Red Army (novel)

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Red Army
Author Ralph Peters
Cover artist Osyczka Limited
Country USA
Language English
Subject World War III
Genre Technothriller, Alternate History
Publisher Pocket Books
Publication date
1989
Pages 403 (Paperback)
ISBN 0-671-67669-5

Red Army is a 1989 Cold War-era military novel written by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Ralph Peters. The book considered a World War III scenario involving a Soviet attack on West Germany across the North German Plain.

Red Army was unique among military fiction published in the United States during the 1980s, in that it told its story exclusively from the perspective of officers and men in the Soviet Army.

Plot summary[edit]

A Soviet Army platoon deployed with the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany is suddenly roused into another combat drill. They debate the seriousness of the steps to war, thinking it may be an exercise, wondering if the issue of live ammunition makes action more likely.

Meanwhile, General Mikhail Malinsky convenes other generals to discuss the coming invasion of Western Europe. The plans call for a simultaneous thrust on three fronts - across the North German Plain, through the Fulda Gap, and across Bavaria. Malinsky will be in charge of operations across the North German Plain as commander of the 1st Western Front, with the Third Shock Army and the 1st and 2nd Guards Tank Armies under his command and committed to the first wave along with all other GSFG units. Airborne forces will be dropped deep into West Germany to disrupt the NATO rearguard.

NATO commanders are to be bluffed into thinking the main assault will come at the Fulda Gap. However. a second wave of reinforcements coming through Poland marked for this attack - the 7th Tank Army, 49th Unified Army Corps, and the 5th Guards Tank Army - will be the second wave in Malinsky's front. The Soviet commanders think that if the USSR/Warsaw Pact forces are deep inside West Germany in three days, NATO will not be able to use nuclear weapons to blunt the advance. A Soviet propaganda film about the destruction of Lueneberg (carefully produced at a Moscow studio) will also add psychological shock to the West Germans. Despite the potential of the entire invasion plan, Malinsky wonders if his superiors are planning to stop at Germany, or press forward to the Low Countries, or France.

The invasion begins well and the Soviet military advances quickly, bypassing strongpoints whenever possible. The successful capture of a NATO command post and a Soviet tank company's capture and shepherding of a German refugee convoy outside Hildesheim adds to the speed of movement. The West German forces positioned on the inter-German border are gradually cut off from resupply and a unit stuck on the Cuxhaven peninsula fights to the last man. However, Malinsky is worried about the full composition of the US forces stationed just behind the Fulda Gap (Soviet recon aircraft sent there have been shot down) and whether they will aid the British, Dutch and West German forces in his front.

By the third day, the Soviets learn that the West German leadership is teetering on the brink of collapse as NATO pressures them to allow nuclear weapons deployment. Malinsky's fears come to light as the US surges out of the Teutoberg Forest to broadside the 49th Corps forces; his son Anton is killed in the attack as well. The other NATO forces in the Northern Front attempt a counterattack as well; they are able to push back the Soviets to a degree - until the West German government orders a ceasefire.

The epilogue has the West Germans asking all NATO forces to withdraw from the country immediately. The Soviets are able to advance at the banks of the Rhine while Malinsky mourns his son's death.

See also[edit]

  • The Third World War: The Untold Story by General Hackett, portrays a conventional Soviet invasion of Western Europe, including the behavior of the formally neutral Ireland and Sweden, and internal Soviet debates and thinking.
  • Team Yankee, a 1987 novel by Harold Coyle set in Hackett's scenario
  • Red Storm Rising, a similar World War III scenario covering a conventional Soviet invasion of Western Europe, by Tom Clancy
  • Arc Light, a World War III scenario set post-cold war, where a strategic nuclear exchange between the Russia and the US is followed by a conventional World War III in the midst of a major US economic crash and a constitutional crises.

Footnotes[edit]