Talk:Bravo Two Zero

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Equipment[edit]

Can anyone find a reference to who was carrying the other two TACBEs? McNab and Ryan were carrying one each but I can't determine who had the others. I think it is mentioned somewhere in either The One That Got Away or Bravo Two Zero in passing: something along the lines of ‘... tried using his TACBE’ or ‘... pulled out his TACBE’ or ‘... threw away his TACBE’. Anyone know who? Mr Pillows (talk) 01:20, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure to be honest, sorry. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) 14:45, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Changing the pseudonym 'Andy McNab' to his actual name[edit]

Because this article is about the actual events, I intend to edit the name 'Andy McNab' to his actual name. I am aware that this is going to cause an uproar from 'McNab' devoteees, however the edit is verifiable, and most importantly, it is the right thing to do for the sake of encyclopedic content: Wikipedia is not a soapbox and additionally, Wikipedia is not censored.

Not that it is required, but below is a brief justification for those who disagree that Wikipedia should inform readers about the truth behind their 'war hero'.

Legality[edit]

  • the British Official Secrets Act 1989 does not specify any legal restrictions on naming current nor ex-SAS personell[1].
  • 'McNab' himself has stated "It's not a rule, it's common sense"[2].
  • The real name of 'McNab' was published by the British Government themselves In The London Gazette in 1998 after he had left the SAS, and is still available online from the original British Government source[3], as is a previous publication of his name in a 1980 edition[4].

Privacy[edit]

  • Peer review and scrutiny is standard practice for all academic work, and when an autobiographer makes themself the subject of such a work, privacy is the price they knowingly pay. For the purpose of making a profit from authoring books, 'McNab' has made himself the subject of three autobiographies; Bravo Two Zero (1993), Immediate Action (1995) and Seven Troop (2008).
  • When publishing the novel Bravo Two Zero, 'McNab' demonstrated no consideration for the privacy of Vincent Phillips, Steven Lane and Bob Consiglio, all of whom he named, whilst not naming himself.
  • The verifiability of 'McNab's' actual name, is solely due to his own actions in promoting himself as a Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Medal recipient. If 'McNab' really cared about the privacy of his real name, he would not have included these distinguishing titles in his pseudonym.

Security[edit]

  • 'McNab' himself admits that the pseudonym has commercial advantage[5], and is now a brand: "I've sold beer, watches"[6].
  • For an act to be considered 'retributive' (as opposed to 'random') it must be committed with some knowledge of the believed transgression. The threat of a retributional reponse, statistically increases by the number of persons aware of the action in question. As a trained security expert, 'McNab' is well aware of this threat relationship, and so his continual advertisement of his prior exploits (particularly in regards to Norhern Ireland) in both novels and the media indicates that he does not actually have any of the security fears that he so frequently cites.
  • 'McNab' regularly attends book signings[7][8][9] and is available for motivational public speaking[10][11][12], both actions contradicting any serious claim for security, as has been cited (Note: one of the supplied references is an promotional news release selling tickets to an event at which 'McNab" is going to appear - this is not the behaviour of someone with genuine security fears).
  • 'McNab's' former boss, ex-SAS Regimental Sergeant Major and fellow Gulf War veteran, Peter Ratcliffe has scorned 'McNab's' use of a pseudonym, stating McNab is not "serving in the regiment any longer. So what possible reason could [he] have for concealing [his] true identity?"[13].
  • 'McNab's' claims of genuine security fears are not verifiable by Wikipedia's standards. The only source is 'McNab's' personal website, personal claims in media interviews and dedicated fan-sites which often act as puppets because of the psychological observation that "fans bask in the reflected glory of the target"[14].

Verifiability[edit]

  • 'McNab' has always used the initials 'DCM' as part of his title when authoring books. 'DCM' refers to the 'Distinguished Conduct Medal' 'McNab' won during Operation Granby, Gulf War, 1991. Only 6 DCMs were awarded in this operation[15]; the names of each recipient publically appearing in the London Gazette. Only one of the recipicients was a former Green Jacket as 'McNab' has repeatedly said he was. That soldier is Steven Billy Mitchell[16].
  • 'McNab' claims on his website to be the British Army's most highly decorated soldier when he retired in 1993, holding both the DCM and the Military Medal. A cross check of the London Gazette shows that only one soldier held both these medals in 1993. Details of the soldier's MM also reveal that it was won in Northern Ireland in 1979, as 'McNab' has repeatedly said his was. That soldier is Steven Billy Mitchell[17].
  • Michael Asher states on page 139 of his book The Real Bravo Two Zero (2003) that McNab's real name is 'Steven' [18].

