Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Battle of Mount Harriet (Falklands)

The Battle of Mount Harriet was a military encounter between the British 42 Commando (Royal Marines), led by Lt Col Nick Vaux, and the Argentine Army's 4th Infantry Regiment, under Lt Col Diego Soria, from June 11 to June 12, 1982, on Mount Harriet, East Falkland, about 10 miles from Port Stanley, during the Falklands War. The 4th Infantry Regiment, composed of 500 men, constituted part the occupation forces, which had deployed and dug in on Mount Harriet between April and May. The Royal Marines were the advancing and liberating forces, which had landed on the beach of San Carlos bay on May 21, initiating a long march eastward across the island toward Stanley, which was located on the other side of East Falkland.

The Battle of Mount Harriet broke out with heavy naval artillery bombing to soften up the Argentine positions, using the 113mm Mark 6 guns from the HMS Yarmouth (Type 12 frigate). The bombardment was followed by a night attack on Argentine mortar and machine gun nests, deeply ingrained among the rocky outcrops of Mount Harriet, carried out by Royal Marines platoons, beefed up by Welsh Guards elements. The ferocious fighting lasted for several hours, with the British troops courageously charging up the slopes of Mount Harriet during the night to capture Argentine positions, ending the next morning, on June 12, with 68 Argentine casualties (18 KIA and 50 wounded) and 310 prisoners; the rest of the Argentine troops managed to escape during the night, heading back to Stanley.

Map of eastern East Falkland showing the battles fought as the British advanced towards Port Stanley

Weapons used in the Falklands War

Some of the weapons used in the Falklands War had never been used in combat action before such as the British, carrier-based, VTOL Sea Harrier aircraft and the French Exocet anti-ship missile, which was launched from the French-made Argentine Super Etendard. Others, like the FAL infantry rifle and the 120mm mortar had already seen combat action in former armed conflicts, such as the anti-insurgent operations against leftist guerrillas in the Northwest region of Argentina.

Infantry weapons

The FN FAL was the standard-issued infantry rifle used by both sides. It was a 7.62mm, gas-operated, automatic rifle designed by the Belgian firm Fabrique Nationale (FN). The acronym FAL stands for the French words Fusil Automatic Legere, which means Light Automatic Rifle (LAR) in English. It shot the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge and had an effective range of 300 m. This rifle was fed by a 20-round box magazine and was fitted with iron sights.

The FN FAL used by the Argentinean infantry


The FN MAG (Mitrailleuse d'Appui Géneral) machine gun was another product of the Belgian factory Fabrique Nationale. It was also chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition. It had a rate of fire of about 700 rpm. This was the machine gun with which the Argentines raked down the slopes of Darwin, Two Sisters, and Mount Harriet hills from their machine gun nests set up among the rocks on top as the British paras and marines courageously charged up at them.

The 120mm and 81mm mortars, with baseplates and tripods were extensively employed in this armed conflict.

Artillery

105mm Oto Melara M56 howitzer, employed by the Argentine artillery), and the 105mm L118 Light Gun, fielded by the British troops, were also used in the Falklands War.

Armored vehicles

The Royal Marines deployed on East Falkland the FV107 Scimitar, 7.8-ton a light tank, armed with a 30mm cannon, and the FV101 Scorpion, which is reconnaissance, tracked armored vehicle fitted with a 76mm gun. Both vehicles were made of aluminum. On the other hand, the Argentinean forces used the LVTP-7A1 an amphibious vehicle to invade the Falklands on April 2, 1982.


Down below, an FV107 Scimitar


Below, the LVTP-7A1 armored amphibious vehicle deployed by the Argentines

Attack aircraft

The naval A-4 Skyhawk, an American-made Cold-War aircraft used by the Argentinean Navy to sink two transport ships and a Frigate (HMS Ardent).

The British FA2 Sea Harrier was a carrier-based vertical-landing attack aircraft that took from HMS Invincible and HMS Hermet carriers. It proved to be very effective in shooting down the radarless A-4 Skyhawks operated by the Argentineans.


Below, an A-4 Skyhawk used by the Argentinean Air Force

Strike and interceptor aircraft

The Super Etendard was a strike fighter, the product of the French industry. It was the platform used by the Argentineans to launch the Exocet missile that sank the HMS Sheffield.

The Dassault Mirage III was a French-made interceptor armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. Although it was deployed on the continent during the conflict, it did not see any action.

