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Island Base: Ascension in the Falklands War


Island Base: Ascension in the Falklands War

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    Available in PDF Format | Island Base: Ascension in the Falklands War.pdf | English
    Bob McQueen(Author)
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An important piece in the jigsaw of the history of the Falklands War The previously untold story of how Ascension Island was crucial to the success of British operations during the Falklands War. The book spans the length of the Falklands War and tells how a facility consisting of next to nothing was turned into the advanced logistic base for one of the most daring and successful displays of military force at long range in the reclamation of British interests. From an island which was largely devoid of all resources, the story of how Ascension Island became the Forward Operating Base, doubled its population in a few weeks and briefly became the busiest airfield in the world - 350 takeoff and landings in one day - makes fascinating reading. Air-to-air refuelling proved itself to be a vital force extender throughout Operation Corporate since reconnaissance aircraft had insufficient fuel to return to base.

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Book details

  • PDF | 144 pages
  • Bob McQueen(Author)
  • Whittles Publishing (2 May 2008)
  • English
  • 7
  • History
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Review Text

  • By Guest on 11 March 2006

    First of all I am biased. I was the base commander on the American airfield during the Falklands War and contributed a chapter to this book. Having said that I did find the other chapters of great interest. Their point of view was much different from mine and added great depth and understanding to events that, at the time, passed much too quickly to be examined. The authors are not writers but they do have the advantage of having lived the experience and have the passion to tell their story as clearly as they can. Bob McQueen has pulled together an important story of the Island's contribution to this British victory, much as he pulled together the UK Forces necessary to provide the crucial support for the fleet heading south. Island Base will prove interesting reading to anyone with an interest in the history of this period in our past.

  • By Guest on 26 December 2011

    All histories of the Falklands War mention Ascension Island's use, they have to as without it the war would of been a far more complicated, if not impossible, matter. This history is written by the participants themselves, one or two of whom don't write as well as the others. Background logistics are essential to any campaign, the logistics of the Falklands War were quite extraordinary and this book does adequate justice to them.

  • By G.I.Forbes on 14 November 2012

    This is a first class book that records the reminisences of 13 authors whho spent time on remote Ascension islandduring the Falklands war.Contributions come from the navy,army,RAF, Amarican air force,administrators and civilians.Subjects covered include logistics,building helicoptors,navy regulators,Argentine prisoners and civilian life.It must be remembered the massive effort the Falklands war was with Ascension island as the main supply base.At one time the runway at Wideawake airport became the busiest in the world.An excellent moving and evocative record.

  • By L. E. May on 2 April 2012

    The title of my review are the words of Commodore Mike Clapp, Commodore (Amphibious Warfare) in the Falklands War 1982 (Operation Corporate) and, as stated on the back cover of this slim volume, Ascension Island was "An important piece in the jigsaw of the history of the Falklands War". It makes for fascinating reading.Pretty well all 29,700 members of the British Armed Forces and Merchant Navy involved in the Falklands War saw Ascension Island, some 1,200 of them going no further than the island itself. The other 28,500 went to the South Atlantic in ships of the Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Merchant Navy and all of them were at anchor - some for weeks, most for a short time - in Clarence Bay, by George Town, the capital of the island. Most did not get ashore, but they had the chance to see the volcanic island, the first bit of terra firma since sailing from the UK or Gibraltar.The 'visiting' ships took on stores and fuel, mail and people, and even aircraft, as necessary, mostly by helicopter. Most of the sailors, marines, soldiers and civilians knew that Ascension Island was a forward operating base (FOB) and that the Royal Air Force (RAF) was flying transport aircraft in and out of 'Wideawake' airfield. The US-operated airfield usually had an average of about 24 arrivals a month but those numbers rose in April 1982 to 3607 and in May 1982 were 2082 and in June 1982 some 1800! For a brief moment, the airfield was the busiest in the world, with 350 take-offs and landings in one day.Ascension Island was one huge logistics and support hub run by the author of this work, naval aviator Captain Bob McQueen RN (Cdr British Forces Support Unit) and his 'right hand man', supply officer Commander Peter Hore RN. From 25 officers and men deployed by the first weekend of the campaign, numbers on the island rose to 800 within three weeks and approached a peak of 1,400, including those in transit. The majority of British personnel on the island were from the RAF.There is a helpful short biography of each contributor and chapters as follows:* The Island* Island Bases and Aircraft Carriers* The Logistics Miracle* Naval Party 1222 - Rebuilding helicopters and moving stores/people* Operation Black Buck* A ship's tale: HMS Alacrity* A view of Ascension Island from ss Atlantic Conveyor* The Amphibious Task Group Commander's story* The Royal Naval Regulators* Argentine Prisoners of War* An American tale* A Civilian's tale* A resident's perspective* Perceptions of Commander 3 Commando Brigade* Ubique - the Sappers were there* Ascension Island revisitedWell illustrated, both in colour and black and white (though some of the latter are not well produced), the sixteen short chapters give the reader a real overview of what was going on and, depending on the contributor, a good insight into how an island with few resources, doubled in population in a few weeks and did sterling work supplying the needs of Task Force 317. I was left wanting more and certainly I wanted a better map than that in the book: Clarence Bay, mentioned in the text, is not marked.I certainly recommend this book to those wishing to know more about the exciting and successful campaign that resulted in the recovery of the Falkland Islands after the Argentine invasion on 2 April 1982. It is a rare story of some of the supporting elements of a naval and military campaign and complements other titles that tell the story of the better known aspects of this war.

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