"We needed to be able to get out onto the ground and dominate the waterways quickly."We have been in two FOBs which have been glorified hides with very low-level living conditions, but that has allowed us to have the effect we needed to have.
"The waterways are now our main focus. Dominating them means we can stop any lethal aid, interact with the local population to get intelligence and also get the Iraqi Army involved in the area.
"Using them allows us to get the dismounts into areas that would otherwise have been out of reach," said Troop Commander Lieutenant Andy Bostock, 32 Engineer Regiment."They are also more covert than having helicopters bombing in and out of the area."We used to do 36-hour stints on the water before returning to the COB, but since the construction of the FOBs they have been out longer and have had a massive impact in stopping IDF.
"There is no way we would have been able to get there in time if it wasn't for the boats," said Sgt Mawhinney, adding that the operation took place in temperatures of up to 56 degrees and 85 per cent humidity, causing seven soldiers to go down with heat exhaustion.
"They are very happy with us because they can actually fish at night now," explained Second Lieutenant George McCrea, 32 Engineer Regiment.