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What If: A World Frozen In The Cold War


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I have devised an approximate alternate order of Soviet succession based upon the assumption that Kirilenko follows Breshnev from 1976 and the rule that former KGB chairmen tend to end up on top because they know about everybody else' dirt. ^_^

 

Andrei Kirilenko 1976-1990

 

Viktor Chebrikov 1990-1999

 

Vladimir Kryuchkov 1999-2007

 

Vladimir Putin 2007- :D

 

Now figuring out their possible American counterparts.

 

I think you've missed Piotr I. Kamenev. The one who let Kiril Lakota go and become Pope.

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Vlad Putin, Soviet action superstar! See him in Red Thunder III when he takes on Mujahideen terrorists and their American backerss who seize control of a school in Uzbekistan.

 

Droog him on MyComrade

Edited by Simon Tan
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Okay, let's try something more simple: an alternate succession of US presidents. :D

 

I see two possible points of deviation in the same timeframe: One, Watergate never blows, Nixon retires honorably in 1977, Ford wins the Republican primaries against Reagan as before but, untainted by the scandal and controversial pardon for Nixon, defeats Cater. In 1980 he might be up against Ted Kennedy since Carter already spent his shot, but probably prevail due to Kennedy's baggage. 1984 might see Reagan or Rockefeller against a Democrat who might or might not be Mondale, as the latter of course never became vice president. Anyway, after 16 years of Republican rule, there's likely a considerable urge for change. If the new Democrat president is Hart however, he'll probably be tripped up in 1988 by Donna Rice, at which point we're losing focus ...

 

Two, everything stays the same until Reagan's election, but he is killed or incapacitated in John Hinckley's attempt, and George H. W. Bush serves out his term, likely re-elected in 1984 over Mondale in large part out of sympathy and defiance regarding Reagan's fate. 1988 might be Dole vs. Dukakis, and absent Cold War thaw, a younger Dole would probably prevail. Nor can I see Clinton rise in a Cold War environment; maybe Tsongas as the Democratic nominee in 1992? Out of focus again ...

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From my perspective, Carter fell mostly victim to the economic malaise. Pissing off young liberal voters by reinstating draft registration likely didn't help, either. But the USians will probably have a more informed view, and I like the simple yet elegant solution above.

 

Another idea: What would happen if the Soviets invaded post-revolutionary Iran instead of Afghanistan and/or Pakistan? Relations with the Ayatollahs soured quickly after initial Soviet overtures towards the new anti-American regime were rebuffed, and the Iranian oil has always been a temptation. Maybe dust off the People's Republics of Azerbaijan and Kurdistan?

 

I have a fairly simple and well-founded model for East German leadership succession BTW: Honecker croaks in 1994, Egon Krenz succeeds him and is still in. :D

 

West Germany is more difficult; as mentioned before, Kohl was arguably handed re-election by German unification. Media and intellectuals were derisive of his provincial ways, the SPD was already strongest party in 1987, and the Conservatives were saved only by the strong showing of their liberal junior coalition partner. With the Cold War going on, support for the left wing of the SPD and particularly the Greens from the peace movement would continue to build.

 

With no early all-German elections, there might have been a Red-Green government in 1991. Those tended to not survive the first term even on the state level back then, and I'd guess this to hold true particularly if headed by Oskar Lafontaine; Saarlanders might have tolerated or even liked his antics, but he showed himself unfit for national government when he practically deserted from his post as finance minister in 1999 - even if it was mostly due to a war of big egos with Gerhard Schröder, which wouldn't apply if he was the head cheese himself.

 

Afterwards - probably a grand coalition and eventual conservative-liberal government again, headed by Wolfgang Schäuble? Schröder could still be chancellor from 1999 on, but obviously he would not be succeeded by Angela Merkel, since in this timeline she would still work in the DDR Academy of Science's Central Institute of Physical Chemistry!

 

Oh, and I would be working in Bonn, and my brother #3 would never had met his wife ...

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**SNIP**

 

Oh, and I would be working in Bonn, and my brother #3 would never had met his wife ...

