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World War III In Europe: Who Would Have Won?  
User currently offlineSmithAir747 From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 1636 posts, RR: 28
Posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 8869 times:

Suppose that a third world war had finally broken out in Europe, between NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. And suppose that it had been a largely conventional war fought on land, at sea, and in the air. How would it have ended?

Many scenarios held that the Soviets would, along with the Warsaw Pact nations, have built up massive armies along the West German border and launched a blitzkrieg-style attack into West Germany (and other parts of Western Europe) using massed armour and artillery to punch through NATO defences. Depending on how the war was going, either side might have used chemical and/or tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield (which might have led to strategic nuclear disaster).

How would such a war REALLY have come about, and eventually, ended? Who might have won--NATO or the Warsaw Pact? What might a Soviet-controlled Western Europe have been like? How would the world balance of power have played out?

(FYI, I have a very strong interest in Cold War/Soviet history!)

There have been many novels and speculative/alternative-historical fiction books written about a World War III between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Just about everyone knows Tom Clancy and his treatment of World War III in his novel, Red Storm Rising, in which the Soviet Union (after a disastrous oil-refinery fire sparked by Islamic terrorists) first carries out a maskirovka to lull the West into false peace and security, then launches a conventional, full-frontal-assault type attack into West Germany.

More recently, I have read Sir John Hackett's documentary-fiction novel, The Third World War, August 1985, written back in 1978. (It was also subtitled, in another edition, as "The Untold Story", with additional Soviet viewpoints and even an extra chapter in which the Soviets won). Written in historical documentary style, this "novel" describes a quite realistic scenario (for that time, the late 1970s, when US-USSR relations were quite cold). While the war scenario is largely conventional, there is also included the use of chemical weapons on both sides, and even a Soviet nuclear ballistic missile attack on Birmingham, England (a desperate final Soviet act), to which the US and UK retaliate by nuking Minsk, USSR, with FOUR missiles (each with multiple MIRVs) launched from SSBNs. (Can you imagine a whole bunch of MIRVS, from four missiles, exploding over YOUR hometown?)

Obviously, all these novels are biased in such a way that the West nearly always "wins" the hypothetical war!

I'd like to know (forgetting those novels) how a NATO-Warsaw Pact European war might have REALLY resolved itself.

It ought to be an interesting discussion! Fire away!

SmithAir747


I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
43 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8863 times:

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
How would it have ended?

Very badly for everyone involved.


User currently offlineGAIsweetGAI From Norway, joined Jul 2006, 934 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8857 times:

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 1):
Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
How would it have ended?

Very badly for everyone involved.

 checkmark 

It depends:
Who were the US and USSR leaders?
What year? What time frame?
Would it be the exact same history we know now up to the point where the war starts?
How, where, why does a war start?



"There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8857 times:

No one would have won. Everyone would have lost.

Mark


User currently offlineSmithAir747 From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 1636 posts, RR: 28
Reply 4, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8834 times:

Quoting GAIsweetGAI (Reply 2):
It depends:
Who were the US and USSR leaders?
What year? What time frame?
Would it be the exact same history we know now up to the point where the war starts?
How, where, why does a war start?

In the late 70s, when Hackett's book was written, the US president was Carter, and the USSR was led by a procession of aging (and dying) leaders (Brezhnev, Andropov, etc), who were hardliners.

In the early 1980s, President Reagan was in office in the USA (remember the "Evil Empire" speech right after KAL 007?) Gorbachev was not yet in power in the USSR; the last of the old codgers were stepping up to the plate (and dying shortly after) in the Politburo.

So this war might have occurred in either the late 1970s or early 1980s. It would have been quite unlikely after Gorbachev, in the mid-to-late 1980s, began his reforms, and the communist edifice in the USSR and Warsaw Pact nations started to slowly crumble.

By the way, I also have the book The Soviet War Machine, an encyclopedic work (from the late 70s) about the weapons, tactics, and strategy of the Soviet war machine. It is well illustrated--and supremely fascinating!

