Economical aspects, geographical strategies and politics
Economically speaking, at another point in time, these islands existed as important whaling ports, but the gradual disappearance of different species of whales and the profound changes in the oil business drastically reduced the relevant economic activity of the region. Nevertheless, a number of investigations confirm the existence of crude oil deposits on the continental platform where the Malvinas islands lie. The islands also have a rich fishing business.
Politically, the Argentine interest in the archipelago obeys its view of the islands as part of its own territory. Strategically
1. The possession of other territories adjacent to Antarctica can give rights over the continent in future negotiations related to the same.
2. The control of this archipelago gives its occupant a strategic position over the austral and its maritime traffic. Nevertheless, in the past decade previous to the breakout of war, the British Ministry of the Interior? considered the Malvinas as more of a problem than anything else at the hour of trying to establish relationships with America Latina. Although the return of the isles was proposed to be leased (Argentina waited expectantly during a prolonged period of time for their return), but the citizens of these islands did not accept this proposal.
Grounds for the Argentine action
The decision was based on the following military and political points:
1. The United Nations firmly agrees to the doctrine of war by approval, for the greater good, from the resolutions 2131 (1965), 2326 (1967), 2908 (1972), 3281 (1974) y 3314 (1974), which explicitly recognize the legitimacy of liberating wars, of auto-determination, contrary to racial depression, etc. Under this legal antecedent, the mention of a hypothetical recuperation of the isles through the raising of arms had been present in the bilateral diplomatic discussions since 1972.
2. Between 1981 and 1982, several actions of the British government were interpreted by Argentina's military Commission as signals of disinterest in the archipelago, its inhabitants, and its future; such as: due to a cut in their budget, the British Ministry of Defense decided to decommission its two aircraft carriers (HMS Hermes y HMS Invincible), its two amphibious assault ships (HMS Fearless y HMS Intrepid) and its Antarctic HMS Endurance, called "the guardian of the Falkland Islands" by the British. Several Argentine newspapers confirmed that the United Kingdom had abandoned its protection over the Malvinas Islands. At the same time, the representatives of the Malvinas in London expressed their profound fear of being imminently disarmed. The new nationality law approved by the British Parliament denied the majority of the native islanders a second category and a complete citizenship.
3. The British Guard on the Malvinas Islands, Georgias of the South and sandwich of the south were reduced, and there distance from the city impeded the arrival of reinforcements on time.
4. The capacity of the amphibious war of the United Kingdom half a world away did not appear to be at the height of the circumstances, even with its air-naval supremacy.
5. It did not appear probable that the United Kingdom would realize a large scale counter-attack, affecting the territory of continental Argentina -for example, using their nuclear submarines- over the question of a remote group of islands. Based, in general terms, on the anterior, the Argentine government designed a plan for the military recuperation of the three archipelagos in dispute with Great Britain and the archipelagos to the south of the Beagle Channel in dispute with Chile. The plan was called Operation Rosario. This operation was created at the end of 1981 and the beginning of 1982 by Admiral Jorge Isaac Anaya, a member of the commission presided by Galtieri.
Chronological from the time they disembarked
April 1st, 21:18 hours, the first group of boats left D-2: 84 amphibious commandos tactical divers commanded by Captain Guillermo Sánchez-Sabarots. At 22:45 hours, the larger part of the group of amphibious commandos left the ship in 19 trips, showing itself immediately the destroyer in its patrol zone. They put to shore in Mullet Creek at 23:00 hours.
At the same time, the submarine ARA Santa Fe (S-21) released another 10 tactical divers in order to place radio-navigation buoys and to occupy the light house San Felipe (Pembroke). When the ARA Santa Fe (S-21) emerged, it was detected by the radar of the coast guard Forrest, giving start to the hostilities.
At 23:40 hours in the region of the airport, they observed a green flare and shortly after the San Felipe light house went out.
Now, April 2nd, at 1:30, the men of Sánchez-Sabarots were divided into two groups: the first, lead by himself, directed itself to the infantry barracks of the British marines in Moody Brook to attack it; the second, lead by Captain Pedro Edgardo Giachino, advanced towards Port Stanley with the objective to take the governor's office and capture him.
At 1:55 hours, the submarine ARA Santa Fe (S-21) came to the surface in front of Calebroña Point and released the tactical divers about 3,000 meters from the San Felipe lighthouse. It found that the lighthouse had been put out and, later, it distanced itself at the maximum surface speed in order to return to its patrol area. The British, already informed, had evacuated the barracks and dispersed the soldiers in attack positions en order to defend the area.
At 4:20 hours, the destroyer ARA Hercules (D-1) raised its war flag and started its patrol in the Groussac Port, protecting it from what could be an initial assault from the approaching ships, the BDT ARA San Antonio (Q-42) and the Sloop ARA Drummond (P-1). Two of the amphibious commandos occupied the quarters of the Royal Marines in Moody Brook.
At 5:45 hours, the disembarking troops of Sánchez-Sabarots opened up heavy-automatic fire, mixed with grenades on the barracks where they supposed that the British Marines would be. A few minutes later they discovered that nobody returned fire (and they were empty). The noise alerted the British commander Mayor Norman that the Argentines had arrived.
Around 6:00 hours they shut off the hold lights of the BDT, and they opened up the bow compartments and started up the enormous gas.
At 6:22 hours, there came the order, "¡First wave in the water!" and, from the BDT ARA San Antonio (Q-42), they started to disembark the amphibious vehicles with forces from the 25 Infantry from the Argentine Army. The ARA San Antonio (Q-42) released the E company of amphibious vehicles LVTP-7 and LARC-5 from the 2 Company of Marine Infantry. They oriented themselves using the buoys that the tactical divers from the ARA Santa Fe (S-21) had placed. The first wave, under the command of the Captain (IM) Hugo Santillan, arrived to the shore and then headed towards the airport. The D company disembarked a little after in order to occupy the lighthouse.
At 6:30 hours, from the D-2, they sent a message to the citizens of the island warning them not to offer a resistance in order to evade more bloodshed. The group of Giachino, the advancing Argentine forces, directed itself towards the governor's mansion, allowing them to surrender. After not receiving a reply, they entered through the servants' quarters where they found the Royal Marines entrenched. There, they received resistance. There arose a general gunfight that produced the first casualty of the conflict, the CCIM Pedro Giachino, which was fatally wounded. The shrapnel also seriously wounded the Junior Lieutenant Diego Garcia Quiroga and the First Corporal Ernesto Urbina. The rest of his men retreated, although they maintained the assault on the governor's mansion, firing from an elevated position further south. ??The constant changing of the position of the commandos and the use of stun grenades made the defending forces believe that the attacking army was much larger than what it really was. This was key in obtaining their surrender. A few minutes later, the first Lockheed C-130 Hercules from the Argentine airfare landed in the Port Stanley Airport. When the E company closed in on what was the old airport, it suffered the first attack from the British Marine Infantry. An armored LVTP-7 was damaged by machinegun fire, but the crew remained unharmed. Admiral Busser, who was in charge of the disembarkment, began to get worried: the troops in the armored vehicle and the commandos had not made contact yet and the British resistance was more intense than what had been expected. He ordered a company of the Marine Infantry Battalion with 1 105-mm. rocket-launcher to be shipped by helicopter to the coast. A Corporal of the amphibious commandos held a group of Royal Marines prisoner after the British surrender.
At 8:30 hours, Governor Hunt and Mayor Norman, under-siege and under pressure, debated about what they should do. It was suggested that they should shoot from inside the building and initiate guerrilla warfare, but, finally, believing that a battalion of Marine Infantry had surrounded them, they decided that the idea didn't make sense. They made them bring Hector Gilobert, an Argentine and resident of the island who they considered a spy, and they instructed him to negotiate a cease-fire.
