Author Topic: Scorpion, AVGP Cougar, other light AFV alternatives and Cold War tanks of Canada (From: TAPV thread)  (Read 19743 times)

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Offline George Wallace

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You're talking about the so-called "Bolt from the Blue" where the Warsaw Pact get the call from Moscow, they jump in their tanks/APC's and head west. Actually, this was the least likely scenario; in reality, any conflict between East and West would have encompassed weeks, if not months, of increasing tension prior to onset of hostilities, which would have allowed both sides to bring their forces up to combat readiness status.

It wasn't until after the Wall came down that the actual Troop Strengths and Combat Readiness was full known.  Hindsight is great, but at the time all the COA's had to be thought out.  If the balloon had gone up, it would have been one hell of a mess no matter what scenario would unfold. 
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Offline Fishbone Jones

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We were told we would have between 11-18 minutes of life after crossing the LD and firing the main gun.

That gave us a reason to overindulge in the beer that was there ;D
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Offline TCBF

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We were told we would have between 11-18 minutes of life after crossing the LD and firing the main gun.

That gave us a reason to overindulge in the beer that was there ;D

- I always loved those "x amount of minutes to live" urban military legends. Not too many peer reviewed papers backing them up, sadly.

- I thought that "Red Army" by Ralph Peters was the more likely outcome of a Heavy Metal war on the Central Front. It was a good book to read in CFE and got passed around a lot.
"Disarming the Canadian public is part of the new humanitarian social agenda."   - Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axeworthy at a Gun Control conference in Oslo, Norway in 1998.


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Offline Eland2

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- I always loved those "x amount of minutes to live" urban military legends. Not too many peer reviewed papers backing them up, sadly.

- I thought that "Red Army" by Ralph Peters was the more likely outcome of a Heavy Metal war on the Central Front. It was a good book to read in CFE and got passed around a lot.

I've not read Red Army, but I have read a similar book by former British Army officer Kenneth Macksey called First Clash, which details the likely actions 4 CMBG would have to take in the first 48 hours of a Warsaw Pact advance on western Europe. Macksey concluded that in a best-case scenario, 4 CMBG would have been forced to engage in a series of tactical withdrawals to well within French territory.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Then Eland2, you must get your hands on Red Army. It is almost a "must read" book.

Peters wrote it completely from a soviet perspective. For once, you are not on the comfortable NATO side, but on the soviet one, looking at the campaign from their perspective and interpreting the situation as it develops from their leadership's point of view, and seeing how their officers would react to various problems.

It is very educational.

Offline Chris Pook

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For the Trifecta (along with Red Army and First Clash) I would offer Hackett's "Third World War: August 1985".

And as counter-point to Peters' "Red Army" I suggest Victor Suvorov's "The Liberators - My Life in the Soviet Army" - written by a serving Soviet officer that defected and that served during the 1968 Liberation of Prague.
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Offline Eland2

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Then Eland2, you must get your hands on Red Army. It is almost a "must read" book.

Peters wrote it completely from a soviet perspective. For once, you are not on the comfortable NATO side, but on the soviet one, looking at the campaign from their perspective and interpreting the situation as it develops from their leadership's point of view, and seeing how their officers would react to various problems.

It is very educational.

Thanks for the recommendation, I'll go look it up and get a copy.

My own take on how the Warsaw Pact forces would have viewed a campaign from their perspective, is that they would have had significant difficulties along the way. I'm not referring to the opposition they would have experienced from NATO forces. I'm thinking more along the lines of the problems posed by leading millions of mediocre troops, most of whom are conscripts with little to no motivation to fight hard or be emotionally or mentally invested in the business of soldiering.

Then there is the problem of supply. Throughout their history, Russia and its Warsaw Pact client states were notorious for having persistent supply-chain problems in both the military and civilian spheres. This, I think, is why they chose to hang their hopes on building an armoured force so large that it would be capable of overwhelming NATO defences in a one-shot deployment, and thereby minimize the need to maintain extensive repair and replacement resources. Or extensive logistical support, for that matter.

Finally, the bigger problem that WP forces faced was one of political reliability. It's well known that the Poles, the Czechs and Hungarians (and East Germans to a lesser extent) were fairly reluctant adherents of Communism. As such, there was always the risk that substantial portions of their armies might have defected to the NATO side if an attack had been launched.

Evidence for this argument is partly supported by the fact that in the mid to late 1980s, Erich Honecker in East Germany was forced to open up the borders and allow people to travel more freely, even to non-Communist countries, in order to stave off the risk of open revolt that neither the East German government nor its Soviet backers had the wherewithal to contain. I've even come across one account where the Poles were said to have come close to militarily attacking their Russian occupiers over some dispute. That dispute ended with the Russians backing down rather than see the already-fragile Warsaw Pact alliance jeopardized.

Offline MilEME09

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Thanks for the recommendation, I'll go look it up and get a copy.

