The Soviet planning process includes a great deal of time and effort
in making detailed calculations. These calculations are done at every stage of
the decision process. The decision process for division, army, and
front commanders and their calculations are discussed in Handbook
Chapters Two, Three, and Four, respectively.
Estimate of the Situation
During this estimate the commander first calculates the density of enemy forces
in each different area and for various depths.
He calculates the enemy nuclear capability in terms of the number of targets
and kilotons it is possible for the enemy to deliver.
He also calculates enemy artillery capabilities in terms of hectares of target
per salvo, aircraft capabilities in terms of numbers of sorties per day and
enemy air defense in terms of the theoretical number of aircraft that could be
shot down at one time, if the enemy launched a massive air strike. There are
also more sophisticated models used to compute the expected value of damage to
own forces averted if a number of enemy forces are destroyed.
The commander calculates the time and space factors, first those related to
mobilizing and preparing the units for combat and then those that show when
units can reach their combat starting locations. For these he includes the
enemy operational and strategic reserves in order to establish how soon they
will reach the areas he believes the enemy will want to assign to them. These
calculations make use of simple rate of movement formulas and established norms
for movement over various roads as well as norms for accomplishing each
activity such as debarking, dismounting, deploying and etc.
Next the calculations take into consideration the disturbances to the time
schedules that might be introduced by disruptions to the line of
communications, blocking of ports, destruction of air fields and other similar
The probable enemy concept of operations is assessed by estimating the length
of delay actions he can achieve on each line based on the calculation of the
density of forces and means. If the density is one company per kilometer then a
division can hold for a day or so within its 12 km deep position. At this time
the possible locations at which the enemy reserves can intervene in the battle
are noted from the calculation of when and from where they can launch
If the initial enemy position is to the rear of his preferred battle position,
calculations are made to find out if a meeting engagement between the large
units is to be expected.
When the commander turns to the estimate of friendly forces, he makes many of
the same calculations. First there is the movement from garrison including time
to mobilize and bring the forces to full combat readiness and time to establish
the unit attack groupings. These calculations are mostly reconfirmation of
existing planned activities. The commander can turn to the staff all of whom
know what will be asked of them ahead of time to insure that units can arrive
on time. The calculations require information on the status of units, and where
they draw supplies or how the supplies will be delivered.
The combat capability of friendly forces includes calculation of nuclear
capability in kilotons and numbers of warheads, artillery firepower in hectares
of target per salvo, air defense capability in numbers of aircraft destroyed
and aircraft in squadron sorties per day. The air defense calculations are
especially complex since they involve detailed numerical factors for each type
of weapon and target acquisition.
The commander must next establish the correlation of troops and means. This is
shown in a table titled COMPOSITION OF FORCES AND DENSITY. The friendly and
enemy forces are shown in terms of nuclear rounds, nuclear delivery means,
divisions, artillery, tanks, antitank missiles, air defense weapons, and
aircraft. The ratios are calculated using quantitative and qualitative factors
and are figured for the sector as a whole and for each individual axis and for
each relevant depth of mission. They are calculated for; the start of the
operation, after the initial nuclear strike, at the end of the first day, at
the end of the immediate mission of the armies, at the end of the formation's
immediate mission, and at the end of the subsequent mission.
The calculations for correlation and density for each of the points in time
after the start involve calculations of the estimated losses that each side
will have incurred. The calculation for losses in the initial nuclear strike is
made by taking the total number of rounds allocated (or estimated for the
enemy) and from this the number and yield that will be targeted against
divisions to get a number of rounds per division. Then norms are applied to
estimate losses. One norm is that if a division is hit by more than 6 -7
nuclear rounds it suffers medium damage and is incapacitated. If it is hit by
more than 12 rounds it is destroyed. The effect of losses is estimated and 30%
is considered heavy casualties while 50 - 60% will equal destruction. Losses
for each day of combat are calculated according to norms for conventional and
nuclear warfare. The correlation at the end of the first day would include loss
norms of about 5% for personnel and 8% for tanks and lesser numbers for other
equipment. One norm is that in 7 days of fighting a loss of 50 - 80% for tanks
is expected. Some other norms are for army level in conventional war 1.1 - 1.3
% personnel per day; for nuclear 3.8 - 5.3 % per day; and 7.7 - 10.4 for the
entire operation in conventional war and 27 - 42 % for the entire operation in
nuclear war. Equipment loss norms include conventional of 8-9% per day and 40 -
60 % for vehicles and 50 - 80 % for tanks All these norms are used to calculate
the correlation of remaining forces for the various subsequent times. For
instance, at the end of 5 days in an operation it might be expected that the
attacker will have suffered losses of 7% in personnel, 40% in tanks, 25% in APC
and 35% in other vehicles while the defender will have suffered losses of 5% in
personnel, 35% in tanks, 20% in APC and 30% in vehicles.
After he calculates both sides, he is able to make a deduction on the proper
distribution of troops to the several axes and then to distribute the combat
support arms and reserves, naval and airborne assaults and other support.
An important set of calculations is for electronic warfare, used in determining
how many communications links above division can be neutralized by the
available REC assets. Each radio electronic warfare battalion has a capability
based on its means to jam a certain number of radio nets of a certain power or
type. The enemy can also jam certain links.
Once the commander has determined the missions, there are then calculations
related to the interaction between forces. These are to establish how groupings
will be created and what times will be involved. A table showing who will do
what at each time is prepared.
The calculation for the locations and times for movement of the command posts
are based on the planned course of the offensive. The commander then considers
the role of adjacent forces. He makes calculations to see how the missions of
adjacent forces might involve the formation and vice versa. For instance, the
time an airborne division can sustain itself before linkup with ground forces
is used in calculating when the airborne operation should take place. One of
the adjacent forces is the strategic rocket and air force. The timing of their
strategic nuclear strike, if any, or the strategic air operation is considered
in calculations on when to launch the operational air strike.
The commander then considers terrain in calculations to refine the plans. The
capacity of routes, ports, airfields, bridges, etc. is considered to insure
that the forces can move as planned. The economic situation in the theater is
the basis for calculations on the availability of local resources such as
supplies and transportation means.