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Thread: Observer Corps

  1. #1
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    Observer Corps

    I note the BBC have a series on tv at present about the british reaction to the cold war, from all avenues.
    Among the topics covered on one show was their version of the observer corps, which up to the 90s, was a role of the FCA.
    A number of national exercises were carried out, with the CD doing their own thing.
    The FCA role was to monitor the progress of the nuclear war which had happened elsewhere.
    Where we were expected to do this monitoring was never revealed....
    Anyone else old enough to remember?
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

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    Hostage Flamingo's Avatar
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    A chap I worked with was in the ROC. They had dedicated monitoring posts https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roya...onitoring_Post

    He said after a week or two's exercise, both the air and the nerves were a bit rough.
    'He died who loved to live,' they'll say,
    'Unselfishly so we might have today!'
    Like hell! He fought because he had to fight;
    He died that's all. It was his unlucky night.
    http://www.salamanderoasis.org/poems...nnis/luck.html

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    The 1987 df handbook had a big piece on the observer corps if you can get your hands on it

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    The one showing a guy in an NBC suit using equipment not normally used by 95% of the observer corps?
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by na grohmiti View Post
    The one showing a guy in an NBC suit using equipment not normally used by 95% of the observer corps?
    Exactly???? Remember how broke the country was at the time

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul g View Post
    Exactly???? Remember how broke the country was at the time
    They should have had a photo of an overall clad FCA volunteer examining the 1950s vintage equipment that would never be brought out of the store or classroom.
    Oh and a phone of course. While civilisation as a whole was being wiped out by Mutually assured destruction, the irish telephone network would survive to allow outposts to relay observations to hq...
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

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    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    There a number of RDF units outside Bks that had NBC monitoring equipment (my first exposure to it was around 2006) when we participated in the national ex

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    Quote Originally Posted by na grohmiti View Post
    The one showing a guy in an NBC suit using equipment not normally used by 95% of the observer corps?
    I'll double check, but I'm sure my friend said that the ROC in bunkers were not issued with NBC suits and S10's as they were not expected to leave the observation bunker.
    'He died who loved to live,' they'll say,
    'Unselfishly so we might have today!'
    Like hell! He fought because he had to fight;
    He died that's all. It was his unlucky night.
    http://www.salamanderoasis.org/poems...nnis/luck.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamingo View Post
    I'll double check, but I'm sure my friend said that the ROC in bunkers were not issued with NBC suits and S10's as they were not expected to leave the observation bunker.
    YouTube has a few Government Information films from the 60s and 70s on the ROC bunker networks.

    Well, government doesn't stop just because the country's been destroyed! I mean, annihilation's bad enough without anarchy to make things even worse!

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    Recruit Poiuyt's Avatar
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    My understanding was that it was the FCA Cadre that performed the role, not soldiers in the FCA. I never remember any training in it anyway.

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    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poiuyt View Post
    My understanding was that it was the FCA Cadre that performed the role, not soldiers in the FCA. I never remember any training in it anyway.
    I believe the Observer Corps had a PDF cadre and FCA establishment (but only manned in time of emergency).

    My Coy was the only one in the Bn that had the role.

    Around 2006 the cadre trained all the Ptes in the coy in an intro to NBC monitoring.

    For the RADMON EX, the Instruction from D RES was for RDF personnel to be used (on mandays)

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    There was in the 1980s during the height of the Cold War less than 20 pdf members of the observer corps and most of them were officers in barracks.

    The thinking at the time was that Ireland would not be hit by an atomic bomb but that the main danger would be fallout from attacks in the uk, however given the prevailing winds even that’s was not seen as a danger worth investing funds in, hence the minute size of the force. Also from about 1985 onwards planning for Cold War came to a halt, part of this was geopolitical as Gorbachev came to power and part was on island with the threat from paramilitaries From eskund and unionists if British withdrawal and unionists udi.

    Older members of the board might remember exercises against invasia who happened to resemble Warsaw pact forces were common enough up to the 1980s and then around 1985 a new foe appeared the fantasians who just happened to resemble the udr. A lot of work was done in devising defensive plans based upon the Austrian zonal defence concept.

    For those of us who enjoy reading the college by Tom Hodson is very good on this period
    Last edited by paul g; 8th November 2019 at 00:17.

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    If memory serves me right the Observer Corps were based in Griffith Barracks and their collar badge was a Heron with a raised leg?
    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

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  19. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul g View Post
    There was in the 1980s during the height of the Cold War less than 20 pdf members of the observer corps and most of them were officers in barracks.

