Bravo Two Zero


As soon as the air war began, the four groups drove into Iraq, except for one small group of eight men from B-squadron. They were to be sent in with a transport helicopter, to destroy underground communication-cables. The mission went to total shit. The maps they were given were very inaccurate and they were also given the wrong frequency for their High-Frequency radio, wich they where supposed to use to communicate with allied headquarters. Another disadvantage was that the patrol experienced the worst weather since 30 years. Each member had to carry 70 kilograms of equipment, plus an M-203 assault rifle or an M-249 SAW Minimi light machinegun.

M-249 SAW Minimi

Pretty shortly after "Bravo Two Zero" was inserted on the 22nd of January, the patrol was discovered by a boy whom was herding his goats. They decided to let the boy live and make a run, but were quickly tracked down by armored vehicles, 57mm anti-aircraft guns and infantrymen. In the following firefight, quite a few Iraqi soldiers were killed, and the patrol managed to damage one of the armored vehicles in such a way that it was no longer able to drive. The remaining Iraqis backed of and the SAS troopers continued their flee. They ran and walked for hours, until the commander, Andy McNab, decided to stop because they heard a jet flying over, and he wanted to try to talk to the pilot using the Tactical Beacon, a small radio designed for that purpose. However, because they had been walking in a straight line, with about 20 meters of distance-keeping between each person, every man had to tell the man in front of him that the patrol had stopped. The fifth man had forgotten that, and so the first three became separated from the other five and walked on in ignorance. The five men whom had stopped, only found out that the other three hadn't after several failed attempts of contacting the fighter pilot. They started looking for the other three but didn't find them. The five men decided to walk to the Syrian border, eventually reached a road and high-jacked a car. Only a few kilometers from the border, they ran into a military checkpoint. They decided to kill the guard once he got to their car-window and then run the remaining clicks to the border. In that run everybody became split-up. Dinger, Rob Consiglio and Steve "Legs" Lane, got into a firefight in witch Rob got killed, the other two tried to cross a river with water below 0 Celsius. It was to much for Legs and he died from Hypothermia. Dinger did make it but was captured not much later. Mark and Andy also got into a firefight with a couple of Iraqi soldiers, and they got separated. Mark was shot in the foot and captured, but McNab managed to escape. McNab got within 4 kilometers of the border but was then also captured.
Vincent Philips, one of the three men whom were cut of from the rest of the patrol, was suffering a lot from the cold and continuously asked the other two to stop. They told him to hold on and that they had to keep on moving, and Stan the Man took over Vince's weapon. After several hours, in spite of looking after Vince continuously, Chris Ryan, the third one, looked back to see if Vince was still there, but he was not. They started looking for him but couldn't find him, and they assumed that he had simply stopped somewhere out of fatigue and cold. They would never see him again. A few hours later they ran into another goat-herder. The man offered them shelter, a car and food, but Chris didn't trust him. Stan though,  followed the man and told Chris that if he wasn't back in a few hours, that Chris would have to continue his walk to the border. After about an hour, the shepherd took a different direction, and so Stan was alone when he finally saw two cars and a house. There were Iraqis there and Stan tried to quickly steal the car but he was captured after he'd shot and killed one of the soldiers. Stan had used Vince's weapon by mistake, wich only had a few rounds left in it's magazine. Chris eventually started walking, but soon he saw two lights in the distance. He thought Stan had managed to steal a car after all, but when the lights came nearer there seemed to be two cars approaching him. Chris fired his '66 (a small anti-tank projectile) at the first vehicle, and then sprayed the two cars with 5.56mm bullets from his M-203. He then checked to see if everyone was dead, and continued his escape towards the border, but soon began to have trouble with the fact that he had no food or water left. One day he came to a river and drank from it, but he didn't know that it was polluted with chemical waste. When he had almost reached the border, he suddenly realized that he had just entered a military camp. Two guys approached him and he had to kill them with his combat-knife. In the end he managed to reach the border and make it to the British embassy in Damascus (the capitol of Syria). He fainted a couple of times during his exhausting march to the border, and visions of his daughter walking ahead of him was one of the things that kept him going. Chris reached the Syrian border after 8 days. He had walked more than 270 kilometers in a standard issue military desert suit, with the temperature close to -20 degrees Celsius on average, and had had nothing to eat but a small pack of biscuits. He walked during the night, and hid during the day. The water had infected his lips pretty badly, and it took him two weeks to be able to walk again and six weeks to regain sensation in his fingers and toes. Chris was awarded the Military Medal for his perseverance during the escape. Legs Lane and Rob Consiglio were awarded a posthumous Military Medal for their actions.




Military Medal






Stan the Man, Dinger, Mark and Andy McNab were relentlessly and savagely tortured immediately after they were captured; in the end McNab was suffering from nerve damage to both hands, a dislocated shoulder, kidney and liver damage and a couple of broken and knocked out teeth, after the Iraqis had completely beaten him up. He had to clean out the toilets with his hands and eat the remaining shit off his hands. When he told the Iraqis he needed a dentist, they simply had a man come in and pull his tooth out with a pair of pliers. He had also contracted Hepatitis during his stay in the Iraqi cell. McNab's teeth have been screwed in but he is still having trouble keeping liquids inside his body and he is not able to, for instance, open a drinks can with his left hand anymore.
Dinger was severely beaten with a wooden pole, just like Stan, who was also branded on several places on his body. Mark was given no medical attention, and lost a lot of blood out of his foot wound. He was also tortured severely and the Iraqis kept hitting his foot, so that in the end it was the size of a melon.

       Steve "Legs" Lane                            Vincent David Philips                                     Rob Consiglio

The names above are genuine>> not pseudonyms.

McNab with gear and M-203 assault rifle

In spite of all the beatings and severe torture, everyone of them stuck to the story that they were in Iraq to rescue downed pilots, except for McNab, whom eventually made up that he was part of a reconnaissance unit, that was to observe the Main Supply Route, or MSR. Bravo Two Zero killed a total of about 250 Iraqi soldiers on that single mission. Chris Ryan and Andy McNab wrote their experiences down on paper; see chapter: Good reads. There is also a movie about Bravo Two Zero starring Sean Bean: