Paul F. McCann


Belfast City was a war zone with too many no go areas to mention. Every corner of the city was another zone. Every zone had its own law maker and breaker. The security forces could not control some of the corners around Belfast and as hard as it was the security forces had to allow it to happen and anarchy was the law and order of the day.

This story is about one of those corners inside a war zone where four armies fought for control of the city.

The first of these armies geared itself up in some serious fighting for control of their turf. In need of funds for arms smuggling had begun with a number ships and trucks bringing everything’s from Cognac to Cologne. With global markets paying cash for cheap stock, the weapons and explosives were purchased like a child would buy sweets from a corner shop. In this corner of town terror was the key to control the people as men and women were lined up for regular punishment shootings after refusing to drive booby trapped vehicles to barracks and buildings of Belfast.

Then there was the second army who ran the show on their turf, with protection and hi-jacks the main items on the agenda. Regular fire bombs saw many businesses burnt out and houses splattered with paint bombs. High tech electronic warfare was introduced and it wasn’t long before these two small armies united to control a bigger patch of the city.

The security forces were fighting a losing battle as their jet fighters and helicopters dropped from the sky like lead balloons into enemy territory. This was the first of the fast and furious intelligence hits on the security forces around Belfast. The two armies now had a large group of soldiers with scores of headquarters all over the city. What once was a war for turf had become a war for wealth and power.

A large group of double agents who were working for the security forces were busy gathering intelligence from computers on the inside and a network of security forces were working with the two underworld armies as bombing experts.

Four armies were operating in Belfast and no one really knew which side they were fighting on. It was all was getting too complex now. There were too many double agents and no one knew who was who. In the end nobody trusted anybody, if you get the drift.

Only, for a handful of people it was impossible to decipher what the proper and correct information was being passed on by the intelligence offices in each of the four armies.
It was heating up to an explosive situation with the assassination of one of the leaders of the second army in Belfast.

Tempers went wild with the news of the killing and it was decided that in response, Belfast business district would be blown into smithereens on the night of July 12. The underground intelligence network (whose members were also double agents) relayed back the information to the security forces and, in an operation code named “Mickey Finn”; a special death squad were enlisted to combat the new army’s mission to blow up Belfast City.

The operation was designed to look just like another tribal turf dispute, with security forces dressed like terrorists in black Balaclavas running wild through Belfast city armed to the teeth and one by one their list of names grew shorter.

As night fell over the corners of the city mayhem awaited. Already a series of car bombs had been activated and amid the flashing of flames that paved the sky with a black mosaic the death squad were busy seeking out and destroying their targets.

The air was thick with smoke and distant screaming echoed through the city Ambulances scurried through the streets with cargos of bodies and souls. Medics had to be miracle workers at times. With bombs going off everywhere panic erupted and out came the gunmen on solitary missions to protect and destroy.

Living in a war zone is not a nice place to be but you get used to it after a while. Gunfire is always around and so long as you hear it you are ok; it’s only when you don’t hear it that you are in trouble.

For a soldier, life is a gamble. There is no each way bet and no one gives you the credit to wage life or death in a war zone. A soldier just does a job. If you walk the street with a target on your back no one can guarantee you safe passage home. That is why every road could be a dead end.

At the intersection on the corner stood the death squad, just one name remained on their list. A car pulled up with the driver tied to the steering wheel. There was no warning. The bomb went off suddenly and killed the entire unit.

Some soldiers pass through a city; others turn around and find another road. There are many roads in a war zone. After the soldier does the job usually there is a new crew on the road.
Usually a new map is laid out and a road to peace is unearthed.

Now Belfast has a road to peace and car bombs are a thing of the past