CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY.
MEMORANDUM FOR: Director of Central Intelligence
MILITARY THOUGHT: ront Offensive Operation
Conducted Under the Conditions of the Initial Periodiey Colonel- eneralhetagurov
Enclosederbatim translation of an article vhlch appeared In the TOP SECRET Special Collection of Articles of the Journal "Militaryoyennayaublished by the Ministry of Defense, USSR, ond distributed"dovn to tha level of Army Commander.
In the interests of protecting our source, this material should be handledeed-to-know basis within your office. Request* for extra coplea of thla report or for utllltatlon of any part of this document in any other form should be addressed to the originating office.
FOR THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR, PIAHS:
Original: Director of Central Intelligence
cc: The Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
Military Representative of the President
Special Assistant to the Rresldent for National Security Affairs
Director for Intelligence The Joint Staff
Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence
Headquarters, U. S. Air
Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence Department of the Army
Director of Naval Intelligence Department of the Navy
Director, National Security Agency
The Director of Intelligence and Research Department of State
Director, Division of Intelligence Atomic Energy Commission
National Indications Center
Chairman, .Guided Missiles and-
Deputy Director for Intelligence
Assistant Director for National Estimates
Assistant Director for Current Intelligence
Assistant Director for Research and Reports
Assistant Director for Scientific Intelligence
THOUGHT: ront Offensive
Wupuiatlon Conducted Under the Conditiono of the Initial Perioduclear/Hiesliey Colonel-General G. Khetagurov
Followingerbatim translation of an article titledront Offensive Operation Conducted Under the Conditions of the Initial Perioduclear/Missileritten by Colonel-General G. Khetagurov.
This article appeared in0 Second Issuepecial version of Voyennaya Mysl (Military Thought) which is classified TOP SECRiT oyThe Soviets and is issuedt is distributed only within the Ministry of Defense down to the level of Army Commander.
The power of the armament of modern armies and the probable radius and force of the destructive effect of new means of combat have now reachedevel that the roles of many of the concepts and requirements of the military art which were established previously are completely or partially disappearing. Indeed, the necessity oferies of obsolete beliefs and views and of taking an essentially new approach to the solution of questions of the operational and combat employment of troops is arising. In connection with the birth and rapid development ofew typo of armed forces as missilo troops, new laws are being established ln military affairs and the nature and substance of the interdependence existing between strategy, tbe operational art, and tactics are bolng changed.
In contrast to previous wars, when the fate ofwas decided principally on the field ofstrategy basically crowned the efforts ofthe operational art, now the operational art,very of tun will begin with the exploitationresults of strategy or7 stated better, withof resultstrike by strategiccomplete the success oftrike. Strategyoperate not only with mass armies but also,the usen*missiles whosa
employment will have .decisive influence on_the.outcome of as oncombat as a
This does not mean, however, that the missile troops can independently decide all, orarge portion, of the war's strategic missions. As indicated by the Miniate of Defense of the USSK, Marshal of the Soviet Union R. Ta. Mallnovskly, in contemporary conditions, Just aa previously, the successful conduct of combat activities is possible only on the basis of tha coordinated use of all the types of armed forces and all means of combat. Mass employment of strategic and operational missiles
with nuclear charges may sharply reduce the time of
attainment of strategic goals Of the war, will permit
the infliction of crushing destruction on tho enemy in
a short time, and alter the forms and methods of the conduct
of an operation. But it will not in any way reduce the role
of man in warfare. JCan has been and will remain the principal
It is erroneous to thinkuture war will actuallyind of 'nuclear/missile duel'*. To the same extent, lt is Incorrect to believe that the operations of the ground troops will lose their significance and that their missions will be limited to the overcoming of theresistance of the remnants of the enemy's troops and to the occupation of bis territory. -
The experience of many exercises testifies that even with the complete destruction of the majority of the industrial areas, the elimination of the most Important transportation centers from use and the destruction of the most important air and missile bases, the enemy in many cases preserves the capability not only for resistance but also for the delivery of powerful strikes, frequently restores the combat effectiveness of groupings of his armed forces, and often attempts to seize the operational initiative. His complete and final destruction in tho theater of military_of*,usef nuclear/missile weapons by both sides, is achieved aav ' ule onlyesult of- very intense combat, after the capture by ground and airborne troops ol vitally important areas of territory, of centers of nuclear/missile weapons production, of tho main airfield network, and also of the majority of the siting, areas of the enemy's operational and operational-strategic missiles.
of the etated missions,ule, requires
the exocutioneries of successive front operations with the utilizationery significant quantity of troops and weapons, including troops from border military districts.
