Could Britain win the Falklands again?

This is a question, but as it may start a debate I’ve put it here.

If Argentina invades the Falklands tomorrow, can Britain stop them without resorting to nukes?

They did it the first time. Why would today be any different?

Argentine Navy

The Argentine Navy was outclassed in the Falklands War. Today they have a more modern fleet, though it is still small. Argentina’s Navy participated in the Gulf War, and partakes in exercises with such countries as the United States and France. So it has a more modern fleet than it had before, and they seem to be getting training. I don’t know who would win in the hypothetical scenario. Just providing some information.

Last time round the UK did not stop the Argentinians invading the Falklands, they kicked the invaders out - and sunk one of their battle ships just to show that they meant business.

Last time round (at the time) I reckoned we should have dropped a few ballistic missiles with conventional (or no) warheads on prominent locations in Argentina, torpedoed their harbours and sunk anything afloat.

A land invasion struck me as high risk - and not really necessary.

Britain still has one of the strongest Navies and a well trained and well experienced army. The have excellent anti-missile defenses, which might be the most important factor. They could probably count on more US help than last time.

Argentina’s Army, Air Force and Navy is definitely second class by comparison. As long as we are simply talking about the Falklands and not an invasion of Argentina, I see no reason why the UK would not do as well or better than last time.



The RN is down to 2 carriers now, from 4. That wouldn’t help. Neither would the retirement of the Sea Harrier fleet.

There was an article in some magazine or another that was in the office (Air Forces Monthly?) that addressed this issue.

There is no getting around the difficulty with naval air power. On the other hand, the British Forces garrison is so strong that an Argentine threat is simply hard to imagine.

I don’t understand what you mean by the sentence I bolded. Could you please expand upon your thought here?


Sending a load of troops in a cruise ship to scramble over half an island in order to launch a ground assault on well dug in defences seems a risky option to me.

While I would have supported some form of handover of the Falklands to Argentina if they had asked politely, their invasion was calculated to make the UK look impotent - and a disproportionate response would have surprized them and sent out a message.

Steady, pre-warned, destruction of airports, sea ports, fleet etc would be a lot more depressing for the Argentinians than a firefight in a mud bath somewhere that few of them could have located on a map.

I rather suspect that things would have worked out differently if the Argentinian ambassador had been summoned to No 10 and cheerily told that the UK was declaring war on Argentina and was looking forward to testing ICBMs with a dummy payload - of course he should stay in London so he could tell Argentina the next target.

Recall it was from air-centered publication. I think the author was bemoaning the combat capacity of the Sea Harrier and the lack of anything better in the years since. Still I understand some big-deck carriers are in the pipeline.

Making a disproportionate response i’d usually agree could result in a cowing, but generally an attack on a country’s actual mainland tends to breed anger more than depression. I think i’d be with you on the whole “sending a message” thing, I just think what you’re suggesting would be moving from reasonable defense to an actual attack, and the Argentinian response would be a stepping up, not a backing down.

Even though the British have a better air force, the Argentine air force is right there. The British would have to transport their air power, which they can’t do very well right now.

There is an RAF base on the Falklands these days, reachable from Ascension. I assume the plan is for it to be able to defend itself long enough for reinforcements to fly in.

I’m sorry. Why do you think the Brittish would be able to fire on Argintina with impunity? I will refer you to the sinking of the HMS Sheffield.

I will also refer you to your nations own history during WWII to demonstrate the effectiveness of strategic bombing alone.

Not that I would have advocated such a course of action - and I hasten to add I’m not defending FRDE’s point of view - but there was always Polaris for the aerial stuff, and plenty of hunter-killer subs for the shipping. Still, bit of an over-reaction, what? :wink:

The problem for Argentina is that the UK is now AWAC capable, having to fly up to 800 miles for Argentine aircraft to make any contact whilst being monitored is likely to end in tears.

RN air defence is almost unrecognisable from the Falklands days.

The main thing would be the intelligence reports, in the war of 1982, the Thatcher administration chose to ignore warningsor the type that had prompted the previous administration to send a deterrant force.

The chance of it happening again would be fairly small.

It takes time to gather the material together for invasion, this would give plenty of notice of impending attack, and since Argenitna ended conscription, it would not be easy to raise the military strength in a reasonably short period, even conscripts need training, and an expansion of regulars would take time and would be highly noticeable.

With several hundred miles of South Atlantic air and sea space to cross, and with a fortified zone, where shipping would not be able to traverse due to the submarine threat, an airborne assault would be incredibly difficult, it would probably need a significant force just to secure an operating airfield.

Even if taken in part or in whole, maintaining supply to a force large enough to hold any territory would be extremely difficult by air alone.

You would expect quite a political shift before Argentina contemplated another attempt.

Trying to make sense of the wikipedia entry on the current Fleet Air Arm aircraft, the RN is sharing Harriers with the RAF. Does this mean they have no capability of launching air patrols or that they would take longer to convert RAF attack aircraft to air roles?

As much as the UK might have been willing to cut the Falklands, and Ascension, Tristan, and St. Helena, loose before, it ain’t gonna happen now. Hell, you’re still holding on to Gibraltar in case Napoleon tries any funny business again.

Didn’t the (then-unnoticed) Argentine flag-raising on South Georgia occur under Callaghan, btw?

Why? The islanders pretty much unanimously wanted to stay under British protection. They didn’t want to be ruled over by a right wing junta (who would?).

Back on topic: does the UK even have any long range bombers anymore? In the Falklands war, the Vulcan was still in service. What would be used these days? Tornados?