Mountain leaders are experts in cliff assaults so mountain climbing, snow and ice climbing, skiing and more come naturally to them. When they attack a house full of enemy troops on the Falkland Islands they do it professionally and get the win.
The Argentinian forces decided to try to take the Falkland Islands so the mountain leaders are called upon. This was the perfect terrain to put their skills in to action.
Royal Marine Mountain Leaders in the Falklands
At the end of May 1982, the mountain leaders were conducting small patrols to establish enemy disposition, movements, bases and intelligence gathering before the main body of troops would arrive.
A four man patrol led by Sergeant Stone were in their observation post. They had been in place for nearly a week. On the 27th of May they noted from their point on Bull Hill that two Argentinian UH-1 helicopters dropped off a patrol of roughly sixteen troops at Top Malo House. The house was 400 metres from their position.
The Royal Navy couldn’t use artillery to attack the house as it was out of range. The Harriers couldn’t strike either due to bad weather and it was getting dark. Only one option left so the bosses put some boots on the ground to smash them up.
The Argentinian special forces were doing exactly what the mountain leaders were doing. Sitting in an OP and therefore reporting enemy troop movements back to their respective HQ.
The Assault on Top Malo House
Led by Captain Rod Boswell, they planned to assault Top Malo house at first light to clear it of enemy troops. He radioed his other patrols and arranged a Sea King helicopter to pick them up. It would drop them at a landing site about 1000 metres away from the house. From here they could group together, get organised and attack the position.
The patrol was an hour behind after a mix up with the helicopter so nineteen men with full kit and a weeks rations jumped in and prepared to head towards their target. The pilot flew low and fast ensuring they covered the 45 km journey without trouble.
The patrol headed off towards a fence line nearer the house. It was 1000 metres away. A seven man fire group moved closer, to a gate that was around 150 metres from the house. From here they would provide support to the main assault group attacking the house.
Final Recce Checks
The section commanders realised completed final recce checks and saw they couldn’t head too much closer to the house in the current conditions. Their dark uniforms against a backdrop of snow would mean an alert sentry would spot them.
They assumed that with the house being full of special forces, they would have a sentry who would be on the ball. The enemy didn’t see the mountain leaders getting closer. They crawled forward towards the house, hoping the lone window that gave great view overlooking them didn’t have anyone on watch.
Captain Boswell signaled the start of the attack by firing a green mini flare. This was the go ahead signal for the fire group to hit the house with six 66 mm light anti-armour rockets.
It turns out the Argentinian sentry was there and he was by the window. He just wasn’t paying attention. The guard heard the whoosh of the first rocket heading towards his building which prompted him to stick his head up. His head was duly taken care of by Corporal Groves who had a sniper rifle to keep him company.
As they moved forward, the house burst in to flames. Stockpiled ammunition tends to do that when met with rocket fire so the enemy had to get out of there. They escaped and made their way to a stream bed 50 metres away, getting some rounds down in the patrols direction as they moved. The patrol suffered two injuries, Sgt Doyle and Cpl Groves.
Smoke from the burning house gave the mountain leaders some cover as they made their way closer again. The British patrol killed one enemy with a 66 mm rocket and one more as he gave covering fire. The Argentinians made their escape to the stream bed.
The Enemy Couldn’t Continue
Captain Vercesi decided to surrender after the marines wounded six men who were running low on ammunition. The battle was over and the British captured four enemy, suffering three wounded.
Another friendly patrol had been watching the entire attack and made their way down afterwards to meet them. The British waved a Union Jack flag to ensure the marines didn’t shoot in the heat of the moment.
Two more patrols were watching except these weren’t mountain leaders.They were the Argentinian Air Force. The patrols were on Malo Hill and Mount Simon and fourteen men descended the hill the next day before surrendering to 3 Para and 45 Commando RM.
The Argentinians didn’t fancy the same treatment that they saw their mates get at the hands of the Royal Marine mountain leaders.
I thought you might like a quick video to finish with.
Ice breaking drills in Norway, always a hoofing day.