The Bulgarian Land Forces in the Cold War
Keywords:Bulgarian Land Forces, Warsaw Pact, Southwestern Theatre of Military Operations, Soviet Ground Forces, offensive plan, war plans, motor rifle division, military historiography
During the Cold War, information in Western open sources about Bulgarian Land Forces’ war plans, organisation, and order of battle was absent or very general, until the last years of the 1980s. Yet there is much more information now available after 30 years, and this is a very valid topic for research. Bulgaria was drawn into Soviet war planning for the elimination of capitalism. Bulgaria’s planned part in this was helping to seize the Turkish Straits, either with or without the use of tactical nuclear weapons. It now appears that there would have been two Fronts advancing in this area, one predominantly Soviet Odessa Military District forces to seize the Turkish Straits, and the other more heavily Bulgarian in composition attacking towards central Greece. Both would have been supported by tactical air forces and, if the circumstances dictated, nuclear weapons. Later, with the commitment of strategic reserves, it was hoped to develop the offensive in depth towards the Syrian border. The forces formed to carry this mission out were reorganized repeatedly from 1945-55, as the Communist Party tightened its control over the country. The organisation of the Land Forces was much more settled after the early 1960s. Bulgarian history will be better served by more open debate over these issues.
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