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30-03-2019, 03:15   #16
BalcombeSt4
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Originally Posted by pedroeibar1 View Post
The WoI and later CW were fought using smallarms because only that type was available, mainly through capture (RIC Lee Enfields) or robbery (shotguns & stalking rifles). Most of the small volume imports came by courier from Glasgow, etc. Even then ammunition supply was an issue, both in quantity, quality and because of mixed calibre. ‘Republican’ imports matter little, in 1913/14 they imported about 1500 rifles and 30k rounds of ammunition, all obsolete Mausers from the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/1. FWIW in the same era the ‘Loyalists’ imported about 40,000 rifles and 3 million rounds.
Most of the ‘Republicans’ had no idea of firearms beyond a cursory knowledge of shotguns; very few would have been able to strip, clean and reassemble the action of a rifle or pistol.
Anyone with even a superficial knowledge of the BMH statements would realise that drawing comparisons between that era and post-1970 events in NI is stupid and worthless. It also shows a complete lack of understanding of the very obvious differences in the arms procurement and training processes available in the two periods. Also, the Old IRA people I knew had zero tolerance for the Provo's etc and their antics in NI.
Well the Old IRA people you knew were hypocrites. The Old IRA killed off-duty police & soldiers in front of family members, they bombed people, 6 civilians died the day truce came into effect from a landmine, Protestants were chased out of the South, Dunmanway etc... there was a lot of good, decent, open minded people in the Old IRA who were fighting for Democratic values, but there was also a share of bigoted sectarians.

These are just the sad facts of war, every war, even the Franco-Prussian war you mention, civilians are killed by both sides. I can't think of a war/conflict in the 20th & 21st century which at least 500 people died that both sides didn't kill civilians in. Spanish civil war, Russian civil war, WW1 & 2, all the Latin American conflicts, The Irish civil War, the Syrian civil war, The Troubles, the Basque conflict, the Lebanon civil war, the Israel - Palestine wars, Aden, Suez, Malaya crisis and I could be here all day, but you get the point each side in those conflicts killed civilians, some killed dozens, some killed millions, this is just the sad fact of modern day capitalist imperialism, hopefully one day we will live in a world were nation states will become democratic, but at the moment that seems very unlikely.

Also that attitude of
Old IRA = Good
Provo IRA = Bad
Is just stupid & arrogant at best and triumphalist & supremacist at worst.

Last edited by BalcombeSt4; 30-03-2019 at 03:28.
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31-03-2019, 11:38   #17
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Well the Old IRA people you knew were hypocrites. The Old IRA killed off-duty police & soldiers in front of family members, they bombed people, 6 civilians died the day truce came into effect from a landmine, Protestants were chased out of the South, Dunmanway etc... there was a lot of good, decent, open minded people in the Old IRA who were fighting for Democratic values, but there was also a share of bigoted sectarians.

These are just the sad facts of war, every war, even the Franco-Prussian war you mention, civilians are killed by both sides. I can't think of a war/conflict in the 20th & 21st century which at least 500 people died that both sides didn't kill civilians in. Spanish civil war, Russian civil war, WW1 & 2, all the Latin American conflicts, The Irish civil War, the Syrian civil war, The Troubles, the Basque conflict, the Lebanon civil war, the Israel - Palestine wars, Aden, Suez, Malaya crisis and I could be here all day, but you get the point each side in those conflicts killed civilians, some killed dozens, some killed millions, this is just the sad fact of modern day capitalist imperialism, hopefully one day we will live in a world were nation states will become democratic, but at the moment that seems very unlikely.

Also that attitude of
Old IRA = Good
Provo IRA = Bad
Is just stupid & arrogant at best and triumphalist & supremacist at worst.

More trite, vapid, clichéd comment, ignoring the pertinent content of my post and singling out one small sentence.

Your comment on the landmine event (probably Kilgobinet, Waterford) is factually incorrect – it was not civilians but members of the Colligan Company of the I.R.A who were killed. They came to reopen a trench, and accidentally detonated a mine. It was a military encounter.

