Irish Free State offensive

Irish Free State Offensive

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Irish Free State offensive

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The Irish Free State offensive of July–September 1922 was the decisive military stroke of the Irish Civil War. It was carried out by the National Army of the newly created Irish Free State against anti-treaty strongholds in the south and southwest of Ireland.

At the beginning of the Civil War in June 1922, the Irish Free State government, composed of the Irish republican leadership who had accepted the Anglo-Irish Treaty, held only the capital city of Dublin. The new National Army was composed of those units of the Irish Republican Army loyal to them, plus recent recruits.

Much of the rest of the country was outside of its control and in the hands of the anti-Treaty elements of the Irish Republican Army, who did not accept the legitimacy of the new state and who asserted that the Irish Republic, created in 1919, was the continuing legitimate all-island state. This situation was rapidly brought to an end in July and August 1922, when the Commander in Chief of the Free State forces, Michael Collins, launched the offensive.

The offensive re-took the major towns for the Free State Government and marked the end of the conventional phase of the conflict. The offensive was followed by a 10 month period of guerrilla warfare until the Republican side was defeated.

The "Munster Republic"

The civil war started in Dublin, with a week of street fighting from 28 June to 5 July 1922 in which the Free State's forces secured the Irish capital from anti-Treaty IRA troops who had...
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