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StKpPzBrig18

Team Yankee or how point of view changes through the last 26 years

30 posts in this topic

My hope is to explain about changes in political and military thinking from the 80s to present days.

 

When i start my carrier at the german Bundeswehr in 1981 i was thrown right in the middle of the cold war.

 

Until 1990 and the end of the WP the the cold war get´n hotter and hotter.

 

For most of you is this situation part of their personal lifetime.

 

First let us start with this Document from 1990 http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a223591.pdf

 

it explains the problem after the end of the WP   ..... TY , a scenario whoes time has passed  (really??? my comment)

 

and now http://smallwarsjournal.com/printpdf/15572

 

the return of TY? US Tank rolling through middle an east europe to show force

 

24 years between the first document and the last one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well, humans do seem to have a habit of repeating historical mistakes.

 

And global situations remain fluid.


The ironic thing is how political leaders tend to up the tensions between nations, and alas, then it is the people that end up suffering because of it.

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I thought Team Yankee was optimistic- it kind of ends in a draw, and relatively bloodless; it's rather Hollywood, of course your chief protagonists at the end of the day survive and kick a little bootay. But the Soviet strategy in Team Yankee is quite strange. It seems illogical that the Soviets would use nuclear weapons on one city in England for no real strategic reason, and then stop once Minsk is counterattacked with nuclear weapons- what would be the point of that? What is the point to provoke a counterattack and then stop after two cities are gone for no reason that the Soviets would gain, may as well not have even bothered, that is to say, once either side starts using strategic nuclear weapons they would go all out at that point. Surely the Soviets wouldn't launch a nuclear attack on one city and then not expect NATO to retaliate, so the point of containing it to one city and then declaring a ceasefire after all makes no sense. Why bother in the first place if that was the strategy. WW3 would probably be nuclear, and virtually all the tank crews on both sides would be dead eventually. It is predicted that a planetary disaster if India and Pakistan even had a small nuclear war in the form of nuclear winter would occur.

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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2 hours ago, Captain_Colossus said:

 But the Soviet strategy in Team Yankee is quite strange.

Well, to fully understand the Soviet mindset portrayed you need the read the original source material: The Third World War by Sir John Hackett.  It's a dry piece, very "Hollywood" as you say, but an interesting look into NATO's concept of how a war in Europe might go down in the mid-nineteen-eighties.

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This probably reflects more the limitations of NATO strategic thinking. NATO's perceived mission at the time was deterrence. There would be no exercise with elaborate maneuver once that the conflict escalated to the strategic nuclear level,

  • partly because planning was considered futile (the damages would be too severe, and too unpredictable at the same time)
  • partly because it would have been politically unsavory (Oooo! NATO is planning for winning a nuclear war! We always told you!)
  • partly because this final escalation step was considered to be the last chance to negotiate a ceasefire before the whole world would go down in the blaze of nuclear fire

What NATO planners - or at least the Western public in general - probably failed to appreciate was that the Soviet doctrine considered the hope for keeping a shooting war below the nuclear threshold as utterly futile/wishful thinking, and therefore concluded that any attack should include nuclear strikes to maximize their chances of success (and, hopefully, intimidate the other side to the point that they would surrender immediately ... maybe not an entirely unfounded speculation). Of course there were those who had "told us so" from the start that the evil commie bastards would not hesitate to nuke us; their credibility was tarnished as being warmongering hawks whose mere opinion was best left ignored. Or, one could say, the concept of deterrence worked so well on NATO itself that a nuclear exchange was largely discarded as unthinkable, or at least as a move that would not require any planning because everything was guaranteed to go to hell anyway.

 

Arguably, including nuclear strikes at any level of operational planning did lower the deterrence and as such made nuclear war more likely. So one could accuse the Soviet leadership to letting their strategic thinking be dominated by the military rather than insisting on a firm grip, and resisting the urge to give in to what was a clear case by military logic ... without actually considering that the unblinking execution of sound military logic was self-defeating in the nuclear age, as it would essentially be a 60:40 bet, at best; that the other side would rather fold than going all in; that an "Oopsie" was hardly the adequate response if they didn't win the gamble but rather lose the planetary ecosphere.

 

 

Maybe it was however not so much a cavalier attitude towards the possibility of ending the history of mankind in total but actual paranoia that the capitalists were out to kill and enslave everybody east of the Elbe river, and if that conflict was inevitable as Marxism-Leninism dictated, they would rather do it on their own terms.

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8 hours ago, MAJ_Fubar said:

Well, to fully understand the Soviet mindset portrayed you need the read the original source material: The Third World War by Sir John Hackett.  It's a dry piece, very "Hollywood" as you say, but an interesting look into NATO's concept of how a war in Europe might go down in the mid-nineteen-eighties.

