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 If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come

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SteveR
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PostSubject: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   7/6/2012, 11:24

I am looking at BAOR in the early 1970s, pulling together orbat details with strategy, tactics and defence plans. I'd like to understand the likely battlegrounds should the worst have happened.

If the Warsaw Pact (3rd Shock Army?) had attacked, which were the main avenues into the 1 British Corps sector that they were likely to have taken, or attempted to take?

Assuming their first objective would be to cross the Weser, where did we expect them to have aimed for? Which were the most likely routes to be defended?

What localities were assumed to be the likely main centres for defence?

I have read that the British sector contained many pre-prepared 'improved positions'. Is this correct? What were the nature of these (mines, trenches?)? Where were these positions concentrated around?

I'd be grateful if anyone can point me in the direction of any useful information relating to the planning and tactics for the period late 60s/early 70s (declassified of course).... or anyone willing to make a few notes.

Thank you in advance.

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pinky
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Places Served : In BAOR : Hohne,Berlin and Munster.
Registration date : 2011-06-23

PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   7/6/2012, 12:20

Hi there,
In 1980 we had pre planned and kinda prepared 'crash-out' positions around the Hohne area. We nearly always crashed out to the same area's.
I also recall many seminars and battlefield tours taken by our Officers and seniors to look at likely routes the Russkies may of used. I also remember hearing stories of 'killing zones' which would draw the enemy in and then we would strike........probaly with nukes !!
We didn't stand a chance......IMO. There was a 'gap' which was regarded as the main thrust route !! I'm guessing heading towards Braunschweig then onto Hanover...........
The book Chieftains is worth a read on this subject (partly based on my regt. - 14/20 Kings Hussars).
atb
Pinky
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   7/6/2012, 17:13

I don`t think it would have made much difference which way they came..They would have been through us like the proverbial dose of salts...

Hindsite is wonderful...
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Shelldrake
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   7/6/2012, 18:32

Any Friday or Saturday night!! drunken drunken
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pete26
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   7/6/2012, 19:03

We were told that we were there just to give 'us' a couple of days breathing space when 'nukes' were to be launched from the UK.

Chieftain tank battle groups life expectancy was in minutes from an attack. We in support would have a slightly longer life expectancy.

As Shelldrake mentions above, if they had attacked just after 4.30pm on any Friday or in particular if an attack had come over the Christmas holidays. We would have had no chance.
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   7/6/2012, 19:42

Quote :
We were told that we were there just to give 'us' a couple of days breathing space when 'nukes' were to be launched from the UK.

So if the Soviets didn`t get us,our own would...Charming....
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bigmal
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   7/6/2012, 20:34

If you want to read a good book on this subject, (a fictional novel, mind), then read the book Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy.
It was written with help from people in the know and is excellent reading and may help give you some pointers.

It starts with a terrorist attack on Russias biggest oil field which puts it out of action for years.
The Russian economy is in trouble without this oil so they decide they have to take the oil they need by taking over the Arabian oil-fields.
But, to do this they, first, have to neutralise NATO.
Cue superb story.
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brum
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   7/6/2012, 23:03

Shelldrake wrote:
Any Friday or Saturday night!! drunken drunken

We allways said the same. Sunday would be a good day for Ivan to try his luck.
Turns out that a lot of these much-vaunted Soviets were drinking the anti freeze from various bits of vital equipment. The Soviet navy was derelict and the army was not much better.

I watched a lot of firepower demonstrations in my time in BAOR. If Ivan was stupid enough to get himself into one of the aforementioned killing grounds then it would have been Game Over for him, particularly as the demonstration finished up with the firing of an Honest John missile strike.

I go along with the thinking of the day. Why would the Soviets want to occupy a radioactive wasteland ?
More to the point, why would the Soviets want to occupy bloody France ?
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pete26
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   7/6/2012, 23:12

Gordon. wrote:
Quote :
We were told that we were there just to give 'us' a couple of days breathing space when 'nukes' were to be launched from the UK.

So if the Soviets didn`t get us,our own would...Charming....

That's probably why they had us running around in 'noddy suits' at every opportunity ?
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Shelldrake
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 05:13

pete26 wrote:
Gordon. wrote:
Quote :
We were told that we were there just to give 'us' a couple of days breathing space when 'nukes' were to be launched from the UK.

So if the Soviets didn`t get us,our own would...Charming....

That's probably why they had us running around in 'noddy suits' at every opportunity ?



