Arms-Discussion Digest V6 #11.2

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Jan 6, 1986, 5:46:00 PM1/6/86
Arms-Discussion Digest Monday, January 6, 1986 5:46PM
Volume 6, Issue 11.2

Today's Topics:

Soviet Defense
reluctance to shoot


Date: Mon, 6 Jan 86 12:10:38 EST
From: Jeff Miller AMSTE-TEI 4675 <jmiller@apg-1>
Subject: Soviet Defense

I'm glad I could get to my computer in time to acknowledge my mistaken views
on the Soviet railroads before it gets written about some more. I swear I'll
never talk about railroads again!

However, I still don't accept any description of the Soviet armed forces
as being purely defensive. I notice that no one addressed my point about GRU
interest in the road infrastructure of W. Europe.

-I made a too-cursory scan of the digests this morning, and apologize for
not taking timeg to properly quote messages-

One discussion on Soviet strength in Europe vs NATO drew a response that
NATO forces' numerical inferiority was deceptive because of US efforts in C3I
and logistics. I can only say that, although our systems are better, these
are not anything new to the Red Army, which is not the antiquarian dinosaur
many believe. Another point was that we shouldn't really count such non-
combat troops as construction engineers. A couple of points: Any soldier
with a rifle is light infantry. The US Army has a higher "tail-to-teeth"
ratio than the Red Army ( the price one pays for those superior logistics and
c3i assets ). If your purpose is to argue Soviet weakness, the support-vs-
combat strength argument is ill-advised.

Comment on Gary Chapman's description of our "dangerous" doctrine of deep
strike, follow-on forces, etc. ( AirLand Battle 2000 ) A study of Soviet
doctrine will reveal that they have espoused the very same doctrine for quite
a few years. ( Exploitive penetrations by Operational Maneuver Groups [OMGs])
Again, if that ( one of the most ageless of tactical principles ) is somehow
"dangerous", point your finger at the Ruskies for doing it first.

Comment on the continuing "good-vs-evil" debates viz the Soviets. My
neo-conservative acquaintances who deplore my agnosticism will probably disown
me, but I don't consider the Soviets the primary focus of evil in the world
today, or however it goes. I believe in Machiavelli. I believe in
Morganthau. I'm a cynic. There's no such thing as a good man (sorry,
Aristotle) and there's no such thing as an evil man. Environment determines
to what extent these qualities are displayed in individuals and groups. The
nature of the Soviet regime and society allow that regime to "get away" with
vastly more than can be done in democratic societies. Talk of "evil empires"
or sqeaky clean democracies where officials could be expected to never lie is
naive, oversimplistic and counterproductive.

Comments on the discussions, now far afield, with regard to the defensive
character of the Soviet navy: It is quite true that the Soviets, lacking
sufficient carriers, are hard-put to compete with us in power projection.
Remember that power projection is a peacetime concept. The writings of
Admiral Sergei Gorshkov, architect of the modern Soviet navy, indicate the
need to utilise the fleet, with its strong mix of submarine, surface combat-
ants and ASW assets in support of land operations against NATO in Europe. In
other words, principle expansion is forseen on the Eurasian land mass, and
naval strategy leans more towards interdiction of US efforts to stop such
expansion than, say, landing the Naval Infantry on Coney Island. Also it is
quite incorrect to state that the Sovs strategy specifically omits power
projection (somebody argued this- I think). Permanently "stationing" nuclear
missile subs off your opponent's shores as a demonstration is a projection
device we've long practiced. They, of course reciprocate. The steaming of
battle groups through the Carribean surely counts. Increased long range/long

duration exercises in the Indian, Pacific and South Atlantic oceans,
demonstrating advanced techniques in supply, refuel and repair are designed to
pointedly demonstrate the Soviets' capabilities in global projection. Forget
not their tri-service demonstations in the very real and hot wars in Ethiopia
and Angola.


P.S. Gorshkov was just recently fired for opposing the removal of operational
control of nuclear missile subs from the navy to the new Strategic Nuclear
Forces (SNF). Since it was he who transformed the Soviet navy from a
self-defense force to a global force, maybe this signals a reversion away from
the Blue-water navy ??? ( I doubt it. His successessor, Adm V.N. Chernavin
is a gung-ho nuke submariner. )


Date: Mon, 6 Jan 86 08:57:00 EST
From: Michael_Joseph_Edelman%Wayne-MTS%UMich-MT...@MIT-MULTICS.ARPA
Re: reluctance to shoot
> Date: Sat, 4 Jan 86 20:13:14 PST
> From: ihnp4!utzoo!
> Subject: reluctance to shoot
> > ...something like 50% of the combantants in WWII did not fire their rifles.
> This is correct and well-known.
> > Most of us have a strong built in mechanism that prevents us from killing
> > one of our own species...
> It should be noted that this is not necessarily the reason for the reluctance
> to shoot. Another relevant fact is that soldiers running squad automatic
> weapons (BARs, Brens, etc.) were much more willing to open fire, and firing
> tended to spread outward from them. This suggests that the underlying factor
> is perception of individual rifle shots as ineffective, rather than evil.
> That was a major reason for the interest in providing all soldiers with
> fully-automatic rifles...
Historian S.L.A. Marshall did a study after WWII in which he noted
the points made above; similarly, the probability of a soldier's
firing his weapon was proportional to his proximity to the BAR man
in a squad. Individual soldiers do not (for the most part) like to
attract attention to themselves, unless they have the feeling that
they can "dominate" the situation. But a major reason that many
soldiers never fired their weapons in WWII was that they never saw
the enemy.


End of Arms-Discussion Digest

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