Daily Archives: 22 July, 2009

Book of the Week 1

Amphibious Assault Falklands – Michael Clapp and Ewen-Southby Tailyour

This is a pretty insightful book by the officer who commanded the Amphibious phase of the Falklands War. While Sandy Woodward commanded the Battle fleet out at sea, and Julian Thompson commanded the Ground Forces, Michael Clapp was responsible for getting the Ground Forces from the sea and onto land safely, and into a position where they could go on and win the war.

In hindsight, it might seem that the Falklands was a pretty simple campaign, against a poorly equipped, poorly trained, ill led bunch of conscripts. But at the time it was certainly a close run thing. Fighting 8,000 away from home, with minimal air cover, and with far less troops than the Argentinians, the task force was at times very close to losing the war. Indeed, any number of strokes of bad luck might have been curtains. This boo, by such a key figure in the battle, highlights a number of pivotal aspects of the war.

Perhaps one of the most surprising issues that arises from the book, is how loosely the senior officers involved saw their lines of command. Whilst Thompson and Clapp seem to have seen themselves and Woodward as equals, Woodward saw himself as in overall command. The overall command of the task force was taken from joint headquarters back in England. Given how confused and untidy the command structure was, its perhaps lucky that we could rely on some first class soldiers, sailors and airmen.

Read this alongside the similar books by Sandy Woodward and Julian Thompson, the more impartial view by Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins, and the Argentinian perspective by Martin Middlebrook, and you’re a long way to grasping the history of the Falklands War.

Amphibious Assault Falklands: The Battle of San Carlos Water

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HMS Daring

I went and had a lo0k at HMS Daring last weekend, the Royal Navy’s newest Type 45 Destroyer.

Its a very impressive ship – aside from the fact that its brand new – its actually slightly bigger in length and tonnage than HMS Dreadnought, the battleship. Its probably the most modern warship the Navy has ever had, the amount of space onboard is a far cry from the older ships that my great-grandad and great-uncle served on,

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and even the ones my Dad worked on in the Dockyard.

Its a bit of a shame that we’re only going to have 6 of them… if you think about it, normally half of them at any one time will be in refit, on trials or out of action in some way or other, so that leaves a maximum of 3 for wherever they’re needed around the world.

Check out my Grandad and me posing by the ganplank!

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