IRA: THE BOMBS AND THE BULLETS - A History of Deadly Ingenuity
Specialist in CBRNE, Consulting Editor, NBC International
IRA: The Bombs and the Bullets is the first book to focus on how the IRA became the worldâ€™s most adept and experienced insurgency group through their bombing expertise â€“ and how â€“ after many decades it all came to an end. It describes and analyses the strategic, tactical, and operational details of the IRAâ€™s military campaign; its doctrine, modus operandi, targeting, acquisition and deployment of weapons and explosives, those who built and/or deployed them, those who died and suffered as a result of them, and those who had to dismantle them.
From the Foreword by Professor Richard English, Queenâ€™s University Belfast:
â€œOppenheimerâ€™s book contains an admirable eye to the long-rootedness of Irish republican campaigns and ingenuity, and his book is packed with fascinating detail and is based on extensive research. It is a very valuable, and readable, study."
â€œWhat Andy Oppenheimer does so originally in IRA: The Bombs and the Bullets is to focus less on what the IRA aimed to do, or what their political effect might have been, than on the more technical details of the organizationâ€™s campaigns of violence. He aims to â€˜complement the many books already published on the organizationâ€™s history, motivation and strategyâ€™ (12) and so we have here a story of bombs, detonators, timing devices, arms dumps, mortars, Semtex, booby traps, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and rocket-propelled grenades, as well as the stateâ€™s counter-measures to try to deal with the threat posed by such an arsenal.
â€œWe also learn something about the people who acquired or made, who stored
and used and developed IRA weapons. The organization emerges from this tale
as innovative, ingenious and brutal. And, as a weapons consultant, Andy Oppenheimer
possesses the expertise which allows him to speak with authority on the technical
details of the IRAâ€™s campaigns. He rightly wants us to remember the violent
intensity of what the IRA did. He points out that the Provisional IRA carried
out 1,300 bombings in 1972 alone."
â€œOppenheimer, in passing, highlights also the telling fact of how little the eventual reality of post-conflict Northern Ireland turned out to resemble IRA demands. In February 1991 (after their mortar attack on Downing Street) the Provos declared that â€˜while nationalist people in the Six Counties are forced to live under British rule, the British Cabinet will be forced to live in bunkersâ€™ (227). Within a decade, IRA Army Council members were frequently talking peace with British politicians in Downing Street, while their political party came to administer reformed British rule in the North of Ireland."
The book tackles the following:
The Armed Struggle â€“ evolving strategies of the Irish republican movement
The Republican belief in violence and doctrines of war â€“ the earliest example of low-intensity warfare up until the Easter Uprising of April 1916 â€“ the first real rebellion - the IRA in the North â€“ the Civil War and beyond - attacking mainland Britain: the 1930s - the Border Campaign 1956-62: the calm before the storm - fission of the IRA and the formation of the Provos - the PIRA onslaught: from defensive to offensive â€“ â€˜1 bomb in London = 10 bombs in Belfastâ€™ - the â€˜Long Warâ€™ and change in targeting - concessions and agreements - â€˜The Conflict is Overâ€™ - 21st-century endgame - understanding the IRA
Dynamiters to City Destroyers â€“ tracing the history of the military campaign,
from the â€˜Fenian Dynamitersâ€™, who used dynamite only weeks after
it was invented, to the Northern Ireland â€˜Troublesâ€™ and bombs on
The Fenian Dynamiters - bombing between the Wars: the 1920s and 1930s - in remission: from the Border Campaign to the Provos - rioting weapons in Ulster â€“ incendiaries - two bombs a day - â€˜Bloody Fridayâ€™ - death on wheels: advent of the car bomb - blowing up Britain - small bombs, big terror - a sustained campaign - restructuring and smart bombs
