What if Argentina won the falklands war?

The last argentine military junta were a bunch of idiots, they thought they only had to occupy the falklands and the british would just give the islands to them, they didn't even try to fortify the islands in case of a naval blockade, they even used only conscripts for the invasion and left the professional army in the mainland in case Chile declared war, they decided to invade in May when because of the latitude of the falklads invading in the winter would have given them an advantage, their aircraft lacked navegational equipment, 60% of all bombs dropped by the airforce on british ship failed to detonate etc...

What if the junta stared to prepare for the invasion since years before, and tried their best to not make these mistakes? Let's say the british understimate the Argentine preparation the argentines achive some victories and because of the low popularity of Thatcher at the time the enraged population of Britain demans Thatcher to resign and Argentina wins the war.

What would be the consequences of Thatcher resigning,? The consequences of the trauma of losing a war against argentina? And what would happen in Argentina with the junta staying way longer in power?
 
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Another humiliation for the British, papers go on about a repeat of the Suez.

I don’t really see the Argentinians winning, but since that’s the starting premise I’ll say that the junta manages to ride the wave of popularity for another few years until the people get fed up again.
 

chankljp

Donor
One thing is for sure is that Thatcher's Tory government in the UK will absolutely fall in the aftermath of the defeat, with Thatcherism's economic measures getting killed off in the crib.

I do wonder if a UK that got utterly humiliated by Argentina in the Falklands War will have unexpected consequences half-way across the world over in Hong Kong. With OTL's Sino-British Joint Declaration not signed until 1984, and Thatcher's historical diplomatic visit to Beijing to meet with Deng Xiaoping and discuss the future of Hong Kong does not take place until September of 1982.

Depending on the POD, this ATL version of the Falklands War ending in a British defeat would happen either before or during the UK's negotiations with China. With a British defeat at the hands of Argentina, would it have emboldened China to refuse making compromises with Britain, and demand additional concessions such as the UK not granting any British citizenship to Hong Kong residences, or for the BN(O) passports to never be created? After all, why should China, even if it is nowhere as strong as it is now, make concessions to a fallen empire that cannot even defend its own territories from Argentina?
 
And what would happen in Argentina with the junta staying way longer in power?
It would go on laurels

The Argentinian last junta might result on a situation like Brazil, were 30 years after it ended, supporting it is still seem as a normal and sane opinion by many, and every time there is a economic crisis you would see the support for it spiking
 

Deleted member 94680

Will the empire strike back ? send another task force in a year or so to retake the islands ?
Depends on who replaces Thatcher (Tory coup? SDP-Liberals? Hard-left Labour? etc) and what the public mood is in a few years. not every defeated nation becomes revanchist.

But, when the OP says
... 60% of all bombs dropped by the airforce on British ship failed to detonate etc...

What if the junta stared to prepare for the invasion since years before, and tried their best to not make these mistakes? Let's say the British underestimate the Argentine preparation the Argentinians achieve some victories and because of the low popularity of Thatcher at the time the enraged population of Britain demand Thatcher to resign and Argentina wins the war.
It would seem to me British defeat involves more sinking of Royal Navy ships. How quickly could Britain build the ships needed to replace losses? Could they afford to? Politically or economically?
 
The Argies win the Falklands?

1) Maggie is a goner!
2) Labour win the 1983 GE!
3) No 'Miners Strike' so no union or free market reforms, thus UK economy struggles as the 'Sick Man of Europe'
4) Labour get rid of Polaris . . . pulls out of NATO!
 
Depends on who replaces Thatcher (Tory coup? SDP-Liberals? Hard-left Labour? etc) and what the public mood is in a few years. not every defeated nation becomes revanchist.

But, when the OP says

It would seem to me British defeat involves more sinking of Royal Navy ships. How quickly could Britain build the ships needed to replace losses? Could they afford to? Politically or economically?
I am curious if all of the ships that were struck by bombs that didn't explode had promptly sunk (or been immediately significantly damaged enough that there was no realistic hope of saving them) in an alternate time line, would that have made a major difference to the outcome of the conflict ? Did significant numbers of ships that were struck by un exploded bombs stay in action or did they have to be withdrawn for repairs ? I do realize the loss of life would have been higher (probably significantly higher) and the UK would have needed to replace the ships that had sunk (and perhaps increasing causalities and numbers of ships that were sunk vs needing to be repaired might have caused the UK to decided the costs of the campaign were to high ?)
 
