Monday 3 November 2014

2014 - Accounts of Mount Longdon

Accounts of Mount Longdon

Eduardo C.Gerding

Thirty two years have elapsed since the Battle of Mount Longdon took place. A British force of 450 men clashed against an Argentine force of 278 men on 11-12 June, 1982 in a twelve hours battle.

The British Army still regards the Mount London battle as a classic example of the horror of combat and the fog of war30,35

I wrote this article for several reasons. First of all to pay homage to all those brave men who took part in this battle some of which work with me at the SGVG providing assistance to their comrades. Second to provide didactic information about Mount Longdon which children at school and the average Argentine and British citizens could understand.
I´ve focused mainly in the personal experience of those involved in combat some of whom had to deal with their sequels and fight their inner demons.

Every statement is based on eye witnesses and reliable sources indicated at the bibliography thus allowing the reader to dig more into the Battle50,51,52

SGVG: Subgerencia de Veteranos de Guerra del Instituto Nacional de Servicios Sociales para Jubilados y Pensionados (War Veteran´s Subdirectorate at the INSSJP).

Argentine forces

The Argentine force consisted of B Company of the 7th Infantry Regiment (RI 7), ¨Coronel Conde ¨ alongside 1st Section of de 10th Mechanized Engineers company and a Marine Corps Section with six 12,7 mm machine guns.

The local Argentine commander was 34-year-old Major Eduardo del Valle Carrizo-Salvadores, the second-in-command of RI 7. The 7th Infantry Regiment, reinforced by two Marine Infantry platoons, held Mount Longdon, Wireless Ridge to the northwest of the capital of the islands, Port Stanley and to their east, Cortley Ridge.

Second Lieutenant Juan Domingo Baldini's 1st Platoon was positioned on the rocky outcrops running west of Fly Half, the western peak of Mount Longdon. First Lieutenant Enrique Eneas Neirotti's 3rd Platoon was situated south of Fly Half while First Sergeant Raul Gonzalez's 2nd was north of Baldini ´s platoon. The Argentine command post and Lieutenant Hugo Quiroga's engineer platoon which was acting as the reserve were situated on Full Back, the eastern summit of Mount Longdon.

There was also a Marine platoon of Frigate Lieutenant Marine Corps Sergio Dachary's Machinegun Company of 136 which took an important part in nearly every major engagement until the end of the campaign. This platoon used their six Browning 12.7 millimetre machineguns protected by Marine riflemen, very effectively during the night of battle. (David Aldea.Mount London-The Argentinian story)


The Argentine forces were mostly conscripts with a year of training. It should be noted that two of the 3 PARA KIA : Privates Ian Patrick Scrivens (of Weymouth) and Jason Burt (of Hackney) were only seventeen years old, and Private Neil Grose (of Leighton Buzzard) celebrated his 18th birthday only the day before.54

The young RI 7 soldiers were not going to abandon their positions easily and most were prepared to hold their ground.

Some fifty of the 7th Regiment were to fight more resolutely than the rest, having been trained on a commando course organized by commando-trained Major Oscar Jaimet, Operations Officer of the 6th Infantry Regiment (RI 6) 38

British Forces

The British force consisted of Third Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) under Lieutenant Colonel Hew William Royston Pike with artillery support from six 105 mm light guns of 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery; Second Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (2 PARA) were in reserve. Naval gunfire support was provided by Type 21 Frigate HMS Avenger's 4.5-in gun.

3 Para Commanders: Lt Col H W R Pike, Maj D A Collett A Coy (1, 2 and 3 Platoons), Maj Michael HughArgue B Coy (4, 5 and 6 Platoons), Maj H M Osborne C Coy, Maj P P Butler D (Patrol) Coy. 

The attack was coordinated with attacks on Mount Harriet and Two Sisters in an attempt to fully occupy all Argentine forces in the area so that one could not support the other. The attack was coordinated with attacks on Mount Harriet and Two Sisters in an attempt to fully occupy all Argentine forces in the area so that one could not support the other

Lieutenant General Sir Hew William Royston Pike KCB DSO MBE

The 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment (3 PARA), is a battalion sized formation of the British Army's Parachute Regiment and subordinate unit within 16 Air Assault Brigade. The Parachute Regiment - also known as 'The Maroon Machine' after the red beret worn by its members - is an elite, hermetic and intensely competitive corps. Its role as a front-line assault unit is reflected in a long and arduous selection process which eliminates all but the most dedicated and aggressive. 32

The HMS Avenger was commanded by Captain Hugo White RN. On June 11, she was conducting naval bombardments of Puerto Argentino in preparation for an amphibious assault by British troops. While the shelling was going on, she directly struck a house where civilians were sheltering, killing three British women and wounding several others. They are the only British civilian casualties of the war.

Regimiento 7 de Infantería ¨Coronel Conde¨

¨Coronel Conde ¨

Regimiento británico de Paracaidistas
Parachute Regiment

Fragata Tipo 21 HMS Avenger (vendida a Pakistán en 1994)
Frigate Type 21 HMS Avenger (sold to Pakistan in 1994)

A platoon in the military, is a small unit. The number of elements that make up a platoon varies, according to the prevailing doctrine in each country, and even, according to the organization of certain forces. In some countries there may be platons of different forces while in others they are limited to the infantry. Plattons can be grouped according to their organization into companies or sections and can be divided into patrols, sections or squads.

In the British Army rifle companies consist of three platoons and a company headquarters. The British Army infantry normally identifies its rifle companies by letter (usually, but not always, A, B and C) within a battalion, usually with the addition of a headquarters company and a support/heavy weapons company. British companies are usually commanded by a major, the officer commanding (OC), with a captain or senior lieutenant as second-in-command (2i/c). The company headquarters also includes a company sergeant major (CSM) normally holding the rank of WO2 and a company quartermaster sergeant (CQMS) of colour sergeant rank, the two most senior soldiers in the company.

Land and Temperature

The Malvinas Islands have a polar tundra climate. The average weather in June , based in historical redords from 1999 to 2012, reveals a gradually falling daily high temperatures, with daily highs around 41°F throughout the month, exceeding 47°F or dropping below 34°F only one day in ten. The wind is most often out of the west (36% of the time), north (17% of the time), north west (16% of the time), and south west (12% of the time).58

Acccording to Nick Rose who was a private in 6 Platoon under Lieutenant Jonathan Shaw wind chill factor was minus 40 degrees

...¨ and storm force winds and horizontal rain – a nightmare scenario. We are horrible, we're miserable as sin, all of us – we're missing home, want a dry fag [cigarette], warm, dry boots, a cheese and onion sandwich and a bottle of blue top milk. I used to dream of these ¨  15

Sergeant Raúl Ibañez remembered that on the last day (June 12) it began to snow: 
"We were frozen, soaked in water falling and filling the trenches. It was a relief to retreat as it prevented many more deaths. I think if we had another day few would survived. ¨ 18

Suboficial Mayor(R) VGM Raúl Ibañez
Major Sub-Officer (R)  Raúl Ibañez
Cabo Nick Rose
Corporal Nick Rose


Argentine forces possessed fully automatic FN FAL rifles, FAP light machine guns and PAMS sub-machine guns; these weapons delivered more firepower than the British L1A1 rifle (SLR). They were also equipped with FN MAG 7.62mm general purpose machineguns, which were almost identical to those of the Paras.

Fusil británico L1A (SLR)
British L1A1 rifle (SLR)

Fusil argentino FN FAL
Argentine FN FAL

Private Jorge Altieri, in an interview after the war told how he trained hard with B Company: I was issued with a FAL 7.62 millimetre rifle. Other guys were given FAP light machineguns – and others got PAMS [submachineguns]. The main emphasis in shooting was making every bullet count. I was also shown how to use a bazooka, how to make and lay booby-traps, and how to navigate at night, and we went on helicopter drills, night and day attacks and ambushes.

At the centre of the mountain were Marine conscripts Jorge Maciel and Claudio Scaglione in a bunker with a heavy machinegun and Marine conscripts Luis Fernández and Sergio Giuseppetti with night-scope equipped rifles.

Corporal Stewart McLaughlin was injured by a Czekalski recoilless gun round fired from Wireless Ridge, he was subsequently killed by a mortar bomb fired from RI 7's C Company on Wireless Ridge as he made his way to the aid post.

Argentine  Czekalski recoilless cannon

British M72 Law rocket launcher

Sergio Dachary receives a pension for life from Governor Sergio Uribarry

Frigate Lieutenant Marine Corps Sergio Dachary (Sec AA/Ca Cdo/BIM 5) Argentine Nation to the Valour in Combat Medal was responsible for controlling the Marines´ heavy machine guns in Mount Longdon. 23 Marine Corps took part in the Battle of Mount Longdon.

Ametralladora MAG 7,62 mm
MachineGun MAG 7,62 mm

The Argentine snipers had FAL with American night scopes AN/PVS-5(M-915). A whole British company was stopped during hours due to the action of one of these snipers.Among the few snipers known was Corporal Marine Corps Carlos Rafael Colemil 11. Lieutenant Robert Lawrence was hit in his head but was not killed.
Suboficial Segundo de Infantería de Marina VGM Carlos Rafael Colemil
Marine Corps Petty Officer Carlos Rafael Colemil (akaVizcacha)
(Medal to the Heroic Valour in Combat)

Colemil said: I was with Conscripts Ferrandis and Cardozo. They stayed with me intermittently throughout de combat and assisted me when I was wounded in the head. Both fought and were even injured by our own artillery fire. Ferrandis with shrapnel in the ribs and Cardozo by shrapnels in his legs. They were outstanding Marine Corps conscripts. Whay a pity thay they were not decorated !.

Corporal Marine Corps Carlos Rafael Colemil received a shot in the front of his helmet, drilled and then introduced into the scalp stopping at his scruff .For this reason they nicknamed him too moneybox.

The British Plan

The British hoped to surprise the Argentine commanders by advancing as close to their forward platton as possible under cover of darkness, before storming into their trenches with fixed bayonets.
The three major objectives :Fly Half, Full Back and Wing Forward were named after positions in Rugby football. The PARAs woud start from a northern passage point called Furze Bush. Company B would be ready to storm the heights in Fly Half. Company A prepared to attack the counterfort in the north.
Company C would stay as a reserve in the starting line fitted with support equipment, MILAN anti-tank missiles and machine guns under Major Dennison´s command. Behind this device: An independent mortar section equipment supply of ammunition and evacuation of wounded (Bandwagons vehicles) under Major Patton (the Battalion´s second in command) (Manfredi (h), Alberto-Malvinas. Guerra en el Atlántico Sur32

A rugby fly-half is the highly skilled, quick thinking, tactically clever prominent player in the backs. On the other hand Full-backs usually position themselves several metres behind the back line. They field any deep opposition kicks and are often the last line of defence should an opponent break through the back line. On attack they can enter the back line, usually near the centres or wings, with the aim of providing an extra person and overlapping the defending players. Three of the most important attributes of a good full-back are good catching ability under a high kick, the ability to punt the ball a long distance with accuracy and the speed and skill to join in back line attacking moves, especially counter-attacks.

For the average citizen,a superb way of understanding the Battle of Mount Longdon and other combats as well is through the use of Nystrom´s raised relief maps which show contours and elevations.They can be shaded to produce illusion of three dimensions or they can actually be made three dimensional by an impression process. Such maps can be made from rubber, vinyl, or plastic.
(http://www.shopwiki.com/l/nystrom-world-large-framed-raised-relief-map )

Attack to the RI 7 B Company on June 11st 1982- Conflicto Malvinas Tomo II-Abreviaturas, Anexos y Fuentes Bibliográficas-1983-Informe Oficial del Ejército Argentino.

