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on 2 January 2003
Hugh McManners' Falklands Commando is unique in that most UK special forces books are written by former enlisted members who came from working class backgrounds. McManners comes from a more upper class background, having studied at Oxford. He was a Captain in the Royal Artillery, attached to 3rd Commando Brigade as the leader of a naval gunfire support team. As such, he often operated with SBS and SAS forces.
McManners writes well and describes how he saw the Falkland Islands conflict. Falklands Commando is not a comprehensive account of the South Atlantic War. You need not be familiar with all the details of that war, but the more previous knowledge you have, the more you can appreciate McManners' account.
McManners details the build-up, journey south, and the subsequent missions his team undertook to observe Argentinean positions and call naval fire upon them. All in all, it's an excellent account that puts a human face on conflict.
The most recent edition includes a foreword and afterwards by McManners in which he relates the Falklands experience to the present day and the War on Terror. If I had one criticism, it is certain segments of the account were footnoted, supposedly to relate additional information McManners later learned after the book first went to print. Only many of these footnotes were missing.
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on 30 December 2015
I have read many witness accounts of the Falklands - in fact I served with 2 Para there during the battles. I have found them all to be the same with only a slightly different perspective. This is a radical departure from that perspective and a fascinating description of events coming from the Royal Marines rather than the Army. I had met most of the individuals mentioned so this had a personal connection and empathy but most of all it is well written, well observed and funny where it needs to be. It also discloses the extent of the involvement of 148 Battery who seem to have been all over the place in their small groups but that is the point. Theirs was not a major unit like a Commando or a Parachute Batallion whose perspective has been thoroughly written of but it is a special forces team perspective which makes the book such a pleasant surprise and a real complement to the existing library of that conflict. The disclosure of the shelling incident had to be made because it has been buried. The discussion on how the RN was affronted about the self centred view that the Paras had won the war single handed was interesting because that was certainly the message that appeared - whether disseminated deliberately or not. Well written, engaging and exciting on its own, but it also comes from a different perspective than the other books.
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on 10 February 2015
Falklands Commando is a first hand account of the 1982 Falklands War, published only two years after the event. Captain Hugh McManners, no ordinary Royal Artillery officer, shares his experiences, views and thoughts on the war as it developed around him. The war as he saw it, from start to finish, thus creating an intimate and revealing perspective, as opposed to a historian's post event analysis.

McManners begins his narrative in April 1982 surrounding the growing tense atmosphere of the time, and we follow him on his long sea journey to the other end of the world, the long periods of boredom and preparation before eventually going into action, through to the surrender and tying up of loose ends before finally his journey home bound and the heroes' welcome at Southampton.

McManners's war wasn't that of a ordinary foot slogger or even a typical war memoir. Attached to the Royal Marine Commandos, He was part of an elite NGS (Naval Gunfire Support) team skilled at covert insertion and fieldcraft, hiding for days unobserved in cold and damp holes, working with the naval guns or artillery pieces to direct fire at enemy positions. Working in support of the SBS and SAS, as well as the advancing units.

The cover is attractive and its pocket size format is ideal to read either on the go or sat comfortably. I found it well written and enjoyable. With interesting period photos, a concise timeline of events and a valuable glossary. It does not pretend to be a thriller novel or even a work of fiction, McManners delivers an honest account of a soldier's day to day life and feelings helping the reader to understand the realities of living in a war zone and being a soldier at war, while the closing chapters describe the calm after the battle, a subject seldom written about

The book provides a unique insight and view point of the conflict which redeems the long build up, which is all the more interesting considering it was written while the events were still fresh in the author's mind.
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on 23 May 2014
Well worth a read for anybody that is a follower of this war.
An honest account told by a modest soldier who contributed greatly to Britain's efforts in the
Recapturing of the Falkland Islands
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on 9 March 2010
This is a very enjoyable book about a unit that has had nothing else written about it, apart from one account in 'Above All, Courage: The Eyewitness History of the Falklands War (Cassell Military Paperbacks)'. I finished it in a couple of days.

The unit has a specialised role in controlling the fire of ships and land-based artillery. The author's team worked in this role with the Special Boat Squadron during the Falklands War.

He writes engagingly about the journey down, and the routine that emerges during such a long voyage - and the confusion that surrounds such a sudden and unexpected deployment.

His team was in action virtually for the whole campaign, culminating in coordinating the gunfire that supported the two-day 'big push' on the nights of 11/12 to 13/14 June.

Reading the entire story of McManners' war, rather than 'edited highlights', is more interesting - life as a whole. One fact he doesn't mention, but which emerges in other books on the conflict, is that his battery was within three months of disbandment; the book seems like a manifesto for the Battery's continued existence. It is good to know that the proposed disbandment was rescinded.

The second edition contains some additions, e.g. the tale told by an SAS soldier about the accidental shooting of an SBS soldier, and also a new introduction and final chapter - an interesting perspective after 25 years, five of them as the Sunday Times military correspondent. It is sad to read about the fate of one of his team members, a victim of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I certainly recommend the book - however, it's lost one star for the appalling typos - no proofreading evident at all!
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on 4 May 2015
Not only is this book about one mans war in the Falklands but also describes in great detail about the rest of the war. I've read many book on the Falklands and I found my self learning bits I didn't know.
Looking for a good book this is it.
Looking for a good book on the Falklands this is it.
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on 4 January 2015
This is an interesting story but not what I would have called either commando or special forces.

The author was a forward gunnery officer who job was to direct gunfire (mainly naval) onto targets, hide from the enemy and then repeat.
It necessitated him often being ahead of the main forces and so there was a degree of danger involved but not of the same level of the special forces on covert missions or the commandos assaulting enemy positions.

A story worth telling never the less.
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on 13 August 2015
I read this when first published and raced through it as it is written beautifully. I have now bought a copy as a gift for my father who enjoyed it very much, so much so, that we have all read another book edited by the author on the same subject. I admit that I knew the author a long time ago which is why I first read it but I strongly recommend this if you are interested In the conflict on any level.
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on 3 September 2015
A great book and a superb account of the Falklands conflict and the role played by this highly skilled, highly trained unit that very few know about outside of HM Forces.
Hugh McManners has a great writing style and the book flows beautifully.
I read it in an afternoon as I couldn't put it down!
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on 19 July 2015
This book says it how it was for a 148bty OP party during the Falklands War. There is no glorification of what can only be described as a bloody business. It is that descriptive you can almost smell the peat along side the cordite.
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