View Full Version : 2 days worth of Missiles


Razor61
30th Dec 2008, 10:15
Noticed a snippit on BBC News this morning about some declassified top secret papers from when Callaghan was PM.
It was stated we only had enough missiles to last 2 days for the Phantoms and other aircraft needed to fend off the waves of Russian aircraft inbound to the UK.
Also the papers are now running it:-
Heaven help us! What Prime Minister Jim Callaghan said when he discovered Britain only had two days of ammunition to fight the Russians | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1102815/Heaven-help-What-Prime-Minister-Jim-Callaghan-said-discovered-Britain-days-ammunition-fight-Russians.html)

Surely however, within the first few days of the war (if unconventional) the UK wouldn't have lasted 2 days anyway? :suspect:



ORAC
30th Dec 2008, 10:43
Then we was more of an ignorant fool than I thought him to be.

This was the legacy of "Tripwire" where 11Gp only had to perform air policing and hold the line till the V-force flushed. Once Tripwire was replaced by "Flexible Response" it was still anticipated that we only had to hold till the Russians reached the Channel when it would go nuclear anyway.

The RAF was based around the 3 day war in concept and in practice. Taceval was always 3 days - Day 1 transition to war, Day 2 conventional war, Day 3 survival scramble and shelter posture, Endex. No dedicated guard force because it was supplied by Admin etc as we could operate without these for 3 days; only enough crews and missiles for the same period etc.

The fli side was that whilst the Russians theoretically had the aircraft to attack the UK around North Cape their role for the Badgers and Backfires was tactical and based on use in the Central Region and the Bears would have been Carrier Battle Group hunting.

As the wry joke went at the time - they pretended they were a threat and we pretended to defend against them.........

Tiger_mate
30th Dec 2008, 11:41
Russians reached the Channel

*Not based upon inside knowledge, purely perception*

I always thought the River Rheine was the line for holiday sunshine for if BAOR & RAFG were deleted there was nobody left to play. The mind game being that eastern troops would witness western quality of life and wonder why they were fighting at all. Having seen some eastern quality of life recently there is some integrity in this theory.

Pontius Navigator
30th Dec 2008, 11:42
The concept was weapon/target matching.

If you had, say, 60 F4 available and each had 8 missiles that was 480 missiles.

If each kill was assumed to require 2 missiles then each aircraft could take out 4 targets. There would be some attrition but that meant that the spare ship-set for aircraft one could be shared with aircraft 2 and 3 etc.

If the enemy was assumed to have only 200 aircraft to attack the Uk then it would follow that we had enough weapons.

A similar issue was used for the Nimrod. UK ASW Force had 38 Nimron initially and only 300 torpedos - 200 x Mk 44 and 100 x Mk 30 = 50 ship sets. Same logic.

The V-Force had one WE177 each (approximately)

MAINJAFAD
30th Dec 2008, 11:54
Not that much of a story, as I know that the Bloodhound Force at the time had only enough reload stocks to allow each launcher to fire 2 missiles before all of the missiles were gone, plus of course back then most of the force was in West Germany.

Pontius Navigator
30th Dec 2008, 12:08
When did we buy back the Swedish and Swiss missiles?

Certainly the armed forces as a whole were not set up for attritional warfare. I think the same low stock levels applied to everything, even 9mm ammunition for pistols and SMG. Certainly no combat kit for the RAF. During tacevals it was always a come as you are party and wear a noddy suit until you were posted and handed it on or it fell to bits. In 1981 I bought my own gucci ones for taceval through exchange and mart. Mine were Mk 3 when the rest were slumming in Mk 1/2. When challenged I said officers always bought their own uniform :}

MAINJAFAD
30th Dec 2008, 12:42
Didn't buy them back from the Swiss. Swedish AF got 116 missiles back in 1965-6. They fired 10 in trials/troop firings, kept 6 or 7 as gate guards and the rest we got our hands on in the late 1970's, along with 9 of the 'Firelight' (Type 86) radars a bit later. In 74, the majority of the force was overseas in West Germany and Cyprus (25 and 112 Sqn's). There was only one Bloodhound missile section in the UK that could be used operationally between 1974 and 1976, and that was the trials and proving section of the Bloodhound Support Unit at West Raynham, which could be placed in the 11 Group order of battle in time of war (the unit's primary role was support of 25 Sqn in West Germany). 76 to 79 saw the force build back up in the UK when 85 Sqn stood up in Dec 75 from the rump of the BHSU, equipment returned Cyprus when 112 were canned and equipment out of storage that had been removed from Butterworth in 1970. Half of the kit from Seletar was sold to the Singapore AF, while the rest (mobile T86 sections) made up part of the kit that 25 Sqn had in Germany.

