The Red Effect. The day the Cold War turned Hot. Part 4.

The first novel in my ‘Cold War’ trilogy, The Red Effect, published by SilverWood Books, is now available. Thoroughly enjoyed writing it, as i do with all my novels. 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’, 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.

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It was anticipated that 1 British Corps would be up against the Soviet 3rd Shock Army, consisting of four armoured divisions. The first echelon of 3SA could consist of 10th Guards Tank Division and 7th Guards Tank Division. They alone would have in the region of 700 main battle tanks. Once through the British covering force, a thin screen to slow down the Soviet advance, they would attempt to punch through the main force, committing two further divisions to exploit any breakthrough. As it is likely that the Soviet Army would attack a reduced sector, enabling them to consolidate their forces, a unit like the 1st Armoured Division, with about 200 tanks, would probably find two of it’s Brigades, with 100-150 Chieftain or Challenger tanks,  attempting to stop this onslaught. But, that is not all they would have to contend with:

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Soviet paratroopers drop from a Tupolev TB-3 in 1930.

After the initial experimental jump in 1930, during 1932/33, larger units were created. By 1941, the Soviet army had established  five Airborne Corps.

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Spetsnaz training facility, also often used by airborne forces.

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Present day Russian Airborne troops.

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The Soviet Airborne troops or VDV, Vozdushno Desantyne Voyska (Air-Landing Forces), were classed as elite troops, hence the blue berets and blue and white horizontally striped shirt beneath their one-piece coveralls.

In the 80’s, the Soviet army had at least 6 Airborne Divisions and some 15 Air Assault Brigades.

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Soviet airborne troops waiting to board an Ilyushin II-76 ‘Candid’ aircraft.

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1984, Soviet airborne troops boarding a Candid, which was capable of carrying 140 armed troops, or 125 paratroopers.

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The Airborne Division and the Air Assault Brigade, were two types of Soviet Airborne unit.  An Airborne Division, made up of 3 BMD (BMD-airborne armoured personnel carrier) Regiments, an artillery regiment, an assault gun, anti-aircraft, engineer, signal, transport and medical battalion, along with a reconnaissance and chemical defence company. With over 6,500 men, it was a force to be reckoned with. Should 1 British Corps find two of these divisions suddenly dropping behind their lines, it would cause havoc. Unless the 2nd Infantry Division had arrived from the UK to conduct rear area defence, the front-line divisions would have to divert reserves to deal with this additional menace.

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A Soviet airborne amphibious tracked infantry combat vehicle. It can be palletised and dropped by parachute or off-loaded from an aircraft after a standard runway landing.

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Present day, airborne troops in Abkhazia.

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An ASU-85 of the Polish 6th Air Assault Division. In the 80’s, the Polish army had two airborne divisions that would have been used as part of the Warsaw Pact forces invading West Germany. The 15.5 ton, ASU-85, with its 85mm gun, gave the airborne forces some light infantry support and limited anti-tank capability once on the ground. It could be air-dropped, using a high-capacity multi-chute and retro-rocket systems, or underslung from a Mi-6 Hook helicopter.

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Soviet airborne troops in Kosovo.

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An Air Assault Brigade on the other hand was much smaller. It would have two BMD assault battalions and two parachute battalions. They were supported by a reconnaissance company, artillery and air-defence battalions, along with signals, engineers, transport, supply, chemical defence and medical support. The Brigade would range from between 2,000 – 2,600 men. A mix of air assets would be used to land this force behind NATO lines. Again, 1 Br Corps could find perhaps two of these units, over a period of a couple of days, securing key river crossing points, securing high ground, cutting off reinforcements and supplies or airfields and even known Nuclear weapons storage sites.

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Mi-8, Hip helicopter. Capable of carrying between 14 and 24, dependent on helicopter model, combat equipped troops. 

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It could insert advance parties to secure landing zones ready for the main force.

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The Mi-8 Hip could also be used to provide air-to-ground support for landing troops.

