Mau Mau War: British Counterinsurgency In Colonial Kenya
Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
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The Mau Mau Rebellion was a mid-twentieth century counterinsurgency campaign that pitted a modern and highly mobile army against a larger, but more poorly resourced and organized, indigenous insurrection. The war transpired wholly within central Kenya where political and economically disenfranchised members of the Kikuyu tribe rebelled against British colonial rule. The British operational approach unfolded in four sequential stages initial operations in tribal reserve areas where insurgents enjoyed safe havens, the clearing of Nairobi, supplemental operations in the tribal reserve areas, and finally, clearing and securing forest areas where the remnants of the insurgency withdrew to after their safe havens in the tribal reserves were seized. This study argues British counterinsurgency operations were successful militarily in terms of arranging operations and lines of operationlines of effort, but unsuccessful morally, militarily, and politically in terms of undesired effects. Colonial officials both military and civilian destroyed the Mau Mau movement by arranging operations that isolated insurgent fighters from their support base amongst the Kikuyu population. The British isolated the insurgency by conducting military and political operations arranged both sequentially and simultaneously. Planners and officials organized the counterinsurgency along one central line of operation destroying the insurgent gangs. The British supported this central line of operation with four complimentary lines of effort containing the resistance, isolating the civilian population, implementing political reforms, and optimizing joint security operations. While leaders in Kenya demonstrated the capacity to plan, arrange, and execute competent security operations, success against the insurgency was only possible because the British also applied a program of politically sanctioned repression.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Government and Political Science