The other day, I was sitting here, contemplating a battle scene. Having written quite a few of these in the past, I'm always on the lookout for something unique to add to the narrative. Movies can be an inspiration in this regard, but to really find something interesting, I find history to be far more rewarding. From the Dambusters to the Doolittle Raid, there are all sorts of daring raids that caught the enemy by surprise.
One in particular that springs to mind is the Special Boat Section (later renamed the Special Boat Service, similar to the SAS). This elite group was founded in 1940 by a commando officer named Roger Courtney. He first tried to convince the Admiral of the Fleet that his idea of a group of men infiltrating enemy lines using folding kayaks was worth pursuing but got little response. To prove the validity of his theory, he picked a target, HMS Glengyle, a landing ship that lay at anchor in a nearby river and paddled his kayak over to the ship. Once aboard, he stole a deck gun cover and left his initials on the door to the captain's cabin, escaping undetected.
He took the cover to a nearby hotel, presenting it to a group of high ranking naval officers. As a result of his actions, they promoted him to captain, and gave him command of twelve men, thus launching the SBS. They went on to perform other, more serious missions, but the very nature of their origin shows how 'thinking outside the box' could revolutionize warfare. This very same idea empowers many special forces to this day.
If you want to learn more about the SBS, check out their article on Wikipedia, or watch 'The Cockleshell Heroes' (1955), a somewhat fictionalized version of their origins.
Until next time, Happy reading!
Many of my books, particularly the Heir to the Crown series, involve battles. Just this week, as I was working on Fury of the Crown, I came to a part of the story that involved a massive clash of arms. I have, of course, written these sorts of scenes before, but it’s always important to me to make each one as distinctive as possible.
When there are multiple combat scenes in a book, or series for matter, describing an individual battle can, at times, get very repetitious, both to the reader and the writer. For this reason, I always find it works better to give the reader a personal connection to that action. In my experience, the best way to do this is to reveal the details through its central characters.
However, this particular book gave me the opportunity to highlight some personalities who have not had much time devoted to them. Their contributions are as deserving of note as the main characters, but, just as in real life, their successes are often ignored.
Everyone has heard of Napoleon or Alexander the Great, but how many know about those under their command? I hope in the writing of my most recent battles, I have given my unsung heroes their due.
Paul Bennett is a self-published author of Epic Fantasy books.