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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 23: Polish Command Post Exercise
Rehearsing Advance to Northern Germany, Low
Countries, and Denmark, June 14, 1963
This is a particularly good example of a command staff exercise report because it shows in some detail how the Warsaw Pact imagined the advance of its forces into Germany and the Low Countries. One feature of special interest is that the document reveals a presumption that before the onset of war the Warsaw Pact would match the secret preparations being made by NATO—a highly dubious proposition. As early as the second or third day following a NATO attack, according to the exercise, its forces were supposed to be in a position to reverse the tide.This is one of a relatively few Polish documents illustrative of the Warsaw Pact's actual planning. Even today, Polish authorities continue to deny access to most records from the Operations Department, and have in fact confirmed Cold War-era classific- ation levels, despite scholars' efforts to gain their release. The reason materials on com- mand post exercises are available is that they were kept under another department— the Department of Combat Training—not of Operations.
TRAINING INSPECTORATE
Attachment part Ifor a unilateral command post exercise using maps on the subject: "Planning and Rehearsing a Combined Landing Operation Within the Framework of an Offensive Operation of the Maritime Front in the Beginning Phase of the War.""…"II. Details of the exercise
1. The Unified Command of the Armed Forces of the Warsaw Pact states, anticipating the possibility of "Westerners" instigating aggression, in accordance with a specific, previously established variant of the operational plan, intends:
with a massive retaliatory strike executed directly following the initiation of aggression by the "Westerners," to defeat the main attacking forces as well as to destroy the main facilities of strategic and operational significance;
with forces located on the territory of the GDR to prevent and break down the attack of ground forces of the enemy, securing the deployment and introduction of the main forces into action;
on the second or third day of war to engage the main ground forces in offensive actions: – the Maritime Front in the direction of: Neubrandenburg, Osnabrück, Brussels as well as the Jutland Peninsula;

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