Mr Pillows (talk) 02:08, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Changing the pseudonym 'Chris Ryan' to his actual name[edit]

Because this article is about the actual events, I intend to edit the name 'Chris Ryan' to his actual name. I am aware that this is going to cause an uproar from 'Ryan' devoteees, however the edit is verifiable, and most importantly, it is the right thing to do for the sake of encyclopedic content: Wikipedia is not a soapbox and additionally, Wikipedia is not censored.

Not that it is required, but below is a brief justification for those who disagree that Wikipedia should inform readers about the truth behind their 'war hero'.

Legality[edit]

  • the British Official Secrets Act 1989 does not specify any legal restrictions on naming current nor ex-SAS personell[19].
  • Fellow patrol member 'Andy McNab' has stated "It's not a rule, it's common sense"[20].
  • The real name of 'Ryan' was published by the British Government themselves In The London Gazette in 1998 after he had left the SAS, and is still available online from the original British Government source[21].

Privacy[edit]

  • Peer review and scrutiny is standard practice for all academic work, and when an autobiographer makes themself the subject of such a work, privacy is the price they knowingly pay. For the purpose of making a profit from authoring books, 'Ryan' has made himself the subject of one autobiography; The One That Got Away (1995).
  • When publishing the novel The One That Got Away, 'Ryan' demonstrated no consideration for the privacy of Vincent Phillips, Steven Lane and Bob Consiglio, all of whom he named, whilst not naming himself.
  • The verifiability of 'Ryan's' actual name, is solely due to his own actions in promoting himself as a Military Medal recipient. If 'Ryan' really cared about the privacy of his real name, he would not have included this distinguishing title in his pseudonym.

Security[edit]

  • 'Ryan' regularly attends book signings[22][23][24] and is available for motivational public speaking[25] both actions which would contradict any serious claim for security.
  • 'Ryan's' former boss, ex-SAS Regimental Sergeant Major and fellow Gulf War veteran, Peter Ratcliffe has scorned 'Ryan's' use of a pseudonym, stating Ryan is not "serving in the regiment any longer. So what possible reason could [he] have for concealing [his] true identity?"[26].
  • There are no quoted sources in Chris Ryan's wiki article that claim any security reasons for his pseudonym[27].

Verifiability[edit]

  • 'Ryan' has always used the initials 'MM' as part of his title when authoring books. 'MM' refers to the 'Military Medal' 'Ryan' won during Operation Granby, Gulf War, 1991. Only 15 MMs were awarded in this operation[28]; the names of each recipient publically appearing in the London Gazette. Only 8 of these were awarded to members of the Special Air Service, 5 of which were ex-Parachute Regiment (as 'Ryan' has stated was his parent regiment in The One That Got Away (1995)), and one of these (Robert Consiglio) was awarded posthumously leaving only four names; Melville, Armstrong, Dunbar and Yoursten. Of these four, Yoursten works for Olive Security Group using his real name[29] and the service numbers of both Melville (24355763)[30] and Dunbar (24388481)[31] pre-date that of even Steven Mitchell (24428654)[32], who served in the British army for two years before 'Ryan' enlisted.

    By a structured process of elimination, using only British Government published sources and 'Ryan' himself, 'Chris Ryan' is most certainly Colin Armstrong[33].

