Authors Note: I had misplaced the original narrative entry for this time and date. Over the holiday break I’ll rewrite it and post. Until then, I’ve made a handful of brief changes to this timeline. When the narrative is posted, I’ll put a note up on the main page.
Southern Flank 9 July Timeline 0600-2359
0639– Super Etendards from the Clemenceau attack the Slava SAG, damaging a frigate.
0700– The Slava SAG launches a salvo of SS-N-12 missiles at the Clemenceau group sinking a destroyer and damaging a frigate.
0715– In a loosely coordinated effort, Soviet Tu-22 Backfires based in Syria follow up with a strike against the Clemenceau group. The carrier, along with her surviving escorts, are all sunk. Search and rescue efforts begin immediately from Turkey and RAF Akrotiri.
0745– A Hungarian merchant ship sinks mysteriously in the Suez Canal, effectively blocking the waterway.
0800– The Moskva SAG launches its own SSM attack on the Saratoga group. All Soviet missiles are intercepted by SAMs and CIWS, or lured away by defensive countermeasures.
0900– Saratoga’s airwing conducts a Sierra strike against the Moskva group. Moskva, and four accompanying escorts are sunk. Two others are heavily damaged. Only one undamaged warship remains. Greek A-7s operating from Crete will sink the surviving ships later in the day.
0915– Soviet diplomats meet with Turkish and Greek officials in a last ditch effort to keep the rival nations on the sidelines of the war. The Soviet Union promises to respect the borders and sovereignty of both nations in exchange for declarations of neutrality. Ankara and Athens both refuse.
0945– In response to the Greek and Turkish refusals, Soviet warplanes begin systematically striking military targets in Turkey and Greece. These attacks will continue through the entire day, effectively tying down much of the Turkish and Hellenic air forces.
1100– Yugoslavia declares its neutrality.
1300– Skirmishes break out on the Thrace frontier between Warsaw Pact and Greek and Turkish ground forces. The intermittent fighting continues off and on for the day.
1320– HMS Superb sunk in the Eastern Med by Soviet ASW forces.
1340– Backfire bombers from airbases on the Black Sea coast attack the Saratoga battlegroup. Raid warning is established early, US Navy F-14s from the carrier meet the bombers over the Aegean and inflict severe losses. A number of ASMs are launched though. Most are intercepted, but two make it through the group’s layered defenses and hit the destroyer USS Preble. She sinks almost immediately with all hands lost.
1415– In the Western Med, a Soviet Foxtrot class SS and a Charlie class SSGN are sunk respectively by a US attack submarine and Italian ASW forces.
1500– In its second Sierra Strike of the day CVW-17 targets the Slava SAG. Slava, a Kresta II cruiser, two Udaloy class destroyers, and a Krivak III frigate are all sent to the bottom of the Eastern Med. A Kashin class destroyer survives the attack with minor damage. He begins making his way towards a friendly anchorage in Syria but is later destroyed by French Super Etendards now flying out of RAF Akrotiri.
2045- USS Pogy and a Soviet Victor II SSN are sunk in the Eastern Med.
2300- NATO reconnaissance flights detect heightened activity in southern Bulgaria, including the movement of Warsaw Pact armor and infantry towards the Greek and Turkish borders.