The Bombing of Broadgate, 1939- The IRA S-plan

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In the wider perception of European history, the late 1930s is remembered as the time when Nazi Germany began to cast its shadow over Europe leading ultimately to the most destructive conflict in history – World War II. At the same time however, old grievances were bubbling to the surface once more in Ireland and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were about to resume their campaign to unify Ireland and expel what they saw as a British military occupation of Northern Ireland.

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ON AUGUST 25, 1939, an IRA bomb killed five innocent people and wounded more than 60 others in Coventry. The dead included a 15-year-old boy and an 82- year-old man. Little over a week later, the bombing was overshadowed by the outbreak of the Second World War.

The first direct talks between the IRA and the Nazis began in 1937, when Tom Barry, the then chief-of-staff, travelled to Germany.

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The legendary leader of the Cork flying columns was accompanied on his travels by a German agent, Jupp Hoven. While posing as a TCD student, Hoven undertook spying work in Belfast, Dublin and Cork. He was a close friend of Helmut Clissmann, who ran the German academic exchange service in Dublin. Both men were from Aachen and had nurtured links with the IRA in the 1930s.
Barry’s 1937 trip to the Continent was aimed at seeking German support for IRA attacks on British military installations in Northern Ireland. But at an IRA convention in April 1938, Barry’s plan was rejected in favour of more grandiose pro-German plans conceived by the new chief-of-staff, Seán Russell. The 1916 veteran had long cherished a Casement-style alliance with Germany.

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In August 1938, Russell called on an old IRA comrade, James(Saemus) O’Donovan, who, since 1930, had been working as a manager at ESB headquarters in Dublin.

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The IRA leader’s visit was to enlist his friend’s help in designing a bombing campaign on English soil, to be launched the following year. Russell and O’Donovan were the only two surviving members of the IRA general headquarters staff who had opposed the Anglo-Irish treaty in January 1922. Despite being on the state payroll and having a young family, O’Donovan did not hesitate to accept Russell’s call to arms. I

O’Donovan’s elder son, Donal, had misgivings about his father’s decision to re-enlist with the IRA in 1938, at the age of 41. But James O’Donovan himself never expressed any regrets about his role in the English bombing campaign, which resulted in the deaths of seven members of the public, scores of serious injuries, and the execution of two IRA volunteers in February 1940.

The S-plan kicked off with polite formality, as might be expected from an ex-pupil of the Jesuits (O’Donovan was born in Roscommon in 1896 and educated at Glasgow’s prestigious St Aloysius College). In mid-January 1939, the British foreign secretary, Lord Halifax, received an IRA letter declaring war, which began ‘Your Excellency . . .’. It was typical of O’Donovan to issue a deadly threat cloaked in formal terms.
The ultimatum gave the British government four days to withdraw troops from Northern Ireland—an impossible deadline to meet. In fact, however, the S-plan had nothing to do with forcing a British withdrawal from the North, and everything to do with attracting the attention of the Germans. Russell saw Hitler as the only European leader capable of destroying Britain. His logic was that with England on her knees, nothing could prevent a German-backed reunification of Ireland.

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The British government refused to adhere to the demand and thus the IRA declared war on the United Kingdom on Sunday 15th January 1939. The next day, five bombs were detonated in London, Warwickshire and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The targets were electricity pylons and power sub-stations in an attempt to specifically harm industrial outputs in those areas. This set the tone for much of the IRA’s campaign and over the following week a significant number of targets were hit but with almost no fatalities since they were aimed at infrastructure, power and gas supplies. This was a key factor in supporting the propaganda war since large numbers of deaths might turn the all-important American support against them.

As a wave of IRA bombs exploded across English cities in  January 1939, it didn’t take the Abwehr long to act. In early February it dispatched one of its agents, Oscar Pfaus, to Dublin to meet the IRA leadership. O’Donovan recalled that on 3 February the German agent ‘met Seán Russell and myself in Pete’s [Kearney] house in Clontarf. He explained that his principals would be glad to meet a representative from us and discuss the possibility of assistance . . .’.
This was an offer the IRA leaders could not refuse.

