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giobastia
May 17th, 2013, 11:10 PM
My rules for a Alternative History of World War III
Writing an alternative history of an hypothetical World War III is a very difficult task, mainly because there is an over-production of fictions, models an hypothesis on what it could have been. Every historian or alt-historian has his own precise idea on how it could unfold. For this reason, I prefer to set some basic rules for this Alternative Timeline before writing it, useful for any further debate on this board.
1. Historical context: I chose the Able Archer Crisis of 1983 because it is increasingly recognized by historians as one of the three most dangerous moments of the Cold War (along with the Berlin Crisis of 1948 and the Cuban Missiles Crisis of 1962). While the other two crisis went “public” immediately, the Able Archer one is still a mystery. Were we really close to war or not? Increasing evidence suggests that we were. But there is still a window open for alt-history imagination.
2. Inspiration: I will try to free my mind from any fictional account produced in the 80s, both from the more pessimistic scenarios of nuclear-end-of-the-World (like “Threads”, “When the Wind Blows” and many others) and the overly optimistic scenarios of all-conventional-theatre-war (like Hackett’s “Third World War” and Clancy’s “Red Storm Rising”). I would try to rely on real planning of both sides, given that many key documents are declassified. Where there are no declassified war plans, there are still many writings on doctrine and oral history that could fill the gap.
3. Rationality: I know that a plan is the first victim in war. It could die in the first hour of conflict. After that first hour, I assume that both sides are relatively rational, because both showed restrain during the entire era of the Cold War. Even if war resulted from miscalculation (like in this case), their rationality could persist also during a conflict. I presume that nobody wanted to destroy the World, but “simply” win the war.
4. Technology: I would use only existing military technology already deployed in 1983, but I assume that, in case of war, both sides could try to deploy also new tested (although not yet deployed) systems and use existing or old technologies in new and “creative” manners.
Given those rules… happy reading!

Delta Force
May 17th, 2013, 11:20 PM
I've always wanted to do an Able Archer 83 timeline myself. I look forward to reading this.

giobastia
May 17th, 2013, 11:20 PM
The so called “detente” between Soviet Union and United States simply fell apart in December 1979. Since 1976, Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces began to deploy the new SS-20 system. The new missiles could hit accurately, with three MIRVed warheads each, all the NATO bases in Europe and all the Us targets in the Asia-Pacific region, without posing a threat to the Us territory.
The Soviet strategists, basically, intended the new system as an upgrade of previous SS-4 and SS-5 missiles, which could reach all the NATO targets in Central and Westrn Europe, but not the peripheral bases in Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Iceland and Greenland. The new SS-20s could reach all those remote bases and put the entire depth of NATO forces inside the Soviet nuclear offensive weapons range.
The SS-20s were the perfect weapons to fight and win a limited nuclear war in Europe, because they could destroy any NATO target in Central Europe with pinpoint accuracy (limiting collateral damages, which could be dangerous also for advancing WP troops), deter any massive retaliation from France and UK, or from the US remote bases in Iceland, Spain, Portugal and Turkey, deny the arrival and concentration of US forces in any European harbor, deny side operations in the enlarged Middle East, destroy or deter US operations in Japan and South Korea.
Western governments understood immediately the importance of the new weapons and they also considered the deployment of SS-20s as a political tool aimed at the “decoupling” of NATO: if Europe is menaced and Usa are not, they thought, American and European interests could diverge. In case of theatre nuclear war in Europe (NATO’s strategists thought), Usa could have been tempted to not intervene. Thus the necessity to retaliate to the deployment of SS-20s with the deployment of new US theatre nuclear weapons, in order to reestablish the balance of nuclear forces in Europe.
The decision to deploy the new missiles, the Pershing2 (medium range ballistic missiles) in Germany and the Gryphon (land based cruise missiles) in UK, Italy and the Netherlands, came in mid-December 1979. The deployment should not be immediate, nor inevitable. It was linked to the result of a new round of negotiations with Ussr on intermediate nuclear forces (INF). Basically the NATO proposal was: retire the SS-20s and we’ll not deploy the Pershings and Gryphons. Earlier that month, unrelated to the deployment decision, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan to replace its recalcitrant communist regime with a more faithful one. A military move which was met with outrage all over the West and in the Islamic world and prompted new sanctions by the Carter’s administration in Usa.
These two events, Western reaction to Afghanistan and Western reaction to SS-20s, provoked an escalation of ideological paranoia in Soviet leadership. Until early ’79, the Soviet leadership (dominated by the old general secretary Leonid Brezhnev, but especially by the KGB’s president Yuri Andropov) was relatively optimistic. Soviet-style socialism was spreading all over the World, not only in African countries (where Soviets intervened in, at least, three cases: Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia), but also in the courtyard of Usa (Nicaragua and El Salvador, later the island of Grenada). Western leftism was widespread all over Europe and United States, especially after Vietnam. The overall correlation of forces (military, economic and political) favored the Soviet Union. The world was secure for Moscow, a war was not only not necessary, but even damages for the Soviet cause. But after 1979, the harsh reaction of the West, the election of anti-communist leaders such as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and the first symptoms of weakness of the Soviet Communist system (the rise of Solidarnosc in Poland, boosted by a Polish Pope, unrest in Afghanistan, the reforms in China and the strengthening of its military power, economic stagnation in Ussr), signaled a shift of correlation of forces from East to West. “If we are weak and they’re getting stronger, they will soon attack us”, was the mainstream thinking in the military and political circles. In an orthodox Marxist-Leninist view, the East-West conflict was inevitable, détente was only temporary. The shift of the correlation of forces could signal the approaching of the final conflict. A Western surprise attack became a boogeyman for the KGB and the GRU (the military secret service). In 1981, under Andropov and Breznev’s orders, they launched the combined Operation RYAN, aimed at collecting signals of an impending NATO’s nuclear surprise attack on Soviet Union. The Operation RYAN was not an aseptic collection of proofs, but it was more a self-fulfilling prophecy. The KGB was quite sure about the NATO intention to attack, it didn’t know “when” and “how” it will push the button, but the “if” is not considered. Every “suspect” sign in political, military and economic life in the Western countries was signaled, by the Soviet agents, as a checkmark of an impending attack. In case the RYAN matrix is full of checkmarks, the Soviet Union should have to preempt an imminent Western attack. Both KGB and GRU had to discover the preparations of a Western nuclear attack, six days (at least) before it could be launched. A six-days window of opportunity was considered large enough for a preemptive attack in Europe. When Andropov succeeded Breznev, early in 1982, he boosted the Operation RYAN.
Through 1982 and early 1983, retaliating the Soviet-sponsored military coup in Poland and the war in Afghanistan, Us Navy and Air Force conducted a series of dangerous maneuvers close to Soviet borders. Those “Psyops” (psychological operations) succeeded in scaring Soviet military commands, exposing their liabilities. In July 1982, the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces conducted their largest exercise, the “Seven Hours Nuclear War”, which tested SLBMs, theatre nuclear forces, ICBMs, ABM missiles and all the space systems in a simulated “launch on warning” situation. In Spring 1983, in the European Theatre of Operations, the Warsaw Pact ground forces conducted the “Soyuz 83” maneuver. Viktor Kulikov (Warsaw Pact commander in chief) stated, after the exercise: “The future war will be fought without compromises, until the complete defeat of the enemy, with all necessary means, including the uncontrollable escalation of strategic nuclear forces”.
On March 23rd 1983, Ronald Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, a new plan for a future comprehensive ballistic missile defense of Us and Allies. Few days after, a little nuclear bomb was detonated in Nevada: the Cabra Event was about to test a new promising ABM weapon, a nuclear pumped X-ray laser. The KGB didn’t know how advanced was that program, but it estimated that, if deployed, it could have shot down the 98% of Soviet ICBMs. The Soviet military leadership and the intelligence community were scared: Usa were probably preparing a first strike, they thought, and the SDI would have stopped an eventual Soviet retaliation. The Operation RYAN was boosted again.
And then, a civilian Korean Boeing mistakenly violated the Soviet airspace, over the Kamchatka peninsula…

giobastia
May 17th, 2013, 11:29 PM
When the Soviet SU-15 of major Osipovic shot down the civilian airliner KAL 007, over the Sakhalin Peninsula, nobody really know what is happening. Soviet air defense radars discovered and tracked an “intruder”, maybe an American spy plane. Major Osipovic could see it was a civilian airliner, but he didn’t question his commanders about their orders. The crew of the Korean airliner didn’t know they were flying over one of the Soviet Union most secret locations and didn’t see any warning sign.

When Ronald Reagan publicly condemn the Soviet crime and published all the transcripts of the conversations between Osipovic and his direct superiors (intercepted by Japanese SIGINT), the KGB and the Soviet ruling élite began to think to a Us conspiracy. They thought Reagan was “psychologically preparing the Americans for war”. They thought that even the KAL007 was part of the conspiracy, a blatant provocation, a civilian airplane “deliberately sent” over Soviet air defenses in order to create a scandal. Basically, the KGB was believing in its own propaganda. And added a lot of checkmarks on the RYAN matrix, when the Reagan administration condemned Ussr at the UN General Assembly opted for new unilateral sanctions against Soviet Union.

Even more important, from a military point of view: the Madrid negotiations for INF broke down, paving the way for an early NATO deployment of Gryphons and Pershing2s in Uk, Italy and Germany. The deployment was officially scheduled for the end of November. Gryphons could be launched secretly and could ride undetected over Soviet defenses. Pershing2s were very accurate ballistic missiles and, if launched from Western Germany, could reach Moscow in just 6-8 minutes (KGB’s estimates). Both were the perfect weapons for a decapitating surprise attack on Soviet Union. After the news about their imminent deployment, inside the Soviet military commands began to prevail a basic thinking: if war is inevitable and it could be imminent, it’s better to preempt NATO before the deployment than after. Pershing2, in particular, could further reduce the window of opportunities, not only for a preemptive assault, but even for the basic relocation of Soviet leadership and main commands.

Amid all this tension, on September 26th a Soviet OKO (“eye”) surveillance satellite, mistakenly signaled the launch of five US ICBMs against Soviet Union. Only a coldblooded Soviet officer, colonel Stanislav Petrov, prevent the transmission of a general alarm to the high command. That avoid a very dangerous chain of events, considering that the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces were always on a “launch on warning” posture. This little episode weakened the sense of security of the Soviet General Staff. In case of surprise nuclear strike, Soviet Union could be unprepared.

Another important checkmark in the RYAN matrix was added when the Solidarnosc leader Lech Walesa won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel was announced on October 5th and was “part of the psychological Western campaign aimed at preparing the people for the imminent war”.

Few days later, in Rangoon, the South Korean president was almost killed in a terrorist attack. All the Us and South Korean garrisons were strengthened and security measures tightened. Other checkmarks for the operation RYAN.

On October 15th, the Us president Ronald Reagan, British premier Margaret Thatcher and the German chancellor Helmut Kohl, confirmed to NATO their participation for the incoming command post exercises ABLE ARCHER 83. This was another huge checkmark for RYAN agents: the participation of main Western leaders to a nuclear release exercise could be a cover for a real attack.

On October 22nd, large peace demonstrations took place all over Europe: millions of people marched against the deployment of the new Us missiles. While the KGB political line claimed success, the GRU and the KGB’s RYAN agents hold a slightly different view: if so many Western political leaders endorsed the protests, maybe they “knew” something about an impending attack and were “really scared”. Another checkmark for RYAN.

On October 23rd, the Marine and the French airborne barracks in Beirut, Lebanon (where Western forces are present as peacekeepers), were destroyed by a twin suicide attack. KGB didn’t know the author of the terrorist attack, but RYAN agents signaled only the increasing security measures around the Us basis all over the world. Another checkmark for RYAN.

October 25th, Us forces launched a surprise attack against Grenada’s communist regime. Andropov and Moscow’s ruling élite were scared by the Us deception: until the real attack took place, everything was concealed and Washington had always denied any intention to invade Grenada. Even the allies were not informed and the British government (the communist Grenada was still part of the Commonwealth) protested vigorously with a series of encrypted messages. Soviet intelligence tried to intercept all the messages from London to Washington DC but didn’t succeed to decrypt them. It could be a new code used for secret consultations before a nuclear war. Another checkmark for RYAN.

On October 31st, the Soviet submarine K-135 (a Victor3 class attack submarine) snagged the Us frigate McCloy’s towed sonar array cable, off the Bermuda islands. Damaged by its own action, the K-135 was towed to Cienfuegos, Cuba, for repairs. For RYAN agents, this little incident could mean that Us ASW units had intensified their activities against Soviet attack submarines, in order to protect Us ballistic missiles submarines. Another checkmark for RYAN

November 1st: Soviets proposed a non-aggression pact with China; in Europe, first components of Pershing 2 batteries began to arrive in Germany, while trucks and mobile launchers for Gryphons began to be assembled in Greenham Common, Uk. A Pentagon officer, William Fiorentino, testified before the Us Congress about the ongoing deployment of Pershing 2 and revealed that all the first 13 missiles were already in Germany, stockpiled in Frankfurt. Caspar Weinberger denied the news, but the media, especially in Germany, boosted the declarations; the German magazine Stern, in particular, dedicated large sections to a possible secret advanced deployment of the missiles; the KGB came to the idea that a secret missile deployment plan in Europe (a mirror image of the Soviet Anadyr Plan for Cuban missiles) was already almost completed.

theirishdreamer
May 17th, 2013, 11:32 PM
I remember us discussing this. My only real view is the SU will launch either everything or if restricted to Europe then on both UK and France. The French forces can be knocked out by surprise and the British are vulnerable if Thatchers in Turnstile - if its hit their retaliation is weakened.

giobastia
May 17th, 2013, 11:42 PM
Keep calm... and wait for escalation!

giobastia
May 17th, 2013, 11:52 PM
On November 2nd, the RYAN matrix was almost full when NATO launched its command post exercise, the ABLE ARCHER 83. In the first day of the maneuver, the NATO command and control centers, especially the main command post of Casteau (Belgium), began to simulate the breakdown of negotiation and the preliminary orders for a conventional war in Europe. Both GRU and KGB were put on highest alert.

On November 3rd, NATO command and control centers began to simulate the preliminary phases of a conventional war in Europe, with an hypothetical Soviet invasion of Norway, Germany and the Balkans. They simulated a DEFCON-4 alert for nuclear forces. The nature of the exercise was very realistic. Codes used to encrypt the messages were different from those used for the previous exercises, radio silences were adopted, all the civilian channels of communication were cleared. Those are all symptoms for a surprise nuclear attack, from a KGB and GRU point of view. GRU residents in Europe transmitted the alert to the Soviet high command, which ordered a precautionary partial mobilization of conventional and nuclear forces in Europe and Soviet Union. Sleepy cells of Spetnatz were activated all over Europe by GRU. Many other Spetnatz began to cross the borders of NATO countries disguised as athletes, tourists and students. Arms caches and explosives were planted by GRU agents in secret locations, close to NATO bases.

November 4th: while NATO was continuing its command post exercise at a DEFCON-4 level of alert, the Warsaw Pact forces began their partial mobilization. All the Frontal Aviation units in East Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia were put on heightened alert and armed. The ground forces secretly move to their combat stations. Some of the North Fleet and Baltic Fleet surface unites took the see, while the ballistic missile submarines took their positions in Northern and Eastern “bastions”, protected by ASW surface units. Typhoon class ballistic missile submarines head to the Arctic. In Soviet Union, the Strategic Rocket Forces began to prepare ICBMs for a possible launch; escalation in Lebanon: Amal militias hit the Israeli command center in Tiro and Israel air force retaliated against Islamic positions in the Chouf mountains; Us Sixth Fleet in Eastern Mediterranean was reinforced; KGB was persuaded that the “provocation” in Lebanon and the deployment of other nuclear armed naval units in the Mediterranean were all part of the plot for a surprise nuclear strike

November 5th: NATO command and control centers simulated a Soviet use of chemical weapons and a breakthrough of NATO lines in Europe, then simulated a DEFCON-3 level of alert as a retaliation for nuclear forces. The KGB estimated a 7 to 10 days (which means: from November 12th to November 15th) countdown for nuclear war and diffused this information to all its residents in Europe, asking for confirmations; mobile launchers components began to arrive also in the Sigonella air base, Sicily, Italy. In Moscow, during the first celebration day for Red October; in front of a crowded Plenum, in the Kremlin, Central Committee Secretary Grigorij Romanov declared that Soviet Union “will not stay idle” in front of the deployment of the new missiles in Western Europe; in Lebanon, the Syrian army and fractions of Olp dissidents besieged Arafat main base in Tripoli, Israel menaced to intervene deep in Lebanon and the US fleet closed in; from a Soviet point of view, those events are all parts of NATO’s preparations for a strike from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

November 6th: while NATO was continuing its exercise at a DEFCON-3 level of alert, in Brussels the German spy Reiner Rupp dismissed the KGB’s concern for Western war preparation. He told Moscow that there was no mobilization of NATO’s nuclear forces. Asked again about the participation of Western leaders to the exercise, he confirmed the news. The KGB considered important only this last part of the report: top level politicians participating to an “exercise” means impending nuclear attack disguised as an exercise. The lack of mobilization of nuclear forces means only that they could be mobilized quickly on November 12th (the last day of the exercise) or immediately after. Escalation in the Gulf: heavy barrages of Iraqi Scud missiles against the Iranian cities close to the Shatt al Arab region; US didn’t exclude the option of a naval intervention to protect the oil traffic in the Gulf, in case of further escalations. Moscow reply stating that US “will pay consequences” in case of a naval deployment in the Gulf. China turned-down the Soviet propasals for a non-aggression pact

November 7th: Red October celebrations in Moscow. Andropov was absent, due to his illness, but all the rest of political leadership (mostly unaware of the KGB’s and military alert) participated regularly to the parade. No leaves were conceded to troops at all levels and preliminary mobilization moves continued. Hidden from US satellite’s eyes, the Moscow ABM system was loaded. In the meantime, in the Middle East, both Israel and Syria began a partial mobilization of their forces, while the fratricide struggle between Syrians and OLP continues in Lebanon

November 8th: NATO simulated a DEFCON-2 level of alert when the commanders “in the field” asked for the nuclear release. The KGB Central command sent a urgent message (“molnya”) to all its residencies in NATO countries, asking for confirmations. A request for nuclear release could be followed by real preparations for a nuclear strike. All the residencies in European capitals denied ongoing real war preparations: nuclear systems were not at all deployed. But they confirmed a heightened alert in all US military bases (because of the Beirut bombing). And the participation of all top Western leaders to the exercise was confirmed by local KGB agents: as scheduled, they would be relocated to secret and safe shelters, where they could simulate a complete nuclear release procedure. That part of maneuver would take place early in the next morning, on November 12th. The KGB confirmed all its fears and considered the Operation RYAN accomplished. War is now certain and could start in the next four to six days.

Orville_third
May 18th, 2013, 12:53 AM
And God help the world. I hope young me would survive.

giobastia
May 18th, 2013, 01:26 PM
November 8th, 6PM: KGB’s president Chebrikov and his director of foreign espionage Krjuchkov show all the results of the Operation RYAN to the Secretary General Yuri Andropov, in the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow; the Secretary General is strongly shocked by the news and believes that the moment is come for the last confrontation; he decides to share the alarm with the State Defense Committee (GKO), the élite section of the Politbjuro who could take decisions about starting and managing a war.

November 8th, 8PM: extraordinary meeting of the GKO in the Kremlin. Despite his illness, also Yuri Andropov attends the event; Foreign Minister Andrej Gromyko strongly opposes a preemptive attack against NATO and dismissed a danger of an enemy surprise nuclear strike; NATO countries, he argues, has no intentions to strike first and the evidence provided by KGB and GRU is too weak. But Gromyko is only a minority voice, because all the other GKO’s members, beginning with Andropov, strongly believe in an imminent NATO’s attack. There is no certainty on the date of the enemy’s attack. But Andropov insists that Warsaw Pact forces have to take action immediately, at before the Western leaders could take cover in their shelters. Ustinov opposes a nuclear preemptive attack, stressing the point that the Soviet Union has no first-strike disarming capability and could lose at least 80 million people and the 65% of its industrial capability in case of US retaliation. Ustinov agrees with a conventional military option. A complete surprise could be achieved. NATO needed, at least, four to seven days to complete its preparations for a nuclear first strike (no nuclear weapon system is still deployed, nor cities are evacuated) then it could be prevented with conventional means. NATO conventional forces needed at least 2 days to be put on war footing, while Soviet forces in Europe are already mobilized and ready to attack. A bold advance in Central Europe is possible and could eliminate the main source of danger, disrupt the enemy plans for nuclear war and buy time for Soviet preparations for a possible nuclear escalation. Once the river Rhine is reached (during the sixth or seventh day of operations, according to the military plans) it could be possible to reach a peace agreement from a position of strength. Gromyko opposes the military option at all and insists that all diplomatic emergency channels (including the hot line) have to be used before any irreversible military action. But the majority of the GKO voted against his line. Any communication with the enemy could indeed uncover Soviet war preparations and precipitate a NATO first strike. “The most important and risky decision since the Red Revolution in 1917” is thus taken. Andropov gives Marshall Nikolai Ogarkov (commander in chief of Soviet Armed Forces) the authorization to launch a preemptive attack. All necessary orders are dispatched to the all branches of the armed forces
November 8th, 10 PM: all the residencies in Europe, Usa, Canada and Japan, receive the combat order and KGB agents go into the wilderness; embassies receive the full alert order and begin to destroy all their documents and contact the Soviet citizens abroad, giving them the instructions on how to take cover; Spetnatz units already infiltrated in Europe, Usa and Canada, unearth their prepositioned weapons caches

November 8th, 11 PM: all air assault units are put on war footing, rush on their air strips, waiting to be taken by a large fleet of An-22 Antonov and civil Aeroflot planes; the Northern, Black Sea Marine Brigades and the Pacific Marine Division are put on war footing and embarked in their naval units; submarines receive the order to attack US missile submarines; thanks to the Walker family spy ring (which provided the Soviets all the codes of US Navy’s communications), the Soviet attack submarines receive data on their estimated position, speed and route of the enemy boats.

November 8th, 12 PM: deserters or “suspect” elements in KGB and GRU abroad are secretly killed by death squads of GRU. Only few agents, although, manage to alert Western intelligence services, but all indications of an impending Soviet attack are dismissed as nonrealistic, because, despite some disturbing movements are spotted on the Eastern side of the Iron Courtain, NATO’s intelligence never spotted a huge mobilization, which is seen as a necessary and preliminary preparation for a large war in Europe.

sharlin
May 18th, 2013, 01:36 PM
Lets hope that for the sake of the planet that this is at least a non nuclear war to begin with or it will be over very quickly but will mean the end of civilisation as we know it. In the 80s the Soviets had significantly closed the tech gap between the two sides and this was the closest they would be to being able to fight on an even footing.

Great stuff, love how you're ratcheting up the tension.

giobastia
May 18th, 2013, 03:18 PM
November 9th, 4 AM: a Spetnatz commando kills the German chancellor Helmut Kohl, bombing his car while he was on the way to his nuclear shelter in the Ahr Valley, near Bonn; KGB counter-information agencies send to all the German newspapers a false claim by the Rote Armee Fraktion; the Soviet Northern Fleet leaves the Kola Peninsula and the units already at sea head to Northern Norway
November 9th, 5 AM: a Spetnatz unit sabotages the power plants of London, creating a vast blackout; another Spetnatz commando tries to exploit the confusion created by the blackout, to kill the premier Margaret Thatcher; although, the British MI-5 is already well aware of the danger (in 1981 a GRU defector gave the MI-5 all the plans for an assassination attempt) and alerts all the security forces just in time to prevent a terrorist attack; meanwhile, in Washington DC, the vice-president George W.H. Bush and the Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger helicopters, heading to the Alternate National Military Command Center, in Pennsylvania, are shot down by a Spetnatz commando armed with shoulder anti-aircraft missiles; Spetnatz could not find the Reagan’s helicopter, because the president has already left Washington for his scheduled Asia trip (and the KGB didn’t know that); all NATO forces are alerted; Soviet air assault units take off from their bases; Soviet marine units take the sea in the Kola Peninsula, Kamchatka and Crimean Peninsula; Polish and East German units take the sea in the Baltic; all the Warsaw Pacts units receive the order to move. Spetnatz commando units already infiltrated in Trade Unions, sabotages dozens of electric power plants, disrupting the energy distribution all over Europe; other Spetnatz commandos, already infiltrated in the peace movement, launch a successful surprise attack against the bases of Comiso and Sigonella (in Italy), Greenham Common (in England) and Schwaebishes Gmund (West Germany), where the Gryphon and Pershing2 missiles are supposed to be stocked; other Spetnatz commando units attack various traits of the NATO pipelines in Benelux and Germany. Rep-Osnatz units begin to jam NATO radars and radio transmissions; NATO nuclear forces goes suddenly to DEFCON-2, the US B-52 begin to disperse, along with all the FB-111 in Europe; submarines receive the order to take the sea immediately; nuclear warheads are withdrawn from their fortified igloos and dispersed to war time locations in Germany, closer to their weapon systems; anti-aircraft batteries and interceptor squadrons are put on high alert.

November 9th, 6AM: the Warsaw Pact Frontal Aviation launch a massive air strike against NATO bases and command centers in Northern Italy, Germany, Denmark, Norway Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg. The effects of this first attack is devastating, but also the Soviet and WP losses are huge, mainly due to NATO’s new F-15 and F-16 interceptors already up in the air and the massive launch of Nike Hercules anti-aircraft missiles already alerted

Meanwhile, Sierra and Alpha Soviet attack submarines sink the USS Ohio and four US Lafayette class submarines in North Atlantic. In the Western Pacific, three Soviet Charlie guided missiles submarines sink the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier.

News of a sudden Soviet attack in Europe and about the assassination of the vice-president, the secretary of defense and “other allied leaders” comes as a bombshell to the ears of Ronald Reagan, still on board of his Air Force One, flying over the Pacific Ocean. Once it is sure that no nuclear weapons are employed by the enemy (not yet), Reagan bars the nuclear option and authorizes only conventional retaliations.

November 9th 6:30AM: the Soviet Bear H and Backfire bombers of the Long Range Aviation launch barrages of conventional cruise missiles (both conventional and chemicals with VX agent) against the more remote air and naval bases of Turkey, Southern Italy, Spain, Portugal, UK, Iceland, Greenland and Alaska. When all those missiles impacted on their targets, inflicting huge damages, SACEUR (Supreme Allied Command in Europe) and SACLANT (Supreme Allied Command in the Atlantic) could immediately verify that no nuclear bursts are registered. The UK naval command in Northwood asked the authorization for launch of Polaris missiles against Moscow. Fearing an all-out nuclear war and realizing that no nukes are actually landing on UK, Margaret Thatcher deny the permission.

November 9th 7 AM: the Soviet first air raid in Central Europe is followed by a second wave of bombings against all the targets spared or not enough damaged. In the second wave, SU-24 Fencers drop chemical bombs (VX persistent agents) on all targets. The wave of air strikes is mainly successful, but losses are, again, heavy on the Warsaw Pact side. Having had enough time to disperse its air forces, NATO’s interceptor wings and anti-aircraft batteries inflict huge losses to Soviet bombers and their fighter escorts.

November 9th, 8 AM: the Northern Fleet Marine Brigade and the 76th air assault division, land at Bodo, in Northern Norway, covered by many Northern Fleet ships; the Polish marine and airborne units (the “blue berets” and the “red berets”) land in the Danish islands, covered by the Soviet Baltic Fleet; the Black Fleet Marine Brigade lands in European Turkey, close to Istanbul; in Denmark and Turkey, NATO reactions are weak, because of the previous strikes and the nearly complete surprise of the Soviet assault; only in Northern Norway the Soviets are stopped by the heavily fortified coastal defenses; air assault units are airdropped behind the NATO lines: the 7th air assault division in Denmark, elements of the 106th air assault division on all the strategic bridges on the river Elbe; elements of the 102nd air assault division are airdropped on the Brenner and Tarvisio Passes, between Italy and Austria; in Berlin, the 1st and 2nd DDR armored regiments launch a surprise attack on NATO forces and suppress easily their defenses in Grunewald and Kaiserdamme Brucke.

Greece and France are deliberately excluded by the Soviet attack. French president François Mitterrand, honors the Alliance duties and declare war to Soviet Union and all its Warsaw Pact allies. But in Greece, the prime minister Andreas Papandreou, heavily pressed by the Soviet ambassador Andropov (son of the Secretary General) opts for “armed neutrality” and quits NATO.

To be continued...

Geon
May 18th, 2013, 03:41 PM
Reagan will be implacable after the assassination of the Vice President. I do not see him giving into any Soviet demands and for all intents and purposes the nuclear countdown has started. There is no way Regan will accept anything now but total surrender by the Soviets.

Geon

Prospero
May 18th, 2013, 04:39 PM
I think Reagan would have been willing to use the absolute highest level of conventional force to stop the Soviet invasion, and probably authorised the use of chemical weapons too (as the Sovs had already started using them) but he would not want to risk provoking a nuclear strike against America. He was the US President, his first duty was to his own people. Even if nuclear warfare starts in Europe, Reagan still has every reason to try and keep things from escalating further, provided the Reds don't launch a nuclear attack against US territory. It sounds cold-blooded, but at the end of the day allies are expendable.

If any Western country is going to be the first to use nukes, I think France would be the most likely candidate, as they're most directly threatened by the Soviet Army. The US isn't threatened with invasion at all and Britain has a fair chance of holding out even if the whole of continental Europe is occupied, but France has no natural border. If the Sovs are smart, they'll refrain from using nukes themselves and do everything they possibly can to convince the French that they don't plan on going any further than the Rhine. Of course it's a bit hard to convince someone of your honest intentions when you've just launched a sneak attack.

deathscompanion1
May 18th, 2013, 04:48 PM
Didn't the French have a secret policy of launching successively larger waves of nuclear strikes as the Soviets advanced deeper into Germany?

Dunois
May 18th, 2013, 06:30 PM
Didn't the French have a secret policy of launching successively larger waves of nuclear strikes as the Soviets advanced deeper into Germany?

The French policy was to launch if the Soviets reached the Rhine/French border. If case of purely conventionnal conflict this could however change to a degree

The sabotage of the London power stations won't have a massive effect, since said power stations were small and progressively run down by 1983. The British grid will be able to cope with their loss.
Even then sabotaging a power station without explosives is not as easy as it seems because safety systems are everywhere. Blowing up the generators is the easiest way to go there, it can be done without explosives but if someone plays with the hydrogen in the generators, it will be noticed very quickly.

If the war remains conventionnal, I can see the frontline stabilising in Rhineland and the Rhine/Scheldt estuaries. France will mobilise 2 millions men during the coming weeks and months and a lot of NATO nations will do the same.

