The End of Cold War stories we haven't heard

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by ACAB, Sep 18, 2010.

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  1. In light of Ches's excellent 'the war stories we don't hear' thread', I would like to start a similar thread collating stories heard / told during the years after the Wall came down and after we began exercising with Former Warsaw Pact Countries.

    I've read a couple of crackers on the site along the lines of 'Ah yes, if you had deployed across the border you would have fought my Battalion' to be told 'No we wouldn't have, we would have nuked you in your barracks'

    Any more???
     
  2. I know it sounds like a NAAFI classic but when I first actually saw the Ost Boxheads crossing into West Belin it was on a telly sitting atop a peach coloured wardrobe belonging to a 16 year old girly who I was balls deep in in the "doggy" position. I reached for the remote to turn up the volume and got a beating so severe and loud that her mum stormed in and had an immediate "breakdown" as good catholic girls "don't".

    True bill. I still see her sometimes and she's still fit. Which is a pity.
     
  3. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    In July 1990 I was at the Roger Waters concert "The WaLL" in Berlin, it was a very strange feeling to walk into East Berlin with the Russians and East German troops still wandering about, been back a few times since but that trip was very strange
     
  4. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    My former regiment (Timeline: I left the army; the Wall came down) became the first NATO battlegroup to exercise in Poland. I have heard two stories, both relating to Training Area Standing Orders.

    1. No use of nerve agent within 4km of a village.
    2. No use of persistent nerve agent without 48 hours' prior warning.

    I also understand that they were surprised, nay shocked to discover that within training areas, entire river systems had been remodelled to match exactly the Weser etc so that Commie troops could practise their river crossings with a much realism as possible. Compare and contrast with us: "Let's fit floatation screens to our CVR(T)s. Oh, hang on, there isn't a river bank in BAOR suitable to allow a CVR(T) to get in the water: let's remove the float screens."
     
  5. From what I've heard though, they weren't big into initiative, quick-thinking and creativity, but rather rehearsed the same battle to the letter over and over, as if it was all a ballet.
     
  6. That very neatly describes a good number of the Brit COs I encountered between 1975 and 1991 :wink:
     
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  7. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    Mine comes from late summer '86, towards the end of my Mission tour.

    Most East Germans liked to see a tour car; they would flash their headlights, wave, give a victory V salute. An old spinster in traditional black and white garb on a 'sit up and beg' bike c/w wicker basket once shouted "Hallo, Tommy!" at me. Out in the sticks, individuals would approach and have a quick chat or a glance at a copy of the Times. A forstmeister by the name of Manfred, who knew some of our dingly-dell sleeping spots, would pop by for an early morning brew. All these were minor acts of personal rebellion against the system, done quickly and inconspicuously.

    Suddenly, in mid '86, there was a sea-change. Political graffiti appeared in public places, eg 'DDR = Druck durch Russland'. 'DDR = biggest prison in the world'. But the eye-opener for me was when 2 farm workers strolled up to my open car window and started a long conversation with me in full view of our Stasi tail. I advised them to be careful, but their response was a very dismissive hand gesture. It struck me that the East German people were finding a public voice, which blossomed in Leipzig in 1989, "Wir sind das Volk".
     
  8. I was talking to an ex-Polish tank commander, who who waiting on the other side of the wall for the big one to start, he said 90% of his tanks wouldnt have been able to leave barracks let along reach us,as they were in non running state.

    They had a show troop which was used to run about, pretending to show that they were ready, he also said half his men would have fecked off if the war started.
     
  9. Yep, we had to channel the Red Hordes into Soltau then see them off by Strip Wood...
     
  10. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    True, scarletto. Breakdown rates on their crash out exercises were high, say 10%-20% or so depending on the unit, but then I've seen plenty of sorry-looking 432s as well.

    The Poles were equipped with older gear, precisely for the reasons you mention. The Soviets sensibly kept the newest and best kit for themselves and deployed it in East Germany.

    But then, when you're fielding 19 Divisions (plus the NVA, about 6 more , I've forgotten exactly), you can afford a bit of attrition on deployment.
     
  11. In a Czechoslovakian (as it was then) barracks around 94, whilst attending an confidence measures building course to do with NBC, one of the NATO officers asked what is the white line painted down the centre of the stairs and corridors for, to receive the reply, Oh that means clean NBC equipment to the left and dirty (ie contaminated with live agents) to the right.