Why do you bother? Your platitudes are boring and your bias prevents you from seeing the correct picture. The Old IRA did not put bombs in shopping centres or deliberately target civilians, unlike the thugs of recent years. Nor is this a thread to debate the decline of the Protestant population in Ireland, which you clearly do not understand. I suggest you inform yourself by reading some history, not propaganda.
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31-03-2019, 18:40   #18
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More trite, vapid, clichéd comment, ignoring the pertinent content of my post and singling out one small sentence.

Your comment on the landmine event (probably Kilgobinet, Waterford) is factually incorrect – it was not civilians but members of the Colligan Company of the I.R.A who were killed. They came to reopen a trench, and accidentally detonated a mine. It was a military encounter.

Why do you bother? Your platitudes are boring and your bias prevents you from seeing the correct picture. The Old IRA did not put bombs in shopping centres or deliberately target civilians, unlike the thugs of recent years. Nor is this a thread to debate the decline of the Protestant population in Ireland, which you clearly do not understand. I suggest you inform yourself by reading some history, not propaganda.
I believe the Old IRA fought with more honour than the more modern reincarnation and were generally decent men. I am glad they fought and won independence and they deserve to be remembered positively.

In saying that, they did a number of indefensible things. That's war I'm afraid, there has never been an army in history that didn't break its code of honour in wartime.
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12-04-2019, 17:10   #19
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Mod note: General note, please be mindful of the History charter and keep postings civil.
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16-04-2019, 17:36   #20
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Were they used all that often, though? I'm not an expert on the later/more recent period, but it sounds like heavy guns were the exception, not the rule.

Certainly, most of the ambushes in the Tan War were hit and run, so anything heavier than what one man could escape with would have been a burden.



True, but then, to what extent were either gun types used? The Truce happened before the imported Thompsons could be used, and they didn't seem to make much of an appearance during the CW.

Likewise for the Lewis - you hear of them used occasionally in the CW, particularly during urban combat like in Dublin or Limerick at the start, but the only notable thing the Free Stater Lewis gun at Beal na blath was jam.



The police barracks taken were at the start of the war would not have been particularly well-equipped save for standard rifles and pistols - British sources were scathing in their estimation of the RIC as having gone to seed as a military force.

And, with one exception (in Cork, I think), no BA bases were captured - indeed, Mulcahy made that fact into a point during the Treaty debates.

BA gear would have been captured in fights like Kilmchael and Clonfin but, then, again, what use would a flying column really have in anything less agile than a rifle?

For the most part, IRA units avoided head-on confrontation with Crown forces unless it couldn't be helped, as the British - and later the Free State - had the numbers, training and armour to overwhelm most units. An extra Thompson or Lewis would not have made a real difference to a force designed to be a guerilla one.
I'd just like to add to this that in the 60's the Viet Cong had no motarized transport were able to carry around M1919's, Soviet RP-46's, German MG 34's & MG 42's (nicknamed as buzz saws because of the rapid firing noise), the very heavey ones the Soviet Maxim, SG 43 & DShK and a Chinese MG 08, all these were transported on foot or push bike along the Ho Chi Minh trail, and the Vietnamese are much smaller people generally than Irish, they also had a wide range of different mortars they used.

So I don't think it would be a huge problem for say the Cork IRA to transport them. Lewis guns were pretty heavey themselves anyway & there was no problem with them.

Yes, all the IRA's attacks were hit & run attacks, with some exceptions like Kilmichael or the Customs House. But if they had access to a Browning M1917 or a M1919 or a even older GPMG and some mortars they could engage the British forces in a actual battle not a just a 5 minute hit & run attack, which really put little pressure on the British Government, and if Crossbarry is anything to go buy the IRA would have a good chance of beating British forces in a sustained battle.
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16-04-2019, 21:51   #21
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I'd just like to add to this that in the 60's the Viet Cong had no motarized transport were able to carry around M1919's, Soviet RP-46's, German MG 34's & MG 42's (nicknamed as buzz saws because of the rapid firing noise), the very heavey ones the Soviet Maxim, SG 43 & DShK and a Chinese MG 08, all these were transported on foot or push bike along the Ho Chi Minh trail, and the Vietnamese are much smaller people generally than Irish, they also had a wide range of different mortars they used.

