Really, could they have?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by putteesinmyhands, Jan 20, 2008.

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  1. A wide variety of Soviet equipment of the Cold War era was described as amphibious but, in reality, its main purpose was to facilitate river crossing.

    During this time, the game plan (as I understood it) was to slow down the Soviet forces so that it took them 2-3 weeks to reach the North Sea/English Channel allowing time for "other means" of defence or politicising to be adopted.

    Had the Soviets actually reached the Channel coast, could they have immediately mounted a sea-bourne invasion of Britain with their amphibious armour?

    Or would the waves have been too much? Could they carry enough fuel for the crossing and a limited period of engagement on British soil?

    Or would they have had to rely on assault ships to deliver the armour to within striking distance? And were such assault ships available in adequate numbers to make invasion a possibility?

    Or did we, Britain, (as an insular nation), worry about something that would stand a snowball's chance in Hell of happening?
  2. if for some reason they got on our beloved island they would have been fought off by the warrior race we are rawrr and such, and in seriousness the 3rd shock army was fully capable of invading any country during the height of the cold war they had the basic equipment and definetly the men, as was we - minus the gear and men. What im trying to say is they would have had a fight on their hands for sure. wasnt the coastal defences still up in the mid 60's -70's ( fcuk their still here now minus the weapons ).

    EDIT and yes if they started their mighty communist invasion they would have planned beforehand how to takes us out they wouldnt get to dunkirk and say "fcuk we forgot the boats lad back we go!" i believe they would be behind the main force.
  3. But the point is that their tanks couldn't swim and had a maximum schnorkel depth of 5.5m. Their APCs could swim but had a maximum swim speed of about 6mph. Considering Calais - Dover, they'd be in artillery sights for over 2 hours and may, perhaps, use up all their fuel just trying to swim in a straight line.

    As far as assault ships are concerned, it'd take a lot of ships to transport a credible force across the Channel. During an invasion of mainland Europe, such ships wouldn't be necessary, so would they have been built purely to extend the war into UK? Or would the Soviets have reached the Channel and said, "Fuck it, this'll do."

    The point here is that if the Soviets didn't have the ability to invade Britain, but could occupy Europe at least as far as the Channel ports, was there really a need for Britain to subscribe to the NATO defence of Europe? Would the BAOR troops have been better employed manning bunkers around the coast and on likely LZs and DZs on British soil?

    Gort's dilemma of 1940 seems to have repeated in the latter half of the 20th century, but with a 1914 response. Did we really treat the British contribution to NATO as nothing more than a potentially man-costly BEF?

    Certainly, if it would have taken the Soviets more than two weeks to come up with assault ships, then there would have been little point in having British troops on the other side of the Channel. Maybe?
  4. Never thought about this scenario. We all know that Hitler's amphibious invasion plans were uproariously funny: even if the RAF hadn't won the Battle of Britain, the RN would've annihilated the invasion force in mid-Channel.

    The Soviets? Only their PT-76 was truly amphibious, but I don't think it'd prosper in heavy seas. As for bringing up the invasion barges overland - yeah, right! Even if NATO land forces had had to retreat, the air war could still have been conducted at long range - and the Red Army amphibious paraphernalia would've been Target #1.

    Which brings us to the justification for BAOR. No - not a latter-day BEF (although all 3 of our Continental commitments in the 20th century were defensive in nature). As a demonstration of political will, BAOR assured Britain a place at the top table in negotiations with major world powers. The USSR, at least, had no doubts over where we stood on certain issues.

  5. There's a world of difference between amphibious as in the sense of being able to ford or swim inland water obstacles and being sea-launched (even from landing ships/craft) against a defended coast.

    Frankly the idea that the Soviets could drive up to the Channel and then set off across it in their armoured vehicles is risible (even without the practicalities getting in the way, they'd have no need to).

    If any such action had remained "conventional" (if it hadn't triggered NATO 'First Use'), the Soviets would not have had to invade these islands.

    There wouldn't have been another Dunkirk and the Soviet naval and air-power would have succeeded where the Nazis failed in blockading us into submission.
  6. Nah. If they lost a million dead over their own border in Afghan, they'd be stuffed against an island nation!
  7. was'nt there the arguement that the famous shot of the tanks surging across a river was aided by a massive causeway built for the a occasion :twisted:.

    the other point russian rivers are wide slow moving with low sides and slow currents.
    the vaser high sided and a bitch of a current.
    some come the cold war those who were on the right side of the resevere demolitions could brew up and tuck into biscuits fruit ab as 3rd shocks t72s and bmps discovered there amphib capability was'nt quite up to spec :roll: :twisted:
  8. Wasn't there that wonderful discovery that 3rd Shock wasn't going to cross the IGB on Day One. Instead 3rd Shcok was going to spend at least 3 days blocking us from Berlin as the NVA took Berlin. I distinctly remember reading articles about the discovery from both the NVA High Command and Stakva plans for WWIII. At the time a number of sources p***ed themselves laughing as it suddenly threw up a complete new game plan that could have seen BAOR crossing the IGB on a drive to Poland
  9. We laugh now though we treated the threat seriously in the 1950s through the 1980s. Wasn't until I was given the opportunity to see the Russian army up close, courtesy of a tour in Berlin, that I realised the capability of their ground forces was exaggerated to the extreme - by OUR propaganda - paid for by the military industrialists!

