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Warsaw Pact War Plans

The specific military plans of the Soviet Union, as well as the plans of the United States, remain secret. With the help of the open archives of the former Warsaw Pact countries, such as Poland and Czechoslovakia, historians could roughly establish how the Soviet army would have acted in the event of a conflict.

As long as Stalin was alive and during the 1950s, the Warsaw Pact countries retained almost completely defensive positions aimed at protecting member states from invading the West. Probably, taking into account the US nuclear superiority at that time, the use of nuclear weapons was not considered in any capacity.

Only after Stalins death, namely in the 1960s, did the Soviet Union develop new military plans. They were obviously offensive in nature and assumed a blitzkrieg-type attack that would allow the Warsaw Pact countries to conquer most of Western Europe in a few days. In order to succeed in the initial stages of the war, the Soviet Union sought to achieve a numerical advantage of troops in a ratio of five to one or six to one along the main points of attack.

Even on the pages of the officially published book (in Moscow in 1962, and in Warsaw in 1964), Marshal Vasily Danilovich Sokolovsky outlined the concept of a maturing strategy for a future war (called total coalition) led by the USSR with the West: "In terms of means of armed struggle, the Third World War will be primarily a nuclear-rocket war. Mass use of nuclear weapons, especially thermonuclear weapons, will give the war an unprecedented, destructive and destructive nature. All countries will be wiped out from the face of the earth. The main means of achieving the objectives of war, the resolution of basic strategic and operational tasks will be rockets with nuclear charges. In connection with this, the leading type of military forces will be strategic missile forces, while the role and purpose of other types of armed forces will significantly change. However, the final victory will be achieved only as a result of a joint effort of all types of armed forces [...] ".

The essence of the Soviet military strategy was offensive, "catching-up" and the rapidness of the offensive of the United Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty to the West, euphemistically referred to as the "pre-emptive strike". At the time of fascination with atomic weapons, Khrushchev was considered in Moscow, among other things, to create artificial islands around the United States, from which medium-range atomic rockets would be fired (the Cuban crisis of 1962 is in some sense the aftermath of these projections), hit America with a huge torpedo equipped into a nuclear warhead (the idea of Andrei Sakharov from 1961) or even to create (using a 100 megaton force bomb) a wave similar to the tsunami that would hit the East Coast near New York (the idea of Mikhail Lavrientev from 1962).

Later, the Soviet staff and strategists found similar ideas to be unrealistic. From now on, atomic strikes would go hand in hand with a huge conventional front operation. Therefore, the military doctrine of Moscow shaped in the 1960s in reality rejected both the classic and the current model of defense against NATO in accordance with the principle that "the propagation of strategic defense in a nuclear war equals a catastrophe". The Soviets assumed that "in the new situation, the main goal of the combat operations is primarily to destroy the enemy's infrastructure, and in particular to dislodge his rocket sets and nuclear weapons before they are introduced to combat operations."

Soviet military leaders reasonably expected that the United States and its allies would begin to actively use nuclear weapons at the beginning of the conflict. Therefore, they did everything to prevent such a development of events and to protect the territories of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact countries. It was planned to combine the free use of nuclear weapons with the formidable military power of the Warsaw Pact. In addition to the destruction of major cities and towns, the military plans of the Soviet Union provided for the use of tactical nuclear weapons against NATO's military objectives. Thus, according to one scenario contained in a joint Soviet-Hungarian document, the Warsaw Pact was to dump 7.5 megatons of nuclear weapons on Western targets in the early days of the war.

In this regard, the plans of the United States and its NATO allies were no better. The British nuclear deterrence research team concluded that Great Britain alone intended to drop about 40 nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union in the event of war. And the United States, of course, could have dropped much more.

The doctrine of hostilities of the Soviet Union differed from the doctrine of NATO in that for Moscow nuclear weapons were only part of the hostilities and not necessarily the decisive factor. For the United States and its allies, nuclear weapons should have been the basis, given the scale of the damage they could cause.

Lech Kowalski, one of the first historians who had access to the Warsaw Pact documentation, described the Soviets' war plans from the turn of the 1960s and 1970s: "Based on the training maps, you can get an idea within the limits of the Western War Theater [ZTDW] in Poland . The borders are determined by two large arms (north and south) mapped on the map with a solid line. The northern boundary of ZTDW was derived from the base of the point of descent of the current state borders: Lithuania, Poland and Russia (in the area just north of Suwalki). Farther it ran north from Malm in Sweden along the Katlegat coast towards Gothenburg, hence along the coast north of Oslo near Hnefoss to the west coast of Norway in the lesund area of the North Sea. The southern border of ZTDW began at the point where the current borders of Slovakia, Hungary and Ukraine meet. From here it ran along the southern border of Slovakia towards the northwest of Budapest near Komarna.

"Then it went to the border of Austria and the former Yugoslavia and Hungary. From here along the southern border of Austria, crossing the southern boundaries of Switzerland. Then, bypassing Italy, it was heading along the eastern French border to the Toulon area and hence the arch crossing the Spanish border. She continued to run along the Spanish-French border line to finally reach the Bay of Biscay near Bilbao. " it was heading along the eastern French border to the Toulon area and hence the arch crossing the Spanish border. She continued to run along the Spanish-French border line to finally reach the Bay of Biscay near Bilbao. " it was heading along the eastern French border to the Toulon area and hence the arch crossing the Spanish border. She continued to run along the Spanish-French border line to finally reach the Bay of Biscay near Bilbao."

