On 2 April 1982, Argentina occupied the Falkland Islands. Within three days, a British task force was en route to take them back.

Both sides faced formidable difficulties. The British had to transport sufficient men and material to the South Atlantic, put them ashore, and then defeat a well dug in, numerically superior enemy. But the British were experienced professional soldiers, highly trained and equipped with modern weapons.

The Argentinian forces were not and the local population was not on their side. Both sides would have to operate in freezing conditions in terrain which forced them into a form of combat which had not been seen since the Second World War - night time frontal assaults on entrenched positions, at times fighting hand to hand.

How British forces retook the Falkland Islands

British troops landing at San Carlos on East Falkland
© IWM (FKD 2744)

In this penultimate episode of the Falklands series, IWM curator Hilary Roberts explores the land campaign.

What was each side’s strategy? What mistakes did they make? And why - despite fierce Argentinian resistance - did the British eventually come out on top?

Watch on YouTube: How Argentina was defeated in their own backyard

Find out more

Margaret Thatcher superimposed onto a map of the Falklands with British and Argentinian flags on either side.
Cold War

Why the Falklands Conflict happened | Episode 1

In the first episode of our five-part Falklands series IWM Curator Carl Warner looks at why the Falklands Conflict happened. Why did Argentina believe they could take the Falklands without a fight? What was the invasion like? And why did Britain choose to fight for these islands 8,000 miles from home?

Falkands Conflict at Sea thumbnail
Cold War

Falklands Conflict at Sea | Episode 2

In this video, IWM Curator Alan Jeffreys tells us about the Falklands Conflict at Sea. We look at an Exocet Missile on display at IWM London and some objects that belonged to commander of a naval bomb disposal team, Nigel 'Bernie' Bruen including a scorched alarm bell from RFA Sir Tristram.

Sea Harriers flying low over the South Atlantic
Cold War

Falklands Conflict in the Air | Episode 3

When the Falklands Conflict began Argentina seemingly had a massive advantage in the skies. They had over 100 aircraft of varying types. Some could operate from the Argentinian mainland and others could operate from airstrips on the Falklands themselves. Meanwhile, the British Task Force initially had only 20 Sea Harriers. It was up to them to protect the Task Force at sea as well as the troops on the ground, but to many that seemed like an impossible task.

Falklands Aftermath video thumbnail
Post War

Falklands Conflict Aftermath | Episode 5

The Falklands Conflict of 1982 only lasted for 74 days, but it had lasting consequences which continue to be felt today. In Episode 5, the final episode of IWM's five-part series, find out about the far-reaching effects of Britain's conflict for its South Atlantic territories. 

A soldier of 3 Battalion, Parachute Regiment silhouetted against the sunset at Windy Gap.© IWM FKD 2750
© IWM FKD 2750

The Falklands Conflict

From 2 April 2022, Imperial War Museums marked the 40th anniversary of the Falklands Conflict. New exhibits in the permanent galleries at IWM London and IWM North included items from IWM’s rich collection that will went on display for the very first time. The story and legacy of the Falklands Conflict is also explored through a series of five films for IWM's YouTube channel and an episode of the Conflict of Interest podcast.