Battles of Mount Harriet and Two Sisters Mountain

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During the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas War the battle for the high ground on Mount Harriet and neighbouring Two Sisters Mountain was pivotal to both British attackers and Argentinian defenders in the form of Lieutenant-Colonel Diego Alejandro Soria's 4th 'Monte Caseros' Infantry Regiment as both sought to secure the approaches to Port Stanley. The battle began with British field artillery softening up bombardments that killed Privates Ramón Orlando Palavecino and Luis Orlando Aguilera on Two Sisters in the first two days of June and put out of action the Rasit ground-surveillance radar on Harriet on the night of June 2–3.[1] The fighting didn't reach its conclusion until the final infantry assaults on the night of June 11–12 and, even then, only after several naval bombardments as well as Royal Air Force Harrier attacks and Royal Marine Commando raids.


Following Operation Rosario (Falklands/Malvinas War), the Argentinian occupation of the Falkland/Malvinas Islands, 42 Commando and 45 Commando (40 and 45 CDO) of the British Royal Marines were deployed as part of Brigadier Julian Thompson's 3 Commando Brigade to retake the islands in Operation 'Corporate'.

Following 'Kilo' Company's helicopter flight forward on the night of May 31 to reinforce D Squadron 22nd Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment defending Mount Kent from Argentinian Special Forces attacks, the rest of 42 Commando arrived in helicopters, and were eventually ordered to secure Mount Challenger.

45 Commando's march to Bluff Cove Peak from San Carlos Water via Teal Inlet ended on June 4, and the next week was spent with 42 Commando patrolling No-Man's-Land, leading to a number of bloody clashes with the Argentinians.

Lieutenant Chris Fox's Recce Troop reached the western end of Two Sisters on the night of June 5/6. The next day, they killed five of the Argentinians, including three Marine Sappers: Corporal Jorge Sisterna and Privates Ramón Olavarría, Víctor Ordóñez and Vicente Díaz that were part of a mine-laying team. The Argentinians in the form of the platoon sergeant (Ramón Valdez) and several soldiers from 2d Lieutenant Marcelo Llambías Pravaz's 3rd Rifle Platoon (C Company, 4th Infantry Regiment) counterattacked and Fox's patrol having regrouped near Murrell River had to call in artillery fire and a smoke screen so that they could make good their escape[2]

Lieutenant Mark Townsends's 1 Troop from 'Kilo' Company, 42 Commando raided the forward Argentinian positions on Mount Harriet from Goat Ridge on the night of June 8/9 killing two defenders (Corporal Hipólito González y Private Martiniano Gómez) in 2d Lieutenant Lautaro Jiménez-Corbalán's 3rd Rifle Platoon (B Company, 4th Regiment) and wounding the platoon sergeant (Raúl Donato Solis) and Private Antonio Funes.[3] 2d Lieutenant Jiménez-Corbalán along with reinforcements in the form of a 10-man hand-picked section (under Sergeant Héctor Carlos Montellano) from 'B' Company Headquarters counterattacked forcing Towsend's men to retreat.

On June 9, Sergeant Ian Allum's Recce Platoon from the 2nd Scots Guards Battalion attempted to pinpoint the heavy weapons emplacements on Harriet from their hide in Port Harriet House but the 4th Regiment's Reconnaissance Platoon (under 2d Lieutenant Jorge Pasolli) dispersed them in a bayonet charge, causing 3 wounded during the supporting Argentinian mortar bombardment.[4]

That night, as a result of the spirited resistance encountered on Harriet, Lieutenant David Morgan's 1st Battalion 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles was forced to call off a night raid on the Argentinian strongpoint.[5]

On the night of June 9/10, Lieutenant David Stewart 3 Troop of 'X-Ray' Company, 45 Commando attempted to raid the forward positions of 2d Lieutenant Llambías-Pravaz's platoon. Stewart's platoon, reinforced by a dozen sappers, mortarmen and recce troops, clashed with 50 Argentinian Special Forces spread in ambush positions near Murrell River. The Argentinians lost 2 special forces (Sergeants Mario Antonio Cisnero and Ramón Gumersindo Acosta) killed and 2 wounded (Senior Lieutenant Jorge Vizoso-Posse and Sergeant Pablo Daniel Parada) battling Stewart's men, seizing much equipment, while the British report losing 4 Royal Marines killed and 3 wounded on this night.[6][7] According to British military historian Bruce Quarrie, it was a hard-fought and costly action for both sides:

A constant series of patrols was undertaken at night to scout out and harass the enemy. Typical was the patrol sent out in the early hours of the morning of 10 June. Lieutenant David Stewart of X-Ray Company, 45 Commando, had briefed his men during the previous afternoon, and by midnight they were ready. Heavily armed, with two machine-guns per section plus 66 mm rocket launchers and 2-inch mortars, the Troop moved off stealthily into the moonlit night towards a ridge some 4 km away where Argentine movement had been observed. Keeping well spaced out because of the good visibility, they moved across the rocky ground using the numerous shell holes for cover, and by 04.00 [1 am local time] were set to cross the final stretch of open ground in front of the enemy positions. Using a shallow stream for cover, they moved up the slope and deployed into position among the rocks in front of the Argentine trenches. With the help of a light-intensifying night scope, they could see sentries moving about. Suddenly, an Argentine machine-gun opened fire and the Marines launched a couple of flares from their mortar, firing back with their own machine-guns and rifles. Within seconds three Argentine soldiers and two Marines were dead. Other figures could be seen running on the hill to the left, and four more Argentine soldiers fell to the accuracy of the Marines' fire. By this time, the Argentine troops further up the slope were wide awake, and a hail of fire forced the Marines to crouch in the shelter of the rocks. The situation was becoming decidedly unhealthy and Lieutenant Stewart decided to retire, with the objective of killing and harassing the enemy well and truly accomplished. However, a machine-gun to the Marines' right was pouring fire over their getaway route, and Stewart sent his veteran Sergeant, Jolly, with a couple of other men to take it out [They knew they were cut off with what looked a poor chance of escape. In these circumstances any panic or break in morale and the game was up]. After a difficult approach with little cover, there was a short burst of fire and the Argentine machine-gun fell silent. Leapfrogging by sections, the Troop retreated to the stream, by which time the Argentine fire was falling short and there were no further casualties.[8]

Two Sisters

As the Battle of Mount Longdon and Wireless Ridge commenced, 45 Commando, under Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Whitehead, in the centre, moved off towards their start-lines ('Pub Garden') for the attack on Two Sisters Mountain. Captain Ian Gardiner's 'X-Ray' Company spearheaded the attack. The Royal Marines preferred to attack under the cover of night. Such was the importance attached to lives.

'X-Ray' Company would assault the lower ridges of the southern peak ('Long Toenail') of Two Sisters from the west, 'Zulu' Company would attack the northern peak, known in 45 Commando as 'Summer Days', and 'Yankee' Company would then assault the eastern ridge. The local commander on the Two Sisters ridge was Major Ricardo Mario Cordón, second-in-command of the 4th 'Monte Caseros' Infantry Regiment.

The first attack against 'Long Toenail' came in around 11.00 PM Falklands time and Lieutenant David Stewart's 3 Troop – a Royal Marine Troop is like an Army Platoon – managed to get very close to 2d Lieutenant Marcelo Llambías-Pravaz's 3rd Platoon, 'C' Company, 4th Regiment. But the attack was beaten off by rifle and machine-gun fire. Second Lieutenant Llambias-Pravaz rallied his men with the old Guarani Indian war-cry of 'Sapukay!' The Royal Marine Commandos in 'X-Ray' Company pushed hard when prudent, but avoided rash moves.

The Argentine conscripts on 'Long Toenail' under Corporals Raúl Héctor Peña, Raúl Ramos, Walter Ariel Pintos and Jorge Omar Valdez stood to their machineguns and Instalaza anti-tank rocket launchers and defied the attackers with fixed bayonets. Lieutenant Stewart's men flung themselves again at the Argentinians but, were driven off much to the frustration of Captain Gardiner. Despite this, some Argentinians had to pull in a bit or be overrun. The combat was extremely rough being fought in cold wind over a bare rocky ridge and around huge boulders.

