herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Writer relives Congo war heroes' finest hour

AN IRISH 'band of brothers' -- hailed as Congo war heroes -- are to be remembered in a new book.

The heroism of the troops, in the Battle Of The Tunnel, is being celebrated in a new book to mark the 50th anniversary of the deadly encounter.

Irish Army officer Dan Harvey's book, 'A' Company Action, is a gripping tale of the UN soldiers' actions in the troubled African country in the early 1960s. The book will be launched on Thursday at McKee Barracks, Dublin, by Chief of Staff Lieut-General Sean McCann.

The tunnel battle began at dawn, in pouring rain, on December 16, 1961, when the UN soldiers went into action. It was a sharp and bloody engagement as the men of the 36th Battalion undertook a vital 'seize and hold' operation. The objective was a railway tunnel, a crucial approach to Elizabethville, held by mercenaries and Katangese gendarmerie.

Fatalities were inflicted and suffered. The Irish assault was met with heavy machine-gun and fierce mortar fire -- but triumphed.







Decorated

Following the hostilities, the Irish 'band of brothers' were awarded Distinguished Service Medals, including two posthumously. As a result, 'A' Company, 36th Battalion, became the most decorated company in the history of the Irish Defence Forces.

Dan Harvey is a serving army officer with 30 years' service. His first book, Peace Enforcers, was well received after its publication in 2010.

'A' Company Action is published by Book Republic at €19.99. It is available from the Book Republic website.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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