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    John Lehman and the Western view of Soviet Navy in 1980s

    TR1
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    Post  TR1 Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:36 pm

    Mindstorm, can you elaborate your thoughts on Lehman?

    Thanks!
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    Post  Mindstorm Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:58 pm

    TR1 wrote:Mindstorm, can you elaborate your thoughts on Lehman?

    Thanks!


    My though or opinions have no importance at all ,here i limit myself at refer the military historical facts as seen from the Soviet point of view; the subject obviously would require a very, very extensive coverage ,but today i have a bit of work-free time and i will attempt to cite ,in brief, some of the central points of the question.

    John Lehman, after its promotion to Secretary of US Navy in 1981, immediately begun a surprising and very deep reformulation of US Navy's stance, size, composition, positioning and principles of operation toward an significantly more "aggressive" philosophy ,with patrols patterns and high concentration of NATO naval units very near URSS's controlled sea sectors and buffer zones outside Soviet Navy's "sanctuaries".

    Within less than an year and half from Lehman promotion at Secretary of the Navy in Reagan Administration - after an initial distrust by part of Soviet generals of the effective actuation of a similar [b]clearly suicide plan by part of a new appointed Secretary so young ,inexperienced and moreover devoid of any specific technical knowledge
    - the new Secretary became quickly one of the most "beloved" Western figure and a sort of unexpected blessed gift occurred in URSS favour.
    Among other of its "creative" gems remain also its [in]famous proposal to eventually contrast a Soviet offensive in Europe opening an opposing ground front ,firstly with a successful landing operation in...... Russia Far East and ,then, fighting theirs half-Earth long way toward Moscow through Siberia Razz Razz Razz (no surprise that among the jokes on it one the most common sounded about : "Pray the God to preserve Secretary Lehman in spirit ,in health and.....in charge" Laughing Laughing )


    Those are some of the grave information lacking which ,at the beginning of '80 years, had lead to those suicide decisions :

    1) US military authorities had very scarce information, if any, on the real capabilities and concept of operation of the new series of elements of RORSAT, Upravlyaemyi Sputnik - Aktivny (US-A ) [satellites Kosmos-1176 ,Kosmos 1249 and subsequent] and EORSAT Upravlyaemyi Sputnik - Passivny (US-P) [satellites Kosmos 1220 ,Kosmos 1260 and subsequent] put in orbit just in those years.

    2) NATO Command ,at cause of what described in point one and of warped parameters on the weapons mounted on Soviet ships/submarines and "sleeping" layers of the new active bottom sea mines penetrated in western dossier, had practically no clue on the real average time of designation and range of engagement of allied unities by part of Warsaw Pact's air/sea/undersea based elements and....Ground Missile Forces.

    3) US military authorities had no idea of the dept of exposure and extension of the NATO's Navy key data compromission by part of Walker/Withworth 's spy ring (ironically just John Lehman was forced to admit some years after that in those years URSS was aware of the position of NATO submarines and ships practically all time Rolling Eyes )


    Those are some of empiric factors linked to the Lehman's Navy doctrine :


    1) The backbone of NATO [b]Navy surface elements become stationed practically on a permanent basis well within engagement range of both First and Second "ring" of long range Soviet bombers (and very often outside coverage of ground based NATO Air Force) and virtually all Soviet submarines and ships armed with P-500 and P-700 missiles !!!


    2) NATO Navy Surface AND Submarine Force was denied suddenly the Dispersion factor that had worked up to this point as a strong complicating element for Soviet Forces to pin point theirs position and follow theirs movements ,restricting of several orders of magnitude the search area by part of Soviet air and space based sensor systems (element that togheter with the outstanding capabilities offered by the new RORSAT/EORSAT elements and the data on position ,patrol areas and SOSUS coming from Walker/Withworth 's spy ring created a truly critical as unknow situation for NATO Navy security)

    3) The very high concentration in few sectors of both nuclear powered attack and ,even more, US submarines with strategic ballistic missiles created a situation capable to put in enormous risk the entire bulk of NATO strategic delivery capabilities.
    Unknow to majority of common people ,in fact, is the notion that submarines ,and in particular westren-built ones, are fatally (at cause of the natural medium element where submarine operate - water, a shock wave conductor literally thousands of times better than earth and hundreds better than air - and the peculiar low deepth's limit and lack of titanium double hull) several hundreds of times more vulnerable to thermonuclear explosions in respect to Silo based or ground mobile ICBMs up to the point that the owning of even only a very rough positional coordinate of several dozen of km are more than sufficient to destroy them ,also in group, before those submarines would get any chance to retaliate (theirs times of reaction and delivery are very low for strategic standards) ; the precise delivery ,just in those years ,in plain sea of 15Zh53-2 IRBM's RV had a precise validation aim.....
    From what just said amyone can easily infere that Submarine only factors of protection in a full thermonuclear war scenario are : Undetectability, Dispersion and Depth .


