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Thread: British COIN (merged thread)

  1. #121
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default Counterinsurgency - a bibliography

    Actually the Sandhurst Library bibliography, alas dated August 2010; includes general matters, UK and others campaign histories; a mixture of books and articles:

    It has no official markers nor a copyright notice.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-12-2012 at 05:02 PM.

  2. #122
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Durban, South Africa

    Default Sas

    Further to previous discussions on the Brit SAS there is a book out now which shines a light on to workings of the SAS:

    Special Force: The Untold Story of 22nd Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) : by Alastair MacKenzie

    I will quote two passages:

    "Now, as I say, the soldiers [in the SAS] are the best you will ever meet. Nonetheless, within your troops too you have got men who will lie in their teeth, who will deliberately falsify accounts in order to make money for themselves, who will seduce their comrades' wives while they are overseas, whi will steal and who will even carry out armed robbery, and in case you think I am exaggerating all those things have been done by soldiers of this regiment in the last two years. Nor should you be surprised. You don't train tigers and expect them to sing like canaries and those men are highly individual and highly active." - Briefing to Troop Commanders by the Commanding Officer on 11 November 1975

    As the myth of the SAS regiment has grown, it has become an increasingly introspective organisation, beset by the contradictions between its past and present values and by bad feelings within its ranks. Regimental officers have seen their authority undermined by the potent working-class ethos of their soldiers.


    This book identifies that the utilisation of the special troops has not been at an appropriate political or military level. The strategic use of this exceedingly small, elite group of specialists has been based more upon the personal drive of relatively low-level officers than upon national necessity.
    Note: my comments above were made before obtaining a copy of this book.

  3. #123
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default A fine book

    A WoTR review by Mark Stout onEmpire of Secrets: British Intelligence, the Cold War and the Twilight of Empireby Calder Walton:
    It views the process of decolonization during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s through the lens of British intelligence operations. Walton’s main message is that “one of the most important ways in which British governments prepared for, and smoothed, the end of colonial rule was with intelligence.”

    (Slight snag) The repeated use of, and problems with, pseudo-gangs highlight another important point that Walton brings out: the British intelligence services, unlike the British military, had no mechanism for recording and promulgating lessons learned in the various wars of the period. Instead, MI5 and the Special Branches had to make it all up from scratch in each conflict with the inevitable inefficiencies, failures, and mistakes that happen in the steep part of the learning curve.

    One for the buy one day list.

  4. #124
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Waiting for time to read: an update

    Then two books on COIN: 'Counterinsurgency in Crisis: Britain and the the challenges of modern warfare' by David Ucko & Robert Egnell and 'Counterinsurgency: Exposing the myths of the new way of war' by Douglas Porch.

    Both are excellent and very, very critical of the pursuit of counter-insurgency school of thought and practice. Ucko focusses on the UK and Porch has a wider outlook.

    From Ucko two quotes:
    The case of Afghanistan thereby points to the significant problems inthe British way of preparing for and prosecuting modern wars: the failure to properly formulate and resource strategy; the failure of civil-military coordination at both the strategic and oerational levels; the limitations of military improvisation and of 'muddling through' in the absence of a plan; and the dangers of letting strategic intent and operational approach develop independently (pg. 108)

    ...there is no fig leaf large enough here to cover the deep flaws in the British government's own approach and conduct in these counterinsurgency campaigns.
    Porch is incredibly direct in his criticism, based on his historical knowledge and watching the last decade plus. I doubt if anyone in an official military education post in the UK could have written such a book.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-16-2015 at 06:32 PM. Reason: copied and edited down for this thread

  5. #125
    Council Member
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    Mar 2009

    Default British Counterinsurgency: Returning Discriminate Coercion to COIN

    British Counterinsurgency: Returning Discriminate Coercion to COIN

    Entry Excerpt:

    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

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