RAF Bloodhound Mk 2 stocks in 1991 when the system was phased out was just under 300 missiles.

ORAC
30th Dec 2008, 13:53
IIRC the reason the Bloodhound force was put back in the UK was because it was required in order to get NATO infrastructure funding for the airfield/HAS hardening programme.

NATO would only pay if the airfields had SAW cover, so the Bloodhounds were placed to cover all the airfields in the south-east and the rapier sqns were put in place to cover LU/LM/KS.

I was led to believe that the order for the stand-down of the Bloodhound force took place within weeks of the last of the funding being approved.

Pontius Navigator
30th Dec 2008, 14:13
ORAC, true regarding funding. I was told that the RNoAF 'agreed' to provide SAW to get its funding slice as well but then failed so to do.

I think there was some talk of replacing Bloodhound with a more advanced system, like Patriot, but that we could get some form of benefit by standing down the Bloodhound force early and getting the new system a few months later taking the capability gap at risk. There followed the collapse of the USSR and GW1. The capability gap continued and then was allowed to become 'permanent'.

Pontius Navigator
30th Dec 2008, 14:20
The fli side was that whilst the Russians theoretically had the aircraft to attack the UK around North Cape their role for the Badgers and Backfires was tactical and based on use in the Central Region and the Bears would have been Carrier Battle Group hunting.

From my studies the Bear could come from anywhere in the USSR and attack from whatever direction it wished. The Carrier Battle Group war would have been an interesting 'clean' war game with 'hack the shad' and 'hammer the jammer' being part of the argo of the 'game'.

For the Backfire/Badger/Blinder the issue was not quite as simple. The Badger did not have the range to reach UK and return on the NC route. The Backfire would have been limited to one sortie per day on that route. The Blinder wasn't a player.

Using the Baltap route the Badger could saturate the UKADR and the Backfire could mount 2 sorties per day. Blinder had some potential and it was believed the Fencer too could mount a realistic threat.

It would be interesting to find out what their plans had actually been.

MAINJAFAD
30th Dec 2008, 14:23
Wouldn't surprise me. However when did the Airfield program finish??? plus St Mawgen got HAS's and there were no SAM defences of anykind down in that neck of the woods. Nearest was 19 Sqn RAF Regt at Brize, and they were USAF funded.

MAINJAFAD
30th Dec 2008, 14:40
ORAC, true regarding funding. I was told that the RNoAF 'agreed' to provide SAW to get its funding slice as well but then failed so to do.

I think there was some talk of replacing Bloodhound with a more advanced system, like Patriot, but that we could get some form of benefit by standing down the Bloodhound force early and getting the new system a few months later taking the capability gap at risk. There followed the collapse of the USSR and GW1. The capability gap continued and then was allowed to become 'permanent'.

Early in 1989, I was told by a boss of mine who was on a tour at MoD, that Patriot was offered to the UK on very good terms back in 87/88 and that the MoD nearly took up the offer. The RAF had problems with replacing Bloodhound with the basic Patriot system however, due to the fact that Bloodhound 2 had four times the range and a single missile section could cover 360 degrees while 3 Patriot battaries (i.e. 3 radars) were needed to give 360 degrees of cover, thus the offer was rejected (more likely a lack of money was the real reason). When the wall fell and the cold war came to a close, the MSAM project kicked off, but was killed by lack of funding (BAe were offering a lash up of Patriot and Rapier FSC).

ORAC
30th Dec 2008, 14:40
It would be interesting to find out what their plans had actually been. Your wish is my command...