Mr Pillows (talk) 01:41, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Fascinating. However, Googling the names "Colin Armstrong" and "Chris Ryan" produces not a single match at all, meaning that all you have achieved is to come up with the most conclusive example of original research possible, which is therefore inadmissable on Wikipedia. Find a reputable source that confirms your research and the information can be included, otherwise it is breaching clear WP policy. Nick Cooper (talk) 04:22, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

The fact that google has yet to catch up hardly seems a good enough reason to rubbish his edit. WP should deal with facts, and the fact is that the leader of the B20 patrol was called Steven Mitchell, not Andy McNab. Unless you have any evidence that this is not in fact his name the edit should stand. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 212.120.243.218 (talk) 19:30, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

You're missing the point. Mr Pillows may very well be right in his conjecture, but the fact is that we cannot include his conclusion until a reliable source - a respected newspaper, for example - does. Please see Wikipedia:No original research. Nick Cooper (talk) 11:16, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Article summary[edit]

Let me see if I've got this straight. A bunch of elite troops are sent off on a mission. They're dropped in the wrong place, they're confused about what their aims are, their radios don't work, they abandon their equipment, blunder around aimlessly for a few days, they get lost, then separated, they leave one of their mates to die, and most of them are eventually captured by civilians. They achieve no worthwhile military objective whatever. It may well be the most unsuccessful military operation of all time. Afterwards the leader of this fiasco gets a DCM and becomes a celebrity, and people write lots of books about it. Did I miss something? 58.170.87.52 (talk) 02:53, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

No, you didn't miss anything. You just summed up the Bravo Two Zero debarcle in a single paragraph. Perhaps you should edit the first paragraph of the article to something along these lines... Mr Pillows (talk) 05:57, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed; the introduction left me with no clue of why Bravo Two Zero was interesting.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:50, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
It's still not done (I am no native speaker, so I'd appreciate if one of the original authors would step forward) and quite frankly, it's sad that one has to go to the discussion to find a short and concise summary of the article's subject. -- 188.155.1.133 (talk) 13:49, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
The real question is "Why are these clowns considered 'Special Forces'?" Their errors are shockingly unprofessional. Exfil from the Infil point? Fail to establish an emergency rally point while moving? No map recon of your area of operations before Infil? Fail to keep track of patrol members while moving --- not under enemy contact, mind you --- and fail to conduct the most basic pre-operational checks of such critical gear as radios and cold weather gear? These were basic but critical soldiering tasks that were pounded into my head as a mere teenage cadet, yet these "elite" and experienced soldiers failed to take these basic steps? As a retired "plain old combat arms" NCO I am appalled by their lack of competence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 97.127.148.148 (talk) 11:46, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official Secrets Act 1989 c. 6
  2. ^ 'Andy McNab: Face-time with Andy' The Independent on Sunday November 9 1997.
  3. ^ "Honours and Awards" Supplement to The London Gazette of Monday, 14th December 1998. Number 55340, published: December 14 1998. Page 13620
  4. ^ "Honours and Awards" Third Supplement to The London Gazette of Monday, 7th January 1980. Number 48061, published: January 8, 1980. Page 312
  5. ^ Wyatt, Petronella, 'We Don't go Around Killing all the Time', Daily Telegraph October 8 1998.
  6. ^ Hanks, Robert 'Andy McNab: The hidden face of war' The Independent on Sunday, November 19 2004
  7. ^ 'SAS writer praises kit, medical treatment' Defence Management Journal, November 7 2008.
  8. ^ Pearson, Rebecca 'Breast Wishes, Dita' The Independent on Sunday September 17 2006.
  9. ^ Gabriel, Claire 'SAS man McNab removes the mask' BBC Wales News website May 29 2006
  10. ^ http://www.tmcentertainment.co.uk/speaker-index.html?speakerid=313&speakertypeid=1
  11. ^ http://www.speakerscorner.co.uk/file/0093b906cbd62bac4c140e05bf20b8dc/mcnab-andy.html
  12. ^ http://www.national-army-museum.ac.uk/press/files/newsReleases/mcnab.pdf
  13. ^ Asher, Michael (2003). The Real Bravo Two Zero. England: Cassell. p. 247. ISBN 0304365548. 
  14. ^ http://www.amber-light.co.uk/resources/whitepapers/designing_fan_services.pdf
  15. ^ List of British gallantry awards for Operation Granby
  16. ^ "Honours and Awards" Supplement to The London Gazette of Monday, 14th December 1998. Number 55340, published: December 14 1998. Page 13620
  17. ^ "Honours and Awards" Third Supplement to The London Gazette of Monday, 7th January 1980. Number 48061, published: January 8, 1980. Page 312
  18. ^ Asher, Michael (2003). The Real Bravo Two Zero. England: Cassell. p. 139. ISBN 0304365548. 
  19. ^ Official Secrets Act 1989 c. 6
  20. ^ 'Andy McNab: Face-time with Andy' The Independent on Sunday November 9 1997.
  21. ^ "Honours and Awards" Supplement to The London Gazette of Monday, 14th December 1998. Number 55340, published: December 14 1998. Page 13620
  22. ^ http://ageofuncertainty.blogspot.com/2006/09/chris-ryan-drops-in_28.html
  23. ^ http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/body_and_soul/article5251198.ece
  24. ^ www.haylingscouts.org.uk/downloads/index/SAS.doc
  25. ^ http://www.speakerscorner.co.uk/file/51f34e157293e122e1ee51ebf6e4d4d6/ryan-chris.html
  26. ^ Asher, Michael (2003). The Real Bravo Two Zero. England: Cassell. p. 247. ISBN 0304365548. 
  27. ^ Chris Ryan
  28. ^ List of British gallantry awards for Operation Granby
  29. ^ http://www.afdevinfo.com/htmlreports/peo/peo_47086.html
  30. ^ "No. 54969". The London Gazette (invalid |supp= (help)). 4 December 1997. 
  31. ^ "Honours and Awards" Supplement to The London Gazette of Monday, 12th May 1997. Number 54763, published: May 13 1997. Page 5628
  32. ^ "Honours and Awards" Supplement to The London Gazette of Monday, 14th December 1998. Number 55340, published: December 14 1998. Page 13620
  33. ^ "Honours and Awards" Supplement to The London Gazette of Monday, 14th December 1998. Number 55340, published: December 14 1998. Page 13620

