This article ¨pooves the fact that communism is a mental diseaseThe 1964 operational plan for the Czechoslovak People´s Army (Československá lidova armáda or ČSLA) was the result of the reevaluation of Eastern Bloc military strategy after Stalin´s death. While the Polish plan of 1951 reflects plain defensive thinking whereby the Polish army was not supposed to leave Polish territory and no reference was made to nuclear weapons, a decade and a half later, according to the ambitious imaginings of the then Czechoslovak and Soviet military planners, the ČSLA was expected to operate on the territory of southeastern France within a few days, turning Western Europe into a nuclear inferno.
The principles on which the Polish and Czechoslovak armies based their strategies in the 1950´s and 1960´s mirrored Soviet thinking of the time. Most important question raised by comparing the two plans is this: when did the change in military thinking in the Eastern bloc occur and why? Further, it is necessary to ask when exactly did it take on the characteristics contained in the plan of 1964? Naturally, precise and definitive answers cannot be given until military archives of the former Soviet union are made accessible. In the meantime, material from East European sources can at least hint at some answers.
The Advent of Nuclear Weapons
During the first years after the formation of the Eastern bloc, the Czechoslovak People´s Army – probably like all other communist armies after World War II – concentrated on planning the defence of Czechoslovak territory. The designs for military exercises held in the first half of the 1950´s illustrate this. While exercises on maps as well as involving troops in the field did also occasionally include offensive operations, they almost never took place outside Czechoslovak soil. In a small number of cases, advancing into foreign territory was considered, but only in the larger framework of a successful pushback of an enemy offensive and the subsequent breakthrough of their defence.The vagueness of Czechoslovak thinking vis-ŕ-vis operations abroad is also apparent in the military cartographic work of this period. The first mapping of territory on the basic scale of 1 : 50 000, begun in 1951, covered Czechoslovak territory only. When , under the newly adopted Soviet system, the plan for drawing up military maps of foreign territories was presented a year later, the Czechoslovak cartographers were expected, by the end of the 1950s, to have mapped only parts of southern Germany and the whole of Austria. During the following years, the mapping was indeed based on this schdule.
The change from defensive to outright offensive thinking, which came after Stalin's death, is connected with a reevaluation of the role of nuclear arms. While Stalin himself did not overlook nuclear weapons and made a giant effort to obtain them in the second half of the 1940´s, he did not consider them to be an important strategic element due to their small number. As a consquence, his so called „permanently operating factors“ (stability of the rear, morale of the army, quantity and quality of divisions, armament of the army and the organizational ability of army commanders), which were, in his view, to decide the next, if not any, war, remained the official dogma until his death. This rather simplistic concept completely ignored any other factors. First and foremost, it did not take into account the moment of surprise and the importance of taking the initiative.
Only after dictator died was there room for discussion among Soviet strategists on the implications of nuclear weapons which, in the meantime, became the cornerstone of U.S. massive retaliation doctrine.Consequently, nuclear arms were gradually included in the plans of both the Soviet army and those of the satellite countries. For instance, in the 1952 combat directives of the Soviet Army, nuclear weapons were almost entirely left out. When these directives were adopted by ČSLA in 1954 translated word for word, a special supplement on the effects of nuclear weapons had to be quickly created and added.The extent to which the Czechoslovak leadership was informed of Soviet operational plans remains an open question. In any case, its members were in no way deterred by the prospect of massive retaliation by the West. Alexej Čepička, the Czechoslovak Minister of National Defense and later one of the few „victims“ of the Czechoslovak destalinization, saw nuclear weapons like any other, but with greater destructive powers. In 1954 , he declared that „nuclear weapons alone will not be the deciding factor in achieving victory. Although the use of atomic weapons will strongly affect the way in which battles and operations are conducted as well as life in the depths of combat, the significance of all types of armies […] remains valid. On the contrary, their importance is gaining significance.“Given the nuclear inferiority of the East, such a s casual handling of nuclear weapons was tantamount to making a virtue out of necessity. In all fairness, however, it should be noted that although Western leaders verbally stressed the radical difference between nuclear and conventional weapons, military planners in both the East and West did their job in preparing for the same scenario – a massive conflict with the use of all means at their disposal.
There were, however, fundamental differences in the understanding of this nuclear conflict and its potential consequences. In the thinking of the Czechoslovak and probably of the Soviet military headquarters of the time, nuclear weapons would determine the speed of war but not its entire character. Since nuclear arms considerably shortened the stages of war, according to the Eastern logic, it became necessary to try to gain the decisive initiative with a powerful strike against enemy forces, making use of the moment of surprise. Contrary to the U.S. doctrine of massive retaliation, the Soviet bloc's response would have made use not only of nuclear weapons, but, in view of Soviet conventional superiority, also of conventional weapons. This massive retaliation, in the Soviet view, did not make planning beyond it irrelevant. Contrary to Western planners of the time, Soviet strategists assumed that their massive strike would only create the conditions for winning the war by the classic method of seizing enemy territory. Once persuaded by the preposterous idea of winning a nuclear war, Eastern bloc operational plans looked upon such a war a realistic scenario thereby downgrading any Western deterrent and making a war perilously more realitic as a prospect.
