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1979 GSFG- tanks and afvs in the 8th Gds Army


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#1 zaevor2000

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 2217 PM

Just wanted to ask those in the know what was the composition of the 8th Gds Army facing V Corps in the 1979 timeframe.

What I have is:

20th Gds Motorized Rifle Division:
55th MRR- BMP1 w/ T62 tank bn, 2S1 SP
57th MRR- BTR-60 w/ T62 tank bn, D30 How
60th MRR- BTR60 w/ T62 tank bn, D30 How
20th TR- T62
20th Ind Tk Bn- T62

39th Gds Motorized Rifle Division:
112th MRR- BMP1 w/ T62 tank bn, 2S1 SP
117th MRR- BTR-60 w/ T62 tank bn, D30 How
120th MRR- BTR60 w/ T62 tank bn, D30 How
39th TR- T62
39th Ind Tk Bn- T62

57th Gds Motorized Rifle Division:
170th MRR- BMP1 w/ T62 tank bn, 2S1 SP
172nd MRR- BTR-60 w/ T62 tank bn, D30 How
174th MRR- BTR60 w/ T62 tank bn, D30 How
57th TR- T62
57th Ind Tk Bn- T62

79th Gds Tank Division:
216th TR- T62 w/ BMP1 MRR co, 2S1 SP
220th TR- T62 w/ BMP1 MRR co, 2S1 SP
227th TR- T62 w/ BMP1 MRR co, 2S1 SP
20th MRR- BMP1 w/ T62 tank bn, 2S1 SP

and...assuming the East German 4th Mechanized Division was made part of 8th Gds Army:
East German 4th Mechanized Division:
22nd Reg- BMP1 w/ T55 tank bn, 2S1 SP
23rd Reg- BTR-60 w/ T55 tank bn, D30 How
24th Reg- BTR60 w/ T55 tank bn, D30 How
25th Tk Reg- T55

For US Army:

basically M60a1s for the tankers and M113s for the Mech Inf?
Is M60a1 and M113 correct for 11th ACR in 79?

For the German army:
Leo 1a4's and Marders for the German PzGren and Leo 2 for the Pz Bns for the 14th Pz Bde of the 5th Pz Div.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

We are having a large event here in Dallas in April w/ people coming from Houston and other places to game out a 1979 Warsaw Pact invasion as a result of the Afghanistan conflict triggering a rapid sequence of events which leads to the Warsaw Pact invasion. We are gaming out the V corps area, using the old SPI Central Front series game for moving the regiments on the map and then fighting out the significant battles with GHQ microarmor.

We did this back in 2008 and had a blast.

Looking to see if my OOB and TOE are accurate for this timeframe. Please let me know of any changes that have to be made to make this event more accurate for everyone. Since some are traveling for hundreds of miles I feel obligated to give them the best, most accurate depiction possible.

Thanks to everyone in advance for the help!

Frank

Edited by zaevor2000, 14 January 2011 - 2348 PM.


#2 Harkonnen

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 1044 AM

T-64a started to be delievered to GsVG from 1976, why are not in the list?

#3 zaevor2000

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 1108 AM

Thanks for the reply Harkonnen!

That's what I'm trying to find out... what each unit had in 79...

Which units in 8th Gds army had T-64s in 1979?

Did the 79th Tk Div have them? and did the Motorized Rifle division have them in their Tank Regiments, BMP Regiments or Independent Tank Battalions? If so, which ones?

I am trying to get a clearer picture of that area in 1979.

Thanks for your help!

Frank

#4 zaevor2000

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 1320 PM

I would really appreciate that Stuart!

All I know is that just because something has been introduced doesn't mean it's in widespread service... when I got to 2nd ACR in Sept 85 I was shocked that they didn't have Bradleys and the 120mm M1s. In fact we only had the M1 improved with the 105 the whole time I was there and we Scouts were in M113s/M901s until we went into Bradley transition in Feb 87. I am wondering if the Soviets had T62s in units when the T64 was available. Takes awhile to pump out enough tanks from the factory to equip the entire army (several years). If we take a production rate of 1000 T64s a yr, and there are roughly 300 tanks per tank division that means they can roughly equip 3 new divisions each year...just going through the math...

I know that the T64 was around...but I am curious which units had them in 79...

I believe a lot of the general consensus was that the T64s were sent north to counter the Chieftains w/ their 120s and thick armored hide and didn't trickle down into the 8th Gds Army, but instead the 8th Gds Army went straight from T62s to T80s in around the 83/84 timeframe.

I am interested in gaining a greater understanding.


