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3rd WW, battle for the Arctic (Cold war period)


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Hi mates. Is there any good book, website or some other source about battle for the Arctic? I am interested in scenarios, maps, anything about theme. From both point of view NATO and WP.

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The only thing I can think of is John Lehmans book on the US Navy build-up in the 1980s. Though that's more on everything else but the arctic.

Submarine Vs Submarine by Richard Compton Hall. That has a chapter on under ice operations.

The Silent Deep by Peter Hennessy, a magnificent book on the Royal Navy Submarine Service, with a air but on under ice operations.

Failing all, I think there was a number of documents on the US naval warfare college or possibly the Naval institute about us naval doctrine in the 70s or 80s.

If you are looking for one time fits all, I regret I've not found it. The Russians have seemingly released nothing in this, presumably because they still think they might need to do it.

 

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Would NATO naval forces (ships,submarines and aircraft) be positioned only in GIUK gap or would some forces be used for hunting soviets SSBNs in northern bastion, would NATO use Svalbard basses or would just positioned CV group up there, how much can F/A-18 work from unprepared Svalbard base...?

I sow pictures of soviet MiG-25 covered with snow and they would fly after removing snow. Maybe that is only propaganda but from what I know of soviet weapons is that they are easy maintenance. Also i read that in Alaska USAF aircraft must have good conditioned hangars or they cant be used. Also in how cold and icy weather can CVs operate, I guess that icy and cold conditions can lover CVs aircraft operations a lot.

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10 hours ago, Perun said:

Thanks mate. I found some interesting stuff about soviet navy at cia foia pages.

 

Could you provide some links, please here?

I've downloaded some interesting docs from there, but I'm always worried that something could avoid my attention...

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12 hours ago, Perun said:

Would NATO naval forces (ships,submarines and aircraft) be positioned only in GIUK gap or would some forces be used for hunting soviets SSBNs in northern bastion, would NATO use Svalbard basses or would just positioned CV group up there, how much can F/A-18 work from unprepared Svalbard base...?

I sow pictures of soviet MiG-25 covered with snow and they would fly after removing snow. Maybe that is only propaganda but from what I know of soviet weapons is that they are easy maintenance. Also i read that in Alaska USAF aircraft must have good conditioned hangars or they cant be used. Also in how cold and icy weather can CVs operate, I guess that icy and cold conditions can lover CVs aircraft operations a lot.

See here

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

https://irp.fas.org/doddir/navy/strategy1980s.pdf

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You really need to read 'The Silent Deep' to get a full understanding of that. But basically, the RN would be off the Kola peninsular sinking Ballistic missile and attack submarines, and the rest of the fleet was committed ala Tom Clancy's Red Storm rising to trade protection. There was a real rethink about that in the early 1980's when the Americans admitted the war would probably be over by the time all the kit arrived, which precipited the Nott Defence Review and money taken from the Navy to go to the Army. And then the Falklands kicked off, and they had another rethink...

I dont believe there was much real change between 1945 and 1990 in as far as the Navy's role, trade protection, submarine interdiction, mine protection. The fly in the ointment was the ever shrinking fleet with which to do it.

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On 1/22/2022 at 8:35 PM, Perun said:

Does anyone know what role would RN had in those times

I think it was a bit more nuanced that Stuart says, Soviet naval strategy was defensive, so there wouldn't be wolfpacks roaming the Atlantic, which would invalidate a bit of the RN plans. RN and USN submarine operations were integrated, so SSNs would sail up North to penetrate the bastion and destroy the Soviet SSBNs.

SSKs would likely deploy defensively in GIUK and off Norway. The surface fleet first task would be to escort the Commando Brigade to Norway and the 1st Infantry brigade to Denmark. Mine forces would be deployed defensively to keep the ports open. Once the few Soviet sub threat in the Atlantic was removed, the RN, Dutch and German navies would be deployed to add protection to the Carrier strike force as it moved up to Kola. 

Of note, there's a caveat here, US carriers may be needed in the Central Front if the situation goes bad there, to interdict WP lines of communication.

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Nonetheless, that was the RN's plan, whatever the Soviets did. It's worth pointing out perceptions of what the Soviet because going to do in WW3 also changed in the early 80s, around the time Nott proposed the cuts. There is probably a connection.

Completely agreed on what the Soviets were going to do. There is a CIA report that points to this.

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As I replied in another forum.....

Yes, basically the Royal Navy's doctrine was:

1) provision of ASW Strike Group to be added to CINCLANT's Strike Group in the Norwegian Sea. The Amphibious Group went hand in hand with the UK/NL Amphibious Force
2) provision of nuclear attack submarines to bottle up Soviets in the Norwegian and Barents Sea
3) provide forces, frigates, conventional and nuclear submarines to hold the GIUK Gap
4) provide forces for convoy escort, including STUFT, some which would be converted to carry ASW helicopters
5) provide Mine Warfare Forces to keep open UK ports, the Channel, and North Sea

The book I linked you to, Battle for the Fjords delves into this. If you want a deep dive, the same author's (Eric Grove) Vanguard to Trident

https://www.amazon.com/Vanguard-Trident-British-Naval-Policy/dp/0870215523/ref=sr_1_1?crid=32ZCRTIQW1RFM&keywords=vanguard+to+Trident&qid=1642876467&s=books&sprefix=vanguard+to+trident%2Cstripbooks%2C189&sr=1-1

https://www.amazon.com/Battle-Fiords-Forward-Maritime-Strategy/dp/1557500525/ref=sr_1_21?qid=1642834369&refinements=p_27%3AEric+Grove&s=books&sr=1-21&text=Eric+Grove

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36 minutes ago, Captain Hurricane said:

Perun, I don't know if board games are your thing but if you want a good boardgame that reflects the whole 1980's Arctic/North Atlantic NATO vs WP naval confrontation try Blue Water Navy by Compass Games:

https://www.compassgames.com/product/blue-water-navy/

Highly recommended.

A fun game, but one that posits a third battle of the Atlantic that was unlikely to happen.

From the Soviet point of view, they had invested umpteen millions of rubles in a SSBN force that the Walker spy ring told them was vulnerable, so they had to go on the defensive or risk losing a branch of the triad for no gain. After Okean 75 there were no more global exercises, and the Soviet Navy concentrated in the defence of their bastions and adjoining seas (for example, 1985 saw a task group sail North in the Norwegian Sea while being "attacked" by Backfires)

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15 hours ago, LouieD said:

As I replied in another forum.....

Yes, basically the Royal Navy's doctrine was:

1) provision of ASW Strike Group to be added to CINCLANT's Strike Group in the Norwegian Sea. The Amphibious Group went hand in hand with the UK/NL Amphibious Force
2) provision of nuclear attack submarines to bottle up Soviets in the Norwegian and Barents Sea
3) provide forces, frigates, conventional and nuclear submarines to hold the GIUK Gap
4) provide forces for convoy escort, including STUFT, some which would be converted to carry ASW helicopters
5) provide Mine Warfare Forces to keep open UK ports, the Channel, and North Sea

The book I linked you to, Battle for the Fjords delves into this. If you want a deep dive, the same author's (Eric Grove) Vanguard to Trident

https://www.amazon.com/Vanguard-Trident-British-Naval-Policy/dp/0870215523/ref=sr_1_1?crid=32ZCRTIQW1RFM&keywords=vanguard+to+Trident&qid=1642876467&s=books&sprefix=vanguard+to+trident%2Cstripbooks%2C189&sr=1-1

https://www.amazon.com/Battle-Fiords-Forward-Maritime-Strategy/dp/1557500525/ref=sr_1_21?qid=1642834369&refinements=p_27%3AEric+Grove&s=books&sr=1-21&text=Eric+Grove

I've got the "Battle for the Fjords" - it's in fact a beautiful description of NATO naval exercises in the Northe - really a "must read" book.