Throughout 1939 the IRA carried out repeated attacks aimed at further undermining the British industrial complex and the British people’s confidence in their government to protect them. In July 1939, attacks were made on cinemas in London and Birmingham using tear gas bombs which although didn’t kill anyone struck fear in to the wider public that their enemy was on their own streets and walking among them. At the same time, perhaps frustrated by the lack of results thus far, the British government revealed that it had been informed that the attacks on the UK would intensify in the coming months. Not long after this, bombs were detonated at banks across London killing one person while a second was killed in a blast at King’s Cross train station a month later. The British responded with emergency powers that saw large numbers of the Irish community in Britain get deported to Southern Ireland who were themselves introducing legislation to combat the IRA. The British were also increasingly concerned about reported support for the IRA’s campaign coming from Berlin.

Then on August 25th 1939, less than a week before Hitler’s forces crossed in to Poland, a rather inconspicuous-looking bike was placed up against a wall in Broadgate, part of Coventry’s busy city centre.

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The bike had a basket on the front, common for the time, with a bundle inside it. A rather frustrated man had left it there and walked away having found it difficult to take the bike across the tramlines in the area. His name was Joby O’Sullivan who came from Cork and he was the only one who knew that the bundle in the basket was in fact a bomb. He would later state that he intended to take the already armed bomb to a nearby police station but the tramlines had slowed his progress down meaning the bomb was due to detonate soon and not wanting to be a martyr he left it where it was.

At two minutes after half past two on a busy Friday afternoon, the 5lbs of explosive was detonated by an alarm clock timer. The blast shattered glass which shot out like bullets that cut down people walking by at the time.

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A young shop assistant, 21-year old Elsie Answell, was killed instantly having been standing by a window near where the bomb detonated. She was due to be married in early September but ended up getting buried in the same church her service was to take place.She was only identifiable by her engagement ring.[2

In the W.H. Smiths store, 30-year old Rex Gentle who came to Coventry from North Wales for holiday work and 15-year old local boy John Arnott were also killed in the initial blast. 50-year old Gwilym Rowlands was killed while sweeping the roads for the council while the oldest victim, 82-year old James Clay, was struck down as he walked home from his regular café which he had left earlier than usual because he was feeling unwell. Another 70 people were injured many of them with severe lacerations caused by the flying glass.

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The British public were outraged and the attack served to further diminish confidence in British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his government who seemed impotent to stop both the IRA at home and Hitler in Eastern Europe.

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How Neutral was Ireland during WWII-Ireland and the Third Reich.

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The Republic of Ireland was and still is a neutral country but during WWII there were many Irish volunteers who fought with the allies against the Axis power.Like The first RAF bomber pilot to be shot down and killed in 1939 was Willie Murphy from Cork. His navigator, Larry Slattery, from Thurles, became the longest-serving ‘British’ POW of the war.(pictured below in a Berlin POW hospital bed)

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On the other hand there were a great number of Irish who were sympathetic to Hitler and the Nazi regime.One of the most famous ones was the Irish playwright, critic and polemicist George Bernard Shaw.

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He despised democracy, supported Lenin, Stalin and the Soviet purges, and denied the Ukrainian Famine happened. He also supported Hitler, and denied the Holocaust happened.After Hitler’s suicide in May 1945, Shaw approved of the formal condolences offered by the Irish Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera, at the German embassy in Dublin.

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Shaw disapproved of the postwar trials of the defeated German leaders, as an act of self-righteousness: “We are all potential criminals”.

Charles Henry Bewley was raised in a famous Dublin Quaker business family (Bewleys Coffee and Cafes)and embraced Irish Republicanism and Roman Catholicism. He was the Irish envoy to Berlin who reportedly thwarted efforts to obtain visas for Jews wanting to leave Nazi Germany in the 1930s and to move to the safety of the Irish Free State.

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Inhis reports to Dublin during the 1930s he gave the impression that German Jews were not threatened; that they were involved in pornography, abortion and “the international white slave traffic”. He explained the Nuremberg Laws “As the Chancellor pointed out, it amounts to the making of the Jews into a national minority; and as they themselves claim to be a separate race, they should have nothing to complain of.” He reports that he had no knowledge of any “deliberate cruelty on the part of the [German] Government … towards the Jews”. He criticised Irish refugee policy as “inordinately liberal, and facilitating the entry of the wrong class of people” (meaning Jews). Bewley was dismissed just as World War II was breaking out, and never received a pension. However, Joseph Goebbels gave him a job writing propaganda. For a time he worked for a Swedish news agency, which was part of Goebbels’ propaganda machine.

