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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.


Clarification of the Mission

While clarifiying his missions, the commander must calculate the depth and width of the missions, the time to achieve them, and the required rate of advance. From these calculations he derives his general idea of the number of forces required and their echeloning and formation.

The commander and/or the chief of staff must calculate the time available for planning and preparation of the troops for combat. From this they develop a time schedule for accomplishing all these needed actions. This time is used in preparing the calendar plan. (See Handbook Chapter Five for samples of calendar plans for army and front.)


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 events.
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 counterattacks.

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.