38 – Training to be a US Army Tank Commander


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Today we’re talking to Neil Gussman who trained on the M60A1 tank in the 1970s. This was the standard main battle tank of the US Army from the 1960s through to the 1980s.

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Back to today’s episode , Neil shares with us some great anecdotes about his training and the gunnery competitions as well as the change in US tank tactics as a result of the 1973 Arab Israeli War.

We welcome Neil Gussman.





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41 – Defending the Fulda Gap



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Today we talk again with Neil Gussman who was an M60A1 tank commander in West Germany tasked with defending the Fulda Gap which was a key likely Warsaw Pact attack route. We talk about his rushed initial deployment where he faced Warsaw Pact tanks across the border, details of various exercises he was in and how the US troops interacted with the West German population.

Before we start I’d like to thank our latest supporters William Wallace, Eric Schultz and James Chilcott as well as all our other Patreons who are supporting the show and getting exclusive content too.  If you’d like to join this exclusive band just go to coldwarconversations.com/support.

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Support the Podcast and get access to exclusive extra content  Available on our Patreon page here

19 – Able Archer & the War Scare of 1983

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Album Able Archer

Welcome to episode 19 of Cold War Conversations

Today we’re talking to Francesca Akhtar who holds a  BA Hons in American Studies with 1st class honours  from Canterbury Christ Christ Church University in Kent, and a Masters degree in US history & Politics from the Institute of the Americas, University College London.

Her main research interests are US Cold War foreign policy, intelligence history and defence. Francesca has written a dissertation entitled  “The most dangerous Soviet-American confrontation since the Cuban Missile Crisis?” An analysis of the origins, nature and impact of the Able Archer 83 incident .

I am delighted to welcome Francesca Akhtar to Cold War Conversations.


1983: The World at the Brink

The Brink: President Reagan and the war scare of 1983

Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War

Reagan by Iwan Morgan

Reagan Reversal by Beth Fisher


Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War

Favourite Cold War Era Films

View to a Kill Film trailer

View to Kill – Duran Duran

Wargames – film trailer

Moonraker – film trailer

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Available on our Patreon page here

16 – How I nearly started World War 3

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Livedrop AlbumBefore we start I’d like to say how humbled I am by the level of interest in the podcast and the kind comments from our many subscribers. If you’d like to support us further and get some extras then head over to Patreon. There’s also links on the home page of the website at www.coldwarconversations.com.

Back to the business in hand, today we’re talking to Mark Valley, host of the Livedrop espionage podcast.

Mark served with the US army as a combat engineer in West Germany and later with the Berlin Brigade.

His story gives you an eyewitness account of service in both locations, but also gives some insight into the training, tactics and dilemmas of service in the army.

I am delighted and honoured to welcome Mark Valley.


Cold war film


Cold War Music

Bowie – Ziggy Stardust

Lou Reed – Dirty Boulevard

Cold War Personalities to Meet

David Bowie

Wild Bill Donovan

Hedy Lamar

James Hall III


The Stasi: Myth & Reality

Traitors Among Us

Comrade Rockstar – the search for Dean Reed

13 – The Last Days of Checkpoint Charlie

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Welcome to Episode 13 of Cold War Conversations.

Now most of you will know my good friend Shane Whaley over at the highly recommended Spybrary podcast who we interviewed in episode 4.

Shane and I have always been intrigued by a video posted on Youtube filmed in the 1980s by a then young US army soldier documenting his first days in Berlin for his family back at home.

Now I never dreamed that I would find, let alone talk to that soldier, but through the magic of the internet we got in contact and Michael Rafferty has agreed to give his first interview in 24 years to Cold War Conversations.

His story spans the last days of Checkpoint Charlie, from when the border was the heavily fortified barrier familiar to us from those spy films, to the opening of the wall and the unification of Germany.

I am delighted and honoured to welcome Michael Rafferty.

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Michael Rafferty & Kenneth “Casey” Beymer’s Video of his first days in Berlin filmed for his family back in the US

Favourite Cold War Film

Bridge of Spies

Cold War Soundtrack

Winds of Change – The Scorpions

Looking for Freedom – David Hasselhof

Who would you like to have a Cold War Conversation with?

Willi Brandt

Frank Howley – First Us Army Berlin Commander


General Lucius Clay

Book Recommendations

The Wall – The Peoples Story by Christopher Hilton

Berlin Command by Frank Howley

Discussion Group.

The Facebook discussion group featuring Michael’s photos