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 Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?

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unclevanya
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Places Served : 11 Sigs Vimy 'C' Catterick Nov 1963), 224 (Radio) Sig Squadron Garrats Hey, Quorn Leics( Jan-June 1964), 16 Sigs Bradbury Barracks Krefeld July-Oct 1964), 28 (BR) Sigs St Tonis & 4 Squadron, Tongeren (Cafe Maddy) (1964-1968), HQ UNFICYP Nicosia 6 month tour (1966), HMS Jufair & Hamala Camp Bahrien, 223 Sig Sqn (Radio) Winchester, Norn Ireland, HQ Northag Kolsas Olso Norway, 11 Sigs Helles Lines Catterick, Civvy Street 1977, Retired (Grumpy Victor Meldrew 2012)
Registration date : 2012-07-15

PostSubject: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   28/9/2013, 17:43

I sometimes wondered about the effectivenss of the Warzaw Pact and Soviet Military stationed in East Germany during the Cold War, and just how effective they were. I have read somewhere that the majoirty of the soldiers were reluctant conscripts, and that they had a liking for the old vodka to deal with acute boredom. (a bit similar some some of us Brits on this side of the 'Iron Curtain'.

Has anyone actually made an assesment, or read, or studied just how good the Soviets and the Warzaw Pact Military were or not, post the Berlin Wall coming down and the eventual colapse of the Soviet Union communism.

Just how effective was their equipment, such as communications/radio/teleprinter networks compared with the multitude of kit that NATO forces used our side of the 'Wall'.

When I look back at the type of comms kit us Brits used back then, and what is available now. It make one wodner just how is all worked and hung together. drunken affraid

Ah, well. old soldiers just reminisce about what was, and how things compare now with the Army nowadays.Rolling Eyes 
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gingerjim
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   28/9/2013, 19:34

what i remember in the 50s was whenever we had a russian scare on , we used to pile into the old three tonners , around the venlo area we were kicked out and made to dig slit trenches , it was not very nice in winter especially when our csm made us pack the top of our tin hats wiv snow and ice to blend into the landscape , there we were about 300 of us , wiv 303s , stens , brens , 2 inch mortars , energa anti tank grenades etc , waiting patiently for the russian army to put in an appearance , the buggers never had the decency to turn up ,there we were like the proverbial brass monkeys sitting in our little slit trenches waiting to duff up ivan the terrible . after a day or so it was back into the three tonners back to the depot to thaw out , god only knows what would have happened if the russians had turned up , i read recently that our vigil in slit trenches was a waste of time . 2nd taf and the usaaf were going to nuke the buggers , and that included any allied units in the vicinity, nice people our politicians and generals , ginger
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Mike_2817
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   28/9/2013, 22:46

The East German Army was said to be a joke, and the main assault troops being Russian in the form of '3rd Shock Army' (later re-titled 3rd Assault Army) of which at least half was on standby at anyone time!

Группа советских войск в Германии, ГСВГ

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3rd_Shock_Army

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_of_Soviet_Forces_in_Germany

For most of the 1970s and 1980s (My days of 'Active Edge') the Army was composed from the following major formations:

7th Guards Tank Kiev-Berlin Division
10th Guards Uralsko-Lvovskaya Tank Division
12th Guards Tank Division
47th Guards Tank Division
207th Motor Rifle Division

By all accounts the Russions were exspecting us to make the first move!

The Soviet armies permanently stationed in Germany were the predominant land-based military defence against NATO from the late 1940s until 1989, a primary factor in the military situation during the Cold War. The possibility of an escalation of the Cold War was kept low due to the dangers of nuclear escalation and mutual assured destruction on both sides...

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burgess720
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   29/9/2013, 01:55

gingerjim wrote:
what i remember in the 50s was whenever we had a russian scare on , we used to pile into the old three tonners , around the venlo area we were kicked out and made to dig slit trenches , it was not very nice in winter especially when our csm made us pack the top of our tin hats wiv snow and ice to blend into the landscape , there we were about 300  of us , wiv 303s , stens , brens , 2 inch mortars , energa anti tank grenades etc , waiting patiently for the russian army to put in an appearance , the buggers never had the decency to turn up ,there we were like the proverbial brass monkeys sitting in our little slit trenches waiting to duff up ivan the terrible . after a day  or so it was back into the three tonners back to the depot to thaw out , god only knows what would have happened if the russians had turned up , i read recently that our vigil in slit trenches was a waste of time . 2nd taf and the usaaf were going to nuke the buggers , and that included any allied units in the vicinity, nice people our politicians and generals , ginger
Hi all,
As RE's to "stop the Russians" we had to drive from Osnabruck to Hamburg; Bedford 3 tonners 4x2 & 4x4; plus a couple of Scammel recovery, some Bedford 15 cwt's
A long trip, with many vehicle breakdowns; we would never have made it if it was for real; before the Russian reached Hamburg
We were lucky
Cheers Tony
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Wilf
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   29/9/2013, 07:28

I think it was a given that we were not going to stop a soviet invasion, in fact the chances of us getting away were pretty slim. At Soltau when we 'crashed out' someone would go through the motions of blowing up the barracks behind us. We would then go and hide in some village or woods, this is where the exercise would get a little far fetched. Over the next week or two the invading hoards of commies would be slowly pushed back and by the time 'endex' came around it would be safe to go back to camp...not blown up after all. I suppose those excercises tested us, they certainly demonstrated that we had slow and unreliable vehicles (Knockers) but in the great scheme of things all rather pointless.

