Provisional Irish Republican Army
In the summer of 1970, the Provisional I.R.A. effectively manage to defend Catholic areas in Belfast during riots triggered by the annual Loyalists marched through Catholic areas.
21 April 1971- The British Royal Navy survey launch boat Stork, was towed to sea by IRA volunteers and sunk. The Stork was attached to the HMS Hecate. Baltimore in the Republic of Ireland.
15 May 1971- IRA volunteer Billy Reid is killed in a gun battle with British soldiers.
August 1971- The British internment of Irish prisoners without trail begins.
13 January 1972 “Bloody Sunday”- Civil Rights march in Derry leads to rioting. British paratroopers were used to suppress the rioting, Thirteen unarmed Catholics were killed by the paratroops.
21 July 1972 “Bloody Friday”- 26 IRA car bombs detonate in Belfast, killing 9 people, wounding 130 people.
31 July 1972- The British commence “Operation Motorman” tearing down IRA barricades erected in so called “No Go” areas in Belfast and Derry controlled by the IRA. 12,000 British soldiers backed by tanks and bulldozers.
1973-1996- The IRA carries out occasional bombings in England.
31 October 1973- 3 IRA members escape from the Mountjoy Prison in Dublin after a hijacked helicopter lands in the prison yard.
23 January 1974- An IRA unit hijacks a helicopter and uses it to drop bombs on an RUC station. No injuries reported.
29 September 1974- An IRA unit hijacks a Cessna light utility aircraft from a flying club in Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland. The aircraft is loaded with 4 cylinder bombs made by the IRA and is to be used in support of an attack on a British Army base in Crossmaglen, but the men get confused in the air and become lost.
21 July 1976- The newly appointed British ambassador to the Republic of Ireland and his secretary are killed by an improvised landmine planted by the IRA.
4 March 1978- A booby trapped flag pole kills a British soldier attempting to remove the Irish flag. The flag itself was wired to a landmine that was hidden below the flag pole.
21 December 1978- An ambush on a British patrol kills 3 British soldiers. The IRA unit manages to safely escape under fire using a van fitted with armor plating.
22 March 1979- The British ambassador to the Netherlands and his Dutch valet are shot and killed in Den Haag, Netherlands.
27 August 1979 Warrenpoint or Narrow Water Ambush which killed 18 British soldiers. Two bombs used. The first bomb on the patrol killed 6 soldiers. IRA sniper fire caused other soldiers to take cover at a nearby gatehouse, where the IRA had planted another bomb. The second bomb killed another 12 soldiers.
27 August 1979- Lord Mountbatten, Queen Elizabeth II cousin, was assassinated by the PIRA the same day as the Warrenpoint Ambush. A member of the IRA planted a remote detonated bomb on board Lord Mountbattens' boat.
16 February 1980- A British soldier is shot and killed by the IRA in Bielefeld, West Germany.
1 March 1981- Start of a Hunger Strike by Irish Republican prisoners.
6 February 1981- The British coal ship Nelly M was bombed and sank by an IRA unit while anchored in Lough Foyle.
5 May 1981- Bobby Sands dies while on Hunger Strike.
16 July 1981- An eighteen man undercover unit waiting to ambush members of the IRA were themselves ambused in Glasdrumman in the south of County Armagh. 1 British soldier is killed and 1 wounded. The IRA used an M60 machine gun in the attack.
23 March 1982- The British coal ship St. Bedan was bombed and sank by an IRA unit while anchored in Lough Foyle.
16 November 1982- An IRA unit kills Lenny Murphy, leader of the so called “Shankill Butchers”.
12 October 1984- Bombing at the Grand Hotel in Brighton by the IRA kills 5 civilians. The bombing was an attempt to kill British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and members of the British cabinet.
28 FEB 1985- Newry mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary post by the Provisional IRA kills 9 members of the RUC. Done with a Mark 10 mortar mounted on the back of a stolen truck.
11 August 1986- An IRA unit decimates an RUC base at the Birches near Portadown, in County Armagh. The IRA unit drove a mechanical digger through the perimeter fence of the base. The digger had a 200 lb bomb in the bucket which was ignited before the unit made its escape.
8 May 1987- British SAS commandos ambush members of the IRA East Tyrone Brigade as they attempt to attack another RUC station in Loughall, County Armagh. All eight IRA members and one civilian are killed in the ambush.
8 November 1987- Remembrance Day bombing in Enniskillen kills 11 civilians and 1 RUC officer.
6 March 1988- In so-called “Operation Flavius”, British SAS commandos ambush and kill three unarmed members of the IRA as they planned an attack on a British military parade in Gibraltar.
