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I listened to the audio book version of this book. I am not too keen on non-fiction books but after reading the blurb, I thought I'd give it a read.
If you've seen the movie of the same name starring Sean Bean if I recall correctly, then you'll already know, but for anyone else I'll try giving a brief overview.
It is based on Andy McNab's own experience whilst in the SAS. He commanded a 8-man SAS team called Bravo Two Zero during the First Gulf War. They were infiltrated into Iraq. Their mission was to destroy an underground communications link coming out of Baghdad, and any mobile Scud missile launchers they may come across in the Iraqi desert.
The mission goes awry pretty much as soon as they are dropped off by helicopter at night. Due to faulty intelligence, they are compromised by some local sheep herders. The rest of the story is about how they try to fight, escape and evade their pursuers and try to get out of Iraq, over across to Syria which is the nearest border to them.
I enjoyed this book. I learnt a lot about how the SAS works and how they use escape and evasion tactics. The way he has told it makes it feel like a novel instead of a true event. He doesn't go into too much detail about the weapons and everything is written in layman's terms. The pace never slows down and you want to find out what happens.
If you've read any of his Nick Stone novels, you should be able to see a similarity between that character and Andy McNab in this book.
I can also recommend a book called 'The One that Got Away' by Chris Ryan. He was the medic on this mission, and in his book, he gives an account detailing the mission from his point of view.
They both put their own spin on it so the accounts they tell are slightly different. His book differs quite a bit in content as well, as Chris Ryan was the only member of the team to cross the Syria border successfully.
* Summary *
Recommended for anyone really especially if you like true life stories, military type books or movies like Behind Enemy Lines and Black Hawk Down. It is an enthralling read.
I remember reading this book at 13 - it left quite an impression. Subsequently learning that some of the 'action scenes' were exaggerated or even made up has not dampened my enthusiasm. 'Andy' writes in a everyman , uncolplicated style that is appropriate to his background as a soldier - dont expect verbose descriptions of his MRE rations. This is a good thing !
An incredible mission, far behind enemy lines ending in tragedy for several involved and one hell of a jounrney out of Iraq for the author. The reader is left at the end with a feeling of enormous respect, not just because of Andys tribulations, but from his humble background in Hereford - to achieving what he did.
The book is really brought too life by the authors 'human' descriptions of those in his team, rarely do books such as this show the 'real' everyday side to soldiers - from their bad jokes to their (to the author) annoying musics tastes - its quite touching because of this.
A thrilling , sometimes OTT novel of a very dangerous few weeks in Iraq 91'
Bravo Two Zero is the story of an SAS patrol behind enemy lines in Iraq. The story is told by Andy Mcnab at the time a Sergeant in the SAS. This is Mcnabs account on what happened to the eight man patrol call sign Bravo Two Zero, under his command isolated and deep in enemy territory. After being compromised the patrol finds its self split, the desperate action that is followed resulting in four of them captured, three men dead and one who escaped. Quoted by The Times "One of the most extraordinary examples of human courage and survival in modern welfare."
The story takes place in 1991 in Iraq during the first gulf war.
With poor maps and a lack of proper intelligence on the enemy in their area of interest, Andy and his section are tasked to be dropped off by Chinook in the middle of the desert at night. 300kms away from the safety of the Syrain border, their mission is to sever the underground communication link between Baghdad and North West Iraq and to seek and destroy the mobile scud launchers.
Whilst reading this book I found myself thinking a few times how can this possibly be true. How can the members of this patrol experience so much extreme danger and live to tell the tale. Not long after I started the book I couldn't put it down I just had to know what happened next. Without giving too much of the story away, not long after the patrol is on the ground they find themselves compromised and have to extract on foot under heavy enemy fire at close range. The only main element keeping them alive at this stage is the enemy's lack of ability to hit their target!
Once out the immediate danger of the direct fire fight, the story then takes a different turn.
To begin with the guys had lost their enemy and in single file at night they began 'tabbing' through an open desert. They knew the enemy were hot on their track and had vehicles, more numbers and bigger guns. With only one night sight between the section and very little food and water. They are now on a race against time to escape Iraq across the Syrain border before being captured by the enemy forces. After a period of time in harse conditions that no one expected (snow and temperatures well below minus in the desert). The patrol is reduced to four men captured, one of them being Mcnab. Three men dying. Also one man (Chris Ryan) escaping by himself. Mcnab then takes you through a very detailed and graphic account of what happens next in the story.