My own take on how the Warsaw Pact forces would have viewed a campaign from their perspective, is that they would have had significant difficulties along the way. I'm not referring to the opposition they would have experienced from NATO forces. I'm thinking more along the lines of the problems posed by leading millions of mediocre troops, most of whom are conscripts with little to no motivation to fight hard or be emotionally or mentally invested in the business of soldiering.

Then there is the problem of supply. Throughout their history, Russia and its Warsaw Pact client states were notorious for having persistent supply-chain problems in both the military and civilian spheres. This, I think, is why they chose to hang their hopes on building an armoured force so large that it would be capable of overwhelming NATO defences in a one-shot deployment, and thereby minimize the need to maintain extensive repair and replacement resources. Or extensive logistical support, for that matter.

Finally, the bigger problem that WP forces faced was one of political reliability. It's well known that the Poles, the Czechs and Hungarians (and East Germans to a lesser extent) were fairly reluctant adherents of Communism. As such, there was always the risk that substantial portions of their armies might have defected to the NATO side if an attack had been launched.

Evidence for this argument is partly supported by the fact that in the mid to late 1980s, Erich Honecker in East Germany was forced to open up the borders and allow people to travel more freely, even to non-Communist countries, in order to stave off the risk of open revolt that neither the East German government nor its Soviet backers had the wherewithal to contain. I've even come across one account where the Poles were said to have come close to militarily attacking their Russian occupiers over some dispute. That dispute ended with the Russians backing down rather than see the already-fragile Warsaw Pact alliance jeopardized.

If you've ever played the game Wargame: European Escalation, a similar scenario played out where during the 1980 workers strikes in poland. In the scenario the strikes spread to Czechoslovakia and the country's fractured with parts of both nations armies rebelling against the red army. The Czech's call for NATO's help, but NATO forces don't reach Poland in time. Loosing Czech though would prove to be a crippling blow to the Warsaw pact.

If you ask me we still should be gearing out vehicles to fight russian/Chinese designs, rather then insurgents with RPG's and IED's
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Offline TCBF

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I've not read Red Army, but I have read a similar book by former British Army officer Kenneth Macksey called First Clash, which details the likely actions 4 CMBG would have to take in the first 48 hours of a Warsaw Pact advance on western Europe. Macksey concluded that in a best-case scenario, 4 CMBG would have been forced to engage in a series of tactical withdrawals to well within French territory.

- We joked in CFE that the most realistic part about "First Clash" was the story location: north of CFB Baden-Sollingen. In fact, at the end he did have one of the Cdn leaders feel that we they been hustled back, and perhaps did not accomplish as much as they had hoped.

- We put too much stock in the 'poor morale' of GSFG and the lesser commies. Fact is, they would have done their duty and they had a robust system of military discipline to keep everyone pointed west. Once on the ground in the FRG and moving towards the Rhine, their morale would have gotten better by the kilometer, whilst ours would have gotten worse.

- Our sustainability had issues as well. We had an ocean to cross. 130 Soviet attack submarines (in 1990) and the anti-ship missile carrying Bears and Blinders of the AV-MF would make for a short war.
"Disarming the Canadian public is part of the new humanitarian social agenda."   - Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axeworthy at a Gun Control conference in Oslo, Norway in 1998.


"I didn’t feel that it was an act of violence; you know, I felt that it was an act of liberation, that’s how I felt you know." - Ann Hansen, Canadian 'Urban Guerrilla'(one of the "Squamish Five")

Offline Eland2

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- We joked in CFE that the most realistic part about "First Clash" was the story location: north of CFB Baden-Sollingen. In fact, at the end he did have one of the Cdn leaders feel that we they been hustled back, and perhaps did not accomplish as much as they had hoped.

- We put too much stock in the 'poor morale' of GSFG and the lesser commies. Fact is, they would have done their duty and they had a robust system of military discipline to keep everyone pointed west. Once on the ground in the FRG and moving towards the Rhine, their morale would have gotten better by the kilometer, whilst ours would have gotten worse.

Yes, they did have a robust form of military discipline. Commanders were authorized to shoot any backsliders, and any that survived such an encounter or didn't get shot ended up in the punishment battalions like the ones that were seen in the battle for Stalingrad in the Second World War.

Quote
- Our sustainability had issues as well. We had an ocean to cross. 130 Soviet attack submarines (in 1990) and the anti-ship missile carrying Bears and Blinders of the AV-MF would make for a short war.

3,500 miles is a long stretch for any logistical train. A train that was too long proved to be Hitler's undoing when he foolishly attacked Stalingrad.

I think one of the saving graces for NATO was that it had extensive stocks of materiel prepositioned in various places to help compensate for the distance between North America and Europe. The problem, of course, was that if the materiel storage locations were overrun or nuked, NATO would quickly find itself in a 'game over' kind of situation and forced to choose between conducting tactical and strategic nuclear strikes or surrendering.