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Going back on topic about the Cold War the World War before that taught that you lose when you fight the last war. I think the way the Germans handled the occupation of Europe cost them dearly. Eastern Europeans were seen as sub humans in their propaganda everybody else knew different. OK you invade and what then? Peoples ambitions don't go away. Take Poland officially didn't exist before WW1 it was divided between Austria-Hungary Prussia and Russia. The trigger of World War 2.

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6 hours ago, dbsapp said:

Theoretically each side must have all scenarios on the chief of stuff's table. 

It doesn't change the fact that Soviet side was the weakest part of this struggle, technologically, economically and geographically seriously inferior to US. 

It was surrounded by US bases from Germany and Turkey to Japan and Philippines. 

It didn't have direct land access to US territory, where as US had hundreds of ways to the terrotory of USSR.

By invading Europe (NATO wet dream)  it would achieve nothing at best and commit suicide at worst. 

Still, the myth of "mighty USSR invading weak NATO" alive and well till the present day, and made itself comfortable even in CMCW.

I would hardly call it that - governments generally want to spend money on things other than defence.  I doubt NATO countries would have spent money on training, equipping and deploying the numbers they did if they didn't believe that there was a threat to Europe.  I lived and served during those days and understood that this was the threat and we trained extensively to defeat it.

Whether the Soviet Union and its allies actually intended to invade Europe is of course a different matter and I'm perfectly prepared to accept that they didn't, perhaps for some of the reasons that you state.  However it is immaterial because the perception that they would was there.  Likewise, in recent years I've seen plenty of maps and details of Soviet/Warsaw Pact exercises which all work on the premise that the force would have to defend against a NATO invasion first before counterattacking.  The exercises that I participated in, never featured such a scenario and I was never tasked to look at East Germany with a view to providing intelligence support for plans to attack it.  Nonetheless, I accept that the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact thought differently and had the perception that NATO would attack and it is a fair assumption, hence the exercise plans and the stationing of forces in such numbers in Germany to combat it.

Perhaps one of the reasons that the Cold War never went hot is because neither side intended to attack each other.

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The Soviets had (the Russians maybe still have) the best intelligence gathering setup. There is no way that a rational assessment of the information they almost certainly had available to them would have led to an assessment that there was any danger whatsoever of being invaded by the West. 

Of course all the exercises had the "defend and counterattack" framework. Can you imagine if they actually practised invading first? If the Western public got ahold of that, maybe there would have been a small chance of public opinion being swayed more towards building a force in Europe actually capable of the pre-emptive strike the Soviets claimed to be nervous of. It's as hilariously laughable as current Putinesque protestations of nervousness about contemporary NATO exercises near the border, and claims of feeling threatened by the Baltic States joining NATO.

No, "The perfidious Imperialists want to attack us," was always (and remains) pure propaganda for internal consumption. At least in the sense of tanks and planes and bullets and piles and piles of irradiated bodies. Economic competition was much more effective against the Soviets, and if Russia doesn't pivot away from reliance on natural gas exports, will once again put the squeeze on the kleptocrats as Europe reduces its dependency on supplies from the East.

The middle of the C20th offers up plenty of examples of Russia flexing its muscles in its own backyard that don't need much shading to make the NATO public somewhat leery of Russian claims to not be expansionist. And those last right til today.

Any numerical inferiority on the part of the Soviets existed only because the US was the gorilla backing NATO. Similarly, statements about being "surrounded", and "not having land access". Sure, the Bering strait was an insurmountable barrier, but there ain't no Bering Strait in central Europe. Take the Americans out of the equation, and pushing the borders of Stalinism to the Atlantic doesn't look so dumb: industrialised areas, educated populations. Access to warm water ports. The Nazis had proven the concept of occupation was workable; without the amphibious invasions in the Med and Normandy, those nations under the jackbooted heel would have been a long time winning their freedom. And the Soviets had much more resource and, to be frank, perceived ruthlessness (Stalin killed at least as many as Hitler, remember and those were supposed to be his; imagine how willing he would have been to do unto "the other") to apply to subjugation than Germany did in the 30s and 40s, if they wanted to go that way. 

We Europeans have the Americans to thank for making the concept of invasion sufficiently dicey that we never had to nuke the Soviets (and get nuked in return). I'm a child of the 80s, and I don't recall sharing the much-touted "existential angst", cos even as a teenager, I knew enough to be pretty sure the CCCP had no real interest in trying it on, in the face of what the West would end up throwing at it. And I knew in my bones the West had no military designs on Warsaw Pact territory; the "best" militaries in the world have tried it on a couple of occasions, and ended up bugging out with the bitten off stumps of their tails between their remaining legs.

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17 hours ago, womble said:

The Soviets had (the Russians maybe still have) the best intelligence gathering setup. There is no way that a rational assessment of the information they almost certainly had available to them would have led to an assessment that there was any danger whatsoever of being invaded by the West. 