This book is full of dark humour. It will make you laugh at some of the banter these boys come out with in the most impossible of situations. Even whilst being tortured one of the guys, Dinger says "at least they can't make us pregnant". What makes the book really interesting too is just the simple fact that it's an SAS soldier telling you his first hand account about an SAS patrol, you almost feel whilst reading that you're being told something you shouldn't know. The book was a first of its kind not a lot of people at the time knew a great deal about The Special Air Service (SAS).
If you do enjoy this book then I recommend you read 'The one that got away' by Chris Ryan. It's the same story of Bravo Two Zero just told by Chris Ryan who was the only member of the patrol to escape by himself across the Syrain border. Ryan tells his story years after Mcnab and its really interesting reading his book and finding how his story differs sometimes from Mcnab's version.
If you do decide to read Ryan's story then I would say to read it straight after reading Bravo Two Zero to get the full effect of being able to compare the two stories. Chris Ryan became the man who, by himself in a warzone did the longest escape and evasion in the history of the SAS.
I would defiantly recommend Bravo Two Zero to anyone to read, not to just someone who likes action packed books but to everyone as its such a fascinating story. If you do enjoy this read then Andy Mcnab also wrote another biography called 'Seven Troop'. He is also the author of ten bestselling fictional thrillers.
I decided to pick up this book as it was highly recommended from a friend, and as I had already recently read 'Sniper One' by Sgt Dan Mills and had taken a liking to the combat/war genre, I thought I couldn't really go wrong with this one.
And indeed it turned out to be true. This book was a fantastic read. The basic plot (because I doubt you would want to know more when you probably want to read it yourselves!) is that an SAS team were sent to Iraq to detroy some scud missiles and blow up a road route.
The great thing about the book is the tremendous detail that goes into describing absolutely everything. You get a real feel for the situations the soldiers found themselves in, and you honestly felt like you were part of the troop when being described in such detail the thoughts and doings of McNab and his team mates. Then when you suddenly remember that it is a true story, it just makes it all the more astounding. The bravery and tough conditions described in the book are overwhelming to say the least, especially when you discover that they were captured and tortured.
Beneath the actually quite gruesome story, is a refreshing humour which appears here and then. When reading the story it became clear to me that humour was the way that these guys put up with the difficult and compromising situations they were always found in, and whilst reading something so eye-opening (in a scary way) its always nice that a bit of humour lifts you.
I enjoyed the way that McNab wrote in this book the thoughts that he was thinking in certain situations. It was very interesting to read the way the SAS has been trained to stay focused and on task. The way he described his thoughts was fantastic and eye-opening to see how he analysed situations.
I can't fault this book in any way. A wonderful read. Highly recommended.
This book it amazing. It takes you through a more mental point of view through being in the SAS and what Andy McNab was put through. It shows how mentally strong these people really are. It was also a great inspiration to me. This is an excellent book that is witty, scary, horrifying and heroic. I admire these people greatly and read other books that are related to this one (Sabre Squadron - Cameron Spence). Well worth watever it is being sold for! This is the book that has everything.
Well,I would say this is my kind of book,because generally I go for true stories,autobiographies,that sort of thing. However I did hear some opinions elsewhere that this book was,how do you say it, a little fabricated. This could have just been bitterness at some of the things revealed in the book,or these opinions could be correct,I kept an open mind to it anyway... This is the true story of a doomed 8 man SAS patrol,behind enemy lines in the lovely country of Iraq. Call sign : Bravo Two Zero. Written by the Sergeant of the patrol,Andy McNab,who since leaving the armed forces has become a best selling author. In January 1991,the team was dropped deep behind enemy lines to embark on thier secret mission,of which only one man would escape,leaving another three dead,and the other four to be captured and put through a disturbing and harrowing ordeal,that in my opinion would be a certificate 18 at the cinema,if it was to be shown in its true form. From being in the safety of thier own country,thier tearful goodbyes to thier spouses and relatives when they hear they will be getting some "action",to the fear and unknown of being behind enemy lines and being captured by enemy troops. Its a story of team-work,bravery,endurance survival,and indeed conflicting beliefs between westerners and Iraqi's. In my opinion this is a first class story,whether you believe it or not,it is truly inspiring. The four captured men were humiliated,beaten,starved,and basically treated like animals. It surely changes every last one of them as a human being,and I'm not sure there would be a person on this earth that it wouldn't change in some way,shape or form. I don't want to ruin this book for you if you have not read it,but if you enjoy a good army story,or even one of true human endurance,you will surely enjoy Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab. If these are your types of book,then this is an essential read,I cer tainly couldn't put it down,and enjoyed it no end.
