During the Cold War, it would have been bad news for the U.S. garrison in West Berlin if the war ‘turned hot.’ Along with the U.S. garrison, there was the British and French garrisons, and even with combined force, the allies would have been overwhelmed by the East German and Soviet troops. In addition to the combined forces on the U.S. side, there was a small, U.S. special forces unit that was responsible for conducting guerrilla warfare against the Soviets. What exactly did this mean for the small, American unit? They had to go deep into East Germany, get passed the vast Soviet military and police, and attempt to lead local resistance groups and blow up Russian supply depots. Does ‘suicide mission’ apply here?
In his book, Special Forces Berlin: Clandestine Cold War Operations of the US Army’s Elite 1956-1990, James Stejskal talks about his experience in the unit, and how ‘they always were aware of the odds against them and the threat posed by the Warsaw Pact forces.’ Despite being right under the forces’ noses, the unit’s commitment to the ‘deter the Soviet war machine’ never wavered. Created in 1952, the U.S. Army’s Special Forces deployed units into Berlin in 1956; and the first of many covert missions, they conducted sabotage attacks on vital targets, such as bridges, military command and control systems, waterways, and more.
It was quite a task for only less than a hundred men. One advantage the unit had was the nature of the Berlin Wall being designed to keep people from escaping the East side. It was easier to get inside. The reason why it was crucial that war did not break out was that it would have been easy for Soviet and East German troops to fight back aggressively, leaving the SF troops very little time to go underground to the East in time to stop the Soviets form attacking the West. It seemed like everything had to go perfect for this mission to be successful and for the Cold War to not turn hot.