Differing Leadership Styles Displayed By British Officers In The Falklands

1758 words - 7 pages

"If one looks at the conduct of the battlegroup in the attack, I would always look to Goose Green to find out how not to do things…In my mind there were many, many things that went wrong at Goose Green that";against a good enemy, would have cost us very dearly indeed; and we got away with it because they were less good.";A 2 Para officer present at Goose Green(Sited through Fitz-Gibbon, 1995)This essay aims to analyse and discuss the dramatically different leadership styles portrayed by British Officers at the battle of Goose Green. In particular, it will concentrate on two characters, that of the Battlegroup Commander Colonel H Jones who was famous for assaulting a trench single handedly and was subsequently killed. The second character is that of the B Company commander Major John Crosland who successfully lead an assault on Burntside Hill and demonstrated a markedly different style of leadership than that of Colonel Jones. These two characters have been chosen because of their almost polar opposite approaches to initially the orders process and then their own leadership style. They demonstrate just how subjective the orders process can be and the affect that a differing approach can have on the battle itself. Jones demonstrated how an autocratic style of leadership coupled with a positionalist approach to warfighting lead to near disaster, whereas Crosland showed how a slightly more Laisser Faire attitude and an understanding of mission command could prove successful. How could two such different approaches be present in what was to all intents and purposes was the same organisation? This essay will look at two areas of Jones in particular. The first - the orders delivered by Jones for the Assault on Goose Green and secondly his individual leadership style. These will then be contrasted with that of Major Crosland and his assault onto Burntside Hill.Colonel H Jones was a renowned figurehead of the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment. He was known for his fiery temper, his embrace of the Parachute Regiment ethos and his dogged tenacity (Middlebrook, 1985). His actions at Goose Green demonstrate these attributes of his character. The initial orders group given by Jones is something of almost folk law within the Parachute Regiment of the time. He had been champing at the bit to launch an attack, so much so that Jones was quoted saying, 'I've waited twenty years for this, and now some f**king marine's cancelled it' (Cited through Fitz-Gibbon, 1995). This does show that his intentions for launching an attack were possibly a little too much for personal gratification rather than success of the mission (M Middlebrook, 1885). This attitude carried through his entire orders group. His second in command at the time Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Keeble stated that,' H Jones wanted control, which is why he had such a complicated plan; so complicated that I don't think any of us really understood it.' With this in mind it seemed that he had no faith in...

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