of his subordinates, entered the servants' annex, believing it to be the rear entrance to the residence. Four Royal Marines, Corporals Mick Sellen and Colin Jones and Marines Harry Dorey and Murray Paterson, who were placed to cover the annex, beat off the first attack. Giachino was hit instantly as he burst through the door, while Lieutenant Diego Garcia Quiroga was shot in the arm. The remaining three retreated to the maid's quarters.
Giachino was not dead, but very badly wounded. An Argentine combat medic, Corporal Ernesto Urbina, attempted to get to Giachino but was wounded by a grenade. Giachino, seeing what had happened, pulled the pin from a hand grenade and threatened to use it. The Royal Marines then attempted to persuade the officer to get rid of the grenade so that they could give him medical treatment, but he refused, preventing them from reaching his position. After the surrender of the British forces at Government House, some three hours later, Major Giachino was taken to Stanley Hospital but died from loss of blood.
At the governor's office, Major Norman received a radio report from Corporal York's section, which was positioned at Camber Peninsula, observing any possible Argentine ship entering Stanley Harbour. The corporal proceeded to report on three potential targets in sight and ask which he should engage first. "What are the targets?" the major enquired. "Target number one is an aircraft carrier, target number two is a cruiser", at which point the line went dead.
After firing a rocket at an amphibious vehicle heading to Yorke Bay, York decided to withdraw his section and proceeded to booby trap their Carl Gustaf 8.4cm recoilless rifle, before paddling their Gemini assault boat north across Port William. As he did so, York said they were chased and fired upon by an Argentine destroyer (either the corvette ARA Drummond or Granville). His initiative led to the Gemini reaching an anchored Polish fishing vessel and hiding the small assault boat under her shadow. They patiently waited for a chance, before moving to the shore and landing on a small beach. Argentine sources say the Drummond laid down suppressing fire on a cove north of Port William where unidentified personnel had been spotted, in support of Cabo San Antonio, whose crew had reported a "missile falling short to starboard", apparently launched from the area. Other Argentine navy's reports claim that the action at Port Williams was carried out by ARA Granville.
Back at Government House, the Argentine commandos' pressure continued. There is some evidence that their use of stun grenades, mistaken as high-explosive rifle-grenades and/or mortars, and their continuous shift of firing positions during the battle led the Royal Marines inside to believe they were facing a large company of marines and were hopelessly outnumbered. Actually, after the failure of Giachino's small platoon to break into the residence, the British were surrounded by only a dozen amphibious commandos. These men were under Lieutenant Lugo, Giachino's second-in-command. The Land Rovers used by the Royal Marines were disabled by automatic gunfire from the commandos.
Governor Hunt called Patrick Watts—at the radio station, Radio Stanley—by telephone and said he believed the assaulting force to be the equivalent of a reinforced company: "We're staying put here, but we are pinned down. We can't move.(...) They must have 200 around us now. They've been throwing rifle grenades at us; I think there may be mortars, I don't know. They came along very quickly and very close, and then they retreated. Maybe they are waiting until the APCs [Amtracs] come along and they think they'll lose less casualties that way."
Corporals Geordie Gill and Terry Pares, both snipers, also claimed to have shot several Argentines through the chest and head as they attempted to scatter along the hillside overlooking Government House: "We dropped a number of Argentinians as they approached and I had a couple in my sights and made sure they were taken out of the game. It was initially estimated that we had killed five and injured seventeen, but we only counted the bodies that we saw drop in front of us." Major Norman's estimate is that Corporals Pares and Gills killed or wounded some four or five Argentine special forces: "Corporals Pares and Gill, were doing an excellent job. Gill would look through his sniper scope and tell Pares where the enemy were and Pares would fire ten rounds rapid, and as soon as that got them on the move, Gill would take them out with the sniper rifle. They took out four or five this way and all the time they were giving the rest of us a running commentary."
In the official history of both sides, Argentine casualties are listed as one killed and three badly wounded outside Government House. Another three Argentine Marines (Private Horacio Tello, Padre Ángel Maffezini and Lieutenant-Commander Hugo Santillán) were injured taking cover in the skirmishes in and around Port Stanley. During the gun-battle, Kenneth Clarke was one of four British correspondents covering the events from the home of the Governor's Secretary as the Argentine Marine Special Forces sheltering behind hedges and rocks attacked Government House less than 100 metres away. Clarke could hear the gunfire and feel the explosions. As dawn broke a bullet from an Argentine sniper came through a bedroom window and parted his hair.
