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Old 05-18-2011, 02:46 PM
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Default WP units in China

The 1st edition timeline says that in the winter of 1995, the Soviet Union solicited the other WP member states to provide units to the Far Eastern Front and by the new year Polish, Czech and East German units were headed to China. Also, Hungarian and Bulgarian units would head east after re-equipping.

The 2nd edition Soviet Vehicle guide lists one Bulgarian brigade and one Polish division in the Far East, the Polish division in Manchuria and the Bulgarian brigade leaving the front lines and headed home.

Anyone have any ideas as to what Czech, East German and Hungarian units may been sent to fight the PRC?

1st edition East German units in China is an interesting thing. Would they stay loyal to the Soviets and Warsaw Pact when their comrades in East Germany revolt and subsequent West Germany and NATO intervention? I could see the Soviets surpressing the news of the uprising, disarming the East German units and keeping them under guard/ using them as labor troops.

However, it would be interesting if the East Germans knew of the negotiations between East and West German military before being sent east, then at a predetermined time, the East German units defected to the China/NATO side.
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:58 PM
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The negotiations in V1.0 were a very closely guarded secret and certainly were not known to anyone outside the room they were taking place in.
My guess for the other nations is that their forces were recalled the moment the Germans moved eastward, OR only relatively small supporting units (a few independant Battalions perhaps) had been sent - logistics, medical, etc, and therefore weren't really worth mentioning in the various books.
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Old 05-18-2011, 06:38 PM
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1st edition East German units in China is an interesting thing. Would they stay loyal to the Soviets and Warsaw Pact when their comrades in East Germany revolt and subsequent West Germany and NATO intervention? I could see the Soviets surpressing the news of the uprising, disarming the East German units and keeping them under guard/ using them as labor troops.
My impression is that the East Germans were none too pleased to be sent East. This led to feelers being extended to West Germany, inspiring them to launch a lightening attack aimed at reunifying the country before the Soviets could mount a coherent response.

I don't think that the East German units in China would be in any position to do much of anything but continue to fight the Red Chinese on behalf of the Soviets. I'm not sure that the Soviets would go to the trouble of disarming the Germans and using their own troops to guard/supervise them. I can see the attachment of a few more Soviet "advisors" or commissars to E. German units but that's about it.

An East German mutiny in China would be interesting, but they are just so far from home with nearly the entire USSR between them and the Fatherland that it just seems suicidal to even entertain such an idea before the later years of the war.

I've toyed with the idea of a running a campaign based around a squad of East Germans trying to make their way home some time in 2000, once things had really fallen apart pretty much everywhere. It could make for a truly epic game.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:34 PM
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NATO Vehicle Guide lists two East German divisions as being rebuilt after lost/destroyed on the Chinese front. Don't have the book handy but it's mentioned in the write up for the Germans.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:35 PM
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It's not that unbelieveable that "politically unreliable units" may be disarmed, and interred. The Soviets have a fairly long history of doing just that (more on an individual or small group basis though).
Siberia is a great place for a Gulag...
However, it may be more effective for the more unreliable units to be assigned suicide missions (often without the commanders knowledge of the true strategic situation). Using these units as "speed bumps" to slow down a Chinese counter offensive is a good example of this.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:54 PM
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The idea of some East German units joining their Chinese “comrades” in the fight against Soviet communism is intriguing. Certainly, it would make for some very good press in late 1996. However, one wonders how the East Germans would have been handled on October 7. East German formations in contact with the Chinese might have been able to cross over. East German units in reserve (in the Far East) might have much less chance of escaping the warm embrace of their Soviet allies. Still, one can imagine a host of possibilities.

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Old 05-19-2011, 03:07 AM
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I favour the suicide-squad theory, it makes sense and fits soviet strategy. East German units would find themselves on the frontline and worn away against the chinese.
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:24 AM
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I favour the suicide-squad theory, it makes sense and fits soviet strategy. East German units would find themselves on the frontline and worn away against the chinese.
I also think that's an extremely likely scenario.

Also, East German troops in China would have been reliant on Soviet controlled media for information; when the Bunderwehr crossed the Inner German Border I think that Soviet propaganda would have went into overdrive spreading the message that their fraternal socialist brothers in the NVA were herocially resisting the facist invaders, so many East German troops in China might not know the real picture of what was happening back home.
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:20 PM
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NATO Vehicle Guide lists two East German divisions as being rebuilt after lost/destroyed on the Chinese front. Don't have the book handy but it's mentioned in the write up for the Germans.

Thanks for the heads up, I didn't have the 1st edition NATO Vehicle Guide, but now have downloaded it.

