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COLDWAROUTPOST.COM

I stumbled across this website while looking for something else last night. Being Generation X means I was one of many that grew up during the cold war and remember it. Nothing makes a mark in the old grey stuff like going to bed every night wondering if you will hear the sirens going off in the middle of the night or if you will hear the ICBMs as the detonate across the country before the one aimed at FT Knox turns you into a walking corpse that glows in the dark. The good old days. I do miss them though. Anyway, the topic is evergreen for me since I never really left the 1980s.


www.coldwaroutpost.com looks to be relatively new judging by the amount of content and the visitor count. It has some great pictures from Europe during the cold war and from both sides of the potential battlefield. Furthermore if you were one of the guys manning the Fulda Gap or sitting in a missile silo, they want to hear from you. It seems to be aimed at collecting the stories from as many involved as it can get.

Above are some godless commies pouring out of the back of some godless commie contraption or other. The BMP? I’m sure some one will let me know. It seems I read years ago that the BMP was a real game changer for transporting troops. It was some what of a new concept or at least a bunch of good ideas put together into a great idea. I’m not military vehicle guy. Again, this is one of those times we are all going to wish Kevin was alive to tell us all about it and link us to some old website detailing it in Russian that none of us can read. I try to give you some of that old experience but no one will ever fill those shoes. Maybe Kirk can step up on this one for us all.

Here is something I know too much about. We got some guys wearing the OG-107 uniform, which believe it or not, is the longest serving uniform the Army ever had. Replaced by the Woodland M81 BDUs. Regular leather combat boots and steel helmets int he Mitchell pattern reversible cover. Green leaf on one side and a brown patter on the other. M16A1s and a M1911 in the leather M7 shoulder holster. Web gear is still the M1965 used before adoption of the ALICE system. No idea about the vehicles.

Go check the website out, it is full of great pictures and info on units and countries involved and growing. Maybe even tell them we sent you.

www.coldwaroutpost.com

10 thoughts on “COLDWAROUTPOST.COM”

  1. You want my take on the whole IFV concept, starting from the Soviet BMP through the West German Marder into the US Bradley, you are likely going to be disappointed in it.

    It’s my opinion that the entirety of the IFV idea is highly flawed, and outright stupid on the face of things. Why? Because the fact is that you’re trying to cram massively different roles into one do-all, be-all vehicle. Which makes limited sense, when you stop and think about it.

    The first fact you have to keep in mind is that the ideal firing position with which to address the enemy is very rarely the ideal place to be debarking the troops for the final assault. I’ve never actually seen one case where that’s been true, ever–In either training or in the real world.

    With an IFV force filled with identical multi-purpose vehicles, the commander is presented with Hobson’s choice: Either he keeps the vehicles (with all their high-value weapons and sensor systems) at an ideal location to use those assets effectively, or he moves them forward to where the dismounts need to debark in order to do their jobs. If he keeps the vehicles where they are most effective, then the dismounts have to move across a bunch of terrain without cover, and arrive on the objective exhausted (or, not at all, ‘cos “enemy fire” is a problem…), or he sends the vehicles forward to drop them at the objective and abandons fire support of the attack. Alternatively, he can halve his combat power by sending some forward to debark, and leaving others to provide fire support…

    The actual number of times you’re going to see someone risk doing a “drive over the objective and drop ramps on the top of it all…” is zero; you don’t risk your vehicles in that close to living enemy infantry (who’re gonna be waiting with all sorts of desperate last-resort AT weapons…) without having your own dismounts clear the place for you first.

    Conceptually, the BMP was designed to be a vehicle for a war that never happened: The Soviets imagined fighting across a Germany that was nuked, slimed, and entirely uninhabitable for anyone walking around without full NBC protection–So, they came up with the BMP, thinking that they’d be able to fight from it effectively across that hellscape. Thankfully, we never found out–Especially for the BMP crews themselves, because the vaunted NBC gear they were given really didn’t work all that well outside of the limited training that they did with it all. Odds are that in the real world, the majority of them would have died from their own poisons before they ever saw NATO troops on the other side of the contaminated zones. A friend of mine was an NBC officer who’d been involved in technical intelligence, and his reaction to any of the various and sundry “experts” pronouncing on how well the Soviets were doing with their protective measures was hearty laughter. He’d actually tested their systems, and none of it worked at all well when presented with realistic test conditions.

