Officer cliques and the Falklands war

May 2011
519
UK
Wars can often create generations of officers who will go on to dominate the next war. This trend is at least prevelent in the history of the British army. For example the officers who dominated the British army in the late 18th century tended to have fought under Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick in the Seven years war. The officers who dominated the mid 19th century army served under Wellington in the Napoleonic wars. The officers who fought the Boer wars, dominated the British army in the First world war. Likewise the junior officers who survived the first world war, dominated the second. Also in the later part of the 19th century, several "cliques" emerged in the army vying for control, most notably the Wolseley ring of officers who served with Garnet Wolseley in Africa. I find it interesting that the Falklands war did not create a generation or clique of senior officers, especially considering it contained several prolonged and intense infrantry engagements and was fought by some of the best trained units of the army. In recent conflicts, Iraq, Afghanistan,nearly all british senior officers (who were junior officers at the time of the Falklands) served in Northern Ireland. I believe a US generals commented on how the British army was dominated by a Northern Ireland clique

That is just something I noticed recently, if anyone has any information to the contray please share, but as far as I can tell those that fought the Falklands seems to have not progressed in the army to senior ranks.

Can you think of any other prevelent generations of officers in history regarding other nations?
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Correct me if I'm wrong but many combat arms units rotated through North Ireland for deployments for decades, so I'd say that a British infantry officer who didn't deploy there would likely be an oddity, making me question "Where have you been hiding since 1972?"

I don't know if that makes a clique though. More of a club saying "I'm a professional officer who checked the right blocks."
 

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,531
Japan
It would be unusual to be a high ranking British soldier and NOT been stationed in NI for at least one tour over a long career between 72-96.

Likewise in the other previous examples, the army which is very small, if commited to one large successful deployment will find that a large percentage of officers served in it. It was the largest area for men to gain experience and distinguish themselves. Not really a clique but certainly a shared experience for many.

Falkands was small scale. It might have been bloody but a large portion of the military had no experience of it.

Bosnia and NI though. Many will have served there.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
In the US military, specifically the US Army and Marine Corps, there have been a sizeable number of people who somehow, after 17 years fighting in in Iraq and Afghanistan, still managed never to have deployed to a combat zone. The Marine Corps fixed this by looking at their personnel a few years back and specifically forcing them to deploy or get out. The Army didn't do that, so to this day there are number of enlisted and officers who purposely "hid" from combat deployments by purposefully engineering their unit transfers to non-deployable units. Usually done by hiding out at recruiting duty, instructor at schools, or at the Pentagon, and going back and forth between the three.

Pretty shameful really.
 

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,531
Japan
US army is pretty huge. I imagine it's easier to avoid combat in a massive orginisation. I'd imagine certain divisions or brigades are more likely to end up in combat... so you could avoid those. UK, and I could be wrong here as modern forces are not my main interest, only have 3 or 4 active divisions and a rapid deployment brigade. So there is a good chance you'll get sent to Iraq or Afghanistan eventually. But short sharp actions like Falklands involved I think a marine commando brigade, 2 parachute battalions, 1 light cavalry squadron, 5th infantry brigade (1 ghurka and 2 guards battalions... the paras had been in this brigade but taken out to support the RM commando brigade. The guards were on palace duty in London and mobilised to replace the paras in 5tg brigade)...

So any unit in the BAOR or NI was considered unavailable.
 
Oct 2015
235
Singapore
In the US military, specifically the US Army and Marine Corps, there have been a sizeable number of people who somehow, after 17 years fighting in in Iraq and Afghanistan, still managed never to have deployed to a combat zone. The Marine Corps fixed this by looking at their personnel a few years back and specifically forcing them to deploy or get out. The Army didn't do that, so to this day there are number of enlisted and officers who purposely "hid" from combat deployments by purposefully engineering their unit transfers to non-deployable units. Usually done by hiding out at recruiting duty, instructor at schools, or at the Pentagon, and going back and forth between the three.

Pretty shameful really.
Why would anyone join the army and purposely hide from combat? Isn't that the job of a soldier?
 

Pendennis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,386
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Your cliques scenario is only of limited validity because from 1945 conscious attempts were made to broaden the social base of officer recruitment in the British Army.Attempts which were a departure from practices used in the early 20th century.
Although the English/Scottish public school still provided the majority of officers even up to the Falkands War.
But in regiments like the parachute regiment they didn't give a s**t about upper class cliques.
Witness my working class cousin who, state educated, rose from being a humble Private in the Paras to becoming a Major while engaging in many campaigns.
He also never dropped his Scottish working class accent even after being commissioned-something he might have found difficult had been in snobby regiments like the Household Cavalry or Brigade of Guards.
 

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,531
Japan
Why would anyone join the army and purposely hide from combat? Isn't that the job of a soldier?
For some I suppose military service is a bridge or step into another world. In the US I think having done military service puts you in good stead as a politician for example.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Why would anyone join the army and purposely hide from combat? Isn't that the job of a soldier?
Because a whole lot of people in the military are only there for a paycheck, healthcare, and pension. These people don't want to risk death or serious bodily harm in combat when they can be doing soft duty somewhere else.
 
Apr 2015
283
San Jose CA
Could just be that the troops deployed to the Falklands represented a very small percentage of the existing British Army. This article suggests that the British Army was about 300k soldiers in 1982:

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/sep/01/military-service-personnel-total

And this article suggests that about 9k troops were deployed to the Falklands during the war

https://www.thoughtco.com/the-falklands-war-an-overview-2360852

This would suggest that the vast majority of British soldiers, and thus officers, did not see active service in the Falklands War. In contrast, the previously cited wars which developed cliques were large scale conflicts involving a large percentage of the British military.