October 7, 2010. Channel 4, Dispatches. Bravo's Deadly Mission.
In February 2010, US Marines launched the biggest operation since the start of the war in Afghanistan: Operation Moshtarak. Bravo's Deadly Mission covers hour-by-hour the entire operation to liberate the strategically vital town of Marjah in February and contains some of the most intense fighting footage ever caught on camera.
Filmed under extremely dangerous circumstances and in the toughest conditions imaginable, this Dispatches special is an extraordinary human story and an unflinching portrayal of war at first hand.
Operation Moshtarak was massive news all over the world when it happened. But only one journalist was with the Marines inside Marjah. Ben Anderson spent two months with Bravo Company 1/6 Marines, eating, sleeping, running and sweating alongside them every step of the way.
The access he achieved and the 50 hours of battle footage he obtained is intimate and unprecedented and forms the basis of this extraordinary film. The result is unlike any other war documentary: personal, intense, incredibly close-up and dangerous.
Bravo Company was the first and only platoon dropped into the centre of Marjah. These young Marines found themselves in a maze of IEDs, bunkers, trenches and ambushes, set by very well-trained fighters.
The film features strong characters such as Captain Sparks, a Special Forces veteran of Fallujah, Haditha and Afghanistan who's charged with seeing the young Marines in his charge through to the bitter end of the operation. Thoughtful and insightful, Sparks knows this is the most dangerous mission of his life. He knows they will lose men. He knows he takes responsibility when that happens.
Made by a BAFTA and Grierson award-winning team, the film returns to Marjah four months after the original invasion to find IEDs again being laid just 2km from the Marines' base, Taliban fighters, including snipers, still active and mobile, and a local population that is far from won over.
Bravo's Deadly Mission is a breathtaking film that shows just how dangerous and difficult the situation in southern Afghanistan has become, and how hard it will be to turn around.