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Old 08-20-2016, 11:40 AM
RN7 RN7 is offline
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Default Berlin in 1996

What happens in Berlin between the 7th October 1996 and the New Year of 1997 when NATO forces reach Berlin?

Berlin was a Cold War anomaly that would have led to a number of political difficulties after the Reunification of Germany for all parties concerned. The city was politically divided into two halves after the Second World War by the victorious Allied powers. The Western half was administered by the American, British and French occupation sectors, and the eastern half was placed under Soviet administration. Even after the reconstitution of Germany in 1949 and the establishment of the rival state of East Germany, both halves of Berlin remained under allied control and were outside of German jurisdiction throughout the Cold War. The Soviet Union refused to allow West Berlin to be the new capital of West Germany, and the Allied powers (America, Britain and France) only recognised Soviet authority over East Berlin even after East Germany established its capital in East Berlin. In 1961 the city was physically divided after the Berlin Wall was built by the East German government. West Berlin was also 100 miles east of the inter-German border within East German territory. West Berlin existed as a functional city state with a shared economic, political and legal system to West Germany, but it was not de jure part of West Germany. Due to its peculiar political arrangement no German military forces (East or West) were allowed within the city boundaries of either half of Berlin.

So despite the fact that West German troops had crossed the inter-German border there would have been no East German military forces in East Berlin. After the Bundeswehr crosses the inter-German border the East German military rapidly changes side and turns against the East German regime. The changing loyalties of the East German military is not an immediate event, but it gathers momentum throughout October 1996 and afterwards. So there would be a dwindling pool of loyal East German troops for the East German government to draw upon, and with West German panzer divisions marching through East Germany they would be needed in frontline areas and not in Berlin. Any East German move against West Berlin would have to be carried out by the various East German security forces, and most likely the Stasi. The Stasi are a para-military police force and are well armed by the standards of internal security troops, but they would still be hopelessly outmatched by the three Berlin garrison brigades with 10,000 troops and armour. There is also the West Berlin police force which was armed and trained to the same standard as West German border guards, and probably had a manpower strength of about 10,000 personnel.

Also even after the Bundeswehr crosses the inter-German border the Soviet's cannot intervene in West Berlin. They are fighting a major war in China and other NATO allies are not actively helping the Germans, in fact some NATO members including France are loudly condemning German Reunification. Although Soviet forces in East Germany could attack and probably quickly take control of West Berlin, it would lead to war with other NATO members including the US. This is the situation until December 1996 when US, British and Canadian forces are sent across the inter-German border.
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Old 08-20-2016, 03:50 PM
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What about the cutting off of supplies into Berlin?
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Old 08-20-2016, 05:04 PM
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Yeah, Berlin Blockade Part 2. Also, it's quite possible that, due to the war in China, both Soviet and East German forces still inside East German could have been reorganized/reoriented somewhat, so that could play into the situation in and around Berlin after the Bundeswehr crosses the border.
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Old 08-20-2016, 08:16 PM
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Was the Stasi ever given nuclear discretion? Could they have/would they have conducted black ops into West Berlin and set off demolition nukes to slow NATO forces or sow chaos and fear? It definitely seems like something they'd do if they had the armaments to do so. Failing that, continued terror bombings just with conventional explosives to keep the West Berlin contingent completely off balance.
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:17 AM
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Yeah, Berlin Blockade Part 2. Also, it's quite possible that, due to the war in China, both Soviet and East German forces still inside East German could have been reorganized/reoriented somewhat, so that could play into the situation in and around Berlin after the Bundeswehr crosses the border.
Road and rail links to West Berlin would certainly have been closed as they pass through East German territory, but maybe not the three air corridors at least until December 1996.

West Berlin was under Allied administration and basically the occupation sectors were American, British and French territories. The Potsdam Agreement established three air corridors that allowed direct flights from West Germany to West Berlin that passed through East German airspace. Only American, British and French military and commercial aircraft were allowed to use these air corridors, although the Polish airline LOT was also allowed use these air corridors on two air routes from Warsaw to London and from East Berlin to Paris. German aircraft including Lufthansa were forbidden from flying to West Berlin or any destination in East Germany, and East German aircraft were also not allowed to travel to West Germany.

