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Siege of Jadotville

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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,141 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    Jesus. wrote: »
    If a co-ordinated attack on the Lufira bridge was made with Kane on one side and Quinlan on the other, could they have broken through?

    To where? Attacking requires additional expenditure of ammunition which they don't have (suppressive, or under-aimed fire) against harder targets, and once they'd broke out of the ring, you now have a foot pursuit between a couple thousand locals, and not a couple thousand Irish folks probably more weighed down and thirsty.
    Potentially a victorious outcome to the engagement. Either by being re-supplied through the air or the Katangans morale breaking. I don't think the situation had reached a critical point at that juncture.

    Resupply by air had failed to that point, what reason would there be to believe that any further delay would have changed this? You can always 'if, maybe' etc the heck out of something, but the guy had to make his decision on the basis of what was most likely.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,698 ✭✭✭Topper Harley


    Jesus. wrote: »
    Wait for it. The Helicopter got through once it could get through again.

    The helicopter couldn't get through again, it sustained too much damage when it did get through and was then stuck with the Irish troops (the crew was Swedish I think, open to correction though). Not only that, but the water that was actually brought by that heli was contaminated and useless to the troops anyway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,031 ✭✭✭twinytwo


    Jesus. wrote: »
    What by losing?


    Glorious sacrifice? Never mentioned such a bizarre thing. However, when it was clear the Katangans were breaking the rules of the ceasefire, the men should've been immediately ordered back into their trenches and the Katangans given two minutes to get out of there before being fired upon.


    I don't want to be critical. But its hard to avoid asking questions about how it ended. You have to remember that it was the Army itself that was embarrassed by this. It caused a lot of friction between soldiers to the point of fights breaking out in the Mess. Not long afterwards it was never mentioned again and as stated in the OP, if you wanted to further your DF career you never brought it up. Also, as far as I can ascertain the average Irish civilian wasn't at all critical.


    Which was ridiculous. You are 100% correct there. Nevertheless if they'd retook their positions who's to say the Katangans wouldn't have just sat in themselves given that they couldn't break through for the whole week? Who's to say relief wouldn't have finally arrived?

    Once again I have to ask the awkward question: What would a British company have done in the same circumstances?

    I assume you have some form of ulterier motive going on?

    Firstly, no one gives two ****s what a british company would have done. There wasnt one there so we will never know.

    Secondly, its easy to sit in your armchair, look back retrospectively and decide what should have been done.

    No ammo, no water... the men did the best they could with what they had. You seem to have some ideas of grandour that a breakout would have been possible, with what exactly? Go where?

    At the best, it would have been fighting retreat and most if not all of them would have died... would that have made it more favourable in your mind?

    Better to die pointlessly than surrender? This wasnt the Alamo or Thermopylae there was no bigger cause to fight for.

    How do you win and unwinnable situation? Outnumbered at least 30 to 1, No ammo, no supplies, no heavy weapons, no support.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,794 ✭✭✭Jesus.


    twinytwo wrote: »
    I assume you have some form of ulterier motive going on?Secondly, its easy to sit in your armchair, look back retrospectively and decide what should have been done.
    I'm almost at a loss as to how to respond to that. Isn't that what we do with EVERYTHING?! On this whole Board and pages of this very thread before I posted! What are any of us doing on any historical topic but looking back retrospectively at things???????? :rolleyes:

    Ulterior motive. Good God.
    twinytwo wrote: »
    No ammo, no water... the men did the best they could with what they had. You seem to have some ideas of grandour that a breakout would have been possible, with what exactly? Go where? At the best, it would have been fighting retreat and most if not all of them would have died... would that have made it more favourable in your mind? Better to die pointlessly than surrender? This wasnt the Alamo or Thermopylae there was no bigger cause to fight for.How do you win and unwinnable situation? Outnumbered at least 30 to 1, No ammo, no supplies, no heavy weapons, no support.

    And what of Mockler?