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Dr. Adolf Mahr was an Austrian archaeologist who was Gruppenleiter (group leader) of the Dublin branch of the Nazi Party Auslandsorganisation (NSDP-AO).He arrived in Ireland in 1927 to work as keeper of antiquities in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

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In 1934 Éamon de Valera appointed Mahr Director of the Museum.As the Nazi Party rose to power in Germany in the 1930s, Mahr joined in 1933 and became the Local Group Leader (Ortsgruppenleiter) in Ireland. During his spell as Nazi leader he recruited roughly 23 Germans. Mahr’s children were raised in Dublin in the 1930s but ended up in post-war Germany.

The IRA supported the Nazis in WW2 (the real ones, not just rhetorical ones). They ran safe houses for Nazi spies, aided Nazi intelligence, and even helped Nazi bombers. They planned to bring about a Nazi German invasion of Ireland, and would no doubt have been installed as a quisling government had Germany occupied Ireland.Chief-of-Staff of the IRA at this time was Seán McCool.

Hitler would of course have done to Ireland what he did to every other country. In the Wannsee Conference notes of Jan 1942, Ireland’s 4,000 Jews were listed for extermination. No doubt Irish quislings would have helped in this, as quislings helped in every other country.

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Luckily, the IRA failed in their plans, and the Jews of Ireland were not exterminated.

Andrija Artuković (19 November 1899 – 16 January 1988) was a Croatian lawyer, politician and senior member of the Croatian nationalist and fascist Ustaše organisation, who held the Interior and Justice portfolios in the Government of the Independent State of Croatia during World War II.

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He signed into law a number of racial laws against Serbs, Jews and Romani people, and was responsible for a string of concentration camps in which tens of thousands of civilians were murdered and mistreated. On 18 May 1945, British extradited some Croatian ministers and Prime Minister Nikola Mandić to the Yugoslav authorities. Artuković was not extradited, but he was released soon with remaining ministers. He left the British occupational zone, then went via the American to the French occupational zone, where his family was. With a Swiss passport under the pseudonym of Alois Anich, he traveled to Ireland. In 1948, he left Ireland with his wife and children, and entered the United States on a tourist visa and settled in Seal Beach, California.

Helmut Clissman was a German spy, active in Ireland during World War II.When war broke out in 1939, Mr Clissmann was ordered, along with other Germans living in Ireland, to return to Germany. This was later seen by the German intelligence services as a bad mistake, but they tried to use his expert knowledge to find out the strength of the IRA and whether Germany could use it to launch guerrilla attacks and sabotage in Northern Ireland.

Mr Clissmann also played a role in the release of Frank Ryan from a Spanish jail where he was under sentence of death for fighting on the republican side in the Civil War. Mr Clissmann knew Ryan as an IRA activist when in Ireland.

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He died on the 6th of November 1997 in Dublin.

Hermann Görtz (15 November 1890 – 23 May 1947) was a German spy in Britain and Ireland before and during World War II.

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In the summer of 1940, Görtz parachuted into Ballivor, County Meath, Ireland (Operation Mainau) in an effort to gather information. He moved in with former IRA leader Jim O’Donovan.

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His mission was to act as a liaison officer with the IRA and enlist their assistance during a potential German occupation of Britain. However, he soon decided that the IRA was too unreliable. On landing, he lost the ‘Ufa’ transmitter he had parachuted with. Goertz, attired in a Luftwaffe uniform, then walked to Dublin. He was not apprehended despite calling into a Garda barracks in Co Wicklow, asking for directions to Dublin. Goertz made it to Dublin and a “safe-house” at 245 Templeogue Road, Templeogue. 

In May 1940, the Irish police raided the home of an IRA member of German descent, Stephen Carroll Held, who had been working with Görtz, at his house at Blackheath Park, Clontarf. They confiscated a parachute, papers, Görtz’s World War I medals, and a number of documents about the defence infrastructure of Ireland. The papers they took included files on possible military targets in Ireland, such as airfields and harbours, as well as detailed plans of the so-called “Plan Kathleen”. This was an IRA plan for the invasion of Northern Ireland with the support of the Nazi military. Held had brought this plan to Germany prior to Görtz’s departure but his superiors had dismissed it as unfeasible.

