Originally published in 1991.
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Apart from brief carrier trials carried out many years previously there had been no RAF Harriers deployed at sea. The RAF pilots were treated with ill-disguised contempt by their naval masters, their professional opinions ignored in spite of the fact that the RN knew next to nothing about ground-attack and reccon operations. Very soon after starting operations from the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes the squadron realized that they were considered as more or less expendable ordnance.
The Harriers lacked the most basic self-protection aids and were up against 10,000 well-armed troops who put up an impressive weight of fire whenever attacked.
Though Hue's mission was fraught with difficulty - he missed his landing site, his secret base camp became the site of a pitch battle and a band of Cossacks tried to hunt him down - he knew that thousands of lives depended on his success or failure . . .
This time they were going to hunt them down from the air. With the support of Chinooks, Apaches, Lynx, Sea Kings and Harriers, the Commandos became a deadly mobile unit, able to swoop at a moments notice into the most hostile territory.
From huge operations like the gruelling Red Dagger, when 3 Commando Brigade fought in Somme-like mud to successfully clear the area around the capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gar, of encroaching enemy forces, to the daily acts of unsupported, close-quarters 360-degree combat and the breath-taking, rapid helicopter night assaults behind enemy lines - this was kind of battle that brought Commando qualities to the fore.
As with the Sunday Times bestselling 3 Commando Brigade, ex-Marine Lieutenant Colonel Ewen Southby-Tailyour brings unparalleled access to the troops, a soldier's understanding of the conflict and a visceral sense of the combat experience. This is the real war in Afghanistan as told to him by a hand-picked band of young fellow marines as they encounter the daily rigours of life on the ground in the world's most intense war zone.