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Honourable Warriors – Brilliant Account of Fighting the Taliban

Honourable Warriors by Major Richard Streatfeild is his account of fighting the Taliban out in Afghanistan for seven months in 2009. During that time he also took part in an audio blog for Radio 4’s Today programme. Streatfield and his company were based in the Sangin Valley during a period of continuous heavy fighting with the Taliban.

What this book does is describe in detail what it is like to be attacked over 200 times with IEDs along with the guerrilla tactics that he and his men had to endure. You feel the battle weariness when you find that they have over 800 fire fights with the Taliban and over seven months is absolutely frightening. We are able to see through this book the physical, psychological and political battles that the soldiers have to face while coming to terms with battle stress, battle casualties and the death the supreme sacrifice.

When we see reports in our newspapers, or hear them on radio and TV we rarely see how the soldiers are coping, as we are asking our young men and women to be prepared to lay down their lives in battles they probably do not understand they are fighting. What Richard Streatfeild has brought us is something akin to the diaries and letters we get from wars of previous eras.

You cannot help but feel moved by what has been written by Richard Streatfeild and our politicians should also read accounts such as Honourable Warriors and they may not be in such a hurry to send our soldiers to war. This is hopefully the start of the eyewitness accounts of those who actually fought rather than those who were mere observers.

Honourable Warriors is a powerful and honest account that does not hold back and you feel the pain of all soldiers who are trying to break down the barriers to win hearts and minds as well as fight. This is a wonderful narrative account of the British Army at war with the planning and tactics to the wounded and dead.

Honourable Warriors is an excellent account of the war in Afghanistan and gives the narrative from the participants who are our Honourable Warriors, unlike those dishonourable politicians who sent in to battle.

I can highly recommend this account as very readable and deeply touching narrative of war.
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on 7 October 2014
A very well written book that taught me a lot about the conflict in Afghanistan and the pressure that soldiers there are under. Major Richard Streatfeild describes his six months in a forward base fighting the Taliban, with his Company trying to win over the population and fight a restrained war despite a 25% serious injury rate.

The book describes in detail how professional the Company is, the pragmatism of the population, the corruption in national government, the randomness of the casualties, the importance of translators, what it's like to work alongside the Afghan national army, how Afghan codes of honor shape how the population and the ANA behave, sleight of hand used by the MOD when equipping the Army, the horrendous injury rate, and senior management sometimes being happy with symbolic training to actual training, and them sometimes preferring faddish signs of efficiency to real ones.

In the last two chapters, Streatfeild describes how successive base occupants alternated their strategies so much that he thought there was not a coherent plan on how to improve the region. Also he regrets repeating the MOD's line on his Radio 4 blog that the equipment they had received was sufficient, and wishes he had been more open about the sometimes fatal lack of training, metal detectors, reinforced cars and radios.

It's a very well written book and reads like he's trying to be fair. It's a detailed account of quite a short period of time and gives you a good idea of what the Army is doing in Afghanistan.
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on 9 August 2014
An interesting insight into the British Army's fight against the Taliban. I feel I have learnt more from this book than the newspapers or television reports at the time. It is a very honest and moving account of life on the front line which I hope, if the right people read it, leads to changes in how future foreign interventions are handled within the British Army.
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on 16 September 2014
Streatfeild did a superb job in helping me understand what it was like working in the most dangerous zone in Afghanistan. He has a clear, honest voice and a gift for narration.
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on 14 January 2015
An excellent well told story by an officer who served his country and men well. The professionalism and commitment from him and his colleagues can't be faulted. Open and honest accounts of contacts and feelings. A really good thought provoking read.
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on 24 June 2016
Another fascinating Afghanistan book, this account is just as engrossing as any of the other books on this subject. Richard's views are slightly different to some others, achieving something concrete instead of just exchanging millions of rounds of ammo with the Taliban. More often than not the fighting is against what is known as third tier Taliban, local, coerced men who receive fairly good pay to fight what they see as the Infidel invaders.
The supply of these third tier fighters is seemingly inexhaustible, Richard's view is that simply wiping out hundreds of them is counter productive, and that the top ranks and organisers are the ones that need to be removed.
A very interesting book, I can recommend it.
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on 19 January 2015
Eye opener - best Afghanistan book I've read that covers loads of ground on how his Company matched up to the Sangin insurgents and provides insight into what happens when we try to do war -fighting within a tight budget.
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on 19 May 2014
As a mother of one of the soldiers featured in this book
I am finding out about his tour of duty through the written word
- the dedication to their duty, the task in hand, but most of all
to their comrades. I wish I could say more. They Are Soliders.
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on 24 January 2015
A warts and all account of a junior officer's experiences in Helmand with justifiable questioning of the whys and therefores of the politics, strategy, preparation and equipment issues. Essential reading for anyone involved in the professional side of the military and for the wider public to gain an insight of the impact of defence cuts and the penny-pinching approach of the MOD bureaucrats.
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on 16 April 2014
Brilliant, no holds barred, first hand account of the realities of fighting in Afghanistan. Gripping from start to finish. Swift and Bold
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