    Of course, he had the same opinion of a lot of our gear, as well. It’s a little disquieting when a guy who actually did the development work tells you that you’re best bet for survival is not to be exposed in the first damn place, and that the majority of the prophylactic measures they handed out were there for morale purposes, basically. So much of that was true on both sides–The delusions were quite strong, when you got down to it. If it got to NBC warfare, the odds were excellent that what was going to happen was that they’d essentially create a huge swathe of “No Man’s Land” across Central Europe, and that’d be the end of it all.

    In essence, the BMP was a fantasy vehicle to fight a fantasy war on a fantasy battlefield; it was not going to work out as envisaged. And we, being idiots, copied them.

    You can’t cram multiple different missions with massively different requirements into one vehicle, and have it still be capable of doing any of them properly. The IFV is meant to be a fire support vehicle, capable of dealing with light armor, an infantry carrier, and in most armies, a scout vehicle. By trying to do all of that on one chassis at the same time, you wind up with a fire support vehicle that’s too big to armor economically, which can’t carry enough ammo, either… Along with an infantry carrier that can’t carry a full-size squad economically, and a scout vehicle that’s too big to be stealthy. The Cav scouts call them “Bradley Fighting Barns” with some acerbic accuracy.

    What should have been done, in my opinion, was to create a basic engine/running gear chassis that could take multiple configurations of hull–A basic infantry carrier, a fire support vehicle, a scout, and whatever else is required. The infantry carriers need to be configured only for local self-defense against ground troops, and never, ever equipped such that an idiot commander is tempted to take them into direct combat with enemy armored vehicles of any sort. The very idea is idiocy personified–The guys in back contribute nothing to that fight, and serve only as more potential victims for when that armored vehicle inevitably gets hit, which is going to be far more likely due to the increased size it requires to carry troops, along with the lower amounts of armor it can carry due to that same factor. Instead of building a bunch of Swiss Army Knives, we should have built a knife, a can opener, and a screwdriver all separate. You only pull out the Swiss Army multi-purpose bullshit when you’ve got nothing else–You don’t see professional mechanics using one to work on a car, now do you?

    Different missions require different vehicles, period. The BMP was a typical Soviet kludge, one that did very little properly. The BMP-1 proved to be a death-trap in Afghanistan, mostly due to the fact that the fuel was carried in the rear doors, which were impossible to get out of under fire. The other thing about the BMP was how cramped and uncomfortable it was to ride around in–I can about guarantee you that were you to try to actually conduct an attack using troops who’d been riding around all day in the back of one of those things, under actual NBC conditions…? Most of them would have been either dead due to protective gear malfunctions, outright exhaustion, or suicide. A BMP is that bad; you spend several hours in one just as a passenger riding around the countryside, and I guarantee you that if someone offers you the opportunity to walk another forty miles in a blizzard, you’ll take that option rather than get back into the damn BMP for another hell-ride. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like, under the wartime conditions that they’d envisioned for it–I’m pretty damn sure that it was well beyond human tolerance, and I would not be a bit surprised if there hadn’t been actual suicides among the crew during combat–Especially if they watched other crewmen die from nerve agent exposure due to a failure of the NBC systems.

    The IFV is an unrealistic concept for a war we never fought, and one that I think is essentially unfightable. If the conditions arise such that a BMP-analog makes sense, I think that the war is over and that no real fighting with human combatants is going to be taking place, period. Certainly not the way that the “experts” were envisioning–Nobody can tolerate that BS for any length of time. You leave someone cooped up inside a Soviet-era vehicle using Soviet-era NBC gear, and I wager you good money that most of them are just going to off themselves after enough time goes by. It’s that bad, and the prospect going forward for most of those poor bastards in a contaminated zone is that there’s no hope, nothing to look forward to besides an excruciating death, so… Why waste time? Cut to the chase, and suck-start the muzzle of your AKM.

    Realistically, that’s what would have happened. Once you got slimed in the Red Army, no matter what they told you, you weren’t getting decontaminated anywhere near the FEBA. Combat troops were considered to be expended, disposable–And, once that fact became clear, hooh-boy. Cue the suicides.

