Bomb Hunters: Life and Death Stories with Britain's Elite Bomb Disposal Unit in Afghanistan

Bomb Hunters: Life and Death Stories with Britain's Elite Bomb Disposal Unit in Afghanistan

Sean Rayment

Language: English

Pages: 196

ISBN: 000737478X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Bomb Hunters: Life and Death Stories with Britain's Elite Bomb Disposal Unit in Afghanistan

Sean Rayment

Language: English

Pages: 196

ISBN: 000737478X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Sunday Times Bestseller 'Afghanistan is just like Iraq -- hot, dusty and full of people who want to kill you', SSgt Simon Fuller, Royal Engineer Search Advisor Bomb Hunters tells the story of the British army's elite bomb disposal experts, men who face death every day in the most dangerous region on earth -- Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Bomb Hunters are up against the Improvised Explosive Device -- the IED -- the deadly homemade bombs planted by the Taliban. Hard to detect and easy to trigger, an estimated 10 bombs for every one of the 10,000 British troops have been planted in the region. IEDs are now the main killer of British troops in Afghanistan and the ultimate psychological weapon. Bomb Hunters work in 50-degree heat as they take the 'long walk' into the kill zone, defusing as many as 15 bombs a day. In the past year the casualty rate has soared as the troops have become locked into a deadly game of cat and mouse -- to locate and deactivate the deadly bombs before they maim and kill soldiers, police and civilians. Skill, cold courage and inevitably pure luck play a huge part in the survival of these men and as the British public have already seen -- a single lapse of concentration can result in instant death. Ex-paratrooper, now defence journalist, Sean Rayment, takes the reader on a journey into the heat and dust of Helmand Province as he meets these courageous soldiers while they put their lives at risk to prevent other British troops falling victim to the IED. He interviews the Bomb Hunters as they perform their duties on the frontline and paints a breathtaking picture of what life is like for the men who play poker with their own lives every day, who live knowing the enemy watches their every move, waiting for a weakness to show itself, a pattern in technique to be exploited, or an error to be made that triggers the device itself. This is as vivid and dramatic as war reporting gets, mixing 'close to the bone' narrative and dead-pan black humour from the Bomb Hunters themselves, some of whom were subsequently killed in action. No punches will be pulled on what these men feel about the war, their place in it, the politicians and generals who send them there, and how they deal with the relentless pressure of the job itself in the heart of the world's most hostile combat environment.

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and almost indifferent about it. Be under no illusion this is not because what happens at XP1 is insignificant, it’s because it has become normal for them. From the outside there is nothing normal about it. Commanders have come up with ideas and schemes that work. Forty-two enemy have been killed, if not more, and guardsmen have not been hurt in the process. Good timely decisions, a company supporting every man in it, level-headed commanders and luck have all played a massive part in the success

Less than two minutes after the second device had been neutralized a third was discovered near one of the dead soldiers. The device was located on the extraction route over which the casualties would have to pass. For the third time in less than twenty minutes Hughes carried out a Cat A task. As the sun began to illuminate the wadi, dark patches of disturbed soil could be seen all around. Hidden beneath each site was a bomb. In an area of 40 metres by 50 metres the bomb hunters found seven

and gruelling job and I think we will see, in the years to come, cases of post-traumatic stress disorder beginning to emerge. The stress is unquantifiable. It is one of my major worries. We don’t know what sort of toll this war is having on bomb-disposal teams. We won’t know that for a long while. ‘The Counter IED Task Force was established to deal with the IED threat in Helmand. In 2006 there were just two ATOs and two search teams; that number has increased but we still need more. At the

survives first contact’, and therefore one of the principles of warfare is ‘flexibility’. Right Flank were stuck fast and surrounded, with all three locations under fire. Urgent action was needed, and the company commander decided that the safest bet was to move the whole company into one location and robustly defend it. The soldiers knew that the Taliban attacks would fizzle out after dusk, because with little or no night-vision equipment they were in no position to take on British troops in the

that someone you were speaking to a day earlier has been blown to pieces. I have seen that look before, in the eyes of other men who have watched friends die. It is unmistakable. It is the cold, distant look of someone who has witnesed violent death. Richie continues, ‘We were on a ten-liner. It was a fairly normal job, just routine. The infantry wanted us to search an area so that they could get greater freedom of movement. That’s routine work for us, nothing unusual. It was normal drills. We

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