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.
This is a very “technical” book and what I mean by this there is a a fair bit of jargon used, which isn’t always obvious or explained. However this is still a fascinating and indepth coverage of the SAS from World War Two to the 1991 Gulf War. It was interesting to see how the SAS had to move from Green Ops to Black Ops and back again.
The Falkalands War showed how the SAS struggled against not just the freezing weather of the South Atlantic, but also command problems. Operation Mikado, which was the code name of a military plan by the United Kingdom to use the SAS to attack the home base of Argentina’s Etendard strike fighters at Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego is covered in some detail. The book discusses the near mutiny by SAS soldiers who saw the raid as a suicide mission from which they would never return.
If you are interested in recreating SAS actions on the tabletop, then this book is a good starting point from which to choose from the many different actions that the SAS have taken part in.