How long would REFORGER take?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Icarus II, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Icarus II A werewolf, not a swearwolf

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    In the event of a NATO-WP war in Europe, how long would it take for NATO to start reinforcing their units in West Germany? And how much could they put into the country before they start running out of men and supplies?

    I'm mostly interested in the 1980s, but information for any period of the Cold War will do.
     
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  2. Not James Stockdale Those Protestants... Up to no good, as usual

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    It's important to remember that the escalation to war would not happen in an instant or in a vacuum. The oft-quoted month-long REFORGER is from a standing start, with troops having to be recalled from leave and equipped while war begins in Europe. In the real 1980s, everyone know that both GSFG and the NATO forces, NORTHAG and CENTAG, would need pre-war reinforcement to accomplish their objectives, so a period of at least two weeks would likely be available for preparations before war. REFORGER could only provide significant ground forces after about 1984, when conventional parity was achieved. With a measure of pre-deployment time taken for preparations, you might see battalion groups in the field after three days, brigade groups after one week, and division groups after two weeks. Because there is already a large command structure available in Europe, combat units could be thrown into the line without having to wait for higher headquarters units. Non-REFORGER units in CONUS would have to draw equipment and ship it to seaports, so those formations would probably take a full month to get into action.
     
  3. Riain Well-Known Member

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    Iirc NATO held war stocks of ammo and other consumables for 30 days. The 1973 Arab-Israeli war was a huge shock to NATO, ammo consumption was much higher than expected so stocks were increased through the 70s. These war stocks were a sort of 'sacred cow', was a big deal when I think Britain used some of these war stocks in the Falklands. I think that most militaries had other stocks of ammo and consumables for training and other contingencies, so maybe could fight ww3 for 5 or 6 weeks.
     
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  4. MancFrank Well-Known Member

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    No big deal at all. A quantity of AIM-9L were diverted before they entered the formal war stock (arriving via Spangdahlem, IIRC) to supplement the Limas which had been issued to the Wattisham Phantom wing earlier in '82 - these being the rounds the fleet initially sailed with. That's it - apart from a handful of AGM-45 from uncertain sources. None of this was in the public domain until some years after the event, either.
     
  5. Zen9 Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is War stocks were down to 3 days intensive warfighting and never reached the projected need of 3 weeks. This for the UK.
     
  6. Alanith Well-Known Member

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    Well as nuclear warfare will start within twelve hours, it's probably not a huge problem :p
     
  7. History Learner Well-Known Member

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    I think the assumption that war automatically means strategic exchange needs to be done away with. Both sides did have extensive planning and even the intention for no or limited nuclear weapons; declassified CIA documents also show that both sides understood the other did not have the intention of strategic first use.
     
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  8. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

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    But WP plans showed heavy use of Chem on Day One, and after Nixon pulled the 'B' from US NBC, it was a WMD is a WMD is a WMD.

    So when Chem filled bombs and warheads land on Sembach AB and Kaiserslautern, the Lance and Pershings get fired East.
    Then it's WWIII
     
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  9. History Learner Well-Known Member

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    A very good point actually. @ObssesedNuker what data have you seen on this matter?
     
  10. Roches Well-Known Member

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    What I don't get about REFORGER is how it can happen without triggering a war. The USSR would begin losing its advantage in numbers as soon as REFORGER started. NATO would be unable to win the war without REFORGER. So why wouldn't the USSR declare that REFORGER itself constitutes an act of war? It's mobilization. It's a clear, irreversible intent to go to war. NATO might say their massive troop surge was an attempt to "protect the peace", and of course "we all know" NATO never dreamed for a minute of being the aggressor in WW3. To the WP, REFORGER is imperialist aggression on a vast and unprecedented scale:

    To guarantee the independence of the socialist nations and the survival of the international proletariat, the Supreme Soviet has voted unanimously to authorize the use of military force at sea, and, at 4:30 am last night, Moscow time, a nuclear attack submarine of the Northern Fleet fired upon and sank the armed imperialist troop carrier "Queen Elizabeth II" two hundred kilometers west of Ireland.

