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Thread: Tumbledown

  1. #1
    Patron Freyr's Avatar
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    05 Dec 18


    We ran up that mountain with no body armour, no helmet, no compensation if we got hurt… but I’d do it again tomorrow

    Exactly 30 years after Argentina invaded the Falklands, Capt Robert Lawrence, MC hero, returns to scene of the Battle of Tumbledown

    WAR legend Robert Lawrence stands on top of Mount Tumbledown three decades
    after he conquered it with cast-iron courage and a fixed bayonet.

    The Scots Guards captain was just 21 when he led his daring platoon on the
    final assault, earning a Military Cross for valour in the ferocious battle.

    The bloody skirmish for this craggy outcrop of rock overlooking Port Stanley
    was vital in the recapture of the Falklands from Argentina in 1982.

    His story was immortalised in the 1988 TV movie Tumbledown — seen by more than
    10million viewers in Britain — with Robert played by Colin Firth.

    In freezing conditions and a biting wind that sent the temperature plummeting
    to a bone-chilling -22°F, he successfully stormed the Argentine machine gun

    Robert personally despatched 14 of the enemy on that night — the last FOUR
    with his bayonet.

    But victory came at a price. As he topped the peak, an Argentine sniper
    sent a 7.62 calibre bullet travelling at 3,800 ft per second crashing
    through his skull.

    It blew away 42 per cent of his brain and left him permanently lame down his
    left side.

    Now, to mark the 30th anniversary of Britain’s victory, Captain Robert
    Lawrence MC has returned to the spot where his life changed forever.

    He said: “It was extreme. It was like a concert cranked up to maximum volume
    and we were on the front row.

    “War is a young man’s sport. We all ran up that mountain with no body armour,
    no helmet and no promise of any compensation if we got hurt.

    “We never expected any of that, we never thought we needed it. But I’d do it
    all again tomorrow.

    “Yes, I’d do it again tomorrow even if I knew the injury was going to happen
    again. My men were so brave on that night. They are the bravest I have ever

    Mount Tumbledown was just one of a barrier of mountains which provided
    Argentine forces with a natural ring of steel around Falklands capital, Port

    They’d had months to bed in and prepare defences behind granite-hard rock
    boulders which became natural ramparts.

    They had bellies full of hot food cooked on the spot by mobile kitchens still
    sitting on the mountain today.

    Three phases of attack had been planned to take Tumbledown.

    Robert was in Right Flank, the last of three waves to destroy the Argentine

    Robert and his men came under artillery fire which lit up the cold night sky
    as clear as day.

    Tracer fire went back and forth — red lines of bullets across the night sky.
    And the Royal Navy chipped in by barraging the ridge line.

    Despite the wall of fire, Robert led his men with the type of courage only
    read about in Boy’s Own.

    As he ran out of ammunition, he grabbed an Argentine FN rifle and like a
    gunslinger from a Wild West movie he tore up the hill with both guns aloft.

    After almost 16 hours fighting — including a grenade thrown by Robert to
    destroy the machine gun nest — they had won.

    Two hours after Robert was hit, the Argentines surrendered.

    Medics were certain he would die and he spent EIGHT HOURS waiting
    without painkillers to be treated.

    History paints a picture of an easy victory for Our Boys against teenage
    conscripts forced into battle.

    But Robert reveals a different story — and launched a staunch defence of the
    mission itself.

    He said: “History makes out that this was an easy war but in reality, on
    paper, it was impossible.

    “We were 8,000 miles from home with a handful of ships, a handful of Harrier
    jets and a climate that is almost unsurvivable.

    “Here we are in summer and it’s amazing. But it goes from hot to bloody
    freezing in a second and that night it was winter and bloody freezing.

    “There was snow and the wind chill sent it to -22. But once you got running
    the adrenalin took over.”

    Just weeks before the battle, he had been on duty in his bearskin and red
    runic at the Tower of London. He had already been on tough tours in Northern

    But now the Scots Guards were to be plunged into a conflict the likes of which
    had not been seen since the Second World War.

    They faced a conventional armed force with deadly air power, a navy and
    soldiers trained by America.

    He said: “It was by no means a given that we would win. It was a very close
    thing. It’s easy to say of course we won, we are British, Our Boys are

    “Well they are, but if we had left it a couple of weeks later we wouldn’t have
    been able to do it. We would have died on the mountain of cold.

    “Some people think that all we were fighting were 16-year-old conscripts but
    we weren’t — we were fighting incredibly well-trained soldiers, with very
    good equipment, better than ours.

    “The government of Argentina was a very harsh military junta, no one
    questioned what money they spent on defence.

    “After the amazing battle for Goose Green, when the Paras did that awesome
    action, many thought all they did was round up conscripts, so we thought we
    would do the same.

    “But we found tough men from their 5th Marines — they weren’t conscripts.

    “They had the best night-vision equipment money could buy while we were aiming
    at muzzle flashes.”

    Despite all that has been said of the fight for the islands — which cost
    Britain 255 lives — Robert is adamant the battle was worth the cost and was
    not just a last hurrah for a former colonial superpower.

    He added: “The Falklands were invaded. The idea the Argentines came here to
    liberate these islands is a crass joke.

    “When the Argentines realised the islanders wanted to be British they stepped
    up their aggression and people were held in the streets here at gunpoint.
    Imagine kneeling down with a machine gun in your face.”

    “When you are here and see the islanders and see how British they are, they
    are more British than the British. How could you desert these people?”

    Robert lives with a daily reminder of his heroic exploits. His left arm is
    useless and his leg so weak he walks with a limp.

    But he said: “It was worth it. It’s easier to say that here where people
    make a fuss of you and buy you a round and pat you on the back and give you
    a hug.”

    Still tension

    THE 30th anniversary of the Falklands War has reignited hostility between
    Britain and Argentina, who still lay claim to the islands.

    Relations were already strained in 2010 when Argentina accused us of breaking
    international rules by allowing oil drilling off the islands.

    Since then, a South American trading bloc including Brazil, Paraguay and
    Uruguay has banned ships flying the Falklands flag from their ports in
    support for Argentina.

    The Argentinian government protested when Britain sent the destroyer HMS
    Dauntless to patrol the region in January this year, and again when Prince
    William was deployed to the islands as a search and rescue pilot.

    In February Argentina banned two UK liners from docking and has even planned a
    “Falklands are ours” badge for its Olympic kits.
    Last edited by Freyr; 11 Sep 19, at 21:38.

  2. #2
    Patron Freyr's Avatar
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    05 Dec 18
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  4. #4
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    Albany Rifles's Avatar
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    27 Apr 07
    Prince George, VA
    Watched the first few episodes on YouTube this weekend. Pretty good.

    And Jesus I forgot how much everyone smoked back then!
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

  5. #5
    Patron Freyr's Avatar
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    05 Dec 18
    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Watched the first few episodes on YouTube this weekend. Pretty good.

    And Jesus I forgot how much everyone smoked back then!
    lol, like chimneys... Can't say as I miss that. The lads did their job well, pity the politicians didn't

  6. #6
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    12 Mar 05
    Panama City Fl
    Thanks for posting.

    I had a few beers with some of the RMs a few weeks after they came back to Portsmouth. They just back, us young Marines headed to Beirut.
    Its called Tourist Season. So why can't we shoot them?

  7. #7
    Patron Freyr's Avatar
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    05 Dec 18
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    Thanks for posting.

    I had a few beers with some of the RMs a few weeks after they came back to Portsmouth. They just back, us young Marines headed to Beirut.
    Not exactly a ball for you lads either

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