Bravo Two Zero --------------------- Bravo Two Zero was one of the best books I've read in a long while. The story follows Bravo Two Zero leader, Sergeant Andy McNab and his band of brothers. The Plot ----------- In January 1991, eight members of the SAS regiment embarked upon top secret mission that was to infiltrate them deep behind enemy lines. Under the command of Sergeant Andy McNab, they were to sever the underground communication link between Baghdad and Northwest, and to seek and destroy mobile scud launchers. Bravo Two Zero Crew --------------------------- Below are the members of Bravo Two Zero. Dinger Stan Mark Vince Phillips Bob Consiglio 'Legs' Lane Andy McNab Chris The Story ------------- (At some point after this, you may see a word in stars like this *Word*. If you do see this word or words, you will find the reference to what it means under the paragraph it is in). This as you may not know was a true story. From the moment they got dropped off by helicopter, to the time they reached British soil again this mission was, in the words of Andy McNab, "F*cked up". They were placed without realizing in one of the worst places of Iraq, The pilots of the helicopter, had dropped them in the worst place possible, in the middle of the enemy lines. Luckily for Bravo Two Zero, they were placed during the night, and had that as a weapon against the enemy (It was a weapon as they were cloaked by the darkness and couldn't be seen). In the darkness they managed to find and hide in what I can only describe as a cave, in a canyon. They did not realize though above and around them, were the enemy. After a few days a shepherd boy spotted them, They decided they had to make a run for it before the boy brought back and Iraqi soldiers. After a few minutes of running, they were approached by
two APC's (Armoured Personnel Carrier - The people carrier of the Iraqi army world). These APC's had Heavy plated armour with one machine gun, and carried quite an amount of soldiers. They managed to destroy one APC with the other one running away. They tried to use their *TACBE's* but found they didn't work. There was nothing they could do, they could not order a helicopter to pick them up, and the only thing they could do was fight their way to Syria. ***************************************** Reference ----------- TACBE - Tactical Beacon, contacts any nearby planes or helicopters which maybe overhead or nearby. By using this it will mean you are in danger and need a few bombs raining down on the enemy. ***************************************** As what happens to the members of Bravo two Zero, you'll have to buy the book or go the library. This book has been out for some time now, so it should be about a pound or two to buy. It depends where you are as I bought mine for £2 but have seen it cheaper elsewhere. My thoughts ---------------- At first I could only get up to page 10 and then I'd had enough of it, I tried a few times but only got to page 10. The reason for this because in the first few chapters, you have to look in the references at the back to look what certain words mean, for instance LUP: - Lying Up Position. At first this got a bit tiresome, but I decided to read on. The book was very graphical in parts, but I also found other parts were bad, as it was very difficult to imagine the scenery. The author Andy McNab could and should have been a bit more descriptive. As you may have seen above this was a true story, after reading the book, I have great admiration in this person. He was in some death defying positions and was beat randomly in prison, as he was caught about 10 kilometres from the Syrian border (If you think this has spoiled
the book, telling you a small bit about the ending, don't worry as plenty more happened at the end). During the prison, he was beaten and sold off, everywhere he went he was beaten, with metal rods burnt, kicked and always told he was a Jew, Andy, a protestant was always getting bullied by the Iraqi, always calling him a Jew as Jews were killed by the Iraqi soldiers. To prove he wasn't Jewish, he had to show his male parts to a crowded room, (Jews don't have foreskin, Christians and protestants do, unless of a medical reason). After showing his parts, Iraqi soldiers were always storming his prison, asking to see his parts, once they saw it they'd laugh and shout "Foreskin, Foreskin". Andy went some hard constant beatings during his prison life, sometimes 5 beats a day. My admiration goes to him, for the life he endured on the prison front and during