Of course all the exercises had the "defend and counterattack" framework. Can you imagine if they actually practised invading first? If the Western public got ahold of that, maybe there would have been a small chance of public opinion being swayed more towards building a force in Europe actually capable of the pre-emptive strike the Soviets claimed to be nervous of. It's as hilariously laughable as current Putinesque protestations of nervousness about contemporary NATO exercises near the border, and claims of feeling threatened by the Baltic States joining NATO.

No, "The perfidious Imperialists want to attack us," was always (and remains) pure propaganda for internal consumption. At least in the sense of tanks and planes and bullets and piles and piles of irradiated bodies. Economic competition was much more effective against the Soviets, and if Russia doesn't pivot away from reliance on natural gas exports, will once again put the squeeze on the kleptocrats as Europe reduces its dependency on supplies from the East.

The middle of the C20th offers up plenty of examples of Russia flexing its muscles in its own backyard that don't need much shading to make the NATO public somewhat leery of Russian claims to not be expansionist. And those last right til today.

Any numerical inferiority on the part of the Soviets existed only because the US was the gorilla backing NATO. Similarly, statements about being "surrounded", and "not having land access". Sure, the Bering strait was an insurmountable barrier, but there ain't no Bering Strait in central Europe. Take the Americans out of the equation, and pushing the borders of Stalinism to the Atlantic doesn't look so dumb: industrialised areas, educated populations. Access to warm water ports. The Nazis had proven the concept of occupation was workable; without the amphibious invasions in the Med and Normandy, those nations under the jackbooted heel would have been a long time winning their freedom. And the Soviets had much more resource and, to be frank, perceived ruthlessness (Stalin killed at least as many as Hitler, remember and those were supposed to be his; imagine how willing he would have been to do unto "the other") to apply to subjugation than Germany did in the 30s and 40s, if they wanted to go that way. 

We Europeans have the Americans to thank for making the concept of invasion sufficiently dicey that we never had to nuke the Soviets (and get nuked in return). I'm a child of the 80s, and I don't recall sharing the much-touted "existential angst", cos even as a teenager, I knew enough to be pretty sure the CCCP had no real interest in trying it on, in the face of what the West would end up throwing at it. And I knew in my bones the West had no military designs on Warsaw Pact territory; the "best" militaries in the world have tried it on a couple of occasions, and ended up bugging out with the bitten off stumps of their tails between their remaining legs.

Never thought that such level of ideological indoctrination is possible outside of laboratory environment, but you proved that I was wrong.

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20 hours ago, Combatintman said:

Perhaps one of the reasons that the Cold War never went hot is because neither side intended to attack each other.

True and a wartime economy is not sustainable. Geld regiert die Welt. In German it rhymes, sounds bet than money rules the world. 

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52 minutes ago, dbsapp said:

Never thought that such level of ideological indoctrination is possible outside of laboratory environment, but you proved that I was wrong.

And lo, mine eyes are open'd by your flawless rebuttal of my chains of thought.

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MY own thought during those times was that one had to look at the "big picture".  Both(all) sides were (and are) run by the wealthy and corrupt who have their own self-interest at heart.  Any form of nuclear exchange would threaten their lifestyles and power.

Threats of imminent armageddon was (and still is) more of a scare tactic to manipulate populations and prevent them (on all sides) from seeking more equality and better lifestyle.  A deadly and imminent enemy threat is a mandatory requirement to keep the defense industries running and making billions for those same elite folks.  The last thing they wanted was a nuclear exchange that could not be controlled.

The threat of biological, chemical or genetic warfare was and is far more dangerous as it doesn't (necessarily have to) destroy property... only excess people.  We see a small hint of this when we see so many wealthy investing in New Zealand in order to get NZ passports and citizenship, as that is seen as the safest place to ride out that sort of war.

https://othjournal.com/2020/05/26/deepening-the-cut-how-chinas-genetic-warfare-is-affecting-international-relations/

Cyberwar is a new threat as it can directly attack corporations, the wealthy, their financial systems etc. and as a result could be considered to be a form of revolutionary assault on the powerful by the dispossessed.

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Regarding the state of the US Army in the seventies and eighties, I found the opening chapters of Tom Clancy's "Armored Cav: A Guided Tour of an Armored Cavalry Regiment" to be an interesting read. I have to admit though, that I only read the free sample for the Amazon's Kindle, but the first two chapters promise a very informative read. 

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6 hours ago, Combatintman said:

Peace loving peoples of the Soviet Union

Russians are nice sociable people like anybody else their regime sucked at times. I remember fondly family friends Uncle Alex from Kazakhstan, Auntie Kira from Georgia. They committed the crime of surrendering at the time. 

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Okay. 

 

Somewhat back on topic, I suppose. 

