17 December 2010

Tanner & Associates in No Man's Land

Eric Haney's first in a series


Supporting characters in order of appearance- Walther PPK -

"Reaching up, I took my PPK from its hiding place above the helm and then ran a thumbnail over the "loaded round" pin that protruded slightly just under the hammer. Satisfied that a live one was up the spout, I stuck the pistol in the left side of my waistband."

Soviet SKS - "The SKS has all the robust features of the AK but is semiautomatic... It has a smaller magazine capacity than the AK. It is easier to control and allows the shooter to conserve his ammunition, something that might well become critical before this job was over."


Skorpion Machine Pistol- "With it's pistol size and folding stock, the Skorpion makes for a compact weapon. Some folks say it's a bit low-powered, but for a close-in fight, I've found it to be more than adequate."
Soviet RPK Machine Gun- "...and with a flourish, he flung open the lids to two other boxes. I looked inside. Everything was there: RPK machine guns, a couple sniper rifles, the little Skorpion machine pistols, two grenade launchers, and other assorted items."


Rokon Trailbreaker - "Best cross-country motorbike in the world...Made by the Rokon company of New Hampshire, she has front and back wheel drive, fat tires and a long range at a rather slow speed. The wheels are hollow for use as additional fuel or water carriers or to act as floats when crossing a stream."


Soviet AN-2 "...nothing so much as a flying truck. It is the world's largest biplane. With a thousand-horsepower radial engine, a large payload, and a remarkable design that allows it to get in and off the ground in 450 feet or less, the AN-2 is in all probability the greatest rough-country airplane ever manufactured."

Eric Haney was one of the youngest Command Sergeant Majors in the US Army before retiring. One of the first members of the secret Delta Unit at Ft Bragg in the '70s, Eric wrote the fascinating, Inside Delta Force, which was read by David Mamet and which resulted in Haney producing and writing CBS's, The Unit. A guilty pleasure of C-ration cheese spread across B-1 unit crackers.

The Unit was below Haney. And I was happy to see the first in a series of novels with Master Sergeant (ret.) Kennesaw Tanner pop out of his home in Cave Spring, GA last spring. A year earlier I spent some time with Eric, his wife Dianna and a bunch of new born puppies. You don't think ex Delta operatives as being puppy men but Haney is as down to earth a man as you'd ever know. I grew up around Green Berets. I know the egos. Haney doesn't seem to have one.

"There are the moments, just prior to setting out on an act that puts life at hazard, when I can taste the sweetness of life in a fullness that is almost overwhelming. Twenty-four hours from now, when the earth has made one full rotation on its axis, I may no longer be counted among the living." Eric Haney - No Man's Land

The book opens up with a grisly discovery of a woman's body in a salt marsh that may put you off jumbo lump crab forever. It moves to the brutal murder of a Saudi royal family on board their yacht, the kidnapping of a young boy and a job offer for Tanner from the US government communicated by a wonderful sleaze bag army colonel who deserved more pages.

The book culminates in an attack on a desert fort and there's a 'Dogs of War' feel to it -- But while Fredrick Forsythe backed a mercenary operation to lend his novel authenticity -- Haney's knowledge of tactics, weapons and the middle east comes from personal experience. Haney comes at you straight on and when you finish this novel you'll know why straight on works so well in a fire fight and in this case, a novel.

As an aside, the Haney's are looking to save some Cave Spring history. If you like preserving history and wanna help out please go here. Not asking for money. Just your vote. Thanks.

30 comments:

TRAWETS NILTGEOV said...

Never heard of this guy before, but he sounds like a "Gayle Rivers" type (please go read Five Fingers now if you haven't)who favors enigmatic firearms (except for the Walther). (The Dogs of War reference makes me want to dig the book and VHS copy out of storage.)

Heard dramatically divergent tales 'bout the SKS. And, I can say from personal exp., it shoots fine one day and then you can't hit a 10 ptr standing 30 ft from your stand. Or maybe that's all the Rebel Yell pre-shot... Dunno.

