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Thread: IRA Divisions -Civil War

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    Default IRA Divisions -Civil War

    Here below are the IRA's Divisions prior to the onset of the Civil War.

    I (formerly) believed there were thirty IRA divisions (of whom 16 were Anti-Treaty and 14 Pro-Treaty, although the latter were augmented by Mercenaries). I can only count 16 Divisions, however (I am sure there are a few omitted). I may be wrong, as this link suggests.

    Is there an IRA Order of Battle available online? (Lists units, e.g. 1st Eastern Division, 1st Dublin Brigade, GOC Oscar Traynor TD and engagements). The Divisions did not closely follow county lines, as you might think. Does anyone have any supplemental information? All I have is this (from same link):
    • APPENDIX G: Order of Battle of the Irish Republican Army June, 1922.

      AT= Indicates units opposed to the Treaty. PT=Indicates units supporting the Treaty.

      1st Northern Division (PT) (4 Brigades - Co. Donegal) - C/O Comdt.Gen. Joseph Sweeney

      2nd Northern Division (AT) (4 Brigades - Cos. Tyrone and Derry) - C/O Comdt.Gen. Charles Daly

      3rd Northern Division (AT) (3 Brigades - Co. Antrim and the north of Co. Down)

      - C/O Seamus Woods (and Comdt.Gen. Joseph McKelvey)


      4th Northern Division (Neutral) (3 Brigades - Co. Armagh, the west and south of Co. Down, and the north of Co. Louth) - C/O Comdt. Frank Aiken

      5th Northern Division (PT) (Co. Monaghan, and the east of Co. Cavan) - O/C Comdt.Gen. Dan Hogan


      1st Eastern Division (PT) (9 Brigades - Cos. Meath, Kildare, the south of Co. Louth, the southeast of Co. Cavan, and the east of Co. Westmeath) - C/O Comdt. Sean Boylan (Presumably this Division contained the Kildare Brigade - O/C Comdt. Patrick Brennan)



      2nd Eastern Division (Containing PT and AT units) (Cos. Dublin, Carlow, and the north of Co. Wicklow) - C/O Gen. Thomas Ennis

      Among the units that made up the Division were the following:

      1st Dublin Brigade (AT) - O/C Comdt. Oscar Trainer

      2nd Dublin Brigade

      3rd Dublin Brigade (AT) - Comdt. Joseph O'Connor

      South Dublin Brigade (AT) - O/C Comdt. Andrew MacDonnell

      Carlow Brigade (PT) - O/C Comdt. Liam Stack

      3rd Eastern Division (Containing PT and AT units) (2 Brigades - Co. Wexford and the south of Co. Wicklow) - C/O Patrick Flemming

      The Division contained the following units:

      North Wexford Brigade (PT) - C/O Comdt. Joseph Cummin

      South Wexford Brigade (AT) - Comdt. Thomas O'Sullivan

      Midland Division (PT) (Cos. Longford, Westmeath, the east of Co.Leitrim, the middle of Co. Cavan, and the east of Co. Fermanagh) - C/O Comdt. Sean MacEoin (Presumably this Division contained the South Fermanagh Brigade)

      1st Western Division (PT) (Co. Clare and the south of Co. Galway) - O/C Comdt. Michael Brennan (replacing

      AT O/C Comdt.Gen. Frank Barrett)

      Among the units that made up this Division were the following:

      4th Brigade

      East Clare Brigade - O/C Comdt. Michael Brennan (promoted to Divisional O/C)

      2nd Western Division (AT) (the northeast of Co. Galway, the south of Co. Roscommon, and the southeast of Co. Mayo) - O/C Comdt. Thomas Maguire

      3rd Western Division (Containing PT and AT units) (Co. Sligo, the west of Co. Leitrim, and the west of Co. Fermanagh) - O/C Comdt. Liam Pilkington

      Among the units that made up this Division were the following:

      1st Brigade (AT) - O/C Comdt. Seamus Devins

      2nd Sligo Brigade (PT)

      East Sligo Brigade (AT) - Comdt. Tom Deignan

      4th Western Division (AT) (the west of Co. Mayo and the west of Co. Galway)

      - O/C Comdt.Gen. Michael Kilroy

      Among the units that made up this Division were the following:

      North Mayo Brigade

      East Mayo Brigade - O/C Tom Carney

      West Mayo Brigade - O/C Comdt.Gen. Michael Kilroy

      1st Southern Division (AT) (11 Brigades - Cos. Waterford, Cork, Kerry, and the west of Limerick) - O/C Liam Lynch (succeeded by Comdt.Gen. Thomas Crofts after being mortally wounded and captured 10 April, 1923)

      Among the units that made up this Division were the following:

      Waterford Brigade - O/C Col. Patrick Paul (at a later date O/C Brig.Gen. Pax Whelan)

      1st Cork Brigade - O/C Sean Hagerty and Brig.Gen. Pax Whelan (later appointed O/C of the Waterford Brigade)

      2nd Cork Brigade

      3rd Cork Brigade - Comdt. Tom Hales (Acting O/C Comdt. Michael O'Neill)

      4th Cork Brigade

      5th 'West' Cork Brigade - O/C Tadg O'Sullivan (Brig. Ted Sullivan)

      1st Kerry Brigade - O/C Andrew Cooney (succeeded by Humphrey Murphy and, at a later date

      Brig. J.J. Sheehy)

      2nd Kerry Brigade - O/C Comdt. John Joe Rice

      3rd Kerry Brigade

      West Limerick Brigade

      2nd Southern Division (Containing PT and AT units) (6 Brigades - Co. Kilkenny, the east of Co. Limerick, the south and middle of Co. Tipperary) - O/C Ernie O'Malley (succeeded by Comdt.Gen. Seamus Robinson in July, 1922)

      Among the units that made up this Division were the following:

      Kilkenny Brigade (AT) - O/C Brig. Gen. George O'Dwyer (PT)

      East Limerick Brigade (PT) - O/C Brig. Jimmy Slattery

      Mid Limerick Brigade (AT) - Comdt.Gen. Tomas Malone

      1st Tipperary Brigade (AT) - O/C Comdt. Martin Breen

      2nd Tipperary Brigade (AT)

      3rd 'South' Tipperary Brigade (AT) - O/C Comdt.Gen. Seamus Robinson (Comdt. Paddy Dalton also served as O/C for a short time)

      (Nenagh Brigade (PT?) - Col.Comdt. William Houlihan)

      3rd Southern Division (containing PT and AT units) (5 Brigades - Cos. Offaly, Laois, and the north of Co. Tipperary) - O/C Dan Buckley (succeeded by Sean Gaynor 6 March, 1923)

      Among the units that made up this Division were the following:

      Offaly Brigade (AT) - O/C Comdt. Peadar Bracken

      2nd Offaly Brigade (AT) - O/C Brig. Sean Robbins


      (4th Southern Division (PT) - C/O Comdt.Gen. Donncadha O'Hannagain)

      73 Brigades Total

      APPENDIX I: Irish Republican Army: General Head Quarters Staff, and Regional Commands, 1922-23.

      GENERAL HEADQUARTERS STAFF

      Chief-of-Staff - Liam Lynch (Comdt.Gen. Joseph McKelvey between 18 and 30 June, 1922)

      Assistant Chief-of-Staff - Comdt. Ernie O'Malley

      Deputy Chief-of-Staff - Liam Deasy

      Adjutant General - Adjutant Con Moloney (may have served as Chief-of-Staff as well)

      Adjutant General and Director of Intelligence - Comdt.Gen. Tomas Derrig

      Director of Intelligence - Sean Hyde

      Director of Organisation - Comdt. Ernie O'Malley (at one time Sean Dowling)

      Director of Training -

      Director of Operations - Comdt.Gen. Sean Moylan

      Quarter Master General - Comdt.Gen. Liam Mellows (replaced by Joe O'Connor after 30 June, 1922)

      Director of Publicity - Sean McCarthy

      Director of Engineering - Comdt.Gen. Rory O'Connor

      Director of Chemicals - Seamus O'Donovan

      Director of Munitions -

      Director of Purchases -

      Director of Communications - Jim Moloney (Capt. Sean Leamass sometime in July, 1922)

      Director of Medical Services - Dr. Con Lucy and Dr. J.P. Brennan

      General Staff Officer - Maurice Twomey

      REGIONAL COMMANDS

      Northern and Eastern Command - Comdt. Ernie O'Malley

      Western Command - Michael Kilroy

      Southern Command - Liam Deasy





    Battle of Killmallock

    Free State Army

    Other than WRE Murphy, can anyone spot former British Army officers?
    • APPENDIX H: Free State Army, 1922-23:

      General Headquarters Staff , Individual Corps Commands, and Regional Commands.

      GENERAL HEADQUARTERS STAFF

      Commander-in-Chief - Gen. Michael Collins (beginning 13 July, 1922 after resigning as Finance Minister - 22 August, 1922 killed in an ambush at Beal na Blath, Co. Cork, succeeded by Gen. Richard Mulcahy, 27 August, 1922)

      Chief-of-Staff - Comdt.Gen. Eoin O'Duffy (succeeded by the Minister for Defence, Gen. Richard Mulcahy, on July, 1922, who, in turn, was succeeded by Gen. Sean MacMahon, August, 1922)

      Deputy Chief-of-Staff - Comdt.Gen. Eoin O'Duffy

      Assistant Chief-of-Staff - Lt.Gen. J.J. O'Connell

      Adjutant General - Lt.Gen. Gearoid O'Sullivan (beginning February, 1922)

      Assistant Adjutant General - Comdt.Gen. Kevin O'Higgins

      Quarter Master General - Comdt.Gen. Sean MacMahon (officially until 15 September, 1922, but actually succeeded in August, 1922 by Col. Sean Quinn, who, in turn, was succeeded by Lt.Gen. Sean O'Muirtuile in January, 1923))

      Director of Training - Comdt.Gen. Emmett Dalton (this position was amalgamated with the Director of Operations in January, 1923, and was headed by Comdt.Gen. W.R.E. Murphy, who was succeeded by Maj.Gen. Padraig O'Connor on 23 May, 1923)

      Director of Organization - Comdt.Gen. Diarmud O'Hegarty (who was succeeded by Maj.Gen. Eamonn Price who served until September, 1922)

      Director of Publicity - Piaras Beaslai.

      Director of Intelligence - Maj.Gen. Joseph McGrath (Comdt.Gen. Dan Hogan served in this position between March and July, 1923)

      Director of Purchases - (before the outbreak of the war, this position was held by Liam Mellows)

      Director of Engineers - Comdt.Gen. Patrick Kelly (before the outbreak of the war, this position was held by Rory O'Connor)

      Director of Munitions - Col.Comdt. Sean Quinn (appointed 15 May, 1922) (before the outbreak of the war, this position was held by Sean Russell)

      Director of Chemicals - (before the outbreak of the war, this position was held by Seamus Donovan)

      General Staff Officers - Comdt.Gen. Fionan Lynch and Comdt.Gen. Diarmuid O'Hegarty

      INDIVIDUAL CORPS COMMANDS

      Artillery Corps - O/C Col. Patrick Mulcahy (beginning 5 June, 1923)

      Armoured Car Corps (established 14 September, 1922) - O/C Capt. Joe Hyland

      Army Corps of Engineers (established 1923) - O/C Maj.Gen. C.F. Russell (the Army Corps of Engineers absorbed the Works Corps, Railway Maintenance Corps, and the Salvage Corps)

      Independent Signal Corps (established March, 1923) - O/C Col. Liam Archer

      Air Corps - O/C Maj.Gen. W.J. McSweeney

      Military Police Corps (established in 1923) -

      Railway Protection, Repair and Maintenance Corps - O/C Maj.Gen. C.F. Russell and Col. P.T. Naus

      Army Medical Service (established April, 1922) - O/C Maj.Gen. F.J. Morrin

      Legal Section - Lt.Comdt. Thomas Coyne

      Salvage Corps - O/C Col. Michael McCormack

      Army School of Music (established October, 1922) - Instructor Fritz Brase (beginning March, 1923)


      REGIONAL COMMANDS

      5 July, 1922 - General Order No.1 provided for the following organization:

      Eastern District Command - Comdt.Gen. Eoin O'Duffy

      2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Northern Divisions; 1st and 2nd Eastern Divisions;

      North Wexford, South Wexford, and Carlow Brigades.

