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The Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Development of Mortars


The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) repeatedly showed itself to be one of the most inventive and adaptive of all the violent non-state actors who operated in the latter part of the twentieth century. Among its most innovative exploits was the PIRA’s successful development and fielding – spanning almost its entire operational lifetime – of improvised mortar systems. This chapter will trace the sustained development of mortars, including the underlying motivations for pursuing mortars as a complex engineering effort, the process by which the development took place and the underpinnings of its success. The discussion will show that the PIRA’s mortar development program was born out of tactical necessity but enabled by good organizational practices and the organization’s access to materials, expertise and places in which to leverage these.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Ackerman, Gary A. 2016. "The Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Development of Mortars."  Journal of Strategic Security 9 (March): 12-34. http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jss/vol9/iss1/4/

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