Operation Rosario (Falklands/Malvinas War)

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On April 2, 1982, with an armed confrontation in the making between a platoon of British Royal Marines (under Lieutenant Keith Mills and Sergeant Peter Leach) sent to reinforce the British Antartic Survey (BAS) under base commander Steve Martin[1] and apprehend Argentine scrap-metal workers on South Georgia and their protecting Special Forces from the Argentinian Navy survey ship ARA "Bahía Buen Suceso",[2] Argentina invaded the Falkland/Malvinas Islands, a remote British colony in the South Atlantic. The Argentinian amphibious landings, Operation Rosario (under Rear-Admiral Carlos César Büsser, Argentinian Marine Corps Commandant), led to a brief, but costly war.


Argentinian invasion plans accelerated when Britain protested about the presence of scrap-metal workers on South Georgia. With talks on the future of the Falklands stalled, the Argentinian Military Junta reacted strongly and by March 26, 1982, two frigates were on their way south, and more ships had put to sea ostensibly for exercises with the Uruguayan Navy. But it seemed that only now was the final decision taken to invade and they headed for Stanley although bad weather delayed their arrival. By March 31, British intelligence had to assume landings were imminent, Governor Rex Hunt was warned, and next evening he announced over the radio that invasion was expected early on April 2.

British defenders

Before the broadcast took place, the defence of Port Stanley was already being organized by the company-sized garrison of Naval Party 8901 (NP8901, all volunteers from 42 COMMANDO 45 COMMANDO), under Major Gary Noote and Falkland Islands Defence Force (FIDF, Royal Marines-trained), under Major Phil Sommers and half a dozen policemen from the Royal Falkland Islands Police (RFIP). Usually consisting of 160 defenders, Majors Noote and Sommers, had been reinforced by Major Mike Norman and his platoon-sized garrison replacement that had disembarked from the RRS 'John Biscoe'. Assuming the main landing would be near Stanley Airfield followed by an advance on Port Stanley, Noote, Sommers and Norman deployed their 120 men (including 42 FIDF soldiers[3] ) accordingly, and positioned four sniper/anti-tanks squads on the Airport Road ready to fall back on the main 40-man position at Government House. By the early hours of April 2, they were mostly in position and the small patrol ship 'Forrest' was out in Port William on radar watch. Governor Hunt also ordered the arrest of 30 Argentinian men and women.[4]

Argentinian landings

The plan was for the 1st Amphibious Commando Grouping ('Agrupación de Comandos Anfibios' or APCA) under Marine Major Guillermo Sánchez-Sabarots to seize both the NP8901 Barracks at Moody Brook and Government House to force a surrender, supported if necessary by men of Marine Lieutenant-colonel Alfredo Raúl Weinstabl's 2nd Marine Infantry Battalion (BIM 2) landed from ships of Task Group 40.1. Under the command of the 1st Marine Brigade commander, Marine Colonel Miguel Angel Pita, the Argentinian Marines had orders to cause no casualties "if at all possible".[5] Once Stanley Airfield was in Argentinian hands, the 25th 'Special' (Army Rangers) Infantry Regiment and Special Operations Group ('Grupo de Operaciones Especiales' or GOE) would then fly in.

The first landings were before midnight with the 1st Amphibious Commando Grouping spearhead under Lieutenant Bernardo Schweitzer going ashore from the destroyer ARA 'Santisima Trinidad' to secure Mullet Creek, followed early on Friday morning by a 'Buzo Tactico' (Tactical Frogmen) beach reconnaissance party from the submarine ARA 'Santa Fe' to check out the main landing beach north of Stanley.[6]

The Amphibious Commandos split into two parties, the largest heading for Moody Brook barracks, some six miles away, where they hoped to catch the bulk of the defending Royal Marines asleep with Marine Captain Jorge Horacio Bardi suffering a twisted ankle in the rough going. The other group of sixteen was tasked with securing Government House.[7]

As the Amphibious Commandos secured their objectives the destroyers and frigates of Task Force 40 took up support and escort positions and the Tank Landing Ship ARA 'Cabo San Antonio' headed in for the unguarded beach at York Bay.

Urban combat

From 6:00 a.m. the main Special Forces attacks and supporting infantry landings got underway. Major Sánchez-Sabarots' plan was to capture the Royal Marines as they stumbled out of beds. Those bent on avoiding capture were to be flushed out with the careful use of machine-guns positioned south of Moody Brook, forcing them to take a route towards Cortley Ridge where they would be unable to intervene in the defence of Government House, and could be later rounded up. Casualties were to be avoided.[8]The Royal Marines seemed to be asleep, although a room still had a light on. No sentries were observed and Sánchez-Sabarots noticed that no fighting was taking place at Government House as expected with the main landings now taking place. Nevertheless he ordered the attack to begin. Stun and tear gas grenades were hurled into the buildings, but no coughing Royal Marines stumbled out and there was no return fire for the British barracks were empty. [9]