The idea that offense is the best defense quickly found its way into Czechoslovak plans for building and training its armed forces. From the exercise season of 1954/1955 the „use of offensive operations … with the use of nuclear and chemical weapons“ became one of the main training topics and the ČSLA prepared itself almost exclusively for offensive operations. Defence was now supposed to be organized in such a way that the change to counter-offensive operations, making use of moment of surprise, could be swiftly undertaken in all circumstances.Taking the use of nuclear arms into consideration, a military mapping of southeastern Germany stretching to the German-French border was undertaken, from 1955 onwards, on a scale 1:100 000, which was considered adequate for this kind of operation.
It should be noted that the planning of operations using nuclear weapons from the first day of conflict posed difficulties for the Czechoslovak military staff who proved reluctant to engage in such a risky business. In reality, complaints along these lines to the highest representatives of the Ministry of National Defense had no real basis, since the Czechoslovak military staff had neither access to nuclear weapons, nor were any nuclear weapons placed on Czechoslovak territory.
Deep into Enemy Territory
The introduction of nuclear weapons into the military plans of the Eastern bloc and the emphasis on achieving the moment of surprise greatly influenced the role and understanding of ground operations. The main task of ground forces now was to quickly penetrate enemy territory and to destroy the enemy´s nuclear and conventional forces on his own soil, thus protecting a great part of their own territory and population.
The ambition to reach take Lyons on the 9th day of the conflict, as outlined in the 1964 plan, did not appear overnight. Until the late 1950s, offensive operations of the ČSLA during exercises ended around the 10th day of fighting no further west than the Nuremberg-Ingolstadt line.
These exercise designs show that the so-called Prague-Saarland direction (Prague-Nuremberg-Saarbrücken) was clearly favoured over the Alpine direction Brno-Vienna-Munich-Basel.With the aim of enhancing the mobility of the army and coming closer to the ambitions reflected in the 1964 plan, the Czechoslovak military staff, upon order of the Soviet military headquarters, began a relocation of military forces in 1958 which concentrated the maximum number of highly mobile tank divisions in the western part of the country. Also as one of the lessons of the ongoing Berlin crisis, the military institutionalization of the Warsaw Pact led to the creation of individual fronts. In this new framework, the CSLA was responsible for one entire front with its own command and tasks set forth by the Soviet military headquarters.Before these organizational changes were implemented, they were already applied in military exercises where the newly created fronts were to be synchronized. While the designs of the exercises and the tasks of the participants cannot be considered an exact reflection of operational planning, they show that the time to reach certain lines on the western battlefield had been gradually shortened and that the depth reached by Czechoslovak troops had been enhanced. In one of the first front exercises in 1960, the ČSLA was already supposed to operate on the Stuttgart -Dachau line the 4th day. The operational front exercise of March 1961 went even further in assuming that the Dijon-Lyon line would be reached on the 6th-7th day of operations. At the operational front exercise in September 1961, the Czechoslovak front practised supporting an offensive by the the front made up of Soviet and East German forces. In this framework the line Bonn-Metz -Strasbourg was to be reached on the 7th and 8th day. An exercise conducted in December 1961 gave the Czechoslovak front the task of reaching the Besancon-Belfort line on the 7th day of operations.
From the early 1960s onward, massive war games with similar designs were undertaken in Legnica, Poland, in the presence of commands of individual fronts. The assumed time span and territory covered in these exercises already reflected the thinking of the 1964 plan.
The Czechoslovak was not given the main strategic task on the Central European battlefield which was represented in the Warsaw Pact plans by the Warsaw-Berlin axis. For instance, during the joint front exercise VÍTR (Wind) besides taking Nancy, France, the Czechoslovak front was „to be prepared to secure the left wing of the Eastern forces [the Warsaw Pact – P.L.] against the neutral state [Austria – P.L.] in case its neutrality was broken.“
Due to the greater number of nuclear weapons in the Soviet hands, the Soviets became more cautious in the way they planned to use them. If the military planners initially considered the use of nuclear arms right from the beginning of conflict, which was supposed to be set off by a massive strike from the West, gradually the term ‘preemptive nuclear strike’ entered into the operational considerations of the ČSLA. A massive nuclear strike was supposed to be used only if three sources confirmed that the enemy was about to use nuclear weapons.
Although still far from nuclear parity with the U.S., due to the greater number of nuclear weapons they possessed, the Soviets began to regard them not merely as weapons like any other. For N.S.Khrushchev, who in 1957-1958 succeeded in his power struggle, nuclear weapons were both a tool to exert political pressure and a military deterrent which would discourage the other side from using them. Thus a further demilitarization of ther Cold war could be achieved through cuts in ground forces. Consequently, nuclear weapons acquired an even more prominent role in planning for massive retaliation. The Czechoslovak military headquarters of this period hinted at this as follows:
For the states of the Warsaw Treaty and specifically for the ČSSR, it is important not to allow the enemy to make a joint attack and not to allow him to gain advantageous conditions for the development of ground force operations and thus gain strategic dominance. Basically, this means that our means for an atomic strike must be in such a state of military readiness that they would be able to deal with task of carrying out a nuclear counter strike with a time lag of only seconds or tenths of seconds.