Once the Bundeswehr crosses the inter-German border it's likely that flights were severely curtailed due to the warfare in East Germany. However I doubt that America, Britain and France will simply abandon its troops or the civil population of West Berlin, and will insist that regulated air convoys be allowed to continue to fly to West Berlin over the established air corridors at dates and times well known to the Germans and Soviets until perhaps the end of November. The Germans will obviously be happy to allow this, and as the NVA Luftstreitkrafte was quickly absorbed into the Luftwaffe it would leave very few air defence units loyal to the East German regime. What few air defence assets that East Germany retained would be under Soviet command, and the Soviets for their part would have been highly conscious of provoking NATO by shooting down a transport aircraft over East Germany when it could lead to direct NATO military support for Germany and China.
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Old 08-21-2016, 10:20 AM
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Was the Stasi ever given nuclear discretion? Could they have/would they have conducted black ops into West Berlin and set off demolition nukes to slow NATO forces or sow chaos and fear? It definitely seems like something they'd do if they had the armaments to do so. Failing that, continued terror bombings just with conventional explosives to keep the West Berlin contingent completely off balance.
The answer would have to be no. The Soviets did not trust the East Germans enough to allow them to build an armaments industry other than allowing them to build some rifles and bullets. Giving them nuclear weapons? Nope!
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Old 08-21-2016, 01:46 PM
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Easy to harass aircraft flying through, though, radar locks, etc.

An option for the higher ranking leaders of the East German forces would be to use harassment (blamed on the Soviets) as a provocation for the West Germans to move east.
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Old 08-21-2016, 02:06 PM
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Easy to harass aircraft flying through, though, radar locks, etc.

An option for the higher ranking leaders of the East German forces would be to use harassment (blamed on the Soviets) as a provocation for the West Germans to move east.
Yes very easy.

During the initial crossing of the inter-German border the NVA Luftstreitkrafte must have been in cahoots with the Bundeswehr for the operation to work. Luftwaffe transports and army helicopters also crossed the border with West German troops, and the only way they would have done so without been shot down was if the Luftstreitkrafte controlled the air defence radars on the border and concealed the data from the Soviets, or had planned in advance to jam or disable Soviet radar coverage of the inter-German border.

So if that is the case then the Luftstreitkrafte or most of it quickly changed side and was integrated into the Luftwaffe. Any loyal East German air defence units would now be under Soviet command, and if they were reckless enough to shoot down a NATO transport in one of these three air corridors the crews would likely be shot themselves by the Soviets.
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Old 08-21-2016, 09:22 PM
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After the Bundeswehr crosses the inter-German border the East German government would become heavily reliant on its security forces to control territory and remain in power. East Germany had one of the largest state security forces in the world, including three separate para-military security organisations in addition to the regular police force.

1) Border Troops
2) Ministry of the Interior
3) Ministry for State Security (Stasi)

1) The 47,000 strong East German Border Troops (Grenztruppen) were the second largest border guard force in the Warsaw Pact after the Soviet Union. The Border Troops were organised into four commands of twenty frontier regiments, one border-crossing regiment, one artillery regiment, three helicopter flights, six training regiments and one coastal brigade. Each frontier regiment had three battalions with four companies, and also one staff company, one artillery company, one engineer company, one signal company, one service company and one transport company. The Grenztruppen were equipped as motorised infantry battalions, with armoured cars, wheeled armoured personnel carriers, mortars, machine guns, antitank weapons and some T-55 tanks. The Grenztruppen were considered East Germany's first line of defence, and its troops were mostly enlisted and were considered highly disciplined.

The four Border Troop commands included Grenzkommando Nord that guarded the northern sector of the West German border. It had six frontier regiments, two training regiments, a helicopter flight and a boat section on the Elbe River. Grenzkommando Sud guarded the southern sector of the West German border with six frontier regiments, two training regiments and a helicopter flight. Grenzkommando Kuste guarded the coast and was organised as a coastal brigade with twelve marine battalions, eight boat companies and a helicopter flight. The patrol craft and helicopters were operated by the East German Navy. Grenzkommando Mitte was stationed in East Berlin, and it manned the crossing points into West Berlin and the perimeter surrounding it. It had six frontier regiments, one artillery regiment, two training regiments, one border crossing point regiment of eight companies, and one boat company to patrol the waterways in and around West Berlin. There were also two independent frontier regiments on the border with Czechoslovakia and Poland. As the Border Troops of Grenzkommando Nord and Sud were based on the inter-German border it is likely that their commanders were pro-German Reunification, as they were responsible for opening the border and allowing the Bundeswehr to cross into East Germany. The other Border Troop units especially from Grenzkommando Mitte and the regiments on the Czech and Polish border would likely have remained loyal to the East German regime. The East German regime no doubt planned to use the forces of Grenzkommando Mitte against West Berlin.

