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Forces War Records Blog

THE BATTLE OF GOOSE GREEN - FALKLANDS WAR

Blogger: GemSen Around this date thirty-one years ago, on 28 and 29 May 1982, the first major land conflict of the Falklands War, The Battle of Goose Green, was taking place. The battle focused on capturing the strategically important coastal areas of Darwin and Goose Green - settlements on East Falkland in the Falkland Islands. It went on for 40 hours, and despite being outnumbered two to one, the British troops overcame the defenders. Before the 1,200 Argentine soldiers surrendered though, there were heavy casualties on both sides – which we should pause to remember… During the conflict men from 2 Para, the Parachute Regiment also lost their commander, Lieutenant-Colonel ‘H’ Jones who was later awarded a Victoria Cross for his leadership and bravery. A Battle of conflict and controversy The victory at Goose Green led the way to the eventual capture of Port Stanley and was a huge morale boost to the British who had previously suffered massive losses at sea. Even though it is referred to as one of the most significant conflicts of the Falklands War, The Battle of Goose Green is also considered fairly controversial and has not fallen short of criticism – some believe that British Forces did not need to be diverted away from their key objective, Port Stanley. Fighting in the darkness On the morning of the 28th May, at 2.30am, the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (2 Para) attacked and liberated Goose Green and Darwin. For 90 minutes the forward Argentine platoons were pounded with artillery from HMS Arrow. The troops had to complete their mission in darkness and try to take Darwin and Goose Green ‘before breakfast’. This meant they had to leave the majority of their supplies and heavier weapons behind. They would rely on artillery and naval ships for fire support to suppress enemy positions. British intelligence had, however, failed to identify the main Argentine defensive positions in the area of Darwin Hill. An intense fight uphill with rockets, rifles and bayonets then took place and the British troops were now faced with a frontal attack over open ground against a dug-in defenders who were expecting them. Air support was also minimal due to cloud. In the face of defensive fire In the face of heavy defensive fire, the assault stalled and in a daring solo attack Lieutenant-Colonel Jones charged against an Argentine machine-gun position, during which he was killed. Jones’ men eventually fought their way through and by midday on 28 May they had taken Darwin. The battle continued in daylight with air support now coming to the assistance of both sides. As the fierce infantry battle reached its climax, the cloud lifted and three RAF Harriers arrived to rain down cluster bombs. The Argentine conscripts wrongly thought they were overwhelmed and surrendered on 29th May 1982. In fact it was they who outnumbered the British troops two to one and about 1,200 Argentine troops surrendered to fewer than 600 Paras. Within two weeks of the Battle of Goose Green, the war was over and Great Britain had retained control of the Islands. Source: www.nam.ac.uk
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