It began with the annexation of Crimea, western Ukraine, the Baltic States, and Belarus but when Russian troops crossed into Poland, NATO finally gave up on appeasement and stepped up to fulfil its treaty obligations. The resulting war, while limited in scope, set a rejuvenated Russia against European decline and American withdrawal.
Prior to the Russian attack, NATO did not deploy troops to Poland for fear of provoking a war and undermining diplomatic attempts to resolve the crisis. When Russia invaded Poland, NATO was caught unprepared, with no ground forces deployed and Polish armed forces fought alone. Despite a growing political crisis in Europe and amongst NATO members, German-based American and British formations were first to mobilise and drive to Poland's aid. Germany facilitated the transfer however continuing political indecision saw German troops held back from direct contact with Russian troops in the initial stages. France mobilised and despatched troops however these were not available immediately, having further to travel.
Unlike the Gulf Wars, American and British formations had no time to fully organise, equip or train before deployment. Units at a higher state of readiness were filled out as best could be achieved, often reinforced by drafts from other units at lower readiness, and quickly sent on their way eastwards. There was no time to assemble complete formations, units were set moving as they achieved acceptable readiness. En route they were attacked by Russian aircraft, although NATO air power was mostly successful in combating Russian interdiction attempts.
Following years of defence cuts and withdrawals from Germany, together with ongoing commitments to and recovery from Afghanistan, the formations available were limited in number and size. Britain could only field a reinforced brigade. As equipment was taken out of storage, there was a frantic search for additional weapons and systems to bring it up to specification. Stocks of spare parts were quickly exhausted as vehicles were hastily serviced prior to hitting the road. Ammunition stocks were a major concern, especially of the highly capable but expensive 'smarter' types. A major problem was the transportation of ammunition, fuel and supplies given that logistics units suffered the brunt of recent cuts and withdrawals. Combat resupply was to prove a real headache.
Arriving in Poland, NATO ground forces headed into combat with Russian forces pretty much as they arrived. Formations had no time to assemble fully and battle groups were hastily assembled from whatever had arrived and immediately sent into action. Mechanical breakdowns plagued both sides and each movement saw vehicles and systems of all types fall out by the road side. When the opposing forces met, combat was of high intensity and stocks of the 'smarter' ammunition types were used up in the first few days. From then on troops had to rely on 'dumb' projectiles.
There were several actions involving NATO attempts to relieve embattled Polish troops, some more successful than others. Russia was less interested in political and geographical objectives and more so in bringing NATO to battle, for her aim was the humiliation and emasculation of NATO as an organisation. As a result, NATO formations were assaulted aggressively as soon as they came in range. Combat was typified by bloody meeting engagements, sometimes escalating into larger scale battles of fire and manoeuvre, where defeat could lead to encirclement and total destruction. Neither side could field a large number of formations and there would be no front lines. Formations were constantly on the move, seeking each other out - reconnaissance units were in high demand and scouts slept when they could. When the enemy was found a race ensued as each side sought to concentrate sufficient strength to outmanoeuvre and destroy the other before enemy reinforcements could arrive. Complete destruction occurred rarely however, as a result of limited ammunition supplies engagements were often short. Several promising situations were abandoned when ammunition or fuel ran low, allowing an outmanoeuvred and out fought enemy to survive to fight again
This is a proposed module.
If you would like to assist or direct the development of this module, click here.