2) The Ministry of the Interior controlled the East German police (Volkspolizei). Under its command included 8,500 Transport Police who were organised into sixteen companies of armed police, and another 15,000 troops attached to the Volkspolizei Alert Units (Bereitschaftpolizei). The Alert Units were organised into 21 battalions, with each battalion having a headquarter company, four alert companies (one mechanised and three motorised), and one support company with artillery, anti-tank guns and mortars. One alert battalion was attached to each East German district, but the key districts of Halle, Leipzig, Magdeburg and Potsdam had two battalions, and there were six battalions in East Berlin. The Ministry of the Interior also controlled Service Unit 9 (Diensteinheit IX), a covert anti-terrorist unit similar to GSG-9 that was formed in the aftermath of the Munich Massacre in 1972. Diensteinheit IX was armed with Soviet and West German weapons, and its pre-war function included hostage rescue, physical security and the hunting of Soviet Army deserters in East Germany. The Ministry of the Interior also controlled the Combat Groups of the Working Class (Kamphfgruppen der Arbeiterklasse). It was a workers militia of 500,000 members organised into 200 battalions, armed with second line equipment and it served as a home defence force in wartime. The loyalties of the Ministry of Interior troops probably depended upon their location in East Germany, and what they really thought of the East German regime once Bundeswehr panzers were sighted on the horizon.

3) East Germany's most notorious security force was operated by the Ministry for State Security (Stasi), the East German equivalent to the Soviet KGB. The Stasi was a large organisation with 90,000 employees with many functions, but its two principle roles were foreign intelligence and spying on the population of East Germany. The Stasi was in charge of the surveillance of mail and telephone lines, and ran a vast network of informants with as many as 500,000 collaborators with informants and agents in every apartment building and industrial plant. The Stasi also scrutinized the political reliability of the NVA and other East German security services, which did little to endear its popularity among the East German armed forces. The Stasi operated a secure internal communications system for the government, and had a penal system that was distinct from the Ministry of the Interior. The Stasi also controlled the Felix Dzierzynski Guard Regiment which was responsible for the protection of government and party buildings and personnel. The Felix Dzierzynski Guard Regiment was trained to the same standard as the NVA and Volkspolizei alert units, and recruits were selected from politically reliable backgrounds. The regiment had a strength of 11,000 troops and was nearly the size of a motorised rifle division, equipped with armoured vehicles, mortars, antitank weapons and antiaircraft guns. It was organised into three combat groups with six motorized rifle battalions, one artillery battalion, three training battalions, one engineer company, one support company, one medical company and one reconnaissance (parachute) company. The reconnaissance company was a commando unit equivalent to Soviet Spetsnaz forces. The Felix Dzierzynski Guard Regiment was in effect a politically reliable internal security force that could be deployed to suppress rebellion and unrest against the regime in East Germany, and as it was not part of the NVA it could be deployed in East Berlin. It has been said that the Stasi maintained a greater surveillance of its own people than any other secret police force in history, including the KGB and the Nazi Gestapo. However they did miss the well organised planning for German Reunification by senior elements of the NVA with the Bundeswehr, but during German Reunification they would have been by far the most resistant to unification.

After the Bundeswehr establishes itself in East Germany and the NVA begins to show its true loyalties, the East German government would likely pull back as many of its loyal security units to eastern districts of East Germany and allow the Soviets to fight the Bundeswehr. Most of its remaining forces would be withdrawn to loyalist strongholds including East Berlin, as if they lose control of their capital they will lose their legitimacy. So in and around Berlin the East Germans have a large Stasi force including most of the Felix Dzierzynski Guard Regiment, Grenzkommando Mitte and six battalions of Ministry of the Interior Alert Units, with some loyal NVA and militia units.

Facing them in West Berlin are the three Berlin garrison brigades of the US, British and French armies, and the West Berlin police force. The combined strength of the Berlin garrisons was 10,000 troops (4,300 US Army, 3,000 British Army and 2,700 French Army). The three Berlin brigades were basically infantry brigades, but they included mechanised units with tanks, artillery and air defence units. This force included perhaps 300 armoured vehicles such as 28 US M60A3 that were replaced by M1A1's, 18 British Chieftains'replaced by Challenger 1, and 40 French AMX-30. The US also had 9 M109 155m howitzers and all of the brigades were equipped with a large number of Dragon, TOW and Milan ATGW's. Allied air force personnel were also stationed at Gatow, Tegal and Templehof airports, with the RAF strength at Gatow reportedly standing at 700 personnel in 1991. No combat jets were based in West Berlin but there were some US and British helicopters. Once the Bundeswehr crosses the inter-German border the French protest and pull their forces out of Germany including West Berlin. This would have been a major event as France had 52,700 troops and 570 tanks stationed in Germany. The Soviets likely allowed the French to evacuate their troops and civilians through Tegal airport in the French sector of West Berlin, although they would have to leave their vehicles. Do they destroy them or give them to the US and Britain?

