The Red Effect. The Cold War heats up. Part 3.

The Red Effect. The day the Cold War turned Hot. Part 3.

The first novel in my ‘Cold War’ trilogy, The Red Effect, published by SilverWood Books, is available. Thoroughly enjoyed writing it, as i do with all my novels. There are three books in total, covering the hypothetical invasion of West Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany, by the Warsaw Pact in the mid 1980’s. Book 1, ‘The Red Effect’, encompasses part of the intelligence build up leading to the initial Warsaw Pact strike against the NATO forces lined up against them. The purpose of the next few posts is to give the reader some additional background information to enhance their reading experience.

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‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black – Available now. The Cold War that became a Hot War.

The Cold War era started very soon after the end of the second world war, when the communist east, led by the Soviet Union, and the Western world, led by the United States and its NATO allies, faced each across what became known as the ‘Iron Curtain’.

The perception of a potential Third World War, was generally one of a nuclear war. It may have come to that. In reality we will never know. But, one scenario is that of a conventional war. The massed forces of the Warsaw Pact against the supposedly technically superior, but weaker, NATO armies, that may well have escalated into a nuclear exchange.


In my last post I touched on the fact that the Soviets considered Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) weapons as a key part of their arsenal. NBC training was conducted by the British Army, and other NATO armies, in readiness if the Warsaw Pact used them in the event of a war. Although we trained hard, it was not always taken seriously. Fighting in full NBC kit was far from comfortable, but the consequences of not being prepared, for the individual soldier at least, would more than likely be death.


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A vacuum sealed, Mark IV protective smock.


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Vacuum packed Mark IV, protective NBC trousers.


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S6 NBC Respirator was issued to the British armed forces from 1966 until replaced by the S10 in 1986. A soldier would initially be supplied with two canisters, one on the respirator and one kept sealed in the respirator case.


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S6 respirator case. This would also contain Decontamination kit Personal 1, basically a ‘blot-bang’. A small pad full of fullers earth, with the instructions to blot, bang and rub. DKP2, a puffer bottle containing fullers earth. Anti-dimming compound, Detector paper (one colour) which turned dark blue if chemical liquid agents were present..


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NBC over-boots.


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Tread on the bottoms. Laced up over the soldiers combat boots. Unless tight, they had a tendency to slip sideways when running or moving across undulating ground.


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Black, rubberised protective gloves. White liner gloves would be worn beneath them.


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The trouser would be put on first.


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Straps/braces would hold them up.


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The smock, like the trousers, had a black, charcoal impregnated liner.


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Because it is semi-permeable, allowing perspiration to escape, once exposed to a liquid agent it needed to be replaced as soon as possible. 


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The Mark IV, unlike the Mark III, had a front-zipped smock.


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The Over-boots fitted.


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S6 Respirator with hood pulled over the top.


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Helmet and 58-pattern webbing and the transformation is complete.


Chemical weapons consisted of the following types:

Blister Agents:

Mustard Gas and Nitrogen Mustards – Cause severe chemical burns resulting in painful water blisters. The fluid blisters heal slowly and can become infected. It is readily absorbed through eyes, lungs and skin. Exposure to the mustard vapour becomes evident in 4-6 hours and through the skin, 2-48 hours. For Lewisite, the impact is immediate.

As well as killing many soldiers, it would also put major pressure on the Army’s medical services.


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Result of being exposed to a blister agent.


Blood Agents:

Hydrogen Cyanide, Cyanogen Chloride and Arsine – Generally entering the body via inhalation, they inhibit the ability of blood cells to utilise and transfer oxygen, effectively causing the body to suffocate.

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Hi-level protection required when handling Blood Agents.


Nerve Agents:

Organo-phosphorous compounds, Tabun, Sarin, Soman, GF, VX – Nerve Agents acquired their name because they effect the transmission of nerve impulses in the nervous system. Easily dispersed, highly toxic and can be rapidly absorbed through the skin and via respiration. Death would occur in a matter of minutes and it would be a horrible death.

There are persistent and non-persistent agents. The Warsaw Pact would use non-persistent to kill or debilitate the defenders, but the target would be clear of contamination for their assault. Persistent agents would used to potentially deny NATO forces access to bridges, they need to use for logistics, ammunition depots and airfields.

Red effect 3 081 (1)VG Nerve Agent.


Biological Agents:

Anthrax, Brucellosis, Lassa fever, Typhus, Botulinum Toxin, etc.


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Speaks for itself, 


Going forward i will add more information in support of my Cold War trilogy, including maps and photographs. Part 4 will cover the Soviet Spetsnaz and Airborne.

The equipment Photographs and Blog are copyrighted to Harvey Black.

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‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black – Kindle version out now! The Cold War that became a Hot War. Paperback edition imminent.


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