No announcement yet.

Nazi plans to invade Ireland 'failed due to IRA corruption'

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Nazi plans to invade Ireland 'failed due to IRA corruption'

    IRISH security forces foiled a plan by Nazi saboteurs to carry out a wartime bombing campaign in Britain using exploding cans of processed peas, according to secret files made public for the first time yesterday.

    A three-man team - including a British Indian and two Germans - had apparently laid plans to blow up Buckingham Palace. They were captured after landing on the south-west coast of Ireland in July 1940, and held in Mountjoy jail.

    MI5 papers released to the National Archives in the UK show they had been carrying boxes of explosives, including tins of "Prepared French Peas" containing nitro-cellulose.

    An informer held in jail with the three claimed they had been heading for England to "blow up Buckingham Palace". MI5, who were in contact with the Irish, were sceptical, however.

    "This seems a little fantastic, when it is known that the explosive materials in their possession were of the most primitive kind," one report noted.

    MI5 concluded that the two Germans in the group - Herbert Tributh and Otto Dietergaertner - were members of the Lehr Regiment, a special unit used by German intelligence. The MI5 files also showed IRA plans for a Nazi-backed invasion of Ireland collapsed due to the incompetence and treachery of republican leaders. The German sent to Ireland to co-ordinate the operation found the IRA was riddled with informers and led by a drunk.

    In May 1940, Hermann Goertz was parachuted into Ireland to assess prospects for "Plan Kathleen", as the operation was codenamed. It followed the visit to Germany earlier that year of an IRA go-between, Stephen Held.

    "Held painted a rosy picture of a powerful IRA, numbering about 5,000, ready in Southern Ireland to give the Germans immediate assistance, provided they procured arms," a subsequent report by the Royal Ulster Constabulary noted.

    Goertz's mission seemed doomed from the outset. The first person he asked for help, handing over US$100 as an inducement, proved the local "village idiot" and no use at all.

    Within two weeks of Goertz's landing, Held was arrested by gardai in a raid on his home in Dublin, where they seized Goertz's radio transmitter, his stash of $20,000 and his handwritten notes for Plan Kathleen.

    Goertz blamed "treachery within the small circle which surrounded me" for the setback. He managed to remain at large for another 18 months, and his account of events in the MI5 files charts his rapid disillusionment with the IRA. "There was something dangerously rotten in the organisation of the IRA," he wrote. "Immediately beside the idealistic Irish fighter for freedom, man or woman, who are ready to die the martyr's death for their country, stands the completely corrupted betrayer." Goertz made a number of unsuccessful attempts to escape to Germany before he was captured. When he was told on his release in 1947 that he was being deported back to Germany, Goertz dramatically committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule in front of startled officials at the Aliens Registration Office in Dublin.

    Gavin Cordon

  • #2
    Obviously he wasn't such an idiot that he couldn't wheedle $100 out of Goertz.:D

    The IRA during WW2 was up in a heap. De Valera (ironically) almost destroyed it. Still the Abwehr was no better and some of their ruses were ludicrous. Was Goertz the guy who who's cover was as circus strongman?
    Say NO to violence against Women

    Originally posted by hedgehog
    My favourite moment was when the
    Originally posted by hedgehog
    red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head


    • #3
      Goertz was the most 'normal', and the most successful, of the German agents in Ireland. The circus strongman was caught pretty soon after he landed, wandering lost along some road down the country. I think Goertz was the only agent who wasn't caught within his first week in the country.
      "The dolphins were monkeys that didn't like the land, walked back to the water, went back from the sand."