The origins of modern-day Commandos can be traced back to the Boer War1. The name Commando was given by the British to the Boer irregular troops in recognition of their exceptional marksmanship and guerrilla-style2 warfare.
Combating Saddam Hussein:
Perhaps the SAS's worst disaster was Bravo 2-0 (Northern Road). In 1990 Iraq dictator, Saddam Hussein, invaded and annexed the tiny oil-rich state of Kuwait. He then had to face a coalition of the mightiest military powers ever assembled. His only possible way of winning such a war was to provoke Israel into the war by attacking her with SCUD missiles. He hoped this would break up the fragile coalition, as the Arab nations would now refuse to fight. From 1949 to 1996, Israel was in a state of war with most Arab countries.
To combat the SCUD threat, and cause general mayhem, three SAS sections were deployed by helicopter into the flat, desolate, Iraqi desert. Two of the sections got straight back into their helicopters and flew back to base. The one that didn't was Bravo 2-0. Hampered by inaccurate radio frequencies and a position dangerously close to an Iraqi outpost, they were compromised and had to make a fighting retreat across the Iraqi desert to Syria. Only one made it, Corporal 'Chris Ryan'. The rest were either captured - Sergeant 'Andy McNab' - or died. What happened in Iraq was a shambles, to put it mildly. What Bravo 2-0 did to get themselves out of their position was hugely creditable. They left 200 Iraqi soldiers dead. They pushed their minds and bodies to the limit - either from self-torture, or sheer bloody mindedness - to get home.
After this debacle, SAS squadrons operated in armed Landrovers, and achieved remarkable success. By enforcing a no-go zone, where no SCUD Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) would venture across. The SCUD missiles no longer had the range to strike Israel.
Title: SAS Special Forces-Inside Story
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