Around 7.30 a.m., the local police commander Ronnie Lamb, had to order two Royal Falkland Islands Police officers to nearby Government House, in order to rescue a civilian, Henry Halliday, as he blissfully headed off to work, despite the fierce gun-battle taking place all around him. Eventually, Hunt decided to enter talks with Argentine commanders around 8:30 a.m., after Major Norman warned him "that our defence would be determined, unrelenting—but would be relatively short-lived". The liaison was Vice-Commodore Hector Gilobert, the head in the islands of LADE, the Argentine government's airline company. Gilobert and a governor's deputy went to the Argentine headquarters displaying a white flag. A de facto ceasefire was put in place at that time which was occasionally breached by small arms fire.
The governor's envoys found the Argentine command post at Stanley's town hall. The Argentine commander accepted the British offer of a face to face meeting with Hunt in his battered office. While the negotiations were still going on, another incident occurred inside the residence. Three Argentine amphibious commandos who survived the first skirmish along the compound inadvertently alerted Major Noott to their presence, while they had been preparing to leave their hiding place. The Major fired his Sterling submachine gun into the ceiling of the maid's room. According to British reports, the stunned commandos tumbled down the stairs, laying their weapons on the ground. They became the first Argentine prisoners of war of the Falklands War, although by then Governor Hunt had already been in contact with Argentine officials negotiating the terms of surrender.
The version of Lieutenant Commander Cufré, who was then at Stanley airport, is that the three Amphibious Commandos supporting Giachino's party kept their positions right to the end of the hostilities. Admiral Carlos Büsser, commander in chief of the operation, states that a ceasefire was already in place when the three commandos, after realising that the battle was coming to a close and that any loss of life at the time would be futile, laid down their arms to the marines in order to assist the wounded. Just a few minutes after this event, Government House capitulated.
Meanwhile, the Royal Marines in the house saw the approaching Amtracs that had been engaged earlier by Lieutenant Trollope and his section. The Amtracs were Rex Hunt's biggest problem, because they could take up positions outside the range of the Royal Marines and blast Government House to pieces. The vehicles pushed on toward Moody Brook to link up with Lieutenant-Commander Guillermo Sánchez-Sabarots. His amphibious commandos were plodding slowly along the road to reinforce their colleagues besieging Government House after taking some prisoners near the racecourse. The majority of the FIDF soldiers were captured inside Drill Hall, where they had barricaded themselves a few hours earlier with one section captured near Government House and escorted back to the hall to join their fellow reservists. Two other sections were captured with the fall of Government House and ordered to lie face down with the Royal Marines. In the meantime, the naval detachment from HMS Endurance at Government House began to shred official documents.
Major Norman had earlier advised Governor Hunt that the Royal Marines and the governor could break out to the countryside and set up a 'seat of government' elsewhere, but when he finally met the commander of the Argentine seaborne forces, Admiral Büsser, he agreed to surrender his troops to the now overwhelming Argentine forces at 9:30 a.m. It was a hard decision for Governor Hunt to make: "With a heavy heart, I turned to Mike and told him to give the order to lay down arms. I could not bring myself to use the word 'Surrender'. Mike's face was a mixture of relief and anguish: it was not part of his training to surrender, but his good sense told him that there was no real alternative. As Gary accompanied Busser to tend the wounded round Government House, Mike told his radio operator to instruct all sections to down arms and wait to be collected."
While Major Noott accompanied Busser outside Government House, the British officer applied morphine and the tourniquet on the Argentine wounded that would staunch the heavy bleeding and, Lieutenant Diego García Quiroga would later say Noott saved his life. He was rushed to Stanley Hospital where two doctors operated on him after cutting through his heavy clothing using scissors. Corporal Ernesto Urbina was given plasma in Stanley Hospital which saved his life.
Before Hunt's capitulation, Sánchez-Sabarots had to order a section of his men to release the Argentine nationals that Vice-Commodore Gilobert reported were being held under guard inside Town Hall. But, before they could arrive Commander Alfredo Raúl Weinstabl and his adjutant, Lieutenant Juan Carlos Martinelli and several marines from his tactical headquarters secured the Town Hall and Stanley Police Station buildings. According to Weinstabl: "The town was silent. Arriving at the place we had chosen as the Battalion Command Post, we found abandoned weapons and packs. I ordered Lieutenant Martinelli to recce the building and within a short while he returned with about thirty men and women who came out of it smiling. They were Argentines who had been locked in that place the night before. Almost opposite was the Police Station. Inside were six or seven policemen with their Chief and a group of sailors from an oceanographic research ship. I ordered the Police Chief to send the constables home and to tell them not to come out until they were told."
