Recently I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Falklands with elements of the army as the attached academic on their battlefield study. The islands are utterly incredible, but one of the most particularly striking sites was Mount Harriet, where the Royal Marines of 42 Commando wrested control of the hill from the Argentine defenders on the night of 11-12 June, 1982. Thanks to excellent planning, and brilliant co-operation between different branches of the Task Force, the hill was taken with the loss of just two men.
As a defensive feature, Harriet is impressive. It is bounded by an almost vertical incline to the north, an open slope to the south, and the summit is marked by rock outcrops that form natural sangars. You can explore all of the old Argentine positions and I’ve included a few photos of them below. It’s staggering to think how you’d attack it, and incredible to think it was done with just 32 British casualties.
However, this alone isn’t what is so amazing about Harriet. Instead, what’s incredible is that the summit of the slope is like a time capsule. The hill is littered with the detritus of war, from small personal items evoking such pathos, Like shoes or razor blades.
But you can also see the defensive positions and remnants of heavy weapons that should have made this natural fortress utterly impervious. The views from the summit, down to where the Royal Marines attacked from, and the surrounding hills, are commanding to say the least.
It really is an incredible place.