Protestant Alienation 2011

Almost 20 years ago now the academic community in Northern Ireland first began looking at the concept of Protestant Alienation. Amongst the factors they identified were the feeling that the Hume Adams talks were creating a blueprint for the defeat of unionism which the British government might acquiesce to. That feeling of alienation increased with events such as the IRA ceasefire. Looking back it is now easy to read the IRA ceasefire as a victory for unionism: the IRA had been comprehensively infiltrated to the extent that RUC Special Branch knew about large numbers of the more complex terrorist operations and were able to thwart most. The arrest of the IRA sniper in South Armagh was clearly intelligence led and if highly valued IRA terrorists could not even operate with impunity but rather were arrested in their South Armagh stronghold then the game was truly up for the Provos.

Of course that is not how it looked at the time: rather it looked as if the IRA had arranged a deal with the British government and the sell out was underway. Throughout the protracted negotiations when Trimble was leader of the UUP and chief spokesman for unionism it looked as though the situation was poor for unionists. It was suggested that privately Trimble thought a united Ireland was inevitable and his role was to get as good a deal as possible for unionists. Whatever his reasons (probably mainly limited competence along with intra party dissent and the absence of help from the DUP) Trimble made one concession after another, crossed one line in the sand after another and all with the same bad tempered gracelessness which suggested that unionism was finished.

The story since the end of Trimble’s leadership has been much better: still far from perfect with the DUP entering power sharing with less concessions from republicans than unionists might have hoped; the Chuckle brothers and most recently the Hillsborough agreement bringing us the ongoing failure of David Ford as the Justice Minister who remains in post despite serial disasters and incompetence.

However, despite that the unionist community is much more confident than it was twenty years ago; has more faith in its leadership (Peter Robinson) than it had in Trimble and has a much more coherent forward looking narrative than it has for years.

All is not, however, completely well in the state of unionist confidence and there are still significant areas of alienation for unionists. Running alongside unionist confidence there are still large areas of disenchantment for unionists.

Although unionism has held to its core demands much better than republicanism (Ireland unfree will never be at peace; not a bullet not an ounce etc. etc.) the fact remains that unionists still see republicans trying to undermine the Britishness of Northern Ireland. Most of these attempts are cosmetic and indeed symbolic but the symbols are important. There are continual attempts by republicans to use claims of parity of esteem to describe even the most vaguely and tangentially pro unionist symbols as unacceptable such as the attempts to remove the statue of a Prime Minister of New Zealand from Limavady council. At the same time again claiming parity of esteem republicans perform stunts such as the attempt to worship Mairead Farrell at Stormont.

A plaque commemorating those murdered in the Enniskillen bombing was removed from Enniskillen Fire Station and has still not been returned despite the Ombudsman’s Office condemning the move. At the same time republicans put up assorted shrines to terrorists throughout Fermanagh and elsewhere with little care to the views of anyone. Since these shrines lack any planning permissions etc. there is no mechanism to object to their creation and few would be foolhardy enough to contemplate removing them.

Where unionists have really lost out, however, is on the revisionist analysis of the past. In part this defeat on the past is part and parcel of unionism’s ongoing victory of the present and probably future. So dominant have the DUP become and so strong is their moving forward narrative (the civic unionist wing of the UUP is also very “moving forwards” focused) that they find it more difficult to fight the seemingly trivial battles each and every time republicans try to rewrite the history of The Troubles. Constantly obsessing about individual incidents of the past and the behaviour of individuals and groups does not play well to a narrative of moving forwards. This is especially true in interviews: whilst the unionist spokespersons can usually present a more coherent, practical and realistic message about a given forwards looking issue, they find it difficult simultaneously to fight the minutiae of specific incidents of the past and even more difficult to point to the vast numbers of incidents of republican barbarity.

This problem creates a significant degree of irritation and ongoing alienation within the unionist community especially in the areas most affected by the Troubles. The idea that the Security Forces were involved in organised systemic collusion has been rejected by every enquiry but still republicans claim it happened. Indeed when enquiries find that there was no collusion this is presented by republicans as further evidence of collusion. Such narratives are produced so frequently that unionists’ spokespersons often seem to tire of pointing out how untrue these claims are. They also shy away from stating what practically all the evidence shows: namely that collusion was limited to a very small number of individuals; truly a few rotten apples. However, that suggestion has been attacked so frequently and with such vehemence by republicans, practically always with little or no evidence, that unionists have become dispirited in defending the forces of law and order. When they do make such a defence republicans point to one of a small number of incidents and individuals which is then claimed to “prove” that collusion was rife.

The unionist narrative of the Troubles is that the police and army tried at times desperately to hold Northern Ireland together whilst the IRA conducted a sectarian campaign of killing and bombing. Simultaneously the forces of law and order managed to thwart many of these attempts to bring Northern Ireland to its knees and were also even more effective at stopping the murder campaigns of the loyalist terrorists. Meanwhile the vast majority of Northern Ireland’s citizens whatever their political views opposed the violence and mayhem inflicted on society by the terrorists and tried to get on with their normal lives. Most of us went to school and work; grew up; got married, raised families; retired and died of old age. Normality was a mechanism of defeating terrorists and the only and most effective weapon most of us had. This is why republicans (and loyalists) are so resistant to the suggestion that society was relatively normal here during the Troubles.

Initially the RUC were almost overwhelmed and the British Army in the early 1970s did end up fighting gun battles on the streets. Remarkably quickly, however, the terrorists were pushed back; the no go areas were entered and although normal policing was not possible the terrorists did not have complete run of “their own” areas. There were flare ups of terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s but each time the violence was less bad than it had been in the previous exacerbation. Gradually the overwhelming normality of most of Northern Ireland for most people most of the time became almost all the time, almost everywhere. Gradually the IRA were pushed back so even in South Armagh and south and west Fermanagh they were the hunted ones when they came out. Gradually even the responses to their terrorism became more normal policing orientated: the IRA sniper did not die in a hail of SAS bullets; he was arrested like the common criminal he was.

The above is the unionist narrative of the Troubles but it is the one which is less often promoted now especially within Northern Ireland. That is simply because unionist politicians want to talk about the future whereas it is republicans who obsess about the past.

One of the greatest sources of alienation is the way in which the RUC and UDR are denigrated by republicans and described at worst as Nazis and at best as an armed group. Once when unionist politicians were elected they made a point of thanking the Royal Ulster Constabulary and Ulster Defence Regiment for providing safety to the election. Too rarely now do we hear unionist politicians (and never our church leaders etc.) intoning the words Royal Ulster Constabulary and Ulster Defence Regiment with the honour even awe of their bravery and professionalism which almost all unionists feel they deserve.

Also irritating (as Normal Baxter has recently pointed out) is the fact that the PSNI’s roots in the RUC are inadequately honoured. The fact that the majority of the PSNI were in the RUC is deliberately ignored by republicans but at times seems almost forgotten by unionist politicians. Jeffery Donaldson used to be good at reminding people that the PSNI incorporated the RUC but more recently that has been heard too little.

Unionists feel that largely they won in the Troubles: by “they” and “won” what is meant is that those who believed in peaceful politics won and those attempts to bring Northern Ireland to civil war or an enforced united Ireland failed. Those who wanted a united Ireland by force failed and failed quite spectacularly. Indeed so complete has been republicans’ failure that they are now intent on rewriting the Troubles as an armed insurrection to ensure civil rights. What they claimed at the time was that the Troubles were about creating a 32 county socialist republic. In reality what most perceived their aim as, was a sectarian murder campaign to defeat the wishes of the majority of the people of all the island of Ireland and create a national socialist republic complete with nonsense about Gaels and other ethno racist gibberish.

Unionist politicians are correct to feel that moving forwards and giving people hope is the most important issue. However, care needs to be taken, especially in the communities most affected by the terrorism of the IRA, to ensure that the battle by the republican movement to rewrite the history of the past is defeated. Unionist leaders need to remember that although most of their electorate are fairly content with the current direction of political events they do not want to become alienated from their own past. To quote Macualy: “A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendents.” Whilst winning the big picture is still the most important issue some time fighting in the trenches over the little issues must not be forgotten. The RUC’s victory over the terrorists was as much about helping lost tourists and stopping shoplifters as it was about catching terrorists: the little things still matter.

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  • Limerick

    tapacall,

    So you are trying to link a historical discussion on military tactics with the Kingsmills massacre. Pitiful.

  • Reader

    Crubeen: No doubt you’ve heard of the St Mihiel Salient. Perhaps you can give us a full analysis.
    AEF attacks exactly when the Germans were withdrawing from the exposed salient, and so the Germans were left to fight without artillery. Americans left holding the ground, but fail to follow through to attack Metz because their logistics failed and the Germans managed to regain their balance. A day earlier, the Americans might have been beaten off. A day later they might have walked in unopposed – but they still wouldn’t have taken Metz.

  • tacapall

    Ah yes now I understand, a gentlemans war, rules of engagement, justified murder, everyones cannon fodder.

    “good enough to toss; food for powder, food for powder; they’ll fill a pit as well as better [men]…”

    For what ? Democracy, Who financed Hitler, Who pulled his strings, maybe you should consider other facts.

    http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=12331

  • Limerick

    “Who financed Hitler”

    We know who supported him in Ireland. The IRA.

  • Crubeen

    ““American weapons are nowhere near as good as ours.”

    I asked you who said this?”

    You did!!

  • Limerick

    ““American weapons are nowhere near as good as ours.”

    I asked you who said this?”

    You did!!”

    Crubeen,

    Produce the quote.

  • Crubeen

    “The British were understrength in Spring 1918 because Lloyd George was deliberately holding troops back. The army was somewhat miffed, especially because they had moved to defence in depth (unlike some of the French Armies), but were too far undermanned to make it work on the 5th Army Sector – the sector furthest from the Channel ports, you will notice.”

    Any truth in the rumour that Lloyd George wouldn’t send reinforcements because he didn’t want Haig to slaughter them in another great offensive?

    But then, when it looked like the Germans were going to break through in 1918 why did he cable President Wilson to plead for American troops to be drafted into British units to replace losses as he didn’t have the manpower to do it? Could it possibly be that he didn’t (like the French) want the Americans to go into action as an American army and then get the credit for winning the war? Or would he have preferred Haig to slaughter Yanks rather than his own troops?

  • Harry Flashman

    “If you really want to pick the best army…”

    Aha, now I think I have got to the root of Crubeen’s wild generalisations and deviations, nobody is talking about who had the “best” army. If we were then of course the Germans would win that title by a wide margin, pound for pound, man for man in two world wars the German infantry showed they were in a class of their own (although in sheer dogged fighting skills the ANZAC’s deserve a proud mention).

    What we are trying to show you Crubeen is that your wild-eyed Anglo-phobia seems to have led you to believe that the British produce either the most incompetent or perhaps the most willfully idiotic armies in the history of warfare, like I said earlier any sane rational reading of history disputes this.

    You said that the British could never produce a large enough army to fight on the European land mass when the facts of the First World War irrefutably prove this to be nonsense on stilts.

    The fantastic German army was sent retreating back to its borders in 1918 by the once “contemptibly little/contemptible little” (take your pick of which version of the Kaiser’s alleged words you like) British Army. An army which had entered the war like a flea on the back of its allied elephants but which at the end of the conflict had transformed itself (with huge mistakes along the way, mistakes are common in war, all armies commit them) into the only mass army still able to function on the battlefield.

    An impressive feat in any man’s language and one which your obvious hatred of all things British blinds you to.

  • Harry Flashman

    @Limerick

    “British army doctrine has always put store on accurate aimed shots supported by a platoon support weapon”

    It is interesting that when the British adopted the SLR as their standard NATO 7.62 rifle they still insisted on the semi-automatic, single aimed shot, version while the US adopted the M-14 which on full automatic couldn’t hit a barn door.

    If Crubeen’s analysis that automatic always beats single shot then perhaps he can explain the outcome of the Falklands conflict, one of the few wars where both sides used the same weapon. Argentine infantry using FN FAL7.62 rifles on full automatic behind well entrenched defensive positions should have slaughtered the advancing British with their woefully prehistoric single shot versions of the SLR according to Crubeen’s theory.