Parallel History Project (http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/collections/colltopic.cfm?lng=en&id=14944&nav1=1&nav2=2) - Warsaw Pact War Plans:

1964 War Plan (http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/collections/colltopic.cfm?lng=en&id=15365)

1965 War Plan (http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/collections/colltopic.cfm?lng=en&id=16606)

War Plans and Alliances in the Cold War : Threat Perceptions in the East and West (http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/collections/colltopic.cfm?lng=en&id=25996)

..........Storming on to Paris (http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/collections/colltopic.cfm?size216=50&lng=en&id=25998&navinfo=25996)

Return to base
30th Dec 2008, 16:10
Being non military I am aware that I only have limited comments to make but 20th century history tells me that in 1914 we did not have a large enough army (Your country needs you), in 1939 we were doing catch-up (Never in the field of human conflict etc.) and now in 2008 we have insufficient resources to fight in two areas, why should the 1970's be any different?

Didn't somebody say words to the effect "..........and savour of his country when the guns begin to sound"

Our politicians have not changed in nearly a hundred years-




rtb

Beancountercymru
30th Dec 2008, 16:38
Pontius wrote


The concept was weapon/target matching.

If you had, say, 60 F4 available and each had 8 missiles that was 480 missiles.


On that basis how many Sidewinders went with the SHAR force to the Falklands?

Pontius Navigator
30th Dec 2008, 16:51
Thank you ORAC although I see much of it focuses on exercise war plans.

In one Wintex where endex occurs after first release of nuclear weapons, we anticipated that we were about to enter the nuclear phase with a 'nuclear demonstration.' We anticipated that SACEUR would authorise a counter-value strike against a target in the Central Region to show nuclear resolve. In the event 50 targets were selected as SACEUR also wished to gain a military advantage as well as deomstrating resolve.

But can you draw a valid conclusion from such an event in an exercise?

I would argue that the number of targets and their breadth in NATO was designed to give as many HQ and unit staffs the opportunity to practise nuclear weapons release procedure and therefore wholly unrepresentative of the real thing.

As Dennis Healey said, he would not have authorised release for real. To refuse to authorise an exercise release could have seriously damaged the interests of HMG.

Exercises are not wholly representative nor realistic.

soddim
30th Dec 2008, 16:58
Perhaps of more direct relevance - how many reloads do we have available today?

ORAC
30th Dec 2008, 17:23
Mayhap, but they and the plans are all either side has, apart from politicians memoirs of what they say they would have done, and would you believe a politician?

It is a fact that the Russians always intended the Backfire as a tactical aircraft dedicated to army support in the rear area - as used in Georgia. I remember the surprise when the first photographs showing one with all the external bomb shackles surfaced.

The Badgers and Bears under naval control were also dedicated to naval ops. There would never seem to have been the concentration on strategic bomber we expected. In many respects we tended to impose our own strategic goals on the enemy.

A few years after the end of the first Cold War a US SecDef was given a tour of a Blackjack and commented on the lack of a TFR. The Russian general explained that they did not need one, their intended tactics were intended to be a medium level transit followed by a supersonic dash at FL500+ until within stand-off missile range, under cover of massed stand-of jamming.

We, of course, had all our plans with fighters on CAP at around 15K looking low for the low-level penetrators - because that was the tactic our bombers used to defeat radar.....

IIRC the Russian plan to take out the UK, subsequently leaked but I cannot remember where, consisted of a line of 5 Mt bombs down the middle of the North Sea. The subsequent radioactive tidal wave would have taken out all the airfields in East Anglia and up the east coast and just about everything inland up the Pennines.

An unsinkable aircraft carrier perhaps, but a radioactive unusable hulk.

Speaking of which, and apropos the CVF thread - the latest Chinese anti-carrier threat is ASBMs (http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-34625152_ITM), to which I presume the Russians will also have access. I wonder how successfully a couple of T45s will defend against that threat?

taxydual
30th Dec 2008, 17:51
Coo, a blast from the past! Taceval, Wintex et al.

Realistically, all we did was 'practice bleeding'.

Endex. Now, where's the burgers with coleslaw? Proper Endex.

Happy(?) days.

Razor61
30th Dec 2008, 18:13
I don't know much about the said subject and find it fascinating reading from all the people who flew during the cold war....

