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Bravo-Two-Zero by Andy McNab- a true modern SAS war story?

Updated on November 10, 2013
Ther is doubt as to the truth of this SAS war story
Ther is doubt as to the truth of this SAS war story
The actual Bravo-two-zero team at the start of their mission
The actual Bravo-two-zero team at the start of their mission
Andy McNab years ago at a book signing
Andy McNab years ago at a book signing
Andy McNab as an observer on patrol
Andy McNab as an observer on patrol
The real story of Bravo-Two-Zero by Michael Asher
The real story of Bravo-Two-Zero by Michael Asher


This book was written by Andy McNab, which is a psuedonym of one of the soldiers involved in this supposedly true story. The book was also the subject of a movie of the same name.

It is about a 22 SAS patrol of eight soldiers from England who were dropped into Iraq during the first Gulf War, to attack a communications line on the main Baghdad road, and also to attack Scud missile launchers. The title, Bravo-Two-Zero was the patrols call sign.

Right from the start the mission was doomed. To begin with they were dropped by helicopter into the desert, at nighttime into the wrong area. When they realised they were in the wrong spot, they tried to use their state of the art communications equipment to let headquarters know.

Unfortunately they had been given the wrong frequencies for the equipment. Shortly after this, it started snowing. The problem with this is that the soldiers did not do any research on the weather in the area. They were wearing summer uniforms. They did not realise it could snow in the desert. Eventually they became disoriented as they started to get hypothermia. One of their number, the biggest man in the group eventually dies from it.

Shortly after, they are compromised by the enemy and have to fight their way out of trouble. Realising they will soon be hunted down by the enemy, and not able to organise an evacuation they decide to head towards Syria. Some of them get lost and the group is split up.

The main group eventually hijack an old American Taxi on the main road, and from this moment on they are hunted by the enemy. They eventually get caught, a couple are shot dead. The men who are caught are tortured relentlessly by all sorts of cruel methods.

Finally after many months as prisoners of war they are repatriated by the Red Cross.

I read this book and could not put it down. Andy McNab whose real name is Steve Mitchell who wrote the book, claims the account in the book is all true. He received the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry for his actions from the British army. Other men in the patrol were awarded the Military Medal. The trouble is the other men on the patrol all wrote books about their adventure too, but none of their stories matched.

This fact piqued the interest of an investigative journalist and author, who set off to Iraq many years later and retraced the patrols steps and interviewed the Iraqis involved. It turns out that 90% of the story was total rubbish and only in the mind of Andy McNab. A book was written by this author correcting all of the lies and false truths Andy Mcnab wrote. It is titled “The Real Bravo Two Zero” by Michael Asher

This has not stopped McNab though. He has since gone on to write many fictional adventure/war books, and is a hugely popular author. He wrote Immediate Action after this book which describes his life and how he ended up in the SAS, this is also a fantastic read.

McNab’s wife later wrote a book entitled “Married to the SAS”. McNab had taken the SAS to court to stop them from banning publication of his book, and he won. He took his wife to court over her book and made her change certain passages, what a hypocrite.

This book is well written, it keeps you interested and on the edge of your seat. It is up to you to decide what is fact, and what is fiction.

Once you have read this, read “Soldier Five” by Kiwi Mike which is another book by on of the soldiers about the same mission, there were several other books written about it as well. “The one that got away” by Chris Ryan, and “Eye of the Storm” by Peter Ratcliffe

The SAS would love to get their hands on this Bear Grylls stuff


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    • wildchild1962 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Geraldton

      to Yesfaceman, keep calm, take a few deep breaths and laugh. The picture is in the public domain and has been for years, I will not be taking the picture down, if McNab wants it down he can covertly sneak up on me and force me to take it down, that is if he is man enough to take me on!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      The picture covertly taken at the book signing is disrespectful and malicious. Your article is very well written, but you should take that picture down.

    • wildchild1962 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Geraldton

      yes I took this picture myself, covertly of course

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      "What last photo?" The photo of Robert Rigby, you asserted was McNab, and have recently removed.

      Your article is okay and I completely agree that his take on what happened is very dubious, however the photos somewhat weaken your article as you lacked evidence/sources to support them and back up your captions. One was not the man you claimed he was, and the other all you offer up is defensive sarcasm.