    In fact of course the British took those positions and inflicted higher casualties on the Argentines with their aimed shots and slogging infantrymen.

    Seems that sometimes British soldiers aren’t always the hopeless buffoons that Crubeen believes them to be.

  • Crubeen

    limerick,

    Your post: –

    19 June at 17.49hrs

  • slappymcgroundout

    ““And please don’t claim for a moment that the SMLE is a better rifle than the AK-47.”

    Mujahadeen armed with SMLEs were able to pick off Russian soldiers before they could get close enough to use their AK47s with any degree of accuracy. The AK is a highly reliable spray and pray weapon. Ideal for gunning down unarmed workers as they stand beside their work van, but utterly useless beyond 300 metres.”

    The SMLE had little to do with victory in that war. Was the IED, the machine gun and the ground to air missile.

    The resistance didn’t stand back in the weeds and pick off the Sovs one by one. The Sovs, like other modern armies, were rather road-bound and so would do the usual resupply by ground convoy. Accordingly, the resistance would detonate previously placed IEDs to take out the forward and rear vehicles in the convoy, thereby trapping all the rest there in the middle. Then they raked the trapped there in the middle with machine gun fire. An automatic weapon less than the machine gun would have been next in line, and not the SMLE. They also used the IED to great effect in regular infantry type actions, meaning that they would mine an area expected to be subject to a Sov patrol, etc., and as soon as the Sov unit(s) found out that they were in the middle of a minefield, well, all hell would break loose. Meaning that in addition to mines that the Sovs tripped on their own, there were wire controlled mines which were detonated, and as you can imagine, no soldier wishes to run wild in a minefield and so when the Sovs were delicately trying to escape from the midst of the minefield machine gun and other automatic weapons fire was poured in on them. As you can also imagine, with that the plan, most of these affairs were not out there in the Afgan desert or scrub-land but in more vegetation prone areas, to allow the resistance to get in closer for the kill (and so the SMLE’s “vaunted” accuracy at range would be of rather lesser use and the rapid area spray weapon would be rather more useful).

    I otherwise hate to be the one to tell you this but a 2-3 inch spray pattern at 100 yards puts a lot of hurt on the one hit with that pattern. This isn’t the movies, and so no head shot and no shooting the gun out of anyone’s hand. Isn’t the practice range either. Aim for the center of mass (or down low). You can work out what the wounds look like with a 2-3 inch spray pattern from the human heart on out and up and down. Rather more lethal, since if you don’t quite hit where you want with your bolt action, he might live. He likely won’t live with 6 rounds taken at different entry points in the upper torso. I mention target practice since one and all can Google themselves silly on the subject of rifle accuracy, but as the one Viet veteran told me, we aren’t out there to score points but to kill and so we don’t need the 2nd round passing through the hole on the chart made by the first round and so on, but instead a lethal fire poured on hot and heavy. Which explains why armies now use something other than bolt action rifles as their primary infantry rifle. The same vet told me that if the folks posting on the net cared about accuracy, they ought to get themselves a well made .22. I agreed with him, as the .22 is what I used when once having the responsibility of keeping the herd safe from the coyote and the wolf.

    Next up is the ground to air missile, and you’ve heard of the Stinger, yes, which was used to take out Sov helicopters and the occasional jet. For a while there, the resistance was shooting down an average of 1 Sov air asset a week. In some affairs, the resistance managed to take out more than a score of Sov helicopters.

    Last but not least, as the war went on the majority of infantry rifles used by the resistance were captured Afgan (Sov) and Sov rifles and so not the SMLE. The CIA initially supplied the resistance with Lee Enfields since they were much cheaper than automatic rifles, ditto the cost of ammunition. Supplied some small number of AKs well but not so many owing to cost of rifle and ammo. But all of that changed after a while. You might want to read Charlie Wilson’s War:

    “Clearly the thinking behind Howard Hart’s decision to flood the Afghans with Enfields was to give a sense of empowerment, however ill-equipped they might be…Everything needed to be rethought with the weapons mix in mind, Vickers explained. He wanted immediately to stop all purchases of those obsolescent Enfields and switch to AKs.”

