NATO Order of Battle 1989

There are people who are really into this stuff, much interested in even minutiae details of OOBs. To me, it's just a nice source for a quick overview. Some readers may be interested in this little gem, though:

The Bundeswehr had 36 active and 12 territorial army ground combat brigades when there was still a real national and collective security challenge (the U.S. had then only 16 in Europe including the ACRs).

Times have changed - today we can make do with a fraction of it and still no red, yellow or pink horde invades us or an ally. You probably wouldn't guess that the national and collective security situation is so utterly relaxed if you read only anglophone sources on defence, though. There's a lot of hysteria in comparison to 'continental' ones.



  1. Why not post the latest incarnation of that living document:


    It still has some glaring errors in some of the minor OOBs, but the major countries seem solid. I trust you are aware of these documents as well?


  2. I simply found this in one of my old bookmark lists, didn't bother to look for the newest version.

  3. Yes, yes, but did you know of the BW OO B posted in my last link? It helped me a lot to put some of the missing peices together regarding LANDJUT, particularly w. regard to the TerritorialHeer.

  4. I don't pay so much attention to the year 1989, the late 70's were much more interesting than the perestroika era.

    My point in this blog post was to remind some anglophone readers that the Cold War defence of Europe was not about Fulda Gap only.

    A certain overemphasis or magnifying effect in regard to Fulda Gap is in the background of much jingoistic talk about how Europe doesn't defend itself and the U.S. supposedly being the only real defenders of NATO.

    We spend on defence in a loose relation to the threat, not in order to meet a certain GDP percentage or to be able to show off heavy weapons or to invade lesser nations on distant continents.

    The same blog post would not have been worthwhile if I would write in German.

  5. Certainly. The reason behind the year 1989 is that the original author thought it would be interesting to see what the forces looked like in the Cold wars last year. As it was, the last year a war could realistically have happened would be 1987, since WAPA starts massive unilateral force reductions in 1988.

    As for the american emphasis on their own corps sectors, it is understandable, if perhaps a little tiresome, especially since areas like COMBALTAP ad AFNORTH in general did not have any american presence (apart from the nuclear warhead custodians and staff officers). It is of course possible that american forces could have reinforced later, provided that the war dragged on long enough for them to get there.

  6. Russia will spend an enormus ammount of money on their armed forces. So maybe its time for germany to start to rebuild the army.


  7. The US contribution was not so much about ground, but air forces.

    Russia does have a lot of borders to watch, including China next to the resource rich Siberia.
    Germany has a defensive layer via Poland, so in any case even numerically inferior forces suffice for a defense with room to maneuver in Poland and not right next to our homes.

    It is possible that a naval arms race might ensue between the faster growing China and the US. If this arms race gets unbalanced Germany will be in for the necessity of increased sea-control capability in order to protect her interests.

    A resurgent threat of Russian forces on land is possible, but never on the scale of the WAPA/Soviet Union. Collective European defence can face them except for the Baltic states. They are the weakest part and would mainly rely on German support. Germany might not be adequately prepared for a head on clash with Russia there (lacking the amphibious warfare and aircraft carrier components necessary to operate), but such a clash would have other negative repercussions for Russia. Not every defence is with weapons.