Killed some­one... didn’t keep count

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By JUSTIN DUNN

THE FALK­LANDS War was a des­per­ate diver­sion tac­tic by an Ar­gen­tinian mil­i­tary junta pre­sid­ing over im­mi­nent eco­nomic col­lapse.

Scrab­bling to di­vert public at­ten­tion from a loom­ing re­ces­sion, strug­gling act­ing pres­i­dent Leopoldo Galtieri agreed with Ad­mi­ral Jorge Anaya’s plan to in­vade the Falk­lands, or Malv­inas.

At var­i­ous times there have been French, Bri­tish, Span­ish and Ar­gen­tine set­tle­ments on the is­lands, although the UK re-es­tab­lished its rule in 1833. Anaya’s idea was to stir up long-held Ar­gen­tine pa­tri­otic feel­ings to­wards the is­lands in the hope it would switch at­ten­tion from the junta’s chronic money prob­lems and hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions.

Ten­sion

But the Argies made one vi­tal mis­take – they thought the Brits would sur­ren­der im­me­di­ately and cer­tainly not in­volve our armed forces.

The on­go­ing ten­sion be­tween the two coun­tries in­creased on March 19, 1982, when a group of Argie scrap me­tal mer­chants raised the Ar­gen­tine flag at South Ge­or­gia. It would later be seen as the first of­fen­sive ac­tion in the war.

Bri­tain was ini­tially taken by sur­prise by the full scale April 2 at­tack on the South At­lantic is­lands, de­spite warn­ings by Royal Navy cap­tain Ni­cholas Barker and oth­ers.

Prime Min­is­ter Mar­garet Thatcher dis­patched a Task Force to re­take the is­lands.

The re­sult­ing war lasted 74 days. It ended with Ar­gen­tine sur­ren­der on June 14, 1982 – re­turn­ing the is­lands to Bri­tish con­trol.

In all, 649 Ar­gen­tine and 255 Bri­tish mil­i­tary per­son­nel – along with three Falk­land Is­lan­ders – lost their lives.

Now, 30 years on from the in­va­sion, this is the story of those in­volved in the con­flict in their own words.

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