Battle of Goose Green
The Battle of Goose Green (28–29 May 1982) was an engagement of the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 between British and Argentine forces. Goose Green
Goose Green
Goose Green is a settlement in Lafonia on East Falkland in the Falkland Islands. It lies on Choiseul Sound, on the east side of the island's central isthmus, south-southwest of Darwin. With a population of about 70, it is the second largest settlement of the Falkland Islands.Goose Green has a shop...

 and its neighbour Darwin
Darwin, Falkland Islands
Darwin is a settlement in Lafonia on East Falkland, lying on Choiseul Sound, on the east side of the island's central isthmus, north of Goose Green...

 are settlements on East Falkland
East Falkland
East Falkland the largest of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, has an area of and a coastline long. Most of the population of the Falklands live in East Falkland, almost all of them living in the northern half of the island...

 in the Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

. They lie on Choiseul Sound on the east side of the island's central isthmus. They are about 13 miles south of the site of the major British amphibious landings in San Carlos Water
San Carlos Water
Not to be confused with the San Carlos River.San Carlos Water is a bay/fjord on the west coast of East Falkland, facing onto the Falkland Sound.-Name:...

 (Operation Sutton
Operation Sutton
During the 1982 Falklands War, Operation Sutton was the British landings on the shores of San Carlos Water, at Ajax Bay and Port San Carlos, near the San Carlos on East Falkland. During the night 3 Commando Brigade along with attached units of the Parachute Regiment were landed from the liner SS...


The bulk of the Argentine forces were in positions around Port Stanley about 50 miles (80.5 km) to the east of San Carlos
San Carlos, Falkland Islands
San Carlos is a settlement in northwestern East Falkland, lying south of Port San Carlos on San Carlos Water. It is sometimes nicknamed "JB" after a former owner, Jack Bonner.-History:...

. The position at Goose Green and Darwin was well defended by a force of combined units totalling about 1,200 (at the start of the battle the number was thought by the British to be less than half this), well equipped with artillery, mortars, 30 mm cannon and machine guns. However the force was fairly static and judged to present little threat to the bridgehead. Consequently it had no strategic military value for the British in their campaign to recapture the islands, so early plans for land operations had called for Goose Green to be isolated and bypassed.

Things changed in the days following the landings on 21 May. While the bridgehead was being consolidated no offensive ground operations of any size were feasible and yet Argentine air attacks caused significant loss of and damage to British ships in the sea area around the landing grounds. This led to a feeling among senior commanders and politicians in the UK that the momentum of the campaign was being lost.

As a result British Joint Headquarters
Northwood Headquarters
Northwood Headquarters is a military headquarters facility of the British Armed Forces in Eastbury, Hertfordshire, England, adjacent to the London suburb of Northwood...

 in the UK came under increasing pressure from the British government for an early ground offensive. And so, on the 25th May Brigadier Julian Thompson
Julian Thompson
Major General Julian Howard Atherden Thompson, CB, OBE is a military historian and former Royal Marines officer who, as a brigadier, commanded 3 Commando Brigade during the Falklands War.-Military career:...

, ground forces commander, commanding 3 Commando Brigade
3 Commando Brigade
3 Commando Brigade is a commando formation of the British Armed Forces and the main manoeuvre formation of the Royal Marines. Its personnel are predominantly Royal Marines, supported by units of Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery, The Rifles, and the Fleet Air Arm, together with other Commando...

 was ordered to mount an attack on Argentine positions around Goose Green and Darwin.


The British force consisted of three rifle companies, one patrol company, one support company, and the HQ company of Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert 'H' Jones
H. Jones
Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Jones VC OBE, , known as H. Jones, was a British army officer and posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross...

' 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment (2 Para) which had the following support: three 105 mm artillery pieces
L118 Light Gun
The L118 Light Gun is a 105 mm towed howitzer, originally produced for the British Army in the 1970s and widely exported since, including to the United States, where a modified version is known as the M119A1...

 with 960 shells from 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery
Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

; one MILAN
MILAN " is French and German for "kite bird") is a European anti-tank guided missile. Design of the MILAN started in 1962. It was ready for trials in 1971, and was accepted for service in 1972. It is a wire guided SACLOS missile, which means the sight of the launch unit has to be aimed at the...

 anti-tank missile platoon; Scout
Westland Scout
The Westland Scout was a general purpose military light helicopter developed by Westland Helicopters. It was closely related to the Westland Wasp naval helicopter.-Design and development:...

 helicopters, and at dusk, air support was provided by three Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 Harriers later in the battle. shelled the Argentine forward positions. Lieutenant-Colonel Jones commanded the battalion.

