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The Lessons of the Unfought Battles of the Cold War

Jim Storr



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Helion & Company
01 March 2022
What can we learn from the unfought battles of the Cold War? Could any supposed British superiority at the unit level, or superior American equipment and technology, have as much effect on a possible Warsaw Pact attack as the Bundeswehr's apparent mastery of formation tactics?

The Cold War dominated the global events for over 40 years. Much of the world genuinely believed that a nuclear war might break out at any moment. Millions of men were involved. National budgets strained to equip and sustain them. Much of Europe had to endure conscription, tank convoys clogging up the roads, low-flying jet aircraft and large-scale mobilisation exercises. But what do we really know about the Cold War? More importantly, what can we learn from it?

Battlegroup! investigates the unfought land battles of the Cold War on the Central Front. It focusses on the 1980s. It looks solely at high-intensity, conventional warfare; largely from NATO's perspective. It concentrates on the lower tactical levels: from company to brigade, or perhaps division. It considers the tactics, organisation and equipment and of the American, British, West German, French and Soviet armies.

The book discusses what battles would have been fought; then how they would have been fought; and, lastly, what we can learn from that. The first section looks at the strategic and operational setting and the armies involved. The second section looks at the components of a land force; how those components were organised, and would fight; and assembles them into battlegroups, brigades and divisions. Battlegroup! then steps through the tactics of land warfare: delay, defense and withdrawal; advance, attack and counterattack; fighting in woods, built up areas and at night; and air support to land operations. The final section of the book illustrates some of the possible early engagements of any war on the Central Front. It then draws out the major observations and conclusions.

Battlegroup! relies heavily on two previously untapped sources, virtually unknown to English-speaking audiences. They explain much of the Bundeswehr's highly individual approach to defeating a potential Warsaw Pact attack.

This is not a counterfactual history. It does not attempt to say who would have won the Third World War. It explodes some myths. It will be uncomfortable reading for some, and contentious in places. Battlegroup! will be essential reading for anyone interested in the warfare of the last decade of the Cold War: be it as a professional, an academic, or a wargamer.

This book looks at where and how the first battles of the Cold War would have been fought. It focusses on the American, British, West German, French and Soviet armies, and uses sources never previously translated into English. It will be uncomfortable reading for some, and contentious in places.

AUTHOR: Jim Storr wrote high-level doctrine for four years as a Regular infantry officer in the British Army. He then embarked on a second career in analysis, consulting, writing and postgraduate teaching. He has lectured, spoken and taught at staff colleges around the world. His first book, 'The Human Face of War', has been on the reading guide at a number of them. It has been described as 'a superb guide for how to approach the conduct of operation'; a book which 'attacks a lot of things that military folks... take for granted'. Indeed 'rarely has there been a book as good as this for stimulating thinking.'

30 colour photographs, 2 b/w plates, 14 maps, 32 line diagrams, 14 tables
Imprint:   Helion & Company
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9781914059964
ISBN 10:   1914059964
Pages:   312
Publication Date:  
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Jim Storr was an infantry officer in the British Army for 25 years. He served in the British Army of the Rhine for five years in the 1980s. A graduate of the Army Staff College, Camberley, he also worked in the Ministry of Defence, the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, and wrote high-level doctrine. His main interests are now consultancy, research and postgraduate teaching. He was professor of war studies at the Norwegian Military Academy for four years. His published works include 'The Human Face of War', 'The Hall of Mirrors' (on war and warfare in the twentieth century) and a re-appraisal of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain.

Reviews for Battlegroup!: The Lessons of the Unfought Battles of the Cold War

...provides an incredibly concise but information packed look at the organization, tactics, training, and equipment of the respective armies amassed in Central Europe during the 1980s. -- Globe at War

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