Three members of the Parachute Regiment, including a man from Redditch, died when their Jackal armoured vehicle was hit by a massive Taliban bomb, an inquest has heard.
Corporal Kevin Mulligan, 26, Lance Corporal Dale Hopkins, 23, from Redditch, and Private Kyle Adams, 21, died almost instantly in the explosion north of Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province on August 6 last year.
The paratroopers, who were working with special forces, were carrying out a routine security patrol with Afghan forces when the vehicle was struck by the blast and they then came under small arms fire from insurgents.
It is understood that the men belonged to the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG), which provides direct support for UK special forces missions.
The inquest at Trowbridge Civic Hall heard that Cpl Mulligan was driving the Jackal, while L/Cpl Hopkins was sat in the passenger seat and Pte Adams was operating the weapons system. Another soldier - who was not seriously injured in the blast - was sitting in the rear of the vehicle.
Lt Col Freddie Kemp, a Parachute Regiment officer attached to the defence inquest unit, told the hearing that the soldiers' Jackal was the lead vehicle in a convoy as it entered an Afghan village. "As they were leaving the village an IED device detonated at approximately 1.25pm," he said.
"As colleagues made their way to the blast site enemy forces engaged them with sporadic small arms fire."
Pte Adams was found at the scene of the blast and L/Cpl Hopkins was discovered some 40m away. Pte Adams and L/Cpl Hopkins were airlifted immediately to Camp Bastion where they were declared dead shortly after arrival.
It was only after the evacuation took place that searches located Cpl Mulligan's body a further 10m away from where L/Cpl Hopkins was found.
A post-mortem examination found Cpl Mulligan and L/Cpl Hopkins died from blast injuries caused by an explosion and that Pte Adams died from head injuries caused by an explosion.
"If it is any words of comfort, given the nature of these injuries, they would have become unconscious almost immediately and unaware," Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner David Ridley said.
Mr Ridley recorded a verdict that the three soldiers were unlawfully killed while on active service in Afghanistan.
The families of all three soldiers attended Friday's inquest and Mr Ridley offered his condolences.
L/Cpl Hopkins' family said: "When he joined The Parachute Regiment we were so proud of him, knowing he had achieved his first goal as an adult. Dale will be sorely missed, not just by his family but also by the very many people that knew him."