18 Hours - Aussie SAS Sig in Op Anaconda

Mr Happy

18 Hours

18 Hours tells the story of a 152 Regt Signaller (Australian Defence Force) embedded with the 10th Mountain Division who landed in NE Afghanistan on Operation Anaconda (see Not a Good Day to Die for a full review). Needless to say, Op Anaconda didn’t go very well starting with Spooky brassing up an ANA / Green Beret column and then 3 chinook loads of soldiers getting dropped on the door step of 400 bad guys.

Essentially 18 hours is the story of Jock and his place with the 80 old US soldiers pinned down in a depression at the foot of the valley. It is fairly even handed with lots of interviews and you can read your own beliefs into the story. Op Anaconda is touted as a success, and maybe it was, but its first 18 hours were not. 25% cas sustained by the 80 odd soldiers, low ammo, saved only by CAS repeatedly, there mission was to secure a particular ground feature 2km away and they didn’t move more than 200m from drop off.

The book is reasonably written, shows the ADF in a good light, for sales reasons it is covered in SAS hero this and SAS hero that but if you read it you will see he was just a signaller there to help prevent blue-on-blue incidents between the aussie SAS and US army. In fact one of the first things he did was prevent a squad from brassing up a US Seal Team waving orange marker panels. Once again, it is another book that doesn’t put the US army in a good light, from the initial landing right through to the exfil where wounded were left behind whilst fit troops ran to the Chinooks (or for that matter, the head count before leaving)
The reviews for the way its written make it out to be pretty badly done:

However I was truly dissapointed. The writing style is erratic and jumpy moving backwards and forwards through the original story and ancillary event's of people around it
Unfortunately I was left feeling very let down by Sandra Lee's account. It was a struggle to read, just because of the author's rather flat style
What sadly lets this book down is the writing
If only the female author of this book had just written the factual account of the battle and not tried to write this to appeal to Hollywood. I managed to only read a quarter of the book before her style and writing drove me nuts and I had to stop
This is the first review I have submitted, felt compelled to as the writing style is atrocious and gives no flavour of the heroism
This is a badly written account of what was quite obviously a dramatic event in the "war on terror". Sandra Lee seems to be writing for a 15 year old
puts me off buying it.

Mr Happy

It jumped a couple of times into the "at 14 Jock ran around a lot" in the middle of the battle which was a bit annoying but they werent that long. I think what you FF are calling writing for 15 year olds you mean "Australian".

It may have done more but interstingly my copy of 18 Hours at page 165 stops. It then kicks off at 114 (again), Stops at 142 and restarts at about 194 or so. So I have 30 or so missing pages in the middle of the book which are filled with re-prints of an earlier section. I assume this is just my bad luck on my print run.
that must have been really annoying!

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