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  • Siege at Jatoville, Congo

    Did anyone read the recent book on the Siege at Jatoville ? Wow I cannot figure why the army have played shame on that action all these years. Fair ****s to those really great soldiers, 157 men and 5 casualties hold of 5000-6000 and deliver in excess of 300 casualties in 4 days while holding an inferior defensive position with little supplies, no water and little or no support weapons. A Coy, 35 Inf Bn I salute you and can only hope that I would have upheld the Irish soldier tradition in the way you did !!!!!!!!

    If you are an Irish soldier then you MUST read this book "Siege at Jatoville" Declan Power
    62
    I am proud of the great defence of A Coy, 35 Inf Bn against massive odds
    88.71%
    55
    They surrendered but should have fought to the last man
    0.00%
    0
    It made sence to surrender as they had no hope of fighting on, but it is a scar on the army
    11.29%
    7

  • #2
    Extract from the Western People - 14 Sept 2005

    Military History

    Siege at Jadotville
    By Declan Power
    Maverick House, 299pp
    Paperback,

    There aren’t too many events in the history of twentieth century Ireland that have not been discussed and analysed ad nauseum over the years. But the events in the Congo in September 1961 – in which an Irish army contingent was forced to surrender after being surrounded by native and mercenary troops – is one of those episodes that has never really garnered the analysis or attention it deserves.
    Declan Power, a journalist and a former member of the Irish Army, has redressed that anomaly with his new book, ‘Siege at Jadotville’, the story of the Irish Army’s forgotten battle in the Congo. The book is a timely and important reminder of an event that the Irish Army swept under the carpet for a variety of reasons.
    ‘Siege at Jadotville’ is based on interviews with survivors of the incident, several of whom have campaigned for years to have their story told. In Declan Power, they have found a writer with expertise and empathy; a former army officer who understands only too well the challenges that the men of Irish A Company faced as the enemy laid siege on their position in September 1961.
    There are many who will have only a vague recollection of the events in the Congo in the early 1960s; others were not even born. The United Nations – still a relatively new organisation – had decided to intervene in the former Belgian colony in Central Africa after independence was declared. Ostensibly, the troops that were sent to the Congo were to undertake peace-keeping missions. They were, effectively, expected to become policemen and no-one anticipated they would find themselves in a war.
    Ireland was still struggling to find its feet on the international stage and the unrest in the Congo offered the Irish Government an ideal opportunity to show that it was willing to participate in peace-keeping missions around the world. The bona fides of the Government of the day cannot be doubted but it is all too clear in hindsight that the Irish Army was ill-prepared for even the most docile peace-keeping task. Many of the members of ‘A’ Company who left for the Congo in the summer of 1961 were raw teenagers who had never even heard a gun fired. Others were veteran soldiers but they were still poor equipped for the terrifying situation in which they were to find themselves in the Congo. It was a recipe for disaster and the great miracle was that all the men managed to escape unscathed from the debacle that was to unfold during their tour of duty.
    If the Irish Army was a little wet behind the ears the United Nations was as innocent as the child unborn. Its officials – including Irish-born Conor Cruise O’Brien – travelled to the Congo with noble intentions but they quickly found themselves being outmaneouvred by the politically astute local leaders. The United Nations found itself floundering as it stumbled from one moment of indecision to another. It could not make up its mind whether its troops should have a hands-on approach in their involvement in the Congo. In the end, the Irish troops found themselves utterly confused as they became pawns in a frustrating bureaucratic maze.
    In September 1961, the ‘A’ Company of the Irish Army was sent to the town of Jadotville, which was fast becoming a hotbed of agitation. Ostensibly, they were in the town to provide security for the Belgian settlers who felt under threat from the native Congolese. Ironically, it was the settlers, who were attempting to gain independence from the Congo, who turned on the Irish.
    Buoyed by the arrival of mercenary troops in the area, the locals attacked the ‘A’ company position while the men were attending morning Mass. The Irish dug in and a battle ensued for several days, resulting in the deaths of a large number of locals and mercenaries.
    Although the Irish contingent battled heroically to hold its position it soon realised it was hopelessly cut off from the other UN battalions in the area. The commander, Kerry-born Pat Quinlan, decided to surrender to the locals rather than risk the pointless deaths of his young men. It was a decision for which he would be unfairly criticised in years to come and if Power’s book does nothing else it vindicates the name of Quinlan who was clearly a courageous, pragmatic and intelligent commandant.
    ‘Siege at Jadotville’ is an exceptionally fine account of the Irish Army’s first, tentative steps onto the international stage. The events of September 1961 were part of the Army’s learning curve and senior officers should have recognised it as exactly that from the very outset. Instead, attempts were made to blame Commandant Quinlan and, while no-one ever openly suggested it, the men of ‘A’ Company were always under the impression that they were viewed as cowards within the ranks of the Irish Army.
    Fortunately, the record has now been set straight thanks to Declan Power. ‘Siege at Jadotville’ is a fine book, well-written and expertly researched. It offers a clear insight into a period of Irish history that was in danger of been forgotten forever. With this book, Power has done the State some service.

