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Okay excuse my enthusiam, but Im a born again SBP'er.

Given all that Ive experianced lately makes me consider the following question...

Given a time period of the mid 80's, If the ballon had gone up and NATO been on the back end of a full warsaw pact invasion (however unlikely or likely that was)

How would it of faired?

Given convetional (whilst admiting a chemical option likely) what in your opinion would of been the outcome?

Feel free to move this to the free subject forums.

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Okay excuse my enthusiam, but Im a born again SBP'er.

Given all that Ive experianced lately makes me consider the following question...

Given a time period of the mid 80's, If the ballon had gone up and NATO been on the back end of a full warsaw pact invasion (however unlikely or likely that was)

How would it of faired?

Given convetional (whilst admiting a chemical option likely) what in your opinion would of been the outcome?

Feel free to move this to the free subject forums.

Thank god that it never happen. I served during 70's to the year that the wall came down. Hell that just give away how old I am :cul:

There is a book that I found to be pretty good to read about what if and it is "The War that Never Was", by Michael A. Palmer. Get a chance read it.

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Okay excuse my enthusiam, but Im a born again SBP'er.

How would it of faired?

NATO 3; WARSAW PACT 2. NATO wins on a late in a 3rd period power play goal, by a Finnish player who comes off the bench.

Pete

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This is something we have discussed a lot in TS. Various different time periods and what they would have been like. In a purely conventional war I think it depends on the date. Basically its a seesaw from post WW2 up until Glasnost. Straight after WW2 I believe the Soviets had a bit of an advantage. I think the west was war weary but peace was maintained because the Soviets hadn't gotten the "Bomb" yet. It swung back and forth for the next 20 years. Into the 70's I think the soviets again had a bit of an advantage (only in conventional terms). By the 1980's it had swung back heavily to the wests favour. The technology of war had developed a lot in that time and I think the Soviets were lagging a long way behind in electronics. The west was being heavily modernized, new generations of anti-tank aircraft (A-10, Apache) and the latest generation of smart and semi smart weaponry. From there the soviets really started slipping onto the back foot. Especially with their involvement in Afghanistan sapping their strength.

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If you can find copies, read Savkin's Operational Art and Tactics, Reznichenko's Tactics, or Novikov and Sverdlov's Manoeuvre in Modern Land Warfare. The Pact would have opened with nukes. That's the whole point of the design of the BMP. It's a vehicle that provides protection from contamination while at the same time allowing infantry to fight. They would have blown holes in the line with their nukes and pushed as much armor through as quickly as possible. The question would have been how much of the NATO nuke force could they compromise in the opening. Central Europe would have been a glass cinder from Paris to Minsk. And that's assuming that things didn't get really crazy.

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Either way, unless they had a neutron bomb, once they conquered the world, nothing would matter because a nuclear winter would arrive soon, and basically end the possibility of agriculture or anything.

It'd be a war where the last one standing does so with great cost. Nukes would basically end the world.

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I guess thats the big question. Under what circumstances would any sane goverment start a nuclear war. I agree that it would be pointless, but weve come pretty close in the past so who knows?

Whilst I accept the bmp was designed for the nuclear battle field, wouldnt the use of even tactical weapons of negated WP's considerable advantage in numbers?

As long as this is thankfully a hypothetical discussion, what could an army commander hope to gain from the risk of escalation to a full exchange?

That said you feel that Nato would of had no option but to resort to WMDs to hold them back or as you said it would of been nuclear from the get go?

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I guess the train of though of the Soviets was that chances of a major military confrontation between NATO and WP not going nuclear were so small that this option simply had no relevance in their military and strategic planning. Be that as a consequence of their own ideology that saw the whole situation as an extension of the great class struggle, be it that the Soviets were paranoid enough to genuinely believe that the West was planning an aggression against them. Whatever the reasons were, this fundamental decision then made it a natural consequence to distribute the authority for the release of (tactical) nuclear weapons from the politbureau down to division commanders.

The logic behind that is well described in "Dr. Strangelove" - still, IMO, the best introduction into the logic of strategic nuclear weapons, and the very slim chances for the political leadership to actually stay in control of an escalating situation as there is actually very, very little time to assess situation and likely intent of the opposite side. Game theory plays a big role in this as well, which predicts that while both sides have to gain most from a mutual draw-down, it also is an unlikely outcome as both sides must fear an opportunistic attempt of the other side to backstab with a feigned deescalation.