In bis article1 Colonel-General Gastilovlch, along with many absolutely correct conclusions, expressed the
assumption that in view of tho expected results of tho use of strategic nuclear /miss lie weapons for the completion of enemy destruction in the European theaters of combat operations in modern conditions,oivisions ln all are sufficient for the composition of the first strategic echelon, but taking into account the replacement of probable0 toivisions. Furthermore, in his opinion, the above-mentioned forces can meet the main resistance only ln the border zoneepth of several tens of kilometers, after which the troops will have tasks connected chiefly with the overcoming of radioactive-contaminated zones and the occupation of the territory of hostile nations. Thus, active combat operations of the ground troops, in General Gastllovich's conception, are reduced in fact to one border engagement with aswift advance by large units without serious enemy
We bellove that In spite of tho enormous powor of strategic nuclear/missile weapons, there atlll arefoundations foronclusion. This permits the well-known underestimation of tho enemy, and the countermeasures conducted by him, and does not consider the actual composition and disposition of NATO armed forces in the Western theater of combat operations (TVD) or the specific conditions of the execution of nuclear/ missile strikes within the theater boundaries (even though connected with the prevailing direction of the
In fact, if wo are to believe that after the first nuclear/missile attack, our troops, located directly in the TVDepth upilometers, will be able to preserve upf their forces, why then is the same possibility excluded with respect to the enemy? Why la the probability of the formation of new troop contingents and the transfer to the TVD of strong reserves, including reserves from the USA, Spain, and Algeria, completely discounted? Is lt realistic touestion about tbe possibility of absolute disruption of these measures? Why is the probability of active operations on tha parteries of enemy groupings Ignored; and why is it that, from the first days of the war, we contemplate only the complete withdrawal of his forces originally deployed ln the border zone? finally, what foundations are there to
assume that, after the first front operations, the enemy vlll practically refuse to fight and that the advancing troops will have only to occupy his territory?
The experience of exercises does not confirm this. On the contrary, it shows in the majority of cases that with the conclusion of the first front operations armed combat in the TVD not only does not cease but is capable of assuming an even sharper character. The communication! lines of our troops are being stretched out. The reserves fall behind. At that very time, the enemy, profiting from the great vulnerability of the crossings of our water boundaries and also from bis more developed transportation system, oan bring up fresh forces from the depth more rapidly and can establish new groupings and activate the use of his nuclear/missile meanshorter period of time. ery serious situation can be createdumber of directions. It is also characteristic that at this moment,ule, now operational axes are opened up before the advancing troops, so tbat new strategic missions arise which require the Introduction of additional forcee and equipment.
In General Gastllovlch's opinion, theofiv divisions which began the operation must carry on the advance up to the ultimate limits of the theater. But what remains of them at theompletion ?pfImmediate strategic mission?p'^aJLculatedjj' data, verified by usumber ofn9thh dayar, the-combat strength of upf tho large units Included in tho composition of the first operational echelon of the front waa generally already reduced by up tooercent of its..original composition and furthermore, that up toercent "of the personnel remaining in action had to be hospitalized or ovacuated to the rear because of their having received large doses of radiation.
Undor such conditions it is clear that if
immediate buildup of strength from the depth la not carried out, the operation can abate and the success attained come to naught.
It is also indubitable tbat In the course of the
initial periodar largo engagements will inevitably take place not only in the border zone but also further on actually throughout the entire extent of the front operations, because no matter how powerful the first nuclear/missile strikes, not all targets and all groupings of the enemy can be destroyed by them. The complete radioactive contamination of absolutely all enemy occuplod territory of the TVD cannot be ensuredrolonged time. According to the nature of the actual meteorological conditions, this Is unlikely, and indeed, obviously inexpedient. Therefore, during the initial periodar, the troops must not orient themselvesarch, but for Intensive combat operations in the various 'areas-', and moreover, not"only in gaps, but also directly in the zonos of high radioactive contamination.