Frank

#5 LeoTanker

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 1612 PM

So all the motor rifle divisions of the corpse were equipped with MBTs? I would have imagined they had only lighter armour. What sets them apart from the "regular" tank divisions only seem to be the AFVs (less capable) and the artillery (less manouverable) -or? What about their support structures like AA, C&C and engeneering batallions etc, where they simmilar too?

Very nice OOB table zaevor, good work.

#6 Lieste

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 1715 PM

So all the motor rifle divisions of the corpse were equipped with MBTs? I would have imagined they had only lighter armour. What sets them apart from the "regular" tank divisions only seem to be the AFVs (less capable) and the artillery (less manouverable) -or? What about their support structures like AA, C&C and engeneering batallions etc, where they simmilar too?

Very nice OOB table zaevor, good work.


As I understood it, the 'traditional' OOB for a MRD, was:
3xMRR (93 IFV or 100+ APC (including the Regt AT battery)), with each supported by 1 Tank Bn (40 tanks), and an Independent Tank Bn (51 tanks), plus Divisional Artillery, Engineers, AAA etc.

The TD had:
3xTR (93 Tanks) each supported by 1 MR Company (10 IFV), plus Divisional Artillery, Engineers, AAA etc.

Later evolutions were supposed to get additional MR troops in the tank division (up to 1 Bn per Regt), and improved logistic support (the original TD was rather leaner than the MRD, and possibly not suited to sustained operations).

#7 zaevor2000

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 1715 PM

So all the motor rifle divisions of the corpse were equipped with MBTs? I would have imagined they had only lighter armour. What sets them apart from the "regular" tank divisions only seem to be the AFVs (less capable) and the artillery (less manouverable) -or? What about their support structures like AA, C&C and engeneering batallions etc, where they simmilar too?

Very nice OOB table zaevor, good work.


Thank you.

Excellent questions.

My understanding is that the structure of the Motorized Rifle Divisions was 1 Tk Regiment and 3 Motor Rifle Regiments (originally it was 1 BMP reg/2 BTR reg mix, but after the BMPs became more numerous, it changed to a 2 BMP reg/1 BTR reg mix). Each Motor Rifle regiment had a tank battalion of 2nd line tanks that were split up 1 tank company per infantry battalion, and was further divided to 1 tank platoon preceeding 1 infantry company in the advance. This enabled the tanks to somewhat shield the vulnerable APCs behind them, as well as provide excellent direct fire HE suppression at infantry, ATGM crews and other soft targets, and also gave them the ability to engage any armor short of the latest design Western tanks.

Since the BTR's were so vulnerable, they dismounted their infantry quite a distance away from the shooting, and had a much slower rate of advance as a result. This is also probably a contributing factor as to why the BTR regiments maintained their towed artillery D-30s when the Tank and BMP regiments were operating the SP 2S1's...
all the SPs were the only artillery that could keep up with the tank and BMPs...

From what I have seen, most of the other support elements were almost identical.

Some key differences were:

1) first and foremost, in the motor rifle units, their assigned tanks operated in 4 tank platoons, whereas in the tank units, the tanks were in 3 tank platoons.

2) Motor Rifle units had anti-tank and ATGM companies that were not needed in the tank units.

3) Motor Rifle divisions had an independent tank battalion, but tank divisions did not have an independent tank battalion.

Those are the MAJOR differences...

Thanks everyone for the feedback, be interested in seeing what else we can turn up...

Frank

Edited by zaevor2000, 15 January 2011 - 1821 PM.


#8 RETAC21

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 0416 AM

Estimated Soviet tank inventory as of mid-1979 according to the '81 edition of Weapons and Tactics of the Soviet Army:

GSFG: 4025 T-64/T-72*; 2030 T-62, 2040 T-54/55**
NGF: 650 T-62
CGF: some T-64/72; 1150 T-62; 180 T-54/55
SGF: some T-64/72; 1140 T-62; 170 T-54/55

* we now know there were no T-72s, so all of them would be T-64s. IIRC the USMLM reports estate that deployment of the T-64 started with the divisions in the North (evidently to counter the Chieftain) and then moved on South, with the last T-62s replaced by T-80s in the 80s.
** T-55 evidently.

#9 zaevor2000

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 0815 AM

Fantastic posts, Stuart!

Exactly what I was looking for! I have the original, but I really like the notes that you have incorporated as well.

Thank you very much!

So, as I still understand it, in the US sector in 79 it is going to be T62s until 84/85 when they get the T80s, and it is safe to say that 78/79 the Brits up north will be facing T64s. Again, if anyone has evidence to the contrary for this time frame I am very interested!

