Click on the graphic below to make it readable:
Things are hotting up again in the South Atlantic between Britain and Argentina. That’s right, the Falkland Islands are back. The long-standing tensions between the two countries flared up again earlier this month when Britain announced plans to begin offshore exploration drilling near the remote islands. The problem is that Argentina still claims sovereignty (sovereignty over the Falklands is even written in to the Argentine Constitution) over the archipelago nearly three decades after the end of the Falklands War in which more than 1,000 people died (including 649 Argentine and 255 British service personnel).
Last year Argentina submitted a claim to the United Nations for a vast expanse of ocean that overlaps the Falklands and Britain’s exclusion zone. The Argentinians are claiming rights over the area based on research into the extent of the continental shelf, stretching to the Antarctic and including the Falklands.
The history of the Falklands is complex. The British had a small settlement there from 1766. When it was abandoned in 1774, the territory became part of Argentina. Then, in 1883, the British seized the islands by force. The Argentinians briefly recaptured the islands during the 1982 war, but Britain reclaimed them after just 74 days.
Despite this, Argentina has always maintained sovereignty over the islands, which it calls Islas Malvinas. It has previously threatened any company exploring for oil and gas in the waters around the territory.
Why now and what’s at stake? Geologists estimate there are up to 60 billions of barrels of oil and many, many trillions of cubic feet of natural gas in the seabed near the Falklands and Desire Petroleum (a British company) is due to begin drilling 100 miles north of the islands before the end of this month.
Below is a picture of the massive oil drilling platform, Ocean Guardian, which has now arrived in the Falkland Islands:
Sixty billion barrels is a lot of oil. That’s 60,000,000,000 barrels of oil. Wars have been started for a lot less and Britain is stretched awfully thin right now. As I always say – Weakness, or the perception thereof, is provocative…
So, suppose Argentina decided to invade the Falkland Islands again. Does the United Kingdom of 2010 have what it would take to wrest the islands back again from Argentina?
Britain has 1,076 “service personnel” from all three forces on the Falklands, but the territory has a total population of only 3,000. So, even if some of the 3,000 inhabitants chose to help defend the Falkland Islands along with the British service personnel from Argentine invasion forces, this is clearly not a sufficient force to resist a determined invasion.
Consider these comments from Captain Michael Clapp who participated in the 1982 conflict:
We approached the Falklands in almost perfect conditions. The thick fog hid us from the prowling Argentine bombers. Unfortunately, our luck didn’t last. The following morning, the clouds lifted, the sun came out – and we became sitting ducks.
As Commander of the Amphibious Task Group, I had 5,000 troops and huge quantities of arms, ammunition and supplies to disembark in San Carlos Bay, an area that soon became known as ‘Bomb Alley’.
It didn’t take long for the first Argentine jets to arrive. Hidden by the high ground until the very last minute, they screamed overhead, dropping their bombs on anything they saw.
Thank goodness our two aircraft carriers, HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible, were stationed well offshore, near enough for their Sea Harrier fighters to give our Argentine attackers something else to think about, but far enough away to be largely out of danger. For make no mistake, had one of our carriers been sunk, we would have lost the war.
Many other ships, however, couldn’t be kept out of harm’s way. We lost ships in San Carlos Bay: the frigates Ardent and Antelope – the latter to a heroically brave but unsuccessful attempt to defuse an unexploded bomb. No one can forget the later attack on the Sir Galahad, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary landing vessel on which so many brave Welsh Guards lost their lives in an appalling inferno.
Those losses stay with me now. But those men died doing what they were trained to do and in the execution of one of the most ambitious and daring sea-borne invasions in British naval history. At times, it was undoubtedly a close run thing – but the objective of reclaiming the Falklands for Great Britain was achieved magnificently.
So as as the sound of political sabre rattling returns to the South Atlantic, could we repeat that success today? I’m not doubting the resolve of our armed forces – our soldiers, sailors and airmen have a long and proud track record of plucking success from adversity – but I’m sorry to say that we no longer have the ships and equipment to launch a sea-borne attack on an enemy on the other side of the world.
When I was helicoptered on to the decks of HMS Fearless on April 6, 1982, in filthy weather and in the middle of the English Channel, I was joining a task force that would eventually number 111 ships. Today – after spending cuts that have seen defence budgets slashed from 5 to 2.5 per cent of GDP – the once formidable Royal Navy now numbers barely 40 major ships and submarines.
True, not all of the 1982 Task Force ships were Royal Navy vessels – there were civilians ships, too. Twenty-two belonged to the Royal Fleet Auxilary, and the Merchant Navy came up with 42 of their own, such as the Canberra, the Atlantic Conveyor and even, of course, the QE2, the Cunard liner that transported the Army’s 5th Brigade the length of the Atlantic.
Those commercial ships provided vital support then – but we certainly can’t take any comfort from that now. If the Royal Naval fleet has shrunk spectacularly since 1982 – it had 55 frigates and destroyers then; today it has 24 – then the British merchant fleet has all but disappeared. Who knows where we’d get the ships to support a war in the South Atlantic from now.
Fewer ships doesn’t always mean a less effective fighting force, of course. The vast and almost brand new amphibious landing vessels, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, are a vast improvement on Fearless, which was nearly 20 years old when we sailed for the Falklands. Even so, they were beset with problems while they were being built and there are certainly doubts about their effectiveness in a combat environment.
We are also down to one effective aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious. Unfortunately, its pilots and Harrier GR9 bombers are now stationed almost permanently in Afghanistan. The Sea Harriers that proved so useful in the Falklands have long since gone to the scrapheap.
In fact, the Navy has so few available planes that they had to ask the U.S. Marine Corps for some of theirs, just to provide Illustrious’s crew with a bit of practice.
But the figures are grim wherever you look. We had 320,000 armed forces personnel in 1982; now we have 188,000. And with so many serving in theatres around the world, where would we now muster the thousands of elite troops it took to win the 1982 conflict?
And so it goes on. In 1982, we had 17 destroyers and sent eight to the Falklands. Now we have only seven – and many of them are engaged in policing waters elsewhere.
Worryingly, we no longer have enough ships to adopt the ‘chuck it all in and we’ll sort it out on the way’ approach that worked – just – in the Falklands. As Major General Julian Thompson, who commanded 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines during the Falklands conflict, said: ‘We still have some excellent soldiers. The problem is getting them there.’
So what should we do? Well, in honour of the 258 brave men who gave their lives in 1982 and to support the proudly British Falkland Islanders, it is essential that we do something.
What we’re seeing may just be a bit of sabre-rattling, an attempt by Argentine President de Kirchner to distract the electorate from her own problems, but sabre-rattling quickly becomes something more when you can scent weakness in your enemy.
After all, we must remember that one of the events that prompted the last Argentine invasion was the announcement of plans to withdraw the Antarctic patrol ship, HMS Endurance. That was just one ship; now it’s the woefully depleted state of our entire fleet that could be sending a similar message.
The continuing uncertainty surrounding the two new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, due to enter service towards the end of this decade at a cost of billions, needs to be resolved as soon as possible after the forthcoming General Election.
The Falklands campaign was a triumph for Britain’s armed forces, one that from a naval point of view required flexibility, ingenuity and an awful lot of ships. The simple truth is that we don’t have that capacity any more.
The Sea Harriers that proved so valuable in the Falklands have since been retired:
I actually think that the UK could mount a better task force now, than we did then!
Yes we have less overal ships but we do have at least one Invincible class carrier available, plud the HMS Ocean helicopter carrier which could be used for Harriers if need be.
We have 2 massive assault ships which are way better than the Intrepid and Fearless (which were already very old in 1982)
We also have 4 x Bay Class landing ships with huge decks for Harriers, Apaches, Chinooks, Lynx etc.
Also, one lesson learned from the Falklands war itself was the installation of a CIWS on every ship to shoot down incoming air threats!
Also, we have the Type 23 Frigates which are much more modern than anything Argentina has.
The ONLY thing we no longer have is a long range bombing ability. Maybe the Globemasters can be fitted with something suitable to drop on em!
Things are very different now, the falklands have an international airstrip, and four typhoons backed by an early warning system. Forget the harrier, a typhoon would take out 20 of them, and no im not joking.
The Argies could send up there entire air force, and they would lose their entire airforce, no ifs or butts, typhoons could engage dozens of airraft each. Thats before we look at the nuclear sub capability, and the 1,000 grenadier guards heavily armed and dug in on the island. Plus helicopters, re fueling tankers, and frigate`s….. The Falklands are secure, and nothing in Argentina can change that. The Argentinians would suffer massive losses and not get near the place, this would result in govermental changes over there which the current regeme would not want to risk. —Falklands -Safe as houses.
1000 Grenadier Guards? When did they re-form the 2nd Btn then?
I tell you what, you share them oil right with the U.S and not only will we defend the island but we will invade Argentina’s mainland for ya thus spreading real democracy :))) and permanently putting an end to these silly pro-Nazi war criminals rallying up the natives with dreams of conquest.
Impossible! education in Argentina? ‘ve spent money in vain …
boy before being supercilious lift your face and see the current reality . You have quantity and quality against a poor nation militarily . but very rich in resources and your enemies .. have settlements in our backyard .. open your eyes .. never could inadirnos . Russian and Chinese in quantity …
I am Argentinian and I will answer your comment because you seem to be a smart person, not like other comments that I have read that seemed to be written by airheads. We are fully aware of your capabilities and we know we are outmatched, not against your falkland stationed forces (it’s ridiculous to think that 4 planes can take down 100, even if the 100 are old), but the forces that would be gathered from other parts (I assume that you care more for the falklands than Afghanistan or Irak). The other thing that worries us is our own lack of investment in our forces for thirty years, we have really had stupid presidents (the current one is one of the worst), but Menem in the 90s was the worst and obeyed everything the U.S. would tell him to do, and one of the orders was to stop developing our forces and not to invest in them, and if you add to that the hatred our people had against our military leaders, well there you have the 30 year lag. Another reason we wouldn’t invade is your submarines and the info that got out that Thatcher had the idea of using a nuclear warhead against one of our cities (which I consider a cowardly act to kill civilians, boys, girls, women and old people), plus the fact that we know that you have a nuclear sub in the area, (you Brits historically have never cared for international law, Latin America is a nuclear weapon free area). Yes, we found your submarine, we know it’s there.
In our favor, things are different now, our neighbors are now our friends, in 1982 Chile told you where our Gral. Belgrano warship was, so it was easy for your submarine to sink it, and you had support to refuel, if I am not mistaken, by Brazil. Russia and China politically agree with us, they have openly expressed that the islands should be ours. Now our forces are proffesionals who are in the military as a career, not 18 year old kids who had hardly any training and were sent to the islands without any idea on how to fight. But all that is nothing compared to the fact that you will always have the United States backing you up (we know now that they gave you most of the information back then). Even if we have Russia and China in our favor (China depends a lot on the materials Latin America sends them) they will never give the support that we would need because economically the Commonwealth is far superior to South America, so it is in their best interests to stay away from any conflict. Now putting aside your weapon superiority, right now we are doing much better economically, even when a year with low economic growth is considered a bad year (3.5%) because we had a decade with an average of 8.5%. So we are enjoying things (even with a bad president) like we hadn’t in 50 years or more, so we don’t want to throw that away. Now, I hope you read this and answer, if we were China or another superpower, would you return the islands? I think you would, but right now you feel like the big brother who doesn’t want the younger brother to take anything from him, even if it belongs to the younger brother. You know the islands are ours, just like you knew Hong Kong wasn’t yours, but there is no way you would go to war with China, or in any case with Russia, or Germany or any other superpower. The point of keeping the islands was not a matter of who it belonged to, it was to show the world that you are still a super power, that’s all. You didn’t want another Suez Channel in your history. Now, I have another question, if Argentina would want to BUY the islands, would you? I know my country doesn’t want to buy something we know it’s ours, but maybe it would be a way to end this once and for all. I don’t know, it’s just an idea.
