Across an Angry Sea
The SAS in the Falklands War
An SAS commander’s unflinchingly honest account of the Falklands War.
Shortlisted for the Templer Medal Best First Book Award & An Evening Standard Book of the Year 2018, chosen by Michael Burleigh
In early summer 1982—winter in the South Atlantic—Argentina’s military junta invades the Falklands. Within days, a Royal Navy Task Force is assembled and dispatched. This is the story of D Squadron, 22 SAS, commanded by Cedric Delves.
The relentless tempo of events defies belief. Raging seas, inhospitable glaciers, hurricane-force winds, helicopter crashes, raids behind enemy lines—the Squadron prevailed against them all, but the cost was high. Holding fast to their humanity, D Squadron’s fighters were there at the start and end of the Falklands War. Theirs was the first Union Jack raised over Government House in Stanley.
Across an Angry Sea is a chronicle of daring, skill and steadfastness among a tight-knit band of brothers; of learning fast, fighting hard, and winning through.
‘Sobering . . . unlike many SAS shoot-’em-up books, this one about raids aborted as well as successful is humane and sensitive in tone.’ — Evening Standard Books of the Year 2018, selected by Michael Burleigh.
‘Delves has written one of the most thoughtful, thought-provoking and quietly intelligent military memoirs I’ve ever read . . . gripping and heart-rending.’ — The Mail on Sunday
‘Frank and vivid.’ — New Statesman
‘A rich reservoir of primary source material on SAS contributions and decisions at the tactical and operational levels … This candid tale will resonate with those who appreciate first-hand accounts of warfare and lessons discovered through honest introspection.’ — Small Wars Journal
‘A relatively rare account of a contemporary special forces campaign written by its commander . . . Delves writes with warmth and humanity displaying no malice and a great deal of sympathy towards his Argentine opponents . . . highly recommended.’ — Grounded Curiosity
‘Cedric Delves has produced a fascinating and important account of Special Forces operations in the South Atlantic during the Falklands War and fills a gap in our understanding of that conflict. He and his boys played a key part in the victory, brave and professional.’ — Admiral the Rt Hon Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC PC
‘I heartily recommend Cedric Devles’s enlightening and forthright memoir for what it reveals about the conception, planning, and execution of special operations by commanders engaged in expeditionary warfare over long distances. Military officers and any others seriously interested Special Ops or the Falklands war will find Across an Angry Sea to be compelling and instructive reading.’ — Michigan War Studies Review
‘Since the Second World War memoirs of great writers such as Eric Newby there have been few books like this one by a British officer attached to the Special Forces. Cedric Delves’s account evokes the fear and excitement of going into battle and the emotions that went with sending other men to face danger. It captures the complexities and cock-ups of trying to coordinate teams from different units and different services in the most difficult of circumstances. Anyone who wants to understand the Falklands War, and perhaps war in general, should read this book.’ — Richard Vinen, author of National Service: A Generation in Uniform 1945-1963
‘An exciting and honest account of a SAS command in war: of the leaders and the led; of offensive spirit and individual initiative; of doubt and uncertainty; of ingenuity and adaptability; and of sacrifice, courage and humanity. Those who seek to command in battle should study this account with care for it shows that, “… continuing unto the end until it be thoroughly finished yields the true glory.”‘ — General Sir Rupert Smith KCB DSO OBE QGM
‘Whether military professional or interested civilian, Across An Angry Sea really is a must-read book. It’s much more than a reassuring account of those at the cutting edge of the British Army. Compellingly told and easily absorbed, this fast-moving story is a raw, humbling overdue history that explores the guts of combat with humility and candour. I have been waiting for this book to be written. Cedric Delves has met all my expectations and much more besides.’ — General The Lord Richards GCB CBE DSO
‘This book finally gives an account of SAS operations in the Falklands as I remember them. Its detailed narrative and personal insights impressively capture the raw courage, fighting spirit and agile improvisation that characterised the extraordinary men with whom we fought and happily shared our lives in 1982.’ — Rear Admiral Chris Parry CBE
Cedric Delves joined the Army in 1966, was commissioned into the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment and later joined the SAS, which he commanded at every level. He also led the Special Forces before becoming Commander of the Field Army. He was medically discharged after losing a leg to a drunk driver.