I went to islands as Commander of the Command Battery / Company of the Triple A Unit Gada 601 -The Gada 601 had 4 Bateries/ Company -
Command Batery/Company of wich I was the Commander
The Service and LOgistic Batery / Company
Two Triple A bateries / Company
In My Battery I had : 2 Officers , One Sargent Mayor , 30 Sargents/ and its equivalents , and about 70 soldiers -
The responsabilities of my Battery / Company were :
Running the Triple A Command Post / CIC
All Comunications related to the Unit
All Operations regarding Unit
All means of detection ( Long Range Radar )
Since I was the only one trained from my unit to Operate the Cardion Long Range Radar , I had to stay with it all the days , and I had my officers and non Officers run the Company without any problem , they knew what it had to be done , they had been trained for that , so even me not been there ( I spend all my time inside the Radar ) , the company was able to performe very well - We had our death , and our wounded -
I think everyone who has ever read anything about the war knows that there were issues of animosity between officers, NCOs, and the junior ranks, but I feel there has been a persistent tendancy to be a little too sweeping with the assessment. I have no doubt that there were many exemplary officers and men beyond those who gained fame (Silva, Centurion, Estevez, etc).
There's no substitute for 1st hand accounts.
Last edited by happyslapper; 12-23-2008 at 08:14 PM.
I really admire your willingness to discuss these issues (and also ExBootneck, Jimmy, and the other veterans). I was not born until after the war, so my interest began as something purely academic. I spent my childhood with my Grandfather telling me stories of being stood in the fields behind his farm, watching the Spitfires and Messerchmitts figthing to the death over England (he was too young to fight), ready with his pitchfork in case the german pilot landed in a parachute... and even that used to reduce him to tears.
So I realise it's not always pleasant to have people who weren't there quizzing you.
I have a couple of questions, if you feel able to answer;
How much warning was your radar system able to give of (for example) an incoming Harrier strike? and, how frequently did you come under fire from naval artillery and the like?
The ANTPS Alert MK 2 Cardion had a range of 200 Nautical Milles , It does not mean you would see a Plane so far away because of the curve of the earth , In the Falklands the first days I was able to detect incoming airplanes at a range between 70 to 90 nautical miles ( I always expected one of the carriers to be in that area - Always saw them between 080 degrees and 100 degrees --
Twice hit by naval bombardment , one on the night of may 01 in Sapper Hill , second time on the night of June 11
On your question on the like of Naval Bombardment , I realy did'nt like it , it was war so it just happen -
After several nights of naval bombardment you get used to it , you know wen they are shooting long , or to the side of your position , just by the whilling sound of the amo-
Noew when its heading towards yo , that sound itensifies , and sudenly it stops , that means your hit - Everything arround you shakes , the light of the explosion is very intensive - Ad the air arround you has a different smell , i dont know if its because of the power / explosive -
Thanks for your answers, very interesting indeed. I can only imagine the terror.
My Grandad is still around, and tells me quite a few stories. I'm sure he'll have a few more to tell on Christmas day. If the war had gone on for another year, he would have been called up. He was evacuated (from London - as most children were) to a farm in Somerset, in the south-west of England. He remembers very clearly the vapour trails and smoke trails of the fighters having duels in the skies above, and how all the local men would be ready with sticks, shovels, pitchforks, and whatever else they could improvise with... to capture the Germans if they were shot down.
His Brother had the most horrendous job imaginable - he had to clean the dead bodies and guts of the tail-gunners of the RAF's bombers as they returned from missions. Sadly, he suffered a mental breakdown as a result, and committed suicide a few years later. Naturally, we don't really talk about that.
My other grandfather was a professional soldier, and fought right the way through the war, from Dunkirk to North Africa to the Far East. It's a miracle that he survived (a tough Scotsman). I have been given his medals, but sadly he died shortly before I was born. Perhaps one day I shall be able to find out more about him.
Thank you very much Andrew , Tell your Grandfather that I wish him a Merry Christmas , and talk a lot with him - You are a lucky person that has a Grandfather that can tell you stories about the History of your Country - - That is great -
About the Terror , well everything happens so suddenly , and your perceptions or awarenes or senses are at 100 per cent in a survival mode that I really don't know how to describe the feeling -
I do remember that you are very very alert , and you percive everything -