Military History Monthly – April 2012

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The April 2012 issue of Military History Monthly, the British military history magazine, is on sale today.

In the latest issue we cover:

The Falklands war – a victory for seapower

During the Falklands, he was Commander of 3rd Commando Brigade. Now a leading military historian, Major-General Julian Thompson provides our lead feature this month, a careful analysis of the British victory 30 years ago.

History of the British Army – Salamanca, 22 July, 1812

After disaster in the Low Countries in 1793-1795, the British Army masters the French 15 years later during Wellington’s Peninsula campaign.

Spies in the Sky – photo intelligence in WWII

Military historian Taylor Downing explains how photo-reconnaissance pilots were vital to winning the war.

Shiloh, 1862 – the bloodiest battle so far

Jeffrey James recalls the events 150 years ago that first showed Americans just how terrible their Civil War was set to become.

If You’re Reading This… – last letters home

Siân Price has just published an edited volume of farewell letters to loved ones written by soldiers in anticipation of their own deaths. What do they say?

Also in this issue: War Culture, Book Reviews, and Battlefield guides.

From the editor

Neil Faulkner, Editor

Thirty years ago, a ferocious little war, like something out of 19th century colonial history, erupted on a small group of windswept islands in the South Atlantic.

As a military operation, it was, as veteran Falklands commander Major-General Julian Thompson argues this issue, a triumph of seapower.

The necessary seapower had almost been axed in government defence cuts. Even the force available was barely enough. Full air supremacy was never achieved, and British maritime losses to Argentine air-strikes were heavy. Little wonder that many politicians and defence chiefs had advised against the mission.

Much was at stake: as well as the fate of the Falklanders themselves, nothing less than the political survival of two governments.

The Argentine military junta was unpopular and unstable. Galtieri’s decision to wave the national flag was a desperate bid to shore up a hated regime. Defeat in the Falklands War led rapidly to the fall of the dictatorship.

But the Thatcher government in Britain was equally vulnerable. Its opinion poll ratings had hit rock-bottom in 1981 as unemployment soared and riots erupted in the inner cities.

Economic recovery had barely begun in 1982, and there is little doubt that had the Task Force been defeated, Thatcher would have lost the 1983 general election. Victory, on the other hand, ensured a second term.

It was a war the politicians should have avoided, the British no less than the Argentinian, since Galtieri would probably not have invaded at all if London had made clear that it would fight for the Falklands.

As it was, in those vicious three weeks, a thousand were killed, three thousand wounded, and a thousand more have become psychiatric casualties since.

Was it a war that should never have happened? Let us know your thoughts.


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