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I found this one:

Greenland:
-Danes kept an OPV operating in Greenland most of the time
-Radars
-US bases, Tule (NORAD) and Sondrestrom Air Base (closed ~1990)

Kef:
-57 FS (16 (vice the standard 24) AC) F-15A - they were the last to convert to F-15C and were disbanded in 94.
-1 x MPA Sqn - this rotated amongst the east coast Sqns out of NAS Brunswick, Maine (VP-8, 10, 11, 23, 26 & 44)
-The MPA Sqn would normally have 3-5 Airframes in Kef and would generally patrol the Denmark Straight, and the gap between Iceland and Faroe
-TF 84 was an add-hoc surface group which would establish in the Iceland area in times of tension - ASW focused, usually a DD and a couple FF/FFGs, often with a Cdn FF
-SUBRON Two, out of Groton Connecticut would (probably) have a sub (688 type) in the Denmark Straight or south of it.
-Usually a couple of KC-135s and C-130s
-4 major NATO radar sites on Iceland (locations in the scenario Kef Capers)

Faroe Islands:
-Danes kept an OPV here all the time
-Radars

Shetlands:
-Usually a Brit FF in the area
-Radars
-Closed airbase at RAF Sumburgh

Scotland (see scenario Plug the Gap)
-Lossiemouth - RAF Nimrod Sqn (8 AC) would patrol between Scotland and Faroe, sometimes further (the central gap was shared between Kef I think - not sure)
-A bunch of Radars
-usually at least one FF if not a small TG
-one Brit SSN patrolling between Scotland and Faroe (a guess)

I don't know but I suspect that there was a US SSN patrolling between Iceland and Faroe.

 

https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4403228&mpage=1&#4406786

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UK:

 

This in turn facilitated a further turn towards a carrier-centric approach in the North Atlantic, facilitated by both the US Government’s 600 ship Navy Plan and the Pentagon’s adoption of the Maritime Strategy doctrine. The latter’s most prominent European element envisaged the Alliance taking the offensive through not only blocking the Greenland-Iceland-UK (GIUK) gap to Soviet submarines seeking to pass into the Atlantic and endanger the allied sea lines of communication (SLOC) through which reinforcements would flow from North America to Europe, but also via sending carrier groups into the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea to bring the USSR itself into conventional bombing range. The aims of this approach would be to secure Norway, prevent SLOC interdiction, force Moscow to divert forces away from Central Europe to defend its northern region, and – ultimately – support the end of the war on terms favourable to the West by attacking bases in the USSR proper.

The Royal Navy’s role in this approach as the lead element of NATO’s Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) Striking Force was well established by the late 1980s, with a force centred on at least one Invincible-class light carrier being tasked first to ‘hold the line’ near the GIUK Gap until the arrival of US forces, and then to push north to screen the advance of US fleet carriers towards Norway and beyond. However, the Invincible-class were specialist ASW ships built to primarily carry helicopters. Less than half the size of conventional carriers, the ships possessed only around eight subsonic, short-range and lightly armed Sea Harriers as their fixed-wing air group...

How this approach would have ended for the Royal Navy can only be speculated, but the likely answer is ‘badly’. Given the limited air defence capabilities of their ships, much of the plan was based around the prompt availability of the US carriers that formed the core of the NATO Striking Fleet – something that was difficult to provide without considerable prewarning. Even far back in the Atlantic, the Royal Navy would have faced a large number of submarines and Soviet Naval Aviation strike aircraft such as the TU-22M Backfire carrying long-range anti-ship missiles. The limited number of fighter aircraft on the carriers would also have not been compensated for by ship-mounted weapons: the Falklands War of 1982 demonstrated that the Royal Navy’s then surface-to-air missile systems were mediocre at best. As the Invincibles had moved into the Norwegian Sea, they would also have faced Soviet tactical fighters and further elements of the Red Banner Northern Fleet. Although they would have been supported by aircraft based in Iceland, Norway and on US ships, the UKs mini-carriers were ultimately not well suited to their mission.

 

http://www.hscentre.org/europe/heading-north-queen-elizabeth-class-carriers-new-maritime-strategy/

Edited by Perun
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