The background history section of the guide does mention that the two East German divisions were overrun sometime around May 1996 due to a communications foul up during the breakout from the Shenyang pocket. Only a few hundred survivors make it back to WP lines. No mention of what happened to those few hundred survivors afterwards.

This is before the Bundeswher crosses the inter German border in October, so it throws my theory that some of the divisions officers may have had advanced notice in the trash.

In case anyone is wondering, it looks like the two East German divisions sent to China were the 9th TD and 11th MRD, reformed after the reunification as 29th PD and 211th PGD.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:01 AM
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if you read the canon and other sources it implies that there were three waves of WP units going to assist in China

Late 1995- Polish, Czech and East German divisions with Hungarian and Bulgarian divisions following once they were issued modern equipment

Late 1995 – Polish 4th MRD, East German 9th and 11th MRD have been identified. The Bulgarian 5th Tank Brigade + one battalion from the 7th Motor Rifle Division is probably the unit sent after it was issues more up to date equipment. So what were the Czech and Hungarian divisions?

Early 1996 - per canon - Appalled at the losses taken in their expeditionary forces, the other Eastern European members of the Pact agreed only reluctantly to provide more troops

Figure this was after the German divisions were exterminated and implying that the Polish, Czech, Bulgarians and Hungarians took very heavy losses

Now if you go to canon again you have this

In September 1996, a third call for troops from Eastern Europe was made, to be ready for movement by mid-October whether their equipment and training were complete or not.

By November 15th, 1996 there were also two Czech divisions and four Polish divisions in Germany, their orders to leave for the Far East hurriedly rescinded.

That post gives an indication of what may have been sent to China earlier in 1996 and may also give a good reason why the Czechs and Poles didnt have the troops to really fight the invasion into Silesia as depicted in Black Madonna - i.e. a substantial amount of their forces may have already been in China and thus werent available when the NATO attack into Poland occurred.


My best guess for the Hungarian unit would be either the 4th or 8th MRD - they were both Category II units and I dont see the Hungarians sending their only tank division. They may have stiffened it with a battalion of tanks from the 1st Independent Tank Brigade as well.


So the question is - how many other units are still somewhere in Russia or were destroyed in fighting the Chinese? Would the remnants of these units be the source of the separitists, warlords, etc.. in Siberia that many Russian units have been dispatched to in the Soviet Vehicle Guides (both V1 and V2)?

Last edited by Olefin; 09-04-2013 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 09-05-2013, 05:52 PM
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wow this thread is back from the dead!
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Old 09-06-2013, 07:22 AM
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The units sent to China offer all kinds of interesting possibilities - as has been said some of them may have been destroyed and only a few hundred survivors at best left and they may have turned to marauding.

Or they may have turned for home like the Bulgarians - staying as a cohesive unit but now having to raid for fuel and food to get them home.

Alternatively they could have become disgruntled at how they were used by the Russians and are trying to join up with NATO forces if they are close to home or with US and Korean troops in South Korea if they arent.

Be a great way to introduce some interesting characters to the game - or for new scenarios.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:21 AM
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East German POWs might have been given a new lease on life following the October 1996 West German invasion of the DDR. Certainly, when the US enters the war at the beginning of December the political situation for the East Germans would have changed. Several possibilities come to mind.

1) The Chinese hand over all Germans to NATO for possible transition into the new Bundeswehr.
2) The Chinese form a German Liberation Army to fight against Soviet forces in China.
3) The Chinese release all East German prisoners

The first option seems the most likely to me. While a small force of East German communists fighting alongside their Chinese comrades would have some good propaganda value, handing the East Germans over to NATO would be a more cost-effective means of dealing with the logistical burden of caring for the East Germans. Also, NATO would be eager to have trained German-speaking manpower to draw on. At the very least, they could be used as replacements in units formerly with the East German Army.

The Chinese probably would keep some of these guys on hand, though. While the Soviets probably would have kept East Germans off the front lines, other Warsaw Pact formations would have been available. The Chinese might very well have had a go at using East Germans to entice other WP troops to cross the line. I doubt there would have been much success, but one never knows.

Other WP units in the Far East have some interesting possibilities. There would have been POWs from all WP countries in the fighting. The Chinese would have tried bringing out as many turncoats as possible. By late 1998. some Pact units in the Far East might have been effectively on their own. What would they do then?
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Old 09-06-2013, 01:27 PM
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East German POWs might have been given a new lease on life following the October 1996 West German invasion of the DDR. Certainly, when the US enters the war at the beginning of December the political situation for the East Germans would have changed. Several possibilities come to mind.

