Review of ‘3 Days in June’ by James O’Connell

3 Days in June: 3 Para’s Battle for Mt. Longdon by James O’Connell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The author was motivated by the view that much of what had previously been written about the battle was very off-base, and he wanted to put the record straight. Having read some accounts of the battle I haven’t seen all that much difference, though I haven’t read everything on this subject. Besides, it’s really only the veterans that give highly detailed accounts and he is merely bringing more of that to bear. He himself was seriously wounded very early in the battle and saw little of what happened, but this book gain credibility from the sheer volume of testimonies, as opposed to one-man accounts from the likes of Cooksey and Bramley. Their accounts are just as first-hand as anything from this book, but they are from one perspective not many.

O’Connell divides the book into Platoons and Companies, taking each in turn. Thus we go through the battle first with B Company 6 Platoon, then B Company 5 Platoon ‘A’ section, two more sections devoted to B Platoon, then Company-sized sections on Support, A, C, and the MedEvac personnel.

The books is in essence an painstakingly curated narrative of the battle using only quotes from first-hand witnesses. Several people describe the same event, and those same several people describe an event that happens 30 minutes later. O’Connell edits the work well, to avoid annoying repetition, instead giving us different angles of the same events. I read the book for research into a novel I’m writing and wrote extensive notes. When I realised his approach was a ‘mere’ collation of verbatim testimony I was concerned it might become hard-going, but it’s a testament to O’Connell’s work that he’s created something very readable.

I’m grateful for O’Connell’s labours. More strategic-level writers such as Hastings and Middlebrook give the battle curiously short shrift, especially compared to the more famous Battle of Goose Green, and this comprehensive treatment of a strategically significant battle was overdue and well-warranted.

If you have the slightest interest in the Falklands War, this book is well worth your time, lifting the lid on the look, feel, smell, reactions and feelings of the people who were there, as well as close-quarter events themselves.



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