The larger body of Amphibious Commandos having cleared Moody Brook, now headed east for Government House which by then was under fire from the spearhead under Marine Major Pedro Edgardo Giachino. Giachino, Second-in-Command of the 1st Marine Infantry Battalion (BIM 1) and on loan to APCA, was hit by small arms fire during the attack on Government House and died of his wounds, becoming the only Argentinian invasion force fatality that was treated at the local King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH). Around 6:30 a.m., the first of some 20 LVTP-7 Amtraks with 20 or more Marines each inside were landing from 'Cabo San Antonio' and by 6.45 am more Marines from the 1st Marine Infantry Battalion were coming into the airfield by Sea King helicopters. A 25th Regiment platoon under 2nd Lieutenant Oscar Roberto Reyes, having disembarked from 'VAO' ('Vehículo Anfibio a Oruga') 010, cleared the Airfield buildings.

As the outnumbered NP 8901 and FIDF defenders fell back on Government House, one of the squads under Lieutenant Bill Trollope defending the Ionospheric Research Station on the Airport Road, stopped the Amtrack spearhead ('Vehículos Anfibios a Orugas' 05, 07 and 019) with anti-armour weapons, machine-guns and sniper fire that wounded one Argentinian Marine, Private Horacio Tello.[10][11]The spearhead was brought to a halt by machine-gun fire hitting the driver compartment of 2nd Sub-Officer Anibal Edgardo Esposito and turret of 'VAO' 07, forcing the machine-gunner, Corporal Osvaldo César Arce to take cover.[12] None of the occupants of 'VAO' 07 were seen to emerge for 2nd Sub-Officer Víctor Quiroga under the guidance of Arce, manoeuvred the Amtrack off the road into a hollow in the ground and disembarked the Marines now hidden from view.

Trollope's men were obliged to fall back as the Argentinian Marines emerged from the other Amtracks and 2nd Sub-Officer Mario Di Filippo's 'VAO' opened fire with a 72mm recoilles rifle, scoring a direct hit on the building.[13][14]

Only one Royal Marine squad under Corporal Lou Armour managed to fight its way to Government House, the others were gradually overrun by the increasing number of Amtracks and Marines landed by the white-painted Sea King and Lynx helicopters.

British surrender

With daybreak and Government House surrounded, under sniper fire and the Amtracks approaching, Governor Hunt attempted to negotiate. Faced with the overwhelming forces at Rear-Admiral Büsser's disposal, he ordered the defenders to lay down their arms, which they did at 9:30 a.m. without having suffered any casualties. The Royal Marines had held out against two Argentinian Marine battalions and Special Forces for three hours, firing 6,450 small-arms rounds and 12 anti-tank rockets[15]in a firefight that cost the life of the 2ic of BIM 1 and wounded or injured six invaders, including a military chaplain (Angel Mafezzini) and Marine Major Hugo Jorge Santillán that commanded the vanguard of 2nd Marine Infantry Battalion who suffered a sprained ankle taking cover after coming under fire.[16]Disc Jockey (DJ) Patrick Watts from the Falkland Islands Broadcasting Service (FIBS) had kept Port Stanley residents informed about the progress of the fighting and informed them of the surrender and Argentinian casualties, "The governor has just told me that a truce has been called ... there is to be no more shooting and we know for sure there are three Argentinians very badly wounded in the Government House area ... and I believe there is one believed to be dying".[17]

Before the British surrender, Major Guillermo Sánchez-Sabarots had to divert a section of his men to release the Argentinian nationals that Vice-Commodore Héctor Ricardo Gilobert (the head of 'Líneas Aéreas del Estado' or LADE in Port Stanley) reported were being held under police guard in Town Hall. But, before they could arrive Commander Alfredo Raúl Weinstabl and his adjutant (Lieutenant Juan Carlos Martinelli) and several marines from the 2nd Marine Battalion Headquarters had secured the Town Hall and Stanley Police Station buildings and liberated some 30 Argentinian civilians. [18]

That evening, the Governor, his family and most of the Royal Marines and captured sailors from 'Endurance' were flown out. Major Norman and his men volunteered to fight again with Juliet Company, 42 COMMANDO, suffering four wounded in the final mountain battles.

The British Marines later called into question the Argentinian version of events regarding Operation 'Rosario'. According to one of Major Mike Norman's men, Colour-Sergeant Bill Muir, "It was initially estimated that we had killed five and injured seventeen, but we only counted the bodies that we saw drop in front of us."[19]Corporal Lou Armour who fought at Government House, says he counted only three Argentinian casualties outside the building.[20]Major Noott helped treat the three Argentinian wounded (Major Pedro Edgardo Giachino, Lieutenant Diego Garcia Quiroga and Corporal Ernesto Urbina) before they were transferred to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital with the husband (Neville Bennet) of the acting matron (Valerie Bennett) on watch duty reporting "nothing of note" had happened in KEMH on April 2 apart from the death of the second-in-command of BIM 1 and other Argentinian wounded.[21]DJ Patrick Watts had rang KEMH that morning and was able to confirm how many Argentinians had been wounded, "I have just been telephoning the hospital ... There are two seriously wounded people and they are both Argentinians ... and I understand from Doctor Mary Elphinstone that two Argentinians are seriously injured and they are going to be picked up from the hospital now".[22]Doctor Alison Bleaney got to King Edward Memorial Hospital soon after this radio transmission and saw the Argentinians accommodating their wounded and injured (Major Hugo Jorge Santillán, Captain Jorge Horacio Bardi, Chaplain Angel Mafezzini and Private Horacio Tello) inside an Amtrack.[23]

Two of the Royal Marines Mark Gibbs and George Brown involved in the action against the Amtrack spearhead, claim to have destroyed one Amtrack with 66mm and 84mm anti-tank rockets. However, British tanks expert Andrew Hills has examined all the available evidence and has concluded that in reality one Argentinian Amtrak was peppered by machine-gun fire and another lost one of its tracks to a near-miss from the shoulder-launched rockets fired by Trollope's men.[24]

Neville Bennet was reportedly the local fireman who along with a colleague put out the fire in the destroyed Amtrack, but no mention of this is made in the book 'A Falklands Family at War: Diaries of the 1982 Conflict' (Pen & Sword Military, 2021) detailing his experiences during the Argentinian occupation.

British war correspondent Max Hastings in his book 'Battle for the Falklands' (Michael Joseph, 1983) claims that, "The commandos indeed landed at Mullett Creek, about 4.30 a.m., and reached Moody Brook ninety minutes later. But their subsequent tactics suggested no misgivings about causing casualties. In a noisy full-scale attack, they hurled phosphorus grenades into the barracks and raked the rooms with automatic fire. Only the fact that the British marines had already been deployed prevented heavy loss of life."

The Argentinians maintain that the barracks were destroyed in an air attack by Harriers from No. 1 Squadron RAF on June 12—involving Flight Lieutenant Mark Hare and Wing Commander Peter Squire—that killed three conscripts and wounded their commander (Major José Rodolfo Banetta) from 10th Mechanized Infantry Brigade Headquarters.[25][26][27] The Royal Marines were allowed to return to barracks to collect their personal belongings[28] with the Commanding Officer of the 25th Infantry Regiment (Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamed Alí Seineldín) claiming he was present and helped them find their misplaced pay envelopes.[29]During the Argentinian occupation, Moody Brook Barracks first housed elements of C Company 25th Regiment prior to their departure to Goose Green and then 601st Combat Aviation Battalion and 10th Brigade Headquarters according to the authors of 'Partes de Guerra' (Grupo Editorial Norma, 1997).[30]

On April 10, Argentinian war correspondent Eduardo Rotondo attended the gathering inside the bar room of the Moody Brook Barracks to celebrate the arrival of the 3rd 'La Tablada' Mechanized Infantry Regiment (minus the Armoured Personnel Carriers) with the Argentinian Regimental Commander (Lieutenant-Colonel David Ubaldo Comini) in the presence of Brigadier-General Mario Benjamin Menéndez giving a patriotic speech and everyone present (officers, NCOs and conscripts) getting a piece of a giant chocolate easter egg that was flown in from the Argentinian mainland and the chance to wash it down with a toast of fine French wine seized from the well-stocked wine cellar of the Royal Marine Moody Brook Barracks.[31]

South Georgia

On April 3, the 1st Marine Infantry Battalion captured South Georgia, 1,350 kilometres to the east of the Falklands. In that action, the Argentinian corvette ARA 'Guerrico' was lured too close to shore and hit by anti-tank missiles from the 23-man Royal Marines platoon under Lieutenant Keith Mill and one Argentinian sailor, Corporal Patricio Guanca was killed in the action. Soon after this Argentinian setback, another two Marines, Privates Mario Almonacid and Jorge Aguila were killed and seven wounded when the Puma helicopter transporting their platoon was hit by concentrated small-arms fire and forced to make a crash-landing. However, one British Royal Marine was wounded in an exchange of fire with the Argentinian Marines. The Marines platoon under Lieutenant Mills eventually surrendered when their position was bombarded by the main 100mm gun of the Argentinian warship.

