Between April and June 1982, a famous modern war was fought on an initially unknown small archipelago in the southern hemisphere.
In this small island group called the "Malvinas Islands" by the Argentines and the "Falkland Islands" by the British (hereinafter referred to as "Falkland Islands" Around ), Britain and Afghanistan sent nearly 100,000 troops of various types to compete for 74 days, which eventually became a major event in modern warfare and international political history.
Why do Britain and Afghanistan, which seem to be the same western camp, fight? Why did the international negotiation mechanism finally fail? What enlightenment does this war have for modern international relations? To answer these questions, we still have toSpeaking of the historical roots of the Falklands dispute.
New hatred and old hatred: Colonial wave and Falklands dispute
Ma Island consists of two large islands, east and west, and a series of affiliated islands, with a total area of about 12,000 square kilometers. Its approximate location is close to the southernmost point of the Atlantic coast of Argentina, about 500 kilometers from the coastline. The climate of this small archipelago above 50 degrees south latitude can be described by the bitter wind and rain, and people can even see penguins on the island.
Map of Falkland Islands. Image source: Eric Gaba
Supported by literature The first to land on the island was the British captain John Strong in 1690. The name "Falkland Islands" was named after Strong. Later, the French came to the island one after another and named it in 1706 As "Maloine Islands", which is the Spanish word "The origin of the name "Malvinas Islands".
The competition between the Western powers in the era of great voyages is nothing new. The British formally occupied the Falklands in 1765. And they sought to establish an effective rule, while the Spaniards continued to claim the islands until the British retreated in 1774 and occupied the area on the grounds of insufficient economic value.
However, Napoleon swept Europe and Spain in 1806 so that the British saw an opportunity again. This time the British did not occupy the island of the Falklands which had been abandoned by Spain, but took the Spanish heart city of Buenos Aires in South America. , And the British believe that Spain’s rule over the Falkland Islands has ended.
Penguins on Maldives. Picture source: Ben Tubby
In 1810, the Argentine independence movement broke out, and the newly established "Union Province of La Plata" (the predecessor of Argentina)In 16 years declared independence and claimed to inherit the sovereignty of Spain in the Falklands. However, in the 19th century, the British Empire returned to the Falkland Islands and established effective rule.
For the next 150 years, Argentina repeatedly protested the Falkland Islands issue to the United Kingdom, and the United Kingdom believed that it was an excellent transit point for exploring Antarctica and rich in oil resources. , The negotiations have been delayed again and again. At the same time, almost all immigrant groups on Falkland Islands who were born in the UK also made Argentina see little hope of peaceful recovery.
Finally, the time has come to the end of the 1970s. The hope of peace is getting diminished, and the smell of war has become more and more intense.
Big fight: "Pampas Eagles" attack and wings
In the late 1970s, the British and the Arab League against the Maldives There were still hopes for negotiations on the issue, but the changes in the situation have allowed both sides to embark on the path of armed conflict.
In 1982, Argentina’s new President Galtieri officially took office. Although he was active in improving relations with the United States, he once made the limelight, but Argentina’s piles of economic problems and the strait dispute with Chile have caused him to feel anxious. If the situation is to be stabilized within the limited term of office, a military victory may be a success. It is the best choice to unite people's hearts.
Argentina strongman Galtieri. Image source: Alchetronp>
During diplomatic negotiations, Britain, sitting across from Argentina, has been adopting a policy of procrastination, and the time is approaching.The 150th anniversary of the Chinese occupation of the Falkland Islands (1833-1983), Argentina had no patience to continue to wait, and the landing operation officially started on April 1, 1982.
The British with great powers originally thought that Argentina was just talking. Lex Hunter, the British governor on the Falkland Islands, originally shouted that “the first one to dare The Argentine who lowered the Union Jack flag was sent to see Hades," but in the face of the huge landing force, he had to lead less than 100 marines to surrender.
The British garrison of Falklands surrendered to the Argentine army. Photo source: "A Hundred Days of Thrilling: Falklands War"
Britain is indeed not the British Empire back then, but the Argentines seem to have underestimated the British’s fighting resolve. The British army immediately dispatched more than 60 ships to form a special agent on April 5th. In the fleet, the two main aircraft carriers "Invincible" and "Hermes" are on the list. They expeditioned 13,000 kilometers andAt the end of the month, he arrived at Falkland Islands and blocked it by sea, land and air, and then captured South Georgia Island on the east side of Falkland Islands on April 25.
