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British defence planning and Britain's NATO commitment 1979 - 1985

Yokel

LE
Whilst searching on Google for "defence of ports and anchorages" I encountered this 2016 PhD paper from Kenton White at the University of Reading.

British defence planning and Britain's NATO commitment 1979 - 1985

The author discusses defence policy in terms of its relationship with national and NATO, looks at lessons from the Falklands and the Gulf, and discuss things like Home Defence, the role of Reserves, and things like Transition To War.

It should interest some Cold War warriors and history buffs.
 

Yokel

LE
Many thanks for the likes.

Cold War history has been discussed on many threads over the years, but I think this the the first time I have seen an attempt to give an overview of the defence side of things, and not just focussing on Home Defence, BAOR, or other single theatre aspects.

How much resilience did we have back then by not having a Just (too late) In Time logistics model, having training establishments and the like full of service personnel who could man or augment front line units?
 
Money quote:

As General Julian Thompson wrote, “The unexpected always happens, it is no good ... ‘shaping’ the threats to fit your capability, and ignoring those to which, inconveniently, you have no response.”

Let down by the politicians, they would have been left, effectively unarmed, on a nuclear battlefield against a numerically superior foe. No operational planning, doctrinal review or tactical innovation would have circumvented that outcome. As is shown in the Case Studies, the reasons for British military successes are less to do with the policies obtaining at the time, or previously. They are much more to do with the individuals recruited and trained by the military, and motivated to succeed. Generally, their success is despite policy rather than because of it.

How much resilience did we have back then by not having a Just (too late) In Time logistics model, having training establishments and the like full of service personnel who could man or augment front line units?

Reading this, I get the distinct impression we've never had anything that could be described as adequately-resourced just-in-case logistics. I suppose it's tempting to think of the Cold War as some kind of Golden Age for defence, but apparently not.

On a related note, and not to hijack @Yokel 's thread, I'm currently also reading a paper on the G2 organisation within BAOR and NORTHAG which is quite interesting. I'll drop a link later if anyone wants it.
 
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Whilst searching on Google for "defence of ports and anchorages" I encountered this 2016 PhD paper from Kenton White at the University of Reading.

British defence planning and Britain's NATO commitment 1979 - 1985

The author discusses defence policy in terms of its relationship with national and NATO, looks at lessons from the Falklands and the Gulf, and discuss things like Home Defence, the role of Reserves, and things like Transition To War.

It should interest some Cold War warriors and history buffs.
On some level, our defence planning was probably sounder back then, than it is today... And, we have gone full circle and up until recently had a far too colonial attitude, with forces to operate globally, rather than focusing on the defence of the realm and our immediate interests.
 

Yokel

LE
Money quote:





Reading this, I get the distinct impression we've never had anything that could be described as adequately-resourced just-in-case logistics. I suppose it's tempting to think of the Cold War as some kind of Golden Age for defence, but apparently not.

On a related note, and not to hijack @Yokel 's thread, I'm currently also reading a paper on the G2 organisation within BAOR and NORTHAG which is quite interesting. I'll drop a link later if anyone wants it.

Please do.

Regarding your point about logistics and support, I once heard someone describe making things urgently for the task group as it steamed South in 1982. A new facility was also opened to increase the production of chaff rockets. Sailors were found to form naval parties aboard ships taken up from trade, some of which had quickly fabricated flight decks added.

Where would we get the personnel from now? Or the industrial capacity?

On some level, our defence planning was probably sounder back then, than it is today... And, we have gone full circle and up until recently had a far too colonial attitude, with forces to operate globally, rather than focusing on the defence of the realm and our immediate interests.

Of course defence of the realm includes contributing to NATO collective defence and perfecting sea lines of communication.
 

LD17

Old-Salt
@Yokel
Thanks, that's one of the documents listed in my bibliography. Here are some links for a couple of others:


Deterrence and the defence of Central Europe : the British role from the early 1980s to the end of the Gulf War.​


Intelligence within BAOR and NATO's Northern Army Group​


THE QUEST FOR MANOEUVRE THE ENGLISH MANOEUVRE WARFARE THEORIES AND BRITISH MILITARY THOUGHT 1920–1991.

Alam el Halfa with Nuclear Artillery: How Britain's World War II-era Army Prepared for Atomic Warfare​

 

Attachments

  • Alam el Halfa with Nuclear Artillery.pdf
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Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Many thanks for the likes.

Cold War history has been discussed on many threads over the years, but I think this the the first time I have seen an attempt to give an overview of the defence side of things, and not just focussing on Home Defence, BAOR, or other single theatre aspects.

How much resilience did we have back then by not having a Just (too late) In Time logistics model, having training establishments and the like full of service personnel who could man or augment front line units?
We don’t have a JiT logistics model, never have done.
 

Yokel

LE
Another question for those who were serving at the time - what sort of warning was expected of an impending crisis? The diplomats and intelligence services, and our own forces kept a sharp eye on them.

Was it likely that there would be enough time to redeploy forces from out of area exercises and deployments?

Is there any similarity with NATO's current plan that within thirty days, they could deploy thirty mechanised infantry battalions, thirty major warships, and thirty squadrons of combat aircraft?
 

LD17

Old-Salt
Another question for those who were serving at the time - what sort of warning was expected of an impending crisis? The diplomats and intelligence services, and our own forces kept a sharp eye on them.

Was it likely that there would be enough time to redeploy forces from out of area exercises and deployments?

