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I agree with Mr. Breemer in his REVIEW article, July 1985, that in the relevant Soviet literature, there is little direct mention of what in the West we have come to call a “bastion” concept or strategy. As to literature on the “strategic witholding posture” to which the author alludes, it is prolific, giving good reason to infer and deduce such thinking on the part of the Soviets.

In the difference in size between DELTA and TYPHOON, one should keep in mind that the original design of TYPHOON may have called for a 24-tube ship rather than a 20-tube ship.

It is quite true that since the early 1970’s there has occurred a noticeable increase in the per unit size and therefore the endurance of Soviet ships. Newer Soviet submarines taking advantage of this increased size and endurance to be overseas during wartime would still, in Mr. Breemer’s words, have to be “guarded” by forces other than themselves.

In theory. were the Soviets to concentrate their SSBNs in relatively small areas, such as the northern “bastions”, this would ease the Western search and localization problem, though it might or might not ease the detection problem.

Contemporary Soviet military thought does not necessarily hold that any nuclear exchange will be preceded by a period of crisis and increased tension sufficient to constitute reliable warning. Often this is wishful thinking on the parts of both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. The fact is that the Soviets, more than the West, are constantly augered by a “realistic” perception that war may begin precipitously, without much warning, fed by accidental misinterpretations. The Soviets wish this were not possible because, for them. wars are begun on purpose and by careful calculation. Nevertheless, in recent years, the Soviets show an increasing appreciation for spasmodic war start.

Keeping most of their submarines in and near home ports most of the time is a long-standing Soviet preference owing to a philosophy and a necessity of readiness which is very different from that of the u.s. Navy. It has a lot to do with endemic and systemic limitations on Soviet ~aval readiness, as Mr. Breemer and others have suggested. But, it is also the manifestation of the Soviet understanding of how wars start and of how they can best react to the start of a war in both the very near term and in the longer course of calculated events. The Soviets repeatedly say that it is incorrect and dangerous to impute Western preferences and motives to them.

Moreover, it would not be a good idea to be in the area where any SSBN attempted to launch SLBMs from “inside their home ports.” Additionally, a sizeable depth of water and navigable sea room is required to launch SLBMs -properties usually not found inside home ports.

James T. Westwood

Naval Submarine League

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