A schematic diagram of the British army marching thousands of miles. Image source: Kallgan
From a military perspective, Galtieri did not make careful and perfect considerations when launching an offensive. The Argentine Navy has a very obvious disadvantage compared to the British Army. The road-based air force has almost reached the maximum combat radius to the Falkland Islands. At the same time, most of its dominant army are just new recruits.
But at this time, another important event really made the Argentine feel like a thunderstorm: On April 29, the US Embassy official told Galtieri The United States decided to impose sanctions on Argentina. This made Galtieri understand that Britain was more important than himself in the heart of the United States. Argentina was mercilessly betrayed by the United States. This became an important turning point in the entire war.
The British Army "invincible Aircraft carrier. Image source: Charles E. Hill
The support of the United States and other Western allies has allowed the British to start biggerIn the offensive, the British announced a complete blockade of the 200 nautical miles around the Falklands. In the next "Operation Blackbuck", the British army dispatched "Vulcan" bombers to attack the Argentine airport on the Falklands. At the same time, the Argentine Second World War ship "General Belgrano" cruiser was also "conquered by the British." The submarine "Zhe" sank.
The sinking of the main battleship made the Argentine navy become a tortoise. Galtieri became angry, but the navy did not listen. The dominance of the sea made the Argentines only Using the air force to launch a counterattack, and they did make the British suffer a lot.
The biggest problem with the British task force is that there is no early warning aircraft involved, which makes its long-range air detection capability limited and can only use a few ships to approach each other.Line investigation. On May 4, the destroyer "Sheffield" in charge of reconnaissance was discovered by the Argentine Air Force. The Afghan "Super Banner" attack aircraft immediately launched an attack on it. The "Flying Fish" anti-ship missile accurately hit the "Sheffield" and hit it. Shen.
Despite the loss of a cutting-edge ship, the British sea and air superiority has not been shaken by it. The long-term blockade prevented the Argentine garrison on the island of Maldives from getting effective supplies. When the British and Arab Air Forces continued to fight around the island, the inaction of the Argentine Navy made the morale of the army troops stationed on the island increasingly low.
Argentine officers and soldiers surrendered. Image source: Ken Griffiths
from May Beginning in the middle of the month, while continuing to sink the British destroyer "Coventry" and other ships, the Afghan Air Force also paid the price of nearly a hundred planes. The Afghan army, which was hard to support, was already unsustainable. On May 27, the British army began to land. Falklands, a total of more than 9,000 soldiers from the Afghan Army officially surrendered on June 14.The island war ended with the British victory.
In the end, 649 people were killed in the Argentine army, 1657 were injured, 11,313 were prisoners of war, and about 100 aircraft and 9 ships of various types were lost; 255 people were killed and 775 injured, 35 aircraft and 7 ships were lost.
Although the Falklands War was limited in scale, it was of great significance in the history of modern naval development. Due to the changes in the international structure and relations after World War II, modernization between the two countries rarely occurred Sea and air battle. The particularity of the Falklands War has made it a revelation for the development of the navies of various countries in the following decades.
Although it has The Argentine Navy, which has the home field advantage, stayed in the port for most of the war. But only the oppositeThe Royal Navy itself is worthy of everyone's careful observation.
The Ark Royal aircraft carrier on the eve of retirement in the late 1970s
The Royal Navy at the time was subject to military budget cuts that began in the 1970s The impact, scale and strength have been much lower than before. Under the framework of NATO's collective defense, they have gradually become the anti-submarine fleet in the North Atlantic Ocean. Most of the Navy’s ship designs tend to give priority to anti-submarine. The county destroyers, Reanda class frigates, women general class frigates and broadsword class frigates that appeared on the battlefield of Falklands are all products of this kind of thinking. Even the Class 82 air defense destroyer, which was originally a knife guard of the new aircraft carrier, is equipped with anti-submarine missiles.
Type 21 female general class frigate typical anti-submarine warship
BecauseThe future main battlefields preset by the Royal Navy are mostly remote to the far sea. Therefore, with the cover of the US aircraft carrier formation and their own air force, it is difficult for them to be interfered by ordinary short-range attack aircraft. The only possible air threat is the Soviet Navy’s large number of long-range bombers and anti-ship missiles. Therefore, they produced a simplified version of the 82nd class destroyer-42nd class. The maritime javelin area air defense missiles equipped on the ship take high-altitude and high-speed targets as the main combat targets.