Flexible Response ŕ la Warsaw Pact
The US move from massive retaliation to flexible response during the early 1960s brought changes to the strategy of the Warsaw Pact. Somewhat later, the new thinking also entered the exercise plans of the ČSLA. According to the training directives of 1964, the ČSLA was supposed to carry out training for the early stages of war not only with the use of nuclear weapons but, for the first time since mid-1950s, also without them. At a major joint exercise of the Warsaw Pact in the summer of 1964, the early phase of the of war was envisaged without nuclear weapons.However, flexible response as conceived by the Warsaw Pact was not a mere mirror-image of the Western version. The U.S. attempt to limit conflict to a supposedly acceptable level by introducing „thresholds“ and „pauses“ resulted from an agreement between political leaders and the military who pretended to know how to prevent it from developping into s nuclear nightmare. In the East, on the other hand, the concept was based only on a military – and probably more realistic – assessment according to which a conflict was, sooner or later, going to escalate into a global nuclear war. In the words of the the Minister of National Defense Bohumír Lomský:
All of these speculative theories of Western strategists about limiting nuclear arms use and about the spiral effect of the increase of their power have one goal: In order to start a global nuclear war, they want to stay in the advantageous position for the best timing of a joint nuclear attack in the given balance of power circumstances. We reject these false speculative theories. Each use of nuclear arms by an aggressor will be answered with a joint nuclear offensive using all the means of the Warsaw Pact countries, on the whole depth and aiming at all targets of the enemy coalition.
We have no intentions to be the first to resort to the use of nuclear weapons. Although we do not believe in the truthfulness and the reality of these Western theories, we cannot discount that the imperialists could try to start a war without the immediate use of nuclear arms on our battle fields. That is why we must also be prepared for this possibility.
In line with this crude thinking, the Czechoslovak, and most probably the Soviet generals assumed that there was only one threshold, i.e. that between conventional and nuclear war. Warsaw Pact thus stood somewhere between massive retaliation and flexible response.
According to some contemporary accounts, it was in this period that the term of preemptive nuclear strike appeared in Warsaw Pact plans. A massive nuclear strike was supposed to be used only if three sources had confirmed that the enemy was about to employ nuclear weapons.
All exercises carried out in the following years make it clear that the use of nuclear weapons was expected no later than the third day of operations. However, exercises that counted on the use of nuclear arms from the very beginning were also no exception. In any case, the Czechoslovak war plan of 1964 shows how little the Eastern planners believed in relevance of Western flexible response. Not only does it not consider the possibility of a non-nuclear war, but it assumes that the war will start with a massive nuclear strike by the West.
The Czechoslovak Plan of 1964
Considering the great degree of secrecy surrounding these documents, only a few people in the 1960s had direct experience or contact with the 1964 Czechoslovak plan. However, several sporadic accounts make at least some sort of conclusions possible. The plan was the first of its kind to have been drawn up in the ČSLA, in the aftermath of the Berlin crisis. According to the late Václav Vitanovský, then Chief of Operations, the plan came about as a result of directives from Moscow. These directives were then worked into operational plans by the individual armies. Vitanovsky explained: "When we had finished, we took it back to Moscow, where they looked it over, endorsed it and said yes, we agree. Or they changed it. Changes were made right there on the spot."
The orders for the Czechoslovak front stated that the valleys in the Vosges mountains were to be reached. Undoubtedly, this was meant to prepare the way for troops of the second echelon made up of Soviet troops.
The 1964 plan remained valid until at least 1968 and probably much later. However, already in the mid-1960s, a number of revisions were undertaken. According to contemporary accounts, the Soviet leadership was afraid that the Czechoslovak front was not capable of fullfilling its tasks and, accordingly, the territory which was assigned to ČSLA shrank. To support the ambitions of the 1964 plans, since 1965 Moscow were trying to impose the stationing of a number of Soviet divisions on Czechoslovak territory. Furthermore, in December 1965, the Soviets forced the Czechoslovak government to sign an agreement on the storage of nuclear warheads on Czech soil. Both these measures only became feasible after the Soviet invasion in 1968.
PETR LUŃÁK specializes in European security issues. A Czech foreign service officer, he is currently on the staff of the NATO Office of Information and Press in Brussels. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington and has taught security studies at Charles University in Prague.
According to these rather theoretical considerations, the ČSLA was to reach the Alps 17 days after pushback of the enemy attack. Cf. exercises of the ČSLA air force command of July 1952 on the topic Air support for striking operations of the army, Vojenský historický archiv Vojenský ústředního archivu (VHA VUA - Military Historical Archive of the Central Military Archives, Prague, Czech Republic), fond Ministerstvo národní obrany (MNO - Ministry of National Defense), 1952, box 280, sig 83/1-4, c.j. 46577.
During the existence of the Eastern bloc, the ČSLA used the largest scale of 1: 25 000 exclusively to map the territory of Czechoslovakia and some operationally difficult areas in Western Europe, i.e. the Rhine and Main river valleys and other major rivers in West Germany. Cf. Summary of maps of the 1: 50 000 scale in the 1946 system. Planned outlook of cartographic works at 1: 50 000 – foreign territory, VHA VUA, MNO/Operations, 1952, box 369, sig. 97/2, c.j. 2131.
The change in strategic thinking and ensuing discussions among Soviet strategists, taking place in the journal Vojennaja mysl, are described by Herbert S. Dinerstein in his book War and the Soviet Union: Nuclear Weapons and the Revolution in Soviet Military and Political Thinking, New York, 1959 and by R. Garthoff, Soviet Strategy in the Nuclear Age, New York, 1958.
VUA, MNO, 1954, box 22, sig. 80 5/1-57, c.j. 0037.
Statement of the Minister of National Defence, Alexej Cepicka in an analysis of the joint troop exercises on September 29, 1954, VHA VUA, MNO, 1954, box 446, sig. 832/1 – 130, c.j. 3600 – GS/OS.
Guidelines for the operational preparation of generals, officers and the staff of all types of services for the training period of 1955/56, VUA, MNO, box 596, sig. 83, c.j. 5800.
Analysis of the command-staff exercises of June 1958, VHA VUA, MNO, box 310, sig. 17/2 – 28, c.j. 4813 – OS. Theses on the organization of the defense operations command at the level of army divisions. VHA VUA, MNO, 1957, box 327, sig. 17/7 – 32, c.j. 2395 – 08/1957. VHA VUA, MNO, 1957, box 326, sig. 17/1 – 13, c.j. 1803 - OU.
Guidelines for operational-tactical preparations of the generals, officers and staff of all types of forces. VHA VUA, MNO, 1958, box 310, sig. 17/3-8, c.j. 5000-08/1958.
The design of the mutual and two-tiered exercise of the commanders and staff in March 1958, VHA VUA, MNO, 1958, box 311, sig. 17/3 – 28, c.j. 1730. Analysis of the military staff exercises from June 1958, VHA VUA, MNO, 1958, box 311, sig. 17/2-28. Analysis of the operational exercises of the commanders of April 1959, VHA VUA, MNO, 1959, box 300, sig. 17/3-8, c.j. 9083.
This is also reflected in the recommendations of the Czechoslovak military cartographers and strategists in 1959. See Zapadnyi teatr vojennych dejstvij, VHA VUA, MNO, 1959, box 300, sig. 17/7-9, c.j. 8576 – OS/59.
See Principles for the new relocation of the Czechoslovak People’s Army, VUA, MNO, box 312, sig. 18/3-14, c.j. 3764 – OS/1958. See also sig. 18/3/67, c.j. 4395/OS.
The formation of the front included almost all Czechoslovak ground troops: 15 mobilized divisions arranged into 3 armies, the air force, an airborne brigade and the accompanying technical and rear equipment. The command was given to the general staff of the ČSLA; the chief-of-staff became the commander of this front.
Analysis of joint exercises at the Ministry of National Defense in 1960, VUA, MNO, 1960, box 394, sig. 6/5, c.j. 17989-OS/1960, VUA, MNO, 1961, box 347, sig. 17/1-4, c.j. 1659/OS-1961. VUA, MNO, 1961, box, 347, sig. 17/2-24, c.j. 4135. VUA, MNO, 1961, box 348, sig. 17/2-31, c.j. 4922/21.
Exercise Wind (Vítr), VHA VUA, MNO, 1962, box 304, sig. 17 2/13, c.j. 12650/1962. VHA VUA, MNO, 1962, box 305, sig. 2-15, c.j. 12130.
Lecture On the Character of Present-day War, VUA, MNO, 1961, sig. 4 1-6, c.j. 16196 - NGS.
Based on experiences with the Sputnik exercises, one of the main tasks for the exercise season of 1965/66 was set to be the training of operations without the use of weapons of mass destruction. See Guidelines for the preparation of generals, officers and warrant-officers of the Ministry of National Defence in 1965, VUA, MNO, 1964, box 269, sig. 17/1-5, c.j. 1400/19.
Exercise Sputnik, VUA, MNO, 1964, box 270, sig. 17/2-3, c.j. 11500/108-54/1964.
Conclusions from the exercise October Storm on October 16-22, 1965, VUA, MNO, 1965, box 242, sig. 4/4, c.j. 17841.
In the 1960s, Václav Vitanovský was considered a guru of Czechoslovak military thinking. In 1964 he published a textbook on the theory of strategy and doctrine. He was deposed already in 1967 for coming into conflict with the Soviet generals, who pressed the Czechoslovak military headquarters to raise military expenditures and number of troops.
Minutes of the analysis of General Major Václav Vitanovský of November 20, 1990. Institute of Modern History, collection of the CSFR’s Government Commission for the analysis of the years 1967-70, R-105. Unfortunately, half of the interview have been lost. Colonel Karel Štěpánek, Chief of the Operations Room at the General Staff at the time and another participant in the preparation of the 1964 plan, also confirmed this procedure in an interview with the author.
