NATO vs. the Warsaw Pact - Late 80's

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
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All of the talk about the US and Russia in the Ukraine made me think about the big "What if" of our generation.

It is the late 80's. The Soviets invade but it isn't like Korea in 1950. We had some warning, we started REFORGER, etc. I'll take the coward's way out and say that nukes and other WMD aren't used.

You're in charge of NATO. What is your desired end-state? Take Moscow, return to pre-war boundaries, eject the Communists from Eastern Europe? How do you meet that end-state? What are the prospects of clearing the skies? Securing the ocean? This is global, so what about Japan or China? Does the Pacific have a ground conflict or is it air and sea only? Is NATO's model of great equipment in smaller numbers coupled with well-trained soldiers the answer to Russia's hordes of inferior tanks? We saw that Bradley's could kill Soviet tanks at 73 Easting in Iraq, but we can't expect the Soviets to fight as poorly...but we know the technology works.

The Navy...do CVBG's and Aegis trump cruise missiles? What about subs? Remember that many NATO navies were primarily an ASW force.

Bottom line: Can NATO "win" and how would it do that?

Football season's over anyway and the weather sucks. Start typing. 8-)

I'll add some resources to start you out:
http://orbat.com/site/history/historical/nato/units1989.html
http://orbat.com/site/history/historical/nato/warsawpact.html
http://orbat.com/site/history/historical/nato/oob1989.html
 

pardus

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I'm still pissed that Hitler didn't commit to taking Moscow, so I'm going to go with maximum effort to level Moscow and the Soviet leadership ASAP via air power, while forging an alliance with China and making them commit to an invasion of Soviet territory, therefore splinting Soviet strength, speed is of essence, if the Soviets are giving time to mobilize we are finished.

End state? Advance to the Urals, hold the line there with a view to withdrawal ASAP with a friendly indigenous govt in place. Ukraine would be embraced, coddled and used as an ally (another Hitler fuck up).

Broad strokes I know.
 

Red-Dot

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We saw that Bradley's could kill Soviet tanks at 73 Easting in Iraq, but we can't expect the Soviets to fight as poorly...but we know the technology works.html


I may be wrong but many of those Iraqi tanks were T-55's, 62's and 72's. Probably without reactive armor and shitty crews. T-80's and T-90's are a different story. Pretty sure they have the laser warning systems that will automatically slew their main guns to incoming laser energy.....and very different armor.
 

Ranger Psych

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Keeping my hatchet sharp in the PNW
I'm still pissed that Hitler didn't commit to taking Moscow, so I'm going to go with maximum effort to level Moscow and the Soviet leadership ASAP via air power, while forging an alliance with China and making them commit to an invasion of Soviet territory, therefore splinting Soviet strength, speed is of essence, if the Soviets are giving time to mobilize we are finished.

End state? Advance to the Urals, hold the line there with a view to withdrawal ASAP with a friendly indigenous govt in place. Ukraine would be embraced, coddled and used as an ally (another Hitler fuck up).

Broad strokes I know.

Hi, I'm Dead Hand. SURPRISE!
 

Robal2pl

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Just two cents about tanks :

1) In late 80's there were still lot of T-55s and other equipment. How long would category A units last in case of war? A week?

2) T-80s in 80's were quite similar to other tanks (T-72, T-64). It's the same basic design, just other manufacturers - reason : internal politics.

So there is good chance that such land war would look like Desert Storm but in different settings. I think that NATO could "win" - if "victory" means succesful defence of Europe.

Two other problems wich are different that in 1991 :

1) Naval war - Russians would try to attack NATO shipping. Same thing as in WW1 and WW2. But in case od WW3 - NATO had strong ASW capabilites plus - wich could be most important - total control of Atlantic - from Iceland to Azores. In Red Storm Rising Russians managed to strike heavily on NATO ships, due to invasion of Iceland, but that was a novel ;-)

2) Air war - in 80's NATO had already superior - in terms of quality - air units. Flankers and Fulcrums were still novelty and majority of Warsaw Pact air forces was composed of MiG-23's and 21's. Attack planes were mostly Fitters (Su-17 and 22) and Su-24's were only in Soviet Air Forces. And there were NATO and US AWACS planes . Russians had their A-50's but kept them for air defence of their territory.

And one last thing - in 80's there already was massive economical crisis in Warsaw Pact. So it seriously hurt modernization of armed forces.
 
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