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Beorn
08-31-2009, 03:57 PM
Ireland plotted to send special forces to attack BBC studios in Belfast as part of plans to invade Northern Ireland, it emerged yesterday.
Codenamed 'Exercise Armageddon', the operations against British targets in 1969 would have stunned the world.
Tensions were running high as the Troubles began in earnest.


http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/08/31/article-1210141-000654CF00000258-181_468x286.jpg



'Exercise Armageddon': At the height of the Troubles, Ireland planned to attack BBC studios in Belfast. Pictured here, British soldiers detain a man in Londonderry during the Bloody Sunday riots, 1972


In August that year, Irish prime minister Jack Lynch said he would not stand by as the innocent suffered, fearing a huge onslaught by loyalists on Roman Catholic civilians.
Soon after his comments, British troops were sent to restore order to Northern Ireland - in a mission that was to last more than three decades.

Meanwhile, Irish generals continued to plot their own attack on the province.
With just 2,000 soldiers, they knew they could not mount a conventional military campaign against Britain's vastly superior numbers.

So strategists proposed using 'unconventional operations' - believed to mean bombings or machine-gun attacks - to help defend Catholics from loyalist mobs and gangs.
At the same time, they would launch two infantry-company attacks, involving about 120 troops, into Derry and Newry.
'The document says the operation would have to be unilateral - there would be no declaration of war. It would be an attack without any warning,' said security expert Tom Clonan.
The top-secret memo written in October 1969 observed that 'the majority of the important vital installations in Northern Ireland, eg Belfast airport, TV studios, docks and main industries, are located in the north-eastern corner, some distance from the border.
'Any military operations conducted against these should preferably be of the unconventional type.'
While British attention was diverted by these guerrilla attacks, infantry units would cross the border at two points. But the planners admitted in the memo that such a momentous move would open the way to 'retaliatory punitive military action by United Kingdom forces on the republic.

'Therefore any operations undertaken against Northern Ireland would be militarily unsound.'
The memo also highlighted low morale in the Irish Army, saying that although there might be a surge of pride in assisting those in trouble in the North, 'a motivation programme aimed at indoctrinating our troops' might be necessary.
Planners also realised the invading infantry faced being surrounded by British forces, and would need to dig in for a protracted defence.
It seemed, however, that doubts about their ability to wage such a campaign won the day, and the proposals were abandoned.
Mr Clonan, who will present a documentary about the plan on Irish television this Tuesday, said it could have created chaos.
He said: 'Despite what the British military might say in relation to conventional military operations, guerilla warfare could have had them on their knees in about a year.
'At the height of the Troubles, the Provisional IRA had about 1,000 active service unit members and 60,000 armed elements were not able to control them.'
A retired senior British officer who served in Northern Ireland, Michael Dewar, said the Irish would have faced annihilation.
'It is an absurdity to think that a puny military force like the Irish Army could in any form take on the British Army,' he said.





Source (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1210141/Irish-generals-plotted-attack-UK-forces-Ulster.html)

Germanicus
08-31-2009, 10:58 PM
Whiskey talk, nothing else mate.....:coffee:

The Lawspeaker
08-31-2009, 11:17 PM
Militarily the Irish wouldn't have stood a chance but politically they might have- if they would have executed it in 1972. Just after Bloody Sunday. Any response from Britain would have had dire consequences for Britain in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday.
It would have meant certain war (or political isolation) with a lot of European countries as Bloody Sunday was just as massacre of innocent people.

In 1969 the situation was bad enough but Ireland would not have had the benefits it would have had in 1972.

Beorn
08-31-2009, 11:29 PM
In 1969 the situation was bad enough but Ireland would not have had the benefits it would have had in 1972.

Ireland's best chance had been and gone. Any attempt after that would have had the Irish internationally condemned. You have to remember the position Britain has in the world.
Ireland could have rightfully claimed an excuse for initially intervening into Northern Ireland to protect their own and worked back from there. As has been said elsewhere, it would have changed the whole known history of the troubles. Shame it never happened.

007
09-01-2009, 01:28 AM
Bloody Sunday was just as massacre of innocent people.
.

False, all the dead were young men of fighting age, their weapons taken away by their comrades. Even the ultra-lefty anti-British Guardian newspaper reported at the time that British troops were under fire from terrorists using the demonstration as cover, cynically willing to risk their compatriot's lives so they could then whinge about the dastardly British shooting "innocents". :mad:


'a motivation programme aimed at indoctrinating our troops' might be necessary.

IOW, Irish squaddies knew it would be suicide to attack British territory.