I remember lying in my hospital bed (on a tracheostomy) at Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN, in December 1991, watching the news unfold as the Soviet Union finally collapsed!

SmithAir747 (A research medical student in London, who, ironically, is also an avid Cold War/Soviet history buff!)



I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8824 times:

A late seventies war would have likely ended with the USSR on top. The US military was badly demoralized after Vietnam and badly in need of modernization.

A mid to late eighties war would have favored the US as their newer technology was superior to what the USSR could field at the time and the military was/had regained it's professional standing.

The first gulf war clearly demonstrated that late '80s American military equipment and tactics dominated the soviet equipment and tactics used by Iraq. Better trained Soviet soldiers would have fared better, but the vast superiortiy of equipment still couldn't be countered.

T-72 vs M1A1 was clearly a mismatch.
USAF C&C abilities dominated GCI stations.
Fixed networked SAM installations fell prey to US WW tactics.

But then again, if the Soviets were desperate enough to start an all out war, they would probably be desperate enough to go NBC.


User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8814 times:

If this was in the 1950s, with Khrushchev and Eisenhower at hand, the only thing I could say is Nuclear Winter...

As for the later part of the USSR era (1970s-1991), I think MDorBust hit it on the spot.

Edited for Content

[Edited 2007-03-07 00:01:28]

User currently offline1stfl94 From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 1455 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 8804 times:

If Nuclear Weapons were used no one would win. If it was a conventional war in the late 1970s/early 1980s then NATO would have won. The USSR was far weaker and was already in the first stages of what would lead to its break up in 1991 at that time than the USA and I doubt it would have been able to hold out

User currently offlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3684 posts, RR: 29
Reply 8, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 8774 times:

Think about the following: No politician with any sense of sanity left would have started such a war. Thus, if this war had happened, I think the use of nuclear weapons would have been extremely likely.

No one would have survived such a war. Even if the war would have been contained to Western Europe, which I am rather sceptical about, the fallout would have devastated large areas of the world.

We shall all be grateful this never happened. I think the cold war was a cynical game. However, it worked. We are still alive.


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 9, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 8773 times:

Well, since the question was about who would have won I'll say that since nuclear weapons would have been required to prevent the WARPAC forces from crossing the Rhein everyone in Europe would have lost a war in the seventies.

By the time the eighties rolled around it would have gone towards the west as long as we kept aerial superiority.

Germany would have been a loser either way, since their nation would have been destroyed. Poland and Czechoslovakia would have been gone as well. The Soviet Union would have broken up earlier.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineWrenchBender From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1779 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 8746 times:

I was on my first voyage in the Canadian Military the fall of 1980(HMCS Protecteur), Solidarnocsz (sp) was just starting up. The NATO fleet (SNFL) was staying together over christmas (a first). It was the first time since the Korean war that we had a ship deployed over christmas. Scary times on the north atlantic, playing chicken in the north sea with Soviet warships, us being trailed by Bears who were being trailed by Tomcats (we were working with the Nimitz). Freakin' trawlers with more antennae than fish onboard cruising thru formations. No fun at all, but if the balloon went up that was our job to keep the north atlantic open so Reforger could happen. This is the how Clancy came to write 'Red Storm', the board game(pre PC) Harpoon was the basis for the book.

WrenchBender



Silly Pilot, Tricks are for kids.......
User currently offlineUS330 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 3873 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 8730 times:

The question assumes that it was a largely conventional war (ie no nukes). As I am currently taking a class on the Nuclear Dilemma, I have to ask whether the question will assume that nuclear weapons never existed as well?
Obviously, if there were nukes and they were used, then in this hypothetical world, none of us would exist (or have been born, for that matter).