    Vickers was Green Beret. Also was of the opinion that they already had enough light heavy machine guns and recommended the purchase of an even heavier machine with ammo that could take take down a Hind. Also wanted even heavier mortars, so at to be able to hit from longer range and without the same risk of immediate lethal reprisal.

    Almost forgot, but for the key fact that you left out, no matter whether they were using the obsolescent Enfields or the modern AKs, the resistance took an ungodly number of casualties. Far and away more than the Sovs did. They didn’t win because they had better weapons and were better soldiers. They won and the Sovs lost for the same reason the Viets won and we lost, which reason is, in the words of the Irishman who died on hunger strike in opposition to your government, it is not those who can inflict the most but those that can endure the most who will conquer.

  • Crubeen

    Flash,

    “If Crubeen’s analysis that automatic always beats single shot then perhaps he can explain the outcome of the Falklands conflict, one of the few wars where both sides used the same weapon. Argentine infantry using FN FAL7.62 rifles on full automatic behind well entrenched defensive positions should have slaughtered the advancing British with their woefully prehistoric single shot versions of the SLR according to Crubeen’s theory.”

    Since most of the engagements took place at night, aimed fire was not possible (unless a nightsight was used). In taking the mountains around Stanley the British Army and Marines used rockets (66 mm), Milan, atillery (including naval on occasion), machine guns, grenades etc.

    “In fact of course the British took those positions and inflicted higher casualties on the Argentines with their aimed shots and slogging infantrymen.”

    Afraid not – they took them with weight and volume of fire. Argentinian snipers took a heavy toll … but they had nightsights.

    “Seems that sometimes British soldiers aren’t always the hopeless buffoons that Crubeen believes them to be.”

    Never did say that or believe it … their leadership, OTOH, is quite pathetic at times and they have often been sent to war with totally inadequate equipment. Take HMS Sheffield for example – hit by one Exocet which did not explode, the ship was lost because of defective design and bad damage control. Compare and contrast USS Stark- similar in tonnage but better designed, armed and with a better trained crew – it survived two Exocet hits (and one warhead exploded). Take Galahad where British troops sustained horrendous casualties because the basic rule of getting troops off a ship and on to shore was disregarded.

    The Royal Navy had no airborne radar … because some birdbrain thought they would never operate outside AWACS range … and this in a navy that ranges the world. Note how soon after the war they were able to cobble together a system that, if deployed beforehand, would have given early warning of inbound raids.

    Now if the Argentinians had learned how to fuse bombs properly and hit the merchant shipping in San Carlos instead of the warships … the outcome would have been very different.

  • Limerick

    “limerick,

    Your post: –

    19 June at 17.49hrs”

    Crubeen,

    I made no post at that date and time. If you are referring to the post I made on the 19 June at 1949 hrs I suggest a bit of close reading. Then you might notice the quotation marks and realise that I was quoting what you had said, and had closely followed that quote with the question, “Who said that?”

    A question which you have so far not answered.

  • Limerick

    “Seems that sometimes British soldiers aren’t always the hopeless buffoons that Crubeen believes them to be.”

    Harry,

    Crubeen has twenty five feet of books which tell him otherwise. No doubt a selection which was picked on the strength of book reviews from An Phoblacht.

  • Limerick

    “Since most of the engagements took place at night, aimed fire was not possible (unless a nightsight was used). In taking the mountains around Stanley the British Army and Marines used rockets (66 mm), Milan, atillery (including naval on occasion), machine guns, grenades etc.”

    Crubeen,

    Hardly worth their while carrying rifles at all then was it? Did the British have night sights on their 66mms?

    “Afraid not – they took them with weight and volume of fire. Argentinian snipers took a heavy toll … but they had nightsights.”

    In fact they took the Argentinian positions at the point of the bayonet. Despite the fact that they were outnumbered and facing an enemy who was dug into fixed positions and had months to perfect their defences. Even the most raving Brit hater would have to accept that was a remarkable achievement and a testimony to courage, training and superior tactics.