 

Where, presumably, last year´s I&I would have taken place - or would we have managed to get to Koblenz? And I would be totally stir crazy after 30 years behind the wire!

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There would probably never have been a German 2011 I&I at all, nor might we have gone to Seattle in 2010 for lack of the dynamic that developed from linking up in Berlin ... and of course the Czech events would have been much less accessible, and Banshee Four Alpha and Bravo would likely never have met either. For that matter, it would be highly dubious if there were as many Tanknetters from (former) Pact countries! Neither Tuccy nor Vasiliy Fofanov would be living in Paris, nor Fritz in New York, and some of our Israelis would still be in the Soviet Union. And Günter Grass wouldn't criticize German delivery of Dolphin subs to Israel, because that wouldn't have happened without Gulf War I.

 

We have not considered the impact of the internet on the presumptive contemporary Warsaw Pact very much so far. Of course I guess the answer is it would be highly controlled there akin to the Great Chinese Firewall, made much easier by the fact there would be very few net-capable computers, mostly in public administration, industry and for the nomenklatura. Eastern users would be the rare types like toysoldier back on Cuba.

Edited by BansheeOne
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Eastern users would be the rare types like toysoldier back on Cuba.

 

Word, i was privileged. Heck, even now, tweet and sms activity in Cuba is hundredfold that of internet. Most information is distributed via USB memory sticks or transportable HDs.

But then again, social networks and cyber-dissidents are the government´s sole pain in the neck. Yoani Sánchez remains the only dissident specifically berated by the The Beard. Although this isn´t actually a big deal: this article tells it like it is:

http://www.penultimosdias.com/2012/04/23/the-gap/

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I expect the consumer tech revolution would be much slower. China would not have the same level of production and consumer revolution. The beneficiaries would eb Japan and the tigers who really do NOT have the population to do the Chinese thing. If someone would go and do the legwork, it would be an awesome alt-reality. I pose this question....what does Saddam do in 1991? Does the GCC cave and forgive his debts?

 

Simon

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Subic and Clark still here (did I post that already?), and I'd be taking pix of CVNs and B-52s from the highlands surrounding these bases.

 

Our military would still suck (as if that changed when the Wall fell), but maybe in a better state like we'd still have flying A-7s and F-5s....

 

Marcos might've still be President post-1986, having cracked down on Aquino and supporters (his excuse was they were godless commie bastards), but would've still croaked in 1989 and succeeded by his VP, and from thereon it would be better (politically, socially)

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I expect the consumer tech revolution would be much slower. China would not have the same level of production and consumer revolution. The beneficiaries would eb Japan and the tigers who really do NOT have the population to do the Chinese thing.

 

What path China would go down is another question that occurred to me last night. Would there have been as complete an embracing of capitalism and a widespread protest movement resulting in Tian'anmen Square without the example of Perestroika/Glasnost? Probably yes, I think reasons were overwhelmingly domestic. How would the economically ascending, more assertive China emerging as a third pole influence global powerplay?

 

Apropos of CVNs and B-52s, I think it's time to talk of the big boys' gear. How would the following fare:

 

- Crusader

- Commanche

- A-12/naval F-22/Tomcat 21/F-18E/F/F-18G

- P-7

- Seawolf/Virginia class

- Iowa class/CGNs/DD-21/CG-21/LCS

- Yak-141/Kiev class

- Ulyanovsk class

- [...]

 

No doubt some of them would have been cancelled/retired for complexity and cost overruns no matter what, but they might have had different replacements.

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- Crusader: In service

- Commanche: In service

- A-12: cancelled too much of a clusteryouknowhat

- naval F-22: cancelled, AF would have priority

- Tomcat 21: would be F-14D

- F-18E/F/F-18G: all in service but the G

- P-7: In service

- Seawolf/Virginia class: Virginia wouldn't exist, but there would be more Seawolfs than 3, and presumably weapons would be developed for their oversize torpedo tubes, but not Sea Lance, which was cancelled before the end of the CW.

- Iowa class: In service, Congress was in love with them.

