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Battle of Mount TUMBLEDOWN

The Battle of Mount TUMBLEDOWN was an engagement of the Falklands War which took place on the 13th/14th June 1982, and was part of a series of battles that took place during the advance towards Port STANLEY. The British force consisted of the 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards with mortar detachments from 42 Commando, Royal Marines and the 1/7th Duke of Edinburgh's OwnGurkha Rifles with support from a troop of the Blues & Royals equipped with two Scorpions and two Scimitars. Naval gunfire-support was provided by HMS Active's 4.5-in gun. The Argentinian force consisted of the 5th Marine Infantry Battalion

On the morning of the 13th June, the Scots Guards are moved by helicopter from their position at BLUFF COVE to an assembly area near GOAT RIDGE which was westof Mount TUMBLEDOWN. The plan for the attack on TUMBLEDOWN was for a diversionary attack to be made south of Mount TUMBLEDOWN by a small number of Scots Guards assisted by the four light tanks of the Blues & Royals, with the main attack being a three-phase silent advance from the west of Mount TUMBLEDOWN. The first phase would consist of G Company taking the western end of the mountain, secondphase would have Left Flank Company then passing through them to capture the center of the summit, with the third phase having Right Flank Company pass through Left Flank Company to secure the eastern end of TUMBLEDOWN.

At 8:30pm on the 13th June, the diversionary attack began. The 2nd Scots Guards Battalion's Reconnaissance Platoon, commanded by Major Richard BETHELL, a former SAS officer andsupported by the four light tanks of the Blues & Royals attacked an Argentinian Marine Company position on the lower slopes of Mount WILLIAM. They reached their objective silently, upon encountering the enemy, a heavy fire-fight ensued, lasting two hours and resulting in the deaths of two Scots Guardsmen and four wounded before the Argentinian Marine positions fell silent. Major BETHELL was discussingwith one of his medical orderlies how the wounded were to be carried back, when a scene beyond the imagination of Hollywood took place.

An appallingly wounded Argentinian Marine conscript dragged himself over the parapet of his trench and tossed a grenade at BETHELL's feet. BETHELL shot him before the grenade exploded, riddling his legs with shrapnel and wounding the medical orderly in thelung.

Upon knowing they could be counter-attacked at any time, the British platoon withdrew from the position and inadvertently entered a minefield which resulted in two men being wounded covering the withdrawal and a further four as a direct result of the minefield. The explosions prompted the 5th Marine Battalion's Operation Officer to order the 81mm Mortar Platoon on Mount WILLIAM attached tothe Marine O Company to open fire on the minefield and likely withdrawal route of anyone attacking the O Company position. The barrage lasted about forty minutes and more British casualties would have been suffered had not the soft peat absorbed the impact of the mortar bombs.

G Company left its start-line at 9:00pm on the nearly two mile advance towards its objective. They reached theirobjective undetected and found the western end of the mountain to be unoccupied. Left Flank Company then passed through G Company at 10:30pm to attack the next part of TUMBLEDOWN. The two main platoons then began advancing eastwards up the mountain's slope. Lieutenant Alasdair MITCHELL's 15 Platoon on the right were coming under heavy fire, and Lieutenant Anthony FRASER's 13 Platoon on the left werecoming under equally, if not worse, fire from the Argentinians, two of its men being killed and two being wounded.

Meanwhile, about 400 yards ahead of them, a company of Marines lay entrenched. The employment of the Carl Gustav missiles, as well as the 66mm anti-tank rockets, did not prove as effective for the British as they had at Goose Green. The 5th Marines were well dug in, and succeeded at...
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