2008
09.02

Andy –  being in Afghanistan now –  witnessed “The Siege of Roshan Tower” and tells us about it in The Sun.

The tower & the glory

AS Sun unveils Millie awards for hero troops, ANDY McNAB tells how he saw 30 Brits defend vantage point for nine days against hordes of Taliban.

I WATCHED as a platoon of British heroes fought off one of the most savage sieges of the Afghanistan conflict.

Just over 30 soldiers repelled 400 Taliban killers for nine days, defending vitally-important high ground marked by a lookout tower.

Astonishingly, just one of Our Boys was hurt by shrapnel while 100 insurgents were killed in the battle dubbed The Siege of Roshan Tower.

The clash last week is being compared to the famous Rorke’s Drift siege in the Zulu War.

I was with a battalion of soldiers half a mile away who were desperately trying to relieve the platoon. But the fighting around the tower was too fierce.

The hero squaddies — many just teenagers — fought off Taliban fighters as they sneaked through fields of 8ft-high corn armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK47 machine guns.

Up to 55 mortar rounds a day exploded in the stronghold overlooking the town of Musa Qala in Helmand province.

The soldiers fought behind sandbags in a trench around the disused tower on a piece of land the size of a tennis court.

The platoon from A Company, 2nd Battalion, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment — dubbed the Tigers — used the new .338 sniper rifle to defend themselves.

One Taliban fighter was shot as he charged from a few hundred yards away with a deadly RPG.

As the attacks increased, the soldiers — commanded by Lt Dave Thomas, 23 — called for support from Apache helicopters and British, US, French and Dutch jets.

Soldiers at the nearby base with me were not allowed to help by their commanding officers — as it would have been a suicide mission.

The Taliban finally withdrew last Friday, taking their dead.

When the exhausted soldiers emerged, they all said the same thing — that if the lookout had fallen, their mates on the ground and in Musa Qala would suffer.

The Taliban would have had the advantage and could freely attack three of the troops’ bases.

The heroes just weren’t prepared to let that happen. The bravery of these few men knows no bounds. They are truly incredible.

The Siege of Roshan Tower should go down in history as perhaps the most savage of the seven-year-old Afghan conflict.

Courageous Lt Cpl Carvas Garraway, 31 — who was hit by shrapnel — had already spent almost two months holed up in the tower.

With no thought for his own safety, he ran through enemy fire to check if his men were alive during one frenzied attack.

Lt Cpl Garraway, from St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean, said: “We were fighting so hard I didn’t know I was hit.”

Fellow hero Pte Andrew Swanwick, 21, from Portsmouth, said: “It was a vital job to do.”

Army top brass were yesterday said to be “overwhelmed” by the bravery of the platoon. They are expected to recommend honours for the soldiers involved.

Read the full article in The Sun here, there’s a photo of McNab at the site.

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