Organizing for Coalition Warfare

The Role of East European Warsaw Pact Forces in Soviet Military Planning

by Michael Sadykiewicz


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While the Soviet armed forces are justly regarded as the greatest threat to Western Europe, NATO military planners must consider the strength and the role of the armies of the non-Soviet Warsaw Pact (NSWP) nations in any future war. In this study, conclusions regarding the military value, employment, and control of NSWP forces are drawn from the historical record, Soviet doctrine, current published orders of battle, Warsaw Pact military exercises, and the author's experience in the Polish army. After describing Soviet and Warsaw Pact military doctrines, the author examines the quantitative and qualitative role of the NSWP forces, their armaments, and the problems of Pact interoperability. Finally, he analyzes in detail the wartime operational role of the East European armies, including their echelonment, operational utility and tasks, strategic/operational grouping, and operational autonomy.

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