Battle for Mount Harriet 11/12 June 1982

Discussion in 'Old & Bold' started by HarryBosch, Jun 11, 2011.

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  1. Led by Lt.Col. Nick Vaux the attack was preceded by a week of night fighting patrols which were themselves aimed at misdirecting the enemy away from 42's true intentions. Over the course of 5 nights numerous recce patrols cleared a 9 km route through an Argentinian minefield. A night attack launched from the enemy's rear, the battle for Mt Harriet is regarded as a lesson in planning, shock and surprise.


    From Army Doctrine Publications: Land Operations AC 71819:
    Mount Harriet (1982)
    42 Commando Royal Marines assaulted Mount Harriet in the Falklands on the night of 11-12 June 1982 in a surprise attack from the enemy’s rear. The 4th Argentine Infantry Regiment defending Harriet expected an attack from Mount Wall to the west; a diversionary attack by 12 Troop of 42 Commando reinforced that perception. The main body attacked from the south-east and approached to within about a hundred metres of the Argentine positions before it was detected. The assault was very rapid: leading elements reached the crest of Mount Harriet within about 40 minutes; the crestline was cleared within about two hours; and the fighting largely complete within 5 hours.
    The Argentine regimental command post and mortar platoon were overrun early in the assault: a lucky consequence of the chosen axis of attack, but the effects of this selective destruction were significant. The Argentines lost much of their primary indirect fire support and command and control of their forces; both affected their cohesion. An Argentine company commander attempted to organize a counterattack force on the north side of the ridgeline; however a sudden, concentrated artillery fire mission broke up the attack. The survivors were seen fleeing east towards Stanley through the smoke and darkness. The surprise attack, shock action and some aspects of the destruction achieved had overcome the 4th Argentine Infantry Regiment’s cohesion; it collapsed and was effectively destroyed as a fighting force
    The battle contrasts with the other five battalion battles in the Falklands Conflict - Goose Green, Mount Longdon, Wireless Ridge, Two Sisters and Tumbledown - which all took over 7 hours’ fighting. 42 Commando suffered only 2 dead and 7 wounded; substantially less than Goose Green, Longdon and Tumbledown, and slightly less than Two Sisters and Wireless Ridge. 42 Commando captured over 300 prisoners, more than any other unit involved (except for 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, who captured 1007 Argentinians when the garrison of Darwin surrendered after Goose Green).

    Proud to have been there.
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Pararegtom

    Pararegtom LE Book Reviewer

    Good Man Royal , and we will remember the Fallen. Per Mare, Per Terram
  3. Inspirational and incredibly brave soldiering by the Royal Marines. We will remember them.
  4. Hard to believe that it will soon be 30 yrs, a glass or 2 will be raised tonight.
  5. Speaking as a so called Cold War 'Warrior',felt humble reading that.Enjoy your drink tonight.Well done to you, and all your Comrades.
  6. HB,
    do you know what the reason was for choosing the SL at 45 degrees - I presume J COY were providing fire sp? Only asking as, from the diagram, it looks like a classic for a 90 degree assault i.e. ground 'easier' and shorter route.
    I'm sure the actual ground provides the answer!
    Just interested and had enough to drink to ask!!
  7. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    I had the pleasure to host Maj Gen Vaux at a realities of war session at Shrivenham. An extremely nice, very humble man (as most retired senior officers are). Interesting that he was in his mid 40s when he commanded 42 Cdo on Op CORPORATE, yet still made 2 star in the next 8 years - amazing what a good war will do for your career.
  8. I remember watching a then restricted Video Interview with a Cpl from 42(I think)
    he went up to an outcrop to take out a Sniper, reached the outcrop, undetected,
    in his words " I stepped from behind the cover of my rock and threw a Grenade
    into the Trench and stepped back behind my rock, when the grenade went off,
    I stepped from behind my rock, there wasn't just one Sniper, there were 5 or
    6 of 'em and one was still alive, I took one round off him, he then proceeded
    to die very quickly"
    I will never forget this, there were probably many stories like this from '82
    but this one will always remain with me.

  9. I've got an old video of the Falklands lying about somewhere, and it's got that interview in it, probably the most memorable quote of the war for me.

    Awesome job.
  10. Got that Vid. in the attic, it also includes an interview with a Para,
    who was laid low with a shot that hit his Boot....His words...
    " I was then shot through my hand, it was a Tracer, I watched
    it burning a hole my hand"

    Fcuk me, I was complaining yesterday about some minor
    disturbance in a Yorkshire Town(tongue in cheek)
    I'm away into t'attic to see if I can find the Video.

    Brave Men, All.......!
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Aye - well done to all.
    Never forget: never.
  12. Hell's bell's - 29 years ago.
    I was just waiting to sign up having been accepted in as a Junior
    The performance of ALL units down there was second to none - was humbled to see the terrain fought over when I was down there myself a few years later.
  13. I never went there. Spent the rest of my time thinking that the only thing worse than going to fight in the Falklands, would prob'ly be going there to spend 6 months not fighting . . .
  14. Well, that's true. Lucky enough though to go and spend 5 months on South Georgia the first tour, which meant I actually did my job in a challenging environment and had the chance to work with the Gurkhas as well (2/2 KEO for those interested). Awesome place to be at 19 years old