If the war goes nuclear and the story starts tipping into Mad Max - Threads - The Day after. Be aware that I will pounce hard and shred anything I find implausible or illogical.

giobastia
May 18th, 2013, 06:31 PM
Yes, for what I know, the French would have launched their Pluton tactical missiles in case of Soviet advance in Germany... after a political and military consultation with Bonn, of course. In case of invasion of France, Paris could release all its Force de Frappe.

giobastia
May 18th, 2013, 06:36 PM
About the sabotage of power plants: the GRU plans of sabotage in London included many options for terrorist actions (from power plants to chem weapons into the Tube), but they were not intended as the main purpose. They are intended as a diversion, to create confusion and distract as many security as possible from the main target: the British premier. Thus, it is not important if London is in the dark or not: it's just chaos creation.

giobastia
May 18th, 2013, 06:46 PM
In the North-Western theatre of operations, the Soviet 76th air assault division is isolated and encircled in Bodo, because the Northern Marine Brigade is stopped and repulsed by the Norwegian coastal defenses. Although, the Soviet paratroopers are able to stop any Norwegian counterattack, especially because of the air and artillery support provided by the Soviet Northern Fleet. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Northern Division is attacked frontally in Kirkenes by the 45th, 69th and 77th Soviet infantry divisions, while other two mechanized divisions, the 64th and 111th begin a wide encircling maneuver Southward, violating the neutrality of Finland. Finnish government, led by Kalevi Sorsa orders his troops not to intervene and let the Soviet pass. In just three days, the two mechanized divisions are able to reach the Norwegian Northern division’s rears in Tromso, while other three mechanized divisions of the Leningrad Military District “peacefully” occupy the Southern Finland. The Norwegians are forced to abandon all the Finnmark and part of the North just to prevent their encirclement. The US NALMEB (Norway Air Land Marine Expeditionary Brigade), the British Parachute Regiment and the ACE Mobile Force, begin their deployment in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim, protected by the British Home Fleet.

In Western theatre of operations, dozens of SCUD and FROG missiles, with chemical warheads (Sarin non-persistent agent) are launched against NATO forward defenses in Germany, then the ground troops advance through secure gaps between static defenses and nuclear mines mapped during the GRU’s “Operation Snowfall”. Spetnatz units are airdropped close to NATO nuclear storages, begin to ambush the convoys carrying nuclear warheads and to capture and deactivate nuclear mined sites.

The Soviet Second Army, advances quickly through the Elbe river (already secured by airborne troops), overcomes the weak defenses of the Dutch Corps (completely taken by surprise) and penetrates in Denmark, while the Soviet Twentieth Army is engaging the German First Corps and the Soviet Third “Shock” Army attacks frontally the positions taken by the British First Corps. Denmark, assaulted by sea, air and land, falls in just three days. Its entire army receives the order to disperse and go into the wilderness, engaging a resistance war along with other NATO’s Stay Behind units. Queen Margrethe II is exited by British Sas and manages to escape by submarine (protected by the British Fleet). She establishes a Denmark government in exile in Washington DC. The Twentieth and the Third Soviet Armies establishes and consolidates a bridgehead on the West bank of river Elbe, overcomes the German First Corps, repulses the British First Corps and occupy the cities of Hamburg and Hannover. But the two invading armies are stopped along the Weser river by a reorganized and reinforced British First Corps (which is joined by fresh troops from UK), by remnants of the German Third Corps and the Belgian First.

In Central Germany, the Soviet Eight Army tries to reach quickly Frankfurt, but it is slowed by numerous German pockets of resistance, static defenses and air raids in choke points. The US Fifth Corps quickly reorganizes itself behind a barrage of conventional and chemical artillery shells. By the end of the first week, the Soviet offensive run out of steam in this sector.

In Southern Germany, the Soviet Fourth Army overcomes the defenses of German Second Corps and forces the US Seventh Corps to retreat. After a first bold advance to Nuremberg and Munich, runs out of fuel and ammos, because of the devastation of its rears and has to halt its advance. The Boehmerwald is an area full of bottlenecks which are promptly blocked by the Allied air strikes.

In the South-Western theatre of operations, the Soviet Ninth Army invades Austria, violating its neutrality. Taken by surprise, Vienna falls immediately (and all the government is taken prisoner), then the little Austrian army is overcome in three days. Meanwhile, along the Alps, the Soviet paratroopers are quickly encircled by the Italian Alpine troops, both in Brenner and in Tarvisio passes. When the main force of the Ninth Army arrives in Tarvisio, in the second day of war and in Brenner Pass, in the third day, the entire Italian Army begin to retreat behind the Piave river, preventing its encirclement. GRU begins an assassination campaign against key Italian politicians in Rome. The premier Bettino Craxi, the Defense Minister Giovanni Spadolini and Francesco Cossiga (the key man for Stay Behind) are killed by GRU agents infiltrated in the security services.

giobastia
May 18th, 2013, 06:52 PM
Over the battlefields of continental Europe, Soviet air force keeps a complete air dominance, due to its strong numerical superiority, for the losses suffered by NATO air forces during the first hours of attack and for the incapacitation of nearly all the air bases by chemical VX persistent agent, which requires days of decontamination operations. Given their superiority, Soviets can conduct continuous air strikes against NATO troops with both SU-25 ground attack aircrafts and MI-24 attack helicopters. Although, air raids against more distant targets, like the NATO air bases in France, UK, Spain, Portugal, Iceland, Greenland and Alaska mostly fails because of strong resistance opposed by NATO interceptors (F-15s and F-16s prove to be very effective) and various lines of anti-aircraft missile batteries (Nike Hercules for high altitude bombers, Rapiers and Hawks for mid and low altitude aircrafts). Nike Hercules, in particular, prove to be also an effective ABM weapon, shooting down many Soviet SCUD and FROG missiles. In battlefields also, mobile batteries of Rapiers and Hawks, as well as shoulder missiles such as Stingers, exact a high price on helicopters and ground attack aircrafts.
On the other side, NATO air forces are able to conduct short range air strikes against Soviet rears, with US A-10 anti-tank aircrafts and British Harriers already dispersed and easily deployable in German highways. Their attacks are really effective in bottlenecks areas such as the Fulda Gap and the Boehmerwald. Any attempted long range air strike against Warsaw Pact bases is interdicted by enemy’s interceptors, mainly MIG-27 Floggers and also the new MIG-29 Fulcrum. Only the stealth F-117s prove effective for long range deep strikes: based in Iceland, since the second day of war, the 4450th Tactical Group conducts several successful night raids against Warsaw Pact bridges on Oder, Neisse, Vistula and Danube rivers, air bases, ammo storages and gas reserves of the Warsaw Pact forces. An airlift for the US Third Corps personnel and light equipment is established since the first day of operations in Europe. Given the dense presence of Soviet interceptors over Central Europe and the chemical contamination of all main bases, the C-130 and G-5 Galaxy cargo planes of NATO have to land only by night on selected and prepared highways, in North German plain, Belgium and the Netherlands.

deathscompanion1
May 18th, 2013, 06:58 PM
NATO is getting hammered, you'd think that they would have contingency plans for a massive surprise attack like this.

marump
May 18th, 2013, 07:56 PM
@giobastia: What time zone are the times given on Nov. 8/9?

Dr. Waterhouse
May 18th, 2013, 08:02 PM
I know nothing about anything having to do with any of this (Reagan was president? Do say!), and so have nothing to add more constructive than that it is very well done.

giobastia
May 18th, 2013, 08:55 PM
@marump: all times GMT

giobastia
May 18th, 2013, 09:14 PM
At sea, NATO naval forces dominate everywhere since the first two days of war. After the sinking of the first three boomers, in the first day of war, NATO navies change all their codes, preventing the Soviet intelligence to know their position.

In the East Mediterranean Sea, the mighty Lebanon naval expedition force (US carriers America, Independence and Kennedy, French carrier Foche, the battleship USS New Jersey and their escorts) launches a massive air and missile strike against the Soviet Black Sea Fleet, disrupting the Soviet amphibious operations in Istanbul. Eventually they give close air support to the Turkish First and Second Armies against the Bulgarian land offensive. By the fourth day of war, the Soviet Black Sea Fleet ceases to be a menace for NATO and both the land and naval attacks on the Turkish Straits are successfully stopped. Then, USS America and USS New Jersey are commanded to rush to the Atlantic theatre of operation, to support operations in the North Atlantic and Norway.

In the Baltic belts, also, the entire UK Home Fleet, supported by the USS Nimitz task force successfully attacks and nearly annihilates the Soviet Baltic Fleet, preventing it to cross the Kattegat after the fall of Denmark.

In North Atlantic, the four Northern Fleet’s Soviet Delta III class submarines (armed with SS-N-8 ballistic missiles), sneak under the ice cap of the Arctic, getting closer to US and Canadian coasts. Only one of them is intercepted and sunk by a US Belknap class destoyer; meanwhile, the most modern US attack submarines (Los Angeles and Sturgeon classes) cross the Greenland-Iceland-UK (GIUK) gap and penetrates the Northern Soviet “Bastion”. Two Charlies, one Oscar class submarine and two Yankee class submarines are sunk by the US boats. Exploiting the confusion created by the US attack submarines, the USS Florida (Ohio class submarine) and six US Franklin class submarines (all of them armed with Trident C-4 ballistic missiles), sneak into the GIUK, getting closer to Soviet waters. Due to the penetration of US submarine forces in their home waters, Soviet attack submarines have to concentrate in defensive missions and only few of them could be effectively employed in the Atlantic against the sea lanes. Thus, with few losses, heavy equipment of the US Third Corps, along with 400 neutron warheads (both artillery shells and Lance warheads) are quickly sent to Belgian and Netherland harbors.

In the Indian Ocean theatre of operations, the Soviet submarines based in Yemen and in Vietnam successfully disrupt Allied and neutral merchant traffic both in the Arabian Sea and off Singapore. The giant oil tankers suffers many losses in the Persian Gulf and in the Java Sea, where the Soviet attack submarines operate almost undisturbed.

In the Pacific theatre of operations, even after the sinking of the USS Kitty Hawk, the US Seventh Fleet successfully intercept and disrupt the Soviet amphibious assault on Hokkaido, in Japan. When the US Third Fleet comes to the rescue, both the Third and Seventh Fleets inflict decisive losses to the Soviet Pacific Fleet in the Sea of Okhotsk. Eventually the Third Fleet launches deep air strikes against Vladivostok, the Soviet Far East and the Kamchatka Peninsula. Exploiting the confusion created by the air attacks of the Third Fleet, the USS Michigan and five Franklin class submarines (all of them armed with Trident C-4 ballistic missiles) sneak in the Sea of Okhotsk, passing silently through the massive Soviet defenses. Meanwhile, from the Soviet side, the ten Pacific Fleet’s Delta III class submarine (all of them armed with SS-N-8 ballistic missiles), try to get closer to US West Coast. Four of them are sunk by Viking ASW aircrafts attached to the US Third Fleet, but the other six can reach their launch positions off the Alaskan coasts.
In US naval bases, large amounts of nuclear gravity bombs, torpedoes and missiles (including the new nuclear Tomahawk and TLAM-N missiles) are loaded on tenders and “lost” in dispersed locations, both in the Atlantic and in the Pacific Oceans, where they could be delivered to the US units at sea.

Athelstane
May 18th, 2013, 09:48 PM
I have a few concerns here, but I've long wanted to see an Able Archer war scenario done here for long enough that...

I'm subscribed.

Otis R. Needleman
May 18th, 2013, 10:00 PM
I'm in. Was a lieutenant on active duty at that time, awaiting the birth of my first child.

deathscompanion1
May 18th, 2013, 10:06 PM
I'm in. Was a lieutenant on active duty at that time, awaiting the birth of my first child.

Which service and where were you stationed? If you don't mind me asking.

Otis R. Needleman
May 18th, 2013, 10:22 PM
Which service and where were you stationed? If you don't mind me asking.

USAF. At the time, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas.

giobastia
May 18th, 2013, 10:55 PM
Maybe you would be sent in Nicaragua or Cuba, in this scenario.

giobastia
May 18th, 2013, 10:58 PM
The conflagration in Europe between the two superpowers produce, as its first collateral effect, the loss of any inhibition and restrain applied to force in any other latent or ongoing local conflict, all over the World. All those local conflicts begin immediately to merge in the wider war.

The first to explode is Central America, the backyard of Usa. Since the first day of war, US Intruders and then B-52 bomb the Soviet naval base of Cienfuegos, in Cuba and all the airports and airstrips in the Caribbean communist island. A naval blockade is established in Cuba. Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, pro-Soviet Sandinista troops launch a massive attack against the anti-communist guerrilla force of Eden Pastora (the “Comandante Zero”) inside the territory of neutral Costa Rica. The offensive widens and become immediately a full-fledge Nicaraguan invasion of the unarmed neighbor. US supports Costa Rica with massive air raids against all military related targets inside Nicaragua. On November 11th, the US 82nd Airborne Division (which is still partly deployed in Grenada) and heli-borne elements of the 1st Marine Division, are airdropped close to Managua, the Nicaraguan capital. In the following four days, the Sandinista army suffers critical losses, taken by surprise and overwhelmed by the US firepower, invaded by North by the FDN guerrilla force and fighting in the South against the Eden Pastora troops. On November 14th, FDN establishes a provisional government in Managua, ending the conventional phase of the war in Nicaragua (although a really protracted guerrilla war is just begun).

The war in Central America has immediate repercussions in South Africa. The Cuban troops deployed in Angola, along with the Angolan Mpla (pro-Soviet) forces, invades Namibia on November 10th, hoping for a massive mobilization of all black African states against the white South Africa and a massive Soviet support. But the Cuban-Angolan offensive is crushed by South African forces, while its rears are disrupted by the UNITA guerrilla units. No Soviet submarine is able to reach South African coasts.

The Middle East, also, explode immediately after the war in Europe. Syria and Israel have already mobilized their forces and begin to fight each others on November 10th. That day, the Syrian First Corps launch a diversionary assault on the Golan Heights, which is repulsed with heavy losses by the Israeli 36th Division. But the main Syrian thrust is in Lebanon, where the Second and Third Syrian Corps divisions try to encircle the main forces of the Israeli Northern Corps. In the North of Lebanon, the Syrians take the OLP controlled Tripoli. Arafat is killed in action by Syrian commandos, along with almost all the members of the OLP. In the South, the Syrian Second Corps and elements of the Third, assaults Beirut clashing with the UN multinational peacekeeping forces and Lebanese regular units. The Beirut garrison, supported by the fire of the USS New Jersey and other US, French and Italian surface vessels, successfully keep the Syrian forces out of West Beirut. On November 11th, the Israeli 162nd Division (dispatched from Israeli Central Corps) invades Lebanon and clashes with the Syrian Second Corps. After a short and violent clash of armored forces, the Israeli Division manage to advance to Beirut and break the siege. By November 14th, all Lebanon is under Israeli control. The USS New Jersey and the USS America could head to the Atlantic, given that their supporting mission in Lebanon is finished. Once Israel has mobilized all its reserves, it invades Syria from Southern Lebanon and the Golan Heights.

In East Turkey, the Soviets keep a defensive posture, because of a mix of difficult terrain, bad season and the lack of first line units in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Although, there are daily exchanges by the artillery batteries of the two sides and many Soviet air strikes against Turkish bases. A Kurdish pro-Soviet rebellion, managed by the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) is savagely suppressed by Turkish Gendarmerie, despite the air support given to the rebels by the Soviets.

In the Gulf, the ongoing Iraq-Iran War slowly escalates day after day. Until the first day of war in Europe, Saddam Hussein asks for Soviet support. Moscow deny direct support, but deploy more air units in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, both for defensive purposes (they fear an attack from Iran) and to support their Iraqi allies. On November 12th, the Soviets conduct a first air strike on Caucasus border, apparently to answer to an Iranian artillery attack. On November 13th, Iranian Pasdaran units infiltrates in Soviet territory, in Turkmenistan and successfully blow up an oil deposits and a Soviet KGB frontier post. Soviets react immediately with deep air strikes against Iranian political and military targets. On November 14th, Soviet Spetnatz units occupy the airport and main command centers of Teheran. Advanced elements of the Soviet Fifth Guard Army land on Iranian Caspian coast, supported by the Soviet Caspian Flotilla (armed with the “Caspian Monsters” Ekranoplans).

China mobilizes all its forces but remains neutral. The nuclear CSS-3 Chinese IRBMs are put on high alert and readied for launch against Soviet targets. On the Soviet side, the Far East Military District and the Central Asia Military District begin the full mobilization of their reserves. The Soviet SS-20 batteries in Mongolia and near Vladivostok are dispersed.

In the Korean Peninsula, the North Korean People’s Army begins its full mobilization immediately after the beginning of hostilities in the Pacific. The sinking of the US carrier Kitty Hawk in the Tsushima Straits, boosts the morale of Pyongyang regime. Also South Korea begin full mobilization of its forces. Units of US 3rd Marine division and of US 25th Infantry division begin to arrive in South Korea, along with reinforcements for the US 2nd Division stationed near Seoul. On November 13th, the fourth day of mobilization, the North Korean People’s Army begin its attack with vast operations of its special forces, across the DMZ border (through underground tunnels) and along the South Korean West Coast (with mini-submarines and small airplanes). Them, the First, Second and Fourth North Korean Corps attack directly Seoul, supported by a heavy artillery barrage directly aimed at the city. Meanwhile, the North Korean Third Corps begin its offensive along the East coast. The attack on the South Korean capital results in a bloody stalemate North of the large city, but the South Korean Third Army and the US 2nd Division don’t lose ground. Along the Korean East coast, the offensive of the North Korean Third Corps is easily stopped by the South Korean First Army. Soviet Far East air forces intervenes in the struggle, supporting North Korean ground operations, but many MIG-23 and almost all the SU-24 bombers are shot down by the more modern US F-16s and Navy F-14s. The US naval aviation and the USAF establishes a full control of the air since the first day of war in this new front of war.

RCAF Brat
May 18th, 2013, 11:06 PM
Call me subscribed. This TL is one of the few that gave me chills, mostly because it's a reminder of my childhood being spent in places that were never more than an hour from being destroyed in nuclear fire, should it have come to that.

OTL must be the one unlikely timeline that didn't blunder (foolishly, stupidly or even innocently) into nuclear war after 1945. Here we see how a chain of unforeseen mistakes leads to a Soviet Barbarossa (I bet that that piece of Western commentary will go down real well with the Soviet leadership...) and most likely a demonstration of MAD.

Orville_third
May 18th, 2013, 11:28 PM
Let's hope the two sides see some sense and stop the war before it goes full bore nuclear.

fscott
May 18th, 2013, 11:37 PM
Call me subscribed. This TL is one of the few that gave me chills, mostly because it's a reminder of my childhood being spent in places that were never more than an hour from being destroyed in nuclear fire, should it have come to that.

OTL must be the one unlikely timeline that didn't blunder (foolishly, stupidly or even innocently) into nuclear war after 1945. Here we see how a chain of unforeseen mistakes leads to a Soviet Barbarossa (I bet that that piece of Western commentary will go down real well with the Soviet leadership...) and most likely a demonstration of MAD.

You got a full hour in the old days we only got 30 minutes!;)

Otis R. Needleman
May 18th, 2013, 11:52 PM
Maybe you would be sent in Nicaragua or Cuba, in this scenario.

Not likely. I had recently returned from Korea and was an instructor. At that time there were very few officer instructors.

An observation, based on two tours in Korea. I don't believe the North Koreans could make it to Seoul, much less besiege it, even in late 1983. We'd had thirty years to prepare for them, and armor heading for Seoul has to travel through specific well-defended "canals". Also, US A-10 aircraft would have had a field day shooting up NK armor. The NK Air Force would have had a short, but exciting life, as their MiG-15/17/19/21s, SU-7s, and IL-28s litter the Korean landscape with aluminum.

RCAF Brat
May 19th, 2013, 12:00 AM
You got a full hour in the old days we only got 30 minutes!;)

IIRC ICBM flight time is somewhere between 30- 45 min. Add in about 10-15 min for the launch orders to go through once a warning is received and we'd have roughly an hour if the Yanks went first. Otherwise it's 30-45 min minus the time required for the warning to arrive.

And where we lived at the time (CFB Cold Lake, AB), assuming that the target was the control tower built into 1 Hangar, the one-story bungalow we called home would be instantly set alight, dosed with >500 rem of hard radiation and then scoured from the face of the earth by the blast wave. We were about a mile or so from the part of the base most likely to be targeted.

Anaxagoras
May 19th, 2013, 12:14 AM
I've often wondered if the Soviets would attempt to attack the Alaska pipeline with Spetnaz units. It would also be something of a propaganda victory to have Soviet troops deployed on American soil.

Karelian
May 19th, 2013, 01:50 AM
The way the Finnish government goes completely belly-up without offering any kind of diplomatic or military resistance is far from plausible in this otherwise well-written TL.

Athelstane
May 19th, 2013, 02:33 AM
Some good stuff in here. A few points:

1. On November 11th, the US 82nd Airborne Division (which is still partly deployed in Grenada) and heli-borne elements of the 1st Marine Division, are airdropped close to Managua, the Nicaraguan capital. I'm not sure how plausible this is. At this point, every man and gun is needed in Europe, and the 82nd and 1st Marine were, after all, among the U.S.'s most mobile and deployable. They weren't tasked for the first wave of deployment in Reforger as of '83; but they would probably follow sooner after.

That's a lot of desperately needed frontline combat strength sent to a very secondary theater. I could see it, perhaps, if the Canal was threatened; but the Sandinistas didn't have the logistical tail to get that far. It seems more likely to me that U.S. involvement for the time being would be limited to tactical air strikes and Special Forces.

To be sure, however, I did get a visceral thrill reading of Ortega getting his tail kicked.

2. I'm glad that you included the F-117's - the first ones had reached operational status in October of 1983. And they'd sure as hell be used - and a rude shock to the Soviets.

3. The Soviet invasion of Austria is a surprise. Not that the Soviets didn't have plans for that; but it's a big blow to them, diplomatically, overrunning a neutral country they have guaranteed by treaty. It seems less likely to me as an opening gambit, especially for what Andropov hopes will be a limited war.

4. Otis says: An observation, based on two tours in Korea. I don't believe the North Koreans could make it to Seoul, much less besiege it, even in late 1983. That is my sense as well: Without major Soviet or Chinese support, a North Korean penetration to Seoul is going to be tough to pull off.

5. Ekranoplans! You get bonus points just for that.

[note: Alas, the "Caspian Sea Monster" (or KM) actually ceased operations in 1980 (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/22/caspian_sea_monster/) after an accident. You will need an earlier P.O.D. to get that one into action here.]

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5f/Lun_Ekranoplan.jpg

Pangur
May 19th, 2013, 02:49 AM
Wonderful stuff. One quibble however which is the attack on the SSBN bastion. I can't see that happening for the simple reason that if US/NATO go after the Soviets nukes like that it is all to likely to result in the USSR letting rip with nukes on the basis of us them or loose them

MUC
May 19th, 2013, 10:51 AM
Two points from my side on this excellent TL:

1. Soviet submarine performance: I would have expected the Soviet SSN-fleet to have been already in the Atlantic, during the buildup to the war. Thus the North Atlantic should have been a far more dangerous area for NATO.

2. NATO SAM-performance: W. Germany featured a very extensive network of SAM sites. You can see all the sites on google earth, positioned along the inner german border for Hawk and Nike missiles. The problem with all those SAMs is that the Soviets will pound these sites preceding their attacks with artillery and ballistic missiles (probably chemical tipped too). I thus expect the efficacy of these SAM sites, whose positions were well known to the Soviets, to be substantially reduced before the first Soviets jets cross the inner german border.

BlondieBC
May 19th, 2013, 03:26 PM
The conflagration in Europe between the two superpowers produce, as its first collateral effect, the loss of any inhibition and restrain applied to force in any other latent or ongoing local conflict, all over the World. All those local conflicts begin immediately to merge in the wider war.



Nice time line. The point of all the regional conflicts flaring sounds right. Someone will try to take advantage of each situation, each has something to win or lose.

giobastia
May 19th, 2013, 03:46 PM
Thank you for all of your precious informations. I can edit my previous posts with your help.

@Otis Needleman: ok, I assumed that NK Army was a bit stronger, but I trust you. So, the US and SK forces could stop the NK three main Corps North of Seoul. But I think that the artillery barrage against Seoul could be devastating in any case (before it's suppressed by US artillery and USAF)

@Karelian: I think that Kalevi Sorsa, with his not at all clear relations with KGB, would have done exactly what Moscow expected from him. You have to consider that, in war planning, STAVKA assumed a neutral and open Finland, easy to cross. By the way, one thing is the government, all another metter is the Finnish army, whose reaction is still to be seen after the first week of war

@Athelstane: I don't think that airdropping the 82nd in Nicaragua could deprive the Central Front from troops for a long time. Just a short and winning campain, already planned, is good for US morale. Then you can deploy it anywhere after the second week of operations. About the Ekranoplanes: noooo! I want them! Let me write this little ASB!

@MUC: I watched them in Google maps and I see that there are also many firing positions behind the Innner German Border. So I think that a lot of them would survive the first strike

Otis R. Needleman
May 19th, 2013, 05:21 PM
Thank you for all of your precious informations. I can edit my previous posts with your help.

@Otis Needleman: ok, I assumed that NK Army was a bit stronger, but I trust you. So, the US and SK forces could stop the NK three main Corps North of Seoul. But I think that the artillery barrage against Seoul could be devastating in any case (before it's suppressed by US artillery and USAF)

@Karelian: I think that Kalevi Sorsa, with his not at all clear relations with KGB, would have done exactly what Moscow expected from him. You have to consider that, in war planning, STAVKA assumed a neutral and open Finland, easy to cross. By the way, one thing is the government, all another metter is the Finnish army, whose reaction is still to be seen after the first week of war

@Athelstane: I don't think that airdropping the 82nd in Nicaragua could deprive the Central Front from troops for a long time. Just a short and winning campain, already planned, is good for US morale. Then you can deploy it anywhere after the second week of operations. About the Ekranoplanes: noooo! I want them! Let me write this little ASB!

@MUC: I watched them in Google maps and I see that there are also many firing positions behind the Innner German Border. So I think that a lot of them would survive the first strike

Yes, there would be some artillery hitting the Seoul area. But thirty years ago Seoul was smaller and the NK artillery not as numerous.

Another observation, too. In 1983 the US Army, and the US military in general, was much larger than it is now. So more troops are available.

giobastia
May 19th, 2013, 05:29 PM
OK, edited, as you can see.

giobastia
May 19th, 2013, 05:47 PM
On all battlefields, while chemical and conventional weapons are extensively delivered, no nuke is used by both side, because they could disrupt ongoing ground operations. On the Soviet side, Spetnatz successfully destroy with conventional high yield explosives the three suspected Cruise and Pershing2 missile sites, many nuclear warhead storages and mobile launcher shelters in Germany and in the Low Lands. Nearly all the 600 NATO’s warheads stored in Germany are lost.

All governments begin massive preparations for an all-out nuclear war.

Margaret Thatcher enacts the “War Book”: United Kingdom becomes a de-facto authoritarian regime, divided in 12 administrative regions each commanded by a minister; all the areas close to the air bases bombed with VX chemical warheads are immediately evacuated and isolated; emergency rescue operations begin with dispersal of all firefighters units, Red Cross and rescue teams. Evacuation measures are taken also for large cities and all the potential targets of a nuclear attack. New Nike Hercules anti-aircraft batteries, sent by US, are deployed in large numbers around cities and along the East coast. All the Nike Hercules batteries in strategic locations (plausible targets for Soviet missiles) are loaded with powerful 30 kt warheads.

Ronald Reagan rules a superpower without any organized civil defense plans, few air defenses and no ABM defense. Although he orders the execution of the Crisis Relocation Plan studied in 1980 (and never tested), for the evacuation of large cities, relying mainly in the disciplined attitude of its people and on private resources. He also orders the deployment of all “tested and untested” ABM systems. Stored Spartan and Sprint missiles are immediately dispersed in secret locations. A dozen of MSR missile guidance radars, already built (but never assembled) during the Safeguard Program of the early 70s, begin to be assembled and deployed close to large and strategically important cities: Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Jose. Given that it is impossible to dig for new hardened silos for the Sprint missiles on short notice (and it could be too visible for Soviet’s eyes), a new project is approved: modify older and unused Honest John’s launcher vehicles, in order to transform them in mobile launchers for Sprints, which have, basically, the same proportions. In the meantime, the old 142 batteries of nuclear-tipped Nike Hercules (deactivated in the 70s) begin emergency works of reactivation. In order to protect the ICBM silos and the underground command and control centers, the engineers prepares a “dust defense” (the most simple and brute ABM defense), burying a certain number of B-53 (Y2 “clean” version) 9Mt nuclear bombs, surrounding them with borated water in their burial shaft, in order to further reduce their radioactivity. They have to be exploded to stop the incoming nuclear warheads, with their large mushroom clouds. After intense consultations with the Joint Chief of Staff and an ad hoc committee of nuclear physicists, Ronald Reagan authorizes a new program proposed by the physicist Edward Teller: use the state-of-the-art know-how derived from the Project Excalibur to deploy a new space nuclear mine, based on the Spartan’s W-71 warheads (X-ray enhanced). Those warheads are absolutely ineffective if used on Spartans, against clouds of MIRVed warheads and decoys, but could be better used against densely packed missiles, in their boost phase (before the release of MIRVs). Then: they have to be deployed in Low Earth Orbit. Aerospace and nuclear facilities begin immediately to build the new mines, using the 60 W-71 already stored.

In Moscow, Yuri Andropov orders the immediate evacuation of all large cities and the quick relocation of all the strategic industrial assets in underground facilities. Works for new ABM batteries, along with their radar systems (already built), begin immediately around Leningrad, Minsk, Kiev, Almaty and Vladivostok in order to cover all of the strategic areas of the Soviet Union. The production lines for the Galosh ABM missiles are reactivated and boosted, in order to produce 500 of them per month. The new Gazelle missiles are already built and tested, but they are not battle ready; given the emergency situation, the STAVKA approves their deployment in new silos, in any case. Live test, with nuclear warheads, will be conducted as soon as possible in the Baikonur site. In the meantime, the PVO (air defense) allocated all its 130 sites armed with SA-5 “improved” anti-aircraft missiles to the ABM mission. The missile launchers are linked to ABM radars. In a desperate situation they could be used as a last ditch terminal defense. Old systems are deployed again: the IS interceptor satellites are positioned on their launch pads in Baikonur site, as well as 18 SS-9 missiles armed with FOBS (Fractional Orbital Bombardment System) are deployed and readied for launch.

In Moscow, the GKO considers that a nuclear escalation is imminent. The “six days to survive” are ended and NATO gives no signs of surrender. Given the previous estimates of the KGB for a US nuclear attack countdown (forecasted for November 15th November, at last), given the extensive preparation for an all-out nuclear war detected in the United States by the satellite reconnaissance, on November 14th, the KGB concludes that a nuclear escalation could start at any given time from now on. Soviet leaders decide not to launch, but they are getting nervous.

giobastia
May 19th, 2013, 05:50 PM
Soviet intelligence don’t detect any sign of imminent release of NATO’s nuclear weapons, then the conventional and chemical ground offensive continues.

