Mount Tumbledown was one of the key sites for the British Task Force to focus on during the conflict as its great height gave the Argentine troops a strong advantage and the Task Force aimed to remove this.
Lying around four miles west of the Falkland Islands’ capital, Port Stanley, Mount Tumbledown was seen by the British Task Force as being of primary importance in their breaking down of the Argentine threat. The height advantage that the Argentine troops were given as a result of being based on the Mount meant that British troops were not able to advance close to it without being seen by the enemy.
The 2nd Scots Guards were tasked with launching the attack on Mount Tumbledown and they were led by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Scott. Alongside the Scots Guards, mortar troops from 42 Commando, Scorpion light tanks, 1/7th Ghurkha Rifles and the Royal Marines also played a part in the attack. Offshore, frigates including Active and the Avenger were also offshore to offer covering fire if and when it was needed in the fight against Argentina’s 5th Marine Infantry Brigade.
The attack was launched on 13 June, with the Scots Guards moving closer to the Mount, with assistance from the Royal Marines Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre. The first attack, a diversionary assault, aimed to scare off the Argentine troops by making the attack appear to be far bigger than it really was, thanks to the use of light tanks. This attack began at 20.30, and, just two hours later, the western side of Tumbledown Mountain had been successfully captured. However, another seven hours were to pass before the summit was reached, with fighting continuing until the morning of 14 June before it was announced that the British had managed to take the mountain.
This battle saw 43 British soldiers injured and 9 men killed, while Argentina’s 5th Marine Infantry Brigade lost 30 men and saw a further 30 taken as prisoners of war. It has been said that the soft ground on which the battle took place helped to save the Scots Guards from further injury as the peat absorbed the mortar shell explosions from the Argentine side, reducing their impact greatly.
Such was the bravery of the British troops during the Battle for Mount Tumbledown that a number of medals, including 2 Military Crosses and 2 Distinguished Conduct Medals, were awarded following the conflict.
See also: Battle for Wireless Ridge
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