The mapping of Western Europe during the 1970s and 80s also seems to confirm that the 1964 plan was valid until the second half of the 1980s. It is apparent from the plan of map renewal in the 70s and 80s for individual Warsaw Pact countries, that the CSLA was still responsible for the same area as during the 1960s. The same goes for the scale of 1: 100 000. See Plan utocnenija sovmestnych rabot geograficeskich sluzb armij gosudarstv-uscastnikov Varsavskogo dogovora po obnovlenii topograficeskich kart na 1972-1975 gody, VHA VUA, fond Varsavska smlouva (VS), Topo, c.j. 004/75-12. Also see, Plan utocnenija ucastnikov Varsavskogo dogovora po obnovlenii topograficeskich kart na 1976-1980 gody, VUA, VS, Topo, c.j. 5643/4.
source with much more interesting articles:
EDIT: when Im at home i will add high res of map of CSLA military plan
Last edited by Abbadon the Despoiler; 04-24-2008 at 07:28 AM.
Thanks for the article. It`s interesting to see how the evil doers viewed the cold war
here re some stats of military Warsaw plan (1961) - taken from book "CSLA on the Rhine"
Seaside front (Poland) - 15 divisions (11 polish, 4 soviet)
from that 11 mechanised infantry and 4 tank divisions with 3180 tanks in total. They would have "liberate" Baltic oceanfront.
2nd West front (SSSR) - 18 divisions (13 soviet, 5 east german)
from that 11 mechanised infantry and 7 tank divisions with 4080 tanks in total. Berlin-Paris axis.
1st West Front (SSSR) - 23 divisions (12 soviet, 6 polish, 5 east german)
from that 13 mechanised infantry and 10 tank divisions with 5340 tanks in total. Frankfurth-Luxemburg-Paris axis.
Czechoslovak front (CSSR) - 15 divisions (14 czechoslovak, 1 soviet eventually)
From that 9 mechanised infantry and 6 tank divisions with 3420 tanks in total. Its targets were PRAGUE-NÜRNBERG-STUTTGART-STRASBOURG-EPINAL-DIJON-LYON
All those four "first to fight" forces had 71 all military divisions in total.
SSSR - 31 divisions
Poland - 17 divisions
GDR - 10 divisions
ČSSR - 14 divisions
In their way was 28 "first to fight" NATO divisions
Belgium - 2 divisions
France - 4 divisions
Dutch - 2 divisions
Great Britain - 3 divisions
USA - 5 divisions
FRG - 12 divisions
To help advancing communist "liberators" there were also nuclear weapons as part of the "previous mass nuclear strike".
Plans for usage of nuclear weapons in on behalf of Czechoslovak front:
131 nuclear strikes in total (!) with 96 rockets and 35 atomic bombs.
41 in first nuclear strike
29 during fulfilment of closer mission
49 during fulfilment of another mission
Last edited by Abbadon the Despoiler; 06-12-2008 at 06:37 AM.
Anybody has an idea what tanks these were? All t-54/55? Maybe additional 20 000 T-34's and T-10's e.g. in reserve?
Against NATO's M-47 and -48's...
heres short, very interesting article about CSLA military tactics, plans and doctrine only in czech, sorry.
In history Of Polish Peple Republic there was only one time of significant growth of volunteer access to the army. It was during Korean War. Many Young Poles believed that Polish troops would be send to North Korea to fight against Americans. And believed that this is the only opportunity to leave communist block by changing sides...
Soviets wasnt very happy with the fact that CSLA was only part of attack force without larger soviet presence. Im too lazy to translate right now but since you probably speak czech you may find this interesting:
about original document
[SIZE=3]The Operational Plan of the Czechoslovak People's Army for the War Phase of 1964 - Was it a Real Operational Plan?
by Peter Veleff and Hans Werner Deim [/SIZE]
The Czechoslovak document referred to in this discussion was published in spring 2000 by the 'Parallel History Project on Nato and the Warsaw Pact' (PHP) on the Internet.  It has attracted considerable attention in the western media, given that it was presented as the first genuine record of 'hard' planning in the Warsaw Pact.  According to the head of the PHP, Prof. Vojtech Mastny, the document was discovered by Dr. Petr Luňák  in the Central Military Archive in Prague. Other historians have discussed the paper  , and a number of former senior high-ranking officers have contributed to the discussion with their personal experience and opinions.  They all tacitly assume that the document published was the real operational plan of the Czechoslovak People's Army (CLA) for the year 1964.