Hunt would later state in mid-April that the defenders fired 6,000 rounds in the fighting at Government House and elsewhere. The Falklands Governor disputed Argentine claims that the seaborne assault resulted in only one Argentine dead and two wounded, telling Time Magazine reporters Briton Hadden and Henry Robinson Luce in their 12 April 1982 article that at least five and possibly 15 invaders were killed and 17 were wounded in the invasion. Major Norman, in 2007, confirmed the defending British marines and Royal Navy sailors fired 6,450 small-arms rounds and 12 rockets in the fighting on 2 April 1982.
Fearing that British had established an observation post on Tussock Island, Major Mario Castagneto's 601st Commando Company was sent to clear the island of enemy special forces, but returned empty handed and completely covered in black soot due to another Pucara napalm bombing on 1 May. Nevertheless, several Falkland Islanders maintain the belief that the napalm attacks were part of a cover-up to hide the Argentine losses suffered during the initial fighting codenamed Rosario.
After the surrender, the Royal Marines and two rifle sections under Corporals Gerald Cheek and Pat Peck from the FIDF were then herded onto the playing fields. Pictures and film were taken of the British prisoners arranged face-down on the ground. This was probably an attempt to demonstrate the lack of British casualties, but it backfired: The images galvanised the British public when they were broadcast on television and increased public opposition to the invasion. Corporal Armour's section had fought on the second floor at Government House and was taken prisoner: "There were three casualties lying in the garden of Government House. You think: What sort of mood are they going to be in when their oppos are shot up? When we were actually lying down I felt a bit humiliated but I also felt apprehensive about what was going to happen next. One of the Argentine officers came along and actually struck one of the guards and told us to stand up. We stood up and he shook my hand and a few other guys' hands and said that we shouldn't lie down, that we should be proud of what we'd done."
The Royal Marines had fought with bravery and skill for they had killed one of his best officers—Lieutenant-Commander Giachino, 2IC of the 1st Marine Battalion—Carlos Busser said. Now they could lay down their arms with their military honour intact. The appeal succeeded in that the governor decided he had no choice but to accept the inevitable. The Royal Marines were allowed, 10 at a time, to return to Moody Brook Barracks under armed guard and once inside were given ten minutes to pack their personal belongings.
In a final act of defiance, Rex Hunt donned his ceremonial uniform, complete with ostrich plumes and sword, for the drive to Stanley Airport in his staff car before they boarded their plane. "We feel as though we are deserting everyone, but what can we do?" Hunt's tearful wife, Mavis, told British journalist Kenneth Clarke.
Soon afterward, the Royal Marines were moved to a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, which would take them to Comodoro Rivadavia, where they were to be picked up by another airliner to Uruguay and on to the United Kingdom. Members of the FIDF were not taken to Argentina along with members of NP 8901; instead they were disarmed and returned to their homes.
The 77 British marines and Royal Navy sailors were treated to a heroes' welcome when they landed on 5 April, at Brize Norton Air Base in Britain and in the press conference that followed, Rex Hunt (in the presence of Majors Noot and Norman) informed the world press that the Port Stanley defenders had killed at least five Argentine soldiers, wounded 17 others and captured three attackers, destroying an armored personnel carrier in the process along with 10 more soldiers inside "who never resurfaced". In his final report from Port Stanley that was published on 5 April, Kenneth Clarke from the Daily Telegraph confirmed the tribute that the Argentine Marine Corps commander had paid to the Royal Marine defenders and denied that he and the other British journalists had been subjected to intimidation, as reported by one British newspaper.
Corporal York's section remained at large. On 4 April, they reached Long Island Farm owned by a Mrs Watson. York had no radio, and due to worries about possible civilian deaths, chose to surrender to Argentine forces. They gave their position to the Argentine Army using a local islander's radio, and York subsequently ordered his men to destroy and then bury their weapons. Major Patricio Dowling and a platoon from the 181 military police company platoon were helicoptered forward and after roughly handling Yorke's men and posing for pictures, locked up the Royal Marines men in Stanley Police Station. Yorke's section would then be held in Comodoro Rivadavia along with Lieutenant Keith Mill's 22-man platoon and supporting 13-man British Antarctic Survey detachment under Steve Martin captured in South Georgia.