In light of such conditions, we think that tho composition of forces as defined by General Gastilovlch for the fulfilment of the most immediate strategic missions will clearly be Inadequate. One must proceed from the necessity ofront not in the TVD, but on each of the strategic axes, incorporating not lessombined-arms and tank armies in its composition, depending upon the operational scope, andumber of separate divisions. Moreover, it is necessary to assume that in some cases the resolution of the most Immediate strategic tasks might require, even .duringcourse'of the^
deployment of new armies and even'"fronts" in^tne'thoater" of military operations, not for tbe occupation of .enemy erritory, but for the conduct of active combat operations
Tho specific means and forms of conduct of .front offensive operations undertaken on various strategic axes during the initial period of a nuclear/missile var, vlll depend upon the characteristics of these axes, and the general strategic situation, but mainly upon the number and nature of the strategic nuclear/ missile strikes carried out by the General Headquarters of the Supreme High Command (Stavka VGK) in the theater of military operations. It may be assumed that prior to and during the course of the first front operation, several massive strategic nuclear/missile strikes will be carried out in the axis of the offensive of each front and will e tied into one another by the general strategic plan
but distinguished fron one another by assigned mission and by the aroas of territory within whoso Units ths main body of nuclear/misslie ammunition will be employed. The first of these strikes,ounterslrike, will be tho moat powerful. It will be conducted simultaneously in the entire strategic depth with the aim of eliminating individual states with limited territory from the war and also with the aim of inflictinghort time by the main groupings of the armed forces, such losses as would permit the rapid seizure of the strategic initiative ln the very beginning of the war.
In subsequent massive strategic nuclear/missile strikes, the main efforts of the missile troops can concentrate either on the fulfilment of analogous missions but with destruction of other less important or surviving targets or switch to the destruction, primarily of economic centers and areas, ports and transportation centers,iew to the rapidof the enemy'sconomic potential and the disruption of his mobilization moasures and strategic transport.
Of course equence in the implementation of strikes is uot the only one possible. It should bo examined only as onearge number of the most probable forms of the, use of strategic nuclear/missile weapons. Quite var ie'd -forms of massivenuclear/missile strikes can be employedpecific situationVD. It is not ruled out, for example, that in every one of them all of the tasks montloned above will be resolved simultaneously rather than consecutively, in which case the sequence of the neutralization of targets for every group of tasks will be determined in accordance with tbe degree of their importance and the general concept of the strategic operation.
The main and decisive role in the oxecution of massive strategic nuclear/missile strikes will undoubtedly, belong to tho strategic mlssllji. largo uqits_ directly subordinate to the however,umber ofDoth for the Initial and successive strikes, it is also possible to Include the missile weapons of the 'or the fulfilment of separateone
upilometers from the border. rganizing their utilization, the Stavka VGK, apparently, will indicate to the front troop commander:
the areas for carrying out nuclear/missile strikes to be accomplished by strategic weapons in the front zone of operations and capable of rendering direct influence on the development of the Initial front offensive
the time and composition of front missile weapons included in the participation in the counterstrike and of subsequent massive strategIolnuclear/misedle strikes;
the borders of the sectors established for the use of missile weapons of fronts;
the tasks of front missile weapons to be fulfilled in the interests of the entire strategic operation, with instructions regarding the targets to be destroyed, their coordinates, and the time of destruction;
the direction, zone, or the area within the borders of neighboring fronts in which maneuvers by nuclear/ missile strikes must be prepared.
On the basis of this, the front troop'r'pecific decision with regard to the destruction of all targets assigned to him or selected independently, including: establish the number of nuclear/missile strikes conducted by front and army weapons; the expenditure of nuclear ammunition utilized; plan the sequence and order of destruction of various targets, the yield and types of nuclear bursts, the coordinates of their epicenters, the moans of delivery of nuclear weapons to the target, the time of their readiness, etc.
The execution of powerful strategic nuclear/missile strikes in the TVD will raise sharply the capabilities of the fronts, will leadurther increase of the scope of front operations, and at the same time willect their makeup.
must carefully calculate the Influence which the strategic nuclear/missile strikes may have on the operations of troops under his command, must estimate the probable level of destruction of various enemy groupings and targets, envisage when and which areas will become zones of high level radioactive contaminationesult of surface nuclear bursts and how these will reflect on fulfilment of the tasks assigned to the front.
Only after this can correct conclusions be drawn regarding the expedient organization of the operation, tho most advantageous grouping of "forces and weapons, the direction of the main strike, the order of use of our missile and nuclear weapons, and also, regarding all other questions of operational planning.
holo, the concoptp.nt_offSMlve operation undertaken in the initial period of amust, in our opinion,reflect the following basic points
The order of participation of front nuclear/ missile weapons ln the counterstrike and of subsequent massive strategic nuclear/missile strikes organized by the Stavka VGK in the theater of military operations.
