How would a "Cold War" between NATO and the Warsaw Pact on German soil have turned out? Where and how would the battles have taken place? Would it have been a conventional conflict or an all-out nuclear clash of the superpowers? REFORGER provides answers to these questions.
The REFORGER exercises were the great promise of the U.S.A. towards its NATO partners in Europe, and especially to the front-line-state West Germany. The sheer size of the exercises impressed soldiers and civilians alike.
REFORGER (REturn of FORces to GERmany) came about as a consequence of the shifting American presence of military forces in Central Europe in the late 1960s due to the U.S.A.'s increasing involvement in the Vietnam War. It also ultimately demonstrated the support of US forces to the defense of West Germany.
In a treaty signed in 1967, the U.S.A, United Kingdom, and the Federal Republic of Germany agreed on the withdrawal of American and British forces from Germany. To compensate West Germany for this obvious weakening of its defenses against the ever-present Warsaw Pact threat, it was agreed that U.S. forces would annually return to West Germany with army and air force units to train with German and other European armies to provide a show of force against the threat from the East.
Walter Böhm, the author, presents the reader with 64 pages of well written descriptive text of the politics behind REFORGER, its beginning and background, REFORGER under the Europe-wide "Autumn Forge" exercises, the Field Training Exercises (FTX) involved, and information specific to the REFORGER exercises from 1969 through1978.
With 116 black & white and color period photographs, the reader is introduced to (or reacquainted with) a very large number of American vehicles of the era. From the M163A1 Vulcan antiaircraft gun carrier, the ubiquitous M520 Goer, the M727 Hawk missile transporter, the M107 howitzer, to the M60A1 in the then "new" MERDC (Mobility Equipment Research & Development Command) camouflage. Included is the first use of the M1A1 Abrams during REFORGER 88.
After the author's "Introduction," he breaks this book down by REFORGER exercise, beginning with REFORGER I - FTX "Carbid Ice" and ending with REFORGER 78 - FTX "Certain Shield 78."
The first page of each REFORGER begins with information such as the Commanding Corps, when the exercise was held, the areas it was held in, and the approximate number of the participating soldiers. This part further breaks down the participating U.S. based units, to include their home station, the USAREUR and other allied units, and finally the "Blue" and "Orange" force units.
Walter Böhm discusses the beginnings of each exercise, from the convoys and railheads to the "security concerns" involving Soviet forces. He briefly covers the major "actions" taken by the Orange and Blue forces and the outcomes of those actions. As a side note to "Carbid Ice," he indicates that this exercise cost the U.S. taxpayer $11,500,000.00!
Again, within each exercise section, there are black & white and color photographs of vehicles and personnel involved with the exercise. With very few exceptions, the photographs are quite clear. The caption for each picture is concise and very descriptive.
The REFORGER exercises, born from a 1967 treaty, demonstrated the support of US forces to the defense of West Germany. Walter Böhm has done an exceptional job of discussing and showing what was involved in a REFORGER exercise by utilizing well written text and excellent photographs of the units involved. This book would certainly be a worthy addition to the reference library, especially for those that model the 60's and 70's era U.S. vehicles.
Highs: Well written in both English and German; black & white and color pictures of a wide variety of period vehicles are shown.Lows: None noticed.Verdict: Recommended for those that are interested in period vehicles and camouflage patterns, and the history of REFORGER.
About Mike High (TacFireGuru) FROM: COLORADO, UNITED STATES
Like most, I started out in my young years; building Monogram armor and aircraft. Joining the Army at 17 in 1981 put a stop to my building for many years, I retired in 2001 and ran across Armorama....I've been re-hooked since.
I'm a notoriously slow builder and seem to have more than one buil...