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Encyclopedia > Battle of Mount Tumbledown
Battle of Mount Tumbledown
Part of Falklands War
Date 13 June14 June 1982
Location Mount Tumbledown, Falkland Islands
Result Decisive British victory
Combatants
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom Flag of Argentina Argentina
Commanders
Lt Col. Michael Scott Commander Carlos Robacio
Strength
900 Troops 502 Argentine Marines
Casualties
9 killed
51 wounded
30 killed
Wounded Unknown, presumed very heavy
30 captured
The British capture of heights above Stanley lead to the surrender of the city shortly afterwards.

The Battle of Mount Tumbledown was an engagement of the Falklands War, one of a series of battles that took place during the British advance towards Stanley. The battle took place on the night of 13 June14 June 1982. In the battle, the British launched an assault on Tumbledown Mountain, one of the heights that dominate the town of Stanley, and succeeded in driving the Argentine forces from the mountain. This close-quarter night battle has gone down in British military history and was later immortalized in the BBC film Tumbledown. Image File history File links Acap. ... Combatants Argentina United Kingdom Commanders President Leopoldo Galtieri Vice-Admiral Juan Lombardo Brigadier-General Ernesto Crespo Brigade-General Mario Menéndez Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse Rear-Admiral John “Sandy” Woodward Major-General Jeremy Moore Casualties 649 killed 1,068 wounded 11,313 taken prisoner 75 fixed... is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... June 14 is the 165th day of the year (166th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Argentina. ... Combatants Argentina United Kingdom Commanders President Leopoldo Galtieri Vice-Admiral Juan Lombardo Brigadier-General Ernesto Crespo Brigade-General Mario Menéndez Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse Rear-Admiral John “Sandy” Woodward Major-General Jeremy Moore Casualties 649 killed 1,068 wounded 11,313 taken prisoner 75 fixed... Combatants United Kingdom Argentina Commanders Governor Rex Hunt Major Mike Norman RM Major Ian Nott RM Major Phil Sommers FIDF Admiral Carlos Busser Lieutenant commander Guillermo Sánchez-Sabarots Lieutenant commander Pedro Giachino† Strength 46 marines 11 RN sailors 25 FIDFs troops 600 troops (some 60 actually clashed with... The Raid on Pebble Island took place on 14-15 May 1982[citation needed] during the Falklands War. ... Combatants United Kingdom Argentina Commanders Captain Anthony Morton (HMS Yarmouth) Captain John Coward (HMS Brilliant) Captain Jorge A. Gopcevich-Canevari (ARA Monsunen) Strength 1 Type 22 frigate Frigate 1 Rothesay class Frigate 1 Armed coastal ship Casualties None Coastal ship beached (later taken in tow and rescued by ARA Forrest... Combatants United Kingdom Argentina Commanders Lt. ... Combatants United Kingdom Argentina Commanders Captain Rod Boswell Captain Vercesi Strength 19 troops 13 troops Casualties 3 wounded 2 killed 6 wounded 5 captured The Battle of Top Malo House was fought on the 31st May 1982 during the Falklands War, between 1st section Argentine Special Forces from 602 Commando... Combatants United Kingdom Argentina Commanders Lt. ... Combatants United Kingdom Argentina Commanders Lt. ... Combatants United Kingdom Argentina Commanders Lt. ... Combatants United Kingdom Argentina Commanders Lt. ... Combatants Argentina United Kingdom Commanders President Leopoldo Galtieri Vice-Admiral Juan Lombardo Brigadier-General Ernesto Crespo Brigade-General Mario Menéndez Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse Rear-Admiral John “Sandy” Woodward Major-General Jeremy Moore Casualties 649 killed 1,068 wounded 11,313 taken prisoner 75 fixed... Map of the Falkland Islands showing position of Stanley. ... is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... June 14 is the 165th day of the year (166th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ... Tumbledown is a Made-for-TV drama, starring Colin Firth, centering on the experiences of an officer of the Scots Guards during the Falklands Campaign of 1982 in which he was wounded at the Battle of Mount Tumbledown and his subsequent rehabilitation. ...