Assuming no nukes
NATO versus Warsaw Pact--would probably have been a two front war, as there would have been conflict in Japan, which would have been split up just like Germany (Stalin's army was only 40 miles from landing in Hokkaido when the peace treaty was signed with the Japanese)

In terms of sheer numbers, the Soviets would have destroyed us.
It would be to NATO's advantage for a longer, sustained war, however, as that would have allowed us to establish covert operations in the various Soviet satellite states to help fund and provoke internal rebellions (remember, as John Gaddis, the leading scholar in Cold War studies, argues, the Warsaw Pact was unified by fear and intimidated into loyalty by its "anchor superpower", whereas NATO did not require intimidation by its anchor superpower to maintain the alliance). In that case, then the Soviets would have internally collapsed and NATO would triumph.
Its just a question of how long we could maintain a stalemate or recoup following the initial Russian advance.


User currently offlineMaidensGator From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 945 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 8728 times:

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
Suppose that a third world war had finally broken out in Europe, between NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact

I know it's a hypothetical question, but if it was truly a world war, I doubt if it would have been confined to Europe....

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
And suppose that it had been a largely conventional war fought on land, at sea, and in the air.

I think the question with nukes would have been "when" not "if" And once the first nuke went off, there's no way the war would have been "largely conventional".

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
How would it have ended?

China would have been the big winner....



The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.
User currently offlineWestJetForLife From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 814 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 8727 times:

If the Soviets had invaded West Germany through either the Brandenburg Gate or any checkpoints, then the Americans would haul ass to prevent them from reaching the Rhine.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong or misguided, but the only two ways of reaching the Rhine River (the telltale sign that the former USSR wanted to invade Europe) would be either the Fulda Gap or the North German Plain.

Now, if the US was extremely overzealous, they'd use tactical, battlefield nuclear weapons to stop advancing Soviet troops from reaching the Rhine, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt and possibly the German-French border.

Other countries in Europe would either join the US, the USSR or stay neutral (Switzerland would remain neutral).

If all Hell broke loose? Europe, today, would be a gigantic crater, as would Canada, the States and Russia.

That's just my way/opinion of how battle warfare would've occurred in the 1970s/1980s against the USSR/US in the European battlefront.

PLEASE, please correct me if I am wrong or misguided.

Thank you,
Nik



I need a drink.
User currently offlineJetsGo From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3086 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 8701 times:

Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 12):
China would have been the big winner....

Can you elaborate on this please?



Marine Corps Aviation, The Last To Let You Down!
User currently offlineAllstarflyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 8690 times:

Quoting GAIsweetGAI (Reply 2):
It depends:
Who were the US and USSR leaders?

That would have been the biggest starting point. If it was Reagan for the US, the US would have either mopped up the Soviets or, if the US would have faced an a guaranteed loss, would have gone doomsday on the Soviets by unleashing the full nuclear arsenal from Moscow to the Bering Sea.

Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 12):
China would have been the big winner....

 scratchchin 

Personally, I think the US would have won, after some long drawn out ground conflicts. The battle would have focused on Central Europe with the combined forces of the US and every nation in Western Europe left standing against the Soviets. Whoever won that would have won the war. I say the US because the Soviets would have been at a disadvantage in the oceans - having the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as barriers would have been huge, the Mediterranean could have been sealed off at Gibraltar, the Suez sealed off in the Red Sea, and then - the Pacific? I don't know all the main Soviet ports (some, I'm sure in the North Atlantic), but the fleets from Sebastapol would probably only get so far as to control the Mediterranean (which is huge, but says nothing for advancing beyond - and what if the US Navy engaged them in the Mediterranean?).

It would all have come down to ground forces. No US president would have been dumb enough to trigger a nuclear attack knowing the outcome. And no Soviet premier would have had the chutzpah to trigger an attack as nuclear warheads would surely have proliferated through Western Europe during any such conflict, thanks to the US.

I'd give the nod to the US and Western Europe as far as ground forces. I wonder, though, if we had a Patton or MacArthur type that would have put foot to butt so efficiently. I'm sure we would have, just not sure of any name. Maybe a drive across southern Europe through the Balkans and then northward to the Caucauses. Bottle up the Russians. Mine the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas. Non-nukes on Moscow and other key Russian cities. Air assaults on targets in and surrounding the Black Sea. Eventually, the Western Europe forces could have cut Russia from Iran and any Middle Eastern nation that sold them oil. War production plants springing up throughout Western Europe. Prolific spending on war material driving the Soviet military machine into the ground. This is all hypothesis, of course, but just my take on what likely may have happened.

-R


User currently offlineTedTAce From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 8684 times:

The only people who would have been 'winners' would be those lucky to be alive 200 years from the event. Thinking that a third world war would stay conventional is beyond my capability to believe unless it was the 'western world' versus Muslim countries. Getting the US and Russia to fight together in this kind of engagement is a VERY LONG reach. I dunno speculation on this kind of subject is meaningless without current facts pointing towards such an event occurring.

The only thing that's even close in recent history (and it's a reach) is Israel's invasion of Lebanon. Where there was a lot of sabre rattling; there was nothing in the way of meaningfull commitment from any other country that would have tipped off where the lines would have been as to which country would go one way or the other.

Interesting subject, but ultimately pointless morbid mental masturbation.


User currently offlineDc863 From Denmark, joined Jun 1999, 1558 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 8652 times:

Anyone interested should watch the War Game, it's out on VHS and i'm sire DVD. It was made in Britain in 1966 and basically details what would happen to the UK if WWIII had come about. VSOM.com(Video Search of Miami) has copies.
I won't spoil the conventional military encounter that leads to nukes but it does revolve around Berlin.
I talked to a guy who was a tank crew member in M60A1's in W.Germany in 1981. He told me his units only purpose was to be "road bumps" for the advancing Soviet armies. In other words simply slow them(Soviets) down long enough to get reinforcements from the US. None of them expected to survive the initial Soviet onslaught.
That first 48 hours of a NATO/WP conventional fight would have been more violent than every war in history combined.
Soviet strategy called for massive use of Bio/Chem weapons from the get go.


User currently offlinePelican From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 2531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 8618 times:

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
Many scenarios held that the Soviets would, along with the Warsaw Pact nations, have built up massive armies along the West German border and launched a blitzkrieg-style attack into West Germany (and other parts of Western Europe) using massed armour and artillery to punch through NATO defences.

That's the very moment the NATO would have used tactical nukes. It was their purpose to stop a break through of the Soviet tank armies.

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 5):

The first gulf war clearly demonstrated that late '80s American military equipment and tactics dominated the soviet equipment and tactics used by Iraq. Better trained Soviet soldiers would have fared better, but the vast superiortiy of equipment still couldn't be countered.

While I agree on the technical superiority of the NATO I've to say don't draw too many conclusions from the Iraq war.

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 5):
T-72 vs M1A1 was clearly a mismatch.

Just as the T-72 vs. Leo 2 which would have been the main opponent during the first days. But don't forget the Soviets had always greater numbers.

pelican


User currently offlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3684 posts, RR: 29
Reply 19, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 8605 times:

Just for your information, I have decided to give you some numbers, taken from the West German book "Sowietische Rüstung" from the early 80s. Nice to see what my father has in the cellar from his active duty time in the 80s...These are official numbers from the west German government, which, of course, is not a neutral agency, but I would guess the numbers are rather accurate, since this report was made on request of the German parliament. WP = Warsaw Pact

Military unit Year NATO WP

Divisions 70 74 170
80 80 170

Main Battle Tanks 70 8900 32000
80 12000 43900

Schützenpanzer (smaller tanks) 70 2000 0
80 2900 10500

Artillery, larger than 100mm 70 6400 11800
80 8200 15100


Combat airplanes 70 3300 7200
80 3300 8000


Aircraft and Helicopter Carrier 70 31 2
80 18 4

Large Warships (Cruiser) 70 41 28
80 32 38

Destroyer, Frigates, Corvettes 70 492 229
80 320 321

Fast Boats 70 186 254
80 157 327

Submarines, total 70 257 382
80 269 478

Strategic Subs 70 45 61
80 50 88

Attack subs 70 43 58
80 85 69


Attack subs (another category) 70 169 282
80 134 321

I spare myself to list the nuclear potential. Bear in mind, that these numbers do not say anything about the quality of the respective military units, which certainly was better in the west. Nevertheless, these numbers are frightening!