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Armed with either Swatter anti-tank missiles, 192 x 67mm rockets and a 12.7mm nose mounted machine gun, it would make it hard work for the defenders to counter an assault. The Soviet Army would have nearly 2,000 of these to support air landings and to act as ground-to-air support.

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They would also bring in the big boys, the Hind. Again a phenomenal amount of weaponry was available. Starting with its four-barrel, 12.7mm gatling machine gun, four 57mm rocket-pods (32 rockets per pod) and four Swatter anti-tank guided missiles it would cause havoc on the front line and in the rear area. Over 1,000 tank busting helicopters would help to facilitate landings behind the NATO front line.

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Mi-6 Hooks. They could deploy troops at speed, quickly enveloping smaller NATO units in the rear.

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Hip helicopter, landing an assault battalion from a Soviet division’s assets.

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So, 1 Br Corps would probably have to handle at least one full airborne division behind its front line, if not two. Between 6,000 and 13,000 well trained, highly motivated, aggressive troops causing havoc, up to one hundred kilometres behind the Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT). They could cut-off a division’s resupply, disrupt reinforcements and even attack the defending units from behind. Then, perhaps one or two Air Assault Brigades would target key strategic areas and river crossing points. Perhaps another 2,500-5,000 men. Let’s put this into persecutive. Between 8,500 and 18,000 Soviet airborne forces could target an area, defended by a British division, the division having up to 200 tanks and 9,000 men.  If 2nd Infantry Division was in Theatre, some reinforcements would be available. 1 BR Corps would have to redeploy other units and would be dependent on support from either the German or Dutch Armies. Then, of course, there would be the Soviet attacking force to the front.

Is that all? Far from it. The Group of Soviet Forces had five Spetsnaz battalions at its disposal, each battalion able to operate in up to 25 groups of 10 men. In addition, two Spetsnaz Brigades of 1,500 to 2,000 men each were available, operating in groups of 50-150. They would be used to target and destroy any Nuclear capability that the british forces might possess, neutralisation of any Surface-to-Air missile sites, seizure of airfields, bridges, logistics and centres of communication. The 16 Military Districts had one Brigade each along with one each for the Central Group of Soviet Forces, Northern Group of Soviet Forces and the Southern Group of Soviet Forces.

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Spetsnaz units could be parachuted in under the cover of darkness. Some Spetsnaz units would have crossed over into West Germany prior to the invasion of the West, coming out of hiding to assassinate key leaders and destroy communications centres. The Spetsialnogo Naznacheniya (Special Designation) had a peacetime strength of 30,000. The peacetime strength of the British SAS was probably 300. The wartime strength of the Spetsnaz would increase to 100,000-120,000. They came under the jurisdiction of the 3rd department of the GRU’s 5th Directorate, commanded by a Colonel-General.

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Spetsnaz, highly trained and deadly.

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West of Helmstedt, July the 5th, 1984.

3 Shock Army has one of its first echelon divisions, 10th Guards Tank Division, with the its first echelon regiments, 62nd Tank Regiment and the 248th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment, assaulting the covering force of 4th Armoured Division.

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South of Hannover and west of Hildesheim. Dispositions of 22nd Armoured Brigade.

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The 14th/20th Kings Hussars Battle Group has the task of defending a section of the River Leine. Combat Team Alpha, with a squadron of Chieftain tanks, east of Elze, Combat Team Bravo, with three tank troops and a platoon from the Royal Green Jackets, have the task of defending Gronau. Combat Team Charlie, with a tank squadron, has been deployed in Eime as the Battle Group reserve. Combat Team Delta, a full tank squadron, has Banteln. A recce troop of Scimitars has been deployed in and around Banteln. To the north of 14/20th is the Royal Green jackets Battle group, and to the south, the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment.

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i hope this has given you a further insight into what NATO, in particular the British Army, would have been up against. Going forward I will add more information in support of my Cold War trilogy, including maps and photographs.

The equipment Photographs, maps and Blog are copyrighted to Harvey Black.

. HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

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

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Cold War Kit. Part 4. British Tracked Rapier, Surface to Air Missile.

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The first novel in my ‘Cold War’ trilogy, The Red Effect, published by SilverWood Books, is now available. Thoroughly enjoyed writing it, as i do with all my novels. 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’, 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 cover some of the Iconic pieces of equipment that would have played a part, should the Cold War have turned Hot.

. RedEffect72dpi-4 .

‘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. But a pure conventional war was just as likely.

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Tracked Rapier, a British Cold War surface-to-air missile launcher.  It is still in service today.

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The Rapier SAM entered service in 1971 and eventually replaced most of the British Army and Royal Air Force SAM systems. The original systems came on wheeled launchers, towed by Land Rovers. There would be two vehicles, the Fire Unit Truck and the Detachment Support Vehicle.

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Development started on the Tracked version of the Rapier in 1978, deployed in 1983.

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Capable of carrying four surface-to-air missiles on each launcher.

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Parabolic antenna for sending guidance commands to the missiles.

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The missile has a fragmentation explosive close proximity warhead.

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The large cylindrical unit, containing the surveillance radar and Identification friend or foe (IFF) at the top.

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Mounted on an M548 chassis.

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The chassis is the cargo version of the well known M113 armoured personnel carrier.

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The lower part of the cylinder contains the guidance computer and radar transmitter and receiver electronics at bottom.

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The solid fuel rocket could power the missile to a speed of Mach 2.5.

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The Optical-Tracker would be operated from the left side of the crew cabin.

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On the right of the crew cabin you would find the driver and tactical controller.

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There were smoke-dischargers on each corner of the vehicle.

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The missile had a height ceiling of 3,000m.

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In the early 80s, 1 British Corps had 24 x Tracked Rapier and 24 x towed missile systems.

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During the Cold War, 1 British Corps and its respective divisions were very weak in respect to air defence.

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From movement to firing took only 30 seconds with the tracked Rapier, as opposed to the towed versions firing time of 15 minutes.

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Rory, who had just purchased my Novel, The Red Effect, posing in front of my stand at the War & Peace show. He is wearing his Second World War Soviet uniform, carrying the iconic PPS machine gun.

i hope this has given you a further insight into what kit was around during the Cold War in the 80s.

The equipment Photographs and Blog are copyrighted to Harvey Black.

. HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

‘The Red Effect’ by Harvey Black – Kindle and Paperback version out now! The Cold War that became a Hot War. The Black Effect due out Mid September.

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Cold War Kit. Part 3. Soviet BMP-1 Mechanised Infantry Combat Vehicle.

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The first novel in my ‘Cold War’ trilogy, The Red Effect, published by SilverWood Books, is now available. Thoroughly enjoyed writing it, as i do with all my novels. 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’, 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 cover some of the Iconic pieces of equipment that would have played a part, should the Cold War have turned Hot.

. RedEffect72dpi-4 .

‘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. But a pure conventional war was just as likely.

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Soviet BMP. 

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The BMP is an amphibious mechanised Infantry Combat Vehicle. The track, using the hydrodynamic fairings, would be used to propel the BMP through the water at about 5 miles per hour.

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A top road speed of about 45mph.

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This model is without the standard 73mm gun and Sagger missile.

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Over 20,000 BMPs were built.

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Suspension was individual torsion bar with hydraulic shock absorbers on the 1st and 6th road wheel.

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It weighed 13 tons and carried a crew of three plus eight motor-rifle troops.

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There are two airtight doors at the rear. They also contain fuel tanks.

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There are two vision blocks at the rear and one firing-port.

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The hydrodynamic fairings can clearly be seen on the upper rear of the track covers.

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Along each side of the troop compartment, there are four firing ports.

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The two firing-ports to the front, would be used by say a PKM, a light machine gun. The other six would be for the soldiers AK-47/74s.

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There would be a combination fume extractor and cartridge deflector available at each firing port. This could be clipped on to an individual’s weapon.