Görtz went into hiding, staying with sympathizers in the Wicklow area and purposefully avoided contact with IRA safehouses. He remained at large for a total of eighteen months. When another IRA member, Pearse Paul Kelly, visited Goertz’s hiding place in Dublin in November 1941, police arrested them both.

Görtz was interned until the end of the war. He was first detained in Mountjoy Prison but later moved to Custume Barracks, Athlone with nine others.

 

Hermann Goertz was released from jail in Athlone in August 1946. He went to live in Glenageary and became secretary of a charity called Save The German Children Fund. He was rearrested the following year and served with a deportation order by the Minister for Justice. He claimed to have been in the SS rather than a lieutenant in the Luftwaffe in an attempt to prevent his deportation but this claim was disproved by Irish Military Intelligence (G2) which also “promoted” him to Major when sending him messages allegedly from Germany. On Friday May 23, 1947 he arrived at the Aliens’ Office in Dublin Castle at 9.50am and was told he was being deported to Germany the next day. Although it had been stated to him that the Irish government had specifically requested that he not be handed over to the Soviets, he committed suicide.

The Irish Times reported that he: “Stared disbelievingly at the detective officers. Then suddenly, he took his hand from his trouser pocket, swiftly removed his pipe from between his lips, and slipped a small glass phial into his mouth. One of the police officers sprang at Goertz as he crunched the glass with his teeth. The officer got his hands around Goertz’s neck but failed to prevent most of the poison – believed to be prussic acid – from passing down his throat. Within a few seconds, Goertz collapsed.”He was driven to Mercer’s Hospital and died there shortly after arrival.

Görtz was buried three days later in a Dublin cemetery.

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In 1974 his remains were transferred to the German Military Cemetery at Glencree, Co. Wicklow.

Other notable Nazi’s who sought and found refuge in Ireland were Otto Skorzeny and Dutch War Criminal Pieter Menten.

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Controversially,de Valera formally offered his condolences to the German Minister in Dublin on the death of Adolf Hitler in 1945, in accordance with diplomatic protocol.This did some damage to Ireland, particularly in the United States – and soon afterwards de Valera had a bitter exchange of words with Winston Churchill in two famous radio addresses after the end of the war in Europe.

 

 

 

The kidnapping of Dr Herrema by the IRA

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 On October 3rd, 1975, Dr Tiede Herrema was driving from his home in Castletroy, Co Limerick, to an early-morning meeting at the Ferenka steel plant at Annacotty, when he was abducted by two republicans, Marion Coyle and Eddie Gallagher.
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Herrema, , had been dispatched by the parent company in his native Netherlands to troubleshoot the strike-ridden factory, Ferenka,which employed 1,200 at a time when the Irish economy was reeling from the oil crisis and six years of Northern Ireland troubles.

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The kidnappers, banking that Liam Cosgrave’s government would quietly cave in, so as not to scare off other foreign investors, threatened to “execute” Herrema in 48 hours unless it released the republican prisoners Rose Dugdale(who had given birth to Gallagher’s son in Limerick Prison), Kevin Mallon (a friend of Coyle’s) and James Hyland.

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Rose Dugdale, An English millionaire’s daughter who took part in an IRA helicopter bombing attempt and an infamous art theft at Russborough House in Co Wicklow.

It was the start of a 36-day ordeal for Herrema and his family, sparking the biggest manhunt in the State’s history.

Two weeks later a tape of Herrema’s voice was released, accompanied by demands for a £2 million ransom and a flight to the Middle East. After 18 days the kidnappers were traced to a terraced house in Monasterevin, Co Kildare.

The Coalition Government of Liam Cosgrave made it very clear from very start that there would be no release of prisoners, no room for compromise.

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A Nationwide Garda operation was mounted with almost half the force engaged in house to house searches and roadblocks. But Gallagher and Coyle had gone to ground in a “safe house” near Mountmellick, Co. Laois.

Days passed and the kidnappers sent taped messages from Herrema pleading for his life. The intervention of a Capuchin monk as a mediator proved fruitless. Gallagher asked for Phil Flynn – a trade union leader and Sinn Féin member at the time – to be brought in as an alternative mediator and while Gallagher began to lower his demands – the Government were steadfast but no closer to finding Herrema. Gallagher & Coyle had moved hideouts – this time to a council house in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare, which was itself searched by Gárdaí but the occupants were tipped off and the kidnappers hid with Herrema in the attic undisturbed. But 1410 St Evin’s Park was to be scene of the final act in this drama when the controversial questioning of accomplices by the Gárdaí exposed the location. 18 days into the kidnapping, a dawn raid on the house failed to release Herrema and thus began the Siege of Monasterevin.