This assumption is, however, open to doubt. The paper does not contain all the elements required in a 'hard' operational plan for a real war, which would have to provide the basis for further plans, decision-making and orders given by commanding officers and troop headquarters at lower levels. Further doubts as to whether this was a plan document in the true sense, as opposed to a document on a military exercise or merely a study, with a number of possible uses, emerge from the following considerations:
1. According to Petr Luňák, he found the document in the Central Archive of the former CLA. Clearly, no other similar 'hard' planning documents are held in the archive, or have been discovered so far. We have no information on the wider context of the document or the general dossier under which it was categorised. Given that, on the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1990, the National People's Army of the GDR (NVA) was required to return all 'hard' operational plans, which had always been kept separately in special safe storage locations, to the USSR General Staff, and given that the same situation applied to the Polish Army, it is difficult to see why a different procedure would have been followed in the CLA, leading to a single operational plan for the year of 1964 being left in a Czech general archive. This seems unlikely, in view of the strict controls imposed by the Soviet General Staff for all Warsaw Pact hard planning documents.
2. The military operations envisaged in the document were unrealistic, at least for the year 1964:
a) At that time, the CLA did not have - even in conjunction with Soviet units at the same front - the strike power or level of troop motorization that would have been required to cross the Rhine to be in position on a line from Langres to Besançon on the planned Nuremberg-Stuttgart-Strasbourg-Epinal-Dijon axis in just eight days, ready to advance on Lyon, given the assumptions contained in the plan as to the devastating impact of energy attacks and the NATO response  . This is particularly the case in view of the frequent use of atomic weapons by both sides envisaged in the plan  .
b) According to Lieutenant General Alfred Krause  , the expectations (at least at the fronts in the North German strategic direction) were as follows:
- that, in a first phase of the war, it would be possible to halt a NATO attack within 3-8 days, after which, in a second phase, with the help of the second strategic echelon (which would first have to be brought to the scene), the actual counteroffensive could begin; and
- that a first phase of the counteroffensive would aim to reach the Rhine, which would be crossed only in a possible second phase. 
So how could the forces of the 'Czechoslovak front' be so far ahead, at the gates of Lyon after nine days, when the northern (main) fronts had only just won the hard defensive struggle against NATO forces? Quite apart from the fact that, according to Lieutenant General Krause, losses of not less than 50 percent were expected in the first strategic echelon in the first phase of a defensive campaign to fight off a NATO attack, which at the very least would have significantly slowed the speed of their advance. Admittedly, Krause is talking here of planning assumptions later than 1964; however, his comments do indicate that the Soviet General Staff was operating on much more realistic premises than those seen in this particular plan.
c) The rate of advance envisaged in the plan was also out of step with NATO calculations. At that time, NATO planning for these sectors envisaged a campaign with delaying tactics for a period of days and weeks, until NATO would be able to withdraw behind the Rhine. In 1964, it was even assumed that NATO would be able to mount a sustained defence at the FRG/GDR border or FRG/Czechoslovakia border.  So for this reason, too, an advance by Warsaw Pact troops (through an area severely contaminated by radioactivity!) to be inside France in only nine days was not realistic. Indeed, US General Odom describes this plan as 'a fantasy'.
'It may have been a fantasy, far beyond what the Czechoslovak military could execute.'
d) On the matter of how serious the document was, Professor Mastny has also commented as follows:
'How serious was the plan?
There is no reason to doubt that the plan was meant to be implemented in case of war - as were similar US and NATO plans for massive use of nuclear weapons of whose existence we know. The weapons were on hand and the command structure necessary to make them fly, in this instance the Soviet general staff and its subsidiaries, was also in place, ready to push the buttons if the political leadership gave the appropriate signal. Throughout the Cold War, both sides consistently assumed that the action that would trigger the signal would be aggression by the other.
The Soviet generals, however, were no fools. They knew well enough that NATO was preparing for a defense against them. But they were so mesmerized by their still vivid memories of the very nearly successful German surprise attack on their country in 1941 that they could not imagine any other reliable strategy than of striking at the enemy before he could strike at them. In fairness to them, it should be noted, that this was the same strategy NATO was trying to develop to fend off the dreaded Soviet surprise attack, although it never figured out how this could be done without launching a pre-emptive strike, which the alliance was structurally unable to do even it wanted to. The difference between the two strategies was on the ground - the Soviet unabashedly offensive, the Western unavoidably defensive.'
Contrary to our own view, Professor Mastny is convinced that the document is a real operational plan for 1964. Even he, however, has doubts as to whether such a plan could have been implemented:
'The design presupposed that the detonation of an undetermined number of nuclear warheads by both belligerents would not prevent Warsaw Pact troops from marching unscathed through the wasteland while on the home front the surviving civilians, if there were any, continued going about their daily business fit enough to help bring the war to a victorious conclusion. Believing in fighting a war according to such a blueprint was believing in fairy tales. Yet people do believe in fairy tales and sometimes even act upon them until it might be too late.'
Unlike Professor Mastny, we do not see the Soviet General Staff as believers in fairytales. These were sophisticated thinkers on strategic, tactical and operational issues, who addressed real situations, calculated realistically and were coolly and objectively able to assess the situations they faced. Hence, it is very doubtful that the Soviet General Staff could ever have given the stamp of approval to such an operational plan and incorporated it into its actual planning processes. Even if it had, such a document, rather than being stored in a central archive, would have been given the maximum classification, placed under strict controls and taken to a special safe storage facility for 'hard' operational plans. The document must have been prepared for other purposes.
e) According to contemporary witnesses of the NVA, 'hard' operational planning in the Warsaw Pact went no further than up to the French border.  An operational plan extending as far as Lyon would conflict with that information. The information provided by these NVA contemporary witnesses was also confirmed in an interview with former Czech Colonel Stepanek. The possibility of optimistic notions of such advances into France still prevailing as late as 1964 cannot be excluded altogether, however. We return to this question below.
