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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 73: The Surrender of Hannover according to
the Polish Army's "Bison" Exercise, April 21–28, 1971
Among the many documents now available about Warsaw Pact exercises, this Polish example provides a particularly optimistic depiction of what was planned. For exam- ple, in describing the aftermath of the surrender of Hannover, West Germany, it was anticipated that the Polish army would establish a loyalist administration in coopera- tion with the Social Democrats, traditionally reviled by communists. This account also shows the level of detailed planning that went into these exercises."…"Due to the capitulation of the Hannover garrison, the Command of the Front has decided to provide assistance to the 5th Army by restoring the city to full function. For this reason, for the disposition of the command of the 5th Army, we direct:
one military police company from the NVA;
one company for the protection of public order from the Army Security Service;
a group of civilian party aktiv members from the SED (20 members);
a group of press and radio journalists from the GDR (8);
specialists in typography and radiophony (12);
part of a front group to secure special propaganda (24 officers, ensigns, and non-commissioned officers).
The groups mentioned above will report for the disposition of the command of the 5th Army today at 6:00 p.m. In the following days the government of the GDR will direct other groups of specialists to the city of Hannover. Each time, the arrival of these groups will be signaled.Responsibilities of the 5th Army command include:
a. to organize the Hannover Garrison Command and appoint one of the senior officers from the 6th Armored Division as commandant of the Garrison;
b. to assign specified forces and equipment from the above-mentioned formations to the commandant of the Garrison. Simultaneously, with the support of democratic forces, to organize the regular police;
c. to organize quick and efficient press and radio information for the people;
d. to form a temporary camp for prisoners-of-war from the crew of the surrendered garrison;
e. to provide full protection and defense for depots and storehouses (both civilian and military);
f. to bring water-works, power plants, and heating plants into operation;
g. to assist the leadership that is being organized with the distribution of foodstuffs from local supplies;

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