Marcelo Llambías Pravaz

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Marcelo Llambías Pravaz was born in 1961. He is a retired Major of the Argentinian Army and winner of the Gallantry In Combat Medal, Argentina's second highest military decoration, for his part in the land actions of the Falklands/Malvinas War. He entered the Argentinian Army Military Academy in January 1978, graduating as a Second Lieutenant of Promotion 113 (nicknamed"Islas Malvinas") on 7 April 1982.

Llambías Pravaz took part in the fighting as commander of a rifle platoon, flying in to Stanley Airport via Aerolíneas Argentinas as part of the 4th Infantry Regiment, sent to reinforce the Malvinas in late April 1982. As commander the 3rd Rifle Platoon of C Company (4th Regiment), he took up position on Mount Challenger along with his three rifle squads.

Mount Challenger

On 29 May 29, Lieutenant-Colonel Diego Alejandro Soria, commanding officer of the 4th Infantry Regiment, ordered Llambías Pravaz to cover with his platoon the retreat of the regiment to new positions on Two Sisters Mountain and Mount Harriet. The British had landed in San Carlos on 21 May and soon there were several clashes with Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) spearheads battling the 602nd Commando Company attempting to take over the vacated positions of the 4th Regiment.

The first engagement during the Battles of Mount Kent and Top Malo House occurred during 27 May, when Subteniente Marcelo Llambías Pravaz, Sergeant Ramón Valdez, Corporal Walter Pintos and Private Daniel Castillo from the 4th Regiment's C Company, while patrolling the western slopes under the cover of darkness and heavy rain, were overflown by a British helicopter. After radioing this information to regimental headquarters, the small squad soon after detected a British hide and opened fire. The next day, they closely inspected the scene but only found empty British rations that had to be dug out of the ground.[1]

By 11:00 am on 30 May, several Royal Air Force (RAF) Harrier attack formations were reported active over Mount Kent, near Mount Challenger in support of the forward SAS patrols. Upon detecting them, Llambias Pravaz ordered his conscripts to open fire with rifles and machineguns, with the platoon commander personally manning a machinegun. He would later learn that his platoon hit a Harrier, forcing the pilot, Squadron-Leader Jerry Pook to abandon his GR-3 Harrier off Port Stanley/Puerto Argentino.[2]

No-Man's-Land

During the patrol actions near the Murrell River, Llambias Pravaz fought two fierce actions against the Recce Platoon under Lieutenant Chris Fox of the 45th Commando Battalion, which had about fifty well-armed and artillery-backed troops. In the fighting of 3 June, which lasted until noon, the forward section of the 3rd Rifle Platoon of Second Lieutenant Lautaro Jiménez Corbalán on Mount Harriet forced back an entire platoon of Royal Marines under Lieutenant Chris Marwood from the 42nd Commando Battalion on Mount Wall, with the help of reinforcements from Llambias Pravaz's platoon.

Two Sisters Mountain

During the Battle for Two Sisters Mountain, Llambías Pravaz manned a 7.62mm MAG machine gun and an Instalaza-M65 rocket launcher, wounding three British commandos,[3][4] despite the intense British fire that included MILAN missiles from the Anti-Tank Platoon from the 40th Commando Battalion. In the action his helmet was dented by a rock when a MILAN missile exploded very close to Llambías Pravaz.

International recognition

Almost 30 years after the Falklands War, Llambias Pravaz had the opportunity in meeting British Falklands War veteran Nick Taylor, a squad leader from 45th Commando Battalion, in the same place where their platoons clashed and former Corporal Taylor confessed his admiration of Llambias Pravaz's 3rd Platoon and presented in a photo album the photographs he found of the Argentine Second Lieutenant and his men on Two Sisters. British television filmed the event and the story was covered in the main English-speaking newspapers of the world.[5]

References

  1. Marcelo Llambias Pravaz (Malvinas Corazón De Mi Patria)
  2. La Guerra de las Malvinas, p.352, Editorial Oriente, 1987
  3. "We got two- thirds of the way up before anybody started firing at us, but then you kept us pinned down with a machine gun. It took us three-and-a-half hours to cover that last 100 yards, you know. We were hiding among those rocks getting absolutely hammered. Our gun section was up ahead and we were pinned down. A shell went off next to me, and hit three of the guys but they were just wounded. We were so lucky that we didn’t lose anyone.’ After a bloody battle a Royal Marine found an enemy camera. Thirty years later Nick Taylor tracked down the Argentine soldier in the pictures
  4. "Fue una cosa bastante linda porque a los tipos venían a los gritos y se los veía recortados entre las piedras. Salió el primer cohete y se acabaron los gritos." Malvinas: la Defensa de Puerto Argentino, Oscar Luis Jofre, Félix Roberto Aguiar, p. 218, Editorial Sudamericana, 1987
  5. After a bloody battle a Royal Marine found an enemy camera. Thirty years later Nick Taylor tracked down the Argentine soldier in the pictures