11-12 December 1956, Operation Harvest launched- The first Night.
It was fifty nine years ago tonight that the Irish Republican Army launched ‘Operation Harvest’ (also known as the ‘Border Campaign’). The campaign began with a series of attacks on British military, administrative and communication properties across the northern state – eleven attacks in all, according to the Times of London (13 December 1956).
The republican forces were made up, broadly, of four flying columns – modelled on the columns of the earlier campaign of 1919-23. This strategy was the brainchild of Sean Cronin, a journalist who had returned to Ireland from New York, subsequently rising through the ranks of the IRA. The three dominant personalities within the movement at this time were the “three Macs”; Paddy McLogan, Tony Magan and Tomás MacCurtain, son of the murdered Lord Mayor of Cork. Cronin’s strategy envisaged the use…
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