enemy lines. He did not try to make himself out as a hero, he told the reader everything, the points he was scared and the points he cried. He found life strange after he came home from Iraq; everything you took for day to day life was precious to him. Before this mission, he mentions his regiment was more important than his daughter and wife. He also stated, before the mission he only saw his daughter for the length of 3 months out off 2 years. After the mission He said, anything trivial, any sports day comes before the regiment itself. What others Say --------------------- "A gripping account of Special Forces at work... a tremendous adventure story". Duff Hart-Davis, Daily Telegraph One of the most extraordinary examples of human courage and survival in modern warfare" Overall --------- As you can tell this is a war story, No matter if your a war story enthusiast or not, you will enjoy this book. The courage each and every member was unbelievable, even when some of them were ill, they were toge
ther as a team. One thing this book showed me, was how important team effort can be to get your tasks accomplished. This book got to me a bit, I felt sorry for both the regiment and their families. The regiment because it was a hard way to die let alone survive and to the families as Bob Consiglio's family and other families of the regiment didn't even know their sons was in the SAS. For those of the regiment who died, they were buried in a grave in Hereford. If I ever go to Hereford, I will visit these graves and see some real Heroes of war. Channel Four ---------------- Last week, channel four had a documentary about bravo Two Zero. The man presenting the programme, was an ex-SAS man himself. He followed the tracks of Bravo Two Zero and spoke to people who saw the regiment, even spoke to the shepherd boy, who was now a man in his mid twenties. The Iraqi's remembered Bravo Two Zero and was saying events in the book were false, and was giving what they could recall. Lastly, he said, any admiration he had for Andy, had gone after hearing what the Iraqi's had to say. My views on this are, I believe Bravo Two Zero, more than I would any enemy. Andy, could possibly, forgotten some stuff, been a bit blurred on other parts. In the book Andy McNab claims that the eight members of Bravo Two Zero, killed and injured over 250 Iraqi soldiers. The Presenter of the TV programme, said after interviewing, the Iraqi's that not one Iraqi soldier was killed and that Andy had made it all up. This 250 figure, may have been false, but I'm sure, in the heat of a battle, finger on trigger, ready to fire, I'm sure concentrate more on anyone firing at you rather than, is he dead. In other words I doubt 250 were killed but it's more believable than not one Iraqi soldier killed. © Copyright of Andrew 2002.
The book is an amazing read, I soon as you pick it up you can't put it down again. It follows an SAS 'patrol' (group of about 8 blokes) led by Sergeant Andy McNab. They have been ordered to seek and destroy all the SCUD launchers in Iraq and to destroy a communications link. However, everything goes wrong as the result of one Iraqy boy spotting them and alerting an enemy base near to their position. Soon McNab describes what happens after that, when the patrol comes against armoured vehicles, and against a forces much greater than their own as they try to escape to safety. Some are killed and captured and McNab goes on to graphically describing the horrific conditions he indures as he is interogated and tortured by the Iraqy soldiers. Many have been speaking out lately that the SAS patrols early messages requesting immediate withdrawal were infact received when previously it was thought they hadn't. The higher ranking officers effectively left the soldiers to die to avoid loosing face to the world, and especially the Americans, by having to rescue the SAS on their first mission. All the messages from TACBE (tactical beacon) etc. sent out were received, but were ignored. A helicopter was ready on standby to lift off to pick up the patrol if required but it was never ordered to take off... The books certainly worth reading just to see what horrifying conditions the guys were subjected to, and while your reading its worth wondering about how it all could have been avoided at the start. The books filled with technical detail and this adds to the effect as everything is descibed well, its adrenaline pumping action the whole way and if you haven't read this number one bestseller already your missing a great read.
