I've been watching a BBC series called "Our War" on Youtube. Various episodes follow closely these very events. The Brit effort in Helmand was marked by six month rotations, various ground strategies which accompanied those rotations and dissolution from MoD back in England. Their troops, IMV, fought epically. The Sangin platoon house episode began as a four day mission that morphed into months of continuous combat under conditions of near destitute resupply. They even attempted a night drop of supplies that missed the postage stamp D.Z. by two kilometers.
Yup. Fell right into taliban hands. The troops, following the so-called truce, were evacuated on civilian trucks provided by the local warlords. Pathetic.
"...Lashkar Gah and Gereshk were far more populous and vital..."
It wouldn't have mattered. Wherever the Brits, ourselves or both chose to hold ground the taliban would ensure they weren't there...and simply, instead, establish themselves elsewhere while awaiting our eventual departure.
Did we have a heavy hand? Frankly, yeah. Worse, our surge has proven just as pointless in light of our intended evacuation. Still, hurt feelings are hardly the greatest crime in this fiasco that stretched far beyond simply Helmand.