Anonymous Texan said...

Flew in an AN-2 from Nebit Dag to Ashgabat Tukmenistan. Bullet proof, cruised around 80-90 knots, probably would glide a country mile & low stall speed. Ended up drinking tea with the local KGB rep after landing.
Enuff said.

tintin said...

Stew- Five Fingers rings a bell. I looked it up and can see why. Never read it. Will do so ricky tick.

Anonymous Texan- Is that you Big John?

Anonymous Texan said...

No sir, hitched a ride on the AN-2 doing oil bidness circa 1994.

tintin said...

Anon Tex- Sorry. I thought you were an old Sgt Major of mine.

Kurt said...

Never met Haney, but having read Inside Delta Force and visited his website (http://www.erichaney.com), I'm skeptical about the no ego part. Not to say he isn't a *nice* guy. He may well be. But nice guys can have egos, too.

tintin said...

Egos in the army -- especially special ops -- are relative. We all have egos and based on my past observations -- don't know about yours -- Haney is as egoless as they come. THe best usually are.

tintin said...

I forgot. I'm not saying Haney's perfect. I saw him drink red wine out of a champagne glass. The horror.

Tin-tin's phred/dad said...

No objection or criticism of Haney himself on my part. He has a magnificent, well-deserved, reputation.
BUT, "The Unit" TV show was a piece of crap! Totally unrealistic! Stupid. Any SF vet will say so -- unless they're ego-ridden assholes who enjoy telling lies about their heroics at the VFW.
My own experience as an SF "A" team leader and later as an SF staff officer was a high point of my career. The men were well trained,
dedicated and very, very brave. The trait in them I admired most was they didn't need to be micromanaged. Just tell them what had to be done and they did it!

Anonymous said...

Haney was also an advisor on David Mamet's absolutely brilliant (and almost criminally underrated) film Spartan. I love that one.

tintin said...

Anon. Check out Val kilmers commentary on Spartans DVD. Hysterical.

Brummagem Joe said...

It's a rule of mine never to fly in Russian aircraft but I've seen the odd AN 2 in my travels and they are rather incredible leaving the ground. A bit like the Red Army in it's heyday. Crude but effective. I like the feel of small arms but based on the samples of Mr Haney's output which seems aimed at Boy Own techno addicts I think I'll pass on his novels.

stephen said...

haney might be a nice guy with no ego, but he's an opportunist and png for a reason. Albeit an entertaining opportunist.

tintin said...

Joe- Despite your research, if one can call google research, I'd say you're missing out. Insightful look into the warrior mind with maturity is a Haney hallmark. A shame you're jumping to conclusions but you usually do.

stephen- Infantrymen usually are opportunists (and pngs)...you can thank Ft Benning for that.

Anonymous said...

I've spent some time behind AKs, RPKs and PKMs. The PKMs were especially cathartic ; )

The few tier 1 types I have met are, to the man, discreet, humble, self effacing and thankful to be alive.

It would be a mistake to judge Haney by some TV show and I dare say that the only one's qualified to comment on his character and his service are his commanding officers and his team mates.

Brummagem Joe said...

tintin said...
"Joe- Despite your research, if one can call google research...A shame you're jumping to conclusions but you usually do."



Err...tintin...I seldom jump to conclusions but you do apparently since you're clearly mixing me up with another poster who said he'd googled this guy. I've never done so, but based my observations on his literary quality on the evidence YOU provided. On the basis of these quotes I'd say it was the male equivalent of chicklit...dicklit you could call it. And likely to enjoy a similar literary longevity.

tintin said...

Anon- I spent some time behind, what was called at the time, Warsaw Pact Weapons. I liked most of 'em. Especially the AKM.

I also know, without any doubt, that my COs didn't know me from Adam. Neither did my team mates. But my friends knew me very well.

