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OPERATION KATHLEEN- IRA AND NAZIS!

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1939 - 1942' started by Kai-Petri, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    the Irish decision to remain neutral during the war was only natural; it was the only way for the country to survive. It was by no means able to resist any kind of an invasion, as its army had been neglected after the Civil War, and the experience of the Netherlands and Belgium in 1940 showed that even neutral countries were not safe from German aggression.

    Hitler had shown an early interest in Ireland as being a tactically valuable position against Britain and tried to make Ireland join an alliance against Britain. He not only offered military help to improve the Irish army against a possible British invasion, but also suggested to help to solve the problem of Irish partition in return, as soon as the United Kingdom would be defeated. :rolleyes:

    The German invasion of the Lowlands in May 1940 proved to be a strain on the relations with Ireland. It proved to de Valera and other neutral statesmen that neutrality did not stop the German armies.In 1941 Hitler even argued that "a neutral Irish Free State is of greater value to us than a hostile Ireland", but nevertheless earlier that year he also made General Kurt Student work out an invasion plan for Northern Ireland. Student's plan was to land 32,000 paratroopers and airborne troops by night in two areas; while the larger force would land north of Belfast, capturing RAF airfields at Aldergrove, Langford Lodge and Nutts Corner, the other group would be dropped near Lisburn, to destroy the planes at Long Kesh and to cut the rail connection between Belfast and the south. The next morning, Luftwaffe planes from Brittany would land on the captured airfields. But this plan was eventually abandoned for the sake of other airborne invasions, like the one on Crete.

    Another heavy strain on the diplomatic relations between Dublin and Berlin was the 'Goertz-Affair'. Following a police raid on the Dublin home of Stephen Karl Held, member of the IRA and adopted son of a German father, on the 22 May 1940, the police found unmistakable evidence for the earlier presence of a German spy, Hermann Goertz. The seized equipment, included a radio transmitter and receiver, a file containing information about Irish airfields, harbours and other targets, the distribution of the Irish defence forces and the crude outline of a German plan to invade Northern Ireland with the support of the IRA from the south. It was the so-called 'Plan Kathleen' that had earlier been brought to Germany by Held himself, but it was so ludicrous that the German intelligence agency turned it down right away.

    An attempt to strengthen the IRA again was the German plan to return the IRA leaders Sean Russell and Frank Ryan, who had been political opponents, to Ireland. At the time of the raid in January 1940, Russell had been on a campaign to raise money in the United States of America, and now he asked the Abwehr to help him return to Ireland, an appeal that delighted the German intelligence, providing it with yet another access to the IRA. The Abwehr managed to get Russell out of the USA and a plan was made for him to return to Ireland, called 'Operation Dove'. After his return on a U-boat the IRA leader would be given free hand in his actions, and he would figure out if joint activities with the Germans were possible. But the whole operation ended tragically, as Russell died on the voyage to Ireland, just in sight of his destination, without telling Ryan about his plans. Ryan therefore decided to return to Germany, where he eventually died in 1944.

    ..after 1941 Germany was more interested in keeping Ireland neutral than to see it enter the war on the side of Britain. But nevertheless, Berlin tried to achieve at least a positive neutrality for itself and offered the Irish the British weapons left behind at Dunkirk.

    http://www.local.ie/general/history/german/index.shtml

    On 12th November 1939, eight months before Neville Chamberlain announced that the UK was at war with Hitler's Germany, the IRA under the leadership of Sean Russell issued an ultimatum to the British Government demanding a statement of intent to withdraw from Northern Ireland within four days. When no response was forthcoming, the IRA - the supposed inheritors of the true Republic - declared war on England. By July, 127 explosions had been recorded in Great Britain. Seven innocent civilians died in a campaign almost certainly planned with Nazi connivance, five in one outrage in Coventry.

    In 1940 Russell travelled to Germany to try to interest the Reich in a bizarre plan to jointly invade Northern Ireland, codenamed 'Operation Kathleen'. The Germans were not impressed with the IRA, one intelligence officer in Ireland regarding them as "worthless". Russell died of a perforated ulcer on board a German U-boat.

    http://www.nuzhound.com/articles/skin1-30.htm
     
  2. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Good stuff, enjoyed reading that...

    Reminds me of Churchills call to Delavera...probably got the wrong spelling....when he made an impassioned plea to him to join us in our crusade...

    One thing as usual....the Irish guy in the street north and south answered the call anyway....Many a Southern Irish man joined the British armed forces in world war 2.
     