Last edited by RN7; 08-22-2016 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:19 PM
James Langham2 James Langham2 is offline
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The four Border Troop commands included Grenzkommando Nord that guarded the northern sector of the West German border. It had six frontier regiments, two training regiments, a helicopter flight and a boat section on the Elbe River. Grenzkommando Sud guarded the southern sector of the West German border with six frontier regiments, two training regiments and a helicopter flight. Grenzkommando Kuste guarded the coast and was organised as a coastal brigade with twelve marine battalions, eight boat companies and a helicopter flight. The patrol craft and helicopters were operated by the East German Navy. Grenzkommando Mitte was stationed in East Berlin, and it manned the crossing points into West Berlin and the perimeter surrounding it. It had six frontier regiments, one artillery regiment, two training regiments, one border crossing point regiment of eight companies, and one boat company to patrol the waterways in and around West Berlin. There were also two independent frontier regiments on the border with Czechoslovakia and Poland. As the Border Troops of Grenzkommando Nord and Sud were based on the inter-German border it is likely that their commanders were pro-German Reunification, as they were responsible for opening the border and allowing the Bundeswehr to cross into East Germany. The other Border Troop units especially from Grenzkommando Mitte and the regiments on the Czech and Polish border would likely have remained loyal to the East German regime. The East German regime no doubt planned to use the forces of Grenzkommando Mitte against West Berlin.
Usefully, yesterday at the Other Partizan wargames show I picked up Gordon L Rottman's Osprey book Fortress 69: The Berlin Wall and Intra-German Border. He gives a few details of the Grenztruppen.

Armament - 9mm Pistole M (Makarov), MPiK and MPiKM K47 and AKM), IMGK and IMGD (RPK and RPD), RP46 and sMGK (RP-46 and PK), sMG38 in AA role (DShKM38/46) and RPG7. Late issue were MPiK74N (AKS74) and RPG18.

Vehicles - Ural375D, KraZ214 and Tatra148 trucks. Trabant 601 Kubal (so low powered that on even gentle slopes passangers had to get out and walk) patrol cars. Motorradwerk Zschopau (MZ) ETZ250 and TS250/1/A motorcyles. Small numbers of helicopters (Mi2, 8 and 24). All can be identified by the bright green backing on the national badges. Tanks had been long withdrawn.

Troops in Grenztruppen Kommando Mitte (Frontier Troops Command Centre) are listed as on this picture:

Last edited by James Langham2; 08-22-2016 at 01:33 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 08-22-2016, 11:56 PM
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Usefully, yesterday at the Other Partizan wargames show I picked up Gordon L Rottman's Osprey book Fortress 69: The Berlin Wall and Intra-German Border. He gives a few details of the Grenztruppen.

Armament - 9mm Pistole M (Makarov), MPiK and MPiKM K47 and AKM), IMGK and IMGD (RPK and RPD), RP46 and sMGK (RP-46 and PK), sMG38 in AA role (DShKM38/46) and RPG7. Late issue were MPiK74N (AKS74) and RPG18.

Vehicles - Ural375D, KraZ214 and Tatra148 trucks. Trabant 601 Kubal (so low powered that on even gentle slopes passangers had to get out and walk) patrol cars. Motorradwerk Zschopau (MZ) ETZ250 and TS250/1/A motorcyles. Small numbers of helicopters (Mi2, 8 and 24). All can be identified by the bright green backing on the national badges. Tanks had been long withdrawn.

Troops in Grenztruppen Kommando Mitte (Frontier Troops Command Centre) are listed as on this picture:

Good list.

Its peculiar that the Germans under the guidance of the Soviets can produce vehicles like the Trabant 601 Kubal, yet left to their own devices they can produce the Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche and the Leopard 2 tank.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:40 AM
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The main troop list didn't upload, I will try again later
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:46 AM
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To me what happens in Berlin is not much...

1) All of the national contingents are offered safe passage out of West Berlin once the shooting begins in Germany. This is of course, a fairly clumsy attempt to divide NATO, but it works in one sense, the French take the Soviets up on their offer, and withdraw within days. The other two national contingents bulk up the West Berlin Police (who already had a role in defending the city) as best they can, and wait for the what they think is the inevitable Soviet assault.

2) The trouble is, the Soviets only have one Motor Rifle Brigade in East Berlin, the reduction of West Berlin in case of war was to be left to the East Germans..the same East Germans who are now joining their Western brethren in killing Soviet soldiers. The 6th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade is right now just trying to hold on in it's kaserne in Karlhorst, and there isn't much help coming. Some elements of the Grenztruppen, and the KdA remain loyal to the Communist cause, and supplement the defense of Karlhorst, but there aren't many of those..and the Soviets (rightfully so) don't trust them.

