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Scram!: The Gripping First-hand Account of the Helicopter War in the Falklands Paperback – 11 Oct 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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  • Scram!: The Gripping First-hand Account of the Helicopter War in the Falklands
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (11 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099568829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099568827
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This is the real deal - amazing stories of a forgotten front line from one who was there" (Patrick Bishop)<br \><br \>"Harry Benson s book is immensely readable as a lucid, exciting account of the entire Falklands conflict, and valuable too, as written by a combatant, not a historian. With a Falklands commander warning us only this week that Britain without aircraft carriers can never again send a Task Force to the other side of the world, this book reminds us that we may need more Harry Bensons" (Daily Mail)<br \><br \>"Excellent" (Daily Telegraph) --Daily Telegraph

"Excellent…truly must-read stuff" (Flight International magazine) --Flight International magazine

"A detailed account of the outstanding contribution of the medium-lift Marine and Royal Navy Wessex and Sea King helicopters…The best part of the book is his account of the frantic pace of helicopter support for land operations from D-Day on 21 May" (Literary Review) --Literary Review

Book Description

This is the thrilling untold story of the young helicopter pilots - most barely out of their teens - who risked their lives during this brief but ferocious war.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This fascinating account of the helicopter war in the Falklands in 1982 is long overdue. Harry Benson's style of writing perfectly captures the highs and lows of the contribution that all the different types of helicopters made to that conflict; in particular the 'Junglies'. I particularly enjoyed the way he moves around in time and location without ever losing the flow of the 'story'. His research has been meticulous and he has cross-checked details to ensure accuracy throughout. I was there myself for much of the conflict and know nearly all the characters in the book. Nonetheless, there are many incidents and anecdotes of which I was unaware and 'Scram' has filled in several gaps in my own memory and knowledge.

This is a really enjoyable book which I thoroughly recommend to anyone interested in this aspect of British military history.
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Format: Paperback
I have already read a library copy and hugely enjoyed this most interesting book, but I have been sent the Arrow paperback edition (for review by the Army Rumour Service website) so must sing for my supper. I must record that I have equally enjoyed reading it again. Benson was a `Jungly' (naval Commando helicopter) pilot in the Falklands War, but these are not only his own reminiscences but those of his peers, culled from over forty personal interviews and other material, so a number of different hairy escapades are covered. He has done a very good job of the difficult task of making a coherent narrative covering the whole period - from South Georgia to the surrender - out of a patchwork of reminiscences from so many different people. And he has done us a public service in ensuring that their reminiscences are preserved. The idea of pulling all this together in a book came to him after a 2007 reunion and so this book is unlike, for instance, Chris Parry's `Down South' which was written up from that author's contemporary diary.

The Junglies themselves were luffed into the Falklands affair from Culdrose, Yeovilton, leave, and Northern Ireland, where the Fleet Air Arm had four Wessex maintaining two on call to the Army (the RAF needed twelve aircraft for the same job).

As to the RAF, like many other writers Benson calls out the pointlessness of that RAF exercise in self-advertisement, the Black Buck raids, backed up by a Jungly's photograph of the Stanley runway `in pretty good condition'. Benson also puts the blame for the loss of two irreplaceable Wessex on the Fortuna Glacier, and the near loss of a large number of ill-spared professionals, squarely on the SAS for their refusal to listen to those who knew better.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book right out of the top drawer. 'Scram' could be taken, simplisitically, as a series of exciting stories about the Falklands War and the commando helicopter operations, and that would make a good read in any event. But Harry Benson manages to weave in a deeper layer which brings to the foreground the personal and emotional aspects of any pilot, in any war, and with great subtlety. For example, a throw-away (but repeated) thematic (such as 'Where are the Pucaras?') can be a powerful instrument in putting across the constant fears and uncertainties that grip both the subject of the book (the aviator) and the book's target (the reader him or herself), and Harry uses this art well.

As well as the story of the Falklands battles, Harry manages to introduce some very useful, and readable, background threads such as information about general naval and flying training, the political lead up to the war, and how the wider Task Force went about his job, without breaking up the flow and tempo of the text. Neither did he fall foul (too much) of the normal temptations to criticise politicians, strategies, various commanders and other operational units, retrospectively. This would have been too easy for a book that rises above the normal 'My War and Wot I Fink of It' genre. Taking two examples, the fact that his squadron commander remained at Ascension Island throughout the war leading to command and control problems for the Wessex helicopter units, and that the Vulcan missions to bomb Stanley Airport had limited operational effect blown (sic) out of all proportion to the effort involved, were not developed as so as to interrupt the tight ambit of the narrative 'From the Sharp End'.
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By Nick Brett TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a perspective of the Falklands conflict from the perspective of the helicopter pilots involved. It does offer another perspective and does add another piece to the jigsaw that makes up the Falklands War. The author arrived towards the end, but at a recent reunion decided to collect the memories of the helicopter pilots (the "Junglies") and put them in one place.
Most well written books on the Falklands contain the same three themes, mis-management, luck and bravery. The retaking of the Falklands was a plan very much made up as it went along, and many of the ships the troops went in were due to be scrapped/sold/decommissioned, as has been pointed out, if the Argentinians had delayed their invasion by a month then Britain would have been unable to respond as they did.

Once at the Falklands there were many poor decisions made and the eventual victory came through luck and the sheer bravery and determination of the troops involved. Helicopters are the workhorse of the military, moving stores, troops and ammunition and, sadly, recovering the wounded. Sometimes referred to as taxis, that might be fair as long as you assume a taxi would take you in zero visibility to the front lines under enemy fire and then not expect a tip!

There are some very interesting and hair raising stories here and it is obvious that the Junglies did a fantastic job and could have done an even better one with co-ordinated air management. Harry Benson is objective in what he tells us although you feel at times he is holding back a little on his personal views and if you are interested in the life of helicopters at war then this (along with the excellent Apache by Ed Macy) is probably the book for you.
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