Tho method of exploitation by ground and airborne troops of the results of nuclear strikes carried out by large units of strategic missiles and mieslies^of medium
The method of destruction of the deploying or deployed strike groupings of enemy troops by combined operations of operational and organic (voyskovaya)' -missiles, ground troops, aviation, and airborne troops.
The nature of the active cover of secondary axesinimum of forces ln conjunctionide maneuver of nuclear/missile weapons depending on tbe possible operations of the enemy.
Of the aforementioned, it is especially worthwhile to examlno the measures ensuring the opportune exploitationront of the results of strategic nuclear/missile
strikes. We imagine that the aforementioned requirement will be achieved first of all by meanswiftby front tank groupings into points or' areas neutralized by strategic nuclear/missile strikes, with the aim of seizing these areas before the enemy liquidates the results of the-assault; by the development of vigorous offensive_operations at the momentarge portion of the enemy oporatlonal-tactlcal weapons for nuclear attack will be neutralized or put out of action; by thetilization of zones of contamination created for the disruption of an enemy maneuver, blockading his groupings from the flanks, and for the economy of friendly forces on axes where because of an unfavorable radiation situation the operations of ground troops will prove to
As regards othor elements of the concept connected with the organization of destruction of the groupings of missile units, ground troops, and aviation deployed by tho enemy on various axes in tho front zone, it is our opinion that in all situations they must contain the idea, firstly, of surprise nuclear/missile neutralization of the most important groupings by front, army, and organic missiles at the most favorable moment, and secondly, the immediate exploitation of results achieved by combined-arms and tank armies by inflicting swift strikes .from the march on those axes'where the. enemy does not expect it and where,lt' cfissiles, he is weakened to the greatest dogroe. Inhort,tho front troop commander must determine when, where, and in what way the decisive destruction of the enemy will be carried- out by various groupings with the assistance of front and army nuclear missiles and
form of operational maneuver by the
ground troops can be employed in order to finally destroy and finish off his troops, annihilate or capture an airfield, launching installations, and missile bases, thus ensuring the complete fulfilment of the assigned tasks of the operation.
It can be assumed that four groups of strikes, each different in character, will be) delivered in the direction of the operations of the front troops:
strategic nucloar/raissile strikes carried out in accordance with the policy of the Stavka VGK for the destruction of the enemy in the theaterholo;
nuclear strikes executed by strategic weapons at the request and in the interests of the front;
nuclear strikes by front weapons carried out according to the Stavka plan for the fulfilment of individual missions of strategic significance;
nuclear strikes by front weapons, carried out
in accordance with the decision of the front commander in the Interests of fulfilling his own missions.
All of those strikes must be carefully coordinatednd considered in the planront offensive operationiew to the fact that they should complement one another during the suppression and destruction of various enemy groupings, his firing means, and rear installations
A detailed elaboration of the questions of the uso of front nuclear/missile weapons will now form the basis for the planningront operation. Wo must proceed from the fact that with the modern scale of use of nuclear/missile weapons, they can no longer be considered onlyeans of supporting the .'combat operations" of'the troopsV Within the framework of ,V* the front, this weapon'now becomes the primary and decisive means of combat which determines the possibllty of the fulfilment of the majority of the tasks of an offensiveherefore, the concept of the delivery of front (army) nuclear/missile strikes appears to be the most important pivotal element of decision and plan of the operation. The operations of division ground troops must bo planned in conformity with the selected"method of the use of the nuclear/missile weapon and not the reverse.
It is quite clear that under such conditions the purposeful planning and conduct of operations will appear impossible without an early preparation of the sequence of tho use of nuclear/missile weapons in the entire depth of an oporation with regard to the probable
perspectives of its development.
As the experience of exercises demonstrates, it is advisable not only to plan the tentative distribution of nuclear/missile weapons according to axes and the tasks to be fulfilled, but also to determine, to the extent possible, the main massive nuclear/iAlsslle strikes which will be organized and conducted by the front with centralized use of both front and army weapons. It is necessary to establish the tentative number of such trikes^ and when, for what purposes, and approximately what expenditure of nuclear ammunition will be used.
Xt Is apparent that In the course of the operation there will not be so many such strikes (generally not noroor, as experience hasront cannot conduct more than one or two massive strikeshour period. It is clear that of all these strikes only the first massive strike (primarily counter) will be carefully planned and organized in advance ln all details, including tho selection of specific targets (main andetermination of sequonce, the timing, and the nature of their neutralization. As regards the remaining massive strikes, they can and must be worked out onlyeneral way with determination only of the main tasks to be fulfilled, tentative periods for their implementation, and the approximate expenditure of nuclear ammunition. This will permit us to avoidnexpected and will provide the front troop commander with the opportunity ofufficient amount of weapons in readiness-at the necessary.momentecisive influence on the situation.
