New BBC NI programme - 21 Feb @ 2100

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
the doctrine was/is sound - not employing it was the problem
I'm afraid I fundamentally disagree. The doctrine is possibly sound, but it's too vague for 'not applying it' to be a useful phrase. A rigid adherence to FM 10 or 3-24 isn't really possible and wouldn't be desirable even if it were.
 
Just one bit of lawlessness that I remember was the early 1970s when you would see electric cables fixed to an electric pole in a street and some of the street having free electricity from it. Three bar electric fires in a some of the houses. I remember placing this on a patrol report, and as Stonker has mentioned about 'honest crime,' my company commander said the same. "Leave it, it's ordinary crime and nothing whatever to do with us"
Sounds like Gravesend Denton area c 1974
 
Sounds like Gravesend Denton area c 1974
Also Strabane c1974, I saw an ambulance attend the gipsy camp (the one that was accidentally mortared by PIRA around that year) next to the Hump base, the explanation given at the time was that a gipsy chap had got singed whilst abstracting electricity from telegraph lines.
 
I'm afraid I fundamentally disagree. The doctrine is possibly sound, but it's too vague for 'not applying it' to be a useful phrase. A rigid adherence to FM 10 or 3-24 isn't really possible and wouldn't be desirable even if it were.
Principles of COIN from UK doctrine (2009):
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/16_11_09_army_manual.pdf

Pirmacy of Political Purpose
Unity of Effort
Understand the Human Terrain
Secure the Population
Neutralise the Insurgent
Gain & Maintain popular support
Operate in accordance with the law
Integrate intelligence
Prepare for the long term
Learn & Adapt

How about any adherence?!


The junior commanders on the ground were under resourced which meant (in fairness) they were unable to employ a lot of them.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Principles of COIN from UK doctrine (2009):
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/16_11_09_army_manual.pdf

Pirmacy of Political Purpose
Unity of Effort
Understand the Human Terrain
Secure the Population
Neutralise the Insurgent
Gain & Maintain popular support
Operate in accordance with the law
Integrate intelligence
Prepare for the long term
Learn & Adapt

How about any adherence?!


The junior commanders on the ground were under resourced which meant (in fairness) they were unable to employ a lot of them.
I challenge you to find any COIN campaign, successful or otherwise, where those principles were adhered to in their entirety without interpreting the principles in such vague terms that they could apply to anything. Some of them (e.g. neutralise the insurgent against both operate in accordance with the law, and gain and maintain popular support) are possibly even contradictory.

I'm not saying we did a good job as the evidence of our repeated failures is clear, but I don't think the answer to our problems was to be found in the doctrine. When we did eventually get a grip of things in Afghanistan I don't think we were really just applying the doctrine; we looked at the situation and adapted.
 
Primacy of Political
I challenge you to find any COIN campaign, successful or otherwise, where those principles were adhered to in their entirety
I challenge you to demonstrate adherence, in Afghanistan, to the most critical of all.

Irrespective of absolutely anything else, the total absence of clear goals is the fundamental reason why the brit effort in Afghanistan was doomed to failure from the beginning.

You seem to be having trouble facing up to that fact.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I challenge you to demonstrate adherence, in Afghanistan, to the most critical of all.
Is leaving a stable, democratically elected GIRoA with strong institutions not a political purpose? That was what everyone was working to.
 
I challenge you to find any COIN campaign, successful or otherwise, where those principles were adhered to in their entirety without interpreting the principles in such vague terms that they could apply to anything. Some of them (e.g. neutralise the insurgent against both operate in accordance with the law, and gain and maintain popular support) are possibly even contradictory.

I'm not saying we did a good job as the evidence of our repeated failures is clear, but I don't think the answer to our problems was to be found in the doctrine. When we did eventually get a grip of things in Afghanistan I don't think we were really just applying the doctrine; we looked at the situation and adapted.
Read towards the end of my post
 
I challenge you to find any COIN campaign, successful or otherwise, where those principles were adhered to in their entirety without interpreting the principles in such vague terms that they could apply to anything. Some of them (e.g. neutralise the insurgent against both operate in accordance with the law, and gain and maintain popular support) are possibly even contradictory.

I'm not saying we did a good job as the evidence of our repeated failures is clear, but I don't think the answer to our problems was to be found in the doctrine. When we did eventually get a grip of things in Afghanistan I don't think we were really just applying the doctrine; we looked at the situation and adapted.

Could you expand on that a bit? I’ve always thought that the (relatively short) period of successs we had came about when we had the opportunity to concentrate forces in the central Helmand districts. The rest of the province/country was someone else’s problem. What were the other key factors and how important do you think they would rate against troop concentration?
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Could you expand on that a bit? I’ve always thought that the (relatively short) period of successs we had came about when we had the opportunity to concentrate forces in the central Helmand districts. The rest of the province/country was someone else’s problem. What were the other key factors and how important do you think they would rate against troop concentration?
I think it came from a number of factors. At least part of the success came because we'd succesfully defeated the insurgency militarily so they couldn't really operate in what used to be known as the green zone. We probably did that with excessive force for most of our time in country (and definitely on H8 ) but that did buy us the space to operate later on.

