Why the Argentinians might as well give up on the Falklands

The Telegraph

The Poms will send the SAS in. This raid didn’t go ahead but the Argies don’t have anything to compare to the SAS, SBS or the Gurkhas.

Had it happened, Operation Mikado would have been the most dramatic raid staged by Britain since the Second World War, a desperate coup de main intended to remove the Exocet threat to the Royal Navy task force seeking to retake the Falklands. With the approach of the 30th anniversary of the war, some of those involved have cast fresh light on an operation that can be seen either as an audacious assault in the finest traditions of the SAS, or a hubristic suicide mission.

“In my own mind I saw it as a one-way ticket,” says Tom Rounds, navigator in one of two Hercules crews trained for Mikado. “In my final letter to my wife I said as much. We all had our bags packed. If we didn’t come back, they just had to put them on the next plane back to the UK and hand my stuff to the missus.”

The SAS, known as “hooligans” to the RAF crews, began planning assaults on Argentine airfields within days of the invasion of the Falklands on April 2, and a month before Exocet, a French-built sea‑skimming anti-ship missile, burst on to the world stage.

“The planners had decided that fighter bases were acceptable targets,” says Rounds. “We reckoned it would take 20 to 30 minutes. The vehicles would rush out full of hooligans to reap mayhem. We would seal the aircraft up and take off in a minute – real Second World War stuff.”


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • ConwayCaptain

    I bet that the Brits have members of the elite forces there already keeping an eye, if not a nuke sitting off shore listening.  30nyears ago the nukes told the Task Force when the planes had taken off.

    The Brits would know if anything was afoot and they could insert the SBS//SAS v easily and damage their aircraft.  No Need to blow them up, a handful of nuts and bolts in the air intake would do.

    As for their subs, well the Yanks were amazed how Astute could track the USS New Mexico from unbeleivable ranges.

    In that programme How to Command a Nuke on the Nat Geo Channel the Dutch conventional sub had something loose and the Brit sub heard it for miles.

    The Brit nukes on silent running make no water, turn off all the extraneous plants, galley etc and lie there.  Apparentlty the PRC nukes are NOISY

  • johnbronkhorst

    The yanks put pressure on the brits, not to attack the Argentine airfields. Doubt they’d listen this time. Argies wouldn’t get a plane off the ground, before their airforce was completely destroyed, if they tried that shit again.

  • Paul G. Buchanan

    In an act that violated the 1947 Rio Treaty, Chile allowed UK SAS to forward position in Chilean Tierra del Fuego. Pinochet had land claims on the Argentine side of the Magellan Strait, and thought that offering the SAS safe haven would allow him to grab the disputed territory in the event of a total Argentine military collapse. He got that wrong, but stories of the SAS presence continue to be told to this day.

    As an aside–what do you have against Argentines? As I have said before, most of the current ruling generation as well as the Gen X types have no interest in war, having lived through or been born into a state terror experiment on their own shores. So the Argie-bashing seems a bit weird, unless you had a British relative killed or injured in the conflict.

    • niggly

      In reading the Whaleoil blog over the last few years I’ve never noticed any xenophobic posts against other country’s and even reading the various posts on the Falkland Islands v Argentina appearing here over the last few months I really doubt Cameron has anything against Argentines per se.

      What Cameron appears to be against though is the ramping up of self-serving rhetoric by the likes of Cristine Fernandez de Kirchner (deflecting the real issues affecting every-day Argentines).

      Eg Wiki quotes “In April 2008, on the 26th anniversary of the Falklands War, Kirchner stepped up Argentine claims to the Falkland Islands. She called Argentina’s rights to the islands “inalienable”.

      “With faith in God, and with the work that we all have to do to build
      a country that is strong and respected around the world, so that our
      voice is heard in all International forums, and we can denounce the
      shameful presence of a colonial enclave in the 21st century”.”

      Apart from the colonial hypocrisy (after all Kirchner’s lineage is Spanish not Native South American & no doubt is the same for the ruling classes) this sounds like the typical self-serving rhetoric typical of politicans when setting up strawman arguements to get the “people” on side. (Also sounds like the typical sort of bullshit that Labour and the Greens espouse here in NZ). Near 90% of Argentine people are of European descent.

      But anyway I reckon Cameron’s real stance is this. Kirchner can talk all the rhetoric she likes but militarily Argentina is in no position to take the Falkland Islands back by force and thus he is simply having a bit of fun combining his interests in politics and weaponry to make the point.

      (And of course Kirchner knows Argentina cannot take the Falkland’s back by force so she is also playing a longer game via the diplomatic and nationalism routes). However what is a true worry to me is the escalating diplomatic chess game stakes eg preventing FI flagged vessels entering Argentine ports, preventing air travel etc. This looks to me like an (economic) blockade and international countrys usually reserve these stances for non-democratic nations such as the likes of North Korea or Iran etc (note I’m not arguing the merits either way in applying pressure to say Iran etc). So Argentina is blockading a democratic nation (FI) which in my mind is only a step or two away from crossing the line and using force (although I’m sure it won’t get to that level but the intent is there and needs to be carefully managed – I hope I’m wrong of course).

      So Paul do you really think that Whaleoil blog has a real issue against Argentina? Or simply is pointing out the reality of Kirchner’s rhetoric if the issue escalated would see Argentina suffer another humiliating defeat, all thanks to a species called the Politician who usually inhabits another world but uses the aparatus of the state to suck the suffering people into their deluded self serving world?

      If you don’t think Cameron is attempting to wage war on Argentina then perhaps you may wish to apologise to him because I sense your KiwiPolitico piece on the Falklands recently was attack on Whaleoil when in essence you say it is the NZ right-wing blogs advocating war here …

      • Paul G. Buchanan


        I just have found it perplexing that WO goes on about the Argentines when there is zero chance of them initiating another war. It was a  mistake the first time (although it did lead to the ouster of the Galtieri regime) and it would be a mistake this time. Plus, as I said, the vast majority of Argentines have no interest in the issue. The Fernandez de Kirchner government blows smoke the way many politicians do, in this case to appease the nationalist Right in Argentina.

        The real deal, as others have mentioned, are the economic resources around the island, to include gas and oil deposits as well as fisheries. The Argentines want part of that action and so want to build a case for their claims.

        There is no blockade on the islands and in fact the Argentines have proposed to begin weekly flights to the islands (an offer so far rejected). That was actually the status quo before 1982–Argentina was the main supply transit route to the Malvinas. What has happened is that several OAS states have made a solidarity move in barring British flagged ships from their ports. It is a hollow gesture but it serves the purpose of regional solidarity (interestingly, the Chileans are not part of the solidarity ban). 

        Admittedly, my experience growing up and then professionally working in and on Latin America (especially Argentina) makes me see things a bit differently than WO. Even so it just seems peculiar that he and other conservative commentators feel the need to Argie-bash on the issue. Kiwis do not have a dog in that fight so I can only chalk it up to some post-colonial affection expressed in a choosing of sides in favor of the colonial master rather than some Spanish speaking place. No big deal, to be sure, but it piqued my curiosity (hence my comment).

  • Tom

    Brave boys. Imagine packing your gear expecting not to come home. Then doing it. Fuck me.