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June 30, 2006

Just think of England


With the sad news of the deaths of two of Her Majesty's special forces in the course of carrying out arrests in Afghanistan, it is worth calling to mind the exploits of their brothers in days of yore. Coming Anarchy cites an incident from the Malayan Emergency described in "Inside the SAS".

Under Calvert, the Regiment also evolved some startling methods of clandestine warfare. One of these resulted from their discovery that the local prostitutes were demanding payment for their services in bullets and grenades, rather than cash. This ‘currency’ was then passed to the enemy. Calvert’s men were promptly used to pose as clients in order to supply self-destroying ordnance including hand grenades fitted with instantaneous fuses (to kill the users) and exploding bullets which, when fired, served the same purpose.

It is a dirty job, war, but somebody has to do it. The chap pictured above is with the Australian SAS but I hope Flea-readers will allow the liberty as I am certain he would lay down his life for Her Majesty, or just lay down, if such was his duty.

Small sidebar also from Coming Anarchy: India has an airbase in Tajikistan. I had no idea.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 30, 2006 08:44 AM


"India has an airbase in Tajikistan. I had no idea."

It looks like the old empire does get around, doesn't it?

Spec-Ops wise, I sometimes think the lack of funding of British and Commonwealth forces relative to the Americans is an advantage, more often than not. It forces more ingenuity at the squad level, and less of a reliance on high tech.

Posted by: Jimmy Levendia [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 30, 2006 04:30 PM

That sounds like a politician's exucse for under-funding. The less we give them, the more ingenious they have to be! As opposed to say, giving them a dominant advantage in skill, equipment and logistics.

There's no reason for a civilised country to send highly-trained elite forces into harm's way with less than the very best. We send them out to win, not to better their creativity.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 30, 2006 04:41 PM

The British Army is famous for never having been funded well. Fortunately, the Royal Navy has, generally speaking, been looked after properly. Not that I am pleased with the idea of having a navy smaller than the French, even if their centrepiece is a nuclear-powered garbage scow.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 30, 2006 04:54 PM

And another thing... What on earth were they doing trying to "detain" these people in the first place? Dropping something large and heavy and making of a big bang seems much more sensible.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 30, 2006 04:56 PM

Mr. Taylor,

I don't advocate underfunding commandos as a rule! I agree, they should have the best that we can give them...I was just expressing my admiration for the can-do attitude, wherever it's found.

Armies exist to achieve victory. This is news? I was assuming this was a commonplace that didn't need to be spelled out. However, we live in Canada...I understand how some of our fellow citizens might need this explained. Just yesterday I watched some talking head prattling on about how the PM Harper's government's new military funding takes away from needed social programs.

Now, I like a good social program as much as the next man, but an effective military that actually accomplishes its prime purpose of victory over the nation's enemies has something to be said for it as well, no?

I guess I didn't get the memo.

Posted by: Jimmy Levendia [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 30, 2006 05:18 PM