Riots, Rebellions, Gunboats and Peacekeepers Logo

Lebanon 1982-84

In June 1982, Israeli forces invaded Lebanon, drove to Beirut and encircled the PLO and Syrian forces in West Beirut. Israel cited the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador in London and a build-up of Palestinian armaments in South Lebanon as reason for its breech of the previous cease-fire.

On 6th June, the UN Security Council passed a unanimous U.N. Security Council Resolution which demanded Israel withdraw from Lebanon and observe the cease-fire on the border. On 4th August, the UN Security Council voted to censure Israel. The PLO and Syrian forces withdrew after a US-brokered agreement, monitored by the UN peacekeeping force.

A multinational force was deployed to oversee the withdrawal composed of 800 U.S., 800 French, and 400 Italian troops. The US Marine Corps went ashore in Beirut on 25th August 1982, four days after the French had arrived. The PLO withdrawal was completed with significant incident, and the marines returned to their ships on 10th September.

When the elected president of Lebanon, Bashir Gemayel, a Maronite Catholic and the leader of the Lebanese Forces (LF) Christian Militia, was killed in an explosion in East Beirut on 14th September. Israeli forces moved forward on 15th September, prompting renewed calls from the UN and USA for an immediate withdrawal.


 

Following a massacre on 16-18th September of between 700-800 Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut, President Reagan reacted in shock and formed a new MNF with France and Italy. The force returning for a limited time to establish Lebanese government over Beirut.

The elder brother of the Assassinated President-elect was elected president and inaugurated on 23rd September. The new MNF deployed on 29th September, the first marines arriving that day in Beirut. Along with securing the area against Syrian intervention, the Marines provided humanitarian relief to the Lebanese.

In February 1983, a small British contingent supported by HMS Glamorgan and HMS Brazen, helicopters and RAF transports joined the MNF. Glamorgan and Brazen were relieved by HMS Fearless in November 1983 which was later supported by HMS Andromeda and HMS Achilles. In turn, Fearless was relieved by RFA Reliant with Naval Party 2200 and 846 NAS and assisted with the evacuation of over 5,000 civilians. The British contingent to Lebanon was called BRITFORLEB.


 

The US Sixth Fleet was offshore, providing naval gunfire support where necessary both to the marines and eventually to the Lebanese armed forces. In mid-September the USS New Jersey was sent to the area, to bring its sixteen inch guns to bear.

On 23rd October, 241 marines were killed when a barracks at Beirut International Airport was blown up by a truck packed with explosives, a similar attack destroyed a French military barracks a few kilometers away killing 56 French troops.


 

Beirut Memorial On Line 
dedicated to U.S. servicemen who served in Lebanon 

France launched an air strike against Iranian Revolutionary Guard positions in the Bekaa valley in retaliation for the bombing, and the US Sixth Feet struck Syrian air defense position in Lebanon after they fired on a US reconnaissance aircraft, Sporadic fighting continued into January.

The US Marines redeployed to their ships on by 26th February 1984 and Lebanon cancelled the 1983 agreement for the withdrawal of Israeli troops and the end of the war with Israel.

During the Palestinian and Syrian troop withdrawal from Lebanon between 21st August and 10th September 1982, US, French and Italian troops were deployed to supervise the evacuation of Lebanon, and then pulled out, only to be redeployed on 20th September the same year as the Multinational Force in the aftermath of the Israeli push into West Beirut and the massacre of Christian Lebanese forces of Palestinian civilians in camps at Sabra and Chatila.

US and French troops gradually went from the defensive to the offensive in an effort to ensure the restoration of the sovereignty of the Lebanese government as was their task, the Italians being more concerned with humanitarian aid to people within their small zone to the north of the American controlled international airport.

To assist the British Army contingent in Lebanon, the Royal Navy deployed Sea King HC.4 helicopters from RFA Reliant in the transport, supply and medical evacuation roles although these helicopters usually operated from the Army airfield at Dhekelia.

During the Palestinian and Syrian troop withdrawal from Lebanon between 21st August and 10th September 1982, US, French and Italian troops were deployed to supervise the evacuation of Lebanon, and then pulled out, only to be redeployed on 20th September the same year as the Multinational Force in the aftermath of the Israeli push into West Beirut and the massacre of Christian Lebanese forces of Palestinian civilians in camps at Sabra and Chatila.

US and French troops gradually went from the defensive to the offensive in an effort to ensure the restoration of the sovereignty of the Lebanese government as was their task, the Italians being more concerned with humanitarian aid to people within their small zone to the north of the American controlled international airport.

To support the British Army contingent in Lebanon the RAF used three Chinooks from Akrotiri in Cyprus to run supply flights to the British troops in beirut, the aircraft being ferried in by crews of Nos 7 and 18 Squadrons on 7-8 September 1983. Nos 12 and 208 Squadron deployed to Akrotiri with a flight of six Buccaneer S.Mk 2 aircraft for low-level attack if needed in support of British troops.

Back to Riots, Rebellions, Gunboats and Peacekeepers Index

Bookmark and Share

IndexE-mailSite SearchBooksForumCreditsChat RoomVeterans AffairsdonationsGuest BookMedalsSitrepNewsLinksSign InNAAFIAnecdotes DeploymentsMuseumMemorialJoinHome

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!