What were the overall roles of light infantry type troops? Paratroopers, Special Forces, Commandos, SAS, etc. I mean, once one side or the other decided to cross the line of departure. 

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8 hours ago, Combatintman said:

Peace loving peoples of the Soviet Union - bound to happen mate ... 😏

I had no intention to discuss any "inner qualities" of any people, including peoples of the Soviet Union (who - as everybody at this forum well aware of -  have no soul, inherently sinful and live with single purporse in life, e.g. invading peaceful democracies  of Europe and crossing Pacific to destroy prosperous US, because they hate Americans for their freedom). 

I merely tried to draw attention to the simple and quite obvious, but usually omitted fact, that from demographical, economical, technological and geographical standpoint USSR was in disadvantageus position, which clearly undermines the claim that it had any agressive intentions towards Western countries. 

USSR in the face of superior and quickly expanding Western militaries tried to build up military power to prevent the repetition of catastrophic German invasion of June 22 in 1941, but the goal of achieving parity with combined Western armies proved to be too overwhelming for the economy. 

 

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7 hours ago, dbsapp said:

I merely tried to draw attention to the simple and quite obvious, but usually omitted fact, that from demographical, economical, technological and geographical standpoint USSR was in disadvantageus position, which clearly undermines the claim that it had any agressive intentions towards Western countries. 

Well that is an amateur interpretation to be honest.  In fact all of those factors (more or less true, except maybe geographical) are really reasons why the Soviets would take a forward leaning stance as opposed to a more passive one.  You are describing the exact same strategic position that Germany had before both world wars.  History does tend to show that nations at strategic disadvantage tend to see the world as very dangerous and that a good offence is the best defence, largely because they know they cannot sustain a protracted war.  Particularly for those in the center of the Soviet Union/WP, the Russians who lost 25-plus million in  WW2.

Soviet forces and posture reflect this as well.  60k tanks and 70k-odd guns in the WP, a very offensive based doctrine and a whole lot of political warfare action going on around the globe, there was that whole Cuban Missile crisis whoopsie.

Now one could argue that for the Soviets this was largely strategically defensive in nature, not sure if I ever bought into the global communist conspiracy, the West was (and is) far more aggressive with respect to ideology.  But I don't believe the evidence points to the Soviets passively accepting anything and there was always a risk that simple misunderstanding (or how about just plain fear?) could escalate a local action into a full on conflagration...you know, like 1914?  It is not like we humans need really good excuses to fight, ever, and I doubt the situation in Europe was any different. 

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9 hours ago, USASOCRanger said:

Okay. 

 

Somewhat back on topic, I suppose. 

What were the overall roles of light infantry type troops? Paratroopers, Special Forces, Commandos, SAS, etc. I mean, once one side or the other decided to cross the line of departure. 

Not too much different than how they were employed in WW2 really, at least for Airborne operations. Seize a vital piece of ground in the enemy near-rear and hang on to be relieved by mobile forces. That would be the mission in Europe should they have been employed there. Whether that was to cross a river and secure a far bank, seize an airhead or isolate a surroundable enemy force, would depend on the situation. We trained on what at the time was termed the Airborne Anti-Armor Defense (AAAD). It was a strong point mutually supporting defense in depth with all the AT weapons we could carry against an assaulting mechanized force, because of course as soon as you hit the ground they are coming for you. The air environment was likely to be pretty dangerous for large scale airborne operations. You need to have very good local air superiority to drop a brigade or division. That was unlikely, at least in the initial stages of a European ground war, and maybe for the whole course of it.

If employed in a supporting theater (Middle East being the most likely), the most likely scenario was seizing an airhead and holding it until reinforcing mech units could arrive. This type of mission is much more likely to be used in an air superiority environment that in the middle of Germany somewhere.

Third possibility is to hold down guerrilla opposition in Central American countries, in concert with Marines, which is another thing that was extensively trained. Again, air superiority is much more likely to be established.

In both the first 2 cases the expectation was that we had to last 3 days without reinforcements. 

It takes a significant amount of airlift capacity to move an airborne division, and REFORGER would also be going on or even if at the time when we had already sent everyone to Germany we were going to, huge airlift capacity would be required just for supply. It would be smart to "stage" these units at the outset to make the lift a short one instead of all the way from the east coast.

Dave

Edited by Ultradave
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Having been to the USSR and afterwards to Russia, I never had the sense that the "ordinary folks" were much different than in the west - they liked going to parties and nightclubs (Tallinn was the USSR's Las Vegas).  Altho' I read that historically, Russia/Russians have had a more dour and perhaps more paranoid outlook.  

One has to think how we in the US would feel if surrounded by a hostile Canada and Mexico as well as Cuba.  