"Click"[edit]

From the article:

As more soldiers came out of the hut, MacGown aimed his rifle and fired but heard a click, indicating he was out of ammunition.

A "click" indicates a misfire. Being out of ammo doesn't make that noise because the weapon doesn't return to battery after firing its last shot. I suppose it is possible that a malfunction could negate this aspect of the weapon's design, but we're given no indication of that in context. In normal operation, you know an M16 is out of bullets simply because the weapon moves differently with the final shot: the (heavy-ass) bolt stays back.

Without some kind of explanation, this description of a "click" just seems silly.

Collation[edit]

This strikes me as quite a good article, and it does a good job of weighing up the evidence from the different accounts. However I think we could be a bit more decisive in either saying that certain pieces of evidence are questionable, or even rejecting them entirely. To do this we need to give more weight to de la Billiere's 'Storm Command' (1992), and we need to have a better system of weighing one source against another.

In that work, de la Billiere gave the first public account of what happened to the patrol, his source being the debrief given by the soldiers themselves. Variations in the different accounts should be measured against this, for the following reason. According to Asher, there was no major contact after the compromise, there were no gun placements, no soldiers stationed nearby etc., but all of these things are in the account given by DLB. If Asher is right, then: either the surviving soldiers conspired before the debrief to create a false story to tell their comrades and superiors (including one of the UK's most senior soldiers) and then repeated the same false story in their individual accounts (McNab, Ryan, and Coburn who is backed up by McGowan); or, they told the true story at the debrief (no soldiers, no anti-aircraft guns, etc. just like Asher says), but afterwards DLB and the patrol members conspired to publish a totally different, false story which made the SAS look better.

These two options are both highly unlikely. Less unlikely is that Asher, investigating during Saddam's time remember, was told an exaggerated account of the compromise by the Iraqis, either for propagandist reasons to make the British soldiers look bad, or because the eye-witnesses wanted to big themselves up ('we're a couple of civvies and we saw off a bunch of eight commandos'). In fact, it's likely that McNab exaggerated his own account of the contact for the same reason - and here too its deviation from DLB's original account, as well as the accounts of Ryan and Coburn, is telling.

