Ten soldiers wisely led will beat a hundred without a head… Euripides


SAS zero hour : the secret origins of the Special Air Service  Tim Jones ; foreword by Ranulph Fiennes  London : Greenhill Books ; Annapolis, Md. : Published and distributed in the US by the Naval Institute Press, c 2006  Hardcover. 239 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 231-236) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

The SAS, is undoubtedly one of the most revered – and feared – special-operations units in the world. Its high-profile operations include the spectacular storming of the Iranian Embassy in London on 5 May 1980 and the hunt for Osama bin Laden in southern Afghanistan following 9/11. The regiment has become a byword for the highest possible standards in both conventional and heterodox methods of warfare. But where did it all begin?

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In SAS Zero Hour, Tim Jones tackles this fascinating question from a unique perspective. It is commonly held that the regiment was the brainchild of just one man, David Stirling. While not dismissing Stirling’s considerable contribution to the regiment’s genesis, Jones’s insightful investigation identifies all of the major factors that played a part in shaping the concept of the SAS.

Further, it assesses the particular influence of these individual factors. Drawing extensively on primary sources, as well as reassessing the more recent regimental histories and memoirs, Jones presents a highly cogent account that identifies such notables as Dudley Clarke, Archibald Wavell and Claude Auchinleck, among others, as significant influences in the formation of this formidable regiment.

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