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Exocet Falklands (Paperback)

The Untold Story of Special Forces Operations

Falklands

By Ewen Southby-Tailyour
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 314
ISBN: 9781473872103
Published: 12th October 2016

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This is a revelatory account of three un-tabulated special forces operations, PLUM DUFF, MIKADO and KETTLEDRUM, that were tasked to destroy Argentina's Exocet missiles during the 1982 Falkland's campaign. In that context alone this book is of international military importance.

Using previously unknown material and through interviewing key players who have remained silent for 30 years, Ewen Southby-Tailyour has finally established the truth: that it has taken so long reflects the sensitivities, both military and personal, involved.

Interviews with the SAS officer commanding Operation PLUM DUFF, members of the reconnaissance patrol for Operation MIKADO, plus the navigator of the helicopter that flew eight troopers into Tierra del Fuego, has allowed the author to describe the tortuous events that led, instead, to a significant survival story.

The RAF pilots ordered to conduct an 'assault-landing' of two Hercules onto Rio Grande air base during Operation MIKADO have spoken of the extraordinary procedures they developed: so have the commander of the SBS and the captain of the British submarine involved in Operation KETTLEDRUM.

The Super Étendard pilots who sank HMS Sheffield and MV Atlantic Conveyor and then 'attacked' HMS Invincible, plus a key member of the Argentine special forces and the brigadier defending Rio Grande, add credence, depth and gravitas to the saga: as does an equally revealing interview with the SIS (MI6) officer who led the world-wide search for Exocets on the black market. Disturbing over-confidence by commanders at home was finely counter-balanced by stirring accounts of inspiring physical and moral courage across the South Atlantic.

Exocet Falklands is a ground-breaking work of investigative military history from which many salutary lessons can be learned.

★★★★★ A very well researched and presented text on the subject of the Exocet issue in 1982. It clearly analyses all the issues surrounding what happened and why the special ops should never have gone ahead. It vindicates those that were vilified for failure at the time. A must read for anyone interested in the history of the conflict.

Amazon Customer

★★★★★ Detailed and well researched history of SF involvement in the Falklands War which shatters the myths and reveals an astounding lack of planning and intelligence in the abortive helicopter mission in Tierra del Fuego. There was also a plan to fly a Hercules laden with SF troops into Rio Grande airfield, from where the Super Etendard fighters were operating in a "raid on Entebbe" style attack. No one had proper up to date maps of the area, no one knew the airfield was guarded by thousands of Argentine Marines (the base commander had been trained with the SBS in the UK and anticipated an attack) and no one knew that the Etendards were hidden every night in different locations off the airfield.

The gung ho attitude of senior SAS officers was shamefully unprofessional. On the other hand the bravery of the RAF SF flight crews who were prepared to fly into what they thought was a suicide mission is highlighted. Fortunately the fiasco of the crashed helicopter operation saved many lives.

Amazon Customer

Between politics, diplomacy and barbouzeries, this well-documented work will lead you in the arcane of what should have changed the course of this war.

Air Fan, February/March 2017 – reviewed by Sam Pretat

Author passage as featured in

The Field, January 2017

As featured in

Ivybridge Magazine

This is a revelatory account of three untabulated special forces operations, PLUM DUFF, MIKADO and KETTLEDRUM, that were tasked to destroy Argentina's Exocet missiles during the 1982 Falkland's campaign. In that context alone this book is of international military importance.

NavyBooks.com

Major Ewen Southby-Tailyour's name is already firmly associated with the Falkland Islands and with his authoritative accounts of many aspects of the 1982 war, notably the amphibious operations in which he played an important part. He writes with great authority on that conflict and this new book adds to his reputation. From start to finish, it is pleasingly written, at an early stage setting out the political background to the conflict and the strategic and tactical implications of the air-launched Exocet system.
'Exocet' Falklands' is well worth reading, mainly for its careful account of the planning and part-execution of a suite of operations intended to take out the Exocet threat to the task force.

Royal Air Force Historical Society

This is a fascinating account of three SAS missions to counter the Exocet missile during the 1982 Falklands War, ranging from ill-thought out ideas to near suicidal one-way trips onto enemy soil. Thankfully, none actually went ahead but the author's main argument is that action is no substitute for thought. He pulls no punches in criticising the hierarchy and backs his points up through maps, references and a comprehensive biography.
Belongs on the shelf of any military historian. *****

Soldier Magazine

Highly Recommended.

Pennant

Ewen Southby-Tailyour, the distinguished Royal Marines officer who himself played a key role in the Falklands conflict, has now brought these operations out of the shadows in an original and critical analysis that is an important contribution to the Operation Corporate literature.
This book should be read by everyone with an interest in what still remains a most fascinating conflict.

Navy News

On one level, this is a superbly researched history book about one of the least-known operations of the Falklands conflict. On another, it's quite simply a thundering great read.
Thanks to Southby-Tailyour’s fine book, the machinations of these men will not be forgotten. Neither, more importantly, will the heroic efforts of those men who were tasked to achieve the unachievable.

History of War Magazine

This book will take a prominent place in the growing literature surrounding the Falklands conflict. A valuable book for military history buffs; it raises salutary questions for British commanders in the spirit of 'lessons learned', it settles a few old scores, pays due deference to outstanding acts of bravery on both sides and is balanced and written clearly. For anyone fascinated by the Falklands conflict it is a 'must read'.

Old Pangbournian Society

I could not put this down; it is rare for a military history book to be such an exciting read. After 30 years of Top Secret embargoes, it is fascinating to learn from an expert Falklands veteran, the real story of the clandestine special operations on the Argentine mainland during the Falklands War.

Mary Clode
 Ewen Southby-Tailyour
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