  • Registered Users Posts: 40,012 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail


    Jesus. wrote: »
    I'm almost at a loss as to how to respond to that. Isn't that what we do with EVERYTHING?! On this whole Board and pages of this very thread before I posted! What are any of us doing on any historical topic but looking back retrospectively at things???????? :rolleyes:

    Ulterior motive. Good God.

    well when you continue to ask leading questions like
    Once again I have to ask the awkward question: What would a British company have done in the same circumstances?

    so people will question your motives.
    Jesus. wrote: »
    And what of Mockler?

    what of him? what point are you trying to make? He claims that a breakout was possible. How does he think that was possible? A relief force has already been forced back and the besieged forces were low on both ammo and water. How do YOU think it could have been achieved?


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,794 ✭✭✭Jesus.


    well when you continue to ask leading questions like so people will question your motives.

    Ah I understand what you mean now. Well I just think it a great pity that in our Army's first real battle and with exemplary conduct shown by the men and Cmdt Quinlan throughout, it went on to become a surrender and defeat. Perhaps its unfair to compare troops who'd never heard a shot fired in anger before and who were under-equipped to British regulars who were in constant action all over the World at the time and had the very best gear money could buy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 40,012 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail


    Jesus. wrote: »
    Ah I understand what you mean now. Well I just think it a great pity that in our Army's first real battle and with exemplary conduct shown by the men and Cmdt Quinlan throughout, it went on to become a surrender and defeat. Perhaps its unfair to compare troops who'd never heard a shot fired in anger before and who were under-equipped to British regulars who were in constant action all over the World at the time and had the very best gear money could buy.

    What do you think a british contingent would have done differently? The irish troops negated enemy artillery through successful counter-battery fire. They nearly destroyed the morale of the attackers, only the intervention of the mercenaries on the other side prevented a rout. So what do you think a british contingent would have done differently with the same supply situation?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,794 ✭✭✭Jesus.


    I think they would have lasted longer. They would probably have attempted a coordinated break out. But crucially, their experience would have led them to handle the ceasefire correctly. It was the latter that destroyed Quinlan in the end.

    The Brits would have sustained casualties attempting to get to the bridge but with a good rearguard they'd have made it there and with support on the other side they could have driven the Africans off. Its all conjecture but they would most probably have exhausted every avenue rather than end up the way A Company did. Quinlan's promise to bring every man home alive would not even be in a British Officer's contemplation. Joe Fitzpatrick on Niemba:

    Fitzpatrick remembers the last words of Gleeson before he was killed: “He said, ‘Take cover lads, we’re all going to be killed.’ That was the last order I got. If it had have been a British army officer, he would have said, ‘For King and country!’ I wouldnt be here to tell the story.”

    But like I say its not fair to compare untried and untested troops to British regulars.


  • Registered Users Posts: 40,012 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail


    Jesus. wrote: »
    I think they would have lasted longer. They would probably have attempted a coordinated break out. But crucially, their experience would have led them to handle the ceasefire correctly. It was the latter that destroyed Quinlan in the end.

    The Brits would have sustained casualties attempting to get to the bridge but with a good rearguard they'd have made it there and with support on the other side they could have driven the Africans off. Its all conjecture but they would most probably have exhausted every avenue rather than end up the way A Company did. Quinlan's promise to bring every man home alive would not even be in a British Officer's contemplation. Joe Fitzpatrick on Niemba:

    Fitzpatrick remembers the last words of Gleeson before he was killed: “He said, ‘Take cover lads, we’re all going to be killed.’ That was the last order I got. If it had have been a British army officer, he would have said, ‘For King and country!’ I wouldnt be here to tell the story.”

    But like I say its not fair to compare untried and untested troops to British regulars.

    These "untried and untested" troops held off a much larger force. Explain why you think a british contingent would last long longer? Would they shoot slower, drink water slower?
    You insist that a breakout could have been made but fail to explain how it could be achieved sans ammunition and water. There was no support on the other side. a break-in had already been attempted and failed.

    you need to explain this as well that i missed earlier
    British regulars who were in constant action all over the World

    Where exactly? the last major conflict was suez in 1956 and most of those would have been national servicemen no longer in the army. Before that it was the mau maus in Kenya in 1952 and the korean war that ended in 1953.


    and you persist with this romantic notion that dying for your country is a good thing, which frankly is a load of boll*x.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,794 ✭✭✭Jesus.


