Naval History Homepage and Site Search


  Battle Atlas of the Falklands War 1982 by Land, Sea and Air


3 Para on Mount Longdon

on to Notes & Abbreviations



The definitive battlefield atlas of the Falklands War will have to wait some years or even decades for the release of full British information and the publication and analysis of much more from Argentina (written in the 1980's, most of this information has now been released and much published). In the meantime, this one pulls together much of the data published in the U.K., not so much in greater detail, but as an accurate-as-possible, step-by-step picture of how the war progressed from incident to Argentine invasion and on to British response and victory.

Like many human events, the Falklands War can best be treated like a jigsaw puzzle, but one neither so big that most of the ships, land forces and aircraft squadrons taking part, gallantry awards earned and British deaths suffered, cannot be included, nor so specialised that it cannot be treated as a total war of the conventional variety. In telling the story in the battlefield atlas form, the build-up is slow as the British Task force progresses south, but as the great logistics success the South Atlantic campaign was, it perhaps deserves to be told in this way. And like any jigsaw, a lot of pieces have to be sorted, so that first the border can be established before a small group is collected together here, and another there, until a fuller picture emerges.

Appendices - The appendices are included more for the sake of completeness, and thought was given to an additional one listing the British war dead by date and action. However many families and servicemen will not want to see their men and comrades listed yet again. So even though the dead and the wounded are a major part of the price paid for the liberation of the Falklands, it was decided to omit this information. However it should be remembered that what to many readers may be a fascinating military and logistics story, is, to more than 250 families in Britain (and over a thousand in Argentina) still a cause for mourning.

Information Sources - An early decision was taken to rely as far as possible on existing publications, and those used are listed in the Bibliography, but for some, a special word of appreciation is due.

Books - For the most comprehensive accounts of the war, "The Battle for the Falklands" by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins and the later "Task Force" by Martin Middlebrook can not be bettered. "No Picnic" by Brigadier Julian Thompson covers the land campaign with both depth and feeling at all levels. "The Forces Postal History of the Falklands Islands and the Task Force" by John Davies, perhaps not surprisingly when it is realised that most participants received letters, is a real mine of information, and the more recently published "The Royal Navy and the Falklands War" by David Brown was most timely and helpful. But the all-round accolade for basic information on the air and to a slightly lesser extent, the sea and some land actions, and for its scholarship and helpfulness must go to "Falklands: The Air War" by members of the British Aviation Research Group. These include Rodney Burden, Michael Draper, Douglas Rough, Colin Smith and David Wilton. To them I am particularly grateful.

Other Publications - Some of the publications used as well as other sources of information were supplied by a number of people who I would like to thank, including Bill Burkett, Mr A L Carter, BP Shipping Ltd, Bosun R Cartwright RFA, Captain S J Crowsley, Gurkha Rifles, Colonel W T Dennison RE, Mardie Esterkin, P & O Group, Philip Forbes, Major (Retd) J I Grant, Scots Guards, Brigadier R J Lewendon (Retd) RA, John Miller, Captain A G Newing RM and Chris Newman.

Photographs - And for the photographs and permission to use them, Mr F R Andrews, Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service, Lieutenant Commander C W Beattie RN, RNAS Yeovilton, Matthew Little, Royal Marines Museum, Major (Retd) G Norton, Airborne Forces Museum, Alison Pickard, United Towing Ltd., Brigadier J F Rickett, Welsh Guards, Commander T J K Sloane RN, MOD (Navy), Group Captain G Thorburn RAF (Retd), MOD (RAF) and Major D R d'A Willis, 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles.

Special Thanks - Most importantly, my sincere thanks to Nicholas Smith, Michael Smith, Alex and Jane Welby, and David and Betty Chapman. Without their support at crucial stages, the book would not have been completed.

Gordon Smith, Penarth 1988



No further research or checking has been carried out on the original version published in 1989. Ideally the facts and figures and events should be cross-checked against more recent British publications and even more importantly, Argentine sources that are now available. Particularly recommended reading to bring you more up-to-date includes:

"Sea Harrier over the Falklands" by Commander Nigel Ward, 1992
"Amphibious Assault Falklands" by Commodore Mike Clapp, 1996
"No Picnic", 3rd edition by Brigadier Julian Thompson, 2001
"100 Days", 2nd edition by Admiral Sandy Woodward, 2003

As for the original work, reviews received included the following comments:

"contributed tremendously to my knowledge of the war" - Francois Heisbourg, Director, The International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, November 1989

"a concise and meticulous handbook describing the strategy, tactics and logistics ....." - "Navy News", June 1989

"may prove to be a most useful source .... maps are well presented .... (there are no) inconsistencies between text and maps - additional corroboration of the general accuracy and thoroughness of the author's research and collation. .... So far as .... the Official Secrets Act permits - the detail is remarkably accurate" - Commander James McCoy RN, "Naval Review"

and in 1999

..... from a British born journalist/researcher/writer in Argentina who has specialised in the Falklands Conflict, was recently editor of the English-language "Buenos Aires Herald", and was writing a PhD thesis on the diplomatic side of the war:

"since 1982 I have visited the Falkland Islands over 15 times and on every occasion your book has been in my rucksack and has become something of my bible on the war. Over the years of research I have also had numerous opportunities to crosscheck the information there contained against the Argentine versions of the same events and have usually found that is stands up as a fair appraisal of the war even 17 years later."

and in 2000

"Battle of the Falkland's War" headed the list of recommended British-published books, described as "a very useful and detailed guide to the day-by-day development of the war", Argentine Army journal "Soldados", April 2000


click here for later review in the International Journal of Naval History


on to Notes & Abbreviations
or back to
Falklands War HomePage

revised 31/5/13