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For a further 18 days, Ireland’s and the World’s press gathered. The Siege of Monasterevin was headline news every day. But behind the scenes what negotiations were going on to bring this dramatic standoff to an end after 36 days? – The longest and most dramatic kidnapping in Irish History.

The pair must have begun to suspect that there was something unusual about their captive shortly into the 36-day odyssey. For the first 14 days of the ordeal he had no idea where he was, confined to a tiny room in a house, in stinking conditions, feet and hands tied, cotton wool pushed into his ears.

Today Herrema is baffled, even irritated, that interviewers consistently overlook this part. “You all start by asking me about the period in Monasterevin . . . But the other part before, nobody talks about it, and that part was even worse for me. I didn’t know where we were. I didn’t even know how many were in the car that took me there.”

Once at St Evin’s Park in Monasterevin, by contrast, surrounded by armoured cars, searchlights, snipers and the hotshots of world media, he knew exactly where he was and what he had to do.

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He set out to create calm, to humanize himself in his kidnappers’ eyes. His eldest son was about the same age as Gallagher. Coyle, he noted, listened to the conversations but never spoke. “For me that was an indication: be careful with her. As long as I can get them talking I learn something. But she didn’t talk at all. I could never reach her.”

The coping mechanisms that seemed second nature to him, a man for whom mental challenges were almost a sport, must have seemed odd to his kidnappers. “When the night is over and you have nothing to eat, you have nothing to do. That is very important to understand, because all you have then is the waiting. You cannot tolerate that all day. So you try to make the day.”

What Gallagher and Coyle didn’t realize is that Dr Herrema had been a Dutch resisttance fighter during WWII.

He was in his early 20s when the Nazis arrested him. He was sent to Prague where he was brutally interrogated after that  he was transported to Ratibor – now the Polish town of Racibórz.

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Where about half of his fellow prisoners were shot, some under 14 years of age. Even after he was freed by the soviet troops he still had to walk 500 KM to be transferred to the US troops. Needless to say he was made out of sturdy stuff.

After several days without food or water they began to accept supplies – as well as underpants and a chamber pot – hoisted up in a shopping basket. On day 18 Gallagher claimed to be getting severe headaches and neck cramps, which Herrema took as a sign that he was seeking a way out. Soon afterwards the kidnappers threw their guns out of a window and surrendered.

It was on this day 41 years ago November 7 1975, Dr Herrema was released.

Coyle was sentenced to 15 years, of which she served nine. Gallagher served 14 years of his 20-year sentence. In 1978 Gallagher and Dugdale became the first convicted prisoners in the State’s history to be married behind bars.

 

German invasion of Ireland

Before you all start telling me I should look back at the history books, I know that Ireland was never invaded by the Germans during WWII. Except for the Belfast Blitz(pictures above) the island of Ireland remained unscathed during the war. The republic of Ireland was neutral, but I believe more due to it’s geographical location it wasn’t invaded rather then it’s political neutrality. Had it been between France and Britain I think Ireland would have been occupied by the Germans.

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However, this doesn’t mean the Germans had no plans for Ireland. There were several planned operations foe the invasion of Ireland the main ones being ‘Operation Green’ and Operation Dove'(sometimes also referred to as ‘Operation Pigeon’) .

Hitler loved the idea of Ireland and was a great admirer of Irish Folk music, in fact in 1936 he had invited Sean Dempsey ,uileann pipe player, to play for him in Berlin.

Dublin was earmarked by the Nazis as one of six regional administrative centers for Britain and Ireland right after Dunkirk when an Allied collapse seemed imminent.

Had the occupation taken place, the Germans thought it crucial that their advancing units reach Ireland as soon as possible after the initial invasion.

The plan would have seen the fourth and seventh infantry divisions of the Germany Army being deployed to Ireland. The German 4th army corps in particular had a brutal reputation in battle and inflicted many civilian casualties as they secured the Polish corridor to Warsaw during the invasion of Poland in 1939.

Their advance, had the fourth and seventh been deployed to Ireland, would have been rapid – up to 100km a day – and their brutality would have been beyond doubt.

