The breadth and depth of the IRA's arsenal

Chris Thornton has been ruminating on the fast moving events of Monday pm, and traces what details that actually did emerge despite the General’s concern to maintain a degree of secrecy. It included a flame thrower. I can’t remember that one ever reported being used!

20 thoughts on “The breadth and depth of the IRA's arsenal”

  1. A flame thrower was used in the late 80’s along with a heavy machine gun and van bomb in a co-ordinated attack attack against a Fermanagh border post. Two soldiers died, a number were injured and the post destroyed.

  2. A flame thrower was used in the late 80’s along with a heavy machine gun and van bomb in a co-ordinated attack attack against a Fermanagh border post. Two soldiers died, a number were injured and the post destroyed.

  3. The public estimates I have found claim the IRA had 300k rounds of ammunition and it is claimed they decommissioned 700k to 800k rounds. dC reckons that if they handed in that amount of ammo then they must have handed in all the guns because what is the point of having a gun without any ammo.

    Does anyone have a link to the (un)official security source estimates that give a different estimate of ammo held by the IRA?

  4. paddy,

    the frontline link doesn’t contain an estimate of the number of rounds of ammunition the PIRA held. I’ve found a few that list weapons but nothing that says the PIRA had more than 300k rounds.

  5. Does anyone recall an incident where a flame thrower was used by a loyalist in an attack on a catholic school? I have some vague recollection but don’t recall the specifics.

  6. You are probably thinking about the maniac who went into the assembly hall of a school in Bangor (or somewhere) and burned some children.

    He was an ex pupil as far as i remember and it wasn’t sectarian.

    F**king scumbag

  7. Crow, as Zorr has suggested, you were probably thinking of something else.

    The culprit concerned appears to have had a grudge and died of natual causes in secure custody some years ago.

    Why did you think it was a loyalist attack on a Catholic school?

    Memories here do seem to play awful tricks, leading to hand-me-down stories and further bitterness, which is hardly helpful.

  8. As I recall the incident at the check point involved a slurry tanker adapted to act as a flame thrower rather than an actual purpose built one.

    What surprises me is that no one has commented on the SAM missile, I always understood that was the Holy Grail for the provies and when they got that the Brits would be beat a la Afghanistan and the Russkies.

  9. Regarding the SAM:
    Depending on which author you believe, they either didn’t have all the necessary parts; didn’t have anyone who knew how to assemble it; or didn’t have anyone who knew how to operate it. The latter 2 seem unlikely considering they had the know how to build their own mortars and rockets.

  10. The converted slurry tanker operation happened in an attack on the Borouki Sangar in Crossmaglen and is unconnected to the flamethrower attack in Fermanagh.

    When the IRA was striving to get hold of Red Eye surface to air missiles in the US they were able to sent weaponary experts who knew these devices incide out, one of whom was arrested and jailed in an FBI sting, therefore military capability was not the reason that the SAM missiles were not used.

  11. I stand corrected, as I remember the Fermanagh attack it was a real humdinger of an assault, with all sorts of weaponry involved and which lasted for some time. Although it seemed to receive little attention at the time despite the deaths of two soldiers. I think afterwards the army took to mounting heavy machine guns on their helis and issuing rocket launcers to troops based in the border check points.

    As regards the SAMs I reckon ol’ Ghaddafi would have given them the instruction booklets, after all they were designed to be used by Russian conscripts and half literate mujhahadeen so they can’t have been that complicated.

  12. Were there not several reports of unsuccuessful attempts to bring down helicopters in S Armagh in particular with SAM7s, pilots seeing vapour trails etc which led to IR supressing exhausts being fitted? These in turn caused cancer scares among local school kids etc etc etc

  13. IRA/Sinn Fein planned decommissioning years ago. It was all set up. FL arms route was designed to resupply decommissioned weapons. “Offensive” and obsolete weapons to be replaced with shorts that were clean/no ballistics. At some point, believe the Brits even approved retention of these weapons as 1)deterrent to dissident republicans
    2)appease IRA, so they could “police” nationalist areas/punishment shootings 3)allow IRA to defend nationalist area as a last resort.

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