Spectaculars â€“ the â€˜City Destroyersâ€™ and the IRAâ€™s
Hitting the forces: Warrenpoint and Newry - high-profile assassination: Earl Mountbatten - striking at the heart of government: Brighton and Downing Street - City destroyers - Baltic Exchange â€“ Bishopsgate: a 1-kiloton bomb - Canary Wharf: the IRAâ€™s â€˜Hiroshimaâ€™ - Manchester â€“ a true City Destroyer
Amassing the Arsenal â€“ how, where from, and when the IRA acquired, procured
and smuggled guns and explosives
The extent of the arsenal - storing the inventory - Early days: Erinâ€™s Hope - Roger Casement and the Uprising - arming the Provos - the US connection - shiploads from Gaddafi - weapons from Europe - major arms raids and seizures - stealing the inventory: the Real IRA
Explosives: From Gunpowder to Magic Marble â€“ the widest range of explosives
ever used by an insurrectionist group
Gunpowder and pipe bombs - â€˜Infernal machinesâ€™: Fenian Dynamite - â€˜It ticks away the geliger-niteâ€™â€¦. - the â€˜Sinn FÃ©in conjurorâ€™s outfitâ€™ - the explosive Troubles begin - from â€˜Paxoâ€™ to ANFO and ANNIE (ammonium nitrate mixes) - the IRAâ€™s Magic Marble: Semtex
Bomb technologies: deadly ingenuity â€“ how the IRA constructed their IEDs
Early timers: the first campaigns - Timing and Power Units (TPUs) - detonators: the â€˜key to all bombsâ€™ - command wire detonation - remote control detonation remote vs. command-wire - time-delay detonation: VCRs - anti-handling devices: â€˜booby trapsâ€™: the mercury tilt switch - disguised devices - high-tech advancement: radar detectors - breakaway IRA methods
Mortars - a home-made missile system; an entire weapon series, from Mark 1
to Mark 17
Heathrow: launch of the Mark-6 - The Mark 10 hits Number 10 - The Mark-15 barrackbuster - Grenades: hand-held destruction - rocket-propelled grenades - IPGs and PRIGs: coffee and biscuits
IRA bomb makers: the Engineers â€“ how the Engineering Department became
the elite of the IRA
The Engineering Department - the 1930s campaign - building up expertise - South Armagh: the IRAâ€™s Los Alamos - Marian Price - (Not so) Stupid Paddy - Patrick Magee (the Brighton Bomber) - Patrick Gerard Flood - Shane Paul Oâ€™Doherty (the 1970s letterbomber) - Danny McNamee -Richard Clark Johnson - Eamon Maquire - Gabriel Cleary - Tommy McMahon - Deadly proliferation
The Countermeasures Arms Race and the â€˜Long Walkâ€™ - the response
and containment of IEDs
Intelligence and surveillance - the use of informers - seizing the weapons â€“ bugging them and tampering with them â€“ disarming the bombs â€“ cat and mouse â€“ playing catch-up â€“ when bombs went off â€“ EOD (explosives ordnance disposal) lives lost - forensic evidence - dealing with specific threats: car bombs, booby traps, command wire and radio-controlled devices â€“ sweeping for bombs - using specialised equipment: Wheelbarrow and Hobo - response to attacks
Decommissioning: â€˜not a bullet, not an ounceâ€™ â€“ dismantling
the IRA arsenal
Revealing the arsenal to the world - re-arming to the end - beginning of the endgame - The agony of compromise - â€œcomplete cessation" - ceasefire Mark II - The Good Friday Agreement - â€œNot a bullet, not an ounce" - â€˜beyond useâ€™ â€“ the road to disarmament - assessing the weapons - the impact of 9/11 - the second act: 2002 then deadlock - the third act: bringing down the curtain - problems of disclosure - the FARC controversy - the final Act â€“ "a very brave and bold leap" - decommissioning: the fall-out - beyond use?
â€œLike a nuclear deterrent in inter-state relations, the IRAâ€™s arsenal was a powerful bargaining tool in the talks, especially when the arms were not used."
Tables include Bombs and Explosives â€“ how they work and what they do
High and low explosives â€“ detonators â€“ timers â€“ batteries - the effects - elements of an explosion
Attack Timeline 1867-1998