A 21st Century “Band of Brothers”

I went to Afghanistan with seven mates and came back with seven brothers.” — Private Kenny Meighan, in Attack State Red.

What happened in Helmand’s Sangin Valley in the spring of 2007 was nothing short of extraordinary. A twenty-first century Band of Brothers, the soldiers of the Royal Anglian Regiment arrived in Afghanistan charged with taking the battle to the enemy. Despite brutal, debilitating conditions, the tour that followed became a bloody lesson in how to conduct offensive infantry warfare. Over a six-month tour of duty, the ‘Vikings’ battlegroup unleashed hell in heavy, relentless fighting that saw teenage soldiers battle toe to toe against hard-core Al Qaeda and Taliban warriors at unprecedented levels of ferocity.

The stories that emerged from the Sangin Valley, defined by bravery, comradeship, endurance and, above all, aggression, are remarkable. But the fight was far from one-sided. During their time in theatre the Royal Anglians paid a heavy price in dead and wounded men. And all those that did return home came back changed by the intensity of the experience.

In Attack State Red, Colonel Richard Kemp, a former Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, and Chris Hughes, the Daily Mirror Security Correspondent, tell the story of the Royal Anglians’ deployment for the first time.

Most people wonder what it is like in battle and how they themselves would perform. Many books claim to give the reader a whiff of combat. Attack State Red really does. Seen through the eyes of the ordinary soldier, this book shows the danger, the fear, the exhilaration, the heat, the dust, the confusion, the exhaustion and of course the ever-present humour of infantry warfare.

It places the reader firmly into the boots of the British fighting man. For the first time ever you will understand what it is like to confront an enemy in impossible battle conditions, slogging for mile after mile through rugged Afghan desert and jungle-like ‘Green Zone’, in searing heat and carrying up to 90 pounds of equipment. Nervously wondering when the first shot will be fired at you. Hoping it won’t come. Knowing it will.

Green Amber Red