In North-Western Theatre of Operations, the Soviet paratrooper’s pocket in Bodo is finally suppressed by the Norwegian Trondheim Division, supported by the UK Parachute Regiment and the ACE Mobile Force of NATO. The last resistance of the Soviet 76th air assault division is suppressed on November 17th. Then, the Norwegian Trondheim Division and the Allies move North to break the Soviet sieges of Narvik (defended by elements of the Norwegian Northern Division) and Tromso (defended by the bulk of the Northern Division).

In Western Theatre of Operations, the Soviet Second Army push through the positions held by the Netherland First Corps and the German First Corps and occupy Bremen and Bremenhaven by the end of the week, thus sustaining huge losses in manpower and materiel. The advance of the Soviet Twentieth Army is even slower, because of the fierce resistance opposed by the British Army of the Rhine (Baor), whose forces are filled by a continuous flow of fresh units from the UK. The Soviet Third Army is hardly stopped by the First Belgian Corps (supplied and supported by the Baor) and by the German Third. The Soviet Eight Army push again on Frankfurt, but is stopped in the Fulda Gap with heavy losses by a reorganized US Fifth Corps, which manage to launch little flanking counterattacks with its battalions equipped with the new M1 Abrams tanks. In Southern Germany, the surrender of Austria, allow the Soviet Fourth and Thirteenth Armies (the latter coming from the Carpatian Military District, through Austria) to launch a converging offensive against the Second German Corps, which is trapped in the “Munich pocket”. The best the German can do is abandon the city and retreat. The First French Army, coming from the Rhine, is deployed in a second defensive line Southward, stretching from Freiburg to Augusta.

In South-Western Theatre of Operations, the surrender of Austria allow also the Soviet Ninth Army to try a vast encircling maneuver in the South, invading the neutral Switzerland. Spetnatz troops already deployed in that country before the war, attacks air bases and try to ambush the convoys of troops directed to the main fortresses of St. Gotthard and Sargans. But the Swiss Army is already mobilized and nearly all the Spetnatz attacks are stopped or prevented. When the Soviet Ninth Army, coming from Austria, try to attack the fortress of Sargans, the Swiss mountain units stop it with heavy losses. In Italy the situation is getting worse for NATO. With its government almost decapitated by the GRU’s terrorist campaign, huge losses suffered by the army along the Piave line and civil unrest spreading all over the country (a resurgence of red terror, massive anti-war demonstrations and a permanent general strike proclaimed by all the trade unions), a new “National Emergency” government is formed, including the Communist Party. The foreign minister Giulio Andreotti begin separate negotiations with the Soviet emissaries and on November 21st Italy exits the war and leaves NATO. The First Hungarian Army is allowed to occupy all the Northern Italy, until the river Po. All the rest of the country is proclaimed “neutral zone”. But the war is not at all finished for that country. The army units deployed in the Appennini (central Italy mountains) disperse and go into the wilderness, all the Stay Behind units and cadres (under direct command of NATO) are mobilized. On the very day of the armistice, the regular army quickly occupy both Sicily and Sardinia, with all their strategic air and naval bases, transforming them in a de-facto separate State. Abroad, the Italian Navy disobey and continue to fight with the other Allied fleets in the Mediterranean Sea. And also the Italian Alpine troops already deployed in Norway (in the ACE Mobile Force) continue to fight along with the Allies.

By the end of the week, Marshall Kulikov, commander in chief of WP forces, envisages the possibility to achieve a final breakthrough of NATO lines. The two weeks offensive have revealed two weak points in the enemy lines: the North (held by the First Netherland Corps and the First German Corps, both weakened after the loss of Bremen) and the South, where the Second German Corps is nearly destroyed, two main enemies (Austria and Italy) surrendered and a third (Switzerland) could be easily bypassed. Thus, Kulikov decided to deploy the newly come reserves in those two sectors: the Eleventh and Fourteenth Armies have to be deployed in North German Plain and achieve a breakthrough. The First Unified Corps, coming from Belarus, has to be ready to exploit the breakthrough. In South Germany, the already deployed Thirteenth Army have to exploit the fall of Munich pressing through that gap immediately. The Second Unified Corps, coming from Ukraine, has to be ready to exploit the successes of the Thirteenth Army. The maneuver has to be done as fast as possible, because new NATO units are coming but are not yet ready. In the North German Plain, the US Third Corps is not yet deployed and the Second French Army is advancing but still in reserve. In the South, the Second French Army is still digging its defenses under a rain of aerial bombings.

To be continued...

Otis R. Needleman
May 19th, 2013, 08:36 PM
Some really good stuff here.

A few observations.

1. Don't believe Spetsnaz will be anywhere near as successful against the cruise missile sites as you have indicated. If these facilities were well-guarded before, they will be much more heavily guarded now. Suggest cutting the Allied losses at least in half, maybe two-thirds.

2. At this time a big part of the Allied strategy against a Soviet/WP invasion in Europe was to hit the follow-on forces. Soviet/WP strategy in the attack was to use formations for five or six days, until they were exhausted, then have new formations pass through and continue. If the follow-on forces are disrupted the attack is in trouble. Haven't seen any mention of Allied disruption of follow-on forces.

3. I don't see factories on either side ramping up and delivering meaningful amounts of equipment quickly. In this war, you fight with what you have now, what was pre-positioned, and what you can get out of storage to the field immediately.

4. Don't believe there would be any long-range testing out of Baikonur. Too easy to interpret as an ICBM launch. It's hair-trigger time now.

MUC
May 19th, 2013, 10:22 PM
At this time a big part of the Allied strategy against a Soviet/WP invasion in Europe was to hit the follow-on forces. Soviet/WP strategy in the attack was to use formations for five or six days, until they were exhausted, then have new formations pass through and continue. If the follow-on forces are disrupted the attack is in trouble. Haven't seen any mention of Allied disruption of follow-on forces.
The way I see it, NATO doesn't have assets to do that. All airports in W.Germany are wrecked and NATO has its hands full trying to stop the already advancing Soviet armies. With Greece and Italy out of the picture, NATO bases there are useless in interdicting WP troop reinforcements. In Norway NATO forces are busy fighting the Soviet invasion.
The only asset NATO has for a job like that, would be night attacks by F111s from the UK (or Iceland with tanker support) going in deep and hitting troops concentrations, choke points, etc in WP countries, the rest of NATO airpower simply doesn't have the range to hit troops columns in eastern Poland, Romania or the Ukraine. Heavy bombers are too precious for tasks like this and B52s would be chopped to pieces. B1s were nuclear armed in 1983.

don't see factories on either side ramping up and delivering meaningful amounts of equipment quickly. In this war, you fight with what you have now, what was pre-positioned, and what you can get out of storage to the field immediately.
The Soviets planned the attack, so they may have made preparations.

Don't believe there would be any long-range testing out of Baikonur. Too easy to interpret as an ICBM launch. It's hair-trigger time now.
I disagree. Baikonur will be active, launching military satellites. The Soviets need those to track NATO naval activity and gather intelligence.
Perhaps the author would give us insight on some armed Soyz mission going after NATO satellites?

Otis R. Needleman
May 19th, 2013, 11:07 PM
The way I see it, NATO doesn't have assets to do that. All airports in W.Germany are wrecked and NATO has its hands full trying to stop the already advancing Soviet armies. With Greece and Italy out of the picture, NATO bases there are useless in interdicting WP troop reinforcements. In Norway NATO forces are busy fighting the Soviet invasion.
The only asset NATO has for a job like that, would be night attacks by F111s from the UK (or Iceland with tanker support) going in deep and hitting troops concentrations, choke points, etc in WP countries, the rest of NATO airpower simply doesn't have the range to hit troops columns in eastern Poland, Romania or the Ukraine. Heavy bombers are too precious for tasks like this and B52s would be chopped to pieces. B1s were nuclear armed in 1983.


The Soviets planned the attack, so they may have made preparations.


I disagree. Baikonur will be active, launching military satellites. The Soviets need those to track NATO naval activity and gather intelligence.
Perhaps the author would give us insight on some armed Soyz mission going after NATO satellites?

B-52s could do the job. SAC had been trained to operate against the WP integrated air defense system (IADS), which has taken plenty of hits of its' own in this conflict. B-52s could fly from the UK, Spain, possibly the Azores, Portugal or France. Allied electronic warfare was ahead of the WP and the lead got bigger every year.

giobastia
May 20th, 2013, 01:05 AM
"Don't believe Spetsnaz will be anywhere near as successful against the cruise missile sites as you have indicated. If these facilities were well-guarded before, they will be much more heavily guarded now. Suggest cutting the Allied losses at least in half, maybe two-thirds".

In my timeline they destroy the cruise missiles sites on the very first dawn of the war, when NATO is not yet on high alert. Spetnatz regularly infiltrated peace movements such as "Cruise Watch" and "Pershing Watch", very close to their targets. And (in real OTL) they were discovered only few years after, in UK: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2194&dat=19860121&id=S68yAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oe8FAAAAIBAJ&pg=4631,44032

DrakonFin
May 20th, 2013, 08:57 AM
@Karelian: I think that Kalevi Sorsa, with his not at all clear relations with KGB, would have done exactly what Moscow expected from him. You have to consider that, in war planning, STAVKA assumed a neutral and open Finland, easy to cross. By the way, one thing is the government, all another metter is the Finnish army, whose reaction is still to be seen after the first week of war.

I have to agree with Karelian there, kudos to you for writing an excellent timeline, but there is little reason to expect Finland would go down putting up absolutely no fight. What STAVKA expects is not necessarily what will happen.

Say what you may about Sorsa, there is still a line between cozying up to members of the Soviet diplomatic corps and intelligence (you could never be sure which they actually were) to gain some leverage in Finnish domestic politics - everyone and their dog was doing it in Cold War era Finland - and rolling over immediately when the defence and actual independence of the homeland is at stake. Besides, at the time immediately after the Kekkonen era Finland was still a highly presidential system and Mauno Koivisto would be the man constitutionally in charge of the questions of foreign politics and defence, together with the cabinet of course.

I believe that in the event the Finns might bend to many concessions, but the line would be drawn to allowing Soviet ground units into southern and central Finland without a direct invitation from the Finnish government. I think that Koivisto would order the Defence Forces to counter a move like that even if Lapland would be abandoned without a fight. Sitting on his hands while the Soviets roll in to take over the national capital would not be in character for the old fighter. In any case, it is highly likely the Defence Forces would be at least partially mobilized as per FCMA treaty provisions, so militarily such a defensive move would also be possible. It is another thing entirely how effective a defence the Finns could put up, though.

MUC
May 20th, 2013, 09:53 AM
B-52s could do the job. SAC had been trained to operate against the WP integrated air defense system (IADS), which has taken plenty of hits of its' own in this conflict. B-52s could fly from the UK, Spain, possibly the Azores, Portugal or France. Allied electronic warfare was ahead of the WP and the lead got bigger every year.

B52s wont survive over E.Europe with all WP radars and air defences still functional. It's just too dense. B52s were limited to deep penetrations over less densely defended airspace (Siberia) or standoff attacks by 1983. the problem is, that ALCMs were only nuclear tipped in 1983. After nuclear release however B52s could fly over the wrecked air defenses. We are just not that far yet. Electronic warfare is good but wont help you, when you are flying that deep alone.
Remember the B52 raid on Keflavik in Red Storm Rising? :)

Allowing a B52 to reach Kiev over Europe is like saying the Soviets can carpet bomb London.

MUC
May 20th, 2013, 09:55 AM
The Siviets had a huge bio weapon during the Cold War. I would have expected them to try something. Perhaps a cruise missile attack against the US with bio weapons?

Jotun
May 20th, 2013, 10:41 AM
"Don't believe Spetsnaz will be anywhere near as successful against the cruise missile sites as you have indicated. If these facilities were well-guarded before, they will be much more heavily guarded now. Suggest cutting the Allied losses at least in half, maybe two-thirds".

In my timeline they destroy the cruise missiles sites on the very first dawn of the war, when NATO is not yet on high alert. Spetnatz regularly infiltrated peace movements such as "Cruise Watch" and "Pershing Watch", very close to their targets. And (in real OTL) they were discovered only few years after, in UK: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2194&dat=19860121&id=S68yAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oe8FAAAAIBAJ&pg=4631,44032

For all their capabilities, Spetsnaz are no supermen (even if they can throw knives while backflipping over burning obstacles :rolleyes:) You don't think that NATO troops (German and US) are alert and waiting for exactly an attack like this? Sorry. This is too far out. You fell into the common trap of underestimating NATO and overstimating the Warsaw Pact. Military historians generally agree that a successful invasion of Western Europe was implausible after roughly 1983. The USA and W.GErmany had the M1 Abrams and Leo 2 in service and the gap in electronics between NATO and WP grew exponentially each year. For this precise reason (SIGINT and ELINT chiefly among it), a surprise invasion was nearly impossible by 1983. The SIGINT guys in the West German navy were so good they could tell the Morse code operatiors in Soviet Naval Aviation Backfires from each other by the idiosyncracies of their morse technique. A general attack across all fronst wothout some electronic burbs is patently impossible.

Finland ALWAYS planned for a Soviet invasion and would not have stood idly by. Sweden had similar plans to secure their northern borders.
The West German navy is a total non-entity here. No sinkings of Baltic Fleet units? No minings of WP harbours by the 206A boats? Those little brown boats were the very best in conventional submatines at that time. No attacks by the extremely capable Danish, Norwegian and West German missile attack craft?

This story has too many holes for my taste. The biggest one is both sides going after the nuclear forces of their opponent. This above all else would trigger a nuclear exchange. Think about it. The boomers were the most important ways of sneak nuclear attacks and a massive second-strike asset. Going after this would tell the other side you were planning a nuclear strike and act accordingly. Blowing up nuclear stockpiles on NATO soil with tacnukes? When the wind blows, here we come...

Karelian
May 20th, 2013, 11:07 AM
I believe that in the event the Finns might bend to many concessions, but the line would be drawn to allowing Soviet ground units into southern and central Finland without a direct invitation from the Finnish government. I think that Koivisto would order the Defence Forces to counter a move like that even if Lapland would be abandoned without a fight. Sitting on his hands while the Soviets roll in to take over the national capital would not be in character for the old fighter. In any case, it is highly likely the Defence Forces would be at least partially mobilized as per FCMA treaty provisions, so militarily such a defensive move would also be possible. It is another thing entirely how effective a defence the Finns could put up, though.

The Cold War-era FDF always responded to rising international tensions by calling up as many reservists as possible in the southeastern military districts for additional exercises in OTL. And like he said: areas south from Oulu and West from Vaalimaa are not going to be a free pass for the Soviets. I'd also like to see your sources on the statement that Stavka assumed a neutral or open Finland, easy to cross.

If you're referring to the so-called Finnish corridor in Lappland this statement is somewhat valid, but southern Finland is whole another matter. Any 1980s PM who would attempt anything like Sorsa in TTL would find himself sacked by the President well in advance.

giobastia
May 20th, 2013, 11:23 AM
Until now (the second week of war), I was speaking only about a limited corridor in Lapland, not even Rovaniemi or larger cities are occupied. The Central and Southern Finland are another matter. To intervene against Soviet Union militarily if they invade a little and mostly inhabited strip of Finland could be a very hard choice, especially if you fear an imminent nuclear escalation of the ongoing conflict. Then I decided to keep Finland neutral, at least in this first phase of the conflict. Be sure that all Finnish troops are mobilized and secret negotiations are progressing on both sides.

giobastia
May 20th, 2013, 11:27 AM
"The Siviets had a huge bio weapon during the Cold War. I would have expected them to try something. Perhaps a cruise missile attack against the US with bio weapons?"

Bio Preparat program was on its early stages in 1983 and Soviet immunization campaign questionable. I think they would not use them in Europe, because Soviet population could be contaminated. A good bio scenario could be set in late 80s, even early 90s.

giobastia
May 20th, 2013, 11:39 AM
@Jotun:

"You don't think that NATO troops (German and US) are alert and waiting for exactly an attack like this?"
No, they weren't. Former defense secretary Bob Gates (who was vice-director of CIA at the time) called the Able Archer83 Crisis as one of the hugest mistake in US intelligence. If Soviets would have attacked for real, they could have achieved a complete surprise.

"Military historians generally agree that a successful invasion of Western Europe was implausible after roughly 1983".
Successful? Who suggests you that the Soviets will win in my timeline? This war is just begun. And all military historians I read spoke about the 1987 as the changing year in Europe, not 1983. In 1983 the new generation of NATO weapons and tacticts is just at the beginning.

"No sinkings of Baltic Fleet units?" I remind you that all the Soviet Baltic Fleet is nearly destroyed since the first week of the war, in the Danish Belts.

giobastia
May 20th, 2013, 11:46 AM
Behind the advancing Soviet armies, the Warsaw Pact divisions are used as occupation forces for captured territories. The Polish Fourth Army is deployed in Denmark after the fall of the country and the Polish First Army occupies the area of Kiel Canal. Given the vicinity of the British Home Fleet area of operations, the Polish units are daily subjected to heavy bombings from the sea and from the air and suffers huge losses. Danish population is relatively quiet under occupation, but its armed forces continue to conduct small sabotage operations (and they provide a useful guide for NATO air strikes) under the Stay Behind command. In North German Plain, the Fifth and Third DDR Armies occupy all the area and the city of Hannover. Following a pre-planned course of action, the Stasi units physically eliminates all “political and class enemies” and establishes new administrations in the cities formed by loyal communist elements and leftist politicians of the Social Democrat Party. While the Second Polish Army and the First Czechoslovak Army have very few things to occupy (their sector of the frontline is still close to the German border), the First Hungarian Army occupy almost all Austria. There, political commissars and the most politicized officers, encourage the Hungarian nationalism against the “old Austrian aristocracy” (which no longer exists, indeed) and the occupation results in many acts of expropriations, vandalism and brute violence. After the armistice with Italy, the First Hungarian Army receive the order to occupy the Northern Italy with all of its forces. The First Czechoslovak Army provide its forces for the occupation of Austria.
In all the occupied parts of West Germany and in bordering regions of East Germany, NATO special forces (British SBS and SAS and US Green Berets) begin a large campaign of sabotage. Their main targets are the mobile ramps of nuclear tactical weapons. SCUD and FROG mobile launchers are regularly ambushed and destroyed in large numbers. Smaller teams, illuminates the mobile launchers with lasers, to allow surgical air strikes.
In Western Europe, the main, very huge, problem is the flood of refugees from the occupied territories. Nearly all highways and main roads are flooded with large columns of cars and all kind of vehicles, escaping from Hannover, Hamburg and then Bremen, along with all the other occupied smaller cities and towns. Soviet troops encourages the massive flee of people, because they could damage only NATO operations with their East-to-West movement. Indeed, all the NATO counterattacks in the North German Plain are stopped because of the massive presence of German civilians in distress, in the main advance axis, in front of the firing positions and all around numerous air strike targets.
Spetnatz raids against the West continue, but they decelerate because the surprise effect is vanished after the first days of conflict.
Both sides diffuse massive political propaganda through all possible channels. The message is basically one: nuclear war is imminent, if you don’t surrender, you’ll pay consequences. Pirate radios managed by the Soviet underground broadcast station based in Latvia, diffuse scaring messages and news of imminent (or even already started) nuclear exchanges in all languages of NATO countries. They invite the Western public opinion to revolt against “irresponsible political élites” who “want to sacrifice the people in a Nuclear Holocaust”. On the other side, Radio Free Europe intensify its transmissions in all the Warsaw Pact Languages, informing their peoples that they “are marching ground for the invading Soviet Army” and they would inevitably pay the worst price if the war will go nuclear. All the most respected Eastern European dissidents are mobilized for this information campaign.

Franks
May 20th, 2013, 11:47 AM
The WP successes in Southern Germany strike me as odd, considering the geography is extremely suited for defensive operations. Lots of rivers, forests mountain ranges, built-up areas. For example the WP planned to advance along the river Main, the area is so full of valleys, villages every couple kilometers and dense forests. Light infantry units out of Hammelburg or e.g. Aschaffenburg could have easily delayed the WP advance.

For some reason the large pool of reservists (all those field replacement companies and battalions assigned to battalions, regiments, brigades and division would provide a steady stream of manpower) and the Territorial Army of the Bundeswehr (light infantry for guarding the rear area against Soviet Airborne/Special Purpose Forces operations and the mechanized/armored Home Defence Brigades for supporting the Field Army) are completely absent from the action and it seems the German Army is suffering from severe attrition.

Also, you dismiss the Austrian military too easily. While their standing army might have been only a division and mobilizing mechanized reserve forces would have taken some time as in any other European country, their light infantry reserve forces would have been able to delay WP advances, possibly giving the Italian Army enough time to bring in reinforcements.

And finally, while the westernmost WP units were able to deploy from their barracks within hours, the gargantuan logistical effort of an offensive would have been noticed quite early on.

Allen81
May 20th, 2013, 02:37 PM
It's interesting, but it seems a bit far-fetched.
Too many conveniently successful high-profile assassinations, too much unexplained difficulties by NATO to contain and/or counterattack soviet armed forces. Too many sabotage attempts that cripple key structures in Europe...it's a fairly irrealistic streak of good luck. And by "fairly irrealistic" I mean "bordering on the impossible". A few of the things you described? Good. Some of them? Eyebrow-raising, but cool. All of them combined? Too much, I'm sorry.

Something in particular that confused me: the bit about Austria being overrun in a short time sounds quite implausible. Italy' separate armistice seems also...quite odd. In a few days a neutral country has been invaded, its government captured. Shortly after one of the most strategically important european states, Italy, sign a separated peace after a few days (not years or even months, days) of hostility...and even if Italy wasn't losing badly it agree on a complete occupation of its most rich and industrialized area, northern Italy. Switzerland is under attack and when it falls Germany and France are going to suffer badly.

The sudden, irrealistic capitulation of Austria and the equally implausible italian armistice puts NATO in a very tight corner. After so many political assassinations and the use of chemical warheads, losing Italy would probably force the US and NATO to escalate the war. Tactical nuclear strikes would be considered, and considered the situation you described on the German and the Northern Front, approved.

giobastia
May 20th, 2013, 02:56 PM
@Franks and Allen81

"The WP successes in Southern Germany strike me as odd, considering the geography is extremely suited for defensive operations. Lots of rivers, forests mountain ranges, built-up areas".
Only if you are ready to defend them. If you are taken by surprise it's a bit different. Here the surprise is double: a first Soviet surprise attack with both conventional and chemical weapons and a surprise invasion of Austria, which could expose suddenly the Southern flank of the Second German Corps. Adding the Soviet air dominance in this first phase of war, a NATO retreat is not surprising at all. I'm even optimistic.

"For some reason the large pool of reservists (all those field replacement companies and battalions assigned to battalions, regiments, brigades and division would provide a steady stream of manpower) and the Territorial Army of the Bundeswehr (light infantry for guarding the rear area against Soviet Airborne/Special Purpose Forces operations and the mechanized/armored Home Defence Brigades for supporting the Field Army) are completely absent from the action and it seems the German Army is suffering from severe attrition"
You could mobilize all of them in one week at least, not immediately after a Soviet surprise attack. "Also, you dismiss the Austrian military too easily". After a surprise attack, of course.

"And finally, while the westernmost WP units were able to deploy from their barracks within hours, the gargantuan logistical effort of an offensive would have been noticed quite early on".
Yes, in two to three weeks you'll see the difference

"Italy' separate armistice seems also...quite odd".
Maybe we're very pessimistic, but here in Italy the most diffused opinion, at the time, was: "just try to resist three days, then disperse and fight a guerrilla war with Stay Behind units"

Otis R. Needleman
May 20th, 2013, 03:24 PM
B52s wont survive over E.Europe with all WP radars and air defences still functional. It's just too dense. B52s were limited to deep penetrations over less densely defended airspace (Siberia) or standoff attacks by 1983. the problem is, that ALCMs were only nuclear tipped in 1983. After nuclear release however B52s could fly over the wrecked air defenses. We are just not that far yet. Electronic warfare is good but wont help you, when you are flying that deep alone.
Remember the B52 raid on Keflavik in Red Storm Rising? :)

Allowing a B52 to reach Kiev over Europe is like saying the Soviets can carpet bomb London.

Here's the thing...in this scenario the WP IADS has taken hits. Gaps are there. B-52s can hit staging areas in EG, Poland, and CZ. Can't say much more but was a USAF intelligence officer on active duty in 1983.

Asnys
May 20th, 2013, 03:32 PM
Here's the thing...in this scenario the WP IADS has taken hits. Gaps are there. B-52s can hit staging areas in EG, Poland, and CZ. Can't say much more but was a USAF intelligence officer on active duty in 1983.

Wouldn't they want to hold the B-52s for potential strategic nuclear duties?

And giobastia, glad to see it's up; I'm looking forward to reading the rest. :)

giobastia
May 20th, 2013, 05:33 PM
Thank you Asnys!
As for the B52s, you can try to use them, of course, but it's much useful to deploy them in Europe after you have achieved air dominance.

About the situation up in the air, the following post is the last update (second week of war)

giobastia
May 20th, 2013, 05:35 PM
Also in this second week of campaign in Europe, the Soviet Frontal Aviation and the Warsaw Pact national air forces keep a limited air dominance over Central Europe, but they suffer much more losses because of many factors.

First of all, the anti-aircraft assets of NATO are getting better with new mobile weapons: other Hawks and Rapier mobile batteries from USA and UK and the first new Patriot missile batteries from USA. They prove very effective against all kinds of aircrafts at all altitudes.

Second: not only air tactical units continue to arrive from USA, but all the carriers are basically free from naval engagements, once the Soviet Black Sea Fleet and the Baltic Fleet are no more a threat. USS Kennedy and Independence (along with the French carrier Foch) in the Mediterranean Sea; USS Nimitz and America (along with the French carrier Clemanceau) in North Atlantic, can launch a lot of interdiction/bombardment sorties all over Western Europe. Their F-14s engage dog fights with their MIG-27s and MIG-29s counterparts, while the Intruders (and the French Super Etendards) launch a series of low altitude strikes against Warsaw Pact targets, hitting hard bridges, railway nodes and main highways.

Last but not least: after an initial campaign against Soviet and WP logistical assets, the F-117s concentrate on the decapitation of command and control assets of WP air forces and air defenses. On November 17th, also the main command and control center of Soviet Frontal Aviation in Zossen Wunsdorf (DDR) is incapacitated, if not completely destroyed. Between November 18th and November 21st, Soviet and WP air forces registers increasing lack of coordination.

By the end of the week, the WP and Soviet Union air forces can keep an almost complete dominance on their own air space, thus interdicting nearly all NATO deep incursions (with the only significant exception of the F-117s which can easily penetrate the WP defenses), but their air dominance over Northern Norway and Western Germany begin to be crippled. The SU-25s ground attack raids begin to cost them huge losses and the MI-24 attack helicopters are shot down in large numbers. On the other side, the A-10s incursions against the prolonged logistical lines in West Germany become more and more frequent, inflicting heavy losses to the second-echelon Soviet and WP columns.

Over the peripheral theatres of operations, the situation is getting even better for NATO forces. French air space, defended also by the new Mirage 2000s (versions A and C) becomes very dangerous for long range Soviet incursions. The Soviets continue to bomb regularly the bridges on the Rhine and French road and railways nodes in Alsace and Lorraine, but they have to pay a harsh price. All the deep incursions against the French air bases are stopped without any significant result. Moroever, through French and Belgian protected harbors, USA and UK continue to send ammos, equipment and personnel to the first line in Germany.
The RAF and USAF interceptors, validly supported by the carriers in North Atlantic, can intercept almost all the Soviet long range air raids against Britain. Thus, after the first shocks and bombardments, the British Isles become again the safe “unsinkable carrier” of pre-war situation, the main base (along with Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Sardinia and Sicily) of all medium and long range NATO incursions.

After the naval and air raids against the Soviet Far East bases, especially after the beginning of operations in Korea, Alaska becomes another “quiet” place.

In Northern Norway, the Soviets could keep a better control thanks to their numerous (and still untouched) air bases in the Kola Peninsula. But they are more and more contrasted by the US and British naval air forces based on the USS Eisenhower and the three British light carriers.

Questerr
May 20th, 2013, 06:09 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't NATO still have chemical weapons in 1983? Why aren't they launching retaliatory chemical strikes against WP forces?

Otis R. Needleman
May 20th, 2013, 06:18 PM
Wouldn't they want to hold the B-52s for potential strategic nuclear duties?

And giobastia, glad to see it's up; I'm looking forward to reading the rest. :)


A certain number would be held back for those duties. The rest would be used for conventional bombing.

MUC
May 20th, 2013, 07:52 PM
Two potential developments in the Med:

1. What will Yugoslavia do?

2. Can NATO carriers force their way into the Black Sea?

giobastia
May 20th, 2013, 08:51 PM
@Questerr "Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't NATO still have chemical weapons in 1983? Why aren't they launching retaliatory chemical strikes against WP forces?"

Oh yes, they are using them, since the first day of conflict. I wrote it.

giobastia
May 20th, 2013, 08:56 PM
@MUC

Yugoslavia is entering the conflict. Just wait and see...

Us carriers in Black Sea are not a good idea, I think. First of all because they are desperately needed in the Mediterranean, to support ground operations in Europe. Second because of... certain nuclear retaliation by Ussr. A carrier too close to Soviet coasts is a certain nuclear trigger. (While the destruction of some boomer at sea or some launcher on the battlefield are NOT).

Questerr
May 20th, 2013, 09:08 PM
@Questerr "Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't NATO still have chemical weapons in 1983? Why aren't they launching retaliatory chemical strikes against WP forces?"

Oh yes, they are using them, since the first day of conflict. I wrote it.

I must have missed it. What are NATO using their chemical weapons on?

giobastia
May 20th, 2013, 09:13 PM
Troops concentrations and missile mobile launchers, mainly. Non persistent agents, only

Questerr
May 20th, 2013, 10:13 PM
Troops concentrations and missile mobile launchers, mainly. Non persistent agents, only

Why aren't they hitting WP airfields with persistent agents like the WP are doing to NATO airfields?

arrowiv
May 20th, 2013, 11:28 PM
What's going on in Stalinist Albania in all of this?

bsmart
May 21st, 2013, 02:35 AM
B-52s could do the job. SAC had been trained to operate against the WP integrated air defense system (IADS), which has taken plenty of hits of its' own in this conflict. B-52s could fly from the UK, Spain, possibly the Azores, Portugal or France. Allied electronic warfare was ahead of the WP and the lead got bigger every year.

B-52s were NOT going to flying from the UK. They would not be risked at bases with long wide runways that were within range of IRBMs. If the B-52Ds from the Vietnam era were still in the inventory ( I think they had been retired by then) they may have been used for conventional attacks but the newer BUFFS would have been dedicated to nuclear strikes from their bases in CONUS.

