Could ATGMs and A-10s stop a Soviet tank rush in the 1980s?

Exactly what it says on the tin. You’re free to decide whether you want to go with 1983 or 1989 as the year hostilities break out.
 
Sorry do you mean overall i.e. could a combination of A10's and ATGM's available at the time stop a mass tank attack from the WP, or a more individual question can ATGM's and A10's stop individual tanks at the time?


I think you mean the first one? If so it depends because those tanks are not going to rush forward by themselves, and those A10's and ATGMs are also not the only NATO things on the field.
 
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Exactly what it says on the tin. You’re free to decide whether you want to go with 1983 or 1989 as the year hostilities break out.
Much less likely in 1983 than 1989 mainly because Soviets have hundreds of SS-12 SS-20 in early 80s
 
Sorry do you mean overall i.e. could a combination fo A10's adn ATGM available at the time stop a mass tank attack from the WP, or a more individual question can ATGM's and A10's stop individual tanks at the time?


I think you mean the first one? If so it depends because those tanks are not going to rush forward by themselves, and those A10's and ATGMs are also not the only NATO things on the field.

The first one, to be honest, yes. Besides, my question was more: given how ATGMs have performed in Ukraine IRL, in this time period, would they and A-10s have stopped any hypothetical Soviet tank rush through the Fulda Gap or not really?
 
The first one, to be honest, yes. Besides, my question was more: given how ATGMs have performed in Ukraine IRL, in this time period, would they and A-10s have stopped any hypothetical Soviet tank rush through the Fulda Gap or not really?
The problem is there are so many other factors then can ATGM 'X' defeat Tank 'Y' from 'Z' facing, or can a likely number of on target 30mm round's from a A-10 fired at certain degree angle penetrate the top/deck armour and disable Tank Y', it's really hard to frame this without bringing a lot of other things in.
 
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A-10 will not be able to execute gun runs against anything in the early or late 80s. Conflict in Ukraine demonstrated rather well how effective and resilient Soviet-era air defense is. Planes simply cannot operate in the vicinity of unsuppressed air defenses.

A-10s lobbing Mavericks are somewhat different thing to consider but at that point platform doesn't matter much and A-10 is probably one of the worse platforms to use Mavericks from.
 
The strategy was to block reinforcement and supplies arriving across Poland. The GSFG was within NATO capacity to absorb. Thus the ‘tank rush’ would be of limited duration.
 
A-10 will not be able to execute gun runs against anything in the early or late 80s. Conflict in Ukraine demonstrated rather well how effective and resilient Soviet-era air defense is. Planes simply cannot operate in the vicinity of unsuppressed air defenses.

A-10s lobbing Mavericks are somewhat different thing to consider but at that point platform doesn't matter much and A-10 is probably one of the worse platforms to use Mavericks from.
The strategy was to block reinforcement and supplies arriving across Poland. The GSFG was within NATO capacity to absorb. Thus the ‘tank rush’ would be of limited duration.

So, which is it? A-10 + ATGM stops tank rush or not really? Besides, I think I should probably rephrase the overall question: "Can NATO stop the Soviets from making it to the Rhine in either a 1983 or 1989 scenario?".
 
A-10 will not be able to execute gun runs against anything in the early or late 80s. Conflict in Ukraine demonstrated rather well how effective and resilient Soviet-era air defense is. Planes simply cannot operate in the vicinity of unsuppressed air defenses.

A-10s lobbing Mavericks are somewhat different thing to consider but at that point platform doesn't matter much and A-10 is probably one of the worse platforms to use Mavericks from.

Anyways, okay..........at the time, which aircraft could work for SEAD missions?
 
Exactly what it says on the tin. You’re free to decide whether you want to go with 1983 or 1989 as the year hostilities break out.
They won’t, because it won’t be just ATGMs and A-10s combatting Soviet tanks. It’s an all hands on deck situation, artillery, tanks, more conventional attack aircraft, and attack helicopters are all going to be pitching in.

Anyways, okay..........at the time, which aircraft could work for SEAD missions?
NATO SEAD at the time primarily rested on a combination of Phantoms and Tornados.
 
Conventional wisdom has it that A-10 losses would have been horrendous over the German plains but I'm not quite sure why conventional wisdom singles the A-10 out. In the event of WW3, any CAS/BAI unit would have a lifespan measured in probably days.

I'm not sure any valid conclusions can be drawn from the A-10s IRL career. Certainly no recent (or current) conflict is a fair or particularly useful comparator to either the sheer firepower available, the number and diversity of assets or the likely casualties from a conflict over central Europe in the 1980s. A 1980s A-10 could look forward to a level of fighter cover, SEAD and jamming support that we would find unprecedented - at least until attrition started to impact availability. Losses would remain horrendous, true but I don't believe the A-10 would become combat ineffective as quickly as some pundits have claimed.

