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  1. #51
    Swords Hoopster Swords Hoopster is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtharper View Post
    Please give examples of "the BA having a long history of playing down their casualties" other that in time of an actual war?
    Is that supposed to be a joke?

    Besides, Sgt Harper, the schooling you received on the Crossbarry thread should have rendered you pretty silent on this issue

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtharper View Post
    But that's not the Army, even if it's true
    Again, the recent embarrassment you made of yourself on the Tourmakeady thread doesn't appear to have taught you anything
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  2. #52
    sgtharper sgtharper is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swords Hoopster View Post
    Is that supposed to be a joke?
    Obviously not.

    Besides, Sgt Harper, the schooling you received on the Crossbarry thread should have rendered you pretty silent on this issue

    Again, the recent embarrassment you made of yourself on the Tourmakeady thread doesn't appear to have taught you anything
    I don't recall any such embarrassment on my part but more importantly, you haven't answered my points?

    And putting a Smiley on the end of your post doesn't mean your opinion is beyond challenge by the way.
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  3. #53
    Swords Hoopster Swords Hoopster is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtharper View Post
    Obviously not.
    So you're asking me to tell you when the British haven't exaggerated their own and their enemies casualties in times other than when they were engaged in war? In other words, I must rule out the the very (only?) circumstances (a war) where they've incurred and inflicted casualties? Forgive me for half thinking you were attempting a joke, Mr Harper.

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtharper View Post
    you haven't answered my points?
    What points? You haven't made any points. The only thing you appear to have said is that wherever the British Army have been engaged in violent conflict/war, the casualty figures for them and the enemy must only be taken by their side because they are unerringly accurate and therefore the other side's figures - whomever they may be - must always be fabrication and lies.

    Here, have one of these ye feckin' eejit ye:
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  4. #54
    DrNightdub DrNightdub is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swords Hoopster View Post
    I've argued against John Dourney that its very hard to believe that the Irregulars suffered less casualties than the Free State troops given the latter's superior firepower, especially artillery. It'd be interesting to hear your take on that. Eunan O'Halpin says CW casualties outnumbered AIW and Rising casualties combined.

    I'm also not sure that simply adding up lists of records of people killed at the time is sufficient, although it is the first thing you'd do. It doesn't give any scope for undocumented casualties, which in conflicts like this often number a good deal.

    What do you think DrNightclub?
    I think the casualty-inflicting role of artillery in the Civil War is over-rated. The FS Army peppered the Four Courts for the best part of a week and I think the total casualties among the garrison were less than half a dozen. The psychological effects would've been much greater though. Similarly, in the Battle of Belleek-Pettigo, the British Army deployed artillery for the first time since the Easter Rising and the combined fatalities among the FS Army / anti-Treaty IRA amounted to seven.

    To be honest, I would expect that in a guerrilla campaign, it'd be the "conventional" force - in this case, the FS Army - that would suffer the most casualties purely on the basis that they'd be the ones being ambushed. All bar one of the Donegal examples I mentioned bear this out, as those were situations where the FS Army were caught unawares. Having superior firepower in the form of artillery is actually of f***-all value if the opposition won't have the decency to sit still and be bombarded.

    As regards undocumented casualties, then you're straight into the realms of speculation which, from the perspective of historical accuracy, is basically a parlour game - it's all hypothetical and unsubstantiated. I go back to the point I made previously about the value of the local press - they often reported on incidents that weren't necessarily covered in the national press. For example, the incident I referred to regarding the guardroom brawl in Ballyshannon that led to the death of an FS soldier was reported in the Derry Journal but never made it to the national papers. Same with the republican prisoner shot while attempting to escape (and to add fuel to the fire, the documentation relating to that incident is completely missing from the Donegal Coroner's file in the National Archives, the only reason I know it happened is cos the inquest was reported in the local press). If you're going to claim there even were any undocumented casualties, you have to provide examples and by definition, you've no evidence to support such a claim - not even any smoke to suggest the existence of a fire.

    I think to open a discussion about "undocumented casualties", you've got to offer some proof in terms of "so-and-so was killed on whatever date and we can prove that because of X, yet it wasn't documented" - otherwise you're into the realm of how many potential corpses can dance on the head of a needle.

    As regards O'Halpin claiming that Civil War casualties exceeded those of both the Easter Rising and War of Independence, can you provide a link or other reference? I know from emailing him that his project relating to the dead of the Irish revolution only went up as far as Dec 1921 - in other words he didn't document the dead of the Civil War.
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  5. #55
    Swords Hoopster Swords Hoopster is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNightdub View Post
    As regards O'Halpin claiming that Civil War casualties exceeded those of both the Easter Rising and War of Independence, can you provide a link or other reference? I know from emailing him that his project relating to the dead of the Irish revolution only went up as far as Dec 1921 - in other words he didn't document the dead of the Civil War.
    I read it on John Dorney's Site but he was merely speculating, as has every other historian of the period. Why do the great majority of them lead towards the thousands rather than the conservative figure of around 1,500?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrNightdub View Post
    I think to open a discussion about "undocumented casualties", you've got to offer some proof in terms of "so-and-so was killed on whatever date and we can prove that because of X, yet it wasn't documented" - otherwise you're into the realm of how many potential corpses can dance on the head of a needle.
    But if you could do that much, they wouldn't be undocumented would they?

    Besides isn't that the case with most conflicts, well certainly ones that go back a wee bit in history (1798 for example) that estimation of undocumented deaths is a large part of coming to a rough figure? I know that regarding the CW back in 1922 it should be much easier to ascertain a rough figure but is it a certainty that all the fatalities were recorded in this particular "war" when in many others, even of the same time period, that wouldn't have been the case?

    (PS John D has done some fantastic and studious research into this area and I'm not calling his expertise into question. I'm just throwing a few things out there for the sake of debate, that's all )
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  6. #56
    between the bridges between the bridges is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swords Hoopster View Post
    I read it on John Dorney's Site but he was merely speculating, as has every other historian of the period. Why do the great majority of them lead towards the thousands rather than the conservative figure of around 1,500?



    But if you could do that much, they wouldn't be undocumented would they?

    Besides isn't that the case with most conflicts, well certainly ones that go back a wee bit in history (1798 for example) that estimation of undocumented deaths is a large part of coming to a rough figure? I know that regarding the CW back in 1922 it should be much easier to ascertain a rough figure but is it a certainty that all the fatalities were recorded in this particular "war" when in many others, even of the same time period, that wouldn't have been the case?

    (PS John D has done some fantastic and studious research into this area and I'm not calling his expertise into question. I'm just throwing a few things out there for the sake of debate, that's all )
    Translation: don't expect me to back up my waffle...
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  7. #57
    DrNightdub DrNightdub is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swords Hoopster View Post
    Besides isn't that the case with most conflicts, well certainly ones that go back a wee bit in history (1798 for example) that estimation of undocumented deaths is a large part of coming to a rough figure? I know that regarding the CW back in 1922 it should be much easier to ascertain a rough figure but is it a certainty that all the fatalities were recorded in this particular "war" when in many others, even of the same time period, that wouldn't have been the case?
    I don't think you can compare a short, mainly guerrilla-style conflict like the Civil War with the likes of the Western Front where bodies were blown apart under shelling and corpses were lost in the mud and shell-holes of no-man's land, hence so many casualties recorded as "missing."

    For there to have been thousands of deaths in the Civil War, you would have to argue that none of their family members placed death notices in the local or national papers, none of their funerals were recorded by whatever clergy buried them, farmers up and down the country kept finding decomposed remains on their land for years afterwards, the republican National Graves Association decided not to remember them in posterity or the FS Army decided to hide their deaths, none of the relatives of killed FS soldiers applied for Military Service Pensions and none of the papers got even an inkling of hundreds of fatal incidents. It simply doesn't stack up.

    JohnD66 has documented 218 deaths in Dublin, the scene of the most intense fighting. Then add in some of the county-based studies referred to previously and assume they checked all the potential sources I just mentioned:
    - Cork: 180
    - Kerry: 170
    - Sligo: 48
    - Offaly: 22
    - Kildare: 17
    - Donegal: 16
    That's a total of 671 and you're starting to run out of counties...
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  8. #58
    JohnD66 JohnD66 is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNightdub View Post
    I don't think you can compare a short, mainly guerrilla-style conflict like the Civil War with the likes of the Western Front where bodies were blown apart under shelling and corpses were lost in the mud and shell-holes of no-man's land, hence so many casualties recorded as "missing."

    For there to have been thousands of deaths in the Civil War, you would have to argue that none of their family members placed death notices in the local or national papers, none of their funerals were recorded by whatever clergy buried them, farmers up and down the country kept finding decomposed remains on their land for years afterwards, the republican National Graves Association decided not to remember them in posterity or the FS Army decided to hide their deaths, none of the relatives of killed FS soldiers applied for Military Service Pensions and none of the papers got even an inkling of hundreds of fatal incidents. It simply doesn't stack up.

    JohnD66 has documented 218 deaths in Dublin, the scene of the most intense fighting. Then add in some of the county-based studies referred to previously and assume they checked all the potential sources I just mentioned:
    - Cork: 180
    - Kerry: 170
    - Sligo: 48
    - Offaly: 22
    - Kildare: 17
    - Donegal: 16
    That's a total of 671 and you're starting to run out of counties...
    Nightdub, while I agree with your point, in partial mitigation I suspect that some of those local totals might be a little low (now I'm talking tens here not hundreds). When I went through the Dublin casualties a few times, including all the NA accidents (there were a lot) and the IRA 'Last Post', the total eventually went up from 170 to 218.

    For the record I've also counted c.100 deaths in Tipperary so far. But I suspect it's a little higher as it includes no accidental deaths of NA soldiers, which are generally around 1 in 4 of their deaths. I'd guess Limerick has a similar total as there was fairly heavy fighting there in the early weeks. Kildare is 50 or so btw and I suspect the total in Wexford and Mayo is about that. In Cavan I've found about 10 deaths or so and maybe twice that in Monaghan. So that brings you to about 1,000 with most of the more violent counties included.

    So yes I find it hard to see how the total could be far above 1,500 even if everyone who has done local studies has missed lots of bodies. Let's say we allow for very widespread under-reporting of casualties, there's still no way at all the total death toll is over 2,000.
    Last edited by JohnD66; 11th April 2015 at 03:47 PM.
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  9. #59
    Swords Hoopster Swords Hoopster is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNightdub View Post
    For there to have been thousands of deaths in the Civil War, you would have to argue that none of their family members placed death notices in the local or national papers, none of their funerals were recorded by whatever clergy buried them, farmers up and down the country kept finding decomposed remains on their land for years afterwards, the republican National Graves Association decided not to remember them in posterity or the FS Army decided to hide their deaths, none of the relatives of killed FS soldiers applied for Military Service Pensions and none of the papers got even an inkling of hundreds of fatal incidents. It simply doesn't stack up.
    I'm talking about IRA deaths so that wouldn't make any difference regarding Pensions.

    Regarding death notices and funerals, is that part of the information John D took into account when doing his research? (The farmers thing is stretching it a bit mate...)

    Did the papers accurately report on every single fatality? Perhaps they did and it would have to be the local ones cos the national ones, as can be seen from the AIW, were not in any way reliable.

    And casualties being estimated in war doesn't require bodies to be obliterated and lost in mud. Both sides give an estimate of their own dead vs the enemy's and both are invariably at odds with one another. I wonder is there any contention in Finland, for example, regarding the casualties of their civil war? And why do you think almost all previous scholars of the subject put the toll in the thousands? Was it that they simply hadn't undertaken the kind of detailed work Dorney carried out?

    If John D's calculations are correct - and its looking like they are - it shows that the Civil war was but a mere Mickey Mouse skirmish rather than anything else.
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  10. #60
    Swords Hoopster Swords Hoopster is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by between the bridges View Post
    Translation: don't expect me to back up my waffle...
    I'm hoping if I repeat my waffle often enough, folk will start believing it
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