Ha ha, many a true word, Pete............... Suspect Suspect
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jim
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 08:47

I don't know which way they would have come, there were so many options as i recall, I do know our role at 20 Bde was to hold them back as long as we could and try to funnel them into pre planned "Killing Zones", though we didn't call them that, whilst the rest of BFG formed up and waited for reinforcements from the UK
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 09:38

Quote :
That's probably why they had us running around in 'noddy suits' at every opportunity ?
Alas.in my day there were no such suits..
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SteveR
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 09:40

I've had mentioned areas like Sibbesse Gap, Hildesheimerwald, Paderborn (what or where is 'Paderborn Bowlet'?).

Any other 'battle' or defence locations come to mind?

What was the plan for 1st Division, being based in places like Verden, Slotau, Hohne and Celle .... where were they expected to fight. There has been mentioned of positions around Hohne?

1st Division seems to have been quartered in 1 German Corps area. Were they to drive south to Hannover and beyond?
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Shelldrake
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 09:44

Gordon. wrote:
Quote :
That's probably why they had us running around in 'noddy suits' at every opportunity ?
Alas.in my day there were no such suits..



You missed a treat there, Gordon!! Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 09:50

So i`m led to believe..The gas mask was more than enough for me.
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cartav
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 11:00

TA in the 1970's did mobilization drills. Most turned up for what was a compulsory weekend, some preferred the overtime rates in the job, some disappeared into a back bedroom with rolls of wallpaper and instructions from the wife about staying put.

But that's maybe a bit unkind. The majority were keen enough, but at yearly camps, it could take the average lad three days to switch on to Army routine & in three days the Ivans reckoned they would be queuing for an westbound ferry at Calais. In turn, our reserves, all of them, would be belting down the M1 & M2. There'd have been quite a pile up somewhere !

In those days, TAVR could only be mobilized for general war, they expected to be used as a unit, we knew where we would operate in BAOR and had depots full of kit ready for immediate taking over. Hopefully it all worked, hopefully, again, our used & sometimes obsolete, soft skinned stuff would have been employed in areas where opposing HE was minimal. As one of the few who had known NS, I always believed it would have been more realistic to use the reserve squaddy to make up the numbers of regular units, much as they do now. I wasn't popular for saying so, regimental pride dictated opposition to any such suggestion. OK, STABS they maybe at first, but I think regs & reservists have soon learned to integrate well, and learn from each other.
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Mike_2817
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 13:24

The major and largest mobilisation exercise for the TA was Crusader 80 and again for Lion Heart 84.

Being RAOC and 'Combat Supplies' we knew where the Forward Supply Depots & Fuel Pipelines were [some was 'need to know', but you cannot move tonnes of stores without finding them LoL] as well as the possible orbat of Defensive Positions as we had no attack plans, and neither did the Warsaw Pact it turned out! It was just one big stand off....

NATO military strategists identified the North German plain over a wide front as an area which might be used as one of two major invasion routes into Western Europe by Warsaw Pact forces, led by the Soviet Third Assault Army & 1st Guards Armoured Division, should the Cold War have ever gotten "hot". The plain's geography makes it suitable for the deployment of armoured and mechanized manoeuvre, was the main reason for it being identified as a significant risk similar to that presented by the alternative route, the Fulda Gap in the American zone. The defence of the Plain was the responsibility of NATO's Northern Army Group and Second Allied Tactical Air Force, made up of German, Dutch, Belgian, British and U.S. forces including 1st British Corps.

The 'Mindon Gap' was one of the 1 (BR) Corps choke points, and shafts were constructed in bridges to take a Charge Demolition. These charges were shaped like large Chedder cheeses weighing in at 125lb (50Kg) of TNT and they were fitted into the shafts during one of the Army Transition to War Measures (ATWM) at Simple Alert (SA) by the RE to blow the bridges over the Wesser to slow down the advance.




The 'Third Shock Army' kept the descriptive title "shock" into the 1950s, when it was re-titled the 3rd Assault Army, before assuming its final name: the 3rd "Red Banner" Combined Arms Army and moved back to Russia.

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Last edited by Mike_2817 on 8/6/2012, 13:51; edited 2 times in total
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SteveR
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 13:50

Mike_2817 wrote:

NATO military strategists identified the North German plain over a wide front as an area which might be used as one of two major invasion routes into Western Europe by Warsaw Pact forces, led by the Soviet Third Assault Army & 1st Guards Armoured Division, should the Cold War have ever gotten "hot". The plain's geography makes it suitable for the deployment of armoured and mechanized manoeuvre, was the main reason for it being identified as a significant risk similar to that presented by the alternative route, the Fulda Gap in the American zone. The defence of the Plain was the responsibility of NATO's Northern Army Group and Second Allied Tactical Air Force, made up of German, Dutch, Belgian, British and U.S. forces including 1st British Corps.

