Argentine surrender in the Falklands War
With the last natural defence line at Mount Tumbledown breached, the Argentine town defences of Port Stanley began to falter. In the morning gloom, one company commander got lost and his junior officers became despondent. Private Santiago Carrizo of the 3rd Regiment described how a platoon commander ordered them to take up positions in the houses and "if a Kelper resists, shoot him", but the entire company did nothing of the kind.
At 2100 hours on 14 June 1982, the commander of the Argentine garrison in Stanley, General Mario Menéndez, surrendered to the Major General Jeremy Moore. The surrender was in conflict with the Argentine Army code stating that a surrender was illegal unless more than 50% of the men were casualties and 75% of the ammunition was spent.
- The Argentines units will retain their flags.
- The units will remain under control of their respective officers
- The surrender ceremony will be private (not public)
- The Argentine officers will retain their sidearms.
- The final point about the returning of the 11,313 prisoners of war in their own ships was not accepted and 4,167 of them were repatriated to Argentina on the ocean liner Canberra alone. The junta had falsely claimed that the liner had been crippled during the Battle of San Carlos.
Present at the signing of the letter of surrender were:
- Captain Melbourne Hussey, Argentine Navy Translator
- General de Brigada Mario Menéndez Argentine Army
- Vicecomodoro Carlos Bloomer-Reeve, Argentine Air Force
- Vicecommodore Eugenio J Miari, Argentine Air Force, Senior Argentine legal advisor
- Captain Rod Bell, Royal Marines Translator
- Lieutenant-Colonel Geoff Field, Royal Engineers
- Colonel Brian Pennicott, Royal Artillery
- Major General Jeremy Moore, Royal Marines
- Colonel Mike Rose, Special Air Service
- Colonel Tom Seccombe, Royal Marines
- Staff Sergeant Glenn Harwood Royal Signals
The letter of surrender read:
|“||Headquarters, Land Forces
INSTRUMENT OF SURRENDER
Under the terms of this surrender all Argentine personnel in the Falkland Islands are to muster at assembly points which will be nominated by General Moore and hand over their arms, ammunition, and all other weapons and warlike equipment as directed by General Moore or appropriate British officers acting on his behalf.
Following the surrender all personnel of the Argentinian Forces will be treated with honour in accordance with the conditions set out in the Geneva Convention of 1949. They will obey any directions concerning movement and in connection with accommodation.
This surrender is to be effective from 2359 hours ZULU on 14 June (2059 hours local) and includes those Argentine Forces presently deployed in and around Port Stanley, those others on East Falkland, (Menendez's signature) West Falkland and all outlying islands.
[Menéndez's signature] Commander Argentine Forces
Confiscated Argentine equipment
Quantities are approximates:
- 100 Mercedes-Benz MB 1112/13/14 trucks
- 20 Unimogs
- 50 Mercedes-Benz G-Class 4x4s
- 12 Panhard AML 90mm vehicles
- 1 SAM Roland launcher
- 7 SAM Tigercats launchers
- 1 Improvised Exocet launcher
- 3 CITER 155mm L33 Guns
- >10 Oto Melara 105mm cannons
- >15 Oerlikon twins 35 mm and 15 Rheinmetall twin 20 mm air defence cannons and 20 Hispano Suiza 30 mm single barrel guns.
- 1 AN/TPS-43 3D mobile air search radar
- 1 AN/TPS-44 mobile air search radar
- >5 Skyguard FC radars plus (1 damaged in missile strike), 1 Super Fledermaus FC radar and several RASIT fire control radars
- Blowpipes Manpads
- SAM-7 Manpads (bought in late May from Gaddafi's Libya)
- 14 flyable helicopters (2 Agusta A109, 2 Bell 212, 8 UH-1H, 1 Chinook and 1 Puma)
- >10 FMA IA 58 Pucará
- 1 Aermacchi MB-339
- Argentine Coast Guard patrol boat GC82 Islas Malvinas - renamed HMS Tiger Bay
- >11,000 personal weapons
- >4 million 7.62 munition rounds (10,500 from Goose Green)
- >11,000 105mm ammunition rounds
Some of the equipment was rendered useless by Argentine personnel before the surrender.
The Argentine Rattenbach commission (Spanish: Informe Rattenbach) was assembled after the war to investigate the causes of defeat. It recommended serious penalties for some of the officers in charge, but its influence on the later trial was practically nil.
On 20 June, the British retook the South Sandwich Islands and declared hostilities to be over after removing Argentina's Southern Thule garrison at the Corbeta Uruguay base. Corbeta Uruguay was established in 1976, but the Argentine base was only contested through diplomatic channels by the UK until 1982.
The British Government decreed that all classified information would be available to the public in the year 2082. However, following the Freedom of Information Act, a great deal of formerly classified material is now available.
The surrender document is on display at the Imperial War Museum in London. As noted in the museum, the time of surrender was backdated three hours in order that both Zulu time (UTC) and the local time were recorded as 14 June even though technically it was already 15 June in London, in order to prevent possible confusion by Argentine troops who might have mistakenly thought that they were permitted to keep fighting until the next day, 15 June 1982.
Relations between the UK and Argentina were not restored until 1989 and only under the umbrella formula which states that the islands sovereignty dispute will remain aside.
14 June has been a public holiday in the Falkland Islands since 1984, officially called as "Liberation Day".
- Max Hastings & Simon Jenkins, The Battle For The Falklands, p. 307
- "That under the military code of conduct Menendez would not be expected to surrender until he had lost half his men and three-quarters of his ammunition, otherwise he should expect to be court-martialled." - Freedman, Lawrence: Signals of War (1990) Faber and faber. ISBN 0-571-14144-7
- Vicecomodoro is a rank equivalent to wing commander in the Royal Air Force
- Document of surrender facsimile Archived 2011-05-01 at the Wayback Machine
- Informe Rattenbach (in Spanish)
- "Rattenbach report". Archived from the original on 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
- Extract from the Surrender document - IWM Archived 2008-11-12 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2004-03-24