1) The Chinese hand over all Germans to NATO for possible transition into the new Bundeswehr.
2) The Chinese form a German Liberation Army to fight against Soviet forces in China.
3) The Chinese release all East German prisoners

The first option seems the most likely to me. While a small force of East German communists fighting alongside their Chinese comrades would have some good propaganda value, handing the East Germans over to NATO would be a more cost-effective means of dealing with the logistical burden of caring for the East Germans. Also, NATO would be eager to have trained German-speaking manpower to draw on. At the very least, they could be used as replacements in units formerly with the East German Army.

The Chinese probably would keep some of these guys on hand, though. While the Soviets probably would have kept East Germans off the front lines, other Warsaw Pact formations would have been available. The Chinese might very well have had a go at using East Germans to entice other WP troops to cross the line. I doubt there would have been much success, but one never knows.

Other WP units in the Far East have some interesting possibilities. There would have been POWs from all WP countries in the fighting. The Chinese would have tried bringing out as many turncoats as possible. By late 1998. some Pact units in the Far East might have been effectively on their own. What would they do then?
Yeah, I recall option 1 being mentioned by the DC working group.

I personally like option 2, I think I mentioned that to you Webstral awhile back. Maybe not every single captured East German defects or volunteers to fight in China, but enough to form a combat capable unit. Whether this unit would see front line action is another question as well. I can't imagine that any East Germans captured by the Soviets will be treated well, and we can imagine what a NATO POW's treatment would be like. I would envision this unit being used for PR and mop up duties.

But I do see sense in sending all former East Germans back. There would be a need for them in Germany, especially combat veterans who have worked closely with the Soviets. But it would also make sense for some of the former East Germans with technical skills or Russian language skills to remain in the Far East.

Isn't option 3 the same as option 1?

there would probably be more than a few turncoats or defectors from the Soviets and Warsaw Pact, but not on the level of the East Germans.

I dont have my books in front of me but it would be interesting to figure out what Czech and Hungarian units are in the Far East as well as what loyalties they may have.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:12 PM
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It would not surprise me at all if you put the idea in my head, bdd. I'm such a ruthless idea pirate that I don't always remember who the original source was.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:58 AM
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The idea of the WP fighting their way back home recalls what happened to the Czechs at the end of WWI - i.e. they got stranded in what was now a chaotic country in the midst of a civil war and had to fight their way home.

You can see how this would happen here as well - especially if the units sent to the Chinese front were composed of troops who might have been suspected of having pro-Western tendencies - i.e. western Czechoslovakian troops or troops whose relatives might have been involved in either the 1968 Czech or 1956 Hungarian uprsisings.

Units like that would be seen as the ones that could be thrown into the meatgrinder the easiest - similar to how the Soviets used penal battalions in WWII. I suspect survivors of those units (or the units themselves if they stayed intact) might not want to stay around once command and control started to evaporate in the mid 2000 time frame.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:01 PM
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I was thinking of that very Czech force.
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:36 AM
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You can see how this would happen here as well - especially if the units sent to the Chinese front were composed of troops who might have been suspected of having pro-Western tendencies - i.e. western Czechoslovakian troops or troops whose relatives might have been involved in either the 1968 Czech or 1956 Hungarian uprsisings.

Units like that would be seen as the ones that could be thrown into the meatgrinder the easiest - similar to how the Soviets used penal battalions in WWII.
On the other hand, if the East German higher-ups thought about shifting sides, they might use the call for replacements to Siberia as an opportunity to get rid of the hard-core Communists among them. If those guys get killed over there, they won't be in the way once the door to the West is opened.

I was thinking of the Spanish "Blue" division that Franco sent to the Russian Front in 1941-43. He sent away the die-hard Fascist ideologues, who would have made trouble in Spain if he eroded the ideology in the face of the western Allies.
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:22 AM
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Considering the fact that the two East German divisions sent in the first wave were destroyed there may not have been more from East Germany - we know they didnt send any in the proposed third wave - but I could see by the time of the second wave the East German Army trying go send as many die hard communists to the Chinese front as possible to get killed

Maybe they recruited a volunteer legion as you said and thus explaining why when the time came the East German Army went over wholeheartedly to NATO
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:39 AM
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kind of OT, but while we're on the subject of East Germans, I read somewhere on the internets ( and you know how reliable that is), the Warsaw Pact didn't want the East Germans to fight against the West Germans. Meaning they didn't trust the East Germans if they had to face West Germans. So if the balloon went up, the East Germans would deploy against the British, Dutch, Belgian and American formations.