16 March 1988- Milltown Cemetary attack. A loyalist armed with a pistol and hand grenades attacks the funeral of the three IRA members killed in Gibraltar. The loyalist gunman killed three people at the funeral, among them were a 10 year old boy shot in the back, and IRA volunteer Caoimhin MacBradaigh, who attempted to disarm the man. Loyalist Micheal Stone, was captured by the nationalists but quickly pulled away by RUC forces and taken into custody. Micheal Stone was a member of the Ulster Freedom Fighters.
19 March 1988- During the funeral of IRA volunteer Caoimhin MacBradaigh, a car speed into the area and was immediately surrounded by a crowd of mourners. The two men in the car were pulled out beaten stabbed and shot. The men were later found out to be off duty British Army soldiers.
1 May 1988- Three members of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) were killed and four wounded after the IRA launch attacks in the Netherlands. One of them was killed when IRA members fired on a car carrying soldiers near Roermond. The other two were killed by a booby-trap bomb placed on their car in Nieuw-Bergen.
23 June 1988- A British Army Lynx helicopter is shot down in south County Armagh by members of the IRA using two DShK heavy machine guns, three M60 machine guns, and rifles.
20 August 1988- Ballygawley Bus Bombing- Eight British soldiers were killed and twenty eight are wounded after an IRA landmine hits their bus which was traveling between Omagh and Ballygawley. The bomb contained about 200 lbs of plastic explosives.
22 September 1989- 11 British Royal Marines are killed by an IRA bomb at their barracks in Deal, Kent in England.
13 December 1989- Attack on Derryard checkpoint near Rosslea, County Fermanagh, leaves two British soldiers dead. This is the only recorded use of military flamethrowers used by the IRA.
11 February 1990- IRA shoots down a British Army Gazelle helicopter in County Tyrone. Three British soldiers injured.
6 September 1990- The Royal Fleet Auxiliary RFA Fort Victoria is seriously damaged by the IRA while at anchor near Belfast. Members of the IRA sneaked on board and planted two bombs. One of the bombs exploded, while the other bomb was defused.
13 October 1990- An RUC officer is shot and killed with a Browning Hi Power pistol. The pistol used in the attack was the same pistol captured from Michael Stone after his attack on an IRA funeral in 1988.
24 October 1990- Proxy bomb attack. The IRA forces a British Army civilian employee to deliver a bomb to a British Army checkpoint on the County Donegal border. The bomb detonated, killing the civilian employee and five British soldiers. As the bomb exploded, and IRA unit opened fire from across the border.
07 FEB 1991- The Provisional IRA attacks 10 Downing Street in London using a van with the top cut out and three Mark 10 mortars inside the van that fired electronically by a timer.
31 May 1991- A bombing at the British Army base outside Glenanne in County Armagh kills 3 UDR soldiers. The IRA used a lorry truck packed with 2,500 lbs (1,100 kg) of explosives. The soldiers were also members of the Orange Order.
1 May 1992- IRA hold a family hostage in Killeen and steal a mechanical excavator which is used to move up a rail ramp and lift a stolen van unto the railway. The stolen van was packed with 2,200 lbs (1,000 kg) of explosives and fitted with special wheels that could run on the rails. A mile long wire was attached to the triggering device of the bomb. The van bomb was put into first gear and traveled along the track towards a British Army checkpoint north of Cloghoge, near Newry in County Armagh. The checkpoint crossed the M1 motorway. IRA units set up roadblocks on both sides of the border in order to keep civilians away. The IRA unit who set up a roadblock in the Republic of Ireland wore Garda uniforms. The van was spotted rolling down the rails and a guard alerted the other soldiers at the checkpoint to take cover in a reinforced concrete bunker. As the other soldiers hid in the bunker, the guard tried to disable the oncoming van with gunfire. An IRA man observing the van approach the target from a high position a distance away called on a radio to the team holding the wire to detonate the bomb. The guard at the checkpoint was killed and 23 soldiers were wounded.
23 September 1992- A massive 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) bomb detonates outside of the Forensic Science Laboratory at Newtonbreda in south Belfast. No injuries reported. The IRA gave an ample 40 minute warning to evacuate the area. The laboratory was almost completely demolished.
12 November 1992- An IRA unit attacks a British Army watch tower with an improvised flamethrower towed by a tractor in Crossmaglen, County Armagh. The improvised flamethrower consisted of a manure spreader which sprayed the watch tower with fuel and ignited a few seconds later by some type of small explosion. A four meter high fireball engulfed the tower, but the four British soldiers inside the tower were rescued by a Saxon armored personnel carrier.
