The current issue of Helicopter Magazine (9) comes with a lovely 1/72nd British Army Westland Lynx AH7 complete with FITOW missile rack. As the AH7 variant entered service in 1985 it is perfect for the England Prevails era and is just the thing to take on those pesky Irish Panhard's!
8th February 1989: Landings of Royalist "reinforcements" in Ulster were reported on Sky News to "assist in the efforts to repulse the Southern aggressors".
The U.S. Government had made clear its concerns about the Soviet presence in the Republic of Ireland and saw the invasion by the Irish Army as the first step towards the whole island falling under Moscow's influence. However, given the sentiments of many in America, President Bush regarded it as political suicide to provide U.S. troops to aid the British against the Irish Republic's army (even if it was, in his view, a Soviet puppet).
To this end he negotiated a quid pro quo with the Royalist government, offering to expedite the provision of American Volunteer Group forces to England, if the Royalists would help repulse the invasion of Ulster.
The 1st Royal Irish Rangers were airlifted to positions north of Belfast seizing control of the M2 and M5 motorways, with the 2nd Royal Irish landing to the south occupying the M1 and other routes from the south. With most units of the Ulster Defence Regiment already engaging the Irish army or taking positions along the border with the Republic, very minimal resistance was met from some Constabulary Forces and quickly suppressed. Special Forces units took control of key points in Belfast, notably the port facilities allowing for more reinforcements to be ferried into the six counties.
7th February 1989: Sky News reported the first elements of the American Volunteer Group, sanctioned by President Bush in his inauguration speech, had seen action against Republican forces near Peterborough.
Flying A-10 Thunderbolt's, the AVG helped stall a French armoured advance north and allow Royalist forces the chance to dig in near around Stilton.
The first AVG squadron to see action was the 78th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which had been based at RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk before Cranwell's order for US forces to leave British soil when it had decamped to Naval Air Station Keflavik in Iceland.
Officially the AVG comprised solely of volunteers but in reality complete units of the US military were transferred to the AVG given the desperate need of the Royalists and the US Government's concerns over French and German involvement in England, as well as the Soviet presence in Ireland.
Sapper Joe, who kindly nominated us for a Liebster Award, has been working on his own Modern English Civil War project, Anarchy in the UK. Focusing on low intensity COIN warfare, it is certainly worth keeping an eye on...
6th February 1989: RTÉ News reported that fierce fighting had occurred as Irish Defence Forces advanced east as part of a plan to establish a safezone outside of Derry.
The reality of the situation was that Taoiseach Charles Haughey had decided to take advantage of the situation in Britain to seize the Ulster and reunite Ireland. Claiming that the invasion was a peacekeeping mission was a smokescreen that few believed, especially as the Irish Army became embroiled in fierce fighting in the days following the relatively bloodless capture of Londonderry.
The Irish forces were keen to seize Dungiven, a strategically important town on the route to Belfast. The 2 Cavalry Squadron supported by the 5 Infantry Battalion and 65 Reserve Infantry Battalion moved up from Strabane having crossed the border with the 1 Cavalry Squadron and 27 Infantry Battalion advancing from Derry.
Three Battalions of the Ulster Defence Regiment; the 5th (Londonderry), 8th (Tyrone) and 7th/10th (Belfast), dug in in the rough countryside around the town and fought off a number of attacks by the Irish forces attempting to seize control of the A6 main road that would facilitate an advance on Belfast.
Despite the Irish Cavalry Squadrons employing Panhard AML armoured cars, the UDR, utlising Carl Gustav recoilless rifles were able to thwart the Irish plans.
5th February 1989: RTÉ News reported that elements of the Irish Army including the 3 Infantry Battalion and 1 Cavalry Squadron had crossed the border into Northern Ireland on a peacekeeping mission, following weeks of internecine warfare between Nationalist, Republican and Royalist factions in Ulster.
The Irish forces entered Londonderry without resistance, although elements of the Ulster Defence Regiment (under Republican orders) took up positions near Dungiven and Garvagh to resist any potential move towards Belfast.