At 9:30 hours, Governor Hunt surrendered the Malvinas Islands to Admiral Busser. A military transport flew governor Hunt to Montevideo, from where he was headed to London. They used the helicopter Westland Lynx Mk.23 0739/3-H-141, from the ARA Hercules (D-1), to transfer the Junior Lieutenant Martin Cazaux from the flagship of the Ocean Fleet to the flagship in Port Stanley (before, called Port Argentino) in order to reaffirm it. Upon completing his assignment with the disembarking force, some of the fractions where ready to rally to the continent, which took place that same April 2. Under such circumstances and needing to give logistic support to the naval units that where operating in the port of the capital of the islands, the Ocean Fleet commander gave permission to establish the Naval Colony of the Malvinas, and designated Junior Captain Adolfo A. Gaffoglio as its leader.
The next day, pictures of Argentine Marines, tied up facedown, appeared in the British newspapers. Approximately, 120 defenders (including armed civilians) were taken into custody for the action. Nevertheless, the Georgia Islands of the South did not accept the surrender of the British. When, on the morning of the third, the Argentine forces tried to take Grytviken, its 22 British Marine Infantry took action, but later decided to surrender.
Shortly after noon on the 3 of April of 1982, the Argentine flag waved over the Malvinas Islands, over the Georgias Islands of the South, and over the Sandwich Islands of the South. The British prisoners returned to their country via Montevideo.
That same day, Margaret Thatcher intervened in the House of Commons to debate the subject of the Malvinas Islands. She announced the organization of a special operative force, the creation of a cabinet of war, and renouncement of, among others, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Lord Carrington.
On April 3rd they started to retract the elements that had been used during the disembarking of the BDT and the icebreakers; the majority of the troops that took part in the recuperation of the islands returned via naval airships from the Argentine Air Force and its Naval Air Command.
On April 4th, Darwin and Pradera were transferred from the "Ganso," on the ARA Island of the States, to the C company of the 25th Infantry of the Argentine Army, which occupied both establishments without any opposition.
On April 5th a fraction of the 9th Company of Engineers occupied Port Fox on the Gran Malvina Island.
On April 26, 1982 Alfredo Astiz signed a document of Unconditional Surrender in the presence of Captains Pentreath and Barker of the British Armed Forces. After the taking back of the islands, the ships of the FT.20 and of the FT.40 retracted themselves to the BNPB, to which they arrived on April 12th.
On April 3rd, the United Kingdom convinced the UN to approve the resolution 502, which implored that Argentina remove its troops from the occupied archipelagos:
THE SECURITY OF COUNCIL,
Remembering the declaration formed by the President of the Security Council on the 23rd 45a. which was celebrated in a session of the Security Council on April 1st 1982 (S/14944). It urged that the governments of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and Argentina abstain from the use or the threatening of the use of force in the region of the Malvinas Islands (Falkland Islands), obviously, they were very worried about the information that they had received about an Argentine invasion to retake the isles on April 2nd 1982, in which Argentina claimed that there had been a breech in peace with the Malvinas Islands (Falkland Islands).
1. It demanded the immediate ceasing of all hostilities.
2. It demanded the immediate retraction of all the Argentine forces on the Malvinas Islands (Falkland Islands).
3. It exhorted that the British and Argentine governments try to find a way to resolve their differences with a diplomatic solution, and that they respect the purposes and principles of the letter of the United Nations. Resolution 502 of the Security Council in New York on April 3, 1982.
Votes in favor: The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Jordan, Togo, Uganda, Zaire, Guyana, Ireland, and Japan.
