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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 99: Scenario of the "Soiuz-83"
Exercise, June 9–August 2, 1983

Two excerpted descriptions of the "Soiuz-83" exercise appear below. The first docu- ment, a Czechoslovak military analysis, describes how the maneuvers fit with new Soviet military plans. It explains that the exercise presumed a Western ability to launch sur- prise attacks in all European theaters simultaneously. This same estimate of enemy capa- bilities can be found in early NATO and American documents from the 1950s where 175 Soviet divisions were believed to be ready to attack almost anywhere yet still remain capable of defending the homeland. A further assumption in the document below is that the West would resort to launching over 5,000 nuclear munitions if the initial assaults failed. In the second document, a letter to Czechoslovak Defense Minister Martin Dzúr, Marshal Viktor Kulikov provides a detailed break-down of how the exercise played out. He singles out the need to destroy the West's "intelligence and diversionary sys- tems," which he describes as "qualitatively new means of warfare," even before the onset of military action, if the Warsaw Pact forces are to have any chance of success.

a) Analysis of the exercise, June 6, 1983

The "Westerners" planned to start hostilities by surprise on June 10 in the morning, and initiate strategic operations in all European theaters simultaneously. "They decided" to organize their main assault grouping in the Central European theater.

The goal of the offensive operation in the Central European theater was to destroy The "Easterners" nuclear missile grouping, ground, and naval forces on the territories of the GDR, ČSSR. and PPr and in the Baltic Sea, advance toward the borders of the USSR and sreate conditions for developing further attack.

If there were a danger that the attainment of the goals of the operation by conventional means would be frustrated, the "Westerners" presumed resorting to the use of nuclear weapons (more than 5,000 nuclear munitions, about 2,800 of which during the first strike).

"Source: "Rozbor operačně-strategického velitelsko-štábního cvičení … 'Sojuz-83'" (Analysis of the Strategic Operational Staff Command Exercise … "Sojuz-83"), VS,OS, 1987, č.j. 75, 174/1, VÚA. Translated by Vojtech Mastny."

b) Letter by Marsal Kulikov to Czechoslovak Defense Minister Martin Dzúr, August 2, 1983

This exercise was carried out in accordance with the plan of joint activities of the Unified Armed Forces of the member-states of the Warsaw Treaty from 30 May to

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