I have actually very vivid memories from the media and family about the Malvinas- Falkland's - South Atlantic conflict.
Unlike some families my family flowed with the great churning river of 20th C history due to invlovements in the military and clyde shipbuilding. My brother and cousin were down in the Falklands with the task-force, the latter experienced the strafing and bombing of HMS Ardent while my Brother's ship was commandeered from its Bermudan misfortuity of duty, and ended up shipping equipment to replace the Atlantic Conveyor so famously claimed as an air-craft-carrier kill.
Our earlier neighbour had been the late, great Sam Salt, latterly Rear Admiral I believe. He had been commander on the sub Resolution I believe, and the next we saw of him after his transfer in about 1981 was him popping up on ITN news at ten after Sheffield was effectively destroyed by the undetonated exocet missile launched by a super etenda aircraft.
The task force on the one hand could have been seen by the Yanks and other powers as a gallant little band trotting off on an expedition to an uncertain fate. In fact this was one of the most hardened and modern fleets in the world, whose bread and butter was high tech electronic cat and mouse in the cold war, with the technical teeth in weaponry to take on a sizeable part of the USSR's north atlantic surface and u-boat fleet. Britain had actually a vast naval superiority over the "Argies" and this being an Island war, hundreds of miles from the mainland, that was always going to be decisive.
The UK also had special forces more than capable of knocking out all the Argentinian airbases and the afore metioned AeroSpeciale jets with capacity to attack the UK fleet. Also these forces were willing to conduct one way missions, suicidal in effect against a nation then hell bent on torturing its own democratic dissidents. Lest we also forget that the Argies also took a minor land grab from the then Fascist Chilean territory south of Terra Del Fuego, thus further kindling support for cross border attacks and intelligence sharing.
Even France and the USA provided support , the former in hindring the availability of exocet missiles and parts which could be used to repurpose the missiles for land or air based attack once the submarine threat negated the entire naval operations of the Argies post Belgrano.
Belgrano was an active warship being used to provoke and intimidate the british surface fleet by penetrating the dubious political TEZ , total exclusion zone. Without the TEZ which attempted to both claim on international law while also being a bargaining part of a cease fire agrrement, then the sinking of the Belgrano would probably have been of little controversy. It was used partly as a conscript training ship, but I wonder what proportion of it's 1100 crew were under the age of 21 when compared to the Sheffield or Ardent? The Argentinians played a double standard, with their admiral ordering a total attack on the fleet while their diplomats were involved in a possible cease fire around May 1.
I remember the nightly BBC updates with some skinny oxbridge apple throated, faun tweed wearing bloke who became famous overnight, and the sinking feeling when the ceasefire was rejected and ground troop assault was ordered.
The lads looked so vulnerable and of course the losses were graphic and aweful, while at the same time in reflection limited. They showed the weakness in neither having air superiority, nor having an effective sub radar AA barrage against jet fighter-bomber attack.
Emotions were all nerves in our household. So far away in the lap of the gods. At no point did the British Command show an arrogance in underestimating the enemy completely, but when they did make mistakes as in the failed bombing of Stanley air base or the bungled landing of the Welsh Gaurds, then the enemy gave the task force a bitter bloody nose. It was a brutal, remote and stark war with much undeserved pain and loss on both sides.
However once the Marines, the Paras and the Gurkhas in particular were landed then there was an inevitability that scared conscripts in their trenches would capitulate to literally blood thirsty psychopaths with grenades and bayonets ready for close quarter combat.
What right did the Juanta have to invade and what right do the UK have to their Falklands on going?
Ironically we had another neighbour who was argentinian and a friend up the road who was also a national, both wives of brits. They could have both gazed out of the window to see the only nuclear submarine ever to fly the Jolly Roger pirate flag as a sign of a "kill" as she steamed up the clyde after the conflict was over.
Porcshe was one and Estella was the other argie bargie caught in an ideological nightmare of geography. The former was I believe of Italian and German family, Estella was more hispanic but maybe she had some italian too in her blood. What right then did the ancestors of these typical Argie nationals have to a land of Pampas once inhabited by native peoples? Or to the whom should Terra del Fuego belong?
The Falklands/Malvinas were up until then of no strategic value to the UK. Even with the oil under their waters, it would take Argentinian cooperation for commercially viable exploitation. Really to Argentina they are of political capital. Why not claim islands 200 nautical miles west of Terra Del Fuego? The UK is locked into its 'Old England Expects', faded imperialist self image and there by defending the inhabitants rights and soveriegnty of the isles which offer little more than sheltered sounds and harbours, uneconomic sheep farming and a staging post for possible oil exploitation.
It is only really Argentina or other south american countries who can utilise the resources economically around these Islands, and the islands themselves offer little more than a helipad-airport transfer lounge, and shelter to supply boats and trawlers in those same bays and sounds which echoed to low level jet attacks, ack-ack, sea wolf missiles and 4 inch frigate guns 32 years ago.
Indeed I propose that had it not been for the arrogant Juntas invasion, the islands may have become disinhabited by the british population and oil exploration would have been a joint issue, with even a potential sale of the whole boggy, barren, outcrop with it's waters once held up as the "TEZ" to the Argies.
War is brutal but not futile, it teaches aggressors that they cannot bully and get away with it. From the Junta in Buenos Aires to Bin Laden's assasination, these victories show the Putins and other bullies around the world that retrobution will come.