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Sniper One: The Blistering True Story of a British Battle Group Under Siege [Hardcover]

Dan Mills
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Aug 2007
We all saw it at once. Half a dozen voices screamed 'Grenade!' simultaneously. Then everything went into slow motion. The grenade took an age to travel through its 20 metre arc. A dark, small oval-shaped package of misery the size of a peach ...April 7th 2004: a year to the day since the city had fallen. Saddam had been deposed. The Marines and the Paras were long gone and Southern Iraq rarely made it into the news. When Sgt Dan Mills and the rest of the 1st Batallion, The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment flew in, they were supposed to be winning hearts and minds. They were soon fighting for their lives. Within hours of arriving in Iraq a grenade bounced off one of the battalion's landrovers, rolled underneath and detonated. The ambush marked the beginning of a full-scale firefight during which Mills killed a man with a round that removed his assailant's head. It was going to be a long tour. Like some post-apocalyptic Mad Max nightmare, the place had gone to hell in a handcart. Temperatures on the ground often topped 50c, sewage systems that had long since packed up, the stench of cooking waste and piles of festering rubbish that grew wherever you looked. Throat-burning winds, blast bombs and well-trained, well-organised militias armed with AKs and RPGs and a limitless supply of mortar rounds were the icing on the cake. If any of Mills' 18 man sniper platoon had thought that the people of Al Amarah were going to welcome them with open arms, they were forced to rapidly reconsider. For the next six months, isolated, besieged and under constant fire the battalion refused to give an inch. Cimic House, their HQ, may have been shit, but it was home. And its defence, the most intense the British army fought in 50 years, was a modern day Rorke's Drift. "Sniper One" is a breathtaking chronical of endurance, camaraderie, dark humour and courage in the face of relentless, lethal assault.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd; 1st Edition edition (30 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718149947
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718149949
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.4 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A gritty, speedball run ... it plugs the reader straight into the blood and guts of the action' -- The Times

'A highly-charged, action filled, adrenalin-pumped, page-turning read that, frankly, knocks the socks off all previous British accounts in this genre' -- Sunday Telegraph

'The most vivid account ever of total combat on Iraq's frontline' -- The Sun

'This book may upset the system, but it's a story that should be
told ... their story matches any act of heroism in British history and
they've earned their right to be heard.'
-- MARK SPICER, author of Illustrated Manual of Sniper Skills

'You can taste the dust and cordite. One of the best first-hand
accounts of combat that I've ever read.'

From the Back Cover

'Contact front! Contact front!' Immediately we were down on our
knees and aggressively returning fire. Then we slipped away into pairs.
While one bloke got up and sprinted 10 feet back up the alleyway, the other
emptied all the rounds he could in the direction of the gunmen. Then the
pair swapped roles. Fire and Manouevre, fire and manouevre.

It was like the bank robbery scene in 'Heat'. It's amazing how well you
remember it all when you need to. But still the RPK poured lead at us. A
whole burst went straight between Smudge's legs as he was stopping to turn
and cover me.

'Average?!' I said as we looked at each other in amazement. Then we
carried on ...