I've wondered if the A-10 would have benefited from a few of a sort of "Magnum Hawg" variants with a RHAWS and AGM-45 Shrike capability, interspersed with vanilla A-10s. A self-care package if you will. It wouldn't do anything about MiGs or Strelas but it might make a few ZSUs hesitate to emit at the wrong time and would leave the AGM-88 for Gucci SEAD assets. Some kind of prelude to the ASQ-213 pod of the 90s(?). Either that, or assign a "Hawg Wild" F-4G to every A-10 squadron! Probably not a lot of call for formation flying there though!

As to the question in the thread title? I'm not sure it's useful to single out a single platform when there is a range of equipment and capabilities in play . Few platforms operate in isolation. Can the A-10 stop a Soviet spearhead, in support of some infantry with ATGMs? Probably yes in some places, no in others. I'd expect a series of bloody see-saw battles until either logistics are exhausted and there is a pause and then climb-down or the tactical nukes come into play. You know, the usual way this scenario plays out.
 
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In the early hours, I imagine Soviet anti-air capability would be the absolute highest priority for the NATO because they know they need their air assets to survive if they are to have a chance of stopping the onslaught. As such, whilst casualties would be horrendous, I agree with @mtpalmer1 that A-10s and helicopters might become ineffective quite as quickly as feared. Also, it might be a bit of Hobson's Choice.

One thing current events has reinforced is ammunition, especially missiles, run out quickly. This is where the A-10 and the ZSU-23-4 might come into their own - it is easier to replenish bullets than missiles. And I can see lots of innovation - A-10's with Hellfire's and ARM's.
 
Considering Nato forces had god knows how many tactical nukes to stop the Soviet tank armies in the 80's they obviously thought more than A10's and ATGM's were needed to do the job. Such things would not be used lightly, so if the military high command thought conventional means were insufficient I tend to agree with them.
 
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In the early hours, I imagine Soviet anti-air capability would be the absolute highest priority for the NATO because they know they need their air assets to survive if they are to have a chance of stopping the onslaught. As such, whilst casualties would be horrendous, I agree with @mtpalmer1 that A-10s and helicopters might become ineffective quite as quickly as feared. Also, it might be a bit of Hobson's Choice.

One thing current events has reinforced is ammunition, especially missiles, run out quickly. This is where the A-10 and the ZSU-23-4 might come into their own - it is easier to replenish bullets than missiles. And I can see lots of innovation - A-10's with Hellfire's and ARM's.
Our memories are short term.
Iran Iraq war in 80s clearly showed limitations of modern hi tech arms in high intensity operations.
 
Our memories are short term.
Iran Iraq war in 80s clearly showed limitations of modern hi tech arms in high intensity operations.
It did nothing of the sort. Any hardware conclusions to be derived from that war have to be disentangled from Iraq’s lack of tactical ability and Iran having to operate on a steadily declining equipment pool due to arms sanctions.
 
They won’t, because it won’t be just ATGMs and A-10s combatting Soviet tanks. It’s an all hands on deck situation, artillery, tanks, more conventional attack aircraft, and attack helicopters are all going to be pitching in.


NATO SEAD at the time primarily rested on a combination of Phantoms and Tornados.

So, let me rephrase the question: "Can NATO stop a tank rush in either 1983 or 1989 without resorting to nuke spam?".
 
To be perfectly frank, whether or not NATO will be able to stop the Warsaw Pact advance will fall under the operational level. For example, what if the I Dutch Corps was late in deploying to Germany from the Netherlands, allowing NORTHAG to be defeated in detail? What if Soviets or its Warsaw Pact advances blunders into a meatgrinder of an ambush set up by NATO? What if either side messed up its mobilization?

When it comes to ATGMs, according to the RUSI, ATGMs played a key role in slowing Russian armor but it was ultimately heavy artillery that killed enemy units. Besides, if I were an American grunt, I would not trust a M47 Dragon to save my hide against a tank.
 
Soviets will do a much better job at providing infantry support for its tank armies so I wouldn't use the current war in Ukraine as a example of how the Soviets would perform.
 
The usual Cold War goes hot scenario is that both armies fight like hell for 3 days and then blow up the world. I really don't know how you are supposed to project it closer than that.

It would be a kitchen-sink battle with both sides firing everything they've got. And then a battle that intense can't be separated from a potential escalation into nuke spam.
 
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