Falklands War (Summary)

The Falklands War was a military conflict fought between Argentina and the United Kingdom, from April 2 to June 14, 1982, on the Falkland Islands, South Atlantic. It broke out when an Argentinian invading force of 600 men captured the islands during the early hours of April 2. The next day, a small Argentine military unit, composed of 65 marines also seized South Georgia Island. Although the British government had obtained secret information that the Argentines were planning to invade the islands, the British people were shocked and outraged, especially by the fact that the whole population on the Falklands are Anglo-Saxon English-speaking people, with British citizenship, who had been inhabiting the islands since 1833, and that no Argentine had ever been born there. Thus, the British public opinion regarded it as a total foreign aggression on British soil.

The man who decided to launch such an invasion was General Fortunato Galtieri, president of Argentina and army commander who presided over the military junta that ruled the country. The reason for such an unexpected attack was to distract public attention from its domestic problems, such as unemployment, high inflation rate, and growing budget deficit. At the time, the Prime Minister of Great Britain was the Conservative Margaret Thatcher, a single-minded woman of great determination and whom the Argentine military had underestimated. On April 5, two British aircraft carriers, the HSM Invincible and the HSM Hermes, set sail for the Falklands, leading 120 surface vessels and one nuclear submarine.

Summary of the war

The first military encounters occurred many days before the British landed on the islands. On May 2, an Argentinian cruiser, the ARA General Belgrano, was sunk by the British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror, as it headed towards the islands; 323 Argentinian sailors got killed, and 700 rescued. On May 4, an Argentine Navy attack aircraft, a Super Etendard, launched a French-made Exocet missile and hit HMS Sheffield, a destroyer Type 42, which sank four days later. Two other British warships (one of them a transport ship) would be struck and sunk by Argentinean attack aircraft, the A4 Skyhawks and Super Etendards, on May 21, 1982: the HMS Ardent, HMS Antelope, and the Atlantic Conveyor. However, the carrier-based British fighters, Sea Harriers, had begun their hunt for enemy aircraft, shooting down 36 enemy fighters, thus obtaining air superiority for the British fleet. As a result, the British 2 Para Battalion and the 45 Commando Royal Marines were able to land on the shore of San Carlos Bay, on the west coast of Eastern Falkland on May 21. They were followed by other units, such as the 42 Commando, 40 Commando, 3 Para, and Gurkha Rifles.

On May 28, the 2 Para men fought the first ground battle of the war, the Battle of Goose Green, in which the British had the difficult task of eliminating machine gun nests and pillboxes located on top hills. Having defeated the Argentines, the British paratroopers headed east, toward Port Stanley, the capital of the Falklands. Meanwhile, the Royal Marines defeated the Argentine Army infantry regiments 12, 4, and 6, and one marine battalion BIM 5 at the battles of Two Sisters, Mount Tumbledown, Mount Kent, Bluff Cove, and others. The British were professional soldiers highly trained during the Cold War to fight against Soviet troops in cold weather conditions. As a result, the cold and windy weather of the Falklands did not affect them as it affected the Argentine conscript soldiers who had only had 2 months of military training in the warm weather of Argentine northern provinces.

As the bulk of the British ground forces closed in on Stanley, most of the Argentinian troops panicked and ran away towards the capital, but ferocious battles were fought between the Royal Marines and some hard and stubborn Argentine units. Finally, on June 14, the commander of the Argentine forces on the Falklands, General Mario Menendez, surrendered and signed the cease fire together with the British commander Major General Jeremy Moore. The Falklands War had ended.


Map of landing sites on East Falkland coast

Falklands War Footage

Monday, December 17, 2018

Mapas de ocupación de Alemania en la postguerra

En los mapas de abajo se puede observar los cuatros zonas de ocupación militar en la que quedó dividida Alemania luego de terminada la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Esta división de Alemania había sido ya acordada por las naciones aliadas en las Conferencias de Yalta y Postsdam de febrero y Julio de 1945 respectivamente.