One final note: A helicopter carrier would not be used for harriers, as far as I know you sold them all to the US. And another thing, the Harrier was not far superior to our aircrafts, it was your air-to-air missile system. If you read the military leaders you had in the Falklands, they were surprised at the capabilities of our air force pilots. Numbers don’t always tell the whole story.
Thank you and have a nice day you all, I mean it.
Well put Matias. I live in Argentina and although I am a New Zealander and after hearing both sides for many years it seems Argentine might have the support now to push for its claims from surrounding countries plus United Nations. We hope there will not be another war over these islands but on the other hand one needs to show that it is prepared to pay a price to get them back.. .
As has been explained countless times before, this isn’t like Hong Kong, which was a 99 year lease. The Falklands were uninhabited and were settled by Europeans, including some Spanish/Argentinians and who wish to remain British. We would, and will stand up to anyone if they tried to force British people from lands they have lived in for 200 years. That is what you Argentinians fail to see; it isn’t about the Islands but about the people who have lived there for 200 years.
We cannot return the islands to you, as they were never yours. Nor were the South Georgia Islands, nor the Sandwich Islands, nor Antarctica.
The irony is, had Argentina accepted decades ago they had no right to remove indigenous people from the Islands, nor forcibly claim the Islands and had instead promoted friendly relations with their neighbours, in all likelihood the Falkland Islanders would have wanted to become part of Argentina on their own and Britain wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it.
@AKISMET-0133958B697E2D3955146E03205E8143 (New Zealander)
They have no claim. The only settlement the Argentinians have had on the Islands was jointly set up with the British, and those peoples descendants are still there, 200 years later. They were never removed, they just don’t want to be Argentinian. You cannot forcibly change the sovereignty of a people, nor remove them from lands merely because another country nearby once had a settlement there (some 60 years after the British first set up there, I might add). If that were the case the British have just as good a claim on Ireland too.
The UN classes what Argentina wants to do with the Islands as ‘Forcible Displacement’ aka Ethnic Cleansing, they can never support such an action, so they can never support Argentina’s claim.
Hi, Akismet. I think only people with lower intelectual coeficient would want a war; everybody loses, you can ask the families of the dead soldiers from either country if it was worth it or not (I, as a father, would never want my children in a war). I think articles like these are useless and they create more division between countries just to sell newspapers.
I am a patriot and I am biased, so are all Brits who write in this post, it’s obvious, but … (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) the Brits should let go of their ambitions to extract oil and everything could calm down again. Regarding sovereignty, 130 countries are supporting Argentina, and most of the countries who don’t are in the Commonwealth (which are a lot of countries) and the United States, which is Britain’s main ally. I saw an interesting article which showed how strategic are the Falklands for the Brits, in this article it explained that the only corner in Earth that is not dominated by Britain or its allies is South America, therefore it is a highly strategic for the Brits to have the Falklands.
Regarding the vote the Kelps had made me laugh, what were they going to say? No, we don’t want to be what we are? Just look at their last names, she how they look, do they look like Brits? Of course they do.
Now, Akismet, I read in a blog that when the Falklands were found, the Spaniards had not found the eastern Island, if that’s true, why not have one and one? The thing here is to do what’s right.
Charlie: As far as I know, when a country becomes independent, all territories (occupied and not) become the property of the new independent country, therefore if the Falklands and other islands were part of the Spanish viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, then all the territory becomes a part of that new country, therefore it is irrelevant if the Brits settle after the independence (Argentina became fully independent in 1816, the Brits settled in the Falklands, if I am correct, in 1833).
Imperialism is old and unpopular, there are only four countries (maybe 5) who maintain colonies, and according to the UN, the Falklands are a colony!! This is not us, this is the top international organization in the world created to have world peace and order which states that you should sit down to talk. No one is buying what you did with the vote in the Falklands, only your allies say you’re right, on the other hand we have countries who have a more profitable relationship with you who state that the islands should be ours, there are Nobel peace price winners who say it should be ours, there must be a reason behind that.
Charlie, do you know how may Spaniards/ Argentinians stayed in the Falklands? I really don’t know and I want to see if it is a significant amount to be worth mentioning. One last thing, Charlie, we want to talk, not invade, but you guys don’t even want that, so you are not exactly being reasonable. And last but not least, this article is rubbish, it must be yellow press, we KNOW that we can’t regain the Falklands by force, you have nuclear weapons which can make us lose much more than a coulpe of rocks.
Thank you for responding my previous post.
Well said Matias
Dont we still have some Harriers still in Service?
Apparently the The GR9 Harrier is expected to stay in service at least until 2018, no Sea Harriers though, you are right…
Surely they would be up to the job!
we now have:
Tomahawk cruise missiles
these can be fired at the argentine fleet, and destroy it from hundreds of miles away.
Also the argentines do not have any amphibious capability. that means they do not have the means to transport sufficient amounts of combat troops in a hostile environment.
The question is not can we take back the falklands, (which we could) but is how many obselete aircraft are the argentines prepared to slaughter against top spec RAF typhoon fighters? How many bases would they be prepared to be decimated by cruise missile fire? How many ships destroyed by antiship missiles?
etc. Our armed forces, while are much smaller than in 1982, have a supreme capability advantage over argentina, one which would result in a quick and brutal defeat, should it come to a war, which i do not think it would.
the argentines lack the ability to get troops to the falklands without them being blown out of the water by Typhoons. Task force is irrelevant. would be more of a retaliatory strike.
Argentina in affect could possibly damage the Falklands and “possibly” take them. I agree with the Typhoons being a far more capable aircraft that could shoot Argentinians out of the sky. However, imagine 20 Argentine aircraft heading to the island. Prudence would suggest we deploy our handful of typhoons to engage them. Now imagine they intercept the Argentinian aircraft and they are unarmed. The British government, due to our poor politicians would not allow us to engage. Instead the Argies put on a show and fly around causing us to watch them until fuel requires the Typhoons to turn for home. Meanwhile coming in from another direction are three dozen aircraft in ground attack role. They attack, the airbases (whilst taking losses to rapier installations) damaging fuel installations and runway and hitting troop barracks and installations. The Typhoon have no place to land. The Aircraft are forced to ditch. Meanwhile Argentine special forces (inc Buzos Tactico) and commando brigade mount divisionary attacks across the island after being deployed by submarine (albeit ageing ones). Royal Marines based on the island retaliate to the attacks whilst the Argentines enjoy air superiority using their resources to inflict damages, although this is limited by distance from the mainland. Argentinia play it safe and deploy there Anti-submarine warfare assest carefully and sustain casualties but damage a UK hunter killer submarine in the process. Casualties would be sustained by both sides. Britain would respond and inevitably send a task force and would have no major problems in once again taking the islands. But at the end of the day the point is the Argentinians would not commit to conflict – they don’t have the money. Everything here is hypothetical but in war you can’t say things will be a walk over.
Leighton- currently Argentina can’t get more than 10 attack aircraft into the air. No money, no resources. They’re broke, hence the fuss about the oil!
You forget the formidable Type 45 destroyers to back our Typhoons. Taking 20 Argintinian aircraft out at once really I would not see being a problem with just 4 Typhoons and 1 Type 45 Destroyer, let alone the other 7 Type 45 destroyers the Royal Navy has to its disposal. What people seem to forget though, especially the Latin American countries, is that it is upto the people who live on the Falkland Islands to decide whether to stay British or go Argentinian, and from what I understand they wish to stay part of the United Kingdom. So I do not even see why Argentina keeps hassling the UK over this, the matter is as far as I am concerned closed, period.
Your history is screwed – Argentina didn’t exist in 1774. It was Spain, and they abandoned the islands too. And just because we’d popped out didn’t entitle squatters to move in. British forces ejected trespassing Argentine garrisons in 1833 and 1982, I reckon we could do it again.
I think we should be less concerned about the Argentine forces and consider those of Venezuela. Chavez has been raving for years about what he would do if the Royal Navy goes to the South Atlantic again, as well as pressing for united South American forces. Check the Wikipedia entry for the National Armed Forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. What if we factor in 24 SU-30s, 40 anti-ship missiles and 50 cruise missiles – just to mention a few. It’s true they don’t seem to have much of a navy, but they do seem to be constantly on the point of buying quantities from the Russians. And I’m sure that Chavez is quite capable of “coming to the assistance” of hard-pressed Argentina. Would Mr Obama send a couple of carrier battle groups to assist us? Somehow I doubt it. We need to be prepared for the worst. How about basing the Brigade of Gurkhas on the Falklands? I reckon the expectation of meeting 3,400 Gurkhas might put a lot of South Americans off.
You are forgetting one major difference between now and then. The Argentines now have the support of all of South America and much or the Western world. Argentinas ex President is now head of the South America Political alliance and one of the Worlds Super Powers is now very much behind Argentines claim. Whatever way you look at it there claim is a valid one. One way to avoid another war might be for Argentina to buy it off the British. They certainly need the moeny.
@tango kiwi have you forgotten what the war was about,it was about what the people living on the island wanted and what they regarded themselves as being,they did not want argentine rule,especially at that time under militay dicataorship were they were killing anyone they pleased,can you blame them for dreading that again.Britain had a job to protect these people and it would do again so argentines claims have no meaning as it is not what the people of the island want
The Mavinas are a pawn in larger game. Hong Kong is similar example where the old empire lost a colony. The British Empire at that time was a rich one made weathy by being the worlds largest slave traders. The history is that it was taken from Argentina not Spain in 1883. Yes the Islands are now full of English desendents but that it was resettled and enthnicly cleanesed does not make it right.
“The history of the Falklands is complex. The British had a small settlement there from 1766. When it was abandoned in 1774, the territory became part of Argentina. Then, in 1883, the British seized the islands by force.”
It’s not complicated, it is exactly the same as Gibraltar, amazingly straight forward. The Islands are British, discovered by a Briton and claimed by the British. The settlement was abandoned in 1774 due to Britain fighting in North America against the US, but the British left a plaque stating their intention to return, clearly the Argies didn’t read it. The Spanish also abandoned their settlement in 1811 and in 1816 Argentina became independent from its colonial master and another country that got rich on the slave trade, not to mention exploiting native populations, and claimed the Falkland Islands as their own, merely because it was close by (Argentina had never had a settlement at this point).
In 1833 (not 1883), the same year that slavery was abolished in the British Empire (53 years before the Spanish did so), the British returned and kicked out the squatters. The Argies have been complaining ever since.
It is worth noting that the Argentinians also claim the South Georgia Islands, and the Sandwich Islands, despite never having a settlement on either.
An island you are not using? The whole of Argentina was in use by someone but that didn’t stop you stealing it from them, butchering them, enslaving them and oppressing them. At least the Falkland Islands were uninhabited. Argentina is a colonial power built upon land stolen from the natives, is it any wonder you want to steal the Falklands from its inhabitants too? The Falkland Islanders have more right to the land they live in than any Argentinian, perhaps you should bear that in mind when complaining that they belong to you because they are located 300 miles off the coast of the land you stole.
I really think you need to check your facts on all counts. The Argentinians never setled the islands. The Island are a British territory and its residents wish to remain so, simple. Argentina also needs to have a far better democratic track record, which is not helped by Imperialistic ambitions such as these.
So if we settle in an island that you are not using, does it become ours? Argentina is a big country, we have lots of places inhabited, so if you settle there it makes it yours? Get a better argument. By the way, the Dutch got there before you did, so maybe we should give it to them.
Very interesting comment from Lord West…
NAVY CARRIERS WON’T HAVE JETS FOR A DECADE
The Strategic Defence Review will be unveiled today
Tuesday October 19,2010
By Macer Hall, Political Editor
THE Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers will go to sea without any jet fighters for the next decade under swingeing defence cuts to be announced today.
Whitehall sources last night confirmed that all Britain’s Harrier jet fighters, which played a crucial role in the Falklands War in 1982, are to be scrapped to save money.
A new £2.5billion supercarrier, HMS Prince of Wales, will be built with a “cat-and-trap” system for launching American-built Joint Strike Fighter aircraft by catapult, the sources said.
But the giant warship is not due to be fully in service and armed with the jets until 2019.
Although the decision has already been dismissed as “nonsensical” by Lord West, the former First Sea Lord, Government insiders say the debt crisis means the Navy will have no alternative.
One source said: “Labour is to blame for leaving the Ministry of Defence in this mess. They ordered two massive aircraft carriers without having any idea about what aircraft they were going to put on them.”
Another supercarrier, the Queen Elizabeth, will be used as a “helicopter platform” when it comes into service from 2016.
But because of the huge costs of running two carriers, that vessel is expected to be effectively mothballed once the Prince of Wales is deployed.
The Queen Elizabeth could even be sold off to a foreign navy to raise more cash.
The moves, to be announced today in the Government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, have enraged Navy chiefs.
Lord West said at the weekend: “If, God forbid, the Argentinians invade the Falklands, it would be totally impossible for this country, even if we had an Army of ten million, to do anything about it.”
Ministers have agreed to order a new generation of seven Astute-class hunter killer submarines. But thousands of troops are expected to be axed, along with scores of tanks, aircraft and warships.
The strategic defence and security review is also expected to cut thousands of troops, along with scores of tanks, aircraft and warships. Renewal of Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent is also likely to be delayed.
Cameron Unveils U.K. Defense Cuts
By ALISTAIR MACDONALD
LONDON—The debt-strapped U.K. government announced an 8% cut in its military budget, undertaking a delicate attempt at cutting personnel and military hardware without jeopardizing the country’s place among the world’s biggest military powers.
The cuts announced Tuesday by British Prime Minister David Cameron mark the Ministry of Defence’s biggest one-off reduction since the dawn of the Cold War. They call for eliminating more than 40,000 military and civilian jobs, retiring naval vessels, tanks and aircraft, freezing or deferring new materiel and pulling U.K. troops out of Germany a decade earlier than planned.
Washington has raised concern over how sharp reductions will affect the military services of the U.K.—the biggest military ally of the U.S., and a leading partner in this decade’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Europe last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raised concerns that Britain’s cuts would reduce its ability to contribute to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Mr. Cameron on Monday phoned President Barack Obama to reassure him that the U.K. will remain a big military power. On Tuesday, Mr. Cameron predicted that spending would begin to increase again after 2015.
“Britain has traditionally punched above its weight in the world and we should have no less ambition in the decades to come,” he told Parliament Tuesday. He said that even after the cuts, Britain would have the world’s fourth-largest military budget and would be able to meet its commitment to NATO of spending more than 2% of gross domestic product on defense.
The latest reductions follow a longer-term trend that has accelerated since the end of the Cold War, leading analysts to question Britain’s future as a top-tier military power. “These cuts don’t push the U.K. past the tipping point, but it brings it dangerously close to that tipping point,” said Thomas Donnelly, a director of the Center for Defense Studies in Washington.
The cuts are the result of a strategic defense review ordered up by the U.K.’s Conservative-led coalition government shortly after it took office, the first such review in over a decade. One primary impact will be major personnel reductions.
Mr. Cameron said the British army will lose 7,000 of its 103,000 personnel by 2015. Naval manpower will fall by 5,000 to 30,000. The Royal Air Force will lose 5,000 of its 38,000 positions. An additional 25,000 civilian jobs will be lost.
All of the services will lose equipment as well. The British Navy, which once claimed to rule the seas, will lose four frigates and battleships. The Royal Air Force will lose the Harrier aircraft that was a source of British pride for 40 years. The U.K. will also postpone replacing its seaborne nuclear deterrent until after the next election in 2015.
In a cut that isn’t spelled out in the review, the UK. will slash its order for the Joint Strike Fighter—a new high-tech jet being jointly developed with the U.S. and mainly built by Lockheed Martin Corp.—to about 40, with an option to buy more later, one person familiar with the matter said. The U.K. was once expected to buy 138 of the jets.
Many political observers said the reductions could have been worse. On Wednesday, Mr. Cameron will release his broader blueprint for cutting the U.K.’s record deficit. After a battle between the Treasury and Ministry of Defence, the government has kept the defense cuts well below the 25% reductions it is expected to seek from other departments.
Late Tuesday, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research issued a study warning the broader budget cuts run the risk of pushing the U.K. economy back into recession. The U.K. research institute’s study said the chances are one in five the spending cuts will cause economic contraction next year, which could force the government to put austerity on hold and provide some stimulus to growth.
Long the world’s dominant armed force, the U.K. military remained relevant even after being eclipsed by the U.S. and Russia after World War II. Britain’s active military and nuclear deterrent has given, giving the country heft on the global stage even as its comparative economic size fell. Frank Miller, a former member of George W. Bush’s National Security Council, said the capabilities the U.S. values in the U.K.—including a nuclear deterrent, special forces, intelligence-gathering and the ability to deploy a brigade overseas—remain in place.
The new military budget is aimed at repositioning the U.K. for what Mr. Cameron calls the “age of uncertainty,” in which Cold War fears of conventional state-on-state conflicts are replaced by terrorist threats, insurgencies and cyberwarfare.
To that end, he announced 40% cuts to tanks and heavy artillery and plans to withdraw the 20,000 British troops stationed in Germany by 2020, some 10 years earlier than planned. He promised to invest in special forces and cyberwarfare.
Arguments on the defense budget have proved heated in a country whose identity is tightly bound with its military history.
Like many ex-service personnel, Stuart Tootal took the afternoon off work to hear Mr. Cameron’s statement. “Anyone who has served is going to feel the pain of this,” said Mr. Tootal, a former paratroop commander in Afghanistan. Mr. Tootal said he worried the cuts may affect morale of soldiers set to deploy to Afghanistan, where 340 British soldiers have died.
Mr. Cameron blamed the need for cuts in part on the overspending and mismanagement of programs by the previous Labour government that further stretched the defense budget. One project being cut is the Nimrod reconnaissance plane, which was eight years late and triple the original budget.
One of the most controversial decisions involved whether the U.K. should continue building two multi-billion-pound aircraft carriers, even as it was cutting costs and concluding that threats to the U.K. were less likely to come from conventional warfare.
On Tuesday, the government announced that it is going ahead with the construction, but with delays and odd consequences.
One carrier will be completed—and then immediately put on “extended readiness,” or mothballed, to save costs. The carrier may be sold to another country later. The other will be delayed so it can be fitted with new technology that allows a wider variety of planes to land on it, including the U.K.’s version of the Joint Strike Fighter.
The moves come as the U.K. is also retiring both its Harrier jet fleet and its flagship carrier, the Ark Royal. The upshot is that the British will have no carrier-strike capability for almost 10 years.
Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition Labour party, said this will leave Britain with “aircraft carriers without aircraft.”
The government argues that the country has been without carrier-strike capability before and that the delay allows the second carrier to be fitted with so-called “cat and trap” technology that will allow it to fly a version of the Joint Strike Fighter. That would let Britain buy a cheaper version of the JSF and allow the U.S. and France to land their jets on the ship, the government argues.
fuck you britishes we have our boiling heart waiting for an opportunity we will send you back to that muddy floated tiny and shitty island where you belong one and for all
YOU ARE THE TERRORISTS
twat. yeah i’d say that basically covers it.
ENGLAND TILL I DIE !
estoy de acuerdo con vos General SM. soy argentino y UK no cuenta con que los argentinos simepre tenemos un plan B bajo el brazo. podriamos fabricar misiles de plastico en una semana y tirarselos. “LAS MALVINAS SON ARGENTINAS”
fuck u argentianians go fuck ur mums the islands are ours they belong to us so u cunts fuck off and roott in hell
britain have better weapons,ships,tanks,aircrafts and training. if it came to war we would complty arse fuck them
Fuck you dick head m8 if Britain only have a frigate down there and cutter what they Donna do they will send a fleet lets say 3 frigates there scorpion subs and some other ships i am british but with 3 typhoons and only one main boat what we gonna do all it takes is some argentinas to send there version of the sas in destroy the planes and then just use a harpoon to blow up a frig m8
Falkland Islanders deny defence cuts leaves them vulnerable
Retired commanders say decision to scrap HMS Ark Royal and Harrier Force amounts to invitation to invade
* Matthew Weaver
* guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 10 November 2010 15.06 GMT
HMS Ark Royal HMS Ark Royal has been decommissioned. Falkland islanders deny that the defence cuts leave them vulnerable to invasion. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA
Prominent Falkland islanders today dismissed allegations by Royal Navy chiefs that defence cuts left the Falklands vulnerable to another attack by Argentina.
In a letter to the Times, five retired commanders including Sir Julian Oswald, admiral of the fleet, singled out the scrapping of the Harrier Force and HMS Ark Royal. It said this decision amounted to an invitation to invade the Falklands.
“Because of these and other cuts for the next 10 years at least, Argentina is practically invited to attempt to inflict on us a national humiliation on the scale of the loss of Singapore,” they wrote.
But leading members of the community insisted the islands were not vulnerable.
Gavin Short, a member of the Falkland Islands Assembly who oversees defence, said: “There is a very capable British, protecting presence on the islands. It would be extremely foolhardy of any government to contemplate a foreign adventure here in the islands.”
“We are not concerned that any of the cuts announced by the British government will in any way increase the possibility of a sucessful attack.”
John Fowler, deputy editor of the islands’ weekly newspaper Penguin News, was more forthright.
He said: “[The commanders] are clearly trying to defend their corner by using the Falklands as an emotive subject. But it doesn’t reflect the reality. We should move on from this language suggesting war is likely.”
Fowler, the islands’ superintendent of education at the time of the Falklands war in 1982, said he was reassured by the attitude of the government in Argentina.
“The main thing that is preventing us trembling in our boots is watching Argentina. It doesn’t seem particularly interested or capable of mounting an invasion. There’s no popular will for that in Argentina, the strength of their armed forces have been much reduced since 1982.”
Some on the island said they shared the concerns expressed by the retired naval commanders. Neil Watson, who farms 2,000 sheep on Long Island, said: “I think it is stupid for Britain not to have a fixed-wing aircraft that can land on an aircraft carrier. It will affect other parts of the world, too, but we are the most vulnerable.”
“If Argentina invaded again we would be outgunned in the air and outgunned on the sea,” he added.
Charles Dickson, who manages two sheep farms, said the islands would be defenceless if Argentina attacked Mount Pleasant Airport.
“We would be left dangling in the wind before anyone could get to us, if there isn’t an aircraft carrier to get planes here quickly.”
He added: “I’m grateful for the way they look after us, but with no aircraft carrier the insurance isn’t so good.”
Argentina says it is committed to recovering sovereignty of the islands by peaceful means.
Fowler said there was no sense of alarm on the island about the cuts. “Nobody on our letters pages has been raising these concerns recently.
“We will wearily include a story about it on Friday, because we are not particularly excited or upset about it at the moment. We feel that we are very well protected for the size of population.”
He added: “We were very surprised at the time of the invasion, so I’m a little bit cautious about saying everything will be fine. But the situation has changed so much since then.”
Tony Blake, a former member of the Falklands government, suggested relations with Argentina are improving. An Argentina veteran of the 1982 invasion is coming to stay at his home next weekend for the second time, as part of a visit with two other veterans.
“They come here to bury the ghost. People here don’t show any aggression to them,” he said.
He added: “I don’t think people here are concerned at present. There appears to be no weakening of the political will to defend us.”
This is a most interesting discussion on what is a highly controversial subject. I am a Kiwi living in Argentina who has a Real Estate business here and in a number of other Latin American countries I hear options on all sides. I have family in Scotland and the England and know their opinion. I can understand both sides point of view from a historical point of view. The sad thing for the Argentines is they would have been given the Malvinas /Falklands if they had not been so impatient and jumped the gun so as to speak. ( no pun intended ). Soon or later the Malvinas /Falklands will come back to Argentina hopefully by negotiation rather than force. Why because the worlds two past super powers USA and UK are broke politically and financially having lost every war they engaged in the past few years. Look how quickly Russian crumble when the rot set in. China and Indian and Brazil are the new super powers but they also have these issues with off shore territories under dispute. Whoever has the gold sets the rules. The best way forward for the inhabitants of the Malvinas /Falklands would be to start a dialog with Argentina again and look for ways of cooperation rather than conflict. Argentine is not the military dictatorship it was many years ago. It is a democratic which has lots to offer the Keplers from education to trade. War talk is not helpful in moving forward even if there is some pressure to fix this open wound before too long . Keep in mind all the Latin America counties support Argentines claim as do many of the other United Nations members..
