Problems facing the British forces

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Last updated: November 10, 2019

Distance was a key problem they encountered because the British were fighting 12000 km away from home, and their closest staging post was the Ascension Island which was only half way between the 2. This was contrasted with the comparatively short distance the Argentines were fighting from – 640 km. Linking to this factor, gaining air superiority was difficult for the British, because they relied on the aircraft carriers Invincible, and Hermes to put a limited number of sea Harriers into the air, whereas the Argentines could just launch aircrafts from Argentinean bases.

It was fortunate that the British had bombed Port Stanley, otherwise, the Argentines could launch aircrafts directly from Falklands, which would have been a further disadvantage. The Argentine aircrafts outnumbered the British aircrafts by 22:120, and if they had been able to destroy Hermes and Invincible whilst they approached the Island, the situation could have been worse. Fighting a long way away from home would also mean that supplying the troops would be a problem. Admiral John Woodward quoted when the war was over, “We were on our last legs, if they had been able to hold on another week, it might have been a different story.

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This showed that the British were really running short on supplies like rations and ammunition to such an extent that they had to wait with empty hands for the next lot of supplies from Britain, and by that time, the Argentines could’ve hunted them down like prey. This showed the difficulty in supplying the troops. The British could also only send a limited number of troops to Falklands as they had a limited number of ships which disallowed them to not to be outnumbered by the Argentines. British had too few ships that they had to start using civilian ships like QE2 and the Canberra.By being far away from Britain, it also meant that the naval losses could not be replaced.

The Argentines managed to sink the Atlantic conveyor which contained the 3 “Chinook” helicopters which couldn’t be replaced, and therefore, the British had to “yomp” 80 km to Stanley. And also, the Argentines had the Exocet missiles which were able to destroy British fleets like HMS Sheffield, and so British had less fleets to send to the Falklands, and hence less troops to fight, which was a definite problem.Time was another constraint that the British encountered, and this was because of the fact that it took time to travel a long distance. If the British were going to take action, they would have to take it soon because the South Atlantic Winter would make the conditions difficult for the British navy to travel at sea. This allowed time for the Argentines to dig into well-defended positions before the British arrived, which meant that Britain would have to defeat the Argentines at a higher difficulty level.

The time that the British took also allowed the Argentines to have their equipment shipped from the mainland to the battlefield, so they were better prepared with more ammunition and food, etc. Finally, the short time that the British had to put the ships to sea just made them rush cramming things on the wrong ships, and therefore they were disorganized, which was a major problem, because organization was important to carry out tactics efficiently on a battlefield.Finally, Britain also faced diplomatic restraints.

This was linked with the fact that they had a relatively short time, because, they had to be seen as if they were trying to make peace without involving too much aggression, however, the peace talks may last so long to such an extent that the task force run out of supplies and fuels, and would have to attack when the South Atlantic Winter arrives, and by that time, they would be further disadvantaged by the weather conditions.They also had to make sure that they weren’t condemned by international opinions like in Suez Crisis by having a UN resolution secured. They also needed support from the USA so that they could support the British with essential military supplies. This was hard to accomplish since they did not know how the world would react.

The Diplomacy also caused certain restraints on carrying out what the British wanted to carry out.As illustrated in the sinking of the General Belgrano, the British removed a possible threat to their victory, but they lost quite a lot of support for doing so, and therefore the British could not do everything of what they needed to do to secure victory, because they needed not to be seen as aggressive and so their chance of victory was reduced, and this was another important problem.

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