The Combat

A full detailed description of the combat is beyond the scope of this article but there are several excellent Argentine and British books on this issue.
 1,6,21,27,37,47. There have been probably more heroic acts than we´ve known.22

TOAS - Guerra de MalvinasTOAS - Guerra de Malvinas

TOAS - Guerra de Malvinas
TOAS - Guerra de Malvinas

TOAS - Guerra de Malvinas
TOAS - Guerra de Malvinas

TOAS - Guerra de MalvinasTOAS - Guerra de Malvinas

TOAS - Guerra de Malvinas
TOAS - Guerra de Malvinas

A patrol of D Company tries unsuccesfully to secure an Argentine prisoner

The 3 PARA set up a patrol base near Murrel Bridge(2 Km best of Mount Longdon)on 3 June.They sent specialist patrols from D Company to scout the Argentine positions in Mount Longdon.
A three man patrol from D Company consisting of Corporal Jerry Phillips and Privates Richard Absolon and Bill Hayward was sent to the northern slopes of Mount Longdon trying to secure a prisoner from Sub Lieutenant Juan Domingo Baldini´s 1st Platon.The Argentine commanders reacted vigorously and the British found themselves under prompt and accurate machinegun, artillery and mortar fire.There were no Argentine casualties.

The Argentine counterambush withdraws the PARAs

A combined patrol of the 601 Commando Company and 601str National Gendarmerie Special Forces Squadron was sent to Murrell Bridge. Corporals Peter Hadden and Mark Brown and their patrols had just arrived at the bluff on the western bank of the Murrel River which Sergeant Ian Addle´s patrol had been using as a base.

The Commando patrol under Captain Rubén Teofilo Figueroa forced the PARAs to withdraw before dawn having to leave behind much of their equipment.Only Drill Sergeant Ruben Poggi was slightly wounded during the Argentine counter-ambush.

Capitán Rubén Teófilo Figueroa Compañía Comando 601
Capitán Rubén Teófilo Figueroa Compañía Comando 601
Captain Rubén Teófilo Figueroa

Company  601


Company B approaches Mount Longdon

Colonel Pike and his company commanders on the eve of battle still held the Argentine commanders in low regard and did not expect them to put up much resistance.He was wrong.15,29,40

When the 3 PARA B Company led by Major Michael Hugh Argue (35) ordered fixed bayonets to storm the RI 7 first platoon they run into a minefield. There were 1500 anti-personnel mines laid along the western and northern slopes of Mount Longdon but only two exploded .(because the rest were frozen) recalled Corporal Peter Cuxson.

The British assault
The assault on Mount Longdon started when shortly after 9 pm with almost full moon when Corporal Brian Milne stepped on a mine.
More than 20 Argentine soldiers emerged from their tents and some were still struggling out of its sleping bags when Lieutenant Ian Bickerdike Nº4 Platoon machinedgunned and grenaded the helpless Argentines. Corporal Stewart McLaughlin clerared a 7.62 mm machinegun from the high ground overlooking the western slopes. He ordered his men to fix bayonets and led them up the hill into a hail of machinegun fire.
When hearing the explosion the Argentines began firing to companies A and B. Rifles, machine guns, mortars, grenades and Law 66 rocket launchers were used. Lieutenant Andrew Bickerdike was wounded in his leg and Corporal Ian Bailey was shot in both legs and stomach. (Manfredi (h), Alberto-Malvinas: Guerra en el Atlántico Sur).

Soldado Mike Southall PARA 3
SoldierMike Southall PARA 3 


Mike Southall who was 17 said: There were bodies everywhere. You could hear people calling for help; others were just groaning. 6 Platoon had a horrendous incident where Lance Corporal James 'Doc’ Murdoch had been shot through both temples and was lying out in the open, still alive but they couldn’t get to him,” (Falklands:The Battle of Mount Longdon,The Telegraph 18 March 2012)

Corporal Gustavo Pedemonte deployed one of the 7.62 millimetre belt-fed machineguns higher up Fly Half, and he engaged the Paras, holding up the British advance. Only after an hour or two, perhaps more, a couple of Paras blasted him out of the darkness.


On the night of June 11th Sergeant Major Nurse Mario Rolando Spizuoco toured the positions to assist and evacuate wounded, still under heavy fire and risking his life. Then, during a retreat Unit, returned to the previous position partially occupied by the enemy, in order to retrieve wounded personnel who had no possibility of retreat. This earned him the Argentine Nation Medal of Valor in Combat.

An eye-witness: Paratrooper Mark Eyle-Thomas

Mark Eyle-Thomas who was 17 years old remembers: 54

Their morale was expected to be low and resistance weak. We were also assured there were no minefields.With support from Milan missiles and mortars, plus sustained fire from our own machine guns, 3 Para were to attack on foot. To aid surprise, the attack would be silent, which meant Argentine positions would not be bombarded by our artillery.Under cover of darkness, our platoon, 4 Platoon B Company, would advance through the clear ground along the northern edge of the mountain before moving south to a halfway point known as Fly Half.There we would join forces with 5 Platoon and continue the advance towards the summit, codenamed Full Back. Our A Company would attack a smaller summit, known as Wing Forward. Just after midnight we advanced in staggered-file formation. Less than five minutes later there was an explosion followed by screams of pain.My section commander, Corporal Brian Milne, had stepped on an anti-personnel mine.

The intelligence had been wrong and the element of surprise eliminated.

Lying next to me, my friend Jason Burt turned and said he was going over to Cpl Milne to inject his morphine.Minutes later Jas said: "It hasn’t seemed to ease any of his pain. I’m going to give him mine."As any soldier knows, the single morphine syrette you wear around your neck is for your own use. The way things were going, it was a very brave call to give yours away at such an early stage of the battle. Private Ron Duffy crawled over to us. "I think he’s lost the lower part of his leg," whispered Jas. "OK, lads, don’t tell anyone else what you have seen," said Ron. "Bad for morale." (Mark Eyle-Thomas-Told for the first time the most extraordinary and compelling story of the Falklands war-Mail Online-14 April 2007)

Mark Eyles-Thomas recounted his Falklands experiences in the book Sod That For a Game of Soldiers, published by Kenton Publishing.
SOD THAT - For a Game of Soldiers - TOAS
SOD THAT - For a Game of Soldiers


Sod that for a game of soldiers is a British expression meaning that the speaker doesn't want to do something.

The Syrette is a device for injecting liquid through a needle. It is similar to a syringe except that it has a closed flexible tube (like that typically used for toothpaste) instead of a rigid tube and piston. Lieutenant-Colonel Mike Argue59 died in 2006 and was awarded a MC.(The Telegraph Sept 09,2006).

High amount of casualties in the capture of the summit of Fly Half

Lieutenant Jonathan Shaw`s Nº 6 Platoon on the right flank ob B Company captured the summit of Fly Half but they missed half a dozen Argentine conscripts of the 3rd platoon-There were a lot of casualties before the are was clered.For three hours the hand to hand combat raged in the 1st Platoon sector. There was a three hours hand-to-hand combat.The PARAs drove out the defenders.
Around the 1st Platoon position

Privates Ben Gough and Dominic Gray attacked an Argentine bunker with grenades and then they broke through. Private Gray killed an Argentine Marine by sticking his bayonet through his eye socket. Marine Corporal Carlos Rafael Colemil was part of the forward defence and fought very efficiently as a sniper. During the action Rasit radar operator Sergeant Roque Nista was wounded. Sergeant Omar Cabral was also a sniper.

Sublieutenant Juan Domingo Baldini is KIA

Initiated the fight, Lieutenant Juan Baldini 1st Section B Company Chief took over its fraction and some Marine Corps and attacked, followed closely by Corporal Dario Ríos . They were both killed by machine-gun fire, which made the rest of the force to look for shelter and respond to the enemy fire. 42 Cavalry Seargant Jorge Alberto Ron and forward observer Lieutenant Alberto Rolando Ramos (whose last message was that they were surrounded) were killed too.

Sub Lieutenant Juan Baldini was awarded the Argentine Nation to the Valour in Combat Medal.¨Baldini was later heavily criticized by veterans for being indifferent and selfish toward his men although this seems to have come from several petulant soldiers who failed to appreciate his efforts to keep them alive in difficult conditions." (Nicholas van der Bijl, Nine Battles to Stanley, p. 155, Leo Cooper, 1994)

First Lieutenant Juan Domingo Baldini

Argentine Nation
 to Valour in Combat

An eye witness: Soldier Victor José Bruno

VGM Victor José Bruno - TOAS
VGM Victor José Bruno
My position was about 20-25 meters from First Lieutenant Baldini, on the famous Baldini`s pot . In the conscription my role combat was always with the MAG .Fabián Caballero was substituted fifteen days before by Darío González.
I remained with the MAG with Eustaquio Sánchez (Tatu) who was the ammo provider. Upon commencement of the attack I began to shoot forward and from left to right then focused where the British tracer ammunition was coming from as nothing else could be seen.

We shot all the ammon and Tatu filled the bands again. Then the MAG cannon jammed. We knew the other barrel (it has 2) worked single shot. The First Lieutenant came running to reprove us demanding we keep on shooting but the machine gun barrel did not work and the other was locked .The First Lieutenant pushed us back and stood up trying to unlock the barrel but then he was shot in his belly by enemy fire. While crawling he ordered us to withdraw to a safer place as we only had our 9mm pistols.

Behind us there was a hell of tracing ammuniton, rockets, bombs, grenades and everything you can imagine. First Lieutenant Baldini crawled, then he stood up and run towards soldier Nestor Flores´ position. That was the last time I saw him. Later I was told he received several shot in his foot, belly and face.

The British passed in front of us towards the second bowl where soldier Altieri was situated. The only thing we could do was to step down by their same path. So we did and in the second bowl we found Corporal Pedro Orozco dead and Ramón Quintana badly wounded. This last warned us not to retorn to Baldini´s pot because the British were regrouping there.

In this place we found Beto Altieri, Rito Fernandez, Daniel Fernandez and Sergio Sanchez (he went to another place while we went down the hill towards the road). We were sheltering behind some rocks when a bomb fell and injured Beto Altieri and Rito. Altieri´s eye popped and we tried to put it back in its place. I don´t know which other tissues were torned. We bandaged Rito and used a stick as a splint for his broken leg ( it was broken in two pieces). We found the Patricios with a MAG. There was a Sargeant KIA whose name I think was Ron and a Corporal whose name I can´t recall. We took them down the road and with tatu we returned to the Patricios´position. We took Beto and Rito´s rifles and we were ordered to go to the Second Section and part of the Third Section wher we met Castañeda´s section.

The British advance is blocked by an Argentine Reinforcement

2nd Lieutenant Hugo Quiroga 1st Platoon,10th Engineer Company arrived on Full Back:They helped 2nd Lieutenant Enrique Neirotti´s 3rd Platoon and Staff Seargant Raul Gonzalez 2nd Platoon.:The newly arrived engineeres used head-mounted nightsights proved particulsarly deadly to the PARAs.

Marine conscripts Jorge Maciel and Claudio Scaglione were in a bunker with a heavy machinegun and Marine conscripts Luis Fernandez and Sergio Giuseppetti with night-scope equipped rifles.

Sergeant Ian McKay is KIA

Lieutenant Andrew Bickerdike, a signalle and the platton commander were wounded. Corporal Ian Bailey was seriously wounded, a Private was killed and another wounded.

Sgt McKay(29) attacked an Argentine machine-gun post alone, throwing himself into the Argentine trench with a ­grenade in his hand. Those who witnessed his last ­moments said he knowingly sacrificed his life to save theirs. His valour won swift praise. A close pal, Sgt Major Sammy ­Dougherty, was first to reach Ian. In a dramatic new revelation, he says: “Ian’s right hand had­ ­practically gone. He must have had a grenade in his hand and been shot and killed before releasing it¨. (Mirror, April 15, 2012-http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/the-malvinas-incalculable --historia of-the-hero-para-795309)

According to Peter Harclerode who wrote PARA ! McKay and his team cleared several Marine riflemen in the position but failed to neutralize the heavy machinegun.

Corporal McLaughlin crawled trying to silence the Marine heavy-machinegun team but despite several efforts with fragmentation grenades and 66 mm rockets. He was unable to silence it.an McKay received the last Victoria Cross posthumous of the 20th century. .(Mirror, April 15, 2012- http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/the-falklands-untold-story-of-the-hero-para-795309).

Marica McKay received her husband's VC at Buckingham Palace on November 9, 1982. Ian McKay´s mother Freda said: "There are so many stages of grief. You blame yourself, you blame them for dying, you blame the politicians. But I never blamed those who killed Ian. The Argentinian soldiers were doing the same as he was doing - and most of the time none of them knew what the hell they were doing." (Grice,Elizabeth-The Telegraph. 08 Jun 2007)

Sergeant Ian McKay 

Victoria Cross

Marine Corps of the 12,7 mm Machine Gun Company

At 2300 on June 11 the British attacked Two Sisters (IR4) and Mount Longdon (Company B / RI7 and Marine Corps 2,7 mm Machine Gun Company) that killed heroically in combat Marine Conscripts Class 1962 Inchauspe Jorge, Jorge Maciel, Sergio Giussepetti, Luis Fernandez and Claudio Scaglione members of 12.7mm Machine Gun Company.

First Lieutenant Raúl Fernando Castañeda counterattack(1ra Sección/C/RI 7)

Miguel Alejandro Savage (Malvinas, Viaje al pasado, 2011) of the mortar platoon of Captain García`s company gave an account of the counterattack and of the courage displayed by soldier Hector Leonardo Rondi ( from Dolores) who received the Medal of Valor in combat. (April 4, 1983). Soldier Rondi saw the radio operator being killed and the radio shattered by several bullets. Under his initiative he became a messenger to keep his peers informed. Later he returned from combat wearing a maroon beret taken from one of the paratroopers KIA.

Testimony of Colonel (Ret)Raúl Fernando Castañeda

Coronel(R) VGM Raúl Fernando Castañeda
Colonel(R) VGM Raúl Fernando Castañeda
Medal to Valor in Combat
Commander 1st Section Company C Regiment 7th

The large enemy firepower made it tough for us to aim. They didn`t frighten us. We remained in our positions. The shooting was intense coming from authomatic weapons and artillery as well. Time passed and in spite of the great enemy firepower the section remained immovable. At a given moment I sent a soldier to get in contact with the group leaders in order to receive news from them. In spite of the firepower and the difficult terrain he complied with the order just like the rest of the soldiers. There were many soldiers who even hurted wouldn´t move from their positions. By 7 AM I had 21 wounded and 3 KIA. The British started the attack at dawn. I received shootings from the front and left wing. Facing this new situation and the casualties I ordered a withdrawal.
After a traumatic retreat we could arrive to the comand. By then I had 21 wounded, 3 KIA and 3 men were taken prisoners. With the remaining troop I was ordered to occupy again the assigned positions. But that´s another story. During this short time there were truly heroic acts which are not known. I can say that my soldiers fought fearless convinced of what they were doing. During the 8 hours no one thought of retreat. These men were truly heirs of the soldiers who struggled for our independence.
Brigadier Julian Thompson´s statement

The British 3rd Commando Brigade commander, Brigadier Julian Thompson was reported as having said:

"I was on the point of withdrawing my Paras from Mount Longdon. We couldn't believe that these teenagers disguised as soldiers were causing us to suffer many casualties." (Jon Cooksey, 3 PARA Mount Longdon: The Bloodiest Battle, p 98 Pen&Sword Ltd).
Regarding this and underlining Thompson´s statement, Navy Lieutenant Marine Corps Sergio Dachary said that the chicos de la guerra was simply not true as these young men fought like men.

Under certain circumstances the fighting effectiveness of a conscript army can equal that of a professional army.(Corbacho,Alejandro L-Reassessing the Fighting Performance of Conscript Soldiers during the Malvinas War (1982)-Universidad del CEMA-Area Ciencia Politica-Trabajo 271-Septiembre 2004)

The Argentine counterattack pushed back an entire company of British paratroopers under orders of Mayor Mike Argue

By the time of the counterattack the heads of the 2nd and 3rd Section Sergeant Gonzalez and Lieutenant Neirotti are injured.This last was wounded in a leg. The control of its fractions are then under the command of the oldest NCOs.

During the Argentine Counterattack Colour Sergeant Brian Faulkner saw more than 20 wounded PARAs on the western slopes which were about to fall in the hands of one of the sections of Castañeda´s platoon so he deployed anyone fit to defend the British Regimental Aid Post.

Major Carlos Eduardo del Valle Carrizo-Salvadores said regading the combat in Full Back:

Around midnight I asked RHQ for infantry reinforcements, and I was given a rifle platoon from Captain Hugo García's C Company. First Lieutenant Raúl Fernando Castañeda gathered the sections of his platoon, hooked around First Sergeant Raúl González's 2nd Platoon that was already fighting and delivered a counterattack [at about 2 am local time]. The Platoon fought with great courage in fierce hand-to-hand combat and the battle raged for two more hours, but gradually the enemy broke contact and withdrew while being engaged by artillery strikes.

Things were so bad that Major Argue's company ceased firing and devoted their full efforts to withdrawing from 'Fly Half'. Peter Harclerode, a noted British historian of the Parachute Regiment, went on record, saying that:

Under covering fire, Nos. 4 and 5 Platoons withdrew, but another man was killed and others wounded in the process. At that point, Lieutenant Colonel Hew Pike and his 'R' Group arrived on the scene and Major Argue briefed him on the situation. Shortly afterwards, Company Sergeant-Major Weekes reported that both platoons had pulled back to a safe distance and that all the wounded had been recovered. The dead, however, had to be left where they had fallen. Meanwhile, on the southern slope of the objective, the wounded from No. 6 Platoon were being evacuated while the rest remained under cover of the rocks.
.(Peter Harclerodem, PARA !:Fifty tears of the Parachute Regiment ,Arms&Armnour Press,1993).

Sergeant Brian Faulkner, seeing that more than 20 wounded paratroopers were to fall as prisoners , deployed his men to defend the British relief post.

Soldier José Vicente Bruno said : We wanted to retrieve Mount Longdon, we fought all night until 6 am or so. Many of us where taken prisoners. Some of us were still retracting until daylight and then we could do no more.
Jimmy O`Connor
Jimmy O`Connor

Jimmy O`Connor from Orrell Park , Liverpool who is a former Private of the 3 PARA. He was caught in artillery and machine gun fire. ¨I was hit in the head and face ,a bullet went through my nose and took out my cheekbone and right eye.I expected to get hit again because there was much stuff coming down around me .I thought I can´t see myself getting out of this one. Thery couldn´t get helicopters to the wounded for 12 hours , so it was only then that I was able to be evacuated and properly treated¨.43

By the time the 21 survivors of Castañeda's 46-man platoon had worked their way off the mountain, they were utterly exhausted.

Gustavo Luzzardo who received the Gold Medal Award for Wounded in Combat wrote a book called Wounded in Combat with the help of his friend Jose Maria Sampedro. Concerning Lieutenant Raul Castañeda said ¨he used to speak to us like a father does¨.

The tranquility that Castañeda conveyed his soldiers reassured the troops, "always contagious in his calm and courage" "He spoke to us as a friend" "Castaneda was always ahead" "contagious bravery and patriotism " (La historia de dos heroes-El Malvinense-Julio 30 2014)

The British Attack

During the final phase Major Argue pulled back 4 and 5 Plattons and 29 Commando Regiment directed artillery fire at the mountain from Mount Kent. Lieutenant Mark Cox advanced on Full Back and Private Grey was injured from a headshot. This later refused to be evacuated. Private Kevin Connery personally dispatched three wounded Argentines. The PARAs could not move any further without taking unacceptable losses so they were pulled back to the western end of Mount Longdon. Second Lieutenants John Kearton and Australian Ian Moore were to attack in close quarter combat.

Corporal MacLaughlin was injured by a Czekalski recoiless rifle fired from Wireless Ridge (Argentine sources reported that Corporals Canteros and Gonzalez of First Lieutenant Ramon Galindez Matienzo´s squad were responisible for operating such weapons). MacLaughlin was later KIA by a mortar bomb.

The Argentines defended Full Back rigorously. Corporal Manuel Medina of Castañeda´s platoon fired with a recoiless rifle killing 3 PARA including Private Peter Heddicker. Major Carrizo-Salvadores abandoned Full Back only when a MILAN missile smashed into some rocks.

Corporal Stewart MacLaughlin was a much liked and well respected member of his platoon and many felt he should have received an award. When his body was searched, a collection of enemy ears were found in one of his ammunition pouches. It is thought that this was the reason for him not being put forward for a medal (Jim Keys-The Battle for Mount Longdon-The History Herald-18 November 2012)

Milan-3 Para Batle for Mount Longdon-11/12th June
by Daniel Bechennec

Lance Corporal Denzil Connick from Oakdale is a veteran of the Parachute Regiment who took part in the Battle of Mount Longdon, a day when he saw 23 of his comrades lose their lives. He was a radio operator with a fire support team and was wounded on 12 June by a Mortar shell that killed Craftsman Alex Shaw of ( REME) and Private Craig Jones. He lost his left leg, which had to be amputated from the hip. His other leg was also badly damaged, but doctors in the hospital ship Uganda saved it. He said the government’s armed forces covenant does not work as it had set out to. “The government said war veterans and their families would be enshrined in this covenant, but it’s a complete and utter smokescreen because it just doesn’t work.

Denzil Connick is the co-founder (along with Rick Jolly) and secretary of the South Atlantic Medal Association formed in 1997.

Denzil Connick


The aftermath

The battle and the immediate Argentine covering fire that followed lasted twelve hours and had been costly to both sides. 3 PARA lost seventeen killed during the battle. Two of the 3 PARA dead – Privates Ian Scrivens and Jason Burt were only seventeen years old, and Private Neil Grose was killed on his 18th birthday. A total of forty British paratroopers were wounded during the battle. A further four Paras and one REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) craftsman were killed and seven Paratroopers were wounded in the two-day shelling that followed that was directed by Sub-Lieutenant Marcelo de Marco of the 5th Marines on Tumbledown Mountain.1

In Total

In all British(450) had 23 KIA and 47 wounded.
The Argentines(278) had 31 KIA and 120 wounded.

British KIA in Mount Longdon

When we surrendered it was a feeling of defeat, which is very personal, but it was not of humiliation because my unit fought until the last moment. A few days later, after the ceasefire, a Welsh captain told me we fought very well and shook my hand. (General Martin Balza (retd). Lieutenant-colonel in the Malvinas war)

Assistant Sergeant Raúl Ibanez had respect for the British. "They were gentlemen; not a word more or less. They´ve helped our wounded and we were never offended. Accompanied by Red Cross they brought us back to Argentina in the Canberra. We received towels and shaving machines. A night watch made ​​us leave our helmets on deck, but nothing else was required from us " 18

Only 21 of the 46 men from Castaneda`s Company could return to Captain Garcia`s company. Six died and 18 were wounded and taken prisoner. During the bombing of Company C in Wireless Ridge on June 12, private Rondi was seriously wounded and his best friend Dragoniante José Luis Rodriguez was mortally wounded. Rondi is actuall a civil engineer and is currently working for the Swiss company Lombardi.
War crimes
War crimes are serious violations of the rules of customary and treaty law concerning international humanitarian law that have become accepted as criminal offenses for which there is individual responsibility.
Vincent Bramley´s testimony 8,28
In 1991, Lance Cpl. Vincent Bramley, a machine-gunner with the Third Battalion, published his memoirs. The book, Excursion to Hell showed a dark side of the campaign. 55
(Jenning, Luke-On Mount Longdon:Parachute Regiment came back from the Falklands with their reputation for bravery reinforced. But two years ago, they were accused of atrocities by one of their own.Now others are speaking out.The Independent-16 May 1993)

In his book, Bramley detailed two incidents on Mt. Longdon in which unnamed comrades allegedly shot four prisoners after they surrendered. He also claimed that some British soldiers defiled enemy corpses, cutting off ears for trophies. His claims were borne out by his senior officer, Capt. Anthony Mason, now a civilian, who says he reported the killings to his superiors without result.
Bramley said: ¨Suddenly, we heard screaming, a high pitched ´Mama, Mama!´. A dull shot followed and we saw an Argentine fall over the cliff. Bramley claimed that British troops lined up and executed Argentine prisoners-of-war and pushed their bodies over the edge of a cliff into a mass grave. 57
Bramley also said he saw a British soldier bayonet and a Argentine soldier who was lying on the ground clutching a chest wound, and saw other prisoners being shot and toppling off a cliff 3,9

Vincent Bramley´s Books 

The events described by Bramley have been confirmed by other paratroopers. Several are still serving, and for obvious reasons have not wished to be quoted, but others, angered by what they see as an official conspiracy to discredit a former comrade-in-arms, Notwithstanding, Excursion to Hell has been the No 1 bestseller in Campaign Books since its release. 32

Tom Simpson, ever the Para, thinks Bramley should face out those who threaten him. 'If anyone brought the regiment into disrepute, it's those who did what they did. Not you who wrote about it. If anyone gives you a hard time, well . . .' 32¨

After the Malvinas War Bramley was transferred from the Parachute Regiment to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.

The Gary ´Louis´ Sturge case

In the book Razor´s Edge published in 2006 , Hugh Bicheno, 20 an American historian son of British parents, who worked for the British intelligence services reviews the history of the shooting: "When the company A moved the dead enemies to a mass grave with help from some prisoners in the northern slope of the hill, Sturge appeared with a wounded Argentine, whom had been shot in his leg earlier by Sergeant Alex Munro. 'What shall I do with him?' asked Sturge. 'Put it with the others, "Munro replied. Then Sturge shot him in the head with a .45 automatic pistil he had found in Carrizo-Salvadores´command. The senior officers of the company who were ran to disarm him . When Captain Anthony Mason asked him why he had done such a thing, Sturge stammered that the soldier was a sniper. Itt is likely that in his exhausted mind he considered it a way to avenge the deaths of Hope and Jenkins in Wing Forward.¨
Captain Mason said he saw the Argentine soldier wounded in the head and how he fell immediately in an open grave. "Sturge was visibly shaking right at the top of the rocky promontory and I thought he was going to shoot me too," said Captain Mason in the book. The hysteria was such that at a given moment of the battle they were about to kill their own comrades. 

Even so Mason depicted how Sergeant major Thor Caithness came immediately to the crime scene and pointed his rifle to Sturge's chest and ordered him to throw his gun. (Graciela Iglesias, La Nación-May 20, 1996

Adrian Weale's research author of Green Eyed Boys, published in 1996 and Vincent Bramley, one of the ten witnesses of the crime, and author of Excursion to Hell, released in 1992 reported the facts adding that the Argentine soldier when seeing Sturge´s intentions begged for his life and and grabbed the crucifix hanging from his neck. Mason who have testified before Scotland Yard said that Sturge had an attack of dementia. (Graciela Iglesias, La Nación-May 20, 1996)

All these books shook the public opinion in Britain.

After his outburst Gary Sturge was taken to his senior officers´command. Sturge would never more participate in any military operation. And, in Puerto Argentino he was submitted to a military trial, although it was not known which was his penalty. He was promoted twice before retiring in 1994 and that same year a British official inquiry acquitted him.
In a photograph glued on cardboard and framed at the local Veterans Center in La Plata, the Argentine soldier slained by Sturge looks earnest with his eyes wide open. 

The CECIM also identified by photographs to Gary Sturge as the man who shot the Argentine prisoner in cold blood.

The case of Sergeant John Pettinger

The book Green Eyed Boys by Adrian Weale and Christian Jennings, also denounced that three wounded soldiers were surmounted during combat. Corporal José Carrizo said that at dawn he felt a rifle muzzle on his back. He raised his arms surrendering. A British made a gesture with his hand meaning they were going to cut his throat. A short burst of machine gun tore part of his brain tissue and eye and he was left for dead. 

According to Adrian Weale, the man who shot Corporal José Carrizo twice in the head was Sergeant John Pettinger. Carrizo was saved by the British medical assistance . 19

Cabo  VGM José Oscar Carrizo
Corporal José Oscar Carrizo
Tim Lynch a British war veteran said: More usefully, Vincent Bramley (himself a veteran of Longdon) produced 'Two Sides of Hell' (Bloomsbury 1994). In it he describes the shooting of Corporal Oscar Carrizo. There was also a Major Carrizo in command of Oscar's unit so that may be the source of the confusion around the name. Oscar Carrizo was shot during 'mopping up' operations when he stood up in the middle of a British position. This is always a dangerous phase of any operation and such shootings are common as soldiers do not wish to take chances with an enemy who is still armed. Bramley interviewed Carrizo and there does not appear to be any suggestion he was shot after surrendering but instead he was shot as he suddenly stood up between the rocks with the intention to surrender and when Pettinger reacted by regarding him as a threat and fired. (1994:p178). After being shot Carrizo was later seen walking around the position, apparently looking for a weapon, and Corporal Denzil Connick was about to shoot him when Carrizo collapsed (p180-181). Connick then sent over two soldiers to help Carrizo and they began treating his wounds. Weale's account appears to suggest Pettinger deliberately attempted to murder Carrizo but has got the names of the victim and his rescuer wrong. I would lend more credence to Bramley's account which is taken from personal interviews with both men. If, as seems to be the assumption, Pettinger intended to murder Carrizo, we need to consider why Carrizo was still alive to be saved.

The case of Corporal Stewart McLaughlin

We have already commented that McLaughlin showed courage in battle but was deprived of posthumous honors by the gross collection of ears he had torn from the enemy. McLaughlin who died in a mortar attack after struggling with a bullet in the back during several hours ripped one of his infamous ´trophy´ of a soldier still alive as revealed by the authors of Green Eyed Boys. (Graciela Iglesias, La Nación-May 20, 1996)

Other statements

The CECIM denounced not only the case of Corporal José Carrizo but also Raul Vallejos a Chaco native who was forced to carry ammunition along with the rest of his platoon. During this procedure, an explosion occurred that killed three of his comrades, ten were seriously wounded and the soldier lost his leg. 33
According to B R Cowley - B-Coy 6plt 1 section he and Lt Shaw now Maj Gen Shaw 3 Para S.A.S used a POW as bait on Mt Longdon. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlLHNe.)

The Inquiry

Gen. Anthony Farrar-Hockley, colonel commandant of the Parachute Regiment during the Malvinas War, said then: "The allegations cannot be pushed aside."49,55
According to British historian Adrian Weale, the man who shot twice Argentine Corporal José Carrizo in his head was Seargent John Pettinger. Carrizo was rescued by private Conning and saved his life thanks to the assistance of British medicine doctors. 19
Defense Secretary Malcolm Rifkind ordered an investigation by the Royal Military Police which proved inconclusive. The 18-month inquiry headed by Superintendent Alec Edwards took into consideration the book, diggings at the battle scene and testimonies. The detectives felt they had enough evidence to charge two soldiers with murder or manslaughter. Mr Edwards submitted his report to the DPP. Mrs Mills was under considerable pressure from lawyers, MP´s and military chiefs to drop the matter.
Field Marshal Lord Bramall, former Chief of Defense Staff, said: ¨the benefit of the doubt should be accorded to those who risked their lives in the national interests¨ 57

Mariscal de Campo Lord Bramall
Field Marshal Lord Bramall

On July 1994, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Barbara Mills decided British soldiers were not to be charged with the alleged war crimes 57
Mrs Mills said her decision not to issue criminal proceedings came after consulting the First Senior Treasury Counsel Mr John Nutting. The Argentine War Veterans Federation accused the British Government of a cover-up. ¨This is simply a cover-up.Major´s government is not only covering up Britain´s military, but has also dragged the British justice system into the mud¨ federation spokesman Jorge Vasquez said. 57

Adrian Weale (born 9 February 1964) is a British writer, journalist, historian, illustrator and photographer of Welsh origin. He was educated at Latymer Upper School, University of York, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and the Joint Services Command and Staff College. Dame Barbara Mills, British barrister, Dirtector of Public Prosecutions (1992-1998) died from a stroke on 28 May 2011, she was 70.

American Mercenaries

Lance Corporal Bramley claimed that at least three US mercenaries fighting for Argentina were ordered killed to protect the Reagan administration from embarrassment. 9
The first report that Americans may have fought for Argentina was published in August 1982, after a journalist heard it from Jeffrey Logan, a wounded private with the PARA 3. Later Bramley claimed that Americans were among a group of prisoners killed, and in some cases mutilated. The source told Bramley: ¨Look mate, they were Yanks. Orders came from above to waste them¨. 

A witness confirmed the executions to Luke Jennings, a report fron Britain´s Sunday Independent ¨I saw an American passport, and I heard and spoke to those Americans¨. ¨They didn´t speak Argie-type American, but with a Bronx accent (which is)quite different. ¨This witness who said he discarded the passport after using it as toilet paper, described the steps taken to make it impossible to identify the American corpses. ¨H.E (high explosive)grenades were placed in their mouths, and white phosphorus grenades in their chest cavities¨ he recalled ¨ ¨The order was to completely destroy every single trace of the bodies, every scrap of evidence that they´d ever existed. And the order came from the top¨ A member of the SAS told Jennings the Americans were ¨hot sauced¨(made to lie under groundsheets, beneath which phosphorus grenades were ignited¨36
Conscript Horacio Cañeque who knew English with an American accent began insulting them and so the British could possibly believe there were American mercenaries.11

Abuse of the Argentine conscripts 16,23

Former Secretary of Human Rights of the Province of Corrientes , war veteran Dr Pablo Andres Vassel 11 started in 2005 taking note of the complaints made by soldiers of the province of Corrientes against their superiors. He was Secretary of Institutional Relations at the Veterans´Center of Malvinas Islands ( CECIM ) in La Plata. Vassel took the first 23 testimonies of the soldiers from Corrientes. The CESCEM of Corrientes stated in 2009 seriousle questioned the way such testimonies were obtained even suggesting a payment 12 According to Walter Rogido ¨our comrades were killed by the bullets ...not by starving or cold¨56

VGM Ernesto Alonso 

Soldado de la 1ra Sección del Subteniente Baldini

Ernesto Alonso was born in Parque Avellaneda and in 1972 moved with his family to Villa Elisa (La Pata). With 19 years old was part of the 7th Regiment on Mount Longdon. 5 Alonso later founded and chaired the CECIM whose first President was Fernando Magno.

Ernesto accounted that in the afternoon June 11st after taking a mate cocido a bomb blast left him very stunned. In the rush he went to another position and as they see his state they sent to the infirmary, where he spendt the whole night. This saved him literally of the hardest part of the combat fighting, which the following day ended up in the surrender.
(Ernesto Alonso: "Volveremos a Malvinas de la mano de América Latina", Fernanda Quiss, 22/10/2013, reporteplatense.com.ar )

Ernesto Alonso witnessed the death of the soldier Hector Rola as a result of freezing 7 and also bear the death of his best friend since childhood Dante Pereira

Alonso referred that he was 500 meters from Carrizo Salvadores second chief of the RI 7 and there were soldiers being staked and tortured 5
Regarding this last issue Alonso said that about a hundred soldiers testified, among them soldiers Fabio De Benedetti, Pedro Benítez and Francisco Polerecki. (Revista 23-Aniversario especial-Dic 26, 2012)
Notwithstanding ,Courtroom I of the National Court of Cassation10 considered that those were not crimes against humanity and that they prescribed adding they should have been tried promptly by military courts 7,48
Through an appeal in August 2012 by CECIM of La Plata, the case went to the Supreme Court and is still undefined. (The Zonda, April 2, 2014)

Ernesto Alonso returned after years of conflict and camped at Mount Longdon

An eye witness: Soldier Jorge Altieri 44

The following statements were taken from El Federal magazine, an article by Silvia Paglioni from a dialogue with Jorge Altieri on April 2nd,2009 in Bahía Blanca, a lecture given by him on May 9th,2014 at the Central Military Hospital and personal communication.

Jorge Altieri was born in Banfield but lived in Lanus (Province of Buenos Aires) and during the 1982 conflict he belonged to the B Company of the RI 7 Coronel Conde.

Altieri had ended his conscription the year before. Then on Friday, April 9th, 1982 at 6.30 am the police rang the doorbell of his home with a subpoena to the 7th Regiment of La Plata.

The policeman apologized to his father for the procedure as he knew the family history was a sad one.Altieri´s mother married first to a policeman who was killed in duty service. Then she married Altieri´s father. During the 1978 conflict with Chile (Beagle channel conflict) his brother was drafted.

In spite of his mother and the rest of his family´s plea Altieri said:

"I'd rather die in the war and not stay here living like a coward,"
. "Soldiers of the 1963 class had already some military training"

¨When we were ready, we started getting the weapons that were used in Ezeiza during instruction . We had to clean, organize and get everything ready to go south, not to Malvinas. We were told that we were going to a regiment in Santa Cruz to shift guards. We stayed there. On Easter Sunday my father went to the Regiment but then I asked him to visit me no more that I´d tell him if something went wrong. ¨

¨My dad and many parents came to say goodbye . My dad asked me, "please write" and I replied: "I do not know if I'll have time, because there will be fighting in Malvinas ." .

¨We could step on Malvinas on the 15th as a result of the weather conditions. We began to mobilize weapons, ammunition and marched nearly 10 Km .We arrived at night to a kelpers´school. We settled there and spent overnight. The next day we were told that our final destination was Mount Longdon. We marched with our equipment on our backs through a difficult terrain made of soft peat in which we sunk us as a result of the weight we were carrying.¨
Jorge (Beto) Altieri
Jorge (Beto) Altieri
( Malvinas: El soldado que volvió de la muerte-El Federal)

On 14 June, 1982 was submitted to surgery in Comodoro Rivadavia. He received shrapnels in his head and as a result he lost brain tissue of the left hemisphere, was completely blind of his right eye, had right hemiplegia and difficulties for swallowing. Jorge said that he is very much like Spanish Admiral Blas de Lezo y Olavarrieta (1689-1741) who was also lame, one-handed and one-eyed but anyway defeated British Admiral Edward Vernon in the Battle of Cartagena de Indias (May 13 to 20th, 1741). 46

¨When we arrived at Mount Longdon, our chief was Second Lieutenant Juan Baldini. He sent us to sleep in a tent, with : a sleeping bag, a blanket and a waterproof poncho. The next day we were told where we would be stationed and then we started digging trenches. The days went by till the British ships and warplanes started coming and attacked us ..¨

¨Between May 20th and 25th, the British began shelling our area specifically, because we had a generator. On the crest of Mount Longdon we charged the batteries with this generator but it produced electric waves which were detected by the British radars-We had the order of turning off the generator during the naval bombardment.¨

¨Three of us went to turn off the generator when a bomb was dropped and we were all scattered. A soldier was wounded in the arm and his helmet torn by shrapnel. With other comrade we made a campaign stretcher with our guns and started walking 5 km till a jeep could pick him to the hospital.¨

¨ We were about 10 soldiers .As we were marching a Sea Harrier passed so the sergeant gave us the order of sheltering.The wounded soldier had a white shirt so I covered him with my body in order to protect him and avoid any identification.The Sea Harrier passed once again and dropped some bombs a bit ahead of where we were.¨

¨When we returned from Malvinas, this fellow whom I protected, had walked in gratitude to Lujan thanking that he could return alive and prayed for me as well..He gave me a medal of the Virgin of Luján.¨

¨The days went by ... they were very cold, and we were malnourished. On June 11 at 22 am we heard the explosion of a mine ...They were English soldiers and the fight started. At one point we could not stand the fight, we had to lose our position. Previous to that a MAG machine gun was to be silenced. Second Lieutenant Juan Baldini, jumped from his position to seize the machine gun but a British sniper killed him.Corporal Ríos wanted to help the Sub Lieutenant and was killed too.They inactivated our radar, and many soldiers died .¨

¨The radar chief was Corporal Carrizo who left his position to surrender. The British soldiers demanded his gun and once disarmed they made a gesture as they were going to cut his throat. Then they shot him. He fell down, the British thought he was dead. Few hours passed but he was alive. The Red Cross passed, lifted him and carried him to a British hospital. He was treated and survived. They broke the international treaties because when a soldier surrenders you must not kill him or force him to do any gun 

¨We went back and occupied our position with other Argentine soldiers waiting for the enemy. Suddenly a Sergeant from the Scouting Squadron 10 Armored Cavalry of HQ in La Tablada asked who were the ones who knew the location of Mount Longdon. Fernández Rito and myself volunteered to show him. The idea was "insane" and we were "crazy" to accompany him but the Mount was ours¨.

¨We started to move. I threw my 10 grenades and emptied 3 magazines. The British spotted by radio our position and then we started receiving mortars fire and one of the shells fell on the mentioned Sergeant. Twenty years later, I found out that he was the Assistant C Jorge Alberto Ron, who had a command instruction. ¨

¨The bomb killed him on the spot, I grabbed my head. I lost brain tissue from the left part of my head which contains the driving circuits of arm, leg and speech. I also lost my left eye. I have a prothesis now. Rito was wounded in his legs.¨

¨Several comrades picked us up. When we were waling down the hill (and it seems God sent it), we found a truck on the road. We stopped it but the officer in charge told us he couldn´t take us as he had to take another route. A conscript told him he couldn´t leave us that way. The officer disobeyed orders and took us to the Hospital . This happened at 5 AM on June 12th. ¨

¨I remember certain moments when I was in the Hospital but other details I know only because I´ve been told. They say I insulted everyone, yelling them that they were cowards because they would not fight, asking them to go and help our fellow men. They were soldiers who were serving in the hospital, not combatants...I remained in the island till June 14th- I was transported in the last Hercules plane which left Malvinas for mainland.¨

¨I had the opportunity of meeting British soldier Vincent Bramley who fought against us, and he asked me when did I surrendered.I told him : " Neither did I surrender nor was I taken prisoner. My war continues because I was taken from the islands before the surrendering. So I keep on fighting. "

¨In Comodoro RivadaviaI was submitted to brain surgery, my eye was affected and I was left with a hemiplegia . My family knew nothing of me. The war had ended and they knew nothing about me .....

Our military tags only revealed the blood group. As a result of my speech disturbance I spelled my name as Galtieri instead of Altieri and I referred to Uruguay because by my mother's side I descended from Uruguayan General José María Rivero. I mixed everything I said.¨

¨One day a Gendarmerie sergeant´s wife described my case to a Petty Officer and this last offered himself to find my family. This Petty Officer was sanctioned because he didn´t comply with the order of remaining silent. Thanks to him, my family knew about me. My mom had a heart disease and my dad had just been retired.

They told them that everything was fine, that they were doing me a checkup and I was to return later. My mom suddenly fell bad and my brother requested information to the hospital. Our neighbors collected money and gave it to my father so he could travel to Comodoro Rivadavia.¨

¨My father went to the hospital and spoke with the director before seeing me. He also talk to the neurosurgeon Dr. Del Boca , whom I haven´t seen since 1983 when I returned to Comodoro Rivadavia and thanked him for his services. The Dr. explained my real medical condition. I was unconscious and they asked my father to be on my side because it would be psychologically good to see a near relative when I awoke. They asked him not to cry because that would be harmful. They took him to the general admission ward where many injured soldiers were treated as Guerrero, Acosta , Ponce, Peludero , and others whose names I can´t remember.¨

¨When my father saw me he started saying: " Beto Wake up , Wake up , I'm dad ..¨. Then he went outside to cry. He returned to my side and asked me once again to wake up which I did.

I asked him about his mother, my grandmother and he said she was fine.

I told him that I saw her and she said to me : ¨Go back, you don´t have to be here¨.... " My grandmother had died the year before, but I saw her. Well ... so the days went by ... "

¨I was hungry... I weighed 62 kilos and ended up with 40 kilos . There were many mistakes in the logistics. In a war the high command are situated in different places than the troops. We were up in Mt Longdon and our chief, Lieutenant Juan Baldini received the order of Major Carrizo who was in the lower field to provide us cold rations because the most nutritious food was to be given when the fight began. He didn´t know if they would be able to provide us food after this last.¨

¨ From 16th April to 11st June when we fought, we had soup with lentils, peas and a piece sheep. We told our lieutenant : " Can´t we tell the British soldiers to wait till we are well fed and then start shooting? " .

We were not well nourished.We were weakened. We could accept not eating well during combat but not before that time¨. There were many things ... Food , clothes, we had to maintain in order the tents , shave ourselves .... The books teach you one thing but reality is quite different ...

" The military fought for the country and for payment. The soldier fought for the country that he truly swore to defend . It was not our profession. The military who returned from Malvinas understood which was the meaning of country and what was a soldier . But the military who remained in the continent was a man of military books and military studies. They always claimed that the relation with the soldier was the same than before going to Malvinas. But it was a turning point.¨

¨Malvinas was going to be lost in either way. If we had kept fighting for few days more mainland (Cordoba and Buenos Aires) would have been attacked with bombs. ¨

¨When I was at the Central Military Hospital, Menendez would make visits. One day I was told we were going to a quinta for a walk organized by the Housewives League and General Menendez would be present too.

I said . " If he is there I won´t go ". I was asked why and I said he should have wrapped ¨himself in the Argentine flag and died fighting till the end. We were taught to defend our country even loosing one´s life. The time passes and one day during my rehabilitation a social worker took me to her office to talk to Menendez. We could talk. I told him what I thought what should have been done. Then he explained his position. He said that on June 14th the British were already in town, that Galtieri called and that he explained him that there would be more casualties and more unnnecessary deaths. Galtieri reply that he had to endure up to the end and that was an order. Menendez decided on his own to surrender thus saving 500-1000 lives. Surrender was inevitable. I understood that because I experienced the war.

I know what it is. I´ve been there. I know which are the physical and psychological consequences and I know what the families of a dead or wounded soldier had to bear. Today we would have had 500-1000 families suffering all we´ve been through. I thank Menendez in my name and on behalf of my family.¨

¨For me to be a War Veteran means feeling proud for having defended our country. And we feel that our comrades that remained for ever in the islands expect us to recover them peacefully.¨

¨As a result of the injustices and sufferings I had to endure sometimes I thought what´s the use of being a veteran? I was proud on one side and hurt on the other.It was very painful when we had to look for a job. They looked at us in a odd way. I had to walk the streets selling trash bags and tissue boxes in the area of the Planetarium. During President Alfonsin government the state enterprises frozed their recruitments. On May 25th we were not even allowed to march in the parades. We felt completely aside, helpless.
I was not given a job either because I was a veteran or as a result of my sequels. They said they couldn´t use me. All wounded soldiers who returned had to bear the same. I went to the streets because I needed to feed my family.I only received a disability pension from the Army.¨

¨In the area of Palermo the society had ¨special attitudes¨towards us. I walked the streets dressed just like I´m now and the people were afraid of us. They closed their car windows whenever we approached them.¨

¨We had to explain them that we were not going to steal them or do anything wrong.We were just asking for a collaboration to feed our families and we told them it would be even better if they had a job for us¨

¨After many years of selling on the streets from 6 am to 7 pm and returning crest fallen to my home having then a daughter and my wife pregnant , I met someone who knew me. I told him what I was doing in the streets and he offered me a job in an office. I was earning less than in the streets but I obtained mental tranquility and family welfare.¨

¨I had to fight in the asphalt jungle. I felt injustice and powerless.I said to myself: I defended the country but the country does not defend me. I need my country. The prothesis I have was donated by a private citizen.¨

¨I want to highlight something. There was people quite unfair but there were others whom I´ll be thankful all my life for their generosity and solidarity towards me and the wounded veterans at the Military Hospital¨
¨One of these was Mrs. Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat. She always helped and visited us. He donated much. He always sought our welfare. I have a great appreciation and deep gratitude for all she has done. 13

When my mother died, I called and told her that she was taking her place now.She was my second mother , and she did a lot for all the injured war veterans ¨.

