By Ewen Southby-Tailyour
'The three Commando Brigade's six month deployment in Helmand Province was once among the best items of soldiering i've got come across' common Sir Richard Dannett, leader of basic Staff
In October 2006, the Royal Marine Commandos took up their six month journey of responsibility in war-torn Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan - the hardest and most well liked warfare quarter on the earth. After the tactical retreat in their predecessors, the Paras, the Marines knew they might need to take a special method of have any probability of luck. so that they took the warfare to the enemy. Roving and competitive, the Commandos compelled the rebel Taliban directly to the again foot. for that reason, they have been excited by day-by-day hearth fights of an depth now not encountered by way of British troops due to the fact that North Korea.
3 Commando Brigade is an exhilarating first-hand account of that dogged, heroic pursuit of the Taliban by way of the normal Marines, sailors and squaddies accountable. it's a tale of valour, fortitude, splendid actual and psychological health, and unrivalled professionalism below the main checking out of conditions. The account explodes from the 1st web page with Operation Glacier, a picture, no-holds-barred account of a Commando assault on a key Taliban base south of Garmsir - a conflict that ends with the dramatic restoration of a Corporal's physique from along the citadel by means of Apache helicopters. From this starting salvo the motion by no means shall we up, delivering a startlingly sincere account of the battle in Afghanistan as instructed via the junior officials, corporals and marines at the floor.
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The only remotely enjoyable part of all this was the weekly dancing lesson in the main hall, under the needle-sharp eye of Herr Letzenmayer the dancing tutor. Partners were provided for us: girls marched along for the afternoon in crocodile from a nearby convent school. I soon perceived though that the girls did not look forward to the afternoon quite as much 43 To m o r r o w t h e Wo r l d as we did, that from their point of view the chance of rubbing themselves up against members of the male sex was largely offset by the fact that we were gauche, hard-up and as generally pushed-around and put-upon as themselves.
My performance in mathematics and the sciences was judged to be more than adequate to get me through the Marine Academy entrance 35 To m o r r o w t h e Wo r l d examinations, even though these were said to be formidably tough. The only thing likely to give me any trouble was English: a compulsory subject for all aspiring cadets and one that, sadly, was not taught to a high standard at the Kronprinz Rudolf or anywhere else in northern Moravia. In the end my father solved the problem by engaging for my brother and me the services of a resident tutor in English: a Miss Kathleen Docherty from County Cork, an itinerant Irish piano tutor and femme fatale who had recently been cast off—though naturally we boys were told nothing of this—as the Prince von und zu Regnitz’s mistress.
But afterwards I felt at least that, like Galileo, I had suffered in the cause of science. I studied maps and I learnt the names of a ship’s sails and spars. But I was still frustratingly aware that I had never seen the sea or been afloat in anything larger than a punt on a pond. The best that I could do was to make pledges against the future, like Sir Francis Drake climbing a tree on the Isthmus of Panama in a story that I had read and swearing that one day, by God’s leave, he would sail the distant Pacific Ocean.