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Cold war Home Defense Questions

Yokel

LE
I am interested in this comment by @Slime - here.

One of the former hardened repeater stations used to be very close to where I lived. A bit disconcerting as it was on a WW3 Spetznaz target list, from a group that would have operated from the Forest of Dean.

I assume Home Defence tasks included trying to stop Spetsnaz from getting into the UK?
 
I assume Home Defence tasks included trying to stop Spetsnaz from getting into the UK?
You may be making an over-assumption.

Stopping them gaining entry would have been beyond the capabilities of most (possibly all) army units or formations (military district HQs for the most part) assigned to HomeDefence.

Home Defence as I recall it, was focussed on preventing them operating successfully once they got here, whether inserted from the air (RAF operational domain), or by sea (RN hold sway over the briny sea).
 

HCL

LE
How would that play out? Bit of a tab from the coast to the moors.

I was on an ex that did just that a long time ago. It seemed a very long way from the beach through what was effectively a whiteout, in February, on those moors. And the golf balls were a long way from the perimeter fence too, flat, no cover and we were clobbered before we even got halfway to the objectives.
 

Yokel

LE
You may be making an over-assumption.

Stopping them gaining entry would have been beyond the capabilities of most (possibly all) army units or formations (military district HQs for the most part) assigned to HomeDefence.

Home Defence as I recall it, was focussed on preventing them operating successfully once they got here, whether inserted from the air (RAF operational domain), or by sea (RN hold sway over the briny sea).

I am assuming that Home Defence was a tri service task.

I also assume that as well as static force protection, the role would have involved taking the fight to any Spetsnaz, with infantry and support helicopters. I believe there were RAF Wessex assigned to UK based roles.
 
I am assuming that Home Defence was a tri service task.

I also assume that as well as static force protection, the role would have involved taking the fight to any Spetsnaz, with infantry and support helicopters. I believe there were RAF Wessex assigned to UK based roles.
Assume away.

Home Defence was a role assigned to units within the UK Home Base that had no combatant role in the event that UK mobilised for war in Europe against the Warsaw Pact*.

In effect, it was about squeezing the last little bit of capability out of the leftovers.

If you want to know what the RN or the RAF expected to have left over, in UK, under those circumstances, an Army website is probably the last place to be asking the question :thumleft:

I'll wager it wasn't much.
- - - -
* ETA: Principally, these were recruit training units, under command of military District HQs (administrative establishments, essentially).
 
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Yokel

LE
But the UK would have been an active part of operations. Reinforcement convoys would have arrived in our ports, and aircraft at airfields, and logistics mounted over to the continent. RAF and USAF aircraft would have been flying operational missions from British bases.

Had the term 'force protection' been invented back then?
 
But the UK would have been an active part of operations. Reinforcement convoys would have arrived in our ports, and aircraft at airfields, and logistics mounted over to the continent. RAF and USAF aircraft would have been flying operational missions from British bases.

Had the term 'force protection' been invented back then?
The term Force Protection was widely used in the RAF in the 80s.
 

Slime

LE
I am interested in this comment by @Slime - here.

One of the former hardened repeater stations used to be very close to where I lived. A bit disconcerting as it was on a WW3 Spetznaz target list, from a group that would have operated from the Forest of Dean.

I assume Home Defence tasks included trying to stop Spetsnaz from getting into the UK?

Stopping them getting to their hide/base area would have been very difficult.

Some of the group could have already recce’d the area in person, in the guise of tourists or hikers.
They would have transport, fuel and some food pre positioned and provided by some form of sleeper living full time in the U.K.
The transport would have most likely been Landrovers, so the type of vehicle that wouldn’t stand out.

Due to the random caves or mine workings in the forest that may have made making a hide quite easy, although they may have just dug out an area in the same way the British army do.

As with the tactics of the British auxiliary units mentioned in this thread, it seems one of the first Spetznaz tasks could have been to kill the sleeper(s) who provided any transport or supplies.

The end result is that only the actual troops and personal kit might have needed to get to the Forest, which is very close to the coast, or by air drop.

It’s always worth remembering that today, tomorrow or any given day there can be more Russian citizens in the U.K. than the British army have troops.

At a particular period in time the areas not far from the Forest of Dean had targets including:
A UK early warning HQ
GCHQ
A nuclear power station.
Hardened telephone relays.
A regional wartime seat of government.
Two docks/ports.
Motorway intersections.
A military transit camp.
An army camp.
A major rail tunnel.
Various comms masts, including one actually in the Forest itself.
Aircraft and Aircraft engine factories.
 
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Yokel

LE
Stopping them getting to their hide/base area would have been very difficult.

Some of the group could have already recce’d the area in person, in the guise of tourists or hikers.
They would have transport, fuel and some food pre positioned and provided by some form of sleeper living full time in the U.K.
The transport would have most likely been Landrovers, so the type of vehicle that wouldn’t stand out.

Due to the random caves or mine workings in the forest that may have made making a hide quite easy, although they may have just dug out an area in the same way the British army do.

As with the tactics of the British auxiliary units mentioned in this thread, it seems one of the first Spetznaz tasks could have been to kill the sleeper(s) who provided any transport or supplies.

The end result is that only the actual troops and personal kit might have needed to get to the Forest, which is very close to the coast, or by air drop.

It’s always worth remembering that today, tomorrow or any given day there can be more Russian citizens in the U.K. than the British army have troops.

