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NATO vs Warsaw Pact

Discussion in 'World History' started by Cunobelin, Jul 3, 2003.

  1. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

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    ...when their oponent has air superiority and is able to spot the tanks in the first place.
    In 1991, if Iraq had had air supierority over Saudi Arabia and enough planes to do something with it, then the US armour would have meet roughly the same fate that the Iraqi armour did. As a result of their thin top armour, all tanks are vunerable to air attack, not just Soviet ones.

    In contrast to conditions in the Arabian deserts, the Serbian military did a fairly good job of preserving its tanks during the Kosovo war. By parking the tanks in forests and built up areas, the NATO tank busting aircraft were unable to locate and destroy the Serb's tanks.
     
  2. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

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    Make that extreamely long range and extreamly unmanuverable and you're closer to the truth. The Phoenix missile is only useful against unmanuverable aircraft like heavy bombers, and are next to useless against fighters. In the only combat launch of a Phoenix, the Iraqi MiG-25 it was fired at was able to easily dodge the missile. Given that the MiG-25 is an unmanuverable plane and Iraqi pilots weren't as well trained as Soviet ones, and I can't see the Phoenix making much of an impact over Europe.

    Not true. The USSR possesed about 20 Mainstay AWACS, which while not as good as the E-3 was a fairly good aircraft.

    AFAIK, the war in Afganistan was mainly fought by second string Central Asian divisions stiffened by a few airborne divisions (the Soviets had over 10 airborne divisions, and the utility of paratroops in a major European war is questionable at best, so this wasn't a major loss). AFAIK, all the Soviets good armoured and mechanised units stayed out of Afganistan, which is lousy tank country.
     
  3. MadScot

    MadScot Brandy's back!

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    My assessment is rather with Case, I fear I'd have been ground under the GSFG tracks along with much of the rest of SACEUR's forces. Thankfully it never came to a shooting war, although 1983 was a damn sight closer than a lot of people think.

    If we take the early 80s as the benchmark then much of NATO's airpower relied on the Phantom. The Luftwaffe still had quite a few F-104G and G-91 units; the RAf still had Buccanneers and Lightnings in frontline roles. The F-111s were generally not so capable - they were still getting the bugs out of a 1960s design! Don't count on any help from naval forces - they'd have had their hands full trying to fight the reinforcement convoys across the Atlantic, or trying to hold onto Iceland and/or the North Cape.
    The Soviets had mainly Mig-23/27 series by the 1980s, although I agree the Pact forces used a fair few MiG-21s. Given their significant numerical advantage I don't see the Soviets particularly outclassed. Much of the NATO airpower would have been tied up in counter-air missions - not much immediate help for the hard pressed troops - and hard pressed they would have been.

    NATO would also likely have started to run very short of ammo very very quickly. The US had to strip it's NATO-earmarked supplied to keep the Israelis fighting in 1973, had the whole central front gone to war then the fancy ammo (ATGMs etc) would have started to get depleted very quickly. The only offsetting factor would have been the casualty rate among the troops using the ammo.

    It's all very well to claim that the soviets were poorly trained, but large amounts of NATO strength relied on reserve forces too, all of which would have been inferior to frontline troops. And that's assuming that they could be mobilised in time. It took months to get the units in place for GW1; the standard "nightmare scenario" had GSFG crossing the IGB within a week of any reasonable notification - barely enough time to get the active forces into forward positions.
     
  4. John-LP

    John-LP Libertarian

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    Air superiority is not the point. The point is that if you have your armor is static defense positions, they can be spotted, marked and you can be sure that if you come back hours later, it will almost definitely be there. It`s not about the thin armor on the top of the tanks. It`s about being able to see the target and call for an air strike, friendly armor, anti-tank weapons, etc to take it out. If they kept their armor on the move it would certainly do much better for saving their numbers.
     
  5. Case

    Case The horror, the horror

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    Sure. However, in desert conditions where cover for tanks is extreamly rare, the side with air superiority holds a massive advantage, especially when they have enough aircraft and trained pilots to do something with it. The Syrians and Egyptians have fought several fairly mobile campaigns agaist Israel, but Israeli air power has generally been able to win air superiority and then go on to decimate moving tank forces caught in desert conditions.
     
  6. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin I aint no hippo

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    So from what ive read hear id assume that any soviet gains made in any european attack would be retaken by NATO forces relatively quickly or could such a war scenario drag on for several years, do you think?
     
  7. Mîtiu Ioan

    Mîtiu Ioan Deity

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    Why only pure military aspects is discussed here ???? :confused:

    I will bet 99% of my money to NATO forces on a "what-if" scenario ... and this primarly because almost all of Eastern European country will switch the side against the "russian imperialist" ... :goodjob:

    Regards
     
  8. MadScot

    MadScot Brandy's back!

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    From logistics concerns I can't see it lasting many months, never mind years. I doubt it would not have gone nuclear if it had gone on that long.

    And I don't think NATO would have retaken any Soviet gains - I can easily conceive of the front line stabilising somewhere on the North German Plain as the initial Soviet push ran out of steam, but with NATO too battered to take ground back.

    And I have my doubts as to Eastern Europe rising up in rebellion. The captured countries in WW2 contributed considerably to German manpower in WW2 after all, it would certainly be foolish for NATO to rely on Pact uprisings.
     
  9. Richard III

    Richard III Duke of Gloucester

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    ...accessing memory banks...

    I take it you mean KAL? How odd!
     
  10. MadScot

    MadScot Brandy's back!

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    Not KAL, that was a symptom.