If, for all the above reasons, the document discovered in Prague was not a genuine 'hard' Warsaw Pact war plan, what was it?
A. Authenticity of the document as such:
According to Petr Luňák, the paper was a genuine document, bearing the signatures of senior Czechoslovak politicians and military officials.
Enquiries conducted via a former highly placed officer in the GDR Directorate-General of Intelligence (HVA) with former Czechoslovak colleagues from the intelligence sector appear to confirm this: 'The document is genuine. The people referred to held those positions at that time. Why the document was drafted is not entirely clear, but it is certainly not a forgery.'
B. Content of the document:
A careful study of the document by Petr Luňák shows that after the death of Stalin (1953) there was a change in Soviet military thinking, from an initially defensive posture to a clearly offensive one. Stalin's death also allowed Soviet generals, for the first time, to discuss the use of nuclear weapons in operational plans. Accordingly, the military planners of the CLA also began to consider the use of nuclear weapons as a possible scenario in the missions assigned to Czechoslovak forces. At that time, nuclear weapons were initially seen less as a deterrent than as 'weapons like any others only with greater destructive effects'.  Thus, the use of nuclear weapons in the context of counteroffensives, with all available military means in response to a NATO attack, became part of the operational planning approach in the Czechoslovak General Staff. This was linked to the perceived possibility of rapid incursions deep into the territory of the aggressor to reach and destroy centres of the enemy's power.
The idea formulated in the Czechoslovak document of 1964 of rapid advances by armoured motorized troops supported by the use of atomic weapons, penetrating into French territory within a matter of a few days, was therefore fully consistent with the operational thinking of Czechoslovak officers at the time, combined with a marked underestimation of the impacts of the use of such weapons (shared by both military alliances!) on their own mobility. As Luňák demonstrates, scenarios of this type were also reflected in operational exercises or planning games of the CLA, by cutting back the times allowed to reach particular territorial lines. Thus, the scenario whereby the Czechoslovak front would be able to reach a Dijon-Lyon within only 6-7 days was also regarded as possible in a CLA operational exercise of March 1961. 
Thus, the content of the document would appear to establish its authenticity as proof of CLA operational thinking at the time. However, this does not mean that it presents a true picture of 'hard' strategic operational planning within the Soviet General Staff. To have that status, it would have required prior approval from the Soviet Head of General Staff. It would then be marked accordingly in the document header, but this is not the case. Furthermore, a real, 'hard' planning document would be prepared not in one copy only (as indicated in the header of the hand-written document), but rather in duplicate or, if necessary, in triplicate.
Given that this paper has consistently been viewed in PHP research studies as the only real planning document ever to have been available to historical researchers - both in the east and in the west -  we provided a reliable contemporary witness and expert in eastern European military planning  with a copy of the original, which is a hand-written document in Russian, and discussed the contents with him. His assessment is as follows:
C. Assessment formulated by Major General (ret.)Hans Werner Deim (Head of Operations, NVA)
Having studied the document, I am able to make some quite definite statements in reply to your questions regarding the 'Operational Plan of the Czechoslovak People's Army'.
First: In the entire history of planning relationships with the Soviet General Staff, there was never any such thing as 'plany ispolzovaniia' (utilisation plans) - they were always called 'plany primeneniia' (application plans, deployment plans), in a word 'operational plans'.
Second: The fact that this document is literally designated a 'Plan for the utilisation of the CLA in a war' could be indicative of the actual purpose of the document, i.e. to make the President aware of some operational-strategic issues that were of concern to the General Staff, either permanently or specifically at that moment in connection with joint war games with the Soviet Army being conducted at the time or in the near future. The practice of conducting combined war games was introduced by the Soviet Minister of Defence, Marshall Malinovskii, in 1963. One cannot exclude the possibility that President Novotny may have used this as a form of periodic briefing, outlining plans on how the potential of the armed forces (army, police and security services) would be used. Finally, another possibility to be considered is that the Czechoslovak army leadership in the Soviet General Staff may have received guidelines on the role of the CLA in the event of a strategic operation in the western war theatre which was then forwarded to the President for his information, in detailed form from the CLA perspective. In the context of any of these purposes for the document, confirmation by the President would simply be an indication of approval or agreement.
Third: The methodology of operational planning at the level of national general staffs (i.e. formulation in detail of tasks accepted from the Soviet General Staff) involved preparing operational plans at least in duplicate (1: for storage in a special top secret safe deposit location; 2: for forwarding to the Soviet General Staff); a third original was also permitted if prepared for the national commander chief; that copy would be in the national language.
The emphasised comment 'sole original' placed on the first page of this document and on an unnumbered page (in fact page 18) by its author, Major General Vostera, shows quite conclusively that this document is not part of an operational plan, but rather a briefing for the President.