    “Never did say that or believe it … their leadership, OTOH, is quite pathetic at times and they have often been sent to war with totally inadequate equipment. Take HMS Sheffield for example – hit by one Exocet which did not explode, the ship was lost because of defective design and bad damage control. Compare and contrast USS Stark ”

    Compare and contrast the USS Cole. Taken out by a speed boat.

  • Crubeen

    “Crubeen has twenty five feet of books which tell him otherwise. No doubt a selection which was picked on the strength of book reviews from An Phoblacht.”

    Don’t read it … never have! Sorry to disappoint you!

  • Limerick

    “Don’t read it … never have! Sorry to disappoint you!”

    Crubeen,

    You hide it well.

  • Crubeen

    “In fact they took the Argentinian positions at the point of the bayonet”

    In some cases but to get close enough they were using the weapons that I cited earlier.

    “Despite the fact that they were outnumbered and facing an enemy who was dug into fixed positions and had months to perfect their defences.”

    I doubt they were outnumbered at the points at which they attacked. Normally an attacker has to outnumber the defence by 3:1 – if a platoon is holding a position and is attacked by a company then that ratio is met. It is good tactics to achieve that local superiority. The Argentinians certainly had months but they hadn’t done an especially good job – their frontline units were frequently short of supplies.

    “Even the most raving Brit hater would have to accept that was a remarkable achievement and a testimony to courage, training and superior tactics.”

    Indeed it was a well fought campaign … but why do you automatically seem to think that anybody who criticises the British is a Brit hater.

    “Compare and contrast the USS Cole. Taken out by a speed boat.”

    Damaged … but didn’t sink! Brought back to the US, repaired and put back into service. You should look up and read the report on the sinking of the Sheffield – it reveals how they increased habitability on board the ship at a cost to its survivability in a war fighting situation.

  • Crubeen

    Limerick,

    “You hide it well.”

    Are you suggesting that I’m not telling the truth or is it that you just cannot stomach any criticism of the British … anything that suggests they are not the greatest thing since the invention of the zip fly?

  • Crubeen

    I made no post at that date and time. If you are referring to the post I made on the 19 June at 1949 hrs I suggest a bit of close reading. Then you might notice the quotation marks and realise that I was quoting what you had said, and had closely followed that quote with the question, “Who said that?” ”

    My apologies for that error – it was a long post.

    “A question which you have so far not answered.”

    I didn’t attribute that specifically to you or any other individual (as with the other statements). These attitudes, for want of a better word, have crystallised from years of listening to “Little Britons” who utterly support British superiority and disdain those who would dare criticise. I discovered WW2 (as many do) initially in various popular publications that extolled the British serviceman, disparaged all others, especially the Americans, who had participated in the war and claimed to have won it single handedly. I well recall Bernard Law Montgomery propagandising his decisive role and the way in which he had saved the Americans from their errant ways. Some of this material covered the war in Burma and led to an impression that the British had beaten the Japanese on their own.

    Being a curious kind of guy I went out of my way to look for material that came from a more objective purview.

  • Limerick

    “In some cases but to get close enough they were using the weapons that I cited earlier.”

    Crubeen,

    As do armies with fully automatic rifles. They would be pretty stupid not to make full use of their support weapons. Inept even.

    “I doubt they were outnumbered at the points at which they attacked. Normally an attacker has to outnumber the defence by 3:1 – if a platoon is holding a position and is attacked by a company then that ratio is met. It is good tactics to achieve that local superiority. The Argentinians certainly had months but they hadn’t done an especially good job – their frontline units were frequently short of supplies.”

    The British captured Goose Green despite being outnumbered three to one.

    “Damaged … but didn’t sink! Brought back to the US, repaired and put back into service. You should look up and read the report on the sinking of the Sheffield – it reveals how they increased habitability on board the ship at a cost to its survivability in a war fighting situation.”

    Taken out by a speed boat.

  • Limerick

    “Are you suggesting that I’m not telling the truth or is it that you just cannot stomach any criticism of the British … anything that suggests they are not the greatest thing since the invention of the zip fly?”

