Bill Stirling and the forgotten SAS unit of World War II

2SAS cover


Bill Stirling and the forgotten SAS unit of World War II

Pre-order. Available Oct 10 2023

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Drawing on recently declassified files and interviews with veterans, this is a fascinating history of Bill Stirling and 2SAS--pioneering founders of modern special forces.

David Stirling is the name synonymous with the wartime SAS, but the real brains behind the operation was in fact Bill Stirling, David's eldest brother. Bill was described in the SAS War Diary as a 'man from the shadows'; it was an apt description for, unlike his attention seeking brother, Bill shunned the spotlight. Now for the first time the truth--and the triumph--of 2SAS is revealed.

Having originally joined the SOE in March 1940, Bill Stirling sailed for Cairo in 1941 and there had the idea for a small special forces unit to be led by his mercurial brother. But despite some success, David allowed the legendary 1SAS to drift under his leadership. Following his capture, Bill re-directed 2SAS, under his personal command, to the strategy he had originally envisaged: parachuting behind enemy lines to gather intelligence.

Fully illustrated with rare and previously unpublished photographs, this compelling history details how 2SAS fought with ingenuity and aggression, from Italy and then into France before heading through Holland into Germany. The unit was capable of attacking by parachute, jeep or landing craft, establishing a template for future special forces' operations. Their feats have been overshadowed by the many books that have focused on David and 1SAS. 2SAS corrects this oversight, revealing that the real innovator was Bill Stirling--the true pioneer of Who Dares Wins.

Table of Contents

(Subject to confirmation)
Introduction: Commando College
Chapter One: The Second Coming
Chapter Two: Teething Trouble
Chapter Three: The Need for Speed
Chapter Four: Fight for Survival
Chapter Five: By Air and by Sea
Chapter Six: The Great Escape
Chapter Seven: Trouble at the Top
Chapter Eight: First into France
Chapter Nine: Farran's Fury
Chapter Ten: Betrayal
Chapter Eleven: Winter War
Chapter Twelve: Partisan Partnership
Chapter Thirteen: Finishing off the Fatherland
Chapter Fourteen: Going Dutch
Chapter Fifteen: Jubilation and Justice

Product details

Published Oct 10 2023
Format Hardback
Edition 1st
Extent 288
ISBN 9781472856739
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations Fully illustrated
Dimensions 10 x 7 inches
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Gavin Mortimer

Gavin Mortimer is a writer, historian and televisi…


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