      Western District Command - Maj.Gen. Sean MacEoin

      1st Northern Division; 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Western Divisions.

      Southern District Command - Lt.Gen. J.J. O'Connell

      1st Western Division; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Southern Divisions.

      16 July, 1922 - (According to Harrington, pp.36-37)

      Eastern Command - GOC Maj.Gen. Emmet Dalton

      South-Eastern Command - GOC Comdt.Gen. Prout

      Curragh Command - Lt.Gen. J.J. O'Connell

      Western Command - GOC Maj.Gen. Sean MacEoin

      South-Western Command - GOC Gen. Eoin O'Duffy

      28 July-August, 1922 - The three districts were subdivided by order of 28 July into the following: Eastern, South Western, Curragh, Southern, Western, and 1st Northern. By the end of August the South Western was further divided into the Cork and Kerry Commands. The organization that was finally instituted in August was as follows:

      Northern Command - GOC Comdt.Gen. Joseph Sweeney - HQ Stranorlar

      Eastern Command - GOC Comdt.Gen. Daniel Hogan - HQ Griffith (Wellington) Barracks, Dublin

      Western Command - GOC Sean MacEoin - HQ Athlone

      South Western Command - GOC Michael Brennan - HQ Limerick

      Waterford Command - GOC Maj.Gen. John T. Prout - HQ Kilkenny

      Cork Command - GOC Emmet Dalton - HQ Cork

      Kerry Command - GOC Gen. W.R.E. Murphy - HQ Tralee

      3rd Southern Command - GOC Col.Comdt. Paddy Mulcahy - HQ Roscrea

      24 January, 1923 - General Routine Order No.16 provided for the following organization:

      Dublin Command - Comdt.Gen. Daniel Hogan

      1st and 55th Battalions - HQ Keogh (Richmond) Barracks, Dublin City

      8th and 56th Battalions - HQ Portobello Barracks, Dublin city

      13th and 57th Battalions - Collins (Royal) Barracks, Dublin city

      16th Battalion - HQ Mountjoy Gaol, Dublin city

      24th Battalion - HQ Tallaght, Co. Dublin

      37th Battalion - HQ Gormanstown, Co. Meath

      49th and 58th Battalions - HQDundalk, Co. Louth

      21st Battalion - HQ Clones, Co. Monaghan

      53rd Battalion - HQ Cavan, Co. Cavan

      45th Battalion - Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

      33rd Battalion - Naas, Co. Kildare

      48th Battalion - HQ Navan, Co. Meath

      20th Battalion - HQ Carlow, Co. Carlow

      50th Battalion - HQ Gorey, Co. Wexford

      Athlone Command - Sean MacEoin/McEoin/McKeon (April, 1923)

      5th Battalion - HQ Athlone, Co. Westmeath

      23rd Battalion - HQ Longford, Co. Longford

      22nd Battalion - HQ Boyle, Co. Roscommon

      51st Battalion - HQ Maryboro, Co. Laois

      2nd Battalion - HQ Roscrea, Co. Tipperary

      Donegal Command - Comdt.Gen. Joseph Sweeney (April, 1923)

      3rd Battalion - HQ Drumboe

      46th Battalion - HQ Donegal, Co. Donegal

      35th Battalion - HQ Sligo, Co. Sligo

      Claremorris Command - Michael Hogan

      52nd Battalion - HQ Claremorris, Co. Mayo

      26th Battalion - HQ Ballina, Co. Mayo

      4th Battalion - HQ Galway city, Co. Galway

      44th Battalion - HQ Wesport, Co. Mayo

      34th Battalion - HQ Tuam, Co. Galway

      Limerick Command - Michael Brennan (April, 1923)

      7th Battalion - HQ Limerick city, Co. Limerick

      11th Battalion - HQ Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

      28th Battalion - HQ Gort, Co. Galway

      12th Battalion - HQ Ennis, Co. Clare

      18th Battalion - HQ Tipperary town, Co. Tipperary

      31st Battalion - HQ Newcastle, (either Co. Tipperary or Co. Wicklow)