Sea Javelin air defense missile on Type 42 destroyer
In the Falklands War, the first batch of three Class 42 destroyers, along with one Class 82 destroyer and the Invincible aircraft carrier, became the backbone of the fleet’s regional air defense. They are equipped with a total of 5 double-armed Sea Javelin missile launchers.
Only one Type 82 destroyer was built
As for the aircraft carriers and carrier-based aircraft units that have been squeezed out by the Air Force, they were barely preserved by the Navy in various ways to save the country. The construction started under the name of the helicopter anti-submarine cruiser. The Invincible is a manifestation of this helplessness. In the 1970s, the HMS Competitive God, which had become a helicopter landing assault ship, was also refitted back to an aircraft carrier. In addition to the helicopters necessary for anti-submarine, the Sea Harrier fighter was upgraded with the Air Force’s Harrier aircraft. , Has become the outermost layer of the fleet’s air defense circle.
As for the nuclear submarine forces that have not been impacted, since their role in naval and air operations is really limited, there is no Mention more.
The Invincible carrier carrying Sea Harrier fighters to the South Atlantic
In short,At that time, the Royal Navy had become an anti-submarine escort brigade. The limited air defense capability relied on the early Sea Harrier fighters launching Sidewinder missiles, the Sea Javelin missiles on several regional air defense ships, and the Sea Wolf short-range missiles on the Broadsword-class frigates. A large number of old ships built in the 1950s are still using outdated Seacat missiles to protect themselves.
Of course, this level is still the world’s leading level from the perspective of the 1970s and 1980s. It should be noted that the frigates of most countries at that time did not consider air defense missiles as a necessary configuration.
Seacat air defense missiles that have fallen out of datestrong>
In the subsequent war, the Royal Navy’s fragile air defense network lost system supportDown, frequently get anxious.
Because there is no early warning aircraft available, the Sea Harrier fighters on the two aircraft carriers cannot be on standby and are on call. The early Sea Harrier FRS1 was only equipped with the Sidewinder missile with a relatively short range. It does not have the ability of air combat beyond visual range, and the area interception effect is worrying. Therefore, a Class 42 destroyer equipped with sea javelin missiles must function as an early warning radar station on the outermost layer of the defensive circle.
Sea Harrier FRS.1 fighter jets on patrol
However, as a product of reducing military expenditures, the weapons and equipment of the 42nd class destroyers are not comprehensive. javelinIt seems a little powerless. Even if the Navy has equipped them with the protection of a broadsword-class frigate equipped with Seawolf missiles, it cannot withstand the repeated attacks of multiple batches of enemy aircraft. In the Falklands War, the 42nd class, which did not have advanced anti-aircraft missiles and near-anti-aircraft missiles, sank 2 ships and damaged 1 ship.
The Type 42 destroyer Sheffield sunk
As the British front gradually approached the coast of Falkland Islands, a large number of warships needed to provide fire support for the landing forces. These frigates also suffered heavy losses in a raid by Argentine aircraft. Many ships, including two women generals class frigates, were either sunk or injured.
It can be said that the Royal Navy won in the Falklands War not easy. Their design and training needs, Are incompatible with the battlefield of the South Atlantic. But they still obtained very reliable lessons for the naval observers of the time and later. When several Royal Navy battleships sank into the ice of the southern hemisphere, the significance of the revelation began to exert its influence.
Old county destroyer
The first revelation is the importance of aircraft carriers. If it weren’t for the two light aircraft carriers and the sea harrier fighters on them, the British battle on Falklands would be impossible. Although Due to its own technical limitations, the Sea Harrier’s interception efficiency was not high, but it still created a brilliant record of 22:0. When these subsonic vertical take-off and landing aircraft shot down their opponent’s supersonic Mirage 3 in a fight, the world The Navy realized the importance of aircraft carriers again. It also understood the truth that something is better than nothing.
After the war, many medium-sized countries began to rely on the purchase of Harrier aircraft to establish small aircraft carrier battle groups. Indians took the lead in following up in 1986. Spain and Italy also followed suit in the late 1980s. The same is true. Even Thailand, where there is no demand, made a ticket-like experiment in the 90s. Even countries like the Soviet Union that did not originally play aircraft carriers have also come up with enlarged versions of slide-over aircraft carriers. As for countries that talk about war on paper , Then more.