Clearly, rationality alone doesn't help. It was necessary for the political leadership to develop personal relations - an irrational element in the equation - to make substantial progress with nuclear dearmament (Reagan and Gorbatchev, or recently Obama and Medvediev, and a long time of stalled talks before, and between the START treaties). This is well represented with this ridiculous phone call between President Muffley and the drunk Soviet leader in "Dr. Strangelove".

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Ive been reading through the soviet army operations and tactics manual in the library, and yes from what Ive read I can see that the army was more than capable of operating in an NBC enviroment.

That said however I would of thought (at least presuming a certain degree of success) that convetional operations, if feasible would at least be preferable to an initial release of tactical nuclear weapons. What I did find intresting was the Soviet view that chemical weapons were seen as a conventional.

Provided the premise of at least some form of surprise and initative were present at the begining of operations I would of thought that shear numbers alone would allow a certain degree of success. Depending on the state of preperation by Nato (and its willingness to maintain the treaty) this may slow down as a response is organised. Whether any element of surprise would be possible is another matter I guess.

Its obvious that the nuclear option was integral to their doctrine, I imagine things would have to be pretty desperate before even a tactical option was used as it is easy to see how this could rapidly escalate into a full strategic exchange.

But I guess the real factor is really what the original question was about. On paper how would soviet conventional forces fare against Nato in the mid to late 80's. Was the technological advantage enough to check the numerical of WP?

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Is it technology that wins wars or is it strategy, tactics, leadership, the human factor? Or is it all of the former? It is so hard to tell. What if by technological advantages the WP drive is stalled in one NATO corps sector...while a different one is ripped apart by destruction of the logistics lines, deceptions and just cunning handling of the forces available? All this reminds me of the cartoon where two Soviet generals sit in a cafe in Paris and one asks the other "So, who won the air war?" .

But for the technology alone I recommend reading "Red Thrust" by Steven Zaloga. He picks the Soviet capabilities in the late 80s apart one by one and in great detail. However, the Soviets still advance during the course of the book...

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Ah, great question. A very fun "what if?" I'd recommend reading "Red Army," by Ralph Peters. A great read, strictly from the Soviet point of view. It's interesting to also note that the senior leadership is making a strong effort to AVOID the use of WMDs throughout the novel, and still managing to dismantle NATO's will to resist.

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Interesting question. I, too, have often wondered what would have happened had the line been crossed. Looking at it from a different angle when growing up as a boy near London in 1980's England, the fear of a Russian nuclear attack was always a concern. We would discuss it at school and often at home. A couple of nights ago I stumbled across some videos posted on Youtube for a film called Threads.

Here's the imdb link for info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090163/

It tells the story of a typical working class family in Sheffield in the north of England who are caught up with an imminent attack on our country. Tensions between the USA and Russia hit a critical point and weapons are launched.

The story is told in a docu-drama type way with figures, times and dates appearing throughout on the military and survival situation. It won several awards when it was made in 1984. It's worth watching. Acting isn't great (like a lot of British TV :)), but it is believable.

Here's the Youtube link. It's in 13 parts and this link already has them set to play one after the other in a playlist:

I would like to add that a few years ago I travelled to Moscow for the first time and I got talking to colleagues there about the hostile situation back then. The people I worked with were all similar in age to me and it was interesting to hear them discuss this. They were as scared as we were of a possible attack, thinking we (the West) would start it. In England we had been taught about the 'evil' Russian - they had been brainwashed about the 'evil' West.

As one guy at the office said, "if it hadn't been for the politicans you and I could have been friends back then".

Funny old world...

Quagmire

Edited by Quagmire

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Team Yankee is a great book from a tank company commanders point of view. Another good book is Red Storm Rising.

Even in the old pencil and paper Roleplaying game Twilight:2000, they even said that both sides avoided use of WMDs.

It is really quite interesting to see what each sides stance on WMDs were. The Warsaw Pact had a line in the sand they would use WMDs if NATO crossed. And NATO had a use if used on policy.

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What about the use of chemical weapons? Would its use be the cause to escalate into nuke exchanges?

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A couple of nights ago I stumbled across some videos posted on Youtube for a film called Threads.