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10 hours ago, USASOCRanger said:

What were the overall roles of light infantry type troops? Paratroopers, Special Forces, Commandos, SAS, etc. I mean, once one side or the other decided to cross the line of departure. 

One interesting hypothetical that Cpt. Miller has suggested is the deployment of US airborne as a quick reaction force reacting to a Soviet invasion through neutral Austria. 

Light forces would likely be the only troops that could react in time, in a similar situation to the deployment of the 82nd Airborne to Saudia Arabia in the first Gulf War - a speedbump, probably, but the only one available.

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14 minutes ago, domfluff said:

One interesting hypothetical that Cpt. Miller has suggested is the deployment of US airborne as a quick reaction force reacting to a Soviet invasion through neutral Austria. 

Light forces would likely be the only troops that could react in time, in a similar situation to the deployment of the 82nd Airborne to Saudia Arabia in the first Gulf War - a speedbump, probably, but the only one available.

That would have been the AAAD mission. Didn’t matter where we were sent, the principles were the same. And the concerns about airlift and air superiority apply anywhere in Europe, so sure, a real possibility. 
 

Dave

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1 hour ago, Erwin said:

One has to think how we in the US would feel if surrounded by a hostile Canada and Mexico as well as Cuba.  

Excuse me. We Canadians can be pretty hostile. The ref blew a call on a flagrant high stick in last night's game in OT - you should have heard the chats of "You suck REF!!!"

 

Quite the spectacle to behold.

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27 minutes ago, Howler said:

Excuse me. We Canadians can be pretty hostile. The ref blew a call on a flagrant high stick in last night's game in OT - you should have heard the chats of "You suck REF!!!"

 

Quite the spectacle to behold.

Well, it WAS hockey after all. Understandable that passions get inflamed 🙂

Dave

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3 hours ago, The_Capt said:

Well that is an amateur interpretation to be honest.  In fact all of those factors (more or less true, except maybe geographical) are really reasons why the Soviets would take a forward leaning stance as opposed to a more passive one.  You are describing the exact same strategic position that Germany had before both world wars.  History does tend to show that nations at strategic disadvantage tend to see the world as very dangerous and that a good offence is the best defence, largely because they know they cannot sustain a protracted war.  Particularly for those in the center of the Soviet Union/WP, the Russians who lost 25-plus million in  WW2.

Soviet forces and posture reflect this as well.  60k tanks and 70k-odd guns in the WP, a very offensive based doctrine and a whole lot of political warfare action going on around the globe, there was that whole Cuban Missile crisis whoopsie.

Now one could argue that for the Soviets this was largely strategically defensive in nature, not sure if I ever bought into the global communist conspiracy, the West was (and is) far more aggressive with respect to ideology.  But I don't believe the evidence points to the Soviets passively accepting anything and there was always a risk that simple misunderstanding (or how about just plain fear?) could escalate a local action into a full on conflagration...you know, like 1914?  It is not like we humans need really good excuses to fight, ever, and I doubt the situation in Europe was any different. 

The better example of your thesis would  be Japan. They knew they are going to start a war with a superior enemy and that they are doomed to lose in a long term, but decided to attack anyway. The main reason is that they were driven to corner and had no other options left, but either to back down and lose face, or gamble and engage in suicidal attack. That's why they tricked themselves into believing that Americans are weak and debauched nation, that would ask for peace after the first heavy blow. 

I hope you understand, that the framework of gaming forum doesn't allow to go much further than, as you put it, "amateur interpretation". I don't think it is necessary to develop my argument beyond that with a wall of text that nobody would read. 

But it's curious if you noticed that your thesis is a classical Cath 22. Country "X" poses a threat either way: its strong, so it's a clear indication that it's aggressive and can attack. Or it's weak, so it's even more suspicious, because this weakness could lead to outbreak of aggression. Hence always peaceful nation "Y" is stymied to defend itself by building military bases around "aggressive" neighbor, or even to launch a preemptive strike. With the best intentions, of course. 

It's hilarious, that Cuban missile crisis is considered a classical showcase of Soviet aggressive posture. US lost its $hit because USSR tried to do what US routinely did - to have the military base near opponent's borders. While US had dozens of military bases with nukes near Soviet territory, it announced that having Soviet base on Cuba "crosses the red line" and threatened the world with nuclear war. USSR complied and withdrew the rockets. 

As for kilotons of USSR tanks it hardly proves anything. Should we compare quantity (and quality) of navies, airforces, submarines and nuclear warheads (nuclear parity was achieved only in the late 70s), we would inevitably find out that those tanks are not that frightening  at all. As the last chief of stuff of USSR Akhromeev said during "glasnost" period,  USSR decided to build that many tanks because it was the only (imperfect) way to counterbalance the Western superiority in the rest of the areas. Quite a cheap solution, by the way. To build the navy or airfleet of the same quality and quantity would be much more expansive. 

 

 

 

 

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