The Soviet road map that shows how the USSR planned to invade Manchester

Revealed for the first time today is a Soviet map showing its plans to invade Manchester at the height of the Cold War.

The chilling 1974 map identifies roads, such as Mancunian Way, in which Soviet tanks could have travelled along to enter the city.

It shows targets which are colour coded to show whether they are military (green), industrial (black) or civilian (purple).

The map also has areas of Manchester - such as Salford, Urmston and Stretford - written in Russian script.

Included on the map is information deliberately left out of Ordnance Survey maps such as Strangeways Prison, famous for the riots of 1990 in which prisoners escaped onto the roof, and the Risley Moss nuclear research site.

Apart from the Cold War, the 1970s was a dark period for Britain, which suffered its greatest recession since the Great Depression, hundreds of industrial disputes and power shortages leaving people living by candlelight.

Today, Manchester is Britain's ninth largest city (after London, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Liverpool and Edinburgh), is home to a very successful football team (and another one trying to be successful) and is in no apparent danger of invasion from the continent just yet.

Of course, this wasn't the first planned or attempted invasion of Britain by a Continental European power and, apart from 1066, all the attempts in the past 1000 years have failed.

The Soviet road map that shows how the USSR planned to invade Manchester

By Daily Mail Reporter
26th August 2009
Daily Mail

A startling map showing Soviet plans to invade Manchester have been revealed for the first time today.

The detailed drawing, created just 35 years ago, shows how Russian tanks would have targeted the city.

It identifies that T-72 tanks could have come up the Mancunian Way and colour coded targets around the city including the nuclear site and prison.

The Cyrillic map of Manchester, drawn up from road atlases and street directories in 1974, and outlining in orange the proposed routes into the city with their T-72 battle tanks

Chris Perkins, University of Manchester geography lecturer and curator of a new exhibition which unveiled the map, said there was not much the Soviet generals missed out.

'It's incredible how detailed their information was,' he said.

'It shows the roads - familiar to many Mancunians - which the Soviets felt were wide enough to carry tanks including Washway Road, the Mancunian Way, and Princess Road.

'They even transliterated place names - such as Urmston, Salford and Stretford into Russian.


'Quite unnerving really as the map - and their intelligence - is only 35 years old.'

Mapmakers created the detailed drawings from Ordance Survey maps, satellites, road atlases and, probably, spies during 1974.

Central Manchester on the Soviet map: Industrial areas are marked in black and the city's maze of streets are clearly shown along with the tank routes in orange

They also added secret information deliberately left out of OS maps such as Strangeways Prison and the Risley Moss nuclear research site.

Mr Perkins added: 'The Soviet military who compiled the maps used aerial sources such as spy planes and satellite imagery, to supplement information from UK Ordnance survey maps and publicly available road atlases and trade directories.

'But there's so much extra information, it would be fair to assume that they were able to gather a considerable amount of intelligence on the ground.'

It was a time when the cold war tensions abounded despite the Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev, appearing to work for warmer relations.

There were numerous defections from the USSR to the U.S. and Britain, which was suffering its most troubled period since World War II with recession, industrial disputes and power shortages.

Soviet invasion? Generals detected which roads could carry their tanks into Manchester. Pictured, Soviet soldiers during the first day of the invasion in Prague, 1968

The map used road widths and load-bearing statistics to plot advance routes for tanks, ruling out older, crooked lanes where armour might be trapped by urban guerrilla warfare.

The Soviet planners also used a colour code for local targets - industrial sites in black, administrative buildings purple, and military installations green.

While the map was a high-security item during the cold war, it came to light after the collapse of the USSR.

'After declassification by the Russians at the end of the cold war, these maps became available on the international market,' said Mr Perkins.

'They sold as much stock as they could on the western market, where there was no shortage of customers. I know for a fact that the Ministry of Defence sent a van over there in 1991, to pick up as much as they could.

'No doubt NATO were doing similar things in Russian cities, although perhaps not with the same incredible detail.'

The map is part of a display at the Royal Geographical Society's annual conference this week but will be at the John Rylands Library until January.
Last edited by Blackleaf; Aug 27th, 2009 at 12:22 PM..
Ron in Regina
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

'No doubt NATO were doing similar things in Russian cities, although perhaps not with the same incredible detail.'

This may be even more common than you think. Check this out:

War Plan Red - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States Color-coded War Plans - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia