Saturday, 5 January 2013

Falklands - facts

Around eighteen months ago when the Argies last set their sabres a-rattle over the Falklands, a retired general declared we couldn't defend them and couldn't win them back, prompting a related post from me. The detailed rebuttal in the comments by The Raging Tory is one of the delights of blogging and I make no apology for reproducing it in full below:-
Argentina couldnt invade its own bloody capital at the moment, never mind The Falklands.

Several places have mapped out possible invasions by Argentina, at best, they take the islands with catastrophic losses.
At worst, they lose 10,000 men and dont even set foot on the islands.

The FI Garrison is over 1000 strong, all trained as static infantry, with an additional company of proper infantry.

Argentina has a single landing ship, that could land 300 men and heavy equipment. Everything else they needed would be landed by dingy.

That assumes an S/T/A class isnt hanging around (the argies have no ASW capability) and sinks the invasion fleet with all hands.

They have a parachute Brigade, but its poorly trained and as far as I'm aware hasnt dropped in Brigade strength, ever.
Even the Americans, who constantly make parachute drops take serious losses to broken ankles and legs.

And of course, even if they do manage to parachute 1,000 men onto the islands, they will be dropped light, with limited ammunition, food and heavy weapons.

Realisticaly, all being even, the aggressor needs 3:1 odds to beat a defender.
They might get 2:1.

But all things arent even, your average argentine has never fired a shot in anger, your average British Infantryman has spent 6 months in Afghanistan.
And Mt P isnt just a hill with a few conveniently scattered rocks, we've had 30 years to big trenches, fire pits, concealed machine gun positions.

But even if they overcome all that, and somehow seize the islands, what then?

Our submarine fleet can continue to strike targets at will with Tomahawk, or sink ships with whatever fish we're on today (Tiger?).
And of course, we can launch a task force.

I know I know, it doesnt have fighter cover, big whoop, it has Daring and Argentina doesnt have fighters, they have ground attack aircraft considerably older than I am.
Skyhawks against SeaViper would be a one way bet.
With the Argentine Navy confined to port by Astute, theres nothing to resist a landing fleet.
Ocean can operate Apaches, at a pinch, probably 16 of them.
Illustrious can helicopter in an 800 strong ground force.
The Two Albions can land another 800 men and large amounts of material, and finaly the bay classes can land another 1000 men and, 90 odd tanks.

Argentina can hold the islands with whatever it can logisticaly support with a few battered old C130s, they cant ship supplies over, due to Astute related sinkings.


Barnacle Bill said...

This all presumes that Paddy O'Bama will support us to the same extent that Ronald Reagan did.
Overtly or, covertly.
If we're not allowed to us our submarine force it makes it a different ball game.
How can we sure that Daring is fully armed after the HMS Westminster's Libyan fiasco?
On paper we might seem to be holding a full house, but governments have been know to fold holding the strongest hand.
Plus there's Black Swans and Rumsfeld's "unknown unknowns".

Ian Hills said...

Maybe a little strike on Buenos Aires would make an Argie invasion force return to base.

Nothing genocidal - just a Tomahawk fired in the direction of the presidential palace.

That cheap-looking woman would be brought down in no time, assuming she survives the blast.

In the meantime there must be some Argentinian travel agencies that need protection...

Anonymous said...

It's just gob and no action, from Christina Kirchner.
Argentina, should be a very affluent nation, it isn't, it is an economic basket case and always but always when the 'people are mutinous' the political elite turn to extraordinary external enemies - now that Brazil, Uruguay, Chile are all 'allies' and in DC the Muslim-in-chief is anti must be Falklands time.

G. Tingey said...

Let's correct one little bit of US-crawling bollocks shall we (I'm looking at YOU Barnacle Bill) ....

From the Daily Telegraph comes This little gem about how the US devotion to the "Monroe Doctrine" was about to shaft us completely.

Meanwhile, havong screwed it in the first place by starting defence cuts, the madwoman from Grantham appeared tough, also railing at the Froggies, who had sold everyone Exocets (including us) in good faith. What is NOT revealed is that said froggies promptly told us the settings the Argies were likely to use on their versions of the rockets .....
The US also had to be reminded who owned (& still owns) Ascension Island, & they did want to carry on using it at our pleasure, didn't they?

Meanwhile, a much under-appreciated previous PM did the sensible thing. As an ex-Navy man, he wasn't interested in "defence cuts" & when the Argies tried the previous time, he sent nuclear-powered attack subs (yes, plural) to the S. Atlantic & then told the ARgies "Come on then, if you think you're hard enough".
They backed down, didn't they?
Well done Jim Calorgas!

