To Kuwait and Back by Garry Paton

ARRSE Rating
5.00 star(s)
The Story of a Tank Troop”.

The author brings an excellent story of one tank in one troop that went to Gulf One. A tank driver in 3 Troop, D Sqn Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Paton draws a very vivid picture of a young man preparing for and going to war.

In this book he tells us all about his tank, how they work and how a tank troop operates. Many personal stories just tell us that solder X went to war in Y tank, in this Paton explains what the Challenger 1 tank was, what it was capable of and the ammunition it used. Throughout the book are photographs and diagrams to explain what the author is writing about. This, to a non tankie, is an excellent intro to the book,

Paton explains the role of Scots DG in BAOR and why they were there, again good background to life in a tank Regiment. But then they are warned off for the Gulf following Sadam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. The amount of work required to get the Regiment’s vehicles prepped and on the way to the railhead for onward transport by sea is excellent and not the high level orders, but what the guys in the tank park had to do.

Gulf 1.jpg
The personnel were then flown to Kuwait and after some acclimatisation and settling in to desert conditions the tanks finally arrived. Throughout all this Paton takes us through what his Troop were doing, how tank crews were really gelling and even up to close to the ‘off’ some reassignments to crew members were being made. D Troop consisted of three tanks, c/s 30 Troop Comd, c/s 31 Tp Sgt and c/s 32 Tp Cpl. Paton was driver of 32 but the Troop were very close and worked well together when on tasks not confined to the tank. It is this closeness and comradeship that shines throughout this book. Complete with many photographs taken both in preparation and on operations (not too sure if that was officially permitted) these combine to make a very intimate book about the Troop.

Training was intense and up-armouring took place just before the move onto operations. Using good diagrams Paton explains the role of his Brigade, his Regiment but mainly his Squadron and Troop. These are very clear and taken from the documents prepared by the Troop Commander for the actions that took place. During this time, Paton is closed up in his driver’s compartment basically for the three days and the first thing on the agenda come cease fire was a make-shift shower! (And a shovel recce one assumes!)

As we know, the ground action took just three days, much less than was expected. While the Troop did not have any casualties there were some with the attached infantry. Paton also discusses blue-on-blue and explains how they came about.

Paton then goes on to explain about the run down post conflict and the return to BAOR, complete with decompression questionnaires etc.

All in all the book is a complete look at how a young relatively unexperienced soldier went to war on a huge 50+ tone tank, but mainly it is the comradeship and closeness of the Troop that shines through. Plenty of squaddie banter to go along with the serious business.

This book should be a must for any Gulf 1 historians and anyone who wishes to becomes a tankie or wonders what these guys actually do. To an ex-infantryman this is a thoroughly good and interesting read.

ETA Amazon link
Amazon product
 
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