A Royal Navy task force was sent to the Falkland Islands to defend them from Argentine attack five years before the war there, archive papers have shown.
The flotilla led by nuclear-powered submarine HMS Dreadnought was thought to have deterred a 1977 invasion. James Callaghan's government secretly ordered Operation Journeyman after 50 Argentine "scientists" landed on South Thule, prompting fears of an attack. Lord Owen, who was foreign secretary in 1977, said that if Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government had taken similar action to that of five years earlier, the war would not have happened. The Argentine government was privately warned by the UK that a nuclear submarine was in the area, but other countries were said to be unaware. The archive papers show there was much nervousness in Whitehall, especially over the operation's legality.
Ministers wanted to create an "exclusion zone" around the islands - as happened in 1982 - but notes warned that could be "politically escalatory, probably illegal and could set an unwelcome precedent". The issue was fudged as Attorney General Sam Silkin was only asked for his advice on the legal situation after the fleet left.
Concerns were so high, HMS Dreadnought was told if it was attacked by Argentine anti-submarine weapons it must "surface or withdraw at high speed submerged, whichever will be of least risk to life". They were Winston Churchill's "secret army", tasked with causing havoc behind enemy lines had the Nazis invaded during World War II.

The Countryman's Diary 1939 is one of two manuals being auctioned later which shed light on the training and abilities of the guerrilla units.Sponsored by Highworth's Fertilisers - a fictional company named after the Wiltshire town near where the units trained - the diary gives advice on how to set booby traps and kill German troops using household items.
However, according to Jeannette May, senior valuer at Eastbourne Auction Rooms where the manuals are being sold, it had to be abandoned quickly."It was discovered by a couple of courting lovers who went past and found it," she said. Republican Party front-runner Donald Trump steps up his criticism of China's trade policy, accusing it of "raping" the US. Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, had listened to the swirl of bold ideas and nagged cabinet colleagues for action.In February 1915, the Admiralty Landships Committee began to examine ideas. Hear how the development of the tank was kept top secret and find out more from Peter Barton about the battles fought underground at the Western Front.
The story of Lincoln and the birthplace of the tank will also be broadcast on BBC Radio Lincolnshire at 08:15 GMT on Wednesday 26 February, as part of World War One At Home. More on this story World War One tank monument set for Lincoln roundabout 20 December 2013 Kursk legacy: Will there ever be another massive tank battle? But keeping the identities of the Auxiliary Unit members a secret was crucial to their survival. How do you break in to the German trenches?"To their credit, senior officers recognised technology might offer an answer. Every day longer it took meant more British soldiers died."A first design, little more than an armoured box on US tractor tracks, known as Little Willie, was tested on 19 September.

Variously known as Centipede, Mother and Big Willie, it would weigh 28 tonnes."It was a design ahead of its time," said Mr Pullen. One of the ways was by hiding bomb-making manuals in plain sight, disguised as old calendars and diaries.Its cover promises agricultural fertilisers that "do their stuff unseen until you see results". The fins fly very well."After the threat of invasion passed, the units were disbanded, with Pugh joining the RAF and becoming Flt Lt Pugh. But turn the page and a comprehensive guide on where to plant explosives and how to make your own bombs is revealed. Bigger, tougher and built to cling to their frames.Fitted with the new system, Little Willie could cross the 4ft gap.
Instead of being tucked at the bottom of the machine, the tracks would go all the way round its 25ft 5in (7.75 m) length. They would also be carried on forward-sloping "prows" projecting beyond the crew compartment, giving it a huge reach.

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