Votes in contra: Panama
Did not vote: Soviet Union, China, Poland, and Spain
The diplomacy, the falsehoods of the United States, the failure of the TIAR
The Soviet Union, on its side, dedicated itself in observing what would be the outcome of the events between two allies of the United States, right-handed governments- one, a democracy and one, a dictatorship -, that would unmercifully confront each other. Moscow was conscious that sooner or later the United States would have to choose a side between the two of them. Doing that would inevitably break either the OTAN or the TIAR. Whatever happened would reap beneficial results for the Soviets. Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States during the War of the Malvinas. After a few weeks of two-sided politics (diplomatic posture and the neutrality of Haig, on one side, and on the other side, the Pentagon's continuous and important military and strategic support) near the end of April, Ronald Reagan sided with the British and the OTAN in detriment to Argentina and the TIAR. Seeing this, the USSR and Cuba criticized the USA, and Fidel Castro offered his support to the Argentine military council. After Operation Sovereignty, the military dictatorship of Chile decided to support Great Britain, motivated for its common conflictive relationship with Argentina that almost lead to another war at the end of 1978. Chile didn't feel that it needed to apply the TIAR (the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance which implicated that if any American country were attacked by another from another continent that the other American countries would assist it) because it was not being attacked; it was attacking. From that time on, the end of April, the United Kingdom could count on diplomatic support, the satellite intelligence and the latest versions of weapons from the USA (AIM-9L Sidewinder, Stingers, etc), and with essential technological data that they considered -and would come to demonstrate- the most dangerous weapon to the Argentines was the anti-ship missiles Exocet made by the French.
There are two versions about the conduct of the Exocet missiles:
1. The United Kingdom agreed to deactivate the codes during the operation phase.
2. Nevertheless the detailed information given by Aerospatiale, the maker of the missile, about the Exocet and, specifically, about its targeting system (homing) resulted useless: the missile was the most dangerous during the war just as feared and during the war, there were no efficient counter-measures against it. There was no official declaration of war from either of the two countries. There was international repulse for Great Britain after the sinking of the General Belgrano and the Sheffield and all of the lives lost in the same. Thatcher was again begun to receive mediation petitions, this time from Peru's president, Fernando Belaunde. Once again, it failed. On the other hand, the Prime Minister, showed, once again, her resistance to stop the war while there remained Argentine forces on the islands, but although she accepted to negotiate without placing previous conditions about periods of time or consequences, the Argentine military Council rejected it.
The definitive conditions given by British government were redacted on May 16, and they demanded that Argentina accept it within 48 hours without the possibility of negotiation. The conditions, which demanded the unconditional retreat of the Argentine troops and the reestablishing of the former status quo, centered the conflict in that Argentina's aggression went against the self-determination right of the islanders, and that's how they obtained that a part of the world's public opinion put itself on their side.
When Argentina rejected the plan, Britain's military response became inevitable.
Argentine Army: 194 (16 officials, 35 sub-officials, 143 enlisted soldiers)
The Republic of Argentina's Armada: 377 (ARA General Belgrano 323, ARA Alférez Sobral 8, ARA Santa Fe 1, ARA Guerrico 1, ARA Island of the Sates 5, Marine Infantry 34, Malvinas Island's Base 1 y 4 pilots of the COAN)
Argentine Air Force: 55 (41 aviators)
Argentina's National Gendarmerie: 7
Argentina's Naval Prefecture: 2 (Iguazú River 1)
Civilian agents and Merchant Marine: 16 (the ARA Island of the States 13, the ARA General Belgrano 2 and the Narwhal 1)
British Army: 123 (7 officials, 40 sub-officials and 76 enlisted soldiers).
Parachuting Regiment: 39
Air Space Service (SAS - Special Air Service): 19 Ships, the RFA Sir Galahad, and the Sir Tristam: 43.
Regiment of the Gurkhas: 1. British Royal Marines (Royal Navy): 86 destroyers: HMS Sheffield 19, HMS Coventry 18, HMS Glamorgan 13, frigates: HMS Ardent 22, HMS Argonaut 2. Royal Marines: 27 (2 officials, 14 sub-officials y 11 enlisted soldiers). Royal Auxiliary Fleet: 4. (RFA Sir Galahad and Atlantic Conveyor).
Royal Air Force: 1 (1 official).
Civilian Agents: 14 (Atlantic Conveyor 8, RFA Sir Galahad and Sir Tristam 4).
Malvinas Islands: 3 civilian women. (The Frigate the HMS Avenger cannoned their house on accident).
255 pirates y 3 women.