MEMORANDUM FOR: Tho Director of Central Intelligence
MILITARY THOUOIPTi "The Nature of Modern Armed
y General of the Army A. Gorbatov
Enclosederbatim translation of an article vhlch appeared In the TOP SECRST Special Collection of Articles of the Journal "Military Thought"c/cr^avnublished by tbe Ministry of Defense, USSR, and distributed down to the level of Army Commander.
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Richard Reims Deputy Director (Plans)
Original: The Director of Central Intelligence
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The Director of Intelligence snd Research, Department of State
The Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
The Director for Intelligence, The Joint Staff
The Assistant Chief of staff for Intelligence, Department of the Army
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W MILITARY THOUGgT: "The Nature ofrmedy General of the Array A. Gorbatov
Followingerbatim translation of an article titled "The Nature of Modern Armedy General of the Army A. Gorbatov.
Thia article appeared in0 Third Issuepecial version of Ycyennaya Mysl (Military Thought) which is classified TOP SECRET by the Soviets snd Is Issued Irregularly. It iswithin tbe Ministry of Defense down to tbe level of Array Commander. 0 Third isaue was sent for typesetting on
Headquarterseartlcle referred to onas
will also advance in lightening manner and achieve victory in the very shortest periods. No, this cannot be, and not for the reason that the Soviet people possess such clearly pronounced advantages as great endurance, patriotism, singlemindedness with their Communist Party and Government, but because war between the two world systemscannot be of short duration!
Speaking of the role of nuclear/missile weapons, In our opinion, it is basically wrong to think, much less to write, that "nuclear/ missile weapons have replaced artillery anduclear/
^missile weapons increase many times the destructive power of aerial bombs and artillery shells, but cannot replace them.has not occurred and will not occur, not because in the enemy's Infantry divisions the quantity of artillery and machine gun tubes is constantly increasing, but because the fate of operations
and war will be decided by the sum total of all forces and weapons.
The last war proved the worthlessness of the theory concerning tho exclusive role of aviation or tanks capable, seemingly, ofdeciding the outcome of the war.ew "theory" hasdecide all the aims of war "with sufficientof nucleargnoring and belittling the role of other types of armed forces. And what should one understand by,ufficient quantity of nuclearf this no one saysand cannot say anything because this depends entirely upon how many nuclear weapons the enemy will have. Much also depends on the extent to which the weapons are skilfully used and on the quality of intelligence. Depending on this, it is sometimeseven with the availabilityarge quantity of nuclear weapons
to achieve such results as can be attained with an Insignificant
of these same weapons.
Let us turn to what Is, in ourery importantconcerning the beginning of war, which should not be confused with the initial periodar. Even though the enemy's combat operations startedurprise attack can strongly influence the course of operations of the initial period, the beginning of war will be counted nevertheless in terms of several days, and the initial
period--in terms of months. The initial periodar, by our accepted definition, extends to the moment of fulfillment of the first ^strategic missions. There is no objection tout when the first strategic missions are planned only in one variant, without considering the situation,he accomplishment of missions is envisaged only on enemy territory, then we cannot agree with this. In order that our military art might not be one-sided, the fact shouldalso be considered that the first strategic missions can also be fulfilled on our territory, in the case of repulsing an enemy invasion, especially in the event of his surprise attack.
The decisionurprise attack will not be made byor cabinets of ministers of imperialist states, buteads of states, or possibly even by one of them, from the other side of the ocean. Their commanders-in-chief may not oven know about this beforehand. The regular, large NATO maneuvers may serve as coverurprise attack. Prior to the moment ofobviously, not even partial mobilization will take place, the normal operation of railroads and air and sea transport will be maintained, and city life will not change.
The possibilityrovocation on the part of the Pentagon is not excluded, when nuclear bombs may be dropped on the cities of NATO allies of the USA and at the same time the whole world will be informed by radio that other "Red" aircraft are beingrepelled at the approaches to the USA, thanks to the perfection of the American antiaircraft defense (PVO) system.
It need not be doubted that the attack on the countries of the Socialist Camp will be accomplished, not during the summertime, as is usual, but in the fall or winter, during the period ofarkness. It may happen that this will coincide with the discharge of older servicemen from the Soviet Army, when the drafted youngsters have not yet completed training.
It is necessary to assume that all ground, air and sea large Nj units of NATO, Including various missile bases, aircraft carriers, and missile-carrying vessels, already have sealed orders, in which
re Indicated tho initial and follow-up mtastons, the departure positions of ground large units, the targets for carrying out missile strikes with nuclear and conventional charges, with aviation, etc. Sealed orders will be openedpecific signal. It also cannot be excluded that during the course ol maneuvers, prior to the signal for opening the sealed orders, ground troops, aviation large units, vessels, and missile units will be moved to those very areas which are indicated in the sealed orders.
Unfortunately, among many of our responsible military chiefs themselves the thought still lingers that we will learn in advance of the strike being prepared and that we will have time to adopt various measuros. In our opinion, there Is nothing more dangerous than such lack of concern. It should be clear that we must always be prepared for the worst. But if we have prior knowledge of an attack being prepared, then, naturally, we shall be able to do much To foresee all the measures connected with minimizing lossesurprise enemy attack is not easy and to carry them out is more difficult, but thought and work must be given to this now.
It Is necessary to suppose, it appears to ua, that the violation of our borders along the entire perimeter will take placewith all forces and weapons available to the enemy, and approximately in the following manner. The air forces, numbering up tohousand bombers, fighters, and reconnaissance aircraft, will fly at low and high altitudes Individually, In small groups, and In subunits of several tens of aircraft. Each aircraft, group,and subunit will have Its own special missions: some will carry bombs with nuclear charges, others with conventional charges, and still others with chemical and bacteriological agents. If the attack Is carried out during the evening of the longest night, then the aircraft will return before sunrise and will be able to ready themselvesaytime sortie. All fighters will also carry bombs, in order to destroy as many of our troop garrisons, airfields, and border radar stations as possible. These fighters after several hours will not only return to their bases, but will also have time to ready themselves for repelling our bombers and to afford cover to targets. All reconnaissance aircraft will cross the border simultaneously with other aircraft to conduct reconnaissance
of miasile launch sites, control and adjustment of fire of their own missiles, the detection of new targets, as well as the Intersection of our radar stations In the zone of Interior during their operation.
The enemy navy will be able to Inflict nuclear/missile strikes not only on sea, but also on land targets located along the shore and ln the zone of Interior of the mainland.
Ground troops, located In the interests of concealment atm from our border, might be on the border at dawn,provided the attack is carried out on the eveong night. The enemy divisions will proceed along separate axes, having the common plan after the surprise nuclear stf ike of broaklng Into our territory and disrupting mobilization. The rate of their advance will be guaranteed by organic and supporting nuclear/missile weapons, aviation, and landings (drops) of airborne forces on the main axes.
Considering subversive activities as third In order of significance In achieving the strategic goals of the war, after nuclear weapons and the combat operations of the troops, especially In the Initial periodar, during the first nights alter the attack, for diversionary purposes, our probable enemies will drop small groups which have been specially trained, from among displaced persons. Special aircraft will disperse tens of millions of leaflets, primarily in the countries of the Peoples' Democracies, with an appeal to the population to aid the NATO troops, to leave work ln enterprises, and to depart from the cities to escape nuclear attack.
