First in Last Out.

First in Last Out.

Paul Winter
ARRSE Rating
3 Mushroom Heads
I have a great respect for the soldierly skills and professionalism of our Royal Marine comrades, but I’m also aware that they, like their USMC brothers, have a very active PR machine. The timing of this book when the RM is desperately trying to reinvent itself and secure its place in the shadow of swingeing defence reviews is worthy of note.

The book has a lengthy introduction during which the author covers the origins of the manual itself and discusses its relevance to the Future Commando Force concept. The introduction is heavy on staff college jargon and acronyms and to be honest it reads more like a academic paper than something for general consumption by the casual reader, military or otherwise.

The meat of the book is the Amphibious Warfare Handbook No. 10a: The Organisation, Employment and Training of Commandos. Written in 1951 the book is full of the distilled experience gained during the Second World War (ironically) in large by the Army Commandos. The writing style will be very familiar to those of us who have had to cram such volumes on various courses. In short it’s a little dry. It might be more aimed at serious students of the RM or raiding units, and there are passages regarding equipment and its employment that I found genuinely interesting (the discussion of footwear, mortar launched grappling hooks, and small boat handling for example).

So in summary an interesting book for a rather niche audience.

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