Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Big Red.

This is coolbert:

During the period of the "Cold War" [1945-1990[, NATO military planners had to deal with the POTENTIAL nightmare situation of "Big Red moves west". A Soviet invasion and conquest of western Europe.

Such an attack, as planned by the Soviet General Staff [Stavka] would have included massive numbers of tanks, massed. [I use the term massive and massed here for emphasis. Such a use of redundancy is valid in this case!!]

We are talking about an attack of Soviet tank divisions, Soviet tank armies, and groupings of Soviet tank armies. Tank units of colossal scale. All for the purpose of rupturing NATO defenses and exploiting these ruptures.

The goal of course would be Clausewitzian in nature. Invade the enemy's country, defeat the enemy's military, and break the will of the enemy populace to further resist!

Soviet planners were enamored of the tank and it's uses:

"The tank army [normally would consist of three tank divisions and one mechanized infantry division] is brought up to a breach in the enemy defenses only when a real breakthrough has been achieved and once the Front's forces have room for maneuver . . . A tank army is like a rushing flood, tearing its way through a gap in a dyke, smashing and destroying everything it its path."


"he [the Commander in Chief of a Strategic direction] brings his striking force, his Group of Tank Armies, into action . . . This Group of Tank Armies consists of two Tank Armies."

Suvorov speaks almost lovingly of the tank and the smell associated with tanks:

"Tanks have a quite distinctive smell about them. It cannot be confused with anything else. Do you like the smell of tanks? I do too. The smell of a tank is the smell of metal, of enormously powerful engines, of field tracks. Tanks roll into towns from the woods and fields, bringing with them the lingering smell of leaves and fresh grass. The smell of tanks is the smell of wide open spaces and of power. It is a smell that intoxicates. Like the smell of wine and blood."

As for what Soviet tanks would mean for the populace of invaded NATO nations, Suvorov is again eloquent:

"The city seethes, seized with fear and indignation, and along its streets thunder column upon column of tanks . . . As the drivers change up, the engines throw out clouds of dense black smoke . . . an old man, weeping, with shaggy gray beard, shouts something and shakes his fist."

NATO commanders had of course the option, with permission, to use NUCLEAR weapons in an attempt to stop a Soviet attack on western Europe. But this had consequences that everyone wanted to avoid. The belief was that even using "smaller" tactical atomic weapons on the battlefield would run the risk of escalation to a full-scale global thermonuclear war.

NATO commanders had to be given other options. Defensive weaponry that could stem the advance of Soviet massed tank formations.

Considerable thought MUST have given to this topic. A lot of anti-tank weapons WERE developed that gave the NATO forces a tremendous anti-tank capability.

Among the many weapons available to NATO that were to be used in an anti-tank capacity were:

* Maverick.

* Hellfire.

* TOW, Dragon, and LAW. [these three were infantry weaponry that gave the average foot soldier an ability to engage and destroy Soviet tanks.]

* Copperhead. [an anti-tank round fired in an indirect mode from a conventional artillery piece.]

* The A-10 USAF ground attack aircraft. [equipped with a 30 mm cannon that was a real tank killer!!]

* My favorite, the Rockeye. A "dumb" cluster-bomb-unit [CBU] that would "rain" 247 bomblets on the target. Each bomblet was a shaped charge that could penetrate 7 1/2 inches of armor.

The Rockeye was to "rain" anti-tank munitions on the tops of the tanks. Where they are most vulnerable. Have the least thickness of armor. Soviet tanks carried extra fuel and ammo in compartments that were relatively lightly armored compared to the rest of the tank, the fuel and extra ammo detonating when hit by Rockeye bomblets DROPPED FROM ABOVE!!

If the bomblets hit the engine compartment of the tank, the tank would become immobile and could not advance further. This is a valid counter to a tank. Rendering the tank immobile is almost as worthy as destroying the tank outright.

So important was the Rockeye that it was put on a list of weapons NOT TO BE EXPORTED, PERIOD!!

[it was even suggested that in the years prior to Gulf War Two, that if Saddam Hussein made offensive overtures against his neighbors, B-2 bombers ALONE, dropping, prodigious numbers of Rockeye bombs upon Hussein's Revolutionary Guards tank formations, could forestall any attack!!]

Could the NATO forces stopped the expected massive Soviet tank offensive in western Europe using ONLY conventional weapons like the Maverick, Hellfire, etc!!??

[this of course assumes that the Soviets would NOT HAVE initiated combat against NATO without using nuclear weapons FIRST!!]

Yes, but with great difficulty. Hell, what is there that is easy in this world??!!




Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home