The attacking British force consisted of the 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards with mortar detachments from 42 Commando, Royal Marines and the 1/7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles with support from a troop of the Blues and Royals equipped with two Scorpion and two Scimitar armored vehicles. The attack was supported by naval gunfire from HMS Active's 4.5-in gun. The Argentines defending the mountain were Commander Carlos Robacio's 5th Marine Infantry Battalion (BIM 5). Prior to the British landings, the marine battalion had been augmented by a company of the Amphibious Engineers Company (CKIA), a battery of the 1st Marine Artillery Battalion (BIAC), three Tigercat SAM batteries of the 1st Marine Anti-Aircraft Regiment as well as a heavy machine-gun company of the Headquarter's Battalion (BICO). The Argentinean defenders held firm under the heavy 'softening up' bombardment, which began at 7.30 local time. As Major Oscar Jaimet recalled in Scots Guard at the Tower of London The Scots Guards are a regiment of the British Army. ... The Corps of Royal Marines, usually just known as the Royal Marines (RM), are the United Kingdoms amphibious forces and a core component of the countrys Rapid Reaction Force. ... Gurkha Soldiers (1896) The Brigade of Gurkhas is the collective term for British Army units that are composed of Nepalese soldiers. ... A Trooper of the Blues and Royals on mounted duty in Whitehall, London The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons) are a cavalry regiment of the British Army, part of the Household Cavalry. ... The FV101 Scorpion is a modern British light tank. ... This refers to the armoured vehicle, for other uses see Scimitar (disambiguation) FV107 Scimitar is an armoured reconnaissance vehicle, although sometimes classed as a light tank used by the British Army. ... HMS Active (F171) was a Type 21 frigate of the Royal Navy. ... The Batallón 5 de Infantería de Marina (5th Marine Infantry Battalion), commonly known by its military acronym of BIM 5, is a battalion of the Argentine Navy Marine Corps. ...

I heard the cries of the wounded calling for their comrades, twelve men wounded before nightfall. We thought we had suffered before, but what luxury and comfort compared to this.[1]

During the battle the 5th Marines Command Post took five direct hits but Commander Robacio emerged unscathed.[2]

Contents

Early moves

On the morning of 13 June the Scots Guards were moved by helicopter from their position at Bluff Cove to an assembly area near Goat Ridge, to the west of Mount Tumbledown. The British plan called for a diversionary attack to be made south of Mount Tumbledown by a small number of Scots Guards assisted by the four light tanks of the Blues and Royals, whilst the main attack came as a three-phase silent advance from the west of Mount Tumbledown. In the first phase, G company would take the western end of the mountain; in the second phase Left Flank Company would pass through the area taken by G company to capture the center of the summit; and in the third phase Right Flank Company would pass through Left Flank Company to secure the eastern end of Tumbledown. A daytime assault was initially planned, but was postponed at the British battalion commander's request. Having held a planning meeting with his company commanders the consensus was that the long uphill assault across the harsh ground of Tumbledown would have been suicidal. is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Sea inlet of East Falkland. ...


Diversion

At 8.30 p.m. on 13 June the diversionary attack began. The 2nd Scots Guards' Reconnaissance Platoon, commanded by Major Richard Bethell (a former SAS officer) and supported by four light tanks of the Blues & Royals, attacked the Argentinian Marine company entrenched on the lower slopes of Mount William. On reaching Mount William's southern slopes one of the tanks was blasted out of action by a booby-trap. The initial advance was unopposed, but a heavy fire-fight broke out when the two forces made contact and continued for two hours. Two Guardsmen were killed and four wounded before the forward Argentine platoon position fell silent. is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) is the principal special forces unit of the British Army. ...


Realizing that they could be counter-attacked at any time, the British platoon withdrew from the Marine position and inadvertently entered a minefield. Two men were wounded covering the withdrawal and a further four were wounded by mines. The explosions prompted the Marine commanders to order the 81 mm Mortar Platoon on Mount William and Argentine artillery to open fire on the minefield and the likely withdrawal route of anyone attacking Mount William. The barrage lasted for about forty minutes and more British casualties would have been suffered if the ground the mortar bombs landed on had not been soft peat, which absorbed most of the blast.