One thing I haven't seen much comment on is the shortage of munitions that NATO suffered in the early to mid 80s. The shortage would become grave in a couple days. AIm-9s (especially the latest versions) would have been used up as well as AIM-7s and probably most of the AIM-54s. 20mm ammo would be running low. I can't say for sure if the A-10s would be running low of 30mm ammo or Mavericks but Since I worked on an F-15 fightline from 1976-1982 (When I crosstrained off) I know about the Air to air munitions. Spare parts for the F-15s and F-16s would be very short ( The Carter years were a nightmare for the supply system and the shortages were not made up until 85 or later)

Hacketts book The Third World War - August 1985

is a pretty good description of the European portion of the war although many of us felt it was actually 'generous' and could almost be considered a NATOwank

Orville_third
May 21st, 2013, 03:55 AM
In regards to the Black sea, Turkey signed a treaty that prohibits carriers from transiting the Black Sea. A US or French carrier going through would be majorly upsetting and risking a NATO split, while a Soviet carrier would risk sinking in the Bosporus.
HOWEVER, the treaty might not apply to the Soviet Kiev class (A "Tactical Aviation Carrying Cruiser")*, some of the UK Harrier Carriers (AKA "Through-Deck Cruisers") and the US's Amphibious Assault ships.
Imagine a battle between Harriers and Forgers.

*Then again, it would take several miracles for a Kiev to make it through the Bosporus against Turkish opposition.

Asnys
May 21st, 2013, 04:06 AM
In regards to the Black sea, Turkey signed a treaty that prohibits carriers from transiting the Black Sea. A US or French carrier going through would be majorly upsetting and risking a NATO split, while a Soviet carrier would risk sinking in the Bosporus.
HOWEVER, the treaty might not apply to the Soviet Kiev class (A "Tactical Aviation Carrying Cruiser")*, some of the UK Harrier Carriers (AKA "Through-Deck Cruisers") and the US's Amphibious Assault ships.
Imagine a battle between Harriers and Forgers.

*Then again, it would take several miracles for a Kiev to make it through the Bosporus against Turkish opposition.

It's the middle of WW3 and Turkey is part of NATO. I don't think the letter of the treaty will have much impact.

Alex1guy
May 21st, 2013, 04:23 AM
It's the middle of WW3 and Turkey is part of NATO. I don't think the letter of the treaty will have much impact.

Yeah I have a feeling that with the Turks fighting for their lives, such a treaty would become staggeringly irrelevant if putting a US Carrier though would help the war effort. Although the possibility of such actions escalating the conflict would be the overriding concern.

Fun timeline though, conventional WWIII is interesting.

MUC
May 21st, 2013, 06:07 AM
Is the Soviets are stuck in W. Germany, they may decide to play their "political card": Raze a medium sized German city with bombs, missiles & artillery and see if the W. Germans decide to surrender. They have already lost half of their country anyway.
Making the Soviets get stuck in W. Germany simply raises the odds of limited nuclear weapons deployment in the tactical level at first, which means W. Germany is turned into the moon surface.

Better Red than dead.


"Red Army" demonstrated such a scenario.

EternalCynic
May 21st, 2013, 06:25 AM
What's Iran doing? Is the CIA funnelling massive amounts of heavy artillery against Saddam and the Soviets in Afghanistan?

Is war between US-backed Pakistan and Soviet-backed India imminent?

And what's going on in Southeast Asia? I imagine a US blockade of Vietnam and a joint Chinese/Thai strike into Vietnam.

Dan
May 21st, 2013, 06:48 AM
What's Iran doing? Is the CIA funnelling massive amounts of heavy artillery against Saddam and the Soviets in Afghanistan?

Is war between US-backed Pakistan and Soviet-backed India imminent?

And what's going on in Southeast Asia? I imagine a US blockade of Vietnam and a joint Chinese/Thai strike into Vietnam.

This is what I didn't get. The western world, (US, UK and France in particular), sold a lot of hardware to the Iraqis during the Iran/Iraq war, (enemy of my enemy etc), if this is still going on then I can see the the Soviets supplying Iran simply to deny the US a hegemony in the Gulf after the war - win or lose.

Allen81
May 21st, 2013, 11:55 AM
I still fear that this timeline is striding too far in the implausible territory.
I understand what's the objective of the author - creating a situation where a Soviet invasion is a REAL threat for Europe and NATO...but the way the OP is doing that is way over the top.

Shortly before the start of hostilities we have several high-profile assassinations (including the US vice-president on american soil, using military hardware) and a lot of successful sabotage missions against important targets. I seriously doubt that the soviet secret services were so well connected/infiltrated/skilled to pull all those things combined completely out of the blue.

On top of that, we have several gas bombings used as AoD weapons...ok, it's a sound and viable strategy on paper. But it's not going to happen so early...especially during a preemptive first strike. The soviet leadership would never use such weapons in the first days of the conflit - they're already attacking Europe unprovoked, and they want to steer away from a nuclear exchange. Escalating the conflict is not a good way to achieve that.

And, after that...basically NATO lost almost all its southern region: Greece was builled into neutrality, Turkey is under siege, Austria is overrun in a few days...and Italy surrender inexplicably after a couple of days of fight - allowing occupation of its most rich and industrialized regions. Soviet units push and gain footholds in Switzerland...and all this happens after a few days. From a purely strategic point of view, this is enough to scare NATO in doing something very despicable. Like greenlighting the use of tactical nuclear strikes. And considering that the difference from "tactical" and "strategical" nuking is (from the point of view of the nuked nation) neglegible, that means that this timeline after all should end with M.A.D.



It's a good idea, but "realistic" is not exactly the word I'd use to describe it.

Dayton Kitchens
May 21st, 2013, 02:41 PM
Any idea of the global death toll already in this two week old conflict?

jimmygreen2002
May 21st, 2013, 02:49 PM
In regards to the Black sea, Turkey signed a treaty that prohibits carriers from transiting the Black Sea. A US or French carrier going through would be majorly upsetting and risking a NATO split, while a Soviet carrier would risk sinking in the Bosporus.
HOWEVER, the treaty might not apply to the Soviet Kiev class (A "Tactical Aviation Carrying Cruiser")*, some of the UK Harrier Carriers (AKA "Through-Deck Cruisers") and the US's Amphibious Assault ships.
Imagine a battle between Harriers and Forgers.

*Then again, it would take several miracles for a Kiev to make it through the Bosporus against Turkish opposition.

The treaty covers peacetime, not wartime. Moreover, access is always up to the discression of Turkey. With Turkey being invaded from the Soviet Caucasus, they'd (rightly) do whatever was in their national interest.

Byzer Bob
May 21st, 2013, 03:13 PM
I am not a fan of Mrs. T. but I will absolutely defend her from your position of the UK becoming a de-facto military state, what would happen would be a goverment of national unity Con/Lab/Lib/SDP.

I am also uneasy with the ease that Soviet covert missions have succeeded (bearing in mind the poor state of RYAN data and analysis), how amazingly well the NATO air forces were neutured and the use of chemical warefare with no nuclear response (when I say uneasy and being British I mean it's getting unbelievable :) )

deathscompanion1
May 21st, 2013, 03:18 PM
I am not a fan of Mrs. T. but I will absolutely defend her from your position of the UK becoming a de-facto military state, what would happen would be a goverment of national unity Con/Lab/Lib/SDP.

I am also uneasy with the ease that Soviet covert missions have succeeded (bearing in mind the poor state of RYAN data and analysis), how amazingly well the NATO air forces were neutured and the use of chemical warefare with no nuclear response (when I say uneasy and being British I mean it's getting unbelievable :) )


Pretty sure that the OTL plans for nuclear war involved turning Britain into a nation under martial law for the duration of the crisis.

Uli_Stoiber
May 21st, 2013, 03:44 PM
Any idea of the global death toll already in this two week old conflict?

Tens of thousands soldiers. Hundreds of thousands civilians (since chemical warfare would take a great toll on unprotected people with persistent agents, maybe even more than battlefield nukes. And persistent agents would be needed to contaminate gear and to slow down REFORGER, which has obviously happened here).

In this scenario retaliation and a quick end would be demanded by non american Nato countries. And that demand is growing.

Athelstane
May 21st, 2013, 04:15 PM
I am also uneasy with the ease that Soviet covert missions have succeeded (bearing in mind the poor state of RYAN data and analysis), how amazingly well the NATO air forces were neutured and the use of chemical warefare with no nuclear response (when I say uneasy and being British I mean it's getting unbelievable :) )

I tend to agree.

And the poor state of Soviet intelligence during RYAN is a good point in outlining how hard it would have been to pull off some of these assassinations - especially the one shooting down the Vice President's plane.

von kressenstein
May 21st, 2013, 05:16 PM
Pretty sure that the OTL plans for nuclear war involved turning Britain into a nation under martial law for the duration of the crisis.
going to be a long crises

Dayton Kitchens
May 21st, 2013, 06:23 PM
I too disagree about Italy. IIRC, despite their near legendary reputation for military incompetence, in the 1980s (not sure at what point) the Italian military became generally recognized as a formiable force.

I also find it difficult to see the Soviets going into Austria and Switzerland. Not even the Nazis decided to bother Switzerland. I doubt the Soviets are that interested in bogging down any more by adding obvious neutrals to their lists of enemies.

Colin
May 21st, 2013, 07:23 PM
Guys the op is trying to do a huge job here, keeping track of multiple fronts, if he is bogged down in making each area fully plausible the whole TL will bog down and ground to a halt, (a bit like the Soviet thrust). I am enjoying this TL, its a lot more plausible than say the WWIII in 1946 (sorry Hairog) and I for one want to see where its taken to, it seems to me its sensible to note where things are stretching the TL credibility, but allow for inventiveness. we should always remember that real life stuff can be absolutely far fetched, I mean who in 1941 would have imagined Pearl Harbour! So give giobastia a bit of a break here and allow the TL to develop. Its hard writing one and I am impressed with the amount that he has put out over the last few days, keep the story rolling.

Questerr
May 21st, 2013, 07:34 PM
I too disagree about Italy. IIRC, despite their near legendary reputation for military incompetence, in the 1980s (not sure at what point) the Italian military became generally recognized as a formiable force.

I also find it difficult to see the Soviets going into Austria and Switzerland. Not even the Nazis decided to bother Switzerland. I doubt the Soviets are that interested in bogging down any more by adding obvious neutrals to their lists of enemies.

The Italian military hasn't quit from what I've gotten from this timeline. The civilian leadership did after a campaign of assassinations. The military is still fighting further down on the peninsula and elsewhere with NATO.

jimmygreen2002
May 21st, 2013, 07:42 PM
Guys the op is trying to do a huge job here, keeping track of multiple fronts, if he is bogged down in making each area fully plausible the whole TL will bog down and ground to a halt, (a bit like the Soviet thrust). I am enjoying this TL, its a lot more plausible than say the WWIII in 1946 (sorry Hairog) and I for one want to see where its taken to, it seems to me its sensible to note where things are stretching the TL credibility, but allow for inventiveness. we should always remember that real life stuff can be absolutely far fetched, I mean who in 1941 would have imagined Pearl Harbour! So give giobastia a bit of a break here and allow the TL to develop. Its hard writing one and I am impressed with the amount that he has put out over the last few days, keep the story rolling.
I couldn't agree more: well put.
Writing a timeline of a WW3 is a damn brave thing to do with naysayers left, right and centre.

Snufkin
May 21st, 2013, 07:57 PM
How this war is explained to the Soviet (and WP) citizens? Unprovoked first strike is not a good way to rally your people behind the war.

Good TL anyway, I'm subscribing.

Dayton Kitchens
May 21st, 2013, 10:05 PM
Another thing is that if the Soviets goal is a nonnuclear war then a program of assassinations makes no sense for two huge reasons:

1) Successful assassinations will leave lesser leaders of unknown qualities in charge of nuclear arsenals. Especially in the United States.

2) If you want a limited conventional war, you need nations with stable govt. to negotiate a peace with.

The Soviets would gain little and could potentially lose a lot from the program of assassinations.

Asnys
May 21st, 2013, 10:08 PM
Another thing is that if the Soviets goal is a nonnuclear war then a program of assassinations makes no sense for two huge reasons:

1) Successful assassinations will leave lesser leaders of unknown qualities in charge of nuclear arsenals. Especially in the United States.

2) If you want a limited conventional war, you need nations with stable govt. to negotiate a peace with.

The Soviets would gain little and could potentially lose a lot from the program of assassinations.

Except the Soviets believe that the people they're assassinating were already planning to nuke them.

Questerr
May 22nd, 2013, 12:27 AM
Another thing is that if the Soviets goal is a nonnuclear war then a program of assassinations makes no sense for two huge reasons:

1) Successful assassinations will leave lesser leaders of unknown qualities in charge of nuclear arsenals. Especially in the United States.

2) If you want a limited conventional war, you need nations with stable govt. to negotiate a peace with.

The Soviets would gain little and could potentially lose a lot from the program of assassinations.

The Soviets entered this war thinking those leaders were about to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on them. I doubt they would want leaders they consider unstable and willing to use nukes in power.

I think the assassinations make sense with that in mind.

giobastia
May 22nd, 2013, 12:35 AM
Thank you Asnys for the explanation. The Soviets thought precisely in those terms: assassinating the most "aggressive imperialist" leader could help in avoiding a first strike. I wish to remember that this is a preventive war, more than a preemptive strike. A preventive war launched six days before a forecasted (but not real) NATO nuclear strike. This is why nuclear release is not yet ordered.
I think that many answers to all those questions are already written in previous posts. As for exemple those about Iran: it's invaded by the Soviet Army. Don't use chemical weapons in a first strike. Let me see: they are precisely a first strike weapon, whose effects could be stronger against an unprepared army.
Italy surrender: it's a political surrender, the army is still fighting. Call it the Italian way of "defense in depth".
All the political assassination are inplausible? Only two of them got their targets (Bush and Kohl), all the others fail. Too many infrastructure hit by Spetnatz: a dozen of power plants are "too many"? Come on...
About NATO losing too much grond: this is the very first time I see so many NATO-optimists. Usually, in the analysis wrote in the 80s and in exercises I read something like: "In six or seven days we are pushed back on the Rhine, then we nuke them and the war finishes in a mess". Only in late 80s I could find something more optimistic, but a Rand Corp's political and military wargame on a protracted conventional conflict, executed in 1989, forecasted a Soviet conventional victory in three months instead of few days.

giobastia
May 22nd, 2013, 01:12 AM
Of all the local conflicts erupted in the immediate aftermath of the clash in Europe, two of them, in particular, begin to escalate and merge in the wider World War. While the war in Central America is easily won by Usa (with the invasion of Nicaragua and the blockade of Cuba) and the war in South West Africa is easily won by South Africa (with the destruction of Cuban/Mpla forces in Namibia), the two conflicts in the Middle East and in the Gulf begin to escalate and drug in both superpowers.
The first evolution is the sudden fall of Syria, attacked by Israel and Turkey on two fronts. When the situation in the European Turkey is fixed and the Caucasus front begin to appear a protracted stalemate (without any possible Soviet offensive in the immediate future, due to snowfalls and the lack of Category A Soviet units) Turkish Third Army launch a limited offensive against the Syrian Third Corps. Air domination is already assured by the NATO aviation in Incirlik base and by the entire Israeli aviation. Overcoming easily the Syrian Third Corps (which is still engaged in Lebanon by the Israelis) the Turkish army can advance quickly to Aleppo and take the city. In the meantime, a two-pronged Israeli offensive on Damascus (from Lebanon and from Golan) leads to the capture of the capital city in just one week. Hafez al Assad asks for Soviet help, but Moscow can send him only an air assault division, the 104th (from Azerbaijan) and the Independent 345th Regiment (from Georgia), through a long air-bridge passing over the occupied regions of Iran and Iraq. When they are dispatched and deployed in Syria, Damascus is already fallen and they have to be stationed in Deir Ezzor, in the far East of the country. Thus Hafez al Assad has the only option to escape from Damascus and repair in the Eastern deserts of the country, along with the remnants of its Republican Guard and the newly come Soviet airborne troops. The only Soviet ally who intervene in this theatre of operations is Saddam Hussein, who promptly send two of his better trained Republican Guard divisions (the Tawakalna and the Hammurabi) in Deir Ezzor, in Eastern Syria, joining the new group of forces. But they are immediately hit hard by the Israeli and Turkish air forces which destroy the Euphrates river bridges.

In the Gulf, the local war begin to escalate. After the first Soviet intervention against Teheran, all the Fifth Guard Army (from Turkmenistan) and the Fortieth Army (from Afghanistan) invade Iran. In just one week they could overcome the resistance opposed by the Iranian Islamic army (which is mostly concentrated in the West, against Iraq) and reach the Zagros Mountains. The Soviet Fortieth Army, from Afghanistan, begin the crossing of the Lut Desert heading to Bandar Abbas, on the Gulf coast. This bold advance prompts a direct US intervention to protect the Gulf oil fields. The USS Forrestal, in the Indian Ocean, is selected for the task. Also the USS Enterprise will be dispatched to the Arabian Sea from the Pacific. The Central Command’s Rapid Deployment Force is mobilized and, after few days of difficult negotiations with Saudi Arabia, an airlift is established. After violent debates, despite the need of troops in Europe, the US Centcom obtains four divisions: the 1st Marine Division, the 101st Air Assault Division, the 82nd Airborne Division (still partly engaged in Central America) and 24th Mechanized Division, will form the bulk of the RDF. This will be a “thin red line” in the desert, but it’s increasing. The US forecasts a three weeks airlift, at least, to complete their deployment. But the Gulf oil has to be defended at all costs.

bsmart
May 22nd, 2013, 01:23 AM
Another thing is that if the Soviets goal is a nonnuclear war then a program of assassinations makes no sense for two huge reasons:

1) Successful assassinations will leave lesser leaders of unknown qualities in charge of nuclear arsenals. Especially in the United States.

2) If you want a limited conventional war, you need nations with stable govt. to negotiate a peace with.

The Soviets would gain little and could potentially lose a lot from the program of assassinations.

We used to joke that the best thing the Soviets could do would be to target the Headquarters. Then the operational units could just do what knew needed to be done without the confusion and mismanagement that HQ seemed to inflict on us. There is a reason that the Pentagon is known as Puzzle Palace. :D

Dr. Waterhouse
May 22nd, 2013, 04:54 AM
This is really interesting. I wonder at what point the U.S. intervention in Iran leads to actual diplomatic overtures between the two countries. We can take for granted of course there are factions in the Reagan administration who would support this strategy.

Also, and my interest here is very much tilted toward U.S. political ramifications of all this, I wonder who Reagan appoints to be his new Vice-President. Following an actual Soviet invasion of Europe the hawks in the administration have to be riding extremely high. I could see Reagan appointing Jeanne Kirkpatrick if her thin resume wouldn't make her too risky.

Alternate candidates: Senate Finance Committee Chairman, former Republican vice-presidential nominee and presidential candidate Robert Dole would combine steely "greatest generation" life history, ample Washington experience, and a reputation for moderation. Senate Majority Leader and former presidential candidate Howard Baker is an uncontroversial, genial, unifying figure who might be a calming presence in tough times, but he is pretty much indispensable to Reagan in the U.S. Senate. Georgia Senator Sam Nunn would be a fascinating choice from left field if the administration, responding to the nation's worst crisis since the Civil War, essentially tried a grand coalition domestic strategy. However Reagan would be under intense pressure from the right to not do this, and instead opt for a conservative with a strong record on military issues: the prime beneficiary of this would probably be Senator John Warner of Virginia.

The possibilities for Secretary of Defense would ironically include a lot of names who have subsequently become familiar, like Congressman and former White House Chief of Staff Richard Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, but ironically in these circumstances their associations with Gerald Ford might hurt them and open the way for a figure with a less ambivalent relationship to movement conservatism in the 1980s, like say Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina.

Dr. Waterhouse
May 22nd, 2013, 05:16 AM
And--oh my God! The race for the 1984 Democratic nomination is in full swing when this happens! (Won't someone think of the consequences of all this to the Iowa Caucuses?)

With George Bush and Casper Weinberger dead, images of Europe in flames on TV every night and high casualty rates on the war's main front, it's safe to say that the liberal wing of the Democrats is simply hung out to dry (thanks for playing--please take these lovely parting gifts...). Positions that would have been safe, or even necessary to be viable for the Democratic Party's 1984 nomination, like support for a nuclear freeze, would now be unacceptable. The only way I could imagine it is to extrapolate the sudden oxygen deprivation of the foreign policy left wing in the United States that occurred immediately after 9/11 by ten times. Surely if the war goes on long enough you would see the emergence of some kind of anti-war political movement that liberals might benefit from, but that would likely be at best three years down the line, and even then the development of such would not be guaranteed. Few things are as galvanizing to American public opinion as massive surprise attacks by foreign powers. Whatever ambiguity the NATO military exercises introduced into the moral calculus of the blame for the situation would quite simply be expunged from the media narrative.

Basically, Hart, Mondale, Jackson, and Cranston are all toast. Also, no candidates would jump into the race after the start of the war because Reagan's position would become almost unassailable as a war-time president. The nomination would probably go to John Glenn, whose World War II experience and role as a patriotic symbol in the New Frontier Era would take on unexpected significance.

That Reagan would be challenged for the Republican nomination from the right, especially if there is any type of negotiated peace short of a full victory before the New Hampshire primary in February 1984, is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Of course if things continue as they are, I might want to consult the wit and wisdom of one Mr. Gus Hall.

Apollo 20
May 22nd, 2013, 08:24 AM
...Basically, Hart, Mondale, Jackson, and Cranston are all toast. Also, no candidates would jump into the race after the start of the war because Reagan's position would become almost unassailable as a war-time president. The nomination would probably go to John Glenn, whose World War II experience and role as a patriotic symbol in the New Frontier Era would take on unexpected significance...

Agree with everyone but Hart, who was an expert on defense policy and arms control. But, I generally agree that the situation would hand an advantage to Glenn, who had impeccable credentials in the form of actual military service.

I'm also not quite sure this makes Reagan's position unassailable as a war president. Quite a few people back then took seriously the image of Reagan as a "mad bomber". This might reinforce this image.

Dan
May 22nd, 2013, 01:46 PM
Looks like Iran would become a 3 way dog fight.
Iran will not ally with the US, (The Great Satan), against the USSR, (The Little Satan), the USSR won't ally with the US, (obviously). If the US supports Royalist forces against both the Soviets and the Islamic Army, (potentially with Iraqi backing), then it could get very interesting, especially after the war.

If Iran and the USSR had continued just OTL status at the outbreak of WWIII then it would be harder for the US, A)the Iranians would ally with the Little Satan against the Great Satan and it's puppet Iraq, at which point the US could influence Iraq not to intervene in Syria and would councel Isreal not to attack Syria, (for the good it would do). Iran/Iraq remains a bloody chemical soaked stalemate, Isreal & Turkey/Syria would result is an emasculated Syria in major civil unrest.

giobastia
May 22nd, 2013, 04:06 PM
Iran (and the Middle East in general) are already a three-way dogfight, because Soviets and Iraqis are allied against Iran and Israel, Khomeini's Islamic Army couldn't fight along with both the Great and Little Satan (i.e. USA and Israel) and the Reagan administration, while supporting Israel, couldn't stand a military alliance with Iran just two and half years after the hostages crisis. The Iran-Contra affair is one little secret thing, but a military alliance is all another matter. Just wait and see for further evolutions. But now I will border science fiction with the situation in space...

giobastia
May 22nd, 2013, 04:11 PM
On the second week of war, the Soviets open the new front: the war in space. After accurate and extensive preparations, they launch two IS anti-satellite satellites. They reaches their low earth orbit on November 18th and begin to track two communication satellites of NATO. The first one is missed, but the second is hit by the cloud of pellets diffused by the IS. This is the first (unmanned victim) of the new war. On November 20th, the Soviets launch other three IS (already scheduled) and destroy one meteo and two photo-reconnaissance US satellites. Given the extension of those attacks, Ronald Reagan thinks that a full scale offensive in space is begun. He turned down proposals to retaliate with nuclear strikes. Members of JCS view the space attacks as a prelude of a nuclear strike and called for preemption (by the way: they are intended by the Soviets as one of the most efficient methods to disrupt the enemy's nuclear plans) and bars the use of nukes in space to destroy Soviet satellites: a nuclear explosion in space could trigger a general nuclear war. Although, he authorizes the use of the new non-nuclear Homing Overlay Experiment (whose launch was already scheduled for the first week of December, from Johnston Island, Pacific Ocean) to shot down a Soviet satellite. The Homing Overlay is only a tester, designed to intercept ICBM’s warheads. Thus, a Soviet “Kosmos” satellite is an easier target, being larger and hotter than a warhead. Preparations for launch (a Minuteman I has to be used to put the kill vehicle in orbit) begin immediately and the operation is set for November 22nd.
The use of Soviet kinetic weapons in space prompts also another political retaliation: the Outer Space Treaty is scrapped and Reagan signs an executive order to deploy weapons in space as soon as possible, both nuclear and conventional. Aerospace and nuclear industries are already at work to produce as many modified W-71 warheads (to be used as orbital “mines”) as possible, since the third day of the war. Reagan orders to deploy the first 15 of them in Low Earth Orbit with the next Space Shuttle mission, already scheduled for November 29th.

Questerr
May 22nd, 2013, 04:42 PM
Don't forget about these fun toys:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASM-135_ASAT

bsmart
May 22nd, 2013, 05:06 PM
Don't forget about these fun toys:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASM-135_ASAT

I will only say that Wikipedia is wrong about the dates. 1 TFW had done practice alerts and simulated intercepts (launching the aircraft and making the special maneuver) many times during 1982. I believe in a situation such as proposed they would have begun targeting satellites as soon as the first NATO one was taken out. First priority probably would have been any new launches that fit the profile of the ones that took out the NATO satellites followed by a comparable number of Soviet Comm or recon satellites

Reichsfuhrer54
May 22nd, 2013, 06:30 PM
This is one of the best non-nuke from the get go timelines I have seen on this board that relates to the Able Archer Crisis of 1983. I've got several ideas for a similar one but set during the Vietnam War. Keep it up!

Dr. Waterhouse
May 22nd, 2013, 08:30 PM
I just realized something incredibly depressing about this timeline: very likely by now Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Andrei Sakharov and Vaclav Havel are all dead, killed by their respective governments to prevent them from becoming a locus for popular discontent.

I am also curious as to where at this point the pope is. We know he was an assassination target even outside the events of the timeline. And we know because of who this particular pope happens to be, he is a figure of huge symbolic importance to the Allies. Obviously, Rome is too risky, especially with all the assassinations going on. So where does he jet off to? Spain, within NATO but far more secure from actual military attack than Italy? Ireland, still in Europe but neutral? Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, or Buenos Aires, where he is safely removed from the theater of conflict completely and within a nonaligned power? What happens to the international legal status of the new papal seat? Does it become a second Avignon?

And there are similar questions with respect to the British royal family. If the timeline's account details a massive surprise assassination campaign, the Windsors would not be immune from that. They could have all survived, there could be some minor casualties, or if giobastia prefers we could now be dealing with all sorts of succession scenarios. When I first read the V for Vendetta comic in the eighties, one of the most economical and effective ways in which I thought Alan Moore represented how dire the crisis was was the fact that his nightmare Britain was ruled by "Queen Zara." My mind reeled at the thought of how many members of the royal family would have to predecease her to get to Queen Zara. So, are we talking William V and Princess Regent Diana here, or what?

Also, I imagine even if the first tier royals would want to imitate the example of George VI and stay in England no matter what, some concession to the threat represented by ICBMs would have to be made, and someone, maybe Prince Edward or Princess Anne, would take up residence in Canada or a nonaligned Commonwealth state for the duration to insure the succession.

Alternate History Geek
May 22nd, 2013, 08:46 PM
What's happening in Benin, Congo, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Yemen?

Dr. Waterhouse
May 22nd, 2013, 09:13 PM
Agree with everyone but Hart, who was an expert on defense policy and arms control. But, I generally agree that the situation would hand an advantage to Glenn, who had impeccable credentials in the form of actual military service.

I'm also not quite sure this makes Reagan's position unassailable as a war president. Quite a few people back then took seriously the image of Reagan as a "mad bomber". This might reinforce this image.

On these facts, I don't think so. The United States has never had a holder of national office slain by enemy attack during wartime before. And no matter how provocative Able Archer may have seemed to the Kremlin's perspective, the Soviets still began hostilities by invading western Europe. So in the mind of the American public it's pretty much all on them. Essentially as far as public opinion is concerned Ronald Reagan has been proven right that they are the Evil Empire.

Now, let's say the scenario is different. There is a Middle East crisis with Israel at its center. The U.S. begins planning an intervention against Syria, Iraq or both to defend Israel. The Soviets say "don't do that." Reagan does it anyway, and then the Soviets launch their attack. Then I think you would then have a more ambivalent domestic political situation in the United States because then it would have looked more like mutual escalation that spiraled out of control rather than a surprise attack of the sort that causes Americans to rally around the flag.

And even with a satisfactory outcome to the actual war, I think this leads the United States to a fairly dark place. Basically everyone who ever said Reagan had a morally simplistic view of the USSR becomes persona non grata in the media. Respected left-wing figures like Anthony Lewis and Bill Moyers are written off as unacceptably radical and hostile to the war effort. Jesse Jackson is in the worst situation of them all because of his "peace missions" to those countries with which the U.S. is now at war. On the other side, groups like the John Birch Society become mainstream and truly scary jokers like Pierre Dupont become acceptable presidential candidates. Thinking long term, lack of wartime military service becomes a much greater obstacle to Bill Clinton and similar politicians of his generation.

If there's a silver lining, it might be at the center and at the top. In OTL's 1984, Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker fell for the same Oval Office mirage that has afflicted party leaders in the Senate from Lyndon Johnson to Bill Frist and retired at a relatively young 59 to run for president in 1988. In the context of an immense national crisis such as this war, he might stay on, cutting deals in the Congress that prune back the excesses of a truly imperial presidency. And he could easily last a decade or more in that role because he was so well-liked in the job. And if Robert Dole becomes Reagan's Vice-President and succeeds him in 1988 that could turn out to be a net positive, because hey it's from his 1996 proposal that Barack Obama's health care reform bill comes.

But I think the bottom line is that after something like this the United States would become more conservative, more paranoid, more ruthless. For example, I don't even want to think about what's going on in El Salvador while all the rest of this is going down, or how little the U.S. public will care.

The Red
May 22nd, 2013, 09:50 PM
And--oh my God! The race for the 1984 Democratic nomination is in full swing when this happens! (Won't someone think of the consequences of all this to the Iowa Caucuses?)

Isn't there a chance of Reagan simply backing a Democrat as replacement to Bush and running on a 'National Union' slate as the Republicans did during the Civil War?

Dr. Waterhouse
May 23rd, 2013, 01:23 AM
Isn't there a chance of Reagan simply backing a Democrat as replacement to Bush and running on a 'National Union' slate as the Republicans did during the Civil War?

Yes! Which is why I suggested that very thing in the post immediately above that one.

Dayton Kitchens
May 23rd, 2013, 07:36 PM
One thing that I find fascinating is the "mad dash" by the United States when the war breaks out to find ANY kind of nuclear missile defense.

From reactivating old ABM warheads to digging thunder wells.

I'm curious as if this would be practical enough to even bother trying on short notice or if it is a sign of sheer desperation?

Though the thread starter is showing some imagination.

That said, the idea that the Soviets would've knocked out four or five U.S. SSBNs early in the war are VERY unlikely.