- CGNs: NTU for all, in service

- DD-21/CG-21/LCS: wouldn't reach the drawing board

- Yak-141/Kiev class: both would be in service, the Kievs had their midlife updates killed by the break up of the Soviet Union.

- Ulyanovsk class: Ulyanovsk would be in service by the mid 90s, all worked up by the late 90s

- Anchar nuclear cruiser: one was authorised in 1990 as an escort for Ulyanovsk and would be in service, but the Slava class program would run to 4-5 hulls at most.

- Kirov class nuclear cruisers: probably 5 hulls would be in service, maybe 6.

 

There would be a mass decommissioning of Soviet first and second generation SSNs as well as Whiskey/Foxtrot submarines, but there just wasn't resources to replace them one by one by Akulas and Kilos so the overall size of the force would decline steeply. There would be about 6 Sierra class titanium hulled boats and the Oscars would number around 20. All missile carrying regiments would be equipped with Backfires.

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Subic and Clark still here (did I post that already?), and I'd be taking pix of CVNs and B-52s from the highlands surrounding these bases.

 

Our military would still suck (as if that changed when the Wall fell), but maybe in a better state like we'd still have flying A-7s and F-5s....

 

Marcos might've still be President post-1986, having cracked down on Aquino and supporters (his excuse was they were godless commie bastards), but would've still croaked in 1989 and succeeded by his VP, and from thereon it would be better (politically, socially)

 

What about Mt. Pinatubo? come on, 'fess up, it was YOU! ;)

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What path China would go down is another question that occurred to me last night. Would there have been as complete an embracing of capitalism and a widespread protest movement resulting in Tian'anmen Square without the example of Perestroika/Glasnost? Probably yes, I think reasons were overwhelmingly domestic. How would the economically ascending, more assertive China emerging as a third pole influence global powerplay?

 

 

I don't see them following any other path, but they wouldn't have access to the Soviet toy box, so militarily they would be catching up more than they are now.

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What about Mt. Pinatubo? come on, 'fess up, it was YOU! ;)

 

Aw crap. I forgot about that. But what Simon said. Assuming however that the costs of rebuilding these bases (particularly Clark) would not be prohibitive. I reckon though with the eruption, Subic will be retained, Clark will be written off. It took more than a decade to repair Clark AFAIK, and only up to an airport, not a military base. Subic, however, was down south of the volcano, and spared of the lahar fields. There was ash, but that can be swept away anyhow.

 

So no more Clark AFB, only Subic.

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- Anchar nuclear cruiser: one was authorised in 1990 as an escort for Ulyanovsk and would be in service, but the Slava class program would run to 4-5 hulls at most.

 

Wow, that's an obscure one; all I remembered about this was a short note in a late 80s issue of "Soldat und Technik" about the Soviets allegedly planning a "small" nuclear surface combattant. Very rare references on the net, too.

 

Project 11990 Anchar had much longer life-span, although on paper only, before it was eventually cancelled in 1990. At 12,000 tons, Anchar was envisaged to escort the future nuclear propulled Orel-class Soviet aircraft carriers. Anchar was entrusted to the engineers V. Perevalov and V. Yukhnin, even if the true father of the project was always Admiral Gorshkov. New anti-aircraft missiles and ASM with vertical launching, and a new turret of 130mm were developed. The propullsion system was original: gas turbines for cruising and a nuclear reactor for high speed. Abandoned up in 1990, at the same time as the Ulyanovs aircraft carrier, Anchar was used as a basis for a study of two classes of future general-purpose ships, which projects were announced on the occasion of the centenary of the Russian navy in 1996, the Squandron Ship and and the "Universal Ship".

 

http://www.globalsec...144-history.htm

 

http://forum.keypubl...29&d=1201530771

 

http://forum.keypubl...30&d=1201530771

 

Not sure the Slavas would be cut though, as names were given for a total of eight prior to cancellation in 1990 - or do you mean the slots would be transferred to more Kirovs as the latter proved to work okay with no less ambitious backup needed? With a total of 13-15 Soviet strike cruisers and presumptively two Anchars for the two planned Ulyanovs, are we sure the USN wouldn't come up with new DDG/CG/CGN designs, Iowas or not? Not that they'd necessarily look like DD/CG-21, but we can't allow a cruiser gap you know ...

