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Old 02-07-2013, 08:01 PM
Adm.Lee Adm.Lee is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Columbus, OH
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Originally Posted by dragoon500ly View Post
The impact of the Vietnam War on Europe is always misunderstood. Many of the divisions in West Germany were significantly undermanned and had critical shortages in NCOs and officers. According to the Congressional Records, on average, these units ran as much as 25-30% understrength in the key leadership positions.
A fascinating book that touched on this was Michael Lee Lanning's "The battles of peace." He'd commanded a rifle platoon and company in Vietnam (as a lieutenant), then once a captain, a mech company in 1970s Germany. His descriptions of the contrasts were interesting.

Artillery ammunition was removed in such large amounts that there were critical shortages in heavy artillery ammunition. Shortly after the Tet Offensive, stocks of 155mm+ was reduced to less than seven days stocks as part of a rush to restock the heavy usage in Vietnam.
I've also read that the AF and Navy dropped so many bombs that planes were sent north with 1/2 loads (or less!), and that we had to buy back bombs we'd sold to West Germany.

Many NG units were still equipped with WWII/Korean War-era M-1 Garands and M-1919A4 machine guns, and this was as late as 1972!
Famously, you can see that in the many pictures of the Ohio NG at Kent State were carrying M-1s.

Would the US have been able to maintain a major conflict in SE Asia and stop a Soviet attack into Europe? It's an interesting what if.
Well, the Soviets were as screwed up as we now know they were, so it would have been a mess. 1968 would have been particularly bad, as the North Koreans were definitely heating things up that year, too. Some have called 1968-69 the Second Korean War. The Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia that year, France was having student riots. NATO would have had its hands full, and the US would be a maximum stretch. Sounds like a recipe for nuclear escalation.

And, if you believe some authors, someone in the KGB sent the K-129 to launch a nuke at Hawaii, pretending to be the lone Chinese SSBN. That would have gone off 5 days before my birthday-- that was chilling to realize, let me tell you.
My Twilight claim to fame: I ran "Allegheny Uprising" at Allegheny College, spring of 1988.
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