    As regards the Soviet ground forces amphibious capability it was perhaps on a par with ours - which was laughable - as anyone who waded the Weser in a 432 would testify. Stalwart wasn't bad though - when they worked....
  10. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    The Rsskis operated a fairly strong amphib force in the Baltic which could have been used if it survived. To have reached the Channel the sovs would have had to destroy the BAOR plus all the reinforcements, so there wouldn't be much left in Britain to defend against them. I suspect it would be surrender or the nuclear option if they'd got that far.
  11. I seem to remember a study that showed any unpleasantness going Nuclear within ten days.
  12. 6mph in shipping terms isn't good. I've no idea what the tidal streams in the shortest part of the Channel are like, but at 6mph I wouldn't be surprised if they set off for Dover and ended up in Dorset. Even if you could get APCs and tanks ashore, its unworkable. What about arty, engineers, air defence, CSS? Your advance party of swimming AFVs is going to be pretty screwed without them, even if its only a day or 2 until the other units can be ferried across.

    If you plan to do it with assault ships, where from? From the Baltic Fleet? Yes, very much a Soviet sea, but how do you break out past the Skaggerak? Remember all of the W German, Danish, Swedish, and probably Norwegian and British naval forces are trying to keep you bottled up or enact revenge for their homelands on you.

    From the Northern Fleet? Well the big NATO plan was to hold the Greenland-Iceland-UK gap against Soviet submarines. I'm not saying that all submarines would've been stopped, but if we had a hope against them then surface ships, esp big slow lumbering surface ships without much defensive armament, would be easy prey for NATO naval forces and fast jets out of Scotland, Norway and Iceland.

    From the Med? Surely we could have kept the Gibraltar straits closed, especially as I'd hope France, Italy and Greece would be attriting Sov shipping further East before they even got to the Gib area. If all else fails, a few naval nuclear mines and some concealed arty units ashore would do. Its only 7 miles across.

    I suppose this is all dependent on NATO naval forces keeping them bottled up... if we fail at sea, they have impunity to do what they will. But if we at least remove/keep their amphibious shipping bottled up, the only real option is either swimming armour across, to be reinforced by their support units a few days later by ferry (dubious), or using their VDV (Airborne Forces).

    After all, if Russian paras took a deepwater port, whats to stop them using commercial shipping (from occupied countries or their own "merchant" ships from around the world) ferrying the armoured units over?
  13. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    After 2 weeks of fighting there wouldn'r be a lot of anybody's navy left. Certainly there wouldn't have been much left of any European navy.

    I should think that there wouldn't be much of a will to fight if the British military was in bits and the british public had seen the remains of German, Dutch and Belgian towns after being defended from the invaders. Better Red than dead!
  14. Mmm true, maybe I need to start thinking in green rather than dark blue!

    One last seafaring option though - back in the Cold War we still had SSKs, conventionally powered submarines, at Gosport I believe. Would it be too costly to other areas of the war (i.e. GIUK gap & bottling up the Baltic and Med fleets) to reserve/recall 2 or 3 of those in the Channel? They'd be a lot more survivable than surface shipping and ASW from the Russian point of view would be difficult in relatively-shallow waters.

    I've got to say a Russian amphibious attack across the Channel doesn't quite make sense to me. You've got forces already depleted by charging through Europe and they're apart from their assault ships - they are armoured formations and not specialised marine units - too many factors need to come together for it to work.

    An amphibious assault direct from the Northern Fleet on the North East of the UK? Or one directly on the East of England (or Thames estuary) from the Baltic Sea? More possible I think. Surely an assault on British shores is such a task it'd take a dedicated formation and flotilla to carry it out. I dont think you could carry it out as an afterthought for Russian tankies once they'd got as far as they could, and expect the assault to work...

    Or I could just be talking out of my ARRSE! :?
  15. If I remember rightly the SSK's weren't out in the deepest darkest depths of the North Atlantic but somewhat closer to home, I think acting as GoalKeeper tovarious naval bases.

    Having had a poke at the subject it does seem that 3rd Shock wasn't going to plunge off into BAOR on Day 1 but sometime around Day 2 once Berlin had been taken by the NVA in the glorious Operation Stoss! Just in case BAOR decided to rescue Berlin..... The actual forces set aside to take/block Berlin aren't so large, but the amount of forces NOT ploughing through BAOR is immense.