Therefore, the Soviets content themselves with cutting the rail and air links to the city where they can, but the blockade is porous due to the fact they simply do not have the troops to spare to put a ring around West Berlin. Eventually, when the Poles show up, they put a ring around Berlin, and relive 6th Guards, but that respite does not last long, as the US, British and Canadians enter the war in November, and the Poles are driven back, with the 6th again under siege in Karlhorst. This time, no help comes, and after a 8 day fight, the 6th surrenders with all honors to I British Corps.
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Old 08-23-2016, 11:52 AM
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No internet at moment, using phone. I would pretty much agree with Jason on with not much happening in Berlin until December. The East Germans don't have firepower to move against West Berlin and the Soviets can't spare a couple of divisions needed to take on the garrison brigades in West Berlin, or won't. In the meantime some air supply to West Berlin and plenty of defence preparation. The Soviets also make their own preparations to capture West Berlin.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:34 PM
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To me what happens in Berlin is not much...

1) All of the national contingents are offered safe passage out of West Berlin once the shooting begins in Germany. This is of course, a fairly clumsy attempt to divide NATO, but it works in one sense, the French take the Soviets up on their offer, and withdraw within days. The other two national contingents bulk up the West Berlin Police (who already had a role in defending the city) as best they can, and wait for the what they think is the inevitable Soviet assault.
SGM Vallente GA Mills, a long-time veteran of Special Forces and a veteran of SFDB, told me that the SFDB's job if the balloon goes up was to exfiltrate out of Berlin (they had many routes in that respect) and to split into two sections. One section would begin to raise a partisan movement in East Germany, the other to begin to destroy communications hubs, dams, government and military buildings, and conduct harassing attacks against Warsaw Pact forces.
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Old 08-23-2016, 03:25 PM
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SGM Vallente GA Mills, a long-time veteran of Special Forces and a veteran of SFDB, told me that the SFDB's job if the balloon goes up was to exfiltrate out of Berlin (they had many routes in that respect) and to split into two sections. One section would begin to raise a partisan movement in East Germany, the other to begin to destroy communications hubs, dams, government and military buildings, and conduct harassing attacks against Warsaw Pact forces.
True Paul,
But up until November, we aren't a party to the conflict, we are neutral. Pro-German neutral, but neutral, so the Soviets have to be careful...hence SFDB might just exfil into the countryside with orders for a lot of SR taskings...
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Old 08-23-2016, 07:28 PM
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The Stasi.

While not directly (or even indirectly) about the topic at hand, there's a decent German movie called The Lives Of Others that illustrates the workings of the Stasi.
While not completely accurate in its portrayal of East Germany** - surprise, surprise, a movie that's not true to reality - it shows well enough the emotional aspects as well as repercussions of "failing the regime".



** SPOILER ALERT

For example, it would have been incredibly difficult for a Stasi officer to conceal information from superiors because Stasi personnel themselves were subject to surveillance and monitoring.
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Old 08-23-2016, 08:18 PM
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The Stasi.

** SPOILER ALERT

For example, it would have been incredibly difficult for a Stasi officer to conceal information from superiors because Stasi personnel themselves were subject to surveillance and monitoring.
....by personnel who were under observation by agents who were being watched by snitches who....
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Old 08-24-2016, 02:09 AM
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....by personnel who were under observation by agents who were being watched by snitches who....
Yep!
I vaguely recall some info that East Germany was the country with the highest percentage of surveillance conducted on it's own citizens. I believe that Stasi officers and their official assistants numbered about 2% of the population giving a figure of about one Stasi operative for every 60 people.

There's also a 2015 article from Spiegel Online that infers that the "citizen helpers" (i.e. those who were not officially employed by the Stasi), informing on their work colleagues, neighbours, family, friends etc. etc. numbered well over two million people, (and that doesn't include the West Berliners who informed on East Berliners). Two million people out of a population of 16 million meaning about 12% of the population informed on the rest of the populace.

And they weren't all motivated by politics, it's well worth a read.
Article here
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Old 08-24-2016, 08:49 AM
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That's kind of why I think if anything...the Stasi HAD to be in on the coup..now, that said..there might have been a falling out between them and the Army later..but, initially, the Stasi had to be in on it, or any coup was doomed to fail.
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:22 AM
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I am inclined to agree with you Jason. The Stasi had a massive apparatus in place to collect information, I just can't imagine them missing something like the coup.
Whether it was a case of high ranking Stasi telling the lower ranks to "just go along with it" or whether the lower ranks performed their own coup and kept the higher ranks uninformed could make for a whole other discussion but regardless of who played what part, as mentioned, I cannot see the Stasi not knowing something about the coup and taking some part (either by participation or by not actively opposing it).
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Old 08-24-2016, 10:22 AM
James Langham2 James Langham2 is offline
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SGM Vallente GA Mills, a long-time veteran of Special Forces and a veteran of SFDB, told me that the SFDB's job if the balloon goes up was to exfiltrate out of Berlin (they had many routes in that respect) and to split into two sections. One section would begin to raise a partisan movement in East Germany, the other to begin to destroy communications hubs, dams, government and military buildings, and conduct harassing attacks against Warsaw Pact forces.
Gordon L Rottman to this as he was tasked with it. Apparantly the hardest part was getting out of West Berlin.

Also of note is the fact that Berliners were not subject to conscription as West Berlin was demilitarised.
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Old 08-24-2016, 10:23 AM
James Langham2 James Langham2 is offline
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That's kind of why I think if anything...the Stasi HAD to be in on the coup..now, that said..there might have been a falling out between them and the Army later..but, initially, the Stasi had to be in on it, or any coup was doomed to fail.
An alternative may be a vast disinformation campaign so the truth was hidden following Churchill's maxim
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Old 08-24-2016, 07:01 PM
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Here are some possible explanations for the Stasi's inability to detect the "invasion", or convince the Soviets that it's coming.

1. They've shifted focus to the Far East. Perhaps the Stasi that count have been reassigned to monitor the Chinese diplomatic corps in Europe. It would be quite a stretch for them, as I'm sure language would be a barrier. A good chunk of the KGB and GRU would also have shifted their focus to the situation in the Far East.

2. The Soviets don't believe Stasi reports of an impending W. German invasion. Perhaps they believe that the Stasi is simply acting in concert with the civilian gov't of the DDR to forestall sending yet more NVA units to China. Canon's pretty clear that WARPACT governments are not happy with repeated requests for more military manpower. Perhaps the Soviets see reports of a coming West German invasion as a foot-dragging technique to avoid making more "contributions" to the fighting in the Far East.

3. Key Stasi have been turned by Western Intelligence. Perhaps they're contradicting or burying reports of the impending invasion. Disinformation spread via double-agents would also contribute to #2.

A combination of all of the above scenarios is the most plausible explanation for why the Soviets are caught flat-footed, IMO.
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Old 08-24-2016, 07:11 PM
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I don't buy the idea of an air corridor to W. Berlin remaining open after fighting kicks off between the Bundeswehr and the GoSFiG. The fog-of-war would be so thick, you could cut it with a knife, and "accidents" would be unavoidable- inevitable even. Both sides would know this. I imagine W. Berlin would be placed in a de-facto stage of siege as soon as Bundeswehr forces cross the border into the DDR. Sure, the Soviet Union wouldn't be keen on provoking the rest of NATO into joining the fight, but I just don't see them being willing to allow air traffic from the West unimpeded access to East German territory. The Soviets would be too rattled- paranoia isn't paranoia when the fear is substantiated- by the clear and present danger of losing its western buffer to an aggressive, potentially united Germany (1941, anyone?). Sure, they'd warn off the West in the most unambiguous of terms and, unlike 1948, I think they'd back their threats with deadly force (the Soviets didn't have an operational nuclear deterrent in '48; in '96, they would, and it would be massive). The Stavka would remember Stalin's mistake of writing off reports that Barbarossa was underway, and instructing border troops not to fight back in fear of "provoking" Hitler. I think a hard-line, military backed Politburo would draw a line in the sand, and prepare for the worst. With a war well underway in the Far East and a war flaring up in central Europe, the Soviets would not be willing to show weakness.
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Here are some possible explanations for the Stasi's inability to detect the "invasion", or convince the Soviets that it's coming.

1. They've shifted focus to the Far East. Perhaps the Stasi that count have been reassigned to monitor the Chinese diplomatic corps in Europe. It would be quite a stretch for them, as I'm sure language would be a barrier. A good chunk of the KGB and GRU would also have shifted their focus to the situation in the Far East.

2. The Soviets don't believe Stasi reports of an impending W. German invasion. Perhaps they believe that the Stasi is simply acting in concert with the civilian gov't of the DDR to forestall sending yet more NVA units to China. Canon's pretty clear that WARPACT governments are not happy with repeated requests for more military manpower. Perhaps the Soviets see reports of a coming West German invasion as a foot-dragging technique to avoid making more "contributions" to the fighting in the Far East.

3. Key Stasi have been turned by Western Intelligence. Perhaps they're contradicting or burying reports of the impending invasion. Disinformation spread via double-agents would also contribute to #2.

A combination of all of the above scenarios is the most plausible explanation for why the Soviets are caught flat-footed, IMO.

