A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 7: Soviet Directives to the Czechoslovak Army on
Operational and Combat Preparations, September 25, 1957
This Soviet directive to the Czechoslovak army enumerates general operational prin- ciples that are to form the basis for training in 1958. It is one of the few descriptions of how the Soviets prepared themselves and their allies for a war in which nuclear weapons would be used. Unlike later documents that are available, this one does not reflect offensive intentions or strategy, but emphasizes a basically defensive orienta- tion in trying to adapt to war conditions after the onset of nuclear strikes by the enemy. At this time, the management of East European forces was still taking place on a bilat- eral basis, not yet utilizing the Warsaw Treaty Organization as a framework.TOP SECRET "crossed out" Copy No. 1Operational Training Tasks for the 1958 Training YearThe basis for operational training of generals, senior officers and staffs in the new training year is to be the study of army offensive and defensive operations with the use of modern means of waging warfare in conditions of the early stage of war.With that, attention should be paid to the following:
mastering broad maneuvering actions, skilful use of forward groups for deep outflanking, surrounding and breaking through to the rear of the main forces of the enemy in order to crush them decisively;
learning to move forces quickly out from under an enemy atomic strike and concentrating them in other most important directions;
improving the actions of forces and staffs during a night-time offensive, of breaking through the enemy defense and crossing water obstacles right away "s khodu";
learning to organize skillfully the order of actions of forces during the day and night in order to provide them with the necessary rest period;
creating an insurmountable, deeply echeloned defense, rooting out "the practice of" organizing it schematically and "with a" linear arrangement of battle zones and positions; "…"
improving the work of intelligence of all kinds. Finding and studying methods of collecting intelligence on enemy atomic weapons, unpiloted devices and radar systems. Learning to determine, in a timely manner, enemy force groupings and weapons, targets of strikes on the battle field and in the enemy's rear against all types of weapons, and particularly for atomic weapons.

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A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991
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