It was because they march backwards

The Telegraph

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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  • ConwayCaptain

    Your header is a bit unfair WO.

    The S American juntas had never been to war aprt from against their own people.  BRazil actually fought in WW 2.

    There was a cabal of Officers drawn from the richer families of the countries that thought that they could keep the population down by violent menas.  Once confronted by a real military that had years of experience foghting they crumbled.  The Falkland Campaign meant the end of all the S American Juntas within 5-10 years.

    • Mark

      Brazil only fought in the final months of ww2.
      Argentinian troops were very well equipped and generally had weapon for weapon the equal of the UK.
      Argie officers did not care for their men, many supplies were not issued to troops but kept in store in Stanley.
      Argies lost because they were inferier soldiers who were in the wrong, fighting for a bit of dirt they had no right to…. Battle for Goose Green saw 300 lightly armed Paras defeat 2500 dug in Argies. Rule of thumb says that the Paras should have had 7500 troops for the job.
      I spent 7 years in the Falklands and love the place. Argentina has never had any right to the Islands and teaches in its Schools a fictious history of the South Atlantic.
      Berlin has more right to claiming ownership of Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam and Prague than Argentina has of claiming the Falklands.

      • ConwayCaptain


        Argentinian Navy was up against the best trained Navy in the world.  The Perisher (UK Submarine Commanders Course) is considered to be the hardest Command coures in the world. Less people have passed this course than been awarded the VC!!!!

        The course to get into the RM Commandos and the Paras are also considered to be La Creme de la Creme. 

        You can give low grade troops the best equipment but it is still run by low grade troops.  Give the best the best and you have a world beating conbination.

        The Brits broke all the rules of  Am Kreig (On War) by Von Clauswitz

      • ConwayCaptain


        The British Cavalry have a saying

        Horses Firts, weapons second then your men then officers a long way 4tyh.  This also applies to the Navy and the PBI.

        As I used to say to my caets, look after your nmen and they will look after you.

        FYI PBI is Poor Bloody Infantry

    • Mark

      I Totally agree ConwayCaptain, it was the quality of the men that won the Falklands Conflict, not superior might.
      Many Argie troops were boys, I met one a few years back who was a student from Mendoza, he was thrown into a van and a month later was in the Falklands in command of an Artilery Piece 5 clicks out of Stanley that neither he or any of his men knew how to use. They were victims of an Evil Regime. Kirchner though is also evil in my books and has failed to learned from the past. Few remember that Argentina suffer from an extreme case of entitlement, in the ten years prior to 1982 they also had border disputes with 4 other nations… Uraguay, Paraguay, Brazil and a short war with Chile….. I think I know who is the problem. P.S Sorry I see Brazil actually fought for the last 12 months of WW2

  • EpochNZ

     Its definitely interesting now to revisit the history of the “incident” that played out while I was at Intermediate school.  Parts of the English campaign can almost now be described as “bumbling” and they lost a lot more ships than they should have (care of the Etendard/exocet combo), but it must be remembered this was possibly the last last time any of the western super powers went to war before the full effects of the technical revolution were felt.  The next major conflict (The first Gulf War) was won with cruise missiles, night vision gera, laser guided weapons and stealth technology.

  • ConwayCaptain

    This was the ONLY naval war fought since WW 2.

    The Brits broke all the rules of Am
     Kreig PLUS they went in seriously under strength in air power.  They were outgunned by the Argies in Air Power by 10-1.

    Sandy Woodward is republishing his book 100 Days for the 30th Anniversary.  Remember the Brit PBI Yomped/Tabbed across boogy terrain for 70 miles and then fought pitched battles against an entrenched enemy.  The Paras reckoned that if they had been on Tumbledown/Mt Longdon/Wireless Ridge etc for 7 weeks prior to being attacked NOTHING would have got them off.

  • guest

    Mark,  I think Brasil declared war 1942 after U Boats hammered their coastal shipping, also allowed USA ,naval base and large airforce base before that. Argintina also used skyhawks,but I understood that skyhawks and etendards did not stack up to well against harriers.  The old cruiser General Belgrano couldnt stand up to any modern submarine, it wouldnt matter who it was manned by. After that they kept their Navy at home and used only airforce and the Brits had warnings from shore as to when these flights left. According to friends who worked over there in the 80s they told me that there has been Brits in the Falklands since late 1770s and that Argintina didnt exist as it does now until the 1820-1830s

    • Mark

      Yip Brits established a base on Saunders West Falkland before Cook came to NZ.
      Argentina claim UK invaded in 1833 but reality is they kicked out Argentines at the request of sealers after Argies were trying impose rule over a multinational colony.
      Argentina also claim South Georgia and other UK dispite the fact that even the Argentines cannot deny they have only ever been held by the UK.Brazil did declare war in 1942 but didnt send troops until 1944….. as far as I am concerned you enter a war when you fight.

  • guest

    Fair enough

  • Estim

    Any loss of life is sad, hopefully it won’t happen again. I think the ‘Mac Lads’ did a song that covers it best.