    Crubeen,

    I’m suggesting that your reading selection is extremely biased against the British. To the extent that you are embarrassing yourself with your ridiculous cliches.

  • Limerick

    “My apologies for that error – it was a long post.”

    Crubeen,

    Accepted. Do you also apologise for making that ridiculous claim?

    “Being a curious kind of guy I went out of my way to look for material that came from a more objective purview.”

    LOL

  • Crubeen

    Limerick,

    I would be biased if I were citing inaccurate facts. I am entitled to an opinion … a opinion that is based on my extensive reading and facts underpinning that opinion have, in most cases, not been countered.

    For example in respect of the losses of Sheffield and Galahad you have not refuted the facts that I cited. I asked you to compare and contrast the USS Stark against HMS Sheffield. You haven’t done that. You retorted with an irrelevant comment about USS Cole. Why don’t you go and read about the loss of Sheffield and Galahad and then come back and rebut what I said? Why don’t you try a little serious history instead of the wild assertions and the argumentum ad hominem?

  • Limerick

    “For example in respect of the losses of Sheffield and Galahad you have not refuted the facts that I cited. I asked you to compare and contrast the USS Stark against HMS Sheffield. You haven’t done that. You retorted with an irrelevant comment about USS Cole. Why don’t you go and read about the loss of Sheffield and Galahad and then come back and rebut what I said? Why don’t you try a little serious history instead of the wild assertions and the argumentum ad hominem?”

    Crubeen,

    You slagged off the destruction of British ships by state of the art air to sea missiles. Yet you have nothing to say about the incapacitation of a supposedly superior American ship by a speed boat.

    Isn’t that fairly serious history?

    You are full of quotes about British shortcomings, but absolutely empty of any admission of American failures. That betrays your obvious bias.

  • Crubeen

    Limerick,

    “Taken out by a speed boat.”

    Hit by a shaped charge of 400-700lbs explosive … survived!

    HMS Ark Royal – hit by one German torpedo with 600 llbs explosive …. sank!

  • Crubeen

    Limerick,

    “You slagged off the destruction of British ships by state of the art air to sea missiles.”

    Which did not explode !!!!! That ship should not have been lost! Had it been American designed it likely would not have sunk.

    “Yet you have nothing to say about the incapacitation of a supposedly superior American ship by a speed boat.”

    Under the rules of engagement the crew of the USS Ciole were not permitted to fire unless fired upon. What you have to rebut is my contention that American warships are better designed, far more capable of absorbing damage and with crews better trained in damage control. I would suggest you explore the idea that, historically, British ships were built less for war and more for showing the flag and projecting power so that fighting capability necessarily, in light of the primary mission,often played second fiddle to habitability. The present US Navy emerged from WW2 with memories of the Kamikaze threat that shaped both its ship design and tactics.

    But sadly it has always been the case that American warships are superior to British ones… at least since 1812 when British shot bounced off the hull of “Old Ironsides” the oldest warship afloat that is still in commission.

    “Isn’t that fairly serious history?”

    Indeed it is …

    “You are full of quotes about British shortcomings, but absolutely empty of any admission of American failures. That betrays your obvious bias.”

    Not at all! I am refuting and rebutting claims of British superiority. It’s not up to me to cite American failures … that’s within your remit if you see me as biased. It’s not up to me to make your case for you. I see my job as one of deflating sundry claims of British superiority where such claims have little or no substance. You will note that I cited the T34 as probably the best tank of WW2. I think it’s Russian rather than American. Does that not dent your claim that I am biased?

  • Limerick

    “Not at all! I am refuting and rebutting claims of British superiority.”

    Crubeen,

    The only person making claims of superiority here is you. You have launched into a bizarre attack on British military abilities, which has been roundly rubbished. The British do not pride themselves on having superior equipment, though they often have such. They pride themselves on muddling through and succeeding against the odds.

    They are not engaged in a pissing context with a world superpower, but they have continually punched above their weight. That success has been largely down to the quality of their military, and the ability of their generals.

    The British went into Malaya on a shoestring and defeated the communist terrorists. The USA went into Vietnam with trillions of dollars worth of highly superior equipment and were defeated by people in flip flops.