So I don't think it would be a huge problem for say the Cork IRA to transport them. Lewis guns were pretty heavey themselves anyway & there was no problem with them.

Yes, all the IRA's attacks were hit & run attacks, with some exceptions like Kilmichael or the Customs House. But if they had access to a Browning M1917 or a M1919 or a even older GPMG and some mortars they could engage the British forces in a actual battle not a just a 5 minute hit & run attack, which really put little pressure on the British Government, and if Crossbarry is anything to go buy the IRA would have a good chance of beating British forces in a sustained battle.

The Viet Cong did have the advantages of the jungle as coverage, and a friendly neighbour in the form of North Vietnam to provide supplies and bases, not to mention the aid of another superpower, the USSR. The IRA during either the WoI or CW had no such advantages.

Having said that, the anti-Treaty IRA had built up a respectable-sized fleet of pilfered cars, allowing them to quite mobile - Ernie O'Malley was able to lead a group of Dublin-Tipperary men, riding on such vehicles, against a series of successful engagements against the FS in the opening few weeks of the CW. He only stopped when Liam Lynch ordered him back to Dublin to take charge there.

Would have been interesting to consider the result if the ATs had continued using such mobile tactics. As it was, Lynch was a firm believer in guerilla tactics, which put the ATs on the defensive (much to O'Malley's frustration, if his letters to LL are anything to go by).
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16-04-2019, 23:44   #22
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I'd just like to add to this that in the 60's the Viet Cong had no motarized transport were able to carry around M1919's, Soviet RP-46's, German MG 34's & MG 42's (nicknamed as buzz saws because of the rapid firing noise), the very heavey ones the Soviet Maxim, SG 43 & DShK and a Chinese MG 08, all these were transported on foot or push bike along the Ho Chi Minh trail, and the Vietnamese are much smaller people generally than Irish, they also had a wide range of different mortars they used.

So I don't think it would be a huge problem for say the Cork IRA to transport them. Lewis guns were pretty heavey themselves anyway & there was no problem with them.

Yes, all the IRA's attacks were hit & run attacks, with some exceptions like Kilmichael or the Customs House. But if they had access to a Browning M1917 or a M1919 or a even older GPMG and some mortars they could engage the British forces in a actual battle not a just a 5 minute hit & run attack, which really put little pressure on the British Government, and if Crossbarry is anything to go buy the IRA would have a good chance of beating British forces in a sustained battle.
Dreamland stuff. There is absolutely zero comparison. The Viet Nam jungle war cannot be compared to 1920’s Ireland. Terrain, equipment, supply routes, leadership, use of manpower, etc., all are hugely different.
The only machine guns possibly available to the IRA during the War of Independence would have been ex British Army or at a (hard) push American, so it’s the Vickers or the Browning M1917. Obtaining ammunition for both in sufficient quantities was impossible, and for the latter its calibre (30-06) would have been an additional problem. That is just one reason why they were not used by guerrilla fighters.

Each needed an 8 man crew to serve it, (trigger, feeder, porters). Both (gun, tripod, base plate) weighed over 8 stone (the weight of a trim woman). Try carrying that up the side of a mountain or on a raid, along with sufficient water to cool it, ammo to feed it, etc. Ammunition came in belts of 250 rounds, and with a rate of fire of 500 rounds per minute (both are about the same) each belt would last 30 seconds. Each belt in its box weighed about 10kgs. That is why porters were needed.

Effective use of any automatic weapon required firing discipline, training and lots of practice. The IRA had none of these for machine guns.

Why don’t you read some of the BMH statements and inform yourself on weapons, training, supply, etc., before making these assertions?
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Yesterday, 03:25   #23
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The Viet Cong did have the advantages of the jungle as coverage, and a friendly neighbour in the form of North Vietnam to provide supplies and bases, not to mention the aid of another superpower, the USSR. The IRA during either the WoI or CW had no such advantages.