Eventually, at 2.45 AM, the sections under Corporals Peña, Ramos, Pintos and Valdez had to retreat. After nearly 4 hours of chaotic night fighting the men of 3rd Platoon fell back from 'Long Toenail'.

The great fight in and around the southern peak had cost Llambías-Pravaz's 3rd Platoon 5 killed and 16 wounded, including his platoon sergeant. The assault on the southern peak was supported by 40 Commando's Anti-Tank Troop and innumerable 66mm LAW anti-tank rockets. 'X Ray' Company found the Milan missiles to be a very effective way of dislodging Llambías-Pravaz's defiant 3rd Platoon, but expensive at 35,000 US dollars each. 2d Lt Llambías-Pravaz was one of the recent April 1982 graduates from the Army Academy. His outstanding courage was recognized by the award of the Gallantry in Combat Medal.

Soon after midnight as 'X-Ray' Company continued its fight for 'Long Toenail', 'Zulu' Company followed by 'Yankee' Company to their right, moved off from 'Pub Garden' on their silent uphill approach. As the Argentinian 1st and 2nd Platoons were still distracted by 'X-Ray' Company's attack, the other two companies closed in until an Argentinian flare illuminated 'Zulu' Company and 8 Troop opened fire in response.

'Yankee' and 'Zulu' Companies attacked the northern peak of Two Sisters at 1230 local time and engaged in a two-hour firefight, during which the Argentinian mortar platoon commander (Lieutenant Luis Carlos Martella, son of an Argentinian Army 3-Star General) was killed.

The 3rd Artillery Group's pack howitzers and Major Oscar Jaimet's heavy mortars were brought into play, giving the 4th Regiment's 'C' Company effective support. In this way 45 Commando began to suffer serious losses, including the loss of two platoon commanders (Lieutenants Dunning and Davies) and the naval gunfire liaison officer of the British cruiser 'Glamorgan'. The whole operation was proving to be a disaster.

Then to the astonishment of the Argentinians on the northern peak, 'Zulu' Company, below, at about 02.30 local time rose, charging with fixed bayonets and screaming at the top of their voices swept the defenders aside. Lieutenant Clive Dytor, commander of 8 Troop, 'Zulu' Company had tipped the scales and defeated Major Ricardo Cordón. At about 0300 Major Cordón and his staff threw up their arms when Royal Marines entered their bunker. Had Lieutenant Clive Dytor dithered in closing with and defeating Perez-Grandi's 2nd Platoon, 'Summer Days' would have perhaps been reinforced in time by the 6th 'Mercedes' Regiment's 'B' Company which was currently preparing. Commando-trained Major Oscar Ramón Jaimet was naturally anxious to help Major Cordón. This would have changed the picture of the Battle for Two Sisters Mountain completely.

In an interview with the Globe & Laurel (The Journal of the Royal Marines, July/August 1982) soon after the Falklands War, Second Lieutenant Paul Mansell, a rifle platoon commander in 'Zulu' Company, recalled the heavy exchange of fire in the fight for the northern Two Sisters stronghold:

The mission was to attack the Two Sisters and exploit forward to Mount Tumbledown. However, the presumed enemy forces strength of one medium machine gun on our company objective was later confirmed to have swollen to at least two platoons of Argies in a seemingly impregnable defensive position within the rock formation on the Bluff ... Yankee Company on our right immediately suffered two fatal injuries from gunshot wounds. Amongst my troop, I sustained two VSI head wounds from artillery fragments in my forward sections.As these men were being casevaced, our depth troop was temporarily caught in a mortar DF which resulted in one further fatality and three seriously injured. It was now that everyone turned on to 'auto-pilot', relying totally on their own professionalism and training ... Having sustained such early casualties, it was with pride that I noticed a bold defiance and aggressiveness during our skirmish forward. The steady thudding of their 0.5 Browning machine gun, chorused by the rattle of FN automatic fire was regularly interrupted by our Carl Gustav and 66 mm HEAT warheads exploding on the rock face of the Bluff ... The Commando policy of hitting hard with everything at our disposal, from rifle to Naval gunfire proved its worth.


