Created: 6/1/1968

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Intelligence Memorandum

Warsaw Pact War Plan for Central Region of Europe


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CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence8

INTELLIGENCE MEMORANDUM Warsaw Pact War Plan-for.Central Region of Europe


The Warsaw Pact contingency plan for war with NATO in tho Central Region ofrevised by the Soviets in the earlythe initial offensive missions to tho forces already deployed in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. Init gives both the Czechs and Poles command over their own national forces. After the initialhave been gained, Soviet forces in the western USSR would move quickly into the Central Region and take over the offensive against NATO. (See foldout map at end,)

Under the previous plan, the initial offensive would have been conducted mainly by Soviet forces, including those based in the western USSR, with the East European forces integrated into Soviet-led Fronts This concept, to be effective,igh level of combat readiness for the Soviet forces in the western USSR. The reduction of Soviet ground force strength in thes probably made this plan infeasible and stimulated concurrent improvements in the East European ground forces to permit them to assume greater responsibilities.

Rotaj Thia memorandum wan produced solely by CIA. It was prepared by the Office of Strategic Research and coordinated with the Offices of Current Intelligent and Rational Estimates.

all participatingthose presently at low strength--are intended to be available in three days. The Soviet forces which would eventually take over the Czech sector are also scheduled toarriving in Czechoslovakia within three days. The ability of the Czechs to meet this timetable is uncertain, but in any case the initial combatof the Czech army would be seriouslyby the need for extensive mobilization.

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jnas provides important newauout zns warflaw Pact war plan,informationpact exercises

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previous judgments aboor TJle general outlines of these plans, but[ as filled in manyin regard to the Czech role, which was only vaguely understood before

3. indicates that the Warsaw Pact

war plan is oasea on the assumptions that war will begin with conventional weapons and that nuclear weapons will probably bo necessary to effect a The planapid broad advance through west Germany and on to the English Channel.

there are no alternative plans

involving ^eun participation andr lis awarefor the other

Composition of the Theater's Forces

he term "ecHelon" haa opeoial meaning in theview of military operations. Soviet doctrine envisages large groupings of troops deployed behind the front-line or firut-echelon unite and Hot engaged in combat with the enemy. This second echelon would be committed only after the first-echelon forces have been substantially engaged by the enemy. In aome eenee the second aoheloneserve, but itaneuvering force, "ften with predetermined objectives. The Soviet concept of echelon* itat all levels, including the cheater level.

general terms, the main Warsaw pactplan for the advance past the Rhinea force of five Fronts (army groups) in The primary offensive missions are as-

signed to Warsaw Pact forces (the first echelon) presently deployed in the forward area: in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.

suggests that

a Polish num. ia plannedhrust along the seawardorce composed of both Soviet and East German forces in East Germany is assigned the

Front role in the contral sector, and the Czechs

wouldront on the southern flank. [

seconta acneion in the Czech sector

oviet: front from the Carpathian region of the Ukraine. The Soviet forces in Belorussia appear to be designed to perform similarly to the Carpathian force but behind the Soviet- or Polish-led Fronts to the north, although there is no direct evidence as such.

Corimand and Control

planning and coordinationare theoretically borne by the Warsawand tho pact staff but are actuallyby the Soviet General Staff for the force as The Czechs and Poles exercise control only

of the Fronts consisting mainly of their own national forces. The East Germans apparently have even less authority.

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Soviets apparently do not engage inwhen only Soviet troops are involved. the Czechs seem to have been providedon the size of the Soviet forcesmove into Czechoslovakia and the demandsbe placed on tho Czech rail and highway Such lack of coordinated planning seemsresult in severe difficulties for the pactthe tight movement schedules postulatedplan.

Missions of the Fronts

The Czechs have been given the responsibility of advancing as far as the west bank of the Rhine in the area roughly between Mannheim and the Swiss(see map). the Czech Frontfor this mission is composed of three combined-arms armies, one tactical air army, and assorted Front combat and service support units.

included in the combined-arms armiesotal of six tank and six motorized rifle divisions. The tactical air army contains one fighter division and two fighter-bomber divisions. One combined-arms army of four divisions and the bulk of the Front support units are understrength in men and equipment and require extensive mobilization.

Czech plan specifies men auutrucks) for the army be

mobilized within three days. The ability of the Czechs to meet this timetable is uncertain, but in any case the initial combat effectiveness of the Czech army would be seriously degraded by the need for extensive mobilization.

13- that the Soviet

Front frbui uiu Ldiparno-UKrainian area, which would provide the second echelon in the Czech zone, would be similar in size and composition to the Czech force.

| that the Soviet Front would follow the uzl'uh tronc by about three days and eventually assume the leading position. The concept of the operation calls for the Soviets to take over the advance from the Czechs near the Rhine. The Soviet Front would then push past the Rhine and, depending upon the political situation at that time, continue thethrough France.

the Czech sector of

the European tneater or operations is generallywith other evidence on the subject. of battle in the Carpathian Militaryknown to consist of three ground armies andair army which would operate1

theiannji (HpruKmirtja a'Front, with elements of the military district headquarters and of all three ground armies actually deployed in Czechoslovakia.

15. This is the only known exercise in which the area of operations for Carpathian forces was well defined, although an exercise6 also associated elements from Carpathia withforces. ecant

-ru lumi miuj ui Ul-

patrtlan Military District is ready for almostcommitment while the other two groundthe military district appear to requiresimilar to that rtwnirari hy theCzech |tends tc

rrom the Ukraine is similar in composition to the Czech force.

16. The large-scale exercises of the pact forces simulate the role of waran Front,'

jtitat tlie Sovietn con

those for

ces in tho Warsaw Pact The Soviet-East Ger-as reconstructed Irons exercise scenarios, apparently is tasked with the destruction of the main NATO forces in Germany deployed between Hannover on the north and Mannheim on the south. The Polesintend to advance deep into NATO territory along the North Sea coast.

17. The Soviet-East German Front has seven armies, but two of them may be scheduled for eventualto the Polish Front. The Polish Front has three Polish land armies with tactical air suoport. The role of the Soviet Northern Group of Forces in Poland-two divisionsactical air acmy--is unknown.


Prnnif'-K he Soviet"East German and Polish

ossible second-echelon FrontBelorussian Military Diat-rir-t-


Bum simixar in status to tho three in the Carpathian Military District. While there is no direct evidence of tho mission of the Belorussian armies, they are similar in many respects to thearmies and mayike mission. If so, the Belorussian district would be the basisront actingecond-echelon force behind the Polish and Soviet-East German Fronts.

Rationale of Hew War Plan

Warsaw Pact contingency plan forRegion of Europo is clearly designedsuperiority in numbers rapidly, and tostrategic initiative from the outset ofwith NATO. It varies from earlier plansthe national composition of the theaterthe timing of reinforceaent from the USSR.

to the the Warsaw Pactplan apparentlyheater ofmade up of three or four Soviet Frontsincorporate East European forces of divisionsize. The old planigh level ofreadiness for the Soviet forces in thesince these forces would have had to deployCzechoslovakia and East Germany asformations. The reduction in Sovietstrength in thes probablyplan infoasiblo and stimulated thein the East European ground forcespermit them to assume the greaterin the new plan.

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