Military to military communication between the U.S. and Russia in the early 1990s (back when we thought everyone would be best friends) pretty much proved that even with the older Poseidon carrying SSBNs the Soviets never had much of a clue where any of them were at sea at any given time.

IIRC, the LONGEST any Soviet submarine commander ever managed to trail a U.S. SSBN was about 18 hours.

While all the way back in the 1960s, an American sub skipper (Whitey Mack) trailed a Soviet SSBN for FORTY SEVEN DAYS!!

Details in the book "Blind Man's Bluff".

giobastia
May 24th, 2013, 01:24 AM
In the North-Western Theatre of Operations, the Soviet forces are on the defensive by the beginning of the third week of war. The 76th Air Assault Division is lost in Bodo and the Trondheim Division, along with the UK Parachute Regiment and the ACE Mobile Force begin to attack the 111th and 64th Soviet divisions in Narvik (still hold by part of the Norwegian Northern Division). Under heavy snowfalls, which bring the superior Soviet air forces down, the Allied successfully dislodge the two weakened Soviet divisions from Narvik and push them to North, liberating the city from the besieging forces.

The liberation of Narvik provokes a new chain of reactions in the Northern Front. The STAVKA (Soviet supreme command) needs again Finland for crossing, not only in a Northern corridor of Lapland, but all over Lapland. Given the increasing presence of NATO air forces in Norway and in the North Sea, STAVKA needs also all the airbases of Finland to counter the NATO operations in Northern Norway. Then Moscow sends an ultimatum to Finland on November 24th, asking the surrender of all the country’s air bases, naval bases and the freedom for ground forces to cross all Lapland territories. While Finland was taken by surprise in the very first day of war, in this case there is no surprise: all the Finnish Defense Force is already mobilized along with all territorial units: an overall force of 280.000 men mobilized and ready to fight. Finnish President Mauno Koivisto turn-down the ultimatum. The social-democrat government led by Kalevi Sorsa resigns and is replaced by a “National Union” government.

The Soviet government begin to negotiate while STAVKA begin to concentrate on the Soviet-Finnish borders three armies, ready to invade the country in case of diplomatic breakdown. The possible opening of a new front is seen as a logistical disaster by STAVKA: all the forces from the Leningrad and Archangelsk Military Districts are already engaged in Northern Norway. The only deployable large units, already mobilized, are the Fifth and Seventh Tank Armies, which should be distracted by the German front (to which they were previously directed as a third echelon force) and sent in the North. The Fifth Tank Army begin deployment operations in Karelia, while the Seventh in the area of Petrozadovsk. A third army, the Tenth Combined Arms Army, from the Urals Military Districts is deployed in the Kola Peninsula, ready to invade Lapland.

giobastia
May 24th, 2013, 01:28 AM
The Soviet’s main thrust in the Western Theatre of Operations is in the North German Plain, where Marshall Kulikov envisages the possibility of a decisive encircling maneuver through Netherland and Belgium, until the French Northern border. The Second and Twentieth Armies attack the weakened Netherland Corps and the Fist German Corps on the river Ems. The defenses of the river hold on for two days and allow the two corps to retreat in the Netherlands in full order. The Baor, attacked by two Soviet divisions of the Twentieth Army and by the entire Third “Shock” Army, conducts a fighting retreat until the Ruhr densely urbanized area, then stop any further Soviet advance. The French Second Army joins the British defenses on November 24th and stop the Soviet advance in a sector extending from the Netherland-German border to Dortmund. Southernmost, the Belgian First Corps and the German Third Corps, stop the left flank of the Soviet Third Army which is conducting a secondary attack there. The Soviet Eight and Fourth Armies engages the US Fifth and Seventh Corps in a wide area stretching from the Fulda Gap (in the North) to the Main Valley (in the South). But this is not the Soviet main thrust and is loosely supported by artillery and by the Frontal Aviation. Thus, the two US Corps can hold on very easily, holding their positions on all sectors. The main Soviet thrust is Southernmost, against the remnants of the German Second Corps and the fresh units of the French First Army. But the Soviet offensive is not really well coordinated: while the Ninth and the Thirteenth Armies attack immediately, the Second Unified Corps can’t take its positions timely: flogged by NATO air forces and slowed by a huge logistical chaos created by previous bombardments (destroyed bridges, obstructed choke points and many traffic jams in the few available roads) its advance is much more difficult than forecasted. Thus, the two first line armies are stopped by the fierce French-German resistance, echelon after echelon, while the First Unified Corps cannot exploit the situation. When it arrives, the French and German units have already regrouped and reorganized their defenses.

In the North German Plain sector a similar situation begins to unfold. While the Soviet first line units (Second, Twentieth and Third Armies) are advancing and pushing back the NATO Corps, the second echelon armies (Eleventh, Fourteenth and First Unified Corps) cannot take their positions timely. They have to cross two big rivers, the Elbe and Weser, whose bridges are completely destroyed. They are constantly attacked by enemy air forces (equipped with Tornadoes, F-111s, A-10s and Harriers), increasingly free to strike anywhere in Western Germany. And they are bound in traffic jams caused by those same Warsaw Pact army movements (DDR and Polish forces) which are supposed to preside the rear areas and clear them the way.

On November 25th, General Bernard Rogers (commander in chief of NATO forces in Central Europe) considers the situation as critical, but not desperate. The Northag (North Army Group in Germany) is withdrawing, but is not en route. The Centag and Southag are holding their lines. Behind the first line of the Northag, the US Third Corps is unscathed and has almost finished its deployment. The NATO air forces have already conquered dominance over Western Germany and can support both defensive and offensive ground operations. Rogers clearly sights a huge gap opened between the first Soviet echelon (Second, Twentieth and Third Armies) and their second echelon (Eleventh, Fourteenth and First Unified Corps).

The situation is perfect for a counter-offensive and Rogers unleashes the US Third Corps in the gap between the Soviet Twentieth and Third Armies. While the latter is fully engaged by the Baor, on the night between the November 25th and 26th, the US 1st Armored Division (equipped with M1 Abrams tanks), preceded by the 6th Cavalry Brigade and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment advance in the gap as a knife in butter, heading to Hannover. Only late in the morning of November 26th, the Soviets realize that there is an enemy big armored unit advancing between their moving forces and Kulikov is forced to re-direct the whole second echelon forces to fix the hole. On November 27th, the BAOR, relieved entirely by the Second French Army, begin to counter-attack the Soviet Third Army. Then, the British 1st and 3rd Armored Divisions head North, to Osnabruck, protecting the left flank of the US Third Corps.

On November 28th, the Eleventh and Fourteenth Soviet Armies, already tired and decimated by air attacks, clashes with the BAOR from Osnabuck to Hannover, while the First Unified Corps attacks the US Third Corps from Hannover to Minden. After a day of harsh tank battles, the British-American advance is halted, but the Soviets have not enough energies and reserves to launch a decisive push against them.

The US and British counter-attack, while not aimed on achieving a decisive victory, at least breaks the momentum of the Soviet advance in the North.

A situation of stalemate is reached on all sectors of the German front.

giobastia
May 24th, 2013, 06:32 PM
The Soviets think that the operations in Southern Europe are nearly closed since the fall of Austria and Italy. Switzerland is holding on, but could be easily encircled and attacked later. Only few divisions of the Ninth Army engages the Swiss Army in secondary and low intensity battles, while the main force of that unit join the efforts in the battle for Germany.
The worst surprise is in Italy, where the occupation is not an easy task. The First Hungarian Army has to advance in a wide area of North Italian plains, attacked by NATO air forces (both from France and from the secured bases in Sardinia and Sicily), persecuted by guerrilla attacks conducted by Italian dispersed units (organized by the NATO Stay Behind cadres) and welcomed by a restive population, which in Veneto and Friuli regions is particularly hostile. The Hungarian Army suffers huge losses.
The advance of Hungarian forces in Northern Italy prompts an immediate French reaction: the French Third Army occupies all the strategic passes in the Alps, across the border and deploy forces also in the Italian Valle d’Aosta region. Operations in the really high Western Alps are very difficult, especially when the big snowfalls are just beginning. And the First Hungarian Army, alone, has no possibility to launch a Southern campaign against France. Thus, president Mitterrand doesn’t fear a huge attack against his Southern border and deny any request for use of tactical nuclear weapons.
By the end of the week, Italy is divided in three entities. An occupied North directly ruled by the Warsaw Pact command, along with local loyal Communists. A neutral main body (from the river Po, to Reggio Calabria) ruled by a sovereign Italian government (formed by Christian-Democrat, Socialist and Communist national coalition) and the isles (Sardinia and Sicily) directly ruled by NATO, along with local loyal Christian-Democrats, Liberals and Republicans. And all three sectors are highly instable. To fix the situation, STAVKA concludes that the Hungarian First Army alone is not enough and decides to send in Italy also the Soviet Eighteenth Army (from the Kiev Military District).

Dr. Waterhouse
May 24th, 2013, 07:33 PM
Fascinating updates! This is a really interesting story.

By the way, I'm not in the camp that thinks up until now the timeline has been unreasonably optimistic about the Warsaw Pact's chances. Like I said before military issues are not my specialty here, but I remember in the eighties how constantly the notion of Soviet military superiority in conventional weaponry was reinforced. This was why NATO wanted the short and intermediate range nuclear missiles as a deterrent, why NATO was unwilling to forswear first use of nuclear weapons, and why U.S. conservatives insisted on reductions in conventional armaments before or simultaneous with a deal on intermediate range nuclear missiles. So I can see things playing out this way militarily as being well within the realm of possibility.

One thing I'm curious about is when the state of the Soviet economy is going to start to bite. This is the U.S.S.R. in late 1983 we are talking about, so they've already seen declines in GDP for some time. At the same time, the United States is probably not too far off its all time highs in terms of the percentage of how much of the world's total GDP is within its borders. How this is going to play out if a stalemate is maintained is inevitable--superior U.S. productive capacity wins.

The trouble is, the Kremlin has to understand this as well as anyone. As the Soviets lose momentum and domestic shortages in the USSR worsen, the pressure to launch a strategic strike against the U.S. has to be increasing. And on the American side, I can completely imagine the Reagan administration getting whispers from people like Henry Kissinger to the effect that while we want to win, there is a danger in winning too much.

jimmygreen2002
May 24th, 2013, 09:49 PM
I was looking at your map - pretty decent - and one thing jumped off the page at me - Berlin!
What's going on there? There were three NATO brigades there and, IIRC, post-reunification, East German warplans for Operation Centre showed a big move planned against there. Red Storm Rising made partial reference of it being left alone and I can't recall any other Europe-WW3 story mentioning it.
West Berlin wouldn't be the biggest of military prizes, but there'd be much propaganda value in taking it for the Soviets.

giobastia
May 25th, 2013, 01:33 AM
Berlin was already conquered by Soviet and DDR forces since the early stages of conflict. There is no way to hold it against overwhelming forces.

giobastia
May 25th, 2013, 01:36 AM
The United Kingdom is in the first line since the start of the conflict. With bombs and missiles (both chemical and conventional) falling on British military, naval and air bases, the country fell abruptly in wartime. The first victims of the Soviet first strike are the peace movements gathered in large numbers around the Greenham Common base and other nuclear assets. The Spetnatz sudden assault on Greenham Common produces a wave of panic among the peace activists and takes a high toll of civilian lives. The first chemical missiles launched against the air and naval bases inflicts heavy losses among both military and civilians as well, but mainly the death of hundreds of peace activists gathered around the Soviet chemical targets. After the evacuations of all the areas hit by VX gas and all those which are potential targets, the peace movement (the largest in Europe) simply ceases to exist. Just after the first days of panic, other minor peace demonstrations take place in London and other major cities. But they are no more welcomed by the largest part of the British public opinion. After a first week of intense nuclear scare, when it’s clear that the British army is fighting a non-nuclear war in Europe (like the First and Second World Wars) a wave of intense patriotism prevails. Larger peace demonstrations are strictly monitored and restricted by the police, considering that the first Spetnatz attacks were conducted by Soviet agents infiltrated in peace movements. Freedom of assembly is kept. Far from military and political potential targets.
Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet is sheltered in the nuclear bunker of Corsham, in Western England, while Queen Elizabeth II is deliberately “lost” at sea, on board of her Yacht Britannia. Twelve ministers are dispersed in 12 nuclear bunkers all over the country, to preserve the continuity of government in case of a nuclear attack. In each bunker, a minister begin to study a post-nuclear contingency along with a judge, a military and a police officer. Any of them could become the government of UK, in case of a decapitation attack.
Thatcher begins to apply the “War Book” for nuclear contingency, restricting a number of civil liberties. BBC is monitored and censored, to keep high the morale of people. The “Keep Calm” posters are again resumed from the archives of the Second World War, reprinted and disseminated on all walls. And “Keep Calm” is the mainstream mood of all BBC broadcasting programs. Private mails are monitored and sometimes censored (especially those for or from the frontline). All the hospitals are cleared for major emergencies: only those who risks life and need intense treatment could remain, all the others have to be sent home. Other military hospitals are established all over the country, for civilians hurt by Soviet bombings and for the most severely injured soldiers. All the firefighter trucks and ambulances are dispersed. The art treasures are removed from their museums and displaced in bunkers all over the countries. Extraordinary amounts of food and building materials begin to be stockpiled.
The air defense is the main actor of the wartime Britain. The Harriers begin particularly popular since the first days of war. They are displaced nearly everywhere, in farms, in the middle of cities, in valleys and the Soviet could never know where to destroy their “bases”. They proved very effective as attack aircrafts in Europe and also (along with the more powerful F-15s and F-16s) as interceptors over the North Sea skies. The main line of defenses is formed by a long “Nike-Hercules line”, which runs all along the East coast in England and Scotland. After the first week of war, other anti-aircraft batteries armed with the new Patriot missiles are deployed around cities and military bases. They immediately prove their value against all kinds of Soviet bombers. Nike Hercules and Patriots personnel becomes very popular, hailed as the new heroes of the new Battle of Britain. Nuclear tipped Nike Hercules, around London and all the potential nuclear targets, are preserved. In case of a nuclear missile attack, they could be used in saturation launches to stop the incoming warheads. If their reaction time is short enough…
The Soviet “blitz” with intense bombings of military, urban and industrial assets lasts only few days, provoking thousands of civilian deaths. But, since the second week of war, the reorganization of the air defense of British isles (and NATO air dominance over the Western Europe, in general) keeps the enemy off.

giobastia
May 25th, 2013, 01:48 AM
While Britain is in the first line of fire, USA are not. They keeps their traditional status of Allied great rearguard. The bombings on Anchorage and military assets in Alaska last just few days. Since the Third and Seventh Fleets begin their deep strikes in the Soviet Far East and the Kamchatka Peninsula, very few Soviet bombers could pass through defenses and hit their targets in Alaska and Western Canada. After the high profile assassinations of Vice-President George W.H. Bush and the Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, the only other war actions on the US soil are those conducted by little Spetnatz commandos, penetrating from Mexican and Canadian borders. Their hugest successes are the sabotage of a pipeline in Texas, the bombing of the Alaskan pipeline and the destruction of the power plant in Flathead Dam, which provokes a vast blackout. But all the Soviet commandos are tracked and killed very quickly by the US Delta Forces.

The first Soviet bombings and the successive sabotages, all in the first week of war, create a long wave of “red scare” in the US public opinion, stronger than those of 1919 and 1949. Liberals, progressives along with the few communists begin to be considered by the large public (especially in rural areas) as defeatists, collaborationists, or even enemy agents. They are isolated and discriminated almost everywhere, in their workplaces and by their neighborhoods. Some peace demonstrations are organized, especially in urban areas where ABM (anti-missile systems) preparations begin. But they are overwhelmed by patriotic counter-demonstrations. The most famous and vocal opponents of war, such as Noam Chomsky, Frank Barnaby, Carl Sagan, Murray N. Rothbard, Jane Fonda, are emarginated and boycotted.

But “red scare” remains a social censorship, not a governmental one. The Federal Government and all the States never apply legal restrictions or censorship even in wartime. No one is put in jail. After the first acts of Soviet sabotage, the largest part of the 50 States allow more freedom to bear arms (also automatic rifles and light machine guns are legalized) and all local voluntary militias, old and newly formed, begin to patrol the rural areas, along with National Guard units.

Preparations for an all-out nuclear confrontation are very extensive. While the Civil Defense is fully mobilized to build collective shelters and conducts large exercises on a daily basis, the private sector provides the most of anti-nuclear assets. People rush in every shop to buy survival kits and manuals of instructions to build their own nuclear shelters. Survival training is provided by local militias and newly formed civil organizations of all kinds. The EMP effect is particularly scary and almost all people begin to "fortify" their electric circuits, devices, radios and Tv from the potential massive nuclear pulse all over the USA. All public institutions as well as private homes begin to buy back-up diesel generators and large amounts of battery packs. New cars with sophisticated electronics are left in their parkings, while old and less sophisticated cars of the 70s begin to be bought again in large numbers. Transportations, in general, are affected by the war, because all flights are suspended. Mainly because of security reasons: all of them could be shot down in case of EMP or nuclear attacks. But also because the USAF requisitioned most of civilian airliners for the airlift of military personnel in Europe. Trains and buses return as the only collective means of transports.

After three weeks of war, the evacuation of cities begin to produce its effects. Large urban areas are now no-man’s land desolate landscapes, where criminals and cast-outs become the masters, contrasted by the National Guards in the worst cases of disorder. The rural areas, especially those far from the “nuclear belt”, increase their population by ten times. All those citizens who have relatives in rural areas go to live with them and countryside towns become home-made sanctuaries for tens, even hundreds of new refugees. When the families couldn’t provide a shelter (or there are no families), large villages managed the Civil Defense made of prefabricated buildings and even tents, can shelter tens of thousands of people. Deep mines are also converted in large semi-natural nuclear-bunkers.

From a military point of view, the highest priority is assigned to ABM defense. The aero-space industries are put on war footing to produce Nike Hercules and Sprint missiles (and all their assets). Air Force training centers provides refresh training for artillery men on how to use the Sprints. All the personnel of the former Safeguard Program is mobilized to train new recruits, chosen among Nike Hercules skilled veterans. “Dust defense” of missile silos and underground bunkers is completed by the end of the third week of conflict. All areas hosting a “nuclear hole” are evacuated in a range of 30 square miles and all the roads heading to them blocked. For a matter of strict security, the locations of “Dust Defence” and its very existence are never revealed to the public. Preparations for a nuclear confrontation involve all commands and all nuclear forces. Strategic Air Command is airborne on its Looking Glass, while naval commands (SACLANT and CINCPAC) on their TACAMO aircrafts. The President and the National Command Authority almost never touch ground, if not for short landings in secret locations. For nearly all the time, the President and his staff live up in the air, on board of the NEACP plane. The first family lives on another plane. The members of Congress and of the Federal Government are dispersed in nuclear shelters mainly in Pennsylvania and Virginia. The NORAD is also backed up by an itinerating command based on trucks, while all the radio communications are prepared for a nuclear contingency.

From a political point of view, the Congress and the Federal Government continue to rule the country even after their dispersal. The Congress votes unanimously the declaration of war on Soviet Union and its allies. Then, president Reagan picks up as his new vice-president the Democratic candidate John Glenn. As a war and space hero, his personality is the best for boosting morale. As a Democrat, he is the demonstration that “this is not a Republican war, it’s an American war”. John Glenn, initially, opposed the Reagan’s SDI “Star Wars” program. But at the very beginning of war, immediately after his vice-presidential acceptance speech, the astronaut changes his attitude, realizing that a new ABM system is the only useful tool for survival in the imminent nuclear confrontation. As secretary of Defense, Reagan chooses Donald Rumsfeld, which is very well placed inside the military system and one of the designated successors in the continuity of government programs.

Dayton Kitchens
May 25th, 2013, 02:14 AM
I've changed my mind. This is really great stuff!! The attacks on nuclear assets at sea does make sense. The U.S. isn't going to "go nuclear" just because four SSBNs get torpedoed. And in the early 1980s, only a very small percentage (5% IIRC) of Soviet strategic nuclear warheads were aboard submarines so even if the Soviets lost every SSBN their strategic nuclear arsenal would not be that impaired.

While EMP is a major threat, I do not think the worries about it would be as great in 1983. Back then, large sectors of the U.S. electronic infrastructure (including the air traffic control computers) was older styled electronics which were far more resistant to EMP. Commercial vehicles as well.

Weaver
May 25th, 2013, 02:14 AM
Wow....I am totally impressed by the volume and detail of these updates.

Apollo 20
May 25th, 2013, 03:44 AM
On these facts, I don't think so. The United States has never had a holder of national office slain by enemy attack during wartime before. And no matter how provocative Able Archer may have seemed to the Kremlin's perspective, the Soviets still began hostilities by invading western Europe. So in the mind of the American public it's pretty much all on them. Essentially as far as public opinion is concerned Ronald Reagan has been proven right that they are the Evil Empire.

Now, let's say the scenario is different. There is a Middle East crisis with Israel at its center. The U.S. begins planning an intervention against Syria, Iraq or both to defend Israel. The Soviets say "don't do that." Reagan does it anyway, and then the Soviets launch their attack. Then I think you would then have a more ambivalent domestic political situation in the United States because then it would have looked more like mutual escalation that spiraled out of control rather than a surprise attack of the sort that causes Americans to rally around the flag.

And even with a satisfactory outcome to the actual war, I think this leads the United States to a fairly dark place. Basically everyone who ever said Reagan had a morally simplistic view of the USSR becomes persona non grata in the media. Respected left-wing figures like Anthony Lewis and Bill Moyers are written off as unacceptably radical and hostile to the war effort. Jesse Jackson is in the worst situation of them all because of his "peace missions" to those countries with which the U.S. is now at war. On the other side, groups like the John Birch Society become mainstream and truly scary jokers like Pierre Dupont become acceptable presidential candidates. Thinking long term, lack of wartime military service becomes a much greater obstacle to Bill Clinton and similar politicians of his generation.

If there's a silver lining, it might be at the center and at the top. In OTL's 1984, Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker fell for the same Oval Office mirage that has afflicted party leaders in the Senate from Lyndon Johnson to Bill Frist and retired at a relatively young 59 to run for president in 1988. In the context of an immense national crisis such as this war, he might stay on, cutting deals in the Congress that prune back the excesses of a truly imperial presidency. And he could easily last a decade or more in that role because he was so well-liked in the job. And if Robert Dole becomes Reagan's Vice-President and succeeds him in 1988 that could turn out to be a net positive, because hey it's from his 1996 proposal that Barack Obama's health care reform bill comes.

But I think the bottom line is that after something like this the United States would become more conservative, more paranoid, more ruthless. For example, I don't even want to think about what's going on in El Salvador while all the rest of this is going down, or how little the U.S. public will care.

Very good points and I'll concede the argument.

And, as this has played out, the choice of John Glenn for VP is an inspired one by Reagan. The question is, what do the Democrats do in '84? Nominate Reagan as well? Strategically, that might be their best option for surviving in the postwar environment.

And let me add that I find this quite well done thus far.

joea64
May 25th, 2013, 04:05 AM
I just want to note here that in this context, recalling Donald Rumsfeld to SECDEF makes perfect sense. He'd helmed the Defense Department during most of the Ford Administration, after all. And tapping John Glenn as VP is a sound move on all counts.

I was in college in North Carolina (East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina) at the time so I'd probably remain there for at least the rest of the fall semester. The closest likely targets are Seymour Johnson AFB at Goldsboro, Camp Lejeune at Jacksonville and Fort Bragg at Fayetteville, none of them really close by, and Greenville isn't in the fallout pattern for any of them that I know of, so there's that if the worst occurs. I'm not sure where my family would relocate; in 1983, they lived in Springfield, Virginia, about 10 or so miles due west of Washington, so would very likely have been ordered to evacuate. They might go to Beaufort, South Carolina, where most of my mother's relatives lived (and still live), but due to the presence of Beaufort MCAS and Parris Island, there's always the possibility of the area being targeted if it goes to all-out nuclear warfare, so it's a possibility that that town might be ordered to be evacuated as well. Or not; evacuating the major metro areas is causing enough disruption as it is, I don't think the Federal Government would want to cause utter chaos by trying to evacuate every small and medium town near a potential target as well.

Dr. Waterhouse already alluded to it, but I just want to add that if people think the left in the U.S. is in a parlous state OTL, it's going to be drastically worse TTL for at least a couple of decades. Anything smacking of Socialism is going to be the political kiss of death to a degree far exceeding OTL. Fonda, Chomsky, Sagan, etc. will probably need police protection, and I don't mean the euphemistic "police protection" that comes with being politely put under house arrest either - I mean REAL police protection, to ward off death threats and vigilantes. Also, "The Day After", which was OTL shown in November 1983, never, ever gets aired. I mean, when the U.S. is in World War III for real, do you want ABC broadcasting a movie that's a leadpipe cinch to increase public jitters even more?

Ingsoc75
May 25th, 2013, 05:05 AM
After the first acts of Soviet sabotage, the largest part of the 50 States allow more freedom to bear arms (also automatic rifles and light machine guns are legalized) and all local voluntary militias, old and newly formed, begin to patrol the rural areas, along with National Guard units.

Under Federal law (The 1934 National Firearms Act), machine guns are already legal to own. You just have to live in a state that does not prohibit them, pay a $200 tax and submit to a lengthy background check.

Dayton Kitchens
May 25th, 2013, 05:16 AM
People in this thread have talked about Reagan and the American political future here.

But what about the Soviet one?

Andropov is already dying. What if the added strain causes him to die or lapse into a coma right in the middle of all this?

Does it make things worse (even nuclear) due to the chaos in the Kremlin?

Does Chernenko manuever to take over as happened in real life? What about Romanov or the up and coming Gorbachev?

My instincts are that unless Romanov takes over (he was hard line), if the war has turned against the Soviets, either Chernenko or Gorbachev will try to get the best peace deal they can and blame the entire bloody mess on the dead Andropov.

Athelstane
May 25th, 2013, 06:08 AM
I just realized something incredibly depressing about this timeline: very likely by now Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Andrei Sakharov and Vaclav Havel are all dead, killed by their respective governments to prevent them from becoming a locus for popular discontent.

I am also curious as to where at this point the pope is. We know he was an assassination target even outside the events of the timeline. And we know because of who this particular pope happens to be, he is a figure of huge symbolic importance to the Allies. Obviously, Rome is too risky, especially with all the assassinations going on. So where does he jet off to?

If The Polish junta kills Walesa, they're basically looking at a low level insurgency...and perhaps not so low level. The regime handled him carefully precisely because they realized how broad-based Solidarity's support was.

As for John Paul II...I can't see him running away. He would stay, and take his chances. But I can see him speeding arrangements for survival of the Vatican government in case the worst came to Rome (in the form of atoms splitting), and there were some plans for that.

giobastia
May 25th, 2013, 01:42 PM
Actually Pope John Paul II is in a relatively safe position, under protection of the Italian neutral zone in Rome. The Soviets fear that killing him would ignite a revolution in Poland and in Ukraine and Lithuania as well. It could not be a smart decision in wartime. Trying to kill Thatcher or Reagan was a different matter, because Andropov feared they could unleash a nuclear surprise attack against Ussr. But the Pope is a more delicate person. And, above all, "he doesn't have any armored division" as Stalin stated.

giobastia
May 25th, 2013, 01:44 PM
Soviet Fifth Guard Army (from Turkestan) and the Fortieth Combined Arms Army (from Afghanistan) continues their advance toward the Zagros Mountains and Bandar Abbas respectively, slowed only by the resistance of scattered Islamic Army units. Iraq exploit the situation, launching a massive offensive (both conventional and chemical) in the Shatt al Arab region, with all three its main armies. The Khomeini’s regime is overthrown by the Soviets since the very first days of their intervention. But only on November 22nd, the Soviets could establish their own one-party government run by exiled Tudeh members.
On November 22nd, the US Rapid Deployment Force enters the scene. Previous negotiations with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman give mixed results. While Saudi Arabia accept to open its airspace to the USAF, it will not accept US personnel on its soil. This for religious (no infidels in the land of Mecca and Medina), political (no direct support to the allies of Israel in wartime) and security (a possible Soviet nuclear retaliation) reasons. With Kuwait, the US diplomacy finds many other difficulties, because the little emirate fears to be invaded by the neighbor Iraq. While Washington promises military protection, the US troops of Rapid Deployment Force could arrive too late to prevent a possible Iraqi invasion. Oman is the first to accept US bases on its soil. Already engaged in a protracted low intensity war against Marxist guerrilla (supported by the neighboring South Yemen and by Soviet Union as well), sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said considers the very presence of a US air and land force as a safeguard for its borders. And a unique occasion to put an end to his enemy’s guerrilla. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar, also, accepts the presence of US air forces on their soil. They feel much more threatened by the Soviet advance in the Gulf then by possible future complications with USA.
Thus on November 22nd, 5 tactical fighter wings arrive in the Gulf, along with the USS Forrestall and USS Enterprise in the Arabian Sea. On the very first day, the new CENTCOM’s air forces begin a campaign of raids against the advancing Soviet troops in the Bandar Abbas region and on the Zagros Mountains. Two squadrons of B-52s based in Diego Garcia, joined the air campaign, bombing the tank columns of the Soviet Fortieth Army. On November 25th, the first units of the 1st Marine Division and the 101st Air Assault Division begin to land in Bandar Abbas. The local population and units of the Iranian army are confused and don’t react: after a revolution, a war with Iraq, a Soviet invasion and now a new established communist regime, nobody reacts to a sudden American invasion. They simply accept it with apathy and fatalism. The US marines secure the city on the very first days. On November 27th, the 101st Air Assault Division establishes an advanced outpost around Bam, to observe the Soviet movements and bars their way to Bandar Abbas.

Dayton Kitchens
May 25th, 2013, 01:59 PM
You know, this isn't all that different from the Red Storm Rising basic concept except with the addition of chemical weapons and the fighting in Korea.

Originally, in Red Storm Rising the reasons for the Soviet led invasion of West Germany were because Islamic terrorists blew up their largest, newest refinery (and the massive oil field next to it) and they needed to seize Middle Eastern oil sources. Note that the Soviets ALSO had planned to use chemical weapons originally AND they managed to get Greece to not support NATO.

Main differences are that in Red Storm Rising the Soviets had about four months to prepare for the invasion while NATO had less than two weeks and that the war in RSR took place in 1987 or 1988 beginning in June and this one takes place in near winter 1983.

joea64
May 25th, 2013, 02:04 PM
By now, I think the Soviets have engaged or used up all their Category A divisions, particularly since they need to keep a substantial force in the Far East to watch China. They're going to have to go to their Category B and C divisions, which were much less capable compared to the A divisions, especially the further down you got in the mobilization queue as the C divisions often were seriously undermanned and had obsolete/junky equipment. And OTL/TTL, the last serious attempt to do a major mobilization of B/C divisions, circa 1979/80, was a total fiasco - and that was during peacetime. I should think it will be even more of a mess in wartime even if NATO doesn't risk nuclear war by doing its level best to disrupt the process, and even if they do get mobilized properly, they've got to move west to the front with a situation in the air that's becoming more difficult for the Warsaw Pact all the time.

giobastia
May 25th, 2013, 03:29 PM
@Dayton Kitchens: I think that Red Storm Rising is sometime realistic, some other times it is not. The Soviets go to war for oil (totally unrealistic: Soviets are full of oil, gas and all the energy they wanted), they invade nearly all of Western Germany (realistic) with no nuclear weapons (realistic: the STAVKA and also the members of Politbjuro at the time, were really scared of nuclear war), but then the US Third Corps manage to reverse the entire situation in just one decisive battle (unrealistic), the Soviets want to nuke them (realistic, at this point) but a military coup overthrough the Politbjuro (epic fail: the military élite was the most disciplined and determined branch of the Soviet regime). This is what I think about Tom Clancy's book.

Dr. Waterhouse
May 25th, 2013, 03:44 PM
Very good points and I'll concede the argument.

And, as this has played out, the choice of John Glenn for VP is an inspired one by Reagan. The question is, what do the Democrats do in '84? Nominate Reagan as well? Strategically, that might be their best option for surviving in the postwar environment.

And let me add that I find this quite well done thus far.

Thanks. I do think even a slight difference in the chain of events leading to the war would create the more ambivalent public reaction you're talking about. And that would be interesting in and of itself. What would happen, say, if many U.S. conservatives in the eighties got their wish and Reagan invaded Nicaragua, only to find the Soviets unwilling to let the matter drop and the U.S. isolated diplomatically because it had been the instigator of the crisis?

Glenn as Vice-President is very interesting. The one thing we might want to remember is that appointment under the Constitution to the vice-presidency is not the same as nomination to be the running mate in the following general election. In the same way Gerald Ford could choose Nelson Rockefeller to be his vice-president and then when the time comes make a different political calculation in selecting Robert Dole, Reagan could appoint John Glenn and then when August 1984 comes, name the person he would actually want as his heir to be the running mate.

I think the Democrats would feel compelled to run a candidate in 1984. The United States had multi-party national elections in 1864 and 1944, and this falls into the same category I would think. In fact, it's interesting that I think FDR made some noises about a cessation of ordinary politics during World War II that did not go over well. They might nominate a candidate for the dignitary purpose of doing so with no expectation of winning (Jimmy Carter, maybe) but they would nominate someone.

Dayton Kitchens
May 25th, 2013, 03:45 PM
@Dayton Kitchens: I think that Red Storm Rising is sometime realistic, some other times it is not. The Soviets go to war for oil (totally unrealistic: Soviets are full of oil, gas and all the energy they wanted), they invade nearly all of Western Germany (realistic) with no nuclear weapons (realistic: the STAVKA and also the members of Politbjuro at the time, were really scared of nuclear war), but then the US Third Corps manage to reverse the entire situation in just one decisive battle (unrealistic), the Soviets want to nuke them (realistic, at this point) but a military coup overthrough the Politbjuro (epic fail: the military élite was the most disciplined and determined branch of the Soviet regime). This is what I think about Tom Clancy's book.

Well at the time RSR was written the extent of Soviet oil and gas reserves was not fully known. IIRC, there were projections that by the late 1980s, the Soviets might actually have to IMPORT oil and gas.

Also, the Soviets in RSR still had plenty of oil, they just had the well heads of their largest field torched (plus the largest refinery) and faced about 2-3 years of rebuilding the capacity.

The overthrow of the Soviet regime was not instigated by the Soviet military but by four members of the Politburo. Including heads of Energy, Agriculture, the head of the KGB, and the oldest and most respected member. It was the head of Energy (one of the main characters) who convinces the Soviet Commander in Chief West (the third one in the war) to assist with the takeover.

Karelian
May 25th, 2013, 04:25 PM
Yay for retconned situation of Finland :D
Edit: Your mobilization figure is way too low. In mid-1980s FDF had maximum mobilization reserves of 750 000(!) men, and the practical wartime strength of the mobilized field army was roughly the same as in 1944, ~500 000 men. The ground army has just begun extensive modernization program, and has 9 light mechanized brigades and 2 armored brigades, with the rest of the army consisting of reservist infantry formations. The new Brigade 1985 will most likely be adopted in a rush, creating triangular infantry brigades with 4 battalions as the standard combat units.

Naturally none of this matters if the Soviet Army decides to utilize WMDs on a massive scale, but a conventional battle in winter conditions and on their home turf would still make the Finns more than an easy pushover.

giobastia
May 25th, 2013, 05:47 PM
@Dayton Kitchens: "The overthrow of the Soviet regime was not instigated by the Soviet military but by four members of the Politburo". Sorry! I didn't remember. Maybe I'm confusing RSR with John Hackett's "Third World War". But I promised that my timeline will be very different.

giobastia
May 25th, 2013, 05:51 PM
@Karelian: "Your mobilization figure is way too low. In mid-1980s FDF had maximum mobilization reserves of 750 000(!) men, and the practical wartime strength of the mobilized field army was roughly the same as in 1944, ~500 000 men"
OMG! How many for a "little" nation! Can you verify, please, if this order of battle is correct for mid 80s?

Finnish Army (Maavoimat)
An estimated 95 percent-plus of Finland’s eligible male population served in the Finnish defense forces, giving them a
vast manpower pool despite their limited population base.
1.) Peacetime Organization: 30,000 troops, 22,300 of them conscripts
a.) Armored Brigade - Parola:
b.) Pohjoan Brigade – Oulu: Two infantry battalions, one artillery battalion w/AD, How bttry, Engineer co,
Mobilisation Infantry Bn
c.) Jaeger Brigade - :
d.) Kainuun Brigade – Kajaani:
e.) Porin Brigade - Sakyla:
f.) Savon Brigade - Mikkeli:
g.) Karjalahn Brigade - Kouvola:
h.) Nylands Brigade – Dragsvik:
i.) Guards Jaeger Regiment - Helsinki:
j.) Five Light Infantry Battalions:
1. Hame
2. Pojois-Karjala
3.Kymi
4.Nyland
5.Lappi
2.) Wartime Organization:
a.) Upon mobilization, approximately 130,000 reservists would man 10-15 brigades, mainly Infantry “Brigade 80”
units, but one or two “Brigade 90” units.
b.) An estimated 260 battalions of local defense troops, mainly composed of lightly armed older reservists, would
also be available.
3.) Heavy Equipment Holdings, estimated: 50 T-72s, 100 T-54/55s, 15 PT-76, 30 BMP-1, 90 BTR-50P, 60 BTR-60P,
59 A-180 Pasi APCs, 70 105mm Howitzers, 170 M-54 130mm Field Guns, 24 M-38 152mm Howitzers, 12 M-74
155mm Howitzers, some Soviet-made 122mm Howitzers, some German WWII M40 150mm Howitzers, 800 81mm
Mortars, 550 M-43 120mm Mortars, 24 AT-4 Spigot, 12 I-TOW, 100 SM-55-61 95mm RRifle
Finnish Air Force (Ilmavoimat)
1.) Headquarters – Tikkakoski, central Finland.
2.) Three Air Defense Sectors:
a.) Lapland Wing - near Rovaniemi, responsible for N Finland: 18 Saab J-35 Drakens
b.) Satakunta Wing – Tampere-Pirkkala, responsible for SW Finland: 12 Saab J-35 Drakens
c.) Karelian Wing -- Kuopio-Rissala, responsible for SE Finland: 30 Mig-21bis plus several Hawks in recon role
3.) Transport Wing – Kouvola-Utti: 3 Fokker F-27, 6 Mi-8 helos
4.) Training Wing – Kauhava: 39 Hawk Mk. 51s, 30 L-70 Vinkas
5.) Total Aircraft holdings as of 1988: 41 SAAB J-35 Drakens, 4 SK-35C Draken trainers, 30 Mig-21bis, 4 Mig-
21UM trainers, 39 Hawk Mk. 51s, 8 Hawk Mk. 51s configured for recon, 30 L-70 Vinkas, 3 F-27s, 6 Mi-8, 2 MD-500,
5 CM-170 Magisters

Unknown
May 25th, 2013, 06:00 PM
Two questions: Will you continue this post-war (assuming this doesn't turn into a Protect-and-Survive scenario)?

Will you look at pop culture (think Andrew T's Dirty Laundry) in TTL?

Good so far.

(BTW, would Corpus Christi be evacuated? That's where I was living in 1983 (as a two-year-old in November).)

giobastia
May 25th, 2013, 06:09 PM
I'm not sure, but maybe yes. It's not a primary, but a secondary target located by FEMA: http://www.survivalring.org/community/library/us-nuclear-targets/

About this TL, yes of course I would like to continue it also for post-war scenario. I can't reveal you if it will be a "Protect and Survive" scenario or not... it could be a spoiler.

Otis R. Needleman
May 25th, 2013, 10:18 PM
What's China doing in all this vis-à-vis the USSR? Some Chinese border maneuvers and maybe some buildups on their long mutual border would definitely keep some Soviet troops away from Europe.

Dayton Kitchens
May 25th, 2013, 10:24 PM
For what its worth, I once speculated that if a similar "World War Three" had occurred around the time of 1990, it would've effected the Star Trek franchise in two significant ways

1) 1991s "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country" rather than involving the end of the "Cold War" with the Klingons would've involved a war with the Klingons with the Federation triumphing.

2) ST:TNG might've introduced an ongoing conflict with the Borg instead of a series of one offs.

Well, a man can dream....

Dayton Kitchens
May 25th, 2013, 10:46 PM
@Dayton Kitchens: "The overthrow of the Soviet regime was not instigated by the Soviet military but by four members of the Politburo". Sorry! I didn't remember. Maybe I'm confusing RSR with John Hackett's "Third World War". But I promised that my timeline will be very different.

You're right.

In Hackett''s books, it is a group of young officers (including Ukrainians IIRC) who overthrow the Soviet Politburo.

Not to mention but in Hackett's books the crews of at least a dozen Soviet warships mutiny and defect to the west while the entire Third Shock Army which has invaded Belgium changes sides abruptly.

But in RSR, three of the Politburo members who ultimately overthrow the rest are opposed to the war with NATO from the beginning for very practical weapons.

The leader of the KGB is at war with another KGB faction led by a rival and they are using a war to promote their agenda.

The head of Energy (one of the main characters) opposes the war and says that the Soviet Union does not have the fuel supplies to wage such a conflict.

The aging former World War Two veteran opposes the war because he is convinced nuclear conflict will be the eventual result.

Dr. Waterhouse
May 26th, 2013, 12:20 AM
For what its worth, I once speculated that if a similar "World War Three" had occurred around the time of 1990, it would've effected the Star Trek franchise in two significant ways

1) 1991s "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country" rather than involving the end of the "Cold War" with the Klingons would've involved a war with the Klingons with the Federation triumphing.

2) ST:TNG might've introduced an ongoing conflict with the Borg instead of a series of one offs.

Well, a man can dream....

You mean Battlestar Galactica: The Next Generation, don't you? There was no way they were going to make another series of that hippie peace-loving New Frontier Star Trek stuff after this has gone down. (It would have all the grit of Ronald K. Moore's version, but with no moral complexity at all as to the nature of the cylons and their aims.)

Dayton Kitchens
May 26th, 2013, 01:14 AM
You mean Battlestar Galactica: The Next Generation, don't you? There was no way they were going to make another series of that hippie peace-loving New Frontier Star Trek stuff after this has gone down. (It would have all the grit of Ronald K. Moore's version, but with no moral complexity at all as to the nature of the cylons and their aims.)

Well, in 1991 or so this would've been just after "The Best of Both Worlds" both episodes and "Yesterdays Enterprise" on ST:TNG.

At that time it was pointed out that to fans the "gritty, war like" universe of "Yesterdays Enterprise" was more appealing to TNG fans than the existing one.

I think the temptation would've been to alter TNG in its last three or four seasons.

Of course DS9 would not have been created the way it was.

James.Porcher
May 26th, 2013, 04:13 AM
On Novebmer 15th:
Soviet intelligence don’t detect any sign of imminent release of NATO’s nuclear weapons...
After this date, as NATO continues to not use nukes, the Soviet leadership must start to realize they pre-empted a nonexistent nuclear attack. Obviously they can't just say "oops, our mistake, let's run that again", so it's a moot point for the rest of the world.

Soviet politics are another matter entirely. What might happen when the middle levels of the government/Party start to realize what their leaders' paranoia has wrought?

Dayton Kitchens
May 26th, 2013, 04:14 AM
On Novebmer 15th:

After this date, as NATO continues to not use nukes, the Soviet leadership must start to realize they pre-empted a nonexistent nuclear attack. Obviously they can't just say "oops, our mistake, let's run that again", so it's a moot point for the rest of the world.

Soviet politics are another matter entirely. What might happen when the middle levels of the government/Party start to realize what their leaders' paranoia has wrought?


Wars have started over less.

arrowiv
May 26th, 2013, 03:04 PM
When can we expect to see any form of revolt in Eastern Europe, troop mutinies, or the Ukraine and Baltics breaking off soon?

MUC
May 26th, 2013, 09:30 PM
With mostof the ballistic missiles in Germany destroyed, the Soviets can claim that NATO no longer posesses the means for a preemptive strike against the USSR with little warning time for the Soviets.
The flight time of a Pershing from Germany to Moscow was around 5 min. This threat is gone now. Thus NATO can use nukes, but cannot expect to decapitate the USSR, as it could have had, if it had started a war. The Soviets know that.

Dayton Kitchens
May 27th, 2013, 01:04 AM
With mostof the ballistic missiles in Germany destroyed, the Soviets can claim that NATO no longer posesses the means for a preemptive strike against the USSR with little warning time for the Soviets.
The flight time of a Pershing from Germany to Moscow was around 5 min. This threat is gone now. Thus NATO can use nukes, but cannot expect to decapitate the USSR, as it could have had, if it had started a war. The Soviets know that.

Logically then, if they sense the war really turning against them, the Soviets can turn around and withdraw quickly back into East Germany and claim victory.

They have "eliminated the '10 minute threat' of nuclear attack upon the Soviet Union".

Might be interesting. What would NATOs reaction be to sudden Soviet withdrawal and basically the status quo being restored (aside from 2-3 million dead) and "peace" being offered?

Would NATO really insist on continuing a war with all its dangers?

joea64
May 27th, 2013, 02:06 AM
Logically then, if they sense the war really turning against them, the Soviets can turn around and withdraw quickly back into East Germany and claim victory.

They have "eliminated the '10 minute threat' of nuclear attack upon the Soviet Union".

Might be interesting. What would NATOs reaction be to sudden Soviet withdrawal and basically the status quo being restored (aside from 2-3 million dead) and "peace" being offered?

Would NATO really insist on continuing a war with all its dangers?

I seriously doubt the Soviet Union would be able to get off so easily as all that. Too many people have died (I don't know if the total death toll is in the millions so far, but it's certainly at least in the 5 figures, if not 6), huge amounts of military hardware have been expended, governments have been deposed in several European countries, and large sections of Europe have been trashed for the third time in less than 70 years. I really don't think the U.S. and its major allies are going to agree the war is over just because the Soviets say it is.

Furthermore, I think the Soviets have committed themselves too far now to just stop and pull back. Such an action would trigger exactly that kind of "what the hell?" reaction in the middle ranks of the Party and military that was alluded to above, not to mention among the populace at large. Having crossed several lines, I don't think they're going to stop until they win or lose outright (or nuclear war starts).

deathscompanion1
May 27th, 2013, 02:07 AM
I seriously doubt the Soviet Union would be able to get off so easily as all that. Too many people have died (I don't know if the total death toll is in the millions so far, but it's certainly at least in the 5 figures, if not 6), huge amounts of military hardware have been expended, governments have been deposed in several European countries, and large sections of Europe have been trashed for the third time in less than 70 years. I really don't think the U.S. and its major allies are going to agree the war is over just because the Soviets say it is.

I think there would be room to negotiate but it would definitely require the soviets making some pretty hefty concessions.

bsmart
May 27th, 2013, 02:23 AM
On November 22nd, the US Rapid Deployment Force enters the scene.

Uh - They would have already been committed elsewhere. The RDF was designed to be able to instantly move to the Mid-East with no notice from a 'cold' start. I know for a fact that in a situation such as you have set up where the ballon has already gone up in Europe the air component would have already been deployed there. Someone would have been sent to the Mid East but those of us wearing the RDF patch (at least the AF folks) would have already been sent to our European deployment bases

And a a minor nit to pick. SACLANT's airborne command post was not a TACAMO bird. The SACLANT birds were 'Scope Light' They were EC-135s based at Langley AFB. The TACAMO birds were Navy C-130s based at Pax River. TACAMO's purpose was to communicate with submerged submarines

CT23
May 27th, 2013, 02:41 AM
Minor question (and apologies if this is too off-topic): in a WW3 scenario like this, what's Israel's situation like? Is it fighting anyone?

EternalCynic
May 27th, 2013, 03:43 AM
Minor question (and apologies if this is too off-topic): in a WW3 scenario like this, what's Israel's situation like? Is it fighting anyone?

OP already says Israel and Syria were at war immediately. Israel has occupied all of Lebanon and all of southern Syria after Syria collapsed.

Dayton Kitchens
May 27th, 2013, 04:30 AM
The War That Never Was by Michael A. Palmer also has the Israelis and Syrians engaging each other very early on.

A question:

In Hacketts "The Third World War:August 1985", Clancy's "Red Storm Rising" and Palmer's "The War That Never Was".......all have Cuba under Castro doing little or nothing to assist the Soviet Union.

Yet Castro little more than 20 years earlier during the Cuban Missile Crisis urged the Soviets to nuke the U.S. even if it meant the destruction of Cuba.

So why do most professionals have Cuba desperately trying to sit out a war?

Even if the Cubans tried to sit it out, wouldn't Soviet forces in Cuba (mainly aircraft) strike at any U.S. forces or assets within range if for no other reason to draw U.S. attention to it and divert forces away from Europe?

CT23
May 27th, 2013, 05:11 AM
OP already says Israel and Syria were at war immediately. Israel has occupied all of Lebanon and all of southern Syria after Syria collapsed.


Is Israel fighting with Egypt too?

Dayton Kitchens
May 27th, 2013, 05:42 AM
Is Israel fighting with Egypt too?

Why would they? It serves the interests of neither one.

Dr. Waterhouse
May 27th, 2013, 03:53 PM
Is Israel fighting with Egypt too?

Considering as much military aid as the U.S. was giving Egypt annually after the Camp David Accords (something approaching parity with Israel) they had better not be. If Egypt is helping anyone it should be the United States. Also, Mubarak is closely aligned I believe with the Saudi leadership, and at this point I would have to think they are more closely aligned with Reagan than, oh, his Secretary of State, most of his children, and the Orange County Republican Party.

Karelian
May 27th, 2013, 11:17 PM
OMG! How many for a "little" nation!

Cold War era Finnish governments certainly took efforts to make their turf not worth the trouble by either side of the global conflict.

Can you verify, please, if this order of battle is correct for mid 80s?

But as for reliability: for starters, all the ground units you've mentioned are merely peacetime training organizations and their subunits, merely for training.

It's an interesting list: what are the sources you're using for this?
Here is a good text from late 1980s, so one could scale it down a bit and reach reasonable figures to your PoD:

The actual wartime formations would consist of two-layered command network. The basic HQ unit was territorially overlapping with the equivalent civilian government region, lääni. The military areas were thus called sotilaslääni/militärlän. There were 12 of these. As administrative HQs they had their own operational-level regional defensive plans, and during mobilization they'd have been in readiness to take command of the reservist formations raised in their areas.

The regional commands were called maanpuolustusalue (defense district). They were tasked to orchestrate the regional operational planning, preparations and actual wartime leadership, orchestrating the activity of Army, Navy and Air Forces, and coordinate civilian and military preparations.

In the 1980s system, each defense district and each subcommand within it was to mobilize and form their own wartime brigades, initially placed under separated regional commands, so that even a massive attack against one of the districts or the command networks wouldn't paralyze the whole FDF or stop the ongoing mobilization. Once mobilized, the wartime FDF naturally had a centralized system that would start to coordinate and lead the war effort.

"Finland's defense doctrine foresaw that the army (Maavoimat) would bear the brunt of repelling an invasion or any violation of Finnish territorial integrity during a period of hostilities. Consequently, maintenance of sufficient peacetime readiness of ground forces enjoyed high priority. The importance assigned to territorial defense was reflected in the command structure, which integrated army headquarters with general headquarters. Navy and air force headquarters were on a lower level, parallel with the seven military area commands.

As of 1988, the active-duty ground forces consisted of 30,000 troops, of which 22,300 were conscripts. They were organized into 8 brigades, each with a reduced peacetime strength of 1,500 to 2,000, together with 7 independent infantry battalions with strengths of up to 500 each, supported by artillery, antiaircraft, engineer, special forces, signals, and transport units of varying sizes. Under peacetime conditions, the brigade was the basic ground forces unit; there were no divisions or corps. In wartime, 2 or more brigades plus a number of detached battalions could be combined to form a corps of 15,000 to 30,000 tailored to a particular operation.

Upon mobilization, the first-line army forces, numbering about 130,000 and including younger reservists with recent training, would be deployed initially. In accordance with a fifteen-year (1981-96) modernization program, the best equipped of these units were known as Brigade 90 forces. The program provides for an eventual ten to fifteen brigades. The remaining first-line units, known as Brigade 80 forces, were believed to number ten to fifteen brigades when mobilized. They were similarly organized, but they had less advanced equipment. Although details were lacking, analysts believed that no more than one or two brigades met Brigade 90 standards as of late 1988.

http://orbat.com/site/toe/issues/I3/Mod%20-%20FinnJB90.pdf (Jääkäriprikaati -90 OOB)

A jaeger Brigade 90 consisted of four battalions, each with a complement of about 1,000 troops and each possessing some artillery and antitank capabilities. A battalion comprised four rifle companies. In addition to small arms, its principal weapons were 81mm and 120mm mortars, recoilless antitank rifles, and shoulder-fired antitank missiles. The Brigade 90 antitank company was equipped with truck-mounted, wire-guided missiles. A brigade also included two artillery battalions, one equipped with twelve 122mm howitzers and the other with twelve 155mm howitzers, all towed by tracked vehicles. The brigade air defense battalion consisted of Soviet SA-14 shoulder-fired missiles and 23mm antiaircraft guns, supported by low-level radar and by armored fire control systems. The brigade was supported by an engineering battalion with a strong minelaying unit, and headquarters, signals, and support companies.

In the north, the Brigade 90 forces would be jaeger (ranger) brigades equipped with tracked all-terrain vehicles, such as the Finnish-built NA-140. In central Finland, the jaeger brigades would have many Finnish A-180 Pasi wheeled armored personnel carriers and other light armored vehicles. Armored Brigade 90s in the south would have the T-72 main battle tank, while Brigade 80 elements would have modernized T-55 tanks; both are Soviet built (see table 22, Appendix A).

Two coast artillery regiments and three independent battalions occupied ten principal hardened gun positions, known as "fortresses," protecting key shipping lanes of the southern coast. These fixed positions, with batteries of turret-mounted 100mm and 130mm guns, had been blasted out of granite cliffs. They were supported by mobile coast artillery battalions to which, in 1988, were being added mobile Swedish RBS-15 antiship missiles mounted on all-terrain trucks.

Antiaircraft defenses were the responsibility of the army, closely coordinated with the air force. The principal weapon was the Soviet SA- 3 Goa truck-mounted surface-to-air missile.

In peacetime, trained garrison forces that could be formed into operational units within hours totaled about 10,500 (8,000 army and 2,500 RVL). In an emergency, the existing brigades and independent battalions could be brought up to a wartime strength of some 70,000 within 12 to 24 hours. In the event of an acute crisis or an attack on the country, planners anticipated that the Fast Deployment Forces--consisting of the most mobile and powerful army elements, together with almost all navy, air force, and RVL units, and key local force units in border areas--would be mobilized. The army complement of the Fast Deployment Forces amounted to about 130,000 and could be activated in two to three days.

Details on the organizational pattern of the fully mobilized army were not made public. Tomas Ries, a specialist in Nordic security, has estimated that the army's share of the general forces, that is, the most powerful elements of the Defense Forces, numbered perhaps 200,000. In combat these troops would be organized into 20 to 25 brigades; about 70 independent light infantry, artillery, antitank, and other specialized battalions averaging 800 personnel each; and some additional specialized forces, mostly of company strength. Many of these units would be equipped with older, less sophisticated weapons, and would include higher age-groups that had not undergone recent training.

The army's share of local forces would consist of about 250 light infantry battalions, as well as smaller specialized units, numbering up to 250,000. They would serve the functions of local defense, surveillance, and guard duty. An important function of the local forces would be to lay antivehicular mines to block the limited road network. These forces would be armed with modern basic infantry weapons, supplemented by older light antitank weapons, mortars, and vehicles, including some commandeered from the civilian sector.

Support troops formed a separate category, normally operating in rear areas, and would not be expected to take part in combat. They would carry out service, support, and logistical tasks. Their mobilized strength would be about 100,000."

So 200 000 (peacetime army + 130 000 Fast Deployment Forces) 1st-rate troops, ~200-250 000 reservist infantry formations + 100 00 support troops. Totalling roughly 500 000 men, with roughly 250 000 category C reservists to replace losses.

Jukra
May 28th, 2013, 12:05 PM
Cold War era Finnish governments certainly took efforts to make their turf not worth the trouble by either side of the global cobflict.

I disagree. While raw numbers look impressive, they hide the key fact which was seen by anyone taking a look at the Finnish defense budget. Finnish forces in 1980's were poorly trained, equipped more poorly than North Vietnamese Army of Vietnam war era and lacked the equipment and ammunition for a long term conflict. Moreover, the NBC capability was practically nonexisting so by use of chemical weapons Soviets would be easily able to push through Finnish defenses.

FDF would have been able to prevent a Soviet coup de main and require Soviets to use significant forced to conquer Finland, perhaps even in scale of six to ten divisions of B-C -class. Being an absolute side show in any global conflict, why bother?

Given a year of mobilization time Finnish forces would have been more impressive.

deathscompanion1
May 28th, 2013, 12:10 PM
I disagree. While raw numbers look impressive, they hide the key fact which was seen by anyone taking a look at the Finnish defense budget. Finnish forces in 1980's were poorly trained, equipped more poorly than North Vietnamese Army of Vietnam war era and lacked the equipment and ammunition for a long term conflict. Moreover, the NBC capability was practically nonexisting so by use of chemical weapons Soviets would be easily able to push through Finnish defenses.

FDF would have been able to prevent a Soviet coup de main and require Soviets to use significant forced to conquer Finland, perhaps even in scale of six to ten divisions of B-C -class. Being an absolute side show in any global conflict, why bother?

Given a year of mobilization time Finnish forces would have been more impressive.


The Finns do have a history of being extremely effective despite their limited resources. It's not 1939 but they would still be a tough nut to crack.

Jotun
May 28th, 2013, 01:24 PM
Sweden with their 850.000 men mobilization strength, Switzerland with 750.000 men and to a lesser degree Austria with a target strength of 360.000 men fully mobilized took the same approach.

The Austrian strategy, known internationally under the moniker "area defence" was in place since the early 1970's. It was a brainchild of one Major General Emil Spannocchi. Its goal was to simply deter the East (and also NATO) from violating Austrian soverignty in the event of a war. Vienna was to be given up immediately and turned into a free city as the Marchfeld was correctly deemed indefensible. Any(!) pitched battle was to be avoided and the rear echelons and flanks of the enemy to be attacked guerrilla-style, with the Austrian forces staying in such close contact as to make defensive air and artillery strikes by the WP forces nigh on impossible. Austria fell a bit too quickly in this TL, I think.

The Hungarians in the 80s felt they would in a best-case scenario be able to advance maybe 2 or 3 kilometres an hour(!) in a lightly defended area defence zone, allocating tremendous resouces per kilometre of front: 50 to 70 field guns and grenade launchers/mortars, 10 to 15 tanks and 10 to 15 howitzers in direct-fire role against fortifications.

They felt they could not successfully tackle a key zone (among others, the passes to Italy). In any case, Alpine passes, highways and waterways would have been rendered inoperable by retreating Austrian troops even before the enemy would have been in range.

kalamona
May 28th, 2013, 02:56 PM
Sweden with their 850.000 men mobilization strength, Switzerland with 750.000 men and to a lesser degree Austria with a target strength of 360.000 men fully mobilized took the same approach.

The Austrian strategy, known internationally under the moniker "area defence" was in place since the early 1970's. It was a brainchild of one Major General Emil Spannocchi. Its goal was to simply deter the East (and also NATO) from violating Austrian soverignty in the event of a war. Vienna was to be given up immediately and turned into a free city as the Marchfeld was correctly deemed indefensible. Any(!) pitched battle was to be avoided and the rear echelons and flanks of the enemy to be attacked guerrilla-style, with the Austrian forces staying in such close contact as to make defensive air and artillery strikes by the WP forces nigh on impossible. Austria fell a bit too quickly in this TL, I think.

The Hungarians in the 80s felt they would in a best-case scenario be able to advance maybe 2 or 3 kilometres an hour(!) in a lightly defended area defence zone, allocating tremendous resouces per kilometre of front: 50 to 70 field guns and grenade launchers/mortars, 10 to 15 tanks and 10 to 15 howitzers in direct-fire role against fortifications.

They felt they could not successfully tackle a key zone (among others, the passes to Italy). In any case, Alpine passes, highways and waterways would have been rendered inoperable by retreating Austrian troops even before the enemy would have been in range.

A retired hungarian officer mentioned to me, that by the intelligence reports, the thing he saw during various trips and after the fall of the iron curtain besides the friendly chit-chat withhis austrian collegaues - longstoryshort, they have something to formulate his opinion upon - that they would have reached something like the Graz area, by heavy fighting and at great costs, with powerful independent austrian units operating everywhere at their flanks, but no further. The soviets should have continue the operations after that, but even they had no chance at the alps, where (whole austria) everything was ready for demolition (bridges, tunnels, roads) in about a 2 hour notice.

Jukra
May 28th, 2013, 03:51 PM
The Finns do have a history of being extremely effective despite their limited resources. It's not 1939 but they would still be a tough nut to crack.

The difference between 1939-1944 and 1983 is that in those times Finland had armed forces which were, for a small nation, large, fairly well equipped, had excellent training and had time to prepare for each round of onslaught.
In 1983 Finnish armed forces were large but among the worst equipped in Western Europe without any qualitative edge. (Armed forces of Ireland were probably worse equipped, though.) The most usual APC of the Finnish Army in 1983 was combination of agricultural tractors, bicycles and skis.

Furthermore, as number of repetition training was fairly low the armed forces would have had to have months to prepare, or even become equipped, for any significant combat.

This was due to proportional Finnish defence budgets being among lowest, if not lowest, of all Western European countries except perhaps for Ireland since the Second World War. In 1983 there was just the legend of WW II which kept the reputation of Finnish Defence Forces alive.

