Michael Collins

90 years on, Michael Collins ranks as Britain's second most dangerous enemy


Michael Collins

The results of London’s National Army Museum survey are in and next to Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Michael Collins has been voted as Britain’s greatest military foe.

The IRA leader was beaten to the top spot by Ataturk, who repelled the Allied advance at the Dardanelles in 1915.

The poll closed on Friday with Ataturk receiving 3,090 votes and Collins raking in 2,787 votes.
Although Collins only came in second he did come ahead of commanders such as Erwin Rommel, Napoleon Bonaparte and George Washington.

The museum explained that the aim of the survey was to highlight the achievements of Britain’s enemies.

Other commanders on the list include German Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck who led successful attacks on British positions in East Africa during the first World War. Also listed is Ntshingwayo kaMahole, who commanded the Zulu rout of British forces in the famous battle of Isandlwana in 1879, and Tomoyuki Yamashita who led the rapid Japanese invasion of Britain’s colony in Malaya and the eventual capture Singapore in 1941.

The top five military commanders in the poll will be represented by five historians who will speak at an event in the museum next month.

Collins headed a guerilla war against Britain during the Irish War of Independence. He used a strategy called “flying columns”. This involved small bands of IRA volunteers, ambushing various targets. They are credited with dismantling the British intelligence network in Ireland.


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