¨When people see a war veteran they should understand that is not only April 2nd. For us it´s always April 2nd. You are not going to see us now begging on the street but you´ll see us talking in schools because we want primary and high school boys to know who we are , what was the war about , the aftermath and what we are still struggling.¨

¨Malvinas is a piece of my body that was taken away from me.We must continue fighting for our sovereignity.I didn´t speak with my family yet but my wish is that when I die that I may be buried there¨

1993-Buenos Aires-Left to right: 

Former Lance Corporal Vincent Bramley from the Parachute Regiment-

Former conscript Jorge Altieri of the RI 7 ¨Coronel Conde¨

Right lower corner: Altieri´s parents (Kindly submitted by Jorge Altieri)

Jorge Altieri could cope emotionally with the help of his wife Miriam and his children. Altieri said: I convinced myself that it was better to be here even in four pieces. Today 32 years later when I see a 19 years old lad I say ¨We were too young to go to war¨. 34

Desde la creación del Centro Argentino de Heridos en Malvinas, Altieri da exposiciones junto a sus pares en las diversas escuelas del pais para mantener viva la memoria de un hecho que según refiere no se olvidara ni en mil años. ¨Yo tengo al tema Malvinas todos los dias de mi vida. Es algo que nunca me olvidare por dos razones. La primera es que estoy involucrado en un centro de veteranos de guerra y la segunda es porque cuando me levanto y debo vestirme, atar mis zapatos y limpiarme los ojos con una sola mano me miro en el espejo y veo Malvinas¨34

After a year of preparation, three veterans who work in the SGVG returned to the Malvinas islands. On April 14, Carlos Sanchez, Jorge Altieri and Angel Paz, arrived at Port Stanley to find their own history.

In Malvinas Altieri found a very different world than the one he found when he was young. " It was a great feeling to be back . To visit the places where we have been so many years ago and even finding things we had hidden. A comrade found a cap used in the conscription and brought it back¨34

Miguel Savage´s experience 31

In their peaceful home in the depths of the Argentine pampas, Miguel Savage and his family eat mint sauce with their lamb and then tuck into apple crumble for dessert. Their home is uncannily British, right down to the tea cosy. Only the barebacked horses roaming freely in the garden remind you this is Argentina.2

"I was 19 when they sent us to the Falklands," he says. "I had done my military service, but I think I’d only touched a gun once for about 15 minutes. I didn’t have a clue how to load a rifle." Savage spent nearly two months huddled in holes in the peat at the foot of Mount Longdon, with the Seventh Mechanised Regiment of La Plata.

Miguel Savage
Miguel Savage

"My grandfather was the one who suffered the most while I was fighting out on the islands. He was born in Argentina but, like so many Anglo-Argentines, he felt more British than the British. He had served for four years as an RAF intelligence flying officer at Nijmegen, Holland, during the Second World War. 

He never got a pension for his trouble, because he wasn’t a British citizen. "He had offered his life for Britain and, next thing he knew, the British were at war with his country and his own grandson was on the front line.
In the first days after the war, emotions were raw and there were tense moments. One of very few English-speaking Argentines, Savage ended up in a shouting match with one paratrooper who kept screaming that the Argentines had killed his friends. He screamed the same thing back. 2

Some people choose to ignore the whole experience and never mention it. Others say nothing and act fine until one day they pull out a gun and shoot themselves. I have tried to face up to what I went through by talking about it. It is part of who I am. It troubled me and of course it changed my life, but I have moved on. 

"I am not part of any veterans’ movement and I don’t campaign about the war. I just try to live a normal life, running a metalworks business in the countryside, with my family." I have never had nightmares about the war and I had kept the memories well under control. Until a few months ago. I had dreamt that I was in the trenches on Mount Longdon, shells falling all around.2

Colonel (R) Omar Gimenez fought in the terrible battle of Mount Longdon, came back with 12 kilos less and says that "the effort that went beyond the call of duty was not assessed." 17

Mount Longdon´s war veterans at the SGVG

VGM Reinaldo Alonso
Soldier  Reinaldo Alonso 1st Section Company C
VGM Julio Godoy
Soldier Julio Godoy 1st Section Company C
Soldier Hugo Eduardo Colman
10th Mecanized Engineer Company

VGM Carlos Sánchez
Soldier Carlos Sánchez 2nd Section Company B
VGM Jorge Alberto Altieri
Soldier Jorge Alberto Altieri 1st Section Company B

Personal dramas

Major Carlos Eduardo del Valle Carrizo Salvadores , second in command of the RI 7 and in charge of a 12 Km front lost his father in Catamarca while he was fighting in Malvinas. He kept this sad episode to himself and remained in his position till the combat was over. (Malvinas: la defensa de Puerto Argentino, Página 203, Oscar Luis Jofre y Félix Roberto Aguiar).

BIM 5´s Marine Corp Frigate Lieutenant Sergio Andres Dachary of Entre Ríos was at the top of Mount Longdon with 23 men. Dachary had to endure the killing of his brother Army Artillery Lieutenant Alejandro Dachary on June 3rd,1982 (in charge of a Skyguard radar in Puerto Argentino) by a British missile from a Vulcan. (No vencidos: Relato de las Operaciones Navales en el Conflicto del Atlántico Sur, Horacio Mayorga, p. 493, Planeta, 1998)

Army Lieutenant Colonel Eleodoro Quevedo in charge of the Artillery Group 4 who provided fire support to the RI 7 and BIM 5 fought during all the conflict with a colostomy .He never informed his superiors because that would have precluded him from going to the islands. (Clarín 16/6/02) ("La Artillería Argentina en Malvinas", Horacio Rodríguez Mottino, Editorial Clío, Buenos Aires, 1984 )

Colin Charlton (of East Moorside) and Paul Bachurzewski (of Fulwell) both Sunderland paratroopers were 19 and 25 years-old respectively when they were sent to the Malvinas Islands, where they played an instrumental part in the Battle of Mount Longdon loosing 23 of their close mates .Paul, who is married to Michelle, said:
 “It was the bloodiest battle of the campaign because it was the best defended position. “It was a large, craggy hill with natural defence positions and they were prepared to stay there a long time.

Colin continued: “The whole thing was surrounded by minefields. We only found out later that we had been walking and crawling through them. “The biggest single factor was the cold – it was indescribable¨. A lot of men had frostbite and trenchfoot. “I still have circulation problems in my hands and feet 30 years on.

But the grim reality of the losses didn’t hit Colin until many years later. Paul became disillusioned with the Army and left two years after the war. He’s worked in the fire brigade ever since. Colin, who is married to Ann, stayed in 3 Para but spent the last few years of his career in a desk job after suffering horrendous injuries to his legs in a parachute training exercise. He retired just before the 20th anniversary of the war and that’s when he began to suffer horrific memories.
Paul and Colin organise events and regular meetings where veterans can share their experiences with servicemen who understand what they have been through. 26
Within 16 years, Freda McKay lost all five of the men central to her life. Her eldest son Sergeant Ian McKay ,29, one of two men given a posthumous Victoria Cross after the conflict, was the first to die while storming a position that was pinning his platoon down.

Ken and I separated 18 months after Ian died. For him, the one thing important in his life had been taken away. 
I went to the Falklands as a VIP in 1999 for three weeks and visited Ian´s memorial on Longdon.It was very emotional.

Before the soldier´s bodies were brought back from the Falklands, I caused a small stir when Prince Charles asked me at a ceremony at Aldershot wether it had been worth it.I said, I am sorry but never in 1,000 years will you persuade me that it was worth it. My feeling now is that in some way it was worth it for the people who live there;but not for me.25

Marica McKay, widow of Sergeant Ian McKay was told of Ian´s death on the same day the ceasefire was announced.

Tom McNally was 19 when he was sent to the conflict as a ¨cloudpuncher¨the army nickname for Rapier missile operators. He enlisted in the Royal Artillery at 16.He is one of the ex servicemen suing the Ministry of Defense for neglecting post-traumatic stress disorder. His book Cloudpuncher is regarded as among the best accounts of the war by an ordinary soldier.

Two of the soldiers had sticks and were prodding the remains, trying to prise open the rib cage.We were all giggling like adolescents.

This act was to haunt me and still does today.Only, I can see the face of the dead soldier lying in the hole. He opens his eyes and asks: ¨Why? ¨-It was a shameful act and I have asked the dead soldier for forgiveness for being part of it.In our defense I can only say that we weren´t ourselves that day.The war had dehumanised us.I really didn´t give a shit about anything any more.

I remember sitting at a table surrounded by empty beer cans ranting and raving like a gibbering idiot. Everyone else was in their own drunken world...I was cryling like a baby and nobody noticed. (Cloudpuncher by Tony McNally;Classfern Publishing,Oxton village,Wirral CH435SH).

Mike Southall was a 17 years old private fresh out of training, and had never been further from home than Ireland.

Officially he was too young to go to war, but he had chosen to go anyway.

The Paras pushed forward under murderous fire. In briefs lulls in the fighting, the voices of dying British and Argentine soldiers could be heard screaming for help. The fighting was at close quarters; in some cases soldiers were shooting at each other from a few yards apart.

There were bodies everywhere. You could hear people calling for help; others were just groaning. 6 Platoon had a horrendous incident where Lance Corporal James 'Doc’ Murdoch had been shot through both temples and was lying out in the open, still alive but they couldn’t get to him,” says Southall. 

Progress up the mountain was painfully slow. Some enemy positions were missed during the initial advance, and soldiers found themselves coming under fire from all sides. 

At one point in the battle, most of B Company were pinned down by a heavy machinegun position. 

Almost immediately about eight or 10 people got hit,” Mike remembers. “It was a very fierce action and seemed to last forever. Then it went quiet, at which point someone said: 'Go and get the casualties.’ We followed the screams

I came across one of my mates, Neil Grose, who had been hit in the chest and was in a lot of pain. It was horrendous. It was his 18th birthday. There were lots of people around trying to help. Lying by his side was the body of Pte Ian Scrivens, another 17-year-old, who had tried to help Neil but had been shot dead"

We prepared for another assault, but as we were moving along a sheep track, about three Argentine marines opened up with automatic weapons and took out about five or six guys at the front of the column. I don’t know how I wasn’t hit. 

Three of us then gave chase but we were fired on again and one bullet hit my mate, Dom Gray, in the helmet and carved a groove across the top of his head. Blood was pouring down his face. He wanted to continue but had to be ordered to go and get treatment.” 

Just three weeks later, Mike and the rest of 3 Para were back in Britain. They were immediately sent on leave. “We should have been kept together for a week or two, so that we could talk about it and work through our emotions,” thinks Mike. 

Instead, we came back, handed our weapons in and the next day we were in the pub, and you’re looking round thinking: 'I’m surrounded by people who have no idea what we have been through.’ (Sean Rayment-The Battle of Mount Longdon-The Telegraph 18 Mar 2012)

Final words

1.On war

In this article I have incurred in the horror of war mainly through the testimony of young men of both sides. No doubt, as years go by new details will be unravelled.

One book graphically illustrated the horror of both sides: Raymond Biggs´ The Tin Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman (in which those crippled by their wounds are excluded from the victory celebrations).

Briggs turns political in this vicious nursery rhyme vision of The Falklands War. In it, he fearlessly attacks the crazy mechanisms of government which pitched two iconic figures into war over the sovereignty of an isolated, irrelevant territory and killed an awful number of innocent soldiers in the process

Francisco de Vitoria (1483-1546), a Spanish Dominican who created the School of Salamanca and advised the Castilian crown said War should not be declared on the sole dictates of the prince, nor even the opinion of the few, but on the opinion of the many, and of the wise and reliable. One must consult reliable and wise men who can speak with freedom and without anger or hate or greed.

