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Bravo Two Zero

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The first of many

The 'Helen of Troy' of the literary world, this is the book that spawned a thousand imitators and put the murky world of the SAS very firmly in the spotlight - much to the chagrin of HQ UKSF.

Penned under the nom de guerre of Andy McNab, the author regaled the exploits of a doomed patrol (callsign Bravo Two Zero) dispatched in to the arid wastes of Iraq during the Gulf War.

The patrol's mission was to keep watch on an Iraqi's Main Supply Route and report road movements (especially the movement of Scud TELs) and disrupt comms by destroying fibre optic cable junctions.

Whilst in their LUP following insertion, the boys get rumbled by a passing goatherd and have to do one. This scenario is straight out of the 1950s Dirk Bogarde movie They Who Dare (oddly enough) and it all goes rapidly tits thereon. The lead flies like there's no tomorrow and Jundies are slotted with abandon.

In a nutshell the patrol gets split. Some don't make it, some get captured and one (Chris Ryan) makes it to the Syrian border and freedom. It's gritty stuff and the book sold like wildfire - copies disappearing off bookstores' shelves quicker than an oily tortoise on a bulled floor.

McNab at a book signing yesterday

To the disgust of many within SF circles, McNab broke the unwritten rule and named names - particularly the names of those who couldn't answer back. Of consequence, McNab is persona non grata in the regiment.

Bravo Two Zero was the green light for many ex-SAS soldiers to cash in on their exploits by knocking together novels and true accounts of their adventures, and the previously closed shop of SF operations was now well and truly exposed for all to see.

In a matter of days, every pub walt in the country was fully briefed on all things pertaining to the regiment and armchair experts abounded.

Whilst obviously lucrative, Bravo Two Zero and its many pretenders did quite some damage to regimental prestige and no doubt (for many) a significant amount of mystique rubbed off and was lost for good. The authorities were not happy bunnies and soon the window of opportunity for service persons to tell 'their' story was closed forever. That was until...

Dying For A Fag