The Falklands War: how long did conflict with Argentina last, how many died, when is A Frontline Story on TV?

2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War which cost hundreds of British and Argentinian lives

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Our Falklands War: A Frontline Story, is a BBC Two documentary which recounts the conflict from the point of view of ten British soldiers who fought in it.

The 90-minute documentary relies on interviews with those who fought - reporting was heavily censored during the conflict so there is little archival material available.

The documentary covers the 25-day land war including the battle of Goose Green, the attack on the British ship the Sir Galahad, and up to the Argentinian surrender.

But when was the Falklands War, what caused it, who won, and how many soldiers died?

This is everything you need to know about the conflict between the United Kingdom and Argentina.

What was the Falklands War?

The Falklands War was a conflict between Argentina and the UK over the sovereignty of two British territories - the Falkland Islands and the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

The UK seized the islands in 1833 and has rejected Argentina’s claims of ownership of them ever since.

When plans to transfer the Falkland Islands to Argentina broke in 1968, islanders lobbied against the move, upsetting the scheme.

On 2 April 1982, Argentina, now led by a military junta headed by Lieut. Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, launched an invasion of the Falkland Islands.

They met resistance from British forces and the Falklands war began - although no declaration of war was made by either side.

The Belgrano, an Argentine cruiser was sunk by the British during the conflictThe Belgrano, an Argentine cruiser was sunk by the British during the conflict
The Belgrano, an Argentine cruiser was sunk by the British during the conflict

How long did the Falklands War last?

The war was to last 10 weeks - within the first month roughly 10,000 Argentine troops were stationed on the Falklands.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher responded by sending a naval taskforce of two aircraft carriers, and two cruise ships to be used as troop carriers to the war zone.

In the course of the conflict hundreds of soldiers died on both sides and many military vehicles were destroyed.

The British famously torpedoed and sank the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano on 2 May.

The Argentines also lost one submarine, 25 helicopters and 35 fighter planes, and two bombers, whilst UK forces lost two destroyers, 24 helicopters, and ten fighter planes.

British soldiers in action during the Falklands WarBritish soldiers in action during the Falklands War
British soldiers in action during the Falklands War

How many people died in the Falklands War?

The British forces suffered 255 losses, 775 were wounded, and 115 were captured.

Since the Falklands War the only conflict in which British troops have suffered greater losses is Afghanistan.

Argentina suffered 649 military losses as well as 1,657 wounded and 11,313 captured.

Three Falkland Island civilians were killed by friendly fire when British forces shelled the islands.

What was the aftermath of the Falklands War?

Following Argentina’s surrender, Britain regained control of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Galtieri was removed from power within days of the surrender and eventually arrested as a democratic government was restored in Argentina.

Although sentenced to 12 years in prison for mishandling the war, he was eventually pardoned by President Carlos Menem.

The British success helped to restore Thatcher’s waning reputation and in the UK general election held in June 1983 the Conservatives secured a decisive election victory.

Relations between the two nations were not restored until 1989, although Argentina still claims the Falkland Islands as their own.

In a 2013 referendum, Falkland Islanders voted overwhelmingly to remain an overseas territory of the UK, with only three votes against.

When is Our Falklands War: A Frontline Story on TV?

The one-off documentary, Our Falklands War, aired on BBC Two at 9pm on 12 June.

It is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer.