Chapter Seven.Operational Intelligence

Operational intelligence marks a complete departure from the kind we have talked about until now. It embraces intelligence organisations subordinated to operational units — fronts, fleets, groups of forces, military districts, armies, flotillas — whose job is to aid in the implementation of the military activity. Organisationally, the Soviet Army consists of sixteen military districts and four groups of forces in Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. In war, or at the time of preparations for war, the groups of forces and military districts are transformed into fronts and army groups. Each military district, groups of forces and front has a staff, each with its own intelligence directorate (called RU or Second Directorate of the Military District Staff). The chief of the Second Directorate of the Military District Staff is the chief of all intelligence units of the military district. He is officially called the head of military district intelligence. All twenty heads of military district intelligence and groups of forces are under the command of the head of the GRU Fifth Directorate. The GRU Fifth Directorate supervises the activity of the intelligence directorates, carries out the posting of senior officers of operational intelligence, collates the work experience of all operational intelligence and issues corresponding recommendations and instructions. In addition, the head of intelligence is subordinated to the chief of the military district staff. The chief of staff directs the daily activity of the head of intelligence. The head of intelligence of a military district works exclusively in the interests of his military district, in conformity with the orders of the chief of staff and the commander of the military district. At the same time, all information obtained is forwarded to the GRU too. The role the GRU plays is to collect information from all heads of intelligence and forward to them information obtained by other intelligence organs. Sometimes, the intelligence directorate of the military district may work directly in the interests of the GRU but this must be done only with the agreement of the military district commander. The chief of the general staff is the supreme arbiter in disputes between the commander of the military district and the head of the GRU. However, in practice such disputes occur extremely rarely.

Each front, group of forces and military district consists of armies. Normally a front has an air force, a tank army and two to three all-arms armies. Each army consists of four to seven divisions. Sometimes a corps is included — two to three divisions. Each army and corps has a staff, among whose members is an intelligence section which is called RO [Razvedyvatelnyi otdel] or Army Staff Second Department. The head of the army intelligence section is the head of all intelligence units belonging to a given army. He also ranks below two other officers: the chief of staff of his army, and the chief of intelligence of the military district.

His relationship with his chiefs is based on similar lines. He works exclusively in the interests of his army, obeying the orders of the army commander and the army chief of staff. At the same time, all information acquired by him is also forwarded to the intelligence chief of the military district. A reciprocal arrangement exists whereby the intelligence chief of the military district forwards information to his heads of army intelligence which he has received from other armies, the intelligence directorates of the military districts and the GRU.

The Soviet navy consists of four fleets, the Northern, Pacific, Black Sea and Baltic fleets. Each of the fleets is the equal of a military district, group of forces, and front, and has a staff which includes an intelligence directorate or Naval Staff Second Directorate. Its head is the chief of Naval Intelligence. The naval directorates have the same organisation as those in military districts, fronts and groups of forces. The difference lies in the fact that while the army directorates are subordinated directly to the Fifth Directorate of the GRU, the four naval directorates fall under an organisation called naval intelligence. In its turn naval intelligence comes under the head of the GRU and is controlled by the Fifth Directorate. The reason for this extra organisational step is that ships of all four fleets frequently operate in all oceans as combined squadrons. For this reason the ships need information, not about a narrow sector like the troops of a military district, but on a much wider scale.

Naval intelligence was created to co-ordinate naval information from every ocean of the world, and is a component of the High Staff of the Navy of the USSR. In addition to its normal powerful apparatus for gathering information, there is also the naval cosmic intelligence department. The Soviet Union therefore possesses two independent cosmic intelligence organisations, the GRU's own and the Navy's cosmic intelligence organisation. Although naval cosmic intelligence works in the interests of the High Commander of the Soviet Navy, all information from it is handed over to the GRU. The co-operation between the two cosmic services is co-ordinated by the chief of the General Staff. Should a very serious situation arise, the same task may be set at the same time to both services and the results arrived at then collated and compared.

The organisation of intelligence directorates (RUs) on the staffs of military districts, groups of forces, fronts and fleets is standardised. The intelligence directorate consists of five departments and two groups:

First Department or Department of Reconnaissance directs the activities of the reconnaissance units of the tactical wing, that is, reconnaissance battalions of divisions and reconnaissance companies of regiments. In naval terminology this department is called the Ship Reconnaissance Department. It directs the collection of information which comes directly from serving surface vessels and submarines at sea, bearing in mind that what is meant here are normal warships and not special intelligence collecting ships. The training of officers of First Departments is carried out in the intelligence faculty of the Frunze Military Academy and the corresponding faculty of the Naval Academy. The officers of First Departments are usually experienced army and navy officers who have considerable experience of service in reconnaissance units.

Second Department or Department of Agent Intelligence is concerned with the recruitment of secret agents and the obtaining through them of intelligence information of interest to the staff. The recruitment of agents and the creation of agent networks is carried out on the territories of contiguous countries where the military district concerned would expect to operate in war-time. Naval Intelligence is interested in recruiting agents from all territories, especially in large ports and naval bases. An intelligence centre and three or four intelligence points are subordinated to the Second Department which is directly concerned with agent work.

The centre is concerned with the recruitment of agents in the contiguous state, whereas the intelligence points only recruit agents in specific sectors and areas. They work independently from one another, although they are co-ordinated by the chief of the Second Department. The training of officers for work in the Second Departments and also in centres and points is carried out by the Third Faculty of the Military-Diplomatic Academy (the Academy of the Soviet Army).

The Third Department or Spetsnaz Department is concerned with the preparation and carrying out of diversionary acts on enemy territory, the liquidation of political and military leaders, the destruction of lines of communication and supply and the carrying out of terrorist operations with the aim of undermining the enemy's will to continue fighting. A Spetsnaz intelligence point is subordinated to this department and this carries out the recruitment of agent-terrorists on the territory of any possible future enemy. There is also a Spetsnaz brigade which consists of 1,300 cut— throat soldiers. The officers who work in the Spetsnaz intelligence points and those who direct their activities in the Third Department are trained, rather incongruously, in the Third Faculty of the Military-Diplomatic Academy, although for the Spetsnaz brigade and the officers connected with it training takes place in the Frunze Academy. Analogous organisations can be seen in the Navy, with this difference: the brigades are called Spetsnaz naval brigades (not to be confused with Naval infantry brigades) and the same 'diplomats' direct the activity of all agent— assassins in the fleets.

The Fourth Department or Information Department carries out the collection and collation of all intelligence coming into the intelligence directorate.

The Fifth Department is occupied with electronic intelligence, and this department directs two regiments, the Radio Intelligence Regiment and the Radio-Technical Intelligence Regiment. Radio Intelligence carries out the interception of radio signals and Radio-Technical Intelligence is concerned with tracking emissions from the enemy's radar.

The Intelligence Directorate Technical Facilities Group is occupied with the interpretation of air photographs. The training of specialists for such work is carried on at the Second Kharkov Higher Military Aviation and Engineering School.

The Interpreters' Group or 'the Inquisition' deals with the deciphering and translation of documents obtained, and with the interrogation of prisoners of war. Specialists for this group are prepared at the Military Institute (of Foreign Languages).

The Intelligence Department of the Army Staff

This may be seen as an intelligence directorate in miniature. It has very similar organisation: First Group or Reconnaissance Group: analagous to the First Department of an Intelligence Directorate and concerned with directing tactical reconnaissance, the difference being that it is only responsible for the divisions of one army, whereas the First Department of an Intelligence Directorate is responsible for all the divisions of its military district; Second Group or Secret Intelligence Group; Third Group or Spetsnaz Group: responsible for terrorist acts in the area of operations of its army — a specialist company of 115 cut-throat soldiers is part of it; Fourth Group — Informational; Fifth Group which commands two battalions, radio intelligence and radio-technical intelligence -the Intelligence Department likewise has its own interpreters.

It would be a mistake to think that operational agent intelligence is a kind of second-class citizen compared with strategic intelligence. Every intelligence directorate is a kind of GRU in miniature with its electronic facilities, information services, secret agents and even, where the fleet is concerned, its independent cosmic service. During the course of a war, or immediately before war breaks out, the power of an intelligence directorate is immeasurably increased by the infiltration in the enemy's rear of thousands of Spetsnaz saboteurs. The intelligence directorates taken altogether form a very powerful intelligence conglomerate, in no way inferior in its scope to strategic intelligence. In other words the GRU, in the form of strategic and operational intelligence, has created two agent networks independent of one another and each duplicating the other. In countries like Norway, Sweden, West Germany, Austria, Turkey, Afghanistan and China the operational intelligence agent network by far exceeds strategic intelligence in strength, effectiveness and invulnerability. This can be confirmed by examining the task of the different intelligence directorates:

Northern Fleet — covering Norway, Great Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Canada and the USA. There is no doubt that Northern Fleet intelligence is mainly restricted to targets on the sea shore or coastline, although this certainly does not preclude deep agent penetration of the whole territory of the country being investigated, including the central government organs.

Baltic Fleet — covering Sweden, Denmark, West Germany.

Black Sea Fleet — covering Turkey and the whole Mediterranean coastline.

Pacific Fleet — covering the USA, Japan, China, Canada and all countries of the Pacific Basin.

Leningrad Military District — Norway and Sweden. Agent intelligence work is not carried out on Finnish territory, since this country is well inside the Soviet sphere of influence, and its behaviour pleases the Kremlin much more than that of certain Warsaw pact countries, for example, Romania.

Baltic Military District — Sweden, Denmark.

Soviet Groups of Forces in Germany, the Northern Group of Forces in Poland, the Byelorussian Military District — all are concerned with the study of the German Federal Republic.

Central Group of Forces in Czechoslovakia — covering the German Federal Republic and Austria.

Southern Group of Forces in Hungary — Austria.

Carpathian Military District — covering Greece and Turkey from Bulgarian territory.

Kiev and Odessa Military District — Turkey, Austria.

Trans-Caucasian Military District — Turkey, Iran.

Turkestan Military District — Iran, Afghanistan.

Mid-Asian Military District — Afghanistan, China.

Trans-Baikal and Far Eastern Military Districts — China.

Moscow, Northern Caucasian, Volga, Ural and Siberian Military Districts — these do not run agent networks in peace time.

Taking two countries, West Germany and Turkey, as examples, let us analyse the strengths and facilities of strategic and operational intelligence networks and likewise the KGB networks:

West Germany has been infiltrated by: the GRU strategic agent network; several illegal residencies and agent groups; five undercover residencies in Bonn and Cologne, and three Soviet-controlled missions in British, American and French sectors; the Berlin direction of the GRU; it is also covered by the GRU operational agent network. Here, completely independently, work is also carried out by the intelligence directorate of the Baltic Fleet, Soviet troops in Germany, and the Northern and Central groups of forces in the Byelorussian Military District. In other words West Germany is subject to the attentions of: the agent networks of five intelligence centres; fifteen to eighteen intelligence points plus five intelligence points belonging to the Spetsnaz group; five Spetsnaz brigades and up to fifteen to twenty separate Spetsnaz companies belonging to the same organisation which are at full alert to carry out terrorist acts (the total number of cut-throats is up to 8,000 men). This accounts only for GRU activities. The KGB agent network also runs several illegal residencies and agent groups and two undercover residencies in Bonn and Cologne.

Turkey contains a similar proliferation of Soviet espionage: a GRU strategic agent network in the form of an illegal residency and two undercover residencies in Ankara and Istanbul; a GRU operational network in the form of five intelligence centres belonging to the Carpathian, Odessa, Kiev and Trans-Caucasian Military Districts, and the Black Sea fleet; fifteen to twenty intelligence points, plus five Spetsnaz intelligence points and a corresponding quantity of Spetsnaz brigades. The KGB provides a strategic network (one illegal residency and two undercover residencies); and a KGB operational network. This network is subordinated to the KGB frontier troops.

These two examples provide a blueprint for intelligence activity in many other countries, especially those having common frontiers with the Soviet Union or its satellites.

The basic difference in working methods between strategic and operational intelligence in the GRU is that officers of operational intelligence do not in peace-time work on the territories of target countries. All operations concerning the identification of suitable candidates, their vetting, testing, recruitment, training and all practical work are carried out on the territories within the Eastern bloc or from inside its frontiers. It may be thought that operational intelligence does not have the range and potential of the strategic branch, whose officers mainly work abroad, but this is not so. Without the possibility of recruiting foreigners in their own countries, operational intelligence seeks and finds other ways of establishing the necessary contacts. Its officers exploit every avenue of approach to attract foreigners visiting the Soviet Union and its satellites into their network. Prime attention is paid to students undergoing instruction in Soviet higher educational institutes, and to specialists visiting the Soviet Union as members of delegations. Naval intelligence actively works against sailors from foreign ships calling at Soviet ports, and operational intelligence is equally careful to study the affairs of Soviet and Eastern bloc citizens who have relatives in countries of interest to it.

Operational intelligence is quite unceremonious in using methods of pressurising its candidates, seeing that the recruitment of foreigners is taking place on its own territory. Having recruited one foreigner, the intelligence directorate then uses him for selecting and recruiting other candidates without a Soviet officer taking part. Frequently, one recruitment on Soviet territory is sufficient for the agent who has been recruited to return to his country and recruit several more agents. Contact between agents who have been recruited and their case officers in the Soviet Union is usually carried out by non-personal channels — radio, secret writing, microdots, dead-letter boxes — and couriers are greatly used, too, people like train drivers and conductors, crew members of aircraft and ships and lorry drivers. Personal contact with operational intelligence agents is only carried out on Soviet bloc territory. There exist numerous examples where meetings with agents take place only once every five to seven years, and cases are known where agents have never met their case officer and have never been either on Soviet or satellite territory. A useful example is that of a lorry driver belonging to a large transport company who was recruited by Soviet operational intelligence whilst visiting Czechoslovakia. Subsequently, having returned to his own country, he recruited a friend who worked in an armaments factory and his brother who lived not far from a very large military airport. The lorry driver only occasionally visited eastern Europe and rarely had contact with Soviet officers because there was always a driver's mate with him. However, every time a journey to eastern Europe was planned, he notified his case officers in good time by means of postcards. Postcards with pre— arranged texts were sent to different addresses in the Eastern bloc and every time the driver crossed into Soviet-controlled territory, officers met him either at customs, or in the restaurant or even the lavatory, to give him short instructions and money. The meetings were carried out in the shortest possible time so that the driver's mate would not suspect anything.

The absence of contact with agents outside territory under the control of the Soviet Union gives GRU operational intelligence exceptional advantages. Firstly, it is extremely difficult to unmask and expose such agents; secondly, and perhaps more important, the Soviet officers of operational intelligence have no chance to defect to the West and expose the activities of the agents recruited by them. (In strategic intelligence this occurs quite regularly but we have as yet not one example of it happening amongst operational intelligence officers.)

Yet another important advantage of operational intelligence, and one which gives it exceptional invulnerability, is its diversification. A defecting officer from strategic intelligence can say a lot about the activities of the central apparatus of the GRU, but an officer of the operational network who did succeed in defecting would be able to reveal only one or two intelligence points or centres — and there are more than a hundred of these in the Soviet Army. Each of them is carefully isolated from the others and, to a great extent, camouflaged. Centres and points are mostly found on the premises of military buildings of exceptional importance, and consequently with the maximum possible protection. Even if an officer did succeed in disclosing the true significance of a particular building, he could only say that it was, for example, a store for nuclear weapons or a rocket depot; it would be almost impossible to determine that in addition there was also an intelligence point. Cases are known where intelligence points have been located on the premises of the personal country houses of important generals or the well-guarded premises of punishment battalions (in other words, military prisons). And the diversification of the operational networks in no way indicates the absence of co-ordination. All these organs and organisations are included in a rigid pyramid system headed by the Fifth GRU Directorate (in turn, of course, subject to the head of the GRU). However, in the activities of the intelligence directorates there exists a certain freedom which invariably engenders useful intiative. The GRU central apparatus prefers not to interfere in the daily running of the intelligence directorates provided that they work in a productive manner and toe the line. The GRU will occasionally interfere, in cases where two different directorates have recruited the same agent, although it will always encourage a situation where different intelligence directorates recruit agents for the same target. For example, the intelligence directorate of a group of forces once recruited an agent for an important scientific research target. Unwittingly the intelligence directorate of another group of forces recruited another agent for the same target. Both agents provided almost identical information which was eventually received in Moscow where it was carefully analysed. The moment one of the agents began to provide false information, it was spotted by the Fifth Directorate which demanded that work should stop with one agent and that there should be greater vigilance in the work with the other agent. Independent penetration is, as we know, practised at all levels in the GRU. The head of an intelligence point may check his agents and reveal negative aspects in their work in good time. The heads of intelligence in military districts check the heads of points and centres and the head of the GRU checks his heads of military district intelligence. An illegal agent network may be used to check the agents of the undercover residencies and operational agent networks and vice-versa. Of course nobody suspects that he is engaged in checking somebody else. All anybody knows is that he is procuring material for the GRU.

Spetsnaz intelligence is the sharpest and most effective weapon in the hands of the heads of intelligence directorates or departments. It consists of two elements — Spetsnaz agents and Spetsnaz detachments. Spetsnaz agents are recruited by an intelligence point, and the whole process of recruiting and running agent-saboteurs is identical to the work with ordinary agents of operational intelligence. However, their tasks differ in essence. The basic task of the procurement agent is to provide necessary information. The task of the Spetsnaz agent is to carry out terrorist acts. Intelligence directorates try to recruit these agents from within the most important economic and transport targets. On receipt of orders, they must be able and willing to carry out acts of sabotage upon these targets. For the GRU the most important thing is to render unserviceable power and transport targets, electric power stations, electric power lines, oil and gas pipelines, bridges, tunnels and railway equipment. Great stress is placed on carrying out acts of sabotage which will have a strong effect on the morale of the inhabitants over a wide area, such as the blowing up of a large dam or the burning of oil storage tanks. Spetsnaz agents form the so-called 'sleeping' agent network which does no work in peace-time but springs into action the moment hostilities break out. Operational intelligence tries to limit its meetings with these agents to exceptional cases.

The Spetsnaz detachment is quite different. It is the true elite of the Soviet armed forces. Its members are crack soldiers and officers. On Soviet territory they wear the uniform of airborne troops, on satellite territories they are disguised as auxiliary detachments, normally signals units. (Of course they have no connection with airborne troops or signals. Eight divisions of airborne troops are subject to the commander of airborne forces, who in his turn is answerable only to the Minister of Defence. The airborne forces form a strategic element acting exclusively in the interests of the higher command.) Spetsnaz detachments are an organ of the operational field and act in the interests of fronts, fleets and armies. The Soviet Army includes four naval Spetsnaz brigades (one to each fleet); sixteen Spetsnaz brigades — one to each group of forces and the basic military districts; and forty-one separate companies.

A Spetsnaz brigade consists of a headquarters company, three or four airborne battalions and support detachments. In all there are 900 to 1,300 soldiers and officers ready to carry out terrorist operations in the rear of the enemy. A Spetsnaz naval brigade is similar, containing a headquarters company, a group of midget submarines, a battalion of parachutists and two or three battalions of frogmen. Sometimes the Spetsnaz naval brigade is confused with the brigade of the fleet marine infantry, mainly because naval Spetsnaz use the uniform of marine infantry to disguise their soldiers and officers. Spetsnaz companies in armies and tank armies consist of three platoons of saboteurs and one communications platoon. This means that, all told, there are in peace-time alone 27,000 to 30,000 first-class saboteurs available. During mobilisation this number can be increased by four— or five-fold by recalling reservists who have previously served in these detachments.

The deployment of saboteurs in the enemy's rear is normally carried out by parachute, though in the fleets frogmen also take part. Spetsnaz hardly ever use helicopters, because the deployment generally takes place at a considerable distance from the front line. Small groups of Spetsnaz brigades are dropped at a depth of 500 to 1,000 kilometres to act in the interests of the frontal forces who will be attacking through areas cleared by atomic action, air attacks and sabotage activities. Simultaneously with the dropping of the front brigade, each army taking part carries out the dropping of its own Spetsnaz companies. These are also dropped in small groups, a maximum of fifteen consisting of five or six men each, at depths of 100 to 500 kilometres. There are usually three or four armies and one tank army in each front, so in the course of an attack at a frontal level there are one brigade and four or five separate companies operating at a depth from 100 to 1,000 kilometres in the rear of the enemy. In other words around 250 groups totalling 1,500 to 1,700 men. It must be added that, on West German territory for example, preparations are in hand for not one, but four or five fronts to operate. At the same time the Spetsnaz agents are activated.

The Spetsnaz detachments have two basic duties: the destruction of the system of the State government and its armies, that is the destruction of staff, command points, networks and lines of communication; and the destruction of nuclear weapons and the means of supplying them — attacks on depots and stores of nuclear weaponry and rockets, aerodromes, rocket launchers and launching pads. Simultaneously with these two basic tasks, the Spetsnaz detachments strive to disorganise the internal life of the State and Army and to sow uncertainty and panic.

In carrying out the first task, the leading role is allocated to the staff companies of the Spetsnaz brigades. These companies differ from other detachments of Spetsnaz in that they are not manned by soldiers who are serving their time, but by professional men, 'ensigns'. These Spetsnaz staff companies are specially trained for the kidnapping or destruction of State leaders of the enemy, members of the government and senior military commanders. Their existence is cloaked in the very strictest secrecy. Frequently, many officers and sergeants of Spetsnaz brigades do not even suspect the existence of such companies in their brigades. They are kept apart from the normal brigade and camouflaged as parachutists, boxers, wrestlers, unarmed combat experts, marksmen, even sports teams of the military district. The staff company of the Spetsnaz brigade is the only unit which carries out its tasks not in camouflaged uniform but in civilian clothes or in the military or police uniform of the enemy. These companies are also the only ones amongst the Spetsnaz detachments which, in the course of military operations, may establish contact and act together with the agent-saboteurs of Spetsnaz. All the remaining units of saboteurs undertake night flights, mine-laying and the seizure of prisoners in order to obtain information. Tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) belonging to the enemy are of special interest for saboteurs, and all groups have the task of making sudden attacks on AFVs with the aim of stealing them for future use in attacks against given targets. Several groups may take part in an attack on a certain target, and after the attack they will disperse and go their own ways. There is a constant alternation between the collecting of information and the carrying out of sabotage acts. A group may collect information on enemy troop movements in a certain region and transmit the information to its staff, then it may destroy a rocket launcher in another area, then go on to collect more information on troop movements. Everything depends on the tasks set to the group and the initiative of the group commander. When prisoners are taken, the saboteurs know no laws or humanity in their methods of interrogation; nobody who has been in any way connected with Spetsnaz will deny their brutality, which extends even to their own members, because speed of results is paramount. They will kill their own wounded -the group cannot transport a wounded man, nor can it let him fall into the hands of the enemy. And if a rocket launcher or an aircraft carrying nuclear weapons is ready for action, they will attack it even if it means the inevitable destruction of the entire group.

Let us examine one case study which underlines both the importance and effectiveness of operational intelligence. The greatest interest for the staff of military districts is not the political situation or technology but pure military information: the deployment, numbers, equipment and plans of the troops of a probable enemy in sectors where an attack by Soviet forces is likely. An agent who had been recruited by the second department of the intelligence directorate of the Byelorussian Military District on West German territory selected places for parachute landings by the Spetsnaz groups. He photographed these locations and made diagrams. Obviously, since the prime motive was sabotage, his choices were near important bridges, dams and narrow passes in lakeland areas. His photographs were transported by courier into East Germany to one of the intelligence points of the Byelorussian Military District. Copies were also sent to the third and fourth departments of the Byelorussian Military District intelligence directorate. While they were being studied, an officer noticed a group of American soldiers who kept on appearing in close-up. The soldiers were doing something at a kind of metal hatchway on the side of the road, and the suggestion was put forward that they were laying a cable for military communications. This was scotched by officers of the fifth department who had been invited for consultations and who said categorically that the Americans would not have a cable in that region. The laying of military cable on West German territory would in any case be discovered by agents of the military district. In the opinion of the signals officers, the photographs showed that the soldiers' work was unlikely to be concerned with cables. The photographs were immediately dispatched to the GRU information service, where a new suggestion was put forward. Could these not be anti-personnel land mines which are prepared in peace-time where Soviet sabotage units might be active in the event of war? This suggestion greatly alarmed the GRU leadership. The fifth directorate immediately gave orders to all intelligence directorates running agents in West Germany to pay particular attention to the activities of small groups of soldiers in the neighbourhood of important bridges, dams, railway stations and crossroads. At the same time, the first GRU directorate gave similar orders to all its residents in West Germany. A month later, the information service of the GRU had at its disposal thousands of photographs of groups of soldiers working at metallic hatchways. Every hatchway that had been discovered was marked on a map. This alone did not permit a final conclusion to be drawn about the significance of the hatchways, and the GRU had a series of enlargements taken from a distance of not more than one metre. The photographic interpreters were interested to see that the thickness of the hatchways was no greater than that of the wall of a good safe, but the locks would have been the envy of any bank. This led to the opinion that the land mines were of a more complicated design. Further analysis showed that the mine-shafts were very deep, and sometimes placed at some hundreds of metres from the object which they were supposed to destroy in case of war. It was this which finally convinced the specialists that it was not a case of ordinary land mines, but of a nuclear variety, whose purpose was not to counter a parachute attack but to halt all Soviet troops in case they began an attack on Europe. Simultaneously, one of the GRU residencies on West German territory acquired documentary evidence confirming the conclusions of the information service.

The possibility of nuclear land mines being used completely disrupted all Soviet plans for a blitzkrieg attack on Europe. The general staff, the Ministry of Defence and the Central Committee would now have to find new ways of attack, new methods of employing their troops and ways and means of surmounting strong radioactive fallout caused by the underground explosions. In a word, all tactics, operational methods and strategic plans would have to be changed. All this was thanks to the fact that the new NATO tactics had become known to the general staff in good time.