Who every wrote this does not know much about militry matters. To start off with if Agentena invaded they would not be able to ship troops into the falklands because our sub would sink all of them. We also have 4 euro fighter jets there, you would need aleast 30 planes just to shoot down one of these planes, If the ilands where invaded we would not fight off troops comming in to the Ilands we would hold the airport until more airfraft came from home which can be fulled from the air so Aircraft carriers doesent even come into it. In terms of our ships of the 80s, its true that we had allot more ships then but each ship could only take on 2 targets at anyone time, the new type 45 destoyer can take on 33 diffrent targets at once, so now you would not even need a 3rd of the ships we had then to do what we did.
and whos going to pay for this
by DAVID AXE
She was the big ship that could — until she couldn’t. In early 1982, Atlantic Conveyor was nothing special: a mere civilian container ship belonging the Cunard Line. Then, on April 2, Argentine troops invaded the South Atlantic’s Falkland Islands, long a British territory. The U.K. Royal Navy quickly assembled a task force around two medium aircraft carriers with Harrier jump-jet fighters. The task force include 40 commercial vessels pressed into wartime service, including the 15,000-ton Atlantic Conveyor.
In just 10 days starting April 16, Atlantic Conveyor was modified to carry munitions, helicopters and spare Harriers, as well as a single operational Harrier launching from the helicopter pad for air defense. Thus equipped, Atlantic Conveyor sailed south with the task force, aiming to reconquer the islands.
On May 25, off the Falklands coast, two Argentine Super Etendard fighters attacked, striking Atlantic Conveyor with two Exocet missiles. “The attack was devastating,” Think Defense recalls. Twelve men died and the ship and much of her cargo were lost. Now, 29 years later, Think Defense has a fascinating summary of the ship’s impressive wartime service, along with many photos.
Atlantic Conveyor‘s story is one of innovation and adaptation by a stretched Royal Navy and courage from the vessel’s crew. But it’s also a warning: a properly armored and defended amphibious ship might have survived the Argentine attack and fully protected her crew. As the cash-strapped Royal Navy decommissions ships and planes wholesale — including both remaining carriers and all the Harriers — it’s worth remembering what can happen when a deprived navy must make do in the face of a determined enemy.
All other things being equal I wonder if we would now have the will and the determination to see the job through, not to mention the men capable of doing it. Britain was a very different country in 1980 and our armed forces were a good deal tougher than the current crop. We didn’t rely on technology in the Falklands so much as regiments who were capable of slugging it out in a nasty fight in challenging conditions (there is a world of difference between using a Tomahawk missile and filletting someone with a bayonet).The order of battle is usually Ghurkas, Paras, Marines, Guards Regiments, Scottish Infantry, the rest, though that may also say something about the British Army’s attitude to expendability.
In any case, compare what those troops went through (without complaint) to the behaviour of the Royal Navy personnel captured by the Iranians a few years ago. I heard one of them even started blubbing when they took his iPod away from him. An absolute disgrace and gives some indication of the deterioration that has taken place in the intervening years.
Having serving forces members in my family, I can say that not all of the current crop are worthless. You forget that most of them join the army with the want to fight, but get shipped off to peace-keep (aka sticking yourself between an innocent person and a bullet) in some other country. They are basically targets and hardly ever pro-actively attacking enemy positions… there aren’t any.
In the Falklands they had the chance to go toe-to-toe with someone who was expecting a fight, not get shot at by some pussy from miles away. In the Falklands they had the satisfaction of winning a straight fight – today’s lads don’t get that chance very often, certainly not against another army. These days it’s all about bombing and ariel attacks.
You also forget these days that if a true invasion occurred, it would definitely incur losses to both sides. There are a lot of British troops stationed there now. These losses would contribute to international opinion so the likes of the US and EU countries wouldn’t necessarily want nothing to do with it.
The question remains if there is enough national pride in the current stock of politicians – I guess the majority of the public wouldn’t want a war regardless of the principle of the matter.
As for the South American alliances, Britain has always been outnumbered in a fight – it’s the way we fight best. Put too many Brits into a fight and all you get is more casualties. Put less Brits into a fight and what you get is better warriors and a more favourable kill ratio.
Why’d you think the SAS / Commandos were so damn good in WWII? :-)
i’m sorry but this question is quite weird…i’m Leandro from Argentina and i have a couple of friends in the army and …dude…we don’t have a weak army…because…we do not have an army at all!!!! we lack everything…anyway…i never get why people keep talking about malvinas…it was just a small skirmish for us (we had civil wars much more violent, long, and important than that small conflict), and in here the civil population dont even get to feel the weight of the war effort…i would think in england, a country with many more wars in their history (including WWI and WWII), the people would be even less touched than we… so…i just dont get why is this important, we dont need those small islands and i would think a huge power as england (maybe the fifth more powerfull nation in the entire world) wouldnt need that little piece of rock,,, i just dont get this
ps: sorry for my english
Leandro, youre quite right, also your english is very good
The thing is Britain in the 70s DIDNT care for the fallklands/malvinas. At that time britain was going through a period of de-colonalization, so the falklands where pretty embarising for britain. They decided to try to sell the falklands to argentina since it was thought that this would boost southamerica-british relations. The problem was that when the islanders heard about this they where pretty annoyed, they consider themselves british. The British government then had the idea that they might loan the falklands to argentina since after the 70 years the falklanders would probably feel they where argentinian anyway, but the islanders didnt buy this either. The British government then put the matter on hiatus. Then of cource the Falklands War. In answer to your question its not so much that we want the isands, its more to do with proecting the rights and wishes of your the people that call themselves your own. If the islanders decided that they would rather be with argentina, then that would suit britain just fine.
PS please respond, Id like to hear more of what you have to say
Just got to add this factoid…
We still have Sea Harriers – probably why we still have one carrier capable of deploying them if necessary (Lusty).
Just go for the RNAS Culdrose tour of the Dummy Deck. Just peel off the “DD” badge and hey presto – Sea Harriers with AMRAAM.
can i say i notice that there was some posts in 2010 saying we have harriers but they have been some saying we still have them we dont have ANY harrier thats why LUSTY the ex aircraft carrier is now a helicopter landing ship BUT we do have 4 typhoons on the island and we have more in flight refulling although we have no planes in the royal navy no untill the f35b come into service in 2016 but can only take of on a runway so it would need the QE aicraft carrier so we are screwed untill 2016
We definitely still have a squadron or so of Sea Harrier at Culdrose. They are “runners” and are used to train the guys with genuine noise and “jet blast”. They’d need some work to get back in the air, but they’re there. In addition it is said that there are around 5 Harrier GR3 based at Predannick airfield (just down the road from Culdrose).
Yes, Lusty is now a copter carrier, but both Lusty and Ocean can operate Sea Harriers if the need arises. Ocean certainly to a lesser extent, but we have fast jet, troop support if necessary.
As for QE and F35 being available in 2016, I doubt it, 2020 is the current target.
However, in my opinion we don’t really need Harrier to retake the Falklands. Daring and Dauntless positioned to the N and S of the Falkland Sound would provide total air denial whilst Ocean, Albion and a couple of Bay would land the whole of 3 Commando, with Apache support, heavy artillery (AS90) and Challenger II. The Point Class RoRo would then reinforce the force to the 10,000 troop mark. This would all of course follow a maelstrom of Tomahawk from Astute aimed at enemy positions, including possibly the runway if taken.
You have to remember that 30 (or so) Harriers had to do both air defence and strike in 1982. Generally the 24 Sea Harrier were tasked with combat air patrol, which we no longer need (due to Sea Viper on Daring).
good point I didn’t really think about the Apache helicopters from the helicopter carriers and the harriers i didn’t know there were still some i am a helicopter pilot in the royal navy and go to RAF bases a lot and just don’t see them no more, and the f35b which we were ament to have (vertical take of) we are instead using f35c which have bigger wings, longer distance can be travelled and more weapons on bored, i think the navy will be excellent by about 2026 with the type 26 frigs coming soon the QE the f35c will be more than capable of defending it then
Good Lord yes, when the Type 26, QE/POW and F35C are available I pity the nation that is on the receiving end of our military response. As it stands, even now, very few nations stand much chance against the Royal Navy. Even with our dwindling numbers we’re still a force to be reckoned with in terms of expeditionary warfare
My only concern is the reliance we are placing on HMS Ocean to provide troop support. Maxed out I’d guess she can operate about 24 copters, which might just be enough to support a couple of Commando Battalions.
yer i suppose only a couple of copters but we have bulwark, Albion and lusty as well all with capable of carrying troops and all new ships from now on are to have room for nes they type 45 has 45 extra bunks and the type 26 will be able to acomodate 50 so with at least 12 being built that’s a extra 600 marine accomdation
But would it be a Naval engagement? The last scrap was a near thing, especially when we lost our troop-carrying helicopters and I’m not sure it was really down to who had the newest equipment. I remember speaking to a Marine at their base in Dorset who reckoned they were getting tooled up with everything they could find in stores – even an old Vickers machine-gun. Hell, we even flew a Vulcan out from the UK and that was way past its sell-by date.
Mind you, on saying that, I suspect weapons systems like the Apachhe might have swung the balance quite definitively.
A Vulcan wow there old and a Vickers my Grandad said he used one of them in general service, I think we should never let the Falklands get taken over we have 4 eurofighters over there, with 1000 men and some anti air missiles, if tensions start to rise we should send support and never let it get taken over in the first place, then we wouldn’t have to worry about scraping together things that are way past there sell by date because David Cameron and Gordon Brown slaughtered the capability of the military.
Gordon, I’m not sure I really understand your question “would it be a Naval engagement?”. As far as I understand, it would for the UK, just like 1982, because we need to mobilise our force over 8000 miles of ocean. I agree, that once in place it becomes predominantly a land and air war, more so now due to dwindling numbers of RN ships and Argentine ships/subs.
The other point is that I think it was very much to do with who had the newest/latest kit. Exocet, Sidewinder and Sea Harrier to mention just a few that made a lot of difference (shame we didn’t have Sea King ASaC).
A second “scrap” would also be won or lost based on equipment: Aster, Tomahawk, F35, J10(?), etc.
hey you English, you are forgetting that Argentina is not alone any more, many South American countries support us, many of them with weapons that were bought from the Russians, chile your old friends no longer support your tactics.This time, those who will fight, will not be unarmed teenagers, this time our young people and men are full of patriotism and professionalism, this time they are no longer fearful youth torn from the arms of their mothers,This time will be a personal matter, You can kill many Argentine soldiers, but those soldiers who can reach the islands, will have as main objective, to kill your families,rape their women and slaughter their young,in the same way that your Gurkhas did with our youngs,Our parents, our brothers and our sons were killed in these lands,No, forget no forgiveness for you, now you never will sleep peacefully again, knowing that we’re stalking you, like hungry wolves waiting for their chance to jump to your necks,A war can not be avoided, only delayed for the advantage of the enemy, in this case you
greetings from Argentina,
“god save the queen” freddy mercury, of course
So, you’re saying that “many South American countries support us” … “to kill your families,rape their women and slaughter their young”.
I don’t believe that Chile and Brazil are into such things.
Goodness me, I would be quaking in my boots at your bellicose rhetoric…if you weren’t Argentinian.
hearing that makes me sleep better actually seeing that Argentina is full of immature people and have to grow up and let it be,
there’s island of Canada which the French own but Canada don’t care about and even if you did attack the Falklands the European union wouldn’t be to happy about that and to be honest your not getting past the British even if we are having a economic crisis at the moment
Oh boy you got everyone shakin in their boots… boy
Argentina solders are only good for attacking women & children like ALL Latinas they run when facing real Men .
