Tuesday, 10 April 2018

2018 A Hero in Mount Two Sisters

A hero in Mount Two Sisters 

                                                                                 EDUARDO C. GERDING

                                     The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.    
                                                                                       Benjamin Disraeli

Soldier conscript Oscar Ismael Poltronieri

The conscript soldier Oscar Ismael Poltronieri is Argentina's greatest living civilian hero. 12,13. No account on him can accurately describe the magnitude of his performance in the Malvinas and in life´s struggle. Like every hero, our man from Mercedes is kind and humble, lacking a desire of activism, which makes us want even more to tell his story.

Childhood  25
Oscar Ismael was born on February 2, 1962 at the Hospital Blas L. Dubarry of Mercedes, the first of the five children of Ismael Abel Poltronieri and María Esther Luciani. Of Italian extraction on both sides his family surname. Poltronierei is a surname can be found in 250 Italian communities especially in Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto.
Poltronieri´s father was a puestero  ( responsible for the running of part of a large ranch) at the Santa Catalina ranch (Province of Buenos Aires). He grew up helping his father in rural chores. When his parents separated, he went to live with his mother in a house in the La Pampa Chica, a  workers ´ neighborhood near the cemetery becoming for a time the man of the house. He abandoned the school and started shining shoes in the streets. His mother married a man named Cisneros and in the following years five more brothers were born.
At age 12, he milked cows at dawn, often barefoot and with a blanket on his back to reduce the frost. 12
At age 13, he left for Roque Pérez to work in the field. He was hired to work in Martin Blaquier's La Biznaga ranch where he was assigned to the care of polo horses. Then he went to La Peregrina (Balcarce) owned by Road Tourism  racer Juan Manuel Bordeu. At age 16 he was hired in Mar del Plata for working in cold storages at the San Cayetano fishing company.

Being 19 years old, he showed up in the San Martin military district, as he was interested in conscription. The physical examination classified him as fit class A. He returned to Mercedes waiting to be called. Tired of waiting, he presented himself to the 6th Infantry Regiment.
He was taken to the Olivera training camp on National Route No. 5 where he made contact with First Corporal Jorge Tolaba and with Section Chief Second Lieutenant Jorge Oliver.
He performed a 45-day training demonstrating great ability to handle the 7.62 mm MAG heavy machine gun. Later he went to the Commando Company under the command of First Lieutenant Luis Linari and the Infantry Company B under First Lieutenant Raúl D. Abella. The latter assigned him to a column of vehicles led by Sergeant Romualdo Barrientos. Poltronieri also conducted training in General Acha (La Pampa). Every morning he managed to board the Unimog MB 421 to carry correspondence and supplies from the Barracks Surveillance Detachment Tuyuti to the Olivera cantonment.

Soldier Oscar Ismael Poltronieri and his 7.62 mm MAG heavy machine gun

The trip to Malvinas 25
 A previous incident
Days before the war, Poltronieri suffered an incident that almost precluded him from his fate: A fly stuck in my ear, and made worms inside. I was treated in the regiment.I almost lost my right ear. Then they signed me off. I could go home, but I refused. I did not want to leave, and a few months later the Malvinas thing started ... it was my destiny, he explained. 17
Poltronieri was an illiterate soldier when he went to the war. "I can´t read sir," he would say. "But now I'm going to school." . Today at least he knows how to sign his name. 13
The departure towards the front
It was a Sunday and he was soon to be discharged. We went back to the barracks and they told us to call our relatives to say goodbye because we were going to the Malvinas. I could not tell or say goodbye to my parents. Mom cried a lot and even got sick when she learned that I was at war. In 1983 my dad knew about me when the boss of the ranch went to town, bought GENTE magazine whose cover had The Person of the Year. There I was in full uniform. Someone quite surprised asked his father: Is he not your son? 9
First sergeant Jorge Edgardo Pitrella handed Poltronieri a bag and provided him with a MAG.
When he turned 20 he was assigned to the Company 3rd Section. His new chief was 21 years-old second lieutenant Esteban Vilgré La Madrid of Dolores a graduate of the Military School. 33

Colonel (Ret) War Veteran Esteban Vilgré La Madrid (57) – B Company Regiment 6  in Mount Tumbledown. He was decorated with the medal  Al esfuerzo y la abnegación. He had command of 47 people. Seven died and two were injured. His grandfather and his mother, who is 97 years old, are British. He created the Military Rugby Union.