    There was a NATO exercise called Able Archer, IIRC, and for some bizarre reason the Russians interpreted it as NATO war mobilization, and went to their equivalent of DEFCON2, without NATO knowing that they were doing so at first. Then they could see (from SIGINT) that the Sovs were getting all excited, but since NATO knew Able Archer was an exercise, they had no idea why.
    And the Sov leadership was half dead (I think Andropov was clinging to power, and to life, at the time) so there wasn't anyone to talk to. Plus all the 'Evil Empire' stuff was going on.

    We came about as close to WW3 then as any time since 1961/2. Except we didn't even know it....sleepwalking into WW3.
     
  11. The Art of War

    The Art of War [none]

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    The Phoenix was used against Libyan aircraft, I'm pretty sure..maybe it was the AIM-54 (EDIT: It was the AIM-7 Sparrow). If not, it's still a small discrepency when comparing any MiG to the F-15, which was superior to every MiG, although maybe an Su-32 or -35 could possibly take the F-15.

    Either way you throw it, the Mainstay would've been gone.

    Actually, the Soviets did move a regiment or two off of the front NATO lines by the end of the 80s, which is why i said it wasn't that big of a loss, except that the moral of the soviet people was *extremely* low. Spetznaz were taken off of the front line.
     
  12. The Art of War

    The Art of War [none]

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    I don't know.......it could've gone either way when CIA introduced the Stinger system into the Afghan war...the Soviets could've, and did, realize the weapons escalation, from old Enfield rifles, used during the early years of Afghanistan, to the AK-47/74s, Stingers, Blowpipes, SA-7s, Dashikas, 14.5mm guns....the Sovs could've decided to invade Pakistan, then you woulda had WW3.
     
  13. The Art of War

    The Art of War [none]

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    I think it would've been fairly quick after the defeat of the Red AirForce....most of West Germany would fall back in to NATO hands, I believe.
     
  14. John-LP

    John-LP Libertarian

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    Although the USSR had a statistical superiority, the Soviet Union`s territory is large and expansive, plus I believe one very real weakness that ultimately prevented even the thought of any serious conventional war on the part of the Soviet Union was lack of Industrial power to provide the neccessary supply force to support any extended conflict. With all of the might of the Soviet military they could not take a little country like Afghanistan. I realize they could not commit all of their military, but surely you can`t believe they stood a chance against N.A.T.O (non-nuclear), but could`nt wrestle with Afghanistan.

    If there would have been a non-nuclear full-scale war, the Soviet Union would have gotten as far as the German-French border before they start suffering supply issues. From that point they would likely become stuck in defensive positions with the ability to conduct limited offensive campaigns, restricted to regional objectives. Approximately six months to a year into the war, they would be in this position for another six months to a year until the massive depth of Allied Industry would arise and harvest it`s larger population, thereby doubling or even trippling it`s pre-war outnumbered force. Then we would likely see the American-led Allies punch massive holes in the Soviet line, using large numbers of cruise missiles and air power. The Soviets would crumble and fall back as far as the Russian-Polish border before begging for peace. The Allies would accept a unconditional surrender or if it was refused, there would be a blood-bath, in which literally millions of soldiers and civilians would perish. I would except the cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow (at least) to be leveled, along with most of the European and some Japanese, Alaskan cities being severely damaged. The war takes 3 or 4 years if the USSR accepts the surrender terms and 4 to 6 years if they do not.

    N.A.T.O could have easily matched the Soviet`s military in numbers, however, by not doing that they had all their cities producing "Wealth" (LOL) and they didn`t waste big bucks supplying military units that were static. However, obviously N.A.T.O based it`s stratedgy on the nuclear deterrent, which you can thank your diety for, cause it prevented WWIII. All this made it possible for the Allies to outspend the Soviets.
     
  15. Simon Darkshade

    Simon Darkshade Mysterious City of Gold

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    The Afghanistan Group of Forces in 1988 was still rather large
    - 5th Guards Motor Rifle Division
    108th, 201st, 357th and 360th Motor Rifle Divisions
    66th, 70th MR Bde
    191st, 866th MR Regt
    56th Air Assault Bde
    40th Heavy Arty Bde
    40th Airmobile Bde
    3 Spetznaz Bdes
    2 KGB Border Guards Regts
    375th Guards Airborne Regt
    and a Fighter Bomber division of nominally 135 aircraft (Fencers, Flogger, Frogfoots)

    But, as said, these were not the best armoured units. Those were still concentrated in 8th Guards Army, 1st Guards Tank Army, 3rd Shock Tank Army, 2nd Guards Tank Army and 20th Guards Army; GSFG.

    After about 1983/4, then I would back a NATO decisive victory, in a conventional arms conflict. The big 5 weapons systems were coming on line en masse, plus improvements for the other NATO countries. The USAF and other countries with superior airpower would have gained something close to air control, or even parity over the battlefield.
    The F-117 was on line after 83, IIRC, and would have been handy.
     
  16. The Art of War

    The Art of War [none]

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    The Soviets would have taken Afghanistan had it not been for the CIA...it was the only real battlefield in the Cold War..well, Vietnam, too.
     
  17. MadScot

    MadScot Brandy's back!

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    Art of War

    Ever hear of a little place called Korea?
     
  18. The Art of War

    The Art of War [none]

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    yes, i have...it was more Chinese Reds than Russian Reds, even though MiG-15s were used, I know, along with Russian weapons.
     
  19. The Art of War

    The Art of War [none]

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    also, Afghanistan had the most potential to start WW3.
     
  20. MadScot

    MadScot Brandy's back!

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    Oh, I'm sorry, I never realised the Chinese weren't fighting the cold war.

    And I guess American (and other Western) troops in direct ground combat with the Chinese was a lot further from WW3 than a few CIA agents supplying a few MANPADs to the Mujahedin.
     

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