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Mountain Commandos at War in the Falklands (Hardback)

The Royal Marines Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre in Action during the 1982 Conflict

Falklands Colour Books 20th Century Military

By Capt Rodney Boswell, Foreword by Maj Gen Julian Thompson CB, OBE
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 216
Illustrations: 30 colour
ISBN: 9781526791627
Published: 12th April 2021
Last Released: 22nd November 2021

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Sunset, 8 June 1982, East Falkland. Eight specially trained Royal Marines infiltrate Goat Ridge, a long rocky hilltop between Mount Harriet and Two Sisters which are occupied by a battalion of 600 Argentine infantry. The next day, from their hiding place just metres away from the enemy, they note and sketch the Argentine positions, then withdraw as stealthily as they had come. Their daring patrol provides essential intelligence that guided the British assault which overwhelmed the Argentine defences two days later.

This was just one example of the missions undertaken by the Royal Marines Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre during the Falklands War, all of which are described in graphic detail in Rod Boswell’s eyewitness account. Using his own recollections and those of his comrades, he describes their operations in the Falklands – the observation posts set up in the no man’s land between San Carlos and Port Stanley, their role in the raid at Top Malo House, and the reconnaissance patrols they carried out close to the Argentine lines during the conflict.

His first-hand account gives a fascinating insight into the operational skills of a small, specially trained unit and shows the important contribution it made to the success of the British advance. It also records the entire experience of the Falklands War from their point of view – the long voyage south through the Atlantic, the landings, the advance and the liberation of Stanley.

This is a story that needed to be told and it is best summed up by the Commander of British Land Forces - “the battle initiation of the M&AW Cadre was an unqualified success …. Ideally suited to long range patrolling and information gathering in which role its performance compared most favourably with some of the Special Forces patrols”.

Warship World

I am old enough to remember the Falklands War, and for that matter I was the same age in 1982 as many of the men who were yomping across the island whilst I was hitch-hiking across Europe. For me, forty years later - forty years! - it's fascinating reading accounts like this and seeing the details which of course we never heard, nor expected to hear, at the time.

Rod Boswell writes engagingly and honestly, and his own account is only enhance by contributions from some of the men who served under him. This is a gripping first-hand telling of the opertions undertaken by the Royal Marines Mountain and Arctic Warfare cadre during the Falklands war and will be a must-have for anyone interested in that conflict specifically, or the British Army generally. We are all in their debt.

Read the full review here

Paul Nixon

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Comprising only 36 personnel, the Royal Marines’ Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre (M&AW Cadre) must have been one of the smallest units among the 25,000 strong Task Force dispatched to reclaim the Falkland Islands. Under the command of Captain Rod Boswell the Cadre, which provided the specialist Mountain Leaders for the Corps, became the Commando Brigade Reconnaissance Troop.

“Mountain Commandos at War in the Falklands” is Boswell’s account of the Cadre’s campaign, from mobilisation in the UK to its return. Boswell’s narrative is supplemented by anecdotes and memories from many other members of the small group, adding granular detail and authenticity, although there is inevitably some repetition. The Cadre is most well-known for its assault on Argentine Special Forces observation post Top Malo House, removing a danger to 3 Commando Brigade on its advance to Stanley. Despite being hampered by the lack of a helicopter to take them on time, a recurring theme in subsequent British operations through the years, the operation was a complete success despite a number of wounded. Boswell provides the most comprehensive account to date of the assault.

Transport issues also dogged subsequent operations, although one aborted mission potentially prevented the Cadre falling foul of Argentine forces on West Falkland, and a verbal exchange with the CO of the SAS who had “lost” a patrol. Boswell recalls a strained relationship with the SAS, from pilfered equipment through to lack of communication. With the Cadre providing forward reconnaissance with no knowledge of SAS movements, the danger of a “blue on blue” was ever present.

The book describes the Cadre’s rigorous and physically exerting reconnaissance and the endurance required for observation. It is packed full of detail, with a nominal roll, and lots of wry humour.

The M&AW Cadre is probably not very well known outside the Royal Marines family and Falklands aficionados. Their story, courage and professionalism deserve a wider stage.

Read the full review here

Amazon Customer, Peter Weedon

This is an excellent book concentrating on the RM M&AWC response to the invasion of the Falkland Islands. Written by the Cadre’s commanding officer, a soldier described by Major General Julian Thompson, as “a recce man of considerable experience and one whose judgement and skill I have valued in two very different campaigns.” This book is the real deal. Written by a Royal Marine at the heart of the development and deployment of these highly skilled soldiers into a unit operating beyond the front line.

Military History Group

An interesting read, explains how a trained unit complimented the operational capability of 3 Cdo Bde on deployment during the Falklands War.

South Atlantic Medal Assc

About Capt Rodney Boswell

Captain Rod Boswell, MBE, the commander of the Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre of the Royal Marines during the Falklands War, joined the Royal Marines in 1969 and retired in 1988 after serving in several tours of Northern Ireland as well as the campaign in the Falklands. During his service with the Royal Marines he focused on developing the special skills and training methods required to operate in extreme conditions which were put into practice in the war against Argentine forces in 1982.


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