Poltronieri left aboard a Unimog truck to El Palomar Air Base where he boarded a plane that would take him to the Malvinas. When they arrived, his unit started marching to Moody Brook towards the barracks of the Royal Marines.
The contact with the soldier Juan Domingo Horisberger
Oscar marched with another hero, soldier Juan Domingo Horisberger of German extraction and the son of a policeman who worked in the Province of BsAs. He was another machine gunner born in Tigre and a resident of General Pacheco. Horisberger was to write the letters to Poltronieri's mother because Poltronieri could not read or write. 9,13
Poltronieri helped to unload trucks at Moody Brook near the warehouses of the Logistics Battalion 10 . There he met his manager Staff Sergeant Jorge Daniel Corvalán from 
San Juan.
March to the Two Sisters hill
The geographical situation was as follows: At North Mount Kent with the Murriel River, Mount Longdon to East, Mount Tumbledown to the West and south the ocean and Puerto Argentino . Poltronieri and Horisberger organized the positions for their machine guns and received Litton night goggles and Thomson TRC 300 radios. Poltronieri volunteered for the First Blockade in Mount Challenger and then to Mount Kent. He volunteered in an incursion to Top Malo and participated in the preparation of an ambush at Murriel Bridge.

Baptism of fire
Poltronieri ´baptism of fire came as a machinegunner in support ofthe 7th Infantry Regiment(Mechanized) Coronel Conde.
On June 12 at 10pm soldier Delfino (also from Mercedes) approached: the English had conquered the positions of the 4th Infantry Regiment and were encircling their position. The head of the second section, Second Lieutenant Aldo Eugenio Franco, was to be the chief of the combat rearguard that would cover the bulk of the company.
The last thing that Polotronieri saw in the light of the flares was his boss Jorge Roberto Biderbost and others attending soldiers Hector Antonio Guanes (Paraguayan) and Daniel Tode who had fallen under fire.
Poltronieri fired until he was ordered to retreat. He reached Mount Tumbledown and found out that Hector Antonio Guanes had bled to death (praying to the virgin of Caacupé) despite the tourniquets and the assistance of ¨medical soldier¨ Goñi. 22.33. Poltronieri met his section and occupied a position near Sapper Hill.

The following day was unbearable cold. He asked General Oscar Luis Joffre for gloves which were later provided. British naval and terrestrial artillery shelled the area and there was intense activity of British helicopters on the slopes of Mount Kent.

March to the Nacar Company of BIM 5
The section chief informed them that they would march to the position of the Nacar Company of BIM 5. They were guided by Marine Corps Sub lieutenant  Waldemar Rigoberto Aquino and a soldier. Then everything happened very fast. Poltronieri shot and the British tried to beat the position with anti-tank weapons LAW, TOW and MILAN missiles but Argentines wouldn´t yield.
Fallen comrades
Poltronieri was with La Madrid and Horisberger when they received fire. Horisberger received a shot in the chest and died 30. Poltronieri saw several comrades fall: Néstor Osvaldo Gómez, Daniel Ricardo Ramos, Juan Antonio Duarte, Arturo Ricardo Pedeuboy, Pedro Francisco Adorno, Delfino and others. The second lieutenant ordered them to leave the position. The men set off but they still had to cross a small valley shelled under fire.
The withdrawal begins
Oscar presented himself voluntarily to protect the retreat of the few men who were standing and remained with Second Lieutenant Robredo and Sergeant First Corvalan until the last one had crossed the death zone.

The Battle of Two Sisters (April 11th and 12th) 13
British forces
British forces, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Andrew F. Whitehead RM 7, consisted of 600 men from the Royal Marines 45 Commando and Milan Troop of the 40 Commando with the support of six 105-mm guns from the 29 Commando. The 2 PARA remained in reserve. The naval fire support came from the County Class destroyer (D19) HMS Glamorgan with its two 114mm guns

Note: In military circles it is acknowledged that no other unit in the world but the Royal Marines could have successfully ¨yomped¨across the bleak hills of East Falklands burdened by 45 Kg.  of kit in the bitter South Atlantic. 7

                                                        HMS Glamorgan

Commanded by Captain Michael E. Barrow RN, she fired 261 large-caliber projectiles against the men of Second Lieutenant Marcelo Llambías Pravaz.The HMS Glamorgant was consequently hit by an Exocet missile on June 12 at 6:37 am by an Exocet MM-38 launched from the ground by a battery commanded by the Commander Julio Marcelo Perez.

The Argentine forces 4
Captain Carlos Alfredo López Patterson took charge of the defenders in Dos Hermanas. In order to strengthen morale and keep defenders informed, Captain Lopez Patterson regularly visited the squads at great risk to himself due to the fire of the British artillery.
The Infantry Regiment 4 of Lieutenant Colonel Diego Alejandro Soria occupied Mount Kent, Mount Challenger and Mount Wall . Company C of Captain Edgardo Humberto Marpegan occupied new positions in Two Sisters (13 km from Puerto Argentino). The defenders would come under the command of Major Ricardo Mario Cordón, second chief of Infantry Regiment 4. The 1st Group (Second Lieutenant Miguel Mosquera) and the 2nd Group (Second Lieutenant Jorge Pérez Grandi) were stationed around the northern of Two Sisters summit and the 3rd Group (Sub-Lieutenant Marcelo Alberto Llambías Pravaz) occupied the southern Two Sisters summit . The 1st Group of Company A (Second Lieutenant Juan Nazer) and the Tactical Reserve (Second Lieutenant Luis Carlos Martella) were located in the saddle between the two heights.
Company B Pirebuy of Major Oscar Ramón Jaimet of the Mechanized Infantry Regiment 6 ¨General Viamonte¨ was part of the local reserve and occupied anti-tank positions between Mount Two Sisters and Mount Longdon
Note: The Mechanized Infantry Regiment 6 from Mercedes moved to the Malvinas Islands in April 1982 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Halperin and relieved the Infantry Regiment 25 in the western sector of the position initially assigned to this unit in Puerto Argentino . The Infantry Regiment 6 participated in the last offensive action carried out by the land component of the island.


Major (Ret) Marcelo Alberto Llambías Prevaz-Promotion 113
In the Malvinas at 21 years of age and being Second Lieutenant he was Chief of the 3rd Section of  Infantry Shooters of Company C of Regiment 4. On May 30 at 11am his men open concentrated rifle and machinegun fire and hit a GR-3 Harrier forcing Major Jerry Pook to bailo ut of his aircraft. At noon on June 12, his men joined BIM 5 and continued fighting. (Malvinas: Tales of Soldiers, Martín Antonio Balza, Círculo Militar, 1986). In 2012 he met with the Royal Marine Nik Taylor who had found a camera and, in his scroll, the top right picture of Llambías Prevaz-23

The night of 9/10 June
The British M & AWC ( Mountain And Artic Warfare Cadre), patrolled Two Sisters  and saved many British lives. On June 9th Lieutenant Joseph Wassell and Sergeant Fraser Haddow´s patrol discovered with their binoculars (from their observation post at Goat Ridge), the powerful explosive traps in the form of barrel mines buried by Company B of Major Jaimet, with the intention of detonating them by remote control when the British attack their positions.

It was during the night of 9/10 June that a returning British fighting patrol from 45 Commando Royal Marines was mistaken for the enemy and Sergeant Bob Leeming, Corporal Andy Uren, Corporal Pete Fitton, and Marine Keith Phillips were killed in the subsequent firefight which occurred just before the main British assault on Two Sisters. (Information from the Royal Marines Association Malvinas Branch)
(Commando Veterans Association- http:the Marines´right was pouring fire over their gateway route¨. ( Bruce Quarrie The Worlds Elite Forces, pp.53-54, Octopus Books Limited, 1985)

According to Captain Hugo Ranieri of the 3rd Assault Section of Commando Company 602:
This lasted between twenty and thirty minutes, so it was quite a long fight, until it culminated with the withdrawal of the enemy. In particular, I would say that we beat them. As we had coordinated the artillery fire, Major Aldo Rico ordered our guns to fire and our shots began to fall on the retreating enemy. We ordered them to open their range as the British retreated, that is, we would chase them with cannon fire. I appreciate that many British must have died that night because the fire from our artillery was tremendous.

The early morning of June 11
June 11 (04.00 Argentine time) at dawn began with an intense enemy naval fire on the Argentine positions in the Mount Two Sisters. It lasted throughout the day, accompanied by great aerial activity and the action of the ground batteries. The British began the march to dominate the heights that surround Puerto Argentino: Mount Kent, Mount Harriet, Two Sisters, Mount Tumbledown and Mount Longdon.
The Argentine forces under fire were: the BIM 5, the Company of Amphibious Engineers, the Regiments 3 and 7 of the Army and the Section of 12.7 mm Machine guns of the Marine Infantry. 10

Captain Ian Gardiner´s X Company attack on June 11 at 11hs1  19
Captain Ian Gardiner's X Company led the attack on Two Sisters, accompanied by Wynne Jones a Chaplain trained as a comando.. The troop of Lieutenant James Kelly and Sergeant George McMillan took the lower part of the Two Sisters South (Long Toenail), with no fighting taking place.

                         Captain Ian Gardiner

At 11pm, Lieutenant David Stewart and Sergeant Peter Jolly´s forces received heavy fire and, although they were supported by  Captain Steve Hughes (Antitank Squad with forty MILAN missiles) and the Machine Gun Squad of Sergeant Major Charles Bell (specially formed and equipped with seven light BREN machine guns, M72 LAW antitank rockets and night goggles), Stewart's men could not continue their advance towards Long Toenail. Rejected in their attempts to dislodge the 3rd Rifle Platoon, Troop 2 of Lieutenant Chris Caroe 4,24 and Sergeant George Matthews took charge of the advance and attacked the Argentine defenders with bayonets, but the attack was dispersed by fire of the Argentine artillery.

                                                  Map of the Battle of Two Sisters 

Second Lieutenant Marcelo A. Llambías effectively operated a MAG machine gun and an Instalaza-M65 rocket launcher, wounding three British commandos.

For almost four hours, the Royal Marines of Company X were immobilized on the slopes of Long Toenail. The other British support warships left for the San Carlos Strait to avoid being exposed in daylight.
The British destroyer HMS Glamorgan stayed behind firing 261 large-caliber shells at the men of Llambias Pravaz. To the surprise of Lt. Chris Caroe 24, the 3rd Fusilier Platoon continued to resist and the Argentine defenders could not be evicted until around 03:00 a.m. (local time). Captain Gardiner would later express his admiration for the fierce resistance offered by the 3rd Platoon of Marcelo Llambías Pravaz in Two Sisters South  4,10

Ian R. Gardiner´s b
ook on                                Soldier CC62 Oscar I.Poltronieri 16
45 Commando 19

Note: Yomp is Royal Marines slang describing a long-distance march carrying full kit. The origin ofthe Word is unclear (one suggestion would interpret it as an acronym of Your Own Marching Pace). It was popularized by journalistic coverage in 1982 during the Malvinas war.

Attack on Mount Two Sisters

Mount Two Sisters Falls

With the loss of Two Sisters south, Second Lieutenant Llambías Pravaz and Corporal Pintos lead the remnants of the 3rd Platoon to new positions in Tumbledown and Sapper Hill, where they met with part of of Silva and Nazer´s squad. Second Lieutenant Llambías Pravaz would later prepare to join the men of Major Carlos Carrizo Salvadores who were preparing the defense of the Government House and the surrounding buildings, but it was canceled at the last moment.

At around 00:30 (local time), the Yankee and Zulu Companies attacked Two Sisters north and manageed to seize it with the help of 1,500 British artillery 105mm projectiles from the British artillery that saturated the Argentine positions. The sub-lieutenants Mosquera and Nazer were wounded defending Two Sisters north and Sub-Lieutenant Luis Carlos Martella (son of Major General Santiago Luis Martella) lost his life protecting the retreat of his men.
Second Lieutenant Jorge Pérez Grandi was seriously wounded leading his men to new positions when he was hit by British artillery fire. Pérez Grandi was placed under a truck as a cover and later that morning Corporal Nicolás Urbieta and two conscripts returned in search of their commander and took him to the hospital in Puerto Argentino.
Corporal Virgilio Rafael Barrientos took charge of the remnants of Nazer's platoon and leads them to new positions on Sapper Hill. Meanwhile, the mortar support fire of Corporal Juan Antonio Barroso extended an impassable fire towards the valley of Two Sisters north, which allowed the evacuation and withdrawal of the Argentine fighters.
Near dawn, Corporal Barroso and his last soldiers left his position on Two Sisters. He left behind the 120mm Thompson-Brandt mortars and near them the 3 British commandos killed by effective fire. The Argentine artillery fire in Two Sisters was directed, until the moment of withdrawal, by Second Lieutenant Eduardo Gavier Tagle.
Poltronieri volunteered to cover the withdrawal of Franco and his men . Oscar stopped the advance of the Yankee Company with the precise shot of his machine gun and rifle.
At 03:00 the Royal Marines entered the Argentine command post at Two Sisters north, capturing Major Ricardo Mario Cordón.
The next morning Colonel Andrew Whitehead looked in wonderment at the strength of the Argentine positions. With fifty Royals he said I could have died of old age holding this place. ( Max Hastings, Going To The Wars , p. 363, Macmillan 2000 )

Eight British Marines were killed, and 17 more were wounded (including an officer of naval artillery) in the fighting on the slopes of Two Sisters. Ten other British SAS / M & AWC commandos were wounded in clashes with Argentine command patrols protecting the retreat of Regiment 4 from Mount Kent to Mount Two Sisters and Mount Harriet. The British also lost 13 dead sailors and 17 injured when the cruise HMS Glamorgan was hit by an Exocet. Twenty Argentine soldiers died defending Two Sisters, including those killed in the patrols' actions and due to the British softening-up fire in the previous week and a half.

202006-Part of The Nottingham-Malvinas Group-From left to right: Chief Petty Officer Nicolas Urbieta 8RI 4), Captain Marine Corps (Ret)Eduardo Villarraza (Chief of Nacar Company, BIM 5), Lieutenant (Ret)Pérez Grandi (1st Section RI 4), Mrs María Isabel Clausen de Bruno(then councillor of General Roca), Rear Admiral Marine Corps (Ret) Carlos Hugo Robacio † (BIM 5 Commander) and Dr Eduardo C. Gerding. (Photograph taken by the autor at Nottingham University)

The story of Soldier Oscar Poltronieri 12,13
Poltronieri says: I was in the Mount Two Sisters. Forward was Regiment 4 of Corrientes. On one side we had the 7th Infantry Regiment of La Plata. We spent all day in the trenches . Sometimes we would step down from the hill to kill a couple of sheeps, we boiled them and ate them straight out.
A classmate of the lieutenant who sent me (whose name was Llambías Pravaz), lent me his binoculars and that´s how I saw the British landing. Few days passed from the landing till they got where we were.
They surrounded us like this, in the form of a crescent. I was up on the mountain when I saw them, it would be five or six in the morning, in the midst of the fog. They killed three or four of our soldiers, all close to me: One was shot dead and fell near me. A splinter blew clean out his knee cap. He arrived at the Puerto Argentino hospital with intense bleeding. Other comrade was hit by a splinter in his back. And another one who climbed a hill to mount the machine gun was hit by a machine gun blast. That was Ramón, who was a friend of mine. I thought that if they had killed him they would kill me too. Why would I be saved ? It gave me like a madness attack and I began to shoot them with the MAG which is a heavy machine gun. My supplier was tired of feeding ammunition belts to the MAG, but I kept pullingthe trigger. It was about nine in the morning. The bullets were passing me by: the traces could be seen clearly. The second lieutenant told me: "Let's go Poltronieri, they're going to kill you ..." But I told them to leave. Because I knew that Sergeant Echeverria had had family in those days. Then I told them: Go away, you have children, you have a family. I have nobody.

After resisting the enemy advance, Oscar moved to Mount Longdon, where at night he met with soldiers of various regiments from the Navy and Army. "There I did a repechaje (an additional action) . I met a Marine Corps Lieutenant with whom we made the advance.
I was walking forward and my comrades behind . I heard a voice then that was not ours. I told the officer that the British were firing shots and drinking whiskey, and he threw a grenade at them.They fired back and hit him. It´s been 30 years and I haven´t seen him ever since but I was told he is alive.
Poltronieri was the last to retreat, sometimes passed by the British. He was considered twice dead but he managed to always meet up with his section. His action saved the lives of about one hundred and fifty of his companions. He was the last Argentine Infantry soldier to fight in the battle of Puerto Argentino. 9,16
Assumed dead in action for his unit, when he returned two days later, he was received with total surprise and excitement by his officers, NCOs and soldiers from what they presumed was a certain death. They gave me up for dead three times, he usually says when he talks about the Malvinas war.27

Sergeant Major Mike (George) George Meachen  ( Yankee Company )  and his view on the Argentine troop. 4
Sergeant-Major George Meachin of Yankee Company, later praised the fighting abilities and spirit of the Argentine defenders:
We came under lots of effective fire from 0.50 caliber machine guns. At the same time mortars were coming down all ove rus, but the main threat was from those machine-gunners who could see us in the open because of the moonlight. There were three machine-guns and we brought down constant and effective salvoes of our own artillery fire on to them directly, 15 rounds at a time .
There would be a pause, and they´d come back to us again. So we had to do it a second time, all over their positions. There´d be a pause, then ´boom, boom, boom`they´d come back at us again. Conscripts don´t do this, men who are badly led and of low morale don´t do this. They were good steadfast troop. I rate them high.

The experience of Lt. Clive Dytor (45 Commando) on the ferocity of  Mount Two Sisters combat 32
Lieutenant Clive Dytor  joined the Royal Marines two years before the conflict after graduating from Cambridge. He witnessed the ferocity of the battle at Mount Two Sisters. He was decorated with the Military Cross for his performance commanding Troop 8, Zulu Company of the 45 Commando. Dytor reported that the worst part of the war was on board the HMS Intrepid in the Bay of San Carlos in the so-called Bomb Alley.
As for the fight in Two Sisters, he said that they were on a hill in the worst possible position. The enemy opened up with a .50 Browning heavy machine gun, they were shooting at us with everything they had. Within minutes, the Royal Marines lay dead and another was seriously injured, his leg blown off by a mortar round.
Dytor was educated at Christ College, an Anglican boarding school in Brecon, Wales. He was always a religious man. Four years after the conflict he entered the priesthood at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford as chaplain of the Tonbridge School (founded in 1553) in Kent.
The war he said, contributed to his conversion to Catholicism. Dytor thinks that the conversion process began in the theological college when he read the autobiography of Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890) and his spiritual journey from the Church of England to Rome.

