While four decades ago now, the Falklands War remains one of the most shocking and most polarising conflicts of the modern age. Arising as a result of ownership disputes between Argentina and the United Kingdom, the conflict took place as one of the key moments during Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s tenure in charge of Great Britain.
The conflict remains one of the most complex in recent years, and devastating to resident islanders, Argentinians and British alike. Many lessons have been learned since the war – though concern over the ownership of the islands varies.
In this fact file, we’ll run through some of the figures and statistics from the Falklands War.
1. The Falklands conflict started in the early 1980s.
The Falklands war began on April 2nd, 1982, when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. Seeking help from the UK, this prompted a Naval task force’s despatch on April 5th 1982, by the United Kingdom.
2. The Falklands are in the Americas.
The Falklands are located 650 kilometres (400 miles) off the south east coast of South America. The area consists of 740 islands!
3. The Islands were in dispute long before the war.
Prior to the Falklands War, Britain had seized the Falkland Islands in 1833 from the Argentines, who had claimed it previously. Argentina is 480 kilometres distance from the islands.
4. Argentina and Great Britain both stake claims.
In 1832, the Argentinians had attempted to claim a garrison there, but the British held strong. The British remained there but the Argentinians had always felt they had rights to the islands too and in 1982, attempted to overthrow the British presence.
5. The Islands were ‘inhabited’ by the British.
The Falkland Islands were first officially inhabited after an English Navy Captain, John Strong, landed there and his arrival placed on an official record.
6. The war involved many different troops.
During the war, five Infantry Brigades fought in the Falklands. These included the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gurkha Rifles, the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards, the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, the 97 Battery Royal Artillery and HQ 4 Field Regiment RA.
The Marines, SAS and SBS (Special Air Services and Special Boat Services, respectively) were also heavily engaged in the war.
7. Britain had strong allies.
Allies of the Falklands war included the USA and Chile, who supported the UK, providing some diplomatic support. No American military personnel were involved in direct combative roles.
8. The UN voted in the majority for the war to go ahead.
Prominent world Leaders of 10 of the 15 voting countries of the United Nations, at the time, voted in favour of the UK’s war activities in the Falklands.
9. Lives were lost in the conflict.
At least 650 Argentinians lost lives in the Falklands War, as well as 255 British military personnel and 3 Falkland Islanders. Of the British casualties, 20 were SAS personnel.
10. Those who lost their lives receive remembrance.
The 1982 Liberation Memorial stands in Port Stanley in recognition of the war.
11. Argentina’s tech may have worked against them.
Older technology in use by the Argentinians’ air power did not match some of the more advanced technology of the war ships used by the British, though the Argentinian pilots caused significant damage to the naval fleet and had supposedly excellent flying skills.
12. Close combat ended the fighting at Port Stanley.
Man to man, hand to hand fighting, resulted in the capture of the Garrison at Port Stanley, which surrendered on June 14th, 1982.
13. Britain claimed hundreds of POWs.
1,400 Prisoners of war were captured by the British during the war and subsequently released amidst much publicity.
14. The Falklands War taught us many lessons – in many ways.
Innovations in treating casualties, including injuries, post traumatic effects and in particular burns, were made following the Falklands War.
15. Simon Weston was an enduring figure from the conflict.
War veteran Simon Weston spent almost five years in hospital and underwent 96 surgical operations. This was as a result of up to 46% of his body afflicted by burns. Weston has become a prominent figure following the War in the British media.
Do you know any interesting facts about the Falklands conflict? Share them in the comments below!