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Summary

In April 2006, the elite 3 Para battlegroup was dispatched to Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan. They were tasked with providing security to reconstruction efforts, a deployment it was hoped would pass off without a shot being fired. In fact, over the six months they were there, the 3 Para battle group saw near continuous combat, one gruelling battle after another, in what would become one of the most extraordinary campaigns ever fought by British troops.

Around parched, dusty outposts reliant on a limited number of helicopters for food and ammunition re-supply, troops were subjected to relentless Taliban attacks, as well as energy-sapping 50 degree heat and Spartan conditions. At the end of the tour, the Taliban offensive aimed at driving the British and Afghan Government troops out of Helmand had been tactically defeated. But 3 Para paid a high price: 14 soldiers and one interpreter were killed, and 46 wounded.

3 Para tells the stories of the men and women who took part in this extraordinary and largely unreported saga. Best-selling author Patrick Bishop was given exclusive access to the soldiers whose tales of courage and endurance provide an unforgettable portrait of one of the world's finest and most fascinating fighting regiments, and a remarkable band of warriors. Their bravery was reflected in the array of gallantry medals that were bestowed on their return, including the Victoria Cross awarded to Corporal Bryan Budd and the George Cross won by Corporal Mark Wright, both of whom were killed winning their awards. 3 Para's saga of comradeship, courage, and fortitude is set to become a classic.

©2007 Patrick Bishop (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, London UK

Critic reviews

"Wonderfully compelling...a fast-paced story of incredible bravery that at times reads like a thriller." ( Sunday Times)
"Bishop gives a gripping insight into deployment in Afghanistan last year of 3 Para...written with the fluent, rich and engaging fashion typical of the author's as a journalist." ( Times)
"Patrick Bishop's riveting account of 3 Para's bitter little war is based on extensive interviews...he presents an inspiring story of courage, discipline and¿selfless comradeship...the frenzy of close¿quarters combat...is captured particularly vividly¿fast¿paced and absorbing." ( Daily Mail)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping Thriller

No one would have believed what 3 Para were about to get involved in. Nothing could have prepared them for the battle of Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The descriptions of the battle group plans and the individual accounts make this a gripping and taut thriller which keeps you hooked throughout. The various language and voices used just adds to the authenticity of the stories told. I have much respect for our troops as an vetran myself, but this story tells of the true hell from the 'skull cinema' of the troops on the ground. Respect!

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

An insight into the ethos of The Parachute Regiment and those who fought in Afghanistan

This is a great account of a tour several of my friends from 3 Para took part in.
I know from chatting with them how “lively” it got and also how much they felt the loss of friends and comrades.

The book also gives a good insight into the mindset and ethos of The Parachute Regiment and how “cracking on” gets a lot achieved.

This book isn’t purely about the adversities faced by the Paras though and tells of the courage and tenacity of units like the Royal Irish Regiment and some of the pilots, especially helicopter pilots, who well and truly stuck their necks out to get help and supplies to the battlefield and the casualties off it.

An awesome read and one that made me very proud to be able to call myself “an ex Para”.

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A good listen

The only way to better understand the conflict that sat behind the headlines. A well written book that adequately covers the op at strategic and personal level.
The voice over artist should perhaps ditch the accents which are far from great and often stereotypical.

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A little lost

I originally had this book as a paperback but could not find the time to read. I decided this morning to get the audio book for my commute by car each day.

I started one chapter before the one in my book. However very confused that I had to start at chapter 2 on here which is chapter 6 in the book.

And the IT JUST COMPLETELY SKIPPED CHAPTER 7. The chapter that I am half way through does exist on this audio book.

To be totally honest with you. I feel disappointed and a little annoyed about this.

DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY OR TIME. GET THE PAPERBACK!!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

didn't like it

well not sure what to write got to the end and thought there was something wrong with my app and it must of restared, but no the book just ended .

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Interesting but not great

informative but ultimately a dull listen, the narrator is particularly jarring. I really struggled to get into it but will admit i have a much better insight into the war after listening.

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everyone should read this.....

a totally thrilling listen......was moved by the amount of medals won......not for killing but for the love of their fellow men

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Gripping listen

Very good listen gritty in places and very disturbing. Very much a must for any one who enjoy the genre.