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Ireland-A strategic advantage for the Axis in WW2?

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  • #31
    I really don't think the Irish Army would have had huge difficulties handling any conceivable German invasion occurring while Britain was still in the game.
    The Germans would have been confined to light troops,operating on the end of an extremely long and unreliable supply chain. German paras dropped light in any case, carrying only sidearms, and gathering their weapons from separate containers. The Germans had a tiny amphibious capability, and the Royal Navy would have decimated that.
    At the same time, the Irish would have home advantage, ie knowledge of the ground, reliable access to resupplies (though admittedly from small stocks) and the determination to fight that comes from defending home territory.
    The Irish Army did expand enormously in the early days of the Emergency, but they also trained hard, and they would IMO have acquitted themselves well.


    • #32
      I would not underestimate the effectiveness of German Paras, there is no doubt that they would have had virtually no support, supply and reinforcements, and that their defeat would have been inevitable.
      However I still think it would have been a nasty fight, the Gerries had very good training and high morale..... hard to judge.

      Anybody else have any opinions?


      • #33
        Didn't the German Paras have a bit of a disaster at Crete?

        German paras did not jump with their equipment and if they could be engaged early on....


        • #34
          Isn't that what paratroopers do best?? Operate with little support and no reinforcements?
          There is no problem that cannot be fixed with high explosive.


          • #35
            Originally posted by Stinger
            Isn't that what paratroopers do best?? Operate with little support and no reinforcements?
            Yes, for short periods of time, with the understanding that reinforcements are a few days away at most.

            Look at the Arnhem operation, airborne forces were to take the bridges and hold it for a day or two. They were then to be relieved by ground forces. When the reinforcements couldn't get through, the battle was lost.

            In a German invasion of Ireland, without significant amphibious resources, the panzers weren't coming any time soon.


            • #36
              Originally posted by Stinger
              Isn't that what paratroopers do best?? Operate with little support and no reinforcements?
              No, they jumped literally without equipment, as opposed to an Allied Para, who would jump with his gear. The Germans jumped with pistols only, their weapons came down in wheeled containers, which you then had to go off and find. Something of an organisational disadvantage, as you can imagine.


              • #37
                RE: Fallschirmjaeger

                The German paras, the Fallschirmjager, were widely regarded as among the finest fighting troops of WW2, probably with some justification.

                Anyway, the Jerries were actively sounding out the possibility of
                Operation Green happening. They dropped several Abwehr agents
                into Ireland, the most celebrated being Herman Goertz, a former
                Luftwaffe officer, who was sussequently caught and interned in the
                Curragh for the duration of the Emergency.

                RTE did a drama series, "Caught In A Free State" years ago, on the

                Anyway, Herman did himself in at the end of hostilities, when it
                emerged that deValera's government intended repatriating him to his home area.

                Only problem was, Goertz didn't want to go back, seeing as how the
                area had come under the jurisdiction of the Russkis....

                Yellowjacket, not sure I agree with you about the standard of the
                Army at the time. I don't think that a neutral force would have been
                a huge roadblock to battle-hardened airborne troops - glad that we
                never found out !
                "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"


                • #38
                  That was a good show..I rember they had fierce trouble with the Junkers tho. The Centre engine used to spew oil onto the cockpit windscreen,and occasionally one of the crew had to stick their heads out to clean the windscreen..

                  Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


                  • #39
                    Dev's secret war on the side of the Allies destroys neutrality myth
                    "LIKE it or not, Ireland is no longer neutral and this is crunch time," Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny declared on Thursday.
                    The truth is that we were never neutral. People have been confusing the right to remain neutral with actual neutrality.

                    Some people will probably think that the new policy document, Beyond Neutrality, is a reckless piece of political opportunism, merely designed to grab some cheap headlines. Others will say it is a brave attempt to grasp a political nettle in order to afford real leadership for a change.

                    The neutrality issue has long been a political red herring. Garret FitzGerald accused Charlie Haughey of secretly trying to use neutrality to end partition in 1981. Eamon de Valera tried to do that until his bluff was called in June 1940, when the British secretly offered to end partition in return for Irish bases.

                    The primary duty of the State is to provide for the security of the people. "It is wrong for us to ignore the issue and it is wrong for us to keep our heads down," argued Gay Mitchell, the Fine Gael spokesman for Foreign Affairs.

                    We were not neutral during the recent Iraqi war. We helped the Americans, by providing landing facilities at Shannon, which was a violation of strict neutrality.

                    Whether anybody finds weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is really of little significance. Enough evidence has been produced to justify the removal of Saddam.

