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IRA The Bombs and the Bullets: A History of Deadly Ingenuity


A. R. Oppenheimer

Foreword by Richard English

As a leading expert on non-conventional weapons and explosives, the author focuses on the bombs and explosives and shows how the IRA became one of the most adept and experienced insurgency groups in the world. The book is a comprehensive account of more than 150 years of Irish republican strategic details and analysis covering the IRA’s mission and acquisition of weapons and explosive.

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ISBN: 9780716528951 Categories: , , ,


In this groundbreaking title, A. R. Oppenheimer tells how the Irish Republican Army became the most adept and experienced insurgency group the world has ever seen through their bombing expertise – and how, after generations of conflict, it all came to an end. The book is a comprehensive account of more than 150 years of Irish republican strategic, tactical, and operational details, and an analysis of the IRA’s mission, doctrine, targeting, and acquisition of weapons and explosives. As a leading expert on non-conventional weapons and explosives, Oppenheimer vividly presents the story behind the bombs – those who built and deployed them; those who had to deal with and dismantle them; and those who suffered or died from them. He analyses where, how, and why the IRA’s 19,000 bombs were built, targeted and deployed, and explores what the IRA was hoping to accomplish in its unrivaled campaign of violence and insurgency through covert acquisition, training, intelligence and counter-intelligence.

Beginning with the Fenian ‘Dynamiters’ in the second half of the nineteenth century, Oppenheimer fully describes and assesses the impact of the pre-1970s bombing campaigns in Northern Ireland and England and the evolution of strategies and tactics during the Troubles. He concludes with the decommissioning of an arsenal big enough to arm several battalions – which included an entire home-crafted missile system, an unsurpassed range of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and enough explosives to blow up several urban centres. The author scrutinises the level of deadly improvisation that became the hallmark of the Provisional IRA’s expertise and the ingenuity in its pioneering IED timing, delay and disguise technologies, and follows the arms race it carried on with the British Army and security services in a long war of mutual assured disruption. He also provides an insight into the bombing equipment and guns in the vast IRA inventory held at Irish Police HQ in Dublin.

About the Author

A. R. Oppenheimer  is a UK-based analyst, author and lecturer in counter-terrorism and CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear weapons and explosives). He is a Member of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, an Associate Member of the UK Institute of Explosives Engineers, and a Course Contributor for the University of St Andrews’ Advanced Certificate in Terrorism Studies. He has written hundreds of articles for defence and security journals and lectures on the IRA at conference and seminars worldwide.