Bravo-Two-Zero by Andy McNab- a true modern SAS war story?
DOUBT HAS EMERGED AS TO WHETHER THE STORY IS TRUE OR NOT
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