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The Killing Zone Paperback – 9 Aug 2012
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The Grenadier Guards face their toughest ever challenge in Helmand, Afghanistan
About the Author
Lieutenant Colonel Richard 'Skid' Dorney joined the Grenadier Guards aged 16. He has served in Northern Ireland (6 tours), the first Gulf War, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan as well as NW Europe, Africa and the Far East. He is a decorated soldier and an ex Regimental Sergeant Major of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. He established the Army Trauma Risk Management Training Team in 2008 and for three years was the Army's non clinical subject matter expert, working with serving soldiers and veterans. He holds an MSc in War and Psychiatry and is a member Combat Stress, The Armed Forces Mental Welfare Society. He was awarded the Queens Commendation for Valuable service in Northern Ireland in1994, received an MBE in 2007 and became a Member of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in 2010.
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In years to come historians and politicians will breeze over the actions depicted in this book with their own offerrings. They will concentrate on the larger actions and decisive aspects of this unpopular war, they will not contain this level of detail nor the human face of what the Guardsmen faced on this arduous tour of duty. The author has found a subtle balance with this title in that it is easy to read for both those from a military background aswell as the discerning civilian. The book covers all aspects of the tour, the highs and the lows experienced by not only the soldiers but their families at home. When dealing with the sensisive subject of the Battalion's losses respect and dignity is paramount, as would be expected from someone within the Regimental family.
The true testament to this fine and glorious Regiment and the author, is that monies raised from this book's sales will be donated to the military charities of the Colonel's Fund, for Grenadiers in times of need and to Combat Stress.
It doesn't glorify the war or seek to justify why our troops are in Afghansitan but instead draws on the experience and hardship of both soldiers and officers alike. The close contact with the Taliban throughout their tour is seen through the eyes of those who experienced it and faced the risk of death every time they left the relative 'safety' of an operating base. This book brings the reader closer to the truth of war and the consequences on those involved in it.
I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the history of the Grenadier Guards or the war in Afghansitan.
The profits for this book go to support the Grenadier's Guards Colonel's Fund, a charity supporting the Grenadiers injured in both this tour of Afghanistan and other tours that have taken place before and since.
He gives an unparallel insight into the amount of stress involved with modern day soldiering. With his documentary style he gives the reader a clear understanding of the special skills required to organise and mentor the Afghan Army and the strength of character and mind those tasked with this job must have. He explains what it was like for soldiers to go into armed conflict daily with soldiers who do not speak your language and have a totally different approach to operating than themselves.
He also gives a very factual and vivid account of the Grenadiers who deployed and operated in more traditional infantry role and structures, working in a well organised infantry Company or in the more specialist reconnaissance role with soldiers from other units.
By half way through the book the reader starts to understand the strain the Grenadiers lived and worked under in each of those different roles. The `overseers' with their very different challenges , the `classic infantrymen' who seemed to emotionally suffer the most when they lost a member of the their close knit family unit, and the `specialists' who had to be even more self reliant operating over a large area and taking many risks. He also then explains the additional stress that was placed on all the Grenadiers in their different roles by the high tempo of constantly mounting operations when instructed from above and the constant drain on their operational ability with the loss of manpower due to death and injury, without making any judgement or criticism.
By the end of the book you feel like you have had a real insight into the extremely demanding and stressful life of the modern day infantryman and all that he is asked to do in Afghanistan. As Richard Dorney is donating the profits to the Grenadier Guards welfare fund and Combat Stress you also feel that you have in some way helped those you have read about.
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