    Comment


    • #3
      Read the book two weeks ago. The men of A Coy gave a fantastic account of themselves. A lot of them were in their teens and most of them would have had no previous "live" experience. And yes, IMHO, they were very badly treated.

      One depressing aspect was the reference to the "slagging match" that took place in the Curragh.
      I'm not a number, I'm a free man.
      Who is number 1?

      Comment


      • #4
        Actualy if you'd written that review about six weeks ago..i could have saved my self the price of the book ..and still agreed with you
        Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

        Comment


        • #5
          I read that book a few months ago & it opened my eyes
          to the conditions those lads served under. Afterwards I
          discovered I had served in the same barracks with at least
          two of the survivors .. CS Jeff Cuffe and as he was then
          Lt. Col Leach RIP. Needless to say my admiration for those
          old soldiers increased when I could actually place faces to
          names.
          " People, we are Leaving !!"

          Comment


          • #6
            A great book and great men
            Only the dead have seen the end of war - Plato

            "Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory" Proverbs 11-14
            http://munsterfireandrescue.com

            Comment


            • #7
              They should have been decoratd ,but not one man got a DSM.

              Comment


              • #8
                It made sence to surrender as they had no hope of fighting on, but it is a scar on the army
                i sincerly wonder at the intellegence of the 5 who said its a scar on the Army

                they fought with bravery and it was a corageous decision to surrender

                they did nothing wrong and everything right, no scar on the army of the men
                Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
                Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
                The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere***
                The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
                The best lack all conviction, while the worst
                Are full of passionate intensity.

                Comment


                • #9
                  They way the men were treated by the army on their return and while at Jadotville is more of a scar.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I Agree
                    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
                    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
                    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere***
                    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
                    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
                    Are full of passionate intensity.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I personally know some of those lads who were involved and i served with one of them before he retired in the early 90
                      The stories he told me about training,equipment,uniforms,comms and poor reaction from the un made my blood boil.
                      Conor Cruise O Brien should hold his head in shame along with the parkgate street mob for the way the lads were treated on their return

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The Battalion staff were entertaining Conor Cruise O'Brien during the siege.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I read a book some years ago written by a retired Captain called "Tough At The Bottom".
                          It was an interesting insight to the army life of one man.
                          He dedicates the last chapter to explaining what happened at Jadotville and to try to bring to light the injustice done to the troops.
                          He explains that a small group made it past the militia lines and back to HQ to request immediate reinforcements but the officer was "left cooling his heels for a number of hours as the C.O and senoir officers were "entertaining" Conor Cruise O'Brien.

                          It shows that the men on the ground were not to blame but the staff officers, all of whom should be made to apologise for thier inaction.
                          Not to mention tha C.O. who should be stripped of all honours for the stupidity and utter incompetence he showed.

                          Can't remember the name of the author but I will find out and post it soon.
                          It's worth the read.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've read it......and believe the author to deceased since.great book...very funny.Mick something.....
                            Covid 19 is not over ....it's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Found interesting site with a forum related to some of these actions, mainly concened with swedish and canadian involvement though.

                              http://www.mapleleafup.org/forums/sh...0&pagenumber=2
                              "He is an enemy officer taken in battle and entitled to fair treatment."
                              "No, sir. He's a sergeant, and they don't deserve no respect at all, sir. I should know. They're cunning and artful, if they're any good. I wouldn't mind if he was an officer, sir. But sergeants are clever."

                              Comment

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