The task of ridding the 6th 'Mercedes' Mechanized Infantry Regiment's 'B' Company remained. On the eastern ridge the fighting was equally tough. The defenders brought down heavy machine-gun and mortar fire on 'Yankee' Company now reduced to a single platoon (5 Troop under Lieutenant Andy Davis) after the loss of the other two rifle platoon commanders.[10]

Private Oscar Ismael Poltronieri, as a machine-gunner found himself very busy indeed, suffering two near-misses from anti-tanks rockets from Shaw's platoon.[11]

Part of his citation for the Heroic Valour Cross, the highest Argentinian decoration for bravery, reads:

Always volunteering for dangerous missions, manning a machine-gun, holding up attacks, always the last man to withdraw, sometimes overrun by the English, twice given up for dead but always returning to his platoon.[12]

Ahead of 'Yankee' Company was a ridgeline and there Second Lieutenant Aldo Franco's 3rd Platoon, 'B' Company, 6th Regiment, lay in wait. Franco had harrangued his young soldiers and had gained their confidence. While the fight for the eastern ridge was in progress, an Exocet anti-ship missile was launched from a Marine trailer on Murray Heights, causing serious damage to the light cruiser 'Glamorgan', and killing 14 and wounding/injuring over 30 British sailors.[13]The British warship had been forced to remain in position longer than expected in support of 'Yankee' Company and had been hit while taking a short cut close to the shoreline, off Seal Point, in an attempt to reach the safety of San Carlos with dawn fast approaching.

Major Jaimet was confident of holding the British thrust, now coming from the northern peak. During the advance on the eastern ridge Lieutenant Andy Shaw's 5 Troop reportedly destroyed two Argentinian machine-guns, somehow avoiding the mortar bombs exploding all around them coming from the 120mm mortar section under Corporal Juan Antonio Barroso and Private Mario Javier Romero, not to mention the numerous booby-traps, (including aerial bombs) laid by the 1st Amphibious Engineer Company platoon under Marine Lieutenant Héctor Omar Miño in the first week of June. A counterattack at the 10th Mechanized Infantry Brigade Headquarters in Stanley House was contemplated but rejected. Then Jaimet received orders at 0445 to abandon the ridge and retire to Tumbledown Mountain. With the breach on Two Sisters Mountain, where Major Cordón's company was supposed to be, the 6th Regiment company had no option but to withdraw with dawn fast approaching. Franco's platoon formed the rearguard and it filed off, leaving three killed. Time and time again 2d Lt. Franco―he became an Army commando after the war―reported his platoon could hold, but was ordered to abandon Two Sisters.

So ended the Battle for Two Sisters Mountain, six hours after 'X-Ray' Company came under heavy fire from 2d Lt Llambías-Pravaz's 3rd Platoon on 'Long Toenail' (as long and costly as the fighting for Darwin Ridge had been for both sides, according to the authors of '5th Infantry Brigade in the Falklands'). 45 Commando's losses were 8 dead and 17 wounded. The Argentine losses were put at 20 dead and 50 wounded. 2d Lieutenant Miguel Mosquera-Gutiérrez was wounded during the fighting on the northern peak. Lieutenant Luis Carlos Martella on 'Long Toenail' was killed. Second Lieutenant Jorge Daniel Perez-Grandi was also down. His conscripts carried him away, severely wounded. Perez-Grandi had spent a year in 1978 in the 4th Airborne Artillery Group as a conscript before entering the Buenos Aires Army Academy.

Naturally the Army needed a scapegoat and Major Ricardo Cordón was court-martialed and sacked. Bad luck played at least a malignant part as the loss of his reserve platoon and communications in the 4th Regiment's 'C' Company.

Lieutenant Andy Shaw's platoon, seeking revenge for comrades lost two nights before, gathered a group of Argentinian prisoners and were preparing to execute them when all of a sudden the British battalion commander, accompanied by British war correspondent Robert Fox, appeared out of the early morning mist to inspect the captured positions, scuttling their plans for vengeance.[14]

The Royal Marines now chose to demonstrate that gung-ho as vengeful, they also had a human side. When the remnants of 1st Platoon, 'A' Company, 4th Regiment were withdrawn, their wounded platoon commander was overlooked in the dark and taken by the Royal Marines. When it became apparent that the Argentinian Artillery was about to bombard Two Sisters, the Royal Marines moved the wounded officer to a place of safety where he could be shielded from the incoming fire.

British war correspondent Robert Fox recalls that:

A second lieutenant with a smashed lower leg said he couldn't walk. I hoisted him so that he could put his arm on my shoulder. He was about 6 foot 4 inches tall and felt almost one and a half times my weight. I asked him how badly he was hurt. 'Agua, agua', (water, water) was all he could whimper in reply. We laid him on the ground and managed to get a helicopter to take him away.[15]

The reserve platoon under Second Lieutenant Juan Nazer had been heavily mortared and had given up ground almost immediately. Nazer's platoon had failed to prepare a firm platoon defence line facing Murrell River, possibly as a result of exhaustion following their long debilitating period on Beagle Ridge.

Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Whitehead reportedly looked in wonderment at the strength of the positions the enemy had abandoned. "With 120 men I could have died of old age holding these hills."[16]

For Lieutenant Cliver Dytor, who had joined the Royal Marines in 1980, the Argentinian heavy machine-gunners and protecting rifle teams on the northern peak had fought to the bitter end, "The Argentine marines all fought to the end and were killed with bullets and bayonets. We had to fight through lots of positions, clearing the enemy."[17]

In 2012, in an interview with the British newspaper Chester Chronicle, Lieutenant Chris Caroe, a 21-year-old platoon commander in the fighting for the southern peak, confirmed that the Argentinian defenders had been resolute fighters: "Despite being a conscript army... the Argentinians were a force to be reckoned with because they were led by skilled regulars." [18]


To the south, Mount Harriet proved to be more formidable, being surrounded to the west and south by minefields. 3 Commando Brigade's last target for the night was alloted to 42 Royal Marine Commando Battalion (under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Nick Vaux).

Under the cover of darkness of June 12, 42 Royal Marine Commando Battalion's 'Kilo' Company (under Captain Peter Babbington) "secretly crept" through First Lieutenant Carlos Alberto Arroyo's lines in the form of a frozen minefield and arrived at the eastern end of Mount Harriet by 2215 local time. The 4th Regiment sentries; despite all preparations were caught by surprise. The Royal Marine Commandos were magnificently trained at silent approach.

The advance of 'K' Company, 42 Royal Marine Commando Battalion was made with dazzling rapidity. In vain Lieutenant-Colonel Diego Alejandro Soria called down on the eastern slopes the fire of the Argentinian Artillery knowing very well that the Heavy Mortar Platoon (under 2d Lieutenant Mario Héctor Juaréz) was positioned there.

So large were the column of dejected prisoners that it was obvious the strength on the eastern ridge had been greatly underestimated. Nevertheless, it was not all a pushover. Some Argentinian conscripts had fought with great tenacity. Private Daniel Jose Sanchez (wounded in action) from the Heavy Weapons Platoon had proved particularly courageous, causing the Royal Marine Commandos to dive for cover as he liberally sprayed them with fire with his Browning 12.7 millimetre heavy machinegun. Sanchez "loved being in Malvinas".

Meanwhile, Lieutenant-Colonel Diego Soria hurriedly sent a 12th Regiment officer, Senior Lieutenant Ignacio Benjamín Gorriti, for reinforcements, to the 12th Regiment Reserve Platoon (under 2d Lieutenant Celestino Mosteirin) on the southern slopes of Mount Harriet. To Soria's credit, Senior Lieutenant Jorge Agustín Echeverria (the 4th Regiment's Intelligence officer) was able to move forward and establish a formidable defence line.

