Head of Interaction and Service Design at @DigitalDWP
Sniper One Book Review
SNIPER ONE A TRUE STORY
Sgt Dan Mills writes a telling personal in Sniper One of story of an ‘exciting’ yet very dangerous tour in Al Amarah, Iraq. From landing in Iraq on the 7th April 2004, a year since the city had fallen and Hussein had been ousted, Sgt Mills from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the rest of his battalion were supposed to be there to ‘win hearts and minds’, they were soon fighting one of the hardest and longest battles since World War 2.
It didn’t take long for the whole world to turn against them in Al Amarah, the Moqtadr Al Sadr Brigade’s were definitely against why they were there and with an intelligence mistake Mills and the rest of his platoon stuck their heads into the lions head within the first few hours they were there. They had been told that they will probably not see any action, from then on they realised they’d walked straight into hell on earth.
Sniper One is written in a first person scenario of Mills being the head shed of sniper platoon in Y Company, PWRR. The snipers were lucky to even get the chance to go to Iraq and use their ‘long’s’, the British L96 sniper rifle as the Regiment chose them instead of the Mortar’s. This turned out to be a bad mistake as after the first contact with Dan’s team the Regiment realised they would be needing both sets of equipment… regularly.
IS THERE MUCH ACTION IN SNIPER ONE?
The lads from PWRR were seriously in the thick of it, due to the media clamp down outside of Iraq the people back home do not get to see the harrowing ordeals that the Army had and are going through in Iraq unless you get over to YouTube and put in a few searches for PWRR, Al Amarah. The Regiment wasn’t there to mess about, just like the Para’s and Marines before them they were living in a life or death situtation. If it wasn’t the threat from incoming mortar’s, crazy RPG men or the average Dragunov shooter they were getting taken on in open ground in daily ambushes and skirmishes.
The detail that Dan writes in is tremendous, unlike other books he doesn’t leave much to the imagination, if someone get’s their head blown off he’ll tell you just how the round did it and how much damage it has done. When I was reading the book I couldn’t help but think of all the youtube video’s I had actually watched and quickly realised that it was actually much worse than what those video’s portrayed.
The action in the book ranges from small skirmishes, covert observation posts, overt observation posts and all-out full scale battles with Challenger 2 tanks, Warriors, Snatch Land Rovers and numerous battalions and regiments in support to quash Moqtadr al Sadr’s followers.
I AM HOOKED TO SNIPER ONE
I read the 3 PARA book and was hooked reading that, however in Sniper One and because Sgt Mills writes in a smaller scale with each individual descriptions of his guys on the ground the bravery they showed in the face of the enemy you grow to like them without knowing them. The whole book is so up close and personal that you finally get a vivid account of what actually was going on over there that we, joe public, didn’t get to see. Propaganda is a strong thing and the news (sorry – M.O.D) is at the forefront of controlling the public’s emotions when it comes to letting us know what is going on. Not that joe public would ever have a conceivable chance of changing things but at least we know through reading these books what it is these blokes have been through.
It’s not a walk in the park, it’s not easy, the blokes were battling day in, day out with people who wanted them dead. It’s just lucky that they got there first.
Sniper One is a truly amazing book and definitely worth a read! Now I go to read the last few pages!