Operation BANNER (Kindle)
The British Army in Northern Ireland 1969 - 2007
The book opens by setting the historic backdrop to The Troubles.
In summer 1969 the annual Loyalist marching season sparked violence in Londonderry which spread rapidly. After three days of violence the British Government deployed troops in support of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Initially the Catholic community welcomed the Armys presence but this was to change over the years.
The first soldier was killed in 1971 and a further 48 died that year. January 30 1972 Bloody Sunday galvanised IRA recruitment and the British Embassy was burnt in Dublin. The Official IRA bombed Aldershot HQ of the Parachute Regiment and in August 1972 the Army launched Op MOTORMAN to clear No Go areas. Internment followed and the Province was firmly in the grip of sectarian violence. The next 30 years saw a remorseless counter-terrorist campaign which deeply affected the lives of all the people of Northern Ireland and several generation of the British Army.
The Peace Process ground on for over ten years but the campaign formally ended in 2007 with the establishment of hitherto unimaginable power sharing.
The book covers in great detail the British Army's operations during this time, including its contributions to the eventual peace. The author does a comprehensive job of covering the various operations. The work includes multiple appendices that offer a stunning array of facts and figures about the conflict.Military Heritage, March 2018 – reviewed by Christopher Miskimon
This is perhaps the first comprehensive review of the military involvements in Northern Ireland by the British Army. – The author has set the historical scene and then provided a compelling account of the series of actions that were required under the overall operation in Ulster – Highly Recommended.Firetrench
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Having set the historical background to the operation Van Der Bijl breaks the conflict down into six phases and deals with each in detail. Considering the length and complexity of the operation, it is remarkable achievement to have been so thorough in so few pages. The book concludes with praise for an Army which fought without the huge public support now enjoyed by troops in Afghanistan, without the homecoming parades or the publicity.The Regimental Journal