IRA: The Bombs and the Bullets

A History of Deadly Ingenuity

By A.R. Oppenheimer

Contributions by: Richard English

As a leading expert on non-conventional weapons and explosives, the author focuses on the bombs and explosives and shows how the IRA became the most adept and experienced insurgency group the world has ever seen through their bombing expertise and how - after generations of conflict - it all came to an end. The book is a comprehensive account of more than 150 years of Irish republican strategic, tactical, and operational details and analysis covering the IRA's mission, doctrine, targeting, and acquisition of weapons and explosives. Oppenheimer also colourfully presents the story behind the bombs; those who built and deployed them, those who had to deal with and dismantle them, and those who suffered or died from them. He analyses where, how, and why the IRA's bombs were built, targeted and deployed and explores what the IRA was hoping to accomplish in its unrivalled campaign of violence and insurgency through covert acquisition, training, intelligence and counter-intelligence. The book focuses entirely on the IRA's bombing campaign - beginning with the Fenian 'Dynamiters' in the 19th century up to the decommissioning of an arsenal big enough to arm several battalions - which included an entire home-crafted missile system, an unsurpassed range of improvised explosive devices, and enough explosives to blow up several urban centres. The author scrutinises the level of improvisation in what became the hallmark of the Provisional IRA in its pioneering IED timing, delay and disguise technologies. He follows the arms race it carried on with the British Army and security services in a Long War of Mutual Assured Disruption. Oppenheimer fully describes and assesses the impact of the pre-1970s bombing campaigns in Northern Ireland and England to the evolution of strategies and tactics. He also provides an insight into the bombing equipment and guns from the IRA inventory held at Irish Police HQ in Dublin.

287 pages

Publication Date: 11/6/2008
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9780716528951