Taking place from 11 to 12 June 1982, the Battle for Mount Longdon was a drive by the British to wipe out the threat posed by the height advantage Argentine troops gained by being positioned on the mount.
Lying to the northwest of the Falkland Island’s capital, Port Stanley, Mount Longdon was the scene of a battle which took place between 11 and 12 June 1982. The British sought to wipe out the threat posed from the Argentines who were stationed there by attacking and bringing Mount Longdon under their control. The attack was carried out in conjunction with attacks on Mount Harriet and Two Sisters, all of which were part of an overall plan to occupy all Argentine troops’ positions in the area.
Led by Lieutenant Colonel Hew Pike, 3 Para was charged with capturing Mount Longdon and brining it under British control. Assisting 3 Para in this task was 29 Commando, Royal Artillery and their bank of six 105mm artillery guns. Ships including HMS Avenger also helped with the task and the Argentines had just 278 men in the battle as opposed to the 450 British soldiers. However, what the Argentines did have to their advantage was the time they had spent on Mount Longdon prior to the battle, which meant that they had a series of familiar trenches from which to fight.
3 Para spent the week prior to the attack patrolling the area from their base close to Murrell Bridge and moved to begin the attack – in freezing temperatures – at 20.15 on 11 June. Although Pike had requested a silent attack, a false step onto a mine by one of the men gace away their position. The conflict lasted for ten hours and was extremely hard for 3 Para as the Argentine forces – the 7th Infantry Division – used machine guns and sniper fire. 3 Para found that their ascent up Mount Longdon slow due to this enemy fire. Sergeant Ian McKay opted to lead an attack on an Argentine machine gun siting. While the attack was successful and the British troops were once again pushing forward, McKay lost his life. By the end of the conflict, 23 men from 3 Para had been killed and 47 had bene injured. Meanwhile, 31 Argentine men were killed, 120 injured and 50 taken as prisoners of war
3 Para was given numerous medals in recognition of their bravery during the taking of Mount Longdon. These included 1 Victoria Cross, 2 Distinguished Conduct Medals and 3 Military Medals (1 posthumous).
See also: The Causes of the Falklands War 1982
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