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This review is from: Helmand Mission: With 1st Royal Irish Battlegroup in Afghanistan 2008 (Hardcover)
Richard Doherty's account of 1st Royal Irish Battlegroup's tour in Helmand province is not going to win any prizes for journalistic prose. Much of it reads like a medal citation as the Rangers engage in remarkable activities time and time again. The book is full of the tribal regimental pride. But it has plenty going for it.
Firstly, the Royal Irish were mentoring the Afghan National Army (ANA) and thus are much more likely to have contributed to the solution (if there is one) to the Taliban insurgency than the toughest para patrol action. Small groups of Rangers are out training and leading trying to move an army into the modern era of the professional soldier. This is not just a matter of the alphabet soup of modern weapons, but a different style of leadership and ethos. This topic alone marks out this book as worth reading.
Secondly, it is a tale of uncommon bravery and resourcefulness by the various soldiers responding to an enemy whose bravery was always recognised and whose skill is improving. That there are such a lot of mdeals is remarkable but having read the stories it is not surprising.