Joe- My apologies. I reckoned you at least read a chapter or two on line but you've passed judgement based on even less.

stephen said...

tintin i'd be interested to hear you and your father's thoughts on the hurt locker. Personally, I didn't like it. The main character struck me as hot headed. The complete opposite of Val Kilmer in Spartan, which was a gem.

Brummagem Joe said...

"but you've passed judgement based on even less."

Prima facie evidence?

Brummagem Joe said...

Btw tintin since you like this genre I'll send you a few brochures on Cat 100 ton excavators, the prose is not dissimilar. Or how about a treatise on industrial gases?

tintin said...

Stephen- Don't know if my dad saw it. I did and liked it. More for the look of it than anything. I have odd taste when it comes to military stories on screen.

I thought HBO's 'Generation Kill' was damned near perfect. I also liked Steven Bochco's 'Over There. More for the writing that sent me back to the army I knew. There was an interesting insight in the family lives of lower ranking enlisted men I thought very moving. The Unit was never able to capture dependent life in a realistic way. I think it was a missed opportunity. Something like Army Wives just makes me shudder.

Joe- You made a judgement about an author based on my post? And yes, I do think it's a lousy post. Haney deserves a far better look. Here's a wonderful interview -- if you can bear it.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:MkRkBXqsa9sJ:www.gijobs.com/haney.aspx+%22David+Mamet%22+%22Inside+Delta%22&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

It strikes me odd that Haney's first book, Inside Delta, was greatly admired by Mamet. I'm dying to hear what you think of Mamet.

Anonymous said...

We just called them ComBloc weapons.

As far as the 'opportunists' go - I say why not ?

People like Haney or Larry Vickers etc have spent their entire careers busting their asses and risking their lives for peanuts.

If one is doing it with integrity, Why not make a buck on the back end ?

Jordan said...

Being an actor and drama guy, i love Mamet..Glenngarry Glen Ross_ dialogue gets no better. As a person and a dramatist he has very little tolerance for flourishes and wasted words, he's a real prose-nazi to be frank, so if he read the book, enough reason for me to get a used copy on Amazon.. I was lucky enough to see his first production of Oleanna in Cambridge, and afterward he came out to talk to some nice old folks who'd come to watch. He smiled not once, and suffered no fools, even cute old ones.The guns spooked me offf the post at first, but quite enjoyed it once I strung it all together.

Brummagem Joe said...

"Joe- You made a judgement about an author based on my post?"

Tintin: since your post was intended to promote this author's virtues is that so unreasonable? Lighten up. It is what it is. The passages you quote would be hard to beat as parodies of the action adventure/mass slaughter/popular mechanics genre beloved of Hollywood producers and 18 year olds. And none of it sounded remotely like any of the Mamet I've seen on stage or in the cinema.

Genuine Lustre said...

I am, perhaps, the only female around who has read Inside Delta Force - lol. I think Haney's character in this series is a former 1/75 Ranger?

tintin said...

Jordan-
I saw Mamet speak in Chicago. Not a nice guy. At all.

Joe-
I feel like I'm talking to a wall.

Gen Lustre- It's never mentioned in the 1st book where Tanner comes from in the army. The 2nd book is due in January. Maybe then.

stephen said...

In reading that haney interview I find it strange that boykin would criticize haney's book when he has one of his own that came out a few years ago. According to paul howe, a former operator, boykin violated opsec.

tintin said...

stephen- There's beau coup sour grapes about Haney's success coming from team mates and COs. That happened when Haney hit the CBS pay day. A real shame but it's probably a great story.

Anonymous said...

Well guys, my father build engines for AN-2 back in the day. I grew up playing with pushrods for ASh-62motor. All those planes curently in service were build in Poland BTW. Ruskie SKS is a fine build weapon (Chinese gringo export may be spoty). Walter is OK, I prefer Polish knock-off, P64 in 9mmMakarov of East German Makarov. I collect comie block guns for years. It used to be relatively cheap. With new found appreciation of Joe Blow it is different game now.

Anonymous said...

BTW SKS in the picture is not Soviet but Albanian...