A question surges: Was it worth?. A British mother answered: I am proud of my son but not proud of the fact that he died for his country in a war that was not necessary. I accept that it is a serviceman´s duty to fight. But in a futile situation like this, I think it`s evil to put men´s lives at risk when negotiations around a table can save so much heartbreak.
(Mrs Sambles, Bridgeport News, 18 Jun 1982)

Raymond Briggs opposed the Malvinas war. In July 1982 he submitted a contribution to the book Authors Take Sides on the Falklands, stating that ‘This issue was not worth the sacrifice of one single life’. He also decided to produce a book reflecting his views. The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman was published in 1984. Although the sending of the Task Force won broad support both from the House of Commons and the public, there was a significant minority, many on the political left, who opposed the use of force. Opponents included MPs Tony Benn, Judith Hart and Tam Dalyell and authors Margaret Drabble and Salman Rushdie.

Nancy Sherman, a professor at Georgetown University trained in philosophy and psychoanalysis who served as the Inaugural Distinguished Chair in Ethics at the Naval Academy, author of The Untold War: Inside the hearts, minds, and souls of our soldiers describe the following terms which are a soldier´s shorthand for traumatic moments imprinted in his psyche.

Taint implies pollution, staining, fouling. This term was used by soldiers who took part in Vietnam where honourable combatants felt vulnerable to the criticism, for they viewed the remarks as not only about how they fought the war, but also that they fought the war.

Denzil Connick, a PARA who fought in Mount Longdon said: ¨It was none of this God, Queen and Country stuff. You were fighting for your mates. That´s what it boiled down to¨(The Falklands Deception-Kirby Times)

A core principle in military ethics is that it matters who you kill, and why. Soldiers worry in a deep and personal way when they think they´ve been sent to the war on a pretext for other actual causes; they abhor ideological vacuum.

Suckered implies duped, deceived, toyed by those in charge, to whom the soldier has sworn fidelity and for whom he has put his life on the line. It depicts a sense of betrayal, the feeling of being abandoned, misled, unsupported.This sense of betrayal is experienced as a rupture of the most basic caring bond: the family that a soldier becomes part of when he or she joins the military. Bonding in the military is not just horizontal towards comrades but vertically through chain of commands. The soldier feels angry at others but also angry at himself for being gullible. This seemed to be the complain among some Argentine conscripts.
2. De Iuri Belli

Francisco de Vitoria added: Even though the war may be unjust on one side or another the soldiers on each side who come to fight in battle…are all equally innocent¨. Victoria urges: the moral equality of soldiers does not preclude a soldier`s individual responsibility to concientously reflect about what he ought and ought not fight for.

Mere participation in an unjust war is not wrongful action for a soldier. What a soldier is accountable for is conduct, not cause.

Sir Hew Strachan Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls College, Oxford, said: “The causes of war and the way it is fought have to be judged independently. You can be right to go to war and fight it in a stupid way, and you can be wrong to go to war and fight it in a very intelligent way.” (An interview with Sir Hew Strachan. The Telegraph 18 jul 2014)

Journalists Patrick Bishop and John Witherow, in their account of the Falklands war, wrote that many of the paratroops 'seemed to enjoy their image as emotionless, efficient killers, one step away from being psychopaths. They wore skinhead haircuts and, when out of uniform, carefully tattered sweatshirts.' A Para was asked what he would do if he found a wounded Argie. 'Kill him with me bayonet, rip his gold teeth out and cut his fingers off to get his rings,' he said.(Tim Lynch, Taught to kill, not to pity: Falklands veteran Tim Lynch believes Army training creates men capable of atrocities –The Independent –Sunday 21 March 1993)

Aboard the Canberra, two other journalists, Jeremy Hands and Robert McGowan, attended some of the troop training sessions held on the journey to the Falklands. They wrote: Under the Geneva Convention you are not, I repeat not, allowed to stick a bayonet in a newly captured prisoner, explained the instructor. So what do you do if you capture an enemy trench with a couple of wounded Argies still inside?. Shoot their heads off, came the reply. Quite right. But remember, if there's a TV crew near by you've got to go through all that first aid rubbish just as if they were your best mates.(Tim Lynch, Taught to kill, not to pity: Falklands veteran Tim Lynch believes Army training creates men capable of atrocities –The Independent –Sunday 21 March 1993)

British war veteran Tim Lynch said: The recipe for the Longdon incident is an old and simple one. Take a young man, desperate to establish an identity in the adult world, make him believe military prowess is the epitome of masculinity, teach him to accept absolutely the authority of those in command, give him an exaggerated sense of self-worth by making him part of an elite, teach him to value aggression and to dehumanise those who are not part of his group and give him permission to use any level of violence without the moral restraints which govern him elsewhere

(Tim Lynch, Taught to kill, not to pity: Falklands veteran Tim Lynch believes Army training creates men capable of atrocities –The Independent –Sunday 21 March 1993)
Ian Robertson , Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin and founding director of Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience has recently described the origins and possible causes of savagery. Callousness, aggression and lack of empathy are common responses by people who have been harshly treated themselves.

On the other hand war bonds people together in their groups.

Under certain circumstances, individual and group identities partially merge and the person’s actions become as much a manifestation of the group as of the individual will. When this happens, people can do terrible things they would never have imagined doing otherwise: individual conscience has little place in an embattled, warring group, because the individual and group selves are one so long as the external threat continues.

There´s a biochemical high from a combination of the bonding hormone oxytocin and the dominance hormone testosterone. Much more than cocaine or alcohol, these natural drugs lift mood, induce optimism and energise aggressive action on the part of the group.

When people bond together, oxytocin levels rise in their blood, but a consequence of this is a greater tendency to demonise and de-humanise the out-group. That is the paradox of selfless giving to your in-group – it makes it easier for you to anaesthetise your empathy for the out-group and to see them as objects. And doing terrible things to objects is fine because they are not human. 

While revenge is a powerful motivator, it is also a deceiver, because the evidence is that taking revenge on someone, far from quelling the distress and anger which drives it, actually perpetuates and magnifies it.

Finally, people will do savage things if their leaders tell them it is acceptable to do so, particularly if they have given their selves to the group self. (Ian Robertson, The science behind Isis savagery :5 ways humans become hardwired for violence-The Telegraph-18 Aug 2014)

Combat troops must minimize the human-ness of their enemies in order to kill them , they can´t be effective fighters if they are distracted by feelings of empathy for opponents .But if the opponent is dehumanized which entails seeing them as disgusting animals , the possibility for war crimes is greater.

The details may vary from unit to unit and country to country, but the essentials remain. '(The) theory,' says former US Marine Michael Petit, author of Peacekeepers at War, 'is that before a man can be built, the identity he brought with him must be destroyed. The recruit's hair is shorn, his every waking moment is controlled, everything he wears is military issue. He has to earn every privilege.

This period of 'beasting' is intended to make the recruit dependent on the group for support. The harder the 'beasting', the stronger the attachment of the survivors to the unit and the greater the sense of achievement. The survivors are special because they are part of something not everyone can join - a mystical elite of warriors. (Tim Lynch, Taught to kill, not to pity: Falklands veteran Tim Lynch believes Army training creates men capable of atrocities –The Independent –Sunday 21 March 1993.

To think of another as an object deactivates the empathetic network in the brain and sometimes also activates the analytical network. This seesawing between the two networks is a natural function of the healthy brain. The brain chooses the appropriate network according to the task.

FIMR showed that mechanistic dehumanizing deactivated the social reasoning network while maintaining the same level of analytic reasoning activity. (Psychologists study how to create better soldiers but fewer war crimes-News Staff-June 7 2013,Science 2.0)

But rather than leading to a good mix of empathy and analytics, this kind of thinking is used in anti-social, manipulative behavior and is most closely associated with mental illnesses, from depression to schizophrenia. When dehumanization occurs on both sides of a conflict, it can lead to cycles of escalating atrocities.

Troops who didn´t participate in an atrocity but generated intense disgust and contempt to help others kill will have a harder time readjusting to civilian life after the violence is over.
Coman and colleagues at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and New School for Social Research hypothesized that listeners would more easily forget unrepeated justifications for atrocities that are supposedly perpetrated by someone from an outside group, but would be motivated to remember the unrepeated justifications when the perpetrators are members of their own group possibly as a way of shielding in-group members from moral responsibility. (In-Group Or Out-Group: The Status Of The Other May Influence What Is An Atrocity By News Staff | April 21st 2014)

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines empathy as: the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings.

Vince Bramley, a machine gunner with B Company 3 PARA said: ¨I think all of us were shocked at the extent of what we'd done to each other. And then you begin to realise that you're not the rough, tough, British Paratrooper that the program of training had made you out to be. You realise your human, and you have human feelings, and that the men beside you are no different. The one thing that united all of us bundled together on that Mountain, both Brits and Argentines - was that we were all very upset about the whole fucking mess we were in".

Contemporary developmental psychologists theorize that the very act of taking up another´s perspective is a developmental achievement. A child before age three does not see the world from a perspective outside his own eyes. Some grown up adults can´t see it either sticking to made up clichés or tailored stories.Only psychopaths can permanently avoid re-examination of their actions from an empathetic perspective.
From the beginning this empathy between Argentine and British war veterans and not merely military strategies was the core of the 2006 International Colloquium which took part in Nottingham.
4. The Sequels

Soldiers have the right to expect any war to be lawful, to have adequate resources, the right to be properly cared for in the event of injury and the right to know that in the event of their death will be properly looked after. For every corpse sent back by a conflict there are many living wounded physically and psychologically damaged and often permanently disabled.

9,000 British ex-service personnel are homeless after leaving the military (Sunday Mirror investigation) .In January 2010 the British Ministry of Justice then at last produced a study suggesting that 3%, about 2,500, of the prison population are veterans. (Veterans in prison-http://veteransforpeace.org.uk/2014/veterans-in-prison/)

We know that somehow Argentine and British soldiers shared the same fate when returning home (International Review of the Armed forces Medical Services Vol. 75/2, 2002, p 84-94.)

Civilian become soldiers, but the civilian who becomes a soldier is always just one: a soldier and civilian. A soldier may kill with legitimacy under the conventions of war. But the moral conventions of war do not always or enduringly penetrate the moral soul. Killing the enemy often does not sit easy and even less when innocent people are killed and considered a collateral damage.

Soldiers have said over and over that they don´t just fight wars, they fight specific wars, the wars that it is their luck to be.

The corruption of soul becomes war´s collateral damage. Battles are turned inward, psyche fractures, and self-empathy with the warring parts is often in short supply.

Very different is the situation when a veteran returns en masse with his unit, headed by a commander who immediately takes charge and accompanies his men to a VA hospital. I remember that years after the 1982 conflict ended, Rear Admiral Marine Corps Hugo Robaccio former BIM 5 commander kept visiting his men under treatment.

5. The Future

British award-winning investigative journalist Anthony Barnett  wrote The Falklands Syndrome: the 30 years legacy of Iron Britannia, a book that has become even more relevant now than in November 1982. According to Barnett, the Falklands Syndrome means two things: First, British rulers feel entitled to demonstrate military superiority whenever possible (The sub-text is that they believe such a demonstration will enhance their popularity, renew their personal can-do spirit for application to domestic matters, and elevate their standard abroad. While it helps to know that the war can be easily justified, it is the urge to win against the odds that matters). Second, any defeat or setback vindicates the need for the Falklands Syndrome, not its mistaken nature.