      39th Battalion - HQ Charleville, Co. Cork

      Kerry Command - Maj.Gen. Paddy Daly (February, 1923)

      27th Battalion - HQ Tralee, Co. Kerry

      19th Battalion - HQ Castleisland, Co. Kerry

      17th Battalion - HQ Kenmare, Co. Kerry

      6th Battalion - HQ Killarney, Co. Kerry

      9th Battalion - HQ Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry

      Waterford Command

      14th Battalion - HQ Waterford city, Co. Waterford

      47th Battalion - HQ Kilkenny town, Co. Kilkenny

      25th Battalion - HQ Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

      36th Battalion - HQ Templemore, Co. Tipperary

      41st Battalion - HQ Wexford city, Co. Wexford

      Cork Command

      10th Battalion - HQ Cork city, Co. Cork

      15th Battalion - HQ Bandon, Co. Cork

      30th Battalion - HQ Bantry, Co. Cork

      32nd Battalion - HQ Macroom, Co. Cork

      38th Battalion - HQ Kanturk, Co. Cork

      40th Battalion - HQ Fermoy, Co. Cork

      42nd Battalion - HQ Youghal, Co. Cork

      Curragh Command - Maj.Gen. Peadar McMahon

      29th, 43rd, and 54th Battalions (Garrison units) - HQ Curragh, Co. Kildare

      59th and 65th Battalions (Reserve units) - HQ Curragh, Co. Kildare


    Finally, can anyone fill in any blanks (above)?
    "The minarets are our lances, the domes our helmets, the believers our army."
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    Default Re: IRA Divisions -Civil War

    A lot of brigades split and so forth.In kerry all 3 IRA units officially rejected the treaty but many left them and joined the national army.Apparently something similiar happened in tipperary but Im not sure.New units were formed on both sides and I doubt if many brigades remained fully intact either way.good luck anyway
    "If the price of peace is the blacking off my name, then it's a price I'll gladly pay" Michael Collins

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    Default Re: IRA Divisions -Civil War

    Indeed. Note that the 2nd Eastern Division (Dublin and Carlow) mostly rejected the Treaty (other than the Carlow Brigade and perhaps one of the Dublin Brigades). However, several thousand Dubliners served in the 'Dublin Guard' of Major Gen. Paddy O'Daly. I would imagine these people to have been the lowest underclass that had either served in the British Army for pay (and thus joined the 'National Army' for similar reasons, but were characteristically reluctant to contribute to the national liberation effort) or were actuall Britons (or sons thereof: remember one of the largest red light districts were located in Dublin).
    "The minarets are our lances, the domes our helmets, the believers our army."
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    Default Re: IRA Divisions -Civil War

    Correct. As you know--though many posters may not--the Dublin Guards were the SS of the Free State Army. I think there's a topic for a Ph.D thesis there for some graduate student in history. My family tradition (Dublin, anti-Treaty) is that the Guards had a high proportion of ex-British Army, both Irish and British. I have also heard that criminals were let out of jail in order to join the Guards, though this may be apocryphal. Thier officers were in many cases ex-British Army, with a backbone of the minority of the Dublin Brigade who had stayed loyal to Collins.

    Certainly these thugs brought shame on my native city by their behaviour in the Civil War, especially in Kerry, where they were guilty of numerous atrocities. I'd be interested to know what became of them after the Civil War. Obviously they were long gone by the time Dev took over in 1932.

    I commend you for the research you are doing. The Free Staters have have had unchallenged domination in the historiography of the past decades. Even Fianna Failers appear to accept that the Free Staters were in the right (well, maybe that's not surprising, coming from Fianna Fail).
    Leadership on the Republican side was generally poor. Prudent action by the Executive in the early summer of 1922 could have strangled the Free State at birth. All the grandiose apparatus of Brigades and Commands was so much hot air, lots of areas did nothing either in the War of Independence or in the Civil War.

  5. #5

    Default Re: IRA Divisions -Civil War

    Zyklon, are you publishing, or have you done so already ? I'd be very interested. And do you have a bibliography you could throw up here ?

    Good work, fair play to you.
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    Default Re: IRA Divisions -Civil War

    Eh, not exactly. I was actually looking for information...all of this is from a link I found -an American Ph.D!

