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Thread: Northern Ireland (merged thread)

  1. #21
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Thumbs up A little "light" on a "dark" subject

    There is quite a lot in the public domain on 14 Intell Company and it's reported successor in Baghdad. On my bookshelf are four books that help:

    'Ten Thirty Three: The Inside Story of Britain's Secret Killing Machine in Northern Ireland', by Nicholas Davies (Pub.Mainstream 1999) - writer is a journalist who fought a court case before publishing

    'Fishers of Men' by Rob Lewis (Pub.Hodder & Stoughton 1999) - which I recall some view as an officially approved ex-members account

    'Bandit Country; The IRA & South Armagh' by Toby Harnden (Pub.Coronet 1999) - general account of how the tide changed

    'Shadows: Inside Northern Ireland's Special Branch' by Alan Barker (Pub. Mainstream 2004) - by ex-RUC SB officer arrested before publication, on the police's intelligence arm

    More current and perplexing is the report on some RUC SB agent handling and murders, by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman (numerous Google hits).

    Happy reading,

    Davidbfpo

  2. #22
    Council Member bismark17's Avatar
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    Default Re:

    Thanks for the post! I don't have a single one of those on my shelf. I did find it interesting that my copy of, Big Boys Rules, came from a used bookstore in Hereford....I have, The Operator and one written by a former female member but can't remember the title. Ok...the super bowl half time show is over so I can get back to the game....

  3. #23
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    I would sugges the following for a broad context while of course keeping open a copy of Kitson's "Low Intensity Operations: Subversion, Insurgency and Peacekeeping " as see how it applied itself to Ireland and the British state.

    Is Mise le Meas
    Mickey




    Paths to a Settlement in Northern Ireland (Ulster Editions and Monographs) by Sean Farren, Robert F. Mulvihill

    Ireland and Empire: Colonial Legacies in Irish History and Culture by Stephen Howe

    Anti-Catholicism in Northern Ireland, 1600-1998: The Mote and the Beam
    by John D. Brewer, Gareth I.
    Higgins


    The IRA, 1968-2000 (Cass Series on
    Political Violence, 7) by J. Bowyer Bell

    The Secret Army, J Boyer Bell

    On the Blanket: The Inside Story of the IRA Prisoners' "Dirty" Protest by Tim Pat Coogan

    The Irish War: The Hidden Conflict between the IRA and British

    Intelligence
    by Tony Geraghty

    Contact
    by A. F. N Clarke

    The Dirty War - by Martin Dillon

  4. #24
    Council Member wierdbeard's Avatar
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    Default book information

    "The Operator and one written by a former female member but can't remember the title."

    if you could can you please post the book info on those titles? thanks

  5. #25
    Council Member bismark17's Avatar
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    Default The Books

    OPERATORS: On the Streets with Britain's Most Secret Service (Pen & Sword Military Classics) (Paperback)
    by James Rennie

    I have skimmed this and thought it was interesting but its basically more on the training and selection program by a former member of the 14nth Intel Company.


    Big Boys' Rules: The Sas and the Secret Struggle Against the IRA (Paperback)
    by Mark Urban

    I liked this book. It's more of an overview about the various units and has some TTP/lessons learned material that I found relevant. It's my favorite of all of these books.

    SHE WHO DARED: Covert Operations in Northern Ireland with the SAS (Hardcover)
    by Jackie George (Author)

    This also covers the author's experiences of selection and training for the unit. Very little on TTPs and actual operations.

    I'm sure you are already aware of the book, Immediate Action, by Andy Mcnabb. It also had some information on their operations.

  6. #26
    Council Member wierdbeard's Avatar
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    Default thanks for the information

    thanks for the information, i am really interested in the TTP's and actual operational stuff as opposed to the selection for some of those types of units. if you have any other suggestions i would greatly appreciate it.

  7. #27
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    Operation Banner: An Analysis of Military Operations in Northern Ireland
    The military operations which started in Northern Ireland in 1969 will, without a doubt, be seen as one of the most important campaigns ever fought by the British Army and its fellow Services. That campaign is the longest to date; one of the very few waged on British soil; and one of the very few ever brought to a successful conclusion by the armed forces of a developed nation against an irregular force. This publication is a reflection on that campaign that seeks to capture its essence; it does not claim to be the definitive analysis....

    ......The immediate tactical lessons of Operation BANNER have already been exported elsewhere, with considerable success. Operations in the Balkans, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq have already demonstrated both the particular techniques and the levels of expertise learnt through hard experience, both on the streets and in the fields of Northern Ireland. This publication does not seek to capture those lessons. Instead, it considers the high-level general issues that might be applicable to any future counter insurgency or counter terrorist campaign which the British armed forces might have to undertake....
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 02-17-2009 at 08:04 PM. Reason: Fixed link.

  8. #28
    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    I don't have time to read the whole thing but it would appear that the assertion of this papper is that the insurgency was defeated by military action rather than the political process that ultimately robbed the insurgency of its popular support. News to me.

    SFC W

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    I don't have time to read the whole thing but it would appear that the assertion of this paper is that the insurgency was defeated by military action rather than the political process that ultimately robbed the insurgency of its popular support. News to me....
    It is usually better to read the entire document before rendering judgment on its content:
    ...It should be recognised that the Army did not ‘win’ in any recognisable way; rather it achieved its desired end-state, which allowed a political process to be established without unacceptable levels of intimidation. Security force operations suppressed the level of violence to a level which the population could live with, and with which the RUC and later the PSNI could cope. The violence was reduced to an extent which made it clear to the PIRA that they would not win through violence. This is a major achievement, and one with which the security forces from all three Services, with the Army in the lead, should be entirely satisfied....

  10. #30
    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    As I stated I do not have time to read a 93 page document on a conflict I am not currently involved in which is why I said it APPEARS to be saying that. I skimmed what I could and everything that I saw was focused soley on the purely miltary aspects.

    SFC W

  11. #31
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Default N. Ireland--The Patience to Go the Distance

    Saw this BBC on line story
    The British Army's emergency operation in Northern Ireland comes to an end at midnight on Tuesday after 38 years.
    The link is here

    . . .And folks in the the US are getting antsy after only 6 years in AF and 4 in IZ.

  12. #32
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Operation Banner is the Army's longest continuous campaign in its history with more than 300,000 personnel serving and 763 directly killed by paramilitaries.
    The intensity and pace of operations is an order of magnitude lower. The monthly KIA average in Northern Ireland was 1.67, for instance. The total number of people, civilians and combatants included, killed in NI over a thirty-year period is under 4,000 --- that would be a decent two-month stretch in Iraq.

  13. #33
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    The intensity and pace of operations is an order of magnitude lower. The monthly KIA average in Northern Ireland was 1.67, for instance. The total number of people, civilians and combatants included, killed in NI over a thirty-year period is under 4,000 --- that would be a decent two-month stretch in Iraq.
    Your point about the order of magnitude is true, in absolute terms. However, I suspect that in relative terms (size of forces engaged, total populations, etc), the impact may be more comparable. Also, I suspect that using a monthly KIA average is misleading. Were one to plot British Army deaths over the 38 years, it would probably show a curve skewed to the left (i.e., many more deaths early on in the 38 years).

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Your point about the order of magnitude is true, in absolute terms. However, I suspect that in relative terms (size of forces engaged, total populations, etc), the impact may be more comparable. Also, I suspect that using a monthly KIA average is misleading. Were one to plot British Army deaths over the 38 years, it would probably show a curve skewed to the left (i.e., many more deaths early on in the 38 years).
    I'm sure you're right, but I still question what kind of value Northern Ireland holds in looking at Iraq. Fighting a terrorist group with sometimes barely 100 active members (Provisional IRA), an hour's flight from your capital, versus counter-insurgency/sectarian peace-keeping with 150,000 troops thousands of miles from home? Doesn't seem like much to draw on there, in a strategic sense anyway.

