Academic journal article Military Review

Operation Snake Bite: The Explosive True Story of an Afghan Desert Siege

Academic journal article Military Review

Operation Snake Bite: The Explosive True Story of an Afghan Desert Siege

Article excerpt

OPERATION SNAKE BITE: The Explosive True Story of an Afghan Desert Siege, Stephen Grey, Penguin Books, London, 2009, 367 pages, $64.69.

Set-piece battles are rare in Afghanistan. One exception was a major fight in the Helmand Province from 2 to 11 December 2007. The place was Musa Qala, which is not far from the Maiwand battlefield where the British lost a brigade in 1880. Coalition forces included some 1 ,800 British, American, Afghan, Danish, and Dutch soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen. Some famous units included the Cold-stream Guards, the Green Howards, the Household Cavalry, the King's Royal Hussars, the Royal Gurkha Rifles, the Scots Guards, the Royal Marines, and the 82d Airborne Division. The Taliban were badly mauled, but some escaped. The siege of Musa Qala is the story of coalition combat, courage, and the political undertones that color a combatant's every move. It is also a story of those who paid the ultimate price for their comrades, their units, and their countries.

Stephen Grey, an embedded reporter with B Company, 2d Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment (The Green Howards), joined the unit prior to the operation and developed close contacts and relationships with the soldiers of the unit. …

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