The 'Mindon Gap' was one of the choke points, and shafts were constructed brdges to take a Charge Demolition. The Charges were shaped like large Chedder Cheeses weighing in at 125lb (50Kg) of TNT and they were fitted into the shafts during one of the Army Transition to War Measures (ATWM) at Simple Alert (SA) by the RE to blow the bridges over the Wesser to slow down the advance.


Thanks for the map and other details
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Shelldrake
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 15:40

And here's me thinking it was all going to kick of in Reinsehlen Camp, we were never out the place! Rolling Eyes
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cartav
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 15:49

Mike_2817 wrote:

The 'Mindon Gap' was one of the 1 (BR) Corps choke points, and shafts were constructed in bridges to take a Charge Demolition. .........

Dems seems to have been something we planned for seriously. All newer bridges (I was told ) and important older ones incorporated shafts on approaches for charges, nothing needed a recce, just a trip to stores, pick up the paperwork and stuff to make the bang. Locations were marked on maps with black dots. The maps were known as " Measles Maps", the built in pits with manhole covers were "Measles Shafts". Equally, steel viaducts spanning rivers etc. on railways & roads had metal boxes welded to sections where PE or a hayrick was to be placed. I suppose they are still around and can't imagine there was anything to be gained by removing them. Same system. Everything pre-recced, all bits packed away, one box for one bridge, just sign the form & place it double quick.

I don't remember being told to shout "Fire in the hole!", but I bet they do now.
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brum
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 18:40


"Fire in the hold". That's Americanese isn't it ?
Similarly, some wazzock on the TV the other day was shouting "Lock 'n load", preparatory to doing something inane.
Probably wouldn't recognise a Garand M1 if you smacked him around the head with it !
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gingerjim
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 19:29

a garand m1 wots that , was it anything like the sten .ginger
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cartav
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 19:46

brum wrote:

"Fire in the hold". That's Americanese isn't it ?

Right again Brum ! Always thought it started as a shout made by mining lads when they set off a charge to bring down some more spoil........ but that's a guess. And how many of us in charge of a dozen squaddies have aped TV and ordered "Detail ! 'Shun!" ?

And ref M1......... saw something on TV last week where the expert pronounced it
" G'----Rand". Expect my Anglicised " Garrand " is wrong again. But do tell....
What's "Lock & Load" ? ........... apart from being the shout of every GI with a bandook on TV......... and is it applicable to M16 etc. as well ? .......... I love it when you talk technical !.
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cartav
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Registration date : 2011-04-26

PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 19:54

gingerjim wrote:
a garand m1 wots that , was it anything like the sten .ginger

30 calibre, semi automatic, gas operated, shoulder held long gun loaded with a clip of 8 rimless rounds, and the first semi automatic rifle issued to any army as a standard weapon. The one the Yanks claim won WW2........ and it certainly helped !

Not much like a Sten in any respect, but I guess you're joking !
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Mike_2817
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PostSubject: Re: If it had all kicked off .... which way would they have come   8/6/2012, 20:05

cartav wrote:
Mike_2817 wrote:

The 'Mindon Gap' was one of the 1 (BR) Corps choke points, and shafts were constructed in bridges to take a Charge Demolition. .........

Dems seems to have been something we planned for seriously. All newer bridges (I was told ) and important older ones incorporated shafts on approaches for charges, nothing needed a recce, just a trip to stores, pick up the paperwork and stuff to make the bang. Locations were marked on maps with black dots. The maps were known as " Measles Maps", the built in pits with manhole covers were "Measles Shafts". Equally, steel viaducts spanning rivers etc. on railways & roads had metal boxes welded to sections where PE or a hayrick was to be placed. I suppose they are still around and can't imagine there was anything to be gained by removing them. Same system. Everything pre-recced, all bits packed away, one box for one bridge, just sign the form & place it double quick.

I don't remember being told to shout "Fire in the hole!", but I bet they do now.

Indeed they were called "Measles Shafts" and 'beehive' or 'hayrick' could also be used to crater a road to force transport onto the verges and mine fields.

An Engineer Regiment would draw Detonators & Det Cord in bulk, and even we were not mad enough to pack them with the main charge. The survey told the Combat Engineer how much cord was needed, and off he went.

In Combat Supplies and the Forward Stores Depots (FSD's) we had lists of every units wartime requirements, and each unit would report to draw Phase One Allocation as per unit instructions if 'Active Edge' went 'NO DUFF' otherwise it was pallets of ammo boxes filled with stones (SIMMO) to weigh down the Knockers... Depot 90 at Sennelarger held both Live [Everything from 9mm Ball to Lance (less Nuke Warhead) MMA's & Dem Charges] as well as Simmo.

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