Is there any similarity with NATO's current plan that within thirty days, they could deploy thirty mechanised infantry battalions, thirty major warships, and thirty squadrons of combat aircraft?
@Yokel
Just a snip from one of my docs, dated October 1986
1611014578152.png
 
Another question for those who were serving at the time - what sort of warning was expected of an impending crisis? The diplomats and intelligence services, and our own forces kept a sharp eye on them.

Was it likely that there would be enough time to redeploy forces from out of area exercises and deployments?

Is there any similarity with NATO's current plan that within thirty days, they could deploy thirty mechanised infantry battalions, thirty major warships, and thirty squadrons of combat aircraft?
Not serving at the time, but ISTR reading that NATO’s biggest worry was if the soviets turned left out of their barracks instead of right, they could’ve crossed the border within an hour with nothing to stop them.

I think the numbers consisted of something like 180 soviet Divisions at near 100% strength (with 3 rd shock army units maintained at 110%+ strength) versus 54 NATO divisions at 65% strength requiring about 30 days notice to bring them up to full strength.

In short. For those who think nuclear weapons are bad. They kept the piece during the cold ward.
 
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We don’t have a JiT logistics model, never have done.
No we didn't. What developed was nothing like that because JiT is a production means as is Materials Requirements Planning. However the morons who blew the system apart were uniformed and CS who thought JiT mean buying at the last moment thus saving money. They had absolutely no concept of the theory behind the systems. What we had was cheapskatery on nuts and bolts and a surplus of equipment's not being properly supported. The BAS/RARS requirements were never fully implemented although TBF The Blessed Maggie did take an interest in the Battlefield Equipment Availability Returns from BAOR.

Logistics was never quite Cav.
 

Yokel

LE
In the book War Plan UK, Duncan Campbell outlines the Home Defence exercise Hard Rock, and the scenario. I cannot remember it word from word, but it was something like.....

Throughout 198x, international relations were marked by a deterioration in relations between the West and the Soviet Bloc.....

@LD17 and @AfghanAndy that is what I meant - political and diplomatic signs that would have allowed the first precautionary measures to start, and forces out of area to return to UK/Germany/Atlantic.
 
In the book War Plan UK, Duncan Campbell outlines the Home Defence exercise Hard Rock, and the scenario. I cannot remember it word from word, but it was something like.....

Throughout 198x, international relations were marked by a deterioration in relations between the West and the Soviet Bloc.....

@LD17 and @AfghanAndy that is what I meant - political and diplomatic signs that would have allowed the first precautionary measures to start, and forces out of area to return to UK/Germany/Atlantic.
This was the joyful thing about the Cold War. There may not have been signs.

I found this book quite a good read many years back.

Amazon product
 

LD17

Old-Salt
In the book War Plan UK, Duncan Campbell outlines the Home Defence exercise Hard Rock, and the scenario. I cannot remember it word from word, but it was something like.....

Throughout 198x, international relations were marked by a deterioration in relations between the West and the Soviet Bloc.....

@LD17 and @AfghanAndy that is what I meant - political and diplomatic signs that would have allowed the first precautionary measures to start, and forces out of area to return to UK/Germany/Atlantic.
@Yokel
I seem to remember reading somewhere that one of the things the Intelligence Services would look at is if the Soviets would release the troops that were coming to the end of their draft period....if they kept them across the board AND brought in a new draftees, people would start to get nervous.

You may want to check out this website,


Netherlands focused, but since the owner also generously hosts my BAOR document and has a wealth of information not only on Dutch Forces and deployments but NATO in general. He just added a section on the NATO Alert System...

 
Not serving at the time, but ISTR reading that NATO’s biggest worry was if the soviets turned left out of their barracks instead of right, they could’ve crossed the border within an hour with nothing to stop them.

I think the numbers consisted of something like 180 soviet Divisions at near 100% strength (with 3 rd shock army units maintained at 110%+ strength) versus 54 NATO divisions at 65% strength requiring about 30 days notice to bring them up to full strength.

In short. For those who think nuclear weapons are bad. They kept the piece during the cold ward.
Comparison of numbers in 1982

 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
No we didn't. What developed was nothing like that because JiT is a production means as is Materials Requirements Planning. However the morons who blew the system apart were uniformed and CS who thought JiT mean buying at the last moment thus saving money. They had absolutely no concept of the theory behind the systems. What we had was cheapskatery on nuts and bolts and a surplus of equipment's not being properly supported. The BAS/RARS requirements were never fully implemented although TBF The Blessed Maggie did take an interest in the Battlefield Equipment Availability Returns from BAOR.

Logistics was never quite Cav.
Can you expand on the ‘system’ you mention? And precisely who ‘blew it apart’?
 

Truxx

LE
We don’t have a JiT logistics model, never have done.
Not true.

Only we did not call it that.

The idea was always that a knocker full of 175 shells was trundling onto the gun line just as the tubes were down to their last handful.

If that's not JIT then I don't know what is.

Oh Edited to add

We called it "balanced logistics" in them days.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Not true.

Only we did not call it that.

The idea was always that a knocker full of 175 shells was trundling onto the gun line just as the tubes were down to their last handful.

If that's not JIT then I don't know what is.

Oh Edited to add

We called it "balanced logistics" in them days.
You never did a dumping programme? Even in your example, behind your knocker were 40 odd other knockers and behind them a DSA and behind that a CSA, all with pallets of 175....
 

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