The defending Argentine forces known as Task Force Mercedes consisted of the Lieutenant-Colonel Italo Piaggi
Italo Piaggi
Lieutenant-Colonel Ítalo Ángel Piaggi, born in San Fernando on 17 March 1935, is a retired Argentine Army commander who was involved in the Battle of Goose Green in the Falklands War....

's 12th Infantry Regiment (RI 12) and a company of the Ranger-type 25th Infantry Regiment (Argentina)
25th Infantry Regiment (Argentina)
The 25th Infantry Regiment is a unit of the Argentine Army based at Sarmiento, Chubut, Argentina. This regiment fought during the Falklands War. The commander of the regiment during the Malvinas War was Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamed Alí Seineldín, considered by many Argentines to be the 'father' of...

 (RI 25). Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamed Alí Seineldín
Mohamed Alí Seineldín
Mohamed Alí Seineldin was an Argentine army colonel who participated in two failed uprisings against the democratically elected governments of both President Raúl Alfonsín and President Carlos Menem in 1988 and 1990.Seineldín was born in Concepción del Uruguay into an Arab Argentine family...

, considered by many Argentines to be the 'father' of the Argentine commandos
Commandos is a stealth-oriented real-time tactics game series, available for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. The game is set in the Second World War and follows the escapades of a fictional British Commandos section. It leans heavily on historical events during WWII to carry the plot...

, who chafing at his role as commanding officer of an ordinary infantry unit, put all his conscripts through a compressed version of the commando course in March 1982, dressing them in the green berets of the Army Commandos and changing the title of RI 25 unofficially to 25th 'Special' Infantry Regiment.

Air defence was provided by a battery of six 20 mm Rheinmetall manned by Air Force personnel and two radar-guided Oerlikon 35 mm anti-aircraft guns from the 601st Anti-Aircraft Battalion
GADA 601
The 601st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Group , historically known as GADA 601 is the main anti-aircraft artillery unit of the Argentine Army. Its headquarters are based just north of Mar del Plata. Its name was changed to GAA 601 Teniente General Pablo Ricchieri in 1999...

 that would be employed in a ground support role in the last stages of the fighting. There was also one battery of four 105 mm Oto Melara pack howitzers from the 4th Airborne Artillery Regiment. Pucarás based at Stanley, armed with rockets and napalm, provided ground support. Unbeknownst to the Argentine outpost, a four-man SAS patrol, commanded by Corporal Trevor Brookes, had infiltrated the 12th Regiment's A Company area, attempting to pinpoint the Argentinian positions. Brookes successfully avoided, for over a fortnight, Argentine helicopter and foot patrols sent to find them.


Just after 2.30 am of May 28, 2nd Para launched its attack on the Argentines to capture Goose Green 'before breakfast'. RI 12's A Company defended the Darwin Parks sector with two rifle platoon
A platoon is a military unit typically composed of two to four sections or squads and containing 16 to 50 soldiers. Platoons are organized into a company, which typically consists of three, four or five platoons. A platoon is typically the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer—the...

s, and a mortar platoon. For 90 minutes the forward Argentine platoons were pounded with naval artillery
Naval artillery
Naval artillery, or naval riflery, is artillery mounted on a warship for use in naval warfare. Naval artillery has historically been used to engage either other ships, or targets on land; in the latter role it is currently termed naval gunfire fire support...

 from HMS Arrow. In the ensuing night battle about twelve Argentines were killed. The platoon under Sub-Lieutenant Malacalza fought a delaying action against the British paratroopers, blooding themselves on Burntside Hill before taking up combat positions again on Darwin Ridge. Major Philip Neame's D Company was temporarily halted by the Coronation Ridge position. One of his men, Lance-Corporal Gary Bingley darted out from under cover to charge the enemy machine gun nest that was holding up the advance. He was hit 10 metres (10.9 yd) from the machine gun, but shot two of the crew before collapsing. He was posthumously awarded the Military Medal
Military Medal
The Military Medal was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Army and other services, and formerly also to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for bravery in battle on land....

