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Regarded by many as the world’s finest infantry soldiers, the Gurkhas’ fierce reputation for battlefield aggression and stealth combined with the adroit use of their famed kukri knife, injected great fear into the occupying Argentine troops on the Falkland Islands in 1982. As the British Task Force’s largest unit, the 711-strong 1st Battalion, 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles embarked on board the Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 on 12 May to depart from Southampton to the South Atlantic with the remainder of 5 Infantry Brigade.
But even before their departure, the Gurkhas’ reputation had been working overtime, and was already causing an increasingly debilitating psychological concern amongst their ‘dush’ (enemy). The Argentine media spun a plethora of totally untrue stories about these Nepalese troops during the next few weeks. Even today the latter’s perceived ‘bestial’ reputation continues to live a life of its own in Argentina. As a result, the Gurkhas’ operations were to be affected profoundly when, after twenty days at sea, they landed at San Carlos, East Falkland to participate in the land campaign’s final fourteen days.
Written by one of their British officers, this book conveys the Gurkhas’ impressive professionalism as well as the personal and emotional aspects of his deployment on Operation Corporate. It provides a unique insight into a legendary fighting force surrounded by mystique and which exercised an uncompromising Regimental ‘kaida’ (the way things are done). This is both a serious and light-hearted account of the Gurkhas’ intensive training for war on land and at sea, transition to operations, preparations for battle, involvement in combat, and the cessation of hostilities’ aftermath.
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