Was Argentinian airpower effective during the Falklands conflict?
To answer the question on the effectiveness of Argentinian airpower during the Falklands conflict a few areas of research will have to be considered. Firstly, the background of the conflict itself, strategic and tactical leadership on the Argentinian side and its effectiveness and military capability of Argentina at the time of conflict. It is then possible to analyze the sequence of events and decisions that have been made that have led to the success and failures of both parties involved during the Falkland’s conflict.
Great Britain has seized the Falkland Islands back in the 1830s, and in 1842 it formally declared a colonial administration with Stanley being established in 1845. Argentina would continue to press her claim from the 1960’s onwards with increasing vigor, although serious negotiations have begun, they became dominated by the islander’s desire to remain British 1.
On the 1st April 1982 Argentinian military junta has decided to occupy Falkland Island. There have been negotiations between Britain and Argentina. However, junta was fearing the possibility of British military garrison being built since the incident with Argentine fishing Wessel within the region of South Georgia Island that is also being disputed. To try and not let that happen Argentina has decided to send a task force and seize the Falkland Islands in March 1982 2.
Lieutenant-General Galtieri, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Argentine Armed Forces has sent 500 troops on 1st of April 1982 to land and capture the Royal Marines garrison at Port Stanley that has been guarded by 84 marines at the time. Argentina intended to now start the negotiation with Britain to terms and conditions and the future of the Island. At the time, Falkland Island was a small colony that has been occupied by a few thousand local farmers, and in some ways, it could be said, the whole Island was a liability regarding upkeep and protection to Britain and their tax payers in general. To Argentinian surprise, Britain has demanded an immediate withdrawal of all Argentinian forces or a threat of war. After junta rejecting that offer Margareth Thatcher, current PM of the British Government at the time, announced that the island will be retaken by military means and sent a naval task force to retake the island 3.