Jukra
May 28th, 2013, 03:55 PM
The Austrian strategy, known internationally under the moniker "area defence" was in place since the early 1970's. It was a brainchild of one Major General Emil Spannocchi. Its goal was to simply deter the East (and also NATO) from violating Austrian soverignty in the event of a war. Vienna was to be given up immediately and turned into a free city as the Marchfeld was correctly deemed indefensible. Any(!) pitched battle was to be avoided and the rear echelons and flanks of the enemy to be attacked guerrilla-style, with the Austrian forces staying in such close contact as to make defensive air and artillery strikes by the WP forces nigh on impossible. Austria fell a bit too quickly in this TL, I think.

Finnish strategy of area defence was somewhat similar but in execution I have my own personal doubts to which level this would have been carried out either in Austria or Finland due to practical and morale concerns. First, to carry out large scale distributed combat there has to be an enormous amount of stockpiling, even when civilian resources are utilized. Organizing this takes time not available in this scenario. Second, to carry it actually out requires "better Dead than Red" thinking in both local and country level for which I'm not sure whether Finnish or Austrian political leadership of Cold War vintage was ready. Especially in case of Austria where the most populated region of country would be lost outright and which did not have the historical heroic case of self-defense. More likely, IMHO, would be desperate attempt to make some kind of arrangement.

deathscompanion1
May 28th, 2013, 04:12 PM
Finnish strategy of area defence was somewhat similar but in execution I have my own personal doubts to which level this would have been carried out either in Austria or Finland due to practical and morale concerns. First, to carry out large scale distributed combat there has to be an enormous amount of stockpiling, even when civilian resources are utilized. Organizing this takes time not available in this scenario. Second, to carry it actually out requires "better Dead than Red" thinking in both local and country level for which I'm not sure whether Finnish or Austrian political leadership of Cold War vintage was ready. Especially in case of Austria where the most populated region of country would be lost outright and which did not have the historical heroic case of self-defense. More likely, IMHO, would be desperate attempt to make some kind of arrangement.


It's not "better Dead than Red" it's not rolling over and allowing an invading army to occupy your nation when you've seen exactly what they've done in the past to nations with that misfortune, I can see them being very willing to make a deal but they would feel obliged to fight hard for at least some time even as they look at other options.

Ingsoc75
May 28th, 2013, 04:17 PM
I'm making a video timeline of this. I will give you the link when the first draft is up.

deathscompanion1
May 28th, 2013, 04:27 PM
The difference between 1939-1944 and 1983 is that in those times Finland had armed forces which were, for a small nation, large, fairly well equipped, had excellent training and had time to prepare for each round of onslaught.
In 1983 Finnish armed forces were large but among the worst equipped in Western Europe without any qualitative edge. (Armed forces of Ireland were probably worse equipped, though.) The most usual APC of the Finnish Army in 1983 was combination of agricultural tractors, bicycles and skis.

Furthermore, as number of repetition training was fairly low the armed forces would have had to have months to prepare, or even become equipped, for any significant combat.

This was due to proportional Finnish defence budgets being among lowest, if not lowest, of all Western European countries except perhaps for Ireland since the Second World War. In 1983 there was just the legend of WW II which kept the reputation of Finnish Defence Forces alive.

True but they aren't going to befighting grade A troops just yet.

Didn't someone say earlier that all the Category A soviet divisions were engaged by this point and that mobilising the Category B and C divisions was a fiasco in the eighties?

Karelian
May 29th, 2013, 12:38 AM
Finnish forces in 1980's were poorly trained, equipped more poorly than North Vietnamese Army of Vietnam war era and lacked the equipment and ammunition for a long term conflict.

As for the training, the amount of non-combat training and general tomfoolery was certainly higher than today, but compared to the Soviet training system the FDF still had better approach IMO. And as for equipment levels: had we been talking about 1970s, you'd be spot on with your analysis. By 1980s, however, Kekkonen had reversed his earlier negative policies towards the FDF, and as a result the defense budgets, while still small in international comparison, had finally provided the Finnish wartime troops with adequate conventional weaponry.

Wartime TO&E of Prikaati 1980 included 234 light recoilless rifles (55 s 55s), 30 heavy recoilless rifles (95S 58-61s) and 910 LAW M72s, separated according to the following tactical structure of a a square 4-battalion brigade with four triangular battalions and an additional AT company.

http://i1257.photobucket.com/albums/ii506/AARprofile/brigade85.jpg

Nothing fancy but certainly better than average North Vietnamese units. I'd hate to be commander of the MRD who has to clear these fellows out from the forests and hills of Eastern Finland given the time they've had to dug in by now. Unless, as you mentioned, they'll just spread some новичокto the area and march straight through after the few surviving NBC protection squads surrender.

And as for lack of ammunition stockpiles for a long-term conflict, no one estimated the next war in Europe to be a drawn-out affair.

Generally speaking I still agree with your estimations. The whole point was to make Finnish soil more trouble than it was worth.

Jukra
May 29th, 2013, 05:45 AM
Nothing fancy but certainly better than average North Vietnamese units. I'd hate to be commander of the MRD who has to clear these fellows out from the forests and hills of Eastern Finland given the time they've had to dug in by now. Unless, as you mentioned, they'll just spread some новичокto the area and march straight through after the few surviving NBC protection squads surrender.

Head on the few properly equipped A-level brigades (mind you that most of the brigades were not up to that level) would not have been that easy to dislodge if the morale was kept high. The most serious problem was tactical and operational mobility which was a situation reversed from days of WW II. Soviet troops opposing Finland had superior cross-country mobility thanks to their MT-LB and BTR-60/50 vehicles and extensive bridging gear. As for operational mobility they had adequate amount of military trucks, unlike Finnish troops whose main piece of personnel transportation was agricultural tractors.

As for NVA troops, their firepower was better thanks to more RCL's, more and different kind of MG's and more assault and semi-auto rifles.

And as for lack of ammunition stockpiles for a long-term conflict, no one estimated the next war in Europe to be a drawn-out affair.

Generally speaking I still agree with your estimations. The whole point was to make Finnish soil more trouble than it was worth.

The amount of munitions was more metered out in days rather than weeks in other classes than mines and rifle ammunition. For example, ammunition for recoilless rifles and artillery pieces was at very low levels. This was to be compensated by Finnish system of military depots, which were in reality munition factories, but they would have to be given time to ramp up their production.

On the other hand the inadequately equipped Cold War era FDF could be said to be success. After all, war never came and if it came as a WW3 in almost all estimations it would have been a nuclear affair whether or not FDF took 1,2 or 25 per cent of GDP. So why bother with large forces when forces at hand were enough to make Soviets to think twice whether or not occupying Finland was worth costs?

By keeping military budget low there was more money to be spent on education, health care, industry etc., in general things which make life worth living for instead of pumping it to weapons. Finland also managed to avoid militaristic and paranoid culture of Cold War era evident in many other countries almost completely.

(Personally, though, I'd say somewhat better equipped forces could have given Finland somewhat more political leeway so it might have been worth the costs)

Jukra
May 29th, 2013, 05:47 AM
It's not "better Dead than Red" it's not rolling over and allowing an invading army to occupy your nation when you've seen exactly what they've done in the past to nations with that misfortune, I can see them being very willing to make a deal but they would feel obliged to fight hard for at least some time even as they look at other options.

The problem with Area Defense in case of Austria is that most of the population falls under occupation during beginning of the war. Would there be political will to continue fighting? In Finnish case the main population regions were further away from the border.

Jotun
May 29th, 2013, 06:57 AM
As far as I can discern, the Austrians would not have rolled over and given Ivan access to the country. Many of Austria's cities are in the mountainous regions and thus easily shielded from the Red Hordes(tm). The militia would have made any attempt at crossing the mountains a living hell for the red Army.

There was only a relatively small amount of dissenters from the strategy of deterrence. It was a national effort, really, on all levels.

Karelian
May 30th, 2013, 12:17 AM
The most serious problem was tactical and operational mobility which was a situation reversed from days of WW II. Soviet troops opposing Finland had superior cross-country mobility thanks to their MT-LB and BTR-60/50 vehicles and extensive bridging gear. As for operational mobility they had adequate amount of military trucks, unlike Finnish troops whose main piece of personnel transportation was agricultural tractors.

In this TL the new Finno-Soviet conflict would ironically enough start in winter conditions. Depending on the snow coverage, it evens the mobility disparity quite a bit, as lightly frozen lakes are better obstacles than open water and deep snow hinders the movement of wheeled APCs. And then there are mines. During the land mine debate on the previous decade official FDF estimations were that in a mined territory A2 Yellow could proceed with maximum operational pace of 20km per day. Considering the Soviet operational doctrine of 1980s, I find this rather realistic estimation. After the Kymi valley is surpassed and the better road network in southern Finland is reached, the Soviet formations are certainly fast enough to manouver and move towards population centers.

As for NVA troops, their firepower was better thanks to more RCL's, more and different kind of MG's and more assault and semi-auto rifles.

They certainly have more HMGs, that's for sure...But the assault rifle situation wasn't so bad by 1980s, certainly the reservists would have still been equipped with bolt-action M39s and M31 Suomi SMGs but stockpiles of RK 62s and older AKs were large enough for grade A formations at least.

I'm not certain when Finns bought their crapload of NSVTs, but I'd assume it was after the German reunification. Speaking of which, whenever I see "NVA" I always think East German military first.

The amount of munitions was more metered out in days rather than weeks in other classes than mines and rifle ammunition. For example, ammunition for recoilless rifles and artillery pieces was at very low levels. This was to be compensated by Finnish system of military depots, which were in reality munition factories, but they would have to be given time to ramp up their production.



On the other hand the inadequately equipped Cold War era FDF could be said to be success. After all, war never came and if it came as a WW3 in almost all estimations it would have been a nuclear affair whether or not FDF took 1,2 or 25 per cent of GDP. So why bother with large forces when forces at hand were enough to make Soviets to think twice whether or not occupying Finland was worth costs?

By keeping military budget low there was more money to be spent on education, health care, industry etc., in general things which make life worth living for instead of pumping it to weapons. Finland also managed to avoid militaristic and paranoid culture of Cold War era evident in many other countries almost completely.

I'm anything but jingoistic in this regard, and find the policies of Cold War era Finnish governments sensible and reasonable. They also invested quite a bit on population protection facilities for worst-case scenario.

I disagree on the notion that Finland avoided militarism, though. Despite the antiwar sentiment of leftist student movement, the general mood in Finnish society was and in some regards still is quite authoritarian and militaristic when compared to Sweden, for example.

(Personally, though, I'd say somewhat better equipped forces could have given Finland somewhat more political leeway so it might have been worth the costs)

Well, one could say that such a process began in 1980s and continued to recession of 1990s....although a scenario where Finland agrees the military aid Kennedy promised to Kekkonen back in the day would be fun to write sometimes...

Unknown
May 30th, 2013, 12:59 AM
When's the next update?

Timmy811
May 30th, 2013, 02:25 AM
Italy surrender: it's a political surrender, the army is still fighting. Call it the Italian way of "defense in depth".
How can that possiblely work? Either the civilian government is just lying or the military has basically taken over state.


About NATO losing too much grond: this is the very first time I see so many NATO-optimists. Usually, in the analysis wrote in the 80s and in exercises I read something like: "In six or seven days we are pushed back on the Rhine, then we nuke them and the war finishes in a mess". Only in late 80s I could find something more optimistic, but a Rand Corp's political and military wargame on a protracted conventional conflict, executed in 1989, forecasted a Soviet conventional victory in three months instead of few days.

It's called hindsight. We have a lower estimation of Soviet strength now, and higher estimation of American strength.

Dayton Kitchens
May 30th, 2013, 02:59 AM
The thing that I have about the Soviets being able to do so well against NATO early on is that they are basically launching this invasion "from a standing start" with effectively no opportunity for mobilization.

In short, aside from air power and missile units that could be moved up quickly, they would be attacking with ONLY the Category A units in East Germany in November of 1983.

The only way I see the Soviets doing so well on the ground is that the chemical weapons attacks causes a mass pull back by NATO units along the border.

Timmy811
May 30th, 2013, 10:56 AM
The United Kingdom is in the first line since the start of the conflict. With bombs and missiles (both chemical and conventional) falling on British military, naval and air bases, the country fell abruptly in wartime. The first victims of the Soviet first strike are the peace movements gathered in large numbers around the Greenham Common base and other nuclear assets. The Spetnatz sudden assault on Greenham Common produces a wave of panic among the peace activists and takes a high toll of civilian lives. The first chemical missiles launched against the air and naval bases inflicts heavy losses among both military and civilians as well, but mainly the death of hundreds of peace activists gathered around the Soviet chemical targets. After the evacuations of all the areas hit by VX gas and all those which are potential targets, the peace movement (the largest in Europe) simply ceases to exist. Just after the first days of panic, other minor peace demonstrations take place in London and other major cities. But they are no more welcomed by the largest part of the British public opinion. After a first week of intense nuclear scare, when it’s clear that the British army is fighting a non-nuclear war in Europe (like the First and Second World Wars) a wave of intense patriotism prevails. Larger peace demonstrations are strictly monitored and restricted by the police, considering that the first Spetnatz attacks were conducted by Soviet agents infiltrated in peace movements. Freedom of assembly is kept. Far from military and political potential targets.

With hundreds of the most prominent in the peace movement murdered by nerve gas in a Soviet first strike, it's very hard for me to imagine any but the most fringe of protest movements. They would be politically irrelevant and in need of police protection from the populace at large.

Reading further along, one would think that the situation in Italy is so muddled that it would quickly, perhaps immediately fall into civil conflict, one in which I would expect the right, with the support of the military to win.


Now, I may seem negative, but aside from the issues I've mentioned I really like your timeline. The assassinations, the home front updates, the war in Germany, Northern Europe, the Middle East and Korea I like.

For cultural musings, CBS would certainly pull Walter Cronkite out of retirement for this emergency wouldn't they? He'd have only been retired two years and was still active, having recently reported on the British Election. All respects to Dan Rather, but no one in American media was more respected than Cronkite.

Lee Greenwood would release "God Bless the USA" early and it would certainly become the defining American song of the conflict.

80's Rock is going to be very interesting and apocalyptic due to this conflict.

Dayton Kitchens
May 30th, 2013, 02:00 PM
While the thing about refugees clogging up roadways is very realistic and a nice touch, wouldn't the civilian death toll from chemical weapons along border be so staggeringly high that it would actually serve to reduce potential refugee traffic in West Germany?

Jotun
May 30th, 2013, 02:20 PM
Concerning the chemical weapons: Prevailing winds in Central Europe during that time is westerly/southwesterly. This alone would have posed a problem for the Soviets. Who wants to kill off friendly civilians east of the Curtain?

Second: Effectiveness of chemical weapons in cold and damp weather (November in Germany tends to be very cold and very wet) should also be much reduced.

Third: Widespread chemical attacks on NATO forces in West Germany? Why didn't the US and GB retaliate immediately? Why were no tactical nukes flown in from the UK and/or the USA?
Chemical warfare is warfare with weapons of mass destruction. NATO would have responded in kind. And likely upped the ante. But I forgot. All tacnukes were conveniently blown up by...tacnukes? Sorry :rolleyes:

While I admit I lean heavily towards the "NATO would do a lot better" camp and may be biased, the reasons why the WP advances so far so fast seem more than a bit forced to me. Starting with the last few agonizing years of the Brezhnev era, the Bear lost much of his strength. I am not saying it was a paper...uh...bear, but the whole edifice that was the Soviet Union started to groan at the seams and readiness also in the Cat A divisions was declining rapidly.

Timmy811
May 30th, 2013, 03:03 PM
Chemical warfare is warfare with weapons of mass destruction. NATO would have responded in kind. And likely upped the ante. But I forgot. All tacnukes were conveniently blown up by...tacnukes? Sorry :rolleyes:



I don't remember any tacnukes being used. The tac nukes in Germany were destroyed by conventional strikes (missiles and commandos).

Dayton Kitchens
May 30th, 2013, 03:07 PM
Concerning the chemical weapons: Prevailing winds in Central Europe during that time is westerly/southwesterly. This alone would have posed a problem for the Soviets. Who wants to kill off friendly civilians east of the Curtain?

Second: Effectiveness of chemical weapons in cold and damp weather (November in Germany tends to be very cold and very wet) should also be much reduced.

Third: Widespread chemical attacks on NATO forces in West Germany? Why didn't the US and GB retaliate immediately? Why were no tactical nukes flown in from the UK and/or the USA?
Chemical warfare is warfare with weapons of mass destruction. NATO would have responded in kind. And likely upped the ante..

I really doubt the Soviets would've cared that much if German civilians got killed whether they were Eastern or Western. I agree with what has been written that the Soviets would NEVER have wanted a united Germany even one that was a socialist workers paradise.

As James F. Dunnigan once said "a united Germany under a communist govt. in 20 years would be armed and ready to fight Russians".

As for NATO responding to chemical weapons with nuclear attacks.

Never going to happen. Although NATO liked to bluster, threaten about their willingness to "go nuclear" if necessary in order to use ambiguity to help deter the Soviets, in reality NATO had a very clear (though unstated) agreement among themselves for "no first use".

Timmy811
May 30th, 2013, 03:36 PM
So, by the end of the latest update, there must be at least 30,000 Americans KIA right? I'd say that is a conservative estimate, there were probably 6-8,000 on the first day.

Dr. Waterhouse
May 30th, 2013, 04:01 PM
So, by the end of the latest update, there must be at least 30,000 Americans KIA right? I'd say that is a conservative estimate, there were probably 6-8,000 on the first day.

I would love to see some casualty statistics, though I hate to burden our author further, given the scope of the timeline and the research required as it is.

Timmy811
May 30th, 2013, 04:10 PM
I would love to see some casualty statistics, though I hate to burden our author further, given the scope of the timeline and the research required as it is.
The five subs sank on the first day had a crew of 727, they're dead for sure.

The USS Kittyhawk had a crew of 5,624. Since it's hit by three subs I would think that it would take a ton of damage, killing many instantly and then sink so fast that most of the survivors would drown. Even if only half die the number of KIA is already over 3,500.

Than you have to factor in the airstrikes, gas attacks and conventional fighting in Germany. November 9th made Antietam look pale in comparison.

EDIT: By the way, Colin Powell was a major general and Caspar Weinberger's senior military assistant. Was he on that helicopter that got shot down?

Schwarzkopf was the senior army officer in the invasion of Grenada. Did he oversee the fighting in Central America? If so, what a waste of talent. Or did he keep command of the 24th Division and get sent to Europe?

Dr. Waterhouse
May 30th, 2013, 06:41 PM
The five subs sank on the first day had a crew of 727, they're dead for sure.

The USS Kittyhawk had a crew of 5,624. Since it's hit by three subs I would think that it would take a ton of damage, killing many instantly and then sink so fast that most would survivors would drown. Even if only half die the number of KIA is already over 3,500.

Than you have to factor in the airstrikes, gas attacks and conventional fighting in Germany. November 9th made Antietam look pale in comparison.

EDIT: By the way, Colin Powell was a major general and Caspar Weinberger's senior military assistant. Was he on that helicopter that got shot down?

Schwarzkopf was the senior army officer in the invasion of Grenada. Did he oversee the fighting in Central America? If so, what a waste of talent. Or did he keep command of the 24th Division and get sent to Europe?

Well, that gets us to one of many interesting questions brought up by the timeline. To my limited understanding most U.S. military strategy that has been developed since 1983 has been preoccupied with subduing small and mid-sized nation-states in a post Cold War context. Powell's claim to fame is that his name became attached to how the most successful instance of this. Now, it seems to me that the mindset of U.S. military planners are going to be far different going forward. If our generals are always re-fighting the last war, this timeline would be the last war the generals will be re-fighting for the next twenty years. So it seems that military planners will be more focused on large-scale, World War II-like warfare, less on speed and air power. So if Powell were to die on that helicopter with Weinberger, he might be at the height of his career. Or, alternately, faced with a different world, the same people develop radically different solutions. Of course it does make me wonder who precisely the leadiing figures in U.S. military strategy will be when the smoke clears.

MUC
May 30th, 2013, 07:10 PM
The thing that I have about the Soviets being able to do so well against NATO early on is that they are basically launching this invasion "from a standing start" with effectively no opportunity for mobilization.
The Soviets cannot mobilize, without NATO taking notice and responding in kind. There are pros and cons to mobilization prior to an invasion.


In short, aside from air power and missile units that could be moved up quickly, they would be attacking with ONLY the Category A units in East Germany in November of 1983.
They can also use forces of the GDR plus other Warsaw Pact troops.
And it's easier to get a Soviet division from Kiev to Erfurt than a US division from Texas to Frankfurt, including their equipment. If Soviet logistics are not harmed by NATO air strikes they can easily send mass amounts of troops to the front in the first week of conflict, while NATO will have to ship them over from the States (in case of US & Canadian troops) through a Soviet sub infested N.Atlantic.

Dayton Kitchens
May 30th, 2013, 09:40 PM
The Soviets cannot mobilize, without NATO taking notice and responding in kind. There are pros and cons to mobilization prior to an invasion.


They can also use forces of the GDR plus other Warsaw Pact troops.
And it's easier to get a Soviet division from Kiev to Erfurt than a US division from Texas to Frankfurt, including their equipment. If Soviet logistics are not harmed by NATO air strikes they can easily send mass amounts of troops to the front in the first week of conflict, while NATO will have to ship them over from the States (in case of US & Canadian troops) through a Soviet sub infested N.Atlantic.

Another thing.

There are few viable scenarios for World War Three that have large numbers of Soviet submarines in the North Atlantic when the war starts.

Normal readiness levels for the Soviet attack sub for was for about 15% or their boats to be at sea at one time. Attacking from a standing start, that would mean about 45 attack submarines deployed AROUND THE WORLD. Which probably translates into about 20-25 in the North Atlantic. And that number would fall rapidly as NATO was quite good at ASW.

And as was stated in "The War That Never Was", the Soviets would never deploy large numbers of their warships suddenly into the North Atlantic as this would be a huge tip off to impending invasion of Western Europe.

Remember, the Soviet Army was at the absolute TOP of the pecking order in the Soviet military structure while the Soviet Navy was the absolute BOTTOM. There is no way that the Soviet Army is never going to allow the Soviet Navy to endanger the element of surprise for the Soviet Army.

In regards to logistics, the Soviets historically had trouble enough moving large numbers of troops through Eastern Europe in an orderly manner in peacetime.

In wartime it would hugely worse even if NATO air attacks were rare.

Finally all NATO troops would be fighting over territory that they had been training and exercising over their entire careers.

The Soviets would be in unfamiliar territory literally.

that is a huge, game changer.

deathscompanion1
May 30th, 2013, 09:46 PM
SOSUS would also be a pain for the Soviets.

I also heard from my history teacher last that the Soviet Submariners themselves didn't expect to last long, he said that one of them said it was absolutely terrifying going out on some patrols because the Americans always knew roughly where they were or at least that was the impression they got.

Dayton Kitchens
May 30th, 2013, 10:02 PM
SOSUS would also be a pain for the Soviets.

I also heard from my history teacher last that the Soviet Submariners themselves didn't expect to last long, he said that one of them said it was absolutely terrifying going out on some patrols because the Americans always knew roughly where they were or at least that was the impression they got.

IIRC, in the book about Cold War submarine adventures "Blind Man's Bluff" they talked about how former Soviet and former American submariners got together in the early 1990s (when we thought everyone would become friends) and compared notes about their deployments and missions.

It turned out that the Soviets were far more outclassed under the sea that even the most optimistic American submariner had suspected.

They simply did not have the technology or the training to keep up with western (mainly American & British) submariners.

sloreck
May 30th, 2013, 11:18 PM
Having been in the ASW business during the cold war I can affirm that there is no way the USSR could have even 20-25 subs in the Atlantic on any given day without some sort of surge. Furthermore sinking even one SSBN by the Soviets would be almost ASB, more than one no way. If all of a sudden Soviet subs in large numbers were stalking boomers, that would also be a big alarm. The USSR MIGHT be able to sneak a very small number (2-3) of subs in to the Atlantic prior to a war starting, but more than that no way - and any bump in Soviet naval presence (sub or surface) would set off alarm bells like crazy.

The US (and NATO) considered the use of any WMD, nukes/chem/bio, as the same as opening the door to retaliation by any WMD not necessarily tit for tat. This was widely advertised so the Soviets knew if they used chem, for example, USA/NATO would feel free to use nukes in response not constrained to chem.

While the exact amount of warning time might vary a good bit, overall there is no way the USSR could launch a totally bolt out of the blue (BOOB attack we called it) like this and achieve complete surprise. Even if REFORGER not fully up, there should be enough warning so that SPETSNATZ attacks on HQs, nuke storage sites etc that are obvious high value targets would be hard to pull off as guard would be up...

Timmy811
May 30th, 2013, 11:30 PM
The US (and NATO) considered the use of any WMD, nukes/chem/bio, as the same as opening the door to retaliation by any WMD not necessarily tit for tat. This was widely advertised so the Soviets knew if they used chem, for example, USA/NATO would feel free to use nukes in response not constrained to chem.

While the exact amount of warning time might vary a good bit, overall there is no way the USSR could launch a totally bolt out of the blue (BOOB attack we called it) like this and achieve complete surprise. Even if REFORGER not fully up, there should be enough warning so that SPETSNATZ attacks on HQs, nuke storage sites etc that are obvious high value targets would be hard to pull off as guard would be up...

It's easy to say that you will respond to chemical weapons with nukes, less easy to order it when such an order could lead to the destruction of the world. Given Reagan's views on nuclear weapons, I don't believe he would ever order them used in response for chemical weapons.

The problem with intelligence is the people interpreting it and their superiors. They are not going to want to believe what they're seeing, and it's entirely conceivable that they will disbelieve/misinterpret what's going on until it's too late. Humans are fallible, especially the ones in US intelligence who seemingly never miss an opportunity to be surprised by the obvious.

As for the subs, when spies give you locations of American subs and US naval codes, I'd imagine that one would do much better than technology and skill would indicate.

deathscompanion1
May 31st, 2013, 12:04 AM
It's easy to say that you will respond to chemical weapons with nukes, less easy to order it when such an order could lead to the destruction of the world. Given Reagan's views on nuclear weapons, I don't believe he would ever order them used in response for chemical weapons.

The problem with intelligence is the people interpreting it and their superiors. They are not going to want to believe what they're seeing, and it's entirely conceivable that they will disbelieve/misinterpret what's going on until it's too late. Humans are fallible, especially the ones in US intelligence who seemingly never miss an opportunity to be surprised by the obvious.

As for the subs, when spies give you locations of American subs and US naval codes, I'd imagine that one would do much better than technology and skill would indicate.


Two of the best kept secrets on the planet... not to mention that if they had broken the codes they would know that there was no plan to attack so they would not launch the invasion in the first place.

Timmy811
May 31st, 2013, 02:09 AM
Aren't those two things exactly what the Walker spy ring compromised?

Another thought, after the attempted invasion of Hokadio, surely this would prompt the Japanese to ammend the constitution and get rid of article 9.

sloreck
May 31st, 2013, 02:41 AM
Nobody knew where US boomers were, not even the US Navy. Basically once they submerged their method was to enter a "box" by a certain date, stay in the box until a certain date then come home. These boxes were large, and by 1980 the boomers did not have to move out of the box closer to the USSR to launch against assigned targets (at least generally) due to improved missiles. Once in the box they maneuvered at will, and usually at very low speeds and were very, very quiet indeed. Since nobody knew where boomers were at any given moment, "spies" and "codes" were of no use - because the area of operations was so large, even if the Soviets knew where the box was there was really no way they would find the boomer.

Dayton Kitchens
May 31st, 2013, 05:21 AM
^Exactly as I thought.

I read the book "Big Red" about the Ohio class U.S.S. Nebraska.

It mentioned the following:

1) The officer who plots the actual course of an SSBN is not allowed to actually put in down on paper until AFTER the SSBN is submerged and well under way.

2) Most of the crew do not know where their own boat is precisely enough to give any information to enemy forces. It was mentioned that aboard the U.S.S. Nebraska, the commander kept a chart up for the crew indicating where the boat was.

Kind of.

He always kept the icon for the submarine on the chart about 100 miles away from its actual location.

Timmy811
May 31st, 2013, 05:25 AM
Nobody knew where US boomers were, not even the US Navy. Basically once they submerged their method was to enter a "box" by a certain date, stay in the box until a certain date then come home. These boxes were large, and by 1980 the boomers did not have to move out of the box closer to the USSR to launch against assigned targets (at least generally) due to improved missiles. Once in the box they maneuvered at will, and usually at very low speeds and were very, very quiet indeed. Since nobody knew where boomers were at any given moment, "spies" and "codes" were of no use - because the area of operations was so large, even if the Soviets knew where the box was there was really no way they would find the boomer.

They do communicate with Naval command do they not? It should be trivial for the Navy to figure out where the subs are by tracing the source of their transmission.

MUC
May 31st, 2013, 07:38 AM
It's all a question of timing.
The Soviets can put 10 subs at sea, bring them to the GIUK gap and ave them cross itb(and by it the SOSUS lines too) the moment the war starts.
That's not hard to pull off and NATO can't respond to 10 subs crossing the GIUK gap at the same time, if they dont have enough ships on station.


In regards to logistics, the Soviets historically had trouble enough moving large numbers of troops through Eastern Europe in an orderly manner in peacetime.
Source?

Tyg
May 31st, 2013, 07:40 AM
They do communicate with Naval command do they not? It should be trivial for the Navy to figure out where the subs are by tracing the source of their transmission.

Presumably then they do not transmit when inside their box for their allotted time until and unless very special/particular circumstances arise that cannot wait. Boomers aren't supposed to go looking for trouble, they are the trouble. The last word in trouble.

Modern submarines don't need to surface (IIRC) to communicate, and to the extent transmission (or other activity that risks detection) is necessary, it seems logical that they'd move in a random direction and depth for sufficient time as to make fixing their location (and real heading) difficult.

iddt3
May 31st, 2013, 07:45 AM
Presumably then they do not transmit when inside their box for their allotted time until and unless very special/particular circumstances arise that cannot wait. Boomers aren't supposed to go looking for trouble, they are the trouble. The last word in trouble.

Modern submarines don't need to surface (IIRC) to communicate, and to the extent transmission (or other activity that risks detection) is necessary, it seems logical that they'd move in a random direction and depth for sufficient time as to make fixing their location (and real heading) difficult.

I believe they use radio buoys, you program the message you want to send, leave, then it transmits later, though I might be misremembering.

sharlin
May 31st, 2013, 07:54 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2B7sdLPMfc

Utterly relevant to this thread should it REALLY go south in the TL.

Jotun
May 31st, 2013, 07:54 AM
It's easy to say that you will respond to chemical weapons with nukes, less easy to order it when such an order could lead to the destruction of the world. Given Reagan's views on nuclear weapons, I don't believe he would ever order them used in response for chemical weapons.

The problem with intelligence is the people interpreting it and their superiors. They are not going to want to believe what they're seeing, and it's entirely conceivable that they will disbelieve/misinterpret what's going on until it's too late. Humans are fallible, especially the ones in US intelligence who seemingly never miss an opportunity to be surprised by the obvious.