. With the enemy machine gun out of action, the Paras were able to clear the Argentine platoon position, but at the cost of three dead.

Then 2nd Para moved on to the south via Darwin Parks. The Argentines made a determined stand along Darwin Ridge. As A and B Companies moved south from Coronation Ridge they were raked by fire from a couple of concealed Argentine FN MAG
The FN MAG is a Belgian 7.62 mm general-purpose machine gun, designed in the early 1950s at Fabrique Nationale by Ernest Vervier. It has been used by more than 80 countries, and it has been made under licence in countries such as Argentina, Egypt, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the...

 machine guns. An Argentine senior NCO, Company Sergeant-Major Juan Cohelo, is credited with rallying the RI 12's A Company remnants falling back from Darwin Parks. He was seriously wounded later in the day. The first British assault was broken up by fire from Sub-Lieutenant Ernesto Peluffo's RI 12 platoon. Corporal
Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

 Osvaldo Olmos, of RI 25 refused to leave his foxhole and continued firing at the British company as it moved forward. The Paras called on the Argentines to surrender.

At this juncture of the battle, 2nd Para's advance had become stuck. A Company was in the gorse
Gorse, furze, furse or whin is a genus of about 20 plant species of thorny evergreen shrubs in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae, native to western Europe and northwest Africa, with the majority of species in Iberia.Gorse is closely related to the brooms, and like them, has green...

 line at the bottom of Darwin Hill, and against the entrenched Argentines who were looking down the hill at them. As daylight was now all over the battlefield, Jones led an unsuccessful charge up a small gully resulting in the death of the adjutant, Captain Wood, A company's second-in-command Captain Dent, and Corporal Hardman. Shortly thereafter Jones was seen to run West along the base of Darwin Ridge to a small re-entrant, followed by his bodyguard. He checked his Stirling SMG then ran up the hill toward an Argentine trench. He was seen to be hit once, then fell, then got up and was hit again from the side. He fell metres short of the trench and Jones had been hit in the back and the groin, and died within minutes. Jones was later to receive the Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

 for his efforts. As Jones lay dying, his men radioed for urgent casualty evacuation. However, the British Scout Helicopter sent to evacuate Jones was shot down by an Argentine FMA IA 58 Pucara
FMA IA 58 Pucará
The FMA IA 58 Pucará is an Argentine ground-attack and counter-insurgency aircraft. It is a low-wing two-turboprop-engined all-metal monoplane with retractable landing gear, manufactured by the Fábrica Militar de Aviones.-Development:...

 ground attack aircraft. The pilot, Lt. Richard Nunn RM was killed and posthumously received the DFC, and the aircrewman, Sgt. Belcher RM badly wounded in both legs. Corporal Ríos was later fatally wounded in his trench by Corporal Abols firing a 66 mm rocket.

By then it was 10.30 am and Major Dair Farrar-Hockley
Dair Farrar-Hockley
Major General Charles Dair Farrar-Hockley, MC is a former British Army officer and a military arbitrator. He is the son of General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley.-Military career:...

's A Company made a third attempt, but this petered out. Eventually the British company, hampered by the morning fog as they advanced up the slope of Darwin Ridge, were driven back to the gulley by the fire of 1st Platoon of RI 25's C Company, under the command of 2nd Lieutenant Roberto Estévez
Roberto Estévez
Lieutenant Roberto Néstor Estévez was an Argentine Army officer who was killed in action in the Battle of Goose Green during the Falklands War .He was posthumously awarded the Argentine Nation to the Heroic Valour in Combat Cross.His remains are buried at...

During this action Lieutenant Estévez directed Argentine 105 mm artillery and 120 mm mortar fire that posthumously earned him the Argentine Nation to the Heroic Valour in Combat Cross
Argentine Nation to the Heroic Valour in Combat Cross
Argentine Nation to the Heroic Valour in Combat Cross is the highest national military decoration in Argentina.The decoration consists of a silver cross pattée bearing the Coat of arms of Argentina in gold, suspended from a chest ribbon of equal light blue-white-light blue stripes.Recipients of...

 (CHVC). 2nd Para's mortar crews fired 1,000 rounds to keep the enemy at bay, and helped stop the Argentines getting a proper aim at the Paras.