    Where exactly? the last major conflict was suez in 1956 and most of those would have been national servicemen no longer in the army. Before that it was the mau maus in Kenya in 1952 and the korean war that ended in 1953.
    You've proved my point. The British Army was in constant operation which made it a well oiled and ruthlessly efficient machine. The ROI army had not gone into operation since its foundation (post '23) and as you've said yourself, was ill-equipped for overseas operations.
    and you persist with this romantic notion that dying for your country is a good thing, which frankly is a load of boll*x.
    Then why, pray tell, join the Army?

    Whether you like it or not, part of a Country's reputation comes from its armed force's prowess which is bigger than one single individual. Such ideals should've been instilled in the Armed Forces (which to be fair I think they were given their negative reaction to the Jadotville surrender) rather than the CO promising to the Virgin Mary in Athlone that he'd bring all the soldiers home safely in one piece. That might sound like a noble objective in one sense but according to the time old soldier's manual, its not right at the top of the list.....believe it or not.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 40,012 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail


    Jesus. wrote: »
    You've proved my point. The British Army was in constant operation which made it a well oiled and ruthlessly efficient machine. The ROI army had not gone into operation since its foundation (post '23) and as you've said yourself, was ill-equipped for overseas operations.

    The last major operation was 5 years previous. What definition of constant are you using?
    Jesus. wrote: »
    Then why, pray tell, join the Army?

    Whether you like it or not, part of a Country's reputation comes from its armed force's prowess which is bigger than one single individual. Such ideals should've been instilled in the Armed Forces (which to be fair I think they were given their negative reaction to the Jadotville surrender) rather than the CO promising to the Virgin Mary in Athlone that he'd bring all the soldiers home safely in one piece. That might sound like a noble objective in one sense but according to the time old soldier's manual, its not right at the top of the list.....believe it or not.

    You think people join the army to die for their country? f*ck me. this thread is better off in the walter mitty forum at this stage.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,794 ✭✭✭Jesus.


    You think people join the army to die for their country? f*ck me. this thread is better off in the walter mitty forum at this stage.

    No I don't. But there's a chance they may indeed be killed which I thought would be self evident from the job description. Cmdt Quinlan's number one personal priority was - like I said 'believe it or not' - not the number one objective of an officer commanding in an Army. He said it afterwards that no matter what he was going to bring everyone back alive (to the delight of the men's families he did) and he couldn't understand the Army's reaction, saying that if some of his men had died in the process of fighting on or breaking out that he felt the Army would've been happy. That statement alone confirms his number one prerogative was other than carrying out his mission to the best possible outcome despite possibly sustaining casualties.

    He undoubtedly was a very competent and principled man but I fear his very principles were out of sink somewhat with what they should have been.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,034 ✭✭✭✭It wasn't me!


    I for one am glad he was in charge rather than someone with dreams of noble blood sacrifice in mind. It seems extremely unlikely that a breakout would have been possible given the failed attempts, and even the low percentage possibility entailed the high probability of significant casualties. Faced with a low probability of success and a high probability of paying heavily for almost inevitable failure, the idea that they'd have attempted to fight out anyway is reminiscent of the first world war's inane slaughter. I don't think any sane British officer would have ordered it either under the circumstances.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 2,688 Mod ✭✭✭✭Morpheus


    Surely the best idea, is not to die for your country, but to make someone else die for his country!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,295 ✭✭✭Horse84


    Morpheus wrote: »
    Surely the best idea, is not to die for your country, but to make someone else die for his country!

    copyright Gen George S Patton Jr. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,031 ✭✭✭twinytwo


    Jesus. wrote: »
    I think they would have lasted longer. They would probably have attempted a coordinated break out. But crucially, their experience would have led them to handle the ceasefire correctly. It was the latter that destroyed Quinlan in the end.