Did the Russians change their tactics fully towards stand-off when they finally got KH-55 Kent cruise missile, of which 12 could be carried by the Tu-160 Blackjack. Range was in excess of 3000km so they could launch the missiles from still up near Norway in the Arctic circle and manage to hit targets all over Northern Europe and beyond?

Pontius Navigator
30th Dec 2008, 19:02
The Badgers and Bears under naval control were also dedicated to naval ops. There would never seem to have been the concentration on strategic bomber we expected.

Together with our SEWO, I did an analysis of Badger deployment in particular their AAR deployment.

We noticed that the number of SNAF AAR Badger would enable a 1:2 match with the missile Aircraft. This would enable them to reach down into the Norwegian Sea.

OTOH the AF had dedicated ECM ac and an AAR ratio of about 1:6. Our tentative conclusion was that the Badger jammer would be used as a stand-off jammer in Soviet controlled airspace and that their mission would be fuel limited rather than chaff load limited. The provision of AAR to the jammer/chaffer would work as a significant force multiplier. We reckoned the jammer/chaffer could fly a 16 hr mission without running out of chaff.

As for engaging low flying penetrators, even the exercises had the opfor releasing ARM at the limit of the ADGE cover near the outer caps. Without AWACs we would have relied on the F4 or F3 conduct its own detection and interception.

taxydual
30th Dec 2008, 19:07
Razor, in my honest opinion, we would have got dicked!!! OK, a blaze of glory may have come into it, however, dicked would have been the outcome.

Throw a thousand amateurs towards a hundred professionals, some of those amateurs would have got through.

The frightening things is, that the Soviets were not 'totally' amateur.


Ah well, pass the coleslaw.

ORAC
30th Dec 2008, 23:01
Well as an FC with several hundred hours as an MC including during many exercises and Tacevals during the 80s and early 90s, I can tell you that, except during the odd period when AAR was plentiful and Int (and the exercise scenario) told me the threat was imminent, manning the outer CAPs was not really an option.

The odd pair to act as mini-AWACS and a heads-ups for the middle CAPs, but no more. Just not enough assets for more than a token effort.....

(the EW was 360 and the very odd other asset, never an further out than the middle CAPs - which we were not allowed to engage. I never, ever, saw enough to cause more than a spurious response from the T85/HSA PD system):hmm: )

M609
30th Dec 2008, 23:07
ORAC, true regarding funding. I was told that the RNoAF 'agreed' to provide SAW to get its funding slice as well but then failed so to do.

Not quite as I know the history, the deal was SHORAD, and we bought Hawk as a consequence of the deal. (L70 guns only appart from the Nike system around Oslo prior to that)
All airfields that got the 3-gen HAS farms allso got Hawk. (As well as the ones that had the HAS planned, but was cancelled in the late 80s)

Paralell to the NATO funding deal, USAF demanded a missile system at the bases with earmarked US units in wartime.

ShyTorque
30th Dec 2008, 23:43
The mind game being that eastern troops would witness western quality of life and wonder why they were fighting at all.

Difference today is, they might take a look at Woolworths and the so-called national health service, think they were home already and wonder why WE were fighting back... :confused:

Pontius Navigator
30th Dec 2008, 23:48
Well as an FC with several hundred hours as an MC including during many exercises and Tacevals during the 80s and early 90s, I can tell you that, except during the odd period when AAR was plentiful and Int (and the exercise scenario) told me the threat was imminent, manning the outer CAPs was not really an option.

ORAC, agreed, but I was talking pre-AWACs, MFF, and more AD fighters. Also for the exercise threat we had plenty of RAFG assets that could make the westbound penetration and thus be able to penetrate the out CAP shield.

With an AS6 ARM launch at 240 miles you could not achieve anything from middle CAP except get a poke in the eye.

exscribbler
30th Dec 2008, 23:49
Have we got more than 2 days-worth of ammunition now?

Guzlin Adnams
31st Dec 2008, 00:10
I hope that I'm around in 2038 and can read what the situation is now.

Pontius Navigator
31st Dec 2008, 09:49
Have we got more than 2 days-worth of ammunition now?

Well a yes and a no.