I read somewhere (I think in a 2300AD article) that rumours about the Germans planning a reunification were known to Western intelligence agencies well in advance of the event. But nobody took it seriously and no evidence ever surfaced to implicate the Germans. Turning back the clock to this period and the idea that the Germans would unilaterally unite by themselves under the noses of NATO and the Warsaw Pact would be considered preposterous. It seems the diversion of the warfare in China and other international Super-Power tension gave them the chance to do it.
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:12 AM
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I don't buy the idea of an air corridor to W. Berlin remaining open after fighting kicks off between the Bundeswehr and the GoSFiG. The fog-of-war would be so thick, you could cut it with a knife, and "accidents" would be unavoidable- inevitable even. Both sides would know this. I imagine W. Berlin would be placed in a de-facto stage of siege as soon as Bundeswehr forces cross the border into the DDR. Sure, the Soviet Union wouldn't be keen on provoking the rest of NATO into joining the fight, but I just don't see them being willing to allow air traffic from the West unimpeded access to East German territory. The Soviets would be too rattled- paranoia isn't paranoia when the fear is substantiated- by the clear and present danger of losing its western buffer to an aggressive, potentially united Germany (1941, anyone?). Sure, they'd warn off the West in the most unambiguous of terms and, unlike 1948, I think they'd back their threats with deadly force (the Soviets didn't have an operational nuclear deterrent in '48; in '96, they would, and it would be massive). The Stavka would remember Stalin's mistake of writing off reports that Barbarossa was underway, and instructing border troops not to fight back in fear of "provoking" Hitler. I think a hard-line, military backed Politburo would draw a line in the sand, and prepare for the worst. With a war well underway in the Far East and a war flaring up in central Europe, the Soviets would not be willing to show weakness.
I agree somewhat with you. The Politburo is backed into a corner, but it is one of their own making..and they need to find a way out. I am sure there was already multiple feelers sent out to semi-sympathetic Western nations (Italy and Greece come to mind) to mediate a end to the fighting in China before the '96 offensive. By the time October 1996 rolls around, the Soviets are in a corner. But they aren't dumb.

One, they cannot simply nuke somebody into compliance, NATO has the means to retaliate, swiftly, and it would paradoxically, demonstrate they are now conventionally speaking, weak on the ground.

Two, as much as some elements in the Politburo want to show the West that the Bear still has his claws, there are others who want to get the hell off the tiger they now find themselves on. Thus, a flurry of contradictory orders are going to come out of the Defense Council from Moscow..blockade Berlin, don't blockade Berlin..hell GSFG might get ten different orders on that in a day, and now that it's short an entire Combined Arms Army, as well as significant air assets? Might not be the time to pick a fight with NATO. I don't think the Soviets would go much further than '48 for that reason. Might there be an incident or two? Yes. But they are going to be very careful about that. Suppose the Soviets shoot down an American C-141 leaving Templehof with American military dependents on board because they wanted to make a point? That will not go over well, and the Soviets strike me as pragmatists. Don't buy more trouble when you have enough already is probably the predominant thinking in the Kremlin.

Three, I would state 3 is the most likely thing. It would make the most sense and explains how the Stasi are "in" on the coup. Now, granted, the West Germans and the East German army do not trust them at all, and I am sure more than a few are later liquidated, but that said, the fact remains..the Stasi was ever present in East Germany, for the East German army to have simply remained in barracks when the Bundeswehr came calling? That suggests preparation and coordination of some sort, at the highest levels for it to be army-wide. No way the Stasi would not get wind of that. Unless somebody in the Stasi buried it.

Four, considering the plans and responsibility for reducing West Berlin in case of war was primarily a job for the East Germans, and the East Germans have now thrown in their lot with the enemy, where are the Soviets going to get the troops to throw up a proper cordon around West Berlin? The Soviets need every soldier they have to hold off the Bundeswehr. Maybe when the Poles and Czechs show up, they can take that responsibility, but that will take time.
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:22 AM
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I don't buy the idea of an air corridor to W. Berlin remaining open after fighting kicks off between the Bundeswehr and the GoSFiG. The fog-of-war would be so thick, you could cut it with a knife, and "accidents" would be unavoidable- inevitable even. Both sides would know this. I imagine W. Berlin would be placed in a de-facto stage of siege as soon as Bundeswehr forces cross the border into the DDR. Sure, the Soviet Union wouldn't be keen on provoking the rest of NATO into joining the fight, but I just don't see them being willing to allow air traffic from the West unimpeded access to East German territory. The Soviets would be too rattled- paranoia isn't paranoia when the fear is substantiated- by the clear and present danger of losing its western buffer to an aggressive, potentially united Germany (1941, anyone?). Sure, they'd warn off the West in the most unambiguous of terms and, unlike 1948, I think they'd back their threats with deadly force (the Soviets didn't have an operational nuclear deterrent in '48; in '96, they would, and it would be massive). The Stavka would remember Stalin's mistake of writing off reports that Barbarossa was underway, and instructing border troops not to fight back in fear of "provoking" Hitler. I think a hard-line, military backed Politburo would draw a line in the sand, and prepare for the worst. With a war well underway in the Far East and a war flaring up in central Europe, the Soviets would not be willing to show weakness.

