The book I read to research this post was The One Who Got Away by Chris Ryan which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. This book which shares its name with a classic world war 2 film is about an ill fated mission by the SAS during the First Gulf War in which Chris Ryan was the only one of his unit to evade death or capture. He won a Military Medal for the longest escape and evasion in SAS history and walked from a point near the Saudi border to Syria. He lost 36 pounds of bodyweight and his upper arms were as thin as his wrists. When he did to get to Syria someone tried to steal the gold coins british soldiers carried to bribe people if capture looked likely. In addition the police took him out in the desert and put a gun to his head and performed a mock execution. Once he got handed over to the embassy he got looked after though. He got separated from some of his unit when they walking in line and were supposed to stop while they tried to radio there base, the soldiers were so exhausted it didn’t register with some of them when the message was passed from one to the other that they were stopping. He also had to drink the dirty water out of the Euphrates. Also something many people don’t realise is when you are dressed in SAS gear and are white in an arab desert you stick out like a sore thumb.
Archive for the ‘special forces’ Category
Tags: british history, chris ryan, elite forces, history, special forces, the first gulf war, the regiment, the sas
Tags: elite forces, special forces, the seals, us history
The book I read to research this post was Seal Target Geronimo by Chuck Pfarrer which is an excellent book which I borrowed from the library. This books deals with the history of the SEALs but mostly deals with the assassination of Osama bin Laden but I’m mostly writing about the history of the SEALs.
For many years the US Navy denied the existence of the SEALs & many old timers still remember them days. It’s interesting to note although the author of this book is an exSEAL, no active member of the SEALs has ever done an interview. However some of their training exercises have been televised in the hope primarily of attracting new recruits. They are however a very secretive organisation. The SEALs were used to try & rescue the US embassy staff when the Iranians were held hostage. On that occasion the rescue failed primarily because 2 aircraft crashed into one another. They were also used in Beirut during the civil war.
The author of the book was a member of SEAL Unit 6 which is the same unit that stormed Osamas compound. They practised on a mock up prior to the operation. They found out Osama was there because he used the phone & they were able to match the voice prints. The SEALs are without doubt one of the best special forces in the world. They also send members with a particular aptitude on courses with other special forces like the SAS.
The book I read to research this post was SAS in Action by Chris Chant which is an excellent book believe me there’s loads of things in this book I could do a blog on & also I bought it from a car boot sale.
The iranian embassy seige was the first time the SAS had to deal with a hostage situation. Basically terrorists with help from the iraq government held everyone in the iranian embassy hostage in london in 1980. Iraq & Iran weren’t at war at that time but it was building up to it. The terrorists wanted 92 prisoners released & given safe passage back to iraq along with themselves. Apparently Mi5 put microphones into the embassy so that they would know where the hijackers & hostages were. The operation would have been a lot more difficult if they’d not known where the terrorists were as there were over 50 rooms to clear. There were several false alarms but the final straw was when they heard gunshots & a dead body was thrown out onto the street. One of the terrorists apparently had a hand grenade in his hand when they shot him & luckily he didn’t get the chance to set it off. A key weapon for the SAS was stun grenades which emit a blinding flash & huge noise which does literally stun someone for about 45 seconds giving them time to pick them off.
The book I read to research this post was Inside the Commandos by James D Ladd which is an excellent book which I bought from a car boot sale. Although other countries have similiar units which are often called things like marines or commandos this book is about the english version. They are very much an elite fighting force. Nowadays the commandos are recruited exclusively from the royal marines & in turn the special boat service which is probably the most elite fighting force in the UK are recruited from the commandos. The commandos were created in 1940 but the marines history can be traced to elizabethan when they would have marines onboard navy ships. With the first commandos the officers were chosen from the military bases at weymouth & salisbury & they had just 4 days to select the men under them. Criminal types were avoided as they thought they would turn cowardly under duress. Intelligence was selected over brawn as well. Especially during world war 2 the commandos did themselves proud. Since then they have seen service in conflicts as varied as malaya, korea, northern ireland & the falklands. There most recent role was preventing any soviet invasion that might come through scandinavia which meant they had lots of arctic training.
