How long would REFORGER take?

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

  1. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    The wild card is how effective one thinks the Soviet Navy would be in interdicting ship loads of REFORGER equipment & supplies.
     
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  2. Ian_W Well-Known Member

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    For the Soviet Navy to be effective doing this, they need to move out of port early enough for the USN to go 'Dis unusual ? Waht' ?

    Now, the odds of the USN passing this off to the Germans, the British, the US Army and their other allies in NATO are up to you.

    But for the Soviet Navy to be in position to interfere with the naval parts of Reforger ... that is going to need some work.
     
  3. bsmart Well-Known Member

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    No one had enough air to air weapons for a major confrontation in the late 70s thru the mid to late 80s. When the Brits needed AIM-9Ls for the Falklands they came from active U.S. stocks. This included first line U.S. 'Rapid Deployment' forces. Before that stocks had been reduced (and not replaced due to budget restrictions in the Carter years) by shipments to the Israelis. A major training point during that period was weapon conservation. Throughout the late 70s spare parts were a constant problem. Even first string reinforcement units (like the 1 TFW with F-15s) had 24 of their 72 aircraft sent to Warner Robins parked and stripped of engines and avionics to keep the rest of the fleet operating. After about a year other planes were flown to WR and parts from them used to reactivate the ones in storage. Even with the parts it took 4 to 6 weeks to get a plane ready to fly after being stored.
     
  4. Icarus II A werewolf, not a swearwolf

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    IIRC there were 7 divisions slated for REFORGER. So they would start arriving in theater after two weeks, and be fully deployed after a month? Would units already in theater even last that long?
     
  5. ObssesedNuker Commander of 10 million men

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    To be blunt: Nobody really knows. At best, all we have are educated guesses whose answer boils down to “it depends”.
     
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  6. Icarus II A werewolf, not a swearwolf

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    How long it would take to deploy or how long units would last?
     
  7. ObssesedNuker Commander of 10 million men

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    How long units would last. How long deployment takes is reasonably measured from the exercises, with some modification to take into account the friction of active combat and enemy interdiction efforts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  8. MKD Well-Known Member

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    Whilst I agree that the outbreak of war is not, prima facie, the signal to fire our missiles I disagree generally.

    I simply cant see a way where by nukes will not be used on a massive scale in an unlimited conflict like a Nato v Warsaw Pact war in Western would quickly become. War on that scale generates a momentum of its own that sucks in men and resources and sucks out principles and ethics very quickly. There will be a "decision point" generated to which both sides pour resources and eventually something will give as losses rise.

    Sure there will be lots of conventional fighting, perhaps even to a stalemate but someone, somewhere, terrified, without sleep and under incredible pressure will crack or misunderstand instructions or just cock up. It will start with a tactical use in desperation or a chemical attack on a key storage or transportation location but very quickly it will be a run away train. I don't care what the plans say. Human nature and the prevailing nuclear policy will take over. Could you accept the use of nuclear weapons against your troops or homeland and NOT seek a similar response. I don't think I could, regardless of what the plan in front of me said.

    That will lead to retaliation in kind and then counter retaliation against a more important target and so on and so on. Then someone will mistake a flock of seagulls for an impending strategic attack and press the big button. Then all the buttons get pressed, Then we all die, especially in Europe.

    I am not against nuclear weapons btw. I simply think we have to be honest. What stops their use is the understanding that if you do use one the rest of your life will be very short and that because of this there is no such thing as a winnable nuclear war. They have no value as a practical weapon. All of their value is in deterrence. Their value is that by existing they stop any use of such weapons.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  9. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    Does not necessarily start with a stratigic exchange. Use of tactical nukes was assumed the starting point in many of the scenarios we trained on.
     
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  10. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    Nearly did in 1983. Several events contributed to the authorization to execute nuclear strikes. The announcement of a REFORGER exercise a few days earlier was one of those, panicking the POLITBUROinto thinking Pres Reagan was preparing a preemptive war.
     
  11. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    Most US military planning was based on there being a period of tension/buildup before a war. A BOOB (bolt out of the blue) attack was considered the least likely scenario, and it is worth remembering that even Pearl Harbor (the prototypical BOOB attack) was not in a vacuum given how tensions between the US and Japan had been building. There were all sorts of moving parts to a prewar mobilization of which REFORGER was only a part. After Vietnam US forces were reconfigured so that you could not really fight without reserves/National Guard being used. This was so that the base of folks involved was larger, and implied more broad support for the military action and of course there was no draft. One of the parts of this complex was the NDMS (national disaster medical system), which had lots of hospitals signed up where they would suspend much elective surgery/admissions when activated and be prepared to receive casualties from a "disaster". In theory this could be something like the "big one" earthquake producing a lot of injured above the capability of local hospitals, but the reality was the main purpose was a way to deal with the casualties of something like a conventional WWIII which overwhelm the military medical system and VA with large numbers of casualties in a short period of time. WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam you had time to expand capacity to do this pretty much within the system but in a WWIII scenario (less WMD) you would still have more casualties to start than the in house system could deal with.
     