User currently offlineMiamiair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 8581 times:

Quoting Pelican (Reply 18):
That's the very moment the NATO would have used tactical nukes. It was their purpose to stop a break through of the Soviet tank armies

That was the doctrine of the times.

A wild card to keep in mind would have been the German troops; they are fighting to keep their homeland.

I couldn't tell you who would have come out on top; too many variables.


User currently offlineTheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3684 posts, RR: 29
Reply 21, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 8573 times:

Quoting Miamiair (Reply 20):

A wild card to keep in mind would have been the German troops; they are fighting to keep their homeland.

Yes, but they would have been forced to kill other Germans. I agree, though, that morale certainly would have been much higher in the west than in the east, so probably we would have seen huge amounts of East Germans defecting to the West.

I am glad this scenario never happened.


User currently onlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9669 posts, RR: 31
Reply 22, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 8540 times:

Quoting WestJetForLife (Reply 13):

Now, if the US was extremely overzealous, they'd use tactical, battlefield nuclear weapons to stop advancing Soviet troops from reaching the Rhine, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt and possibly the German-French border

yes, right at the Fulda Gap.

But let's assume there would have been no Nuclear Weapons, just conventional and let's assume the Warsaw Pact would have won, conquering all of Western Europe, including Benelux and France, what would they have got?

Even if most of the buildings and infrastructure had been intact, imposing the Communist regime on their newly acquired territoty would have meant that personal freedom, entrepreneurship and whatever makes up a free and democratic society would have been taken away from the people.

The simple result would have been an impoverished West Europe, in a very short time. I am sure the old boys in the Kremlin knew that all the time during the cold war. Whatever phrases they used to keep their own population under control, they where true capitalists when it came to dealings on the World market selling their oil, gas diamonds and weapons and whatever else. No wonder their top brain KGB guys knew how to play the field and became instant Billionaires once that stupid communist ideology was dumped.

There wouldn't have been any winners, not even China. The US could have continued to exist, alongside with Canada as they are least dependant on others.But that would not have made them a winner either.



.



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 23, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 8490 times:

Assuming nuclear weapons would not be used is a tool to enable theoretical hull-on-hull tank battles. It's unrealistic, and I believe it's why we never saw that conflict develop.

Quoting US330 (Reply 11):
then in this hypothetical world, none of us would exist (or have been born, for that matter).

I was born before the 70's...so why would I have not been born?

Quoting MaidensGator (Reply 12):
Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
How would it have ended?

China would have been the big winner....

No necessarily. Most planners believe they would have been neutralized with nukes in case of conflict. Just to keep them out and prevent them from coming in afterwards.

Quoting Allstarflyer (Reply 15):
No US president would have been dumb enough to trigger a nuclear attack knowing the outcome. And no Soviet premier would have had the chutzpah to trigger an attack as nuclear warheads would surely have proliferated through Western Europe during any such conflict, thanks to the US.

That was exactly the plan. Tactical nukes were the great equalizer if the maneuver groups behind the WARPAC lines were to find a hole and start a breakthrough. We intended to destroy transport lines, choke points and resupply elements forcing their advancing elements to run out of gas...bogging down their attack.

Quoting Pelican (Reply 18):

That's the very moment the NATO would have used tactical nukes. It was their purpose to stop a break through of the Soviet tank armies.

precisely....with the advent of Pershing 2 missiles that could reach Moscow in about 4 minutes we pushed the envelope to really make it inconceivable to the Soviets that they could win such a confrontation without overwhelming losses.

If their supply was uninterrupted, and if we could not deploy tactical nuclear devices (from SADM/MADMs with stay behind teams, to M110s launching atomic rounds, to Pershing missiles), and we could not execute REFORGER then they would have won. But they could not have resupplied if we decided to deny them that, they probably could not have controlled the North Atlantic sea lanes, and we had the nukes deployed.......they could not have won, and we could not have lost.....other than the millions of homeless and the destroyed economies....and the incredible weakening of the western democracies that would have resulted.