It must be notedurprise attack provides the enemy certain advantages which will be more appreciable if we prepare ourselves poorly for repelling the strikes. Therefore, It Is essential to envisage, and when possible, to carry out now such measures as, for example:
beforehand to find alternate sites for border radar stations ln order that they may be transferred there during the time of an alert, leaving mock-ups at the old sites; '
the time of NATO troop maneuvers which aro by their nature suspicious, to move troop units from their places of permanent billeting
on exercises to the field and to take ammunition with them;
conducting regular reduction of the armed forces, to strive not to leave in one city entire large units, to avoid by every means possible the location of large headquarters in cities which might be primary subjects ofnuclear attack;
conditions of the broad development of the construction of industrial and housing installations in the Soviet Union, it Isto try to obtain agreements with local authorities, and sometimes to turn for help also to the central agencies to build military campslarge cities; to turn over existing military structures toagencies as factories, hospitals and schools, and officers' clubs as apartments for the local population;
have copies of mobilization documents of the oblast military commissariat in one of the rayon centersom from the oblast center so that it might be possible to continue worktrike Is made against the latter;
-in caseurprise attackorder troop garrisonesult of which it will not betate to carry out previously assigned missions, to plan an alternate operational variantimited mission;
provide methods for the timely receipt and rapidof information concerning an impending attack and to determine security measures connected with this;
organize precise coordination of radiotechnlcal units, permitting the detectionassive buildup of enemy aircraft and their flight In the direction of our borders, the instantaneous notification of the PVO system, troop garrisons, airfields, naval bases, and other Installations; good organization of notification will secure usoinutes of time; though this Is not much time, with increased combat readiness it will be sufficient to bring all forces and weapons Into action;
.and tis* nruax not be spared. This Is vhy we must not allowand must concentrate all our attention on raising the comi-it readiness of the troopa and their vigilance.
We reject the opinion of comrades who state that "upon the Init] operations will depend the outcome of the war". Because he attacks first the enemy may have success in the Initial and follow-upbut this does not mean that the outcome of the war will be predetermined.
One cannot agree either with the statement that, "after oiny counterstrike the enemy will go immediately over to thehe enemy does not attack to give up his goals easily and go over to the defensive.
The opinion that "the initial surprise strikeB do not frighten us because wearge territory, and the administrative and industrial centers are dispersed over it" is no good athe enemy willtrike not over the entire territory, but on targets of which he has prior knowledge. If we are to speak of territorial dimensions in general, then tbe enemy, if one considers the territory of her allies in various pacts, as well as the expanse of Africa and latin America,erritory no smaller than that of the Warsaw pace countries.
. Is it proper to reassure ourselves with the thought that after our counterstrike, the enemy, "will have undestroyedorder stripepth of several tens ofhat "the taking of this strip will then became the primary mission" of the ground troops, moving'ate ofmU-hour period, and in the depth we shall meet neither operational nor strategic reserves? Ho, this Is not correct, and we should not exclude the possibility of waging stubborn and difficult battles, considering as well tbat our troops may also suffer lossesesult of the initial enemy surprise strike. Jit is Inconceivable that, once having reached enemy territory, we shall not encounter his reserves. But it is alao possible that separate large units of ours,nemy resistance and obstacles encountered, may penetrate deeplyhe enemy dispositions.
Tbe authors of some articles consider that the initial operations will startmall number of combat-ready divisions and that reinforcements will enter later, or not at all. Others even claim that there will be no need for reinforcement because the enemy will have few forces left and It will only be necessary to crush them and occupy his territory. Is it possible to have such absolute disregard for theombat-ready and well-equipped large units of NATO? It Is not an exaggeration if we say that this opinion Is absurd. We cannot assume complete combat Ineffectiveness on the part of the enemy or. similarly, consider our large units approaching from the depth as not providing help. Notwithstanding the large number of obstacles which will be encountered along the path of their progress, some large units will advanceatem, and othersatem,hour period.esult, even those large units which were00 km from the border can be included in the compositionront on the tenth day,fter the front, having repelled the attack, advances onto the territory of the enemy.
The fact must also be considered that even after our counter-strike up toATO Infantry and tank divisions will be on our borders, some of which will Invade our territory, and the remainingoarge units of those available at the present time will follow after the first echelon In one tohour periods. In this case, the essence of the first front operationseriodays) will consist of fierce meeting engagements,esult of which on one axis we shall overthrow the enemy and pursue him, on another will conduct combat with varying success, andhird the enemy may penetrate into the depth of our country. These operations may be conducted with the intensive support of missiles and aviation utilizing nuclear and chemical weapons, with great effectiveness against rear area Installations, communications lines, railroad junctions, and bridges, and with reinforced reconnaissance on both sides. Only after the engagements of these days and after heavy losses suffered by both sides, is the tendency noted to go on theon one axis and on the defensive on another.
