The Battle of Goose Green was the first major land conflict of the Falklands War.
The Battle for Goose Green has become an integral part of the Falklands story, and yet it nearly didn’t take place at all. Originally earmarked to be isolated, Goose Green was eventually attacked due to the loss of momentum in the invasion force.
The British 2 Para Regiment were deployed against the 12th Argentinean Regiment, which numbered about 1,200 men. The British believed that the Argentinean force numbered at least half this and set off with a strength of 690 men. They took two days’ rations, weapons, and ammunition in the belief that it would be a swift conquest.
There followed a bitter and bloody fight as the Argentine forces fiercely defended Goose Green. Despite reconnaissance, the British were hampered by trench systems that they had been unaware of. Eventually the Argentines were forced to surrender, with 961 men captured, 145 taken prisoner during the fighting, and 47 killed. It was the first major engagement of the Falklands War.
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Gregory Fremont-Barnes is Senior Lecturer in War Studies at Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He has previously lectured around the world and holds a doctorate in Modern History from Oxford. He has written widely on military history, and currently lectures at Sandhurst on the conduct of the Falklands War. He lives in Surrey.