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View Poll Results: Where Should the Twilight War Start in Europe? (v1 Timeline)
Bulgaria 0 0%
Czechoslovakia 2 8.33%
East Germany 12 50.00%
Hungary 0 0%
Poland 8 33.33%
Romania 0 0%
Other (Please specify in thread) 2 8.33%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 06-12-2021, 10:28 AM
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Question v1 Background: Where/How Should the War Start in Europe?

We have a thread dedicated to why v1's scenario for the start of the Twilight War in Germany probably isn't realistic enough for many Refs and/or players with knowledge of the subject to suspend disbelief*. If the European war doesn't start in Germany, where should it start instead? (Note: I didn't include Albania because it formally withdrew from the Warsaw Pact in 1968; I also did not include Yugoslavia- even though it was a communist country, considered part of the East Bloc by some, it was technically non-aligned, and not a Warsaw Pact nation. Furthermore, war did break out there in the 1990s and it did not start a Europe-wide conflict.)

Poland
Pros:
The Solidarity Movement
Widespread anti-Soviet sentiment
Soviet troops stationed there (Northern Group of Forces)

Cons:
Shares a border with the USSR
Kaliningrad Oblast
Soviet troops stationed there (Central Group of Forces)
Does not share a border with any NATO country

Czechsoslovakia
Pros:
It's really two nations forced to be one
Widespread anti-Soviet sentiment
Soviet troops stationed there (Central Group of Forces)

Cons:
Shares a border with the USSR
Memories of Pact Troops invading to crush the Prague Spring in 1968
Soviet troops stationed there (Central Group of Force

Hungary
Pros:
Widespread anti-Soviet sentiment
Soviet troops stationed there (Southern Group of Forces)

Cons:
Shares a [short] border with the USSR
Doesn't border any NATO country
Soviet troops stationed there (Southern Group of Forces)

Bulgaria
Pros:
Shares border with NATO countries*
Soviet troops stationed there (Southern Group of Forces)

Cons:
Arguably most loyal of Warsaw Pact nations
Soviet troops stationed there (Southern Group of Forces)
*Greece & Turkey were two of the weakest NATO nations (at least in the 1980s & '90s)

Romania
Pros:
Most recalcitrant Warsaw Pact member
No Soviet troops stationed there

Cons:
Doesn't border any NATO nation
Considered strategically insignificant by both Warsaw Pact & NATO
No Soviet troops stationed there

...

I see Soviet troops stationed in a country as both a pro and a con. It's a pro in that it creates tension and the possibility of a clash with NATO troops. It's a con because any nation would think twice about rebelling against Soviet suzerainty knowing that well-armed Red Army troops are already well-established on its home soil in significant numbers.

So, where should WW3 in Europe start? Under what circumstances? What's the trigger? Who starts it and why/how?

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Old 06-12-2021, 12:41 PM
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I always imagined the Soviet Union invading Poland during the early 80s with the rise of Solidarity
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Old 06-12-2021, 12:42 PM
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I always imagined the Soviet Union invading Poland during the early 80s with the rise of Solidarity
How do you seeing that lead to a war with NATO?

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Old 06-12-2021, 12:52 PM
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How do you seeing that lead to a war with NATO?

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Soviet intervention in Poland would lead to Polish American elements putting pressure on Ronald Reagan to give covert intelligence/military support to various factions within the Polish military/government.
Soviets find out and put pressure on NATO, NATO reacts and after naval clashes in the Baltic the Warsaw Pact invade West Germany.
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Old 06-12-2021, 02:31 PM
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It would be interesting for this question to know when war breaks out and if there are goals to be achieved for the aggressor or if it's a "come as you are war" that happens more by accident.

