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Operation Medusa

Narrated by: Paul Gross
Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the Canadian in charge of the joint military command in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan, this is the real on-the-ground story of one of NATO's bloodiest, most decisive and misunderstood operations: the battle of Panjwayi, the defining moment of Operation Medusa.

In the summer of 2006, David Fraser was the Canadian general in charge of NATO's Regional Command South, a territory spanning six Afghan provinces surrounding the Arghandab Valley. Birthplace of the Taliban decades earlier, this fertile region had since become Afghanistan's most deadly turf. It would soon turn deadlier still. Advised in the night by his intelligence officers that the Taliban had secretly amassed for a full-scale military assault, Fraser knew it would fall to him, his Canadians, and their allies to avoid the wholesale slaughter of NATO troops, keep the Taliban from laying siege to Kandahar, and restore control of the south of the country to a newly formed, democratic Afghan government.

The odds were solidy against Fraser's forces. The Taliban knew every millimeter of their own terrain. During the months of secret manoeuvers they had stocked every farmhouse, school, grape hut, and tunnel with weapons and ammunition. They had drilled Soviet-era landmines into all of the marijuana and poppy fields and dug IEDs into every roadway. Protected from detection by corrupt officials, their sophisticated warfare schools had successfully readied an army of zealous fighters to attack and fight to the death. And now their top commanders were poised to launch decisive military operations against freshly arrived troops who had never seen combat.

The bloodiest battle in NATO's history was about to begin.

©2018 Major General David Fraser, Brian Hanington (P)2018 McClelland & Stewart

What the critics say

"Operation Medusa: The Furious Battle That Saved Afghanistan from the Taliban is extraordinary for what it says (and maybe more for what it doesn't say) about the combat mission that arguably changed the course of a war that claimed the lives of 159 Canadian soldiers and cost billions of Canadian dollars.” (CBC)

What members say

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An unfortunate and disappointing read

As part of TF03-06 I served and participated on the front lines of Operation Medusa, as well, I served and supported hand in hand with TF31, and, having worked under MGen D Fraser's Command, I found this book to be an unfortunate and disappointing read.

I can only imagine the pressures the General was dealing with before, leading up to this Operation, and after. However, I couldn't help but feel that the book was some sort of plea, explanation or justification of his side of the story and to decisions.

I was looking forward to reading more about why and how he led this mission the way he did, reading about previous career experiences, anecdotal notes, stories and deployments within the Canadian Armed Forces, and his feelings leading up to his deployment / selection for the mission in Afghanistan. I was disappointed by the absence of an in-depth recollection, now that he is retired, about his personal position, decisions made and the mission.

I did appreciate how he gave a broad, simplistic overview and some of the associated dynamics planning / commanding such a complicated mission / operation. As well I share his position, on the positive outcomes for Afghanistan that we as a country have help provide.

However I just can't seem to shake that it was lacking a personal warmth and connection, that I have enjoyed while reading other's similar stories and their books. It is a worthy read by a decorated Canadian Soldier / citizen.

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  • Paul
  • 2018-09-28

NATO story taking a regional command

The story of a Canadian brigadier general taking command of Kandahar Province for NATO and the challenges faced when the Taliban are on the verge of moving from an insurgency to a conventional force.

The general explains why a good police force was what he really needed and how Afghan forces evolved over time.

American 'readers' will be happy to hear that the Cdns are in awe of US troops' skill and resources. A few NATO allies are gently scorned for political decisions, not their military's skill or willingness.

Some interesting elements included in narrative, such as a Cdn finance officer moving contractor payments from bricks of US dollars to electronic payments into Afghan banks thereby reinforcing role of national currency and having Afghan government oversight to the economy. A brilliant measure in the attempt to rebuild a nation.

The chapter headings from 'Mother' are always interesting.

The narrator made promise of a pdf that detailed the geography of the region but this does not appear on my list of available downloads.