  • Greenflag

    ‘they have continually punched above their weight. ‘

    Very true . At the battle of Omdurman in the Sudan in 1898 a British force of only 26,000 men armed with the latest weaponry and cannons /artillery /machine guns faced a savage horde of almost 100,000 Sudanese nationalists and Mahdi supporters wearing sheets and waving spears.

    Punching well above their weight the British managed to kill 27,000 of the natives while losing only 46 and even those 46 would not have died had it not been for the recklessness and stupidity of a lancer’s officer who wanted to show Winston Churchill what a real cavalry charge looked like.

    I’ll return later to catch up on ‘protestant alienation ‘ when you two reach the 500 mark . A new Slugger record for ‘quantity’ and not quality 🙂

  • Limerick

    Greenflag,

    A better performance than the Irish army put up against those Congolese pygmies with their blowpipes.

  • Limerick

    Greendub,

    Anyway since you brought the subject up. The Mahdi’s army had come up against Egyptian troops with the same modern equipment as the British and in a similar ratio in numbers. The Egyptians broke and ran and were subsequently massacred.

    It came as a huge shock to the Jihadis when they charged the British and found that they stood their ground and fought. Punching well above their weight. Sadly they didn’t get to Khartoum in time to prevent the massacre there.

  • Greenflag

    ‘A better performance than the Irish army put up against those Congolese pygmies with their blowpipes.’

    Ah yes poor Gunner Brown and his colleagues . The Irish Army back then had’nt been trained to shoot dead unarmed civilians . That methodology they left to the ‘imperial ‘ armies .

    And I read that the USA and UK are now ‘pulling out ‘ of Afghanistan as fast as their politicians can get them out now that they have established ‘democracy’ in a corner of Kabul . And if you believe that the new Afghan Army is ready to take over from the foreign occupiers then you’ll even believe that blowpipes can defeat a nuclear power 😉

    BTW at the battle of Omdurman only 8,000 of the British force were British (including the Royal Irish Fusiliers) the rest were Egyptian and Sudanese soldiers . The massacre in Khartoum where Gordon lost his head took place about 13 years earlier than the Omdurman battle .

    Kitchener in 1898 took his sweet time about getting to Khartoum giving the Mahdi plenty of time to scarper . All told Kitchener reckoned he had ‘delivered’ the largest country in Africa i.e into the British Empire for a mere million pounds .

    Of course in hindsight they should never have even been there in the first place which is what people in 2111 will be saying about the present American and British presence in Afghanistan and Iraq . As for all those who gave their lives for Shell Oil and BP -rather them than me .

    Same old same old

    BTW I have an idea for a new topic between yourself and Crubeen seeing as ye are both in the’ my army is bigger and braver and better equipped than yours ever was ‘

    Which of yiz has the biggest member and is the best armchair general /strategist etc ? Answers in no more than 1,760 posts please 😉

    Ah those poor protestant alienated -Even on a thread especially devoted to their plight they end up being ignored in favour of modern weapons and world war 1 and 2 battles and now even colonial conflicts .

    Shure no wonder they’re rioting in the Short Strand 🙁
    Ignorin them thats what yer doing the pair of yiz 🙁

  • Limerick

    “Ah yes poor Gunner Brown and his colleagues . The Irish Army back then had’nt been trained to shoot dead unarmed civilians . That methodology they left to the ‘imperial ‘ armies .”

    Greendub,

    Not trained at all seems to be the more likely story. They went out tooled up with 20th century weaponry, were attacked by Congolese Pygmies, and ended up in a large cooking pot. I’ve certainly never heard that debacle being put down to their ‘restraint’.

    Kitchener’s performance in the Sudan was outstanding. He created the world’s first special forces (the Camel Corps) and he built a railway across inhospitable desert which ensured that his army was supplied all the way to Ombdurman.

    “Kitchener in 1898 took his sweet time about getting to Khartoum giving the Mahdi plenty of time to scarper .”

    Kitchener was there, as an undercover intelligence officer, with Woleseley only two days after the fall of Khartoum in 1885.

    The rest of your post is gibberish, but thank you for your contribution.