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Will the empire strike back ? send another task force in a year or so to retake the islands ?
An ongoing submarine blockade of the islands, probably with sporadic long range air attacks, and assembling another task force seems likely to me. I suspect to the UK would be reluctant to accept allied help in the retaking of the islands, but greater allied help in taking over other RN and perhaps RAF, and Army responsibilities seems likely to me. I recall speculation on other bulletin boards that HMS Bulwark might have been able to have been brought back into service if Hermes had been sunk and another Invincible class vessel was nearing completion. Perhaps more plausibly than re commissioning Bulwark, there has also been speculation about the RN perhaps acquiring (or at least acquiring the use of) a USN amphibious ship with a flight deck.

Edit to add:
Maybe the RN buys a mothballed USN CTOL carrier (maybe Oriskany ?) and round 2 involves an RN carrier with Phantoms and Buccaneers ?
 
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Deleted member 94680

...there has also been speculation about the RN perhaps acquiring (or at least acquiring the use of) a USN amphibious ship with a flight deck.
According to wiki:
President Ronald Reagan approved the Royal Navy's request to borrow a Sea Harrier-capable amphibious Iwo Jima class assault ship (the USS Guam (LPH-9) was earmarked for this)) if the British lost an aircraft carrier. The United States Navy developed a plan to help the British man the ship with American military contractors, likely retired sailors with knowledge of the ship's systems.

Would certainly make for an interesting counterfactual.
 
What if the junta stared to prepare for the invasion since years before, and tried their best to not make these mistakes? Let's say the british understimate the Argentine preparation the argentines achive some victories and because of the low popularity of Thatcher at the time the enraged population of Britain demans Thatcher to resign and Argentina wins the war.
This would require a fundamental, profound change to the Argentine General Staff: the Argentina Armed Forces had been transformed into the front line of the dictatorship's police state and was woefully unprepared for anything resembling actual combat operations. They weren't so much mistakes as cataclysmic doctrinal failings that they were oblivious to because it didn't affect their ability to use the army to persecute activists, and the rot runs bone deep by the 1980s. Sending conscripts recruited in the subtropical provinces to fight on a frigid rocky island in the South Altantic in late Autumn is more than just a mistake, it's corruption so pervasive it is literally destroying the army's operational integrity.
 
This would require a fundamental, profound change to the Argentine General Staff: the Argentina Armed Forces had been transformed into the front line of the dictatorship's police state and was woefully unprepared for anything resembling actual combat operations. They weren't so much mistakes as cataclysmic doctrinal failings that they were oblivious to because it didn't affect their ability to use the army to persecute activists, and the rot runs bone deep by the 1980s. Sending conscripts recruited in the subtropical provinces to fight on a frigid rocky island in the South Altantic in late Autumn is more than just a mistake, it's corruption so pervasive it is literally destroying the army's operational integrity.
Yeah.. It also occurs to me that reportedly the decision to invade the Falklands was at least somewhat based on a belief that the UK was unlikely to mount a serious military effort to reclaim them. If in an alternate time line Argentina assumes that the UK will mount a major operation to reclaim the islands and prepares accordingly then it seems to strange to me that Argentina would also assume that the UK would simply give up if their first effort to reclaim the islands failed. In my view at least, baring some fundamental geo political changes in the long run the UK will eventually be able to reclaim the islands and perhaps even inflict significant other damage to Argentina if they choose to do so. I just don't see how rational decision makers could convince them selves that Argentina could win (or even avoid loosing) a one vs one fight against the UK unless the objective of the UK was to invade and occupy most of Argentina.

I just don't see the UK loosing unless they essentially decide to give up which seems unlikely to me. I suspect there would be significant consequences for the UK if they simply decided to stop try to reclaim the islands after incurring significant losses trying to do so.
 
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3 years of planning would be hard to miss. New ships, planes, more training, purchase of more weapons, simulations for retaining the falklands etc

A more realistic scenario might be the Canberra being hit with 3 commando onboard, qe2 or the if the aircraft carriers were sink
 

Deleted member 94680

Yeah.. It also occurs to me that reportedly the decision to invade the Falklands was at least somewhat based on a belief that the UK was unlikely to mount a serious military effort to reclaim them.
I believe (at least some of) Argentine thinking was based on the planned withdrawal of the Endurance signalling British intentions not to defend the Islands.
If in an alternate time line Argentina assumes that the UK will mount a major operation to reclaim the islands and prepares accordingly then it seems to strange to me that Argentina would also assume that the UK would simply give up if their first effort to reclaim the islands failed.
What if their better planning means they delay launching the invasion until after the ‘83 election in Britain? Would a SDP-Liberal Alliance government be less likely to defend the Falklands?
 