I'd say that we still weren't concentrated at a level even approaching heyday of BANNER, although perhaps we were if you include the numbers of local forces. I think the real sea change came when the Afghan security forces, especially the ANA, had the capability to start taking control of the situation themselves. They weren't good by any western measure but they were certainly good enough to hold off the Taleban when provided with US support.
 
I think it came from a number of factors. At least part of the success came because we'd succesfully defeated the insurgency militarily so they couldn't really operate in what used to be known as the green zone. We probably did that with excessive force for most of our time in country (and definitely on H8 ) but that did buy us the space to operate later on.

I'd say that we still weren't concentrated at a level even approaching heyday of BANNER, although perhaps we were if you include the numbers of local forces. I think the real sea change came when the Afghan security forces, especially the ANA, had the capability to start taking control of the situation themselves. They weren't good by any western measure but they were certainly good enough to hold off the Taleban when provided with US support.

Cheers. I think my reading of the situation at the time (which I admit was a limited view) was that the surge went into full swing, the number of afghan forces increased and we pulled back to the central districts and concentrated ourselves there. We then began to see a drop off in violence.

My feeling at the time was that we were concentrated enough to dominate the areas we then controlled in ways which had previously been impossible rather than the fact that we defeated them militarily (or at least induced significant enough cas to quell resistance). When do you think the change (defeating the baddies) came about? H13ish? Wouldn’t this have coincided about the same time as the concentration?

I need to do some more reading on this when I get the time
 
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Is leaving a stable, democratically elected GIRoA with strong institutions not a political purpose? That was what everyone was working to.
So, show me the mission statement.

If you can do that, then we'll move on to discuss whether it was even remotely achievable, given that HMG wasn't prepared to stump up for Afghanistan, even a fraction of the troops that were required to sustain law and order at home, in the UK, after 1969.

I'm seriously beginning to doubt your sanity: genuinely.

People like you should not be influencing decisions about the defence of the UK, because you are so keen to be deluded.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
So, show me the mission statement.
I no longer have my orders as they were at SECRET. However, there was a clear intent and a more specific mission that contributed to the creation of a stable GIRoA.

Can you show me the mission statement for BANNER?

If you can do that, then we'll move on to discuss whether it was even remotely achievable, given that HMG wasn't prepared to stump up for Afghanistan, even a fraction of the troops that were required to sustain law and order at home, in the UK, after 1969.
Not what you asked. You asked if we had a primacy of political purpose, which is the question I was answering. Whether the Afghan campaign was ever winnable is a separate discussion that isn't just about doctrine.


I'm seriously beginning to doubt your sanity: genuinely.
I fear the problem isn't my sanity, but your ability to read my posts without grossly over interpreting them and assume I'm saying something that I haven't written.
 
Just watched it there. It was interesting hearing the different views the interviewees held when reflecting on their time there. From the outside looking in whilst there were problems, NI is still part of the UK and is relatively normal at that.

Caecilius and I will often disagree on the successes and failures of Iraq and Afghanistan but it seems like that’d be less likely if we were at a stage where our kids were considering going to uni there and the tourist board were running bus tours on where we used to have ding dongs with Terrance the talib (who would no doubt now be a successful politician)
 
Anyway I enjoyed the program. Wish if had more 1970/80s squaddies on it
 
Caledon - just a short drive from Emyvale and Monaghan... It's a shame that in the rewriting of the story of the conflict in Northern Ireland that the campaign of assassination and intimidation of the Protestant community along the border is so often ignored and overlooked. Much like the constant bleating about the Birmingham 6 has very largely ignored the matter of justice for the 21 dead and the 182 casualties.
Have a double like, and a large informative
 
Can you show me the mission statement for BANNER?
I think it started out as some form of 'aid to the civil power', but that was blown out of the water by the effect of the so called 'falls curfew'. First, the military had no legal authority to impose a curfew and second, it was the primary cause leading to the nationalist community rejection of the Army as an impartial force. In that respect, the most important 'Principle of War', that of the 'Selection and Maintenance of the Aim' was thoroughly undermined and the mission statement became, for a while, whatever the local Battalion Commander wished it to be.
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
@Caecilius and @Stonker

The "Mission statement" or any other command bollox of the day had little to do with this programme. This was a programme which very deliberately kept the officer cadre out of it. This was a programme about a handful of very junior soldiers recalling their time, as very young men, in a confusing situation. If you want to go off on a typical Arrse tangent please open a new thread and leave this as a discussion of the programme. Please!

I thought the programme was excellent and the guys were very open and clear about how they felt and how they got on with the job. I just wonder how the director(s) got the guys to slip in the use of LSD and wacky baccy at the end. I bet it was not offered freely but was the result of a direct, off camera, question. Nonetheless this was a very good programme and I think that the Greenfinch came over very well.
 

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