If the quantity of torpedoes procured for the 3 full Nimrod sqns was maintained then it follows that stocks per aircraft have now increased by 50%.

But weapons are procured against an SD98 requirement. To hold more weapons than the SD98 requires has an increase in the cost of ownership - servicing, storage, spares, salaries etc. The only way the stock per aircraft could be increased would be an amendment to the SD98 which of course requires staff work.

But the number of aircraft or weapons systems has been reduced as the threat has reduced or the weapons system effectiveness has been increased.

The original premise was weapons/target matching.

So, do you think we have more weapons per aircraft, less more-effective weapons, or the same?

Blacksheep
31st Dec 2008, 13:20
When challenged I said officers always bought their own uniformWhile I was V Force groundcrew, in No.1 Group we were issued with hand-me-down cold weather clothing - including our "Trog" boots and seaboot socks! The boffins came round with a geiger counter and discovered our anoraks were "Hot" from the radio active dust that hung around in the upper atmosphere and stuck to our aircraft (it came from the atmospheric nuclear tests that were still going on then) and they were taken away leaving us with nothing. Our AOC said for us to buy our own - which explains the outlandish appearance of the No 1 Group ground crew in 1968/69

... and no, I haven't grown horns or an extra leg (so far).


As to lack of ammunition, once, as we watched our three QRA charges taxi down to the runway, it occurred to us that there were no Standing Orders for what to do next. The reason of course, was that was no need of any. In a couple of minutes or so we were expected to vanish in a cloud of radio-active gas along with most of Lincolnshire.

Krystal n chips
31st Dec 2008, 18:23
Leaving aside the technicalities, the flip side was that I, and many others, were treated to two tours in RAFG c/o HM Gov't.....for which my liver, stomach and other bits of my anatomy ( plus bank balance) were and still are eternally grateful. The prospect of the Russians arriving after about 1530hrs on Friday up to 0600hrs on Monday was never high on my list of concerns...strangely.

taxydual
2nd Jan 2009, 11:12
A snippet from Cabinet Papers released under the 30 Year Rule.


Quote

Britain's ability to defend itself against an attack from the Soviet Union was so diminished in the late 1970s that the Prime Minister exclaimed: "Heaven help us if there is a war!"

James Callaghan's handwritten note came after he had reviewed top-secret briefings which showed that the country's surface-to-air missiles were equipped with merely a single reload, early warning aircraft were "obsolete" and RAF fighter squadrons hopelessly outnumbered by Soviet bombers.

The bleak assessment of national defence preparations emerged after Callaghan had questioned intelligence reports, according to Downing Street papers released to the National Archives today. He described the situation as a scandal, and called for those responsible to be sacked.

The Prime Minister's probing at the height of the Cold War ignited a fierce debate in Whitehall about the British resources allocated to NATO rather than domestic defence. The controversy, never made public, originated in October 1977 after the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) was presented with a detailed top secret report on "Soviet capability to attack targets in the UK base".

The Prime Minister was not satisfied, however. "I take it someone has worked out whether we can defend ourselves?" Callaghan inquired. His Secretary for Overseas Affairs, Bryan Cartledge, wrote to the Ministry of Defence: "The Prime Minister has indicated that this assessment gives only one side of the picture. He assumes that a similar assessment has been made of our capacity to defend targets in the UK base; and we would be glad of an opportunity to see such an assessment."

The Cabinet Secretary had to admit there was no "mirror image of the JIC assessment in relation to our own capability because our policy is to base the defence of the UK firmly in the collective effort of the North Atlantic alliance".

Fred Mulley, the Defence Minister best remembered for dozing off beside the Queen during an official review of the RAF, was scrambled to prepare an explanatory paper. His report admitted that the picture painted by the Chiefs of Staff was "a sobering one".

"The most immediate Soviet conventional threat is from heavy and medium bombers and long-range tactical," the MoD report revealed. "Against a threat of more than 200 Soviet bombers we have a frontline strength of less than 100 fighters together with very limited area coverage of surface-to-air missiles.

