The Regiment: The Real Story of the SAS

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9780141026527: The Regiment: The Real Story of the SAS

On May 4, 1980, seven terrorists holding 21 people captive in the Iranian Embassy in London’s Prince’s Gate executed their first hostage. They threatened to kill another hostage every 30 minutes until their demands were met. Minutes later, armed men in black overalls and balaclavas shimmied down the roof on ropes and burst in through windows and doors. In seconds all but one of the terrorists had been shot dead, the other captured. For most people, this was their first acquaintance with a unit that was soon to become the ideal of modern military excellence—the Special Air Service regiment. Few realized that the SAS had been in existence for almost 40 years, playing a discreet, if not secret, role almost everywhere Britain had fought since World War II, and had been the prototype of all modern special forces units throughout the world. In The Regiment, Michael Asher—a former soldier in 23 SAS Regiment—examines the evolution of the special forces idea and investigates the real story behind the greatest military legend of the late 20th century.

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About the Author:

Michael Asher was a soldier and is one of Britain's most prominent desert explorers. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has won the Ness Award of the RGS and the Mungo Park Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. He is the author of eight books, including Khartoum, The Real Story of Bravo Two Zero, and Shoot to Kill.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The creation of the SAS, Egypt, July 1941

In July 1941, the British in Cairo felt they had been granted a reprieve. The summer season was as gay as ever. Officers in starched khaki drill rubbed shoulders over cocktails in the Continental and at the Long Bar at Shepherd's, tucked into dinners of roast pigeon at the Roof Garden, and packed the belly-dancing cabarets in Ezbekiyya Square. Enlisted men queued to watch talkies at the metro, quaffed beer and tea in Groppi's, the Tipperary, or Forest Hills Tennis Club, argued with vendors in the Muski, or played football and cricket on vacant lots near the waterfront, where urchins yelled 'Sieg heil' at them and ran away. In the bars there was talk of the attempted suicide of Major Orde Wingate, victor of the Gideon Mission in Ethiopia, who had shut himself in his room at the Continental, and slit his own throat with a bowie knife.

Middle East Headquarters was sited at 10 Tonbalat Street in the leafy district of Garden City, amid palaces and villas. The mood there was sombre but optimistic. Back in April General Rommel's Afrika Korps had been expected at the pyramids any day, but the immediate threat had evaporated - Rommel had baulked at invading Egypt. Then, in June, when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union the eye of the storm shifted abruptly away from the Mediterranean. Back in London, Winston Churchill was rubbing his hands and urging General Sir Claude - 'the Auk' Auchinleck to hit Rommel while his divisions had no chance of reinforcement. Auchinleck, refused to budge until he was fully prepared. On 15 July he sent along cable to Churchill.

While he was dictating that cable there was a scuffle outside Headquarters. A tall young subaltern in battledress, wearing the Scots Guards badge on his field-service cap, approached the security barrier on crutches. When the military warden demanded his pass, the officer failed to produce it. Sent packing, he dumped his crutches outside the barbed wire, jumped over the fence, and sprinted to the door with a bawling warden in hot pursuit.

Outrunning the guard, the officer made his way up to the third floor and barged his way into the office of Major General Neil Ritchie, Auchinleck's Deputy Chief of General Staff. The subaltern fumbled a salute, stammered apologies for bursting in and held out a paper for Ritchie to read. Ritchie settled down to read it and "about half way through he got very engrossed and had forgotten the rather irregular way it had been presented".

When he had finished he glanced at the lieutenant and said, "I think this may be the sort of plan we are looking for, I will discuss it with General Auchinleck and let you know our decision in the next day or so."

The subaltern could hardly contain his excitement. He had entered the office of the third most senior man in the British army in Egypt, without an appointment or even a pass, and had induced him to read a proposal for a new concept in warfare, badly scrawled in pencil. His name was David Stirling and he was twenty-six years old. He had just taken the first step in the creation of the SAS.

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. On 4 May 1980, seven terrorists holding twenty-one people captive in the Iranian Embassy in London s Prince s Gate, executed their first hostage. They threatened to kill another hostage every thirty minutes until their demands were met. Minutes later, armed men in black overalls and balaclavas shimmied down the roof on ropes and burst in through windows and doors. In seconds all but one of the terrorists had been shot dead, the other captured.For most people, this was their first acquaintance with a unit that was soon to become the ideal of modern military excellence - the Special Air Service regiment. Few realized that the SAS had been in existence for almost forty years, playing a discreet, if not secret, role almost everywhere Britain had fought since World War II, and had been the prototype of all modern special forces units throughout the world.In The Regiment, Michael Asher - a former soldier in 23 SAS Regiment - examines the evolution of the special forces idea and investigates the real story behind the greatest military legend of the late twentieth century. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780141026527

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. On 4 May 1980, seven terrorists holding twenty-one people captive in the Iranian Embassy in London s Prince s Gate, executed their first hostage. They threatened to kill another hostage every thirty minutes until their demands were met. Minutes later, armed men in black overalls and balaclavas shimmied down the roof on ropes and burst in through windows and doors. In seconds all but one of the terrorists had been shot dead, the other captured.For most people, this was their first acquaintance with a unit that was soon to become the ideal of modern military excellence - the Special Air Service regiment. Few realized that the SAS had been in existence for almost forty years, playing a discreet, if not secret, role almost everywhere Britain had fought since World War II, and had been the prototype of all modern special forces units throughout the world.In The Regiment, Michael Asher - a former soldier in 23 SAS Regiment - examines the evolution of the special forces idea and investigates the real story behind the greatest military legend of the late twentieth century. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780141026527

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