Air War in the Falklands 1982
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Victory in the Falklands
Operación Azul was the code name for the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands that took place on April 2nd 1982.
The British garrison on the Falkland Islands consisted of just 68 Royal Marines and 11 sailors, backed by around 25 members of the Falkland Islands Defence Force (FIDF). This was actually larger than the usual garison, because at the time the garrison was in the process of changing over, and both the troops preparing to leave and their replacements were present in the islands. However, the garrison was reduced when around 22 Royal Marines were dispatched on HMS Endurance to observe Argentine soldiers in South Georiga.
The Argentine invasion force consisted of around 600 men with armoured vehicles, backed by the modern destroyer ARA Santísima Trinidad, with further naval and ground reinforcements available.
Argentine Rear Admiral Jorge Allara requested that the British Governor, Rex Hunt, surrender peacefully, but the proposal was rejected. However after a spirited resistance at Government House, the majority of the small British garrison eventually surrended.
A section of British Marines, under the command of Corporal York remained at large, but with no radio, and concerned about the possibility of risk to civilians, they eventually destroyed and buried their weapons, and surrendered on April 4th.
After the surrender, the Royal Marines and FIDF were herded into playing fields and made to lie down on the ground while pictures were taken, and these pictures were later broadcast on television. Although this appears to have been an attempt by Argentina to demonstrate the lack of British casualties, it back-fired and galvanised British public opinion against the Argentine invasion. Subsequently, the FIDF were disarmed and returned to their homes, and the Royal Marines flown on an Argentine C-130 Hercules to Uruguay. Famously, as one Marine boarded the aircraft he said to an Argentine guard "Don't make yourself too comfy mate, we'll be back."
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