Secrets of the S A S.

Secrets of the S A S.

Author
Michael Graham
ARRSE Rating
4.5 Mushroom Heads
From 1968 to 1980, ‘C’ Squadron of 22 Special Air Service operated in eastern and southern Africa, and were almost continuously in action against terrorist organisations.

Russia and China supported, trained and armed these terrorists, and in some cases fought with them. This is the story of a campaign fought by very brave and superbly trained men who opposed the terror.

Michael Graham, the author and leader of these troopers, was born in Burnley, Lancashire but grew up in what was then Rhodesia, where his father had a job at an agricultural college.

Called up for national service, Graham was commissioned and served in a commando unit before taking selection – and passing, then joining the S.A.S.

‘C’ Rhodesian Squadron was born out of the rebirth of the SAS, from the Malayan Scouts, where ‘A’ and ‘B’ squadrons were English-based and ‘D’ was Scottish. The experiences and benefits of having Rhodesians and South Africans in both the Long Range Desert Group and then the SAS persuaded the government to recruit a number to form another squadron, ‘C’ Sqn.

The unit moved to Africa, after a while, to be involved in the Mau Mau campaign, and after a series of operations, eventually settled in Southern Rhodesia, where the military forces there had helicopters and transport aircraft

Both the Chinese and Russians had designs on central and southern Africa because of the gold, diamonds as well as copper and other valuable mineral deposits. As a means to an end, they began to foment rebellion and terror, in order to overthrow the established governments. This is where the story begins.

The author and his comrades assisted the Portuguese in Angola but their main focus was in Mozambique and Zambia.

The author was a major during most of the actions and had the luxury of being able to choose his own team, which worked very well. They were a small unit, usually between six and ten. They had a variety of equipment to choose from, including the FN FAL, but crucially, they could also equip with Chinese and Russian supplied weapons, a ruse to confuse the terrorists into believing that they had been attacked by rival gangs. A ruse that worked remarkably well.

This book is written in a very ‘matter of fact’ style; no pretensions to glamour, no false heroics and no vainglorious posturing. It is both fascinating and very readable.

Once I started I was pretty much hooked and read it at every opportunity. A very good book, covering a period that I suspect not too many are cognisant of.

I heartily recommend it.
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