First in - the official motto of one of the British Army's smallest and most secretive units, 16 Air Assault Brigade's Pathfinder Platoon. Unofficially, they are the bastard son of the SAS. And like their counterparts in Hereford, the job of the Pathfinders is to operate unseen and undetected deep behind enemy lines.
When British forces deployed to Iraq in 2003, Captain David Blakeley was given command of a reconnaissance mission of such critical importance that it could change the course of the war. It's the story of nine men, operating alone and unsupported, fifty miles ahead of a US Recon Marine advance and head straight into a hornets nest, teeming with thousands of heavily-armed enemy forces. This is the first account of that extraordinary mission - abandoned by coalition command, left with no option but to fight their way out of the enemy's backyard.
And it provides a gripping insight into the Pathfinders themselves, a shadowy unit, just forty-five men strong, that plies its trade from the skies. Trained to parachute in to enemy territory far beyond the forward edge of battle - freefalling from high altitude breathing bottled oxygen and employing the latest skydiving technology - the PF are unique.
Because of new rules introduced since the publication of Bravo Two Zero, there have been no first-hand accounts of British Special Forces waging modern-day warfare for nearly a decade. And no member of the Pathfinders has ever told their story before. Until now. Pathfinder is the only first-hand account of a UKSF mission to emerge for nearly a generation. And it could be the last.
Within hours of their arrival in Iraq, a grenade bounced off one of the battalion's Land Rovers, rolled underneath and detonated. The ambush marked the beginning of a full-scale firefight during which Mills killed a man with a round that removed his assailant's head. It was going to be a long tour.
Like some post-apocalyptic "Mad Max" nightmare, the place had gone to hell in a handbasket. Temperatures on the ground often topped 120 degrees Fahrenheit, sewage systems had long since packed up, and the stench of cooking waste and piles of festering garbage grew wherever you looked. Throat-burning winds, blast bombs and well-trained, well-organized militias armed with AKs, RPGs and a limitless supply of mortar rounds were the icing on the cake.
If any of Mills's eighteen-man sniper platoon had thought that the people of Al Amarah were going to welcome them with open arms, they were rapidly forced to reconsider. For the next six months, isolated, besieged and under constant fire, the battalion refused to give an inch.
Sniper One is a breathtaking chronicle of endurance, camaraderie, dark humor and courage in the face of relentless, lethal assault.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, Nick Irving earned his nickname in blood, destroying the enemy with his sniper rifle and in deadly firefights behind a .50 caliber machine gun. He engaged a Taliban suicide bomber during a vicious firefight, used nearly silent sub-sonic ammo, and was the target of snipers himself. Way of the Reaper attempts to place the reader in the heat of battle, experiencing the same dangers, horrors and acts of courage Irving faced as an elite member of the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, while also examining the personal ramifications of taking another life.
Readers will experience the rush of the hunt and the dangers that all snipers must face, while learning what it takes to become an elite manhunter. Like the Reaper himself, this explosive book blazes new territory and takes no prisoners.
As the insurgency in Iraq intensified following the American invasion, U.S. Navy SEALs were called upon to root terrorists from their lairs. Unsure of the local neighborhoods and unable to speak the local languages, they came to rely on one man to guide them and watch their backs. He was a "terp"—an interpreter—with a job so dangerous they couldn't even use his real name.
They named him Johnny Walker. They soon called him brother. Over the course of eight years, the Iraqi native traveled around the country with nearly every SEAL and special operations unit deployed there. He went on thousands of missions, saved dozens of SEAL and other American lives, and risked his own daily. Helped to the U.S. by the SEALs he protected, Johnny Walker's life is so remarkable that his tale reads like fiction. But every word of it is true.
For the first time ever, a "terp" tells what it was like in Iraq during the American invasion and the brutal insurgency that followed. With inside details on SEAL operations and a humane understanding of the tragic price paid by ordinary Iraqis, Code Name: Johnny Walker reveals a side of the war that has never been told before.
Trunk Monkeys: The Life of a Contract Soldier in Iraq tells the true story of operators from a private military contractor working in Iraq shortly after the Gulf War. From the perspective of grizzled veteran Lewis Steiner who had left the British Army to join the gold rush in the living hell that was war-torn Iraq, Steiner grew disillusioned about the declining situation in the country as he believed that the joint US and UK invasion had made things far worse.
This fascinating and often extremely violent book encompasses the highs and lows of operating throughout the country from Basra in the south up to Mosul in the north. Steiner recounts of friends lost due to negligence and poor planning to the realities of conducting a private war surrounded by civilians who might be the enemy. Ultimately injured in an incident that left two dead, Steiner decides to soldier on due to a misguided sense of duty. Armed with his belt-fed SAW machine gun, Steiner accepted a contract located near Tikrit. The missions rapidly become a death sentence to many of the contract soldiers and dogs of war. In some cases, these missions were pointless, costing men, vehicles and the sanity of brothers in arms. Steiner was in the thick of it from dodging enemy ambushes to taking out a suicide bomber and narrowly escaping death in ‘Sniper Alley’ collecting cranberry sauce for the US forces on Thanksgiving Day. With the pedal to the metal, his Humvee attracted the unwelcome attention of insurgents who tried to blow him up with RPGs.
Forget the fictionalised works of Andy McNab, Tom Clancy and Chris Ryan: this is the real deal. This is a firsthand account of the men who decide to pay the ultimate price, but be warned, this tells the real story that the Government does not want you to know.
Illustrations: 38 colour photographs