The Indian Sea Harrier flying with the US F/A18 Hornet during the exercise
The British flagship HMS Athletic during the Falklands War in 1986 was sold to the Indian Navy
The Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier that has started sea trials
The British themselves were also in the 90s, and the sea harrier Upgraded to a newer FA2 type. By modifying the radar, it has the ability to launch AIM120 missiles. In this way, the vertical take-off and landing fighters have the ability to air combat beyond the visual range. The US Marine Corps and other European countries, A similar upgrade was also carried out at the beginning of the 21st century. It has been openedThe F35B fighter jet that has just entered the service period will lay a broader sky for the field pioneered by the Sea Harrier.
Sea Harrier FA2 with beyond-horizon air combat and air refueling capabilities
fullNew F35B fighter
At the end of the war, the British army had already put the radar on the Sea King helicopter and produced the world’s first early warning helicopter . Although this expedient measure only had early warning capabilities at the time, in subsequent upgrades, the updated early warning helicopters also possessed elementary air command capabilities. The EH101 early warning helicopter that has recently entered service is also a descendant of these ancestors.
Neptune Early Warning Helicopter
Updated EH101 early warning helicopter
For vulnerabilities in fleet area air defense, The Royal Navy began a variety of improvements after the war. The first is to equip the 42nd class destroyer with Phalanx close-in guns, so that it has the ability to resist at close range.
At the same time,Through software and radar upgrades, the Sea Javelin missile has the ability to intercept sea-skimming missile attacks. In the 1991 Gulf War, the British Army’s Class 42 destroyer used sea javelin missiles to intercept land-based anti-ship missiles launched by the Iraqi army. This is also the only actual case in which air defense missiles intercept anti-ship missiles.
Before retirement The Sea Javelin missile has the ability to intercept various drones and cruise missiles
As for the traditional launcher mode, it is also in war This exposes the lack of firepower and response speed. In the late 1980s, the U.S. Navy took the lead in replacing the original MK26 dual-arm missile launcher with the famous MK41 vertical launch system. Equipped with a vertical launch system for warships, it became A must for all naval main battleships today. The Royal Navy’s new 4Tier 5 destroyers are also the result of learning the lessons of Falkland Islands.
Equipment verticalType 45 destroyer with a direct missile launch system
Another weapon that performed well in the Falklands War has also been developed. The Sea Wolf missile on the Broadsword-class frigate shot down a number of Argentine attack aircraft attempting to attack the fleet. After the war, this missile immediately acquired all obsolete Seacat missiles. The Class 23 frigate that was in service in the 1990s was equipped with a vertical launch system, allowing the missile to respond faster without dead ends. Recently, an updated sea receptor missile has been released. Following the development of Seacat-Seawolf, we will move forward.
Vertical emission Seawolf short-range air defense missile
Successful sea receptor air defense missiles have been tested
Finally, the Royal Navy began to build Class 22 and Class 23 frigates after the war, equipped with 114mm main guns. Because of the Falklands WarIt has been proved that the firepower output of the navy in support operations on the shore is still very important. The 114mm main gun may be less and less useful in naval battles, but it is still very powerful in dealing with the bombardment of land targets. The newly designed Class 26 frigate will replace the main gun with a larger caliber 127 mm. The U.S. Army’s emerging Zumwalt-class cruiser also has revolutionary electromagnetic gun weapons.
The later version of the Type 22 frigate is equipped with a 114mm main gun
The Type 26 frigate under construction is equipped with a 127mm main gun
In other small details, the British have provided enough life experience . The navies of all countries are aware that they cannot continue to use cost-saving aluminum materials to build warships. Otherwise, once hit by a missile, the aluminum material will burn at a very fast speed, causing the crew to damage the pipe.
Today, the British Commonwealth Navy is equipped with special combat uniforms for sailors
The uniforms of sailors on the ship can no longer be made of nylon and other chemical fiber materials. Because chemical fiber materials are very helpful for burning. In crisis situations, personal injuries to soldiers are huge. So in the horse After the Island War, the navies of various countries equipped soldiers with combat uniforms made of fire-resistant materials.
Today, it has been 30 years since the end of the Falklands War. For many years. But the influence of the Falklands War is still growing.