Nota bene: I can hardly see a NATO-Soviet war break out over anything south of the Czech Republic or the ČSSR. The countries south are historically underdeveloped, thus economically unimportant, have few population centers and are not well tied into the international economies or infrastructures. To make it short: It's hardly worth dying for Romania, Bulgaria or Hungary, unless you live there.
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Old 06-12-2021, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ursus Maior View Post
It would be interesting for this question to know when war breaks out and if there are goals to be achieved for the aggressor or if it's a "come as you are war" that happens more by accident.
The question is directed more towards 1e than other editions, but three out of Twilight 2000's four versions have fighting starting in Europe c.1996, so that's the temporal focus here.

As to the second point, that's also an open question, and up to the responder.

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Old 06-12-2021, 08:35 PM
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My alternate history for Poland uses a few key points of divergence:
  1. without Gorbachev and glasnost, Poland doesn't follow suit, keeps pressure on Solidarity and reformists. Soviets take a harder line which the Church buys and does not intervene
  2. the assassination of Lech Walesa
  3. widespread protest and unrest
  4. elections are held but the results are clearly manipulated and Communists remain in most positions of power
  5. the Wall still comes down in '89, if anything, these events spur it along
  6. Poland is therefore adjacent to a NATO power as Germany reunifies
  7. Eventually, a nationwide strike leads to the Soviets reluctantly supporting the Polish government with their troops
  8. kinda goes from there

The only real issue I've had with this timeline is stretching out the last stages for 5+ years. Frankly, on this timeline, I'd expect the collapse of Poland or final intervention no later than 1992 or '93.
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Old 06-13-2021, 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
The question is directed more towards 1e than other editions, but three out of Twilight 2000's four versions have fighting starting in Europe c.1996, so that's the temporal focus here.
I'd call v.1 a good focus for this discussion, thanks for the clarification. Since v.1 does not assume an implosion of the USSR or an abolishment of socialist dictatorships in Central and Eastern Europe, but assumes the Cold War effectively to go on as it did in 1984 for another ten to twelve years, I think war would have to come from big power competition. Accidents could have happened far easier than planned action, since no-one was actually interested in war breaking out.

I always liked the premise of the novel Arc Light by Eric L. Harry. Essentially (quoting Wikipedia), "China and Russia clash in Siberia, and war brews between the United States and North Korea, a series of accidents and misunderstandings lead to a Russian nuclear strike against the United States. The U.S. retaliates against Russia, and World War III begins." This could easily happen in a timeline, where the USSR would still be around. In essence, the USSR/Russia and the USA need to be committed elsewhere, i. e. the Pacific, so that a crisis in Europe can overstretch ressources and overload capacities to acurately assess the situation. Errors and bad decisions have to be made.

I see this happen in Poland along the German border or at multiple points, i. e. Czechoslovakia and North (Eastern) Europe (Finland, Norway, Sweden) simultaneously. The threat arising during the situation must fit the bill though. Simply having a mid-level madman stage an attack or ships wrecking each other by accident, won't start a death spiral. High-level strategic assets of the two super-powers need to be endangered basically without warning or time to react. Otherwise one gets a Falklands scenario: Even a direct attack on the soil of a major NATO partner is not getting close to a nuclear war, if no superpower is involved and the attack happens in the (far) periphery of any epicenter of power.
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Old 06-13-2021, 09:37 AM
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Pulled from the archives…….
IMHO Webstral did an excellent job laying a entirely believable prologue to T2K

https://forum.juhlin.com/attachment....1&d=1613321392

Ursus Major, thoughts from your experience/knowledge base?
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Old 06-14-2021, 11:01 AM
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Default Jugoslavia?

I have not voted. Just an idea: Is "The Third World War: The Untold Story" by Sir John Hackett something to consider? As far as I know, Juguslavia did still exist in ver1. Could the storyline of "The Third World War" be adopted to 1995? Not the entire storyline, but the bits taking place in Europe? Add the Chino-Soviet war and the story could work.
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Old 06-14-2021, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louied View Post
Pulled from the archives…….
IMHO Webstral did an excellent job laying a entirely believable prologue to T2K

https://forum.juhlin.com/attachment....1&d=1613321392

Ursus Major, thoughts from your experience/knowledge base?
This is certainly a massive prologue encompassing many, well laid out thoughts and minute detail. Forgive me for not giving it a full study, at 81 pages, it will be moved onto my to-read-list for the summer (hopefully).

