Academic journal article Military Review

Zero Six Bravo: The Explosive True Story of How 60 Special Forces Survived against an Iraqi Army of 100,000

Academic journal article Military Review

Zero Six Bravo: The Explosive True Story of How 60 Special Forces Survived against an Iraqi Army of 100,000

Article excerpt

ZERO SIX BRAVO: The Explosive True Story of How 60 Special Forces Survived Against an Iraqi Army of 100,000

Damien Lewis, Quercus, New York, 2013, 324 pages

The book Zero Six Bravo is the history of sixty British and American Special Operations troops who took on the impossible in Southwest Asia in the days leading to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was a British mission, manned largely by Special Boat Service and Special Air Service operators. That said, American training, support, and equipment were critical to the mission and eventually to the very survival of those involved in this "Mission Impossible Iraq" that quickly became labeled as "Operation No Return" by those embarking upon it.

The story is one of teamwork, of insurmountable odds, and of highly trained Special Forces who are labeled as cowards by the international media--charges that they cannot refute because they are muzzled by their own nondisclosure rules. It is also the story of sixty men against one hundred thousand. Yes, that is a force ratio of 1,666 to 1.

It gets worse; the unit the men are pitted against is the very unit that Saddam has chosen for his last stand, and it represents one-third of his standing, active army. Can the odds be worse? Yes.

Further enemies are extreme heat in the daytime, murderous cold at nighttime, bad intelligence assessments from headquarters, and logistics that are stretched beyond the breaking point. Adversity, Murphy, and the unexpected become the norm.

Further enhancing things is the presence of the Fedayeen, who drink goats' blood and then eat the hearts while they are still beating, as well as trackless deserts that are populated when they shouldn't be in addition to seven hundred miles of harsh terrain with no guaranteed allied support. …

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