An Analysis of the Argentine Center of Gravity in the Falkland/Malvinas Conflict

2006 Words Sep 5th, 2013 9 Pages
College of Distance Education


Newport, R.I.

An Analysis of the Argentine Center of Gravity in the Falkland/Malvinas Conflict


R. Walker

A paper submitted to the faculty of the Naval War College in partial satisfaction of the requirements of the Department of Joint Military Operations

The contents of this paper reflect my own personal views and are not necessarily endorsed by the Navy War College or the Department of the Navy

05 Aug 2007

On 2 April, 1982 Argentine forces invaded and captured the Falkland Islands. On 5 April, British Task Force 317 sailed from Portsmouth, England towards the South Atlantic. From 21 April, Argentine and
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The Argentine land component also was not a critical strength. The Argentine troops on the Falklands, with few exceptions, were conscripts not trained to fight in the hostile South Atlantic winter. The best forces the Argentine’s possessed for this action were the two battalions of mountain commandos at Comodoro Rivadavia. However, they were kept at their base throughout the conflict as a hedge against a possible attack by Chile.[ii] Despite having, in some cases, more firepower and better equipment than the British forces, the Argentine land forces showed little initiative or motivation to take the fight to the British, except in rare circumstances.[iii]

It might be tempting to cast the entire Argentine air component as a Center of Gravity. Indeed, of the six British ships sunk during the conflict, four were sunk by bomb attack; and of the eleven ships damaged, ten were victims of bombs and strafing runs from the Argentine’s Air Force and Naval Air Forces Skyhawk, Mirage and Dagger aircraft. This compares to two ships sunk by air-launched Exocets. However, the circumstances that account for these numbers are the same ones that prevent the entire Argentine air forces from becoming the Argentine Center of Gravity. The Argentines paid a heavy price in bomb and strafing attacks; suffering a 41% attrition rate in attack aircraft over the course of the conflict.[iv] All of the British ships sunk by these
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