Sounds a bit like The Day After.

I remember there was a big hoopla over showing it back in 83.

Acting was so so also but the scenes of the nukes going of were surreal!

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A few years ago I had occasion to talk to a fairly recent Russian immigrant. Through an amazing bit of serendipity, he had been a Recce Tp Leader in the Soviet Army (BRDM) and so was effectively my opposite number.

We had a long series of discussions on this question.

Perhaps the most surprising thing to fall out of these conversations was the fact that he (and by extension, the Soviet Army) were CONVINCED that NATO was going to invade, and that the actual invasion was effectively staged and ready to go.

He flatly did not believe the NATO claims that our force dispositions were defensive - and the reasoning goes like this:

Nobody had a better understanding about how to conduct mass armoured warfare on the strategic level than the Soviets, given that they had taken the Doctorate level course courtesy of the Germans. And one of the lessons they had learned was that armour needs to be concentrated to provide maximum effect.

An armoured thrust is so powerful at the tip of the spear that the only thing that can stop it (short of nukes) is an equally powerful armoured spear to slam into it.

You cannot arraign your forces along the border, Maginot-line style. Providing the necessary thickness of the line would require more tanks than had ever been built; and a thinner line is locally overcome and punched through.

Instead, a defensive armoured formation is a screen line across the border, and far back from the border (trading space for time) you place your countermoves forces - sufficiently dispersed to not provide a tempting "first minute" air or missile target, but concentrated enough that they can form the spearhead and move to intercept the invading spearhead.

That is not what NATO's force structure looked like. NATO instead pushed its forces well forward - categorically NOT (to Soviet eyes) a defensive arrangement at all. Instead, massed formations on the border is an OFFENSIVE force structure.

That NATO had adopted this was a question of politics. The Germans knew full well how to fight a defensive armoured war, and they knew full well that the best formation to do that was concentrations arranged some distance behind the border. But they also knew that would make the battleground the first 100km or so into West Germany, and they were really not very keen on having WWIII fought on West German soil. So instead, somebody came up with the idea that at the first indication that the balloon really was going up, NATO would push its screening forces 100 km or so into EAST Germany and leave its countermove forces in place where they were, thus establishing the "proper" defensive formation, but also ensuring (assuming the screen could make it out fast enough) that the fist-on-fist armour countermoves battle would be fought on EAST German soil, not WEST German soil.

There was a name for this particular doctrine, but it escapes me at the moment and I'm away from my library.

When I told my Russian friend this, he replied that he had read that particular bit of propaganda too, but hadn't fallen for it, because nobody could be that stupid. He thought that it was just the cover story to disguise NATO's clearly offensive intentions.

So it is entirely possible that neither side really intended to EVER invade, but each firmly believed that the other side was a coiled spring, ready to leap across the border when provided the slightest opportunity.

Personally, I like to think that NATO would have won. I think that the flexibility and adaptability of NATO armies would have trumped the sheer firepower of the Soviet system. The wild card (excepting nukes) is the absolutely ludicrous amounts of artillery that the Soviets planned to bring to the party. It would only take a few NATO units to get savaged by a couple of well planned (or lucky) barrages to create the conditions for an inability to get counter-moves forces into the fight, and with that, have the Soviet steamroller drive right to the Channel.

DG

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Interesting. Pre-emptive attack is the greatest fear leading up to the opening offensive in "Red Army." That appears to be when the Soviets would have most vulnerable. I guess that fear was well-founded, then.

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Here's the Youtube link. It's in 13 parts and this link already has them set to play one after the other in a playlist:

Very good film, thanks.

Laibach - B Mashina

Here's you.

Edited by mp96

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"Interesting question. I, too, have often wondered what would have happened had the line been crossed. Looking at it from a different angle when growing up as a boy near London in 1980's England, the fear of a Russian nuclear attack was always a concern."

Allthough its easy for us to forget now, I mean their mindset not the war, in the mid 1980s the second world war was a lot more than a distant memory for the soviets. Having lost 20 million+ only a couple of generations before the threat of nuclear escalation was a very, very real threat for them.

Irish

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In Egypt muslim army destroy christian wall of building for muslims. Islam in Egypt develop and attack Israel in future. And Europe, and USA, and Russia, and Asia.

For scenario Egypt assault on Israel, Israel take Sinai.

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