The Yompers: With 45 Commando in the Falklands War Book Review
Amazon describes the book:
Called to action on 2 April 1982, the men of 45 Commando Royal Marines assembled from around the world to sail 8,000 miles to recover the Falkland Islands from Argentine invasion. Lacking helicopters and short of food, they ‘yomped’ in appalling weather carrying overloaded rucksacks, across the roughest terrain. Yet for a month in mid-winter, they remained a cohesive fighting-fit body of men. They then fought and won the highly successful and fierce night battle for Two Sisters, a 1,000 foot high mountain which was the key to the defensive positions around Stanley.
This is a first hand story of that epic feat, but it is much more than that. The first to be written by a company commander in the Falklands War, the book gives a compelling, vivid description of the ‘yomp’ and infantry fighting, and it also offers penetrating insights into the realities of war at higher levels. It is a unique combination of descriptive writing about front-line fighting and wider reflections on the Falklands War, and conflict in general.
Gritty and moving; sophisticated, reflective and funny, this book offers an abundance of timeless truths about war.
My Own Thoughts On This Book:
The book opens with the statement that soldiers do not fight for big things like Queen and Country, men and women on the threshold of death fight for each other. Not letting your colleague down is more important than political decisions to go to war.
It is from this perspective of a military commander who led his men through extreme weather conditions and huge logistical difficulties culminating in the battle and loss of life that the book leads the reader through his part in the Falklands conflict.
I was a young Police Officer in Plymouth at the time of this war. I well recall the huge logistical efforts to get men and machinery onto ships and bound for the South Atlantic. I also recall seeing some Royal Navy vessels return badly damaged and battered at the end of the conflict.
Despite all the technology it was human spirit and effort in the form of Yomping that allowed the service men to battle through and take Port Stanley.
This book describes it all, from the political decisions, the flawed chain of command,the harrowing losses of vessels and equipment through to the human stories of cold, rain, snow, lack of food and human bravery which led to a very close run victory.
As austerity strikes deeper in the UK today there are again talks of disbanding the Royal Marines, I despair at the shortsightedness of today’s politicians.
About The Author:
Ian Gardiner served a full career in the Royal Marines retiring as a Brigadier. Since then he has written two books (In the Service of the Sultan has sold over 12,000 copies and The Flatpack Bombers). He lives in Edinburgh and is a defence consultant.
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