DS solution to Goose Green

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by angular, Jan 17, 2008.

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  1. I'm just re-reading Mark Adkin's book (how dated 'a battle is fought to be won' sounds after years of war in the sandy places), and wondered if anyone had put together a 'DS solution' to Jones' problem?

    I've read Spencer Fitz-Gibbon's book, for which I think I deserve a medal, but would be interested in another opinion.
  2. I have to say that when I first read the book, I thought that H's outline plan was pretty reasonable under the circumstances. Where I felt it went pear-shaped was his apparent determination to control everything personally, via a fixed (and highly optimistic) timetable and personal intervention.

    He did seem to have been given a lot of duff info, both about the Argie deployments, their morale and the level of external fire-support he could expect. Add in the bad luck losing the NGS so early in the game, though, and the Gods of War were definitely in a grumpy mood that day. That could have broken the stalemate at the Gorse Gully.

    Given the highly limited scope for actions on the flank (either fire or maneouvre), I'd have been tempted to group my SF and AT platoons into fire sections attached to each company to be used at the OCs discretion. He also seems not to have trusted his Company Commanders' judgement and initiative very much.
  3. I've read both, personally I thought it was the other way around.
  4. It turned out quite well. H obviously worked out the DS solution himself.
  5. Goose Green reminds me of Assaye, or Fuentes de Onoro, in so far as the plan either wasn't great or went wrong BUT the quality of the British infantry resulted in victory anyway.
  6. Thats had me laughing all day.
  7. Agree with Carrot's take on this. The original plan given his paucity of knowledge of the Argentine positions or intentions seems to be reasonable.
    The lack of flexibility seems to be a major flaw, and Jones' determination to micro-manage the battle caused a slowdown until he removed himself from the picture. I also wonder if he had continued to command and micro-manage, if the battle would have bogged-down or been much costlier, especially when he saw that his timetable was not adhered to.
    As I understand it he didn't like one or two of his company commanders and didn't trust them at all, never mind very much. (May be wrong here.)
    This could have been potentially very serious as the battle developed and frustration set in.

    It seems to me that a D/S solution would be compromised in that we know so much about what happened that it would lose value. Given the information that Jones had, would a D/S solution be very much different?

    HarryPalmer's article raises a point, if 2 Para had rolled up against the Argentine main position, dug in and prepared, at the outset that might have
    caused far greater casualties, and a need to either call off the fight - politically unacceptable - or extend it. Also possibly requiring 2 Para to be refitted, or at least exchange positions with 40 CDO.
    Again a D/S solution to equal numbers, or superior numbers, of troops in a dug-in position might be not to attack, or to follow Jones initial idea but heavily re-inforced.
  8. These things are quite tricky to do but not without merit.

    Goose Green was a battle fought before Mission Command became a buzz word, or indeed the Manoueverist Approach was en vogue. H's plan was "a six-phase, night-day, silent-noisy battalion attack to capture Darwin and Goose Green." Not something you would see in a set of Battle Group orders these days...

    Perhaps it is worth contemplating how things might have been if he has his Main Effort had been "to defeat the enemy at Darwin and Goose Green" rather than the massively prescriptive version above?
  9. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Remember Brecon changed when these lads returned to take the SCBC and PSBC so they could get substanstive rank for their battlefield promotions etc.
    The whole war changed inf tactics completely, I suppose in the same way that Suez allegedly woke British logistics up from the post war fuzzy feeling of having won!
    The road show was enlightening to say the least!
  10. Did it? I remember that they were in the process of being shaken up anyway and that the Falklands confirmed the lessons and also reminded us of a lot of things that we shouldn't have forgotten. It also brought an urgency into things for a period of time.
    Unfortunately while the Army wanted to retain the lessons, Whitehall seemed to be keen to forget them as fast as possible.
  11. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    The lessons at platoon and section level were profound, increased firepower with an extra GPMG, working in fire teams instead of sections and fire support being concentrated for attacks by dropping guns off with pln Sgt.
    Massive change to the pop smoke gun group forward left and 3 blokes ran forward whilst every rifle fired rapid!
  12. H's original plan was a good plan. It was however a little optimistic and failed in many ways to appreciate that plans are soluble in contact with reality! Arguably H's sad loss, no irony intended, meant that some auftragstaktik was then possible. Chris Keble was certainly more open to initiative and focus based actions, rather than adherence to a plan set in a notional "sand-table" rather than on the deck.

    The key actions which determined the outcome came from comapny commanders departing from the pink, rather tyhan a BHQ "centralist" drive. Keble was however excellent at appreciating the developing battle and co-ordinating it - hence the well deserved DSO.
  13. Good Grief.......the plan was totally unworkable, far too much of the plan depended on companies completing tasks within meaningless time frames and being in new positions ready to support other companies, there was far too much delay built in with companies being expected to go to ground and await other companies passing through. The plan attacked every single enemy position regardless of the capablity of the enemy to influence the battle, perfect in Brecon when you're learning the job, not a good move for real. There was too much effort spent on a plan that was out of date 30 seconds after the first shot was fired....