1. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    Not really a research question but...

    Discussion in 'Military Fiction Discussions' started by Lifeline, Jan 3, 2017.

    I am bothered by the numerous books by authors from ex-special forces, which have appeared in recent years and over which controversies have sprung up (at least what I read from blogs/commentaries).

    The thing I am bothered with is that most of them get challenged for accuracy by (former) comrades. A second thing I am thinking about is the possibility of pressure to keep-their-mouths-shut-in-future (now I am not saying that happens, neither personally in peer-pressure nor by shit from on-top).

    Thoughts?
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Bravo two zero is a shining example - basically because Andy Mcnab seems to be a bit of a walt and basically sexed the story up to sell better (The one that got away by Chris Ryan gives a slightly more accurate accounting of events).

    This walter mittyism then left it open to challenge by Michael Asher in "the real bravo two zero" but unfortunately Asher seems to be an even bigger tool and to have believed everything the Saddam Hussein govt told him. Leaving both versions of events open to challenge again in soldier 5 by Mike Coburn (who is the soldier Mcnab named as Mark in B2Z)

    The other thing apart from walter mittyism and sexing things up to sell better is the fact that these guys are writing about high stress situations and everyone remembers them differently.

    End of the day every war story is slightly suspect, hence the saying that the only difference between a fairy tale and a war story is that a fairy tale starts "once upon a time" whereas a war story starts "no shit bro, I was there"

    On the latter point all these guys are subject to the official secrets act so if the powers that be wanted to shut them up they could, hence why there is a general vaguness about certain events in these books - for example in Mike Curtis's Close Quarter Battle he refers to a mission in "a latin american country" which is patently Columbia but he doesnt come out and say so.
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Not to mention that because all this stuff is secret its very difficult to verify which makes it easy for people to invent or exagerate.

    Suppose I wrote a story about 'my life in the SAS' and submitted it to an agent - I probably know a shitload more about special forces than they do so how do they verify whether I was once a member, it's not like they can ring Hereford and ask. So in reality agents and publishers will check the facts they can check and take the rest on trust and in all honesty will be less worried about whether its true than whether it sells

    (for the avoidance of doubt I was never in any form of special forces - my service was with RGJ (Royal Green Jackets) now subsumed into 'the rifles' )
     
  4. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    Thanks for replying. Yeah, I know that no two people who are in the same stress-situation remember the same thing (or the police would have an easier time scrounging for witnesses) and that'd go double for combat. I am not surprised that different versions of events exist - but I don't like that they get publicly disclosed and discussed. And hyped up in the process - e.g. Bravo Two Zero as you said. There are very few books I've found that discuss lessons learned in an unemotional way.
    It's one thing to discuss mission failures and lessons learned in the debriefings, such things should be taken apart very carefully. But to let the public in on a turf war? Com'on!

    Why would anybody do such public muck-throwing? It damages all: the community inside, the public face outside, political decisions,... All that for Money? Fame? Glory? Same old story? :mad:

    Yeah, I heard that agents/publishers don't do fact checks. Why would they? That's the author's job - they only ponder if what you give them satisfy market standards and if they can make the highest sales possible. Any responsibility for content is the author's, not theirs.
     
  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    To be honest the muck throwing is all for publicity at the end of the day - they are mostly talking about missions from the past where there's not much info that can't be disclosed anyway.

    For example B2Z took place in 1991, so i'd speculate that anything sensitive has changed in the last 26 years. Given that the Iraqi's captured 4 of them the chances are good that anything classified about that mission is probably known to everyone that matters anyway.

    End of the day there isn't very much that's secret about most special forces missions once they are over as the basic MO hasn't changed much since WW2 - apart from the intel that leads to them, which is carefully not disclosed, most 'tell all' books boil down to "we went to x place and blew a load of shit up/ shot the bad guys and then fought our way out"
     
  6. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    Yeah, I noticed. Some things never get said, but why the fuck is publicity so important?? TBH I don't see the reason, apart from desire to hang out the dick.
     
  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Sells books... (and movie rights, and journalism columns etc etc)

    Of course some of these guys are also suffering small dick syndrome - that's why they are giving in the big I am about how macho they were in SF. McNab is a absolutely classic case of this, especially in making up names for the SAS like "the jedi" or "the blades" for the ever so envious normal infantry to refer to them by. (and don't get me started on 'the increment' )

    In reality they are generally either known by other soldiers as 'the SAS' and mostly people who really are members don't tell anyone unless they know them really well - the loudmouth in the pub holding forth about how he's "been to Hereford" probably drove round the ring road on his way back to his posting with the catering corps.

    Mcnabs latest line of bollocks is that hes a 'good sociopath' and hes writing self help books called stuff like 'the good sociopaths guide to modern life' :double facepalm: for when one facepalm just aint enough.
     
  8. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    *flips the bird* Just my kind of guy then. Am really glad that I've not ordered a book from him, it'd probably have wound up being thrown across the room.

    On the off-chance to 'get you started' I have absolutely no idea what you mean with 'the increment'. Probably better from your tone of voice ;)

    It's really the same in normal life. Things that matter hardly get said. I don't disapprove.
     
  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    "the increment" is a possibly fictional part of the SAS which deals with covert missions for the intelligence services and such - Never has so much bollocks been written about one supposed organisation both in fiction (by McNab, Ryan, Stephen Leather, and others) and in various walter mitty type accounts of supposed real life soldiers.

    Potentially there may be a British special forces unit known as the Revolutionary Warfare Wing (not to be confused with the counter revolutionary warfare wing )tasked with supporting SIS in the field, extracting operatives from foreign countries, and formenting unrest in hostile states (in the tabloid press you also sometimes see this referred to as E squadron)

    Personally speaking I tend to the view that if its so fucking secret how do all these fantasists and wannabes know so much about it ?
     

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