Operations Plan 4102 [with Annexes] is a top secret road map from peace to war by the US Europen Command. It described in minute detail how the US forces would react, almost hourly, to a Soviet attack across the inter-German border, including detailed plans for bringing in reinforcements from the United States, equipping them, and putting them under NATO command. The plan included descriptions of where each unit will go upon the outbreak of war, and now individual combat units would use the hills and valleys of the rugged West German terrain to conduct a defense in depth, including nuclear-release procedures.
During the Cold War NATO's sole focus was on territorial collective defense, and the need for simplicity overrode any initiatives towards greater military efficiency among its members. NATO organized the General Defense Plan of Germany into eight national corps, whose commanders retained crucial command authorities, e.g. authority over training, logistics, task organization, and mission assignments, among others.
The European General Defense Plan (GDP 31001) was tested annually during Return of Forces to Germany (REFORGER) exercises. The US Army's mission in Germany was to man the the General Defense Plan line, which cut north-south across the Fulda Gap, the break in the Vogelsberg mountains through which the Iron Curtain ran. Every piece of artillery, every machine gun, rifle, mortar, tank, and anti-tank weapon in the 3d Armored Division was intended to hit the Russians the moment they came pouring through the gap.
During the 1980s, V Corps included the 3d Armored Division, 8th Infantry Division, and 11th Armored Cavalry. The VII Corps included the 1st Armored Division, 3d Infantry Division, 1st Infantry Division (Forward), and 2d Armored Cavalry. The separate 2d Armored Division (Forward) was stationed in northern Germany. These forces were arrayed, in line with the NATO General Defense Plan, in an essentially static forward defense of the traditional, critical eastern approaches to Western Europe. Their mission was to hold off an attack from the East until reinforcements could arrive from the United States. Against the increasing numerical superiority of Soviet and other Warsaw Pact forces, USAREUR concentrated its energy on improving its equipment and training, reefing reinforcement plans, building up prepositioned and war reserve stocks, and increasing interoperability with other NATO forces.
As a result of Project CHASE the 709th MP Bn (C) formulated and published the new General Defense Plan (GDP-1-75) to support V Corps. During the Cold War, an outstanding leader development tool for Cold War commanders in Europe was the General Defense Plan briefing. Leaders were required to take a higher command's written and oral plan, develop the defense plan for their unit, and then brief it back to their commanders.
Retired Sgt. Clyde Lee Conrad who, while living in Bad Kreutznach, Germany, passed sensitive NATO information to the Hungarian State Defense Authority. Conrad supplied the Hungarian government with the General Defense Plan (GDP) for essentially every allied unit assigned to Europe. He was a key player in what is generally regarded as one of the most successful Soviet Bloc spy rings of recent times. Conrad was tried in Germany and convicted of high treason. Conrad was arrested in 1988 and two years later, a West German court sentenced him to life in prison for espionage. He received the first life sentence ever given by the Federal Republic of Germany for espionage activities. Conrad died in 1998.
The V Corps's 130th Engineer Brigade's roots are firmly entrenched in the General Defense Plan days of Germany's forward-deployed heavy divisions. In those days, units didn't have to be strategically responsive or rapidly deployable beyond border assembly areas in eastern Germany.
Throughout the Cold War, mobilization to execute USAREUR's OPLAN 4102, plus the possibility of concurrent hostilities in Korea, was planned much on the model of World War II. It was expected that if the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact attacked North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, full mobilization would quickly be directed by the President. Full mobilization meant that all of the ARNG and USAR TPFDL units would be mobilized and deployed as required by the CINCs. For most RC units that would have entailed prolonged periods of post-mobilization training and issuance of additional equipment and personnel fill from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) and/or Selective Service. Units could be deployed when they reached a Command, Control and Communication (C3) readiness category if necessary.
Events since the end of the Cold War have indicated that although mobilization can be readily invoked by the National Command Authority (NCA) as in Operation DESERT STORM, the scope and magnitude of the use of reserve forces will most likely be less than that envisioned to deal with a Warsaw Pact style threat. Although such a scenario must remain a possibility, smaller scale mobilization is more likely for the Army XXI. It is essential that Army leaders engage public affairs to create a climate where necessary community support and acceptance can be initiated and sustained through a series of PA programs.
No longer can commanders memorize General Defense Plan battle positions at the Fulda Gap and know who and where they will fight. Field grade officers must now be capable of thinking through the most difficult situation, adapting to changes in their operational environment and ensuring the continued success and freedom of our nation. The Army expects it will take time before our officer corps is comfortable with the notion of having no "school solution," but as seen in Afghanistan, Iraq and other hotspots throughout the world, there is no General Defense Plan, and the enemy is constantly changing, thinking and adapting.
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