The operations of front ground troops, closely combined with the massive use of nuclear/missile weapons in operations of the initial periodar, will most likely take the form of swift and deep strikes delivered by soparate tank groupings on indopendent axesass landing of tactical and operational airborne forces In the depthroad movement of individual units by helicopters for rapid surmounting of zones vith high radioactive contamination and also for the reinforcemont of those troop groupings vhlch have burst out ahead.ule,wift offensive will be closely combined with the simultaneous conduct of sustained defensive
ti engagements on other axes with energetically advancing enemy large units which haveeep penetration. ery complex Interlacing of combat formations of ground troops is creatodajority of cases. The engagement will developery large front, but in depth lt can simultaneouslyerritory of several hundreds of kilometers. The combat will take on an extraordinarily sharp character for solzure and retention of the operational Initiative. Success will accrue to the side which,horter period of time, achieves sizable operational results, uses its nuclear/missile strikes more effectively more quickly capturos the principal areas where aviation is based, and especially the launching sites of enemyactical missiles. The front troops must noteep penetration by enemy groupings and at the same time they must break through, in the gaps between the zones of contamination formed, and sometimes directly across these zones, ln short time limits andigh tempo, to the largest political and military-industrial centers of the enemy, to areas whore his reserves are being formed, to ports, and also to tho other most important objectives of the operational and strategic rear. At the same time it is necessary to ensure the decisive destruction of both'theso retreating enemy groupings and the new nemy groupings being deployed in thorontroops must break up these groupings, force them intb'fV impassable aroas or zones of contamination and liquidate them piecemeal.
urprise counterblow of several groupings from various directions in combination with massivo nuclear strikes by army and front mlssilos must be organized for that. To aim for the encirclement of largo enemy forces inituation will obviously be inexpedient. Indeed, to carry outaneuver will be extraordinarily difficult because ofeliable blockade of the encircled troops, as was correctly stated in the pages of the 3pecial Collection of the Journal. "Military Thought" by General Gastllovlch and General tolkoayulfl There-fore, instead of encirclement with formationhe advancing troops must strive to capture only the most
Important centers of transportation on the flanks and in the rear of the enemy, to restrict his maneuver by specially formed zones of contamination, to disperse the isolated grouping into units and then, meteorological conditions permitting, suppress them with powerful surface nuclear strikes.
The question of the operational makeup of
troops in an offensive operation of the initiala war standsategory of its own. In viewincrease in the scope of possible enemy useof mass destruction, the necessity arisesdispersion of forces and equipment. Howovor,not mean that one can extend troop combatInfinitum and undertake an offensive on anwith only soparate divisions or even justall situations, the front and army must resolvenot as individual large units but aseach of which can have up to three or Only inituation can oneand rapid accumulation of forces fromtimely replacement of troops who haveeffectiveness,ufficient force for
In this respect. General Gastilovlch adheres toview in his article. He believesc*.
proposes to introduce the term "offenwlvavlBl?ns on in Jvpnnd^nt axes". Thus, the ideaisolated strikes by small forces is bolng advanced.
On the basis of tho experience of exercises conducted in the Group of Troops (Gruppa voysk) and also in other military districts, we bellove thatethod of operation even with very large-scale use of missiles with nuclear charges of high yield will hardly be correct. Of course, if we count on an unhindered advance of troops through devastated territory, then an offensive by separate divisions can provide some results. But, if we proceed from the fact that the enemy will be able toertain portion of his forces and will attempt to undertake vigorous offensive operations, then the proposed method in conducting the offensive can hardly load to significant success.
Vie agree with the fact that our division, In the event lt is equipped with tactical nuclear weapons, willowerful force. But can one division destroy ono or two enemy divisionshort time under conditions of direct contact when the use of hlgh-ylcld nuclear ammunition is excluded? Can we ensure aufflclent viability ofsmall grouping"ontinuous Increase of its efforts from the depth? In the final analysis can we, with ono large unit, simultaneously resolve several varied tasks, which,ule, will arise on any operational axis?