 

I have. This is what I am saying: it's assumed (and Soviet war plans indicated as such) that at the very least, the Soviets would start on the offensive using tactical nuclear weapons before the actual invasion- so called battlefield range ballistic missiles, artillery and aircraft delivered tactical nuclear weapons. It's nuclear from the start, or if not shortly after if  the Soviets aren't making headway according to their timetables. NATO's response is to likely use tactical nuclear weapons on Soviet/Warsaw pact supply lines and reinforcement trains. In the end, any survivors on the battlefield still die from radiation exposure eventually. Even if the Soviets overrun Europe, their tank crews still die. NATO tank crews repel the invasion- they still die. They can't stay buttoned up forever. That may be insanity in and of itself, but at least it has implications for the battlefield.

 

What I mean however in Team Yankee that doesn't make sense is that the Soviets choose one target city in England for a strategic nuclear attack- no influence on the battlefield, but simply to destroy one city in England, then a cease fire after one city of theirs is destroyed in turn. There is no thinking in that insofar as it would successfully influence on the battlefield. If you see what I mean therefore, this part of the novel seems tacked on at the last minute, I almost got the sense that Coyle needed an ending and was running out of ideas. Why would the Soviets attack only one city, knowing that a retaliation would occur, and then cease everything once that happened? It's like a self sabotaging strategy. What a low threshold that they would have tolerated and that they would have predicted would have happened, that is, a blueprint for a self fulfilling prophecy to start a war and then end it that way. That just seemed to be a useless part of the strategy. When you decide to launch nukes at enemy cities, you've made the decision to end civilization at that point, may as well see it through. However, the Soviets in Team Yankee evidently do it with a low threshold of what they accept in return. It doesn't really make sense to obliterate only one city which has no impact on the battlefield, knowing the enemy would retaliate in return, then say "ok, this has gone too far." They actually don't make use of the tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield, which is ironic.

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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Oh no; you're right that the tit-for-tat exchange and the total lack of tactical nuclear weapons (including the well known U.S. policy of "you slime us, we nuke you") makes little sense in either book.  I was just pointing out that Coyle chose to follow Hackett down that particular rabbit hole.

Edited by MAJ_Fubar

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About the real strategy.

In the last years we got a lot of information from former Commander of the NVA and their are serveral new aspects including a possible attack from west to east at Fulda GAP.

I love the books and also the lot of table games about the time, we were talking about. I have a wide range of material, because it was my time and passion like Berlin 85 and lots of more stuff.

http://www.vassalengine.org/

offers a lot of material out of the cold war strategy games with real background

 

The following material is in german but it explains in Detail the Plans of the WP for an attack in Europe.

 

http://www.vtg.admin.ch/internet/vtg/en/home/dokumentation/publik_zeitrschr/military_power_revue.parsys.79525.downloadList.43538.DownloadFile.tmp/gesamtausgabempr211.pdf

 

 

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The change in strategic disposition between 1983 and 1987 is remarkable. Thanks a lot!

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23 hours ago, Ssnake said:

and therefore concluded that any attack should include nuclear strikes to maximize their chances of success (and, hopefully, intimidate the other side to the point that they would surrender immediately ... maybe not an entirely unfounded speculation). Of course there were those who had "told us so" from the start that the evil commie bastards would not hesitate to nuke us; their credibility was tarnished as being warmongering hawks whose mere opinion was best left ignored. Or, one could say, the concept of deterrence worked so well on NATO itself that a nuclear exchange was largely discarded as unthinkable, or at least as a move that would not require any planning because everything was guaranteed to go to hell anyway.

 

Well, speaking purely anecdotally, the people I spoke to who had been deployed in W.Germany, at least on the US side, seem to have all felt at the time that:

1. The Russians were going to nuke them.  And use chemical weapons on them.  In no particular order, but they were going to be nuked and nerve gassed.

 

2. The Russians were going to nuke their families, because nobody would just launch a few nukes, so everyone and everything back home would be gone.

 

3. They were all going to die no matter what  they did.  They could die from getting nuked, die from nerve gas, die fighting.  Or they could give up to the Russians.  The Russians would then, undoubtedly, fail to give them proper care and shelter, as they had failed to give proper care and shelter to German POWs taken during WW2, and they would be without proper care and shelter in an NBC soup.