It really was no-win if that war happened. The rest of the world would have gained from it in terms of relative strength and power...both economically and militarily.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlinePelican From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 2531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 24, posted (7 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 8471 times:

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 22):
But let's assume there would have been no Nuclear Weapons, just conventional and let's assume the Warsaw Pact would have won, conquering all of Western Europe, including Benelux and France, what would they have got?

Even if most of the buildings and infrastructure had been intact, imposing the Communist regime on their newly acquired territoty would have meant that personal freedom, entrepreneurship and whatever makes up a free and democratic society would have been taken away from the people.

The simple result would have been an impoverished West Europe, in a very short time.

They could have limited their influence without a radical introduction of a communist economy. They early Czechoslovakia or the late Hungary shows that the Kremlin wasn't that stupid. And in the end the Soviet Union may have been relative poor nonetheless they were able to develop an impressive military. Imagine what the influx of western technology would have done - a kind of rejuvenating cure, just as the WWII. I doubt the Soviet Union (Soviet Russia) would have lasted more than 70 years.

Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 19):
Bear in mind, that these numbers do not say anything about the quality of the respective military units, which certainly was better in the west. Nevertheless, these numbers are frightening!

Not really because the nuclear potential was always included -there would have been more conventional weapons without nuclear weapons. The numbers of the fifties were even more drastic.

So in the end this is very hypothetical because nuclear weapons were always an integrated part of all military planning.



pelican


25 Pope : Isn't Albert Einstein quoted as having said, "I don't know how World War III would be fought, but I'm sure World War IV would be fought with sticks an
26 OlegShv : Realistically, no one would have won. From the posts, it seems like people here think that NATO would base it's defense mainly on using tactical nukes
27 Post contains images Pope : As WOPR concluded for itself, "The only logical move is not to play."
28 UALPHLCS : I think you hit the nail right ont he head. The outcome depends on when the war is fought. The US Military was at it's weakest in the 1970s however,
29 RJdxer : That's correct and those are the two main avenues to the Rhine. In the north the terrain is open and favors big tank battles the likes that haven't b
30 PanHAM : There is no such thing as "Communist Economy" . Communism is an ideology. Economy is the result rational action of many individuals, or as Adam Smith
31 Pelican : Oh come on. Do you really want to argue about terms? Maybe you should look under Wirtschaft or oekonomie in your lexicon, so I don't have to explain
32 Post contains links Dc863 : http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7973745710089945384&q=army Check this late 70s West German Army video showing how to defend the built up indus
33 Par13del : I think we need to put everything in context, the question as posed by the thread starter in my opinion, cannot be answered, because of the following.
34 RIXrat : I'm sorry I missed this thread in its earlier stages, but it was quite an experience being the only foreign correspondent in Leningrad, USSR (1976-78)
35 UALPHLCS : I'm not denying you story RIXrat, but the woeful state of the Soviet Military you paint doesn't jive with the Soviet Army that invaded Afghanistan in
36 Venus6971 : If the WP decided to attack and be across the Rhine in 30 days the build up would have to be massive which even our own WMD missing intell would have
37 RIXrat : From my experiences, the Soviet military has always been in a decrepit state, including Afghanistan. Who beat them there, but a bunch of Mullahs with
38 Bill142 : The French of course.
39 SmithAir747 : The other day, someone responded (by email)to me about this thread. He recommended I read a novel titled Arc Light by Eric Harry, about an accidental
40 Gemuser : Spot on! I am surprised no Else has mentioned it. France was NOT a NATO member for most of the cold war and had its own nuclear force. If a large WP
41 Zkpilot : All of this is of course forgetting that were the Soviets to attack western Europe, they would have to build up their forces in the West first... the
42 UALPHLCS : Decrepit state or not it was guerilla tactics that beat the Soviets in Afghanistan not the poor condition of thier military. The US had the finest mi
43 RIXrat : You're absolutely right, but there are a few exceptions to your statement. The Soviets should have learned from our failures in Vietnam, but they did
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