Even though I was in the Border Cav as part of 2nd ACR, the only Soviet vehicles we saw were the occasional GAZ jeep patrolling the border (border patrols were almost always conducted by the East Germans), Hinds and Hoplites flying parallel to the border (you were not allowed to point any weapons system towards the border- doing so represented a FragRep indicator of imminent hostilities and reported up the chain of command immediately.), along with the Soviet vehicles in the Graf motor park...

Armored vehicles were not allowed close to the border, so the only means we have of info is the intelligence/clandestine info gathering...

So many of us veterans are just as much in the dark as the civilians when it comes to what was in service across the border...

Thank you very much for the help everyone!

Keep it coming...

Frank

Edited by zaevor2000, 16 January 2011 - 0816 AM.


#10 zaevor2000

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 1114 AM

Thank you very much for the reply Stuart!

So when would you put T64s arriving in the units facing the V Corps sector and would there be any there in the 1979 time frame in possibly 1 regiment of a tank division and possibly the independent tank bn of a motorized rifle regiment?

Just trying to reconcile what the Soviet contingent on Tanknet is saying vs. what most of the western intelligence has shown up...

I was working in the Border Operations Center in Camp Hof and right down the road in Plauen we had T80 BVs and BMP2s...this was in the 87-88 timeframe...

For our games I try to get the most probable time frame.

One of the people in our local gaming group, Marshall Gulley, is a Marine veteran late 70s early 80s and he is running the Operational Art of War, Fulda Gap 76 to genenete scenarios for our mini-convention of a 79 invasion... some VERY interesting possible scenario possibilities w/ a Soviet paratroop at the end of the Fulda valley, effectively putting a cork in the bottle (11th ACR) w/ 3rd Armored having to fight their way through the Soviet airborne regiment in the woods and urban area with the 39th MRD and 79th TD trying to muscle their way on the other end of the valley trying to bust through the 11th ACR to link up w/ the airborne.

Also interesting w/ the East German 7th Panzer division hitting around Bad Neustadt...



Also we are using this for inspiration as well.

http://homepages.par...tle/dayone.html

I have the 8th Gds Army down to platoon lvl, along w/ a Bde of the 5th Pz, and the 2nd Sqdn of an ACR (can be used for either 2nd or 11th) along w/the 1st Bde of the 3rd Armored Division that would have been relieving the 11th ACR in the Fulda area.

Will include some pics if desired...

Thank you very much for the help!

Frank

Edited by zaevor2000, 16 January 2011 - 1114 AM.


#11 zaevor2000

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 1532 PM

Thank you for the reply, Stuart!

That is one of the reasons that I asked this forum first and foremost, we have a LOT of veterans of different nationalities and different units and I am kind of leaning on them to help fill out the picture as well as armor aficianados that are very well researched such as yourself ;)

Like I said, I've got people coming for hundreds of miles, so I want to give them the most accurate version possible. In fact one of the members of our first game, Rod Collard, died a few months after the game... so who knows when we will have the chance to do this again.

We will probably have LOTS of pics of it, hopefully Rocky Davis will join in on the festivities as a former armor officer... He did a great job of handling a T64 Tank division against the Royal Tank Regiment Chieftains in the 83 time frame, pinned him and very rapidly outflanked him with the BMPs and T64s, those things FLY on the open road!

Would the general recommendation to have T64s for 1 regiment of the 79th Tk Div and 1 independent tank bn of each MRD to have T64s?

Frank

#12 zaevor2000

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 1855 PM

OK Rocky, if you read this you are officially on my S@@t list. :D
British Army doctrine was very much in transition in at that point. Previously it was to pick out stop lines, thin red line with Chieftains and Fv432s if you like. So at least in that timeframe im afraid I find that all too likely. You should read of the counter-offensive strategy outlined by Bagnall that slowly altered the strategy from that point on. I feel it could have given the Soviets great problems.

Ill have a look back through my notes tomorrow and see if I can find anything on those points for you. One book I can recommend for you if you havent got it, Weapons and Tactics of the Soviet Army by David Isby. its pretty much the bible on the Soviet army in that period. I personally think the 1981 edition was more accurate, but the 1988 version had some interesting detail on Soviet helicopter units in light of the Afghan operation.


Here's my "Cold War" collection:

Isby, David C. Weapons and Tactics of the Soviet Army, Jane's, 1981. Great book. Pretty much the bible on Soviet Army...

Isby, David C. Weapons and Tactics of the Soviet Army, Jane's, 1988. The most fascinating part of the update was the review of the Soviet Army performance in Afghanistan as well as the updated T64/T72/T80 information and the expanded helicopter section as well...

Isby, David C. and Charles T. Kamps Armies of Nato's Central Front, Jane's, 1985. The best 1 volume of NATO units in this time frame. I like the different chapters for each nationality as well as the general chapters.

Baxter, William P. Lt Col, USA, (ret.) Soviet AirLand Battle Tactics, Presidio, 1986

Peters, Ralph, Red Army

Zaloga, Steven, Tank War-Central Front NATO vs. Warsaw Pact, Osprey, 1988.

and many others...

since I was in high school from 78-82 and then served 83-88, I will always be fascinated by the mid 70s to late 80s time frame...

Frank

#13 Kenneth P. Katz

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 2312 PM

We are the same age and our military service overlaps. The last decade of the Cold War is "my war".

since I was in high school from 78-82 and then served 83-88, I will always be fascinated by the mid 70s to late 80s time frame...



#14 Jim Warford

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 2356 PM

[quote name='Stuart Galbraith' date='16 January 2011 - 0923 AM' timestamp='1295169810' post='835680']

"1985 - 23rd January
Serial numbers and scrapings obtained from glacis of T64A by USMLM. (My comment. The USMLM report describes this as ‘exclusively, despite the fact that Brixmis had obtained samples with a hacksaw, apparently as early as 1981) (7)"

Stuart; first off...you are my hero; thanks. Posts like this one have really saved some of us a lot of time. :) Secondly, I'm very interested in the "who was first..." nature of some of the various Missions' achievements/claims. In some cases, the official USMLM reports are very specific and up-front about giving credit where credit is due. In some other cases, however, things seem to be left unsaid, or in dispute. Have you noticed those same trends as well?

Edited by Jim Warford, 16 January 2011 - 2358 PM.


#15 zaevor2000

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 0047 AM

We are the same age and our military service overlaps. The last decade of the Cold War is "my war".


It will always be ours... we served right at the height of the Cold War, I still get a chuckle out of Reagan's remark about the "evil empire". LOL. I was glad that I pretty much caught the army right when it transitioning from the M60/M113 army over to the M1/Bradley army...got to see both sides and it was fascinating to see how both vehicles were just leagues ahead of their predecessor...

Frank

#16 zaevor2000

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 0051 AM

[quote name='Jim Warford' date='16 January 2011 - 2256 PM' timestamp='1295240216' post='835858']
[quote name='Stuart Galbraith' date='16 January 2011 - 0923 AM' timestamp='1295169810' post='835680']

"1985 - 23rd January
Serial numbers and scrapings obtained from glacis of T64A by USMLM. (My comment. The USMLM report describes this as ‘exclusively, despite the fact that Brixmis had obtained samples with a hacksaw, apparently as early as 1981) (7)"

Stuart; first off...you are my hero; thanks. Posts like this one have really saved some of us a lot of time. :) Secondly, I'm very interested in the "who was first..." nature of some of the various Missions' achievements/claims. In some cases, the official USMLM reports are very specific and up-front about giving credit where credit is due. In some other cases, however, things seem to be left unsaid, or in dispute. Have you noticed those same trends as well?
[/quote]

Jim, just wanted to take a moment and thank you for chiming in!


Would you happen to know if/where there were any T64s or other surprises in V Corps or VII Corps sectors for the 79 time frame? Or a better understanding of when some of the more modern equipment was rolled out? T64 would have been an absolutely horrifying experience in a late 70s M60a1...

Again, thank you to Stuart for those great posts, very, very packed with good info from that time frame.

Thank you everyone for keeping the info coming!

Frank

#17 jmcmtank

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 0410 AM

Just to add to the thanks for this article Stuart; I served in BAOR from 1984 to 1993 and this article gives me the cold shudders. Very little of this information was disseminated to the troops and what we got was often misunderstood, eg "we are up against loads of T-80 because of our fab thermal and powerful guns", instead of "The Soviets reinforce success and Northag looks like easy meat". :o

#18 RETAC21

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 0457 AM

Just to add to the thanks for this article Stuart; I served in BAOR from 1984 to 1993 and this article gives me the cold shudders. Very little of this information was disseminated to the troops and what we got was often misunderstood, eg "we are up against loads of T-80 because of our fab thermal and powerful guns", instead of "The Soviets reinforce success and Northag looks like easy meat". Posted Image


I would say even today there's a lot of mischaracterisation going on, thanks in no small part to Harkkonen and his, sometimes bizarre, posts as well as the works of Mikhail Baratynski is pretty obvious that some trends on Soviet hardware evolution were misunderstood completely in the West.

We now know that the T-64 and the T-80 were alternative designs, the T-72 was a cheap knock-off and the T-62 was an interim tank until the T-64 was ready, which took longer than expected.

In this light the decision to keep the T-62 in the Southern armies made sense since they had the more or less equivalent M60/Leopard 1/AMX-30s of the US, Belgian/West German/French armies in front, while giving the better armored T-64s to the Northern armies to counter Chieftain.

#19 zaevor2000

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 1241 PM

May I just say, thats just my opinion from when I looked at the reports. Im not an intelligence analyst. As my father says, opinions are like A@@holes. Everyone has one. :D

I think the note from September 84 is interesting, where it says,
‘T-80 was being introduced into 1GTA, and 8 GTA, and although a complete
battalion complement had not been observed they appeared to he replacing the
T-62 on a one for one basis‘. (according to American members of Tanknet,
many motor rifle regiments in this area were equipped with T62 around this
period) (7)

Now this is rather late, and bears out the suggestion that Units opposite the US sector were among the last to hold onto T62. My personal opinion (hah!) is that the Soviets didnt intend to do much aggressive pushing in the US sector. The terrain was lousy, they were facing the first team, and even if they did do well, potentially it would just create a nuclear release. All they would have wanted to do was tie up the US corp to stop them redeploying north where they could halt the push against Northag.
Putting all the newer equipment in the Northag sector would allow them to favour the slightly better terrain, and exploit the divided command and relatively lower value of the equipment. However, why not introduce T80 here? Well, we know it had mediocre range. Perhaps they saw value in upping the technical level of the equipment in the area to match the M1, but didnt see the point in slowing down the Northern Armies by saddling them with something that was going to add to the logistic burden. Bear in mind also, they had just completed a transition to the 'new' T64 in the North, which glancing at my notes looks nearly complete by early 1984. I would imagine they would want those units to settle down into a training regime before throwing it all out of wack with a new tank.

As I say, just my opinion. Im sure there are other interpetations that can be put on my notes, and the reports. I dont know if anyone can see any trends in the deployment of BMP2 and BTR70 and 80 to back my theory up?

Must remember to burn this on CD along with the reports. It would be a shame to lose it all.


Outstanding analysis, Stuart!

I believe this to be the general consensus on the T64 being deployed first up the the primary northern sector, it's very similar to the France invasion in 1940 when the German pushed in the Ardennes against the weaker minor allies... same thing, best equipment against the weakest part of the line as well as having a tank w/ a 125 that can punch through Chieftain, and the speed to rapidly outflank the enemy, great exploitation tank... the T62s 115 would already go through the NATO equipment down south, so put the T64s where their 125 is needed ;)

Thanks for the input, everyone! Like Stuart suggested, may have to burn this thread onto CD, it would be very nice to have a clear picture of this time frame along w/ other possible snapshots of possible flashpoints... A snapshot of the situation during 83 Able Archer for example, along w/others to go along w/ the existing 89 OOB that everyone has at the curtain close...

The M1a1s, T80 BVs, etc, were the King Tigers and JS 3s of the Cold War, at the very tail end and in very limited numbers... Would be fascinating to get shapshots of the situation at each critical point...

Again, thanks everyone for their input.

So, the general consensus is that it's going to be all T62s down south in the Tank Divs and the MRDs for a 79 invasion ?

Frank

#20 Lieste

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 1532 PM

So, the general consensus is that it's going to be all T62s down south in the Tank Divs and the MRDs for a 79 invasion ?


Not sure about that? The figures from Isby quoted in #9, suggest a fairly even split of T62 and T55, if the T64 are indeed concentrated in the North... but there are supposed to be nearly as many T64 in '81 as there are T62 and T55, and do all regiments of all divisions in the Northern sector have a full complement of T64, or is it only the TD and ITB and TR of the MRD, (not the Tank element of the MRR?)...

You may find that the numbers allow some of the T64 to be equipping certain units in the southern sector (79 TD might be a candidate in the 8GCAA, or perhaps the ITB and TR of the second echelon (G)MRD.


Thinking more...
If there are 2000 more tanks in '81 than are required by the generic OOB (319 Tanks per TD and 264 per MRD), then this would fit with replacing some 2000 tanks from the '79 formations at around 1000 per year.

In '79 there are more than enough TR of TD opposing the Northag Sector to indeed absorb all T64 if this was the priority.
The 8000+ tanks assumed on hand in '81 include only ~2000 T62, and ~2000 T55, if it is safe to assume that T55 would be reduced before T62 were returned to Russia (which is not certain), then the in-combat-unit split in '79 may have been close to 2000 T64/2000 T62/2000+ T55, with additional T55 in training and cadre units.

Edited by Lieste, 17 January 2011 - 1633 PM.





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