Barnacle Bill said...

@ G Tingey
Many thanks for the link, I'd forgotten someone took a photo of Astiz signing that surrender.

As for Haig, he'd always been a bit suspect, so was kept very much in the dark about a lot of things.

Span Ows said...

Greg, you are wrong to castigate Barnacle Bill: what he says is perfectly reasonable and I doubt Obama would be anywhere near as sympathetic as RR was. Despite everything they did send us help, albeit secretly. Ronnie and Caspar between them showed the UK enough covert support to excuse the overt flapping they had to do in their own interests; we can't say they were wrong to be worried about their interests when we are actually going to war over ours. I agree re "Crisis, what crisis?" but he was dealt an almighty pile of shit.

Anonymous said...

When I read this stuhh, I immediately think of Sun Tsu's Art of War. This is required reading for anyone who wishes to engage in battle with another country's military. If the Argentine junta had read Sun Tsu, they would not have invaded in the first place. Now, with the Islands defended like they never were, it would be suicidal for Kirchner to order an invasion.

Coney Island

Anonymous said...

There's no pleasing some people - the invasion and subsequent defeat precipitated the fall of a brutal dictatorship, thus saving countless Argentine lives and the rise of democracy. She's never have become President if they'd won. Hell, she might not even be alive....

Demetrius said...

It is one thing to drop Para's, allowing for losses. It is another to keep them fed and supplied. One suspects that logistics may not be the Argentinians strength. Also, how many special services men would it take to knock out Argentina's power supplies?

Weekend Yachtsman said...

I'm with BB.

Operations like this are about a lot more than military hardware. Hearts and minds - of allies, supporters, and opposers - are just as critical.

The US wouldn't co-operate at all.

The EU would do its best to frustrate us (and its best is quite a lot - remember we don't manufacture ammunition any more, it all comes from Belgium).

The UN would be completely on the side of the Argentines.

The MSM and especially the bbc would be vehemently opposed and endlessly critical: any collateral casualties at all would produce talk of trials at The Hague etc etc.

And Cameron doesn't have the balls anyway: our military, if they got there at all, would be endlessly hampered by politically-inspire rules of engagement; there would be no sinkings, and very little determined fighting of any sort.

The islanders just have to hope that Kirchner doesn't really mean it.

Nick Drew said...

I regret to say BB and WY have the nub of it

Raging Tory's comments - very accurate as far as they go - are the reason it will never happen militarily: but that's not the point

there are less-than-friendly nations stacked up all the way from France to China who have Something We Need (mostly access to their markets, these days) that could be presented as a lot more valuable to us than the FI

for example, one day India is going to want our seat at the UN Security Council - just see what happens then: they will start buying UN votes and we know what the S.American votes will cost, provided Argentina is in half-way intelligent hands

even before then, a clever Argentine leader would simply offer each FI family USD 1 million apiece - cost them a lot less than an invasion

Anonymous said...

Nick Drew - your last point is a good one but who would lend them the money to do it (Chavez maybe - but he's about to kick the bucket)? Also there are a range of excellent articles on Argentine vs UK military capabilities over at Sir Humphrey's place written from an informed perspective:

Edward Spalton said...

This from Andy Smith, PRO of the UK National Defence Association

"I am not convinced that the islands could be held if attacked and they certainly could not be retaken if occupied. Not only are our military capabilities horrendously fractured but frankly there isn't the political will in Britain to do what would be necessary (despite Cameron's tough talking). Bear in mind that Argentina has been busily building political alliances across Latin America and with Communist China which mean that there are sources of weaponry, intelligence and manpower that Buenos Aires didn't have access to in 1982...."

UKNDA produced reports on the situation last April

Bill Quango MP said...

I think you are wrong about Cameron. He may be indecisive and lack the will to do the detail, but he is not a coward.

Almost everyone in the UK was against any support for Libya. Another war for oil! America's poodle! Blairism lives! Yet another war against innocent Muslim brothers to support America's global ambitions. Another Afghanistan..! Vietnam 3 and countless other negative headlines.

It was politically much sounder to do nothing on Libya except words. Cameron had ALREADY made the defence cuts. He knew we could not do any good alone and he knew he needed the French in and Obama wasn't in any hurry to be seen to be starting any more wars.

Yet Cameron did defend Libya. He did organise the planes that stopped the Gaddafi regime at Benghazi and eventually led to the dictators overthrow.

This wasn't a Falklands headliner political jingo exercise. No one was waving flags to cheer the boys off to war. It was seen as pointless, risky and unnecessary.