The police commander, Ronnie Lamb, was deported soon after the occupation and the other full-time officer, a police woman, left soon afterwards on her own accord, leaving a squad of Special Constables who had been recruited hastily on the eve of the invasion but that had left the service―with the exception of 19-year constable Anton Livermore―in the week that followed rather than be seen as cooperating with the enemy.
Reaction in the United NationsEdit
On 3 April 1982, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 502 demanding an immediate withdrawal of all Argentine forces from the islands and calling on the governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to seek a diplomatic solution to the situation and to refrain from further military action.
The timeline of the operation was as follows:
- 21:30 1 April – The Type 42 destroyer ARA Santisima Trinidad begins loading naval commandos of the Amphibious Commandos Group into 21 small inflatable motor boats. These set out for Mullet Creek but sail too far north and are caught up in beds of kelp, which cause problems for the boats. They decide to head for the nearest beach, which is near Lake Point.
- 23:00 1 April – The first group of 84 men lands on an unnamed beach at Lake Point. The group splits into a smaller force led by Lieutenant-Commander Giachino which heads towards Government House, and a larger force commanded by Lieutenant-Commander Sabarots which heads towards Moody Brook barracks.
- 04:30 2 April – A small advanced team of the Tactical Divers Group is landed undetected from the Submarine ARA Santa Fe near Yorke Bay.
- 05:30 2 April – Lieutenant-Commander Sabarots' force reaches and surrounds the barracks. They throw grenades into the buildings and storm the buildings with heavy machine gun fire. They find the buildings deserted.
- 06:00 2 April – 20 FMC Amtracs and several LARC-V stores-carrying vehicles land on Yorke Bay from the LST ARA Cabo San Antonio. The force splits into 3 groups:
- A four Amtrac vanguard. Including one carrying the Army Platoon.
- The main force of 14 Amtracs.
- The second in command, a recovery Amtrac and LARC vehicles.
- 06:30 2 April – The first Amtracs meet no resistance. The Army platoon secures the deserted airport, previously swept by Navy tactical divers.
- 06:30 2 April – An Argentine force of 16 naval commandos reaches Government House, where they are stopped by 31 Royal Marines, 11 armed Royal Navy personnel and 1 local. Three Argentines are wounded, including the leader of the platoon, Lieutenant-Commander Giachino, who later dies. Another three are later captured inside the House, although by then (around 8:00) talks with Argentine officials about the surrender had already begun.
- 07:15 2 April – Having met no resistance, the Argentine Amtracs advance on Stanley, when they are ambushed from a house about 500 metres from the road. Royal Marines use rockets and machine guns. The Royal Marines fall back to government house. One of the Amtracs is scarred by machine gun fire, and there is one minor injury.
- 08:30 2 April – The Argentine Amtrac force secures Stanley.
- Lieutenant Colonel Seineldín's Regiment 25th platoon begin to clear the runway, while Navy tactical divers from the party landed by ARA Santa Fe provide security on the airport and seize the lighthouse.
- Events leading to the Falklands War
- Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute – Dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom
- Invasion of South Georgia
- Falklands War – Conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom in 1982 (1982)
- Occupation of the Falkland Islands – Argentine government of the Falklands, Georgias and Sandwich Islands during 1982 occupation, formally dissolved in 1985
- Reassertion of British sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (1833) – Re-establishment of British rule on the Falkland Islands in 1833
- An Ungentlemanly Act
- "Hunt: My Falklands Story". BBC. 2002. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
- Bound, Graham (2006). Falkland Islanders at War. Pen and Sword Books Limited. ISBN 1-84415-429-7.
- Russell, Steven. "Invasion! Under fire, as the Falklands come under attack". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
- Battles: The Argentine Invasion Archived 8 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine royalnavy.mod.uk. Accessed 26 August 2007.
- Fenton, Ben (26 April 2007). "How South Georgia was recaptured". The Daily Telegraph.
- "Argentine Invasion : Falklands Conflict : Battles : History : Royal Navy". www.royal-navy.mod.uk. 3 February 2007. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007.
- "Consequently, there were 85 Royal Marines on the islands, with 25 men of the Falkland Islands Defence Force, although some retired members of the FIDF also reported for duty that around 40 men were available for the FIDF." A Damn Close-Run Thing, Russell Phillips, Shilka Publishing, 2011
- Anderson, pp. 17–19.
- "Meanwhile the Falkland Islands Defence Force (FIDF) was preparing for the invasion quite independently of the Marines. Their OC, Major Phil Summers, had tasked the approximately forty parttime militiamen to guard such key points as the telephone exchange, the radio station and the power station." Invasion 1982: The Falkland Islanders' Story, Graham Bound, Page 45, Casemate Publishers, 2007
- "Anthony Davies, known as 'Taff', was the only experienced soldier among them. Taff had been a Marine and met his wife Jackie when serving with Naval Party 8901 in the late 1970s. He left the Corps in 1979 and settled in Stanley. That night he felt he had to do something to help and became the FIDF's newest member." Bound: Invasion 1982: The Falkland Islanders' Story, p. 46
- "Rex Hunt's chauffeur and major-domo Don Bonner was deeply attached to his boss and Government House, where he had a grace-and-favour cottage. Don had borrowed Rex's 12-bore shotgun, staked out the flagstaff on the lawn and told Mike Norman that he planned to shoot "any Argy who tried to bring down the flag."" Bound: Invasion 1982: The Falkland Islanders' Story, p. 47
- Insight team Sunday Time (1982), Chapter I: Surrender (I) and Chapter VIII: An ungentlemanly act. There is a mention of volunteers, such as Jim Fairfield, a former marine, Bill Curtis, a Canadian national and air controller and the skipper Jack Sollis, captain of the Forrest. Rex Hunt himself was armed with a Browning 9 mm pistol.
- Mutch, James (10 April 2017). "Britain's secret weapon in the Falklands War reunited with former comrades". The Bolton News.
- "Led by Colour Sergeant J. Noone RM, and accompanied by the Chief Secretary as the representative of the civil power, they had rounded up thirty Argentine nationals residents in Port Stanley by 4.00am, placing them in protective custody." The Royal Navy and Falklands War, David Brown, p.57, Pen & Sword, 1987
- Invasion 1982: The Falkland Islanders' Story, Graham Bound, p. 50, Casemate Publishers, 2007
- Nick Van Der Bijl (2007), p. 15
- Mayorga, p. 71
- Ruiz Moreno, p. 21
- Yofre, Juan Bautista (2011). 1982: Los documentos secretos de la guerra de Malvinas/Falklands y el derrumbe del Proceso (in Spanish) (2nd ed.). Buenos Aires: Sudamericana. p. 217. ISBN 978-950-07-3666-4.
- Bóveda, Jorge (2007). La Odisea del submarino Santa Fe. IPN editores, pp. 56, 75–76. ISBN 978-950-899-073-0 (in Spanish)
- ""Valió la pena", Alfredo Cufré, primer soldado que pisó Malvinas". Fundacion NUESTROMAR. 1 April 2007.
- Busser, Operación Rosario. The force was composed of 76 Amphibious Commandos and 8 members of the Buzos Tácticos (tactical divers) elite group.
- The so-called Patrulla Techo (Roof patrol).
- "Meanwhile, Lieutenant Commander Pedro Giachino, who was the 1st Marine Infantry Battalion Second-in-Command, and had volunteered for the mission, approached Government House with eight amphibious commandos and the eight tactical divers." Victory in the Falklands, Nick Van Der Bijl, p. 18, Pen & Sword, 2007
- "Naval Party 8901 And the Argentine Invasion (Britain's small wars)". Archived from the original on 10 October 2006.
- Middlebrook, pp. 36–37.
- Invasion 1982: The Falkland Islanders' Story, Graham Bound, p. 46, Casemate Publishers, 2007
- "El día anterior el fuego británico había alcanzado los cuarteles de Moody Brook, donde mató a tres soldados e hirió al mayor José Rodolfo Banetta, de la compañía comando de la Brigada X." Isidoro J. Ruiz Moreno, La Lucha Por La Capital (chapter), Comandos en Acción: El Ejercito en Malvinas, Emece, 1986
- "El Jefe de Personal del Comando de las Fuerzas Terrestres que, hasta ese entonces, había permanecido con su Sección en el Cuartel de los Marines (Moody Brook), el Mayor del Ejército Don José R. Banetta, que debía replegarse de las instalaciones mencionadas hacia su Puesto de Comando Principal en la localidad, al incendiarse y destruirse los cuarteles, por un efectivo y preciso ataque de la aviación enemiga." Carlos H. Robacio, Jorge Hernández, p. 216, Desde el Frente: Batallón de Infantería de Marina No. 5, Centro Naval, 1996
- "Los ataques aéreos continuaban pero en forma cada vez más esporádica, quizá el último bombardeo importante fue sobre el ex-cuartel de los Royal Marines en Moody Brooki donde funcionaba el PC Ret de la Agr Ej a órdenes del My Banetta. Produjo bajas y grandes daños en el cuartel." Horacio Rodríguez Mottino, p. 182, La Artillería Argentina en Malvinas, Clio, 1984
- "Fundación Soldados". www.fundacionsoldados.com.ar.
