Many people have, no doubt, heard of the SAS. However, very few have any real knowledge of what really goes on within this - by necessity - very secretive organisation.
It all began, as most such things do, during the dark days of war. It was during WWII, just after the siege of Tobruk that the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was shocked to discover that no-one really knew how much the infamous tins of 'bully beef' really cost at battlefront prices compared to the Axis equivalents. So, then, after a series of top level Most Secret meetings involving the top brass of the armed forces, cabinet politicians and the most senior civil servants, the SAS - the Secret Accountancy Service - was formed.
Initially, it was intended to work behind the enemy lines, conducting secret audits of the Axis powers’ accounts. However, vital as some of this information was in streamlining the Allied accountancy procedures, it was still not enough.
Then, one night, as he was awaiting a vital airdrop of calculating machines deep inside occupied France, Major Soggy-Biscuit of the SAS hit upon the idea of introducing fraudulent expense claims into the German accounting system.
After receiving enthusiastic approval from the British government, including a message of full support from Winston Churchill himself, Major Soggy-Biscuit in June 1942 inserted a false claim for travel expenses into the German accountancy system.
The results were devastating as the normally hyper-efficient German accountancy ground to a halt as the discrepancy was found to be unreconcilable. Consequently, with the German army, navy and air force all unable to respond during the auditing period, the British and their allies were able to mount several successful commando and air raids virtually unopposed.
There are many other Allied successes that were due to the largely unreported activities of the SAS, including such famous victories as Montgomery’s at El Alamein. This was due to an undercover SAS operation to disrupt the vital German military fuel accounting system, which meant that Rommel’s tanks could not be refuelled without someone of sufficient high rank signing the receipts.
Since the Second World War, several countries have developed their own undercover accountancy squads, to work behind enemy lines to disrupt accountancy procedures whenever possible.
It is rumoured – but, of course, unconfirmed – that the SAS themselves have successfully infiltrated the accounts department of Al-Qaeda to such an extent that Osama Bin Laden himself cannot even claim expenses for a packet of biscuits without written authorisation.