Sergeant Steve Heaney tells the explosive true story of the epic operation that helped to bring to an end the Sierra Leone Civil War and earned him the Military Cross.
OPERATION MAYHEM is the first ever account of a truly epic elite forces mission: one of the most highly decorated in modern military history.
Airlifted deep into the heart of the African jungle in the midst of a bloody civil war, twenty-six operators from the secret British unit X Platoon were sent into combat against two thousand rebels - being used as bait to lure the enemy into a decisive, do-or-die battle.
High on blood-lust, voodoo and drugs, the rebels were notorious for their brutal savagery. Equipped with captured armour, heavy machine-guns and grenade-launchers, they vastly outgunned the men of X Platoon - who were kitted out with pitiful supplies of ammunition and malfunctioning rifles, plus no body armour, grenades or heavy weaponry.
Intended to last just days, the mission mutated into a desperate siege, as the men of X Platoon - more formally known as the Pathfinders - faced what the rebels dubbed 'Operation Kill British'. Half-starved, surviving on giant African snails, fungi and other bush tucker, this handful of elite warriors were forced to make their stand unaided and alone. They fought using grenades made from old food-tins and 'punji fields' - rows of vicious sharpened bamboo-stakes - as the locals joined forces with them to defend against the onslaught.
Sergeant Steve Heaney was awarded the Military Cross for taking control of the battle after X Platoon lost their commanding officer. His story is full of the rough-and-ready humour and steely heroics with which these elite soldiers carried out operations far into hostile terrain.
The ferocious close quarter combat at the village of Lungi Lol brought to an end the horrific, decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone. OPERATION MAYHEM is the first ever account of this untold true story - one fought and won deep behind enemy lines.
About the Author
Steve Heaney joined the Parachute Regiment Juniors at 16, then passed Parachute Regiment selection and joined 3 PARA in 1987. Two years later he successfully undertook selection into X Platoon - the Pathfinders. He went on to serve with X Platoon, working with almost every allied Special Forces unit with which the British military has links. In 1999 he was promoted to Platoon Sergeant. He won the Commanding Officer's Commendation for finding arms caches in Northern Ireland. Sergeant Heaney left the British military in 2001, by which time he was the most experienced Military Parachutist in the British Army. He has spent the last decade working as a senior military adviser to one of Britain's key allies.
Damien Lewis has worked as a war and conflict reporter for major broadcasters, reporting from across Africa, South America, the Middle and Far East, and has won numerous awards for his journalism. In 2001 he wrote his first book, an international bestseller translated into over 30 languages, and adapted into a film and stage play. His books OPERATION CERTAIN DEATH, APACHE DAWN and FIRE STRIKE 7/9 were SUNDAY TIMES bestsellers, and he has co-written many other books, including PATHFINDER and BORN FEARLESS - the former a SUNDAY TIMES Top 10 bestseller, and the latter the UK's highest-selling military non-fiction title of 2012. Damien's recent Special Forces book ZERO SIX BRAVO reached No.1 on the SUNDAY TIMES non-fiction bestseller list.