And what happens in the 1986 world cup if Maradona makes his two goals against England. We might see United Kingdom as a whole split
 
The idea that Argentina will get an easy win, and then Britain will give up and the Government will fall is an idea of the 2020's, not 1980.
As someone who was around then, the typical reaction of the man in the street was to give Argentina a good kicking. Then kick them again.
If the Task Force failed, Britain would gear up for round 2, its the way Britain fights its wars.
A few points. The Argentine economy was in serious trouble. Fighting a war is going to probably make it collapse. Britain could pay the cost of the OTL losses out of the current surplus.
The most likely effect is that Britain blockades Argentine. It couldn't be complete, but they can stop any sea traffic, which again hits the fragile economy. Meanwhile Britain gears up for Task Force Mk 2.
Britain has the money, contacts and industry to take out the Argentine navy and Air force, given a year to prepare. The Argentine garrison can be left to wither. Remember, this is the period of Reagan-Thatcher. While its unlikely the USA will get directly involved (at least in public), selling Britain things is, well, just business with a NATO ally. There was consideration in OTL of selling Britain a carrier (with its air group) if a carrier was lost in action. And that's not counting all the under-the-counter aid and help (and I was working in the defence industry at the time, and yes, this went on).
Britain holds too many cards.
 
This would require a fundamental, profound change to the Argentine General Staff: the Argentina Armed Forces had been transformed into the front line of the dictatorship's police state and was woefully unprepared for anything resembling actual combat operations. They weren't so much mistakes as cataclysmic doctrinal failings that they were oblivious to because it didn't affect their ability to use the army to persecute activists, and the rot runs bone deep by the 1980s. Sending conscripts recruited in the subtropical provinces to fight on a frigid rocky island in the South Altantic in late Autumn is more than just a mistake, it's corruption so pervasive it is literally destroying the army's operational integrity.

Arguably they were right that there wouldn’t be a serious attempt to retake the islands. The Argentinians were tangling with a nuclear power, the “medium” intensity option is a nuclear torpedo into an aircraft carrier and the “fighting like it’s WW2” option is a nuclear torpedo into Buenos Aires.
 
3 years of planning would be hard to miss. New ships, planes, more training, purchase of more weapons, simulations for retaining the falklands etc

A more realistic scenario might be the Canberra being hit with 3 commando onboard, qe2 or the if the aircraft carriers were sink
I guess the British decided to keep fighting for a bit, arranged a ceasefire then leave?

Likely second death of British empire what remains of it, (China might flat out take Hongkong, loses a lot of their influences with their colonies).

However I would say Britain becomes hyper aggressive and tries to regain influence in Pakistan and Afghanistan with their alliance and tries to be a colonial power or at least would not take the defeat lying down.


The idea that Argentina will get an easy win, and then Britain will give up and the Government will fall is an idea of the 2020's, not 1980.
As someone who was around then, the typical reaction of the man in the street was to give Argentina a good kicking. Then kick them again.
If the Task Force failed, Britain would gear up for round 2, its the way Britain fights its wars.
A few points. The Argentine economy was in serious trouble. Fighting a war is going to probably make it collapse. Britain could pay the cost of the OTL losses out of the current surplus.
The most likely effect is that Britain blockades Argentine. It couldn't be complete, but they can stop any sea traffic, which again hits the fragile economy. Meanwhile Britain gears up for Task Force Mk 2.
Britain has the money, contacts and industry to take out the Argentine navy and Air force, given a year to prepare. The Argentine garrison can be left to wither. Remember, this is the period of Reagan-Thatcher. While its unlikely the USA will get directly involved (at least in public), selling Britain things is, well, just business with a NATO ally. There was consideration in OTL of selling Britain a carrier (with its air group) if a carrier was lost in action. And that's not counting all the under-the-counter aid and help (and I was working in the defence industry at the time, and yes, this went on).
Britain holds too many cards.
Does any population think their nation is pathetic and weak and should give up? No I can see the party that does the deal losing power but it has been done at the Suez.

I do however feel Britain would try and come back once their strong enough a few years later under a hyper aggressive party.
 
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