- FORO DE LA CIUDAD – OPERACIÓN ROSARIO por HUGO JORGE SANTILLAN
- Bound, pp. 52–53.
- My Falkland Days, Rex Hunt, p. 238, David & Charles, 1992
- Bound, p. 58
- The Sunday Times Insight Team, 1982 p. 12. Sphere Books Ltd.
- "Soldiers Who Fought Each Other in the Falklands War Are Now Sharing a Stage". Vice.
- Graham Bound, Invasion 1982: The Falkland Islanders' Story, p. 54, Casemate Publishers, 2007
- Operation Corporate (Viking, 1985), Martin Middlebrook, p. 51
- "2 de abril de 1982 MALVINAS: Vehículos Anfibios". Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
- Mike Norman, Michael K. Jones, The Falklands War, There and Back Again: The Story of Naval Party 8901, p. 149, Pen & Sword Books Limited, 2019
- Busser, p. 259
- "Corporal Mick Sellen, who with Marine Paterson had shot the three Argentines in the chicken run, had reported to Gary that he had seen three others make for the staff quarters, and he suspected that they were still there." My Falkland Days, Rex Hunt, p. 233, David & Charles, 1992
- Busser, page 277
- "The Opening Shots of the Falklands War – The Invasion of Port Stanley 2nd April 1982 – Going Postal". Retrieved 5 April 2019.[permanent dead link]
- Ríos, César (2015). Operacion Gibraltar (in Spanish). Dunken. pp. 246–47. ISBN 978-9870280361.
- Gr, Quequén; e (5 July 2014). "2 de abril de 1982 MALVINAS: Vehículos Anfibios". Intereses Estratégicos Argentinos (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
- "The noise for a while was deafening. It numbed the senses, like an anaesthetic, and made thinking a conscious effort. We surmised later that the Argentines were throwing stun grenades but, at the time, we thought we were being mortared. Outbursts of automatic and rifle fire interspersed the bangs. My first rational thought was surprise that the windows had not shattered. My second was to wonder why we had no pieces of metal flying round." My Falkland Days, Rex Hunt, p. 226, David & Charles, 1992
- Insight team Sunday Time (1982), Chapter VIII: An Ungentlemanly Act, p. 88
- Bound, page 60
- Way, p. 134, increases the number of Argentine troops around the House to 600.
- Insight team Sunday Time (1982), Chapter VIII: An Ungentlemanly Act, p. 89
- David Reynolds, p. 21, Task force: The Illustrated History of the Falklands War, Sutton, 2002
- Max Arthur, p. 17, Above All, Courage: The Falklands Front Line: First-Hand Accounts, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1985
- "Kenneth Clarke". The Daily Telegraph. 14 November 2006.
- "Yesterday morning Ronnie Lamb, the police chief, had to get his officers to rescue old Henry Halliday from the front road, as he had set off for work as usual, through the main part of the invasion, just after seven." 74 Days: An Islander's Diary of the Falklands Occupation, John Smith, p. 33. Century, 1984
- "At 0830 Major Norman advised the Governor on various military options. He realised that the enemy had overwhelming numerical superiority and although he would have liked to break out, taking the Governor with him, and set up a seat of Government elsewhere in the Islands, he had no doubt that if they continued as they were, they would be soon overrun. He told the Governor 'that our defence would be determined, unrelenting-but would be relatively short-lived'. The Governor got in touch with Vice Commodore Hector Gilobert, the Argentine representative of Lade, and asked his help in contacting the Argentine Commander, Admiral Carlos Busser." THIS WEEK'S GLOBE & LAUREL – July/August 1982[incomplete short citation]
- Insight team Sunday Time (1982), Chapter I: Surrender (I), p. 20.