Obviously, not isolated divisions but operational groupings aro needed for this. Depending upon the situation, the operational grouping may be formed and may operate in difforent ways. In the absence of direct contact with the enemy tho gaps betweon the individual large units Included ln its composition may reachoilometers or more. But in the course of battle tho troops of an operational grouping must operate as nu entity, maintaining close tactical and nuclear-fire liaison with one another. The fear that they can be dostroyod by one strikeuclear missileegaton charge are groundless bocauso the use ofeapon is impossible under conditionsynamic engagement with direct contact by both sides in the tactical depth. As regards nuclear strikos of small and medium yields, they can inflict the same loss on tbe troops whether the dlvlsare operatinghe composition of the grouping or If they are separated one from the other.
The Matter la somewhat different as regards the disposition of'"p" and fip^lal rssarwata, we bolieve that they cannot be concentrated on tho most Important axes, as was done previously. reat portion of the reserves and second echelons, will have to bo dispersed along the ontire front zone avoiding aroas within whose limits there might be objectives which are convenient targetsuclear/ missile assault by the enemy (for example, large Industrial centers, centers of transportation, ports,
The echelonment in depth of reserves must be sharply
Increased* in an army, upilometers at loast andront, upilometers. It is true that at first glance such norma under the high performance oondltions of modern engagements may appear to be excessively high. But one must keep in mind that these are the ultimate zone borders for the disposition of reserve largo units, and that the immediate reaction to sharp changes of the situation can now and)obviously will, be carried out first of all by massive use of nuclear/missile means. At the samearge echelonment in depth of the reserves will permit them to escape destruction by high-yield nuclear strikes, since it will afford an opportunity to enlarge the gaps between large units upilometers and deploy each division over an aroa upquare kilometers if part of the army reserve and upquare kilometers if part of the front reserve.
Now, concerning the second front-whalpn , Is it necessary? General Gastilovlch believes tbat lt is not. In modern situations, according to him, only separate divisions can be introduced into an engagement from the depth. If it is necessary to overcome strong enomy resistance or to switch efforts quicklyew axis, this must be accomplished principally by "concentration of nuclear weapons and their delivery means" and not by introducing strike groupings into the. ,
Wo believe thatuxtaposition of various front forces and weapons in an operation of tbe initial periodar ie not quite correct. Inapid change in the situation,ule, can be achieved only undor conditionsoordinated delivery of,both nuclear/missile strikes and ground troopvery attempt toask by nuclear means or by ground troops alone is doomed to failure.
There are not sufficient bases to assume tbat separate divisions brought into an engagement in isolated axesassive nuclear assault can sorlously influence the situation, particularly during the critical moments of the development of the operation. During battletrong enemy grouping, this will impede the exploitation of succoss and can bring about
the piecemeal destruction of such divisions. The speedy resolutionewly arisen important operational task can only bo achieved, today as formerly, by tap use on an operational axis of an operational grouping,of troops composed of not one, but two or three and oven four fresh divisions, unitedingle army command. econd echelon is necessary. However, its commitment into an engagement will apparently, have to be carried out somewhat differently now,ider front and, umber of cases, not on one but on two adjacent axes.
3ow will the initial front operation of tho initial periodar under conditions of the Western TVD proceedhole? Naturally, this will depend on many factors, including the nature of the initiation of the war and the results of the first nuclear/missile strikes of both sides.
usoarge quantity of nuclear missilesaviation ln the first strike canenormous material and moral damage on the seriously weaken its military-economicthe established troop groupings (if theyisrupt the mobilizationof the armed forces, etc. However, this stillmean that the fate of the war, its initialeven the first strategic operation will besuch a
Experience of exercises shows that with'of the country for war and withof missile launching sites over aa surprise attack does not at alltroops of the possibility of inflicting acounterstrlko of great
It should be taken into account that modern means already permit the detection of the flight of missiles when they are several thousand kilometers from target. Therefore, each side will have time to give the appropriate commands to missile units and to organizeounter-strike the first launching of ready solid fuel missiles before the enemy is able to put them out of action.
One can also anticipate that the ground troops,
subjected to an attack, will often retain the capability for active operations, thanks to the high results of the counterstrlke and will be in condition touccessful fight for the seizure and retention of the operational initiative. In any case, on the main strategic axes of the Western TVD it is necessary to aim primarily for immediate development of an offensiveords missing7 of the rapid exploitation of the resultsuclear/missile counterstrlke.
