The Lost Platoon

The Lost Platoon

Ratings: 7.79/10 from 144 users.

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.

More great documentaries

58 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Rob

    All the years there and soldiers killed just to get up and leave the country. So many lives wasted for really nothing being accomplished

  2. Joseph Anthony

    The only adjective these guys know is the word "Fuckin'." They cannot speak a single sentence without using that word several times in one sentence.

  3. Michael Flynt

    Its so hard to watch a platoon crumble under fire. After losing c.o.. 😶

  4. Athos

    Mark, i fully agreed with you.
    They look heavy there carrying what?
    They were really close to their base and moving that slow...

  5. Mark

    Well that was sad... I honestly don't think those blokes were trained effectively enough to be doing what they were asked to do. A forward base which is right next door to a Taliban training ground and they send people with no combat experience, no heavy weapons, and one satellite radio......

    The radio operators radio goes down and then the guy who inherits command starts yammering on the working radio instead of handing it to the radio operator and taking control of his men... They threw one smoke which they couldn't even pop off properly..... You're telling me between the lot of them they had only one possibly faulty smoke??

    What an absolute travesty. This just makes me sad that those troops were thrown into that situation without proper training, without backup equipment, without combat experience and thrown straight into one of the most dangerous places in Afghan.

    1. dan spillett

      the british army are some the best trained military in the world you would know that if you ever served 21 year myself and you

    2. Jeff williams

      So sad but total respect to these brave men

  6. pzelson

    it was Mark Evison mistake to go out to patrol without proper equipment .....may his life could be saved if they had contacted base with working radio ....

  7. Frank Furter

    Disappointed..yes the US of A the UK and oh yes Canada are all political democracies and yes between the politicians the corporate greed etch. It gets rather unbearable at times, however.. Thank all three nations and their allies that your not speaking German and/ or Japanese right now.. That's if you weren't enslaved by their imperial and Fascist control. You are all complaining right now because you have the freedom to do so.. Thanks to a lot of men and woman who died to give us the right to do so.

  8. Capt. R Muthukumar

    The choice of the location - the open fort - could have been avoided in the first place. Normally in a platoon there should be a mix of talent and age (experience) - a few experienced in battle and a few to be blooded so that there is enough collective wisdom in the team to avoid casualty. Did they have enough inputs in the tactics employed by the Taliban - the patrols should move out and move in unwatched by enemy - may be they could have tried moving out in the night time or just after last light or when these guys do their namaz. The boys did quite well - overall and as an infantry officer I appreciate their courage and commitment - I pray to God to bless the departed soul in eternal peace. regards. Muthu

  9. gaboora

    Excellent detail on a single battle. Gets you into the mindset.

  10. ZeissIkon

    It bears mentioning that this is effectively the Fourth Afghan War from the British perspective, and nothing good has come out of any of them, the first one being the worst debacle, which just goes to show how little we learn from the past.
    I recall Rudyard Kipling's poem "Arithmetic on the Frontier" had the line:
    "Two thousand pounds of education falls to a ten rupee jezail"
    After watching this, it seems you could all to easily bring it into the modern age as:
    "Two hundred thousand pounds of education falls to a two hundred dollar AK47"
    Nothing has changed, it's still a bloody awful waste.

  11. XxKubzx

    Keep it up lads!

  12. Stephen O

    Damn written down my thoughts of Docu of the lads and it goes to Facebook, that did a lot of good egh ? Afghanistan = Viet Nam , It all stinks with bullets coming at you and the enemy has better coverage than you and the enemy has better view of you. Young men buying into the services bulls*it about protecting your country ! When you've seen the biggest portion of a platoon not come back then and when bullets fly you wonder what in the hell am I doing this ?, Where's that SOB that fed me a bunch of s*it ?, I got to get out of here ! ... Sorry Lads, The war machine eats young men and if your lucky it spits you out alive.
    I swear watching you & hearing you I was young again my eyes full tears, I felt that quiziness in my gut and scared. You got to live and get through it so you can come home and be old ! ...Hushlizard

  13. bionara

    Great documentary. Sad to think that there's an hour-long documentary of emotional young lads behind every single death from every war we've ever witnessed. That's probably more minutes than Youtube's entirety!

  14. Horst Manure

    USA needs wars to keep top military makers in a job so when the pollies retire they can work there..big banks are the only ones who make money, USA taxpayer paid USA companies in Germany during the war compo for any damaged caused by allied bombing..Henry Ford gave Hitler 50 K for his b/day.. readd/load ..War is a racket.. More troops kill themselves each day in USA than the wars have .
    Hopefully one day the kids will realise it is a scam and not turn up for the next war.

    1. sirriuslee

      the 60s generation realized viet nam war was a scam and the antiwar movement effectively ended that war, although 50,000 young americans paid the price. too bad todays young generation isnt as savy.

  15. Maddestmax

    "Life is fragile, and out here it feels like it can be removed in an instant, it almost makes life even more valuable and shows the fragility that many in the west, I believe, do not understand". Extract from the journal of Lieutenant Mark Evison (RIP).