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just read this book 10 Nov 2007
By Gilbs
A brilliant, warts and all account of a "Peacekeeping" tour in Iraq, told by the Platoon Sergeant of a sniper Platoon. Shot at and mortared from almost the moment they set foot on Iraqui soil, and for most of their tour, it wasn't peace at all, but all out war. As an ex-soldier I try to keep up with what British Forces are doing around the world today, but this amazed and shocked me. It seems to me the truth about what our Services are going through in Iraq and Afganistan is certainly under reported (censored?)and definately unappreciated by the public at large. Huge respect to Dan for telling the tale, it really needed telling, and to the rest of his unit, extraordinary people doing an extraordinary job. Just read this book.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of true bravery 2 Jun 2009
By susie
Courage, tenacity and a sense of humour go hand in hand in Dan Mills' true tale of his time in war-torn Iraq in 2004.
If I am absolutely honest, this is not the sort of book I would normally read, but it was on my book club's reading list and I'm so glad I picked it up. Sniper One is an honest and action-packed first hand account. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
It is fast paced and written in such a way that even a female civvie like me could understand it.
The only other similar book I have read is In Foreign Fields: Heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan in Their Own Words and that one reduced me to tears because I was so moved and humbled by some of the stories. (Again, I wasn't intending to read it. I bought it for my husband and ended up reading it on the train home and couldn't give it to him until I had finished it.) If you are looking for something after the adrenaline rush of Sniper One, I can highly recommend In Foreign Fields. It is the first hand accounts of British soldiers/Marines and RAF personnel who have won medals for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their stories are amazing, humbling and truly inspirational.
Put Sniper One and In Foreign Fields on your wish list.
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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have just finished reading "Sniper One." 19 May 2008
I have just finished reading the paper back edition of "Sniper One."
The paperback edition was only released on Tuesday. I bought a copy on Thursday, and I haven't been able to put it down till I finished it today (Monday).
Unlike some "Sniper" based books this book is more about the situation the soldiers found themselves in, and how they managed the trials of those situations, rather than overly detailed accounts of incredible shots from unbelievable distances (not to say their weren't a few of those, but they just happened as part of the job, more a consequence of the situation the men found themselves in rather than the central emphasis of the narrative).
There is more than enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat, and plenty of tales of professional soldiers maintaining a cool and professional manner, in the most extreme circumstances imaginable (they did us proud).
I was also surprised to find out that the MOD had tried to stop the publication of this book. I found that very surprising as I think this book is probably a fantastic recruiting tool. I think the Army comes off very well in this book, and the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment (PWRR) comes off particularly well (37 medals and awards seems to suggest the Army thought so as well.)
Any way if you fancy getting a small glimpse of the kind of the hell our boys have been, and still are dealing with (Don't forget Afghanistan.), I can highly recommend this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite ever military book 28 Sep 2010
By Mr Luca
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the best books I have ever read and my favourite military book so far - and I've read quite a few. A couple of things other reviews I read didn't touch on.

- I found this a very very funny book. I laughed out loud, loudly in more than 5 places. Things like his descriptions of the crazy characters of his men; the mischief with the dating site, the fight between Louis and John; his sniper poo episode; the behaviour of the something-TAG sergeants in the lethal firefight. These and more were made very very funny by his telling. Perhaps Sgt Dan Mills could be a comedian in his next career.

- Dan Mills and his men expressed a genuine love of fighting. They were genuinely eager to be involved in multiple firefights, perversely happy to be shot at and incessantly mortared. He didn't try to come across as peace-loving or reluctant to be in the situation. Quite the opposite - he said how much the loved the challenge. I've never seen military characters portrayed in quite this way before.

- They were very good at their job. And they deeply loved their work. As expressed by their open mouthed admiration of "The Beast" - a new sniper weapon. And the babbling adolescent anticipation they showed before the F16 attack on a mortar position.

- The ending was a bit poignant. It was a bit disappointing that these super soldiers were unable to find better work after leaving the army. I wasn't too happy about that part. It seemed ridiculous than an elite soldier would end up as a security guard at a university. But I suppose that's the nature of a free society.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smashing and food for thought 12 April 2008
This is a smashing read and account of events going on with little media coverage - I am French but understand that even in the UK the press is not overwhelmed with stories about British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.
I found the book very well balanced between life/action report and technical details, the latter being sufficient to support the first instead of invading the foreground.
I suppose Dan Mills and the men around him are of the stuff that bought Britain an empire (Red Coats and all), helped us French understand it was time to stop spreading mayhem all over Europe (Waterloo) and liberated Europe in 44/45.
And still I cannot help feeling upset that soldiers' lives are put at a risk for no clearly identifiable reason and gain with many restrictions as to the amount of force they can employ, be it for tight budgets or because of limited rules of engagement. I have been trained as a platoon leader in the infantry, in the late 80's the motto was still a full head-on confrontation with armies of the Warsaw Pact, meaning heavy metal all the way. One of the many grandeurs of these men is they had to do with being fired at before opening up while not being granted the full firepower of western armies. As observed in the book, it is a miracle that the battle group lost two men only... but the additional few who got severely injured with everlasting consequences must not be forgotten.
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