Sunday, 19 December 2010


This is something I have been toying with writing for a while. I got the idea the last time the Argentine claims on the Falklands made headline news in Germany, but only now, with AAO temporarily stalled until I figure out the particulars of where to go next I have time to actually write this. Yes. It is set in the AAO-verse, hence the massive spoiler warning.

Operation Tidespring Pt.1

Sir Reginald Hunt, her Majesty's Governor on the Falklands Islands once again read the communiqué that the Admiralty had sent his way this morning and again he could barely believe what it said.

[I]"We have apparently reliable evidence that an Argentine task force could be assembling off Stanley at dawn tomorrow. You will wish to make your dispositions accordingly."[/I]

“Sir, do you think the Argies are really bonkers enough to try this?”

The Governor shrugged. “They have little other choice, their window is closing rapidly and I am very inclined to believe that the Junta is well aware of that.”

Colonel Winters, CinC of the Falklands Islands Defence force and also of the RM detachment that had arrived a week ago could only nod before the sound of Jet Engines ripped through the late afternoon air. He and the Governor ran to the balcony of Government house and saw two Argentine Navy F-4 Phantoms race overhead, and even at their speed Colonel Winters saw the warload missiles slung underneath.

They seem to be serious.” came the dry remark from the Governor. The Argentine Junta had to know that the Falklands had been stripped bare of most of the defences when the RN and the RAF had scrambled to meet the commitments of the Indonesian Civil War, and save for a single Bloodhound firing station, two elderly RN Rotodynes and the hundred men of the FIDF and the Royal Marines nothing was there that could defend the Islands from attack. There was a room full of old No.4s in the cellar of Government House but no one was stupid enough to hand them out to anyone. Blightey was far away and so for the moment the Islanders were on their own.

The two Argentine F-4s banked over to the airport and to the horror of those watching released the 500 pound bombs they carried. Two of the eight bombs smashed into the fire control centre of the Bloodhound AAMs, putting Port Stanley's air defences out of action at one fell swoop, two more smashed into the dirt beside the runway and the remaining two destroyed one of the Rotodynes and the paint locker of the base. Out in the harbour the RN stationship, the Frigate Crescendo went to action stations, but by the time the either the Seawolfs or the 6'' gun in the turret could swing around, the Argentine aircraft were out of range.

So the buggers do mean it.” Colonel Winters commented when they walked back inside. “I better go to my command post, Sir.”

The Governor nodded as the Marine ran out of the room. He sat back down behind his desk and picked up the phone. London needed to know about this.

By the next morning Port Stanley had suffered six more airraids. The remnants of the Bloodhounds were long since gone, and Crescendo was damaged by several near misses, but at least her weapons systems were still in action. Not that one Frigate had much of a chance against the three Cruisers and two People's Republic Class Carriers in the Argentine Navy. As Sir Reginald watched the Fire brigade trying to squelch the flames that the Argie planes had left behind he once again cursed the decision to remove the Falkland Islands flight. Four Lightnings mightn't have been much, but as long as the RDF had been operational they could have at least inflicted some losses on the bogeys as they approached. As it was now all he and his little Command could do was to wait it out and hope that their Lordships were able to respond as fast as it was needed, and it were times like this where he wished he was still a young Captain in the Grenadier Guards.

Message from the Crescendo. Their Lynx has spotted the Argentine Task Force.”

Time to go below.

Operation Rosario was launched very early 1st April 1983 when the Argentine Destroyers ARA Santisima Trinidad and her sister, the ARA Hercules disembarked twenty Argintine Naval Commandos between them to the south of Port Stanley after pounding the Crescendo into scrap metal from standoff ranges with one of the Argentine Aircraft Carriers, the ARA Independencia providing air cover and pounding the meagre defences that the British had managed to set up.

Meanwhile one of the Argentine Midway-Class Amphibious Landing Ships disembarked the first wave of the main force, 90 soldiers of the 1st Marine Special Forces Brigade, the out and out elite of the Argentine Armed Forces. They attacked Moody Brook barracks from three directions, but found no British there, the Marines having abandoned them and moved into positions elsewhere right after the first airstrike. The three groups then reassembled in the courtyard and moved towards Government House.

The rest of the main force landed near the airport two hours later and in the distance they could hear gunfire in the city. The triple-bursts of the British Lee Enfield MSLRs[1] and the Argentine M16s were distinctive even at this range. ARA Cabo San Antonio had landed the two Companies of Argentine Marines with tracked and armoured Type 11 Amphibious assault craft that the Americans had given the Argentine Junta several months ago, so the landing forces had light Armour support, while the Marines lacked even the most simple anti-tank weapons at a time when even WW2 variety PIATs[2] would have been extremely valuable. Still, the Marines were putting up a stiff fight and managed to repulse the first attack at around 7:20 AM. Lieutenant-Commander Gustavo Lega, the commander of the Argentine landing forces realized that this was where the Marines had concentrated their strength and realized that he would have to coordinate a proper attack as the British would probably defeat any more single attacks by the groups that had surrounded the British strongpoint by 8:15 in the morning.

They launched themselves at the Marines two more times but to no avail. By mid day the plan had been completely shot to hell, and Lega decided that drastic measures were needed. Under a white flag he approached the British and was met mid way by Colonel Winters who recorded the exchange several years later.

You have fought well, Colonel, but now it is time to surrender.”

Why should I? From where I'm standing my lads are holding up quite well.”

You see, Colonel my Navy has several warships off the coast and I do not think that your Navy will be here before ours can blow up the house and half of the town with it.”

The Marines surrendered half an hour later and were repatriated through Uruguay two weeks later.

While this happened a meeting of a wholly different sort took place in Aldershot. The Emergency Session of the Imperial General Staff was for the moment chaired by Vice Admiral Sir Hugh Spencer, since Air Marshal of the Empire Sir Edmund Willaby was stuck in traffic coming from briefing the Queen on the crisis. But that was in the end of no consequence. The plan to react to what had happened was in the drawers of various commands, but an operation of this sort, even if already authorized by the PM for exactly this eventuality, could only be launched by the Deputy CIGS if the boss was dead/unavailable.

In Scapa Flow the prearranged Battlegroup was standing by and waiting for orders. The 1st Royal Marine Division's 1st Royal Marine Rifle Regiment was standing by at their camps near Plymouth. Bomber Command's No.617 Squadron had been released from their normal peacetime Standby role and their Vulcan Mk.Vs had already refitted with racks for conventional ordnance.

In Argentinia the Fleet was fully mobilized. The second Carrier sortied, the Submarines sortied and took up blocking positions to the north of the Islands, while the Carriers were ordered to join up at a point to the south and await any eventual British attack. Depending on who was asked, the Falkand War/Crisis had begun.


Cease and desist? More?

Information on the Argentine assault is pretty much OTL, questions on ships and units will be answered in due time. For those who happen to follow the AAR: please don't spoil it for the others.

[1] Lee Enfield Magazine Self Loading Rifle. Bog-standard SLR except that TTLs have a select fire switch and can fire triple-round bursts.

[2] The term stuck, at least in the Allied Pact nations.

1 comment:

  1. What class of frigate is the Crescendo part of by the way?


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