3 Commando Brigade
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'The 3 Commando Brigade's six month deployment in Helmand Province was among the finest pieces of soldiering I have come across' General Sir Richard Dannett, Chief of General Staff
In October 2006, the Royal Marine Commandos took up their six month tour of duty in war-torn Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan - the toughest and hottest war zone on earth. After the tactical retreat of their predecessors, the Paras, the Marines knew they would have to take a different approach to have any chance of success. So they took the war to the enemy. Roving and aggressive, the Commandos forced the insurgent Taliban on to the back foot. As a result, they were involved in daily fire fights of an intensity not encountered by British troops since North Korea.
3 Commando Brigade is a thrilling first-hand account of that dogged, heroic pursuit of the Taliban by the ordinary Marines, sailors and soldiers responsible. It is a story of valour, fortitude, supreme physical and mental fitness, and unrivalled professionalism under the most testing of circumstances. The account explodes from the first page with Operation Glacier, a graphic, no-holds-barred account of a Commando attack on a key Taliban base south of Garmsir - a battle that ends with the dramatic recovery of a Corporal's body from alongside the fort by Apache helicopters. From this opening salvo the action never lets up, offering a startlingly honest account of the war in Afghanistan as told by the junior officers, corporals and marines on the ground.
District Centre or Compound DCC District Coordination Centre Desert Hawk UAV – model aeroplane – launched by a huge rubber catapult held by two men while a third pulls the aircraft back. The engine starts when it reaches a speed of 15 metres per second (50ft/sec). Supplies real-time video feeds back to a monitor. Endurance about one hour DfID Department for International Development Dicking Expression from Northern Ireland: to be watched and reported by non-aligned – but usually hostile
way into the compound – we weren't, as we were behind them, so couldn't fire for fear of hitting them – then landed, as he thought he was outside the fort, but he was concentrating on the enemy so much he completely misjudged the distances.' The passengers, not realizing where they were because of the sand blowing up all around them, jumped off to follow their orders – of laying down supporting fire to support the men jumping off the second aircraft. The two marines ran to the wall, expecting to
while lying prone in the dirt. Commando training ensures that within the Royal Marines there are numerous outstanding young leaders, many without stripes on their arms or pips on their shoulders, so it was the brigadier's express wish, now that his marines were in country, that the 'offensive spirit' be expressed by leaders at every level of the command chain. One such man – although in this case an experienced corporal and section commander – is Al Hewett, who was to win the Military Cross a
understand the countryside in greater detail, including the likely firing-points from which the District Centre had been engaged on a regular basis. A number of restrictions, though, were placed on the company commander. He was not to enter the wadi that runs north to south to the east of the town. Initially this was a restriction that the marines didn't mind as they became used to the other areas, but then pretty quickly it began to grate with them. The wooded area was close country and riddled
convoy on its way home. It wasn't the most pleasant of nights, 'sitting around a marketplace that smelt fucking awful, with the lads shouting for people to stay away – until there was a burst of machine gun fire'. Whiskey Company's job now was to secure one of the two bridges that crossed the river in Gereshk, with Juliet Company taking the second. 'The convoy approached and disappeared to FOB Price, and I thought, "Now let's get the fuck out of here." We were told to follow a path that