He may be an idiot, but he has a point. Argentina has a decade to take the Islands, in which we can only watch. The rest of South America do support Argentina, and Brazil alone has a larger navy than ours (including an aircraft carrier) and almost as many fighter jets. It wouldn’t take much to blockade the Falklands, but it would take virtually the entire Royal Navy to break such a blockade. Would we risk that?
We wouldn’t have EU support either, Spain would see to that.
I don’t understand why this is such an issue to the argies, the islands were discovered by a Frenchman, we had a settlement there before Argentina even existed and the people that live there have done so for 200 years and want to be British. Most civilised and sensible people would accept that. It speaks volumes of the Argentinians that you pursue this so relentlessly.
You also claim the Sandwich Islands and South Georgia, on which you’ve never had a settlement!
Patriotism doesn’t win wars, especially when you are in the wrong, and you know it. Like last time, it will come down to the fact that your boys won’t have the stomach for it. We are fighting to protect British people; deep down your boys don’t even believe in what they are fighting for, it is just a rallying call for demagogues.
totally agree but if they did take the island im sure that Brazil wouldn’t get involved because if they did other nations would help Britain out for example France and England have built up a amazing friendship in the last 100 years although they have been enemy’s for centuries earlia
Charlie, I’m not sure I completely agree with you. You say it wouldn’t take much to blockade the Falklands – it would take their entire Navy. You ask “would we risk that” and I suggest “would THEY risk that”.
I see your point, but if Brazil goes head to head with the UK, it’s not a 1982-style skirmish (no disrespect intended), it’s full-on Naval war! Both sides have to be prepared to lose a great deal. I just don’t see Brazil going through with it for the sake of a neighboring country laying claim to land that is not theirs.
However, it is just a matter of time, I bet our stupid politicians are wondering how they will rise to a “challenge” with the majority of their naval force committed to the Iranian problem (which may escalate). I do so, so, so, hope we hear news that the Typhoon flight at Mount Pleasant is upped to squadron strength.
…or that HMS Dauntless is sent to the area.
Simon, sorry, I didn’t explain that very well. I didn’t mean a blockade in the traditional sense, but merely an extension of the blockade that is already in place. Currently no Falklands Island ship may dock in South America (at least on the Eastern side) and there was uproar recently when a Royal Navy ship was allowed to dock in Montevideo as this was seen as a breach of the ban, despite British ships not being included. There is already talk therefore of extending this ban to include all British ships, they would simply need to then extend this blockade further out to sea and ban British ships from the area and patrol with their combined navies. Britain would then need to send a lot of ships to ‘break’ the blockade and protect British shipping, leading to an inevitable confrontation.
Would we do that? Likely not, we’ve done nothing about the South American ban on Falkland shipping or on the stealing of the Falkland Island fishing stocks. The Falkland Islands are being slowly isolated like nowhere else on earth.
Argentina is also considering banned the Chilean supply planes from entering Argentinian airspace; further isolating the Islands. I am fairly sure that will be next.
Ahh, well, yes… I agree then. Trade then disappears with South America.
I thought we had good relations with Brazil – they are intending to buy our new Type 26 frigates, aren’t they?
They really need to start leaning on Argentina to avoid the inevitable (confrontation or embargo). I can understand South America standing together, but it’s madness not to keep your neighbours in check – even if it’s just to look good in the eyes of the world.
I find this funny YOU GET SCARED BECAUSE WE SENT A TYPE 45 DESTROYER TO THE ISLAND grow up u dick heads your scared of 1 of our ships we have 6 of them that one ships is capable of tracking over 1000 aircraft thats more than you have
Just going back to the main question, our military is smaller but stronger. The US is actually following suit, cutting hundreds of billions of dollars of military spending to make their military smaller but with equal if not more capabilities. Thing is the Brits and US can do this, we are technologically advanced. If a war does break out, Brazil will not help and neither will the US (unless we find oil..in which case the US will be there pretty quick with drilling equipment..) I can understand both sides of the argument – Argentina gets told the British are evil, vindictive cowards and nothing else, in Britain the media is huge and global, we can find out both sides in the click of a mouse, Argentina can’t do this to the same extent. Basically they’re brainwashed by the bitch of a president they currently have.
Nonetheless if a war starts – we win, Argentina won’t invade again, they’ve managed to convince other nations to turn against us, why throw away all that hard work? I really hope they do, so so much. Also if any of you want to know figures try wikipedia/forbes lists on military spending, Britain is the third largest country by military expenditure behind the US and China..puts a bit more faith in your country after all you hear on the news is cuts cuts cuts. :)
Bring the argies and their antiquated military on…..I could do with another medal
If Liam is a RN pilot (as he claims), then I find I find it extremely worrying that the RN is employing people in technically demanding jobs that have an extremely poor grasp of the English language (grammar, diction and punctuation). Surely pilots should have attained a sufficient level of education to allow them to write a few sentences coherently!?
I am a Royal navy pilot and I do have good grammar its just when I type on a computer I make mistakes and because I have other things to do I am to lazy to change it. To be honest my worst subject at school was English but I am ok at it.
i have to point out that Argentina still in hock to a lot of the Global Finance market, hmm where is a good proportion of that market located, London.
we don’t need to send the Navy , SAS, Marines down , just send the IMF to look over Cristina Fernández de Kirchner books, that will give that botox Granny some thing to think about.
Why all this bickering over a handfull of islands? After all, the whole of South America was plundered off the original natives by european settlers anyway.
I’m still struggling to understand why the Argentinians are so concerned about us sending Dauntless, claiming that we are “militarising” four-fold.
Maybe I’m a little misinformed but replacing a Type-23 frigate with a Type-45 destroyer is actually a decrease in offensive capability (no harpoon, no ship launched torpedoes). It’s definitely an increase in defensive capability but we’ve cycled frigates/destroyers on guard there since 1982.
What exactly do they expect us to do whilst they rattle their sabers? Decrease our military defense force?
As for bickering over islands that were plundered from natives – I don’t think the Patagonian Indians had the means to get to the Falklands – I’ve seen/heard no archeological evidence of South American ships/boats that can traverse those South Atlantic waters ???
I did not say that the Falkland Islands formed part of the South American continent and I also know that the islands were unhihabited until their discovery. What I said was ” South America was plundered off the original natives by European settlers.”
The “South American Indians” probably had no idea of the existence of the islands let alone having any claim to them. What I was trying to say is that Argentina should be happy with what their Spanish ancestors “pinched” for them and leave the Falkland Islands and the British inhabitants in peace.
I have nothing else to say regarding this matter otherwise I will just be leaving it open for for someone to snip away at my remarks. I have noticed quite a bit of this in some of the letters preceding this one. However Simon, thank you for your informative footnote.
I wasn’t really nit picking… my last paragraph was really a question.
Does anyone know of any evidence that The Falklands were ever visited by the natives of Patagonia, or the Incas, etc?
This is probably massively naive, but can’t we just give them half the oil? Britain should negotiate with the Argentinians. We’re coming across as a little arrogant but they are acting like a petulant child. Do we really want to see another war? We’re hardly popular as it is. And it’s an unnecessary loss of life on both sides.
Perhaps we should lay claim to the USA and get half their oil on the basis that they don’t want to defend what they believe is theirs?
I’m not saying they should have the Falklands. They want to remain British so it’s our duty to defend them. However, they are only 300 miles away from their coastline…we should share the oil with them. It may stop a war, help both of our economies, and improve diplomatic relations with South America. Like I said, maybe it’s a naïve point of view.
We did try and offer them some of the rights on the oil, i.e. laying a pipeline to the Argentinian mainland and having a refinery there (much like Aberdeen) but they weren’t interested, they want it all.
I find the most of the comments from the Argentinians posted here as pathetic and childish and if the rest of their countrymen share these views then thank god we are protecting the islanders from them.
Regarding any joint navy action from a South American coalition,well lets face it they wouldnt get past our hunter/killer subs.
As far as I am aware the latin countries have no satellite surveilance capabilities,unless of course they purchase some air time from the Russians,which means the UK can watch them and they can not do the same back.
And as for the Argentinian post, that they now have modern weponary purchased from the Russians,well that weponary, such as the T72 tank ,was about as much use as tits on fish to the Iraqis against modern western wepons systems.
Its sort of interesting that the latin sabre rattling seems to have started when oil was mentioned and during a period of Uk defense cuts,similar defense cuts to those of 1982,when the Argentinians made a massive miscalculation and ended up looking pretty foolish.
The Falklands are located outside Argentinian waters,so really the Argies have no claim to them and the continental shelf talk is just so much bollocks,Britain is on the European continental shelf,within 22miles of France,but we do not belong to France.
If the Argies are so hot on historical claims why dont they DNA test their population,determine who the indiginous population of Argentina are and then give them their country back?
Come Argies get over yourselves and give it up,anyway lets face it “Las Malvinos” sounds gay anyway………..
I’m sure you realise that the UK only has a single device (TopSat) for image surveillance and last time we needed US spy satellites (the last Falklands War) the NSA were somewhat awkward.
Yes we have SkyNet but without imaging we would not know where any South American coalition ships would be, so they’d slip past our few attack subs with relative ease – the Atlantic is a BIG place. I’m not even sure if TopSat is still operational.
Funny how, today I’ve read the BBC news and there’s an article about satellite defense. Perhaps the powers that be are waking up to the fact that we rely too heavily on unreliable US defense assets.
The reality, while his government does not spend much money on. Argentina’s military situation, the equipment I have is worse than in 1982. It would be impossible for us this day invade Falklans / Malvinas islands estubieran although in the same situation of that time (1982).
As the diplomatic support of the countries of south america, the only country that would undertake military might, Venezuela, if Chavez remains in office.
Argentina has neither the capacity nor the money for such an undertaking to end for many years.
Most of the weapons is very old and obsolete, we have the same aircraft in 1982, of course, are those who were lost during the conflict.
A4 only improved some, but 15 years ago. We have not bought or built new ships, the only aircraft carrier was sold for scrap.
The British garrison which today operates on the islands could safely invade Patagonia.
I think far is in the spirit of most Argentines go through another war, although we feel that the islands belong to us.
Argentinians are sick evil twisted people kill are familys/rape our women/slaughter our children you argies need to get nuked because your out of control pieces of shit if u were running the world i would kill myself so go suck it
common all of them need to go to mental homes back me up on this british folk why the hell would any country help these sick twisted people.
please comment back soon(:
i served in that war and what you Argentinians will never understand is that Britain is a proud strong army and you pussy’s ran away and your gona do it again if war does break out so be warey
The problem affects them now and find it strange, is one of the first times that many American countries supported the diplomatic cause of Argentina and take action on this issue, this “blocking” ports, this is far from all these countries to participate in a hypothetical war against you.
In its long and rich history Britain has benefited from this type of foreign policy and has called on its allies to pressure a foreign country with which maintained some kind of dispute.
Based on historical fact, I might have the same opinion about the British (slave trade, colonization of India’s colonization of Africa and America, etc..) But the truth is that I have learned that the English can be anything but not are cowards.
If you served in that war, you should be proud.
Britain has survived many difficult times in their history and have been victorious.
I do not hate the English, I think they have their reasons, as we have ours, the Malvinas / Falklands are sure to an “invasion” “argie” thanks to its armed forces, I am happy that my child will not participate in war, and I assure you that for many years, the islands continue to call Falklands, much to my regret.
Let’s get to the point.
This (again) is all about oil – just like Kuwait, just like Iraq, just like Libya, just like Iran will be, just like the claim to resources under the South China Sea is.
The “Oil Wars” predicted by our forefathers and fiction writers is coming to pass… and they’ve only just started. It’s going to get much, much worse than this unless our stupid politicians start to educate the world’s children to think to the future rather than live in the past.
We pursue oil like a druggie on heroin pursues his next fix.
Trouble is that the UK also needs The Falklands to provide the land necessary to grow crops for an ever increasing apathetic and lazy population. We’ll then need the oil to ship them back to Blighty. It’s a bit silly really.
if the Argentinians had it what else would they want it for because we use the islands as a base to but the Argentinians only want it because there jealous no offence
we need the island for 2 reasons oil and a base if the Argentinians had it they would do nothing with it which is why its better if we control it i speak the truth
I’ve always wondered who would do the Argentine Islands, we have been educated from childhood, that the islands are ours, a day long ago the English we were stolen.
But I think anyone in my country has been educated to believe that is what we do if one day the islands become Argentina.
If oil is really almost all of Patagonia is filled with companies that extract oil, Exxon, Shell, Repsol … and none are Argentina, we might give away the islands if we let BP operates all oil and send them as they do businesses operating in Patagonia. If a base … my friend, and we have almost no basis in our own territory, why would we want to put one in the islands?
I think our problem is more a cultural problem, which is for each government to distract public attention from more serious matters.
Obviously we lack the military capability to recover the islands, otherwise, Kirchner had already tried. Also if you read carefully I spend more money on “defense ministry” in these years, they will realize that the largest expenditure was on equipment for crowd control, so here, I do not go to war with plastic shields and tear gas.
You say that you are educated from childhood that the islands ARE yours.
You should have been educated that the islands WERE yours… and Dutch, and Spanish, and French, etc.
Its like British children being educated that the USA is ours (as it once was) or that Italian children are educated that Britain is theirs (it was once ruled by the Romans).
we should actually get the oil and leave but we might need it again that’s why im not sure
Yesteach us that as children in school, as the Chinese were taught and still teach them Spanish, is the same. I think they did in India and they do also in Palestine, the list is endless.
But he would not talk about who should be the islands, or who would rightfully or by proxy, just wanted to explain in some way as is the feeling of Argentina over the islands.
are you Argentinian?
Yes, I’m Argentinian, why do you ask? Do not stay clear?, But I’m one of the few who realizes that violently we can never have the Malvinas / Falklands, I believe that dialogue and a deep understanding of both sides could achieve much more than a bunch of missiles and radars.
Most Argentines have to realize that proximity to the islands and remote are for UK, is the key to peacefully recover, but most people here take the problem, like a game of football. And do not understand that when an Argentine president says “Malvinas” provokes in you rush out and make some kind of new weapon or move a boat to the islands.
The problem of the islands here, is used politically, when a government wants to be “nationalist” and this gets support from political groups that were lost or “excuses” to make bad seen a press media, when some reporter thinks more or less like me, calls him a “heretic” or “traitor to the motherland”.
But I will not leave the point of this note, I see you are worried about some kind of war with Argentina, but the title of this article is wrong, because the level of equipment of the armed forces of Argentina, the title would have to be so “Britain could invade Buenos Aires again? Is not 1806 Anymore…”
Greetings from Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentina.
You are a great ambassador for your country.
wow you are a brilliant ambassador i agree with simon
Thanks for the compliments, but no big deal. Many people here think it is better to have friends to the islanders.
As I see it, people living in the islands, never ceased to be British, especially after the war, I think one solution would be that the islands are as a commonwealth to Argentina under British protectorate.
But the underlying problem of substance, is that thanks to the geographical position of the islands, Great Britain can claim a large section of Antarctica, which unfortunately is the same as Argentina claims. So our two countries fear cede sovereignty of the islands to each other so happily.
But I sincerely believe that someday we will sit down to negotiate peacefully on all these issues. If we who are ordinary citizens of our respective countries, through this medium, we can read each other with respect and friendliness, including having in some way or another involved in the conflict, surely one day, our leaders understand that a simple, feasible and productive for both sides.
It is best to exchange ideas, to bullets.
what I don’t understand is why cant Argentina just leave us alone and not start trouble.
The problem we face today with Argentina, is in my opinion, temporary. The government is in power today, is of a “populist” and extremely corrupt, in this type of system, the government always needs to have an enemy at hand, were first business groups, “Uncle Sam”, is now Falklands, but like everything, and is nearing completion and will soon have a new enemy.
Yesterday President Kirchner, announced 3 daily flights to the islands from Buenos Aires … we not have 3 daily flights to Cordoba … in addition to or entered into negotiations about it, sounds like another outburst over our beloved turned-millionaire president.
The reason why the average Argentine can not forget the islands, is because as explained before, we are taught as children in school that the “Malvinas son Argentinas,” which do not teach us is that people live there, not are Argentine, for many years, and do not want to be Argentine, nor will they be.
Another thing that Argentines do not understand is that we lost a war and not a football game, then in the collective unconscious, this creates a feeling of revenge, that one day “return”.
But the harsh reality is that after the war, the islands have been lost forever for Argentina, there was a chance before the war, but lost to invade.
I believe that the best we can hope now is to negotiate something like that explained above, the people living on the island need our cooperation to a lot of enterprises, especially by lower costs we can offer.
Moreover, in the islands, living in a remote part of the first world, which is better than living in the vicinity of the third world, the last thing you want people living there is that we will take her our problems to the door of their homes.
Unfortunately, the Argentines have been raised with this sense of desecration to our territory, such as Bolivia and its outlet to the sea, I never, by Argentina, we will not claim them, I know this is bad news for you, but in a few years but certainly the level of Argentina’s claim and will not be changed so hard.
I personally prefer to teach my children that the islands were in Argentina at some point and now are people who live there, ultimately they will decide if they ever make a deal with us.
nice speech to.
I hope deep in my heart, you know, not all Argentines think of as brainless apes.
I resent that use both politically is the question of the Malvinas, knowing of the serious economic and infrastructure problems faced by many Argentine daily.
There is of course one way you can genuinely “win” the Falklands back…
Build Argentine trade and enterprise there (oil, farming, etc) and emigrate 3000+ Argentineans, that way you’ll win democratically at every election.
In the treatment which could be reached, it should include people who live there, this is critical to your lifestyle does not change at all.
Moreover, I speak, is that the islands would remain British, the Argentines could not vote, as the foreign staff who work there.
It would be something like a state associated with Argentina under British protection, that would ease the minds of many Argentine claim on the islands, as well by including a limited tourism and the Argentines could visit the islands, I assure you that in a few years, almost there would be no claim by Argentina.
But I insist, people living in the islands, are the ones to decide how to maintain your lifestyle. To me, in everyday life, does not affect me at all if the Falkland Islands are British or Portuguese.
What if I want, is to end this problem in a way that both parties are happy and leave behind the military and diplomatic tensions to start a new stage.
The cause of the Falklands, is something that keeps us Argentines tied to the past, assume that there no are Argentine, is the first step to move forward.
To you it should cease to live in the shadow of a country that is constantly threatening and pressing.
What you missed, is that you yourselves are the ones who hold the key to set the rules, because they have for all those years before the war.
If you take the first step, ensure the future.
why do they teach the children in your schools that the islands are theirs i know it used to be theres but they might as well just give up .
Well Ryan, I think that the Spanish do not give up … and have a similar situation with you.
Do not get to negotiate a solution, whatever is postpone the problem for future generations, they deserve solutions from us.
Maybe if we dare to negotiate in a rational way, we can achieve a mutual understanding to release future children of radical ideas and potions irreconcilable.
Getting back to the question of whether we could retake the islands Brigadier Thompson made some interesting comments at the weekend.
His assertion – and one I think I made before is that,without a carrier – and provided the invaders took the airbase – it’s game over. I still don’t understand why they hot rid of the old one and the harriers before they got the new kit. A ‘come on’ to the Argentinians if ever there was one. Doesn’t help when you have renowned experts in international law like Morrissey pitching inhis two penn’orth!
Gordon excellent article, I admire Major General Thompson, is very real as he says, but also talk that the risk is minimal. Describes very well what they feel most Argentines over the islands.
Today, it is impossible for us to militarily invade the islands, but not surprise me that he tried Kirchner in the future, if he can amend the constitution to achieve another term in office. Detract from 3 years of government and if he can make the reform, another period of 4 years, just the “time window” of which Mr. Thompson speaks, but Argentina is in financial ruin, and an international embargo weapons that great Britain imposed after the war.
They also know that Argentina diplomacy on the issue is not correct, but unfortunately, do not expect that one day the Argentines simply forget the problem, we lose yet another war against you.
So I think that at some point will have to negotiate with Argentina some kind of agreement or result of that negotiation that the islands are definitely British.
The military status quo, not to sustain forever.
i think it should be Argentinian law that they have to teach the kids in your schools that it is ours in history/geography/and others but they would never pass that law through
what would Argentina do with the island apart from the oil?
Probably nothing, I think at first would many things, but in time we would forget the islands, and would leave left to their fate, as many regions of our country. However, most people would be proud of them back to Argentina, but as I said before, we are taught in school that the islands are ours, but do not teach us what we would do if they really are our own. So I say that the Falklands are people who live there, these people choose their flag, they can only claim the Argentines at the moment is to enjoy friendship.
But unfortunately, for most Argentines, see the English flag in the Falklands, it’s like for you to see the flag of Argentina in Buckingham Palace.
Moreover, I was talking to my friend who is a captain in the Argentine army, he would ask how to invade the Falklands, I look at me strangely and said “what we have today? Well, would train 10,000 penguins and send with Argentine flags attached to their backs to Port Stanley, the problem that we have to pay the trainers or fish for the penguins. “
“the problem that we not have to pay the trainers or fish for the penguins”
sorry for the translation.
Some more food for thought from The Telegraph…
Falkland Islands: Britain ‘would lose’ if Argentina decides to invade now
Rear-Admiral Sir John Forster Woodward – who in 1982 gave the order to sink the General Belgrano – regrets not making more of how the Falklands war was won.
By Cole Moreton 9:00PM GMT 17 Mar 2012
“That was stupid,” says Sandy Woodward, a plain-speaking man of the sea. “It was a mistake. I regret that when the war was over we agreed to play it low key,” he adds. “We should have made more noise, to make sure people realised it was the Navy that had done the job, not the bloody Air Force or the Army. The Air Force dropped one bomb on target. There were more Commandos, who are naval soldiers, than there were Army.”
Rear-Admiral Sir John Forster Woodward, known to all as Sandy, firmly believes that if he and other senior figures had made more of what they had achieved in the South Atlantic, the Navy would not now be in its present state – which he describes as “fairly dire. The Navy took itself for granted, and the country took the Navy for granted. Then we allowed it all to disappear after the Falklands.
“If we’d been louder, then investment in the services would have been more naval than it has been. We wouldn’t have ditched the aircraft carriers Invincible and Ark Royal. We wouldn’t have got rid of the Sea Harriers – an appalling decision.”
Woodward lives in a cottage overlooking water on the south coast, where he races yachts. The sandy hair has turned white and the admiral is about to turn 80, but this tall, flinty man is in command of his brief and expects to be taken seriously. “It’s not the Navy that I joined at the age of 13, or that I served in during the Falklands.
“I accept change, but not serious change for the worse. If you are a naval professional, then a Navy without an aircraft carrier and the right aircraft on board is comparable to the Swiss navy.”
That’s damning. Switzerland, of course, doesn’t have a navy. Britain will not have a working aircraft carrier until the new HMS Queen Elizabeth comes into service in 2020, and even then it may not have any jets to carry. The new Joint Strike Fighter, which was due to replace the scrapped Sea Harriers, has been delayed by a design flaw which makes it unable to land on deck. Without an aircraft carrier, Woodward believes the current Navy is also fundamentally flawed.
“What’s a navy for? Expeditionary force, which means going a long way from home. If you can’t rely on neighbouring countries to make a base on land sufficiently close to where you want to be, then you have to go by sea and take your air power with you. We simply can’t do that now. The best we can do for an expeditionary force is a day trip to France.”
If the Falklands are ever captured by Argentina it will be impossible to win them back, says Woodward. “We could not retake the Falklands. We could not send a task force or even an aircraft carrier. If we had been in this state in 1982, the Falklands would be the Malvinas. We rely on sending reinforcements by air, but that would be impossible if we lost control of the airfield at Mount Pleasant.”
He is not, however, as despairing as that sounds. “The problem doesn’t arise, because they won’t be taking it,” he says, rapping his knuckles on the kitchen table for luck. “I hope I’m right.”
His hope is based on the recent arrival of the destroyer HMS Dauntless. “We need her surface-to-air missiles. The Argentines might hope to overcome the four Typhoon jets at Mount Pleasant with a dozen Mirages and then bomb the airfield out of action, but while she’s there with her missiles they won’t try that. I’m not sure the Government understands how important she is.”
