Buku 50 Things You Didn’t Know About the 1916 Easter Rising by Mick O’Farrell

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50 Things You Didn’t Know About the 1916 Easter Rising by Mick O’Farrell

Author:Mick O’Farrell

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Mercier Press

Published: 2012-06-18T16:00:00+00:00

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50 Things You Didn’t Know About the 1916 Easter Rising by Mick O’Farrell

27. Delivering soldiers instead of stout

In June 1916, German soldiers at the front in France were astonished to be confronted by Britain’s latest military invention – it was then that the tank lumbered and clanked its way into history. Back in Ireland, however, ‘tanks’ of another sort were seen on the streets of Dublin during the rebellion in April.

On Wednesday, Volunteers in the GPO watched in amazement as a fully-armoured lorry rumbled down O’Connell Street towards them. It was one of probably five such vehicles that were constructed in haste the day before. The brainwave of Colonel B.P. Portal, commander of the Curragh mobile column, the actual design is attributed to Colonel H.T.W. Allatt. ‘Most ingenious conveyances’, according to one commentator.36

 

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50 Things You Didn’t Know About the 1916 Easter Rising by Mick O’Farrell

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50 Things You Didn’t Know About the 1916 Easter Rising by Mick O’Farrell

Author:Mick O’Farrell , Date: June 16, 2019

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Author:Mick O’Farrell

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Mercier Press

Published: 2012-06-18T16:00:00+00:00
27. Delivering soldiers instead of stout

In June 1916, German soldiers at the front in France were astonished to be confronted by Britain’s latest military invention – it was then that the tank lumbered and clanked its way into history. Back in Ireland, however, ‘tanks’ of another sort were seen on the streets of Dublin during the rebellion in April.

On Wednesday, Volunteers in the GPO watched in amazement as a fully-armoured lorry rumbled down O’Connell Street towards them. It was one of probably five such vehicles that were constructed in haste the day before. The brainwave of Colonel B.P. Portal, commander of the Curragh mobile column, the actual design is attributed to Colonel H.T.W. Allatt. ‘Most ingenious conveyances’, according to one commentator.36

The raw materials for the armoured ‘cars’ consisted of Daimler lorries borrowed from the Guinness brewery, as well as a number of locomotive boilers and a quantity of steel plate. Two different designs were built – one was made from four boilers placed together to form a single curved, enclosed space (and looking ‘like a cross between a submarine and a baker’s van’37), and the other was a more straightforward arrangement of flat steel plates, forming a box-like structure.

Slits were made in the armour surrounding the cab for drivers to peer through, while loopholes were cut into the sides, both for air to come in and for soldiers to fire out of (dummy holes were also painted alongside to confuse the enemy). Accommodating as many as twenty-two troops, according to one account, the interior of both designs must have been extremely uncomfortable: ‘The noise of the rifles in such a confined space was stupendous.’38

At least it was safer inside than out on the open streets. One soldier described the experience of being driven through a hot zone: ‘Every bullet clanged and jarred through your head.’39 And in some cases, it may have been more than just the bullet’s noise that jarred through the head …

One of the Volunteers watching the crude machine from the GPO that Wednesday was Joseph Sweeney and while his comrades’ bullets were having little impact on the lorry, Sweeney aimed carefully for the driver’s slit. His first few shots had no effect, but then one seemed to hit home, because the vehicle halted and the engine went dead. The lorry stayed exactly where it was halted for some time, until another armoured Daimler arrived to tow it away.

Mainly, however, it seems the armoured lorries were used as a secure means of transport, for both soldiers and equipment. In one assault on the Four Courts garrison, an armoured lorry safely deposited sixteen sharpshooters to a churchyard on the opposite side of the River Liffey, from where they fired at the rebels from behind tombstones. The lorry then returned towing an artillery piece, which was used to shell the rebel position.

Along Capel Street and North King Street the fighting was particularly intense, and the lorries were used to help in a slow grinding down of the rebel forces.

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