anyone know about this?
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:50 PM
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Well, East German divisions were divided up among the Soviet armies in the GSFG, so that's possible. I think that could be done for the initial phases of whatever offensive the Soviets might have had planned, but after a week or two, who knows what would happen?
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:28 PM
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It certainly makes sense that if the Soviets had to use East German forces to invade the West they would want the East Germans fighting troops who were as foreign as possible.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:43 PM
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I've got the following Pact units in China:

Czech 3rd MRD
Czech 103rd Tank Rgt
Bulgarian 11th Tank Bde
Bulgarian 2nd MRD
Hungarian 31st Tank Bde
Hungarian 53rd Mechanized Rifle Bde
Hungarian 9th Anti-Aircraft Rgt
Hungarian 20th Artillery Rgt
Hungarian 60th Engineer Bde
Hungarian 37th Pontoon Rgt
Polish 4th Mech Div
Polish 12th Mech Div (destroyed)
East German 9th Panzer Division (destroyed)
East German 11th Panzergrenadier Division (destroyed)
East German 5th AT Bde

The remnants of the 2 destroyed German divisions (a panzer regiment, an artillery battalion and an engineer battalion) are fighting as "Kampfgruppe Karl Marx" under the Soviet 15th Army. They could easily go over to the Chinese when the DDR leaves the Pact if they were on the front line at the time; otherwise it's to the POW camp until the Soviets have time to sort them out. There are also some East German loyalist units that are fighting on the Western Front, formed around "Fighting Groups of the Working Class" (a party militia), Free German Youth (East German Komsomol equivalent) and VolksPolozie (Riot police) units. The Soviets don't trust them, but they are willing to use them as cannon fodder and for propaganda (think Penal battalions in WWII).

From what I've been able to find, actual Pact planning was for the NVA to form 2 armies, 3rd and 5th, one based in the north and one in the south, to fill out 1st and 2nd Western Fronts, plus a composite force to storm Berlin. Nothing reliable has come out about who they were to be deployed against, but I could easily see the logic for not having them fight the Bundeswehr!
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Old 06-06-2021, 12:45 PM
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How much of a factor was the deployment of East German troops to the Far East, and their subsequent, heavy losses, in the West German decision to attempt a reunification by force in 1996 (v1) timeline? I think it was huge.

On the one hand, the second Sino-Soviet War probably generated a renewed, powerful feeling of fraternal nationalism in West Germany- "those are our countrymen being sent off to die in the USSR's foolish Chinese adventure!" At the same time, with at least two Cat A DDR divisions no longer in any position to resist the Bundeswehr, and the Soviets not in a good position to rapidly reinforce their army in East Germany due to the demands of the war in the East, a once-in-a-generation opportunity for a lightening campaign to reunite the country had just presented itself to the West German gov't and miltiary.

Also, Western intelligence services would most likely recognize the strain that Soviet demands for troops were putting on the Warsaw Pact. The cracks were showing. Romania, always the most recalcitrant of the Warsaw Pact members, refused outright, IIRC.

It's likely that there was growing dissention in the East German ranks as well. As Adm. Lee pointed out, it's possible that a pro-unification faction started to gain traction in the DDR high command. The war in China would have provided them an opportunity to get rid of die-hard pro-Soviet and/or communist officers by sending them East.

To sum up, a golden opportunity was recognized by the West Germans, who were swept up by renewed nationalist sentiment spurred by the war in China. Under the unprecedented circumstances, I don't think it's really that far-fetched that West Germany might take a gamble on a rapid reunification by force. How the rest of NATO didn't suss this out and stridently object is more difficult to understand/accept.

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Old 06-06-2021, 03:19 PM
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Under the unprecedented, I don't think it's really that far-fetched that West Germany might take a gamble on a rapid reunification by force.
It actually is one of the furthest fetched pieces of setting background information I ever read. It completely ignores how West Germans viewed upon the world and how little they cared in daily life about East Germany and - especially - East Germans. Not to speak of the quite open sentiment "finally we got rid of 'them'" shared by many West Germans living left and right of the Rhine (and thus in the major population centers). Then there is the German constitution, which expressively forbids preparing or participating in an offensive war or otherwise acting (directly or indirectly) against the peaceful coexistence of the people of the world.

And then there is of course the sheer impracticality of Germans waging a war against another nation, even a neighbor. The German Bundeswehr in the 1980s was split into a field army and a territorial army. The former was fully integrated into NATO command, the latter was a mobilization-only force (and parts that were not were part of NATO command structure). Any German troop-movement thus would have been known to SHAPE from the moment of its planning, simply because that's how carbon copies and telexes were flowing or because it would have had been signed off by NATO.

