Soviet expeditionary force during the cold war

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Khanzeer, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. Khanzeer Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2019
    The soviets were always handicapped in power projection overseas during the cold war due to lack of a capable of a capable expeditionary force.Sure they had their airborne divisions but no rapidly deployed force through naval assets like the USMC

    So let's imagine what kind of a force they can muster at the height of the cold war let's say in 1978 -1980

    Goal is to provide some support for their allies in localized conflicts like
    Angola civil war
    Libya vs Egypt late 70s
    South yemen
    Horn of africa
    Prevent coups against friendly regimes

    What kind of naval vessels can they use ?
    What kind of units would be most helpful? Mix of airborne troops , marine units , SAM UNIts , some mechanized infantry , ?
    Fighter support ?
    What kind of logistical support would be need ? How many transport aircraft or supply ships ?
    What should be the ideal size of such a force ? Corp strength? Division strength ?
  2. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    For this they need a navy. Power projection as you describe is more a naval matter than of ground forces. Tho the latter must not be neglected. Theres a reason the British in the 19th Century sometimes referred to their power projection operations as "combined operations".

    The Soviet Navy of the Cold war was a region navy. It had roles in the Arctic, North Atlantic, North Western Pacific (Adjacent to Siberia Japan & Korea, and the Mediterranean. Outside those areas its ability was slim.
  3. Karelian Well-Known Member

    Sep 8, 2011
    The Soviets operated with a different methodology, utilizing their client regimes as proxies while providing weapons, supplies and key advisors, proving their ability to conduct strategic airlifts and project power swiftly and with good results.
    Notable examples are the resupply of Syria in the Yom Kippur War and the way Vasiliy Ivanovich Petrov organized the re-arming and re-organizing of the Derg forces in the Ogaden War through the Soviet Military Advisory Group.
    Khanzeer likes this.
  4. Khanzeer Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2019
    true but soviet naval doctrine was such that even the british, italians and french can form expeditionary naval forces far superior to them, even though these european navies in terms of ships and firepower [ not even counting SSBN and nuclear tipped weapons ] were far inferior to Soviet pacific and Northern fleets

    My proposal is with small changes in their force composition and doctrine the soviets can form a similar expeditionary force which can equal atleast that of the French or British [ of the same period] barring ofcourse the AC, and some of that organic firepower can be compensated by having shore based airpower transported to areas of conflict.
    Soviets already have the individual ships neccessary for these missions [ again except AC] , its just they need to be moulded into an effective force, obviously they can never be in any way equivalent to USMC nor that is the expectation.
  5. Khanzeer Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2019
    indeed that was their Modus operandi

    pros of this policy u already described
    cons are
    1-far more control to the clients over the military suppplies delivered [ which backfires when allies are not reliable e.g in case of egypt]
    2-Far less visible support [ flag showing in 70s is very differnet from lets say 1890s] and inability to influence events on the ground incase things do not go as expected.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019