"As you know 'blood clot' means blood cells coming together to form a strong clot that forms and sticks together to keep the wound sealed enabling it to repair. The Parachute Regiment's 'blood clot' acts the same, whether downtown scrapping or in some far away country fighting alongside each other. Our maroon berets come together, they stick together, they close ranks forming the blood clot and fight against anything that comes their way." (Jake Scott)
When the 3 Para battle group departed for Helmand Province, south Afghanistan, nobody really knew what to expect. Within a month of being on the ground the first of many contacts between the Taliban and British forces began. The British government and media were in shock - for the men on the ground it was what they were trained for. As weeks went on the fighting increased. Resources and manning were poor but for the Paras it was too late - it was back to basics, living in holes in the ground in 60 degree temperatures, often in small numbers and under constant attack from the Taliban. It looked as if it was going to be a long six months... 'Blood Clot' is a personal account of the Parachute Regiment's ferocious tour of duty in Helmand Province, Afghanistan 2006 by a man who was involved in the thick of the action.
Born in 1981, Jake Scott joined the Parachute Regiment aged 17, and had already seen service around the world - including Iraq - before becoming part of a small reconnaissance team trained to operate behind enemy lines, known as 'the Patrols'. Jake and his mates probed, escorted and fought their way in and around some of the most dangerous areas in the whole of the Middle East - virgin Taliban country. After intensefighting against the odds, leaving dead Taliban soldiers in their wake and encountering some very near misses themselves, the Patrols platoon eventually ended their tour of duty. This is their story - the very beginning of the Afghan troubles in the south, the build up and lack of support and equipment in the initial stages, the close and dangerous fighting, the boredom of the open desert and the uncontrollable sadness of friends killed and injured around them.
The Paras and their battle group arrived in small numbers in Helmand in 2006. They set the example for others to follow for many years to come - the aggressiveness of the airborne soldier when it was called for, fighting the Taliban on their turf, up close and personal.
Author: Jake Scott
Features: HB, Spr