The Falkland Islands War is the story of British forces’ actions during the 1982
conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom. The conflict erupted when
Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands. This article provides an overview of
the events leading up to the conflict, including the British response to the invasion
and Argentine air attacks.
Thompson’s plan for the falkland island war
In the Falkland Islands, a British military force was called to help liberate the islands
from Argentine control. British forces landed on the beaches of San Carlos Water on
May 21, 1982, from the amphibious ship Canberra and the liner Canberra. They
landed at Ajax Bay, Port San Carlos, and Goose Green. Brigadier Thompson’s plan
included the capture of Stanley, Goose Green, and Darwin.
Initially, the Argentine military thought that reclaiming the Falkland Islands would be
a relatively simple and quick war, and that this would rekindle national pride and
popular support. Although Britain and Argentina had generally good relations, the
disputed sovereignty of the islands had caused some tension. However, the first
offensive action took place when 50 Argentines landed on South Georgia, a British
dependency. There, they raised their flags. This was widely interpreted as the first
offensive action, and it was quickly seized upon as the beginning of the war.
Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands
On 2 April 1982, Argentine troops invaded the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.
Argentine junta wanted to establish a long-term presence in the islands. They were
worried that the British would exploit the crisis to reinforce their naval presence in
the South Atlantic. Thus, they implemented their occupation plans immediately.
They seized the islands and South Georgia after a brief period of resistance by the
The British forces were forced to fight the Argentine forces in a series of battles,
including a siege of Stanley. They were aided by a small supply of ships and
helicopters. After the first assault, a British helicopter, the SS Canberra, was caught
off the coast in Bluff Cove, and its crew was killed. Later, the British forces launched
a final push to capture the Argentine garrison on West Falkland and South Thule. On
14 June 1982, British forces finally achieved victory. In the process, they lost 255
Argentine air attacks on British ships
During the Falkland Islands War, Argentine air strikes on British ships were a
common occurrence. During the war, the Argentine navy tried to trap the British
fleet in a pincer-like movement, with the British hope of finding the Argentine
aircraft carrier General Belgrano. However, no British submarine was able to locate
the General Belgrano, and the British battleship HMS Conqueror managed to catch
up with it.
The Argentine air attack on British ships continued throughout the war. Over the
course of the war, seven British ships were lost to Argentine aircraft. Aside from the
ships themselves, Argentine naval jets also attacked landers and merchant container
ships. British destroyers and frigates were stationed ahead of the Argentine fleet,
serving as radar pickets, but they were not all equipped with close-in weapons or
antiaircraft systems. Despite the British air cover, the Argentines managed to sink
the HMS Sheffield with an Exocet missile.
British response to Argentine invasion
The British response to the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982
remained largely limited to air strikes, which were used mainly to target Argentine
aircraft. These attacks were costly, with seven British ships destroyed in the conflict.
The Argentine air force also used fighter jets to attack the Task Force, sinking two
frigates and a destroyer, as well as a transport ship disembarking troops. Despite
the heavy losses sustained by the Argentines, the Task Force managed to land
4,000 troops unopposed in East Falkland. However, the Argentines were largely
conscripted and had no cover in the area.
A few weeks before the invasion, Britain’s Prime Minister announced the formation of
a task force to set out to negotiate a diplomatic settlement. This force included US
Secretary of State Alexander Haig, who shuttled between London and Buenos Aires
to negotiate a settlement. Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar
made a trip to the islands to discuss the situation.
Argentine prisoners of war
There are many allegations of war crimes committed by British forces during the
Falkland Islands war, and the government is investigating the allegations. The claims
stem from memoirs written by a former Argentine Lance Cpl., Vincent Bramley.
While the details of his actions are sketchy, they appear to be consistent with the
storyline of the Falkland Islands conflict.
Prisoners of war from Argentina were held for a long period. The SS Canberra and
MV Norland carried about 5,000 and 1,000 prisoners back to Argentina on 17 June.
By 20 June, all but five93 had been repatriated. The remaining prisoners were held
as prisoners of war in order to gather intelligence and persuade Argentina to cease
hostilities. The last prisoners returned to Argentina on 14 July. In June and July, the
2nd and 3rd Para returned on the MV ‘Norland’. The MS ‘Europic Ferry’ also returned
to the UK. The 5th Infantry Brigade remained on the islands, continuing garrison