      The combat photo seems legit, since a quick search brings about other photos very similar where reputable newspapers have captions similar to yours. That just leaves the remaining portrait at the book signing: what is your source that this is McNab? Did you personally take the photo?

    • wildchild1962 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Geraldton

      what last photo? Yes the one photo I have up is McNab, what evidence is there that this photo is McNab, I don't know maybe it is all a conspiracy just like the doubt that man landed on the moon

    • profile image


      6 years ago

    • wildchild1962 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Geraldton

      yes both portrait photos are McNab but his real name is Steve Mitchell and this is now common knowledge despite what Colonel Foster says

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      That last photo, after a small search, crops up as not being McNab. So, what's the story with the others: are they really photos of the guy?

    • profile image

      Trevor Dunen 

      6 years ago

      Thankyou Colonel Foster, your input is appreciated. The only thing I can say is that I used McNabs real name as anyone with a bit of nous and a computer and internet connection can find his real name on the internet. You are pretty well right on the rest of the things you say so you comment stays, after all blokes like you fought for us so we could all have our say and be free!

    • profile image

      Col. Foster 

      6 years ago

      Hi Wildchild, nice review but there are a few discrepancies.

      Not all the soldiers were from England, Mike Coburn (Kiwi) is from New Zealand., I believe Stan (Mal Macgown) is South African, Bob Consiglio is half Swiss half Italian if I remember right. Andy is from London, Peckham...his dad was Greek, Vince was from Swindon, Robert (Dinger' Pring is from Gloucester. Chris the Geordie is from...well..Newcastle. Im sad to say I cant remember where Steve 'Legs' Lane is originally from but I know he was in the Para's and an exceptional soldier, so were the other seven!

      The reason they didn't take winter clothes is because its usually warm in the Iraqi desert, this was the worse weather in that region in 30 years!!

      The biggest man in the group was Stan (Mal) and he didn't die from his hypothermia, he recovered. Vince died from hypothermia and he was the most experienced man in the team.

      You claim that a couple are shot dead, this is incorrect, Bob was shot in the jaw and in his chest where an enemy bullet hit Bobs Grenade which blew him up.

      The only other member to get shot was Mike the Kiwi, or Mark n the B20 book.

      I think its very disrespectful of you to reveal Mcnabs real name as Steven M.

      You also say the other men in the patrol all wrote books, this is untrue too, only Chris Ryan (whos real initials are C.A) and Mike Coburn wrote books.

      Mcnab did take his ex-wife to court but only because she wanted to use his real name!!

      Soldier five is a true and accurate account of what really happened, Mcnab does exaggerate in B20 but he was the most highly decorated soldier in the British army at the time so credit where credits due ay?

      Thanks Colonel Foster.

    • profile image

      Luke Henderson 

      7 years ago

      His first wife is my mother, i,m 32 and always thought he was my father.

      He does mention my mother in "bravo two zero", and i know for fact part of his story to be true.

      And i also own his boxing gloves from his early days in the army

    • wildchild1962 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Geraldton

      From my research and from reading all of the other books by authors involved in the story I don't think it is true.

      The mission happened but a good example is this: McNab claimed that they came under fire from the enemy and there were at least a platoon of them in a truck. That's thirty men all armed to the gills. McNab claims they fought them off and blew up the truck with rocket launchers.

      The reality is they came across a shepherd and his son, they had a shotgun and a goat, they were placid. McNab was in the SAS and he did a lot of missions, but I think he is a fantasist suffering from mental health issues.

      I am glad you like my book review, they are written on the fly while I am at work and it gets quiet, and I do not spend a lot of time editing or thinking too deeply, otherwise they would be much better!

      Have a look at my other book reviews, a lot of thought goes into it before I read a book, they must be A class.

      take care, and good luck, warm regards Trevor Dunen

    • profile image


      8 years ago


      This is a good review of the book!! You wrote well!!

      But there is an issue I wanna know, is the story true?? or not?? got any idea??

      And isn't the book living on false publicity? I felt the book was about people taking out the scuds!! but but McNab and his team get arrested, taken prisoners, getting kicked all time and tortured!!

      Shouldn't the intro / promo of the book be changed???


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