ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
One of the recurring criticisms of the British Armys initial deployment to Northern Ireland was the nature of its doctrine. The argument stands that the doctrine of the British Army at the time was colonial, aggressive and repressive, was forged from the retreat from empire and had failed to incorporate the lessons from the small wars of the inter-war period 1919-1939 and the various counterinsurgency campaigns that followed the end of World War Two. What little doctrine existed was largely irrelevant to the complex mission set Northern Ireland required, and colonial era generals applied the same approach to the deployment as they had in policing the colonies. The important question is how fair is this The assertion that the British Army deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland in August 1969 intellectually and mentally unprepared for the task they faced requires further exploration. What doctrine was in use, both contemporary and adversarial, formal and informal, when the British Army deployed in August 1969 What was the culture and attitude toward doctrine at the time Was it read, applied, and understood Researchers have not addressed these questions satisfactorily. This thesis will attempt to fill the gaps in knowledge.