    The Brits would have sustained casualties attempting to get to the bridge but with a good rearguard they'd have made it there and with support on the other side they could have driven the Africans off. Its all conjecture but they would most probably have exhausted every avenue rather than end up the way A Company did. Quinlan's promise to bring every man home alive would not even be in a British Officer's contemplation. Joe Fitzpatrick on Niemba:

    Fitzpatrick remembers the last words of Gleeson before he was killed: “He said, ‘Take cover lads, we’re all going to be killed.’ That was the last order I got. If it had have been a British army officer, he would have said, ‘For King and country!’ I wouldnt be here to tell the story.”

    But like I say its not fair to compare untried and untested troops to British regulars.


    Again your making a massive assumption based on what?

    So let me get this right.... your going to tell us what the Irish should have done and what the brits would have done??

    Once again the brits were not there so why do you keep bringing them up? It has no relevence to the actual facts.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,794 ✭✭✭Jesus.


    twinytwo wrote: »
    Again your making a massive assumption based on what? So let me get this right.... your going to tell us what the Irish should have done and what the brits would have done?? Once again the brits were not there so why do you keep bringing them up? It has no relevence to the actual facts.

    They're relevant enough in that some of them have littered this thread with arguments:

    OS119 wrote: »
    not being ****ty, but if there was heavy fighting for 6 days, then it is simply inconceivable that there were only 5 slight casualties. inconceivable. bollocks. horse-****. Angels protected by the very countenance of God himself would suffer a higher casualty rate than that - anyone else would suffer that many casualties caused by 6 days of sleep deprivation and stress, let alone having their bed space being used as a two way range. they may have been in pre-dug defensive positions, but you have to move food, water and ammunition around - especially during a six day battle, and especially during a six day battle in the middle of equitorial Africa. i don't doubt that a well trained, well lead and well dug in force facing a not-that-well-organised or trained enemy means that you can fight off what appears to be ridiculous statistics, but you can't do it indefinately, and you can't do it without cost. i'm sorry, i have significant respect for Irish soldiers, i have worked with them on UN PK ops, and i know what Irish soldiers in the BA can acheive in the most frightening and intense battles, but i simply do not believe that the published casualty figures in anyway tally with the claimed circumstances of the battle. one of them is wrong.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,100 ✭✭✭ectoraige


    Next time somebody asks me "What would Jesus do?", I'll refer them to this thread.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,691 ✭✭✭4ensic15


    The Irish were on a peacekeeping mission. They were not fighting for their country or glory. They were there to help out as fra as reasonably possible. That meant their own lives came ahead of the locals whom they were attempting to help.
    They were attacked by a much larger and better equipped force. They simply sheltered and fought back. Any counter-attack would have meant exposing themselves and would have been suicidal. They had only 2 armoured vehicles which became severely damaged. They had absolutely no chance of crossing miles of terrain occupied by the Katangans.
    The military authorities were annoyed with Quinlan because he was an embarrassment. Their poor planning had left him and his men exposed in a situation that no competent military commander should have allowed.
    Political capital was made out of the Irish prisoner by Tshombe. the Irish prisoners had to be bartered. From the point of view of the incompetent senior irish military it would have been preferable if Quinlan and his men had died and they could have spun a different story as to what happened.
    The senior military created the coward slur with black propaganda in order to deflect attention from their own massive shortcomings. They succeeded for decades in their cover up, notably because in the military at the time dissent would quickly end a career and people knew better than to speak out.
    The notion that it was anything other than sensible or rational to do anything other than bring all of the men home alive is ludicrous. Even the British during the First World War began to recognise the value of economising with men.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,100 ✭✭✭ectoraige


    It's been a long time since I read Declan Power's book, but I recall being dismayed by the lack of accurate intelligence, that the loss of life could have easily been avoided. It's probably time I re-read it before the Jamie Dornan movie is released.


