2008
26.06

The chance to name the villain in Andy McNab’s next book is sold for £10,000 at auction

“The SAS soldier-turned-author auctioned off the character’s naming rights in support of a new charity in memory of legendary Anglo-Irish Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

The McNab lot helped the foundation raise £61,700 at a Shackleton Foundation gala dinner in central London last night.

The winner has not yet decided what to name the villain in the book.”

See the full article here

Now I do wonder if there are certain conditions. I mean.. what if the winner wants the villain to be named G W Bush?? Or decides to name him after hers/his ex-spouse. Could she/he be sued? And…does it have to be a man? (sheesh, shocking that I assume the villain will be male, what does that say about me? Or about men for that matter :-p). Or name the villain after his or hers present partner? Will the relationship be over? Or will he/she be loved even more….What about names like Chris Ryan, or Duncan Falconer. Real names may be off limits, but are pseudonyms??

Anyway, I’m curious. So if anyone has an idea, or the winner wants to share the name and background… let us know! 🙂

2008
17.06

The Schackleton Foundation

Hello there,

Good news for fans of Andy McNab!

The Shackleton Foundation charity are hosting an event on the 25th of June whereby fans of Andy McNab will be able to bid for the rights to name the villain in Andy’s new book.

If you want more information send me an email at tom.eckersley@vancomms.com and I will be more then happy to send you more information.
 
Regards, Tom Eckersley

2008
16.06

Andy McNab fans are being offered the chance to have the villain in his next book named after them.

The SAS soldier-turned-author will auction off the character’s naming rights next week in support of a new charity in memory of legendary Anglo-Irish Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

The Shackleton Foundation will fund projects that embody the adventurer’s spirit and hunger for “calculated risk”.

McNab said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to support this new charity.

“Shackleton has always been a hero of mine, and I think the Foundation’s mission to identify similarly inspiring leaders in today’s world is excellent.”

The lot is expected to raise at least £50,000 when it is sold at a Shackleton Foundation gala dinner on June 25.

Advance bids can be made via the charity’s website: www.shackletonfoundation.org

If you wish to make a written bid in advance of the auction you should email auction@shackletonfoundation.org by 24th June 2008.

2008
14.06

“What we never hear about the front line in Afghanistan”
Andy McNab’s Tour of Duty – The Telegraph

In his new documentary series, novelist and ex-SAS man Andy McNab talks to British soldiers on active duty. He tells Michael Deacon a story of unsung heroism

On Sunday, the number of British troops killed in Afghanistan since 2001 reached 100. In Iraq, 176 have been killed. But Andy McNab, the former SAS soldier and now bestselling novelist, has a different take on the casualty figures.

“You look at the Falklands conflict – 255 guys were killed, but even more than that have committed suicide through Post Traumatic Stress,” says McNab, who commanded the Bravo Two Zero patrol in the first Gulf War, and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Medal. “So the problem will be magnified soon, purely because we’ve got more soldiers going through those experiences. Somebody needs to address that aftercare, because the suicide rate of people with Post Traumatic Stress is normally about 13 years [after the conflict]. So there may be a sort of time bomb ticking away.”

Andy McNab’s Tour of Duty: a re-enactment of a soldier’s active duty in Afghanistan
Like McNab’s books, though, his new TV series will convey the heroics of British troops in action. He has now written seven action thrillers [note: should be “more than ten”, but unless his website will be updated this mistake will continue to circle] , including Bravo Two Zero itself and Crossfire, published in paperback last week. His autobiography, Immediate Action, has sold 1.4million copies in the UK.

“In the media generally, I think the military have been getting quite a hard time,” says McNab. So, for Tour of Duty, he interviewed soldiers about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan – and was impressed by their weaponry, their stories of bravery, and their general air of optimism. “Everybody thinks it’s all doom and gloom and all these lads are about to hang themselves and their boots are falling off and all that sort of stuff. It isn’t like that at all.”

Indeed, he believes that the UK has never had infantry with better experience or weaponry. At the start of the Iraq war, British soldiers were, he says, inadequately equipped – but that has changed. He admires the Osprey body armour system (“The Americans are looking at buying it because it’s so good”), the Personal Role Radio communication earpiece (“Every soldier has got one – we’re the only army on the planet to do that”) and the Warrior tank.

“I read the other day that everyone’s complaining about the Warrior not being armoured,” he says. “Well, I’ve sat in one and taken two RPGs [Rocket-Propelled Grenades] and they just bounce off. But the way it’s portrayed, it’s like these things are sardine cans. Of course they’re not.”

The infantry soldiers themselves are particularly keen on the Javelin surface-to-air missile, McNab adds. “They call it the Porsche, because every missile costs the same as a Porsche 911,” he says. “Everyone wants to fire it, so during a fire fight, there’s a list of people – ‘Right, you’re next.’ And you see guys going, ‘Yes!’ – because they’re getting the chance to fire £76,000 worth of missile.”

But McNab’s Tour of Duty was inspired by three rather cheaper forms of equipment: the laptop, the iPod and the video camera. A popular trend among British soldiers is to fit tiny cameras to their helmets, record videos of themselves in battle, and then put their footage to music on their laptops. They upload the finished videos to the internet, so that their fellow soldiers can enjoy them.

McNab was so impressed by the videos that he approached the Ministry of Defence and suggested he make a television programme to showcase the best. “But then I thought, ‘That’s just pure bang-bang – war porn’,” he says. “We needed to give it a context.” So the series features not only a selection of video clips but also interviews with the soldiers who made them.

