A fellow club member has been doing some Alternate History/Imagi-Nation work for the Cold War (see here and here) and it has got me to muse about what Byzantium may look like in this era (For non readers of the blog, I imagined Byzantia was created after World War 1 from European Turkey and parts of the German supporting Balkan nations like Bulgaria).
World War 2 saw them over-run by Germany after beating back an Italian invasion, and then the rising of a Resistance movement that helped push the Germans out. Both Soviet and Commonwealth forces were in the country at war end.
To think through what happened post WW2 I looked at what happened to the "neutral" countries on the Cold War borders, such as Finland, Austria and Yugoslavia. There are a number of common threads from a military point of view:
- All tended to be left with a mix of Allied and Axis equipment after WW2
- All tended to keep these for some time where they were useable/not obsolete, well into 1970's - even 1980's in some cases
- They tended to opt for a defensive military strategy, making themselves "too expensive to invade" by optimising their forces to fight defensively and, once the country is taken, the entire nation is organised to resist via a well trained and organised reservist/militia force
- In the 1960's, as the Cold War intensified these nations started to upgrade their military.
- Austria majored on NATO & Neutral (Sweden, Switzerland) equipment , Yugoslavia on Warsaw Pact - but also used US equipment. Finland was careful to use Warsaw pact and Neutral equipment.
- All designed & built some of their own equipment - small arms, APCs, and in Yugoslavia's case light jets.
The venerable SU-100 - inherited at the end of WW2, still in service (albeit modified over the years) for four decades after
Like most other non first-rank nations, Byzantium had a mix of Allied WW2 equipment that they kept through the 1950's and into the 1960's (and even beyond), but following the zeitgeist started to re-arm in the 1960's. As with Finland they were careful to use a lot of Warsaw Pact equipment, but also bought equipment from neutral Sweden and Switzerland. After France left NATO in 1966 they also bought French equipment (conveniently, so yours truly could get the maximum choice of different gear for their army ;) )
In order to develop local industry they too developed local arms manufacture, initially building other countries' equipment under licence but then designing and building their own. All that remains now is thus to decide what
As to army organisation, all these countries had a defensive conventional force and a large, fairly well trained reservist militia plus reinforced key strongpoints (Austria at one point bought old Centurion tanks and used their turrets as fixed guns).
French AML-90's replaced WW2 era armoured cars from the late 1960's on.
As with the other Cold War Border neutrals, the army was built around the Brigade rather than Division (reservists would form this larger force). The army was split into regional (Thematic) Motorised and centralised (Tagmatic) Mechanised Brigades, plus (later) two rapid reaction Light Brigades and two Special Force battalions - an Air Cavalry unit and a Light Infantry (aka SAS wannabe) unit.
The other consideration is army organisation - before WW2 they had adopted the French model, and after WW2 initially pretty much kept to it. But come the New Model World 60's, it was felt a new structure should be used.
As to the New Model TO&E, the new French model was too confusing for the French, never mind anyone else. The Soviet model was based around mass and attrition, a tactic available to a hugely populous nation with massive industrial assets. The US model was also one of a populous and rich state. None were deemed appropriate, so they looked at a number of other options before deciding on their own structure, based on their succesful army of 1000 years ago, which they continually tinkered with over the next two decades.
(Part 2 is over here)