Tunnel Rats vs the Taliban: How the Aussie Sappers in Afghanistan Took the Fight to the Taliban

Author(s): Jimmy Thomson


They were young, they were tough and they were everywhere. They were both the backyard builders and the frontline troops in Australia's war against the Taliban. This is the powerful story of the sappers, the Army engineers in Afghanistan whose raw courage and skills were inspired by the original Australian Tunnel Rats of the war in Vietnam. These Tunnel Rats of Afghanistan have rooted out the enemy from deep inside their caves and mountain hideouts, have defused thousands of improvised explosive devices (the booby traps and landmines of this most recent of wars), built bridges and schools to win a war of hearts and minds, and fought side by side with special forces commandos and SAS troops. They, too, lost a disproportionate number of their comrades and many returned home with the devastating baggage of war, post-traumatic stress disorder. Inspiring and action packed, this is the story of a special breed of soldier operating in a modern war against an enemy with medieval morals ...and bombs triggered by mobile phones. It is a story that connects the unsung heroes of Vietnam with the modern heroes of Afghanistan.


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The extraordinary story of Australian sappers on the frontlines of the war in Afghanistan.

Jimmy Thomson is a journalist, author and screenwriter whose credits include the ABC-TV series Rain Shadow. He is the author of Snitch, Tunnel Rats, A Sappers' War and Watto. A graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, as a young captain Sandy MacGregor commanded 3 Field Troop in Vietnam, where he won the Military Cross. He served in the Army for 30 years, finishing as a colonel in the Reserves...

Maps of Afghanistan and Uruzgan province..List of abbreviations and acronyms..Foreword by Major General John Cantwell AO, DSC (Ret'd)..Prologue: The Tunnel Rat legacy..Introduction: Sappers in Afghanistan..1: Operation Salaam..2: The rise of the Taliban..3: Hunting bin Laden..4: Follow the sapper..5: Live ... move ... fight..6: Backyard Blitz..7: Moving on..8: Special ops and local cops..9: On patrol with special forces..10: Under fire..11: Holding ground..12: Taking on a tech killer..13: The horror of war..14: Clear, hold, build..15: All change..16: Front-line females..17: Heavy duties..18: The dogs of war..19: The 'good' war..20: Hard yards and Hescos..21: Life and death with special forces..22: Moving targets..23: Into Helmand..24: Building relationships..25: The Day of the Well..26: 21st-century Tunnel Rats..27: Fatal attraction..28: Trainers and turncoats..29: Wounded warriors..30: Was it worth it?..Afterword: Beating the retreat..Glossary..Acknowledgements..Further reading

General Fields

  • : 9781760113544
  • : Allen Unwin
  • : Allen Unwin
  • : June 2015
  • : 234mm X 153mm
  • : Australia
  • : August 2015
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Jimmy Thomson
  • : Paperback
  • : 815
  • : 958.1047
  • : 288
  • : 1 x 8pp bw photos