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
Pages 403 (Paperback)
ISBN 0-671-67669-5

Red Army is a military Cold War-era novel written by U.S. Army intelligence analyst Ralph Peters in 1989. 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.

No other technothriller by the authors in the genre — such as Tom Clancy (Red Storm Rising), Harold Coyle (Team Yankee), Dale Brown, or General Sir John Hackett (The Third World War) - The Untold Story, Humphrey Hawksley (The Third World War), William Prochnau (Trinity's Child), Eric L Harry, (Arc Light) — presented an opfor perspective for the entire book or Soviet victory at the end of the novel.

Plot summary[edit]

The novel begins with a forward-based (in East Germany) Soviet platoon awaiting the call to war. 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.

Next, the novel turns to the Commander in Chief 1st Western Front, General Malinsky, who is one of the key army leaders in the coming invasion of Western Europe. He and his staff review plans for the invasion in a maproom.

The plans call for a simultaneous thrust on 3 fronts (north-west, central, and southwest). Malinsky will be in charge of the thrust across the north German Plain. They discuss the plans to bluff NATO commanders into thinking the key Soviet thrust will be through the northern region.

The idea is that the sudden far-northern advance across the north German plain will scare NATO into a panicked attempt to stop that advance, making them divert valuable resources from the central region. Then, just as NATO does this, NATO satellite recon will see what looks like reinforcements following the northern thrust. Those reinforcements will instead push through the central region, just as NATO has drained resources away from it.

General Malinsky and his staff discuss various items of importance to the plan. They discuss air support, logistics and, finally, the possibility of nuclear weapons being used. Malinsky believes they can safely take the risk that if the Soviet thrust gets entangled with NATO lines quick enough, and gets far enough into West Germany on the first 1-3 days, NATO will no longer have the option of tactical nuclear strikes because the battle lines will be too close together and any tactical nuclear strike would end up harming NATO forces too.

The General notes, to himself, that he is blind to certain aspects of the USSR's invasion plan, having been given only what he needs to operate effectively in his own sphere of control. He wonders if his superiors are planning to stop at Germany, or to press forward to the Netherlands, the other low countries, or perhaps to all the way to France.

As the meeting ends, the General reiterates his motto: speed...shock...activeness

The invasion begins well and the Soviet military advances quickly. The advancing Red Army soon acquires critical intelligence from a captured NATO command post.

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.
  • The Third World War by Humphrey Hawksley depicts a slow building crises that culminates in a nightmarish World War III involving nuclear and biological weapons.
  • Trinity's Child by William Prochnau, portrays a sudden nuclear attack by the USSR upon the United States, followed by an eruption of global warfare.
  • Invasion, a 2000 novel by Eric L. Harry showing a future Chinese invasion of the United States, after China develops into a global superpower.
  • The Last Ship (novel) by William Brinkley. Portrays a sudden massive nuclear exchange between the superpowers, with further escalating exchanges over a four hour period leaving most of the northern hemisphere choked in radioactive fallout. The ship looses contact with the US Navy, and then investigates various sites around Europe and Africa starting with Naval Station Rotain Spain, making contact with other stray ships, military and civilian. All the consequences of the exchange for the crew, and humanity as a whole, are explored.