It is a classic case of an irrefutable mindset, sanctified by frustration as it is vindicated by victory. According to Barnett, unless it is stopped, the Falklands Syndrome will infect or, if you must, inspire a fourth decade. (Barnett, Anthony-The Falklands Syndrome: the 30 years legacy of Iron Britannia-OurKingdom- https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/anthony-barnett/falklands-syndrome-30-year-legacy-of-iron-britannia)

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development, Professor of Health Policy and Management, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals wrote in The Waste of War:  Karl Marx famously wrote that history repeats itself, “the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” Yet when we look around nowadays, we can’t help but wonder whether tragedy will be followed by yet more tragedy. Here we are, at the centenary of the outbreak of World War I, and we find ourselves surrounded by cascading violence, duplicity, and cynicism of the very sort that brought the world to disaster in 1914. (Sachs,Jeffry-The Waste of War-Project Syndicate-August 2, 2014)


  • Brigadier General ( R ) War Veteran Sergio Fernández-President Argentine War Veterans ´Association (AVEGUEMA)
  • Colonel (R) War Veteran Raúl Fernando Castañeda-Former Commander 1st Section, Company C ,RI 7
  • Commander Marine Corps War Veteran Rodolfo Horacio Ludueña-Argentine Marine Corps Association.
  • Señor Chief Marine Corp War Veteran Carlos Jorge SINI- Argentine War Veterans ´Association (AVEGUEMA)
  • War Veteran Jorge (Beto) Altieri.-1st Section B Company RI 7
  • War Veteran Vicente José Bruno-1st Section B Company RI 7
  • Olga Esther Deriu , Astronomic Calculator ,Observatory, Argentine Naval Hydrographic Service.
  • Jane Adams- SAMA 82
  • Cliff Caswell-Former Assistant Editor of Soldier (Magazine of the British Army)
  • Tim Lynch- British Radio operator with the Army Air Corps- 656 Squadron Army Air Corps attached to 5th Infantry Brigade. Involved in the evacuation of wounded from the air raid at Fitzroy and the battle for Tumbledown-Military Historian and Probation Officer working in the Criminal Justice System where he acts as a specialist point of contact for staff working with veteran offenders


  1. Approach to and Battle for Stanley((Parts 41-49)-Part 44,3 PARA´s approach to and Battle for Mount Longdon-http://www.naval-history.net/F54-3_Para_Battle_for_Mount_Longdon.htm
  2. Arie,Sophie-You never get over it, but I have a double problem. I was fighting against Brits, people who were as good as family'-Saturday 30 March 2002-news-scotsman.com http://www.scotsman.com/news/you-never-get-over-it-but-i-have-a-double-problem-i-was-fighting-against-brits-people-who-were-as-good-as-family-1-501332
  3. Banks,Tony-A very dirty war:British soldiers shot dead by enemy troops waving the white flag and Argentinian prisoners bayoneted in cold blood.An ex-Para tells of the horrors of the Falklands. Mail Online-2 March 2012. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2109429/A-dirty-war-British-soldiers-shot-dead-enemy-troops-waving-white-flag-Argentinian-prisoners-bayoneted-cold-blood-An-ex-Para-tells-horrors-Falklands.html
  4. Barnett,Anthony-The Falklands Syndrome:the 30 years legacy of Iron Britannia-The Bureau of investigative journalism-June 13 2012 http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/06/13/analysis-the-falklands-syndrome-the-30-year-legacy-of-iron-britannia/
  5. Barrera, Laureano-Carlos Eduardo del Valle Carrizo Salvadores- Infojus Noticias-9 de octubre 2013. http://www.infojusnoticias.gob.ar/provinciales/carrizo-salvadores-el-represor-que-miente-sobre-su-rol-en-malvinas-687.html
  6. Big Falklands Adventure-´Sunday 18 March 2012 http://bigfalklandsadventure.blogspot.com.ar/2012/03/mount-longdon.html..
  7. Bistagnino, Paula-Valía más una oveja que un soldado-La mañana, Neuquen-Abril 1,2012. http://www.lmneuquen.com.ar/noticias/2012/4/1/valia-mas-una-oveja-que-un-soldado_142333
  8. Bramley,Vincent-Two Sides of Hell, p. 9, Bloomsbury Publishing Limited, 1994; published in Argentina as Los Dos Lados Del Infierno)
  9. Britain opens investigation of Falklands war allegations-Associated Press http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1992/Britain-Opens-Investigation-of-Falklands-War-Allegations/id-94d4cef42e19bfbe8c96d6875534e1bd
  10. Cámara de Casación:¨Malvinas no fue un crimen más de la dictadura¨-El Malvinense-19 de noviembre de 2009. http://www.malvinense.com.ar/smalvi/0109/1280.html
  11. Carranza Torres, Luis R. Mayor-Francotiradores en la Guerra de Malvinas –Rumbos Aeronáuticos 28 de junio de 2013. http://www.eam.iua.edu.ar/rumbos/Revista-29/RevistaRumbos29-Art02.html
  12. CESCEM Corrientes. Centro de Ex Soldados Combatientes en Malvinas-El denunciante por estaqueos en Malvinas a punto de ser denunciado.17 de diciembre de 2009. http://web.archive.org/web/20120226132055/http://www.cescem.org.ar/informacion/noticias/2009/pag09_057.html
  13. Combatiente de Malvinas: Fortabat fue un angel. http://www.diarioveloz.com/notas/51752-combatiente-malvinas-fortabat-fue-un-angel
  14. Con Malvinas hay 32 años de impunidad-La Arena.com.ar-25 de Mayo 2014. http://www.laarena.com.ar/la_ciudad-_con_malvinas_hay_32_anos_de_impunidad_-115330-115.html
  15. Cooksey,Jon-3 PARA Mount Longdon:The Bloodiest Battle-Pen&Sword Ltd.
  16. Crimen sin castigo-Clarin Digital-26 de abril de 1996. http://edant.clarin.com/diario/96/05/26/infrec1.html
  17. Cuando volví de la guerra parecía un delincuente- http://www.taringa.net/posts/noticias/15008753/Cuando-volvi-de-la-guerra-parecia-un-delincuente.html
  18. Duran, Miguel-Intimidades de la Batalla Final por el Sargento Ayudante Raúl Ibáñez http://www.lavoz.com.ar/malvinas/intimidades-batalla-final
  19. El abrazo y la ejecución-Clarín Digital.26 de abril de 1996.  http://edant.clarin.com/diario/96/05/26/infrec5.html
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  21. El paracaidista británico que sobrevivió a Monte Longdon. http://www.taringa.net/posts/noticias/15393375/El-paracaidista-britanico-que-sobrevivio-a-Monte-Longdon.html
  22. El soldado argentino que luchó hasta con un cuchillo contra los Royal Marines.:Cabo Roberto Barcilio Baruzzo.RI 12. http://www.taringa.net/posts/imagenes/14466786/El-soldado-argentino-que-peleo-hasta-con-un-cuchillo.html
  23. Ex combatientes denuncian a británicos por crímenes y tratos inhumanos durante la guerra-Actualidad TDF-13 de marzo 2013. http://www.actualidadtdf.com.ar/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=7816:ex-combatientes-denuncian-a-brit%C3%A1nicos-por-cr%C3%ADmenes-y-tratos-inhumanos-durante-la-guerra&Itemid=85
  24. Ex combatientes empleados en PAMI visitaron Malvinas. http://www.prensa.argentina.ar/2012/05/25/30963-excombatientes-empleados-en-pami-visitaron-malvinas.php
  25. Ezard,John-Interviews with Falklands veterans-Never in 1,000 years will you persuade me it was worth it-The Guardian-25 Feb 2002. http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/feb/25/falklands.world2
  26. Ford,Coreena-Falkland veteran recall Battle of Longdon.ChronicleLive- http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/falkland-veterans-recall-battle-longdon-1362217
  27. Foro Militar-Combate de Monte Longdon http://www.foromilitar.com.ar/foro/index.php?threads/combates-terrestres.313/
  28. Fraga, Rosendo-Nueva Mayoria-Two sides of hell http://www.nuevamayoria.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2471&Itemid=31
  29. Friedman,Herbert SGM-Psyop of the Falklands islands war-http://www.psywarrior.com/Falklands.html
  30. Fullan,Connor-Limited aims and the Falklands war-E-International Relations Students-Nov 16 2012. http://www.e-ir.info/2012/11/16/limited-aims-and-the-falklands-war/
  31. Gilbert,Jonathan-Falklands 30 years anniversary: the Argentine prisoner of war who became unofficial British translator-The Telegraph-16 August 1992 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/falklandislands/9179182/Falkands-30-year-anniversary-the-Argentine-prisoner-of-war-who-became-unofficial-British-translator.html
  32. Jennings,Christian and Weale,Adrian- Green-Eyed Boys: 3 PARA & The Battle For Mount Longdon, p. 187
  33. Maldonado, Nicolas-Crímenes de guerra:El costado poco conocido de Malvinas-El Día. http://www.eldia.com.ar/edis/20130331/crimenes-guerra-costado-poco-conocido-malvinas-tapa6.htm
  34. Malvinas: El soldado que volvió de la muerte-El Federal http://elfederal.com.ar/nota/revista/25465/malvinas-el-soldado-que-volvio-de-la-muerte
  35. McIntyre,Donald-Falklands 'war crimes' claim: MoD investigates allegations that Paras shot Argentine prisoners-The Independent-Friday 23 May 2014.  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/falklands-war-crimes-claim-mod-investigates-allegations-that-paras-shot-argentine-prisoners-1540755.html
  36. McKinney,Jack-British troops may be tried for Falklands war crimes-Philly.com-May 21,1993 http://articles.philly.com/1993-05-21/news/25964367_1_vincent-bramley-war-crimes-argentine-prisoners
  37. McNally,Tony-Thoughts of a Falklands veteran- http://www.roguegunner.com/2014/05/on-mount-longdon-parachute-regiment.html
  38. Moro, Ruben Oscar-La Guerra Inaudita: Historia del Conflicto del Atlántico Sur, Pleamar,
  39. Morosi, Pablo-Por la cercanía al gobierno ,se escinde un tradicional centro de ex combatientes. La Nación 1 de abril de 2013.http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1568599-por-la-cercania-al-gobierno-se-escinde-un-tradicional-centro-de-ex-combatientes
  40. O´Connell, James-Three days in June-http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=af6_1391253160
  41. Pablo Vassel sería denunciado por ¨pagar testimonios¨ en la causa por estqueos en 1982. El Malvinense-16 de diciembre de 2009. http://www.malvinense.com.ar/smalvi/0109/1315.html
  42. Paolella,Fernando-La Batalla de Monte Longdon-Bolinfo.
  43. Shennan,Paddy-Falklands War Veteran Jimmie looks back at beating death on Mount Longdon-Liverpool Echo-Jul 03,2013  http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgia/falklands-war-veteran-jimmy-oconnell-4863112
  44. Paglioni, Silvia-VGM Jorge ¨Beto¨Altieri:¨Yo defendí la Patria y la Patria no me defiende…Yo necesito a la Patria ¨ https://www.facebook.com/notes/nunca-olvidemos-a-nuestros-heroes/heroe-desconocido-vgm-jorge-altieri-el-soldado-que-no-se-rindi%C3%B3/221179877907222?comment_id=3252157&offset=0&total_comments=13
  45. Por primera vez ex combatientes acampan en Monte Longdon-Actualidad de Tierra del Fuego-14 de marzo 2011.
  46. Primeras Jornadas de la Sanidad en la Guerra de Malvinas-Hospital Militar Central ¨Cirujano Mayor Dr Cosme Argerich¨, 8,9 de Mayo 2014
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  49. Shirley,John-War heroes or murderers? A police inquiry must rule when death on the battlefield is a crime.The Independent 23 August 1992.
  50. Stransky,Steven G.-Re-examining the Falklands islands war:The necessity for multi-level deterrence in preventing wars of aggression- http://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1012&context=gjicl
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  52. The Falklands crisis and the Laws of War-US Naval War College  https://www.usnwc.edu/getattachment/f75ef140-c321-41b7-a609-e80b6507a4c8/The-Falklands-Crisis-and-the-Laws-of-War.aspx 
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  55. Tuohy,William-Britons Divided by Probe Into Alleged Falklands Atrocities : An ex-soldier's memoirs have reopened an incident in the 1982 war against the occupying Argentines. Charges involve killing prisoners and the cutting off of ears as trophies.Los Angeles Time-December 31,1993. http://articles.latimes.com/1993-12-31/news/mn-7155_1_falklands-war
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  57. War crimes charges ruled out. Falklands veteran who wrote battle book welcomes decision-Herald Scotland-Friday 15 July 1994. http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/war-crimes-charges-ruled-out-falklands-veteran-who-wrote-battle-book-welcomes-decision-1.494193
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