Sunday, April 8, 2012

How Chile Helped Britain Win the Falklands War

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, and Chile's role in the war also is being remembered. Kept secret for decades, Chile's assistance to Britain has come to light over the years, and it was extensive. The head of Chile's Air Force at the time, Gen. Fernando Matthei, was the principal figure. Mindful of Argentina's attempt to take three Chilean islands by force in 1978, Matthei was eager to help the British, and the Brits sought him out. Matthei, who had served as military attache in London, authorized a range of intelligence assistance. Radar tracking, electronic eavesdropping and other surveillance Chile conducted during the war gave Britain the eyes and ears it lacked otherwise. It was all monitored in an underground war room in the Punta Arenas area. All of this, of course, was done in utmost secrecy. Gen. Augusto Pinochet ordered Matthei to deal directly with the British officer in Chile, Wing Commander Sidney Edwards. That gave Pinochet and Chile's government some cover in case word leaked out. The Royal Air Force surreptitiously delivered a radar and other surveillance equipment to the south of Chile using RAF Hercules C-130 transport planes that were disguised with Chilean markings. Alas, the cover didn't work perfectly because the Spanish for "air force" was misspelled. When a radar had to be shut down for maintenance, the consequences were tragic: Argentine fighter-bombers were undetected as they attacked two British transports, destroying both. Eventually, the English rewarded Chile for its support, sending a batch of Hawker Hunter fighter planes, Canberra bombers, anti-aircraft missiles and radars.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, this goes to show even back then information awareness was instrumental in fighting a war.

Anonymous said...

Viva Chile mierda! !!!!
Chile should have gone a step further and taken control of the other side of the Patagonia lost in the Pacific war where Argentina as always plotted to go against chile. That would have meant 3 countries against 1. You got your well deserved slap in the arse you cocky bastards.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what San Martin would think of your SouthAmerican spirit. You know, that argentinian guy that freed Chile from Spain.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I wonder what San Martin would think of your SouthAmerican spirit. You know, that argentinian guy that freed Chile from Spain.

who cares