From what I read so far, the author keeps the coup d'état, which I think is a smart move, and the Sino-Soviet War as well. I like the latter to, since it gives credibility to many options for Europe: A weakened USSR allows room for several flashpoints across Europe with various involvments of Pact forces in the Sino-Soviet War (or not), break-aways etc. It's just a great narrative tool for many things. I'm not certain how credible a Soviet aggression here is in 1995, given the shoddy state of Soviet forces in 1989 already, and I certainly would like a Chinese aggression scenario (cf. The Bear and the Dragon by Clancy), but it's probably asking to much for 1995 and would fit 1999 better, which would make a Twilight War in 2000 unlikely.

As far as I read this script, it's less of an alternate history to v.2(.2) but more of a prelude, right? That would leave it open to anything one has to say about v.2(.2) per se.

I shall come to that in the (hopefully) near future.
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Old 06-14-2021, 04:19 PM
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Food for thought, there is a 1998 German-British pseudo-documentary on the start of World War Three in 1990 with a lengthy prelude beginning in 1989. It's available in English on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZf-M_vC22w.

The German version, also on YT, and the English differ in various details explained on Wikipedia (here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_III_(film)), the article also gives a extensive summary.

I quite recommend that piece of fiction, the scenario is fictional, of course, but well researched and based on all plans and scenarios available back then to public research.
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Old 06-14-2021, 06:49 PM
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Using the wiki code to fix the link above

https://forum.juhlin.com/misc.php?do=bbcode#wiki

World_War_III_(film)
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Old 06-15-2021, 01:17 AM
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Thank you for that.
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Old 06-15-2021, 04:00 AM
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I stuck with East Germany. largely for the reasons that I gave in the other poll about which timeline is most plausible, i.e. it's the version that I know and have played for thirty years and it's only very recently that I've seen its plausibility questioned. As I said in the other thread, I'm not doubting the validity of these questions but for the moment at least I'm sticking with what I know.

I am slightly puzzled as to why Poland (or any other Warsaw Pact nation for that matter) would be considered a potential flash point. While I absolutely agree that there's a potential for civil unrest / protests leading to internal violence I don't follow how that would lead to any sort of armed confrontation between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. For sure I could imagine NATO nations using diplomatic and economic measures if Soviet tanks start machine gunning Polish civilians but it's not as if NATO intervened in Hungary in 1956 or Czechoslovakia in 1968 so I don't see why Poland in circa 1995 would be any different?
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Old 06-15-2021, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
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I am slightly puzzled as to why Poland (or any other Warsaw Pact nation for that matter) would be considered a potential flash point. While I absolutely agree that there's a potential for civil unrest / protests leading to internal violence I don't follow how that would lead to any sort of armed confrontation between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. For sure I could imagine NATO nations using diplomatic and economic measures if Soviet tanks start machine gunning Polish civilians but it's not as if NATO intervened in Hungary in 1956 or Czechoslovakia in 1968 so I don't see why Poland in circa 1995 would be any different?
I agree. Poland makes a bit more sense if one is going with the v4 timeline, but the numbers from this poll and the timeline poll don't match up (to date, only 1 person has voted the v4 timeline most plausible).
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Old 06-15-2021, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
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I stuck with East Germany. largely for the reasons that I gave in the other poll about which timeline is most plausible, i.e. it's the version that I know and have played for thirty years and it's only very recently that I've seen its plausibility questioned. As I said in the other thread, I'm not doubting the validity of these questions but for the moment at least I'm sticking with what I know.

