Amphibious Assault Falklands: The Battle of San Carlos Water

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The sharp, excited chatter of machine-gun fire was their response. Daybreak brought waves of Argentinian fighter jets. They screamed in off the sea in more than 60 sorties that day alone, strafing and shelling the British flotilla and knocking out three warships.

The Battle of San Carlos Water

Nothing seemed to deter them; they flew so low you could see their faces. The best news of the day came in mid-afternoon: the men of 42 Commando, the Royal Marine unit with whom I was embedded, were going ashore.

Amphibious Assault Falklands: the Battle of San Carlos Water

Among the commandos, all was suddenly excitement and anticipation. Weapons were distributed; grenades, mortar bombs and ammunition handed out. Camouflage was adjusted, and soon we were jumping into the landing craft.


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The journey was quietly apprehensive. Helicopters clattered overhead carrying Rapier missile batteries and other stores ashore.

Men talked lightly among themselves. A British Naval commander's eyewitness account of the war in the South Atlantic. Since he was in charge of the amphibious operations in the Falklands War, it goes without saying that there is no one better qualified to tell the story of that aspect of the campaign than Commodore Michael Clapp.

Here he describes, with considerable candor, some of the problems met in a Navy racing to war and finding it necessary to recreate a largely abandoned operational technique in a somewhat ad hoc fashion.

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During the time it took to "go south," some sense of order was imposed and a not very well defined command structure evolved, this was not done without generating a certain amount of friction. He tells of why San Carlos Water was chosen for the assault and the subsequent inshore operations.

Michael Clapp and his small staff made their stand and can claim a major role in the defeat of the Argentine Air and Land Forces. OverDrive uses cookies and similar technologies to improve your experience, monitor our performance, and understand overall usage trends for OverDrive services including OverDrive websites and apps.

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