Yet Cameron did it anyway. And, even though he was right, and he won, he benefited not at all.

There is no way Cameron would allow a mumbling response to invasion. It would be a Maggie style whatever it takes. You know it would.

Don't let his disappointing performance elsewhere disguise what we already know. He would definitely take decisive action.

TrT said...

I wondered why my traffic had spiked :)

In my defence, it was only a throw away comment :P

Its possible the EU could frustrate us, but is it likely?

For a start, France has several "Falkands", they dont want any sort of precedent set that euro islands can be invaded.

What would bind the UK to the EU more than German Paratroopers liberating the Falklands?

What would force us out more quickly than the EU hampering our war effort?

If you will forgive the language.....
How many Chinamen will die for fox bay?

Edward Spalton said...

Bill Quango and TrT

I forwarded the original post to Andy Smith because it cheered me up. His response cheered me down! But I think he is right.

Cameron risked nothing in Libya but the lives of a few aircrew and came in a risk-free supporting role to the French (who will grab all the contracts) and the result will be a nasty Islamist regime instead of a nasty fascist regime. Cameron has the spine of a jellyfish. He proved that when he resiled from his "cast iron" commitment to a referendum on the EU constitution/Lisbon treaty,

No Chinaman will fight for Argentina but they may have some rather interesting weapon developments and a great deal of economic support for MEROCSUR and similar organisations.

France, I think, might arouse quite a bit of support from the Herrenvolk for its "Falklands" but Britain? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Edward Spalton - perhaps this will cheer you up again:

I wonder who Andy Smith thinks is going to attack the Falklands and with what?

G. Tingey said...

NOT as bad as you think.
Agreed, the US would have to have their tail twisted again ....
The EU would IGNORE it - and we don't actualyy depend entorely on Belgium for our ammo - that's a bit of not-totally-true-not-totally-false misinformation that seems to have stuck.
"The UN" - General Assembly - forget them.
Security Council - we have a veto, so ignore that too!
MSM-BBC - you are lying.
I rememeber the last time, the BBC did a very good reporting job, so stop talking bollocks. Actually, the people who fucked up were the Foreign Office, & the BBC were handed the short end - there was an almighty (private) row about it, afterwards.
Agree about Camoron, though.
And I tend to agree with the original analysis...

Ed Spalton
NOT such a nasty isiamist regime in Lybia ... after theshambles in Benghazi, the locals THREW THE ISLAMISTS OUT ... & the new provisional guvmint decided it was time to get a grip ...
Wait & see?

James Higham said...

It would have to be one of the few issues uniting us all at this time.

Budgie said...

GTingey, get your head out of your own arsehole ...
It is NOT that bad ... not anything that can't be fixed, anyway??!?
Now bloody grow up, and stop talking bollocks!!!?!?!??

Sorry, what did you say?

Elby the Beserk said...


Correct. This is simply an attempt to divert attention from the fact that Argentina's economy is is such an appalling state (again)that even the IMF have threatened to abandon them.

Pathetic, but destructive. Relations between Argentina go way back, and we gave them both Football and Polo, both of which they excel at. Any British visitor to Argentina will find themselves welcomed with open arms; let us hope that the cretinous Krchner does not mess with this.

Edward Spalton said...

Elby, someone once said that an Argentinian was an Italian, speaking Spanish who would like to be an Englishman.

Years ago I knew an English chap, a former bomber pilot, who was an airline pilot in Argentina after the war. Peron nationalised the airline and (he said and I had no reason to doubt) that he piloted the first Argentine Airlines flight. He later ran a substantial business in Somerset to which I was a supplier.
During the later Eighties he wanted to go back. There were still travel restrictions and he had no visa. When he returned, he told me that he had crossed from Montevideo on the strength of his 1947 membership card of the Buenos Aires Hurlingham Club.
So the relationship is a bit more complicated than "Gotcha!"

Span Ows said...

LOL, there's a few versions of that: last I heard it was that an Argentinian is an Italian who speaks Spanish and acts like a Frenchman that wishes he was English.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Just one further comment - it won't be the Indians who want our Security Council seat, it will be the EU.

And Cameron (or one of his successors) will meekly hand it over when told to.

Anyone betting against?

Budgie said...

No, Weekend Yachtsman, I would not bet against Cameron handing over the UK's UN seat.

Cameron is one of the worst PMs ever. Perhaps not down there with Brown, but less competent than Blair and just as much a stranger to the truth.

He has made a pig's ear of Defence, fallen for every modern scam, and failed to curtail the deficit. He has propped up the euro (via the IMF), and doesn't understand that getting back powers from the EU is not on offer.

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