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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 110: Scenario for the "Granit-86"
Exercise, December 23, 1985

The Warsaw Pact's "Granit 86" exercise aimed at creating a permanently functioning air defense system in both peace time and war time. As was often the case, the alliance presumed for purposes of the exercise that a NATO attack would take place under cover of maneuvers, and that it would lead to substantial Warsaw Pact casualties. Unlike many earlier exercises, this one assumed that no nuclear weapons would be used. In this respect, it seems the Warsaw Pact was taking account of the West's AirLand Battle concept—an innovation during the Reagan presidency, which involved the coordina- tion of air and ground forces with attacks on advancing Warsaw Pact troops deep to the rear. The Soviets interpreted the new concept rightly as representing an increased offensive capacity on the part of NATO forces. Soviet Army and Warsaw Pact Chief of Staff General Anatolii Gribkov remarks below that the capabilities of new systems, such as the use of helicopters firing uranium-tipped bullets against Warsaw Pact tanks, are becoming nearly as destructive as unconventional weapons.


THEME OF THE EXERCISE

"The organization and implementation of air defense to repulse enemy aggression in the Western theater of operations."

"…"

The aim of the "Western troops" calls for completing the deployment of allied armed forces of the "NATO" bloc in Europe and the eastern Atlantic and, beginning the morning of April 4 (operational time: April 6), unleashing war against the Warsaw Pact countries, all under the guise of preparing and carrying out strategic exercises. Military action in the Western Theater is planned to begin with air attacks involving wide use of guided missiles, guided Pershing-2s, tactical air strikes by Allied 2nd and 4th Tactical Air Commands (Baltic Straits area), aircraft carriers and strategic aircraft, along with the use of precision weapons, with the goal of achieving nuclear superiority and air superiority within the theater.

At the same time, using attacks by ground troops of the Army Central Group and Northern Group heading toward Berlin, Leipzig and Prague, along with cooperation from the Allied air and naval forces, they intend to destroy the basic forces of the "Eastern" troops in East Germany, the ČSSR and Baltic Straits area, and after 10–12 days of fighting take control of the line Bratislava, Wrocław, Poznań, Kołobrzeg.

Further, the plan includes increasing the forces of the first operational echelon by commissioning the second echelons and reserves, then defeating "Eastern" troops advancing from Soviet territory and, after 20–25 days of operation, reaching borders of the Soviet Union.

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