Lawrence’s account of the campaign, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom suggests that this was a campaign of tribal raiding, occasionally bolstered with further assets. However, a closer reading of the surviving sources shows that, between 1916 and 1918, the Arab armies were developing quite dramatically in terms of their operational abilities. Furthermore, the increasing levels of investment in terms of officers, money and material would suggest that the revolt was viewed by Allied commanders as much more than a mere sideshow. This was particularly true for the British and the French. Far from being a rather haphazard romantic affair led by one eccentric British officer, by 1918, dozens of British and French advisors had been assigned to help train and direct the Arab forces.
The Boer War and Malayan Emergency: Examples of British Counterinsurgency pre- and post-“Minimum Force”
Both operations were based on three key tenets of control: population control, food control and spatial control. Population control involved exerting enough force over the target population so that they would (or could) not provide support to active insurgent forces. Food control specifically targeted cattle and crops to deprive the enemy of resources and destroy fighting will and capability. Spatial control involved reducing the enemy’s operational space, preventing them from escape and evasion, and finally hunting the remnants down by exerting constant pressure through armed sweeps
About the Author(s)
Modern British doctrine, while espousing many successful principles, neglects some critical lessons from actual British practice.