The Power of "Place"

Finnegan, Patrick (2022) The Power of "Place". In: Small Armies, Big Cities: Rethinking Urban Warfare. Lynne Rienner. ISBN 9781955055307, 9781955055666

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The Power of "Place"
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Crossmaglen, a small village in the Northern Irish county of Armagh, was not the scene of extended gun battles or of close quarter, high attrition battles like those found in other chapters of this volume, but in a way that is the point. However, it was the spiritual home of Irish republicanism in the area. Part of the wider South Armagh area, Crossmaglen became both the scene of many acts of violence but also the symbol for local resistance to British rule on the one hand and the focal point of British efforts to stamp out militant republicanism. The common perception of urban warfare is of rubble and soldiers fighting over it or of highly demarcated areas fought over by large bodies of troops. Crossmaglen and the combat it witnessed was different, but it is important, nonetheless. In this case, conflict was often at the squad or platoon level and it was based on surprise and precision rather than sledgehammer blows or saturation occupation, it was above all else a tactical contest that had higher ramifications. The violence witnessed here was intimate and protracted but occurred within a ‘normal’ situation where civilians went about their daily business. 1 It was fought between two learning organisations who sought to control the environment they operated in. The military altered the physical environment to suit their needs, while their opponents dominated the social plain and used the locality as it stood to their advantage. By examining Crossmaglen we can highlight important lessons for any urban operation, such as the problems associated with physical and social isolation, the difficulty of operating within a liminal geographic space, especially the physical cost of controlling territory in the face of local, popular, opposition.

Keywords:Urban warfare, Northern Ireland, Military Operations
Subjects:L Social studies > L252 War & Peace studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V391 Military History
N Business and Administrative studies > N215 Organisational Development
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:52285
Deposited On:11 Jul 2023 10:18

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