Fifty thousand troops in total were allocated for the Irish invasion with an initial batch of 4,000 crack engineers, motorised infantry, commando and panzer units to reach the Irish shore after having launched from France.

Operation Dove (“Unternehmen Taube” in German) also sometimes known as Operation Pigeon, was an Abwehr sanctioned mission devised in early 1940. The plan envisioned the transport of IRA Chief of Staff Seán Russell to Ireland, and on the arrival of Frank Ryan in Berlin three days before the launch of the operation, it was also decided to transport him during the operation.

Seán Russell had arrived in Berlin on 5 May 1940, four days after arriving in Genoa from the United States.Russell was informed of Operation Mainau, the plan to parachute Dr. Hermann Görtz into Ireland. Russell was asked to brief Görtz on Ireland before his departure that night, but missed his takeoff from the Fritzlar airfield near Kassel.

By 20 May, Russell had begun training with Abwehr in the use of the latest German explosive ordnance. This training was conducted at the Abwehr training school/lab in Berlin-Tegel, which specialised in the design of explosives as everyday objects. Russell also visited the training area for the Brandenburg Regiment, the ‘Quenzgut,’ where he observed trainees and instructors working with sabotage materials in a field environment. Because he received explosives training, his return to Ireland with a definite sabotage objective was planned by German Intelligence. His total training time with German Intelligence lasted over three months.

While Görtz had landed successfully, the capture of the German agents from Operation Lobster I did not prevent Abwehr chief Wilhelm Canaris allowing the transport of Russell to continue. Both Russell and Frank Ryan departed aboard U-65 from Wilhelmshaven on 8 August — the mission was dubbed Operation Dove.

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Russell became ill during the journey and complained of stomach pains. U-65 was not staffed with a doctor and he died on 14 August 100 miles  short of Galway. He was buried at sea and the mission aborted.

Operation Green (German: Unternehmen Grün) often also referred to as Case Green (Fall Grün) or Plan Green (Plan Grün), was a full-scale operations plan for a German invasion of Ireland in support of Operation Sea Lion (the plan to invade the UK). Despite its detailed nature, Green is thought to have been designed only as a credible threat, a feint, not an actual operation. Plan W, a planned occupation of all of the state by British forces, was drafted by the British military in secret liaison with the Irish government to counteract any German invasion.

German interest in Green and Operation Sea Lion must always be understood in the context of their overall strategic plan. That, first and foremost, was Operation Barbarossa, the invasion and destruction of the Soviet Union. They had little interest in tying up military resources in England or France, other than doing what was necessary to prevent the British and French from interfering with the invasion of the Soviet Union. During Britain’s darkest hour, the Germans were, in fact, secretly marshalling most of their resources to attack their ally in the occupation of Poland: the Soviet Union.

Implementation of Green was the responsibility of General der Flieger Leonhard Kaupisch, commander of the German Fourth and Seventh Army Corps, Army Group B. The originator of the idea for Green is thought to be newly promoted Field Marshal Fedor von Bock, Army Group B.

Bock had operational command for the western flank under Operation Sea Lion. Once collated, thirty-two copies of Green were distributed as “Top Secret” on 8 August 1940 to the German High Command; a number of copies survived World War II.

Green was conceived in early- to mid-1940 and the plan was drawn up in August 1940, under three weeks after Hitler issued his initial warning order for Operation Sea Lion on 16 July 1940. The plan was widely circulated and even publicised during the period 1940–1941. By 1942 Green had even made its way into the hands of the Irish military via the British military and was subsequently translated into English by Irish Military Intelligence G2 Branch. This has raised suspicion that intercepted ‘chatter’ about Green may have been aimed at creating a ‘bogeyman’ in the minds of British military planners on their western flank. There was some truth to this; one example is General major Walter Warlimont’s recollection from 28 June 1940 of an operational instruction issued by the High Command. The directive was to mislead the enemy on a possible invasion of neutral Ireland using “all available information media”.

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The intention was to spread rumours that German forces were preparing a landing in Ireland to place a further stranglehold on Britain, reinforcing the current “siege”.It is possible that these efforts heightened the state of alert and were a cause of alarm in Britain, leading to the British expending significant effort in trying to convince the Irish government to abandon neutrality and side with the Allies.

