Sector Plata: The Battle for the Outer Stanly Defences, 11th/12th June 1982

The Battle

After the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands on 2nd April 1982 there began a massive build-up of forces to oppose the expected British landings. With not enough troops to cover the whole island, most were concentrated in the hills surrounding Port Stanley and in the capital itself. When the landings came they were made at San Carlos, on the opposite side of the island. There then followed a period of consolidation as material and men were ferried ashore. An expansion from the beach head was made between 21st-28th May culminating with the battle of Goose Green. Further probing actions established positions in the foothills surrounding the Argentine defensive ring. As the southern hemisphere winter approached the the most critical battle of the campaign was fought for the outer defensive position, Sector Plata.

The Argentinians had deploied forces on the three mountains dominating the approaches to Port Stanley. From north to south Mount Longdon, Two Sisters and Mount Harriet were each held by weak battalion strength units from the 4th, 6th, 7th, and 12th regiments. Three British battalions were chosen to assault these position on the night of the 11th/12th June. 3 Para would take Mount Longdon, 45 Commando Two Sisters and 42 Commando Mount Harriet. The operation was supported by the guns of 29th Commando regiment and naval gunfire from a number of Royal Navy frigates.

On Mount Longdon 3 Paras silent attack was discovered when one of the men stepped on a mine. Fighting was fierce, and in a battle lasting for over 9 hours the battalion took 45 casualties, the most of any unit in the campaign. Fighting continued until dawn. Exposed in the daylight 3 Para took more casualties from shell fire.

45 Commando made a two pronged assault on Two Sisters. Firstly, X company and the Milan troop advanced directly up the western slopes, later joined by Y and Z companies from the north-west. The summit was secured a few hours before dawn.

42 Commando sent two companies and the Milan troop in a wide march to the south of Mount Harriet, skirting the Argentinian mine fields. They managed to approach to within a few hundred metres of the defensive position before being detected. After initial resistance the last position crumbled.,P. As a postscript, whilst leaving just after dawn one of the frigates, H.M.S. Glamorgan, was hit by a ``lorry" launched Exocet missile.

The Wargame

The Argentinians deploy on the hill tops given in their orders of battle. They may be dug-in and have constructed bunkers from the surrounding rocks and peat.

The Argentinians may lay 20 4" x 4" square marked mine fields within 12" of their positions. These should be laid after the British have decided their starting positions, but before they have deploied on the table.

The British use the following start lines: 3 Para Furzel Bush Pass, 45 Cdo Murrel Bridge, 42 Cdo behind Wall Mountain.

Once contact has been made with all three hill top commands the Argentine player may start to roll for reenforcements, needing a 6 on a D6. If successful roll below:

1-4   Nothing
 5    2 Pltns from 5 BIM try to cross from Mount Tumbeldown on foot.
 6    `A' Company RI 3 enters along northern track in truck.
The game lasts for 30 turns (after which time dawn and the open terrain makes any further action highly dangerous). If the British hold all three peaks then they have victory. If they hold two peaks they have a marginal victory. One peak gives the Argentines a marginal victory. If the Argentines hold all peaks then they gain victory.

Special Rules

Both sides heavy weapons move as ``Hand moved battalion guns'' and may not move and fire in the same turn. Note that the -1D6" reduction in movement should be applied when moving up or down hills. The game takes place on a moonlit night. Both sides supporting weapons may fire illumination rounds in a given turn instead of conventional ones. Each British Battalion has three I.I. night sights only. Each Argentine infantry and support company has two I.I. night sights. Each H.Q. has one I.I. night sight.

There is a route scouted off the southern edge of the board that gives a covered approach from behind Wall mountain to the road south of Mount Harriet. Any British unit may make this journey in D6+6 game turns.

British Order of Battle

3rd Parachute Battalion (Elite, 44 figures):

BHQ:              CO (Lieut. Colonel Pike) + 5 figures (2" mort.)
3 Companies:      8 figures (1 LAW, 2 LAD)
Support Company:  3 Milan-1 ATGW
                  2 81mm mortar
                  1 MMG
                  1 .50cal AAHMG
                  14 figures

45 Commando RM (Elite, 42 figures):

BHQ:              CO (Lieut. Colonel Whitehead) + 5 figures (2" mort.)
3 Companies:      8 figures (1 LAW, 2 LAD)
Support Company:  3 Milan-1 ATGW (From 40 Commando RM)
                  2 81mm mortar
                  1 MMG
                  12 figures

42 Commando RM (Elite, 42 figures):

BHQ:              CO (Lieut. Colonel Vaux) + 5 figures (2" mort.)
3 Companies:      8 figures (1 LAW, 2 LAD)
Support Company:  3 Milan-1 ATGW 
                  2 81mm mortar
                  1 MMG
                  12 figures

Artil. Support (29th Commando)

2 Observer teams  2 figures
3 Batteries       1 105mm How.
1 Frigate         1 4.2" Gun.

Argentine Order of Battle

On Mount Longdon (Poor unless stated otherwise, 19 figures):

HQ:                    CO (Major Salvadores) + 2 figures
B Company RI 7:        8 figures (1 Baz) 
Ca Ing 10 (Pltn)       4 figures (Engineers) (Regular)
Ca AM 12.7/IM (Pltn):  2 .50cal HMG (Regular)
                       4 figures

On Two Sisters (Regular, 28 figures):

HQ:                    CO (Majors Cordon & Jaimet) + 2 figures
B Company RI 6:        8 figures (1 Baz)
C Company RI 4:        8 figures (1 Baz) 
Support Company:       1 120mm mortar
                       1 81mm mortar
                       1 105mm RCL (Gun class 2)
                       1 .50cal HMG
                       9 figures

On Mount Harriet (Regular unless stated otherwise, 35 figures):

HQ:                      CO (Lieut. Col. Soria) + 5 figures
BrI III Defence Company  4 figures
B Company RI 4:          8 figures (1 Baz) 
C Company RI 12 (Pltn):  8 figures (1 Baz) (Poor)
Support Company:         1 120mm mortar
                         1 81mm mortar
                         1 105mm RCL (Gun class 2)
                         1 .50cal HMG
                         9 figures

Artil. Support

1 Observer team      2 figures
3 Batteries (GA 3)   1 105mm M56 How.
1 Battery (GA 101)   1 155mm L33 How.

Possible reenforcements (Regular)

2 Pltns 5 BIM:   4 figures
A Company RI 3:  8 figures (1 Baz) 
                 1 Medium Truck
``The Fight for the Malvinas - The Argentine forces in the Falklands" Martin Middlebrook, Viking 1989.
``No Picnic" Julian Thompson, Fontana 1986.

The Battlefield at Sector Plata