Book by Gavin Mortimer
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 were, 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 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 was 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 Fully illustrated with rare and previously unpublished photographs, this compelling history details how 2SAS fought with ingenuity and aggression from Italy and then into France before heading through Holland into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 could attack 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.
Fully illustrated with rare and previously unpublished photographs, this compelling history details how 2SAS fought with ingenuity and aggression.
About the Author: Gavin Mortimer is a writer, historian, and consultant whose groundbreaking book Stirling’s Men remains the definitive history of the wartime SAS as a whole. He has also written histories of the SBS and the LRDG, again drawing heavily on veteran interviews. His most recent book, David Stirling: The Phoney Major, was critically acclaimed and featured in several national newspapers. He was the National Army Museum’s consultant for their major exhibition on the history of special forces.
2SAS: Bill Stirling and the Forgotten Special Forces Unit of World War II by Gavin Mortimer will be published, as a hardcover, by Osprey Publishing on October 10, 2023.
(ISBN: 9781472856739 | $35.00 | 272 Pages)