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Paras in Action (Hardback)

Ready for Anything – The Parachute Regiment Through the Eyes of Those who Served

Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: Modern History Military > Frontline Books > Frontline: Regimental History Military > Regimental History P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 20th Century WWII > Battles & Campaigns > D-Day & Normandy

By Jason Woods
Frontline Books
Pages: 248
ISBN: 9781399040174
Published: 4th October 2022



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The date is the 6 June 1944. The paratroopers on board the aircraft are crammed together, joking and singing over the drone of the engines, none of them dwelling on the gnawing fear in their guts. They reach the French coastline, and everyone goes quiet when loud explosions and flashes erupt around the aircraft. Pilots desperately dodge and swerve through the cool night air while the men hold firm, preparing to jump. They reach the open door; the green light flicks on and they leap without hesitation into a sky lit up by flak, ready to meet their fate.

One after another, thousands of white parachutes billow out and the men fall through the air not knowing where they might land or if they will even survive the drop; but their minds are set. They are clear about their mission and its critical importance as part of the bigger picture. Some ’chutes do not open, weapons and kit are torn off in the slipstream, and anti-aircraft guns pick men off and many never make it to the ground alive.

The Normandy landings of 1944 were just one of the many famous operations in the stunning history of the Paras. This book by former paratrooper Jason Woods gives the reader an unprecedented snapshot of the role that these brave and determined paratroopers have played throughout their history, demonstrating not only the courage, strength and fitness of the men who make up this mighty regiment, but also their intelligence, compassion, and wicked sense of humour.

This powerful journey through aspects of all the key wars and conflicts that the regiment has been engaged in over the last eighty years is made through the eyes of those who served. The book reveals how the Paras have become seen as an elite fighting force, feared by those who have had the misfortune to come up against them on the field of battle.

This book covers challenging operations in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Kosovo, and Sierra Leone. It includes an exciting overview of Operation Telic in Iraq, the epic battles in Afghanistan, and subsequent withdrawal of all British citizens and troops from Kabul in 2021, on Operation Pitting.

Packed with short interviews and poignant quotes, many original and never seen before, from current and former Paras, the author highlights the regiment’s constant evolution, as the battlefield conditions have changed, into today’s modern 16 Air Assault Brigade Rapid Reaction Force and Special Forces Support Group, whilst always maintaining the core standards and ethos embodied in the regimental motto Utrinque Paratus – ‘Ready for Anything’. Finally, get a glimpse into the transition many Paras make when they eventually leave the regiment and join the secretive private security industry, known as the ‘Circuit’.

4.5 out of 5

A very good and comprehensive publication which has the potential to be the 'go-to' book for information about the Parachute Regiment.

Read the Full Review Here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

An interesting read, written in a straightforward manner, covering the complete history of the Parachute Regiment. With an objective to complete the book in 100,000 words it was always going to lack depth in some areas. Inevitably it was also going to cover situations, conflicts, engagements etc. covered in more depth in other books, that focussed on specific theatres or time periods.

Despite these challenges I enjoyed it. The author writes with authority and from a position of intimate knowledge. I learnt more about the selection process and training than I had before and the final chapter on the Circuit was insightful. I found the section on The Troubles uncomfortable, it must have been such a challenging theatre and I feel there was a lack of government support. Likewise Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’m in awe of the stamina, mental strength, fortitude, self control and military skills of these men.

The book moves at a good pace and held my interest. Recommended for anyone who has an interest in the military, the Paras and wants to know more about these elite troops.

NetGalley, Simon Clayton

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The story of the Paras as told by a former member, tracks their history from the formation in 1942 through to the present day in a chronological saga of the battles they fought both from a military perspective and with the personal challenges they all faced through the years. It describes a special breed of fighting men who were prepared to face any situation they were given, with determination, fearlessness and the flexibility demanded of rapidly changing situations.
It also highlights that this world of ours is never free of conflict and that necessitates the use of forces such as the Parachute Regiment to negate the ambitions of the rogue dictator or organised terrorist group. The camaraderie of the paras is evidenced in many of the examples of heroism in this book but the men involved always consider they were doing their job because they were Paras.
A great read for any military historian or anyone who wants to read about the real-world heroes that keep us safe.

NetGalley, Sandra Miller

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A thoroughly engrossing read about the history of the parachute corps in Great Britain. The story follows the men from the inception in WW2 to modern day. There is plenty of firsthand accounts to keep your interest and really brings out the inspirational efforts put forth by these men. A great read.

NetGalley, Ron Baumer

An absorbing account that covers the whole range of Para activity which skilfully blends personal accounts that pinpoint the key elements that make the Para a very special part of the British Army.

Michael McCarthy, Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Jason Woods

Following a successful career within the British Parachute Regiment, JASON WOODS worked as a body guard for a number of high net-worth families in the UK and Europe before joining the European Commission security team as they entered Afghanistan in 2002. Over the following two decades he operated in most of the world`s hot spots such as Iraq, Sudan and Nigeria, culminating in Libya where he setup and ran one of the first international security companies to enter the war torn country based in Benghazi during the 2011 revolution. Jason eventually sold his business to a large US firm in 2017, retiring to Cyprus where he has written two other successful books prior to penning this book, his toughest challenge to date. 

Perfect Partner

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‘Colbeck recalls his every advance and battle in careful detail.' – Publishers Weekly ‘This book should be read by any soldier who wants to understand how to make training not a mere substitute for war, but a demanding and constructive preparation for it.’ – Sir Huw Pike On Friday, April 9, 1982, a British task force set sail for the Falkland Islands. Three months later, after a short but brutal campaign, it had successfully completed its mission of ejecting the Argentinean occupying forces from the islands. With 3 Para to the Falklands is the full story of that dramatic struggle from…

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