How long would REFORGER take?

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

  1. Barry Bull Donor

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    The NATO ORBAT changed quite a lot through out the 80s, so the 1989 version is not indicative of what happened in early and mid-80s.
     
  2. Barry Bull Donor

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    Because there was PAL ("Permissive Action Link"), dual-key arrangement and their Soviet counterparts. It would be difficult to use the bomb in error as it simply would not trigger nuclear reaction with correct password disabling the PAL.
     
  3. Barry Bull Donor

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    Radio silence cannot cover up increased road, rail and air traffic afterall.
     
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  4. aaronupright Well-Known Member

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    NATO did study a 1973 scenario, whereby the Soviet’s made a sudden limited incursion.
    Not sure how seriously it was taken.
     
  5. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    After the end of the Cold War and the fall of the wall, a lot of data came across about the the real readiness state of the Soviet military. Without going in to details to my reading it appears the Soviets were less capable of mounting an attack out of the barracks than NATO would have been in responding to such an attack.
     
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  6. MKD Well-Known Member

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    But it would start with a tactical nuke being used. Control of those could be devolved
     
  7. ObssesedNuker Commander of 10 million men

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    Depends on which parts of the Soviet military your looking at and at what period of time. As has previously been noted, a lot changed in the respective militaries even within the 1980s. The forces in the GSVG, who would be chiefly responsible for executing the start of a bolt-from-the-blue attack, were generally held to much higher standards, and hence maintained a much higher readiness, then other forces in the Soviet military and could have reasonably been expected to be able to mount such an attempt with good odds of success in the early-80s, although reinforcement from the rest of the Soviet military would likely be slower then the Soviets are comfortable with (see below). That would mean the Soviets would essentially be gambling the entire war purely on the GSVG achieving decisive results, which is obviously an enormous risk. Soviet military readiness, as well as it's ability to increase it's readiness, also heavily correlates (with rather obvious casautive links) with the socio-economic "health" of the Soviet Union as a whole... something that was in constant decline during the 1980s. So the later one looks, naturally the worse Soviet readiness and mobilization potential appears.

    Taking into consideration mobilization potential... well, from a purely geographic standpoint, the Soviet mobilization programs seem to have a clear advantage in vastly shorter LOCs that are overland and hence much easier to move formations over in a organized fashion and much harder to interdict. However, organizationally things are more favorable to the Allies in the 1980s. During the 40's, 50's, and 60's, the Soviets generally held to their WW2 methodology of recruitment and mobilization, which had proven tremendously able to rapidly mobilize and organize skilled military manpower even under massively disruptive circumstances. In 1967, however, the Soviets massively altered their manpower recruitment and mobilization system with things like increasing the number of annual call-ups while slashing the number of years that conscripts were expected to serve from three to two years*. The intent was to provide the greatest possible breadth of skilled military manpower, even if it required accepting some sacrifice in the "depth" of skills. However, this seems to have drastically and negatively affected mobilization speed and efficiency as when the Soviet's tested out their mobilization system for the calling up of reservists in the early-80s, the results were so catastrophically bad that even NATO intelligence noticed. Subsequent attempts to reform the system got caught up in the larger societal issues that the Soviets faced and ultimately sputtered out in the face of their socio-economic collapse.

    The above actually means the Soviet armed forces would be much better suited to carrying out a "bolt-from-the-blue" attack in the 40's, 50's, or 60's rather then the 70's or 80's. Although maybe they could do so in the 70's pretty well, given that both the rot and NATO were much weaker then in the 80's.

    *Not coincidentally, this is also what introduced the absolutely horrific hazing system which we know today as the "dedovshchina". While technically the phenomenon of new recruits being hazed by their seniors always existed within Russian/Soviet military system (as it does in practically all military systems) and always was know by the name of "Dedovshchina", there is no account of it existing in the specific form with which the term is associated today prior to 1967.
     
  8. Riain Well-Known Member

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    Thanks @JN1 for the Canadian and British units and @Not James Stockdale for the US units.

    So REFORGER for Canada will triple the strength and for Britain it would add 1 2/3 divisions so a bit over 50% strength to BAOR.

    US V Corps was going from 2 Divs and 1 ACR to 3 Divs, 2 Bdes and the ACR; getting close to double the size. VII Corps was going from 2 divs and 1 ACR to 3 dvis and the ACR, just under a 50% increase in size. Plus the cats and dogs going elsewhere my guess the US is increasing in size 50-75%?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  9. Not James Stockdale Those Protestants... Up to no good, as usual

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    Forward deployed US units included V Corps and VII Corps, each with two heavy divisions. There were four US divisions in Germany at the time. Each of these Corps would gain a REFORGER heavy division, so there would be six US divisions in CENTAG. NORTHAG would gain US III Corps with three heavy divisions, bringing the US commitment from four divisions in peacetime to nine divisions under REFORGER. Additionally, the 9th Motorized could be in LANDJUT in probably three weeks, and the 24th Mechanized could be there in two weeks but would probably be held in reserve in the US in case fighting flares up in Korea or Southwest Asia. Army commitment to Norway would start with 10th Mountain and might gain 7th Light from the west coast. Everything but 9th Motorized and possibly 7th Light could be in place in two weeks, and those divisions might only take an extra week.
     
