‘Acting with Restraint and Courtesy, Despite Provocation?’ Army Operations in Belfast During the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’, 1969–2007

  • Aaron Edwards


This chapter examines the transformation in the British Army’s Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) during its 38-year deployment in support of the civil power in Northern Ireland, which altered according to the pace, momentum, and nature of the civil unrest and the violence and control exerted by paramilitary groups over their communities. The chapter focuses on Belfast, the major urban centre, with its population of almost half a million. Although TTPs were undoubtedly important to the Army’s ability to fulfil its principal mission of preventing terrorist attacks, it was the linkage between policy goals and tactics on the ground—both military and non-military—which enabled the British to resist the coercive pressure of terrorists in the ranks of the Provisional IRA and loyalist paramilitary organisations.



I would like to thank participants of the Northern Ireland Politics panel convened at the annual Political Studies Association of Ireland conference in Dublin City University, 16–18 October 2017, for their comments on an early version of this paper, especially Dr. Rory Finegan, Dr. Tony Craig, and Dr. Martin McCleery. The views expressed here are the author’s alone.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron Edwards
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Defence and International AffairsRoyal Military Academy SandhurstCamberleyUK

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