    I really have my doubts about the whole thing, TBH. I think that WWIII would have either gone so far out of control by about day two or three that everyone tried the strategic crap, which likely wouldn’t have worked out so well, either, and then we’d have had a stalemate centered on the IGB with a fifty or so mile-wide death zone. The whole thing would have been a massive failure, and left most of Central Europe a charnel house of epic proportion.

    The IFV concept was an attempt to deal with that, and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have worked out very well, at all.

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    • Great comment. I guess what I meant to ask is, was it true that the BMP was this thing that made NATO think it was revolutionary? if it was or wasn’t really worth a damn in reality lets set aside. did it really make them *think* at the time that it was some game changer?

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      • The BMP was a lot like the F-111, the F-15, and the Space Shuttle: The Soviets saw us doing all three, and promptly copied them, thinking that if the Amerikanskis were doing them, then they must really be a good idea.

        We did the same thing with the IFV, which really wasn’t all that bright, TBH.

        I’m a cynical outside observer for the whole Bradley thing; the Infantry branch guys glommed onto that thing ‘cos they thought they’d need it to compete with the Armor guys who were getting the Abrams, and to be a cynical bastard that I am, I think they completely failed to think the whole thing through very well. The movie with Cary Elwes is an exaggeration to be sure, but the spirit of the whole thing isn’t very far off the mark; the idiots-in-charge wanted a be-all and do-all vehicle for all sorts of missions, and utterly failed to think through the implications.

        Not the least of which was turning the mechanized infantry squad into a half-ass crippled fire team. The whole point of an infantry mechanized concept is to carry along the infantry in sufficient numbers close enough to where the tanks are that they can do some good, dismounted. If you halve the number of dismounts you can carry…? WTF is the point?

        The Army is going to have its ass handed to it the very first time they try taking on a peer-level enemy, or even a half-way competent second-tier army. The fact of the matter is that we don’t have anywhere near enough bodies down on the ground where things need to be done, and what was once a squad mission is now a platoon-scaled one–Simply due to the lack of numbers.

        The Marines are the only sane ones on the block, and even they’re losing their fucking minds with a lot of this shit. It’s all about the bodies; you can’t do a mission calling for 11 men with 9, or seven, or five, or three… And, thanks to the idiotic Bradley, that’s about what we’re doing. There simply are not enough dismounts, when you get to it. The other problem is that the carriers are where the firepower is, so that’s where the leadership goes, leaving the dismounts shortchanged entirely.

        What should have happened is this: The basic necessities for accomplishing the Infantry mission should have been laid out, based on what they wanted done. Realistically, that means you need probably a minimum of 11 men in a line squad, three squads per platoon, and a dismount leadership team–RTO, PSG, all the trimmings. Plus, an LT. You try to run that sort of crap from a vehicle, while trying to do the mounted combat job, and you’re only ever going to be able to half-ass it. So, to do it right…? Probably a minimum of a 45-man dismount element, once you add in the platoon support weapons.

        That element needs to be carried by vehicles that aren’t organic to the dismounts; giving them vehicles on the MTOE only creates a huge distraction. The carrier element should be a separate taxi service, and the fire support element ought to be a habitually associated separate element, likely on a ratio of one fires vehicle per squad carrier. I’d go so far as to make the fires vehicle a totally different MOS, maybe calling it “infantry fire support” or something–And, if I did it, those vehicles would look a lot more like a damn tank than anything else–About like the Russian BMPT. Those suckers would be capable of going toe-to-toe with tanks in close combat, if need be.

        The root of a lot of our problems is that we’re trying to do everything on the cheap, manpower-wise. You can’t take or defend a position requiring a 150-man company with a company that’s already down to about fifty dismounts, when all the attrition is factored in.

        It gets even worse, once you start looking at the stupidity we’ve inflicted on ourselves, like stripping the line squads for things like the battalion PSD element, or FOB security/life support. I’ve talked to squad leaders who wound up going outside the wire with five-man squads, which is flatly insane: That’s not a squad, that’s a goddamn fire team.

        And, thanks to the Bradley, that’s something we’ve done to ourselves, trying to keep up with the Joneskis, completely oblivious to the effect on our own capabilities. It’s a lot like your mom, when you were a kid–“Johnny, if all your friends were jumping off of bridges, would you…?”. In the case of the US Army, I’m afraid that the answer is an emphatic “YES!!!!! We love bridges…”.

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    • It’s interesting that the Soviets considered their ground troops disposable, given that this same attitude was one of the triggers of the Russian Revolution in ‘17. Le plus ça change, I suppose.

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      • Soviet mentality was that human beings were fungible resources, at all levels. You see how that worked out, in the long run: The former Soviet Union is still in a demographic death-spiral, and it’s questionable where that’s going to end. My guess is that the Russians are going to be in deep trouble within the next thirty years, and that a lot of the former Soviet Union is going to be lucky if it’s not a howling wilderness.

        Chinese are in the same dilemma–Where do you go when your demographic pyramid is inverted? Is it possible to restart things, or do you lose the ability to recover once you hit a certain point?

        There’s an awful lot of unknown and unprecedented in our immediate futures; I never saw the peaceful fall of the Soviet Union or the rest of the Warsaw Pact coming, and I’m still rather bemused to be alive after the age of 35–I figured I’d be dead in some Gotterdammerung long before I hit that birthday. Where we go from here, I wouldn’t venture to predict, but I will confidently say that it’s going to be messy, and entirely unpredictable. China could collapse into warlord-driven anarchy in relatively short order, or they might lash out as the Party feels like they’re losing their grip. I read the stuff from Hong Kong, and I’m struck by the futility of it all from the standpoint of the CCP–They have to know they’re standing on top of a volcano, and that the moment they quit producing results for the majority of Mainland Chinese, they’re done for. What that means? Who the fuck knows? All I’ll commit to is that it’s gonna be interesting to watch.

        Similarly, the way the elites have discredited themselves here in the West? LOL; once the proles figure out that these geniuses are both idiotic and entirely against them, I suspect we’re gonna see “unrest” that will make 1848 look tame, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see the Mall in Washington DC decorated with the bodies of the deep state and most of Congress before it’s all done. Those cherry trees would look very interesting, with a choice selection of our Congressmen decorating them–And, I won’t rule that out. I won’t be there with the rope, myself, but I can certainly envision a bunch of people getting fed the fuck up with it all, and doing it.

        If I were a member of the deep state or a congresscritter, every time I heard that Kilroy-esque phrase “Epstein didn’t kill himself…”, I’d be getting a frisson of horror down my back, feeling like someone was walking on my grave.

        Mostly, because they are. The times, they are very akin to what the residents of Pompeii must have felt, living on the slopes of the volcano, and hearing the distant foreshadowing rumbles before the final eruption.

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        • It does feel like we’ve entered a period of significant transition.

          I have a hunch that our current elite is too foolish/stupid/insulated/take your pick to figure out what the “Epstein didn’t kill himself” meme means.

          An elite that was more on the stick would not have been beaten by a serial philanderer reality TV host for the highest office in the land.

          And now that they’ve been caught red-handed at FISA abuse and spying, you’d think that they’d be pulling some mailroom clerks aside and having conversations like, “well kid, someone needs to take the fall for this, and if you can do 6 months at Club Fed for the FISA abuse, we will make sure you are set for life.” The Clintons used to be good at that sort of thing.

          As it stands, it looks like we will be treated to the spectacle of Manafort dying in prison—if they don’t send him to Gitmo—and everyone in the FBI getting off with letters in their file or some equally inane non-punishment.

          Our elite does begin to look more and more like the sclerotic nomenklatura of the USSR’s dotage.

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          • I think that the Soviet Nomenklatura might have been more competent; they, at least, knew when to exit stage left. Our current lot here in the US apparently cannot read the tea leaves very well.

          • I wonder if there’s ever been an elite of a global empire that’s been -less- competent than the clowns we have now. I guess they haven’t put a horse in the Senate yet, but given that the average horse is smarter than Sen Hirono, maybe that’s points on the Roman side.

            The transition from the Yankee WASP aristocracy to our current meritocracy-without-merit has NOT gone smoothly. The WASP aristocracy had some noblesse oblige, whereas our current elite seems to have malice oblige.

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