"At least they can't make us pregnant" - Dinger. It's that kind of stoic sense of humour that seems to set the men of the SAS apart from all other fighting units. No noncing about, just do the job and get back to Blighty in time for last orders. These are the real-life James Bonds. The truth is we don't know half the stuff that they get up to and the operations that they perform in the interests of Britain abroad. This book really brings that home. The writing style is the blunt, straightforward language of a genuine, rugged soldier. But far from inhibiting the book's capaity to be evocative, it actually accentuates the atmosphere of struggle, of war and of the spirit of the SAS. The pace of the story is the firing rate of an M16 set on automatic - fast and unrelenting. McNab is no great Shakes as a writer but he's got the basics and when you have a dynamite story like this one, that's all you need. The account of the actual mission is heart rendering. "He's free! How can he get captured now?" you ask yourself. "He's only a hundred yards from the border. He can see it for Christ's sakes!" Your heart is beating with the anticipation that he must have felt having lay in that Iraqi sewer pipe pit of hell for days on end. But then you rotate the book and realise there are 200 pages left. Oh no! Your heart sinks. Something is still to come. You fill with the same dread that that poor stinking, defeated soldier must have felt as he was being dragged from his hideout for transport to an Iraqi secret police HQ, a place where unmentionable torture and savagery would undoubtedly take place. The men themselves are characterized beautifully and their heroism is captured perfectly. The take-the-piss-out-of-everything attitude of the Regiment is also recalled wonderfully by the author. His sense of humour is fresh and unapologetic and you find yourself building a great rapport wi
th him and his men after just a few chapters. Towards the end of the book I defy anybody not to be absolutely gripped. The adventures of this band of men are riveting. The story of their suffering reaches out and grabs our sympathy by the throat - we are reminded: no noncing about here, lads; this is the Regiment.
Bravo Two Zero is one of the books i havent been able to put down, i read it within a few nights and instantly wanted to see the BBC Documentry on it. Andy McNab is an amazing writer and manages to bring the stories to life. Also knowing that it was writen by someone that was there, IN THE BOOK, brings more realism to it and makes you think. Although it isnt meant for the "Younger audience" due to explicit language it would make a good read for most ages. After reading B20 i went out and Bought Crisis 4 and Firewall. This is a supurb book and i recommend it to anyone! It is set during the Gulf War as 8 SAS soldiers are dumped in the middle of the Gulf to do "Scud Hunting" attempting to destroy the Main Suply Route to the Scuds but once they arrive the MSR is heavily guarded and they sit around for a while but are found ... They make a run for the border in which time they find thier radios dont work and get into several fights with the Iraqi's. Several men go down with Hypothermia and several are shot.
We were all aware of the role played by the Army in the Gulf War but little was known of the exploits of the SAS at the time, this book seeks to redress that with a brutal account of an 8 man patrol detailed with severing the underground communication link between Baghdad and North West Iraq, oh yeah, and they also had the task of locating and taking out the threat of Iraq’s scud missiles !!! The story is written by the Sergeant of the mission Andy McNab and was to become one of the most critically acclaimed “war story” novels ever. It chronicles from start to finish the events surrounding the mission and how it went disastrously wrong. He goes into shocking detail of how he was captured and the subsequent nightmare he went through while help captive where he endured all sorts of torture, both physical and mental at the hands of the Iraqi’s. It has of course since been made into a film starring Sean Bean and most of us are aware of the plot and the events surrounding the ill fated mission. The one question I had always wanted to know the answer to is whether in hindsight they would have killed the young Iraqi boy who discovered them in their hideout? I was lucky enough to come across an interview where one of the group (I’m not sure whether it was McNab himself or Chris Ryan) said that they wouldn’t have because it would have compromised them anyway ….. after reading some of the books since which shows the ruthless thinking of these guys I think this was probably a diplomatic answer and I for one am glad I wasn’t that Iraqi if they had known what was going to happen !! In summary though, and to get back to the review in question the book, although quite long never fails to keep your interest. This of course is accentuated by knowing that it is a true story. Some of the details are even more shocking for knowing that and it is further proof of the mental strength the SAS must have in order
to survive. An absolutely brilliant read that you will go back to over and over again.