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  12. jhenderson 20 Well-Known Member

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    This is something I have never seen mentioned before. Should it have been done, they would be low quality units. Turkey would be facing a three front conflict in a general war. They'd want their best and even mediocre units at home.
     
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  13. Riain Well-Known Member

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    This is true, throughout the Cold War it was standard practice for both sides to increase readiness in response to a major exercise, iirc both sides announced exercises in advance to allow such countermeasures to occur. This helped alleviate the danger that an exercise was cover for a pre war buildup.

    Bolts from the Blue are very rare and troop movement in peacetime is very common. Reforger would start before the war and continue as it was fought.
     
  14. bsmart Well-Known Member

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    Well 'Reforger' was a specific plan to mate up stateside units with prepositioned equipment in Europe so once those units were in Germany Reforger would end and standard deployments would continue. Reforger stood for REturn of FORces to GERmany. There were wharehouses of equipment waiting for troops that would arrive with personal eguipment (small arms, gas masks, etc) that would be flown over on Civilian airliners.

    We in the Air Force would deploy with our aircraft, specialised support equipment, and spare parts using a combination of Civilian air and Air Force cargo aircraft. Our first contingent would be on its way within 15 hours from a no notice alert. Fighters would follow a few hours later (C-141s were slower than KC-10s or KC-135s so had to get a head start while we finished hanging external tanks and ordinance on the Go birds).
     
  15. Veiovis Well-Known Member

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    Given that the Soviet navy abandoned all plans for interdiction pretty early and had absolutly no intention to re-fight any sort of Atlantic Battle,its effectivness on this part would default to zero. NATO believe that they would face another Battle of the Atlantic was one of their bigger misconceptions about soviet plans.
     
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  16. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    While the most advanced nuke boats would be used to protect the bastions for the boomers, and also newer boats used to patrol north of Norway against NATO subs and warships, this still left a ton of older nukes and diesel electric subs for the Atlantic (we'll ignore the Baltic, Med, and Pacific for the moment). If those subs are NOT used to try and interdict NATO reinforcements they are pretty useless. Of course if you expect the war to either go strategic nuclear early, or the WP is washing their socks in the Channel in 2-3 weeks, then any sort of attempt to interdict resupply across the Atlantic doesn't matter because the war will be over before the first convoy after "X-day" will take a couple of weeks to assemble, cross the pond and hit a port. A huge percentage of supplies, and pretty much all heavy equipment has to move by sea, so planning to give up the Atlantic gives NATO a free pass. Of course, we all know that if you plan to win the war in 3 weeks nothing can go wrong, I repeat nothing can go wrong... So why plan for even a 6 week war...
     
  17. Crowbar Six Well-Known Member

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    There is also the point that most Turkish Army units were equipped with what would have been mainly sort of 2nd line equipment. Not really the kind of thing intended to cope with GSFG Cat A equipment. The Turks would have been mainly defensive opposing Bulgarian and possibly Romanian efforts in the Balkans and against attacks from the Russian 'stans.

    I can't see how the Turks could have been shoehorned into the dense and overburdened NATO logistics in West Germany.
     
  18. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    I remember they were constantly publishing articles about this expected Atlantic battle the Naval Institute Proceedings in the 1980s. Some of the authors were very pessimistic.

    Dust off the DROPSHOT Plans
     
  19. Not James Stockdale Those Protestants... Up to no good, as usual

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    The source I'm using here is the (in)famous TankNet NATO OOB, among others.

    Here's what they say about deployment to the GDP:
    A significant number of REFORGER units were divisions with command and support elements forward-deployed along with one of their three combat brigades. These would be the divisions that would be on-line and a full strength within 7 to 10 days. Other units had little to no forward deployment and would have taken up to 2 weeks.

    USAEUR's constituent corps were V Corps and VII Corps in CENTAG. V Corps had the full 3rd Armored and 8th Mechanized along with a full package of corps cavalry, aviation, artillery, and engineers. VII Corps had the full 1st Armored and 3rd Mechanized along with a full package of corps cavalry, aviation, artillery, and engineers.

    FORSCOM units in CONUS with a primary NATO mission were concentrated in III Corps. This corps also had secondary contingency missions in Southwest Asia (Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) and Northeast Asia (Korea). This corps included 1st Mechanized (with a forward-deployed brigade), 1st Cavalry (with an NG brigade), 2nd Armored (with a forward deployed brigade), 4th Mechanized, and 5th Mechanized (with an NG brigade). All of these units were supposed to have full POMCUS stores in Europe, or at least were supposed to. The divisions with forward brigades would be on line first. The National Guard brigades might take up to a month just to get the personnel trained and flown over.