 

I heard a lot of them make some pretty morbid jokes about it.  One of the guys I spoke to recently commented roughly that 'We knew we had better tanks, and better training.  We figured we were going to slaughter them until we ran out of luck, which would be before they ran out of stuff to throw at us, and then they'd have to kill us because we weren't going to give up.'  When I asked him about surrender he commented that in the environment everyone expected to exist, without a steady supply of replacement cartridges for your gas mask, you would die, and the Russians probably wouldn't be bothered to give you any, or to move you to safety.

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Oh, I was there at the time. What everybody expected and what was palatable to the public as the basis of your strategic force disposition and what kind of wargames and exercises you could semi-publicly conduct are a different matter. I was focusing on that part, because it explains why certain passages in the Hackett book make no sense.

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Just thought I would drop in to point out, Harold Coyle was interviewed (as part of the release of the new wargame series) recently, and gave his view on the tactical picture at the time, and how he views it subsequently. He himself points to it being unrealistic how the single nuclear attack on either side developed, and suggests the nuclear release would have been much more general out of the gate. I personally give it 3 days tops before it went nuclear. The British were optimistic and planned for a week of conventional warfare before it all came apart. But there we are, that's Brits being optimistic for you. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5U9xiAhIqg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fwNW-Db41U

In absolute fairness to Sir John Hackett, in either 'The Third World war' or the follow up 'The untold story' he delineates a pact theatre level strike scenario that over 30 decades later seems to fit with the evidence as it emerges. Widespread theatre level strikes, insertion of Spetsnaz to pinpoint missed targets, another general nuclear and conventional strike and then the big tank parade through Paris. Its realistic, and horrifying to read. Its rejected in the book by the Politburo for political reasons (it assumed the politburo had that kind of authority over the General staff on making of strategy) and the reason why the Birmingham attack is undertake is for political reasons and that the pact is losing. In actual fact that is not that different from Russian nuclear strategy today, read up on 'descalatory nuclear strike' and you will see what I mean. Limited release of such a kind is more realistic today than then I think. About the only distinction the Soviets would have made would be between Theatre and Strategic, and in the case of the British and French that was largely wishful thinking anyway.

May I thank StKpPzBrig18 for the document above, has anyone seen an English version of the is document anywhere? The map there in I find particularly interesting.

Edited by Stuart666

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Well, it seems to be a summary of historical research of the Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt; unfortunately not even their website has an English option although I would imagine that they might publish at least a selected few of their findings also in the English language. But it may serve as a starting point for some googling.

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4 hours ago, Ssnake said:

Oh, I was there at the time. What everybody expected and what was palatable to the public as the basis of your strategic force disposition and what kind of wargames and exercises you could semi-publicly conduct are a different matter. I was focusing on that part, because it explains why certain passages in the Hackett book make no sense.

 

Personally, I have always felt that the best case scenario for WW3 in the Fulda Gap would be that the initial "UUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH POBIEDA!" charge got shot to pieces and everything stabilized at the front very quickly in just a few days, making everybody stop and ponder...Is this really a good idea?

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Here is a really rough translation I did, of the first article, using a website that let me put in more than just one sentence at a time.  I did some grammatical corrections but don't recall if I completed the whole article or not.  It does not have the graphics included.

 

 

gesamtausgabempr211.odt

Edited by TSe419E

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2 hours ago, TSe419E said:

Here is a really rough translation I did, of the first article, using a website that let me put in more than just one sentence at a time.  I did some grammatical corrections but don't recall if I completed the whole article or not.  It does not have the graphics included.

 

 

gesamtausgabempr211.odt

thanks TSe419E my english is to bad for translate into english

 

TIP for germans and english speaking comrades is https://www.amazon.de/Rainer-Oestmann/e/B00J2PHR64/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

Rainer Oestmann did an awesome job

 

 

This is the article "stand alone" http://www.vorharz.net/media/historie/siegfried_lautsch.pdf

 

my opinion was to use this infos for building cold war missions under realistic conditions

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by StKpPzBrig18

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Herr Eisenschwein sent me a copy of the article when he learned I had been stationed in Garlstedt and expressed an interest in possible scenarios in the NorthAG area. My German was, at its best, pretty basic so I had to find a way to read the article without the help of a professional translator.

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12 hours ago, Ssnake said:

Well, it seems to be a summary of historical research of the Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt; unfortunately not even their website has an English option although I would imagine that they might publish at least a selected few of their findings also in the English language. But it may serve as a starting point for some googling.

 

I thought that might be the case. The only reason why I ask is that in 2002 a book called 'Cold War a Military History' by David Miller (pretty good book actually) came out with what it said were authentic warplans from the East German Archives. Unfortunately as it turned out these were, as with the Polish and I think possibly the Czech plans, wargames. They might show elements of what a Soviet warplan were, but were not actually the plans themselves. I gather there was some discussion over the article (on which Miller based a chapter of his book on) in the Parallel history archive, and the consensus was that people were putting too much confidence in the information than it warranted.