- Busser, p. 40
- Insight team Sunday Time (1982), Chapter I: Surrender (I), page 20. Instead, in an article published by an Argentine newspaper, the 1982 commander of the Tactical Divers Group (Buzos Tácticos) states that the three men withstood a fierce three-hour gun battle with the Royal Marines.La Voz del Interior newspaper, 1 April 2007 (in Spanish)
- "The Amtracks were the Marines' biggest problem, because they could stand off outside the British troops' range and blast Government House to pieces. After telephoning various people in Port Stanley to ascertain the outside situation, Governor Hunt reluctantly agreed to see the commander of the Argentine forces present, Admiral Busser." The World's Elite Forces, Bruce Quarrie, p. 64, Berkley Books, 1988
- "En su trayecto [el grupo de comandos] recibió la rendición de una patrulla de ocho soldados ingleses, en proximidades del Hipódromo, y momentos después se encontraron, de acuerdo con lo previsto y como hemos visto, con la Vanguardia de la Fuerza de Desembarco, que debía rastrillar la parte norte de la península de Camber". Mayorga, p. 77
- These troops seem to have been FIDF men on patrol around Stanley's racecourse in order to prevent helicopter landings (Telegraph.co.uk).[incomplete short citation]
- "The FIDF were disarmed in their drill hall, where they had been since returning section by section a few hours earlier. One group had been intercepted by the Argentines not far from Government House. Lined up against a wall with weapons levelled against them, they briefly thought their time was up. But after a tense few minutes, they were escorted to the drill hall, like the rest of the FIDF, eventually taken home under armed guard. Some, perhaps most, of the Defence Force were unhappy about their early withdrawal and at least one section on guard to the south of the town had sent a runner back to the HQ questioning the order. They had, however, at least avoided the humiliating final act of the Marines' drama. On the road outside Government House, over-zealous Argentines forced the Marines to lie face down with arms outstretched. Argentine photographer Rafael Wollman snapped sensational pictures, which were splashed across front pages around the world." Invasion 1982: The Falkland Islanders' Story, Graham Bound, pp. 68–69, Casemate Publishers, 2007
- "We watched sadly as Argentine soldiers assembled our Royal Marines on the lawn in front of us. We were alarmed to see some members of the FIDF. They were Gerald Cheek's and Pat Peck's sections, who had been caught between the Argentines attacking Moody Brook and those surrounding Government House." My Falkland Days, Rex Hunt, Page 238, David & Charles, 1992
- Barker, Nick (2001). Beyond Endurance: An Epic of Whitehall and the South Atlantic Conflict. Pen and Sword. p. 2. ISBN 0850528798.
- Rex Hunt, p. 234, My Falkland Days, David & Charles, 1992
- "Una buena mañana para morir". La Gaceta.
- "Día a día lo que ocurrió en Malvinas y en el mundo, durante el conflicto armado. 2 de Abril". Fundación Malvinas – Ushuaia – Tierra del Fuego.
- "Fui entonces al hospital donde al lado del cuerpo del Capitán Giacchino se encontraba en otra camilla el Cabo Urbina al que le estaban suminstrando plasma." Operación Rosario, Carlos Busser, p. 327, Editorial Atlántida, 1984
- Weinstabl, Alfredo. "El BIM2 EC en el Primer Conflicto Belico Argentino del Siglo XX" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
- Nick Van Der Bijl (2007), p. 23
- "The Robesonian". news.google.com.
- Goslett, Miles (31 March 2007). "Help was weeks away as 88 men waited in the Falklands dark for 3,000 invaders". The Daily Telegraph.
- "La Compañía de Comandos 601 era usada para las más variadas actividades. Por la mañana, y dado que se creía que desde allí se dirigía a los bombarderos, se habían dirigido a la isla Tussac, a la que le dieron el nombre de Isla Quemada porque un avión había arrojado una bomba de napalm sobre ella y regresaron negros de hollín de la turba que pisaron." Compilación Malvinas, Joaquín A Boccazzi, Page 138, Gráfica Sur, 2004
- "God knows what this is doing to the wildlife out there. It is said, although it is difficult to find evidence to support it, that the Argentine dead still being recovered from the invasion, and the deaths from exposure, are being put on the islands so that no trace remains of their losses, which during the invasion period were far heavier than admitted." 74 Days: An Islander's Diary of the Falklands Occupation, John Smith, Page 84, Century, 1984
- Michael Bilton, Peter Kosminsky, p. 233, Speaking Out: Untold Stories From The Falklands War, Andre Deutsch, 1989
- "The marines had fought with bravery and skill, Busser said. They had killed one of his best captains. Now they should lay down their arms. The appeal succeeded in that the governor decided he had no choice but to accept the inevitable." War in the Falklands: The Full Story, p. 20, Harper & Row, 1982
- "The Royal Marines were allowed, 10 at a time, to return to Moody Brook under supervision and were given ten minutes to pack non-service kit." THIS WEEK'S GLOBE & LAUREL – July/August 1982
- "The captured British servicemen were then allowed to collect personal items (but no uniform) from Moody Brook and were flown out to Comodoro Rivadavia that evening." The Royal Navy and Falklands War, David Brown, p.59, Pen & Sword, 1987
- Bound, pp. 35 ff.
- Downie, Leonard Jr (6 April 1982). "In Surrender, Briton Refused To Shake Hands". The Washington Post.
- Middlebrook, Martin (1985). Operation Corporate: the Falklands War, 1982. Viking, p. 52. ISBN 0-670-80223-9
- "The Police Chief, Ronnie Lamb, had been deported soon after the invasion and the only other full-time police officer, a young and inexperienced woman constable, had left voluntarily. Chief Secretary Dick Baker, whom the Argentines had allowed to remain in Stanley for ten days after the invasion, asked Anton to stay in uniform to defuse potentially serious clashes between locals and Argnetines." Invasion 1982: The Falkland Islanders' Story, Graham Bound, p. 165, Casemate Publishers, 2007
- "Apart from a small squad of Special Constables who had been recruited hastily on the eve of the invasion and turned out less frequently as they seized opportunities to leave Stanley, the 19-year-old was alone with the enemy." Invasion 1982: The Falkland Islanders' Story, Graham Bound, p. 165, Casemate Publishers, 2007
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 502. S/RES/502(1982) 3 April 1982. Retrieved 20 July 2008.
- "Communications Cut With the Falklands". The New York Times. New York: The New York Times Company. 3 April 1982.
- Anderson, Duncan (2002). The Falklands War 1982. Osprey Essential Histories. Osprey Publisher. ISBN 1-84176-422-1.
- Andrada, Benigno Héctor (1983). Guerra aérea en las Malvinas (in Spanish). Emecé editores. ISBN 978-950-04-0191-3.
- Barker, Nick (2001). Beyond Endurance: An Epic of Whitehall and the South Atlantic Conflict. Pen & Sword. ISBN 0850528798.
- Bound, Graham (2002). Falklands Islanders at War. Pen and Sword Books. ISBN 0-85052-836-4.
- Busser, Carlos (1984). Operación Rosario (Informe oficial de la Marina Argentina) (in Spanish). Editorial Atlántida. ISBN 950-08-0324-0.
- Freedman, Lawrence (2005). Official History of the Falklands Campaign (2 vols.). Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-41911-6.
- Insight Team Sunday Times (1982). War in the Falklands: the Full Story. The Sunday Times. ISBN 0-06-015082-3.
- Mayorga, Contraalmirante Horacio A. (1998). No Vencidos (in Spanish). Ed. Planeta. ISBN 950-742-976-X.
- Middlebrook, Martin (1989). The Fight for the Malvinas: The Argentine Forces in the Falklands War. Viking. ISBN 0-14-010767-3.
- Middlebrook, Martin (2003). The Argentine Fight for the Falklands. Pen and Sword Books. ISBN 0-85052-978-6.
- Moreno, Isidoro J Ruiz (1987). Comandos en acción (in Spanish). Emecé editores.
- Smith, John (1984). 74 days – An Islander's Diary of the Falklands Occupation. Century Publishing. ISBN 0-7126-0361-1.
- Van Der Bijl, Nick (2007). Victory in the Falklands. Pen & Sword. ISBN 1844154947
- Way, Peter, ed. (1983). The Falklands War in 14 parts. Marshall Cavendish.
- Lieutenant Commander Richard D. Chenette, Marine Corps Command and Staff College "Operation Rosario": The Argentine Seizure Of The Malvinas [Falkland] Islands: History and Diplomacy
- Falklands Island Invasion, Operation Rosario
- Falklands Islands Defence Force remembers its role
- RAF account of the Invasion, apparently an excerpt from Way's book
- British veteran returns to South Georgia Islands