    In wartime, III Corps would have been split up. 4th Infantry would go to reinforce V Corps and 1st Infantry would go to reinforce VII Corps, both in CENTAG. The bulk of III Corps would be sent to NORTHAG to act as the Army Group reserve, with 1st Cavalry, 2nd Armored, and 5th Infantry. This reserve role probably explains why the NG brigades were considered acceptable.

    Between forward-deployed and REFORGER units, the US committment to Central Europe totaled three Corps and nine Divisions, with an additional division-equivalent in separate brigades.

    FORSCOM's other combat divisions were in I Corps and XVIII Airborne Corps. I Corps included 7th Light and 9th Motorized, which sometimes had a roundout NG brigade. The 9th's combined arms units (mounted in fast attack vehicles and HMMWVs) would deploy by air to Jutland to reinforce German panzergrenadiers and Danish mech north of the Elbe, which were part of Baltic Approaches and not NORTHAG. These forces likely would have been facing WARPAC's best troops, at least elements of the NVA's Military District V and the GSFG's 2nd Guards Tank Army, plus whatever follow-on units show up.

    The Airborne Corps at the time included 82nd Airborne, 101st Air Assault, 10th Mountain, and 24th Mechanized. The 82nd could deploy the fastest, 3 days for a brigade and 10 days for the division. The 101st could deploy a brigade by air in 10 days but the rest of the helicopters would need sea transport, so the whole division would be ready in 30 days. The 10th would deploy to Norway as light infantry in 10 days, but they would need significant additional airlift to get themselves off the Norwegian supply lines. The 24th could deploy two heavy brigades in 14 days but would need 30 days for the NG roundout brigade. XVIII Airborne also included two separate brigades with REFORGER missions and POMCUS stores with V Corps in CENTAG.

    US forces in the Pacific included three divisions. 6th Light was based in Alaska with a Minnesnowta roundout brigade. 25th Light was based in Hawaii and probably would have gone to Korea. The full 2nd Mechanized was based in South Korea and could not be withdrawn.

    Regarding deployment time for National Guard units:
    These units would be in theater in six to eight weeks. I think the NATO mission units would be kept together as they prepared for deployment, but non-NATO divisions and brigades might be stripped for replacements.

    Non-roundout National Guard forces at the time were substantial but were in the middle of a massive tranche of re-equipping and retraining to bring the units up to modern standards. Some units were Army 86 divisions, but most were still ROAD divisions with older equipment. The five NG divisions with NATO missions were 29th Virginia Light, 35th Mechanized from the Midwest, 40th California Mechanized, 49th Texas Armored, and 50th New Jersey Armored. The 50th was at low readiness with old equipment because of New Jersey's inability to fill the combat and support brigades. The five non-NATO divisions were 26th New England Infantry, 28th Pennsylvania Infantry, 38th Indiana Infantry, 42nd New York Infantry, and 47th Infantry from the Old Northwest.

    There are a total of 14 separate infantry or armored brigades listed in addition to two corps ACRs and two scout groups. Two of these brigades had specified NATO missions and four were associated with active divisions, but not as roundout brigades.

    Regarding National Guard separate units (brigade and lower), by far the most popular were engineer, military police, and artillery battalions. These types of units are far more useful in civil defense and disaster response scenarios than combat units with infantry or, God forbid, tanks. Engineers are good for repairing and clearing roads, military police for maintaining order without looking like an occupying army, and artillery units have a lot of low ranks (low pay) in a lot of trucks.

    The Army Reserve had divisions that probably would have acted as cadres in wartime, but they would get troops ready for deployment after 180 days.

    The Marines, in all likelihood, would not have deployed troops to Germany in any circumstance. FMFPAC's ground forces included an two amphibious MEBs, two prepositioned MEBs associated with the ships at Guam, 1st Marines in California, and 3rd Marines Division in Okinawa. FMFLANT's ground forces included an amphibious MEB with a Norway mission, a prepositioned MEB associated with the ships at Diego Garcia, 2nd Marines in North Carolina. The Marine Reserve included the 4th Marines and an amphibious MEB. The active forces had an ideal structure with three MEFs (two in the Pacific and one in the Atlantic), three Marine Divisions, and nine MEBs. Three MEBs, one per MEF, would be at high readiness (4 days to embarkation), three a medium readiness, and three at low readiness (no peacetime staffing). If a full MEF is being deployed, the high readiness MEB acts as the lead echelon and is then absorbed by the arriving MEF.
     
  20. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    FWIW at one point was in a Navy Reserve Fleet Hospital unit (500 bed field hospital). We deployed to the Persian Gulf for Gulf War I and went from mobilization to on an aircraft to meet up with equipment in 2 weeks. Our equipment had been pulled out of a storage cave in Norway and sent to the Gulf - supporting Marines in Norway was where this unit was planned to go in the case of WWIII. We flew over in civilian aircraft (747s), and our advance party was there in about 8-10 days. While not completely "built", we were ready to receive casualties about 3 days after arrival so real world somewhere between 14 and 21 days to go from being at home to being pretty much full up for wounded, sooner for limited.
     
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