Browsing Faculty of Social Sciences by Publisher "National Institute for Defense Studies"
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The Logistics of the British Recovery of the Falkland Islands, 1982There is a saying—now a military cliché—attributed to several senior army and navy commanders of the mid-20th century, that amateurs or juniors discuss tactics, while their seniors and other professionals discuss logistics; a saying that has been qualified in recent decades by the view that the most senior and professional decisions of all are concerned with force generation, the creation of the formations needed for a possible future war. Logistics, together with force generation, was very obviously of critical importance to the British recovery of the Falkland Islands in April-June 1982. Port Stanley, the Falklands’ capital and only town, is considerably further from London than Tokyo is. The British won chiefly because of their ability, in an improvised military campaign for which they had no prior planning, to project and sustain a Task Force consisting of a Carrier Task Group and an Amphibious Task Group across a distance of over 12,000 kilometres. A vital role was played by the small British territory of Ascension Island in the South Atlantic, just over half way to the Falklands. A lesser but still important role was played by the British recovery early in the campaign of the island of South Georgia, which in 1982 was part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies, and is about 1,500 kilometres east of East Falkland. However, the lack of a secure harbour or port facility of any size on either Ascension Island or South Georgia imposed a severe time limit on how long the British warships could remain in the South Atlantic before they would need to leave the area for essential maintenance.