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Losing Small Wars: British Military Failure…

Losing Small Wars: British Military Failure in Iraq and Afghanistan

by Frank Ledwidge

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A very interesting book. It was written by someone who participated in the British occupation of Iraq as an intelligence officer and then in Afghanistan as a civilian development adviser. His opinion is that the British military staff has a grossly inflated opinion of its own ability and has repeatedly succeeded in covering up failure and transferring blame to the political leadership of the nation. It does so chiefly to justify its own continued existence. He points out that the MOD contains around 5500 officers of staff rank that is ranks higher than Lieut. colonel , all branches, that is enough men to form an entire division, for compaision he says the Britsh Army could just about field 2 divisions. That same MOD committed the army to Basra and Helmand and then complained that it needed more armour and more helicopters since the staff already knew the no available it was bad staff work. Further in Ledwidge's opinion what was actually needed was more infantry and better strategic direction, which is precisely what the US did known as the surge. What we did instead was keep changing leadership, to ensure that the vast over supply of brigadiers all have a chance to actually command something. If he had the power the staff ranks would be cut heavily and the infantry reinforced but denied access to any of the heavier weaponry. The army in Afghanistan particularly tended to make up for having only tens of infantrymen available by using lots of missiles and gunships. ( )
  Davidmullen | Feb 15, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300182740, Paperback)

Partly on the strength of their apparent success in insurgencies such as Malaya and Northern Ireland, the British armed forces have long been perceived as world class, if not world-beating. However, their recent performance in Iraq and Afghanistan is widely seen as - at best - disappointing; under British control, Basra degenerated into a lawless city riven with internecine violence, while tactical mistakes and strategic incompetence in Helmand province resulted in heavy civilian and military casualties and a climate of violence and insecurity. In both cases the British were eventually and humiliatingly bailed out by the US army. In this thoughtful and compellingly readable book, Frank Ledwidge examines the British involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking how and why it went so wrong. With the aid of copious research, interviews with senior officers and his own personal experiences, he looks in detail at the failures of strategic thinking and culture that led to defeat in Britain's latest 'small wars'. This is an eye-opening analysis of the causes of military failure, and its enormous costs.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:00 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Recent British military performances in Iraq and Afghanistan have been widely seen as - at best - disappointing: under British control, Basra degenerated into a lawless city while Helmand province has witnessed heavy civilian and military casualties. This book examines how British involvement in both campaigns has gone so badly.… (more)

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