                    As a member of the League of Nations the Irish Free State played a courageous role in international affairs in the 1930s, especially during the Manchurian and Ethiopian crises. De Valera warned that if a proper stand were not taken against international aggression that the league would crumble and that there would be another world war. When the Italians invaded Ethiopia in 1935 he went so far as to suggest that the Irish Free State should provide military support, if the league decided to go to war with Italy. Of course, that never happened, because the major powers funked the issue.

                    Some of our moralists frequently criticise de Valera for not taking a moral stand on the side of right and justice in the Second World War, which was the greatest crisis of the 20th century. But those moralists do not know what they are talking about.

                    At the outset of the war, de Valera assured John Maffey, Britain's representative in Ireland, that he desired an Allied victory and he was prepared to do whatever he could to help the British, short of going to war. He refused to give Irish bases to Britain, but he contended those bases would be of little value.

                    The shipping route south of Ireland was too vulnerable to German attacks from the French coast and the British already had bases in Northern Ireland to protect the shipping route north of the island.

                    Seaplanes based on Lough Erne provided air cover for the Atlantic shipping and the Dublin Government authorised the British to fly over Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal. In April 1941, a seaplane landed off the Donegal coast due to lack of fuel and it was towed into Bundoran. The British were invited to transport the plane back to Northern Ireland, and they were then allowed to station a boat at Killybegs for air-sea rescue purposes. The Robin Hastie, with its crew of 11 British sailors, took up duties in Donegal in June 1941. While in Killybegs, the British naval personnel dressed in civilian clothes to facilitate the myth of Irish neutrality.

                    Throughout the war there was almost total Dáil support for the Government's foreign policy. James Dillon, the deputy leader of Fine Gael, was a lone exception.

                    In July 1941, he admitted that what he called "the Government's present policy of indifferent neutrality" had the support of not only a majority of the people but also a majority of his own party. Still, he contended the policy was wrong.

                    "It is not in the true interest, moral or material, of the Irish people," he said. Possibly he did not know about the Robin Hastie being based in Killybegs.

                    "We, the parliament of Ireland, should ascertain precisely what co-operation Great Britain and the United States of America may require to ensure success against the Nazi attempt at world conquest and, as expeditiously as possible, to afford to the United States of America and Great Britain that co-operation to the limit of our resources," Dillon told the Dáil.

                    He had the courage of his convictions, but he was advocating a dangerous policy. On the basis of Dillon's attitude, David Gray, the US minister to Ireland, suggested that a British or American invasion of Ireland could be facilitated, if they appealed to the deputy leader of Fine Gael as a means of a way of dividing the Irish people. Yet there was no question of Fine Gael allowing this to happen.

                    Dillon was promptly repudiated and forced to resign from Fine Gael when he repeated his views in early 1942 after the United States entered the war. There was a danger, however, that the British or Americans could have acted precipitately in the mistaken belief that Dillon had significant popular support. This did not happen because de Valera was secretly providing the Allies with essentially all the help that they desired.

                    William J Donovan, the head of American intelligence, wrote to US President Franklin Roosevelt on March 30, 1944. This mentions that the Irish approached the US in early 1943 with an offer "to cooperate with the United States Government in intelligence matters".

                    Donovan described this Irish co-operation as "very full". His report contained an extensive list of the kinds of information that Irish military intelligence turned over to the Americans. This included all information obtained from captured German spies and from interned German airmen and sailors, as well as from Irish people who had recently returned from the Continent, such as William Warnock, who spent much of the war as Irish chargé d'affaires in Berlin.

                    An amount of material is blacked out of Donovan's memorandum, presumably because it would embarrass the Irish Government. That material related to de Valera's secret authorisation to use Irish diplomats in Berlin, Rome and Vichy as American spies. The department of external affairs transmitted questions from the Americans to the diplomats and then forwarded the replies to US intelligence.

                    "So far the information contained in these reports has been of use primarily as confirmation of information from other sources," Donovan wrote to Roosevelt.

                    "However, the potentialities are important."

                    (You can find a photographic copy of the report on the internet at

                    We still do not know exactly what information the Irish diplomats provided, but it is absurd to talk about our traditional policy of neutrality. Secretly this country pursued a moral policy of which nobody need be ashamed.

                    There is no real international threat to this country at this time, but experience would seem to suggest the dangers of trying to debate the neutrality issue in the midst of a crisis.

                    Now is the time to debate the issue in the light of history, rather than against the backdrop of a supposed traditional policy, that was neither real nor traditional.

                    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


                    • #40
                      I still think we should have officially joined the allies