This is a great book about a true event in the Gulf War. The book is griping, and impossible to put down. The book when I read it put realism about the war. What pain our Special Forces soldiers were put through. Plus how barbaric the Arabs were. The story takes you through the build up to it, the planning of the patrol for their mission and commentary through out the mission. The language of the book is typical of a Special Forces book, full of swearing, which some people think is unnecessary, but I thought put the thing into context. I would definitely recommend any body who is interested in stories of battle to read this, but I also recommend reading 'the one who got away' afterwards to see Chris Ryan’s perspective of it. Is it I, but is Chris jealous on Andy? Please leave a comment on this if you have read both books. If you have seen the movie version but have not read the book yet, the book is much better, and much more graphic.
We were all aware of the role played by the British Army in the Gulf War but little was known of the exploits of the SAS at the time, this book seeks to redress that with a brutal account of an 8 man patrol detailed with severing the underground communication link between Baghdad and North West Iraq, oh yeah, and they also had the task of locating and taking out the threat of Iraq’s scud missiles !!! The story is written by the Sergeant of the mission Andy McNab and was to become one of the most critically acclaimed “war story” novels ever. It chronicles from start to finish the events surrounding the mission and how it went disastrously wrong. He goes into shocking detail of how he was captured and the subsequent nightmare he went through while help captive where he endured all sorts of torture, both physical and mental at the hands of the Iraqi’s. It has of course since been made into a film starring Sean Bean and most of us are aware of the plot and the events surrounding the ill fated mission. The one question I had always wanted to know the answer to is whether in hindsight they would have killed the young Iraqi boy who discovered them in their hideout? I was lucky enough to come across an interview where one of the group (I’m not sure whether it was McNab himself or Chris Ryan) said that they wouldn’t have because it would have compromised them anyway ….. after reading some of the books since which shows the ruthless thinking of these guys I think this was probably a diplomatic answer and I for one am glad I wasn’t that Iraqi if they had known what was going to happen !! In summary though, and to get back to the review in question the book, although quite long never fails to keep your interest. This of course is accentuated by knowing that it is a true story. Some of the details are even more shocking for knowing that and it is further proof of the mental strength the SAS must have in
order to survive. An absolutely brilliant read that you will go back to over and over again.
This book documents the the true story of an SAS eight man foot patrol inserted deep inside enemy lines in Iraq, the Gulf War. They were tasked with the destroying of Iraqi mobile scud launchers. Sgt Andy Mcnab, author of this book, was the leader of this patrol. Two 30 man SAS half squadrons were sent into Iraq and 3 smaller 8 man foot patrols. This patrol, codename B sqn Road North Watch Patrol, or more commonly known, Bravo Two Zero, were compromised after a twenty Km walk to their objective carrying fifteen stone each. The patrol then had a major task, their comms were down, and a daring escape attempt was made resulting in 3 dead and 4 captured, 1 escaped (his name is Chris Ryan, he has written a book called "The One That Got Away"). Controversy has developed over the authenticity of Mcnabs claiming of events, and two ex SAS soldiers who left in disgust claimed the death of one of the members of the patrol as a huge government cover up. Mcnab gives a very detailed account of the action, and you will develop a great will for them to survive, as if it were happening to you. He also portrays the SAS as human, something seemingly only actual SAS members can do. I recommend this book if you are so much as slightly interested in the mission, and if you are to buy this, may I strongly recommend Chris Ryans "The One That Got Away". Whilst you may think these are two accounts of the same events, they are not, in reading Mcnabs book you will soon see why.
This is one hell of a read. I won't go into the story except to say it is about an SAS patrol in Iraq and torture and such like. But one of the things that really makes it for me is the down-to-earth vocabulary. The editor was wise to leave McNab's prose alone. It will introduce you to words you never knew existed. My favourite is "slot", meaning to kill. Although I quite like "Ruperts" meaning officers (I did laugh when recently an officer on telie was called Rupert) and all this stuff about "characters" "mincing" and so on. This is one of the very few books that I've found very hard to put down, and I read a lot. This book is not just for the war hungry, I consider myself fairly well read and this one stands up alongside them all. It might not wrap you up in an artsy-intellectual word maze, but it will enthrall. The book will give you an insight into the professionalism of the SAS (and so will Imediate Action, which is also excellent). It will give you an idea that you really don't want to get tortured and it will make you say "slot" a lot. The ending paragraph is brilliant (and contains the word slot).