Orde Wingate and the Special Night Squads: A Feasible Policy for Counter-Terrorism?
Anglim, S. J. (2007) Orde Wingate and the Special Night Squads: A Feasible Policy for Counter-Terrorism? Contemporary Security Policy, 28 (1). pp. 28-41. ISSN 1352-3260
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/13523260701240260
This article analyses the counter-terrorist operations carried out by Captain (later Major General) Orde Wingate in Palestine in 1938, and considers whether these might inform current operations. Wingate's Special Night Squads were formed from British soldiers and Jewish police specifically to counter terrorist and sabotage attacks. Their approach escalated from interdicting terrorist gangs to pre-emptive attacks on suspected terrorist sanctuaries to reprisal attacks after terrorist atrocities. They continued the British practice of using irregular units in counter-insurgency, which was sustained into the postwar era and contributed to the evolution of British Special Forces. Wingate's methods proved effective in pacifying terrorist-infested areas and could be applied again, but only in the face of 'friction' arising from changes in cultural attitudes since the 1930s, and from the political-strategic context of post-2001 counter-insurgent and counter-terrorist operations. In some cases, however, public opinion might not preclude the use of some of Wingate's techniques.