    Also a Hungarian Lt Col attending the Camberley Staff course when asked how he would defend a given position, he rummaged around in his field briefcase pulled out the requisite table from his old aide mémoire he had brought from home and said, "you have not given me the correct amount of equipment because I need x number of tanks and infantry along with at least a regiment (soviet scales) of arty to defend this frontage, any way we did not practice defence very much"

    When questioned about this statement later in the bar, he explained that his mission had been to take N Italy, he was completely sober at the time as he had had to give up alcohol after attending the soviet Frunz (sp?) Military Academy where the Soviets just made them drink vodka all the time with just about every meal.
     
  12. ...just in time for Wolfgang to arrive!
     
  13. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Before Zero Alpha got her current position, she was nanny to the Paymaster's children. Obviously there was no Active Edge role for the Paymaster of an armoured recce regt, so he'd just swan into camp about 0900 blissfully unaware that 1/4 mile up the road, the regiment had poured out through the back gate some time between say 0400 and 0600. Until he reached the second set of traffic lights from the front gate where there was always a dead CVR(T) which had at least made it out of camp and passed Active Edge.

    Zero Alpha would follow the same route another half hour after that on the way to take Goldfinger mini-minor on her way to playgroup. Said dead CVR(T) would still be there and Eric the Boxhead would still be cursing the traffic jam long after the morning rush hour was supposed to be over. (It was why, if it wasn't called by SACEUR after his lunchtime sherry, we got called at 0200 so we'd be out of camp within the four hours' notice to move and clear before the rush hour.)
     
  14. Talking of Active Edge whislt stationed in Munster in '79, I remember being 'scrambled' at 0200 hours one morning ('scrambled' being an appropriate adjective as we were all pissed) Whilst loading my beastie I was told to go to the CQMS and collect 'Biscuits Gas' Being a crow, off I traipsed with visions of the storemen falling about laughing and then asking me if I wanted some camouflage paint as well. I was mildly surprised when they handed over this **** off big green tin with 'Biscuits, Gas' stencilled on it.

    Anyway, we're ordered to mount up and off we go. As it's the middle of the feckin night, and freezing, there's not the usual bitch fight to see who gets to hang out of the L42 turret. After 45 mins or so we are rudely awakened from our slumber and taken to our 'stand to' positions by the Sect Comd.

    So there we are, just inside a woodline, handguard of SLR resting on top of large pack and us staring blearily into the false dawn waiting for the stand down, mount up and **** off signal. Not so; shortly after, Pl Comd and Pl Sgt arrive, sticks two twigs in the ground and says 'Thats your arcs, now dig in' and jogs off. Dig In..Feckin DIG IN!! So, whining fit to give Arthur Scargill a hard on, in we jolly well dig!

    It's good soil, we're both fit little sods (Christ, they were the days!) so an hour later we're dug in. No shelter bay as yet as no kip sheet. 'This is a new one' says my more experienced mucker, 'Never done this on a crash out before.......wonder what's going on?' Thinking happy thoughts about the 3rd Shock Army trundling over the horizon towards us we continue gazing over the West German landscape.....'Gdsm ACAB, share these out but don't charge your magazines until you're ordered too' says L/Sgt **** and drops a dozen of those little grey boxes so familiar to all us fans of the SLR.

    'Whats that then, blanks???' asks my mate

    'Nope, live ammo..!!!!!!!!' I reply.

    'That's it then, we're fucked!!!!' he says, staring in horror at the rounds. Just in case I was slow on the uptake a pair of Harriers chose that moment to scream over the treetops and disappear to the east.

    I don't mind admitting, I was 18 and shitting myself. A VERY nervous thirty minutes later the Brigadier rolls up with half of Bn Comd in tow, asks me if I'm getting mail from home then swans off. Fifteen minutes later we were stood down. I immediatly had 6 cigarettes for breakfast!
     
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  15. I remember a very similar event in Hohne at around the same time, usually we were tipped off that Active Edge was going to take place but on this occasion it appeared to come out of the blue at around 2am with everyone grabbing their gear and heading for the gun park wondering wtf was going on, we were then trundled out to some bleak and lonely spot in the middle of nowhere with "rumour control" running rife with several rumours about invasion and kissing arses goodbye, and the longer it continued past than the usual turn out time the stronger and more vivid the rumours became.
    I was only 18 as well and beginning to think that my career choice had been a poor one, I was more than relieved when we were eventually told it was all over.