However, one cannotituation in which the results of an enemy nuclear assault will be so serious that there will be practically no forcesuick shift to tho offensive. In such circumstances the efforts of commands and staffs must be directed at bringing their forces back into order as quickly as possible (in any case before thoreserving the initiative in tho use of operational-tactical missiles and, at tbe most favorable moraont when the enemy is weakened to the extent posslblo, at beginning vigorous offensive operations in decisive directions with tho newly created groupings. The determination ofoment requires great skill. This requires precise calculation, the ability to evaluate correctly our own capabilities and the capabilities of the enemy, and the most expedient planning of the targets for repeated nuclear strikes, of the deploying time of friendly strike groupings, and of the sequence of their entry into combatVj^^jf. i
Depending on the level of operational readiness of the antagonists, the effectiveness of the first nuclear/ missile strikes, and the decisions reached, the shift to the offensive by front ground troops can be.carried out under conditionseep invasion of enemy strike groupings at the moment of their deployment on the border or, finally. In the course of the creation of such groupings in the depth. In all of these cases, the front troop offensive apparently will take the formeries of large meeting engagements waged simultaneously In several directions.
Success on at least one of those axes must be achieved quickly and developed with utmost resolution in depth. Front strike groupings (especially the tank
Included in their composltlon)must advance swiftly to the objectives dostroyed by strategic nuclear strikes, split up the enemy reserves which are being moved up, and in cooperation with airborne forces must destroy them piecemeal. For this, the average rate of troop advance must roachoilometers and for tank0ilometers perours; when conducting strategic nuclear/missile strikes on the TVD this can be considered entirely practicable.
The correct planning of the battle for fire superiority over tho enemy and skilful organization of the fire support of troop operations will have vast significance for tho attainmentigh offensive impetus.
During World War XI tho basic tasks of fire support were resolved principally in the process of conducting artilleryair preparation and artilleryair support of an offensive. Now, fire support greatly exceods these limits in its aims and nature. Its basis will not be fire by conventional means of combat but primarily power-til nuclear/missile strikes, delivered on the entire depth of the enemy's formation.
In view of this, artillery and air preparationof the offensive as previously understoodsignificance. Actually, they aro beingonly one of .the composite elements of firenot the principal one at that*. In the majoritytheir task will be primarily the preparationof assaults by individual units andthey will find their basic use atregimental
In the army, andin the front, scope, fire support of an offensive operation as an operational concept will include: participation of front mlsalle weapons in massive strategic nuclear/missile strikes organized by ths Stavka RVK in the TVD, nuclear-fire preparation and nuclear-fire support of advancing troops.
The tasks of nuclear-fire preparation and support will be carried out by front, army, and organic missiles and also by light fighter-bomber aircraft, tube and light rocket artillery In close coordination and calculated to
ensure- tbe possibility ofontinuous troop advance with average temposilometershour porlod. In this event, the targets of fire strikes are not only enemy troops and fire means in the tactical and near operational depth, but also his missile units, aviation, tactical and operational reserves, control points, and also installations of the operational rear.
because of the frequent and sharp changes of situation characteristic of the initial perioduclear war, the inevitable dropping out of action of individual elements of tho operational organization and because of the possible establishment of extensive zones of contamination with lethal levels of radiation in the directions of the troop offonslve, wider maneuver of forces and weapons than formerly will havo to be conducted in the courseodern front offensive operation.
The front troop commander must be constantly ready to transfer his efforts from one direction to another, in order to reinforce one troop grouping or anothor. This will be achieved primarily by meansapid reorientation of missile weapons and the maneuvers of their strikes with nucloar warheads. But reorientation solely of missiles does not provide the proper result in many cases, particularly since in mobile forms of combat there often will not/be suitable targets either in thetactical or operational depth for the deliveryarge quantity of nuclear/missile strikes.
Therefore,ule the maneuvor of nuclear strikes must be Inseparably combined with the maneuvor of ground troops, their forces, and weapons.
Ofapid transfer of troops ovor considerable distances is sometimes linked with extraordinarily great difficulties, an especially severe situation can be created in this respect during the initial periodar when many lines of communication are put out of action. Great skill la necessary under conditions of mass destruction to lead large units and units ovor territory with extensive zones of contamination during continuous activity of enemy aircraft overhead. of troops inituation will require exceptionally precise control of the columns.
maneuver of them, repeated changes of routes of movement, and tho conduct of extensive obstacle-clearing measures. Everything vlll have to be taken Into account: the condition of the terrain, the radiation situation, the destruction created fires, the probable direction of the spread of radioactive dust clouds, etc.
In many cases all fixed bridges over both large and medium rivers ln the directions of the movement will be knocked out of service. esult, the laying of now iver crossings will ba required and quite ofton, the organization of crossing of river linos by tanks along the bottom. Naturally, all thia cannot but affect the march tempos. In any case, estimates on the possibility of accomplishment by divisionsords misslng7 ln the course of the operation, dally marchesilometers can become practicable only with very well calculated engineering support, reliable screening of the columns from the air and also, with careful organization by the commandant's service, and the equipping of all large units with their own ferrying equipment.