Having said that, the anti-Treaty IRA had built up a respectable-sized fleet of pilfered cars, allowing them to quite mobile - Ernie O'Malley was able to lead a group of Dublin-Tipperary men, riding on such vehicles, against a series of successful engagements against the FS in the opening few weeks of the CW. He only stopped when Liam Lynch ordered him back to Dublin to take charge there.

Would have been interesting to consider the result if the ATs had continued using such mobile tactics. As it was, Lynch was a firm believer in guerilla tactics, which put the ATs on the defensive (much to O'Malley's frustration, if his letters to LL are anything to go by).
No of course I'm not comparing the Viet Cong to the IRA, like you pointed out all the advantages the VC had, but I'm saying they both had the similar logistical problems of how to move weapons around the country without the Imperial power in each country finding out.

The IRA were able to move around 3,000 rifles (mostly Lee Enfields) with some Lewis guns & some explosives, with about 650 SMG's towards the end. If they could move them around I don't see why they couldn't move a GPMG or HMG's , there were 18 pounder guns & mortars in Ireland during both the WOI & CW.

Yes, the IRA was in a great place at the start of the CW to take the inititave, but like you said Lynch was a classic case of a general fighting the last war, in that the lessons he learned during the WOI applied only in part to the CW, guerrilla tactics should be a stepping stone until your force is ready to fight in a more convential manner with larger numbers, like any successful guerrilla force of the 20th century that's what happened, VC being a case in point. The CW IRA could have kept using the same guerrilla tactics for 50 years and they would have got nowhere, the point in the WOI & the Northern conflict was to bring the British to talks & then try to get the best deal, the CW IRA could talk to the Free State at the very start.
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Yesterday, 22:56   #24
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The CW IRA could have kept using the same guerrilla tactics for 50 years and they would have got nowhere, the point in the WOI & the Northern conflict was to bring the British to talks & then try to get the best deal, the CW IRA could talk to the Free State at the very start.
The IRA was also stymied by the lack of a game plan. Get rid of the Treaty, sure, but how? Threaten the Free State into giving up? Destroy the Free State outright? Wait for, as you said, some sort of negotiation? Liam Lynch tried that even before the CW began, and was locked out of the Four Courts by Mellows and co for his troubles.

The IRA Executive proceeded to do...nothing, to the point that the Free Staters were able to march right up to the Four Courts - much to their own surprise, who had been expecting some sort of resistance in the streets - and shell away.

Even after, Lynch had a golden opportunity to beat the outnumbered, out-gunned FSers in Limerick, but preferred to talk it out with their leaders, who strung him along until they had the reinforcements from Dublin to drive him out.

Considering the lack of consensus and certainty from the start on the part of the IRA, I'd say it never stood a chance, even if it had enjoyed more machine-guns and the like.
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Today, 02:33   #25
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The IRA was also stymied by the lack of a game plan. Get rid of the Treaty, sure, but how? Threaten the Free State into giving up? Destroy the Free State outright? Wait for, as you said, some sort of negotiation? Liam Lynch tried that even before the CW began, and was locked out of the Four Courts by Mellows and co for his troubles.

The IRA Executive proceeded to do...nothing, to the point that the Free Staters were able to march right up to the Four Courts - much to their own surprise, who had been expecting some sort of resistance in the streets - and shell away.

Even after, Lynch had a golden opportunity to beat the outnumbered, out-gunned FSers in Limerick, but preferred to talk it out with their leaders, who strung him along until they had the reinforcements from Dublin to drive him out.

Considering the lack of consensus and certainty from the start on the part of the IRA, I'd say it never stood a chance, even if it had enjoyed more machine-guns and the like.
Yes,I agree 100%

The |CW IRA was the begining of the end of the IRA & they would not be back to fight a sustained camapign with good generals & local commanders until 50 years later in 1972.
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