I am slightly puzzled as to why Poland (or any other Warsaw Pact nation for that matter) would be considered a potential flash point. While I absolutely agree that there's a potential for civil unrest / protests leading to internal violence I don't follow how that would lead to any sort of armed confrontation between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. For sure I could imagine NATO nations using diplomatic and economic measures if Soviet tanks start machine gunning Polish civilians but it's not as if NATO intervened in Hungary in 1956 or Czechoslovakia in 1968 so I don't see why Poland in circa 1995 would be any different?
I also voted for East Germany and Rainbow said it more succinctly than I could but imo the new scenarios presented so far would seem to be more the sanctions/boycott the olympics/stern press conference territory then worthy of WWIII to me. At least the ones that have been presented to this point. The only thing I would add is that there might be a case for Yugoslavia dissolution causing things but the sales pitch would have to be very good on it. My 2 cents on it anyways
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Old 06-15-2021, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbow Six View Post
I am slightly puzzled as to why Poland (or any other Warsaw Pact nation for that matter) would be considered a potential flash point. While I absolutely agree that there's a potential for civil unrest / protests leading to internal violence I don't follow how that would lead to any sort of armed confrontation between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. For sure I could imagine NATO nations using diplomatic and economic measures if Soviet tanks start machine gunning Polish civilians but it's not as if NATO intervened in Hungary in 1956 or Czechoslovakia in 1968 so I don't see why Poland in circa 1995 would be any different?
Twilight v2.2 started in Poland, didn't it? I don't find that particular scenario quite likely, but when the Germans of that edition invaded Poland over ethnic shenanigans (1939 calling?), they made Poland the flashpoint of the war. Maybe more people know T2K v2.2 than v1 by now?
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Old 06-15-2021, 04:09 PM
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I should probably go back and re-read my v.2 history.

I didn't vote in the poll. I really don't find any of these backgrounds to be perfect; they all require a major leap of logic of some sort or another.

But as to "why Poland" in the Hungary/Czech playbook... I can answer that, in a way that makes sense to me at least. It comes down to timing and geography, to me. NATO doing a ground intervention in Hungary seems logistically just about impossible, and doing it in 1956 seems even more so. Czechoslavakia was not so much a real nation as a forced marriage. 1968 is the height of the Vietnam War and the height of MAD. I don't see real intervention there being appealing to anyone in the West, whatsoever.

Fast forward 20+ years though and the power dynamic is different. Everyone knows the Soviet Union is collapsing -- not least of all the Soviets! Starting a conflict to try to save your government certainly isn't a new tactic, and it certainly can backfire (see: Israel just a few weeks ago?) or escalate in unanticipated ways. Throw in USSR coup dynamics and post-Reagan US bravado and I can see things going sideways. Poland openly appealing to the west for support, all the way up to NATO membership, and I just think it starts to make more and more sense as a focal point.
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Old 06-15-2021, 05:34 PM
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In v2, Poland leaves the Warsaw Pact, then rejoins a couple of years later because of the ascendancy of right-wing politicians in a reunited Germany to the west, and a belligerent Belarus to the east. For some reason, Warsaw believes that Moscow's going to help keep Poland safe? This double switch- the whole idea of a voluntary "New Warsaw Pact", really- beggars belief, IMHO.

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Old 06-15-2021, 09:13 PM
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How about thinking out of the box and going with a Soviet move into Iran? That scenario became more than academic after Afghanistan, and there was concern that a Soviet invasion of Iran was possible after the fall of the Shah and the Iranian military becoming a shadow of what it had been up until then.