Boarding the ARA Bahía Paraíso
Poltronieri was in a prisoner's barrack. He remembers: "From there we went to the port. We waited three days for the boat that would take us to the ARA Bahía Paraíso. We were already prisoners, we could not leave. One of our men spoke English. Through him we learned what they were talking about us. These guys said: "Even though they are very young, they have good training." I thought about what we had done and where we were going, now ... I was alone and I was crying from the anger. 25
Note: From the ARA Bahia Paraiso , Poltronieri was then taken by plane to the El Palomar Air Base, then hidden to the Sergeant Cabral Petty Officers´ School and finally to Mercedes. He was under psychological treatment by the Army´s order. 3

The return 12,13
Poltronieri says: My old lady was in the hospital because one day before I arrived, the military had gone home and told her I was dead, that I was not coming ...  When I found out I wanted to go, but they told me that they were not going to let me enter, but I went anyway . When I arrived they would not let me pass, so I said:
"If you do not let me in, I will smash everything. I ´ve just came from the war and I find my mother lying in a bed because you told her I was dead, and I'm not dead, I'm alive. "
As they did not come to reason, I went down stairs and entered the room just when  a nurse was about to give her an injection.
"Do not give anything," I said, "do not give her any injection, the injection is already here, here I came, she feelsbad because of me."
My mom got up and I said, "Be quiet mom, do not cry, I'm alive, so stay calm." - and I took her home that afternoon. Life is so. 12

Poltronieri continues: They took us to the Military Hospital, they gave us food and kept us until the next day.They took data, made a form and my own comrades proposed me for the medal. After that nobody cared for us. When we arrived home , there was no one waiting us. Do you know who were the only ones waiting ? Children and their teachers. When they brought us to Mercedes, we could see on the side of the road, in every small town we passed, bunches of kids in school uniforms and their teachers waving the Argentine flag. There was no other type of people. They brought us hiding.No one else greeted us. They were probably ashamed of our defeat.13
After the war Poltronieri tried to kill himself 34, sold trinkets in buses  and worked as a remisse driver. 17

Employment in Olivera
After the war Poltronieri went to work with his maternal aunt Angela Piris in Olivera. He performed a treatment "against the cold" in the Mercedes Hospital. He moved to General Rodriguez and watched his first child die. Mastellone gave him work at La Serenisima where he stayed  several years. 25


Poltronieri met a beautiful 18-year-old girl at her mother's house. His mother knew the girl´s family because they had worked together in the Estancia. On August 24, 1990 Poltronieri married Alejandra Viviana Carrizo in the Civil Registry of Mercedes . They had Jonathan Oscar (17), Melina Judith (15), Lucas Hernán (13) and Matías Sebastián (10). All of Boca Juniors. 13,36. The boys went to School No. 120 in General Rodriguez and the daughter to School No.502. 25

Further Works
Before fullfiling the military service, Poltronieri was a polo horses caretaker in Mar del Plata. According to a 2002 report, Poltronieri got a job by chance in 1985 and said: They don´t say it but war veterans are kep apart. I could work in La Serenísima thanks to Juan Carlos Mareco who was in Channel 7. I worked there seventeen years until they changed their owners. They wanted me to leave and hire me later but I refused. That was in December 1994. The Municipality gave me a house  and deducted from my pension as part of a loan. They said we were not going to pay taxes, electricity or gas. We were promised housing and scholarships but that never happened. I have not worked since 1999. Now the Army said they will hire me as a handyman in Cámpo de Mayo. Finding a job is hard: If you don´t say you are a war veteran and they it find out later they will sack you. If on the other hand you tell them you are a war veteran you won´t be called. The society turned its back on us because we lost the war but it would have been the same if we had won. They should remember we put our skin, many comrades lost their lives and we did it for our parents, for our brothers. If you ask something they´ll slam the door. I´m 40 years old and I if would have to return to Malvinas and I´d do it. 12,13
Note: Juan Carlos Mareco(1926-2009)known as Pinocho(Pinocchio), was a radio and televisión host, comedian, singer, writer, composer and Uruguayan actor based in Argentina where he made most of his career.
In 1994 Poltronieri left La Serenisma and alternated his work between a cable channel, a remise agency and security in San Martín. In 1994 and 1995 he worked for the Army General Staff. 25

Note:  In Argentina a remise is a chauffeured car of an agency at standardized rates .It´s not a Uber.

