The complete Falklands experience of a young 3 Para machinegun crew, based on accounts given during veterans' organised battlefield tours of Mount Longdon and other sites. Sergeant Rob Lofthouse has served in Iraq, and formed part of the Falklands defence force in the 1990's.
The prologue details a gunner's very first experience of combat. A real soldier's voice, combining dry gallows-style humour with a very real and brutal account of the conflict.
Review from Warrant Officer Dan Mills, author of 'Sniper One';
In the past, I have had the honour of fighting alongside Rob Lofthouse. Not only has he managed to eerily portray accurately the events of that cold, long hard night on Mount Longdon in June 1982, but he has also effectively transported the reader there, as though they... landed at San Carlos alongside 3 Para.
The description and portrayal... is uncanny, and having spoken to many soldiers who were on that artillery-swept summit and the hard fought over approaches to it, Rob is spot on.
The build-up and tension... leading up to the action is intense, and once the battle was over, I wanted to read more, the realism is remarkable.
The Falklands War turned out like so many... once casualties bite the ranks, it is the remarkable Tommy and... Non-Commissioned Officers who step up to the plate, grasp control then inspire, and... reorganise and lead a small band of men into battle. Throughout that war, these small groups were embroiled in their own battles, and full credit to those men because they won the day.
Extract from foreword by Major Justin Featherstone MC;
The Falklands Conflict was remarkable in many ways. It was the last British conflict over an issue of national sovereignty; the last significant British maritime military deployment; the last time that British troops marched for the duration of a campaign; the last time a substantial British task force met a regular enemy without any meaningful air manoeuvrability. This was primarily a dismounted infantry campaign, its battles fought in close combat, in a manner that has changed little since World War II.
One thing that has not altered lies at the very heart of British military capability, the British private soldier. As we accompany Archie and B Company of 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment across the desolate and arduous terrain of the Falklands, Rob’s treatment of the workings of such a force is both affecting and unerringly accurate. From preparation, to the orders given over a topological model constructed from earth, each episode drew me back to when I was giving orders for battle.
When Archie enters the maelstrom of close combat, the ordered chaos, sensory overload and sense of unyielding commitment are both overwhelming and compelling. The author conveys the horror and sense of movement without flinching, but it is the extraordinary actions of each individual which have the greatest impact.
As the battle progresses, and the cost mounts, the strength of initiative given to the ranks is apparent. It is this thoroughly British concept of Mission Command that allows 3 Para the flexibility and momentum to push home the attack, despite devastating losses. As each of the individuals constantly consider what they should do next in the absence of regular orders, having lost many of their commanders, they act with authority and a savage pride that ultimately leads to the defeat of the Argentine position on that remote 600-foot hill, despite the enemy’s strength and the need to attack up the slope.
Rob has created a compassionate, emotive and compelling story, clearly born from the author’s experiences as a combat infantryman.... his authentic voice has remained with me, that of 5 Platoon, B Company, 3 Para, and its desperate advance up the rock-strewn slopes of Mount Longdon.
'It was that realistic.' Major Manny Manfred, 'A' Company, Mount Longdon 1982
'A thought-provoking account of our last low-tech conventional conflict.' Soldier Magazine