Authors note: Beginning with this entry, the form of calendar date presentation will be altered. 9 July will be referred to as D Day, 10 July- D+1, 11 July D+2 and so forth. I’ll begin making corrections to previous entries over the weekend and explain the main revisions underway sometime next week in a separate blog entry.
There were five NATO convoys at sea in the North Atlantic on D+2. Convoy 27, originally made up of twelve merchant vessels and six escorting warships, was the easternmost group. Originally there had been seven escorts. A Canadian destroyer had been lost on the previous day when a Victor I struck the convoy. Since then, the convoy had altered course slightly to the south to give a wide berth to potential sub threats closer to Greenland and Iceland. ASW aircraft availability made the detour necessary. The P-3s based in Greenland and Iceland were largely committed to GIUK defense at the moment, leaving fewer aircraft available for convoy support.
Behind Convoy 27, the other NATO convoys remained fixed to their current courses for the moment. Two of the four were headed for Norway and could not afford even a slight alteration in their courses. As they approached the GIUK gap and moved north of it the sub and air threats were expected to increase significantly. The Norway-bound convoys were sailing directly into harm’s way, whereas the convoys bound for the Western Europe still had the main threat ahead of them.
Despite this, Russian SSNs already positioned from south of the GIUK line to the Western Atlantic managed to get off a moderate number of torpedo and cruise missile attacks on west bound convoys. The results were mixed. Twenty attacks launched against NATO convoys on D+2 resulted in 4 NATO merchantmen sunk and three damaged. Two escorts were lost as well, with three receiving moderate to heavy damage. In the exchanges seven Russian submarines were confirmed destroyed, with four others listed as possible kills. SACLANT judged friendly losses to be acceptable, but with large portion of blue water still ahead of the convoys, he knew a better defensive effort needed to be put forth in the coming days. NATO forces in Western Europe were fighting hard, however, soon they would be in desperate need of reinforcement and resupply. The convoys making the trek across the North Atlantic now, and those that would follow were the lifeblood of the alliance. If the merchant ships failed to reach Europe safely, an effective defense of Western Europe would not be possible for long.
4 Replies to “The North Atlantic D+2 (11 July, 1987) Part III”
The Third Battle of the Atlantic.
I have somewhat fond memories of this (one of my proudest CMANO creations is Best of the West, Worst of the East, a scenario where the few Soviet subs that made it through the GIUK gap have to take on a Spruance-filled NATO convoy), but I also think it’s kind of a sideshow in the grand scheme of things.
I remember a lot of reading about how cross-Atlantic reinforcement, especially after the hostiles started, was something of a pipe dream in practice-even if the Soviets weren’t able to interdict it effectively, it would just be too slow and have too much friction.
I might be too much of an unromantic determinist, but my impression is any conventional WW3 would be won or lost in the first few days on the North German Plain, and every other theater seems far less relevant.
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Ok, that’s two of your CMANO scenarios that I’ve played in the past and enjoyed. 🙂 In fact Best of the West is what moved me to create Convoy ’88 for CMANO.
If the Soviets couldn’t get their subs into position, and their bombers couldn’t reach the convoy lanes NATO probably would’ve won the war because of it.
The only theaters that affected the Central Front would’ve been the North Atlantic (Convoys) and Northern Flank. Every other theater was a side show to be frank.
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Nice, glad to hear you liked it that much. There’ve certainly been a bunch of CMANO scens that have inspired me to do something similar, so I’m happy to hear that one of mine did the same.
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Check the forum later this week, I’m going to try and post a Cuban Missile Crisis scenario I’ve been working on. Strictly the air side of things.