British armed forces, late 1970s

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Captain Seafort
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British armed forces, late 1970s

Post by Captain Seafort »

I'm in a discussion on another forum about a plan that the Republic of Ireland drew up in the late 1960s to invade Northern Ireland (apparently intending to seize a few towns and then rely on the UN to end the war and force the surrender of the rest of NI). Needless to say this would not have gone very well for the Republic. However, I'm curious about the details of how such a war might have unfolded, and what forces Britain would have had available to evict the Irish.

My own understanding is that we had four armoured divisions in Germany, some of all of which would certainly have been brought home, Ark Royal and Eagle to form carrier battle groups to hit the west cost and the V-bombers (still in their nuclear role, although I expect they could have been loaded with conventional munitions).

Would some one with more knowledge of the forces of the period be so kind as to confirm whether or not I'm accurate, and/or to point me at a site where I might be able to read up about the British (and possibly Irish) forces of the period, and any more about this invasion plan.

My apologies if this is considered better suited to OT.
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Re: British armed forces, late 1970s

Post by Narkis »

I have no knowledge of the period's forces, but my layman's understanding is this: Great Britain is an important member of NATO. Ireland is not. In case of an invasion by an external entity, the "common defence" clause would kick in, and result in Ireland receiving an epic smackdown, even if Britain's forces alone are somehow inadequate to repel the invasion.
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Sea Skimmer
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Re: British armed forces, late 1970s

Post by Sea Skimmer »

The Irish had no tanks, little artillery, no air power and basically few weapons heavier then machine guns. The British Army garrison in Northern Ireland roughly equaled the entire Irish active duty military at the time in numbers. Beyond that the British had tens of thousands of reservists and a few active duty units in the UK, and the British Army of the Rhine which was indeed four armored divisions, though not all at full strength in peacetime. However redeploying heavy units from Germany would take at least 7-10 to accomplish and a war just wont last that long. As Narkis also points out, the British are part of NATO and NATO intervention would be automatic in this case.

An invasion would have never been more then a joke of a proposal. Stupider things are considered at time. They could well capture a few towns along the boarder, but they'd never get to retain them even under a ceasefire. The British are not going to roll over on something even close to that, they might not agree to any ceasefire without a total demobilization of the Irish military. I wouldn’t put it past them to start bombing Dublin too. The UN would be irrelevant.
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Adrian Laguna
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Re: British armed forces, late 1970s

Post by Adrian Laguna »

Sea Skimmer wrote:I wouldn’t put it past them to start bombing Dublin too.
Between the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force clamoring for the chance to pound some faces in, I don't think the poor Dubliners stand a chance.
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