British Army without Northern Ireland crisis

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In an old copy of Armeen der NATO Staaten by Friedrich Wiener it gives an orbat for the British Army as proposed in 1968 after the decision to withdraw from East of Suez. It gives a tantalising glimpse of what the UK Strategic Reserve would have looked like without the commitment of troops to Ulster which began the following years.

In addition to 3 Division with its three Airportable Brigades and 16 Airborne Brigade it was proposed to establish 5 Division with three Brigades and an Amphibious Brigade. I think Wiener got this from newspaper reporting or a White Paper.

It offers a tantalising glimpse of what the British Army might have been able to do in the 70s without the crisis in Northern Ireland. Of course there would still have been the impact of Defence cuts throughout the decade but the availability of manpower and units would have helped our NATO and out of area capabilities considerably.

In 1968 planners must have been looking forward to the arrival of the Scorpion and Fox families to equip these units as well as the 105mm light gun and the 155mm FH 70. The RAF was getting Pumas and might also have got Chinooks earlier.
 

riggerrob

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The British Army would have been relegated to trailing edge of anti-mine warfare. They would never have developed all their sophisticated IED-dis-arming and tracking technology they needed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
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