The Cold War Years. A Hot War in reality. Part 9.

My ‘Cold War’ trilogy is complete. I enjoyed writing it and the empty space it has left will be filled with a new set of books, based on the outcome of a strategic nuclear exchange. An Apocalyptic trilogy, survival at its worst.

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’.

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The capital of Germany, Berlin, was divided into four Sectors. The consequence being, that the three Western Allied powers now controlled territory deep within the Soviet Union Zone of Germany.

Over time, the tensions between the four Allied powers increased, eventually resulting in the Berlin blockade in 1948, when the Soviets attempted to starve West Berlin into submission and force the other three Allied powers out. This failed and the Soviets eventually relented, but an ever-increasing number of East Germans fled to the West; between 150,000 and 300,000 a year during 1951-1953. As a consequence restrictions were placed on movement between the divided country. From 1961, the border was closed and Berlin completely encircled, first by barbed wire, then bricks and finally a concrete wall, along with the infamous ‘death strip’.

Access was now restricted between Berlin and the West. A wall, 124 mile miles in length, was placed around the three sectors of West Berlin, cutting off the city from the rest of the world.

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Section of the  Berlin Wall – 2011

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The Russians finally take Berlin towards the end of World War 2

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The four zones of Berlin – 1984

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I shall cover various aspects of the two opposing forces, providing the backdrop and background information for my trilogy.

“Today, West German imperialism is United States’ chief ally in Europe in aggravating world tension. West Germany is increasingly becoming the seat of the war danger, where revenge-seeking passions are running high… The policy pursued by the Federal Republic of Germany is being increasingly determined by the same monopolies that brought Hitler to power.

The Rhineland politicians fancy that once they get the atomic bomb, frontier posts will topple and they will be able to achieve their cherished desire of carving up the map of Europe again and taking revenge for defeat in the second world war.

One of the most ominous factors endangering peace is the bilateral military alliance that is taking shape between the ruling circles of the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany. This factor remains an objective of unflagging attention.”

Leonid Brezhnev

23rd Party Congress

March 1966

In 1984/85, the Warsaw Pact was already a significant force, the Soviet Union in particular. To counter this NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, assembled its own force of arms along the Iron Curtain. Not just as a show force against the communist ideals purported by the East, but because the likelihood of Warsaw Pact troops, led by the Soviet Union, crossing the Inner German Border was a real possibility.

This is just a supplementary post, building up a catalogue of equipment that would have been used in the event an invasion of the Federal Republic of Germany had gone ahead in the 1980’s

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The FV432, armoured personnel carrier, was a real battle taxi. Its main role was to move troops around the battlefield, but they would always have to dismount to fight.

The FV432 was the armoured personnel carrier variant of the British Army’s FV430 series of armoured fighting vehicles.

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Used for transporting troops on the 1980’s battlefield.

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Steel and composite armour.

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Weighed 15 tons 

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Generally, in the 80’s, it carried a British mechanised infantry section of ten men, inclusive of driver and section commander.

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Over 2,500 were in use at the time. A battlefield taxi.

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Torsion bar suspension with 5 road wheels.

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Powered by a Rolls-royce K60 multi-fuel 240 hp.

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Three smoke dischargers each side 

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Maximum of 12.7mm armour.

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Maximum speed of 32mph.

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Side hinged door at the rear for troops to exit.

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An NBC, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical filtration system gave the troops inside clean, safe air.

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Engine is at the front with the driving position on the right. Commander’s hatch is behind the drivers position and a large split-hatch opening in the passenger roof.

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FV434, recovery vehicle, operated by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).

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Crew of four.

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Can tow a layer for the L9 anti-tank Bar Mine, or can tow a Giant Viper mine-clearing system.

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Weighs 17,750 kg fully loaded.

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On the right hand side is an HIAB crane, a lifting capacity of 1,250 kg at 3.96m radius. Suspension can be locked when crane is being used.

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FV432 with General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) turret.

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Only a few were upgraded to mount a 7.62mm GMPG turret.

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Powered by a diesel engine.

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FV432 with Rarden Turret.

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Urban camouflage, similar to that used for Berlin Brigade units.

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The L2A1A1 Rarden 30mm weapon and its associated turret were designed to be compatible with a range of of vehicle chassis, including Fox, CVR(T) and Warrior.

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The basic 432 chassis wasn’t really big enough to allow this weapons combination and carry all the men and equipment to carry out its Infantry Fighting Vehicle role.

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The rate of fire was limited by the use of ammunition in three round clips, rather than belts. The 30mm calibre also limited the projectile performance, particularly the High Explosive capacity.

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The present day Infantry Fighting Vehicle. FV510 Warrior. 25 tons, powered by a Perkins V-8 Condor Diesel 550 hp engine. Capable of 46mph.

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Main armament, a 30mm L21A1 Rarden cannon. Capable of destroying most modern APC’s at a maximum range of 1500 metres. Secondary armament is an L94A1 Coaxial 7.62mm chain gun.

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FV432’s on the move.

Future posts will cover the Warsaw Pact,  the Soviet likely strategy and the Airborne and Spetsnaz force.

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HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

My intention is not to portray a particular message, but just share some of my research and experiences with you.  This is the first of my new ‘Cold War’ series, supporting the writing of my new ‘Cold War’ series of novels, covering the hypothetical invasion of West Germany by the Warsaw Pact in the 80’s.

The equipment Photographs and Blog are copyrighted to Harvey Black

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