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- Anchar nuclear cruiser: one was authorised in 1990 as an escort for Ulyanovsk and would be in service, but the Slava class program would run to 4-5 hulls at most.

 

Wow, that's an obscure one; all I remembered about this was a short note in a late 80s issue of "Soldat und Technik" about the Soviets allegedly planning a "small" nuclear surface combattant. Very rare references on the net, too.

 

Project 11990 Anchar had much longer life-span, although on paper only, before it was eventually cancelled in 1990. At 12,000 tons, Anchar was envisaged to escort the future nuclear propulled Orel-class Soviet aircraft carriers. Anchar was entrusted to the engineers V. Perevalov and V. Yukhnin, even if the true father of the project was always Admiral Gorshkov. New anti-aircraft missiles and ASM with vertical launching, and a new turret of 130mm were developed. The propullsion system was original: gas turbines for cruising and a nuclear reactor for high speed. Abandoned up in 1990, at the same time as the Ulyanovs aircraft carrier, Anchar was used as a basis for a study of two classes of future general-purpose ships, which projects were announced on the occasion of the centenary of the Russian navy in 1996, the Squandron Ship and and the "Universal Ship".

 

http://www.globalsec...144-history.htm

 

http://forum.keypubl...29&d=1201530771

 

http://forum.keypubl...30&d=1201530771

 

Not sure the Slavas would be cut though, as names were given for a total of eight prior to cancellation in 1990 - or do you mean the slots would be transferred to more Kirovs as the latter proved to work okay with no less ambitious backup needed? With a total of 13-15 Soviet strike cruisers and presumptively two Anchars for the two planned Ulyanovs, are we sure the USN wouldn't come up with new DDG/CG/CGN designs, Iowas or not? Not that they'd necessarily look like DD/CG-21, but we can't allow a cruiser gap you know ...

 

Dust off your Russian here: http://www.atrinaflot.narod.ru/2_mainclassships/04_bpk_1199/0_1199.htm

 

Machine translation would help. Anchar would take slip time and space at Nikolayev, so at least one Slava would be delayed - much would depend on the bugs of a first of class ship.

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The big wild card, IMHO would have been GPS/INS guided munitions. MLRS, even without the guided rockets was a big game changer in Central Europe. Both sides could have deployed a lot of highly accurate deep penetration weapons comparatively cheaply. These could have been dispersed and made mobile so as to make them practically impossible to eliminate, but would be practically guaranteed to hit their targets or blanket them with increasingly intelligent submunitions. It wouldn't matter if one side shot first because, as with thermonuclear armed ICBMs, there would always have been a counterforce poweful enough to make any large scale offensive action by the opposing side impractical.

 

A flip side to this is that the investment in hardening of facilities in the 70s-80s would have been negated. Dispersal would become much more important, yet it simply isn't feasible to built and entirely V/STOL air force and keep it permanently dispersed. This I believe would have lead to the rapid obsolecence and withdrawal/retirement fixed wing aircraft in the Central and other Fronts. Attacking ground forces would not have this option being forced to concentrate to achieve overmatch therefore making themselves much more vulnerable to a plethora of defensive systems. This in an environment where their C4I and logistics would have been rapidly degraded. You might be able to put an APS on every MBT, but everything else would remain vulnerable to the full spectrum of AT weapons. An infantry company armed with Javelin or Spike-MR/ER and reinforced with a platoon of M1A2s might thus stop an enemy motor rifle brigade even in terrain favouring the latter.

 

At sea, things would I believe have initially swung on the side of the Soviets had they tried to contest the Atlantic as numbers were on their side and advances in technology had made WW1/2 style improvised defensive measures ineffective. It turns out that a lot of their systems were to be dedicated to defending SSBN bastion areas and bases though. In the long term Soviet naval bases were obvious targets for PGMs dropped from stealth bombers or launched from submarines.

 

With the pace of technological change accelerating it was inevitable that one side would eventually achieve a decisive technological superiority over the other. That in turn would lead to a 'use it or lose it' choice for the losing side of the sort that North Korea is currently facing.

Edited by Chris Werb
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Since the SU could not maintain the same degree of spending, i.e. modernization and mirroring while retaining numbers, would we not have seen some major perestroika in both their procurement and posture. I would argue that the Sovs might actually move to aggressively reduce the 'military' aspect of their presence in Eastern Europe and replace it with a economic and security bonds. Assymetry as it were. High risk no doubt but not doomed to failure.

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Dust off your Russian here: http://www.atrinaflo...1199/0_1199.htm

 

Machine translation would help. Anchar would take slip time and space at Nikolayev, so at least one Slava would be delayed - much would depend on the bugs of a first of class ship.

 

Gotcha, didn't think of slip space. Thanks for the link. So we're facing only about ten strike cruisers, but still, the CGNs won't be getting any younger, and you'll have to retain Standard ER for them; as well as SM-1 for the Perrys, which will have to continue with the escort mission. Eventual Perry mod. with eight-cell VLS for quad-packed ESSM, making room for the 76 mm Otobreda forward (I guess the USN won't go to the anti-speedboat 57 mm Mk 110), bolt-on Harpoon launchers, RAM and 2 x 25 mm Mk 38/30 mm Mk 46?

 

Oh yeah, and what will happen to the EFV and USN amphib development? Paging Ken Estes!

 

Since the SU could not maintain the same degree of spending, i.e. modernization and mirroring while retaining numbers, would we not have seen some major perestroika in both their procurement and posture. I would argue that the Sovs might actually move to aggressively reduce the 'military' aspect of their presence in Eastern Europe and replace it with a economic and security bonds. Assymetry as it were. High risk no doubt but not doomed to failure.

 

Which brings us back to the possibility of a CFE-style conventional arms reduction treaty, since both sides have an interest in limiting military spending. Absent a Reagan type bent on outspending the Evil Empire of course.

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Gotcha, didn't think of slip space. Thanks for the link. So we're facing only about ten strike cruisers, but still, the CGNs won't be getting any younger, and you'll have to retain Standard ER for them; as well as SM-1 for the Perrys, which will have to continue with the escort mission. Eventual Perry mod. with eight-cell VLS for quad-packed ESSM, making room for the 76 mm Otobreda forward (I guess the USN won't go to the anti-speedboat 57 mm Mk 110), bolt-on Harpoon launchers, RAM and 2 x 25 mm Mk 38/30 mm Mk 46?

 

The CGNs weren't old when they were decommissioned, they went because they were expensive to refuel and their SAM systems were not AEGIS,

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They weren't old then, but that was 20 years ago. Arguably even Bainbridge wasn't older than Enterprise which is only now coming up for retirement, but she'd still be 50, so thinking about replacements would be in order. I doubt there would be new CGNs, as even in the 80s it was seen conventional power would give more bang for the buck, less manning requirements etc.; but reading up on the precursors of the SC-21 programme, there were studies about future ca. 12,000 ts combattants for envisioned battles in the Norwegian Sea. Maybe a companion to the Burkes as the Ticonderogas were to the Spruances - hull lengthened by about 50 feet, sorta like the Japanese Atagos, with two 61-cell VLS and full aviation facilities?

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Reagan and his fellow travelers are the game changer. It is their policies that force the Soviets out of their comfort zone. I don't think we can have a meaningful point of departure without factoring in Reagan. The Cold War will necessarily enter into a thaw phase in the 90s if the Warpac is to engage in expanded economic relationships with Western Europe. This was a high risk activity because of the siren song of western consumerism. This is the direction that Yugoslavia moved in and it was not something that Moscow liked. Nominally communist comrades busy making money with the competition.

The deeper problem was not just the loss of control of the buffer states but also the effects domestically. The Soviets are rather less able to adapt than their clients.

 

A fossilized progression is the least likely outcome.

Edited by Simon Tan
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Then lack of build up in Soviet forward deployed forces might be related to the crippling costs of keeping all that stuff in place and their understanding that the likelihood of it being used offensively was really horribly small. That and the fact that they had enough to make a conventional only fight pretty much loaded in their favor before the Reagan era developments.