It was almost noon before the British advance resumed. Inspired by their commanding officer's sacrifice, A Company soon cleared the eastern end of the Argentine position and opened the way forward. There had been two battles going on in the Darwin hillocks – one around Darwin Hill looking down on Darwin Bay, and an equally fierce one in front of Boca Hill, also known as Boca House Ruins. Sub-Lieutenant Guillermo Aliaga's 3rd Platoon of RI 8's C Company held Boca Hill. The position of Boca Hill was taken after heavy fighting by Major John Crosland's B Company with support from the MILAN anti-tank platoon. Crosland was the most experienced British officer, and as the events of the day unfolded, it was later said that Crosland's cool and calm leadership of his soldiers on the battlefield turned the Boca House section of the front line. About the time of the victory at the Boca Hill position, A Company overcame the Argentine defenders on Darwin Hill, finally taking the position that had caused many casualties on both sides. Majors Farrar-Hockley and Crosland each won the Military Cross for their efforts. Corporal David Abols received a Distinguished Conduct Medal
Distinguished Conduct Medal
The Distinguished Conduct Medal was an extremely high level award for bravery. It was a second level military decoration awarded to other ranks of the British Army and formerly also to non-commissioned personnel of other Commonwealth countries.The medal was instituted in 1854, during the Crimean...

 for his daring charges which turned the Darwin Hill battle.

After the victory on Darwin Ridge, C and D Companies began to make their way to the small airfield as well as Darwin School, which was east of the airfield, while B Company made their way south of Goose Green Settlement. A Company remained on Darwin Hill. C company was decimated when they became the target of intense anti-aircraft 35 mm direct fire. They suffered a 20 per cent casualties. Lieutenant James Barry's No. 12 Platoon, D company, saw some fierce action at the airfield. They were ambushed, but one of his men shot dead two of the attackers, and then reported the events to Major Neame. The platoon sergeant charged the attacking enemy with his machine gun, killing four of them. For his bravery Sergeant Wyndham Williams was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Private Graham Carter won the Military Medal by rallying No. 12 Platoon and leading it forward at bayonet point to take the airfield. The RI 25 platoon defending the airfield fled into the Darwin-Goose Green track and was able to escape. Sergeant Sergio Garcia, of RI 25, single-handedly covered the withdrawal of his platoon during the British counterattack. He was posthumously awarded the Argentine Nation to the Valour in Combat Medal
Argentine Nation to the Valour in Combat Medal
Argentine Nation to the Valour in Combat Medal is the second highest military decoration given by the President of Argentina....

. Four of D Company and approximately a dozen Argentines were killed in these engagements. Among the dead was Lieutenant Barry, who, along with two comrades, was killed while accepting the surrender of a group of Argentines. C Company had not lost a single man in the Darwin School fighting, but a soldier was later killed from a burst of Argentine 35 mm anti-aircraft fire, which reduced the building to rubble.

As day became night, two Argentine Air Force warrant officers who were POWs were sent to the Argentine commanders at Goose Green by the acting CO of 2nd Para, Major Chris Keeble
Chris Keeble
Colonel Christopher Patrick Benedict Keeble, DSO, MSc, FCMI is a retired officer in the British Army, most noted for his service in the Falklands War of 1982....

, with the terms of surrender.
We have sent a PW to you under a white flag of truce to convey the following military options:

1. That you unconditionally surrender your force to us by leaving the township, forming up in a military manner, removing your helmets and laying down your weapons. You will give prior notice of this intention by returning the PW under a white flag with him briefed as to the formalities by no later than 0830 hrs local time.
2. You refuse in the first case to surrender and take the inevitable consequences. You will give prior notice of this intention by returning the PW without his flag (although his neutrality will be respected) no later than 0830 hrs local time.
3. In the event and in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Geneva Convention and Laws of War you will be held responsible for the fate of any civilians in Darwin and Goose Green and we in accordance with these terms do give notice of our intention to bombard Darwin and Goose Green.


Commander of British Forces"

'Juliet' Company, 42 Commando (composed mainly of members of Naval Party 8901) was flown to Darwin to reinforce 2 Para and at the same time plans were made that night for 'Bravo' Company, 6th Regiment to be taken by helicopter to Goose Green in a spoiler move.