Al este estaba el sector soviético, con Berlín dentro de él, y al oeste el sector británico, norteamericano y el francés. Aunque el mayor porcentaje territorial lo tenía la Unión Soviética de Stalin, ocupando una gran fracción al noreste del país, en el periodo de la postguerra los aliados unirían sus sectores de ocupación asignados para crear la República Federal de Alemania, bajo el liderazgo de Konrad Adenauer, con un sistema democrático y economía de libre mercado. Esta nueva nación teutónica sería no solamente más extensa territorialmente, sino que también económicamente mucho más fuerte y estable que Alemania comunista (o del Este). Pero antes de ello, los paises occidentales de ocupación tendrían que superar una dura crisis como la del bloqueo ruso a las vías férreas y a las carreteras, impidiendo el acceso aliado a Berlín del oeste. Este se superó mediante la implementación de un puente aéreo, con el cual se pudo abastecer a los 2,4 milliones de berlineses con alimentos y carbón hasta que los soviéticos levantaron el bloqueo.

La creación de dos Alemanias (una libre y otra comunista), probocaría muchas tensiones políticas y militares entre los dos grandes bloques ideológicamente antagónicos durante la Guerra Fría.




Abajo, el mapa de la división de Berlín, la capital del otrora Tercer Reich, en dos zonas: oriental, bajo yugo comunista, y occidental (británico, americano y francés) que pertenecería Alemania Federal

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Argentine Invasion of the Falklands (Summary)

The Argentine Invasion of the Falkland islands took place during the early hours of April 2, 1982, triggering the Falklands War. Code-named Operation Rosario (Rosary), it was carried out by an Argentinean task force composed of marines elements, totaling 650 troops, under the command of Counter-Admiral Carlos Büsser. Transported by ARA Santa Fe submarine and the tank landing ship ARA San Antonio, the Argentine invading force landed at York Bay, located in East Falkland, about four miles from Stanley, and at Moody Brook, about a couple of miles to the northwest of Stanley. The Argentine Navy marines used twenty amphibious assault vehicles LVTP-7A1, which gave them a great advantage over the reduced local troops.

To defend the islands from this Argentine invading force, there were only 85 Royal Marines, commanded by Major Micheal Norman. After a short yet intense fighting, in which Argentine Lieutenant Pedro Giaccino got killed and three others wounded near the government house, the British garrison surrendered to the Argentines, who raised their flag. Heavily outnumbered and outpowered, the reduced British unit had no option but to surrender to the enemy. They also seized the radio station and the post office building. The Royal Marines personnel were shipped to Montevideo, Uruguay, from which they were sent back to England.

The invasion of the Falklands by the Argentines was a huge military and political miscalculation as General Galtieri, and the Argentinian population as a whole, completely underestimated the iron will and steely determination of Margaret Thatcher, as well as the professional fighting skills of the British troops, who had participated in almost every major armed conflicts in the world history since the Middle Ages.

Ships and weapons used by the invading force

For the invasion of the Falklands islands, Argentina used only three naval vessels and several amphibious landing vehicles:

1 Submarine- ARA Santa Fe, from which Argentinean frogmen swam ashore to mark the beach for the amphibian forces.

1 Destroyer- ARA Santísima Trinidad, which landed Special Naval Forces south of Stanley.

1 Amphibious landing ship- ARA Cabo San Antonio, which landed the bulk of the invading troops.

20 amphibious assault armored vehicles- the LVTP-7A1, which transported the marine infantry troops.

The Argentineans were armed with FN FAL 7.62mm assault rifles, MP5 submachine guns, FMK-3 submachine guns, M2 Browning machine guns, 81mm mortars.

Below, the cover of an Argentinean magazine showing a Special Naval Forces officer, armed with an MP5 submachine gun, giving instructions to the surrendering British soldiers

Argentinean LVTP-7A1 amphibious vehicles in Port Stanley, East Falkland on April 2, 1982

Reforma del Estado en la presidencia de Carlos Menem

En la declaración indagatoria por causa de venta del predio de la Rural de Palermo como parte de la política de reducir el gigantesco déficit fiscal, el Dr Domingo Cavallo no solamente hace su descargo ante la justicia, sino que también explica claramente el porqué de las reformas de un Estado hipertrofiado y con elefantiasis y que era la causa de la hiperinflación, que había llegado al 11.000% en el último año del gobierno de Raúl Alfonsín. Esta causa ya había sido iniciada durante la gestión de Cristina Kirchner, y durante la de Mauricio Macri fue reactivada desde su gobierno como una acción extorsiva y de intimidación antes las opiniones del Dr Cavallo sobre la política errada del gobierno de Macri.