The complex conditions of maneuver and the conduct of combat activities ln front operations of the Initial perioduclear/missile war require further Improvement -of the organizational structure of our ground,troops.
Experience of exercises shows, for example, that tank armies of the existing composition will experience serious difficulties in their operations in almost all strategic directions under the conditions of the Western TVD. The inadequacies of motorized infantry sharply complicate their forcing rivers, the capture of densely populated and wooded areas, the overcoming of zones of great destruction, etc. Therefore, it is advisable to'have tank armies composed of three tank and one motorized-rifle division. Eliminate heavy tank divisionsermanent element from the tank army (TA) composition. Keep them In the capacity of large units of the High Command Reserve for the reinforcement of troops ln separate directions.
Concurrently, tho question of the future reorganization of tank divisions also arises. Postwar experience
persistently bespeaks the advisability of conversion of tank divisions5 type tanks. It is necessary to eliminate the heavy tank rogiraent of the tank division from the division.
In its stead,ve should have, in tho armyeavy tank brigadeeserve of the army commander for reinforcement of tank divisions in an offensive or defensive operational situation. The divisionhould bo converted to self-propelled rocket artillery of the typo of the separate battalions of the Rocket Artillery (RA) . Tho entire parkof armored carrlors should be roplaced with amphibious armored carriers. The division TOE shouldegiment ofelicopters, insteadelicopter flightot for liaison, but for the support of combat operations of the division in the operational depth.
The necossity has arisen to introduce serious changes in the structure of the operational and troop rear aervice areas as veil. Practically all the command-staff exercises of the past years have convinced us that despite the reorganization already carried out, the rear cannot yet properly support combat activities of the troops in operations of the initial periodar. Because of the high tempos of the offensive.of the troops and the mass destruction of communicationlines, the existingsystem of supply and evacuation^ based mainly on tho use of rail and automotive transport, and the intended successive transshipment of cargo to front and army depots, is not justified.
Usually materiel for the troops begins to arrive already by the 3rd to 5th dayar with great irregularity. ule, rail transport is put out of action. The work of automotive transport becomes difficult because of its limited quantity. The excessive bulk of rear organs also continues to affect adversely the activities of the rear. The army mobile base, for example, is nov calculatedolume of upons of various cargo. Meanwhile, army transport Is notosition to pick up this quantity of supplies in one trip. Therefore tho base,ule, falls behind and is not able to cope with its tasks.
Tbo complicated tasks In the organization of materiel-technical support of front operations of the initial periodar require the vigorous elimination of these deficiencies. We believe that the basic means of supply and evacuation at the front and army levels must be air transport, automotive transport and only partly railroad transport. In connection vith this, it is advisable to include heavy-duty helicopters and aircraft In the TOE of division troops at the rateivision ofndelicopters to an armyir transport divisionsront.
It is necessary to equip fuel dumps vith field pipelines. For supplying fuel to the troops and servicing tank columns in the course of combat there should be "tanker" helicopters of large capacity withot of GSM (fuel and lubricant) distribution points could be organized in tho operational depth and in the theater of military operations. By so doing, the dependence of materiel-technical supply on communication lines Is eliminated and the necessity of excessive closeness of supplies to the troops is eliminated.
At the same time, lt is necessary to review completely the system of supply and evacuation with an eye to abolishing the intermediate links. Previously, these vere necessary because the supply ars vas restricted by the possibilities of automotive transport turnaround. With the shiftombined system of supplyvacuation, this principle does not Justify itself. Thorefore, in our opinion, there is good sense in organizing the supply of large units and units vith all sorts of combat provisions and supplies directly from front depots located at various distances from the front line. In this way the reduction of supply time will be ensured and conditions will be created for flexible maneuvering of suppliesront based on specific conditions In the conduct of combat operations by the various troop groupings.
Armies should maintaineserve of materiel (not moreons) vhlch the troop commaador could use to affect the support of the troops operating in the directions of the main strike.
It Is quite clear that the questions enumerated do not by any means exhaust the entire substance of the problems arising before us in connection with the study of the peculiarities of the preparation and conduct of an operation in the initial period of nuclear/missile war. But their statomcnt and correct solution, in our opinion, can promote further development of military-theoretical thought, and the investigation and elaboration of new, more perfected forms and methods of troop combat operations.Original document.