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Bravo Two Zero: The Harrowing True Story of a Special Forces Patrol Behind the Lines in Iraq Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1994
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" 'A gripping account of special forces at work...a tremendous adventure story' DUFF HART-DAVIS, Daily Telegraph. 'Superhuman endurance, horrendous torture, desperate odds - unparalleled revelations' Daily Mail. 'One of the most extraordinary examples of human courage and survival in modern warfare' The Times. 'The best account yet of the SAS in action' JAMES ADAMS, Sunday Times" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
Their mission: To take out the scuds. Eight went out. Five came back. Their story had been closed in secrecy. Until now. They were British Special Forces, trained to be the best. In January 1991 a squad of eight men went behind the Iraqi lines on a top secret mission. It was called Bravo Two Zero. On command was Sergeant Andy McNab. "They are the true unsung heroes of the war." -- Lt. Col. Steven Turner, American F-15E commander. Dropped into "scud alley" carrying 210-pound packs, McNab and his men found themselves surrounded by Saddam's army. Their radios didn't work. The weather turned cold enough to freeze diesel fuel. And they had been spotted. Their only chance at survival was to fight their way to the Syrian border seventy-five miles to the northwest and swim the Euphrates river to freedom. Eight set out. Five came back. "I'll tell you who destroyed the scuds -- it was the British SAS. They were fabulous." -- John Major, British Prime Minister. This is their story. Filled with no-holds-barred detail about McNab's capture and excruciating torture, it tells of men tested beyond the limits of human endurance... and of the war you didn't see on CNN. Dirty, deadly, and fought outside the rules.
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Top Customer Reviews
That being said, I decided to purchase the Kindle addition some years later now and have another go of the book while I was on a recent camping trip. I am very sickened to find out that a great deal of controversy has surrounded the author in the past few years.
I watched several interviews by the commanders and seargent major of the SAS Regiment when they sent Bravo Two Zero to Iraq. The leadership completely deny that the mission went the way that the author has described. Furthermore there is an hour long documentary called "The Real Bravo Two Zero" that I just finished watching.
In the hour long film that is floating around on the net, a former SAS soldier goes to Iraq to retrace Bravo Two Zero's steps. He interviews over fifty eyewitnesses that not only gave very vivid accounts of the team's actions, but they also produce physical evidence that the team left behind.
Story after story from the Iraqi people tell in great detail of how McNab not just stretched the truth, but flat out lied many, many times. The biggest issue that I have is two fold. The first part is that McNab claimed that the team killed over 250 Iraqi soldiers in heavy fire fights against dismounted troops and armored personel carriers. Yet in interviews with the very people that participated in the "battles", it turns out that there were only a few bedouin goat herders with old rifles that had fired at the team over their heads from 1/4 of a mile away. Another event recounted how McNab and two others blasted their way through a police check point killing three police officers.
The actual officers were interviewed and it is very evident that the story in the book is again a fabrication. The second part of the problem I have is the soldier, Vince Phillips, that died and was made out to be an unexperienced rube. McNab blames Phillips' jumpiness, inexperience, and awkwardness in the field for getting them spotted and causing a fire fight with over one hundred troops. As it turns out, the documentary finds the then boy who supposedly spotted them and ran to the authorities. It turns out again that none of the story was true.
Ok, so there is another book that was written by the other commander of the team, Chris Ryan. The name of the book is "The one that got away". I have read it as well and must say the same about it. To the uninformed it is a good read. Ryan does "throw some of his team members under the bus", including McNab, and is at times just plain whiney. Several interviews that I have watched as well as first hand accounts by locals find a great many holes in Ryan's story. Ie, body counts, fire fights, etc. He does walk 100 kilometers to Syria in the dead of winter while freezing his tale off while being hunted by the Iraqi Army. That is definately commendable!
To sum it all up-Please do you research before bying into these stories. They (the authors) go to great lengths to glorify their own actions while tearing down the reputations of their dead team mates who cannot speak for themselves.
My opinion matters very little but the former regimental commander of the SAS sums it up the best.."We as a regiment have nothing positive to say about these two men who have gone to great lengths to trample our time honored codes of conduct and traditions for their own personel gain. In a day and age where true valor and genuine heros are few and far between, these two men have robbed those very things from the troops that they commanded-the men that rest in silent graves and have left their families behind because of the poor decisions of these two".
Please check out this hr long video BEFORE purchasing and decide for yourself...
Once they got into Iraq the story was great also. Some funny incidents while they were on escape nd evasion across the desert trying to get to the border. With their luck expecting the compass to fail and see a sign welcoming them to baghadad. The only negative in the book in my opinion was the lengthy description of the time spent as a prisoner of war of the iraqis. While I think it should outrage the public how prisoners get treated by our enemies and the outrage over our seeming inhumanity, it just felt really long and just dry and boring.
Although the conclusion in the book of how he would deal with his interrogators, one of the best and most honest conclusions you will probably see on the subject.
In 1991, eight British special forces SAS men went out on patrol to take out scud missiles fired from Iraq into Israel. Only five came back. Sergeant Andy McNab was their leader and the patrol was call sign was Bravo Two Zero.
Carrying 210 lbs. the patrol found themselves in troubles from the start. Finding themselves surrounded, they eventually got caught and harshly interrogated.
Bravo Two Zero: The Harrowing True Story of a Special Forces Patrol Behind the Lines in Iraq by Andy McNab was recommended to me, as mentioned above, and simply by reading the synopsis I thought I'd like the book.
However, as someone with military experience I have to call bulls*** on some of the stories. I don't know about the torture scenes and frankly hope never to find out, but some of the operational procedures and bravado seems to be utter machismo more to do with a Hollywood movie than with a book presenting itself as fact.
For example, no way did an eight man team kill 250 people or took on a whole platoon and/or company by themselves. They might have killed a few and ran away (as would be the smart thing to do) but I seriously doubt the numbers presented. The problem with such statements, as we all know, is that one wrong statement in any presentation puts in doubt the rest of the valid or factual points.
That being said, I did enjoy the book. I thought it was interesting to get into the mind of an SAS man, the psychology of going behind enemy lines and the terror of getting caught. The harrowing physical and mental challenges those guys faced in the Iraqi desert as well as the no-nonsense storytelling style puts the reader right there next to the men on patrol.
For those who like special operations or want to learn more about the esteemed SAS this book is an excellent choice. The book is an easy read, a well written adventure story and even inspiring on several levels.