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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 97: East German Intelligence Report
on the Operational Plan of the U.S. 5th Army Corps
in War Time, December 16, 1982

At the beginning of the 1980s, the KGB's top priority was to acquire Western intelli- gence that could help warn of a surprise attack against the Warsaw Pact. The agency's head, Iurii Andropov, had been convinced for some time that nuclear war was a gen- uine possibility and he worried that advances in NATO technology and armaments would give the West a fatal advantage. The discovery of the U.S. Army and NATO operational plan described in this East German intelligence report provided invalu- able information about Western strategies and objectives. Approved by the Department of the Army and adopted by NATO as of January 1, 1981, the general defense plan of the 5th Army Corps implements the strategies of flexible response and forward defense, aiming, inter alia, at defeating invading Warsaw Pact forces, without rein- forcements but possibly with the use of tactical nuclear weapons or mines. The plan also calls for strikes behind enemy lines, and provides for employing chemical weapons, although only in response to their use by the Warsaw Pact. Assuming the East Germans passed this information to the KGB, Andropov must not have been heartened to see how much more confident NATO had grown in its ability to cope with an attack since the 1970s.


PREFACE

Through reliable intelligence we received knowledge of U.S. and NATO planning during crises and in war time for the V Corps/U.S. Army stationed in the FRG. It considers the secret operations plan (OPLAN) 33001 (GDP: General Defense Plan) for the V Corps/U.S. Army. Worked out by the Staff of the U.S. Army Europe, and approved by the U.S. Department of the Army, it has been incorporated into NATO planning after consultations. This OPLAN is the basis of action for the V Corps to lead the defense within NATO's Central Army Group (CENTAG). It consists of two parts, the so-called basic plan (OPLAN) and the attachments. Besides general information on intentions, goals and operational structure to defend CENTAG, the OPLAN has detailed instructions for the V Corps and its related combat and support troops, as well as general orders for cooperation and joint actions. Eighteen attachments with altogether 33 appendixes refer to the operational structure of the corps, boundaries of corps and divisions' areas for defense operations, and guiding principles to conduct the operation and ensure implementation of orders. Also they include guidelines for the use of nuclear weapons and chemical agents. In addition, there are appendixes on plans for outside reinforcements to the V Corps/U.S. Army.

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