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Addendum to the Alternate Heer 2012 post: Panzer/Panzergrenadier division TO&E.

 

- HQ/HQ company

 

- NBC company (6 x Spürpanzer Fuchs)

 

- Heeresflieger squadron (10 x Bo-105M)

 

- Sicherungs battalion (inactive)

-- HSS company

-- 3 x security company

 

- 2 x Jäger battalion (inactive, mounted on Fuchs)

-- HSS company

-- 3 x infantry company

-- heavy company (6 x 120 mm mortar)

 

- Fernmelde battalion

-- HSS company

-- 2 x signals company

-- EW company (10 x Hummel ECM vehicle)

 

- Sanitäts battalion

-- HSS company

-- 5 x medical company (two inactive)

 

- Nachschub battalion

-- HSS company

-- 4 x supply company (one inactive)

-- 2 x transport company (one partially active)

 

- Instandsetzungs battalion

-- HSS company

-- 2 x vehicle maintenance company

-- electronics maintenance company

-- tank transporter company (partially active)

 

- Pionier battalion

-- HSS company

-- 3 x engineer company (6 x Skorpion minelayer each)

-- heavy engineer company (bulldozers, bridging equipment)

 

- Panzeraufklärungs battalion

-- HSS company (1 x Leopard 2A6, 2 x Fennek)

-- 3 x mixed armored recon company (9 x Leopard 2A6, 10 x Fennek each)

-- brigade scout company (24 x Fennek, one platoon for each brigade)

-- armored recon company (16 x Boxer, six with PARA radar)

 

- Flugabwehr regiment

-- HSS battery

-- 6 x armored SPAAG company (6 x Gepard each)

-- logistics battery

 

3 x Mechanized brigade

 

- HQ/HQ company

- tank destroyer company (12 x Jagdleopard/Jaguar 1)

- armored engineer company (5 x Boxer/Fuchs, 4 x Panzerschnellbrücke 2/Biber ABLV, 2 x Kodiak/Dachs AEV, 2 x Skorpion minelayer)

- supply company

- maintenance company

 

- 2 x Panzer battalion

-- HSS company (2 x Leopard 3/2A6)

-- 3 x tank company (13 x Leopard 3/2A6 each)

 

- 2 x Panzergrenadier battalion

-- HSS company (2 x Marder 2/1A4)

-- 3 x mechanized infantry company (11 x Marder 2/1A4 each)

-- mortar company (6 x Puma Mörserträger)

 

-- Panzerartillerie battalion

-- HSS battery

-- 3 x armored artillery battery (8 x PzH 2000/M109A3GA2 each)

 

Artillery regiment

 

- HQ/HQ battery

 

- Panzerbeobachtungartillerie battalion

-- HSS battery

-- 2 x armored artillery battery (8 x PzH 2000 each)

-- observation battery (2 x COBRA radar, sound ranging system)

-- UAV battery (KZO)

 

- Raketenartillerie battalion

-- HSS battery

-- 4 x rocket artillery battery (8 x MLRS each)

 

The "Jagdleopard" is the aforementioned conversion of Leopard 1 chassis' with elevating Trigat LR launcher; Panzergrenadier brigades have Jaguar 1 with HOT (which is the more capable system, Jaguar 2 being conversions of Jagdpanzer Kanone with bolt-on TOW launcher, now relegated to Heimatschutz brigades). Puma is not the current IFV, but the 80s APC developed as a possible replacement for the M113, tested with a Diehl turret with auto-muzzleloading 120 mm mortar among other variants (apparently tests with using the Marder 1 chassis' as a mortar carrier were unsuccessful due to stress cracks in the hull bottom), but cancelled in the 90s.

 

There was a late 80s troop trial of one active and one inactive Panzer and Panzergrenadier battalion each per brigade, but Heeresstruktur 5 eventually turned out with less, but fully active brigades. Divisional artillery still has a nuclear role; MLRS battalion is ATACMS-capable.

Edited by BansheeOne
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