Battle of Goose Green

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Goose Green
partof=Falklands War

caption=Darwin school-house after being hit by Argentine 35 mm fire
date=28 May 1982 - 29 May 1982
place=Goose Green & Darwin, Falkland Islands
result=British victory
combatant1=Flagicon|United Kingdom United Kingdom
combatant2=Flagicon|Argentina Argentina
commander1=Lt. Col. Herbert JonesKIA
Maj. Chris Keeble
commander2=Lt. Col. Italo Piaggi
Air Comm. Wilson Pedrozo
strength2=790 army, 202 airforce personnel
casualties1=17 killed
64 wounded [ [ The South Atlantic Medal Association 82 ] ]
casualties2=47 killed
145 wounded [ [ Suplemento de Historia Argentina ] ]
961 captured
The Battle of Goose Green (28–29 May 1982) was an engagement of the Falklands War between British and Argentine forces. Goose Green had little strategic value to the overall aim of recapturing the capital Stanley but, as it was a significant Argentine position and close to the beachhead at San Carlos, it could not be ignored.


The British force consisted of three rifle, one patrol, one support and the HQ company of Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert 'H' Jones' 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment (2 Para) which had the following support: three 105mm artillery pieces with 960 shells from 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery; one MILAN anti-tank missile platoon; Scout helicopters, and at dusk, air support was provided by three Royal Air Force Harriers later in the battle. HMS "Arrow" shelled the Argentine advanced positions. Lieutenant-Colonel Jones commanded the battalion.

The defending Argentine forces known as Task Force Mercedes consisted of the Lieutenant-Colonel Italo Piaggi's 12th Infantry Regiment (RI 12) and a company of the Ranger-type 25th Infantry Regiment (RI 25). Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamed Ali Seineldin, considered by many Argentines to be the 'father' of the Argentine commandos, 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. The name 'Special' was picked rather than adopt the US Army 'Ranger' title.Fact|date=September 2008 Air defence was provided by a battery of six 20mm Rheinmetall manned by Air Force personnel and two radar-guided Oerlikon 35mm anti-aircraft guns from the 601st Anti-Aircraft Battalion that would be employed in a ground support role. There was also one battery of four 105mm Oto Melara pack howitzers from the 4th Airborne Artillery Regiment. Pucarás based at Stanley, armed with rockets and napalm, provided ground support. [ [ Battle order at Goose Green] ] [Andrada, pp. 86-90]

The battle

Just after 2.30 am on 28 May, 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 platoons, and a mortar platoon. For ninety minutes the forward Argentine platoons were pounded with naval artillery. In the ensuing night battle about twelve Argentines were killed. 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 ten metres from the machine gun, but shot two of the crew before collapsing. He was posthumously awarded the Military Medal. With the enemy machine gun out of action, the Paras were able to clear the Argentine platoon position with only minimal losses.

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 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 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. It was at this point, for reasons unknown, that Jones decided to personally lead an assault on an entrenched machine gun nest at the crest of a low spur. Followed by his bodyguard, Colour Sergeant David Banford, his signaller, Sergeant Blackburn, Sergeant Norman and several officers in his TAC 1 party, including Captains Dent and Wood, he charged the Argentine position. Jones ran into a small re-entrant (a dip between two hills) and carried on running up to the crest towards the machine gun position. After stopping to reload his submachine gun halfway up the hill, he pushed on, only to be shot in the back by an Argentine gunner. Corporal Ríos was later fatally wounded in his trench by Corporal Abols firing a 66mm rocket. Jones had been hit in the back and the groin, and despite the efforts of those around him, was dead within the hour. Also killed during this action was the adjutant, Captain Wood, A company's second-in-command Captain Dent, and Corporal Hardman. Jones was later to receive the Victoria Cross for his efforts.

By then it was 10.30 am and Major Dair Farrar-Hockley'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. During this action Lieutenant Estévez directed Argentine 105mm artillery and 120mm mortar fire that posthumously earned him the Argentine Nation to the Heroic Valour in Combat Cross (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. [Harclerode, p. 329.]

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. 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 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. [Fitzgibbon, pp. 147-148.] 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. C Company had not lost a single man in the Darwin School fighting, but a D Company private was later killed from a burst of Argentine 35 mm anti-aircraft fire, which reduced the building to rubble. Four of D Company and approximately a dozen Argentines were killed in these engagements.

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, with the terms of surrender.

:"MILITARY OPTIONS:"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.

:"C KEEBLE"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 drummed out of the army in disgrace. Major Keeble was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. 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 still stationed at San Carlos Water.


ee also

* British Military History
* 'Padre' David Cooper of 2 Para



* cite book|author=Fitzgibbon, Spencer
title=Not Mentioned in Dispatches
id=ISBN 0-7188-3016-4

*Kenney Oak, David J. "2 Para's Battle for Darwin Hill and Goose Green". Square Press April 2006. ISBN 0966071719. [ See here]
*Falklands War Binderbook - Author Information Pending
*Andrada, Benigno: "Guerra aérea en las Malvinas". Ed. Emecé, 1983. ISBN 9500401916. es

External links

* [ See Naval-History.Net for detailed article and map of battle]
* [ Major Chris Keeble recalls his battle]
* [ Robert Bolia's detailed article reassessing the command abilities of the Argentine Regimental Commander at Goose Green]
* [ Photographs of the Ranger-type Argentine 25th 'Special' Infantry Regiment. Website contains accounts of RI 25]
* [ Alejandro Corbacho's detailed article reassessing the fighting spirit and cohesion of the Argentine conscripts and regulars during the battle of Goose Green]
* [ Twenty-five years on, the widow and son of Captain Chris Dent who died with Colonel 'H' Jones pay tribute to his memory]
* [ Colonel ‘H’ Jones won a posthumous VC but his bravery did not undermine the defenders]

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