Night attack

At 9 p.m., half an hour after the start of the diversionary attack, Major Iain Dalzel-Job's G Company started its advance of nearly two miles. Reaching its objective undetected, the company found the western end of the mountain undefended and occupied it easily. Major John Kiszely's Left Flank Company passed through them and reached the central region of the peak unopposed, but then came under heavy fire. Major Kiszely, the company commander and his men threw themselves to the ground to try to get under cover from the storm of FAL rounds that had erupted around them. The Argentines, later learned to be of company strength, directed mortar, grenade, machine-gun and small arms fire from very close range at the British company, which suffered two dead, Guardsman Ronald Tanbini and Sergeant John Simeon. First Lieutenant Héctor Mino's 5th Platoon, Amphibious Engineer Company, held the rocks to the right of First Lieutenant Carlos Vázquez's 4th Platoon, 5th Marines in the center and to the left of the 4th Platoon were Second Lieutenant Óscar Silva's RI 4 platoon, who had recently fought well on Goat Ridge. For four or five hours three platoons of Argentine riflemen, machine-gunners and mortar men pinned the British down. To help identify the bunkers, the Guardsmen fired flares into the summit. The Guardsmen traded 66 mm rockets and 84 mm rounds with the Argentines protected in their rock bunkers. The enemy refused to budge and the Scots Guards could hear some of the Argentines shouting obscene phrases in English and even singing as they fought. Meanwhile, two Royal Navy frigates, HMS Yarmouth and HMS Active, were pounding Tumbledown with 4.5 inch guns. At one stage Colonel Scott thought the 2nd Scots Guards Battalion might have to withdraw and attack again the next night. Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely KCB, MC (b. ... The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of the British armed services (and is therefore the Senior Service). ... Sailing frigates were 4th, 5th, or 6th-rated ships in the rating system of the Royal Navy. ... Several ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Yarmouth. ... Several ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Active: Active, launched in 1869, was a Volage-class iron screw corvette, sold in 1906. ...

'The old nails were being bitten a bit, if we had been held on Tumbledown it might have encouraged them to keep on fighting.'[3]

The fighting was hard going for the Left Flank Company. The Argentineans had well dug in machine guns and sniper fire caused all manner of problems. At 2.30 a.m., however, a second British assault overwhelmed the Argentine defenses, as British troops swarmed the defenses at the mountaintop and drove the Argentines out, at times fighting with fixed bayonets at close quarters. Major Kiszely, who was to become a senior general after the war, was the first man into the enemy position, personally shooting two enemy conscripts and bayoneting a third, his bayonet breaking in two while the hapless Argentine expired. Seeing their company commander among the Argentines inspired 14 and 15 Platoons to make the final dash across open ground to get within bayoneting distance of the Marines. Kiszely and six other Guardsmen suddenly found themeselves standing on top of the mountain, looking down on Port Stanley under street lighting and with vehicles moving along the roads. The Argentines now counter-attacked and a burst of machine-gun fire from 1 Platoon of Second Lieutenant Augusto La Madrid immediately injured three of these men, including the company commander and Lieutenant Alastair Mitchell, commander of 15 Platoon. For his bayonet charge Major Kiszely was awarded the Military Cross. The Military Cross (MC) is the third level military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Army and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries. ...


Morning

By 6 a.m. Left Flank Company's attack had clearly stalled and had cost the company seven men killed and 18 wounded. On the eastern half of the mountain the 6th Regiment's B Company (under command of Major Oscar Jaimet) were still holding out, so Colonel Scott ordered Right Flank Company to push on to clear the final positions. Major Simon Price sent 2 and 3 Platoons forward, preceded by a barrage of 66 mm rockets to clear the forward RI 6 platoon. Major Price placed 1 Platoon high up in the rocks to provide fire support for the assault troops. Lieutenant Robert Lawrence led 3 Platoon round to the right of the Argentine platoon, hoping to take the Argentines by surprise. The advance was noticed, however, and the British were briefly pinned down by gunfire before a bayonet charge overwhelmed the Argentine defenders. Lance-Corporal Graham Rennie of 3 Platoon in the book 5th Infantry Brigade in the Falklands (Pen & Sword Books, 2003) later described the attack: Robert Z. Lawrence, a former South African national, is the current Albert L. Williams Professor of International Trade and Investment at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. ...

Our assault was initiated by a Guardsman killing a sniper, which was followed by a volley of 66 mm anti-tanks rounds. We ran forward in extended line, machine-gunners and riflemen firing from the hip to keep the enemy heads down, enabling us to cover the open ground in the shortest possible time. Halfway across the open ground 2 Platoon went to ground to give covering fire support, enabling us to gain a foothold on the enemy position. From then on we fought from crag to crag, rock to rock, taking out pockets of enemy and lone riflemen, all of who resisted fiercely.

As La Madrid had to withdraw in the face of a superior assaulting force, the platoons under Second Lieutenant Aldo Franco and Guillermo Robredo moved in from the eastern edge of the mountain to try to extricate La Madrid and the Marine platoon (under Second Lieutenant Marcelo Oruezabala)holding the saddle between Mounts Tumbledown and William. Advancing out of the saddle of the mountain, the British again came under heavy fire from the Argentines, but advancing in pairs under covering fire, the British succeeded in clearing that RI 6 platoons as well, gaining firm control of the mountain's eastern side. Right Flank Company had achieved this at the cost of five wounded, including Lieutenant Robert Lawrence. In his moment of victory on the eastern slopes, Lt Lawrence's life nearly ended when a bullet fired by a stay-behind enemy sniper tore off the side of his head. He was awarded the Military Cross for bravery, but he spent a year in a wheelchair and was almost totally paralyzed. The Argentinean soldier in question with a FAL rifle had helped cover the Argentinean retreat, firing shots at a Scout helicopter evacuating wounded off Tumbledown and injured two Guardsmen before the Scots Guards mortally wounded him in a hail of gunfire.[4]


Aftermath

By 9 a.m. the Scots Guards were in control of Tumbledown. The battalion had lost nine dead and forty-three wounded, and one of the Guardsmen was to lose his way in the dark, to hide for more than a month, not realizing that the fighting was over. The Guards took thirty prisoners, several of them RI 6 soldiers. To Guardsman Tracy Evens the Sapper Hill positions looked impregnable:

'We were led to an area that the company would rest at for the night, I still took in the fact the Argies had prepared Sapper Hill well, they had depth positions that would have made the task of taking it very hard.

The bodies of 30 Argentine Army and Marine soldiers were strewn over the 5th Marine Battalion perimeter, one of the dead being an RI 6 soldier who had been bayoneted to death by a Guardsman while he attended to a wounded comrade. Unwilling to abandon the hill, Commander Carlos Robacio on Sapper Hill decided the time was ripe to counterattack and drive back the Guardsmen. Only the personal intervention of Colonel Félix Aguiar, the 10th Brigade Chief of Staff, brought the fighting to an end. The 5th Marines worked their way back into Port Stanley, where within a few hours the Argentine garrison would surrender. The bayonet charges of the Scots Guards had broken the back of the 5th Marines defence line.


During the battle, a soldier called Philip Williams was knocked unconscious by an explosion, and left for dead. When he came to, the rest of the British soldiers had gone. Williams' parents were informed of his "death" and a memorial service held for him. It took him seven weeks to find his way back to civilization, braving atrocious weather. He was then victimized by the media and fellow soldiers, amid accusations of desertion.[5]


For the courage displayed in the attack, men from the 2nd Scots Guards were awarded one Distinguished Service Order, two Military Crosses, two Distinguished Conduct Medals (one posthumously) and two Military Medals. Men from 9 Para Squadron, Royal Engineers, were awarded two Military Medals and a member of the Army Air Corps received the Distinguished Flying Cross.


See also

British military history is a long and varied topic, extending from the prehistoric and ancient historic period, through the Roman invasions of Julius Cæsar and Claudius and subsequent Roman occupation; warfare in the Mediaeval period, including the invasions of the Saxons and the Vikings in the Early Middle Ages...

References

  1. ^ (Razor's Edge (Hugh Bicheno, p. 288))
  2. ^ (The Sinking of the Belgrano, Arthur Gavshon and Desmond Rice pg. 47)
  3. ^ Patrick Bishop and John Witherow, The Winter War: Falklands Conflict, p. 133
  4. ^ ("Razor's Edge" Hugh Bicheno pg. 309)
  5. ^ Philip Williams and M.S. Power: Summer Soldier, Bloomsbury, 1991. (cover notes)
  • Sky News: Return to the Falklands [1]
  • In his first interview in 20 years, Robert Lawrence tells Mark Townsend how the trauma of battle reshaped his life
  • Reassessing the Fighting Performance of the Argentinean 5th Marines
  • Tumbledown painting by Terence Cuneo
  • Taken from the diary of Guarsman Tracy Evens

  Results from FactBites:
 
Reference.com/Encyclopedia/Battle of Mount Tumbledown (1620 words)
The Battle of Mount Tumbledown was an engagement of the Falklands War, one of a series of battles that took place during the British advance towards Stanley.
In the battle, the British launched an assault on Tumbledown Mountain, one of the heights that dominate the town of Stanley, and succeeded in driving the Argentine forces from the mountain.
The British plan called for a diversionary attack to be made south of Mount Tumbledown by a small number of Scots Guards assisted by the four light tanks of the Blues and Royals, whilst the main attack came as a three-phase silent advance from the west of Mount Tumbledown.
Battle of Mount Tumbledown - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1628 words)
The Battle of Mount Tumbledown was an engagement of the Falklands War as part of a series of battles that took place during the advance towards Stanley.
On the morning of the 13 June, the Scots Guards were moved by helicopter from their position at Bluff Cove to an assembly area near Goat Ridge which was to the west of Mount Tumbledown.
The plan for the attack on Tumbledown was for a diversionary attack to be made south of Mount Tumbledown by a small number of Scots Guards assisted by the four light tanks of the Blues and Royals, and the main attack was to be a three-phase silent advance from the west of Mount Tumbledown.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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