Fourth: The contents of this document are less than a plan; among other deficiencies, there is no outline of how the task is to be performed, in the form of a description of the fundamental principles of cooperation for the attainment of the priority operational objectives, if indeed, at the time the document was drawn up, any clear understanding had been reached on this matter. The contents are both more and at the same time less than a decision, since fundamental elements of a decision (the idea behind the actions proposed, definition of tasks for operational entities of the CLA, basic guarantee arrangements) contain on the one hand details up to planning level, but on the other the details of cooperation even to the level required for a decision are missing, and the command structure is outlined in formal terms only. In October 1964, the operational-strategic problem addressed in this plan document had yet to undergo the process of formulating a detailed and definitive solution. Accordingly, this cannot be the real operational plan of the CLA for the year 1964.
Fifth:The fact that the document is hand-written, and also the general form of the document, is consistent with the principles of operational planning. The national leaders who signed off the document were in those positions in 1964. I was personally acquainted with General Vitanovsky and General Vostera as successive heads of the Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the CLA. 1964 was also the year in which the operational planning process in the Pact armed forces was reviewed. There were further such reviews subsequently. It was an 'iron rule' that operational planning documents superseded by new documents were to be completely destroyed, with confirmation to the Soviet General Staff that this had been done. This 'CLA utilisation plan', which is more like a decision with attempts at planning, along the lines of a directive, i.e. a document formulated for the President as a combination of three related command phases and three different types of command document, was archived in accordance with normal practice for documents that were not part of the operational plan, including in particular documents on exercises. In the long-term storage archive volume, it appeared on page numbers 619-36, to go by the numbering of the unnumbered 18th page (page 636) of the plan. It was treated as a document among many others, and not as a document potentially disclosing state secrets of the highest level. It appears that the 'utilisation plan' was not even receipted, let alone stamped, as would have been required by its content even as a document on military exercises or a personal briefing to the President.
In my analysis, I have proceeded on the basis that 'distorted' operational-strategic stipulations and numbers do not constitute evidence either for or against the genuine status of this plan.
In the years 1963-64, Khrushchev managed to impose the viewpoint - also convincing many military officers - that nuclear weapons were the answer to all defence problems. This included the premise, later proven to involve a high level of risk, that fighting off an attack would be a brief process, and during the following attack troops would be quite capable of achieving an average daily offensive advance of 80-100 km.
The decision in which, of the four defence variants analysed with you (attack, combat strikes, combination of attack and defence, defence only), 'defence only' became the approach considered to have the greatest perspective, was first made in the 1980s. Prior to this, there was experimentation between the other defence approaches, depending on the 'temperament' of the leading military.
D. Comments of Army General (ret.) Vladimir Mikhailovich Shuralyov (Soviet Army)
In Moscow, Major-General Deim took a copy of the original document in Russian and discussed it with Army General (ret.) Shuralyov, at the time 1st Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Forces Group in Germany, later Commander of the Belorussia Military District  , seeking his comments on the text  :
'Army General Shuralyov regards this CLA planning document as a forgery, or at best a document formulated without input from the Soviet General Staff, so that it has absolutely nothing to do with "hard operational planning".
'He said that at the time the document was supposedly drafted, the CLA did not have the capacity to fulfil the operational-strategic objectives with Bavaria as the direction of operations (even with the support and reinforcements described). In view of the nature of the terrain, the numbers used (particularly the pace of the offensive) appear to be exaggerated beyond all measure.
'Commanders-in-Chief, Commanders and Ministers of Defence never signed planning documents, only decision documents. This CLA plan would give the appearance of authenticity only if at right, alongside the confirming endorsement of the Czechoslovakian Commander-in-Chief (the President), the approval endorsements of the Ministers of Defence of the USSR (for the Overall Operation Planning Centre), Czechoslovakia (for the forces directly implementing the plan) and the GDR (as the direct neighbour) were apparent.
'The storage of the plan document in an archive with open access for a such a sensitive "authentic" document would be synonymous with its loss, which would have been a very serious event and dereliction by the state, incurring the most severe penalties.'
Summary and conclusions:
l. The hand-written document, written in Russian with one original only, discovered by Petr Luňák in 2000 in the Central Archive in Prague, entitled 'Operational Plan of the Czechoslovak People's Army',  is probably genuine, but only as a document formulated without input from the Soviet General Staff.
2. Its content is consistent with the strategic-operational offensive thinking of the supporters within the Czechoslovak General Staff at that time of how a war could be conducted, but is not consistent with the capacity of the Czechoslovak People's Army (CLA) at the time.
3. The document does not form part of the real strategic-operational plan of the Soviet General Staff, which is still secret.
4. The purpose of drafting the document for the then President of Czechoslovakia is not clear. Some possible explanations are provided in the comments by Major General Deim.
[RIGHT]Herrliberg/Strausberg, 14 February 2003
Peter Veleff and Hans Werner Deim[/RIGHT]
ha. i knew it can't be real. no mention of Bear Cav and crispy fried enemy children to feed them.