The decoration

Poltronieri was decorated on April 4, 1983 with the Cruz La Nación Argentina for heroic courage in combat. (Law 22,607 (1982) and law 24,229). This last is awarded for Acts of Heroic Courage in action under dangerous circumstances. 8. He is the only living soldier who received it. The other soldier conscript recipient of this highest decoration belonged to the Marine Corps 5th Battalion (BIM 5), Félix Ernesto Aguirre who was KIA.
The text reads: For his combat actions during the battle of Mount Two Sisters, where he was the operator of a machine gun. He ignored the withdrawal order and stayed fighting alone thus allowing the retreat of all his companions to safe areas . He grappled with the enemy with his single source of fire, preventing the whole British offensive device from advancing.

We know Poltronieri stopped the British on June 1982from 6.00 am till 3.00 pm. 10 . They gave me the medal when they heard what the British said about me. 16 . Although my comrades said what I had done they gave me the medal when the British said how I had stopped them. He said proudly: The British never knew I was alone. 17
He keeps his decoration in a small rusty tin. I thought for a while of selling it. I did not know how much anyone would pay for it. I needed the money. I decided not to and preferred the embarrassment of begging in the trains but I quit this too as people would say : ¨Go and ask Galtieri ¨. 13
Soldier Poltronieri (Poltro) has a monolith in Mercedes that remembers his action and a slight cut to the side of the monolith bears his name. 1

On the nineties, the Municipalty of General Rodríguez provided him with a house. A councilor requested Poltronieri to sign some documents that he couldn´t read. He signed and lost his house.16
Later the Municipality of Mercedes donated him a lot. 17
In 2002 he said about his house (number 7 , near La Serenísima): I was drowning. I couldn´t continue (he dries his tears). This house as you see is partly unroofed, has two rooms and a kitchenette and you have to enter through a sideway. I built the rest of the enlargement. The Municipality of General Rodríguez is demanding me a debt of 3000 pesos. Where do I get such amount of money if I have not worked for three years? 13

Poltronieri and the Impenetrable
The Impenetrable is an area of native forest of more than 40,000 km2 in the western Chaco province plain. It comprises a part of the provinces of Formosa, Salta and Santiago del Estero, It is bordered by rivers Teuco, Bermejo and crossed by the Bermejito. About 60,000 people live there , mostly native Wichis, Tobas, Quom, Pilaglá, Nivaclé, peasants and small rural producers. These people suffer from malnutrition, Chagas disease and tuberculosis. 11,21
Poltronieri visited the Impenetrable and said: Brother, when I saw that I start crying like a madman. They have nothing. They eat polenta all day long. They don´t know bread. ¨I said to myself I have to do something¨. I asked La Sereníma (a dairy company in General Rodríguez) for a truck and a powdered milk. The major of Mercedes, Juan Ignacio Ustarroz gave him a gymnasium to store donations.1

The Legacy
Contrary to some opinions 5 the Malvinas war history definitively made a big impact in the Argentine schools. 15,35.
The National Education Law 26,206 enacted in 2006 affirms in its article 92 that the learning of the cause of recovery of our islands will be part of the curricular contents common to all jurisdictions.
The recovery of Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwiches islands is stated according to the First Transitory Provision of our National Constitution. 18,20,27,28
Poltronieri gave many lectures, among others a magisterial talk entilted Malvinas National Cause in the Mariano Moreno room of the Deliberating Council of Paraná. 14

Mark Curtis 9
Mark Curtis is a Royal Marine of the 42 Commando who lost a foot stepping on an anti-personnel mine in Mount Harriet (June 11). 31 He has now found inner peace through meditation. 26. In 1984 Curtis met Poltronieri in Paris and they became friends.
Poltronieri agrees with Curtis when affirming that Malvinas was the last romantic war, since both sides respected the honor codes.17
Poltronieri says: ¨ I have been given (by the British) a  Royal Marines´beret  and it is the most important thing I kept after the war. I have an English enemy who came four times to see me in Argentina and the last one was to celebrate my birthday.

Royal Marine Mark Curtis and Soldier Oscar Poltronieri

                               Royal Marines beret

The movie
In April 2011, the film El Héroe del Monte Dos Hermanas (The Heroe of Mont Two Sisters)  was premiered by Rodrigo H. Vila. 17

American poet Sylvia Plath wrote a poem called The Mirror whose first lines read like this:
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike
I am not cruel, only truthful.

I wonder how we see ourselves as a society in the mirrow when we analyze the history of this man (and other war veterans)and the reception we´ve given him since the war.