  3. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    *Bump*
    Just watched Nazi Collaborators on Yesterday, where this (actually Plan Kathleen) and Operation Green were fully discussed. Kai's original links seem to be dead, so here are fresh ones-
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plan_Kathleen
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Green_(Ireland)
    The programme made the point that the arrival of 37,000 US troops in Ulster made any long-term IRA plans unfeasible from the point of scoring an own goal with sympathisers stateside, so they were restricted to attacking isolated Police outposts and killing a few RUC men. The British captured Russell's successor and hung him, and the whole IRA leadership seem to have been hopelessly naive about the true nature of the Nazis, rather than openly anti-semitic.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRA_Abwehr_World_War_II
     
    Kai-Petri likes this.
  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    I've a few concerns woth the original post material. I know it's from 3rd party articles, but there are some oddities in there.

    I'm not aware of this, nor is there any mention of it in Robert Fisk's essential In Time Of War.

    This is historically not correct; there were many and various suggestions made to Devalera;

    1/ the Americans could be asked to "protect" Ireland directly like their taking-over the "occupation" of Iceland in 1941.

    2/ The British could have been allowed to use the three Treaty Ports to extend the range of their Atlantic escorts.

    3/ the Irish could have agreed to full military cooperation with the British. Historically, there was a remarkable degree of covert cooperation - and contingency planning - but for a variety of reasons some of it has remained SO hidden as to be almost unknown now.

    Did "He"???

    Actually - they didn't, that was the reason the Gortz was sent to Ireland at all after the failure of several attempts to insert agents to directly contact the IRA; to see if the plan was workable I.E. could the IRA deliver their "fifth column" end of the plan.

    The Abwehr's attempts to contact the IRA were pitiful failures; Goertz fell into and back out of contact with the organisation....or rather PART of the organisation, for DeValera's two arrest waves of IRA members left huge gaps in the organisation, and varuious sections suspicious of others. That's why Held had to travel to Germany with Plan Kathleen...

    IIRC there's no evidence of that at all; the "S-Plan" bombing campaign was performed with commercial explosives and detonators, and simply repeated attacks carried out earlier in the century on British targets.

    What REALLY made the plan unfeasible was that from mid-1940 the British stationed up to 51,000 men in Northern Ireland, and pre-readied the materiel and stores necessary to support a pre-emoptive advance on Dublin and several other locations if the Germans were to invade. From that time on, ANY IRA or German or combined attempt to attack Ireland or Northern Ireland would have been doomed unless it was begun in conjunction with a full Operation Sealion.
     
  5. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Is there any original material in Irish archives?
     
  6. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Operation Green, an invasion of Eire was drawn up by Generalleutnant Leonhard Kaupitsch, from an initial idea by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock. It was a well detailed plan and was considered, but Hitler stated that they would only invade Ireland if invited to do so!

    As I live beside several of the proposed drop zones, you can still see the anti-airborne defences on both the Curragh and Pheonix Park.

    The Curragh had a large network of pillboxes and trenches dug in 1940. Given the area it was a prime drop location, as was the pheonix park that would have accomodated large airborne landings in the heart of Dublin. Both would have been key objectives of any attack as the Curragh is the central army base for the Irish Army.

    However the actual plan was almost solely based on amphibious landings and all the risks that would been associated with such a crazy endeavour! It was also closely linked to Sea Lion and would not have been carried out unless the invasion of the UK was also launched.
     
  7. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Good grief, Baron, where have you been hiding?! :cool:
    Don't happen to have pictures of those, do you?
     
  8. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    I didnt know the IRA bombed Britain during WW2, that has come a big surprize to me.
     
  9. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Yan, the 1939/40 campaign was actually a continuation of Russell's "1039-39 "S Plan" bombing campaign.

    While the Curragh is now the IDF's main base, during the Emergency the Irish Army was somewhat more distributed than there ;) The Anglophobe Gen. Hugo MacNeill had a large chunk of it in Monaghan (where he made life hell for his men with repeated emergency drills to hold the border against the British!), there was a good part of it in Dublin centred on the what's now the Cathal Brugha Barracks, and there were forces in and around the Treaty Ports to hold them against any British attempt to take them by force.

    The Curragh's main value in the event of invasion was that it had one of Eire's few developed airfields at the time; I'm aware of it, Balldonnell, Gormanstown (now Dublin Airport), and Rhineanna (now I THINK Shannon Airport). Baron, were there any more???

    One of THE main sticking points over their acceptance of Plan Kathleen by the Germans was the numbers of men that Russell promised them; he said there were some FIVE THOUSAND Volunteers ready and armed and waiting to rise against the Dublin government. In reality DeValera's two arrest waves, one immediately before and one immediately after the outbreak of war had decimated the IRA's numbers, and in many areas completely sundered one part of the organisation from the other...hence part of the trouble Goertz had contacting anyone effective in the mvoement when he landed!
     

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