Interestingly there was a short opinion piece in Prospect magazine by Rear Admiral Chris Parry where he basically said the same thing viz. in a another battle or war everything would depend on the ability to hold Mt. Pleasant long enough to bring in reinforcements. He speculated that a covert SF strike against the airstrip could disable the 4 Tornadoes and capture the runway. With no British ability to resupply all the Argentinians would have to do is overrun the infantry company there!
Then the problem of having no aircraft carrier is a problem and the US or anybody else for that matter won't help. Essentially if the British lost them they couldn't take them back.
while this is a possible threat the UK is not unware of this type of threat and built MPA with it, and other threats in mind. personally, i'll leave it that.
the issue with retaking the islands if they are lost is serious, and while their are options, none of them are attractive and all would run the risk of heavy losses as well as complete failure.
hence why deterance is so important.
First of all the Tornados are long gone, replaced by Typhoons. The argentinians could barely muster a SF force to get near that island.A previous post stated that the soldiers were better equipped. They were conscripts with no battle expierence.
Also the Argentinian airforce are still using the skyhawk, which is as much use as a fouga against a raptor...
The Argentines had, amongst other things, better personal weapons, better boots, and for the most part better clothing.
Additionally, there were indeed conscripts in the Argentine invasion force however the invasion force was in no way made up entirely of conscripts. There were Argentine Special Forces and Marines on the islands. A famous engagement between the Royal Marines Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre and the Argentine Special Forces took place at a place called Top Malo House.
To dismiss the Argentine force as a bunch of conscripts who didn't want to be there actually does a massive disservice to the British soldiers who retook the islands. There were experienced, well trained Argentine forces present. Moreover, many conscripts fought with great bravery and ferocity.
Your point about battle experience is an interesting one though - how much fighting do you think the average marine/para/guardsman/gurkha had done before they set foot onto the Islands?
From the Beeb....
Could Britain still defend the Falklands?
Mt Pleasant is identified as the critical element, as are the Argentine Special / Specialised Forces.......
"Most military thinkers agree they offer the only credible threat through a surprise attack on Mt Pleasant. One scenario might be a civilian airliner packed with special forces to divert to Mt Pleasant, says Colonel Southby-Tailyour. "It would take a very brave politician to shoot down a civilian airliner in cold blood. The Argentine forces are good. They could jump out and shoot everything up."
While such an operation would lack subtlety - it would certainly not lack effect
Apart from the Gurkhas, the ground units taking part in the Falklands Campaign had only served in Northern Ireland.
However, all were full-time professional soldiers with years of long hard training behind them, especially the RM, who habitually train in Norway under very harsh conditions.
That could not be said of the UK Armed Forces now. It is truly an army of battle hardened veterans now.
Shooting down a civilian airliner in cold blood would certainly be a "brave" political decision. Blowing the sh1te out of an airplane on the tarmac with armed enemy soldiers piling out of it most certainly wouldn't be difficult to square away, not to mention literally puts all of Argentina's eggs in one basket. If they fail in spectacular fashion, they've well and truly given the game away and landed themselves in a very serious political position globally, having shown themselves (again) to be the aggressor and not worth the lies they spew, twice in thirty years.
All it needs is a garrison force stationed at the airfield with a couple of gympies to turn any airliner assault into a slaughter. There'd be no cover on the plane, little cover around the plane save the landing gear, and lots of open ground all around.
Much like the aforementioned raid that was tabled as a possibility during 1982 and was considered by the SAS to be a very undesirable option, the same could be said of the idea of landing an airliner on an enemy apron. Unless the garrison are asleep at their posts, the attackers would face unacceptable loses, even if they did achieve any level of success at all.
Can counterinsurgency operations in Northern Ireland, often in urban areas, be regarded as an advantage to British soldiers fighting at company and battalion level against a regular enemy on the featureless plains and rocky hillsides of the Falklands? Not being a soldier I don't know of course, but I would not have thought that it proved to be that decisive a factor as was suggested above.
Argentina's version of "Operation Sudden Death".
its not the environment, its the 'waking up in the morning knowing that its quite possible someones going to take a shot at you' factor - once you've done it, the next time isn't much of a shock and you're able to get on with the job.
on a training level it was very important - every private knew that the guy who had trained him, and the guy who was leading him, had been to NI and had faced, and dealt with, the dangers inherant in serving there. you just can't know what that does for unit cohesion and morale until you go to a unit/arm/service where no one has combat experience, and where no one who trained any of them - even the CO - had ever done the job 'for real'.
at the organisational level its really understanding that no plan survives contact with the enemy, and that anything that can go wrong, will - everyone says they know that, but until 'the plan' turns to ratsh1t while you're being shot at, you never really grasp how all-pervasive it is.
that said, Sennybridge, Sailsbury Plain and Otterburn all look like the Falklands....
Mr Watson - you have missed the point here - the counter-insurgency operations in Northern Ireland were NOT the main task of the teeth arms of the United Kingdom's Armed Forces.
Their main task was, and is being soldiers in a military combat situation, not patrolling the streets of other cities, towns, villages and by-ways of part of the United Kingdom.
In any event, the troops who went to Ireland went there as infantry, regardless of their correct MOS - you can hardly imagine the appearance of squadrons of REAL tanks, and regiments of self-propelled guns and anti-aircraft missile units, troops of combat engineers and all the real paraphernalia of a real combat zone of operations taking place in Northern Ireland.
The British Army and the Royal Marines train constantly for all forms of warfare in a variety of operational possibilities, from the Arctic to the jungle, and, as the recent rescue operation in Sierra Leone proved, they are rather good at it. Counter-insurgency is only one facet of war-work.
If you are referring to Operation Barras, I'm not following the connection since it has been a while since I read about it in detail and am fuzzy on details.
If you are referring to the sci-fi tv show "Babylon 5" (I did a google), well then you've lost me on the reference completely.
The UK Army was only fighting an insurgency in NI in the early seventies, then PIRA switched to a terrorist campaign. In fact, given it's policing role, even in the early seventies, it could hardly have claimed to be carrying out a counter-insurgency campaign at any point in NI.
Of course, the threat of being killed or maimed at any point undoubtedly kept soldiers sharp and strengthened their morale when facing death in another type of campaign. Not to be under-estimated.
Argentina had it's own 'insurgency'/'terrorism' problems prior to The Falklands - problems their military coped with pretty well.
'Operation Sudden Death' is the generic name given to any ill-considered operation who's main motive appears to be medals at tea-time and 50% fatalities in the first 10 minutes.
if someone writes 'Op Sudden Death' at the top of their notes as you give an 'O Group, its a subtle hint that you need a new plan, or should retire to the ante room and spend a moment with the Mess Webley doing 'the decent thing'.
it is not a compliment.