2007
17.11

Seems Andy McNab isn’t the only one fed up with the way soldiers are treated. Check out this story from the Telegraph:

Lt Col Stuart Tootal, 42, who some believe had the ability to lead the Army in the future, wrote a damning letter to military personnel chiefs slamming the “shoddy” treatment of soldiers before announcing his resignation.

As commanding officer of 3 Para, Lt Col Tootal led his men in some of last year’s most intense fighting in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province, for which he was awarded the DSO. During his six-month tour between April and October, Lt Col Tootal had to contend with lack of food, water, ammunition and insufficient helicopter support.

Since returning, he became increasingly frustrated with troops’ poor pay, the lack of equipment for recruits to train with, the state of Army housing and the lack of dedicated facilities for injured soldiers.

He left despite having been selected, on promotion to full colonel, to become Chief of Staff of the newly-created 6 Division, based in York.

Until very recently Lt Col Tootal was insisting he intended to take up the post.

A well-placed military source yesterday confirmed that Lt Col Tootal had made his concerns known over pay, training equipment, welfare and housing.

However, it is also thought that Lt Col Tootal was keen to stay in Wiltshire, close to his girlfriend, and had set his heart on becoming Chief of Staff of 3 Division, based in Bulford.

Read full article here.

2007
15.11

[You’ve got to read this in-depth and honest review of Crossfire. It was posted as a comment by visitor Matt, but I thought it deserved its own post.–SixtySix]

Just finished Crossfire; it’s reasonably good fun and certainly the last third whips up the pace and the tension a bit.
I’m going to stray from the point for a little here, though, because I have to say, since the unbelievably atmospheric Dark Winter, McNab’s style seems to have changed so much. I don’t find his books – and this goes for Crossfire too – have the same suspense, atmosphere or descriptive hold on me anymore; and I’ll say this, since I read his first novel in ‘97 and up until Deep Black, I had simply never read a better thriller. I honestly used to feel like I was in a different world reading those books; it was a great escape for me, which I’d never experienced in another writer; he was truly a breath of fresh air.
From Deep Black onwards though, it seems that he’s either changed his style due to pressures from what his publisher perceives as the ‘right’ style of writing / storyline, or that it’s not him writing the books anymore, (or maybe the earlier ones were done by a ghost-writer!). Btw, I know an author who claims to ‘know’ he does use a ghost-writer, but personally I seriously doubt that, for several reasons.
Anyway, for me his last 4 books though just don’t have the intensity, descriptive detail, humour or (effective) unpredictability of the others; moreover the plots seem to stroll about a bit (slightly aimless) and in a way nothing much really seems to happen. I’m thinking in particular of the contrast between Dark Winter, Liberation Day, Firewall and the last four, where these incredibly good 3 previous novels seemed to flow towards some sort of objective / conclusion, with brilliant little bits of humour thrown in. Again, what happened to the little humorous bits??
Well back to Crossfire; certainly the beginning’s good; I’d say far too much time spent on the Iraq bits before the main crux of the plot (the murder of cameraman he’s BGing and the disappearance of his colleague, a journalist – not a plot-spoiler, all there on the dust-jacket!!), and again the action and scene-settings / descriptions were for me just too confusing to visualize. Things certainly get better in London where he meets the odious Yes Man again, after which it’s off on a well-written diversion to Dublin, where we neeearly have a really good stake-out / break-in / recce thing happening (remember how good those used to be, you could almost feel you were there? He’s lost the knack). Then off to Afghanistan, and the narrative gets a bit more like the old McNab again. Again here there’s little of the quirky character-traits of people he encounters that made you feel like you were there in the novels of old; with one exception; his hired driver says ‘maybe’ a lot and that’s quite amusingly handled (maybe…).
A lot of the Afghani section is interesting, but again there seems to be no consistent thread; lots of ‘dropped’ dialogue and narrative, in that stuff is said or mentioned but just seems to fizzle out; encounters with other characters are again not in the same visceral, engaging and realistic vein they used to be (pre-Deep Black).
As the remaining half of the book is effectively spent in Afghanistan, with not an awful lot really happening, I must say, there is some consistency at least from this point onwards. Again, the break-in / rescue scene that he does in most of his books happens but misses a whole dollop of suspense and tension and descriptive content that I thought was so engaging in McNab’s early novels. Do you remember that scene in Crisis Four where he takes a couple of chapters up describing how he breaks into the target’s house and creeps up the stairs with the bow and arrow? Here you get a page’s worth.
Again, later on old characters pop back into the plot clumsily and it all just gets a bit grim. But, from Stone’s inevitable capture to the end of the book, I have to say it’s a pretty consistently good read. The end is particularly satisfying and the last line of the book is good old classic McNab humour again.
Crossfire is slowly working McNab’s novels back into his older, more engaging style; lets hope the next one matches the magic of Firewall, Liberation Day or Dark Winter.
And if anyone knows what’s been going on with the drop in standard of his last few books, please let me know!

[Thanks again for the great review, Matt–I’m sure you’ll get some feedback regarding the drop in quality (I happen to agree with you 100%)–SixtySix]

2007
15.11

Andy & CraigThe Sun writes today: “SAS legend’s bravo to hero”

SAS legend Andy McNab set up an emotional reunion to hand an audio copy of his latest book to a blinded Iraq hero.

McNab, who wrote best-seller Bravo Two Zero before becoming The Sun’s security adviser, met L/Cpl Craig Lundberg while spending two weeks embedded with his unit in Basra.

An early section of his new book Crossfire is based within Craig’s 30-man platoon.

So when he heard the 22-year-old had been blinded by a shrapnel blast, McNab insisted on returning to Liverpudlian Craig’s side.

Doing his bit for our Help For Heroes campaign, he handed over a huge pile of talking books, including his own, and chatted for hours in a Liverpool pub. The pair also raised a pint to a comrade McNab also met, who died in action just weeks later.

For this article, part of The Sun’s ‘Help for Heroes’ campaign, go here

2007
14.11

Check out this fantastic video of Andy McNab explaining the sniper rifle:

2007
14.11

ReviewsAndy shares his opinion in The Sun about the apathy of Britain concerning the soldiers returning home and he is interviewing a soldier who rejoined his platoon in Iraq after he saw his twin brother die.

“I find the apathy with which our forces people are greeted when they return home from the wars sickening.

People should be falling over themselves to help these guys, yet they are treated like s***.

It’s incredible to see young lads out in Iraq and Afghanistan doing things the SAS were doing ten years ago. These guys on six-month tours are seeing so much action they are veterans within days of arrival.

And they are seeing more shot and shells than soldiers in the Second World War.”

“In a moving interview, Corporal Will Rigby told SAS hero Andy McNab he is urging the nation to donate to The Sun-backed Help For Heroes appeal to honour his comrades’ sacrifice.”

Help For Heroes’ first target is to raise £5million for a pool and gym complex at Headley Court in Surrey. You can help by making a donation or buying a wristband.

For the complete article and the interview on video go here

2007
08.11

Matthew Locke died fighting in Afghanistan. He was a father, a husband, a younger brother, and according to his mates a great guy who could always produce a laugh.
He was on point when he was killed; leading the way.
We offer our sincere condolences to his family and our sincere appreciation for his sacrifice.

For details on his story, see this Perth Now article.