It was while storming the Argentinian Reserve Platoon lying in wait to ambush 'Kilo' Company that Corporal Steven Newland had a brush with death when he was wounded in both legs. Despite his wounds, he still managed to stagger away and gain 42 Royal Marine Commando Battalion's aid post.

The close quarter combat is here described first-hand by Corporal Steven Newland:

All the time we were lying there rounds were ricocheting off the rocks at us and the cold was freezing our bollocks off. On the radio I heard Sharkie talking to his boss. He said 'we're pinned down by a sniper and we can't move.' I thought 'Right, someone's got to go for this bastard.' So I took off my 66 [millimetre bazooka] shells, got on the radio to our boss and said 'Wait there and I'll see what I can do'. I crawled around this mega-size boulder, climbed up a little steep bit, went over the top on my stomach, rolled into cover, crawled a bit further and looked around the corner of this rock, thinking that the sniper had to be there somewhere. There was more than a sniper - there was half a platoon! About ten of them were lying on a nice, flat, table-top rock overlooking our positions. It was perfect for them. They had a machinegun on the left and the rest of them were lined out with rifles. Everytime one of ours tried to move forward, one of them would shoot at him, so to us it looked as if there was only one sniper who was keeping on the move. They were waiting for us to break cover and try and clear this one sniper - then they would just waste us with their machinegun. I sat back behind this rock and whispered down my throat-microphone to Sharkie about what I'd found. I told him to keep the lads there and I'd see what we could do. Then having made my mind up I picked up my SLR rifle, changed the magazine and put a fresh one on and slipped the safety catch off. I then looped the pin of one grenade onto one finger of my left hand and did the same with another. I was ready. So I thought 'Well, you've got to do something.' I pulled one grenade, whack - straight onto the machinegun. Pulled the other, whack - straight at the Spics. I dodged back around the rock and heard the two bangs. As soon as they'd gone off I went in and anything that moved got three rounds. I don't know how many I shot, but they got a whole magazine. I went back round the corner of the rock, changed the magazine and I was about to go back and sort out anyone who was left, when Sharkie called on the net: 'Get out. We're putting two 66s in' So I ran back down the hill, dived into this little hollow I'd seen on the way up. Over the net I told him to 'Let it go!'. The 66s exploded and the next thing I heard was Sharkie on the radio again. He said 'It's clear. They've given up. Go back to where you were and make sure they don't get out the back.' I went up by a different route and as I rounded this rock, I saw one of the guys that I'd hit. I'd only got him in the shoulder but he'd gone down like the rest of them and in the dark, I'd automatically thought he was dead. But he was far from that, because as I came back round the corner, he just squeezed off a burst from his automatic rifle. He must've realised he was going to die unless he got me first. I felt the bullets go into both my legs. I thought 'Shit, the fucker's got me'. I was so angry, I fired 15 rounds into his head.[19]

Newland shot several, one fatally.

The fighting on Mount Harriet was fierce, casualties were heavy and passions ran high. Yet a sense of restraint existed in 42 Royal Marine Commando Battalion.

Meanwhile, to the southwest of Mount Harriet, the vanguard of 42 Royal Marine Commando Battalion's 'Lima' Company (under Captain David Wheen) had had a nasty moment when it stumbled onto the 3rd Infantry Brigade's Security Platoon, commanded by 2d Lieutenant Pablo Andres Oliva, entrenched on the southern approaches to Mount Harriet. The Argentinians with their MAG 7.62 belt-fed millimetre machineguns and FAL automatic rifles opened up on 'Lima' Company, spitting fire into the ranks. The weight of fire was incredible. The attack of the Royal Marine Commandos faltered and disaster on a gigantic scale threatened to overwhelm Captain Wheen's company.

Then quite unexpectedly, with a collective roar, the Royal Marine Commandos began to advance, firing magazine after magazine. To the profound disappointment of Lieutenant-Colonel Soria, Oliva's platoon that suffered four killed during their time on Harriet, could not halt the British onslaught.

