Technological gap between Warsaw pact and Nato in 1989?

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Nodeo-Franvier
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Technological gap between Warsaw pact and Nato in 1989?

Post by Nodeo-Franvier » 12 Apr 2021 16:14

In your opinion how much technological gap exist between Nato and Warsaw pact in 1989? I'm curious about your opinion since only two years later the Nato coalition would easily crush the Iraq army that were similarly equip.

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wm
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Re: Technological gap between Warsaw pact and Nato in 1989?

Post by wm » 15 Apr 2021 22:21

In 11989 the Warsaw Pact still massively used vacuum tubes.

Michael Kenny
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Re: Technological gap between Warsaw pact and Nato in 1989?

Post by Michael Kenny » 15 Apr 2021 22:26

I am sure that The Warsaw Pact would have been just as easily defeated as when the technologically superior Germans totally destroyed them in 1941.......................

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wm
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Re: Technological gap between Warsaw pact and Nato in 1989?

Post by wm » 15 Apr 2021 22:37

In 1940 the Germans supplied the Soviets with their best technology including their newest fighters and the heavy cruiser Lützow (and its detailed plans.)

The difference in (still relatively primitive) technology wasn't that great at that time, it was mostly the quality of the weapons.

gebhk
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Re: Technological gap between Warsaw pact and Nato in 1989?

Post by gebhk » 16 Apr 2021 19:35

I would suggest it was primarily the level of German C&C which was the decisive factor which more than made up for actual deficits in equipment quality. Interestingly, I read years ago an article in professional military journal by chap who regularly played Warpac opposition in various NATO games and significantly more often than not crushed NATO. His view was that the Iraq campaign was not a reliable indicator because the Iraqis rarely if ever actually used Soviet tactical methods. Personally I would add that the issue of air supremacy is a highly significant one in all conflicts from the end of WW1 onwards.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Technological gap between Warsaw pact and Nato in 1989?

Post by Sheldrake » 17 Apr 2021 00:47

Nodeo-Franvier wrote:
12 Apr 2021 16:14
In your opinion how much technological gap exist between Nato and Warsaw pact in 1989? I'm curious about your opinion since only two years later the Nato coalition would easily crush the Iraq army that were similarly equip.
Numbers can be deceptive. The British Army of the Rhine had four Armoured Divisions in 1989 with a paper strength of around 600 tanks. However they needed all the tank packs and spares to keep one armoured division of two brigades with 150 tanks in the field in 1991. I doubt if the Russians gave the Iraqis all their best stuff. The Russians have been good at springing surprises.

The difference between the NATO and WP was not merely about technology. There were doctrinal and motivational differences.

There was an asymmetry in the strategic and political balance of forces. NATO plans were based around the assumption of a period of rising tension and an escalation of confrontation that would give the NATO allies the time to mobilise and deploy their troops, most of whom were reservist or not in theatre. The big NATO exercises such as Able Archer were about practicing the mobilisation of the Alliance. For a number of reasons NATO troops in theatre were far from full strength with most ammunition stored away from the urban areas where the many of the barracks were sited. WP troops in theatre were at full strength and their vehicles bombed up.

A come as you are war started on New Years Eve mounted with the surprise the Soviets achieved in their invasion of Afghanistan might have a different outcome to the standard NATO exercise baased on the period of rising tension.

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Re: Technological gap between Warsaw pact and Nato in 1989?

Post by wwilson » 18 Apr 2021 12:19

Something occasionally mentioned is how rapidly, in a NATO-WP war, the technological advantages would have dwindled. The example I've seen is smart bombs (probably other munitions as well). The stocks of those would have been quickly used, and then the question would become who had the most "dumb" bombs and ability to keep aircraft in operation.

There was a tech gap with some aspects of armament, but I think the old Russian adage of "quantity has a quality all its own" would have weighed in after a week or two of conflict.

Also worth mentioning that European armies were far better than the Iraqi Army of 1991. We tracked things like how quickly the WP could roll their regiments out of their bases, and their response time to alerts was very impressive.

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Re: Technological gap between Warsaw pact and Nato in 1989?

Post by Nodeo-Franvier » 19 Apr 2021 09:52

Did the Warsaw pact have any guided ammunition similar to the one used in the Gulf War?

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Re: Technological gap between Warsaw pact and Nato in 1989?

Post by wwilson » 19 Apr 2021 14:08

Nodeo-Franvier wrote:
19 Apr 2021 09:52
Did the Warsaw pact have any guided ammunition similar to the one used in the Gulf War?
Per Janes "Air Launched Weapons", yes.
The first Russian guided bombs were developed soon after the Second World War and were based on wartime German radio command-guided bombs such as the Fritz-X. . . . the first Russian laser guided bomb, the KAB-500L, which entered service with the Russian Air Force in 1975
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Helmut0815
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Re: Technological gap between Warsaw pact and Nato in 1989?

Post by Helmut0815 » 25 Apr 2021 10:36

wm wrote:
15 Apr 2021 22:21
In 11989 the Warsaw Pact still massively used vacuum tubes.
Electronics fitted with vacuum tubes are much more resistant against the EMP caused by high nuclear explosions than such with solid state semiconductors. So this is not necessarily an indicator for technological underdevelopment. Some NATO systems used in the eighties e.g. the Nike-Hercules AA missiles were also equipped with vacuum tubes.

regards


Helmut

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wm
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Re: Technological gap between Warsaw pact and Nato in 1989?

Post by wm » 25 Apr 2021 17:51

Semiconductor gear could and was hardened against it so it wasn't really a problem. But the civilian stuff isn't going to make it through the EMP.

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