Phlegethon
09-02-2009, 09:02 AM
Command missions do not require massive forces, just a special training. What I do not understand is why Ireland only has such a pathetically small army.

Loki
09-02-2009, 09:21 AM
What I do not understand is why Ireland only has such a pathetically small army.

Probably because they can merely rely on the UK for defense ... their big brother will take care of them. ;)

Murphy
09-02-2009, 09:28 AM
False, all the dead were young men of fighting age, their weapons taken away by their comrades. Even the ultra-lefty anti-British Guardian newspaper reported at the time that British troops were under fire from terrorists using the demonstration as cover, cynically willing to risk their compatriot's lives so they could then whinge about the dastardly British shooting "innocents". :mad:

Typical Loyalist. You're a shinning example of why England is reviled across the globe. You do your country proud!


IOW, Irish squaddies knew it would be suicide to attack British territory.

The IRA gave your British squaddies a run for their money ;)! I think the Armed Forces of the Republic could have done just as well.

http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/2928/sniperatwork.jpg

Regards,
Eóin.

Edi: Regarding the original topic of this thread, every nation has 'what-if' military situations. It's not so strange that Irish had plans drawn up.
Edit 2: I edited my first comment to 007 as it was out of line, I have moderated it somewhat but still hold him in the same regard as before: scum.

Poltergeist
09-02-2009, 09:36 AM
From the text it remains unclear whether they were planning to take the north (to occupy it, that is), or merely to protect civilians.

Or maybe they gave up the plans because they started to draw those for a crusade, who knows?

Phlegethon
09-02-2009, 09:42 AM
For an occupation they were badly lacking in numbers. Hit and run operations can be much more effective.

Liffrea
09-02-2009, 03:09 PM
This would have ended badly; I can’t believe anyone in a position of authority in Ireland even considered it.

Let’s look at the options:

Ireland launches a guerrilla campaign in the north against British forces, as far as any state on earth would be concerned that’s a declaration of war, giving Britain authority to do what ever it liked to the Catholics, great move by the republic, they thought the Catholics had it bad before, now they would have the British military with the gloves off. The RAF would have been able to strike at will military targets anywhere in the south, the Royal Navy could have shut Ireland down for as long as it took for them to stop mucking about.

A conventional Irish attack on the north is to embarrassing to contemplate, Ireland has no armoured forces and an airforce that might just pass as a training branch. They would have been blunted and surrounded in a matter of hours, what’s the next great idea? Stand and die?, the British would have bottled them up and waited for them to go hungry, I doubt Westminster would have brought itself to slaughtering Irish troops on mass.

Ireland would have been humiliated, the “war” wouldn’t have run as much of a conflict and there would have been little chance of the British deciding to occupy the republic, international condemnation would have been strong but no one could have argued against Britain defending the province against Irish aggression.

007
09-02-2009, 11:57 PM
Typical Loyalist. You're a shinning example of why England is reviled across the globe. You do your country proud!

Naturally, since you can't contradict what I said you had to resort to namecalling. :D




The IRA gave your British squaddies a run for their money ;)! I think the Armed Forces of the Republic could have done just as well.

Well, only if they dressed in civvies and hid amongst the crowds while planting bombs in pubs and taking potshots at British troops in an attempt to provoke a massacre. Didn't work too well because the British soldier is a very good shot. Actually taking the field in a conventional battle where the troops can open fire at will and don't need to shout a warning or attempt an arrest would be suicide and your lads knew it.:

"The memo also highlighted low morale in the Irish Army, saying that although there might be a surge of pride in assisting those in trouble in the North, 'a motivation programme aimed at indoctrinating our troops' might be necessary"

How their sphincters must have puckered at the thought. :eek:


Edit 2: I edited my first comment to 007 as it was out of line, I have moderated it somewhat but still hold him in the same regard as before: scum.

:coffee:

RoyBatty
09-03-2009, 12:08 AM
Command missions do not require massive forces, just a special training. What I do not understand is why Ireland only has such a pathetically small army.

That is because professional Armies cost a lot of money. Ireland didn't have much wonga in the 60's. The regular "Irish Army" would have been dispatched with minimal effort. The only way to fight against a superior force is via guerrillas / irregulars who can blend into and hide amongst the local population.

RoyBatty
09-03-2009, 12:11 AM
The IRA gave your British squaddies a run for their money ;)! I think the Armed Forces of the Republic could have done just as well.


No doubt the Irish Army would have fought bravely but they wouldn't have lasted more than 2 or 3 days, if that. Realistically..... no chance whatsoever.

The IRA is a different ballgame altogether since they could operate on their own terms and at times and locations of their own choosing and also didn't present an easy target for the opposition to aim at.