  15. #35
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Your point about the order of magnitude is true, in absolute terms. However, I suspect that in relative terms (size of forces engaged, total populations, etc), the impact may be more comparable. Also, I suspect that using a monthly KIA average is misleading. Were one to plot British Army deaths over the 38 years, it would probably show a curve skewed to the left (i.e., many more deaths early on in the 38 years).
    This is possibly true, but still I think Iraq represents a massively different sort of fight. The worst year in NI for the British was 1972, when 149 soldiers were killed out of a force of 30k or so. No other year comes close to this in NI, and this still represents a casualty rate below a similar year for the U.S. in Iraq.

    Moreover, you never saw anything like this in Northern Ireland. Can you imagine 500-lb. bombs hitting snipers in Derry or British tanks firing main gun rounds in Belfast? Combat simply was never at that high of a level. The horrific Omagh bombing that finally put an end to violent Republicanism killed 29 people. 58 Iraqis were killed yesterday, pretty much without any news coverage at all because of the soccer win. The level of violence, both against U.S. forces and within the Iraqi population, is vastly different. The best evidence, beyond the daily body count, is in the size of refugee flows. AFAIK there never was any significant mass refugee flow out of NI. Compare that to over 4m Iraqi displaced, 2m outside of the country.

  16. #36
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    This is possibly true, but still I think Iraq represents a massively different sort of fight. The worst year in NI for the British was 1972, when 149 soldiers were killed out of a force of 30k or so. No other year comes close to this in NI, and this still represents a casualty rate below a similar year for the U.S. in Iraq.

    Moreover, you never saw anything like this in Northern Ireland. Can you imagine 500-lb. bombs hitting snipers in Derry or British tanks firing main gun rounds in Belfast? Combat simply was never at that high of a level. The horrific Omagh bombing that finally put an end to violent Republicanism killed 29 people. 58 Iraqis were killed yesterday, pretty much without any news coverage at all because of the soccer win. The level of violence, both against U.S. forces and within the Iraqi population, is vastly different. The best evidence, beyond the daily body count, is in the size of refugee flows. AFAIK there never was any significant mass refugee flow out of NI. Compare that to over 4m Iraqi displaced, 2m outside of the country.
    Again, no disputing your points. But, the devastation in SWA is half a world away, and the co-citizens of the military intervention force being killed in SWA tend to be contract help and reporters who largely have chosen to be there in order to fatten their wallets or their prestige--a freely chosen risk. In NI, everyday British citizens were unwilling targets in a location just a short boat ride or airplane flight away from the big island.
    I also do not think that the "vote with your feet" position that results in refugees is germane in NI--most of the folks there were too committed to a lifestyle choice to be able to pick up and run to escape the violence.

  17. #37
    Council Member LawVol's Avatar
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    I read something some time ago that essentially argued that a nation's public posed less of a problem for operations of a smaller scale with less PR despite the length. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I do not have more than a basic understanding of the NI operations, but does this ring true for the British? Perhaps this is a lesson we can take from it? Also, did the British employ more police-like tactics rather than all out combat tactics?
    -john bellflower

    Rule of Law in Afghanistan

    "You must, therefore know that there are two means of fighting: one according to the laws, the other with force; the first way is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first, in many cases, is not sufficient, it becomes necessary to have recourse to the second." -- Niccolo Machiavelli (from The Prince)

  18. #38
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    I highly doubt "lifestyle choice" was that great of a deterrent factor for potential Northern Irish refugees. I think it was the fact that the average NI citizen did not feel threatened enough by daily violence to make leaving worthwhile.

    Everyday British citizens, while they did have to live with an ever-present Irish terror threat, never died at anywhere near the rate that American soldiers are dying in Iraq today.

    Note also that the British ended by negotiating a settlement with the enemy, not defeating them.

  19. #39
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    LawVol, Jedburgh posted this a couple of weeks ago. It is full of details and their tactics. You might want to take a look.

    http://www.patfinucanecentre.org/misc/opbanner.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by LawVol View Post
    I read something some time ago that essentially argued that a nation's public posed less of a problem for operations of a smaller scale with less PR despite the length. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I do not have more than a basic understanding of the NI operations, but does this ring true for the British?
    Seems like it to me. I think Max Boot made that point well in his The Savage Wars of Peace, about the many small wars America fought pre-WWII, mostly with Marines in Central America, and largely out of the public eye.

    Whether this still holds true in the age of the internet and instant global media coverage is another question.

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