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"A Look At How The Former Soviet Union Mapped The..." Topic

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Action Log

09 Aug 2015 9:42 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from Modern Media board

1,325 hits since 20 Jul 2015
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Jul 2015 11:12 p.m. PST

…U.S. For Invasion.

"During the Cold War, the Soviet military mapped the entire world in one of the most ambitious mapping projects ever undertaken (see this feature article for more about these amazing maps, and the unlikely group of scholars trying to figure out how they were made—and why). The maps are fascinating to look at, and for those of us who grew up during the paranoid days of the Cold War, seeing your hometown covered in cyrillic text is a bit unsettling.

But the Soviets didn't stop at just making some of the most accurate and detailed maps of the day. Some of the medium scale maps of include extremely detailed descriptions of the area–everything from the load-bearing capacities of bridges to the paving materials of the roads. (Yes, comrade, they will accommodate your tanks!)…"
See here


Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2015 5:08 a.m. PST

Looking at these maps for making scenarios etc. might be really useful.

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2015 7:36 a.m. PST

I wonder how NATO maps of Eastern Europe compare?

I used a tourist map to wander Krakow just after the fall of Communism. I was looking for some of the landmarks from GDW's Twilight 2000 scenarios.

I went down the river past a rather blank looking part of the map where GDW had put a railway station. I took a couple of photos of the river, turned around and came face to face with a sign saying 'No Photography'. I was walking along the fence line of a depot of 6th Pomeranian Airborne.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2015 10:50 a.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed it my friend!

Good memories Swampter! (smile)


Cold Steel Inactive Member21 Jul 2015 1:27 p.m. PST

The US produced similar studies, but not in the same format. Our nation or area studies were organized around the local area resources. For example, the petroleum section of a specific province had a list of all the gas stations, POL storage and distribution facilities with type and quantity details. Other sections detailed food supplies, medical facilities, etc.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Jul 2015 4:07 p.m. PST

There is a great book called "How To Lie With Maps." In it they show how the USSR moved cities and other locations on their maps. A city might be on the coast at the mouth of the river. On another map, 3 miles inland on the south side. On another map on the north side inland from both the river and the sea.

Not sure it would fool the satellites but still…

Whatisitgood4atwork Inactive Member21 Jul 2015 6:32 p.m. PST

Wars are won or lost on accurate maps. In ancient times, before the ubiquity of information, making or owning a map was often illegal and very dangerous.

In more recent times, Britain prepared for possible German invasion after Dunkirk by switching place names and signs at crossroads – causing chaos for themselves and none to the enemy.

Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2015 5:22 p.m. PST

One might add some random factors to a campaign game. 1 in 10 chance that a given unit arriving as reinforcements took a wrong turn.

On a related note, someone told me once that during a huge exercise where everybody was involved, one units MP's managed to read the map wrong, blunder all over the country side in confusion, managing to bypass all "enemy" units before finally crashing into the opposing sides headquarters, taking them prisoner.

soledad23 Jul 2015 11:53 a.m. PST

They mapped basically all of Sweden. There is a book (in Swedish though) about the subject. It contains several maps of Swedish cities and other areas of interest.

Also interesting is which scale the maps are in. Maps in different scales have different information so that the ones using the maps have relevant info. Maps for company commanders have relevant info for company commanders. Maps for brigade commanders have relevant for commanders at that level.

Very thorough research by the soviets. It would have given Soviets a very important information advantage in a war situation.

Barin124 Jul 2015 3:08 a.m. PST

In my army times, thorough large scale maps were considered to be secret. I've seen very good maps of Karelia (where my service was), plus southern part of Finland during drills in 1985-87. From 1987, good quality maps were "declassified", and when I returned home in summer of 1987 I've found Karelia map on a wall in my flat – my younger brother put it there, and marked my unit location with pinned flag ;)
I've also seen special cartographer's cars – typically UAZ-469 modifications, that were moving by the roads of all types in summer to measure thir exact dimensions and positions in regards to sea level. I think brigade had a special unit, who was tasked to regularly update all locations around our deployment zone.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2015 8:57 a.m. PST

Would you think they have these maps at Moscow central library?
That could be taken in pics.

tuscaloosa Inactive Member24 Jul 2015 1:43 p.m. PST

"In my army times, thorough large scale maps were considered to be secret"

If U.S./NATO maps had the detail that Soviet maps had, they would also be classified.

per ardua Inactive Member11 Dec 2015 2:02 p.m. PST

There is actually an android app for soviet military maps.

Charlie 12 Inactive Member11 Dec 2015 2:32 p.m. PST

Imagine my surprise when I opened the link and found MY hometown as the subject. Interesting details, but not 100% correct in many specifics.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.