The 13-strong volunteer militia force under BAS commander Steve Martin at King Edward Point had taken refuge in the church at Grytviken; they were captured in the afternoon and were removed at gunpoint to an Argentine ship bound for Rio Grande, Tierra del Fuego, and held for 15 days before being repatriated to Britain. Thirteen other BAS men in South Georgia and two females, scientist Cindy Buxton and journalist Annie Price, remained in hiding until liberated by the British Task Force in late April 1982. They would later confirm that Lieutenant Mills had given them a pistol and that both women had been trained how to shoot.[32]

Photographs of the Royal Marines outside Government House, face down on the ground, soon appeared in the British press, smuggled out by out by Rex Hunt's son Tony for Simon Winchester of the Sunday Times who had taken the pictures.[33] In response to calls for actions, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ordered that an armada of British warships be sent to the Falklands. Winchester went to Argentina to cover the war from the southern airbases, but he was arrested with two colleagues (Ian Mather and Tony Prime) for spying.[34]

Fierce battles erupted in May. In all, more than 900 soldiers and sailors from both side died in the fighting. But the British forces won. Winchester, Mather and Prime were freed on June 29.[35]


Life under Argentinian occupation was full of anxiety for many of the Falklanders. They had no desire to be ruled by the Argentinians and found that many of their essential goods and services were under threat from the British naval blockade and requisitioning by the Argentinian garrison. Most Land Rovers and many tractors were requisitioned by the military and high powered radios were supposed to be handed over, although not all were.

Shortly after being appointed Miltary Governor of the Malvinas, Brigadier-General Mario Benjamin Menéndez had a meeting with around 40 locals that had formed part of the Fakland Islands Defence Force (FIDF) and that had been captured then released on 2 April. He warned them against taking part in any future attacks on the Argentinian garrison: “I met some of them [members of the FIDF] and explained that if they did some wrong to the occupying troops, I would apply the laws of war against them. I also told them that there was a group of two or three youngsters that continuously were gesticulating or showed an aggressive attitude against the Argentine officers and NCOs. For instance, they used to approach at an excessive speed and pass our troops very closely. I told them that if they ran into one of them or threw them to the floor and somebody fired at them, although I did not like martyrs, I was going to justify what my men did."[36]

There were further deportations of authority figures and Falklanders suspected as being resistance leaders were exiled to Fox Bay Settlement along with their families. Major Patricio Douglas Dowling took control of Argentinian military intelligence and soon gathered a reputation for harshness and threatening behaviour. Most of the 181st Military Police Company under Major Roberto Eduardo Berazay strained to maintain good relations with the Falkland Islanders and tried to treat them well although cold and hungry conscript soldiers from the surrounding hills did take to stealing food and break-and-enters became more frequent as the conflict dragged on and as the weather worsened. Military discipline was rigidly enforced in Port Stanley on the part of Major Berazay's military police unit in order to prevent break-in’s, robberies, vandalism and sexual assault, from soldiers from the frontlines that dared go 'Ausente Sin Licencia' (Absent Without Leave or AWOL) and those caught were returned to their units where they were beaten, humiliated and staked in the freezing ground as part of field-punishment.

Captain Miguel Ángel Romano, a reservist had been sent to Port Stanley to help lead the 181st Military Police Company during the Argentinian occupation. According to local resident Patrick Watts, "He took appropriate action against conscripts caught stealing from unoccupied dwellings and tried to help the civilian community as far as his rank would allow."[37]

Argentinian Air Force Group Captain Carlos Bloomer-Reeve was given the job of acting as liaison officer between the local population and the military authorities. He had lived in the Falklands and was respected for the fair-mindedness and respect he showed to the locals.

The population at Goose Green had initially a very hard time when they were confined en masse in the Social Club in the aftermath of the British air attacks on Goose Green airfield on 1 May 1982. Lieutenant-Colonel Ítalo Angel Piaggi, the Commanding Officer of the Argentinian 12th Infantry Regiment, said that the lockdown in Goose Green was necessary in order to protect the locals from "the rage of the air force men, who had lost so many colleagues."[38]

The conditions improved when the Argentinians took pity on local women and children. According to local farm manager Eric Goss: "Sanitation in the hall was grim. We ran out of water on the third day, the toilets were blocked and there was some dysentery. We persuaded the Argentinians to bring sea water in barrels for the toilets; and old chap, Mike Robson, did sterling work keeping them going. Two young men, Bob McLeod and Ray Robson, both radio hams, found an old broken radio, part of the club equipment, in a junk cupboard. They made this work and we listened each evening to the B.B.C. World Service; the others made noise at the windows to cover the crackling of the broadcast and we were never discovered."[39]

Brook Hardcastle reported that life in the Social Club was far from grim: “After the first week the Argentines let two women go out each day to the galley in the cookhouse, where all the men would normally eat together. They were allowed to cook up a big meal, with bread and cakes, and bring it down to the hall. Considering we were all cramped together in a small place everybody got on very well. People were generally good-natured.”[40]

The government authority did attempt to enforce a change in the road traffic code which had chaotic consequences. The authorities wanted everyone to drive on the right hand side of the road as in Argentina. It was thought that the Argentine military traffic would find this easier than remembering to drive on the left. Merely informing the local population was not enough to change the habits of a lifetime and the end result was chaos. Initial signs in Spanish did not help matters and in the end the authorities had to paint signs in English and write continued reminders in white paint on the roads themselves. It became a permanent reminder that the islands were occupied territory.

