"If They Want It They Can Have It": Ulster's Tragedy.

I wonder how do the Soviets react to the events in Northern Ireland?
I wonder could Argentia use the crisis as a chance to invade the Falklands?

Argentina would be even crazier to try it in 1972 than they were in 1982 - Ark Royal and Hermes are still in service, Eagle has only just been withdrawn, Centaur is still in reserve (just) while Albion and Bulwark are both still in service as commando carriers.
 

CalBear

Moderator
Donor
Monthly Donor
I wonder how do the Soviets react to the events in Northern Ireland?
I wonder could Argentia use the crisis as a chance to invade the Falklands?
The Soviets would be licking they chops. Anything that caused serious internal issues for a major NATO member was going to be seen a major positive. Covert economic assistance to the break-away government is entirely possible (there is some, still disputed, evidence that the USSR provided very limited material support to the "Real IRA" in the early 70s). This wouldn't be due any support of the break away government's goal, simply a way to strike at the Capitalists, and by extension the Main Enemy (the U.S.).

The Argentinian government was not really in much of a position to go hounding off over the Falkland's. The country was is a very unstable position internally with increasing pressure by the public for a return to democracy and the issue of Perón's possible return. The RN was also still operating a CATOBAR carrier, something that vastly reduced the chances that any invasion of the Islands would be allowed to stand.
 
The Soviets would be licking they chops. Anything that caused serious internal issues for a major NATO member was going to be seen a major positive. Covert economic assistance to the break-away government is entirely possible (there is some, still disputed, evidence that the USSR provided very limited material support to the "Real IRA" in the early 70s). This wouldn't be due any support of the break away government's goal, simply a way to strike at the Capitalists, and by extension the Main Enemy (the U.S.).

The Argentinian government was not really in much of a position to go hounding off over the Falkland's. The country was is a very unstable position internally with increasing pressure by the public for a return to democracy and the issue of Perón's possible return. The RN was also still operating a CATOBAR carrier, something that vastly reduced the chances that any invasion of the Islands would be allowed to stand.
I did think the Falkland was a long shot.
If it happened it would make life very difficult for the British with so much of the Army busy in Northern Ireland and some much cabinet time being spent on Northern Ireland.
The British also have other vulnerable points like British Honduras or even Gibraltar
 
Last edited:
I did think the Falkland was a long shot.
If it happened it would make life very difficult for the British with so much of the Army busy in Northern Ireland and some much cabinet time being spent on Northern Ireland.
The British also have other vulnerable points like British Honduras or even Gibraltar
I can't see Gibraltar being under threat, I'd bet if Spain even looked at it at this period, Washington would fall on them hard while dealing with the situation in Ulster.
 
An Ulster UDI really needs its own TL for all the long term impacts on the UK and Ireland. All that heartache and emotion. Let's see where this goes Nezza.
 
I can't see Gibraltar being under threat, I'd bet if Spain even looked at it at this period, Washington would fall on them hard while dealing with the situation in Ulster.
I suspect the Americans will be busy in southeast Asia and Spain does not have to invade to make life difficult on Gibraltar.
 
Last edited:
I suspect the Americans will be busy in southeast Asia and Spain does not have to invade to make life difficult on Gibraltar.
There's not much more they could do compared to OTL that doesn't overstep into potential violence, and even if the US is busy, it's still a simple enough job to put pressure on them if they are increasing strains on the UK.
 
There's not much more they could do compared to OTL that doesn't overstep into potential violence, and even if the US is busy, it's still a simple enough job to put pressure on them if they are increasing strains on the UK.
Especially since there's all kinds of ways to intervene. They can't drop a corps into NI yeah, but giving some go aheads for A-Teams into the area, or lending logistical support for the UK's peacekeeping, well now....
 
Especially since there's all kinds of ways to intervene. They can't drop a corps into NI yeah, but giving some go aheads for A-Teams into the area, or lending logistical support for the UK's peacekeeping, well now....
Well given I think the first DF troops are training with the US Army Rangers (or at least Dublin and Washington are in closing talks about it that could be interesting. As I've said, Dublin is going to have to ask someone for something to boost capabilities to contain the border in this case.
 

CalBear

Moderator
Donor
Monthly Donor
Especially since there's all kinds of ways to intervene. They can't drop a corps into NI yeah, but giving some go aheads for A-Teams into the area, or lending logistical support for the UK's peacekeeping, well now....
Actually in 1972 the U.S. could do exactly that. The U.S. was just about 100% out of Vietnam (pulled around 400,000 combat troops out of country in 1971-72) many of theose troops were still completing their two year (in the case of the Marine Corps 3 year) enlistments. Not only could the U.S. drop a Corps in, it would be full of combat vets, including a lot of troops with tons of experience in COIN and hunting VC. The UDL and/or the Real IRA/Provos thought the SAS was hard core. The SAS was solid professional, minimum combat time with really strict ROE (which, BTW, is exactly what you WANT in something like The Troubles). The Americans would send a combination of mostly MP, but with enough Force Recon and probably 173rd Airborne to deal with things when necessary.

Also important to keep in mind that this is when Nixon was POTUS and the when the "Irish American/Irish Catholic" vote was one of the most potent voting blocks in American politics (as a measure, combine the influence that "evangelicals" have in today's GOP with the "college educated voter" in today's Democratic party, the Irish Catholic vote was, along with organized labor, the 800 pound gorrila in National Elections). A bit of video showing any sort of atrocity toward the Catholic minority (or frankly ANY sort of violence against Irish children, regardless of religion) on CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and/or on either of the other networks, and there will be 400+ members of Congress DEMANDING action purely in interest of saving their jobs.
 
Last edited:
Well given I think the first DF troops are training with the US Army Rangers (or at least Dublin and Washington are in closing talks about it that could be interesting. As I've said, Dublin is going to have to ask someone for something to boost capabilities to contain the border in this case.
The US Army Rangers interesting idea as they have a history in Northern Ireland
And the US Army Rangers were formed in Carrickfergus in Co. Antrim in 1942.
I could see the National Mine Workers Union calling on dockers and railway workers not to ship coal to Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland might try to get coal from Poland instead. They could be some weapons and explosives hidden in the shipment of coal from Poland too.
I could see riots in Scotland between Ranger fans and Celtic fans. Maybe some volunteers arriving in Northern Ireland from Scotland for the Unionist side.
Also riots in Liverpool between Everton Fans and Liverpool fans.
Liverpool had a unionist party in those days.
Maybe the UDA being banned?
UN setting up refugee camps south of the Borders.
Some people will ignore what is going on like Northern Ireland rugby players still playing rugby for Ireland.
Irish Rugby team like the Hockey and Polo teams are all Ireland.
 
Last edited:
Actually in 1972 the U.S. could do exactly that. The U.S. was just about 100% out of Vietnam (pulled around 400,000 combat troops out of country in 1971-72) many of theose troops were still completing their two year (in the case of the Marine Corps 3 year) enlistments. Not only could the U.S. drop a Corps in, it would be full of combat vets, including a lot of troops with tons of experience in COIN and hunting VC. The UDL and/or the Real IRA/Provos thought the SAS was hard core. The SAS was solid professional, minimum combat time with really strict ROE (which, BTW, is exactly what you WANT in something like The Troubles). The Americans would send a combination of mostly MP, but with enough Force Recon and probably 173rd Airborne to deal with things when necessary.

Also important to keep in mind that this is when Nixon was POTUS and the when the "Irish American/Irish Catholic" vote was one of the most potent voting blocks in American politics (as a measure, combine the influence that "evangelicals" have in today's GOP with the "college educated voter" in today's Democratic party, the Irish Catholic vote was, along with organized labor, the 800 pound gorrila in National Elections). A bit of video showing any sort of atrocity toward the Catholic minority (or frankly ANY sort of violence against Irish children, regardless of religion) on CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and/or on either of the other networks, and there will be 400+ members of Congress DEMANDING action purely in interest of saving their jobs.
Indeed.
And Tip O'Neill had a lot of influence at the time
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tip_O'Neill not to mention Teddy Kennedy.
America even banned weapons sales to the RUC in 1979.
 
Last edited:
Also riots in Liverpool between Everton Fans and Liverpool fans.

So unlikely to be almost ASB to be honest. There's no religious divide to support in Liverpool like there is for the Old Firm, families are often split both ways and right up until the 70s there'd be people who'd go to Anfield one week and Goodison the next.
 
So unlikely to be almost ASB to be honest. There's no religious divide to support in Liverpool like there is for the Old Firm, families are often split both ways and right up until the 70s there'd be people who'd go to Anfield one week and Goodison the next.
It would be ASB in today's Liverpool, but in the Liverpool of 1972 it was still possible.
In the early 1970s, there still was a religious divide in Liverpool. That could start up again with the events in Northern Ireland.
Everton was seen as the catholic team and Liverpool are the protestant one.
By 1975 it was mostly gone.