  10. Riain Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I was looking at CENTAG and wondering where the rest of the REFORGER units were; they're in NORTHAG! That's a huge troop increase in NORTHAG.

    The Soviets would have a hard time once REFORGER was instigated for real; those are big, powerful units moving into position very fast. Would it be worth them starting the war in order to disrupt REFORGER once it started?
     
  11. Crowbar Six Well-Known Member

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    And actually faster as in GW 1 they had to pull the gear out of storage and get it to the Gulf. In a actual WW3 scenario you could cut down the equipment transit time significantly as it was likely only going up the road so to speak.
     
  12. Not James Stockdale Those Protestants... Up to no good, as usual

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    The bottleneck for transport is going to be the CRAF flights across the Atlantic. Even if they have to land in Southern France or Spain because the Soviets have air dominance over the front and are shutting down the airports, there would be plenty of ways to get troops to the POMCUS sites, even if they have to spend a day in French buses. However, the Soviets have no way of shooting down the airliners, which could transport 200,000 troops across the Atlantic in five days.

    If the Soviets start a war because they want to get a jump on the REFORGER reinforcements, GSFG has 24 divisions, the rough equivalent of 16 NATO divisions in combat capability, and would be facing roughly 16 to 18 NATO heavy divisions already in Germany. Additionally, the first wave of 72 hr NATO reinforcements (one Danish, two Dutch, one Belgian, two British, and two American divisions) would probably be considerably larger than any Soviet units that could mobilize and deploy to Germany in that time, so NATO would probably take and keep the "combat power" advantage throughout the opening stage of the engagement. In short, the advantage in a three-day mobilization and attack scenario would lie with NATO, not the Soviets. However, in the three week mobilization scenario, NATO's rapid reaction elements are on the line in Germany but are now facing up to eighty Category A Soviet divisions. I think the Polish slingshot maneuver that Operation Dreamland stopped in Red Storm Rising would actually be the most likely scenario, giving NATO between one and two weeks of warning.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
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  13. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    @Crowbar Six : The timetable I said was from being literally in my house to the combat zone - 12-13 days, the equipment was already there. This was a unit with 800+ people in it. To get everyone mobilized, through some touch up training, draw some equipment and get to Norway would still be 8-10 days. Still if 2-3 week warning and reacting quickly, we could have been there before the first shot and mostly set up.
     
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  14. Crowbar Six Well-Known Member

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    In the late 70's and early 80's US units still had issues with drugs and indiscipline but they were pretty much resolved by mid-80's onwards. The Russians had a major problem with alcoholism throughout the period and increased drug use after Afghanistan started.

    Not sure how easily anyone could start a war out of barracks, there would be too much activity just getting stuff to the start line and getting the logistics units up to speed.
     
  15. bguy Donor

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    Did NATO have any units earmarked to reinforce the Greeks and Turks?
     
  16. Not James Stockdale Those Protestants... Up to no good, as usual

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    The Aegean was already an armed camp since the war in Cyprus and the Turkish land border with the USSR was extremely defensible terrain. They probably wouldn't have needed help against the Bulgarians and Romanians unlesd the Yugos or Syrians joined in. XVIII Airborne would be the logical response if NATO's southern flank is existentially threatened, but they would be replaced with NG troops as soon as possible.

    This was well after the naval standoff in 1973, when US forces in the Western Mediterranean would have been slaughtered by the Soviets, and Turkey would close the Straits if there's a war, so any Soviet naval forces there would be operating out of Tartus at least until the start of the war.
     
  17. Mike D Well-Known Member

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    From memory the AMF(L) was earmarked for either Norway or Turkey.
     
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  18. JN1 Has been called the C word on Twitter

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    Indeed it did. 1989 is the best orbat I have access to at the moment.
     
  19. creighton Mono = One; Rail = Rail

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    I’ve been kicking around asking this as its own thread, but it ties into this topic; knowing what we know now, what would be the best year for the Warsaw Pact to try a full push through Western Europe? 1976? Late 1960s maybe?
     
  20. Bougnas Well-Known Member

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    About 1976-78. NATO rearmament hadn't had much effect yet: no massive APFSDS ammo production, no Euro-hot and Roland systems, most US Product Improvement Programs just begun, the next generation of NATO fighters hadn't entered service.

    Meanwhile the Soviets had fielded new equipment in large numbers: T-64A mostly with "a few" T-72s, Konkurs and Fagot ATGMs, Hinds, Mig-23s, more advanced Lib SAM variants.

    It was the time when NATO had a slight technological disadvantage and a rather significant numerical one, with NATO having some issues with discipline (post Vietnam US mostly) and those in the WP not being as bad as in the 80s.
     
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