An important addition to the Soviet attack strategy outlined in the West was the formulation of the so-called the first strategic plan of the three operational-tactical relations in the Western Direction of Warfare of the Warsaw Pact troops: the Seaside Front, the Central Front and the Southern Front. The first strategic plan, which formed Soviet troops stationed in the GDR, the PRL and Czechoslovakia and the armies of the GDR, the PRL and the CSRS, was to be supported by a strategic second army and strategic reserve (in the strength of two fronts) fronts mobilized and formulated in the USSR ( in the Belarussian and Ukrainian lands). As stated by Kowalski already quoted: "In the case of a NATO attack, the first strike would be taken by the Soviet armies stationed in the GDR. These forces were estimated at 300-500 thousand. In this way, time would be gained to regroup the Coastal Front troops, which were to reach the concentration area in the northern part of Poland and the GDR. In those areas there were military ammunition depots, underground fuel bases and other logistic security features of the front. "

The plan of creating the seaside front was shaped for the first time around 1955. It was during the exercises that were commanded by Army General Stanislaw Poplawski. At the turn of 1965/66, his first final version was adopted. Then, in principle, until the end of the PRL, new, modified versions of the plan were created. In line with the plan accepted in 1970 by General Wojciech Jaruzelski, the Polish army was ready to attack Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark with atomic weapons. It was expected that even 170 nuclear bombs could have exploded during the battles with NATO countries. The action of the People's Polish Army against the NATO countries with details was drawn on the map of the so-called "Operation plan for offensive maritime front". Declassified in 2006, along with documents on martial law, the plan proved that the Warsaw Pact prepared itself not only to defend against the possible attack of Western states, but also planned offensive actions itself. And on a huge scale - with the use of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and atomic weapons.

Due to the involvement of LWP forces (in the plans from the 1970s it was nearly 600,000 soldiers, 15 general military divisions, three divisions of combat aviation, including nearly 3,000 tanks, 63 rocket launchers, 428 aircraft, including 30 carriers of weapons nuclear) was also called the Polish Front. It was during the war that the Polish Front troops were to have nearly 180 tactical rocket launchers and 30 aircraft - nuclear bomb carriers that were to be dropped in the area of ??attack (including Copenhagen, Bremen, Wilhelmshaven, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp).

Poland would form the front operating in the west and north. And that's because it was a peripheral direction. The Polish front was weaker than what was predicted by the Warsaw Pact regulations. According to them, the front was made up of three general-armies and two armored armies. In 1975, when the Polish front reached its maximum development, it was composed of three general-military armies. Everybody in the Polish would fight. And not only those in active service, but also mobilized reserves. It would be about 1 million people, both directly on the front and back. Poland was a "bridge" connecting the Soviet base with the Western Military Group in Germany. Thus, the Poles would be burdened with maintaining this communication under the conditions of war - with nuclear weapons, and later also with precision weapons.

The task of the seaside front was to conduct offensive tasks in the western direction, that is first the soldiers would go to Hamburg, and then they would split. One part would continue offensive operations along the North Sea towards the Dutch border. The other one would go north with the task of occupying the Danish islands. About the fifth day of the operation, the northern branch was to be supported by a sea landing on these islands.

The landing was to be carried out as part of a structure called the United Baltic Fleet. The first throw, an assault throw, was to be created by the Polish brigade of landing ships. They were supposed to be 23 landing ships occupied by the 7th Lusatian Landing Division. In the next shots, it would be other groups and unions organized on the basis of the navy and ground forces of the GDR and the Soviet Marine Brigade.

In short, it was a total war plan. About 170 tactical nuclear strikes were counted in the direction of the Polish front. At the same time, as part of the landing operation, up to 18 tactical nuclear strikes were planned. Polish army did not have atomic weapons, but it had means of its transfer in the form of operational-tactical missiles and assault aircraft. Plans foresaw that at the outbreak of war the warheads would provide the Soviet ally. But it was to be used by the Polish army forces.

If Moscow and Washington could refrain from using nuclear weapons, the central front in Europe would be decisive in the war between the United States and the Soviet Union. NATO defended the Western European allies of the United States against Soviet aggression, and the Warsaw Pact Organization provided the USSR with its own defense against Germany.

In 1980, perhaps to decrease their own uncertainty on the core question of Non-Soviet WTO member states reliability, the USSR developed the 1980 wartime statute to formalize the procedures by which the Soviet Union would seize operational control over Eastern European military forces. According to Harvard Cold War Studies Project Director Mark Kramer, it did little to change plans which had in fact been in place for years.

In the 1970s, the main US military doctrine was the so-called "Active Defense". The concept of active defense provided for the concentration of Soviet tanks on semi-stationary blocking positions, where deadly precision-guided munitions would have torn them apart. However, many in the army did not like the passive nature of the strategy. Although it allowed to use the latest military technology, the initiative remained entirely in the hands of the Soviet Union.

Therefore, the new version of the Western doctrine of the Air-Land Battle, first published in 1982 and further developed in 1986, implied greater maneuverability on the battlefield and was based on the theory of "deep operation." Deep operation involves several attacks on enemy positions using long-range artillery, air strikes and paratroopers. These attacks weaken the enemy on all fronts, allowing you to use a breakthrough for further advance inland.

For military operations at sea, the US Navy developed its own set of offensive schemes designed to achieve two military objectives. First, the American surface and submarine forces were to intimidate the Soviet Union so that he wanted to conclude a peace agreement, but not so much that he decided to launch his missiles. Secondly, the American carrier and landing forces were to conduct operations along the Soviet coast in order to divert them from the central front.

Nevertheless, the Warsaw Pact countries had enormous material advantages and a well thought-out planning apparatus, which brought all the partners in the alliance together, so the victory of NATO forces was far from guaranteed.

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Page last modified: 01-05-2019 18:51:08 ZULU