The first edition premise was so utterly bad that it's really not conceivable to me how this could have flown past anybody with a modicum of knowledge about postwar Germany. But of course, if such a war happens and the GDR would have had its premier troops half-way across the world that's a bummer for their defense. I don't know how the Soviets would have solicited the other Warsaw Pact members for volunteer forces, though: GDW got this one right, Article 4 of the Warsaw Treaty limited the self-defense alliance it created to "Europe", similarly to the clear boundaries the Washington Treaty sets for NATO.

I'm not aware of any material on how Moscow was "soliciting" (as GDW writes) its allies. The East Germans certainly would have been the easiest to convince, there always was a sentiment of wanting to 'please Moscow' in the party elite. But the Polish didn't share that urge, Romania had practically left the organization after the Cuban Missile Crisis (that fact was little known during the Cold War, but Romania's infidelity towards the Pact and the USSR war very clear: Romania abstained from maneuvers and the command structure of the Pact and did not allow any Warsaw Pact troops on its territory).

The Hungarian Army was probably the worst army of Pact forces still loyal to Moscow, mainly because since its dissolution after Hungarian Revolution in 1956 it had never recovered. There were almost no modern weapons and by 1988 the standard tank was a more or less non-modernized T-54/55. The Bulgarian armed forces were surprisingly well experienced, having given assistance to North Korea during the Korean War, repelled attacks from within Greece in the early 1950s and having participated in the invasion of the ČSSR. However, equipment by the late 1980s was sub-standard, with most tanks still being T-55s and readiness being generally very poor. The ČSLA, the army of the ČSSR, is usually ranked the best of the Pact armies after the East German and the Polish armies, but commonality with Soviet armed forces was not ideal. The ČSLA used its own BMP-variants (BVP-1 and -2 respectively) and had created the OT-64 wheeled APC together with Poland (here named SKOT) to mobilize its motorized infantry battalions.

Thus, using Czechoslovak forces in the Far East would have meant reequipping and retraining them, similar measures would have been in order for Bulgarian and Polish forces. In all honesty, I believe that it would have been best for the USSR to just hand out division-sized sets of older equipment to all allied forces, since T-62s, BTR-70s, SPGs and BMP-1Ps would have been an improvement for most volunteers and only the German, Czechoslovak and Polish volunteers (if any) would have known, how to operate T-72s. They could have been paid extra to bring their own equipment though, creating the "gap" GDW needed for its background story premise.
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Old 06-06-2021, 03:42 PM
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Thank you for your insights, Ursus. Although it is rather far-fetched, German reunification by force is a central component of the v1 timeline. As a fan of said, I'm more interested in trying reconcile it with reality than in poking holes in it.

Your location tag says Germany. If you are indeed a German citizen, then I defer to your first-hand knowledge of German culture and national sentiment. I had no idea that West Germans were glad to be rid of their East German counterparts after the forced partition. When I was a kid watching the Berlin Wall come down on my TV screen, it sure looked like the folks on the west side of the wall were happy to welcome their neighbors from the east side. If most West Germans were happy to be separated from the East, why reunify at all? Why not remain two Germanies (albeit both democratic and more or less capitalistic)? Surely, there's more to it than that.

Regardless of what the Warsaw Pact Treaty actually read, the Soviets called the shots. Any rebelliousness on the part of its signatories, like Hungary in '56 and Czechoslovakia in '69, was met quickly with overwhelming force (yes, Albania left the alliance, and Romania was a reluctant partner, at best, but neither were considered crucial to Soviet security by Moscow; East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, on the other hand, were). If the Soviets had demanded troops for the East Asian Front, how likely would it be for their Warsaw Pact allies to refuse, even citing the treaty's terms, given what happened to Hungary and Czechoslovakia?

Likewise, a constitution is a piece of paper. It can be rewritten or simply ignored (sadly, this happens rather frequently in the developing world). I don't mean to be glib, but there's precedent for ignoring/rewriting a constitution in 20th century German history. In 1995 (v1 timeline), the W. German constitution was barely 40 years old. Just because it restricted the Bundeswehr from conducting offensive operations against a neighbor, doesn't mean that the Bundeswehr would sit on its hands given the geo-political situation of the timeline.

I appreciate you weighing in and sharing your perspectives. I'm not trying to force my views on anyone else. To be clear, my goal is to try to make v1's war in Europe- as described in canon- work, as much as it can.

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Last edited by Raellus; 06-06-2021 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 06-07-2021, 02:00 AM
shrike6 shrike6 is offline
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This is probably irrelevant to what you are asking Raellus but wasn't it implied in one of the NPCs in either RDF or King's Ransom, can't remember which one, that the prewar CIA played a good sized hand in this "sudden" German reunification. I don't have my books with me.
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Old 06-07-2021, 06:41 AM
Ursus Maior Ursus Maior is online now
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Thank you for your insights, Ursus. Although it is rather far-fetched, German reunification by force is a central component of the v1 timeline. As a fan of said, I'm more interested in trying reconcile it with reality than in poking holes in it.
I appreciate this and I hope my comments are helpful. Not everything that could be printed in a journal of modern history, can also be appreciated in a roleplaying game. Most often, realism stands in the way of good drama. Please note that I am not here to spoil your game, just trying to give insight into a rather complex part of European history. I also took the liberty to take the discussion on Germany into another thread, since it would derail from your initial question to much, I fear.

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Regardless of what the Warsaw Pact Treaty actually read, the Soviets called the shots. Any rebelliousness on the part of its signatories, like Hungary in '56 and Czechoslovakia in '69, was met quickly with overwhelming force (yes, Albania left the alliance, and Romania was a reluctant partner, at best, but neither were considered crucial to Soviet security by Moscow; East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, on the other hand, were). If the Soviets had demanded troops for the East Asian Front, how likely would it be for their Warsaw Pact allies to refuse, even citing the treaty's terms, given what happened to Hungary and Czechoslovakia?
To be clear: The fear of being invaded by the USSR was constant by its so called allies, who themselves were quite aware that they were merely existing at the mercy of the Soviet army. Poland in the 1980s was in constant fear of being the next victim after the ČSSR in 1968 and so was the East German leadership, when demonstrations started in the late Eighties. Little did they know that Gorbachev would not intervene and even less could GDW have known in 1984.

However, demanding troops to fight in the Far East is not at all the same as leaving the path of Socialism, which was what the Soviets accused the ČSSR in 1968 (and Hungary in 1956 and East Germany in 1953). The latter was an infringement against the very core, why the Warsaw Pact existed. Not heeding the call of the USSR or at least demanding high premiums when fighting a war in Far East, especially since it seems the USSR invaded China large-scale and did not stop the border conflict after maiming Chinese border troops. The main point here is that the USSR clearly is not defending itself, but in a war of aggression, i. e. beyond the point of self-defense. And that means, allies are not only not obliged, but also clearly prohibited from aiding the USSR in this case, because wars of aggression are the opposite of fostering the peaceful coexistence of peoples and the United Nations. So it's not only a breach of the UN Charta, but also of the Warsaw Treaty.

This is a different situation from gunning down protesters or toppling a government in one's primary sphere of influence. Within the Warsaw Pact, rules were applied differently, but existed nonetheless. Direct neighbors could not leave, but e. g. direct interference with the succession of one head of state by another was out of the question, as long as Socialism was still the way of the land and Communism the (distant) goal. Yugoslavia and Albania were allowed to leave the primary sphere of influence, because they remained officially socialist nations and were on the outer perimeter of the Soviet Empire. Romania was, as you said, of less importance, but had to at least officially remain "in the club".

Contrary to what might be believed about the USSR and its allies, the rule of law - at least on international level - meant a great deal to all nations directly involved in the Cold War. Otherwise, treatise on arms reduction, borders etc. would not have been such a huge topic and causes for war would not have been searched for so thoroughly, whenever one wanted to intervene militarily: Remember the Gulf of Tonkin? This is so controversial, because it was an open secret that the US wanted to escalate the conflict in Vietnam and used the incidents of 2-4 August 1964 to enact laws to do exactly that.

Likewise, the USSR did not attack Afghanistan out of the blue, but intervened - juridically speaking - when a friendly government (the communist party of Afghanistan) asked for help against internal dissidents. Of course that is to a large degree farce in the eyes of Westerners, but in the end, all parties involved in conflicts will have their own points of view and invest huge efforts to impose these views on other parties: allies, neutrals and ultimately opponents as well.

Once a nation clearly leaves the grounds of having a rational reason to go to war, it therefor goes rogue and that creates great amounts of insecurity. For if one nation - especially a superpower like the USSR - stops following rule of law, what's next? Who's next?

One can of course remedy such situations. This usually takes a lot of diplomacy and information warfare plus a good deal of trust building and monetary convincing towards allies and neutral parties at least. Only positive arguments can be used here, however. Bullying your allies or even neutral nations into allegiance would actually enforce the impression that the USSR is going rogue. This would have averse effects and thus in such a case faked intelligence dossiers, false-flag operations and large amounts of cash, technological transfers etc. are used.

So the question is, what would the USSR offer Poland, Germany, the ČSSR or Hungary and Bulgaria as payment or compensation for sending its troops to China? It's worth noting that almost all of these soldiers would have been conscripts, since that immediately involves the whole society of each of these nations. The first that the USSR would have to do is, deliver conclusive evidence that it is not the aggressor here, but was unlawfully attacked and thus the invasion in fact is a punitive expedition and has the goal to remove the Chinese ability to conduct offensive operations against the USSR and Mongolia. Mongolia is important here, because it's a (officially) neutral third party and protecting someone else is always viewed as a good thing, it takes away the taste of arbitrariness and enforces to argument of righteousness.

Second, the USSR would likely have to foot large parts of the bills. If not the payment of soldiers at least the expanses in material, fuel, food and most likely provisions for dependents of soldiers killed in action, though this might be deferred to "after our victory" or a one-time deposit would be handed over to every ally.

Third, if a nation is going to sell out its youth as mercenaries for foreign conquests and these nations already have large problems with getting enough young people to stay, educate them and enhance productivity on a general level, said nations would be wise to have their masters in Moscow deliver them certain high-tech goods, lift bans of export and import and pay them in resources, while demanding less of all of these items than the USSR usually did.

This is not only a matter of compensation for likely losses and the strain a war places on one's own security and labor force, but it's also a big chance. For, if the USSR comes begging - and begging it is - this turns the distribution of power in the Warsaw Pact upside down.

[Which is a major problem I have with the narrative: The USSR is effectively signaling it can not handle another nation, non-European even, and asks for mass-help. This cannot end well for its European Empire, i. e. the Warsaw Pact.]

So, I would expect most Pact nations - except the GDR, which was quite servile - to make a good bargain out of it, because what is the Soviet Union to answer, if everyone else is writing a huge bill upfront? And here we are at the central point of making this policy choice: The USSR is in a war it probably started, but seemingly cannot win. What is it prepared to pay to its allies and what would it do, if they refused their aid or asked to much? What could it do, the best of it's troops are in China or have been annihilated. And how to react, if more than one nation denies help? Invading the ČSSR was an effort made by the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary (East German forces stood ready, but the USSR did not use them, fearing being associated with Hitler's invasion of the ČSR 30 years earlier), so who would help the Soviet Union to punish neighbors that refused to send troops to the Far East.

The most likely candidates for such illoyal action would have been Poland and the ČSSR. The USSR would not have been able to invade both countries with just the help from Bulgaria and Hungary. East Germany could not send troops into the ČSSR and Poland for the same reasons that applied in 1968. This would leave the task to Hungary and Bulgaria, the worst armies in the Pact against the best, while also sending troops east and taking on duties from the Soviet armed forces, which these cannot accomplish, because they are in a full-scale war with the PRC.

If I were facing these questions in the Kremlin, I would make sure there are at least one Japanese and Indian passenger plane each full of tourists, definitely including Korean, Germans, Polish, Hungarian, Czechoslovakian and Bulgarian civilians getting shot down by PRC missiles. It's important that China is seen as the baddie here, not only against the USSR and its allies, but also against Japan: This victimizes the aggressor of World War Two and opens a whole new diplomatic front against China. Also, India needs to be firmly on the side of Moscow, not just generally "anti-Chinese", for India offers yet another front physically and diplomatically plus millions of troops.

Then I would open Soviet coffers and pay a premium for each divison, while cranking up production of T-72s, BMP-2s, BTR-80s and other almost-first-tier (for 1995) products (artillery, planes, helicopters) and handing them out like candy to my allies. This would definitely include paying Pact nations more for every ton of goods they deliver and sharing some tech-secrets with them, preferably outside the arms industry. A great war with China, which the USSR is visibly not winning decisively and swiftly is a 'all hands on deck' situation for the USSR, because China is a nuclear power and in defending enjoys similar advantages as the USSR did in World War Two: wide open spaces, personnel and population reserves far in advance of that of the aggressor and industrial capacities not easily destroyed; yes the USSR could try to attack the Chines coast, but the Pacific fleet would probably not be up to the task and doing so would certainly escalate the war to a strategic nuclear exchange, which is already a looming threat and must be avoided at all costs. So, either this is over by late 1996 or the USSR is done.

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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
I appreciate you weighing in and sharing your perspectives. I'm not trying to force my views on anyone else. To be clear, my goal is to try to make v1's war in Europe- as described in canon- work, as much as it can.
I get that and I hope I could be of some help.
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Old 06-07-2021, 10:24 PM
unipus unipus is offline
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Thank you for the thoughtful posts. The German reunification has always struck me as flatly ridiculous for a bunch of reasons, some of which I've been able to articulate over time and some I haven't. Your post helped put the rubber to the road, so to speak!
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Old 06-08-2021, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by shrike6 View Post
This is probably irrelevant to what you are asking Raellus but wasn't it implied in one of the NPCs in either RDF or King's Ransom, can't remember which one, that the prewar CIA played a good sized hand in this "sudden" German reunification. I don't have my books with me.
I'm not very familiar with that module, Shrike, but I wouldn't be surprised.

@Ursus, you make a lot of good points. I'm not arguing that you're wrong (because I concede that you are probably right), but I want to address a couple of them in the interest of trying to make the v1 history work as much as possible.

The Soviets would have spun the border incidents with China, painting the Chinese as the aggressors, inflating Soviet casualties, etc. Only Pact leaders (civilian and military) with access to reliable intelligence* and/or the Western media** would have a better sense of the truth.

It's important to remember that in the v1 timeline the Soviet Union is still a superpower. How many Warsaw Pact nations would have stood up to the USSR at the height of its power? Doing so would be very risky.

Now, I know that it's apples and oranges, but try look at the Chinese adventure as being a bit like Desert Shield/Storm, in some respects. In 1991, the US, as the world's sole superpower at the time, could have handled Iraq on its own. The UK and France, as NATO signatories, were under no obligation to participate, but the US asked for their assistance, and they acquiesced.

So, now the still-powerful Soviet Union claims that it was savagely attacked by China and has launched a major military op to reduce the PLA's ability to ever threaten Soviet Asia again. The Chinese are putting up much stronger resistance than anticipated. The Soviets claim that this indicates China was already preparing to launch its own attack on the USSR when the Red Army preempted it. Who among the Pact is going to argue?

The Soviet Union then asks for assistance. East Germany and Bulgaria- the most loyal of the Pact nations- promptly promise to pitch in. This creates a bit of "Socialist Fraternal" pressure on the more reticent PACT nations. They begrudgingly prepare to assist.

Perhaps the Soviets sweetens the deal. They agree to foot most of the bill. How? Energy is a convenient deus ex machina. Cancellation of debts?

Perhaps a couple of the Pact governments miscalculate. They believe that by cooperating, they'll be able to earn greater autonomy from Moscow.

Fast forward a bit. It's been a year or so. It's now painfully obvious to the PACT nations that they've been had, but what can they do about it? Their armed forces have been reduced in size and strength by their contributions to the war in China (a couple of divisions or brigades each, at most, but still). The Soviet Union seems increasingly desperate and, therefore, dangerous. There's whispers that the Politburo is seriously considering the use of tactical nuclear weapons in China. Do the Pact nations (other than Romania) take a chance and rebel?

Now imagine that pro-Western and/or anti-Soviet East German generals who are fed up with being Moscow's lap dogs, and afraid that they will be thrown into the Manchurian meat grinder next, secretly reach out to West Germany and make it known that they are willing to launch a coup if they are promised assistance from the Bundeswehr. Is it beyond imagining that a small but powerful nationalist and/or anti-communist faction within the Bundeswehr wouldn't feel compelled to step in? A secret agreement is reached.

I imagine that the Bundeswehr would already have a few divisions in the field, in response to the Warsaw Pact mobilizations and Soviet troop movements (yes, the latter are mostly moving east, out of Europe, but wouldn't NATO rather play it safe?). Maybe even some reserves would have been called up. With a secret agreement in place, the anti-Soviet DDR generals launch their coup. The Bundeswehr reunification faction orders their units across the border to support their countryman's brave act of national liberation. They don't ask their government for permission. The West German government is taken by surprise and now finds itself in a very difficult position. Either it demands an immediate halt to the invasion (realizing that the generals aren't likely to listen) and gets ready to disavow it and apologize profusely to Moscow, or it goes all in, and throw its support behind reunification-by-force. The invasion becomes a fait accompli.

Yes, this is fantasy, but there is some logic to it. Stranger things have happened IRL.


*And how effective were PACT intelligence agencies' spy networks in the PRC and USSR?

**Paying too close attention, or lending too much credence to Western media reports would probably generate much unwanted attention from state security services.

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Last edited by Raellus; 06-08-2021 at 11:18 AM.
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