"Although the [Phantom] fighters could acquit themselves well, they have sufficient missiles for only 2 to 3 days' operations." A shortage of Bloodhound surface-to-air missiles, which protected 15 key RAF and US airfields, meant they had only "a single reload". As for surveillance, there was a "single squadron of obsolete [Shackleton] airborne early warning aircraft".

The Warsaw Pact nuclear threat involved 150 land-based missiles targeted at the UK and 160 bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Dismayed, Callaghan said: "I wish to talk to Mr Mulley about this."

The conversation at No 10 in February 1978 was grim. "The Prime Minister said the conclusion he drew from the paper was that one or two people should be sacked (he did not include Mr Mulley)," a note-taker recorded. "He would like to know the cost of remedying the situation and how far it could be met within the existing budget."

Denis Healey, the Defence Secretary, tried to recover the initiative by announcing he was to buy "66 secondhand [Bloodhound] missiles with spare parts from Sweden for 6m and [maybe] another 50 from Singapore".

The Foreign Secretary, David Owen, suggested adjusting "the Tornado programme so as to produce 50 more Air Defence Variants for use in the UK air defence region . and 50 less for long-range strike on the central front".

Sir John Hunt, the Cabinet Secretary, was alarmed. "Any move on our part to put distinctly more emphasis on the UK at the expense of our contribution to the central front would almost certainly be opposed by NATO as a whole and by the US in particular," he warned Callaghan.


Unquote

DeepestSouth
2nd Jan 2009, 12:54
What memories this brings back! In the early 70s, on my first/second tours, I vividly recall the policy known colloquially as 'Cut the Tail', designed to cut the support 'tail' and redirect resources to the front line - specifically to put more aircraft 'up front'. This had a number of effects - in 74/75 the closing of a number of smaller 'support' stations (Bicester and Little Rissington, for example) severe pressures on staffing levels and resources(I remember some horrific establishment reviews), reductions in mess staffing and facilities, changes to uniforms, reducing stores levels and the range of items available (with some really stupid 'you couldn't make it up' consequences in some places!) - everywhere you looked there was a 'squeeze' on, morale certainly started to shrivel up and inter-branch/service squabbling got much worse. Then there were the 'Irishmen's Pay Rises' in which we ended up much worse off than before the pay rise. Some airmen with families ended up entitled to state benefits and very publicly queuing outside the local benefits office - in uniform! The Daily Mirror loved it! What we were really seeing, I felt at the time, was the final real shrinkage of the Service after WW2.

By the late 70s, however, the message dribbling down from 'on high' was that we might have overdone the 'hair shirt' a bit and this latest release of information seems to confirm that.

What this now makes me realise, however, is that the REAL game in the early 70s was probably not so much 'Cutting the Tail' as cutting the overall Defence Budget - money was being saved (or rather, not spent) on support but there was only a limited reinvestment in the front line.

Chielman
2nd Jan 2009, 13:02
The Pact was not in much better condition and certainly not as "united" as propaganda would have had us believe. I know a former East German soldier who told me he and his comrades were forced to attend "fraternal evenings" with units of the 3rd Guards Shock Army at the height of the Cold War.
Before leaving for the Soviet barracks, the German officers called their troops together and told them never to forget that the Russians were their enemies and had overrun their country. They were ordered to eat everything they were offered and to drink the Russians' vodka, but not to fraternise.
A few months later, the East German soldier struck up a conversation with a Soviet soldier, who told him they received exactly the same lecture - substituting the Rodina for the Fatherland - from their officers before visiting Volksarmee barracks!

Navaleye
2nd Jan 2009, 13:11
I went out with a girl from the former East Germany. It transpires that her father was Colonel in the East German airforce. She said that all their regularly practised wargames against the west all started on a Friday afternoon for obvious reasons.

cyclops16
2nd Jan 2009, 13:28
An interesting book to read is called "War Plan UK". It is a few years old.I found it at my local library. It has detailed maps of the underground station in London that "don't exist"and others and the approx. mt of hits on various UK targets with a target list.

Navaleye
2nd Jan 2009, 14:04
Yes it is a good read, written by Duncan Campbell if I remember. There are about 30 permanently closed underground stations on the network, many of which have been used for govt purposes. I've been down a few of them, recently the old station and tunnels at Chancery Lane were opened and are now up for sale. Bull and Bush on the Northern Line is very interesting.