I remember talking to a chap from I think...9/12 Lancers, he said his squadrons role should an invasion happen was to hide and let the invading Russians pass them by unnoticed! then pop up and shoot them from behind with their scimitars. A fanciful plan which thankfully was never put into operation.
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Mike_2817
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   29/9/2013, 11:03

Our 'Secret Weapon' at Depot 90 at Sennelarger was SIMMO (Simulated Ordnance) to further slow down our Knockers during exersises. 10 x 1 Tonne pallets per Knocker or 6 to a Stollie slowed the convoys to a crawl. LoL

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brum
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   29/9/2013, 12:38

Wilf wrote:

I remember talking to a chap from I think...9/12 Lancers, he said his squadrons role should an invasion happen was to hide and let the invading Russians pass them by unnoticed! then pop up and shoot them from behind with their scimitars. A fanciful plan which thankfully was never put into operation.
That idea was put forward in the British Army Review by a Canadian officer in the 70s.
The suggestion was that hunter groups hide up in hardened locations until the Red tide had gone by then emerge and go causing havoc in the rear areas, knocking out command vehs/top brass, etc.
Not so fanciful I thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   29/9/2013, 16:40

Thought we were there to give them time to prepare a nuke strike.. RIP BAOR
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Eric England
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   29/9/2013, 16:54

I though we were there to entertain the German ladies, NO?
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   29/9/2013, 18:09

Nah Len... That was Brum`s job
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ciphers
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Places Served : Catterick (1951) - BAOR (1952 -1954)-(Herford - Bunde - Munster) - Japan (Kure) - Korea (Pusan - Seoul) - Cyprus (Nicosia) - Suez Op (1st Guards Brigade) - UK (63 Sigs Regt TA, Southampton)
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   29/9/2013, 18:35

Oy! Gordon, don't go bringing me into this .. it was that Yob from the REME who said we were all fraulein fanciers ... I wuz an upstanding youth who kept clear of beer, women and combat.

Len (Ciphers)
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Wilf
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   29/9/2013, 18:37

brum wrote:
Wilf wrote:

I remember talking to a chap from I think...9/12 Lancers, he said his squadrons role should an invasion happen was to hide and let the invading Russians pass them by unnoticed! then pop up and shoot them from behind with their scimitars. A fanciful plan which thankfully was never put into operation.
That idea was put forward in the British Army Review by a Canadian officer in the 70s.
The suggestion was that hunter groups hide up in hardened locations until the Red tide had gone by then emerge and go causing havoc in the rear areas, knocking out command vehs/top brass, etc.
Not so fanciful I thought.
I disagree Brum, the thought of a light recce squadron (Or indeed, regiment) doing any damage to a soviet invasion is indeed a fanciful notion.
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Eric England
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Places Served : Arborfield, Deepcut Camberley 25 Lt Regt Catterick/NI, 4 Lt Regt Catterick/NI, 655 Sqn AAC Detmold, QRIH Padderbon, 9/12 Lancers Muenster, 655 Tank Tptr Sqn Fallingbostel, HQ REME 3rd Armd Div Korbecke, SEE Arborfield, HQ REME Trg Center Arborfield.
Registration date : 2013-04-22

PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   29/9/2013, 18:47

Wilf wrote:
brum wrote:
Wilf wrote:

I remember talking to a chap from I think...9/12 Lancers, he said his squadrons role should an invasion happen was to hide and let the invading Russians pass them by unnoticed! then pop up and shoot them from behind with their scimitars. A fanciful plan which thankfully was never put into operation.
That idea was put forward in the British Army Review by a Canadian officer in the 70s.
The suggestion was that hunter groups hide up in hardened locations until the Red tide had gone by then emerge and go causing havoc in the rear areas, knocking out command vehs/top brass, etc.
Not so fanciful I thought.
I disagree Brum, the thought of a light recce squadron (Or indeed, regiment) doing any damage to a soviet invasion is indeed a fanciful notion.
That is why I entertained the ladies, had to use my time wisely eh.

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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   29/9/2013, 22:34

Quote :
I wuz an upstanding youth who kept clear of beer, women
What was wrong with you??
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csqnblackhat
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   29/9/2013, 22:50

Some time ago, on the recommendation of a friend, I purchased from Amazon, a Kindle book written by Robert Forrest-Webb called Chieftains. It deals with the events following the Eastern bloc invading West Germany and follows the fortunes of a couple of tank crews, the Brits in a Chieftain and the Yanks in an M1 Abrams. Factually very poor in parts but a most interesting yarn overall and I found it a most interesting read...............it also include a Scimitar/Scorpion unit left behind in a hardened shelter to harass the enemy from the rear.
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Eric England
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   30/9/2013, 10:36

Gordon. wrote:
Quote :
I wuz an upstanding youth who kept clear of beer, women
What was wrong with you??
LOL, oh wait, I am in China so that should be ROR.
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brum
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   30/9/2013, 11:20

csqnblackhat wrote:
Some time ago, on the recommendation of a friend, I purchased from Amazon, a Kindle book written by Robert Forrest-Webb called Chieftains. It deals with the events following the Eastern bloc invading West Germany and follows the fortunes of a couple of tank crews, the Brits in a Chieftain and the Yanks in an M1 Abrams. Factually very poor in parts but a most interesting yarn overall and I found it a most interesting read...............it also include a Scimitar/Scorpion unit left behind in a hardened shelter to harass the enemy from the rear.
Yes, I read that too, it's still on my Kindle. I find that reading books like that is distracting for ex-army types, me certainly, I'm allways picking up on faults !
My big schimpf about "Chieftains" is that the end was too abrupt.
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csqnblackhat
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   30/9/2013, 12:26

Yes, it was rather sudden, wasn't it?
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Eric England
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   30/9/2013, 12:55

csqnblackhat wrote:
Yes, it was rather sudden, wasn't it?
I read something years ago about the issue of the new tanks, not sure if it was true but they were built for a country in the ME and the deal fell through for some reason so they were issued to BAOR early.
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brum
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   30/9/2013, 13:49

csqnblackhat wrote:
Yes, it was rather sudden, wasn't it?
Another one that I picked up on was where a character in the story thought that NBC precautions were a waste of time in a tank, because as soon as you opened the breech the "nasties" got in down the gun barrel. Seeing as the turret was pressurised I fail to see how that could happen !
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   30/9/2013, 14:19

I think you may be referring to the Iranian Chiefy deal, Eric. 800 Mk 5P Chieftains were initially sold to Iran in the early 70's, and a further, much modified, 1200 were ordered to be designated Shir Iran, meaning lion of Iran. This order was abruptly cancelled when the Ayatollah came to power and they were passed onto the British army as Challengers.
The whole thing was a truly massive money laundering affair carried out with the collusion of both the British government of the time, and the Shah.
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Eric England
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   30/9/2013, 14:34

csqnblackhat wrote:
I think you may be referring to the Iranian Chiefy deal, Eric. 800 Mk 5P Chieftains were initially sold to Iran in the early 70's, and a further, much modified, 1200 were ordered to be designated Shir Iran, meaning lion of Iran. This order was abruptly cancelled when the Ayatollah came to power and they were passed onto the British army as Challengers.
The whole thing was a truly massive money laundering affair carried out with the collusion of both the British government of the time, and the Shah.
Yes indeed that was the incident I was thinking of, my memory is not as clear as I would have hoped. I was working in HQ 3rd Armd Div when I came across this document when looking for another doc that CREME wanted from the classified docus room.
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   30/9/2013, 16:43

Quote :

Hi all,
As RE's to "stop the Russians" we had to drive from Osnabruck to Hamburg; Bedford 3 tonners 4x2 & 4x4; plus a couple of Scammel recovery, some Bedford 15 cwt's
A long trip, with many vehicle breakdowns; we would never have made it if it was for real; before the Russian reached Hamburg
We were lucky
Cheers Tony
In later years the RE's had a more effective way of slowing Ivan down...blowing up autobahn bridges...as a field squadron troop section we carried a microfiche of the bridges that had been built with a mouse hole…then had great fun calculating how much plastic explosive and det cord to use at the bridge...using plasticine and washing line of course…happy days in a 432 late 70s
Steve (33C)
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BobG
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PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   30/9/2013, 16:54

The uprated tanks for Iran, originally called the ShirII, were sold to Jordan and named the Khalid. I was at SEME at the time and was responsible for the training of the Jordanian EME pers, we had 3 Khalids in Hy 'A' Branch in 1983/4, crew training was carried out at Bovington. The Khalid design was further improved by Vickers/ROF and became Challenger I.
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Eric England
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Registration date : 2013-04-22

PostSubject: Re: Warzaw Pact Forces - myth or a reality?   30/9/2013, 17:05

BobG wrote:
The uprated tanks for Iran, originally called the ShirII, were sold to Jordan and named the Khalid. I was at SEME at the time and was responsible for the training of the Jordanian EME pers, we had 3 Khalids in Hy 'A' Branch in 1983/4, crew training was carried out at Bovington. The Khalid design was further improved by Vickers/ROF and became Challenger I.
84 was when I left the army (REME).
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