Remembering The Rathcoole Ambush 100th Anniversary✊🇮🇪
One of the largest ambushes of the Tan War took place at Rathcoole, North Cork, on June 16th 1921.
Volunteers planned the ambush for weeks with much of the preparations centring on a location close to Rathcoole.
The railway line between Banteer and Millstreet had been cut off in several places, forcing the Auxiliary company based at Millstreet to travel to Banteer by road for their supplies at regular intervals each week.
A planned operation saw a combined force of 130 IRA men mobilised to attack the Auxiliaries as they returned from Banteer.
The volunteers drawn from the Millstreet, Kanturk, Newmarket, Charleville and Mallow battalion columns in the second division area were under the command of Paddy O'Brien from Liscarroll.
On the night before the ambush, the I.R.A. volunteers slept at Rathcoole Wood, which overlooked the planned ambush position.
Shortly after sunrise the following morning, Captain Dan Vaughan laid six landmines on the untarred road and covered them with dust.
After a wait of several hours a convoy of four armour-plated lorries, each mounted with a machine gun and carrying ten men was observed heading for Banteer.
The IRA ambush was prepared and at 6.20 pm, as the lorries passed through the ambush area on their return journey, three of the landmines exploded with devastating results.
One mine detonated as the last of the four lorries drove over it, another exploded under the leading lorry in the convoy, both vehicles were out of action with the two other lorries trapped between them.
A third mine exploded amid a party of Auxiliaries as they attempted to outflank the position and a firefight developed. Each time the Auxiliaries tried to outflank the IRA they were driven back, suffering losses of more than twenty dead and over a dozen wounded.
When it became clear that the IRA could not achieve a complete victory because of their limited ammunition supply, the order for withdrawal was given and the whole force retired without a single casualty.
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