The British Army and Counterinsurgency

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by AndyPipkin, Dec 17, 2005.

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  1. Interesting article from US Army website:

    Good to know they're starting to apply lessons the British Army leanred at a considerable price over the last two centuries, but I hope they don't fall into the same 'trap', i.e. concentrate on that and then suddenly several million heavily armed Germans (for UK) or Chinese (for US?) hove into view.
  2. Having read several different newspapers and internet sources, i'm coming to the conclusion our American chums aint learnt much since 'nam
    Still interested in body-counts and statistics ,not soldiering like our Army , more like soldiering by accounts department.
    Not saying they aint good soldiers, just too focused on numbers,
    we're focused on getting home and on beer
  3. Nehustan

    Nehustan On ROPs

    I didn't finish the article, but it seems very ironic when one considers the history of warfare in the Americas. I am of course thinking of the war for independence and the redcoats (no I'm not talking about butlins!!!) who for want of a better expression fought by the 'line, column and square' as opposed to the 'skirmish' warfare of the 'American' forces. Maybe they'd be better researching their own history than looking to the Brits :?
  4. The Delta Force is reputed to be Americas Elite of the Elite Green Berets, they actually thought their Green Berets were the best in the World until a certain Charlie Beckwith? of the Green Berets did an exchange service as a Special Forces Captain with the British Special Air Service. The SAS made such an impression on Col. Beckwith that he designed Delta's organization, selection and training on the British SAS model., Beckwith taking command of one of the Sabre Squadron Troops, he was apparently so awestruck and amazed at the selection process and superiority of the British SF Trooper that the U.S. eventually allowed him to start up 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment--Delta (SFOD-D) based on the SAS...
  5. I always thought one interesting aspect of the green berets is they operate almost like missonaries in many cases. In the cold war one of their main roles was to go into third world communities and "convert" the communities into anti-communists by teaching them to fight, building wells, immunizing kids, learning their language etc. I wonder if their doctrine hasn't been influenced by the the evangelicalism that's so prevalent in the US.
  6. I have a question

    First time I hear about involvemen of American (moreover British) armed forces in the internal conflict in the Philippines. As to the Horn of Africa then as I know the Somalian adventure failed long ago, at least campaign there is not prosecuting just now.

    Is the author aware about what is happening in the World just now?
  7. I wrote the dissertation for my degree on this very subject. This guy even uses most of the same sources I did (except that I got to interview ex-Palestine Police guys). This bit of the article says it all, really, and mirrors some of the conclusions I came to almost fifteen years ago.

    Any organisation has it's own cultural mores that are as powerful as DNA. That the US army could in some way absorb some of that DNA from her British cousins seems to me to be unlikely. I wish they would, but there you go.

  8. This in turn is very similar to the SAS's role in Malaya, and Yemen. British army training teams when not bashing the adoo at Mirbat, went on long range patrols with the express intent of holding field surgeries and aiding local farmers. (Im told, I wasnt there or anything)

  9. Is this the same guy that allowed himself to be tied up in Eagle Claw re hostages in Iran? Certainly, once on the ground he did his level best but my doubts are how he allowed himself to get dragged into a thing that had bad int and crap planning written all over it.
  10. Certainly, the attitude to them in Malaya early 50's was not that they were some sort of latter-day Ninja but were exceptionally well-trained and motivated soldiers who could do a range of things that our other assets could not whilst in ulu. We had set up forts deep in Injun country - bit like 7th Cavalry films - manned mainly by Gurkhas who did food deprivation and hamlet guarding but the only ones who actually got out and about were UK and NZ SAS. I'm still quite proud of the fact that they walked me into some of the forts when we had jobs there and managed it so well it didn't even hurt. Something to look back on.
  11. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    Admit it: you're twelve years old and have a subscription to 'Combat and Survival' magazine. :lol:

    More seriously, the US Army has always been good at taking on board the lessons that we learned in places like Malaya, but it's putting those lessons into practise which has proved problematic for them. I think this is mainly to do with the enormous size of the US Armed Forces in comparison to ours: we have, for example, been in the fortunate position for the last forty years of being able to train almost all of our officers in the same place to the same standards which is certainly not the case in the US. What this means is that every officer in the British Army will have done the same basic COIN package at Sandhurst, taught by people who have been there and done it, and will thus subscribe to roughly the same set of principles for COIN ops. In the US Army, it's quite likely that the ROTC instructors at the James T. 'Jellyroll' Snozzcumber University in Scrotum, Illinois, won't have any effective experience in COIN at all, so while they're teaching a standard package, it won't mean anything to them - a bit like me trying to teach logistics :D

    In fact US SF in Vietnam were notably effective in putting into practise the lessons of Malaya and other counter-insurgency campaigns, but where it fell down was when their hard work was swept aside by the determination of other branches of the US Army to impose their version of a COIN solution: by bombing; artillery firepower; search and destroy; airmobility; or whatever. Political pressure on senior commanders in the US Armed Forces is comparatively greater than it has - historically - been on our commanders, both to achieve quick results and to avoid casualties, and this pressure has often led them to allow the different elements of their forces to operate in competition with each other, rather than adopting an integrated approach.

    We have been guilty of the same errors however. The successes of our SF in the 70s and 80s gave them, at one stage, a disproportionate influence on our conduct of operations. DLB particularly was a notably effective advocate for SF and in NI, the Falklands and Granby, we put a disproportionate amount of effort into special operations, arguably at the expense of success. If you read DLB's account of GW1, he spends about 40% of the book describing his efforts to get the SAS involved and then talking about what they did, whereas the reality was that our successful contribution was overwhelmingly provided by our conventional air and land capability. Fortunately the pendulum has swung back now, and I doubt anyone genuinely thinks of SF as anything more than one strand of an integrated force package.

    In reality, I think we're good at COIN largely through force of circumstances. The size and spending power of our armed forces require us to be adaptable and parsimonious with manpower and this, combined with the corporate experience we do have largely informs the way we operate.
  12. Cutaway

    Cutaway LE Reviewer

    Or hair care.