Savage fighting ensued as 'Lima' Company encountered some of the stiffest opposition of the night in the form of 2d Lieutenant Eugenio Cesar Bruny's 2nd Platoon and Argentinian artillery fire. According to Brigadier Julian Thompson's book 'No Picnic', eleven Royal Marine Commandos fell wounded to the canisters spewed out by the Argentinian Artillery.

Throughout the night most of the 4th Regiment B Company positions held, a young 12th Regiment NCO near the summit, Corporal Roberto Bacilio Baruzzo, continued to harass 'Lima' Company, wounding Lieutenant Julian Pusey, until he was blasted out by an 84 millimetre Carl Gustav anti-tank rocket and taken prisoner.

The flickering flames from a burning Mercedes jeep cast a glow over the facade. Visibility was poor owing to a heavy mist. Naval shelling which had been continuous added to the confusion. The Argentinian defence was unraveling.

Nevertheless, from their positions on the northern slopes the 3rd Platoon under 2d Lieutenant Lautaro Jiménez-Corbalán continued to contest the British advance and so fifteen GPMG machine-guns were moved into position to hammer the Argentinian rifle platoon and 5 Troop (under Lieutenant Jerry Burnell) moved into close quarters. As they closed in the Argentinians withdrew.

With dawn approaching and 'Lima' Company still fighting forward, 'Juliet' Company was ordered on to Goat Ridge, by which time the defending rifle platoon under 2d Lieutenant Oscar Augusto Silva (a paratrooper) had retreated to new positions on Tumbledown Mountain and 'Kilo' Company had cleared the summit of Harriet.

By 09.30 local time the craggy peaks of Mount Harriet and Goat Ridge were secure, at a cost to 42 Commando Battalion of two fatal casualties (Corporals Jeremy Smith and Laurence Watts) and thirty wounded.[20]

The remnants of the 4th Regiment's 'B' Company were virtually surrounded and Senior Lieutenant Carlos Alberto Arroyo and his men were forced to surrender:

It hurt me a lot to have to take the decision to surrender, but the situation then gave no alternative, and all I could have achieved was further casualties in my personnel, who were already in a bad state. But I was very sad to surrender.[21]


Accurate casualty figures, as always, are impossible to obtain, but the Argentinian Army admits around 40 Argentinians died defending the Harriet―Two Sisters defence line. These losses occurred in patrol battles, bombardments and the final British attack on the night of June 11–12. It was not a cheap victory for the British either. Ten Royal Marine Commandos were killed, if casualties during the night of June 9–10 June are included, and over 50 wounded, including Marine Mark Curtis who lost a leg in a minefield in early June and had to be carried for 7 hours before he could be evacuated.

A grateful Argentinian Army awarded 12th 'General Arenales' Regiment Private Luciano Oscar Pintos a Gallantry in Combat Medal for his rescue of several wounded on Mount Harriet. 42 Commando received one DSO, an MC and 4 MM's for Mount Harriet. 45 Commando were awarded a DSO, 3 MC's, a DCM and 4 MM's for Two Sisters.

The British fired over one-thousand shells and mortar bombs onto Mount Harriet that night, which was one of the main reasons why they won. The accuracy of the British gunners enabled the British Commandos to call down fire only 100 metres ahead of their advance. "If it wasn't for the British Artillery there would have been a lot more British casualties" said Lieutenant-Colonel Diego Soria after the war.[22]

The Argentinian defensive works on Mount Harriet and Two Sisters Mountain were far less elaborate than claimed by Brigadier-General Julian Thompson in the book 'No Picnic'. 3 Commando Brigade had conducted five company-sized attacks against Fuerza de Tareas Monte Caceros (Task Force Monte Caseros), killing around 20 Argentinians and capturing 300 on the night of June 11–12. Despite popular myth the soldiers of the 4th Regiment from Corrientes Province did not lack bravery, what he lacked was night-sights and manpack radios necessary for modern warfare.

The 4th Infantry Regiment had lost nearly all of its platoons and half of the platoon commanders and platoon sergeants were battle casualties. Senior Lieutenant Jorge Agustín Echeverría was badly wounded and captured as was 2d Lieutenant Eugenio César Bruny and 2d Lieutenant Mario Héctor Juaréz. Sergeant Héctor Ricardo Montellano, who had helped 2d Lieutenant Jiménez-Corbalán fight-off a Royal Marine Commando incursion on the night of June 8-9, was also killed.

