South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Sovereignty Dispute - History of The Claims - Falklands War

Falklands War

See also: Events leading to the Falklands War#Landings on South Georgia See also: Operation Paraquet

Argentina established a military base, Corbeta Uruguay, on Thule Island at the far south of the South Sandwich Islands in November 1976. When this base was discovered by the British that December, the British protested diplomatically, and sent a task force (Operation Journeyman) to protect the Falkland Islands from potential invasion.

On 19 March 1982, a group of 50 Argentines posing as scrap metal merchants landed at Leith Harbour on South Georgia aboard the ARA Bahía Buen Suceso and hoisted the Argentine flag. The British government responded by sending HMS Endurance with 22 Royal Marines to expel the Argentines, but they were held off to avoid increasing the tension. Further Argentine troops, led by Lieutenant Alfredo Astiz (known as the "blond angel of death") were landed and the British set up a station to monitor the activities there. Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982 and took Grytviken the following day, leaving 44 marines. Despite seizing Grytviken and Leith, the Argentines were not able to take the entire island and several British Antarctic Survey field camps remained in the hands of the United Kingdom throughout the length of the war.

In response to the Argentine invasion, the British launched Operation Corporate (the recapture of the Falkland Islands) of which Operation Paraquet was part. Royal Marines retook Grytviken in two hours on 25 April 1982 using intelligence from the SBS who had infiltrated the island, following an attack on the ARA Santa Fe by Royal Naval helicopters. The garrison at Leith Harbour surrendered the following day, and Corbeta Uruguay surrendered on 20 June 1982. It was demolished that December.

Read more about this topic:  South Georgia And South Sandwich Islands Sovereignty Dispute, History of The Claims

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