An Analysis of the Argentine Center of Gravity in the Falkland/Malvinas Conflict

2023 Words Sep 22nd, 2013 9 Pages
College of Distance Education

NAVAL WAR COLLEGE

Newport, R.I.

An Analysis of the Argentine Center of Gravity in the Falkland/Malvinas Conflict

By

R. Walker

A paper submitted to the faculty of the Naval War College in partial satisfaction of the requirements of the Department of Joint Military Operations

The contents of this paper reflect my own personal views and are not necessarily endorsed by the Navy War College or the Department of the Navy

05 Aug 2007

On 2 April, 1982 Argentine forces invaded and captured the Falkland Islands. On 5 April, British Task Force 317 sailed from Portsmouth, England towards the South Atlantic. From 21 April, Argentine and
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The frigates HMS Antelope and HMS Ardent were sunk in the narrow confines of San Carlos Water and the Falkland Sound respectively. The destroyer HMS Coventry was sunk directly off Pebble Island. The landing ship HMS Sir Galahad was attacked and sunk at Bluff Cove.

It is important to recognize that while the loss of these ships was damaging to the British efforts, it was not debilitating since they were not critical to the mission. The ships that were critical to the British operations were the carriers and the troop ships. As Admiral Woodward, the Carrier Battle Group Commander, noted:

It has already been agreed between Northwood and myself that major damage to Hermes or to Invincible (our vital ‘second deck’) would probably cause us to abandon the entire Falkland Islands operation.[v]

Commodore Clapp, the Amphibious Task Group Commander, adds:

We fully understand that with so many eggs in so few baskets the loss of just one major ship would spell disaster and while we were acutely aware that the loss, at sea in deep water, of, say, Canberra would bring the whole enterprise to a halt we were accepting the risk and believed that CTF was too.[vi] (emphasis mine)

The risk to these ships was mitigated largely by geography. The major ships were kept away from the immediate area of the Falklands whenever possible. Admiral Woodward kept his carriers at such a distance from the Falklands that it limited the

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