In 2019, former platoon commanders Lautaro Jiménez-Corbalán and Mark Townsend returned to the Falklands/Malvinas to inspect the battlefield and in a token of friendship exchanged berets on the summit of Harriet with Towsend reporting that Jiménez-Corbalán was "A well trained officer that fought with bravery alongside his men."[23]


  1. Durante el bombardeo del 2 de junio, particularmente intenso sobre el radar RASIT, el cual al recibir un impacto cercano terminó por destruir el cable y su conector ,pieza fundamental e irremplazable para el funcionamiento del radar. Desde entonces, el Cabo 1º Gacitua, su operador, y el Tte 1º D´Aloia ,que también pasaba horas frente a la consola, intentaron hacer todo lo posible para ponerlo a funcionar de nuevo, pero no lo consiguieron. Malvinas en Primera Línea , Lautaro Giménez Corbalán, pp. 256-257 Editorial Edivern, 2017
  2. The Argentines must have put up a good fight because British records show that their patrol had to call on artillery shelling and smoke so that they could withdraw. Argentine Fight for the Falklands, Martin Middlebrook, pg 228, Pen & Sword, 2003
  3. Malvinas. Tras enfrentarse en combate, se hicieron amigos y ahora volvieron juntos a las islas
  4. Entrega de las Estatuillas “Malvinas Argentinas”
  5. At 0200 woken to find the Defensive Fire list done and just waiting for the infantry to advance. Later on the advance was cancelled, so the early hours were very quiet. Falklands Gunner, Tom Martin, Casemate Publishers, 2017
  6. Commando Veteran's Archive
  7. Marines shot comrades in Falklands conflict
  8. Bruce Quarrie, The Worlds Elite Forces, pp.53-54, Octopus Books Limited, 1985
  9. The Globe & Laurel:The Journal of the Royal Marines, p. 251, July/August 1982
  10. "What was a Yankee company became once again a 5 Troop task, so I got summoned by the company commander ... and I was told I was the only troop commander left so 5 Troop had to crack on with the job." The Untold Story Of 45 Commando In The Falklands | Major Andy Shaw
  11. "Just prior to Yankee Company moving forward, a .50 Browning machine gun at the western end continued to fire. Major Davis told one of his Carl Gustav 84mm anti-tank teams to move out to his right to improve their angle of fire and engage the .50, which they did, silencing the gun successfully ... Andy Shaw and 5 Troop were now the foremost troop ... A machine gun opened up close by from the left flank and they dived for cover. Corporal Bell shouted to Marine Jock Shaw to deal with it. Shaw carefully put his fag down on a rock, extended his 66mm launcher and fired. The gun fell silent and they moved on. It now began to snow; they also started to come under mortar fire ... the rounds very quickly started to arrive closer and closer until 5 Troop were engulfed in a barrage of hell." The Yompers, Ian R. Gardiner, p. 182, Pen & Sword, 2012
  12. The Fight for the Malvinas: The Argentine Forces in the Falklands War, Martin Middlebrook, p. 239, Viking, 1989
  13. HMS Glamorgan: memorial for Falklands War ship
  14. Meet Andy Shaw
  15. Eyewitness Falklands, Robert Fox, pp. 255-256
  16. The Battle for the Falklands, Max Hastings, Simon Jenkins, p. 296, Michael Joseph, 1983
  17. Falklands War hero explains why he entered the church after being awarded the Military Cross
  18. Ex-marine Chris Caroe from Chester recalls the Falklands War
  19. War in Peace, Volume 10 Issue 112, Orbis Publishing Limited 1985
  21. Denys Blakeway,The Falklands War: A Major Television Series of Channel Four, p. 156, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1992
  22. Razor's Edge, Hugh Bicheno, Orion Publishing Group, 2007
  23. Malvinas. Tras enfrentarse en combate, se hicieron amigos y ahora volvieron juntos a las islas

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