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,794 ✭✭✭Jesus.


    4ensic15 wrote: »
    The Irish were on a peacekeeping mission. They were not fighting for their country or glory. They were there to help out as fra as reasonably possible. That meant their own lives came ahead of the locals whom they were attempting to help.The notion that it was anything other than sensible or rational to do anything other than bring all of the men home alive is ludicrous.

    Totally and utterly disagree with this.


  • Registered Users Posts: 773 ✭✭✭cnoc


    Jesus. wrote: »
    Totally and utterly disagree with this.

    I have not read all your posts on this particular thread. Did you serve in the military, and if so, which branch. Did you partake in live action, and if so, under what circumstances. What rank did you achieve.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,794 ✭✭✭Jesus.


    Cnoc are you an idiot?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,141 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    [Mod] OK, Jesus, that's a yellow card there. You can't go about doing that. You must at least back up your hypothesis[/Mod]


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,794 ✭✭✭Jesus.


    Okay Moran. I just thought it a daft question is all


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,698 ✭✭✭Topper Harley


    Jesus. wrote: »
    Okay Moran. I just thought it a daft question is all

    In fairness to cnoc, you've made a lot of assertions, he just asked what qualifications and experience you have.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,691 ✭✭✭4ensic15


    In fairness to cnoc, you've made a lot of assertions, he just asked what qualifications and experience you have.

    It is more than obvious that Jesus. never served and that he wouldn't be allowed to serve. Presumably Cnoc asked in order to re-assure himself.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,794 ✭✭✭Jesus.


    In fairness to cnoc, you've made a lot of assertions, he just asked what qualifications and experience you have.

    Let me get this straight. Unless someone has served in the Army they cannot give an opinion on historical events?

    Hmm. So I suppose that means we have to discount the vast majority of historians and journalists who write the information we feed off. You know, the very life's blood of knowledge? That is absurd.

    As a matter of fact, I think a lot of people on this thread are allowing emotion rule their critical faculties out of a sense of loyalty to the DF. Understandable I suppose but not conducive to detached analysis.

    By the way, a lot of other people have made many assertions too. Have you asked them are they the reincarnation of Rommel or fukking Genghis Khan too? :rolleyes:


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 4,691 ✭✭✭4ensic15


    Jesus. wrote: »
    Let me get this straight. Unless someone has served in the Army they cannot give an opinion on historical events?

    ? :rolleyes:

    Anyone can give an opinion. However, in a debate it is necessary to know what weight to give to an opinion. Your glory-hunter attitude means that you would be luck to last into the second day of recruit training in any army. You would be regarded as a menace. Your speculation about what might have been achieved militarily has to be viewed in light of your immaturity.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,698 ✭✭✭Topper Harley


    Jesus. wrote: »
    Let me get this straight. Unless someone has served in the Army they cannot give an opinion on historical events?

    Hmm. So I suppose that means we have to discount the vast majority of historians and journalists who write the information we feed off. You know, the very life's blood of knowledge? That is absurd.

    As a matter of fact, I think a lot of people on this thread are allowing emotion rule their critical faculties out of a sense of loyalty to the DF. Understandable I suppose but not conducive to detached analysis.

    By the way, a lot of other people have made many assertions too. Have you asked them are they the reincarnation of Rommel or fukking Genghis Khan too? :rolleyes:

    Roll your eyes all you want. No one said you can't give your opinion or that it's not valid unless you've served in the military. Your opinion also doesn't automatically indicate that you have no military experience. I know plenty of intelligent, normally rational people with military experience who can be gung-ho at times.

    However, your opinion contrasts with the majority on this thread, so naturally you leave yourself open to be challenged, hence why you were questioned and not others.

    Your reaction to being challenged shows signs of either immaturity or an inferiority complex, neither of which lends itself to good decision making especially when it comes to life or death situations. To me, your reaction, has done far more harm to your argument than the fact that you haven't got military experience, which I'm sure a lot, if not most of the rest of the posters disagreeing with you on this thread haven't got either.


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