As for the subs, when spies give you locations of American subs and US naval codes, I'd imagine that one would do much better than technology and skill would indicate.

You are aware that most of NATO had their own military intelligence establishments, too, right?

One of the older guys (he made O-3 from the chief ranks, called Fachoffizier in German) I served on a frigate with was originally a SIGINT guy. One thing I heard from him but also others is that the SIGINT people up in the "Kastagnette" installation in Bramstedtlund/Schleswig-Holstein were so good that they were able to tell which Red Banner Northern Fleet Tu-22M were airborne by the idiosyncracies onf the respective Morse operator sitting in the plane. Yes, the Backfires of the 70s and 80s used Morse code to phone home. And do you really think the Brits, the French, the Americans etc. were any worse than the West Germans?

And there is simply no way a military buildup for invasion across the whole damn Iron Curtain (we are talking MILLIONS of men, dozens of divisions, HQs and whatnot) would have been accomplished without any electronic blurbs. And what about IMINT? All image analysts and their superiors missed the whole damn WP entering their ready zones just east of the IGB, for example? No way.

Granted, the WP pulled off something similar in 1968 when they invaded Czechoslovakia and caught NATO napping. But that was in the sixties when a lot of stuff was still deliverable by courier or land line. In short, when a lot of stuff was still analog. When the technologial revolution picked up speed especially in the West, the BOOB invasion (thanks for that term) became increasingly unfeasible, 1980 or so at the latest. At least that's what I heard time and again.

And I can not stress this enough: The nuke stores in Germany were among the best-guarded places in the world. As good as the Spetsnaz were, there is no way they would have been that successful. The Sonderwaffenbegleitkompanien and USAF/US Army would like to have a word here ;)

Timmy811
May 31st, 2013, 07:57 AM
I believe they use radio buoys, you program the message you want to send, leave, then it transmits later, though I might be misremembering.

That's fine for the subs sending messages to HQ, but don't the subs need relatively regular updates from command? How else would they know whether a war has started?

Jotun
May 31st, 2013, 08:02 AM
Subs the world over are contacted by either VLF or ELF transmissions. To answer, they use comms buoys and satellite communications uplinks with burst transmissions that are almost undetectable. For the burst transmission, a thin antenna has to be stuck outside the water for a very short time. Not even the periscope needs to penetrate the water's surface. Very stealthy, very quick, very secure.

VLF/ELF is an extremely slow way of transmitting information. That's why there is much use of short letter code groups that basically say things like "contact home base" or "defcon X" or whatever.


Wikipedia has a good article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication_with_submarines

Alternate History Geek
May 31st, 2013, 12:21 PM
The US (and NATO) considered the use of any WMD, nukes/chem/bio, as the same as opening the door to retaliation by any WMD not necessarily tit for tat. This was widely advertised so the Soviets knew if they used chem, for example, USA/NATO would feel free to use nukes in response not constrained to chem.

In that case, wouldn't the Soviets use persistent chemical weapons on nuke sites to make the nuclear weapons unsafe to use?

Timmy811
May 31st, 2013, 02:34 PM
An interesting historical note, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at this time was John William Vessey Jr. He enlisted in the National Guard in '39 and fought in the 34th Infantry from North Africa to Italy. He earned a battlefield comission at Anzio, and by the time he became Chairman of the JCS was the last four star combat veteran of World War II on active service. He fought in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, where he earned a Distinguished Service Cross for leading the defense of a fire base under attack by overwhelming odds. He later served with the 3rd Armored division in West Germany. Sounds like he's a fantastic fit for the job of leading the U.S. military in World War Three!

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

kessock
May 31st, 2013, 03:06 PM
In that case, wouldn't the Soviets use persistent chemical weapons on nuke sites to make the nuclear weapons unsafe to use?
Yes, the same as airbases however it would just make getting them a bit more difficult and time consuming, not impossible. MOPPed up may not be fun but it works.

Dayton Kitchens
May 31st, 2013, 03:30 PM
They do communicate with Naval command do they not? It should be trivial for the Navy to figure out where the subs are by tracing the source of their transmission.

IIRC, when they are in the part of their patrol called "deterrence patrol" when their readiness to launch missiles is highest, the only communications they would receive would be launch orders.

By then it would be too late for any Soviet SSNs

Dayton Kitchens
May 31st, 2013, 03:33 PM
It's all a question of timing.
The Soviets can put 10 subs at sea, bring them to the GIUK gap and ave them cross itb(and by it the SOSUS lines too) the moment the war starts.
That's not hard to pull off and NATO can't respond to 10 subs crossing the GIUK gap at the same time, if they dont have enough ships on station.



Source?

Ten submarines wouldn't come remotely close to halting U.S. resupply convoys to Europe.

They would be lucky to slow them down much.

sloreck
May 31st, 2013, 06:01 PM
The SOSUS network would pick up Soviet subs long before they neared the GIUK Gap, albeit with perhaps less positional accuracy than when they were closer. Bottom line is that operational patterns of the Soviet Navy were well known, and the Red Banner Fleet operated with much less flexibility than the US or NATO navies. Any significant variation in pattern would generate immediate scrutiny. This also goes for land and air force patterns as well. Now how this intelligence is used/perceived by higher ups can be debatable, however a collection of indicators consistent with a potential attack would not be ignored by senior defense officials everywhere in NATO.

One of the problems the USSR always faced was getting the subs in place to interdict convoys to Europe. Even if they "loitered" north of the GIUK Gap until the whistle blew, and mostly managed to avoid detection, they would then have to dash across the GIUK Gap and southward to get in to position. Unfortunately the faster a sub goes the more noise it generates and therefore the easier it is to find and kill. An additional problem is that conventional (diesel-electric) subs need to either run on the surface or use the snorkel to maintain a high speed of advance and running the diesel, whether on the surface or snorkeling, generates lots of noise.

None of this is to say that Soviet subs could not cause some problems for NATO, but the sort of success in this TL not realistic. Also expect that any surface units outside of northern waters or some remote areas will have a very short lifespan (especially in hte Atlantic or Med).

Dayton Kitchens
May 31st, 2013, 06:22 PM
I enjoyed Red Storm Rising a great deal but it has staggeringly huge plot holes that are so obvious to people like Tom Clancy and Larry Bond that I can't help believe they did them deliberately in order to introduce some "wild cards" in their WWIII scenario.

One huge plot hole that no one seems to mention is that the Soviet Union prepares for the war for FOUR MONTHS on every possible level...yet NATO basically doesn't start taking it seriously until A WEEK or less before the war begins.

That said, it seems to me that the "bolt from the blue" attack by the Soviets where they achieve near complete strategic and tactical surprise and NATO has less than 36 hours warning is the ONLY scenario that would have a high probability of Soviet victory.

And for obvious reasons it is the absolute LEAST likely attack they could pull off.

Dr. Waterhouse
May 31st, 2013, 07:09 PM
Well, I am interested in seeing where the timeline goes from the point where it left off.

MUC
May 31st, 2013, 07:57 PM
Ten submarines wouldn't come remotely close to halting U.S. resupply convoys to Europe.

They would be lucky to slow them down much.

They dont have to halt the supply lanes. But you said it yourself: It would force the US to form convoys. This takes time.

sloreck
June 1st, 2013, 12:13 AM
Convoys would have to be formed yes, but initial small convoys could be done with high priority/higher speed vessels could happen quickly. even with a period of individual sailings the issue remains how much area can a submarine cover. Again subs have to get in to shipping lanes, and this risks detection. In 1980 NATO air ASW can cover major shipping lanes quite well making life unpleasant or short for subs..no "Mid-Atlantic Gap" like WW2. NATO surface forces are going to be forming hunter-killer groups and being quite aggressive.

Air ASW bases in the US, Canada, Bermuda, Azores, Iceland are really out of range for the USSR (unless they use nuke missiles) and those in UK and Iberian Peninsula are going to be way down on the target list for Soviet aviation. NATO subs are going to be hunting Soviet subs in the Atlantic, but especially north of the GIUK Gap.

Soviet subs in the Pacific Fleet don't count obviously for the European theater, and subs in the Baltic and Black Sea fleets that have not exited their home areas will be stuck. At least 1/3 of all subs will be unable to deploy rapidly..probably more....

Dirk_Pitt
June 1st, 2013, 12:41 AM
I believe they use radio buoys, you program the message you want to send, leave, then it transmits later, though I might be misremembering.

Yes that is what was mentioned in RSR. Good book.

Dayton Kitchens
June 1st, 2013, 12:53 AM
The same online sources that mention Able Archer, and the book "The Rise and Fall of the U.S. Navy" make it clear that in the early 1980s, the Soviets were completely unable to defend against carrier battle groups driving right up to the Kola Peninsula and launching strikes.

In late 1981, the U.S., British, Canadian, and Norwegian navies sent a task force of 83 ships centered around the U.S.S. Eisenhower and the HMS Invincible past the GIUK line and within strike range of the Kola peninsula.

The Soviets had spies in the U.S. that informed them of the fleets departure, heading, and intentions. (Walker spy ring in part).

The Soviets launched not one but TWO RORSAT ocean surveillance satellites specifically to track the fleet.

The Soviets sent out dozens of recon aircraft to locate the fleet.

Results:

The Soviets couldn't find it. They knew its general location but never enough to have launched any kind of successful attack.

An American admiral in the aftermath noted with surprise that "they are basically naked up there".

In the Pacific, the Soviets turned out to be blind in 1983 around a number of top security bases (about the time they downed KAL 007) because powerful storms had wrecked havoc with vital radar sites.

All in all, in the early 1980s, the Soviet homeland was far, far, far less protected than people think.

Timmy811
June 1st, 2013, 09:40 AM
The Soviet Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific fleets have all been destroyed already and Soviet subs have had absolutely no success after day # 1, not sure why you guys are harping on this.

Top Gun is going to be a much better and more interesting movie when it comes out in this timeline.

deathscompanion1
June 1st, 2013, 10:17 AM
The Soviet Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific fleets have all been destroyed already and Soviet subs have had absolutely no success after day # 1, not sure why you guys are harping on this.

Top Gun is going to be a much better and more interesting movie when it comes out in this timeline.


Top Gun won't come out.

Instead expect either loads of fantasys and dramas ( people need an escape from a world that will be in very rough shape)

And if this is a NATO victory lots of uber patriotic movies followed by more measured ones focussing on war is hell and the effects.

Not sure what a NATO loss would produce.

KillerT
June 1st, 2013, 10:45 AM
Is it true that the soviets never actually managed to track one single SSBN? And also true that the RN and USN regularly did get to ping a Soviet one?

MUC
June 1st, 2013, 11:08 AM
Convoys would have to be formed yes, but initial small convoys could be done with high priority/higher speed vessels could happen quickly. even with a period of individual sailings the issue remains how much area can a submarine cover. Again subs have to get in to shipping lanes, and this risks detection. In 1980 NATO air ASW can cover major shipping lanes quite well making life unpleasant or short for subs..no "Mid-Atlantic Gap" like WW2. NATO surface forces are going to be forming hunter-killer groups and being quite aggressive.
Troops transports outside of a convoy are a no-go. I don't think the US would be foolish enough to risk such a move. Sure, sending over ammo or tanks in an unescorted ship is one thing, but I do not see for example the USS Inchon transiting alone the Atlantic Ocean full of marines with Soviet subs possible lurking.


Air ASW bases in the US, Canada, Bermuda, Azores, Iceland are really out of range for the USSR (unless they use nuke missiles) and those in UK and Iberian Peninsula are going to be way down on the target list for Soviet aviation. NATO subs are going to be hunting Soviet subs in the Atlantic, but especially north of the GIUK Gap.
Iceland is well in range of Backfires and with Norwegian airspace contested plus the Soviets making a surprise move, a "Red Storm Rising"-type of raid is possible (without the Soviets landing on the island, just a bunch of Backfires blasting the hell out the airbase with cruise missiles).
Further bases in Canada, Bermuda or the Azores could also be attacked by Soviet SSGNs, although they would have to position them early enough before the conflict to do so.

MUC
June 1st, 2013, 11:12 AM
The same online sources that mention Able Archer, and the book "The Rise and Fall of the U.S. Navy" make it clear that in the early 1980s, the Soviets were completely unable to defend against carrier battle groups driving right up to the Kola Peninsula and launching strikes.

In late 1981, the U.S., British, Canadian, and Norwegian navies sent a task force of 83 ships centered around the U.S.S. Eisenhower and the HMS Invincible past the GIUK line and within strike range of the Kola peninsula.

The Soviets had spies in the U.S. that informed them of the fleets departure, heading, and intentions. (Walker spy ring in part).

The Soviets launched not one but TWO RORSAT ocean surveillance satellites specifically to track the fleet.

The Soviets sent out dozens of recon aircraft to locate the fleet.

Results:

The Soviets couldn't find it. They knew its general location but never enough to have launched any kind of successful attack.

An American admiral in the aftermath noted with surprise that "they are basically naked up there".

In the Pacific, the Soviets turned out to be blind in 1983 around a number of top security bases (about the time they downed KAL 007) because powerful storms had wrecked havoc with vital radar sites.

All in all, in the early 1980s, the Soviet homeland was far, far, far less protected than people think.

I don't get that.
An 83 ship fleet couldn't be located?
If you put up 3 Tu-95s Bear aircraft over the Norwegian sea, you have enough range with their radars to spot any major vessel in the area (and certainly an 83-vessel-armada).
How couldn't this work?
The Bears would be operating in international airspace, so no problems there either.

Jotun
June 1st, 2013, 11:57 AM
Easy: Technical limitations, radar interference due to weather and sea state, the fleet being smart about their route (the USN carrier groups are masters at staying hidden, think strict EMCON, hiding in bad weather fronts)...take your pick.

Another thing is that radar pictures are almost NEVER as they appear in the movies. In fact, a lot of the time they are one messed-up clusterfuck of real returns, ghost returns and general stuff appearing on screen. Things have gotten much better with computer-assisted radar picture enhancement but emphatically not back then.

Oh, and 83 ships do not take up nearly as much room as one might think...and the North Atlantic is not exactly small.

I read about this abject intel failure by the SU too, by the way.

Dayton Kitchens
June 1st, 2013, 03:04 PM
I don't get that.
An 83 ship fleet couldn't be located?
If you put up 3 Tu-95s Bear aircraft over the Norwegian sea, you have enough range with their radars to spot any major vessel in the area (and certainly an 83-vessel-armada).
How couldn't this work?
The Bears would be operating in international airspace, so no problems there either.

In regards to the satellites, their orbital paths are well known and fixed once they settle in orbit. You can always avoid detection by something if you know where they are. It can be a simple matter of changing course at the right time then changing back.

The USN also discovered (by accident) that if the ships cut loose with their CIWS (Close In Weapons Systems, 20mm rotary cannons designed to shoot down incoming missiles) that all the projectiles in the air would created a huge radar return that blotted out the ships and made it impossible to get a targeting fix on them.

In regards to the Bears, the task force also sent F-14s to "ambush" the Bears. Including coming in and getting missile locks, making it impossible for them to carry out a search mission.

Timmy811
June 1st, 2013, 04:35 PM
Top Gun won't come out.


And if this is a NATO victory lots of uber patriotic movies followed by more measured ones focussing on war is hell and the effects.


How would a version of Top Gun that comes out in a NATO victory timeline not fall under this rubric?

deathscompanion1
June 1st, 2013, 04:51 PM
How would a version of Top Gun that comes out in a NATO victory timeline not fall under this rubric?


Because the very tone and idea of the movie would be completely erased.

Dayton Kitchens
June 1st, 2013, 07:31 PM
Is it true that the soviets never actually managed to track one single SSBN? And also true that the RN and USN regularly did get to ping a Soviet one?

IIRC, the highly regarded commander of a Soviet Echo class submarine once managed to track one of the early Poseidon carrying SSBNs or 18 hours or so.

In contrast, back in the early 1970s, U.S. SSN commander Whitey Mack tracked a Yankee class SSBN for 47 days!!! From the beginning of its patrol to the end.

By the way, the early 1980s are also when the U.S. Navy found out they could put aircraft carriers in Norwegian fjords and have them almost invulnerable to Soviet anti ship missiles and torpedoes. They did this with the U.S.S. America several times.

Jotun
June 1st, 2013, 08:31 PM
IIRC, the highly regarded commander of a Soviet Echo class submarine once managed to track one of the early Poseidon carrying SSBNs or 18 hours or so.

In contrast, back in the early 1970s, U.S. SSN commander Whitey Mack tracked a Yankee class SSBN for 47 days!!! From the beginning of its patrol to the end.

By the way, the early 1980s are also when the U.S. Navy found out they could put aircraft carriers in Norwegian fjords and have them almost invulnerable to Soviet anti ship missiles and torpedoes. They did this with the U.S.S. America several times.

Also called the Lofoten bastion. Fjord entrances easily defended against subs and the mountains help against missile and air attack.

Dayton Kitchens
June 1st, 2013, 10:19 PM
Also called the Lofoten bastion. Fjord entrances easily defended against subs and the mountains help against missile and air attack.

IIRC, they found that cruise missiles could not "pitch down" into the waters of a fjord to hit a surface ship if they were coming overland in a terrain following mode.

On the other hand, if they came in high, the missiles radars would bounce off the sides of the fjord and make it impossible for them to get a usable fix on surface ships.

MUC
June 2nd, 2013, 01:49 AM
Nice tactic hiding a carrier in the fjord, but it only helps in a non-nuclear enviroment.

Timmy811
June 2nd, 2013, 02:01 AM
Because the very tone and idea of the movie would be completely erased.

It's all very well to say all movies after such a POD are butterflied away, however that's boring, it's more interesting to describe how well known movies made soon after are changed instead.

Saying alternate movie ________ goes on to win an oscar doesn't mean much to us unless you provide us with a screen play, while altering key plot points, background and character motivation of well known movies & characters allows us to identify with them and gives us an insight in the alternate society that made it.

For instance with Top Gun, I'd have Maverick winning that title in the opening of the movie. He's cocky, brash and made it through the Navy's Fighter Weapons School without any repercussions for his recklessness. But what does being "Top Gun" in a world that suddenly explodes into WWIII? Nothing, it's a peace time accolade. Goose gets shot down and killed because of Maverick's glory hound behavior and it is here that he has his crisis of confidence. At the end Maverick goes on to redeem himself in the decisive battle against the Black Sea Fleet.

Same characters, same basic story arc, but a completely different movie.

Other movies that could be altered off the top of my head.

Rambo II is going to have a completely different plot, he'd be released to fight in the War rather to rescue POWs in Vietnam.

Predator would have all the moral ambugity stripped from it and the Predator may be packing heavier weapons, what with a full blown US invasion taking place in Central America.

Die Hard would have McClane fighting Spetnaz commandos on the first day of the war.

kessock
June 2nd, 2013, 02:10 AM
Nice tactic hiding a carrier in the fjord, but it only helps in a non-nuclear enviroment.

And that starts a whole new game and new tactics. Using a nuke to get one or two carriers does not equal the risks unless it's part of a far larger effort and risk.

Timmy811
June 2nd, 2013, 03:08 AM
So, John Glenn is still on the ballot of Democratic Primary states isn't he?

Could he theoretically win the nomination and run against Reagan from inside the administration! That hasn't happened since 1800. :D

ASB I know, but a fun idea I think.

Given how busy they are with the war (if it lasts that long), I suppose it would be like a 19th century election run through surrogates.


EDIT: By the way, Winter of '83 was the coldest on record in the US. All those refugees in tents and prefrab housing are going to have a hell of time.

http://www.farmersalmanac.com/weather/2012/12/24/1983-the-coldest-christmas-ever/

How was the weather in Europe that year? Could it cause the fighting to grind to a halt until spring?

EDIT2: I noticed that the 24th Mech is one of the divisions tasked for the invasion of Iran. That was Schwarzkopf's division.

I'm seeing his war go down like this. He was the ranking army officer in Grenada, so it's likely that he would have been tasked with commanding the Nicaraguan invasion. With those units being transferred to the Mideast along with the 24th, I think Schwarzkopf is a natural candidate for command there give his success in Grenada and Nicaragua under his belt.

I imagine that the CentCom commander is going to be based in Oman or Qatar and he's going to need someone to delegate to on the ground in Iran.

Jotun
June 2nd, 2013, 08:19 AM
Nice tactic hiding a carrier in the fjord, but it only helps in a non-nuclear enviroment.

Since this TL aims at a non-doomsday ending, I'd say tha carriers would be safe. The Sovs usiung tac nukes in Germany proper AND a large-scale chemical attack that met with no quid pro quo IIRC should be the absolute maximum that NATO (and the US) would accept before whipping out their own nukes...

Timmy811
June 2nd, 2013, 09:43 AM
Since this TL aims at a non-doomsday ending, I'd say that
carriers would be safe. The Sovs usiung tac nukes in Germany proper
AND a large-scale chemical attack that met with no quid pro quo IIRC should be
the absolute maximum that NATO (and the US) would accept before whipping
out their own nukes...

Unless my memory has become a sieve, no tac nukes have been used by the Soviets and
their chemical attacks have been responded to in kind by NATO.

Map of the situation,

joea64
June 2nd, 2013, 11:02 AM
Hasn't Norway been attacked? It still shows up as all blue on the map, and if it hasn't been invaded yet, then that takes away one of the main points of the Soviets' compelling Finland to grant passage for their forces.

deathscompanion1
June 2nd, 2013, 11:55 AM
Hasn't Norway been attacked? It still shows up as all blue on the map, and if it hasn't been invaded yet, then that takes away one of the main points of the Soviets' compelling Finland to grant passage for their forces.


It has but the Soviets are stalled and rushing in reinforcements to prevent a disaster.

orangnumpanglewat
June 2nd, 2013, 12:33 PM
When China joins in, it will be an utter mess. Any progress in the Koreas?

Dayton Kitchens
June 2nd, 2013, 02:53 PM
It has but the Soviets are stalled and rushing in reinforcements to prevent a disaster.

If the Soviets haven't seized the bases in northern Norway in the first few days of the war, then there is no point in bothering anymore.

The entire purpose of attacking Norway is to give the U.S.S.R. better places to base their naval bombers and fighters. To provide easier attack lanes against the convoys traveling from the U.S. and to provide fighter cover for the Red Banner Northern Fleet as they move south.

If the Soviets don't achieve that in the first few days then why bother? In all likelihood most of their naval forces will have been neutralized by then and bombs and missiles will be raining down on Soviet bases in the Kola.

Timmy811
June 2nd, 2013, 02:55 PM
If the Soviets haven't seized the bases in northern Norway in the first few days of the war, then there is no point in bothering anymore.

The entire purpose of attacking Norway is to give the U.S.S.R. better places to base their naval bombers and fighters. To provide easier attack lanes against the convoys traveling from the U.S. and to provide fighter cover for the Red Banner Northern Fleet as they move south.

If the Soviets don't achieve that in the first few days then why bother? In all likelihood most of their naval forces will have been neutralized by then and bombs and missiles will be raining down on Soviet bases in the Kola.

Wouldn't the Naval bombers and fighters still be useful, or would stationing them in occupied Denmark be more useful?

Dayton Kitchens
June 2nd, 2013, 03:21 PM
Wouldn't the Naval bombers and fighters still be useful, or would stationing them in occupied Denmark be more useful?

Soviet naval bombers would be extinct within the first week of the war if the U.S. Navy Tomcat squadrons are remotely doing their job.

Because if they weren't destroyed then the U.S. Navy would be.

People forget that huge parts of the Soviet military (including the Navy) were basically "one shot and die". No one expected the Soviet Navy to survive as a force in being during a WWIII. They were supposed to destroy resupply convoys from the U.S. and carrier battle groups approaching the Kola and most certainly die in the process.

Soviet ships were designed with this in mind. Heavy on weapons and sensors to get in those early quick strikes. Very light on damage control and resupply because....they would already be destroyed anyway.

basileus
June 2nd, 2013, 04:29 PM
For all their capabilities, Spetsnaz are no supermen (even if they can throw knives while backflipping over burning obstacles :rolleyes:) You don't think that NATO troops (German and US) are alert and waiting for exactly an attack like this? Sorry. This is too far out. You fell into the common trap of underestimating NATO and overstimating the Warsaw Pact. Military historians generally agree that a successful invasion of Western Europe was implausible after roughly 1983. The USA and W.GErmany had the M1 Abrams and Leo 2 in service and the gap in electronics between NATO and WP grew exponentially each year. For this precise reason (SIGINT and ELINT chiefly among it), a surprise invasion was nearly impossible by 1983. The SIGINT guys in the West German navy were so good they could tell the Morse code operatiors in Soviet Naval Aviation Backfires from each other by the idiosyncracies of their morse technique. A general attack across all fronst wothout some electronic burbs is patently impossible.

Finland ALWAYS planned for a Soviet invasion and would not have stood idly by. Sweden had similar plans to secure their northern borders.
The West German navy is a total non-entity here. No sinkings of Baltic Fleet units? No minings of WP harbours by the 206A boats? Those little brown boats were the very best in conventional submatines at that time. No attacks by the extremely capable Danish, Norwegian and West German missile attack craft?

This story has too many holes for my taste. The biggest one is both sides going after the nuclear forces of their opponent. This above all else would trigger a nuclear exchange. Think about it. The boomers were the most important ways of sneak nuclear attacks and a massive second-strike asset. Going after this would tell the other side you were planning a nuclear strike and act accordingly. Blowing up nuclear stockpiles on NATO soil with tacnukes? When the wind blows, here we come...

This. And the usual crap about leftist parties and movements being full of Soviet infiltrators and sleepers, trade unions being agents of Moscow, Italians being prone to panic and surrender, and so on. These are memes, I, as Italian and lifelong leftist, take personal offense at. No one wanted to change servitude to Washington with servitude to Moscow, not even the declared Communists. And our army, for unprepared and terrorized, would fight on till humanly possible, provided a modicum of US direct help was at hand. And it would be.
Plus, the general topos of Communist aggressiveness: occupying all of Finland? attacking Switzerland??? Nicaragua invading Costarica? Cubans invading Namibia, when actually were the South Africans who fought their way into poor Angola? This, when most of the Cold War was waged by the Soviets on a strict defensive, exploiting situations that had emerged autonomously (Cuba, the single daring exception that risked to bring the world to disaster and made them think thrice thenceon before moving; African revolutions/independence wars etc) or trying to "redress" them, by persuasion or by force (Berlin, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan).
The Soviet Union's leadership was FRIGHTENED by the perspective of a Third Wold War. They were old, conservative men, they had seen little short of the Apocalypse IN THEIR HOMELAND in their youth between Stalin's follies and Hitler's invasion and didn't want another one. Believe or not, they would NEVER EVER begin any attack against NATO - not even when convinced an attack was coming. They de facto didn't even during Able Archer, as they were shitting their Soviet pants in paranoid fear of Ronnie Reagan and his guns.
There are cogent reasons for WWIII not materializing IOTL, after all; the same cogent reasons that assured the ultimate demise a failure of a system, incapable of standing up to a global challenge and (largely self-)defeated in the hearts-and-minds struggle in its very own domain.

Timmy811
June 2nd, 2013, 04:34 PM
Plus, the general topos of Communist aggressiveness: occupying all of Finland?

That didn't happen.

Jotun
June 2nd, 2013, 04:41 PM
This. And the usual crap about leftist parties and movements being full of Soviet infiltrators and sleepers, trade unions being agents of Moscow, Italians being prone to panic and surrender, and so on. These are memes, I, as Italian and lifelong leftist, take personal offense at. No one wanted to change servitude to Washington with servitude to Moscow, not even the declared Communists. And our army, for unprepared and terrorized, would fight on till humanly possible, provided a modicum of US direct help was at hand. And it would be.
Plus, the general topos of Communist aggressiveness: occupying all of Finland? attacking Switzerland??? Nicaragua invading Costarica? Cubans invading Namibia, when actually were the South Africans who fought their way into poor Angola? This, when most of the Cold War was waged by the Soviets on a strict defensive, exploiting situations that had emerged autonomously (Cuba, the single daring exception that risked to bring the world to disaster and made them think thrice thenceon before moving; African revolutions/independence wars etc) or trying to "redress" them, by persuasion or by force (Berlin, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan).
The Soviet Union's leadership was FRIGHTENED by the perspective of a Third Wold War. They were old, conservative men, they had seen little short of the Apocalypse IN THEIR HOMELAND in their youth between Stalin's follies and Hitler's invasion and didn't want another one. Believe or not, they would NEVER EVER begin any attack against NATO - not even when convinced an attack was coming. They de facto didn't even during Able Archer, as they were shitting their Soviet pants in paranoid fear of Ronnie Reagan and his guns.
There are cogent reasons for WWIII not materializing IOTL, after all; the same cogent reasons that assured the ultimate demise a failure of a system, incapable of standing up to a global challenge and (largely self-)defeated in the hearts-and-minds struggle in its very own domain.

Thanks. You bring up several very valid points.

One that never fails to gall me is the awesomeness always assumed to emanate from the (apparently, looking at so many Cold War turns hot scenarios) legions upon legions of Soviet sleeper agents plying their deadly trade and effortlessly sabotaging all they touch, bringing entire nations to their knees while the Red Army comes a-knocking.

Otis R. Needleman
June 2nd, 2013, 05:30 PM
It's been a while since we've seen an update. Anything coming up? Thanks!

Otis R. Needleman
June 2nd, 2013, 05:42 PM
Thanks. You bring up several very valid points.

One that never fails to gall me is the awesomeness always assumed to emanate from the (apparently, looking at so many Cold War turns hot scenarios) legions upon legions of Soviet sleeper agents plying their deadly trade and effortlessly sabotaging all they touch, bringing entire nations to their knees while the Red Army comes a-knocking.


If I could piggyback on this a bit...

For some utterly unknown reason in the 1984-1985 time frame a lot of people in the USA thought the Soviets were going to try to take us over. The issue got a lot of play in the media. I remember watching "Red Dawn" on HBO and reading a book titled What To Do When The Russians Come. Also remember watching the ABC mini-series "Amerika", set ten years after a Soviet takeover of the USA. Enough to make a red-blooded American's blood boil, ready to go out and kill a bunch of Commies.

Then, again for some utterly unknown reason, in early 1986 everyone seemed to wake up, say to themselves, "The Russians take US over? What a joke!", had a good laugh, and promptly forgot the whole thing. While "Red Dawn" was shown again on HBO and you can still get it on DVD, "Amerika" was never rebroadcast. I have the miniseries on VHS tape but have only watched part of one episode; could never bring myself to watch any more.

And a few years later we saw the USSR collapse.

Admiral Matt
June 3rd, 2013, 02:13 AM
What was the POD, exactly? RYAN? I thought I was reading an OTL account at first.

Dayton Kitchens
June 3rd, 2013, 06:11 AM
What was the POD, exactly? RYAN? I thought I was reading an OTL account at first.

IIRC, IRL RYAN actually worked against the Soviets deciding to launch a preemptive strike as information from the East German spy in NATO headquarters insisted that NATO had no plans to attack the Soviet Union.

To have the Soviets "push the button" in 1983, you're basically going to have Andropov and a couple of other high ranking Soviet politburo members ignore the evidence, panic, and then decide on a preemptive strike.