Saturday, August 01, 2015
Operation Motorman - Anniversary - 31st July 1972 . Government Minister Willie Whitelaw informs IRA the night before.
So the IRA went into hiding.The Army could have nabbed the lot of them, and stopped the conflict that was to last for over three decades.
Four Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers went into action to remove the barricades in Londonderry and Belfast.
Operation Motorman ( Anniversary Today 31st July 1972 ).
The low profile adopted by the Army in the early part of the year led to some concern that the Security Forces could no longer contain the situation. The terrorists had a significant grip on their own communities and the Protestants were becoming increasingly restive, expressing strong resentment against the ‘No Go’ areas in Belfast and in Londonderry. Prompted in part by these concerns a major Army operation was mounted on 31 July 1972 known as Operation Motorman, to reoccupy the ‘No Go’ areas.
A total of 21,000 troops were concentrated in the Province and the intention was announced beforehand, as A result of which there was very little resistance from the PIRA. The operation was one of the biggest undertaken by the British Amy since the invasion of Suez in 1956. Its aim was to re-establish the Army in all the hard Republican areas, particularly the Creggan and Bogside in Londonderry and the Andersonstown, Ballymurphy and the Markets areas of Belfast. These areas were well protected by barricades and their clearance was the first step to ensure freedom of movement. A troop of four Centurion AVREs from 26 Armoured Engineer Squadron in Germany was moved to England and embarked on HMS Fearless on 30 July 1972. H-hour for the operation was 0400 hours on 31 July and by H minus 2 a cordon was in place in Londonderry around the Bogside and the Creggan, securing the start line for the four battalions who were to occupy the area. The AVREs were landed from landing craft across the beach in Londonderry and led the assault to clear a way through the barricades on all four battalion routes. The barricades were formidable and in one instance almost led to an AVRE blade being sheared off. The clearance of the barricades drew only spasmodic fire and one gunman and one petrol bomber were shot dead. By 0700 hours all the objectives had been secured and the AVREs were re-embarked and cleared from Northern Ireland. The use of tanks in any Internal Security Operation is always a very emotive subject and in the eyes of the media any tracked armoured vehicle is a tank. As a precaution the AVREs had ROYAL ENGINEERS painted prominently on their sides, but in the event there was little publicity and few pictures, and the significance of their use was lost in the general reporting of the operation.
NWN: Another example 'our' Government stabbing British troops in the back . This was a no-win war for the troops. The New World Order was already moving in for the dismantling of the UK. So it is that we now have the likes of Adams and McGuinness in positions of power now in NI. Whitelaw was also involved in secret talks with the IRA at Cheyne Walk, London.
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