Jump to content
tanknet.org

Recommended Posts

The only time I flew Trump Air was in 1991, a nice 737 with luxurious leather seats. Two were in use by AMC circulating all US bases daily, clockwise and counterclockwise to ferry crews.

Ken, was there a mission for the U.S.M.C during these Reforger times? Served with 2/6 and 3/6 in the early '80's. IIRC the Marines were practicing against the Soviet Army.

Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 88
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

The USMC was never a Reforger participant, as it was cued to the army and USAF wartime mission requirement of transporting ten divisions in ten days to Europe. We did our own series of NATO exercises in the fall, however, focusing on a I MEF mission to [on order] reinforce Commander Baltic Approaches. There were also command post exercises in the early part of each year. There were alternating exercises to reinforce Turkey near the straits in the same time frame [mid 70s to mid-80s]. These have largely been superseded by exercises cued to airlifts to our own prepositioned stores in Norway and on MPS squadrons in North Norway and the Middle East.

 

As an example, I went with 2d Tk Bn on Bold Guard 78, a 4th Marine Brigade reinforcement of ComLandJut in Sept78, that terminated about the same time Reforger 78 was beginning. In 1981, I was 4th Brigade liaison officer to ComLandJut while the brigade did a CPX with ComBaltAp at his Karup HQ to take up positions in Denmark.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at a globe now, interesting choice of Denmark. Wouldn't the Warsaw Pact capture Denmark via Germany before that many Marines could land and organize a threat? Warsaw Pact air assets in Poland an issue vs Denmark? Any air assistance from Sweden and/or Norway included? If the Marines could organize and sustain an MEF in Denmark, what could they do? They wouldn't be, imo, capable of offensive action against an armored heavy, similar sized Warsaw Pact formation or two.

But, I defer to those who know much more than I about these subjects.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at a globe now, interesting choice of Denmark. Wouldn't the Warsaw Pact capture Denmark via Germany before that many Marines could land and organize a threat? Warsaw Pact air assets in Poland an issue vs Denmark? Any air assistance from Sweden and/or Norway included? If the Marines could organize and sustain an MEF in Denmark, what could they do? They wouldn't be, imo, capable of offensive action against an armored heavy, similar sized Warsaw Pact formation or two.

But, I defer to those who know much more than I about these subjects.

 

I looked into this some time ago for scenario work for a computer game, and it looked to me as if one of the Polish formations was given the job of reducing Denmark. Bear in mind they had their own Amphibious Brigade anyway, and their airborne brigade (which they retain). With one of the Soviet Airborne Divisions, and possibly one of their marine Infantry brigades attached, they would probably have had all they needed to make some serious inroads into Denmark, if not take it outright.

 

Of course that was all fairly light stuff. The real presence would have been from the Polish Army assigned, which was capable, but mostly old kit assigned like the T55. It had to fight up via lubeck, so forward defence might have had implications for its early arrival. I guess what im saying is, a lot depends on the nature of warning (which I dont think would have been as good as claimed) and the enthusiasm of the Polish army for the task (which again, is taking a lot for granted, with the political situation in Poland at the time).

Link to post
Share on other sites

We did our own series of NATO exercises in the fall, however, focusing on a I MEF mission to [on order] reinforce Commander Baltic Approaches. There were also command post exercises in the early part of each year. There were alternating exercises to reinforce Turkey near the straits in the same time frame [mid 70s to mid-80s]. These have largely been superseded by exercises cued to airlifts to our own prepositioned stores in Norway and on MPS squadrons in North Norway and the Middle East.

 

I knew of the USMC wartime missions to Norway and Denmark, but not to Turkey - though it's logical. There was a German commitment to provide IIRC 50,000 troops each for the defense of Northern Norway and the Turkish approaches in case of a flank attack on NATO (which was obviously considered a more unlikely case than the WP rolling through Germany itself, and it would probably have been pretty much moot if both happened at once). Do you know of any other planned contributions to flank defense? I believe the British would have reinforced Norway, and take it that southern members like Italy and Spain would have had a mission to Turkey, but don't know anything solid.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Royal Marines I know did a number of deployments to Turkey as apart of the AMF IIRC. HMS Hermes deployed there on exercise in 1983 according to one book I have.

 

I certainly recall a big exercise in the Med involving the USMC in 1973, I cant for the life of me remember the name. They found themselves in the middle of the alarming standoff between the 5th Eskadra and the 6th Fleet. IIRC the Iwo Jima was present, along with another LPH and a few landing ships.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

We did our own series of NATO exercises in the fall, however, focusing on a I MEF mission to [on order] reinforce Commander Baltic Approaches. There were also command post exercises in the early part of each year. There were alternating exercises to reinforce Turkey near the straits in the same time frame [mid 70s to mid-80s]. These have largely been superseded by exercises cued to airlifts to our own prepositioned stores in Norway and on MPS squadrons in North Norway and the Middle East.

 

I knew of the USMC wartime missions to Norway and Denmark, but not to Turkey - though it's logical. There was a German commitment to provide IIRC 50,000 troops each for the defense of Northern Norway and the Turkish approaches in case of a flank attack on NATO (which was obviously considered a more unlikely case than the WP rolling through Germany itself, and it would probably have been pretty much moot if both happened at once). Do you know of any other planned contributions to flank defense? I believe the British would have reinforced Norway, and take it that southern members like Italy and Spain would have had a mission to Turkey, but don't know anything solid.

 

Sounds like a moral and political move by the U.S. for Turkey. If the Warsaw Pact occupied Germany and France while defeating U.S. and British forces in doing so, what could Turkey, or for that matter, Italy and Greece due? Be a Soviet semi-puppet would be my guess.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It wasnt so much what Turkey, or Greece, could contribute to the Central Front. Its what they could stop happening to the Mediterranean. Turkey could block the Bospherous. Greece held a pretty advantagous piece of real estate that stopped Soviet Naval Aviation bombing in the med, and bear in mind there was always a carrier on hand in the med to carry out nuclear strikes on the USSR's southern areas. It was probably included as part of siop. In Polaris days, there was probably always a few Polaris boats on the prowl there.

 

Bear in mind also, up till about 1975, we still had Vulcan bombers based on Cyprus as part of CENTO. Not the most important problem facing the Soviets, but not insignificant either.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Treaty_Organization

 

I wargamed this in CMANO, and it suddenly struck me how important Greece and Turkey were for keeping the Soviets bottled up. And consequently, how important it was for the Soviets to destroy them, if they wanted to push NATO forces away from the USSR that could seriously threaten them. A similar problem they had in the North cape really.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
Link to post
Share on other sites

It wasnt so much what Turkey, or Greece, could contribute to the Central Front. Its what they could stop happening to the Mediterranean. Turkey could block the Bospherous. Greece held a pretty advantagous piece of real estate that stopped Soviet Naval Aviation bombing in the med, and bear in mind there was always a carrier on hand in the med to carry out nuclear strikes on the USSR's southern areas. It was probably included as part of siop. In Polaris days, there was probably always a few Polaris boats on the prowl there.

 

Bear in mind also, up till about 1975, we still had Vulcan bombers based on Cyprus as part of CENTO. Not the most important problem facing the Soviets, but not insignificant either.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Treaty_Organization

 

I wargamed this in CMANO, and it suddenly struck me how important Greece and Turkey were for keeping the Soviets bottled up. And consequently, how important it was for the Soviets to destroy them, if they wanted to push NATO forces away from the USSR that could seriously threaten them. A similar problem they had in the North cape really.

Thanks for the information. Just my opinion, but I still believe that with Germany and France occupied, U.K. nullified, and U.S forces defeated, Southern Europe and Scandinavia would be of secondary importance.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Its more a case of, with Southern Europe and Scandinavia not occupied or at least, dominated, the USSR was still strategically vulnerable to nuclear attack from theatre forces, such as Polaris or Carrier air. Which presumably (and im just reading this from their perspective) any victory that allowed any theatre nuclear weapons in play in Europe, would threaten any peace that could be negotiated. Thats just my view in any rate.

 

The US Naval War College did some political/strategic level wargames on this kind of thing, the basic results were published in a couple of post cold war books. I forget the name, but they often threw up completely surprising results based on apparently tiny issues. Well worth reading, if sometimes with a certain degree with incredulity. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

...I wargamed this in CMANO, and it suddenly struck me how important Greece and Turkey were for keeping the Soviets bottled up. And consequently, how important it was for the Soviets to destroy them, if they wanted to push NATO forces away from the USSR that could seriously threaten them...

 

Soviets attacking Greece = most probably Yugoslavia allowing NATO to transfer material to a Greece.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Frankly, the US Sixth Fleet has been reduced to such insignificance that southern flank options remain a mere shadow of what was contemplated in the Cold War. The Bright Star series of prepo/aerial reinforcements could be a replacement, and I don't know the scenarios, but they have not been held since the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and ensuing imbroglios. The USMC has returned to its interest in the NoNorway contingency, adding a tank company to the exercises, likely signifying a battalion contingency for a MEB/MEF effort. With the drawdown of USAF and army forces in Germany, Spain and Italy, I have to confess I've been out of the loop far too long to have many insights as to what a reduced US defense establishment now considers viable.

 

One of the most important missions for the USMC MEF in Turkey was to occupy the space between Greek and Turkish forces. I am not making this up. In a mobilization, three of the four MEFs would have been available for NATO reinforcement. Again, what changes have been wrought in this century remain unknown to me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It was something of a shock to realize the USN command ship for the 6th Fleet ( I think even THAT title has been dropped) is still the same one they had during the 1973 naval standoff. I mean granted they spend most of their time in port, but....

