3 Para Mount Longdon...
... The Bloodiest Battle, revised edition from Pen and Sword
Title: 3 Para Mount Longdon
Author: Jon Cooksey
Publisher: Pen and Sword
This new softback edition from Pen and Sword was first published back in 2004, but it has been revised and includes coverage ot visits to the island by veterans in the years since. It has been republished for the 35th anniversary of the Falklands War and the Battle of Mount Longdon itself. I have to say from the outset that I have a personal interest in any book about the Falklands War in 1982, as my Uncle and Aunt lived in Government House in Port Stanley as he was the Governor, Sir Rex Hunt.
The book opens with the background story, the idea that the Argentine Junta could divert attention from internal problems by occupying the islands, a long time aim of Argentine governments. They did not predict the British response however and the Thatcher government decided to send a Task Force to take them back. All this is explained in 'The Political Problem' and followed up with 'The Task Force', which details the units heading South and has accounts of what the journey was like. It ends with arrival near the islands, and the first combat loss, the sinking of HMS Sheffield. What came next was 'The Landing', when 3 Para landed on Green Beach 1 and 2 in Sand Bay in San Carlos Water.
This was followed by chapter 4, 'The Tab', including a detailed account by Nick Rose of his experience in the Tactical Advance into Battle over the rough ground of the islands, towards Mount Longdon, and in increasingly cold conditions. The British forces had reached a line around Port Stanley and needed to establish the Argentine defences they would need to overcome in order to relieve the town. Paragraph 5 looks at 'The Preparations', 6 is 'The Plan', 7 'The Argentines' and 8 'The Weapons' before chapter 9 details the events of 'The Battle' itself. There were losses on both sides but the Para prevailed. The story does include what happened around the loss of Sgt Ian John Mackay, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions that day. Everything is rounded off by chapter 10, 'The LEgacy' This not only deals with the events surrounding the end of the war and liberation of Port Stanley but also later visits by some of the veterans who took part as they revisited the sites of their experiences in the years of peace which have followed, remembering those who didn't make it through, on both sides. The book is illustrated throughout with maps, archive photos and artwork and which also includes pictures of those veterans in their subsequent return trips to the islands. A really interesting account of events we lived through.
Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.