26 October 2005

McAleese's Fighting Manual

McAleese's Fighting Manual; Peter McAleese & John Avery; Orion; 1998

This book is exactly what the title says: a fighting manual. If you don't want to read a manual on practical soldiering then avoid this book.

The author Peter McAleese's resume reads like a Who's Who of military organisations:

  • British Paratroops
  • British SAS (where he saw action in Borneo and Yemen, although in which capacity I'm not sure)
  • FNLA (the smallest faction in Angola's civil war, it was backed by the People's Republic of China and Zaire)
  • Rhodesian SAS
  • South African Paratroops
  • COIN (apparently a private military contractor)
  • someone in Columbia (allegedly the British SAS on loan to fight against the leftist rebel group FARC)
  • someone in Moscow, training bodyguards

According to his publisher's website he's now a publican in Birmingham. Wonder if he doubles as as his own bouncer.

Who John Avery is I have no idea. Perhaps he's an Army officer who speaks both Grunt and English.

I doubt very much that McAleese is a dreamer or wannabe. His book is full of some pretty basic and sensible stuff, like digging a little drain under your groin in your hidey-hole when you're on observation duty so you can piss in it without taking your eyes off the horizon.

The Manual is divided into 4 parts:

  • Tactics (e.g. how to set an ambush: where to put your machineguns, where to lay your claymores)
  • Theatres of War: (e.g. jungle, arctic, urban areas)
  • Combat Survival: (e.g. first aid, how to surrender, how to receive a surrender)
  • Marksmanship (e.g. don't let your rifle muzzle point at other people on the firing range, how to choose your pistol)

My edition at least had far too many typos. However although some of them were real shockers, they never interfered with understanding.

If you want a simple straightforward book with clear readable simple blokey prose, this is the book for you.

****1/2 Four-and-a-half stars


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