How much warning would we have had if Ivan had come West?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by angular, Aug 7, 2008.

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  1. Reading some old threads, and thinking back to the late Eighties/early Nineties, I realised I wasn't sure how much warning we could have realistically expected, if the WP had decided to invade Germany.

    Given that a BAOR-tasked TA infantry Bn was expected to recieve notification of a war-like intent from the WP, call up all its troops, hand out necessary equipment, get on the trucks, get on the ferry, get off the ferry, drive to whichever town on the Weser we were supposed to protect, then get off the trucks and dig in, we would probably have hoped for at least 5 days, possibly one of which could have taken place after the IGB had been crossed.

    Does anyone know how realistic that was?
  2. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    I used to work in the Corps Border Surveillance Force, the formation HQ that controlled the Recce Regiments that patrolled the IGB and would have sent the 'Hostile Act' (although we only had 3 Regiments, if I remember, we were commanded by a Brig as a 1 star was required to authorise WWIII). We would not deploy on Active Edge call outs as the general consensus was we would have already been in the field for 4 - 6 weeks.

    So I would guess you could assume a slow diplomatic escalation to war over several weeks with corresponding military preparedness.
  3. blue-sophist

    blue-sophist LE Good Egg (charities)

    So many of the old exercises were based on "instant response" for convenience ... which IMO tended to give a false impression of what might have happened for real.

    Just for a change, I ran a Station Exercise [leading up to declaration of General Alert] which gently trickled through all the preliminary build-up stages over a period of a couple of months [the actual 3-day exercise was already scheduled and pre-notified to all].

    Interestingly, it didn't work terribly well!! I can't remember what the first Alert Stage was called now, but 2 weeks after the first "Exercise Signal" went into Base Ops it was still not notified to Station Executives!! 8O
    And then we played the old "defecting aircraft" exercise, about 3 weeks before the "outbreak of war". The defecting crew were duly taken off for interrogation ... and nobody reacted to the fact that the Navigator's bag contained the actual Exercise Air Raid Plan for Day 1 of the Main Exercise. 8O

    Prior warning? There would have been lots of it, from HUMINT, SIGINT, Imagery, Political messages ... provided the right conclusions were drawn and timely decisions were made :wink:
  4. My TA bn were tasked to fly out from the local airport and apart from the road element would have arrived quicker.

    I understand that Ivan needed time to mobilize, and that NATO could do it quicker, provided that they read the signs right.
    However had they decided to go with a standing start using the divs in E Ger, then feeding in the rest on a come as you are basis, then how fast could they have started? Anyone got any hard gen on this?
  5. Another question if thats ok if they achieved strategic suprise how long would it be until tac nukes would be considered
  6. blue-sophist

    blue-sophist LE Good Egg (charities)

    IIRC it was deemed "desirable" to avoid nuking the FRG as much as possible. :wink:

    Therefore, IMO, if the initial conventional engagement didn't stem the flow, the TacN option would have to be applied fairly quickly.
  7. I used to get detached every so often to HQ 1 BR Corps and worked in G2, I used to see some mad pictures there courtesy of BRIXMIS of FUP's that 3 Shock Army would use in the event, methinks that they were plotted on someones gun charts!

    *MOD's if you thinks this still classes as OPSEC feel free to delete*
  8. Especially if the tales on here about active edge exercise's are true it probably would have taken about two hours in baor sector :D
  9. There would have been plenty of time for you to deploy as stated, but then you might have met some nasty Spetznaz operators dressed as civvy truck drivers on your way up to the Weser and not quite got there.

    I spent my time looking at lots of really good photographs of WGF in Eastern Germany, working out their orbats etc, watching how their exercises usually ended as a complete fuck up in the Letzlinger Heide or Juterbog training areas.

    I also had an open ferry ticket booked to get back to Blighty on the ferry you TA cannon fodder disembarked from :wink:
  10. The exersizes we had in RAFG in the 70s and 80s usually started off with a scenario of tension building up over weeks and then Ivan pouring over the border (usually the Fulda Gap) en masse, with local commanders being rapidly overwhelmed an desperately demanding shed loads of sunshine in order to brighten up Ivans life. End ex was an R-Hour launch with us throwing everything at Ivan that we could get airbourne, of course carrying lots of "special weapons". Meanwhile Ivan would visit us. End of world. Oh happy days. :D
  11. Probably very quickly, tanks and BMP could be "bombed up" very quickly from garrision ammo dumps. All Divisional Transport Battalions and Army Transport Brigades were fully loaded with 2nd line ammo and POL. The sovs always practiced moving out in quick time and taking any vehicles already in maintenance with them.

    The problem was that once they stated moving they were very doctrinal and long, long columns of vehicles would be moving along very slowly providing fantastic targets for air strikes, which would have fucked them up no end.
  13. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    Weren't the Reforger exercises to practice the whole movement of men and mating same with pre-positioned materel. Last one I remember was about 87, but was too sproggy to appreciate the bigger picture then.I think they lasted about two weeks but don't remember enough to be more precise on timings etc.

    Slightly off topic, I seem to remember that we expected to retreat to the Ruhr, then if we still couldn't stop them buckets of instant sunshine, then endex. The idea being either they stopped at that or retaliated, in which case MAD.

    Ahh the cold war.
  14. Yes, 60 Sqn flew the missions (it's all unclas now, wait till my mate Petriburg comes on here!). But it didn't ccover every inch of ground, only the air coridors upto Berlin and around teh city, but covered a large per centage of WGF units. Also used to see both ground and air imagery from the liaison missions.
  15. When I said every inch, I did of course mean the corridors, which covered lots of East German territory. There were also some very oblique shots of airfields over there, which I saw being used to brief pilots prior to a strike mission or perhaps Snowcat. Apparently some of Brüggens pilots flew the war sorties over the targets, post 1994 once we were allowed over there.