Nazi plan "Grün" to invade Ireland

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SEVENTY YEARS ago this summer, Adolf Hitler’s general staff drew up detailed plans to invade Ireland. In June of 1940, Germany’s 1st Panzer Division had just driven the British Expeditionary Force into the sea at Dunkirk.

The Nazis, intoxicated by their military victory in France, considered themselves unstoppable and were determined to press their advance into Britain and Ireland. Germany’s invasion plans for Britain were codenamed Operation Sealion. Their invasion plans for Ireland were codenamed Unternehmen Grün or Operation Green.

Like Operation Sealion, Operation Green was never executed. The Nazis failed to achieve air superiority over the English Channel that summer. By the autumn of 1940 the Battle of Britain had been won by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Hitler postponed his British and Irish invasion.

Some military historians also believe that the plans for Operation Green, drawn up in minute detail, may have been a feint to divert British resources away from Germany’s invasion of southern England. However, had the RAF been overwhelmed that summer by the German air force, the Luftwaffe, Operation Green gives a sobering insight into what fate neutral Ireland would have suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

Operation Green was conceived under the scrutiny of Field Marshal Fedor von Bock. Bock had a fearsome reputation as an aggressive campaign officer – well versed in the concept of Blitzkrieg. Bock had been commander of Germany’s army group north during the invasion of Poland in 1939 and army group B during the invasion of France in May of 1940. Nicknamed Der Sterber, or Death Wish, by his fellow officers, von Bock was ultimately given responsibility for Germany’s planned assault on Moscow (Operation Typhoon) during Germany’s subsequent invasion of Russia.

In the summer of 1940 however – before Hitler had turned his attentions towards Russia – von Bock was preoccupied with invasion plans for neutral Ireland and assigned responsibility for it to the German 4th and 7th army corps, army group B under the command of General Leonhard Kaupisch....

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