Argentina believes Britain has also sent a nuclear-powered attack submarine, or SSN, which the MoD neither confirms nor denies. As an expert submariner, Woodward sees the use. “If they want to invade, it will have to be by sea and an SSN will chop them up. They know that.”
He is less impressed by the decision to send Prince William to the Falklands as a search and rescue helicopter pilot. “What on earth are they intending to achieve?” asks Woodward, who had Prince Andrew as a Sea King pilot in his own fleet.
“To put a royal in the front line is quite inconvenient. You have to take special measures to make sure he doesn’t lose his life. That means you service his aircraft three times as carefully as anyone else’s. If something goes badly wrong, you’ll be blamed. So you protect the Royal Family from their own wish to serve. They are a liability on the front line.”
The admiral lives in a cottage called Before Anchor, but that’s nothing to do with his past. It’s a reference to the village pub, where we go for fish and chips without salad – “sod the greens” – and a pint of beer, which is called, also by coincidence, Invincible. That was the name of one of the two aircraft carriers in the Falklands fleet, the other being Hermes, upon which he sailed.
Woodward joined the Navy in 1946 as a schoolboy. Most of his career had been as a submarine commander, which he once said did things to a man’s character: “Submarines are always in enemy-controlled waters, therefore you should treat anything you see, hear or smell as an enemy. There are no friends.”
When Argentina invaded in April 1982, he was a newly appointed Rear-Admiral on an exercise in the Mediterranean. “The Falklands were as strange to me as to anyone else. I’d never been near them.”
As task force commander, he was required to tour the ships telling the crews why they were doing this. Woodward was unusually lost for words, and fell back on the blunt truth. “I said, ‘Look, whether you realise it or not, you’ve taken the Queen’s Shilling. You’re now going to be invited to front up for it. Whatever you think of the problem, our job is to stop it. People will die, ships will be lost, that’s the deal. Go to it.”
Woodward says he never wasted his time trying to get his men to like him. “My ethos of command was to get respect and trust. I wasn’t going to make any effort to be liked. Some people are naturals at it. I’m not.”
He upset some fellow officers with his best-selling account of the conflict, One Hundred Days, and is about to do it again with a new edition containing his uncensored diary from the war, describing one colleague in particular in the strongest terms possible. “I was taking out my frustration in the diary, not on them. For Christ’s sake, it’s 30 years later; if they’re still upset about it, they ought to be taken out and shot anyway.”
The sinking of the General Belgrano on May 2 was hugely controversial, as the cruiser was outside the exclusion zone set up by the British and sailing away. As you would expect, Woodward is unapologetic. “It’s very simple. There was the Belgrano and two destroyers armed with Exocet missiles milling around in the southern ocean. I know from experience that while they were within 200 miles of our ships, they could have us overnight. So I wanted them removed, didn’t I?”
The rules of engagement set in Whitehall forbade an attack. Woodward knew that by the time he got those rules changed, the Belgrano would be gone. “On occasions, you have to disobey your specific instructions from home, which are already out of date because the situation has changed since they were put in place.” So he ordered the submarine HMS Conqueror to attack.
The order was intercepted and diverted to Whitehall, where his superiors understood the urgency of the situation and short-circuited the process of consultation. The Prime Minister gave permission. The torpedoes were fired. The cruiser was sunk and 323 people died.
“The fact is that because we had broken their codes, although we were not prepared to say so at the time, we knew she was going to the waiting position [with a view to attacking later]. The Argentine commander has also said that while it was deeply undesirable, it was also eminently reasonable and he would have done the same. Nobody at home ever gave me a hard time over it.”
What people fail to realise, he says, is how close Britain came to losing the war. “If the Argentines had held out for another week on land then we would probably have lost it. Our people were in the open. It was snowing. The sheer wear and tear of two months at sea in vile conditions meant our ships were wearing out. The offshore group was on its last gasp. It was as close as that.”
Three islanders, 255 British servicemen and 649 Argentines died, but when Woodward eventually got his feet on Falklands soil for the first time he was less than impressed, writing of the landscape in his diary: “Bloody awful… definitely not a jewel in the Queen’s crown.” Was it worth it then? “Yes. I don’t think I need to say any more than that.”
Britain did not seem particularly grateful when he got home. “I wasn’t even properly debriefed. Nobody seemed to want to know.” The civil service had its own welcome. “Usually if you have been the victor in a major military event, there is some acclaim. Mine was ‘a claim’ from the people who do the accounts, saying, ‘We have been looking at your entertainment expenditure as admiral and observe that you haven’t spent anything over the last three months.
“So we have revised your allowance downwards and backdated it. You now owe us £600.’ That was my reward. I didn’t bother to say I had been entertaining the Argentinians.”
Sandy Woodward was, however, knighted later that year. He retired seven years after that. “Life after was a bit of an anti-climax. When you’ve done that, nothing else is going to seem quite as important.”
Two decades ago, he parted from his wife and moved to the West Sussex coast. “I love the smell of the sea, even when the tide is low.” His son lives in California and his daughter in Surrey. On his kitchen table there is a scale model of a 19th-century fighting ship, which Woodward is rigging by hand.
His real vessel is being refurbished. “She is a Devon Yawl, a racing boat for geriatrics. I’ve been racing since I was 14. I’m obsessive about it. If I see another boat I’ve got to overtake it if I can.”
Idyllic though his retirement seems, Woodward insists his views are relevant. “I have stayed very much in touch with what’s going on. I don’t hesitate to tell the First Sea Lord if I think he’s getting it wrong, and he, bless him, actually does take some notice. I am, after all, the only senior naval officer still alive who has taken the Navy to war. That doesn’t mean to say I’m right, but I’m probably worth listening to. Albeit with a pained expression.”
Argentina Fails… bye
The beauty of a discussion about such a thing today is we wouldn’t need a task force. Air power would win the day, and the RAF has seen improvements since this time 20 years ago. When an Apache helicopter can clip the left thumb off the tank driver going 30mph from a few miles away, landing forces have more to fear.
Extra jets and a couple of submarines would put a large damper on any naval assault. Not forgetting that this time around, America would be under much greater pressure from to provide support, what with the reliance they have on support themselves.
This time, if they even got boots on the ground, the lads stationed there wouldn’t hesitate to open fire – last time they didn’t want to kick something off, so a surrender was apt. This time, they’d want to kick something off out of pride for not shooting first the last time :-)
It is very refreshing to see that the europeans still think that the whole world is theirs. If they arrive in africa and see a piece of land they can claim it theirs. The blacks there they have no rights as the indians in the americas did not get the chance to defend themselves. They where nearly all killed. Genocide has been the ultimate weapon of this kind of thinking that is very European by nature they invented genocide. So much for civilization. And history proves that what you cannot defend is not yours. So luckily we have now nuclear weapons, because the greed of white people is huge. The Iranians know that, poor Saddam also knew that because Kuweit was once a province of Iraq. But what do we see, the inventors of genocide are loosing nearly every battle starting from Dien bien Fu.And the Brazilians are building their own nucleair facilities too. The countries that have natural resouces know very well after what happened in Iraq that only with nuclear capabilities you can defend your self against the greed of the Europeans. And of course the British dare not to fight with China over Hong Kong. And ultimately UK will understand that colonial legacy wll not hold in the future. And the argument about the inlanders of the Malvinas that they do not want to be part of Argentina is bullshit. Just ask those who fled from Hong kong, and the European settlers who fled other colonies.
At the end those countries that will have nuclear capabilities and the will to use it, they will withstand old colonial style politics.
Old colonial powers must understand that they will have no more walkovers. They are not the powers that rule the world anymore. Former colonies are doing their best to get a good command of technology, and with that of economic power and consequently of military power.
descendant of an asian immigrant in south america
Dickhead, the Falkland Islanders are all British from British descent and have all expressed a desire to remain British and not become Argentinian. I suggest you actually read something about it and not spout off about something that you are clearly very ignorant of. Under the UN’s Anti Colonisation Resolution from the 1950’s Argentina has no claim to them. In fact Britain would have no claim to them if the population DEMOCRATICALLY decided they wanted independence. However, as I said, they have said they want to remain part of the UK and so that really should be the end of it.
As to Saddam, in 1990 he invaded a separate sovereign nation (Kuwait) and had the full weight of the UN come down on him (which if I am not mistaken was run by an African at the time), this was nothing to do with colonial powers! This was why the military land campaign DID NOT touch Iraq (although the air campaign did). Admittedly 2003 was a different matter with Dubya and should never have happened.
Again Hong Kong, we (the British) did not put up a fight with the Chinese over who owned it because the lease ran out, yes that’s right, we hadn’t conquered the place but had rented it from the Chinese for 99 years! Nobody “fled” from Hong Kong when we gave it back but we did grant UK citizenship to any who didn’t want to live under Chinese rule (understandable given their frankly shocking human rights record). If I remember my figures it was around 50000.
As to nuclear capabilities, the world is worried about Iran getting them for very good reason. They have already stated that they would nuke Israel out of existence, hardly the policies of a sane, rational and stable country. Brazil may get nukes but have not said they wish to wipe a country off the face of the earth so nobody really cares if they get them or not. India and Pakistan have had them for years and are only really threatening each other so again nobody cares.
Seriously, mate, I suggest you do some studying of history and current world politics before you come on a public forum and embarrass yourself with your undoubtedly high levels of ignorance.
rakieb, if you had the sense to look around you, you’d realise that the whole of South America is populated by the descendants of white Europeans. Only about 10% of the population of South America is indigenous Indian. South America is now the new colonial power and it was they who killed millions of Indians and stole their lands.
You are living in a stolen country, gained through genocide and yet you are complaining about nations who have no colonies and still live in their own lands. If you’re living and profiting, in lands that were taken by force, and that still suppress the indigenous population, then you are more culpable than any European. What’s more you are advocating stealing even more land from an indigenous people, because their lands is near your own conquest, and because you covet it.
As for genocide, that came long before European Colonialism, indeed the first case that I know off was perpetrated against them when the Seljuk Turks decided that they didn’t want any ethnic Greeks living in Anatolia and virtually wiped them out of their own lands.
Interesting point of view, then, this is also valid. Address by Mexican cacique Guaicaipuro Cuatemoc to the meeting of Heads of State of the European Community, on February 8, 2002.
