The Falklands Guns: The Story of the Captured Argentine Artillery that Became Part of the RAF Regiment

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The Skyguard radar-directed Oerlikon twin 35mm anti-aircraft guns had a major impact on the British air campaign during the Falklands Conflict of 1982. General Menéndez, transient Argentine Governor of Las Islas Malvinas, stated ‘The anti-aircraft gunners were the only Argentine forces on the Malvinas not to be beaten directly by the British and can take pride in being the first and the last to fire on the enemy.’

Following their surrender, these recently purchased guns were recognised for their military value to the RAF by a young squadron leader in the British Ministry of Defence who used his initiative to staff an entire new squadron into existence, the captured equipment uniquely to be manned by male and female part-time personnel fulfilling all combat roles equally. Fonfe´ was given first command of the new unit, No.2729 Squadron, and awarded an MBE.

This unusual story of the Falkland Guns begins with an account of the anti-aircraft battles of both the Argentinians and the British, drawing on captured enemy documents, followed by how Fonfe´ staffed the MoD process to raise the new unit, before describing the challenges and fun of commanding his own creation at breakneck speed to achieve Operational Declaration to NATO in record time. Later, on promotion to wing commander back to the MoD, now as the policy staff officer for all RAF ground-based AA weapons, he launched the formation of a second squadron to meet the RAF needs at the height of the Cold War.

Finally, forty years on, while the guns are now silent in military museums, the Skyguard radars continue in RAF service in the 2020s, giving NATO aircrews anti-aircraft fire avoidance training, given the continuing service of the weapon in so many potentially hostile nations.

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Manufacturer/Publisher: Frontline
Binding: Hardback
Author: Wing Commander Mike Fonfé
Date Published: 2023
Pagination: 288p

SKU: 9781526774422