Argentinian ratbags got what they deserved

The_empire_strikes_back_newsweekApart from smashing the unions Margaret Thatcher also smashed the Argentines after they invaded the Falkland Islands. The Telegraph has some good coverage and the ITN video above is a great summary as well.

Margaret Thatcher served as prime minister for more than 11 years, but it was arguably the 74 days she spent evicting the Argentine invaders from the Falkland Islands that did most to fix the image of an unbending, uncompromising leader in the British popular imagination.

…Several Tory MPs, including Ken Clarke, then a junior minister, warned against fighting. Sir Ian Gilmour, a Tory wet, predicted that “it will make Suez look like common sense” — and a secret memo from defence chiefs spelled out both the expense and “serious risk” of fighting a conflict so far from home.

Overruling those voices of caution, Mrs Thatcher gave the order for the Task Force to sail on April 5 with the aircraft carriers Hermes and Invincible at the centre of a fleet that would ultimately contain 38 warships, 77 auxiliary vessel and 11,000 soldiers and marines.

“We have to recover those islands,” she said. “We have to recover them for the people on them are British and British stock and they still owe allegiance to the Crown and want to be British.”

The cover of that month’s Newsweek magazine was a picture of Hermes beneath the headline “The Empire Strikes Back”. 

The_Sun_(Gotcha)It was an epic endeavour to sail to the South Atlantic and attack and defeat entrenched and hardened troops.

[B]ut if anyone questioned Mrs Thatcher’s determination to retake the islands, the answer came on May 2 when the British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror received orders to sink the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano.

The sinking in which some 400 Argentine sailors died, remains controversial to this day. Argentina maintains that the ship was heading away from the Falklands and the 200-mile exclusion zone declared by Britain. For supporters of Mrs Thatcher, it was an example of her unselfish hard-headedness. “It was a pivotal moment of the war. It took real guts,” said Nile Gardiner, a former Thatcher aide. “Lady Thatcher made clear in a number of interviews that she acted to protect British lives. It was a huge decision that very few people would have taken.”

Certainly, the sinking had a deterrent effect, sending the Argentine navy back to port, where it remained for the rest of the conflict, leaving the Task Force to contend with the far more deadly threat from Argentina’s air force armed with sea-skimming Exocet missiles.

Bad news was yet to come:

Over the next week, the bad news came thick and fast as Argentine jets continued to attack despite heavy losses inflicted by British carrier-borne Sea Harriers.

HMS Ardent was hit first, on May 22, then two days later HMS Antelope went down. And on the disastrous day of May 25, HMS Coventry and the MV Atlantic Conveyor, with its Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and supplies, were also both sunk.

On May 28, in need of some good news as doubts grew in some quarters about the wisdom of the war, 600 men under Lt Col H. Jones — who was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross – outfought more than 1,000 Argentines around Darwin and Goose Green.

Now able to break out of the beachhead at San Carlos, the British forces, including the Royal Marines, the Parachute Regiment and the Guards, “yomped” their way to Port Stanley, in harsh conditions that provided some of the most memorable images of the war.

But yet further disaster was to strike on June 8 when the landing ship Sir Galahad was hit by two Argentine bombs, setting the ship on fire and killing 48 British servicemen. The images of Royal Navy helicopters hovering in thick smoke, winching survivors to safety were seen around the world.

The final battle for Port Stanley began on June 11 and, after three days of intense fighting, the Argentine commander, Gen Mario Menéndez, surrendered his 9,800 men on June 14, effectively ending the conflict.

The Falklands had been re-taken at a cost of 258 British killed and 777 wounded. In addition, two destroyers, two frigates, and two auxiliary vessels were sunk. Argentina lost 649 killed, 1,068 wounded, and 11,313 captured. Three Falkland Islanders also lost their lives.

 


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  • le sphincter

    needless to say it was Thatcher and her defence minister Nott which made big cuts to the military in the years before the Falklands war.

    Funny how thats not mentioned now that Ding Dong is dead

    • Travis Poulson

      It’s not funny at all, it’s irrelevant that’s why it wasn’t mentioned. The fact they won in Falklands make it even more irrelevant. Or perhaps even more relevant, since they won after such cuts. Such cuts helped to turn the country around. And mongol socialists like you can’t seem to grasp that.

    • Jester

      Even with the cuts they still managed to give the backward marching Argies the spanish archer in record time!

      Great to see that The Baroness, even in death she still scares the shit out of you chinless leftist cowards enough that you feel the need to attack her post mortem.

  • thehawkreturns

    This woman took charge of the Tories and immediately their was a change of tone in the British press. The Tories under Heath, Labour under Wilson then Callaghan had all been spineless politicians with no principles. They had no sense of purpose and were uninspiring. Suddenly a woman – who could be PM! She had principles and purpose. She believed she could make a difference and that difference lead to the polarising of Britain. Between the hard working , silent majority and the loud mouthed academic elitists and their communist friends living on state hand-outs. What speaks most to me is the fact that she so utterly destroyed socialism that Tony Bliar (sic) slyly adopted most of her economic policies. My great sadness is that the UK is so overrun by the socialists again that she has been denied a State Funeral. Surely a fitting thank you to the country’s first female PM, a PM for over 11 years and a PM that won a real war against a foe committed to fighting with modern weapons Shame on Britain. Shame on Cameron – another spineless Tory.

    • sandynobb

      I can’t help thinking what might have been if Enoch Powell had become PM instead of Thatcher. Thatcher was great, but Powell could have been greater yet.

      • thehawkreturns

        Powell was also a highly intelligent visionary who recognised decades ahead of what is still a small but growing group of Westerners that multiculturalism cannot work and is a great threat to society. I guess he could not harness political support and was brought down by PC do-gooders. Those that cannot bear the truth. I think we have to honour the achievers not the might-have-beens.

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