Major Adam Jowett
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
In Helmand province in July 2006, Major Adam Jowett was given command of Easy Company, a hastily assembled and under-strength unit of Paras and Royal Irish Rangers. Their mission was to hold the District Centre of Musa Qala at any cost. Easy Company found themselves in a ramshackle compound, cut off and heavily outnumbered by the Taliban in the town.

In No Way Out, Adam evokes the heat and chaos of battle as the Taliban hit Easy Company with wave after wave of brutal attacks. He describes what it was like to have responsibility for the lives of his men as they fought back heroically over twenty-one days and nights of relentless, nerve-shredding combat. Finally, as they came down to their last rounds and death stared Easy Company in the face, the siege took an extraordinary turn . . .

Powerful, highly-charged and moving, No Way Out is Adam’s tribute to the men of Easy Company who paid a heavy price for serving their country.

This is one hell of a book about one hell of a makeshift company of Paras and Irish Rangers with a smattering Afghan National police added to the mix. Some of the Rangers had already been in this battle for the previous three weeks, working with a unit of Danish Armoured Infantry who had been pulled out by their government when the danger of heavy casualties had become too realistic. Whilst Easy Company was inserted in to the post Major Adam went for a boots on the ground assessment of his command. He states "It was a shocking choice for a defensive position. Truly shocking. If I had chosen this as part of a planning exercise, I would have rightly been torn to strips by my instructors". The compound was overlooked at almost every angle, rubble and rat runs gave the enemy cover directly to the walls (where later a game of grenade tennis was played).
The reason for this Government center being so important was purely a political one, the local Governor decided he would lose face if the Taliban took over the buildings and he spoke to the President who spoke to IFOR who despite the obvious military negative points also decided that this was to be a stand to the last bullet operation. There was a HLS available which was so overlooked by the enemy that Adam doubted very much if a Helicopter could survive a landing there and the extra worry of how he could possibly casivac any wounded added to his burdens . Shades of Rorkes Drift and ironically the high three story fall back building was nicknames "The Alamo" owing to the fact that everyone knew if they had to fight from there the game was over. Incidentally did I mention that there was very very little cover from motar attacks ?

As our soldiers do they just hunkered down and got on with the job. On the plus side Adam through his Sigs Staffy Ian Wornam's team could and did call in many dangerous close air strikes. They endured at least three assaults per day for ten more weeks which is descibed in such great detail that it made me sweat reading it. Just around the middle of the battle after an A10 support attack all was quiet when slowly but surely the soldiers could hear singing . Adam turned to his translator and in true Zulu fashion asked if the Taliban were finally leaving? Naz said that he did'nt think so as they were referring to some of the Taliban commanders by name; it was a funeral . As feared a mortar round wounded 8 men and then Adam faced the reality of trying to get a Chinook into the killing ground that was the Helicopter Landing Space.

This is a wonderful story of commander and men bonding in the face of adversity; Adam downplays his role and gives all the glory to the Rangers, Toms and the Police as they fought the enemy to a standstill. As they reached then point when they were down to just the ammunition which each man carried something very strange happened..... . I won't spoil it for you but if you think you know what happened at Musa Qala you are in for a surprise.

This book puts the record straight, never mind the Alamo or Rorkes Drift the finale was more like Jacobsville in every respect. This is my book of the year I have never been so tense, frustrated, proud and humbled by any previous battle story, these men will go down in history. Get an order in for your copy any way that you can.


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Five mushroom heads .

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