So, my argument is that it would be better to take DLB's account as a baseline for judging the others. It's more likely to be true, because its untruth would necessarily mean that a lot of other, highly unlikely events were in fact true (there was a massive cover-up or the patrol lied to everyone). If what Asher says is sometimes untrue, that implies the Iraqis, possibly after regime intervention, bigged themselves up and did down their enemies – I can live with that implication. If what Ryan and McNab says is sometimes untrue, it implies that they jazzed up their accounts also to big themselves up and to sell more books – again, I can live with that implication too.

There is such unanimity on the contact involving a larger enemy force with much heavier enemy firepower (DLB, McNab with probable exaggerations, Ryan, Coburn, McGowan in his Panorama interview all say so) that Asher’s minority report should be treated with great caution or just avoided. Just as we’ve avoided his claim that no members of the patrol were tortured.

Because it follows DLB’s account quite closely, and because it has the backing (explicit and implicit) of two other patrol members – the majority of the surviving members – I would rate Coburn’s book as also quite likely to be true. So regarding the vehicle hijack, we don’t need to rely on the second-hand accounts of Ryan or Asher – Coburn’s first-hand account says there was no armed confrontation when they left the vehicle. Because of this, we also shouldn’t state as bald assertion Asher’s claim that the final capture of the patrol involved confrontations with ‘armed civilians’ – Coburn is quite clear this was a large army position, as is McNab (who exaggerates in this part of his account, however).Oxford Menace (talk) 00:17, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Current edit war r.e. Ryan's escape[edit]

This is getting a bit out of hand. Whilst it's clear we could stand - if not require - more detail on what Ryan describes happened to himself after he lost contact with the other troopers, Mr Pillows is right to a certain degree that MrAwesome28's additions are too extensive. I also think that MrAwesome28's text is too colloquial (e.g. "Ryan couldn't have seen a better sight, until he saw a second set of headlights."), but inherently as it's Ryan's account, his own book is the only reference we need. Nick Cooper (talk) 12:38, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

I don't believe it's correct to say that "inherently as it's Ryan's account, his own book is the only reference we need", when there are other published sources that contradict his account. This article is about the actual events of Gulf War 1991, not Ryan's own account, which is covered in the article The_One_That_Got_Away_(book). If you look at any wiki article written about a known self-promoter or exaggerater, you will find that it is not enough to take their information on face value, when there are equally respected publications that say the opposite. Military_career_of_L._Ron_Hubbard is an obvious example where Mr Hubbard's own account is dimissed in the article, rather than accepted under the claim of "his own book is the only reference we need". The reason my edit is so brief is because every additional claim raised by Mr Awesome is disputed in multiple published sources by McNab, Ratcliffe, MacGowan, Coburn, and Asher.Mr Pillows (talk) 03:15, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
I think you misunderstand me. In relating the events to which Ryan is the only known witness, then obviously the only source we can refer to is his own book, but obviously couched in terms of, "Ryan claims that..." If there are other sources which convincingly dispute Ryan's account, then they can be used. Nick Cooper (talk) 14:27, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

Neutrality[edit]

There seems to be a very strong anti-mitchel tone to the article. It's reasonable to mark this WP:NEUTRAL... --MeUser42 (talk) 20:37, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

Good story.[edit]

Reading things like this, where all three anecdotal accounts disagree with each other always reminds me of why whenever I read ANY account based on anecdotal evidence, I feel somewhat suspicious of whether it presents the actual truth, and how far away it may be from it. Like here, we have three accounts from three men, and they differ from each other widely, in many important details. So, they can't all be accurate, clearly. One differs from the others by a larger degree (and strongly hints at self-serving and self-glamorization), but that just makes me think about all the history accounts that I've read that were based on veterans accounts...what if half of them are just as inaccurate as that mans? What CAN you trust, really? Most of the most famous classical history we know is based on two or three different accounts, many of which vary wildly in details (or even a single account), all of which are often written several hundred years after the fact. If we can't get accurate history recorded 20 years after the fact, what about accounts written several hundred years later? We take general's and ruler's memoirs and autobiographies and analyze them as fact, when in reality, there is no reason to think that every thing in them is truly accurate, or that their motives and deeds were really as noble as they recorded for posterity (I always suspected Gen. McClellan in that regards). AnnaGoFast (talk) 09:13, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

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