The Argies have declassified the review of their loss in the Falkland War. I would have thought that marching backwards ought to be avoided as a valid military tactic:
Argentine president Cristina Kirchner has finally declassified a scathing review of the mistakes made by Argentina’s military junta in going to war with Britain in 1982 trying to recover the Falkland Islands.
The Rattenbach Report is so critical of Argentina’s military leadership that the last dictator ordered it kept secret for 50 years.
By making it public, Mrs Kirchner said she hopes to show Argentina “will always be on the side of peace.” She also said very little of the report needed to remain classified – just the names of an active Argentine intelligence agent and an islander who collaborated with Argentine forces.
Mrs Kirchner has sought to blame the 1976-1983 dictatorship and not the Argentine people for the failed war, while at the same time using non-military means in hopes of squeezing Britain into negotiating the islands’ sovereignty. Argentina say Britain has illegally occupied what they call the Islas Malvinas since 1833.
A version of the report was leaked decades ago, and its conclusions are not a surprise: the junta planned for an easy occupation, gambling the US would support them and Britain would simply let the islands fall into Argentine hands.
Then Argentina’s ill-equipped army had to scramble into a war footing after Margaret Thatcher sent a task force 8,000 milesinto the South Atlantic to take the islands back.
The report confirms Argentine soldiers were sent from the subtropics into winter conditions without proper clothing, food or weapons, and were treated as cannon fodder by their own officers – pushed into battle without having had basic training in weaponry and combat.
“Troops weren’t adapted or equipped to handle the weather or the living conditions,” and yet they had to face “a highly equipped and trained enemy,” the report concluded.
“Military commanders encouraged the preconceived notion that there would be no armed conflict, and that the situation would be resolved diplomatically, which affected the morale of the forces and their readiness for combat.”
The Argentine occupation began on April 2, 1982, and ended 74 days later with British troops crushing the ill-prepared Argentines, at the cost of more than 900 lives.
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