The Cold War Years – Part 4.

I am 18,500 words into the first novel of my new ‘Cold War’ series. There will be 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’, will encompass the intelligence build up leading to the Warsaw Pact strike against the NATO forces lined up against them.

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.

An Iconic picture of the face-off between the West and the East.  The Cold War starts – October 1961.

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I shall cover various aspects of the two opposing forces, providing the backdrop and background information in preparation for the release of my three novels. In the meantime, you could always read my WW2, Devils with Wings series. :)

In 1984/85, the Warsaw Pact was already a significant force, the Soviet Union in particular.

Although the key strategic Nuclear Forces of the Soviet Union and NATO, were either land based or submarine launched, supported by Tactical, Theatre, Nuclear weapons, they also had the use of the Air Force to deliver a nuclear strike.

Soviet Union.

Long Range Bombers – 100 x Tu-95 (Codename Bear). Unknown number of Bear H in production, capable of carrying an air-launched cruise missile.

Medium Range Bombers – 220 x Tu-16 (Codename Badger), 125 x Tu-22 (Codename Blinder) and 130 x Tu-22M (codenamed Backfire).

Tu-160 (Codenamed Blackjack).

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Tupolev Tu-95. (NATO Code Name: Bear). Claimed to be a reverse engineered B-29, Super-fortres. A long wingspan of 164 feet.

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 Maximum speed of 575 mph with a range of 9,400 miles. Armament of 2 x 23mm AM-23, radar-controlled auto-cannon. 15,000 kilogram payload. The Tu-95MS variant carried the Kh-55, air-launched strategic cruise missile family, one with a 200 kiloton warhead.

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Tu-22 Blinder. A supersonic, swing-wing, long range strategic and maritime strike bomber.

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Tu-22. Speed of 1,240 mph with a combat radius of 1,500 miles. 1 x 23 mm GSh-23, remote-controlled cannon in tail turret. The Kh-55 nuclear cruise missile has been tested on this aircraft, but no confirmation that it is in service.

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Tu-160 (Codename Blackjack).  Swing-wing, with a max speed 1,380 mph and a range of 7,600 miles, without in-flight refuelling. Can carry 12 x Raduga Kh-55, nuclear cruise missiles or 12 x Raduga Kh-15 short-range nuclear missiles.

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Kh-55 Cruise Missile.

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United States of America

Long Range Bombers – 90 x B-52H and  84 x B-52G

Medium Range Bombers – 56 x FB-111A

On order – 18 x B-1B bombers (100 planned.)

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Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, with underslung drones.

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Lower deck of the B-52, dubbed the battle-station.

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B-52H. Payload of 31,500 kilograms of mixed ordnance. 1 x 20mm M61 Vulcan cannon mounted in remote-control tail turret. The B-28 nuclear bomb could be set for an air or ground burst with a yield of up to 1.45 megaton.

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Maximum speed of 650 mph, with a range of 3,980 miles.

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FB-111A, long range bomber. It could carry the AGM-69 SRAM, Short Range Attack Missile (Nuclear). Speed of 1,650 mph with a range of 1,160 nautical miles.

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Rockwell B-1 Lancer, a four engined, variable-sweep winged strategic bomber. The planned replacement for the B-52. Maximum speed of 830 mph, with a range of 7,456 miles. Can carry 24 x B61 (Max 340 kilotons) or B63 (Max 1.2 megatons) nuclear gravity bombs.

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B-28 nuclear bomb.

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United Kingdom

Strategic Long Range Bombers – 130 x Avro Vulcan.B2

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Delta Wing Strategic Bomber

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Armament: 21 x 454 kilograms of conventional bombs or 1 x free-fall nuclear bomb/1 x Blue Steel missile (1.1 megaton).

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Maximum speed of 607 mph with a range of 2,600 miles.

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Blue Steel – Air Launched Cruise Missile.

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France

Supersonic Strategic Bombers – 28 x Mirage IVA

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Maximum speed of 1,454 mph and a range of 775 miles. Carries 1 x AN-11 or 1 x AN-22 nuclear bomb (70 kilotons).