This is the scenario depicted in Harold Coyle's Sword Point....though somehow, the two superpowers limit the conflict to Iran and adjacent waters. It would've spread to a major conventional war in Europe, had such a thing ever gone down, IMHO.
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Old 06-16-2021, 12:04 AM
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For some reason, Warsaw believes that Moscow's going to help keep Poland safe? This double switch- the whole idea of a voluntary "New Warsaw Pact", really- beggars belief, IMHO.
Yes, Poland believing (Soviet) Russia would be its knight in shining armor is the opposite of how Polish politicians or generals seemed to have viewed upon such matters for the last centuries: the huge gap of an existing Polish state proving them right, probably.
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Old 06-16-2021, 06:45 PM
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This is the scenario depicted in Harold Coyle's Sword Point....though somehow, the two superpowers limit the conflict to Iran and adjacent waters. It would've spread to a major conventional war in Europe, had such a thing ever gone down, IMHO.
I remember Sword Point having a big impact on me when I read it. Man... that was a long time ago!
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Old 06-16-2021, 07:01 PM
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Poland is at least as anti-Russian as they are anti-German if not more so, so yeah, that doesn't really hold water.
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Old 06-17-2021, 02:57 AM
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I worked with a Polish lad recently and asked him about his feelings towards both nations. He told me he preferred Russians to Germans. This was a surprise to as a couple of years before a friend of mine had a Hungarian girlfriend. They went to an airshow together and my friend spoke to a Russian. After biting his head off for talking to a Russian, she didn't talk to him for 2 days.
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Old 06-17-2021, 03:14 AM
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I remember Sword Point having a big impact on me when I read it. Man... that was a long time ago!
Sword Point is really good. If anyone here hasn't read it I'd highly recommend it. I loaned my copy to an ex work colleague years ago and never got it back.
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Old 06-17-2021, 03:24 AM
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Poland is at least as anti-Russian as they are anti-German if not more so, so yeah, that doesn't really hold water.
In my experience the anti-German notions have largely ebbed off by now. There was always big hat-tipping by the Polish towards Germans and Germany in certain aspects. For example, after the Great War, the Polish military was closely modeled after the Prussian and German army and its experiences of the war. Of course, the other too likely role models would have been the Imperial Russian and Imperial Austrian army, which didn't exactly fare with bravado during that particular war. But somewhat interestingly the victor's armies, UK and France, were not close role models, probably because Józef Piłsudski had knit close ties with the Germans between 1917 and 1919.

The following decades certainly put heavy strain on German-Polish relationships, but since 1990 they have become very amicable in both directions. And personaly I think it's a waste of opportunities that Germany does not commit itself more to European defense, the Polish certainly have been begging for it for 30 years. Especially now that their Eastern neighbor is resurgent in military power, has Poland more than once uttered the need for more allied troops on its soil and the explicit wish that Germany commits more fully.
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Old 06-17-2021, 03:28 AM
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I worked with a Polish lad recently and asked him about his feelings towards both nations. He told me he preferred Russians to Germans. This was a surprise to as a couple of years before a friend of mine had a Hungarian girlfriend. They went to an airshow together and my friend spoke to a Russian. After biting his head off for talking to a Russian, she didn't talk to him for 2 days.
There is certainly a lot of personal feelings into this. But I find that current generations have a more relaxed stance toward most of these matters. I hope, future children will not have to endure being taunted for being German or Polish or whatever simply because that's their nationality.
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Old 06-17-2021, 08:50 AM
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I would think that the two most likely flashpoints would be an East Germany attempt to reunify with the West - and given the losses they took in the war with China that makes complete sense to me as to what the V1 flashpoint would be

if I had to pick a second one I would say a Soviet crushing of Solidarity where the Polish military decides to fight back. That could lead to a NATO ultimatum where people like West Germany, the US, the UK and others say there will be no more Hungary's and Czechoslovakian crushed revolts - that this time they are making a stand - figuring the Soviets are too weak to fight two wars at the same time

and then off we go to the races
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Old 06-18-2021, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
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How about thinking out of the box and going with a Soviet move into Iran? That scenario became more than academic after Afghanistan, and there was concern that a Soviet invasion of Iran was possible after the fall of the Shah and the Iranian military becoming a shadow of what it had been up until then.
From memory isn't the start of Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancey something along these lines as well? Azerbaijani militants destroy Soviet oil refineries crippling their economy so they decide to seize the Persian Gulf. As a diversion to that invasion the KGB stages attacks by West Germany on the Soviet Union to destabilise NATO and give them an excuse to invade West Germany.

Does something along those lines sound feasible as a start of WWIII in Europe? It wouldn't necessarily result in the withdrawl of France from NATO or the other changes between NATO and the Warsaw Pact but would it set up a believeable situation for T2k?
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