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Montevideo, December 13th 2018 - 21:00 UTC

Argentine conscripts re-live Falklands' nightmare

Tuesday, June 12th 2007 - 21:00 UTC
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Carlos Enriori and Dacio Agretti during his visit at Two Sisters Mountain Carlos Enriori and Dacio Agretti during his visit at Two Sisters Mountain

25 years ago today on the Falkland Islands, the first mountain under Argentine occupation was captured by advancing British troops and 3 days later the War ended.

On the night of the 11/12th June 1982, Royal Marine Commandos of 45 Battalion attacked Two Sisters (Dos Hermanos) and after a fierce battle lasting 7 hours they finally secured the mountain. Defending the mountain that night were two 18 year old Argentine conscripts, Dacio Agretti and Carlos Enriori, both from the Province of Corrientes in the north of Argentina. They were members of the 4th Infantry Regiment (R I 4). Recently they journeyed back to the Falklands and returned to the mountain, finding their positions and remembering their friends who never made it back home. They spoke of not being told where they were going, and had little time to prepare for the harsh Falklands' winter, and of being put on an aircraft and landing in Stanley and sleeping in wool sheds before walking to the mountains. Dacio who manned a 105mm gun on the east end of North Sister, recalled that initially they were sent to Wall Mountain, further to the south. He said, 'There we had hot food, built excellent positions and were quite ready for when the British attacked. Then around the 27th May we were suddenly told that we were to abandon Wall Mountain and that we would have to defend Dos Hermanos instead. Nobody explained why, we were just ordered to move. Some walked to the mountain and some of us were taken by truck. It was a crazy decision because we never really had time to build good positions on Dos Hermanos, also we did not have a Field Kitchen so we never had any hot food anymore. We had to eat from our ration packs and it was terrible having no hot food day after day'. Dacio also complained of poor leadership from senior officers in the Argentine army. 'I was in charge of a gun, but I never had any sights to fit on the weapon to practice firing. Then just one day before the British attacked us, a vehicle arrived with a set of sights, but it was too late and no time for me to get accustomed to the gun with the sights fitted'. Carlos Enriori, who lives in Monte Caseros, had to share a small area with 4 other conscripts between some rocks high on the west end of the mountain. 'At least we were able to keep warm as we huddled up against each other every night as it was so cold up there with snow almost every night. Our officers kept telling us that the British would come silently in the middle of the night and kill us in our sleeping bags, but instead they were shouting and yelling as they attacked, and it was very scary'. 'We had a very good sergeant, Martella, who treated us well and slept not far from us. But during the battle he grabbed his rifle and disappeared away to the south somewhere. Later I discovered that he had been killed and I was very sad'. Carlos admits that he did not stay around too long after the British began to take Argentine positions. 'There were 21 of us in our group but only 5 rifles worked properly and mine was one of those which was useless, so we just started moving back as quickly as we could and eventually I ended up on Tumbledown mountain where I spent the next 2 nights', he said. On the night of the 13/14th June, Carlos once more found himself under attack, this time from the Scots Guards. ''We eventually had to retreat and I walked back to Stanley Common where I spent a very cold night sheltering in peat bogs before going into Stanley and finding a house with some officers inside who allowed me to sleep there. We were all pleased it was all over, but I kept remembering my friends who never went back home with me. One was killed by a British shell weeks before we were attacked. It was dreadful. I had to tell his Mother that he would not be coming home as no-one had bothered to let her know'. Despite their bad experience in 1982 both Dacio Agretti and Carlos Enriori had no regrets at returning to the Islands and to Dos Hermanos mountain. Sitting on top of the mountain on a clear sunny day they spoke of the 'rugged beauty of the Islands with no fighting and no fear of never going home again to see our families and friends'. Mercopress - Stanley

Categories: Politics, Falkland Islands.

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