Soviet-Warsaw Pact Western Theater of Military Operations

Organization and Missions

by Michael Sadykiewicz

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This Note examines the organization and apparent missions of the Soviet-Warsaw Pact forces operating under the high command of the western theater of military operations (TVD), the largest and most important peacetime concentration of military power in the history of Europe. The research is based largely on the author's extensive experience as an officer in the Soviet and Polish armies from 1941 to 1967 and on more recent military literature from the Soviet Union, other Warsaw Pact countries, and the West. Part One analyzes the strategic role that Soviet-Warsaw Pact forces in the western TVD might play during the initial period of a conventional war in Europe. Part Two investigates Soviet concepts of operations for theater conventional warfare. Scenarios depicting the movements and activities of four representative Soviet divisions illustrate the force and command structure and concepts of operations that would likely guide the employment of Warsaw Pact forces in the opening five days of a conventional war in the critical NATO central region.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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