WHO DARES WINS: SPECIAL FORCES HEROES OF THE SAS
OSPREY PUBLISHING, 2008
HARDCOVER, $24.95, PHOTOGRAPHS, APPENDICES, 288 PAGES
The British Army fomred what was to eventually become the role model for much of the world's special forces. Known originally as "L Detachment", the new unit grew to 390 men in 1942 and was re-designated 1st Special Air Services Regiment or 1 SAS. After various reorganizations and a period of further growth, an SAS brigade was formed in Scotland in January, 1944, consisting of two British regiments (1 and 2 SAS), two French regiments (3 and 4 SAS), a Belgian squadron (later 5 SAS), and a signal squadron. Although the idea was temporarily abandoned for regular service in 1946, the changing nature of conflict was to quickly prove the value of such highly specialized forces. During the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), the 'Malayan Scouts (Special Air Service)' were quickly built up to regimental strength. Based on the operational skills developed by the SAS units, Force 136 and the Chindits in the Second World War, the 22nd proved itself supreme in operations against the communists. In 1952, the Malayan Scouts were formed and re-designated the 22nd Special Air Service Regiment (22 SAS), thus marking the official return of the SAS to the British Army's Order of Battle, though eventually with only two squadrons. The SAS battled an insurgency in Oman which successfully culminated in the outstanding assault on the heavily defended rebel mountain fortress Jebel Akhdan in 1958. The continued need for special forces units in British territories around the world became apparent in Janaury, 1963 in Borneo and in 1964 in Aden. By 1969, the situation in Northern Ireland exploded and the SAS quickly built-up an unrivalled expertise in counter-terrorist operations; that they were copied by many Western countries. They were also involved in a number of 'foreign' operations as well as in the storming of the Iranian Embassy in London to free hostages in 1980. What followed was the Falklands in 1982, the Gulf War in 1990-1991, the conflict in Serbia from 1994-2000, and the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. WHO DARES WINS: SPECIAL FORCES HEROES OF THE SAS contains former SAS soldier Peter Scholey's memories of 20 such soldiers who are genuine heroes, although many were never recognized as such during their lives or even in death. It is a book about soldiers who bravely fought for their country in extreme circumstances with no desire to be famous, feted, or rewarded. Each chapter tells us about the life and combat stories of the men who, although capable of superhuman effort, were very much human beings. Some of the stories of Peter's heroes have never been told before and certainly none of these dramatic tales of combat and life in the SAS have been related in such a touching and compelling manner.
Lt. Colonel Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard