Southern Irish Collaborators?

Discussion in 'Others' started by toki2, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    I have been watching a series on Yesterday about those who collaborated with the Germans. Belgian, Dutch and Norwegian have all been covered. Last night it featured the activities of the IRA and their plans to use German help to oust the British from Northern Ireland.

    1. Why did the Germans not invade Ireland? Eire would have been very quickly overrun as they had no strong defences, armaments nor forces to repel them. Germany would then be on the Uk's doorstep and have control of the seaports plus an easy hop over for bombing raids. The raids would have covered the whole of UK's wesern coast.

    2. Were the IRA collaborators? Eire was neutral so the Germans were not their enemy. There were members in the North and they would be regarded as having betrayed their country.

    Collaborator - one who cooperates traitorously with an enemy.
  2. rockape252

    rockape252 Senior Member

    Hi toki2,

    By chance I heard the last 10 Mins of a play about the South of Ireland having been invaded during WW2 by Germany. The play which ended at 3 PM this afternoon was broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

    Unfortunately I dont know the full story of the play.

    On a different line to your questions.

    I was told by my Mother that during Air Raids on London IRA members would leave "suitcase bombs" in the Underground stations being used as shelters.

    Regards, Mick D.
  3. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    So many reasons.

    One was distance from even the nearest point in Occupied France..through the Western Approaches, perhaps the most patrolled bit of sea in the region because of the need to combat uboats raiding merchant traffic. Little or no air support...until the Germans could manage to get airfields working on the ground and fly aircraft in longrange ferry mode...extra tankage, ferry props etc...through airspace controlled by the Ireland.

    Irish forces were not as small as you might think; although the "regular" Army nearly doubled its numbers for the period of "The Emergency", they recuited quite large reserve forces, and two levels of home guard. They were also clustered around major ports that the Germans would have had to have taken and used...because the Irish were worried the BRITISH would take them too to use in the Battle of the Atlantic.

    However - noone expected the Iirish defence foprces to last much more than a weerk and a half tops...but that would have been enough - for the 51,000 troops the British mustered in NORTHERN Ireland specificially to enter the Irish Free State to advance to meet the Germans...whether the Irish wanted them to or not. Google under "the W Plan".

    The Germans DID plan a quite small "diversionary" expedition to Ireland - that would have been actioned during the invasion of the south of England, but it was minute, only eight freighters' full of troops. It was never planned to be a "stand alone" invasion...

    Therwe was no point in taking Ireland "first" or on its own; the Germans would have lost a significant cargo tonnage, aircraft, and possibly naval vessels in the much so that any onward invasion of the UK from there would have been next to impossible. No advantage in doing it WITHOUT Sealion at the same time.

    Yes they were...or at least, they atttempted to. The IRA...which was a very fractured organisation, DeValera knocked big holes in the IRA's organisation on the eve of the war with two waves of arrests and internment - came up with "Plan Kathleen", an idea for a German invasion of the whole island to be supported by an IRA strength under arms it didn't have... the strength I mean, they wanted the Germans to provide the arms!...which they tried to interest the Germans in. The Germans made several insignificant and/or unsuccessful attempts to insert agents into Ireland, and when they DID manage to contact (parts of) the IRA, the IRA suspected them of being agents provocateurs and cooperation was very strained.

    The Northern Command of the IRA was almost totally separate from the southern commands during the war because of how tight the British kept border security; there are continued hints of cooperation between the SS/Gestapo and the IRA in NORTHERN was the Abwehr who tried to contact the IRA in the Free State...but I've never seen any of those stories substantiated.

    The go-to book for all the above is Robert Fisk's In Time Of War.
  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Hi Mick - the IRA had a history of schisms after they lost the Civil War following independence. After the last of these in the mid-1930s, the new young Chief of Staff of the IRA, Sean Russell, proposed a renewal of the bombing campaign against mainland UK targets...the "S Plan" a way of renewing the IRA's agenda and reuniting the fractured organisation. He and others went to the mainland and carried out a number of bomb attacks in 1939 and possibly into 1940....I'll have to check - but AFAIK the S Plan was moribund by the Battle of Britain and the Blitz.

    But as with all terrorism - the fear on the part of the population created by it lasted much longer than the actual events.

    It was Russell who came up with Plan Kathleen, and he went to Germany via Portugal to try and sell it to the Germans...bnut he later died on the way back to Ireland on board a German uboat. As he had been out of ireland for some years, that was why the Abwehr tried to insert agents into the Irish Free State - to check out what Russell said about the readiness of the IRA to help them.
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    This is a fairly explanatory piece from Wiki -


    edited to add:

    I cannot find the reference again, but I remember reading that A H and his Generals made something in the region of 50 plans to invade Eire (as it was called then), but his focus changed to the South (Italy & North Africa) and to the East (Russia)

    edit 2:
    Some of the plans are at the bottom of the Wiki - if only I had looked there first :(
  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    If they 'collaborated' with the agents of belligerent powers against the wishes of the lawful government then 'collaboration' probably is the correct term. Germany was a threat to Ireland, even if they weren't at war.
  7. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    IIRC they kept the "Green Book" for Fall Grun - Plan Green - updated right through until the end of 1941...which was longer than Sealion!

    I've always meant to get to the museum at Cathal Brugha Barracks in Dublin to see the copy they have there, but haven't managed it yet.

    There's STILL a lot of secrecy around the British coutner-plan; or rather, the development of the plan in liaison with the Irish Defence Forces. The British in Northern Ireland did meet regularly with their Southern counterparts...there's a letter surviving from Gen. Franklyn's tenure as Commander British Troops Northern Ireland referring to such a meeting in a house outside Dublin...but that's the only surviving reference to such a meeting, though they are supposed to have happened every two months.

    But in many cases this had to be kept secret even from Anglo-phobe Irish officers! Such as Gen. Hugo MacNeill, commander of the Irish Army division based at Drogheda and covering the border; when the war started he walked into the German Embassy in Dublin and asked the GERMAN government for arms to equip the Irish Army!
  8. rockape252

    rockape252 Senior Member

    Hi phylo_roadking,

    Many thanks for that info.

    How about the rumour that German UBoats where allowed to re-fuel in Southern Irish Ports ?

    My wife has just now prompted me with this question.

    Regards, Mick D.
  9. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Mick, that's a rumour that has persisted since during WWII; the Royal Navy spent considerable resources patrolling INSIDE Irish territorial waters down the west of the island in 1940 and early 1941 - a submarine in partnership with a Royal Navy Patrol Service armed trawler (two trawlers were used at diffferent times IIRC) so that the "trawler" could visit Irish harbours...

    On the first couple pf trips the paring lingered in Irish waters, with the trawler in communication with the submarine by wire...but found absolutely nothing. Which is why, when the submarine was ordered elsewhere, the trawler(s) began the policy of visitng irish ports...and again they found nothing...not a scrap of rope, an empty tin can, nor the tiniest piece of German newspaper. People had HEARD of it happening, of course...but just like Shingle Street it was always somewhere else just up the coast or just back down the coast...usually places where they had already visited! A wild goose chase.

    To be frank - that part of Ireland was desperately poor in the early 1940s...and for a long time after! The needs of refuelling and revictualling a submarine would have beggared some (many!) of those fishing communities - let alone left so much trace that it couldn't have been hidden. On many occasions the visit of the ARMED trawler was the biggest thing that had happened in some of those tiny harbours for decades...
  10. rockape252

    rockape252 Senior Member

    Hi phylo_roadking,

    Again many thanks for that most informative information.

    The refuelling of German submarines is a Myth of which myself, my family and friends believed in.

    Kind Regards, Mick D.
  11. DPas

    DPas Member

    Here is a letter I found some time ago on the web when looking for something entirely unrelated. It concerns my home town.

    Attached Files:

  12. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    My brother once met a German u boat veteran who said that they often 'popped up' and sheltered beside the cliffs on the Glens of Antrim coast. He knew the exact location of the tiny village that my family come from.
  13. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    THAT I don't doubt. There's a uboat's map in a wall case in the museum at Fort Dunree, giving navigational soundings etc. right into Lough Swilly under the nose of the guns LOL But that's very different from actually being replenished by the locals.
  14. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    I have Information about "Plan Kathleen" and other related matters on my website.

    It should be remembered that while Eire remained Neutral there were many thousands of Irish Men and Women who joined the British Armed Forces to fight the Nazis.
    The Donegal Corridor permitted aircraft from Northern Ireland to get out into the Atlantic and protect the Convoys and there were a large number of Civilians from the Republic who came North to work as part of the War Effort.

    There was indeed a bombing in a London Tube Station - I believe there is a Memorial to those who were killed.
    DPas likes this.
  15. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Hi, yes in the meantime I've checked that out...but in February 1939 at Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square tube stations rather than during the war and during the Blitz.

    There were no bombs in 1939 after the end of August...and a spate in February 1940...but the very last bomb that was part of the S Plan was on a rubbish tip in mid-March of that year. Prior to that, the last two of the February 1940 spate were in rubbush bins in the West this might have been one with a defective timer that was picked up by binmen and thrown out with the trash!

    Along with a number of arrests and two hangings, the British had expelled over a hundred Irish citizens from the mainland at that point, and Russell's organisation was virtually broken up; he returned to Ireland in August.
  16. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    The German's wanted the IRA to sabotage military and civilian installations not piecemeal attacks on the British population.
  17. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    The problem was however their complete inability to sucessfuly contact the IRA during the early war period. The Abwehr made a complete hash of inserting agents into Ireland time after time; all of them ended up in the Curragh internment camp within days. Ernst Weber-Drohl was the most "longlived" of the early group of Abwehr agents and carried that message to the IRA...then went back to touring the towns in Ireland he'd appeared in as a circus strongman at the turn of he century and romancing old girlfriends! Weber-Drohl was an OAP ex-circus artist..

    Theres no indication the IRA took that message under advisement...or that it ever reached Sean Russell - due to the fractured state of the IRA at that time. Russell and his faction were already working on Plan Kathleen...

    In fact, the IRA had already rejected German suggestions BEFORE the start of the S Plan; these had reached them via a German aquaintance of Tom Barry the veteran IRA fighter and author of [Guerilla Days In Ireland. Barry had even visited Germany before the wa and came back with the offer of coordination...but no money, guns, explosives....

    There were other pe-war meetings in Germany between Jim O'Donovan and the Abwehr...but again brought no material help back, just requests/offers for cooperation and coordination...but once the war began and DeValera decimated the IRA's ranks after the raid on the Irish Army's magazine, the Abwehr's further attempts to contact and work with the IRA for the rest of the war were on the Carry On film level!

    (RTE actually made an ecellent three-part series on it all many years ago, Caught In A Free State, but it never made it to VHS or DVD)

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