The Lost Platoon

2012, Military and War  -  11 min Leave a Comment
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Luke Langley is 22 and he's going to Afghanistan for the second time. The first time Langley went to war in 2009 his platoon held an isolated fort deep in no man's land. 7 Platoon's commander was Lieutenant Mark Evison, a rising star in the Welsh Guards. At the time, British forces were overstretched in one of the most dangerous areas of Helmand.

In his diary Mark wrote: "We are walking on a tightrope... injuries will be sustained which I will not be able to treat and deaths could occur which could have been stopped." 7 Platoon's lifeline was the ability to summon devastating firepower at a few minutes’ notice. This film is about the day that lifeline failed and seventh platoon had to fight along.

In the spring of 2009 the Welsh Guards took over a string of remote bases in southern Helmand. Mark Evison and his platoon were assigned to a fort known as Haji Alem. Evison was delayed by a brief illness, but 7 Platoon went on to Haji Alem without him. Like many British soldiers before them, they recorded their war on video. Few in 7 Platoon had seen combat, most were barely out of their teens.

Haji Alem was four kilometers from the main forward operating base in the area. A few kilometers down the road was the biggest Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan. On 7 Platoon's first day at Haji Alem shots were fired from across the canal. In the crossfire the son of a village elder had been hit. It was a fifteen minute flight from Haji Alem to the operating theater Camp Bastion... 30k away.

The next day Mark Evison arrived at Haji Alem to take command of his platoon. 7 Platoon had been at Haji Alem a week when Evison took them on their first major patrol. Their route would take them just a few hundred meters from the fort. The patrol moved down irrigation ditches which carried water to the opium fields.