The following day Lieutenant-Colonel Piaggi surrendered all Argentine forces, approximately 1,000 men, including 202 men of the Air Force. He was later discharged from the army in disgrace. Major Keeble was awarded the Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

. The fourteen-hour battle had cost the British 17 killed and 64 wounded, the majority from 2nd Para. Around 50 Argentines were killed and 120 wounded. After the battle vast quantities of Argentine weapons and unused ammunition were deployed among ships of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 still stationed at San Carlos Water
San Carlos Water
Not to be confused with the San Carlos River.San Carlos Water is a bay/fjord on the west coast of East Falkland, facing onto the Falkland Sound.-Name:...


BBC incident

During the planning of the assault of both Darwin and Goose Green, the Battalion Headquarters were listening in to the BBC World Service
BBC World Service
The BBC World Service is the world's largest international broadcaster, broadcasting in 27 languages to many parts of the world via analogue and digital shortwave, internet streaming and podcasting, satellite, FM and MW relays...

. The newsreader announced that the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment were poised and ready to assault Darwin and Goose Green, causing great confusion with the commanding officers of the battalion. Lieutenant Colonel Jones became furious with the level of incompetence and told BBC representative Robert Fox he was going to sue the BBC, Whitehall and the War Cabinet. The Argentine forces were listening in to the broadcast, just as Jones feared. Doubtless working on the assumption that no country would announce its army's battle plans to the enemy, they dismissed it as a crude bluff. Battalion Headquarters had no way of knowing this and Major Chris Keeble was all for calling off the assault.

Argentine Military Trials of 2009

Argentine army officers and NCOs were later charged with abusing and killing their own troops at Goose Green. "Our own officers were our greatest enemies", says Ernesto Alonso, the president of CECIM, a veterans group founded by Rodolfo Carrizo and other conscripts of the 7th Regiment. "They supplied themselves with whiskey from the pubs, but they weren't prepared for war. "They disappeared when things got serious." There are others who maintain that the conscripts were helped to make themselves as comfortable as possible under the circumstances and that their officers and NCOs fought well and tried hard to bolster morale.

In 2009, Argentine authorities in Comodoro Rivadavia
Comodoro Rivadavia
Comodoro Rivadavia is a city in the Patagonian province of Chubut in southern Argentina, located on the San Jorge Gulf, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, at the foot of the Chenque Hill. Comodoro Rivadavia is the most important city of the San Jorge Basin....

 ratified a decision made by authorities in Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego
Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego
-External links:* * * *...

 (which, according to Argentina, have authority over the islands) charging 70 officers and NCOs with inhumane treatment of conscript soldiers
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 during the war. "We have testimony from 23 people about a soldier who was shot to death by a corporal, four other former combatants who starved to death, and at least 15 cases of conscripts who were staked out on the ground", Pablo Vassel, under-secretary of human rights in the province of Corrientes, told Inter Press Service News Agency.

On 19 May a 12th Regiment conscript, Secundino Riquelme, reportedly died of starvation. There are claims, however, that false testimonies were used as evidence in accusing the Argentine officers and NCOs of abandonment and Vassel had to step down from his post as under-secretary of human rights of Corrientes in 2010. Other veterans are sceptical about the veracity of the accusations with Colonel Martiniano Duarte saying that it has become "fashionable" for ex-conscripts to now accuse their superiors of abandonment. Former conscript Fernando Cangiano has also dismissed the claims about the "supposed widespread sadism present among the Argentine officers and NCOs" and the claim that the conscripts had not handled themselves well in the fighting. Former conscript César Trejo also accused the current Argentine Ministry of Defense, Nilda Garré
Nilda Garré
Nilda Garré , a former leftist militant, is the current Minister of Security of Argentina, and the former Minister of Defense since 2005. She was the first woman to hold each office in the country.- Career :...

of promoting a "state of confused politics" in favour of the CECIM.

Sub-Lieutenant Gustavo Malacalza is accused of having staked three conscripts at Goose Green, for having abandoned their positions to go looking for food and revealing their positions with gunfire. "We said it was going to be us next", said Private Mario Oscar Nuñez recalling the death of conscript Riquelme. Soon after the British landings, he and two other conscripts took the decision to kill a sheep. The three men were skinning the sheep when they were discovered by Sub-Lieutenant Malacalza, who was accompanied by fellow conscripts of A Company, 12th Regiment and given a beating. "They started kicking and stamping on us. Finally came the staking."

External links

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