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Review: 3 Commando Brigade in the Falklands: No Picnic

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3 Commando Brigade in the Falklands: No Picnic
3 Commando Brigade in the Falklands: No Picnic by Julian Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read Major General Julian Thompson’s 3 Commando Brigade in the Falklands: No Picnic after reading Amphibious Assault Falklands: The Battle of San Carlos Water by Commodore Michael Clapp. The two books are excellent complements to each other. Just as Clapp telld the story of the Falklands campaign from the amphibious commander’s perspective, Thompson tells the story from the perspective of the land forces commander then as a brigade commander under General Jeremy Moore. No Picnic, however, is a much easier read and feels less like a rebuttal and more like a history of the campaign.

I would not suggest this book as a first read on the Falklands War; this book does seem to assume some prior knowledge. You would be better served by reading a general history of the war first so you have some general knowledge of the war. This is not a self absorbed account of the war meant to bring glory and attention to the commander; Thompson spreads accolades and credit among his subordinates and the units under his command. Likewise, he doesn’t blame other component commanders, supporting decisions that both Admiral Woodward and Commodore Clapp had to make. He goes into the doctrine and tactics behind decisions made, getting the reader inside the mind of the commander. He dwells on logistical, geographic, and climate issues that played into decision making. In this updated edition, Thompson also has the opportunity to look back with some hindsight and offers more thoughts and insights on the battles and decision making.

While No Picnic covers some of the same ground as Amphibious Assault Falklands, it is a much easier read because it engages readers and isn’t nearly as dry. After reading a general history of the Falklands War and getting a good idea of how the war came to be and an idea of what happened I would strongly recommend reading No Picnic to get inside the commander’s head and better understand how and why things happened the way they did.

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