Heavy support for the Infantry was supplied by the Artillery Corps. This they provided dispite crippling shortages in suitable equipment. They, nevertheless, were able to organise a force of eficient and well trained gunners. They not only provided normal field artillery, but also defended the skies over the country and also kept watch over some of the coastal ports.
The Artillery Corps
Insignia: A female representation of Eire upon a cannon
The Artillery Corps had three main bracnches or streams during the Emergency. These were the Field artillery, Anti-Aircraft Artillery and the Coastal Defence Artillery.
The field artillery was organised into Field Artillery Batteries. These were rather small formations of only four guns each. A British battery held eight guns while a German Division in 1940 could call on up to 8 75mm guns, 6 150mm guns, 36 105mm howitzers as well as 12 37mm anti-tank cannons against the 36 assorted and outdated weaphons of the Irish Divisions.
The Emergency began in 1940 with 11 Field Artillery batteries organised from the 29 18 pounder guns, 14 4.5" Howitzers and 4 3.7" Howitzers on hand. These batteries were joined by 2 formed in 1940/41, 4 more formed in 1941/42 and finally 5 more in 1942/43. They were armed with a mainly with those weaphons mentioned above but three used 75mm guns.
The batteries were assigned to the control of the brigades.
The addition of the two batteries in 1940 gave the Army the opertunity to form Artillery battalions. Four such formations were created and one each was assigned to the then existing brigades. This thus gave a force of four Artillery Battalions of three batteries each with one spare battery assinged to a regional Command.
The large expansion of the Army in 1941 caused a great shortfall in the artillery establishment . The Army now had two Divisions of three brigades each. Each brigade ought to have had three batteries however in order to make up the shortfall, each division was allocated an Artillery battalion of five batteries. Thus two of the divisions brigades enjoyed the support of two batteries while the third had one a single battery! One artillery battalion was disbanded at this time and the remaining two batteries and headquarters of the remaining artillery bataion were assigned to the 5th Brigade in the Curragh Command. One battery still remained outside of the command of the Divisions and brigades.
At the time of the September 1942 Blackwater River excercise, there existed 17 batteries with the 18th Provisional battery. These were absorbed into the above system and six brigades could now call on three batteries each. For the purpose of the excercise, batteries were assigned to Groups A through to C in each Division.
Sources: The Irish Sword - The Journal of the Military History Society of Ireland, 1993; Irish Military Archives - Annnual Reports 1939-1945
For the time being here are some external links to some sites that have some information on the coastal defense sites taken over in 1938 from the British Armed Forces.The Site of the Fort Dunree Meuseum in County Donegal. An alternate link to this site is here