I wouldn't be proposing open air corridor to West Berlin, just the likely possibility that the US, Britain and France will insist that aid and supplies be allowed to their troops and civilian in West Berlin, and the civilian population of West Berlin on certain dates and times. The Germans are not going to interfere and there is no East German air force left to speak of, so the problem will be the Soviets.

Looking at the Soviet position. They are fighting a costly war in China against five million plus Chinese troops who are now being armed by the West and causing all sorts of problems for the Soviet military and logistics chain. Closer to home in Europe they are no fighting the potentially more dangerous one million plus German army who is better armed and trained than their own army. Shoot down a USAF or RAF transport plane carrying supplies or evacuating civilians from West Berlin, and there is a strong possibility that the Soviets will soon be also fighting another couple of million Western troops in Europe, backed by 20,000 tanks, 5,000 combat aircraft and a few thousand nuclear weapons.
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  #29  
Old 08-25-2016, 06:51 PM
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I see this as more likely:

The Soviets offer to evac Western personnel from W. Berlin- civilian and military. They also announce that anyone who elects to stay behind is taking his/her life into their own hands, as the Soviets cannot/will not acknowledge responsibility for their well-being. They also offer to provide basic humanitarian supplies (food, water, medical) to those who elect to remain, but they make it clear that the "roads" to Berlin are closed.

Y'all make some good points about just how dire the straits the Soviets are in and I agree that the Soviets don't want the rest of NATO to join in on the fun at the frontier. I just don't see the Soviets allowing Western traffic through an active war-zone during a full-blown shooting war. I'm hard pressed to come up with another example of "neutrals" being allowed safe passage through an active war-zone during a modern war. Was the Suez canal open during the 6-Day War or Yom Kippur wars? Look what happened to that Malayan airliner over Ukraine a couple of years ago- and that was through a designated "safe" air corridor over a "low intensity" conflict zone!

And who are we kidding? With the West actively supporting the Chinese in their war against the USSR, there are no neutrals, really. The Soviets would already be pissed about that and I'm sure there would already have been incidents where Western-flagged merchantmen on their way to China had been sunk by Red Fleet commerce raiders. Tension would already be incredibly high. I just don't see a riled up, backed-into-a-corner Stavka/Politburo being OK with U.S./British/French aircraft flying across the contested frontier and landing in Berlin. What if "relief" flights actually include reinforcements? That paranoia would be there.

And would the West be willing to push an aggressively pro-W. Germany agenda in Europe? It's brinksmanship all around. If the West insists on supplying W. Berlin, it's provocative. If the Soviets declare a land/air blockade, it's provocative. The Soviets have an incentive to de-escalate but we also know that the rest of NATO is extremely reluctant to go to war on behalf of W. Germany. I mean, some of NATO quits over this. Is the U.S., as the helmsman of NATO, going to push an action that could lead to an escalation? I guess it all depends on whether the gov't. is hawkish or not. From canon, it's hard to tell. But canon seems to suggest that the Soviet gov't. is quite hawkish. Does that change between '95 and forced reunification?

And, as a fait accompli, we know from canon that the Soviets were willing to use nukes, and use them first, on both fronts. Therefore, I don't think it's outlandish that the Soviets draw that proverbial line in the sand. You shall not pass! (into W. Berlin).
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Last edited by Raellus; 08-25-2016 at 08:12 PM.
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  #30  
Old 08-25-2016, 10:23 PM
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My best friend from high school was in the Berlin Brigade, '88-92. He told me the Berlin police were curiously heavily armed, having rifles and AT weapons, almost like light infantry.

On top of that, West Germany had 3 airborne brigades. If one is fighting defensively, what good are those? Fighting in an urban area behind enemy lines, that's more like their style. No idea if that was true, but that's what this wargamer often did. FWIW, I almost always bypassed West Berlin when I played the Pact, leaving the ugly fighting to the Polish armies coming up on mid-game turns.

So, yeah, I agree that the Stasi had to have been in on the unification; the Soviets in and around Berlin had much bigger fish to fry when the West Germans crossed the border and the East Germans flipped sides. I'd have to check, but wouldn't the SGFG now be outnumbered?
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