    I suppose I have an interest..there are a few gaps though (note above).

    Also, it's fun to stimulate a little Civil War banter, "Your side were traitors"... etc. It's funny because it's true.
    "The minarets are our lances, the domes our helmets, the believers our army."
    -Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 1997, on Mosque construction in Europe

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    Default Re: IRA Divisions -Civil War

    interesting topic.

    Military Divisions are large formations of troops or mechanised Divisions (eg Tanks).
    Typically a Division would consist of 20 to 30 thousand troops.

    Its difficult to believe there were 16 IRA Divisions amounting to over 200,000 troops.

    Most of the brigades and battallions listed were likely paper formations.

    I have done some research in the National Archives and the evidence there bears out the above.
    This is true from pre 1916 all the way through to Independence.

    The population of Ireland was much lower then ,I think somewhere around 3 million.If 50 % were women and not under arms then a fighting force of 200,000 would represent nearly 14% of the male population.

    This is a very unlikely scenario.

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    Default Re: IRA Divisions -Civil War

    Quote Originally Posted by twtone
    Correct. As you know--though many posters may not--the Dublin Guards were the SS of the Free State Army. I think there's a topic for a Ph.D thesis there for some graduate student in history. My family tradition (Dublin, anti-Treaty) is that the Guards had a high proportion of ex-British Army, both Irish and British. I have also heard that criminals were let out of jail in order to join the Guards, though this may be apocryphal. Thier officers were in many cases ex-British Army, with a backbone of the minority of the Dublin Brigade who had stayed loyal to Collins.
    My people (on my mother's side) were IRA (though not from Dublin: will keep that to myself). Most of the Dublin IRA went anti-Treaty, although Collins' squad stayed with their master. They subsequently became officers of the Dublin Guards. There were many Irish Ex-British Army officers in the Free State Army and few were from the National Volunteers (of John Redmond), but career officers such as WRE Murphy and JT Prout. I'm sure there were many others (the point of the above post was to ascertain just that. Murphy had one redeeming feature: he was President of the IABA and initiated the scheme to build the National Stadium, which was opened by Frank Aitken. Ironic, no?)
    There was a certain minority Pro-British sentiment in Ireland and I reckon there was such in Dublin also: there would've been many people of English descent living there, the sons of navvies or Protestants (who were proportionately higher in number in Dublin than in other counties e.g. Offaly). Also, the Dublin Guards were simply composed of Mercenaries: people who wouldn't lift a finger to free the country, but would fight for anyone that'd pay them ie. the British (or their surrogates).

    Quote Originally Posted by twtone
    Certainly these thugs brought shame on my native city by their behaviour in the Civil War, especially in Kerry, where they were guilty of numerous atrocities. I'd be interested to know what became of them after the Civil War. Obviously they were long gone by the time Dev took over in 1932.
    As I pointed out above, WRE Murphy was President of the IABA in 1937. There were several British Royal Legion clubs in Co. Dublin (until recently) and I'm sure there was a 'certain overlap' in membership between the FSA and the British Army (the IRA too: don't forget Tom Barry and many others like him. What happened to Irish ex-servicemen after the Great War, asks Mr. Myers? They either: a) joined the IRA in 1919 as Volunteers or b) joined the Free State Army in 1923 as mercenaries or c) stayed home and got drunk in the Royal Legions clubs for ~60 years, occasionally wearing their poppies).

    Quote Originally Posted by twtone
    I commend you for the research you are doing. The Free Staters have have had unchallenged domination in the historiography of the past decades. Even Fianna Failers appear to accept that the Free Staters were in the right (well, maybe that's not surprising, coming from Fianna Fail).
    Leadership on the Republican side was generally poor. Prudent action by the Executive in the early summer of 1922 could have strangled the Free State at birth. All the grandiose apparatus of Brigades and Commands was so much hot air, lots of areas did nothing either in the War of Independence or in the Civil War.
    This isn't really my research. I agree though: the damn IRA was indecisive at the outset of the war. Crushing the Free State garrision in Limerick early (instead of attempting to make peace with them) and likewise Waterford and the rest of the country would've remained in play.

