"always wanted to ask - Why were the Cobras not kept forward with us? Was there an operational reason? I did a tour at Wackerheim down the road from you and Feucht AAF was site of some FOrmula and endurance races we worked safety on there. Cheers."
Because they were not supposed to be seen taking off heading to the Border for Air Interdiction and the other things they had to do. We, the United States, spent a gazillion dollars on Elint and other Electronic interdiction equipment and radars and Humint so we could know when Warsaw Pact Aircraft were heading to the Border.
We found out at the end of the Cold War that the Warsaw Pact spent a Buck Fitty and were just as effective.
Unlike us, the Russians have pretty much declassified everything in the old Soviet Archives. Barry Newman told me on the phone that he could get just about anything from the old Soviet Archives but getting anything or anything declassified through our Intelligence Archives was nearly impossible. You may remember Barry Newman, he wrote for the Wall Street Journal, did the human interest story "A Cold Shoulder for Cold War Vet's". He told me he spent over, IIRC, 25 years reporting for the WSJ in the Soviet Union, he was also in the Persian Gulf (Iraq) when we were over there in 1996 supposedly defending the Kurds.
But in the Soviet Archives they said the way they overcame the problem of identifying Cavalry Helicopters taking off and flying to the Border was pretty simple. They had outdated radars that could not reach the airfields. So what they did was to supply West Germans who lived around the Airfields with a good set of Bino's, paid them $300 American every month and also West Germans living along every possible direction of travel all the way up to the Border.
The Airfields were monitored 24 hours per day. As soon as any aircraft took off one of the West Germans would make a call to a special number, that call went directly to the Warsaw Pact Commanders via intermediaries. They were told number of aircraft, type of aircraft and direction of travel. Other paid West Germans along the direction of travel would monitor and when our aircraft passed it would be passed on to the next person in line. If the direction of travel changed they simply notified the monitors in the new direction of travel. Warsaw Pact commanders knew every aircraft that flew to the Border that way, including number, type, armed or not etc.
When we dug that up someone reminded me that is exactly what they did on the ground with our Armored Columns, remember Germans standing outside the Kaserne's counting vehicles when a column would roll out. Same thing, they were paid by Warsaw Pact Intel to count vehicles, report direction of travel etc.
Cheap, low budget, but effective. Considering how badly the United States devalued the DM back in the 70's and 80's, cant hardly blame some West Germans for wanting to make an easy extra $300 a month.
There were also logistical reasons. The Germans didn't want to give up any more land. For example in General Galvins book "Fighting the Cold War" he mentions when he took command they realized the 8th Infantry Division was too far back. They had too many bridges to cross to get up north and those bridges would be blown as soon as anything kicked off, leaving the 8th Infantry Division to ford wide rivers while under fire, it took them all day to move forward on alerts. They would never make it. So the entire 8th Infantry Division was moved forward. He moved Divisions and other units around but the Germans were adamant about not giving up any more land for Kaserne's and Training.
But the tactical considerations were pretty simple. Warsaw Pact radars and intercept could not reach our airfields. Didnt matter, they spent a buck fitty and accomplished the same thing we did.
always wanted to ask - Why were the Cobras not kept forward with us? Was there an operational reason? I did a tour at Wackerheim down the road from you and Feucht AAF was site of some FOrmula and endurance races we worked safety on there. Cheers.