At a particular period in time the areas not far from the Forest of Dean had targets including:
A UK early warning HQ
GCHQ
A nuclear power station.
Hardened telephone relays.
A regional wartime seat of government.
Two docks/ports.
Motorway intersections.
A military transit camp.
An army camp.
A major rail tunnel.
Various comms masts, including one actually in the Forest itself.
Aircraft and Aircraft engine factories.

All the more reason for being able to aggressively take the fight them them!

As for a maritime aspect of home defence, see this from @OllieReeder

As an URNU midshipman in 1986, played against the lovely old Portisham, one of the RNXS Hams, in a DEFPA exercise off Dover. She and two tenders played unidentified trawlers, etc, that needed interception, investigation and boarding, with, on a roll of 1 on the die, proving in fact to be a violently non-compliant Spetsnaz assault team rather than a bunch of surly semi-compliant fisherfolk. (Sounds laughable now, but...)

Highlight of the week was when one of the regular matelots, turfed out of Nelson as a makeshift boarding party and shipped by us to back up the Naval Control of Shipping officer,.....
 
for a maritime aspect of home defence, see this from @OllieReeder

As an URNU midshipman in 1986, played against the lovely old Portisham, one of the RNXS Hams, in a DEFPA exercise off Dover. She and two tenders played unidentified trawlers, etc, that needed interception, investigation and boarding, with, on a roll of 1 on the die, proving in fact to be a violently non-compliant Spetsnaz assault team rather than a bunch of surly semi-compliant fisherfolk. (Sounds laughable now, but...)

Highlight of the week was when one of the regular matelots, turfed out of Nelson as a makeshift boarding party and shipped by us to back up the Naval Control of Shipping officer,.....
OK - some decoding:

1986 - The year after Ex BRAVE DEFENDER (Sep 1985 - outline details here)​
URNU - University Reserve Naval Unit​
RNXS - Royal Naval Auxiliary Service. A uniformed, unarmed, civilian volunteer service, administered and trained by the Royal Navy to operate in the ports and anchorages of the UK in an Emergency (disbanded 31/3/94)​
DEFPA - I'm guessing Defence of Ports and Anchorages, as in RNX role, above.​
HMS Nelson - In 1986 HMS Nelson was the name applied to an RN barracks in Queen's Street, Portsmouth, with a support services site within its boundary fence. I stand to be corrected, but I think it was primarily a training unit of some description, but I'm likely mistaken.​
All of which would reinforce the point about Home Defence being a role assigned to personnel whose line serials in their Service ORBATs, or who were civilians, meant that they were not destined to be flung into the front line against the Warsaw Pact juggernaut in the event of war, but instead would be Left Out Of Battle (LOOB) on the UK mainland.
 

Yokel

LE
My point was that there were personnel, units, and organisations would existed primarily for a home defence role, but that was not decoupled from NATO on the continent or in the Atlantic, such as protecting port facilities needed to supply forces on the continent, or airfields flying sorties against Warsaw Pact Forces.
 
there were personnel, units, and organisations would existed primarily for a home defence role
No. There were no units whose primary role was HD.

HD was carried out by military units whose peacetime roles were non-combatant. HD was a secondary role, in time of emergency.

There may well have been NATO tasks to keep sea lanes open, and to maintain air superiority over UK etcetera, but those warfighting roles were not part of the Home Defence task nor were they the responsibility of the HD command structure.
 
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No. There were no units whose primary role was HD. HD was carried out by military units whose peacetime roles were non-combatant. HD was a secondary role, in time of emergency.

There may well have been NATO tasks to keep sea lanes open, and to maintain air superiority over UK etcetera, but those warfighring roles were not part of the Home Defence task nor were they the responsiblility of the HD command structure.

Maybe for regulars.

There were some STAB EOD squadrons with a NATO role: others with a UK role.
 

Yokel

LE
No. There were no units whose primary role was HD.

HD was carried out by military units whose peacetime roles were non-combatant. HD was a secondary role, in time of emergency.

There may well have been NATO tasks to keep sea lanes open, and to maintain air superiority over UK etcetera, but those warfighting roles were not part of the Home Defence task nor were they the responsibility of the HD command structure.

You can understand why there is confusion - as things like air defence of the UK is sometimes considered home defence. It was mentioned, as I recall, in Mike Dewar's book. I cannot remember if he mentioned things like coastal minesweeping.

Perhaps I should have said war role instead of primary role?
 
Maybe for regulars.

There were some STAB EOD squadrons with a NATO role: others with a UK role.
That would make sense: my recollection is not sufficiently detailed after 35 years to know if any of the UK based ones came under command of the HD District HQ (peacetime HQ SWDIST) at Bulford in wartime, where I was on the staff in 1987-88, or if they responded to an operational specialist chain of command.
 
That would make sense: my recollection is not sufficiently detailed after 35 years to know if any of the UK based ones came under command of the HD District HQ (peacetime HQ SWDIST) at Bulford in wartime, where I was on the staff in 1987-88, or if they responded to an operational specialist chain of command.

They came under the HD District HQ and deployed an Ops Officer or watch keeper to the District HQ.

For example, 579 EOD Sqn was tasked to support HQ Scotland and HQ NW District.
 
You can understand why there is confusion - as things like air defence of the UK is sometimes considered home defence. It was mentioned, as I recall, in Mike Dewar's book. I cannot remember if he mentioned things like coastal minesweeping.

Perhaps I should have said war role instead of primary role?
It's not at all confusing if you're familiar with the official Home Defence role and structures of the mid-80s.

It only gets confused because of loose usage by people like Dewar (who really should know better, unless he was writing before the term was adopted in about 1983 or 84, and whole new structures implemented to carry it out).
 

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