He heard stories of “incredible bravery”, he says. For example, the rescue of a Danish soldier, lying wounded and out of reach in a bomb crater in the middle of a city; British soldiers saved him by stealing a bed from the nearest house, throwing it down into the crater, and using it to get to him. All while they were under fire.

But, while McNab’s new series will show us plenty of heroic British soldiers, it won’t show us McNab himself. Having worked in military intelligence in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, he keeps his face off television, and out of the papers, for reasons of safety. Even though it’s 10 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, he says it’s still not worth taking any risks.

“A lot of Apache pilots are doing exactly the same now,” he says. “The Apaches are taking a lot of casualties in Afghanistan, so they don’t want to show their faces because they fear reprisals here in the UK. I’ve had two death threats: one of them was a fruitcake, and one was deemed serious. So it’s just being sensible, that’s all.” 

You can find the article here

2008
14.06

Mcnab’s Tour Of Duty Tuesday, 10pm, Itv4
From the Daily Record

Andy McNab does what Ross Kemp didn’t – he gets down on the streets and meets the enemy directly. Modern combat is not all about long-range missiles and hi-tech kit. In the streets of Iraq, battles are raging where soldiers are fighting the enemy at very close range, often at only a few metres. Find out what it’s like to fight against a man when you can hear him taunt you. Stunning.

2008
12.06

“What we are doing is running around an apple tree and as those apples drop we are catching them. There will be one apple that will hit the ground. “

Soldier Magazine
An Interview by Stephen Tyler

TAKING note of the old adage that authors should write about what they know has proven to be a lucrative line for ex-soldier Andy McNab.

The former Royal Green Jacket’s experiences behind enemy lines as part of the ill-fated Bravo Two Zero patrol in the Gulf War kick-started a writing career that has propelled McNab to the top of the fiction charts.

But although his own experiences have stoked the imaginations of the British book-buying public, McNab insists that readers wanting modern-day tales of bravery need look no further than the average squaddie.

“The private soldier now doesn’t compare to the private soldier at any other time in the Army’s history because the standard now is without doubt the best it has ever been,” McNab told Soldier, adding that his latest book, Crossfire (reviewed in Soldier in February), is based on his time in Iraq with troops from the 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

“You get to these battalions and the standard is phenomenal. I was with 2 Rifles in Basra last year and we went on a strike op in the city. Number one through the door was a 19-year-old rifleman. About ten years ago that would have been a specialist role, but now you have infantry guys who are able to do it. The Army is in a strong position because of the experience and knowledge they are getting on board.”

The ever-increasing number of stories of bravery in the face of adversity filtering back from theatre forms the basis of Andy McNab’s Tour of Duty, a hard-hitting six-part series airing on ITV4 this month.

Using videos, pictures and first-hand accounts from soldiers on the ground, combat camera teams and intelligence sources, McNab takes an in-depth look at the challenges facing troops and how they are being overcome.

Interviews with everyone from infantrymen to company commanders on their return from theatre explain each story’s context and McNab said that talking to the troops convinced him that suggestions young people were being tricked into signing up were extremely wide of the mark.

“The media like to use the Army to attack Government and in doing so they make it seem as if everybody’s waiting to hang themselves, that it’s all depressing and people want to come home because they didn’t know what they were getting into,” he said. “They forget that actually these lads are exactly the same as their next door neighbours.

“The difference is that they have been motivated enough to get off their arse and do something and if they don’t like it they can get out.

“People forget that these lads do know what they’re getting into. They are volunteers, they are more educated and worldly aware than soldiers have ever been and it’s not as if this war is being kept from them because they can watch it live on Sky if they want.”

With operational commitments reaching an unprecedented level, McNab is pleased that previous problems with kit and equipment have been ironed out.

Indeed, rather than the horror stories that emanated from the first Gulf War about the SA80 not firing due to the heat, today’s front-line troops are almost universally positive about the equipment available to them.

McNab, pictured above, said that he is aware of foreign armies casting envious glances at British kit and thinks the reliability and effectiveness of the weapons is allowing young soldiers to concentrate on developing their skills.

“This whole thing that some people seem to be hooked up on that the equipment is rubbish is just wrong,” he said. “There’s some really good gear that’s so good that the Americans are going to start buying it.”

Although Nick Stone, the character in McNab’s books is fictional, the author believes that a lot of his character’s missions are now being successfully completed in real life by Regular soldiers. Ally that to the increasingly “Gucci” weaponry available to infantry battalions and it is no surprise to hear that McNab believes the nature of front-line soldiering today is both challenging and rewarding.

“They are getting more kinetic kit and heavy weapons stuff in Afghanistan than I ever saw when I was in the Green Jackets – the lads these days have an amazing array of quality kit and the responsibility that a young NCO or officer has these days is awesome.”

McNab’s training and unique military manoeuvres around the world have placed him in hot demand from private companies wanting to learn from his experiences. Hollywood has already come knocking and he has served as a technical adviser on films such as Heat, while his own stories are currently being reworked into a film script.

The Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal winner also works closely with the counter-terrorism community and said that Great Britain is well prepared against attacks on home soil. “I think it’s a lot better than people think,” he said.

“The problem is that it’s seen as a massive threat, but actually the system does work.

“The Israelis have a great analogy that what we are doing is running around an apple tree and as those apples drop we are catching them. There will be one apple that will hit the ground and that’s a fact because you can’t stop everything, but we have huge experience in dealing with it and we are well prepared.”

You can find the article in Soldier Magazine here