Indagatoria ante la justicia al Dr Domingo Cavallo del 21 de noviembre de 2018

Saturday, December 15, 2018

WW1 vs WW2 (Differences)

To be able to see the differences between World War I and World War II, we first have to look at what they had in common. Both armed struggles were industrial wars and saw the massive use of machine guns, hand grenades, and modern artillery pieces, with steel being the main material used to manufacture these weapons. Both Central Power (Germany and Austria-Hungary) and Allied armies used trains and trucks to transport their troops. Also in both conflicts, military units used both snipers and special assault troops to take post of commands.

WW1 Distinctive Features

This armed conflict was a static kind of warfare, in which, due to the massive use of machine guns and modern, recoil cannons and howitzers, armies were forced to dig complex trench systems and bunkers to protect their men from lethal artillery barrages and, thus, avoid high casualty rates; thus, these modern automatic weapons, which were the byproducts of the Second Industrial Revolution, put an end to cavalry, forcing army generals to use the large amount of available mounted soldiers as infantry units. To conquer ground, generals ordered futile infantry attacks on well-protected enemy positions that cost thousands of lives only to gain perhaps a mere two hundred yards, to be thrown back again by an enemy counter-attack. WWI also saw the massive use of bayonet in hand to hand fighting when attempting to take an enemy trench.

In order to break the static nature of World War I and get the infantry out of the trenches to effectively conquer enemy-held territory, the military developed the first tanks, which, not only provided protection against machine gun fire, but also overcame the battlefield obstacles, such as barbed wire and trenches. However, these tanks were still primitive and, as a result, the advance was slow. Furthermore, during the Great War, military aviation was in a rudimentary stage and its effective use was limited to reconnaissance and dog fights against enemy pilots in the sky as aircraft consisted of slow and flimsy biplanes and triplanes. Since cavalry no longer functioned and armored vehicles and aviation were still in diapers, I dare to say the infantry and artillery were the queens of the battlefields in World War I.

The overcrowded, muddy and filthy trenches were the ideal environment for the onset of infectious bacterial diseases, such as trench foot, gangrene, tuberculosis, etc, as well to the spread of epidemic viral diseases, such as the flu. Although the 1918 influenza outbreak was pandemic (affecting populations around the Earth), it was in these soldier-jammed trenches where it spread like wild fire, killing millions of men.


Below, Canadian infantry troops fixing their bayonets before an assault on an enemy trench


WW2 Characteristics

In contrast to the Great War, World War II was a dynamic and mobile warfare, owing to the introduction of Lightning War (Blitzkrieg) by the Germans; it was also multi-front, as it was widely fought, with several theater of operations around the globe. Although new and devastating weapons were used for the first time, neither sides employed chemicals, such as mustard gas, as in the World War I. The Germans were able to successfully carry out the Blitzkrieg concept thanks to the availability of faster tanks, which were fitted with reliable engines and accurate and powerful guns, and, above all, the modern ground-attack aircraft, which swooped out the sky as it dove on the enemy to wipe out entire columns of moving vehicles or destroy enemy infrastructure.

The German Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka"was the Wehrmacht devastating flying artillery that provided timely support to spearhead mechanized infantry units. Tanks became the new, armored modern cavalry and the Germans were the first to use them in single concentrated armored units (not mixed with the infantry). The attack aircraft were used in synchronicity with tanks divisions, which were employed to punch holes in the enemy front lines and thus be able to encircle and trap enemy units. Perhaps, the only battle that was static in this war, as it was fought for months, was the Battle of Stalingrad, but it was an urban type of warfare, which is different from a trench one.

World War II also saw the introduction of air borne units. It was Germany which first used paratroopers to take important objectives by surprise, such as the capture of Fort Eben-Emael in Belgium, during the Battle of France, and the air borne invasion of the Crete Island by the Fallschirmjäger (German paratroopers). On June 6, 1944, the Allies would also employ airborne units during the Battle of Normandy.

World War II was also characterized by massive use of medium and heavy bombers to destroy factories and cities with the objectives of crippling the enemy industrial capacity and demoralizing the civilian populations; this is called carpet bombing and was intensive and extensively used by the Allies, employing incendiary bombs to destroy civilian buildings. The fire bombings of Dresden, Hamburg, and Tokyo are examples of carpet bombing. World War II was also the first armed conflict in the history of mankind in which more civilians died than military, due the Jewish Holocaust, carpet bombing, and the first use of nuclear weapons.


Below, an advancing German armored division during Operation Barbarossa