Despite the propaganda, Green was an actual military plan that was given real consideration. Although Hitler had postponed Sea Lion on 17 September 1940, he took up a personal interest again on 3 December 1940 after hearing of radio reports alluding to a British invasion of Ireland. Hitler then ordered Raeder’s naval staff to investigate the feasibility of occupying Ireland to pre-empt any British attempt. However, at the time Hitler seemed already convinced that any landing should be by invitation only:

“..a landing in Ireland can be attempted only if Ireland requests help. For the present our envoy [assumed to be Dr. Eduard Hempel of the German Legation] must ascertain whether De Valera desires support and whether he wishes to have his military equipment supplemented by captured British war material (guns and ammunition), which could be sent to him in independent ships. Ireland is important to the Commander in Chief, Air, [Göring] as his base for attacks on the north-west ports of Britain, although weather conditions must be investigated. The occupation of Ireland might lead to the end of the war

The operatives were initially to land on Ireland’s South-East coast where they expected to be met with only token resistance, and then to aerially bomb targets throughout the Irish Free State as it was then known.

After this initial landing and advancement phase, ground troops of the 4th and 7th army corps would have begun so-called “probing attacks” on the Irish Army based in Cork and Clonmel, followed by a push through Laois-Offaly towards the Army’s Curragh Camp base in Co. Kildare.

Some units would have reached the outskirts of Dublin just 48 hours after having landed in the South-East, such would have been the pace of their progress.

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The Nazi politburo in Dublin was to have far reaching executive powers and would have had instructions to dismantle, and if necessary, liquidate, any of Ireland’s remaining indigenous political apparatus, intellectual leadership and any non-Aryan social institutions. The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) would have been closed and Irish Jews would have been murdered en masse.

Beach-heads considered in Green included the Waterford-Wexford sector (favoured), the estuary of the River Shannon near Limerick,

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Galway Bay, Donegal Bay with Killala, Ballina and Sligo,Lough Foyle with Derry, the ‘Bay of Belfast’ (Belfast Lough), and Cobh in Cork.

The landings were to be effected by sea craft available in occupied France at the time, but there were few in existence and Operation Sea Lion was to have priority- further reasons why Raeder was not happy with Green. Green was expected to utilise over 50,000 German troops and Sea Lion was expected to use 160,000 but for Green the Germans only found two steamships available around the north-western ports of France- the French Versailles and the German Eule together with three small coasters: Mebillo, Clio and Franzine.

It is also worth pointing out that to get to Ireland the departing ships would have had to circumnavigate the British coastline at Cornwall. Every vessel taking part in Green was to carry anti-aircraft weaponry indicating that the planners expected the Royal Air Force (RAF) to intercept them, although air cover from the Luftwaffe’s West of France Air Command was to be provided as part of Sea Lion.

Ireland would have been ruthlessly subject to German martial law, with curfews also being imposed on the local population, as well as plans to commandeer resources from locals. To this end an annex was added to the plan listing all petrol stations and garages in Munster and the Midlands. Nothing wasn’t planned for.

Livestock, food, fuel, and forced labor would all have been used by the Germans in their advance northwards, which would have pitted them squarely against the civilian population.

Ireland’s army at the time of 7,600 regulars and 11,000 reserves would have been completely unable to handle the onslaught from the invading force.  The army was also incapable of mounting large-scale maneuvers and was poorly armed. Many companies even traveled by bicycle!

There was no involvement or prior knowledge of Green by the IRA in Ireland.

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It is likely, however, that the possibility of such planning was on the mind of Sean Russell and his acting Chief of Staff Stephen Hayes. Russell is known to have reached out to the German Foreign Ministry and Abwehr during his time in Berlin, and Hayes is known to have sanctioned Plan Kathleen before it was delivered to the Abwehr in Berlin in August 1940. However, no operational instructions were issued to Abwehr agents to gather data on Ireland in preparation for Green. This is possibly because the planners felt they had enough militarily useful data already, but likely because Green, although thorough, was created in a hurry. Later editions contained no data from the IRA.

When Winston Churchill got wind of the German plans, he drafted detailed plans for a counter-attack to be launched from Northern Ireland. The plan, codenamed Plan W, envisaged the Irish and British armies fighting side by side to repel the intrusive German forces.

Ireland’s neutrality was respected and they emerged largely unscathed from the war, but had the invasion taken place, there could well have been large-scale casualties.