    The thinking at the time was that Ireland would not be hit by an atomic bomb but that the main danger would be fallout from attacks in the uk, however given the prevailing winds even that’s was not seen as a danger worth investing funds in, hence the minute size of the force. Also from about 1985 onwards planning for Cold War came to a halt, part of this was geopolitical as Gorbachev came to power and part was on island with the threat from paramilitaries From eskund and unionists if British withdrawal and unionists udi.

    Older members of the board might remember exercises against invasia who happened to resemble Warsaw pact forces were common enough up to the 1980s and then around 1985 a new foe appeared the fantasians who just happened to resemble the udr. A lot of work was done in devising defensive plans based upon the Austrian zonal defence concept.

    For those of us who enjoy reading the college by Tom Hodson is very good on this period
    I just assumed as they were a separatist group of religious fanatics they were islamic. I guess that makes me racist...
    German 1: Private Schnutz, I have bad news for you.
    German 2: Private? I am a general!
    German 1: That is the bad news.

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  21. #15
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    I spent the 90s fighting Fantasia forces and the 00s fighting the Wicklow Freedom Fighters

    But back to the topic on hand. There was relatively regular training for FCA members by the Observer Corps in the early 90s (There was a course every other year or so). I remember one when I was in the Southern Command and another when I was in the Eastern Command.


    The equipment remained in stores until the RDF units were disbanded in 2012
    Last edited by Bravo20; 8th November 2019 at 12:37.

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    Commander in Chief apod's Avatar
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    The Observer Corps course was the first course I ever did the the DF as a "Private"( I was still a recruit) in the FCA in 1991. The equipment was obsolete even then and the concept of Ops (buried shipping container OPs/monitoring posts was a bit off the wall).

    RADMON came about because the Radiological protection Institute of Ireland(now a branch of the EPA) still thought up to 2013 that we had an Observer Corps and that we would still feed them info in an Emergency situation. I was in the room when they found out to the contrary.

    Cue UOR purchasing of equipment and RDF cadre staff being trained up on it nearly overnight. Fun times.
    Infantry Corps - An Lámh Comhrac


    "Let us be clear about three facts:First of all.All battles and all wars are won in the end by the Infantryman.Secondly the Infantryman bears the brunt of the fighting,his casualties are heavier and he suffers greater extremes of fatigue and discomfort than the other arms.Thirdly,the art of the Infantryman is less stereotyped and harder to acquire than that of any other arm".
    -- Field Marshall Earl Wavell.1948

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    I "did" the Observers Course one afternoon in Ft Davis, on camp. We had finished the 81mm mortar course (again) and were waiting for a slot at the range so this Observer chap was whistled up from nowhere and gave us the course. One piece of kit was a white bin, lined with photgraphic paper, a pinhole camera in effect, whose sole function was to indicate the direction in which an atomic blast had taken place. There were also NBC suits, respirators and an old phone to contact other posts. We had to practise ringing in a positive reading of the photo paper to central Obsv HQ. I recall "Ballinrobe Post, Ballinrobe. Nuclear blast, direction East" as one line of a supposed report......Even back then, I realised that the Officer, a genial young Captain, was playing a blinder, having the cushiest job in the DF, going around on "sub" lecturing about nuclear fallout,etc.

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  26. #18
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    Apparently CD are having their annual RadMon training seminar this weekend:


    An old thread on the Observer Corps and their British analogues: https://forum.irishmilitaryonline.co...Observer-Corps

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    Commander in Chief hptmurphy's Avatar
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    Time for another break I think......

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul g View Post
    There was in the 1980s during the height of the Cold War less than 20 pdf members of the observer corps and most of them were officers in barracks.

    The thinking at the time was that Ireland would not be hit by an atomic bomb but that the main danger would be fallout from attacks in the uk, however given the prevailing winds even that’s was not seen as a danger worth investing funds in, hence the minute size of the force. Also from about 1985 onwards planning for Cold War came to a halt, part of this was geopolitical as Gorbachev came to power and part was on island with the threat from paramilitaries From eskund and unionists if British withdrawal and unionists udi.

    Older members of the board might remember exercises against invasia who happened to resemble Warsaw pact forces were common enough up to the 1980s and then around 1985 a new foe appeared the fantasians who just happened to resemble the udr. A lot of work was done in devising defensive plans based upon the Austrian zonal defence concept.

    For those of us who enjoy reading the college by Tom Hodson is very good on this period
    Genforia and the Motor Rifle Regiments.

  30. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by northie View Post
    Genforia and the Motor Rifle Regiments.
    Yes, that is the one I fought many a time - a post soviet opposition with a mix of weapons ... but they never seemed to have anything not Russian.

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