Tag Archives: 1978

Autumn Forge ’78

NATO’s Historian just posted this, which is awesome for fans of Cold War gear and equipment.

A documentary presented by Robert MacNeil from NATO headquarters in Brussels and showing a 1978 combined NATO exercise, “Autumn Forge”, that took place in September 1978 in the Federal Republic of Germany, testing the capacity for rapid reinforcements to NATO’s central front in Europe, the most vulnerable area the Alliance has to defend.


00:00 Introduction

06:23 Day One

11:49 Day Two

18:07 Day Three

22:42 Day Four

25:50 Epilogue

SACEUR, U.S. Army General Alexander M. Haig, placed great emphasis on improving the “Three Rs” – Readiness, Rationalisation, and Reinforcement – in order to counter-balance the growing military capabilities of the Warsaw Pact. One of SHAPE’s major tasks during this period was to study how to improve the command and control and flexibility of NATO forces in Europe. In 1975, Gen. Haig also introduced a major new NATO exercise program called Autumn Forge, whose best-known element was the REFORGER (Return of Forces to Germany) series. These exercises brought together national and NATO exercises improved their training value and annually tested the ability of the Alliance’s North American members to reinforce Europe rapidly.

The carpool lane

When it comes to moving guys to the front, you take what you can get as far as Motor-T is concerned. This goes back to the days of the out-sized mythos of the “Renault Taxi de la Marne,” the 600 Paris cabs requisitioned by Gen. Joseph Gallieni in early September 1914 to move about 5,000 men from the railheads in the City of Lights to the front, some 30 miles or so to the North.

While not key to the battle, you still see troops rushing about in civy transpo from time to time. These are among a few of the more humorous.


A car pulls a mortar that belongs to the Free Syrian Army fighters, toward the front line where clashes with forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad are taking place, in Binnish in Idlib province March 13, 2013. Picture was taken March 13, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Kaddoor/Shaam News Network/Handout

Serbian mechanized infantry on the move, 1993.

Renault with five Belgian paratroopers rushing about in Kolwezi, Zaire in 1978. Note the FALs