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Mount_Whitney_(LCC-20)

 

Possibly still one of the key areas for NATO, and today there is pretty much jack shit to intervene if it ever proved necessary. Even our RM's seem to have entered a never-ending debate over their future. I suppose if it comes to it it will be down to the Italians and the French.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some interesting stuff re. BALTAP:

 

http://picssr.com/tags/baltap

 

http://coldwarsites.net/country/denmark

 

http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/lory1.ethz.ch/collections/coll_polex/piotrowski2959.html?navinfo=16446

 

By the 80s it made sense to assign the Poles to taking Denmark as a semi-independent operation, as that entailed taking on a weaker NATO ally after breaking through Germany, therefore easing reliability concerns.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, the USMLM report for 1983 can be found here.

http://www.coldwarspies.com/resources/uh1983cpr.pdf

 

Cant notice anything obviously odd about that year. If there was any indication of Soviet Fighters parked up with Tactical Nuclear weapons on them (as was one claim) then it presumably wasnt USMLM that saw it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it was always an ambition of the Tsars to establish a warm water port for Russia, and that ambition extended to Stalin. When I was researching a war-game project some months ago, I stumbled on the Wiki link to the Turkish Straits Crisis. Like Persia, it was one of those forgotten crises that marked the early cold war that everyone seems to have forgotten about. Even the Turks, or so it seems. It seems to have directly precipitated their entry into NATO.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Straits_crisis

 

As it turned out, the Soviets were not quite as restricted by the treaty as they thought. It kept aircraft carriers out of the Black Sea, and when they really DID need to reinforce in a hurry (as in October 1973) they didnt have much problem matching the Americans nearly vessel for vessel, partly by forward basing in open anchorages in the Med, partly by reinforcement from the Atlantic, and partly because the treaty was written with destroyers and Cruisers given reasonable terms. ( think it was something like a Cruiser and 2 or 3 or so Destroyers in 24 hours) By the 1970's, such vessels had become considerably more capable.

 

As for how much priority, well they would probably have had a go if there had been a war in Germany. I think one has to view it as a means of pushing US carriers and submarines away as far as possible from the USSR, and in a Third World War i think that would have been massively important to them. Probably as important as reducing Norway. It would have presented us with a major problem, what was more important to reinforce, Norway or Turkey, because I think we would have been truly stretched to have done both. I dont personally believe any east west conflict would have JUST been restricted to Germany. The range of the weapons of the time precluded that.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
Link to post
Share on other sites

There was the time when the USSR threatened to occupy the Albanian port of Vlorë after Enver Hoxha renounced their lease of a submarine base there following the ideological split in 1961:

 

After World War II and the beginning the communist regime, the port was leased to the Soviet Union as a submarine base, and played an important part in the conflict between Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha and Nikita Khrushchev in 1960 to 1961, as the Soviet Union had made considerable investments in the naval facilities at nearby Pasha Liman Base and objected strongly to the loss of them as a consequence of Albania denouncing the USSR as 'revisionist' and taking the Chinese side in the split in the world communist movement. The Soviet Union threatened to occupy Vlora with Soviet troops in April 1961, and cut off all Soviet economic, military and technical aid to Albania. The threat was not carried out, as a result of the simultaneous development of the Cuban missiles crisis, but Hoxha realized how vulnerable Albania was, and, after the USSR invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, he built the hundreds of thousands of concrete bunkers that still litter the entire Albanian landscape.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlor%C3%AB#History

 

The Soviets probably also realized that invading Albania would have been geographically challenging for them, to say the least ...

Link to post
Share on other sites

IIRC, they had some submarines there at the time (Whiskey's and Romeo's IIRC) that the Albanians confiscated when the Soviets left. The Albanians subsequently threw in their lot with Mao for a while, just to piss the Soviets off further. Then they annoyed China and Split from them too. :D

 

Speaking of Albanians, there was this little known incident in the early cold war. It illustrates quite what a hotbed of tensions the Mediterranean was at the time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corfu_Channel_Incident

Link to post
Share on other sites

Its more a case of, with Southern Europe and Scandinavia not occupied or at least, dominated, the USSR was still strategically vulnerable to nuclear attack from theatre forces, such as Polaris or Carrier air. Which presumably (and im just reading this from their perspective) any victory that allowed any theatre nuclear weapons in play in Europe, would threaten any peace that could be negotiated. Thats just my view in any rate.

 

The US Naval War College did some political/strategic level wargames on this kind of thing, the basic results were published in a couple of post cold war books. I forget the name, but they often threw up completely surprising results based on apparently tiny issues. Well worth reading, if sometimes with a certain degree with incredulity. :)

 

This related to the Newport Papers on the Global War Game?

1979-83 http://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=newport-papers

1984-88 http://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1019&context=newport-papers

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...