end of World War Two in 1945, British military forces
have been almost constantly engaged in combat or
near-combat operations around the world. From post-war
occcupations, to colonial conflicts, the Cold War against
the communists, to today's wars against Islamic
Jihadists, the military of the United Kingdom has engaged
Britain's foes. Below is a listing of Britain's wars from
1945 to the present.
(1944-1947)--British forces became involved in the
early stages of the Greek Civil War when they liberated
Greece from German occupation toward the end of 1944. As
the Germans withdrew, competing Greek factions fought for
control. The British sided with the re-established Greek
government against the Communist rebels. Due to financial
pressures and their own need to recover from World War
Two, Britain announced a withdrawal of forces in 1947.
The Greek Civil War continued until 1949, with the United
States taking over the role of protector for the
government. British combat involvement primarily took
place in 1944 and 1945.
(1945-1948)-Following World War Two, Jewish forces
in Palestine battled both the British troops occupying
Palestine, and the local Palestinian Arab militias for
control of the country.
Vietnam (1945-1946)- Codenamed Operation Masterdom by
the British, and also known as the Southern Resistance
War by the Vietnamese. this short, but violent conflict
pitted British, Indian, French, and Japanese troops
agaisnt the local communist guerrillas who had resisted
the Japanese, called the Viet Minh. The Viet Minh
resisted the return of their French rulers and the
British and Indian troops who protected them. The
Japanese troops, who were still in Vietnam waiting to be
sent home, were drafted by the Western Allies to help
fight the communists. British combate lasted about six
months, from when they arrived in Saigon in September,
1945, until they turned things over to French forces and
withdrew in March, 1946.
Revolution (1945-1946)- Similar to the situation in
Vietnam, British troops were tasked with re-occupying
Japanese-held Indonesia until the Dutch colonial
administration could resume rule. The natioanalist
Indonesian forces resisted a return to colonial rule, and
launched attacks against British, Dutch and Japanese
troops (who, like in Vietnam, had been drafted into
service by the Allies). British forces withdrew when the
Dutch were able to return in force. British involement in
this Indonesian war was from late September, 1945, until
Emergency-(1948-1960)-British forces battled
local communist guerrillas in Malaya.
War-(1950-1953)-The UK joined in the
American-led UN effort to defend South Korea from
North Korea and China.
War of 1951-1952 (1951-1952)--Egyptian guerrillas,
aided by the governement carried out a campaign against
British forces stationed at the Suez Canal and agains
other symbols of Britain and the West. On January 25,
1952, British troops retaliated against Egypt by
attacking an Egyptian police station, killing 50 and
wounding 100. The conflict ended with a change in the
Egyptian government and the eventual withdrawal of
British troops. This conflict led to Britain's involvment
in the 1956 Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in
1956. (see below)
Insurgency-(1952-1956)-Kenyan guerrilla war
against British rule.
Emergency--(1955-1959)- Guerrilla war by the
Greek Cypriot militant group, the National Organisation
of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA), to force the withdrawal of
British from Cyprus. The primary goal of the rebels was
to unite Greek-majority Cyprus with Greece. Britain,
which had controlled or ruled Cyprus since 1878, granted
independence to Cyprus in 1960.
Oman Intervention (1957-1959)--British troops aid the
goverment of Muscat and Oman (now known simply as Oman),
against rebels. British troops withdrew after a
successful campaign. This war is also know as the Jebel
Intervention (1958)--Britain airlifted troops to
Jordan in response to a request for aid from the
Jordanian king. King Hussein felt threatened by the
recent union of Syria and Egypt, as well as the violent
revolution in Iraq in which the Iraq king, a member of
Hussein's family, was brutally murdered. After the
situation calmed down, British troops left
Revolt-(December, 1962)-Britain had
been in negotiations with t Malaya, Singapore, Sabah, and
Sarawak to form a new Malaysian Federation as British
rule in these areas was ending. Indonesia opposed Brunei
(and Sabah and Sarawak--all of whom were in the northern
part of Borneo/Kalimantan Island-Indonesia controlled the
bulk of the island) from joining this federation, and
pro-Indonesian rebels launched a rebellion in Brune in in
1962. British forces defeated the rebels.
Confrontation (1963-1966)-Indonesia launched a
guerrilla war against Malaysia (the new nation comprised
of Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak) to take control of the
northern portion of Borneo. British forces supported the
Malaysians. Australia and New Zealand also participated
in the war against Indonesia.
Mutiny (1964)--The army of Uganda, which had recently
become independent of Britain, mutinied against the
government of President Milton Obote in January of 1964.
Unable to control the situation, Obote called for help
from British forces who put down the revolt.
Rebellion (1962-1976)-Marxist rebels, aided by the
new South Yemen government, battled the Omani government
forces in the western region of Dhofar. British air and
ground forces aided the Omani government defeat the
Conflict-(1964-1967) -Rebels in the British-ruled
part of Yemen known as Aden waged a guerrilla war against
the British and associated Yemeni forces. Following the
British withdrawal, the new nation of South Yemen was
Conflict in Northern
Falkland Islands War (1982)
Islands War Images and Pictures
(1991)-British, U.S., French, and other Allied
nations joined together to end the Iraqi occupation of
Kuwait. Also known in the West as the First Iraq
(1991-2003)-Following the Gulf War of 1991, British and
American warplanes enforced a "No-Fly Zone" in both
northern and southern Iraq to prevent Iraqi government
air strikes against Kurdish and Shiite forces. This
resulted in nearly constant air strikes by the Allies
against Iraqi military targets. As the launching of the
2003 invasion of Iraq approached, the British and U.S.
forces increasingly used the No-Fly Zone status as a
means of degrading Iraqi defenses leading up to the
(1992-1996)- British forces, as part of NATO, engaged
in combat operations and peacekeeping operations in
Bosnia during the protracted Yugoslav civil
War (1999)-British forces, as part of NATO,
engaged in combat operations and peacekeeping operations
in Kosovo during the protracted Yugoslav civil
military intervention in the Sierra Leone Civil War
(2000-2002)-British forces intervened in the Sierra Leone
Civil War and helped government forces end the war.
British troops remained in Sierra Leone for several more
years to ensure the peacea and train government
(2001-2014)-British troops were withdrawn from
Afghanistan in 2014, though the war there
(2003-2009)-British troops were withdrawn from combat
in Iraq in 2009, though U.S. troops remained until
air and naval forces joined in a coalition to aid Libyan
rebels against the government of Muammar Khadaffy.
British special forces played a role on the
(2014-Present)-Upon a request for military
assistance, the UK, along with several other Western
nations (U.S., France, Canada, etc.) began military
operations against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) forces
in Iraq. This military intervention later included
airstrikes and special forces operations against
ISIS in Syria and Libya, as well as in Iraq.
British Wars 1945-Present:
Kohn, George C. Dictionary
York: Facts On File Publications, 1999.
Steems, Peter and William L. Langer., ed.
Encyclopedia of World History.
Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.