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Each firing-port had a vision-block above it.

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A padded bench seat on the left-hand side.

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Space was very tight.

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There were four D-shaped hatches in the roof of the troop compartment that could be opened from the inside.

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Padded bench on the right-hand side, looking towards the gunner’s position.

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Vision-blocks on the right-hand side.

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Vision-blocks and overhead hatches on the left-hand side.

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A D-shaped hatch near the turret.

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This BMP has had its 73mm gun removed. Now looks very similar to that of a BRDM-2 reconnaissance vehicle.

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Looking down at the driver’s station,  front, left-hand side.

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Driver’s position and steering yoke in front of the commander.

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Drivers controls and vision-block.

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Looking towards the Commander’s area.

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Commander’s area.

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The driver has two periscope vision-blocks and a binocular vision device.

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Looking back from the commander’s position.

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Commander’s position

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Driver’s binocular vision device.

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Driver’s hatch.

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The four D-shaped hatches can be seen open to the rear.

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BMP-1 showing the standard configuration of a 73mm gun and a Sagger anti-tank missile mounted on a rail above it..

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Rory, who had just purchased my Novel, The Red Effect, posing in front of my stand at the War & Peace show. He is wearing his Second World War Soviet uniform, carrying the iconic PPS machine gun.

i hope this has given you a further insight into what kit was around during the Cold War in the 80s.

The equipment Photographs and Blog are copyrighted to Harvey Black.

. HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

‘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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Cold War Kit. CVR(T) Scorpion. Part 1.

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The first novel in my ‘Cold War’ trilogy, The Red Effect, published by SilverWood Books, is now available. Thoroughly enjoyed writing it, as i do with all my novels. 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’, 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 cover some of the Iconic pieces of equipment that would have played a part, should the Cold War have turned Hot.

. RedEffect72dpi-4 .

‘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. But a pure conventional war was just as likely.

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The FV101 Scorpion is a British armoured reconnaissance vehicle. 

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Manufactured by Alvis, it was put into service by the British Army in 1973.

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It was used as a reconnaissance vehicle or a light tank.

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3,000 were produced.

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The Scorpion was armed with a low-velocity, 76mm L23A1 gun, along with a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun.

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The first British Regiment to be equipped with the Scorpion were the Blues and Royals

of the Household Cavalry in 1973.

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Its rate of fire was said to be six rounds per minute.

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The original engine was the Jaguar J60, a 4.2 litre petrol engine. It was later change to a Cummins or Perkins diesel engine.

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A Soviet airborne amphibious tracked infantry combat vehicle. It can be palletised and dropped by parachute or off-loaded from an aircraft after a standard runway landing.

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Present day, airborne troops in Abkhazia.

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It was also fitted with a nuclear, biological and chemical protection system. There was a toilet beneath the commander’s seat, an internal water tank and a BV. A Boiling Vessel for cooking or heating water.

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Two troops from B Squadron, Blues and Royals served in the Falklands War.

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Its low ground pressure, similar to a soldier on foot, was particularly useful on the boggy ground of the Falkland Islands.

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The armour was made of 12.7mm welded aluminium.

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A top speed of 45mph, although i am sure it has been driven at a higher speed.

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Torsion bar suspension.

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The close reconnaissance troop of an Armoured Regiment each had eight Scorpions.

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It was used by 21 other countries, including Spain and Togo.

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The basic chassis of the CVR(T), supported a range of vehicles. FV 102 Striker, anti-tank guided weapon carrier. FV 103 Spartan, armoured personnel carrier. FV 104. Samaritan armoured ambulance.

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FV 105. Sultan Command Post vehicle. FV 106. Sampson armoured recovery vehicle. FV 107 Scimitar armoured reconnaissance vehicle.

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i hope this has given you a further insight into what NATO, in particular the British Army, had in their armoury.

The equipment Photographs and Blog are copyrighted to Harvey Black.

. HarveyBlack-Red Effect150313

‘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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