Merseyside's Old Firm?: The Sectarian Roots of Everton and Liverpool Football Clubs​

51Wb4cVRvpL.jpg

 
Last edited:
Everton was seen as the catholic team and Liverpool are the protestant one
Ironically both have Methodist roots, Liverpool have stronger orange connections historically though. It's not as clear cut as Manchester or Glasgow though...
 
There was a (fairly minor) religious divide in Liverpool but football support wasn't rooted in it like it is in Scotland or Northern Ireland. Families are regularly part red, part blue and have been for decades. Fans right up until the 70s and 80s went to whichever side was at home that week, there's no way a Celtic fan is going to Ibrox just because Rangers are the side who have a home match that week.

The Troubles (even in this scenario) won't have any affect on football on Merseyside, it's just not that kind of area.
 
"London never understands"

Brian Faulkner stood at the window of his newly acquired office in Stormont and looked down the road to Carson's statue. The cool spring setting sitting ill at ease with the armed thugs patrolling the building. In his mind he had had no choice but to do what he did. From the moment that Westminster suspended the government and reinstalled direct rule Faulkner saw everything that mean something to him dissolve.

He grew up in a country where every day there was turmoil and misery. The nationalists, the Catholic scumbags and their paramilitary cohorts had taunted and murdered so many. Every day he saw on the news how British blood had been spilt and British law mocked. The governments in London really had no idea what he and his fellow unionists endured every day.

Heath, of all the people, Heath who espoused British value was the one who dissolved the parliament. Direct Rule! What did they know? Faulkner had to act quickly. He didn't want to declare independence but he had to make London understand that his people were suffering. The reaction was fantastic, the people coming out to support the move was incredible. Only Paisley and his cohorts were miserable. "He's full of bullshit" thought Faulkner.

In his mind the plan was simple. Eradicate those who would not conform and then go over Heath's head and appeal to the Queen for help. Heath and his cowards would have to come to heel.

"London never understands. London will be MADE to understand"
 
There was a (fairly minor) religious divide in Liverpool but football support wasn't rooted in it like it is in Scotland or Northern Ireland. Families are regularly part red, part blue and have been for decades. Fans right up until the 70s and 80s went to whichever side was at home that week, there's no way a Celtic fan is going to Ibrox just because Rangers are the side who have a home match that week.

The Troubles (even in this scenario) won't have any affect on football on Merseyside, it's just not that kind of area.
Not nowadays. but up to the early 1970s, it was still a problem. The problems not coming from football it is just the different sides support different teams.
I more about nationalist and unionist Irish dispute than football.
Liverpool's council used to Unionist councillors elected.
Sectarian violence in Liverpool
On 20 June 1909 Liverpool experienced its worst outbreak of sectarian trouble when Catholics and Protestants violently clashed in the streets.
A proposed march from a local Catholic church ended in riots with police when members of the Protestant community tried to block the route.
The sectarian violence led to the city being dubbed the 'Belfast of England'.

 
"Lynch's plan was know as Operation Lifeline and entailed sending small clandestine squads into the North who would effectively set up no-go zones by rigging mines on roads leading into major catholic nationalist areas while transferring those needing medical attention to major hospitals in the South . These squads were dressed in civilian clothing and were recruited for their specialities. By day they acted as ordinary people while by night they engaged in guerilla tactics. The plan was that while the squads carried out their mission Lynch would in public be appealing for help from the UK government whilst secretly aiding not just those who had fled for the Republic but also aiding those in the North who were against the coup. RTE can now officially reveal that they had some help from some of the loyalist majority..."

(Lynch's Gamble, 2007)

Um, having done a tour of Northern Ireland in 1972, and having had experience of the attitudes prevalent in the various factions, this is an interesting concept.

While things in this TL are somewhat different to OTL, I can assure you that even given those changes, Operation Lifeline as here described is a recipe for mayhem. I'm trying to think of the ways in which this would go catastrophically bad.

For a start, the IRA wouldn't wear competition, thank you very much. The IRA, around about this time, had its own internal dispute over who was in control, and it sure as hell (with hell being the operative word) wouldn't accept the Irish Army playing at terrorist on their patch.

I could go on at length, but my judgement, based on what I saw of the situation (OTL version) at the time was that this would be like pouring petrol onto a fire.
 
Top