Here am I, Guaicaipuro Cuatemoc, I came to find those who are celebrating the discovery.Here am I, a descendant of those who colonized America forty thousand years ago, I came to find those who found only five hundred years ago.Here, then, we are all. We know what we are, and quite. We will never have otherwise.The European Customs brother calls me a written document with visa to discover that I discovered.The European moneylender asks me to pay a debt contracted by Judas, who never authorized to sell.The European pettifogger explains that all debts must be paid with interest even selling human beings and whole countries without their consent.I am gradually discovering.I can also claim payments and I can also claim interest. It appears in the Archives of the Indies, paper on paper, receipt and signature on receipt signature, only between 1503 and 1660 came to San Lucas de Barrameda 185 000 kilos of gold and 16 million kilos of silver from America.Looting ¿? Do not believe me! Because it would think that the Christian Brothers failed in their Seventh Commandment.Robbery ¿? Keep me figure out Tanatzin of the Europeans, like Cain, kill and deny his brother’s blood!¿Genocide? That would give credit to slanderers like Bartolome de las Casas, who equated the discovery and destruction of the Indies, or to extremists like Arturo Uslar Pietri, which states that the outburst of capitalism and the current European civilization are due to flooding precious metals!No! Those 185 thousand kilos of gold and 16 million kilos of silver must be regarded as the first of many friendly loans in America, for the development of Europe. The opposite would presume the existence of war crimes, which would mean not only to demand the immediate return, but the compensation for damages.I Guaicaiputo Cuatemoc, prefer to think of the least offensive of these hypotheses. So fabulous capital exports were only the beginning of a plan “MarshallTesuma” to ensure the reconstruction of the barbaric Europe, ruined by its deplorable wars against Muslim cults, creators of algebra, polygamy, daily bath and other superior achievements of civilization.So as we celebrate the Fifth Centennial of the Loan, we can ask:Have they made European brethren a rational, responsible or at least productive of the funds so generously advanced by the International Fund American Indian?Unfortunately nothing.Strategically, they squandered in battle of Lepanto, invincible armies in third reichs and other forms of mutual extermination, with no other destiny to end occupied by the Yankee troops of NATO, as in Panama, but without a canal.In financial terms, have been unable, after a moratorium of 500 years, either paying the principal and interest, the independence from the net revenues, raw materials and cheap energy exports and provides them throughout the Third World.This disgusting picture corroborates Milton Friedman whereby a subsidized economy can never work, and compels us to claim for its own sake, the payment of principal and interest, so generously, we delayed all these centuries in charge. In saying this, we clarify that we do not deduct a charge to our European brethren the vile and vicious and rates of 20 to 30 percent interest, that our European brothers charge their Third World peoples. We only demand the return of precious metals advanced, plus a modest fixed 10 percent, accumulated only during the last 300 years, with 200 years of grace. On this basis, and applying the European formula of compound interest, inform the discoverers that we must, as a first payment of the debt, a mass of 185 kilos of gold and 16 million silver, both raised to the power figures of 300 .That is, as a number for total expression, it would take more than 300 figures, which exceeds the total weight of the planet Earth. Very heavy these piles of gold and silver.How much weigh, calculated in blood?Argue that Europe, in half a millennium, failed to generate sufficient wealth to cancel the low interest, would be tantamount to admitting its absolute financial failure and / or insane irrationality of the assumptions of capitalism. Such metaphysical questions, of course, we do not worry the American Indians.But we demand the signing of a Letter of Intent to discipline debtors peoples of the Old Continent, and which obliges them to fulfill their commitment by early privatization or restructuring of Europe, enabling them to give it to a whole, as a first payment of historical debt …
Yes, it is a valid claim. It is often overlooked but it is the indigenous people who were, and still are, dispossessed; no one else really has anything else to complain about.
Guaicaipuro Cuatemoc seems a little confused though, he keeps saying Europe, but surely he means Spain? The rest of Europe and especially Britain, had little to do with South and Central American colonisation.
Also he’s blaming things on the modern day Europeans, when in fact it is the South Americans that are to blame. When those settlers moved there, set up their own lands and ceased being Europeans, it didn’t erase what they had done/were doing and it certainly didn’t pass on the blame to a generation of people who happen to live in lands the South Americans originated from and who neither profited nor purloined from South America nor its indigenous population. Those that stole the lands and butchered the indigenous peoples may have been European when they took ship, but they didn’t remain so for long.
He may have been robbed, but he is laying blame at the wrong door.
Not only plundered Spain to America, Britain retains pieces of art from different countries of the world in its museums, despite the claims of many countries such as Greece, Egypt, Nigeria ect.Deny their own history, is to deny the identity and culture, much of the Spanish gold was stolen by English pirates at sea, much of the gold that now holds the Queen of England, is stained by the blood of American, Spanish and British who fought for him, but hey, Robin Hood, no way for America to return it.Moreover, the “conquest of the desert” in Argentina and the slaughter of thousands of Indians were bad or the country in which we live today.After all, the “Euro-Americans” who were dragged into this land your own culture, plunder, war and death.Beware when you say that the settlers when they embarked, stopped being Europeans … for then imagine that the colonization of Africa, India and America … was not made by the British .. this is very confusing .. especially for people living in the Falklands and Gibraltar.It’s strange, you should be proud of the history of your country and not hide it, or via the industrial revolution did not start due to the colonies?Within the terrible things that have happened and good in human history, Britain played a leading role and juice for better or worse a crucial role in the fate of humanity today still generates controversy and pain, as in Palestine. It also allowed the rise of great nations like New Zealand or Australia (thanks to you the best rugby of the world is in the southern hemisphere) including many countries in South America, in part owe their independence to England, that somehow or another, conspired against Spain and France.Like it or not, what happened, we can not change it now, it’s done, now we can not blame each other on decisions and actions of our ancestors, we have to discuss and understand in a deep way, so that the atrocities will not be repeated, but for that, we must assume where we came from and the mistakes we made … never should have taught the Maori to play rugby.
Oh, I see. So the rights of conquest are acceptable in some areas, e.g. when land is taken, but not in others, such as when gold is taken? Or are you really saying that the right of conquest is OK, except when it is Britain? At the end of the day the very lands you are living in were stolen much like the ‘gold’ you complain about, yet the South Americans have no intention of restoring the lands back to the original owners, so why should ‘Europeans’ do the same with the gold that they indirectly took? That is hypocrisy of the highest order.
Precisely to whom should we make reparations to anyway? Let me hazard a guess, the modern day South Americans? i.e. those European settlers that took the land and benefited most from the pillage and rape of South America should be given the gold that was taken from a culture and people that they stamped out? That is hypocritical and shameful. I’d much rather it remained with the British who were in effect neutral observers and if anything, liberated this ‘gold’ from the thieves that took it. Perhaps when my ancestors attempted to return it, they realised that the original owners were all dead and far better for them to act as custodians of the looted artefacts for posterity than return it to the larcenists, after all it was never Spanish gold.
I think that you will find that Spain started the colonial conquests long before anyone else, certainly well before Britain and centuries before the Industrial Revolution. Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492, the Industrial Revolution started in the mid 18th century. I think that by the time the Industrial Revolution started, the indigenous population of South America had already been decimated.
As you say, the past is the past, and we should move on, so why is Argentina harping on about a series of Islands that they have no past, present or future claim on, in spite of the wishes of the indigenous population? As you said, Britain, and British lives gained Argentina its independence and we really have no quarrel with the Argentinians save for this single issue. An issue which it seems no amount of discussion will assuage as Argentina fails to recognise the rights of the indigenous people.
Let’s clarify where it comes from this. Speaking of “Guaicaipuro Cuatemoc” I put a comment in response to yours which I found rather strange, what have to do the native peoples of America and the Falklands? Obviously, nothing. But to say that the conquerors are not settlers, or that Britain was not a colonial empire and today there are no traces of the colonial empire that was once, is like saying that “white Americans” did not steal land from the Indians . I just wanted to illustrate a paradox, which today could not give any solution. I think my views on the Falklands was clear in my other post above. That until the 1982 war, the inhabitants of the islands were treated as “colony” by the United Kingdom is a reality that changed after the war. Then the war he served for something? Not improve the lives of its inhabitants after her? No democracy returned to Argentina after the war? Paradoxically, the war in some way has benefited both parties, as I said before, if we have a deep and mutual understanding, the benefits continue, but without war. I think we both know where we come from, you just have to sit and eat a good fish & chips or a roast, and to define a good time and always will be our future.
we found the falklands first dude
me and you have had a chat about this earlier in this debate i served in the falklands and lost a few friends and im still young enought to fight so any attack made i’ll be first to sign up to avenge my friends end of
how big is the argentinian army now????
Mucho menor que en 1982, y mucho mas obsoleta, solo tenemos dos horas de pertrechos para un conflicto como el de 1982.
ryan hope this clears your doubts.
Four Navy ships were stranded this year for deficiencies attributed to maintenance problems and training, due to limited resources and within hours of navigation that is today the Naval Staff. This was consigned to the NATION own power sources and the Defence Committee of the Chamber of Deputies.
Halfway the corvettes were Spore, stranded in South Africa for 39 days by a malfunction in three generators; Spiro, who suffered a break-over a sandbar in Mar del Plata, and Gómez Roca, which left the port of Mar del Plata in March with an engine less and broke down in the shaft line when going to participate in an operation in Brazil, but eventually repaired and could intervene. Destroyer was also affected Argentina, which suffered a malfunction near Bahia Blanca, a bad move, as he was also to Brazil, which caused a problem with the stabilizers.
According to naval experts understand the absence of conflict scenarios and budget shortages occur, among other consequences, a weak control of the exclusive economic zone, bounded by 200 nautical miles, preventing active combat illegal fishing.
A task that is allocated three corvettes patrolled maritime Division (Drummond, Granville and Guerrico) that “little or no sailing due to lack of resources for operating expenses”, sources of strength.
The problems in the fleet are given at a time when the approved budget for 2013 reduces the expected time for ships to navigate and control the maritime and waterway. Next year will provide resources for 161 days of naval practice, compared to 329 days two years ago.
“It is very little for the 15 boats that are now able to navigate in the Navy,” said National Deputy Julio Martinez (UCR), former president and current member of the Defense Committee. He explained that proper training naval personnel requires 90 days for each ship, which would fund “a period equivalent to 1350 days for the entire fleet.”
The corvette Spore had perhaps saved the wrong time its crew alive today in Cape Town if he had not broken the corvette Spiro, who had been designated to participate in the operation Atlasur. Although initially said they had a technical problem, the deputy said Martinez ran aground on a sandbar. The Spiro is in service since 1987 and was one of the ships sent by Carlos Menem in 1990 to the Gulf War.
These vessels joins the deactivation of Arturo Irizar icebreaker, whose engine room was consumed by fire in April 2007, with 241 crew on board. The deadlines for repair were initially overcome and today is expected to be in a position to end of 2013. They have invested more than $ 400 million, to which must be added the cost of renting the Golovnin Vasily Russian vessel, which replaces the Irizar in Antarctic campaigns. He hires for each fishing year, for three months, and involves an expenditure of U.S. $ 2 million per month.
Naval sources also revealed that the four destroyers Admiral Brown, heroin, Argentina and Sarandí-present problems of machines that are trying to repair, and have expired ammunition, so little sail.
Of the six types MEKO corvettes, the Parker and Rosales are awaiting parts. The Gomez Roca-despite the damage it had in Brazil and Robinson are targeted at cases of maritime search and rescue, sometimes a task is delegated to the Coast Guard units.
That’s not all. Two Fokker F-28 Navy are paralyzed waiting for parts that rest on the Customs, as a result of restrictions on imports. “Moreno will not let go,” summarized the deputy Martinez, referring to Secretary of Domestic Trade.
The situation is not new and extends to the other forces. Horacio Jaunarena, former defense minister, recently recalled the NATION that Mirage aircraft of the Air Force does not fly, because they do not provide safety to pilots and that in 2006 the Army informed the then Defence Minister Nilda Garre the strength was in an inferior position compared to neighboring countries, which rendered it “impossible to reconcile a common defense system in the region.”
Submarines in trouble
Divers formed in Mar del Plata need 190 days of immersion training in the last year and fell just 19 hours under the surface. Skip submarines, Santa Cruz and San Juan experiencing difficulties and few remember that in August 2010 the defense minister Nilda Garre announced plans to build a nuclear submarine.
Much lower than in 1982, and more obsolete, we only have two hours of supplies for a conflict like the 1982.
I tell you what, you share them oil right with the U.S and not only we will defend the island but we will invade Argentina’s mainland for ya (aka spreading democracy:))) and permanently putting an end to these silly pro-Nazi war criminals rallying up the natives with dreams of conquest.
just three letters to the argies s a s
Do not worry about sinking our ships, we can do it ourselves. This proves what I said before, it’s just a populist discourse of our president, is impossible for us to do something to get them off the island. Watch this:
I am a New Zealander living in South America for over 10 years. I had a similar view to the English Colonial comments before coming here and learning Spanish and reading up on the History of these countries. I now believe that there is enough evidence to support the Argentine case that they have every right to expect the Malvinas /Farklands should be there’s. We all believe what we are taught at school and by our parents initially and it is not until we are older we can research the real truth of these stories.Just because one country supplants their immigrants over the top of the resident population does not make it right. At the time Britain was a naval power and could do what it liked and did so but those days are over. Even the European Gypsy’s have invaded it without problems. To be fair to the current inhabitants of these islands they would need to be worried if they were to be controlled by the current Argentine politicians who cant run their own country in any sort of rational way let alone another one but that does not take away from the fact the Spanish history shows a completely different view to what has been stated above. The best way forward might be a Hong Kong solution where the land is transferred back to Argentina but leased for a period of time to the current islanders, say 50yrs.