    The end result of that, I think, is that we find out whether nuclear weapons can really be used at sea without causing their use on land. I think the answer is no.
     
  11. Histor32 Well-Known Member

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    But at some point someone is going to be behind the the ball in said conflict.

    Plus nukes were apart of each sides plans in the event of war from the start
     
  12. Riain Well-Known Member

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    Unlike 1914 all sides had multiple plans, so while one plan has nukes from the start the next has them being saved until extremely late. I doubt that either side wanted a nuclear desert, so would likely use their wait and see before using nukes campaign plans.

    Does anyone know what the Canadians planned to send in reforger? What about the British ?

    Also, reforger will be the catalyst for the climactic Battle of the Atlantic, much like the Malta convoys rather than the WW2 BoA.
     
  13. steamboy Well-Known Member

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    The UK had most of its armed forces in the BAOR and if war broke out and didn't immediately go nuclear then what ever they had would have been sent into Germany or to Norway to ensure the countries protection and guard the flank of NATO.
     
  14. ObssesedNuker Commander of 10 million men

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    Soviets generally had a myriad of plans, some of which explicitly relied on chemicals and/or nukes* as an essential aspect of the plan and some where they were merely retained as options. Nuclear release obviously had to come from the political leadership, but I’m less certain how Soviet chemical release procedures went. As an educated guess, given that the Soviets did classify chemicals as “weapons of mass destruction” as they did with nukes, I imagine they’d be subject to similar political controls and front level commanders would not be using them if the STAVKA does not give them the okay.

    *As a rule, if such a plan featured nukes, then it also featured chemicals as a matter of course. The Soviets assumed that nukes always also meant chemicals, although not vice-versa.

    Alternatively, the US opts for a proportional response and drops it’s own chemicals on Soviet forces. The US only reduced it’s chemical arsenal during the 70’s, it did not begin removal of weapons from Europe until 1986, wholesale elimination only began in 1990 when the Cold War was practically over, and while it did explicitly renounced first-use of chemicals it left open their use as a retaliatory option.

    That isn’t to say there might not be some pressure to respond to Soviet chemical use with nukes. I can’t imagine the West Germans being very happy with the mass civilian collateral casualties, to say the least. Would it result in nuclear retaliation? Maybe, maybe not.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  15. aaronupright Well-Known Member

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    The biggest lesson of the 1973 war was just how much attrution could be expected. Yes, the expension of munitions was very high, but the problem in the 1970's was the the most effective ones were guided weapons and they tended to be used promisciously.
    I am guessing both sides poud each other to a standstill long berfore REFORGER gets fully effected.
     
  16. steamboy Well-Known Member

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    And then they either stop or buckets of sunshine.
     
  17. nbcman Donor

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    There were REFORGER exercises from 1969 - 1993. Some years elements of more than 5 US based divisions were deployed. There wasn't any threats of war during those years.
     
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  18. JN1 Has been called the C word on Twitter

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    In the '80s NATO would not have used cruise ships as troop carriers; or at least it would have been very unlikely. Aircraft would have been used to fly in troops, the wartime task of the American CRAF. Small nitpick it is Queen Elizabeth 2 not II. As in it is named after the first Queen Elizabeth liner and not Betty.

    Depending on the exact timeframe the Canadians would have completed 1 CanDiv by deploying 1 CMBG and 5 CMBG to join 4 CMBG.
    The majority of UK reinforcements would have been 2nd Infantry Division (2x TA brigades and the regular 24th Bde), the Parachute Regiment Group (3x TA Para Battalions) and a number of other TA sub-units. The UK Mobile Force (1st Inf Bde) would have deployed to Denmark, or Schesvig-Holstein (my spelling of that is probably wrong!).

    The 1989 NATO orbat available online is a good place to look for NATO reinforcements.
     
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  19. aaronupright Well-Known Member

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    I recall that plans existed to get a couple of Turkish divisions to Germany as well.
     
  20. nbcman Donor

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    That’s a new one on me. How would that be feasible to shift them through the Med and up to Germany especially when Turkish troops would be needed to defend against the Soviets and WP troops
     
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