 

Im not sure if this is a result of the same study, or actually the same study updated, but its worth illustrating that interesting though the maps in this are, they are likely to be studies. The Soviet warplan for Western Europe remains locked in an archive in Moscow, if it still exists at all. The nearest we get are map studies and wargames which are interesting, but its easy to get the two mixed up.

 

I just thought I would highlight some caution on this, I was bitten this way myself back in 2002. Without being able to read it I cant comment on whether this is new information or not, maybe a new set of documents turned up, but ive not noticed any reference to that online. Most of the revelations these days seem to be in western archives.

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The author is:

 

"Siegfried Lautsch
Graduate military scientists . Until 1988 colonel of the NVA . Graduated from the Frunze Military Academy in Moscow , most recently Deputy Director in MfNV the GDR , Berlin - Strausberg . From 1990, an officer of the Armed Forces ( last Oberstlt ) . Today staff at the Military History Research Office ( MGFA ) of the Bundeswehr , Zeppelinstr . 127/128 , D - 14411 Potsdam , Germany .
Email : siegfried.lautsch@bundeswehr.org"

 

Original:

 

"Siegfried Lautsch
Diplom-Militärwissenschafter. Bis 1988 Oberst der NVA. Absolvent der Frunse Militärakademie in Moskau, zuletzt Unterabteilungsleiter im MfNV der DDR, Berlin-Strausberg. Ab 1990 Offizier der Bundeswehr (zuletzt Oberstlt). Heute Mitarbeiter am Militärgeschichtlichen Forschungsamt (MGFA) der Bundeswehr, Zeppelinstr. 127/128, D-14411 Potsdam, Deutschland.
E-Mail: siegfried.lautsch@bundeswehr.org"

 

I get the impression that he had more than a little insight on what he was writing about.

Edited by TSe419E

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Without looking at the documents in English I couldnt give a better verdict, other than to say you have to be careful of assuming that someones rank gives a guide to the kind of access they had. If you want a good illustration of that, look at the works of Viktor Suvorov....

 

Its certainly interesting however, and I think you for it.

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Sort of an old post to bring back up, but I'm actually re-reading Team Yankee via the audiobook as I've been painting a few rooms in the house.  Aside from the questionable strategic backdrop of the story, has any reevaluated the tactical portrayal of the soviets and their equipment?  It seems far fetched at best to me that Team Yankee effectively annihilates like 3 battalions plus of frontline Russian troops single handedly in the first 36 hours of the war without rest or resupply and lose like what,  2 or 3 M113s, 1 destroyed and a couple damaged tanks, a few guys to a gas attack, and an infantryman or two who gets shot in the chest in a dramatic pointblank ATGM launch scenario.  And most of the Soviets they shoot are like walking and driving straight at them across open fields and valleys like you're on the gunnery range in SB. I haven't gotten to the second major offensive yet, so I can't remember how that one goes.  But yea, it seems a little far fetched to me.

 

I get that it's a story and it needs characters that last more then a few pages, but wonder how much it has to do with inflated views of western troops and underestimations of Russian capability too.  This attitude still persists, go look at any youtube comment section and you'll see tons of 'experts' opining on how 'Russian tanks are junk because look at Desert Storm'.

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The story took place in the summer of 1985. It was written by a serving armor officer based on what was known, at the time, about Russian tactics and methods.  I don't think there has been any new information that has come up that would change how the Russian forces were perceived and are portrayed.

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Ralph Peters also served as an officer, and paints the war differently in Red Army.

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Posted (edited)

Taktika paints a very good picture of the Soviet Army's doctrine, and was (and still is) heavily used to determine how the Soviets or a Soviet-influenced force will fight. This, combined with FM 100-2.1 (The Soviet Army: Operations and Tactics) serves as the basis for the US Army's understanding of how the Soviets would fight.

 

The Soviets favored mass, and momentum. They would only break from their marching formation at 1000 meters from enemy positions to assume their attack formation (see FM 100-2.1, pg 5-11.) This would support the depiction of large numbers of Soviets effectively driving in a straight line. 

 

I haven't read Team Yankee, so I cannot comment to the number of losses based on the force they were encountering, but, based on historical data collected by the US Army, an M1A1 Tank Company in a Deliberate Defense fighting a Battalion of T-72As in a Hasty Attack can expect to receive about 25% casualties, while inflicting about the same on the enemy. Not exactly a Hollywood-style annihilation, but not a Custer's Last Stand either. 

 

 

 

Edited by Mirzayev

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