Battle for Mount Tumbledown

Battle for Mount Tumbledown

Mount Tumbledown is about 4 miles to the west of Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. The height advantage that Mount Tumbledown gave to the Argentine forces based there, meant that no British troops could simply advance around it and leave it alone as they would be very vulnerable to their rear if the Argentine troops had been allowed to remain there. The Battle of Mount Tumbledown was to remove this threat.

 

The task of attacking Mount Tumbledown was given to the 2nd Scots Guards, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Mike Scott. 4 Troop, Blues and Royals, with their two Scimitars and two Scorpion light tanks, mortar troops from 42 Commando, Royal Marines and 1/7th Ghurkha Rifles assisted the Scots Guards. The frigates ‘Avenger’ and ‘Active’ were also offshore to give covering fire when required. They faced men from Argentina's 5th Marine Infantry Brigade.

 

As the Scots Guards advanced towards their target, they were helped by men in the Royal Marines Mountain and Artic Warfare Cadre. The attack started on June 13th.

 

A diversionary attack started at 20.30 in which the Blues and Royals participated. This attack gave the impression of being larger than it actually was because of the involvement of light tanks. While some Argentine troops were involved in fighting this diversionary attack, the bulk of the 5th Marine Infantry Division faced the main attack. By 22.30, the west end of Tumbledown Mountain had been taken but, as a result of fierce hand-to-hand fighting, it took another seven hours to reach the summit and it took until 08.15 on June 14th to secure the mountain.

 

The Scots Guards lost 8 men killed while the Royal Engineers lost 1 man. Overall, there were 43 British soldiers wounded in the battle. The 5th Marine Infantry Brigade lost 30 men killed and had another 30 taken prisoner.

 

The Scots Guards could have had more casualties in the attack but were saved by the soft peat over which they advanced. This effectively absorbed the explosion from Argentine mortar shells being accurately fired at them and greatly lessened their potential impact.

 

For the courage displayed in the attack, men from the 2nd Scots Guards were awarded 1 Distinguished Service Order, 2 Military Crosses, 2 Distinguished Conduct Medals (one posthumously) and 2 Military Medals. Men from 9 Para Squadron, Royal Engineers, were awarded 2 Military Medals and a member of the Army Air Corps received the Distinguished Flying Cross.


MLA Citation/Reference

"Battle for Mount Tumbledown". HistoryLearningSite.co.uk. 2007. Web.






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