A fascinating look at the 1982 battle for the Falkland Islands between Britain and Argentina.
This brief but furious war featured some of the latest military weapons as well as technologies being, well, for lack of a better word…battle-tested. For the developers of such things, this was the first time since World War II that the latest in war-making was let loose on such an all-encompassing scale, a ground war surrounded by an ongoing air-sea battle.
This was the first time the American-built Aegis ship borne defense systems were tested and subsequently failed miserably under fire. It featured the very first use of the then-feared French-made sea-skimming Excotet missiles. It also marked the first time commanders on an active battlefield were in direct contact with their superiors back home via satellites. It also marked the first time since World War II that British surface ships were sent to the bottom of the sea by hostile fire.
The Argentines saw it as a fight for an ages-old territorial claim. Lady Thatcher saw it as a test of her will. And the Americans saw it as a giant military laboratory, by whom, the results of which would be studied for future applications.
For military and history buffs alike, a must-read would be “The Battle for the Falklands,” by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins, a book I have read cover-to-cover a few times. The book’s chapters feature an odd-even look at the fluidly developing battle, as well as the behind-the-scenes political wrangling going on at the time. In my opinion, good stuff.
So, grab a beer, settle in and let ‘er rip.
Margaret Thatcher on the sinking of the Belgrano