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[OT] Falklands re [GZG] Small thought re: Orbital Assault

From: Matthew Tope <kirov76@g...>
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2005 21:57:29 +0000
Subject: [OT] Falklands re [GZG] Small thought re: Orbital Assault

In regards to the orbital assault/Falklands discussion here follows
some of the reasoning behind the desicion to land at San Carlos;

Excerpts taken from "Amphibious Assault Falklands", by Captain Michael
Clapp RN, retired, Commander Falklands Amphibious Task Group. Leo
Cooper London, 1996.

First a quick over view of the key points desirable in the landing site;

"From the amphibious point of view the beaches within the AOA had to
accept a brigade landing quickly into at least four different areas so
that the commandos and battalions could swiftly achieve all-round and
mutual defence for themselves and the anchorage as a whole..." Page

"From the millitary view point the beaches should have good infantry
and tank exits; they ought to be out of direct enemy gunfire range and
not obviously prone to immediate counter attack. Any dominating ground
had to be easily and quickly seizable. The surrounding area needed to
be suitable for Rapier anti-aircraft missile sites and the routes from
the beaches to Stanley (if we were to move out) had to be suitable for
men on foot and light vehicles. The distance to Stanley should, if at
all possible, be short and not dominated nor easily blocked or
ambushed by the enemy." Page 78-79.

After discussing the requirement for the landing sites the author
relates how the planning group kept comming back to San Carlos waters
and details some of the reasons for and against the site in the

"San Carlos was within reasonable range, by helicopter, from Stanley,
with no enemy bases en route apart from Darwin. It was, however,
within direct range of Darwin and Goose Green, should we need to
eliminate these enemy bases which we considered to be 'off the line of
march' and which could, anyway, be contained by some other method
rather than attack; San Carlos inlet was believed to be unoccupied;
its topography would most suit Rapier; it was bordered by three
suitable and seperate beaches each beneath a possible unit objective;
it could be readily protected against surface threats; it contained
beaches suitable for the Beach Support Area and it possessed suitable
flat patches for mainteneance and Sea Harrirer Strips.
 There were, of course, strong arguments against San Carlos which
would take our ingenuity and forethought to counter it it was not to
be confirmed by 'London'. For a start it was within range of
un-refuled Argentine aircraft; the approaches and entrance could be
mined before and after a landing; it was possible that a submarine
could lie in wait in advance of a landing or creep in undetected after
one- a very major worry; there were few if any convenient areas where
helicopters or Harriers could actually hide; it was a long way to yomp
to Stanley if Helicopters were not to be employed. Even then we knew
that the shortage of helicopters would prevent their use for much more
than 'ammunition forward and casualties back'." Page 79-80.

The planning described above occurred before the loss to exocet of
Atlantic Conveyor (on D+4), and thus whether or not said helicopters
had been available would not have overly effected the operational

"Any opponent worth his salt would have put himself in our shoes and
identified a similar place as ours as likelt 'first foot' and would
therefore prepare his defences accordingly, but another factor in our
deliberations, and this is not hindsight, was the impression we had
that the Argentines expected us to do things the American way and
land, if not straight into Stanley, then very close indeed. Luckily
they they appeared to be conducting their defence accordingly, as we
were about to discover by courtesy of the SBS and SAS." Page 80.

Just to shed some light on the reasons why (rightly or wrongly) the
Brits did what they did, and also some interesting points (as alrady
discussed in other posts) on the requirements of an assault sight
which should be applicable to the gaming table.

Matt Tope.

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