    1. Barrie livock

      Much luv brothers ??

  16. jaberwokky

    Well that was fairly intense indeed. I feel sorry for any soldier ( especially those that don't know why they are there) that finds themselves facing what these guys did. Why they'd be on the front line in this amount of trouble without a single battle experienced officer among them is beyond my comprehension. Was it logistics? Is there a shortage of vets?

    1. bringmeredwine

      Youthful enthusiasm. Full of testosterone and ready to go. They're not afraid at that age and they think they're invincible.
      That's what the men in charge bank on.
      It's too late when these boys realise this is real life and they could die.
      Remember the kid who said he couldn't wait to kill people?

    2. jaberwokky

      It sounded so much easier when I was listening to the TV/General/Mullah telling me who the bad guys were. Are those real bullets whizzing by my head? Wait a second, are they actually trying to kill me?

      Little boys trying to be grown up before their time. Ah the beauty of it all.

    3. bringmeredwine

      If you wrote a book, I'd read it:)

    4. jaberwokky

      Yikes! That's very kind of you to say but I'd never knowingly put anyone through that kind of torturous ordeal ;)

    5. 1concept1

      statutory rape

  17. dmxi

    it's a shame we follow america's blind side military decisions...leading our 'children' to the slaughter bank. it sickens me that a 'happening' like 9/11 justifies out of proportion actions which bear no common sense when one delves into this topic!

    1. bringmeredwine

      Indeed. About 180 Canadian troops were secretly sent to Afghanistan right after 9/11, and Canadians knew nothing about it.

    2. 1concept1

      see the post i just sent to dmxi above - i made a comment about your comment in ref. to the 180 troops- within the post I sent him -

    3. bringmeredwine

      And you have my deepest respect for marching on Washington DC! That was such an awesome gathering to behold, (from safely in front of my television).
      I'm afraid to participate in any protests here. Our police pepper spray, billy club or arrest peaceful protesters, and there's violent vandals with their own agendas who infiltrate and ruin it for everybody. Remember Toronto's G8 summit protests? Our police resorted to holding people behind bars without charges. It's disgusting!

    4. 1concept1

      It wasn't DC where I marched in protest it was the state capital here in NC. The police here are not as aggressive - I'm sure they could be -

    5. bringmeredwine

      I'd call the presence of a SWAT team aggressive and intimidating.
      You're very brave!

    6. 1concept1

      I feel bad enough - please its not America you followed it was George Bush who you followed - I am a US citizen and I'll have you know I went to the state capital and marched in protest against that planed criminal atrocity - while the swat teams were breathing down my neck - and while we're at it Canada didn't send 180 troops those right wing republicans up there did - and too they might have felt bad for there neighbor -

    7. bringmeredwine

      And might I add, it's such a pleasure to live next door to a country who's government is always pissing everyone off. Heaven help us! dmxi is a UK citizen, by the way.

    8. 1concept1

      It does seem that way -

      I wasn't mad at DMXI I just pointing out that all US Citizens are not cut from the same mold -

      I was chomping at the bit to come up to Canada and protest at that G8 summit -

      for what it's worth i would have come up to Canada instead of Nam had i of known what I know now as the old saying goes - I was 23, when I went to Nam -

    9. bringmeredwine

      Well, we're being controlled by a right wing conservative Prime Minister nowadays. Our government is rife with secrecy and partisanship.
      Still, I'd way rather live here (and freeze to death) than in the US.
      Our men and women go to war for what they think are noble and just causes.
      I didn't think you were mad. I was just butting in again.

    10. awful_truth

      @1concept1: My music instructor in junior high was a draft dodger from New York who chose 'Trudeau turf' over Vietnam. (along with 40,000 other Americans) Ironically, whether 'you fight for your country', or fight for conscientious objector status, both have honorable intentions. It is what motivates us that determines righteousness, not the action itself! With that said, I could only imagine the horror stories you could tell, and how much of a flashback this documentary was for you. Take care, and best wishes 1concept1.

    11. dmxi

      mylady,i bow in humbleness;)!

    12. bringmeredwine

      Stop it! You're gonna get me in trouble here! :D

    13. dmxi

      you're a strong personality with respect!yours truly....d.

    14. dmxi

      i understand what you respect goes out to you for survivng 'NAM' without bitterness but with wisdom,sir.

    15. 1concept1

      The bitterness is there - but its tempered with the knowledge that we are all subject to the horse shit we feed each other - sociopath cultural implants over hundreds of thousands of years -

      We are Divine Beings and we have given up our Divine Right to third party religious brokers -

      Just think how farther along we might be without Jesus and Mohamed etc. The power these individuals manifest is the power we give them - no more no less -

      I know this is a little off topic - but maybe not - there is a thread here somewhere -

      Oh there is some wisdom yes but not about war there is no wisdom about war

    16. bringmeredwine

      Do you think the US government used Christianty as a reason to wage war in Afghanistan?
      Or in this instance, the UK's government?