    I'm waiting for Round 2....
    "The minarets are our lances, the domes our helmets, the believers our army."
    -Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 1997, on Mosque construction in Europe

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    Default Re: IRA Divisions -Civil War

    Quote Originally Posted by dub006
    interesting topic.

    Military Divisions are large formations of troops or mechanised Divisions (eg Tanks).
    Typically a Division would consist of 20 to 30 thousand troops.

    Its difficult to believe there were 16 IRA Divisions amounting to over 200,000 troops.

    Most of the brigades and battallions listed were likely paper formations.

    I have done some research in the National Archives and the evidence there bears out the above.
    This is true from pre 1916 all the way through to Independence.

    The population of Ireland was much lower then ,I think somewhere around 3 million.If 50 % were women and not under arms then a fighting force of 200,000 would represent nearly 14% of the male population.

    This is a very unlikely scenario.
    As a matter of fact, the IRA had a nominal membership of about ~115,000 at one stage (although there a certain 'imbalance' in terms of composition of the various Divisions: for example, the 1st Southern Division supposedly had over 33,000 Volunteers!)

    I wouldn't call these Brigades 'paper formations': they did exist and were practical. Given the paucity of equipment however, only a fraction were ever actively involved at any one time. Each Brigade would've been composed of almost eight battalions with perhaps another eight companies, or more. Only a third of these might be active at any one time but nominally active at one time or another. I think during the Civil War, the IRA had between 15,000 and 20,000 mobilised men, representing about a third of their nominal manpower (assuming that the ten Divisions above were proportionately representative of the 115,000 comprising the 16 pre-split Divisions. If it was in fact 16 Divisions).
    "The minarets are our lances, the domes our helmets, the believers our army."
    -Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 1997, on Mosque construction in Europe

  10. #10

    Default Re: IRA Divisions -Civil War

    Firstly, fair play, the organisation of the IRA before and during the Civil war is fairly interesting. As someone said though the formation of divisions, which had occurred on paper at a leadership level in the army often meant nothing on the ground. Ernie O'Malley was appointed to command the second division formed by the IRA - the Second southern. He gives the details in his excellent memoirs. The impression I get is that firstly an IRA division wasn't an actual fighting formation so much as a administrative unit. It was an organization which attempted to co-ordinate the actions of a number of much smaller units which had previously acted with almost complete independence. I think the number for the IRA also included members who would only act in a supporting role - from spotters to people willing to hide arms or volunteers and provide a safe house when necessary to those who might help fell trees or build a roadblock. The Divisions main aim was to keep the actual fighting formations - the Flying columns - in the field and from what I've read a division wouldn't be expected to keep more than one or two on the go at any time. Late war Flying Columns were the IRA's elite, made up of full time insurgents and not people who held down daytime respectable jobs. Such part timers would assist when an ambush was being held in their area. Flying columns don't actually fit into a traditional army organisation . They could be company sized but no battalion or brigade designated a single company to be the flying column of an area. The most motivated, those with least to loose in terms of dependants etc or those who were on the run from the authorities all came together to form a fluid column of men whose numbers fluctuated with the seasons/fortunes of war etc and acted over a wider area than any company sized unit if the IRA had responsibility for. When the state got around to issuing service medals for the War of Independence it recognized the varying degrees of service that people provided by providing a special clasp on the medal of those who were involved in fighting as opposed to support roles. I think the effort to form divisions was to enable the formation of more full time columns throughout the country. I also think the IRA leadership became keen on the idea and created more divisons during the truce period so that the IRA could easily step into the role of national Army for a recognised Irish republic. The IRA leadership didn't expect to fight the Civil war. It was rogue elements within the IRA which actually started the fighting at the Four Courts in August '22.

    Oh, and someone mentioned a General Prout of the National Army. He wasn't a British officer though he may have served in the peacetime British army. He had been an officer in the American Army during WW1- My source for this is a memoir of a member of the Dublin Guard who served under him in kilkenny for a while. The book is called Legion of the Vanguard and the guy's name is Pinkman I think. Don't hae it to hand so can't be certain. I also reckon you are being harsh on returned former British Soldiers. Many were not mercenaries but people who had joined the Army because of Redmond's call for volunteers. The person they looked to for leadership failed them by involving them in that bullsh!t war.

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