HIS32980 Britain's War Northern Ireland

Academic Year 2023/2024

The British Army’s 38-year campaign in Northern Ireland (1969-2007) was one of the longest and most controversial in modern British history. What began as a peacekeeping intervention quickly morphed into a war-fighting or counter-insurgency operation, principally against the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). More British soldiers died in in 1972 than in any year of the British Army’s more recent operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. In 1976 the British government embarked on a policy of “Ulsterisation”, relying more upon the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Ulster Defence Regiment. The exception was an increased emphasis on the role of Special Forces and covert military intelligence units. This module examines the effects of Operation Banner on the dynamics of conflict in the North of Ireland.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1) Understand the British Army’s campaign – aims, doctrine, strategy and operations - in Northern Ireland.
2) Comprehend theories of counter-insurgency/terrorism, civil wars and political violence.
3) Analyse, interpret relevant primary sources.

Indicative Module Content:

This module will address the following topics: 1) Counter-insurgency or counter-revolutionary warfare in the late 20th century; 2) British Army strategy and operations in Northern Ireland; 3) Paramilitary violence; 4) the use of covert intelligence in the North of Ireland.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will be taught through a combination of seminars and lectures. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Participation in seminars, assignments during the trimester. See module handbook for more details. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Project: Research paper, approx. 3,500 - 4,000 words. See handbook for more details Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 11:00 - 11:50
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Tues 09:00 - 10:50