    17. 1concept1

      I think its about oil and money - religion is a factor i suppose - it set a foundation of segregated hate - "my god is the real god" and of course when one tells someone else that their "god" is BS - - - -

      What kind of a Loving god would create the kind of world we have to endure -

      Again collectively speaking we have given up our Divine right to 25,000,00 different man made organized religions on the books - (one of them could be wrong you think)? -

      There is no difference in a person in the jungle taking a shrunken head sewing up its lips and shoving it down on the point of a stake to nailing a persons body to a cross and shoving a crown of thorns on its head -

      and i'm suppose to ignore all this or better yet drop to my knees and worship it -

    18. bringmeredwine

      As always, your reply is interesting and worthy of digesting and further rumination. (this makes me sound like a black widow spider, a cow or something to that effect:)

    19. vejer

      i really do not understand you guys...the u.s. and u.k. have done a world of good...and I do mean world here...take away both...and what do you have?one really f--ked up world...

    20. awful_truth

      @bringmeredwine: I don't know if the U.S government has used Christianity as a reason to wage war, but they sure have used it to galvanize the American public that their reasons for going to war, and corporate economics are both supported by the 'big guy'. (god bless America - power, in god we trust - greed, oh well, you get the point!)

    21. bringmeredwine

      Ah yes, us Canadians have indeed noticed that!
      We're supposed to worship the Queen!
      I'm not saying a word.

    22. awful_truth

      @bringmeredwine: LOL: Yes, we did sing about that in school, didn't we. God, don't worry about Canada,(we stand on guard for thee) just 'save the queen". (aren't we an unselfish lot)

    23. dewflirt

      You sang about the queen? Don't think I know anyone that would stand if they heard our national, or anyone that even knows the words. I do know plenty that would be happy to give her a council flat in Dagenham and turn Buckingham Palace into affordable homes. She's on benefits anyway, £36 million this year and as far as I know, she's not paying bedroom tax. Not bad for a woman with £300 million in the bank ;)

    24. bringmeredwine

      I think I remember when I was in the Brownies, also having to pledge allegiance to the queen, with my grubby little hand placed over my heart. I was kicked out eventually:D

    25. awful_truth

      @dewflirt: Yes, when I was in school, we sang 'O Canada' in the morning, and 'god save the queen' before we left school. This was not phased out until I was in senior high, which is why my generation (generally speaking) knows the words to the Canadian national anthem.
      I would think that 70 million dollars a year (Canadian) is a healthy pension plan for the queen. (we could all be so lucky) With that said, if I had to live like the royal family where their every action is scrutinized and judged, I would choose to do with a lot less, just for the comfort and privacy of anonymity.
      P.S: I thought the royal family are billionaires. It would seem they are not impervious to the global economics of the 'new world order'. (Rothschild's, Rockefeller's not included)

    26. jaberwokky

      Learning the Irish national anthem is a taxing task that requires certain skills I don't seem to have, I've had to relearn it quite a few times and my neurons still refuse to accept it. At this stage I'd nearly give up and learn the British one just to save myself future confusion and disappointment :)

      Edit: Edited

    27. NX2

      *cough* national anthem *cough* god save the queen *cough* sex pistols *gob*

    28. David

      The living standards of the west are only possible by the subjugation of African, Sth American, and the Middle Eastern people and the outright theft of their resources by employing genocidal violence to oust legitimate governments and installing compliant puppets.

      We enable genocidal lunatics every time we vote for a major party. It is our lack of principles and courage to stand up to our despotic leaders that ensure our own demise as a species. The buck stops with us

  18. slpsa

    These young lads got thrown to the wolves here. I cant imagine why they wouldnt have overhead video surveillance in this day and age, to pinpoint the enemy. Cheap and effective, you can buy them on the internet. No coverage at all in most of that video, they couldnt even see them. A small UAV of which im sure most of us have seen by now, are out there. If i was an infantry member, id buy my own so these circumstances would have turned out a lot different and a lot faster, if they had those as a platform to work from. No direct mission?? That's a killer. Id be ashamed to be the one giving out the missions for these green young men. Not a veteran among them. I find that difficult to fathom. I feel for Mark Evason's family. And his boys. His other family. That was senseless. No backup, poor equipment. Ill thought out, as was that whole mess in my honest opinion.

    1. bringmeredwine

      I agree with your comment. I couldn't understand why the boys didn't do their patrols under cover of darkness. They were sitting ducks out there!
      But I'm no soldier or military expert, that's for sure.
      40,000 Canadians served over there. It's estimated that 14% will have PTSD in 2014.

    2. 1concept1

      War is OJT (on the job training) in real time - mistakes are made - sort of like Italian base ball - "one strike and you out"

    3. slpsa

      me being a pacifist, killing of any kind is not something i could do, or would ever do. there are exceptions i never knows if they could unless faced with it. My psyche tells me i couldn't, but really, who knows...