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The Paras in Afghanistan

...from Key Publishing, via Pen & Sword

Title: The Paras in Afghanistan
Author: Craig Allen
Publisher: Key Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-80282-186-4

Number 2 in the Modern Wars Series from Key Publishing, a small format 128-page soft-cover book. The author had been in the Reserve forces but rejoined in order to actually serve a tour in Afghanistan as a combat photographer, a story he explains in the prologue.
It starts with coverage of their pre-deployment training before actually leaving for Afghanistan, which took place at various locations around the UK. The surroundings are notably different from what follows, but the tactics and procedures were vital for their coming tasks, and including experience with live fire. The following 2 chapters cover the authors time alongside both 2 and 3 Para. There are over 200 photos in the book which provide a valuable insight for those of us who didn't have to serve in Afghanistan. Some show the troops on patrol, such as checking for IEDs on roads in the early morning, checking for new traps that may have been set overnight. There is coverage of a number of the operating bases in Helmand province, such as Inkerman, Sangin and Gibraltar, and with 3 Para in Kandahar and Musa Qala among others. In camp we see the guys setting up camp, eating or taking exercise when off duty. Outside, amidst Afghan villages and countryside we see the arid conditions they encountered and the heavy loads of infantry weapons they had to carry in the heat of the day. Plenty of good clear photos of equipment such as the Mastiff patrol vehicle, Scimitar, MLRS and many more. While much was done with the support of vehicles and helicopters, much of the work was done on foot, the traditional role of the infantryman. The text and detail in the photo captions help us understand how our British troops managed in the hot environment of Afghanistan. Many show the dry, arid surroundings but in contrast the verdant Green Zone is so different. A wide range of experiences before the tour came to an end.
A book that both shows and tells what it was like for British troops to serve on the front line in Afghanistan before we finally pulled out, and many do show them alongside Afghan troops of the ANA (Afghan National Army). A really good value little book which is also a little goldmine for the modeller with details of uniforms and infantry equipment as well as the many vehicle types they worked with.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for the review copy, who are distributors for these Key Publishing titles.


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