Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Welcome to my blog on Irish Armour

What I want to do in my blog is to publish a list of all the armoured vehicles that served with the Irish army from 1922 to the present day. I will give a short summary about the history and development of each vehicle type and then let you, the reader, add your story or information. If you are a serving or ex soldier of the Irish army and you operated any of these vehicles then by all means please feel free to share your experience here.

If you own one of these vehicles or took pictures of them at a show you can publish your pictures here. If you are a modeler of military vehciles you can tell us about your hobby and again, publish your pictures so long as they are the type of armoured vehicles that were used by the army in Ireland.

Eventually I will include a page for each vehicle type where the history (with pictures) can be expanded upon as I get more time (it's hard work and takes a lot of time to write a blog!!).

Since the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922, the Irish army have used a huge variety of armoured vehicles, mostly from international manufacturers but there were also some "home-made" or domestically produced models.

As the British army commenced it's withdrawal from what is now the Republic of Ireland the newly-formed Provisional Government negotiated a deal for the purchase (albeit with deferred payments) of military stores, weapons, munitions and equipment. Included in this deal were a number of armoured cars of the following makes, models and the numbers that were handed over:

Rolls Royce Whippet armoured cars 13
Lancia armoured cars (made in Ireland) 111
Peerless armoured cars 7

This motley collection of vehicles became the nucleus of the army's Armoured Car Corps.

Tanks in Ireland

Although the British army were using tanks in Ireland at this time, none were handed over to the Irish army. A reply by Sir Worthington-Evans to a question in the British House of Commons on 13 February 1922 stated that ".... All the tanks now in Ireland are obsolete or worn out, and these are being stripped and completely destroyed to save expense of transport ....." (Hansard transcripts of British Parliamentary Debates). There is no reference in the debates as to what type of tanks they were or which company bought the scrap.

There are however many contemporary pictures of some of the tanks used by the British army in Ireland and these include tanks providing a cordon for a raid on a house in Mountjoy Square, tanks used as crowd control barriers outside Mountjoy prison in March 1921 during the hunger strikes and a column of tanks in an Armistice commemoration passing the Bank of Ireland at College Green. For more info and pictures click here http://irish-armour.blogspot.fr/p/armoured-vehicles-in-ireland-pre-1922.html

Ireland's First Tank

In 1929 the army took delivery of it's first tank, a Vickers MK D. This was a light tank and was purchased purely for training tank crews in the event that the army should have to purchases tanks in a hurry. Oddly enough this tank was taken out of service and scrapped in 1940 not long after the outbreak of WWII.

The next tank to enter Irish service was the Swedish-built Landsverk L60 Light Tank in 1935. Again, this was aquired for training purposes only. A second Landsverk L60 was purchased in 1936 and both of these tanks went on to serve throught the war and were finally retired in the 1960's. The army has restored one of the Landsverks in working order and it is usually driven and displayed on the annual Cavalry Day which is held at Plunket Barracks, Curragh Camp, County Kildare.