    About this third point (and some references to previous ones )and the situation of those years you can read here :

    http://www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/bitstreams/9551.pdf




    Best regards.

    Flyingdutchman
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    Post  Flyingdutchman Sat Jul 26, 2014 4:30 pm

    Hey guys,

    I am currently reading the book "Red Storm Rising" and the attack on NATO is in the planning stages and they're Talking About enforcing a naval blockade in the Atlantic.

    Do you guys think Russia could enforce a succesfull naval blockade in the mid 80s in the atlantic?
    And how would ships like the Kirov, slava and especially the kiev class be used?


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    Post  Austin Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:17 am

    I dont know how effective and large was the Soviet Navy was.

    But any blockade then as it is now by any party would be an act of war , so any blockade would easily escalate into war by the two parties.
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    Post  Flyingdutchman Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:02 am

    Yes, the plan was that they were already having war with the west.
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    Post  Werewolf Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:06 am

    Flyingdutchman wrote:Yes, the plan was that they were already having war with the west.
    ^

    Blockade in wartime?

    What kind of blackade are you talking about.

    Blockading just the sea ways with ramming with one ship the ones you try to keep away or sea bloackade of civilian transporters or even offensive blockade with sinking ships if necessary, because the last point would make sense in actual war between those parties and that would not be sea blockade but just a battlefield or develope to one, imo.
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    Post  Flyingdutchman Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:30 am

    Werewolf wrote:
    Flyingdutchman wrote:Yes, the plan was that they were already having war with the west.
    ^

    Blockade in wartime?

    What kind of blackade are you talking about.

    Blockading just the sea ways with ramming with one ship the ones you try to keep away or sea bloackade of civilian transporters or even offensive blockade with sinking ships if necessary, because the last point would make sense in actual war between those parties and that would not be sea blockade but just a battlefield or develope to one, imo.


    A naval blockade were they would sink ships That try to break through.
    Especially suppliers coming from the US and naval vessels aswell.
    Hannibal Barca
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    Post  Hannibal Barca Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:50 am

    Back in the days of ww1 and ww2 submarines where cheap and easy to produce. During the 70s 80s where already hugely complicated.
    Although Soviets topped at some 200 nuclear submarines I don't think they could afford to have them around in Atlantic month after month, anti submarine warfare is too good now
    let alone that US had an about similar submarine navy.
    Surface ships are a joke, I bet they will not even leave harbor in such scenario. The only reason why Germans send Tirpitch and Bismark abroad was that strike aircraft at the time had a radius of about 300km and radars where non existent else, even by then a ship under air raids was a dead meat.
    Anyway submarine fleets was not indented to work as blockade or hunter-killer force but more like missile/torpedo carriers with stealth characteristics to heat land bases or infrastructure (satellites?), transatlantic wires and if lucky some capital ship like AC carries. Using Akulas to put down merchant ships 1/10th it's cost and 1000 more in numbers is idiocy.
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    Post  Flyingdutchman Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:01 am

    How usefull would a carrier be in such a scenario?
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    Post  GarryB Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:49 pm

    The Atlantic is enormous... you could impose a blockade around a small island like Cuba, or Germany like the US and UK did respectively in the 1960s and 1914-1918 WWI period, but to say you are going to blockade the Atlantic is like saying you are going to use a finger to stop the water flowing down the Volga river...

    All they could really do is declare any civilian shipping to be banned and sink it as they come across it.

    A few 130mm shells through the bridge of the enemy ship would do the job most of the time but it would make rather more sense to block the Med and the Persian gulf to interrupt the supply of oil to the west.

    Perhaps a coup in Egypt and an alliance with Iran to sink oil tankers.

    the main problem is that the soviet navy was never intended for global operations and global conquest like the UK and then US navies were. A single Echo class sub could be very effective with anti ship missiles and torpedoes at sinking civilian transports and oil tankers but it would be a very inefficient use of such assets.
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    Post  DJJerome Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:58 pm

    Dear Mindstorm,

    During my research for my upcoming master's thesis I came across your comments regarding US maritim strategy during the 1980s. There you make the argument that US planning was "suicidal" for a number of reasons.
    As I'm looking into US strategies aimed against Soviet A2/AD strategies in the 1980s and those against the PRC today, I would be interested if you had other sources than the one provided to back your claims. In particular regarding Soviet satellite capabilities, sub capabilities, and general soviet naval doctrine?
    Do you by any chance have any access or knowledge of declassified soviet documents on the matter? Western sources are of course readily available.

    Best regards

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