Other daily reminders of occupation included the numerous field artillery and anti-aircraft batteries in and around Port Stanley and large no-go areas to the civilian population like the gymnasium building that was commandeered by Argentinian Army Green Berets from Major Mario Luis Castagneto's 601st Commando Company. Children were taken out of school and sent to the interior for their safety. The local radio station was forced to play Argentinian official military communiques of the war. Fortunately, many islanders were able to pick up the BBC World Service and were encouraged by news of the British landings in San Carlos and the British victory at Goose Green.

There was some talk of evacuating the Falklands Islanders. The British government did not wish the Falklanders to abandon the islands as that would make their main argument of self-determination mute. It was only a small portion of the population who considered leaving but it was enough to concern the British government. They made it clear that the British would help anyone temporarily but that the expectation was that they would return once the fighting was over. As it transpired, few Falkland Islanders took this option and most remained in the Falklands. Tragically, three islanders would be killed when a stray naval shell hit their house.


Argentinian occupation of the Falklands ended on June 14. After 74 days, the islands became British administered again. Unlike the Goose Green residents the Port Stanley citizens had been allowed much freedom of movement. But there had been a 16-hour night curfew.

The British units took over the buildings commandeered by the Argentinians. Local fireman Lewis Clifton describes how the infrastructures of Port Stanley broke under the extra strain of accommodating the British troops and processing thousands of Argentine prisoners of war awaiting repatriation: "The place just couldn't take it. There was only sporadic electricity and water and the sanitation system collapsed. The streets were ankle-deep in human waste. The stench was awful, really awful, and we were all suffering from what we called Galtieri's revenge. He lost the war but left us ill."[41]

The Port Stanley fire station was assisted by an Argentinian fire fighting team provided by Captain Miguel Ángel Romano (second-in-command of the 181st Military Police Company) who personally helped in cleaning up the town.[42]

Water was scarce, since Stanley's main pumping station had been damaged by British naval fire during the mountain battles, with many Argentinian soldiers suffering from diarrhea because of Liver Fluke Disease (found in sheep) forced to relieve themselves in bathtubs and the back streets of Stanley in the face of sudden violent bowel movement and with toilets no longer working.[43][44]

There was much Argentinian criticism of the behaviour of British Paratroopers after the Argentinian surrender. Brigadier-General Oscar Luis Jofre, the commander of the 10th Mechanized Infantry Brigade in his book 'Malvinas: La Defensa de Puerto Argentino' (Editorial Sudamaricana, 1987) alleges that he complained to the British authorities and the Royal Marine Commandos took over and soon restored order in the Falklands capital. A staff officer of Commodore Michael Clapp wrote in his war diary:"Utterly depressing. The troops are in a post war mood and very selfish. Grab, Grab - transport, houses, equipment, food, etc. - gone is the spirit of selflessness in the field. It will return but at present all is filth, squalor and (the) looting instinct prevails. Quite the worst aspect of the whole campaign."[45]

British SBS Commandos were helicoptered to Pebble Island on June 15 to accept the surrender of the local garrison and found that the two dozen local inhabitants had been confined to the farm manager's house. But the locals showed no hatred for the occupiers, and even insisted that one young English-speaking Argentinian conscript, Jorge Alberto Ortiz, from the 3rd Marine Battalion's 'H' Company whom they had befriended should have lunch with them before he was taken with the others to imprisonment in the sheep shearing sheds. Jorge in his perfect Californian accent told them he planned to come back in the near future as a civilian. Arina Bernstein, a cheerful read-headed woman in her mid-thirties told him he would be welcome, "But don't you come back planting you little flag here again, Jorge."[46]

The sentiment of civilians in Stanley were mixed, and there were several years later, claims that Argentinian soldiers had booby trapped the Geriatric Acute Ward of Stanley Hospital[47], the dining area of civilian homes, and even children bikes at Goose Green and the play doll of the five-year old daughter (Sarah Clement) of Mike Summers, a future Falklands politician.[48]

There is, however, only one substantiated case that was reported in the major world newspapers in July 1982, of a hand grenade wedged under the floorboards of Stanley School that was found by Captain Brian Lloyd of the Royal Engineers, but that was clearly aimed at causing casualties among the British garrison like the booby-traps the British Paras and Royal Marines found in trenches and Stanley Racecourse that had been the final Argentinian defence line on the morning of June 14 comprising a regimental-size grouping that was organized by Lieutenant-Colonel Eugenio Alfredo Dalton (10th Brigade's Operations Officer) and placed under the command of Major Guillermo Rubén Berazay (3rd Regiment's Operations Officer.[49]

The British also accused the Argentinian engineers of not keeping proper records on the location of their minefields, a clear violation of the Geneva Convention with Major Guv Lukas from the British bomb-disposal unit reporting. "A number of formal mine fields were laid out. But these were then thickened up by indiscriminate helicopter scattering."[50]

