British Special forces have carried a raid on the Falkland Islands to test the garrison's security amid fears that Argentina may try to land commandos on the Islands, according to a piece published in the Sunday Express. Apparently such routine exercises are carried out in UK highly sensitive bases and defense compounds.
In this case, writes the Sunday Express, the surprise attack involved members of the Special Boat Service who landed from the sea tasked with capturing key strategic targets. with more than 20 troops taking part in the mission, planned by senior officers at the Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood, west London.
Landing on West Falkland in five four-man teams, each group was assigned a target and had to “leave a calling card” to prove their mission had been successful. The troops are understood to have secured two islands without being spotted, as well as targeting an air traffic control tower and a military power supply.
UK military sources revealed that the exercise happened four months ago and has also been carried out in recent years, and it is evidence that a 'snatch propaganda victory' has been vexing the minds of military chiefs for some time.
The raid is understood to have been just one scenario in a much larger exercise called Falklands Forum, when the entire garrison is tested in its ability to react to hostile action. Similar exercises are carried out at the Royal Navy’s Faslane nuclear submarine base where, every few years, Special Forces play the role of terrorists and try to break into the base. Other highly restricted nuclear sites around Britain, including Aldermaston, are tested in a similar way.
A senior military source quoted by the Sunday Express said: “We can learn a lot from them in respect of the routes that key people take to work every day and areas of security weakness” adding we can learn a lot from them in respect of the routes that key people take to work every day and areas of security weakness .
The article also underlines that another potential point of friction presented itself with revelations that members of 3 Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, are scheduled for the next rotation to the Falklands in June.
In effect, this last week saw an escalation of Argentina/UK diplomatic conflict over the Falklands, which was described as a “tit-for-tat” move after the Foreign Office called in Argentine ambassador Alicia Castro to register its unhappiness about recent attacks by Ms. Castro and the Argentine president Cristina Fernandez over Falklands oil exploration projects and the updating of the British garrison. UK ambassador John Freeman was summoned over allegations that UK had been spying on Argentina from 2008 to 2011.
It is understood that the Parachute Regiment will take the lead in ceremonies to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of Britain’s success in repelling the 1982 Argentine invasion.
The Second and Third Battalions of the Parachute Regiment, along with the Royal Marines, were instrumental in pushing back Argentine forces in a 74-day war that cost the lives of 255 British soldiers, 649 Argentines and three Falkland Islanders.
The ceremonies will focus on the battle of Goose Green, where 55 Argentine troops and 18 British soldiers were killed, and Mount Longdon where, during the Battle for Port Stanley, Sgt Ian Mackay, of 3 Para, earned a posthumous Victoria Cross for storming Argentine defenses singlehanded, adds the article.
However a source from the Defense ministry said that the decision to send 3 Para to the Falkland Islands was 'not deliberate'.