Ross Kemp and his BAFTA-winning documentary team experience life on the front line, providing an unprecedented insight into the heat of a war zone in this landmark five-part documentary.
In Episode five Ross joins 1 Royal Anglian as they capture and destroy the compound in which the three men were killed. At times the Taliban are no more than 50 metres away. Back in the UK Ross talks to the Foster family about their tragic loss and interviews Corporal Stuart Parker, a soldier who miraculously survived the bombing. After six months overseas 1 Royal Anglian returns to the UK. It's an emotional moment as their families meet them on the parade ground. They've been away fighting on Britain's Frontline for six months.
Ross arrives at Camp Bastion, he's given a medical briefing then straight out on an offensive operation in the 'green zone', a thin strip of agricultural land that lines the banks of the Helmand. It's during this first foray that Ross experiences the dangers faced by British soldiers. Only a few hours out from base and the convoy immediately behind Ross' hits an explosive device andthe crew learn that Corporal Darren Bonner has been killed. Further into their mission B Company patrol come under fire from Taliban positions. Ross and the crew are pinned down in open ground for some minutes by enemy fire before the Army can extract them.
"The reality of war is here", Ross says as the contacts become even more aggressive and persistent.
A small mission ends up a major contact, as Ross goes on an operation with 1 Royal Irish Regiment and the Afghan National Army.
Ross prepares for deployment and joins up with 1 Royal Anglian as they train during a cold British winter on Salisbury Plain. They're training for what they will face in Afghanistan which includes convoy protection and deploying from Chinook helicopters. During one exercise Ross' group is attacked and Ross and several others are told that they have been 'killed' by the enemy. It's a sobering thought. Three months later and Ross will be playing this scenario for real.
Episode three focuses on the life of the soldier - what's it like to live on Britain's front line at the Now Zad base. It's at Now Zad that the Royal Anglians suffered their first casualty, Private Chris Gray, killed during a fierce fire fight with Taliban fighters in May 2007. Ross meets his mother Helen Gray and talks to her about how it feels to have lost her son to the conflict.
While Ross is back in the UK three soldiers from B Company are killed in a tragic blue-on-blue accident. On the 23rd August Privates Aaron James McClure, Robert Graham Foster and John Thrumble died when the air support called in to help defeat the enemy hit the compound in which the three were engaging the Taliban from. Eight days later Ross returns to the frontline to be with the men of B Company and 7 platoon. We tell the story of how the men were affected by the attack. The families have given us exclusive access to video footage showing the moments before, during and just after the bomb destroyed the compound; and we talk with the men who tell Ross how they feel about what has happened. Ross joins the fire-support group as they attack Taliban positions and re-assert their dominance of the area since the blue-on-blue attack. This is just one-half of the operation.