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AN-11 Nuclear Bomb

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There were also the conventional forces lined up along the Inner German Border, the visible barrier between the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR), or better known as West and East Germany. I shall be covering their organisation and equipment over the coming months.

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M-60, or Patton Tank.

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Maximum speed of 30 mph

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A first generation Main Battle Tank.

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Main armament is the British 105mm, M68 gun.

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45 tons with an armour thickness of 155.6mm.

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V-12, air-cooled Twin-turbo diesel engine.

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Top speed of 30mph.

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Introduced in 1960.

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Saw service in the Gulf War.

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M-60 Patton,  over 15,000 built.

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M-60

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Carries a .50 calibre gun

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M-60

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Berlin Air Safety Centre controlled all aircraft in and out of Berlin, including the Air Corridors that transited East Germany.

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Berlin Air Safety Centre controlled all aircraft in and out of Berlin, including the Air Corridors that transited East Germany.

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 Red Effect’. so keep your eyes peeled.

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HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

Photographs and Blog are copyrighted to Harvey Black

Barbarossa, Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Part 1

I have just finished writing my third novel in the Devils with Wings series, Devils with Wings: Frozen Sun. The Fallschirmjager, after their successful battle taking Crete in only 10 days, are shipped to Poland to partake in Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

They leave temperatures in excess of forty degrees to be used, not in an airborne operation, but as a fire brigade, plugging gaps in the line around Leningrad. They were Army Group North’s strategic reserve.  They were quickly placed into the fray, fighting along the River Neva, where temperatures dropped to below -30 degrees, sometimes as low as -40. They were successful at plugging the gaps and preventing the Soviet Union from exploiting their bridgeheads over the River Neva, but at a price. Some units suffered up to 75% casualties. Many who had survived the assault on the Fortress Eben Emael, (Devils with Wings) and the fierce fighting on the Island of Crete (Devils with Wings: Silk Drop) met their fate in this bitter struggle with the atrocious weather and the never ending Soviet hordes.

The German Army, and the Fallschirmjager, were soon to experience the hostile Russian winters.

Beginning on the 22 June 1941, nearly 4 million Axis troops invaded the USSR along a front that extended for nearly 4,000 kilometres.

Some of the types of equipment used in this biggest ever invasion of a country are shown below. Most of the photographs were taken at the Bovington Tank Museum.

Panzer I. Command Tank. Fitted out with communications equipment for use by a senior German Officer 

Panzer I. Command Tank. Entered service in 1934. Often seen in large numbers in pre-war parades. 

Panzer I. Command Tank. Rear view

SdKfz 251 Armoured Personnel Carrier

SdKfz 251 Armoured Personnel Carrier. Crew of 2 + 10

SdKfz 251 Armoured Personnel Carrier. Designed by Hanomag and Bussing-NAG in 1937

SdKfz 251 Armoured Personnel Carrier. Weight 7.8 tons. Top speed 53kph

Luchs PzKfw II Ausf L, a key reconnaissance vehicle on the Russian Front.

Luchs PzKfw II Ausf L, 30mm of armour and a crew of 4.

 Luchs PzKfw II Ausf L, with a top speed of 60kph and weighing 13 tons. 

SdKfz 234/3 Heavy Armoured Car

The 234 was unusually diesel powered. 

SdKfz 234/3.  Crew of 4 and 30mm armour. Markings are for 116th Panzer Division.

SdKfz 234/3.  Fitted with a short 75mm gun.

SdKfz 234/3.  Used in a close support role.

SdKfz 234/3.  Gun mounted in an open barbette rather than a turret.

A technically advanced 8-wheeler.

My intention is not to portray a particular message, but just share some of my photographs and information with you and help set the scene for my forthcoming novel.

Photographs are copyrighted to Harvey Black

Devils with Wings ref=sib_dp_kd

Devils with Wings: Silk drop ref=sib_dp_kd

Devils with Wings: Frozen Sun ref=sib_dp_kd