Pontius Navigator
2nd Jan 2009, 14:19
And the Russians said they would rather the Poles were in front of them rather than behind.

LFittNI
2nd Jan 2009, 15:10
....and the Czechs were the same.

In '90 and '91, I worked in the Czech and Slovak Republics quite a lot, doing interesting things like privatising their electricity supply and banking industries. At Ostrava, the civil airport was (is?) shared with the Czech Airforce, and there were Mig 19's and 21's parked up. The air and ground crews were both delighted at the end of "confrontation" and deeply unhappy at their future prospects, but very hospitable and chatty.

Learning I was ex-RAF, they were very friendly and I was shown around the aircraft and facilities. The general impression one got was one of very low quality of everything that makes for efficient and effective aircraft operations, both airborne and ground based.

However, the major surprise was their admission that they never practiced "air defence" as we knew it in W.Europe. Their operations plans (and I saw charts and maps to confirm this) all centered around clearing a path for Soviet armour to blast through, behind the left-over carnage of Czech, Polish and E.German forces. They knew they were the expendable portion of a very disunited eastern bloc.

They said they had plenty of ammunition, though........

Pontius Navigator
2nd Jan 2009, 15:42
However, the major surprise was their admission that they never practiced "air defence" as we knew it in W.Europe. .......

To understand this you really need to turn the maps inside out.

Look at the UK and our major air battles, we hoped, would take place over the North Sea and Norwegian Seas with engagements commencing long before the enemy crossed our border.

In the Warsaw Pact case they could hardly mount outer caps over West Germany or Switzerland. The reality of this was brought home when one of our sim officers served at the SOC in Hungary. Air policing would be effected by a single SA6 unit in the centre of the country; there was absolutely no capability for a ground alert being able to intercept an intruder before its target was reached.

They said that they would be unable to protect the E3 in orbit and the only recourse was for the E3 to fall back

racedo
2nd Jan 2009, 16:54
Interesting discussion.

BRIXMIS book by Tony Geraghty seems to be a decent history on what was going on in East Germany from 1946-90 with some telling insights in the ability to set up on an Autobahn as an airfield for attack operations for the weekend.

There is truth in the viewpoint that UK alone would not have been attacked and therefore all USSR assets would not have been deployed simultaneously on the UK because of the counter punching that the USSR would be getting from everywhere.

The use of tactical nukes against armour would in many cases have destroyed that as a marching machine pretty quickly.

A second more difficult question to answer. Given the dire economic straits the UK was in during the 1970's ( seems familar) would it have been justifiable to have avoided spending it on building a couple of hospitals or schools to have given 2 extra days supply of missles that ultimately were not used for purpose.

Yes hindsight is great and now it looks correct but if you an F4 pilot out of missiles with a Russki bomber on the way then maybe its a different scenario.

MarkD
2nd Jan 2009, 16:55
Hmmm... reading this thread makes me think there are a few folks on here that could do a decent re-write/update of "Red Storm Rising" :D

ORAC
2nd Jan 2009, 17:59
Haa! That reminds me of a war story.....

Many moons ago in the 80s I went as a UK MC to the Warrior Prep Center at Ramstein. (Nice museum at the time with all sorts of exhibits of aircraft, missiles etc).

During Day 1 of the exercise (scenario of an attack against the UK) they threw the entire enemy ORBAT at us across the Central Region with no attrition from the central region AD assets. Realistic, right?

We scrambled out fighters/tankers using the computer, put them on CAP and made a fair hand of the first couple of waves, but with a lot of losses. We could also divert the fighters to land at alternate airfields as their MOBs were taken out of action.

In an idle moment, however, and having read Red Storm Rising, I found I could also divert the USN Phoenix equipped F14s which, in the scenario, were covering the GIUK gap.

So, first thing on the morning of Day 2, before their distaff called Startex, I diverted them all to LU, and then launched them against the first wave and wiped it out.

The USAF running the exercise were not impressed. :p:p

Pious Pilot
2nd Jan 2009, 23:38
The 'govern'ment could easily get round this one.

Stock is infinite if you don't use any, so they prolly have 1 of each missile type. :ok: