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Amphibious Assault Falklands: The Battle of San Carlos Water Paperback – 15 Feb 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Maritime; Reprint edition (15 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844155064
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844155064
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.8 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 462,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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IN THE SPRING of 1982 the Royal Navy was reeling from yet another series of cuts which to many of us in the service made little sense. Read the first page
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 1 Jun. 2007
Format: Hardcover
2007 sees the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War of 1982. In the UK at least, it seems as though everyone and each of our television channels is reliving that war in one way or another. Some authors and commentators are simply climbing onto the bandwagon with material which, to put it simply, is suspect. NOT SO!, with this book.

Michael Clapp was "Commodore Amphibious Warfare" during the Falklands War and co-author Ewen Southby-Tailyour was a serving Royal Marine Officer during that same conflict and whose knowledge of the waters of the Falklands was so invaluable before during and even after the landings. It was Southby-Tailyour who warned the officer in charge (Not!, the Commanding Officer I hasten to add) of the party of Welsh Guardsmen on board the "Sir Galahad" to get ashore before they were attacked and offered assistance to this end. That officer, incidentally, refused the request and the Sir Galahad was later attacked with great loss of life.

Those, then, are the credentials of the two men who have collaborated in the writing of this book. It is an important historic document.

The Captain of any ship is "Master" of that ship. He also commands all the ship's boats and is ultimately responsible for ensuring the safe embarkation and disembarkation of all on board. From ships lifeboats (even life-rafts) to assault craft, considerable training and expertise is required in getting passengers safely away and safely ashore. Never more so than when under fire from a belligerent enemy.

In early 1982, a hastily assembled Royal Navy Task Force was steaming towards the Falkland Islands which had been invaded by a foreign force.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This remains one of the best military memoirs of a campaign, and not just of the Falklands conflict. The two authors were clearly highly competent military officers and also articulate and capable of communicating complex concepts and arguments in a way which can be easily understood. Michael Clapp as the commander of the amphibious task group had the highly challenging job of getting the ground forces to the Falkland Islands, getting them ashore and then ensuring they were supplied, it was a job he achieved in the face of determined Argentine air attacks and with resources that were barely adequate. Ewen Southby-Tailyour was a Royal Marine with a great knowledge of the Islands whose advice was to be invaluable.

The authors come across as fundamentally decent human beings doing a difficult job in difficult circumstances. Throughout the book there is a feeling of honesty and that they are not re-writing history. Much has been made of what the book reveals about relations between the task group commanders and in particularly between Clapp and Thompson on the one hand and Sandy Woodward on the other. This book must be read in conjunction with the second or third edition of Sandy Woodward's own memoirs (also essential reading) to get a more rounded picture of this issue. I do not question the integrity of Clapp or Southby-Tailyour however there was another perspective and it must be remembered that Woodward himself was faced with an extremely challenging role and inadequate resources and that communications were nothing like as good in 1982 as in our own era. In the second edition of his book Woodward did recognise that communications had clearly not been as good as he considered at the time and did examine this from another perspective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ben Oboe on 26 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Commodore Mike Clapp commanded the amphibious assault force in the 1982 campaign to liberate The Falkland Islands from Argentine military occupation. His specialist knowledge of combined forces amphibious warfare and his contribution to the overall success of the mission may not have received the appreciation that they were due. This book provides a basic introduction to the arcane precepts of amphibious warfare, details the strategy of inserting a fighting force into a hostile landscape, and describes the many and varied obstacles to success that were conjured up by politicians, senior commanders, forbidding weather and (not least) the Argentine army, navy and air force. The author does a thorough job of describing his role in the campaign and his relationship to other senior officers; and, although naval life is strange and alien to the average reader, the author does a good job of guiding the reader through the fog of jargon that is an unavoidable consequence of any serious exploration of amphibious warfare.
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Format: Paperback
Captain Michael Clapp is one of the central figures of the Falklands campaign yet one of the least recognised. Holding the position of Commodore for Amphibious Warfare in 1982, Clapp was at the heart of the planning and ultimately successful landing.

This is a revealing book in many respects. At the time – and thereafter – debate has rages about who was in charge. Clapp very helpfully sets out the command structure for the campaign and, crucially, when responsibility passed from one to another. Who knew, for instance, that Clapp instigated the role of Queen’s Harbourmaster with responsibility ship movements in Stanley Harbour when the conflict was over? Amphibious Assault Falklands” goes into organizational detail that is absent from other studies.

What is clear is the huge benefit that arose from Clapp, Julian Thompson of 3 Commando Brigade and their respective staffs spending time together on the journey south. This not only enabled relationships to be formed but allowed to each to anticipate/understand the thinking of the other later in the campaign. This lack of understanding, and general unfamiliarity with amphibious warfare, would later hamper 5 Brigade.

Although Ewen Southby-Tailyour is listed as a co-author, there is a clear difference in style between this and Southby-Tailyour’s more fluent “Reasons in Writing” (also published by Pen & Sword). Despite this, “Amphibious Assault Falklands” is a manual in how amphibious operations should be run properly and the consequences if they are not. Michael Clapp knew that his assets – men and ships – would suffer fatal attacks but his careful stewarding, and the odd slice of luck, ensured casualties were mercifully low.

Michael Clapp retired in 1983 and his experience was lost to the service. As one of the architects of the retaking of the Falklands his achievement will never be forgotten.
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