B Coy 3 Para are going to commemorate this Battle, accompanied by members of B Coy “the Class of 82”, by doing a virtual run from Colchester to Port Stanley by the 11th June 2020.
A Incredible Total of 7,029 miles (12,761km)!
Described as the “bloodiest battle of the Falklands campaign” the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment would mount an attack on the Argentine 7th Infantry Regiment and other ad hoc additions. Hand to hand, with bayonet and grenade 3 Para would prevail.
Mount Longdon is a long narrow feature of rocky terrain, running from east to west with two summits. As a result of its geography only one company attacking could advance along it. The plan was that the rifle companies would be led to the start line at the stream, west of Mount Longdon by members of D (Patrol) Company.
H hour was set for 0001hrs, 12 June 1982. The start line would be known as ‘Free Kick’. With B Coy (4, 5 and 6 Platoons) in the vanguard, 3 Para approached Mount Longdon in the dark. On the left, one of 4 Platoon’s men, stepped on a mine and the alerted Argentines opened fire at the start of a battle that stretched through to dawn, ten hours later. On the right, 6 Platoon got on to the western summit with little fighting, but a by-passed bunker fired into them as they pushed through ‘Fly Half’, and later, when pinned down, they suffered a number of men killed by mainly sniper fire.
Meanwhile 4 and 5 Platoons, using anti-armour weapons against enemy bunkers, fought their way on to the western end, but as they attempted to move to the east came under heavy automatic fire. 4 Platoon’s Commander was wounded, platoon Sgt McKay took over, and collecting some of his men and Cpl Bailey moved in to knock out a heavy machine gun post. In an action which led to the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross, Sgt McKay and one of the men were killed, but the enemy position was silenced. Now a second heavy machine gun held up B Coy HQ and 5 Platoon. Sgt Fuller was put in charge of 4 Platoon and with support from 5 Platoon, tried to knock out this one, but without success.
Maj Argue now pulled back both 4 and 5 Platoons and called down artillery and naval gunfire on the enemy positions, after which a left flanking attack was put in, making some progress. Before long, they and the rest of B Coy found themselves under fire again, and having taken such heavy casualties, Lt Col Pike brought B Coy to a halt halfway along the Longdon summit ridge. As dawn broke, and with no possibility of exploiting forward, 3 Para started digging in on Mount Longdon to spend the next two days under heavy and accurate artillery fire.
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