19 MAR 1994- A British Lynx helicopter is destroyed while landing by members of the Provisional IRA using a Mark 15 mortar. The barrel was usually attached to a hydraulic hoist and towed by a tractor to the launching site
MAR 1994- The Provisional IRA attacks Heathrow Airport in London using Mark 6 mortars on the 8th, 10th and 13th of March.
12 July 1994- A British Puma helicopter is hit by an IRA mortar and forced to crash land on a soccer field in Newtownhamilton.
31 August 1994- Ceasefire declared by the IRA.
10 February 1996- Ceasefire ends with a bombing in central London, England. Despite adequate warnings given by the IRA, two civilians are killed. Damage is estimated at 85 million pounds.
15 June 1996- The IRA detonates a 3,000 lb (1,400 kg) bomb in Manchester, England. Injures over 200 people. Believed to have been the largest bomb detonated in England since the Second World War. Damage is valued at 411 million pounds.
19 July 1997- Second ceasefire called by the IRA.
1998 Good Friday Agreement
The IRA sets off a small bomb to lure British forces to an area along a rail line in South Armagh, along the border with the Republic of Ireland. The British bomb squad search for more explosives in the area. An IRA volunteer watching just across the border in the Republic of Ireland detonates a hidden bomb. The bomb squad withdraws and returns two days later to discover more bombs buried in the dirt near a Belfast to Dublin rail line. Each consisted of a bag containing around 50 pounds of homemade explosives, a detonator, and
Beechmount Avenue in Belfast was nicknamed “RPG Avenue” by Republican forces because of the numerous attacks on British forces by the PIRA using RPG-7 rocket launchers.
A “Tet Offensive” style series of attacks were planned by the IRA.
During the 1990's, British naval vessels came under fire a few times by IRA snipers using .50 caliber sniper rifles.
Lee Enfield rifles
M1 Garand rifles
Thompson sub-machine guns
Bren light machine guns
Armalite AR-18 assault rifles
Armalite AR-15 assault rifles
Smith and Wesson pistols
M-60 machine guns
RPG-7 rocket launchers
Barrett M82A1 .50 cal sniper rifles
DShK heavy machine guns
FN MAG machine guns
AK-47/AKM assault rifles
MP-5 sub-machine guns
Tons of Semtex plastic explosives
Believed to have possessed SA-7 shoulder fired surface-to-air missiles
AK4 assault rifles from Sweden and Norway
Improvised Weapons of the Provisional IRA
Improvised remote detonated land mines or roadside bombs.
Improvised grenades or bombs made from tin cans.
Small booby trapped bombs attached to cars, placed under cars or even in abandoned houses. Mercury tilt switch.
Mark 6- A 60 mm conventional mortar with a bipod and base plate and a range of 1,200 yards (1,097 m). The shell was propelled by a charge of homemade gun powder, ignited by a .22 cartridge. The warhead, made of 3 pounds of Semtex, was detonated by another .22 cartridge on impact.
Mark 10- Contains 44-220 lbs (20-100 kg) of explosives.
Mark 15- "Barrack Busters" One meter long metal propane cylinder with a diameter of 36 cm that contained around 70 kg of home-made explosives and with a range between 75 and 275 m.196-220 lbs (80-100 kg) of explosives.
“Horizontal mortars” like the Mark 12 and Mark 16. Used in occasional attacks from 1991-1997.
Some mortars were fired by electronic timers.
Improvised Shoulder fired anti-tank rocket launchers
PRIG or Projected Recoilless Improvised Grenade. Also called the Mark 16 mortar, or horizontal mortar. Improvised rocket launcher used by the Provisional Irish Republican Army. The projectile is made from a tin can with 600 grams of Semtex plastic explosive formed into a shaped charge for armor piercing capability.
IPG or Improvised Projected Grenade. Also called the Mark 12 mortar, or horizontal mortar. The projectile contains 40 ounces (1.1kg) of Semtex plastic explosive.
Most of the Provisional IRA's weapons were believed to have been decommissioned
Tactics used by the Provisional IRA
Extensive use of snipers
Mobile sniper platform
Targeting of bomb disposal units.
Used a small bomb, bomb threat or even a sniper to lure enemy forces into an area. Accurately anticipate ahead of time where the enemy would seek to take cover and plant a bomb in that location.
Mobile platform for improvised mortars
Occasional use of female IRA agents to give packages to enemy soldiers or request assistance and lure the soldiers into an ambush, booby trapped house, etc.
Warnings issued in civilian areas when the objective is to cause damage to civilian buildings.