The Port Stanley Army Grouping ('Agrupación de Ejército Puerto Argentino') commander, Brigadier-General Oscar Jofre who oversaw the transfer of power in the Falklands capital to the British authorities has contested the claim that the Argentinian Army and Marines engineers had conducted themselves unprofessionally and has asserted that "although mines were brought forward by helicopter, they were never scattered by helicopter" and that "records were properly handed over by his engineer commander after the war".[51]

Claims that the Argentinian forces had behaved like savages throughout the occupation were investigated with British war correspondents Patrick Joseph Bishop and ‎John Witherow establishing they were mostly hearsay:"They had certainly been responsible for smashing up the solid old post office, and the backstreets of the town were littered with excrement. But although fourteen local men were taken from their homes during the occupation and sent to West Falkland where they were put under house arrest, few inhabitants were ill-treated. It was an uncomfortable rather than brutal regime... There were stories of looting (and soldiers defecating in houses) but on closer examination this tended to be troops stealing buns from the deep-freeze or sleeping in beds with muddy boots. Some valuables and souvenirs were stolen and houses vandalized but the details of the outrages were vague. Most of the serious damage was done by the British shelling. One islander said without rencour that the British had caused more of a mess in Stanley than the Argentinians."[52]

Captain Jeremy Larken of HMS 'Fearless' confirms the view the Argentinian occupation foces had behaved appropriately:"It was clear General Menendez had looked after things at Government House with almost loving care. Even the ornaments were still in their place. But once 3 Commando Brigade got in there and started using it as their headquarters, I think it suffered considerably. It's fair to say that the British were less careful with Port Stanley than had been the Argentine forces... In the early days, our control over our own people was not as good as it might have been. I won't say there was rape and pillage, but there was a great deal of acquisition of war materials." [53]

The 181st Military Police Company, assisted in great part by the Amphibious Engineer Company, 601st National Gendarmerie Special Forces Squadron and 601st and 602nd Commando Companies, had kept a watchful eye in Stanley with Leftist anti-war veterans from the Buenos Aires-based Malvinas Islands Ex-Combatants Centre ('Centro Ex-Combatientes Islas Malvinas' or CECIM) complaining and telling of being tied and pinned to the frozen ground with tent pegs for hours or punched and kicked for deserting their posts and stealing from the Moody Brook food depot and locals or for shooting and killing sheep for food in the middle of minefields and booby-traps. In a 2019 interview with ‘Radio Noticias’, former Private Gustavo Alberto Placente from the 181st Military Police Company explained that field punishments were indeed carried out but were absolutely necessary to keep some of the lesser inclined conscript soldiers to fight in line.[54]


  1. "The 23 Marines, only one of whom was wounded in the Battle of Grytviken, and 13 civilians – the BAS base commander Steve Martin had been with the military contingent at the time – were taken on board the Bahia Paraiso without incident." [1]
  2. ot-description.aspx?id=12002445 Orders, Decorations, Campaign Medals & Militaria
  3. "Meanwhile the Falkland Islands Defence Force (FIDF) was preparing for the invasion quite independently of the Marines. Their OC, Major Phil Summers, had tasked the approximately forty parttime militiamen to guard such key points as the telephone exchange, the radio station and the power station." Invasion 1982: The Falkland Islanders' Story, Graham Bound, p. 45, Casemate Publishers, 2007
  4. "With his legal powers to justify his action, the Governor now ordered Chief Secretary Dick Baker to lead a small team of armed sailors rounding up several dozen Argentine citizens living in Stanley." Invasion 1982: The Falkland Islanders Story, Graham Bound, p. 50, Casemite Publishers, 2007
  5. "Under Miguel Pita's robust personal leadership, and with orders to cause no casualties 'if at all possible', 800 men from his brigade, formed from the 2nd Marine Infantry Battalion (BIM 2), a Comandos Anfibios team ... spearheaded the assault on the Falklands Islands." Exocet Falklands: The Untold Story of Special Forces Operations, Ewen Southby-Tailyour, p. 61, Pen and Sword, 2014
  6. "The next Argentinians ashore were the frogmen from the Santa Fe, to secure the beach at Yorke Bay, to the north of the airfield, at 3:30 a.m." The Royal Navy and Falklands War, David Brown, p. 57, Pen & Sword, 1987
  7. "At around 11 pm on the 1st of April, 1982, ninety-two Argentinian marines of the Amphibious Commando Grouping under Lieutenant-Commander Sabarots landed from small inflatable rubber boats, two miles south of Stanley. They split into two parties, the largest making for Moody Brook barracks, some six miles away, where they hoped to catch the bulk of the Royal Marine (RM) garrison asleep. The other group of sixteen was heading for Government House. The invasion had started. After six hours, during which they had seriously underestimated the difficulties of moving across country at night, the marines arrived to find the barracks empty. The eighty-two RMs, under Major Norman, were well aware of imminent invasion so were not spending the night in their beds. " The Last Eleven: Winners of the Victoria Cross since the Second World War, Mark Adkin, p. 171, Pen & Sword, 1991
  8. "Sanchez-Sabarot's plan was to capture the Royal Marines as they broke out from the barracks. Those who managed to evade capture were to be channeled by the judicious use of MAGs positioned south of Moody Brook along an escape route towards Cortley Hill where they would be unable to reinforce the defence of Government House, and could be rounded up. Casualties were to be avoided". Nine Battles to Stanley, Nicholas Van Der Bijl, p. 20, Pen & Sword, 2014
  9. '"The barracks were ominously quiet, although a light burned in a cabin. No sentries were seen and the night was silent apart from the occasional animal call. Sanchez-Sabarots had expected to hear firing from Government House as some evidence that the main landings had taken place; nevertheless he ordered the attack to begin. Stun and tear gas grenades were hurled into the buildings, but no coughing Royal Marines stumbled out and there was no return fire." Nine Battles to Stanley, Nicholas Van Der Bijl, p. 20, Pen & Sword, 2014
  10. "The fact that no one was observed to emerge from the first Amtrac to be engaged encouraged the Royal Marines to think that one of their rocket rounds had punched a hole in it and that some of the machine-gun fire had penetrated the hole and caused severe casualties among the men inside. Local civilians who observed the action optimistically supported this view later. There was no rocket hit, just the scars of ninety-seven machine-gun bullets. Only one Argentine marine was slightly wounded by a sliver of metal cutting his hand." Argentine Fight for the Falklands, Martin Middlebrook, p. 37, Pen & Sword, 2003
  11. "Pedí novedades de personal y material : En el VAO 07 había un herido leve en la mano izquierda debido a un balazo que perforó la parte carnosa : Conscripto Clase 62 Horacio Tello." Operación Rosario, Carlos Büsser, p. 230, Editorial Atlántida, 1984
  12. Vehículos Anfibios
  13. "Commander Weinstabl and I decided it was time to force the British to withdraw. I ordered the crew with the recoilles rifle to fire one round of hollow charge at ... the roof of the house where the machine-gun was, to cause a bang but not an explosion. We were still following our orders not to inflict casualties. The first round was about a hundred metres short, but the second hit the roof ... They had stopped firing, so Commander started the movement of the two companies around the position.." Argentine Fight for the Falklands, Martin Middlebrook, p. 36, Pen and Sword, 2003
  14. Vehículos Anfibios
  15. Rear-Admiral Carlos Büsser
  16. La Operación Rosario en primera persona
  17. Falkland Islands Broadcasting Station. Live broadcast of Argentine Invasion 1982. Part 2 of 2 (available on YouTube)
  18. "The town was silent. Arriving at the place we had chosen as the Battalion Command Post, we found abandoned weapons and packs. I ordered Lieutenant Martinelli to recce the building and within a short while he returned with about thirty men and women who came out of it smiling. They were Argentines who had been locked in that place the night before. Almost opposite was the Police Station. Inside were six or seven policemen with their Chief and a group of sailors from an oceanographic research ship. I ordered the Police Chief to send the constables home and to tell them not to come out until they were told." Victory in the Falklands, Nick Van Der Bijl, p. 23, Pen & Sword, 2007
  19. Commando: The Illustrated History of Britain's Green Berets, David Reynolds, p. 125, Sutton, 2001
  20. "There were three casualties lying in the garden of Government House. You think: What sort of mood are they going to be in when their oppos are shot up? When we were actually lying down I felt a bit humiliated but I also felt apprehensive about what was going to happen next. One of the Argentine officers came along and actually struck one of the guards and told us to stand up. We stood up and he shook my hand and a few other guys' hands and said that we shouldn't lie down, that we should be proud of what we'd done." Michael Bilton, Peter Kosminsky, p. 233, Speaking Out: Untold Stories From The Falklands War, Andre Deutsch, 1989
  21. "I found Valerie in good health if not in good temper. She kept on muttering about soldiers with great big boots and nasty guns wandering round in her hospital. On the previous day the medic from the ‘Brook’ had come back to help if necessary’ she said that he looked as if he needed a bath and set out to get it ready for him, but, however one of the other lot had different ideas about that and stopped the move to the bathroom with his gun, and said that the bloke was a prisoner of war, nothing of note had happened. Some Argy doctors had been in the Operating Theatre the day before, without success, and she would be happier when they all went home. And she was quite willing to help them on their way." A Falklands Family at War: Diaries of the 1982 Conflict, Neville Bennett, Valerie Bennett, p. 18, Pen & Sword Military, 2021
  22. Falkland Islands Broadcasting Station. Live broadcast of Argentine Invasion 1982. Part 2 of 2 (available on YouTube)
  23. "Lo busque al Padre Mafezzini que se encontraba en el hospital curandose una herida en un ojo y le pedi que fuera a la morgue para rogarle a Dios que lo recibiera en sus brazos." Operación Rosario, Carlos Büsser, p. 179, Editorial Atlántida, 1984
  24. Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands
  25. "El día anterior el fuego británico había alcanzado los cuarteles de Moody Brook, donde mató a tres soldados e hirió al mayor José Rodolfo Banetta, de la compañía comando de la Brigada X." Isidoro J. Ruiz Moreno, La Lucha Por La Capital (chapter), Comandos en Acción: El Ejercito en Malvinas, Emece, 1986
  26. "El Jefe de Personal del Comando de las Fuerzas Terrestres que, hasta ese entonces, había permanecido con su Sección en el Cuartel de los Marines (Moody Brook), el Mayor del Ejército Don José R. Banetta, que debía replegarse de las instalaciones mencionadas hacia su Puesto de Comando Principal en la localidad, al incendiarse y destruirse los cuarteles, por un efectivo y preciso ataque de la aviación enemiga." Carlos H. Robacio, Jorge Hernández, p. 216, Desde el Frente: Batallón de Infantería de Marina No. 5, Centro Naval, 1996
  27. "Los ataques aéreos continuaban pero en forma cada vez más esporádica, quizá el último bombardeo importante fue sobre el ex-cuartel de los Royal Marines en Moody Brooki donde funcionaba el PC Ret de la Agr Ej a órdenes del My Banetta. Produjo bajas y grandes daños en el cuartel." Horacio Rodríguez Mottino, p. 182, La Artillería Argentina en Malvinas, Clio, 1984
  28. "The captured British servicemen were then allowed to collect personal items (but no uniform) from Moody Brook and were flown out to Comodoro Rivadavia that evening." The Royal Navy and Falklands War, David Brown, p.59, Pen & Sword, 1987
  29. Mohamed Alí Seineldín, p. 125, Malvinas: Un Sentimiento, Editorial Sudamericana, 1999
  30. Graciela Speranza, Fernando Cittadini, Partes de Guerra, p. 38, Grupo Editorial Norma, 1997
  31. "Esa noche, en el "casino" improvisado en Moody Brook, antiguo cuartel de los "marines" ingleses, junto a oficiales, suboficiales y soldados argentinos festejamos Pascua de Resurrección. Sencillas palabras de un Teniente Coronel, un trozo de un gigantesco huevo de pascua llegado desde el continente y un brindis con vino francés proveniente de las bodegas de los "marines" sellaron este festejo que coincidía con el inicio del bloque naval." Alerta Roja, Eduardo Rotondo, p. 3, Baipress, 1982
  33. "The humiliation was soon reinforced by images of the Argentine flag being raised and of the Royal Marines as prisoners. The photographs of the surrender of the Royal Marines had been taken by Simon Winchester of the Sunday Times and were smuggled out by out by Rex Hunt's son Tony." The Official History of the Falklands Campaign, Volume 2: War and Diplomacy, Lawrence Freedman, pp. 8-9, Routledge, 2004
  34. "Winchester went to Argentina where he was later arrested with two colleagues for spying." The Official History of the Falklands Campaign, Volume 2: War and Diplomacy, Lawrence Freedman, p. 9, Routledge, 2004
  36. 74 Days Under the Argentine Flag: The Experiences of Occupation During the Falklands/Malvinas War
  37. Democracy restored to the Falkland Islands
  38. Making Their Dispositions Accordingly: Civilian Experiences of the 1982 Falklands War
  39. Operation Corporate: The Falklands War, Martin Middlebrook, p. 169, Viking, 1985
  40. Speaking Out: Untold Stories from the Falklands War, Michael Bilton, Peter Kosminsky, pp. 257-258, Andre Deutsch, 1989
  41. The Falklands invasion, by those who were there
  42. Democracy restored to the Falkland Islands
  43. British naval gunfire had destroyed the roof of Port Stanley's water pumping station, causing the valves, filters and pipes to freeze up and split. The Scars of Wars, Hugh McManners, p. 315, HarperCollins, 1993
  44. The Winter War: The Falklands, Patrick Joseph Bishop, John Witherow, p.143, Quartet Books, 1982
  45. The Falklands War, D. George Boyce, p. 146, Macmillan International Higher Education, 2005
  46. The Battle for the Falklands, Max Hastings, Simon Jenkins, p.313, Pan, 1987
  47. No wonder we won the Falklands: How the Argentine army lashed rocket launcher to a SLIDE in futile bid to defeat British troops
  48. 25 years on
  51. The British later made the accusation that some of the mines were scattered haphazardly by helicopter and again, that incomplete records were kept. Jofre stresses that, although mines were brought forward by helicopter, they were never scattered by helicopter. Also, he says, records were properly handed over by his engineer commander after the war. Argentine Fight for the Falklands, Martin Middlebrook, p. 225, Pen & Sword, 2003
  52. The Winter War: The Falklands, Patrick Joseph Bishop, John Witherow, p.143, Quartet Books, 1982
  53. Forgotten Voices of the Falklands, Hugh McManners, p. 433, Random House, 2008
  54. Gustavo Placente | Indagación a 18 militares por torturas en Malvinas (available on YouTube)