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Conventional Engagement - 1963

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  • Conventional Engagement - 1963

    Not seen a thread like this done, though I have no doubt there are discussions of it. However. I'm curious to know your opinions. If NATO went to war with the Warsaw Pact over the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, who would win a conventional engagement? This means no nuclear weapons involved, nuclear penalties not counted, and MAD not considered. If WWIII was purely of military forces vs. military forces, which side would win and why? What sort of losses would be necessary for one side to win against the other?

    The way I look at it, judging on military quality, quantity, doctrines, locations, and economies of the time, it would be very much a stalemate. I think the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union were overall a better force in terms of quality, training, and tactics, though they lacked the numbers, air, and sea power of NATO. NATO possessed allies poised in many positions to strike the USSR in its flanks, such as Turkey. The USSR would have to either make a forceful push from East Germany westward or consolidate its outer borders and focus on defending its inner borders to prevent defeat and invasion. They had substantial air power, but were simply outnumbered by equally professional air forces if they were to go to war with NATO. They would also be facing the world's two best navies, the USN and RN, in the Atlantic and Pacific, navies which alone were larger and stronger than their own. However, numbers and air power aside, I don't believe NATO possessed the tactics, training, or armored quality that the Warsaw Pact countries had. I don't think even a combined NATO army could pierce a solid defense of a Soviet force, though the Soviets' satellites were all far weaker than the US' allies in NATO. The UK, France, etc. were major powers in their own right, Poland, Ukraine, etc. were not.

    Overall, I think both sides would take significant losses in a conventional fight. The Soviets may be able to push into France, but it would hasten a massive buildup of worldwide NATO forces there, plus attacks on its flanks would mean it would have to divert all of its resources to keep the attackers out. In the end, no one makes any gains and the war ends.
    9
    NATO
    55.56%
    5
    Warsaw Pact
    22.22%
    2
    Draw
    22.22%
    2
    Last edited by Ricthofen; 19 Oct 12, 11:40.

  • #2
    I think it would depend on what NATO's objectives were. If it was to keep the Warsaw pact out of the Western Europe or even push them out of Eastern Europe that could be doable. NATO's superiority in air power would be very useful as the East tank suepriority in number was stark. However if its all the way to Moscow , I think it gets very difficult. The Third Reich had superior training and equipment at first but quantity has as quality of its own and along with the Russian weather and sheer size I think NATO would encounter the same daunting problems as previous invasions. If NATO goes for Western and Central European containment then I think thats doable with a negotoaited peace but all the way to the East I see another disaster in the snow....

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    • #3
      Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
      I think it would depend on what NATO's objectives were. If it was to keep the Warsaw pact out of the Western Europe or even push them out of Eastern Europe that could be doable. NATO's superiority in air power would be very useful as the East tank suepriority in number was stark. However if its all the way to Moscow , I think it gets very difficult. The Third Reich had superior training and equipment at first but quantity has as quality of its own and along with the Russian weather and sheer size I think NATO would encounter the same daunting problems as previous invasions. If NATO goes for Western and Central European containment then I think thats doable with a negotoaited peace but all the way to the East I see another disaster in the snow....
      Unless somehow the Soviets could resolve the border with Turkey, they wouldn't be striking Westward. Their size is a disadvantage here, they're open to attack on all sides and their Army is, against the whole of NATO, outnumbered. However, I don't think NATO would get far in Eastern Europe before Soviet forces arrived to supplement Warsaw Pact troops. Combined against NATO, dug-in, and fortified, the Warsaw Pact's forces could've withstood literally everything NATO had in its conventional arsenal, likewise if NATO dug-in, combined, and fortified against Warsaw Pact forces.

      There's no conceivable way, in my mind, that either side would lose, or win, if they played it smart. The only way one or the other could push farther and win is if the other side made a serious mistake.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Ricthofen View Post
        Unless somehow the Soviets could resolve the border with Turkey, they wouldn't be striking Westward. Their size is a disadvantage here, they're open to attack on all sides and their Army is, against the whole of NATO, outnumbered. However, I don't think NATO would get far in Eastern Europe before Soviet forces arrived to supplement Warsaw Pact troops. Combined against NATO, dug-in, and fortified, the Warsaw Pact's forces could've withstood literally everything NATO had in its conventional arsenal, likewise if NATO dug-in, combined, and fortified against Warsaw Pact forces.

        There's no conceivable way, in my mind, that either side would lose, or win, if they played it smart. The only way one or the other could push farther and win is if the other side made a serious mistake.
        I've never been sure how reliable those Warsaw Pact allies would've been...

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