The offensive will be characterized by the rapid replacement of one form of combat by another. Swift and skilful operations with the use of all types of troops and good reconnaissance will frequently
Ia connection with tec appearance of new combat weapons, the motorization of troops, and more versatile intelligence, special significance is acquired by tbe rapid evaluationituation and the iiakina;ecision. He who hesitates in searchetter decision or who waits for direction from above, will frequently be beaten.
Some authors think that General Headquarters (stavka)ot assign missions to the front, prescribe forcea, weapons, the direction of the main strike, and the beginning of the offensive. They oppose the selection of the direction of the major strike as an antiquated, harmful concept. This opinion appears to us to be incorrect.
Theirectives and orders to lower-ranking commandiog officers will also have their place in the future. They will not undergo major changes In their content, but will only reflect tho utilization of new combat weapons. The selection of the direction of the main strike and the specification of the forces and weapons for it will remain. Along this axis tbe basic strikes with nuclear weapons will boarge portion of the tank large units will be concentrated, operational airborne forces will be droppednd the services of aviation and other means will be enlisted. It is clear to everyone that we are not referring to some sort ofof groupings.
The recommendation to refuse to surround enemy groupings and toing around them, but to annihilate the cut-off groupings only with reserves and nuclear weapons, is unacceptable. In our opinion. Up to now, the best method to annihilate and capture the enemy haa been to surround him, and for thla reason one cannot dismiss it. Tn the future, despite the thinned-out combat formatters and offensives along separate axes, one must always strive to come out on the enemy's route of retreat, to cut him off, and to surround himortion of one'B forces, while continuing to advance with the basic forces. There will also be Instances when lt will be necessaryortion of the
forces to advance and for the basic forces to surround the enemy. It is not expedient toompact or complete ring, but rather to surround the enemy by intersecting all routes to limit his movement; otherwise he will withdrawew line and will be able to provide resistance even before the approach of his reserves.
Some authors demand that we give up the training of troops In breaking through an established defense of the enemy, because it may be annihilated by nuclear weapons or bypassed. However, tf e do not train the troops In this, thenhortage of nuclear weapons and the Impossibility of bypassing the defense of enemy troops from the flank, we will find ourselvesifficult situation. For this reason, ln our opinion, we must train the troops lnwhich may bo encountered ln war. In addition to this, we do not always know how many and which types of nuclear weapons areIn our depots, much less those which the enemy has. It may be supposed that ln the first daysar nuclear weapons will be used abundantly, and in the succeeding periodore limited manner, because the plants producing these weapons will begin to be destroyed more rapidly than they can be restored. With the limited use of nuclear weapons, the role of aviation, tanks, and artillery will be raised, and we will more frequently encounter positional defense of the enemy.
s The mission of our defense in the future will still remain the disruption of the enemy offensive. Its execution will be possiblethereombination of stubborn defense of the main points and Installations with counterattacks, counterstrikes, and theof nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. The defense system will depend upon zones, positions, and continuous trenches. In order totereotyped-formatlon, and with the aim of optimum utilization of the terrain, the number of zones, positions, and the trenches within them will vary. Their depth and design will not be the same. In this light we consider especially harmful the opinion expressed by General A. Gastilovich against the creation of zones of defense and the continuous trenches within them, an opinion based on tho theory that the troops defending them will be annihilated or bypassed. It Is quite clear that if those troops situated in tho defense can bethen those advancing without benefit of cover are all the more
subject to tbe same treatment. General A. Gastilovlch expresses anpity for amphibious landing force of the enemy on the sea and recommends that they be destroyed by missiles alone'; And why not hit It with aviation and naval forces? He does not recommend the erection of obstacles in places suitableebarkation ofstrikes on the enemy at his most critical moment In the debarkation on shore, but proposes destroying the enemy only on the shore and only with tanks. This Is completely incomprehensible.Original document.