Colonel (Ret)War Veteran Esteban Vilgré La Madrid. Was in charge of Company B of Infantry Regiment 6 in Mount Tumbledown. He is a Vocal Member of the Ministry of Defense for the Home Office´s War Veterans National Commission
Major (ret) Mike Seear former Operations and Training Officer of the 1st Battalion, 7th Duke of Edinburgh´s Own Gurkha Rifles during the 1982 conflict


1-Amato, Alberto-La última batalla del héroe más condecorado de Malvinas: llevar toneladas de comida a los pobres del Chaco.Clarín-3 de diciembre de 2016.
2-Armando, Rubén-El héroe reconocido por ingleses-La Opinión-29 de marzo de 2017.
3-Aure, Ricardo-Oscar Poltronieri-Instinto y Sentimiento-La Nueva.-8 de diciembre de 2013.
4-Batalla del Monte Dos Hermanas-Wikipedia.
5-Bonasegna Kelly, Cristina-Argentines reassess their role in decade-old Falklands ´mistake´. The Christian Science Monitor-Apr 14, 1992.
6-Cociffi, Gaby-Nosotros peleamos dos guerras: Una en Malvinas y otra peor al regresar-Infobae-30 de marzo de 2017.
7-Craig,Olga-'We don't need food, just ammunition - and tons of it'-The Telegraph -24 Mar 2012.

8-Cruz al Heroico Valor en Combate-

9-El héroe más condecorado de Malvinas que fue olvidado y sigue luchando por todos-Misiones Online-29 de marzo de 2018.

10-El heroico soldado Oscar Poltronieri-Humanidad y Cosmos-
11-El Impenetrable
12-El soldado argentino que detuvo un pelotón inglés en Malvinas. Areco Noticias-3 de junio de 2016.
13-El soldado más condecorado de Malvinas vive en la pobreza y no tiene trabajo-Clarín-2 de abril de 2012.
14-El veterano de Malvinas Oscar Poltronieri brindará una charla en el Concejo Deliberante-La Voz-30 de septiembre de 2017.
15-Eulich,Whitney- Falklands War 30th Anniversary: 5 British and Argentine papers react-The Christian Science Monitor-April 2, 2012.
16-Fernández Vivas, Leandro- Los británicos no podían creer que era un único soldado el que los frenaba disparando-24 CON-
17-Fernández Vivas, Leandro-Oscar Ismael Poltronieri, un héroe de Malvinas, un héroe de la Patria.Nac&Pop-2 de abril de 2012.
 8-Fuentes, Ricardo Daniel-El jueves próximo estará en Bariloche el soldado héroe del monte Dos Hermanas-El Cordillerano-6 de abril de 2015.-

19-Gardiner, Ian-Fighting.The Battle of Two Sisters-The Yompers - With 45 Commando in the Falklands War-Warfare-17 Apr 2012.


20-Gilbert, Jonathan-Falklands War: Why the battle continues 30 years later-The Christian Science Monitor-April 2, 2012.
21-Grasso, Agustina-Como viven los quom en El Impenetrable-El Observador-12 de septiembre de 2015.
22-Guerra de Malvinas-Regimiento Mecanizado 6.La Perla Austral.
23-Guillan, Audrey-After a bloody battle a Royal Marine found an enemy camera. Thirty years later Nick Taylor tracked down the Argentine soldier in the pictures-Mail Online 17 Mar 2012.

24-Holmes, David-Ex-marine Chris Caroe from Chester recalls the Falklands War-The Chester Chronicle-5 Apr 2012.

25-La hazaña del soldado Poltronieri-Malvinas-Guerra en el Atlántico Sur-

 26-London Meditation Project-Mark Curtis-

27-Malvinas: campaña para que las escuelas enseñen quién es el héroe argentino reconocido incluso por los ingleses-Noticias-31 de marzo de 2018.


28-Malvinas en las escuelas: Una materia pendiente-Clarín 8 de abril de 2007.


29-Malvinas-Historia de Héroes: Oscar Poltronieri-Pergamino Verdad-
30-Nuñez, Sergio y Castillo,Ernesto-Un héroe todos los héroes-La Nación-23 de abril de 2011.
31-Privatsky, Kenneth-Logistics in the Falklands War-Pen&Sword Library-2014

32-Rayment, Sean-Falklands War hero explains why he entered the church after being awarded the Military Cross-The Telegraph-25 Mar 2012.

33-Serra, Alfredo-Malvinas: Los recuerdos de guerra de un subteniente que lucho junto a 47 heroicos soldados en la sangrienta batalla final.Infobae-14 de junio de 2017.

34-Soldado Conscripto Oscar Ismael Poltronieri, un héroe viviente-Municipalidad de Escobar-30 de marzo de 2018.

35-Tobar, Héctor-'82 Falklands Conflict Left a Legacy of Tragedy, Hope-Los Angeles Time-
36-Tomino, Pablo-Poltronieri: Un héroe de Malvinas que se emocionó en la Bombonera-La Nación- 8 de abril de 2012.