The book I read to research this post was The SAS 1947 To The Present by Anthony Kemp which is an excellent book which I got from the library. This book is the second in a 2 part series on the SAS and most of the book consists of various true stories about the SAS in action.
There was an incident in northern ireland where a 16 year old lad found a stash of weapons in a churchyard under a headstone. He told his dad who then told the police. Then 2 four man teams were flown in by helicopter and they took it in turns to watch the stash & see if anyone came to collect them. Anyway I assume this lad didn’t know the SAS were there but anyway he returned to have a look at the weapons and according to the SAS he picked up a rifle and pointed it at them so they shot him dead. The forensics couldn’t conclusively prove whether they had shot him from the front as was claimed or shot him with his back turned. It became the only incident where SAS men – the 2 that fired the shots – were tried for murder in a northern ireland court although they were acquitted. The judge did say one of the SAS accused was an unreliable witness. Needless to say the government & the SAS were quite embarrassed by the incident.
The book I read to research this post was Goose Green by Mark Adkin which is an excellent book and which I got from amazon.
Goose Green which was part of the falklands war in 1982 was the first land battle of that war. The war came about because argentina invaded the falkland islands along with some other british properties like south georgia island. The main problem was that there was a military dictatorship in argentina at that time. The UK didn’t want the islanders to be governed by a dictatorship and there was concern that if the UK let matters rest other UK possessions might be invaded.
With two of the important battles of the war – pebble beach and goose green – the british intelligence thought there was far less argentine troops stationed there than there was. Pebble beach involved the SAS and SBS whereas goose green involved 2 Para. It’s worth noting many of the argentine troops were killed while they slept without the chance to fire a shot. What started as a night time attack turned into a 14 hour battle. Colonel H the leader of 2 Para charged a machine gun implacement single handed and died as a result although it is worth noting they had been pinned down for 3 hours, he got a victoria cross as a result. There was also controversy over the argentines storing huge amounts of napalm although it wasn’t used in the battle. There were also breaches of the geneva convention by the argentines, they waved a white flag and then shot dead the two troops who approached. Also a gazelle crashed and they fired at the occupants. Nowadays argentines are taught about the geneva convention as part of their training because of that incident. Although the paras won that battle, for a long while it hung in the balance and was far from a foregone conclusion.
The book I read to research this post was Sky Men by Robert Kershaw which is an excellent book which I got from the library.
During world war 2 any members of the special forces captured by the germans could expect to be shot. The nazis thought it was a dirty kind of fighting and at the end of the day they could do a lot more damage than ordinary soldiers. The paras were formed in the UK in 1940. In the early days if they were parachuting from a plane they had to climb out on the wing. In 1948 in response to the fact that there weren’t really any wars the UK was fighting the paras were reduced to a single brigade. Around this time bigger and more powerful tail loading aircraft were introduced. The american fairchild C-119 flying boxcar was introduced in 1949. Then in 1957 trials were started for the C-130 hercules which was a huge plane which had a tail loader from which they could jump and which had a heated deck which was also pressurized.
The book I read to research this post was Fight to Win Deadly Skills of the Elite Forces by Chris Ryan which is an excellent book and which I got from the library.
Twice a year the SAS lets people compete for selection at Hereford. Only about ten actually qualify. They must complete a battle fitness test and a combat fitness test in mid wales including a 23 km march in full combat gear in under 4 hours. They must walk 4 miles in under 1/2 an hour. Land navigation is very important and they will be given a destination and told to find the best route there. There not allowed to follow roads or footpaths. They are taught weapon maintenance. They are then sent to belize, brunei and malaysia for training in different types of jungle. In brunei they take part in an exercise where they must deal with enemy troops played by members of the gurkhas. At the end of that they are sent back to hereford for resistance to interrogation. They are subjected to stress positions, taunts from interrogators, very loud white noise and questioning where they must stick to a cover story and are not allowed to antagonize the interrogators in any way. At the end of that if they pass they join a unit.