Baltic Approaches D+8 (17 July, 1987) Part II


As Carlsson and his government deliberated, Sweden’s military vigilance remained high. Swedish Royal Air Force combat air patrols possessively guarded Swedish airspace in increasing number and frequency. Surface ships, and submarines of Sweden’s naval arm stood guard at the edges of Sweden’s territorial waters, as well as around Gotland. No forays were made far into international waters and the same went for Swedish fighters and international airspace. It was made apparent to any and all observers in the Baltic Sea region that Sweden was adopting a defensive stance for the moment.

As if to reinforce this, the transfer of fifty surplus Saab Draken fighters from Sweden to Finland was suspended for the time being. No further Swedish military personnel arrived on the Aaland Islands for the remainder of the day either. These moves were made with a political objective in mind: Assure the Soviet Union that Sweden had no intentions of entering the conflict. With Soviet troops now on Bornholm, essentially the doorstep to Sweden, this was of the utmost importance.

Behind the scenes, Sweden’s government was making preparations to explore a risky political path. The Swedish ambassador in Brussels was contacted covertly by Stockholm in the afternoon and instructed to quietly approach NATO officials to request an immediate audience with the NATO secretary general. The subject of the meeting was to be coordinating Sweden’s next military moves with NATO’s overall plans for the Baltic. This meeting took place late on D+8 and will be presented in a political blog following the end of the Baltic Approaches D+9 entries.


For D+8 the Northern Group of Forces (NGF) as well as attached Polish units stayed in place. The Poles continued to be a major unknown. According to their division commanders, and reports from attached Soviet liaison officers, the uprising had been forcibly ended. Yet more time was going to be needed before the Poles were fully prepared to resume the march north into Jutland. The estimate was an additional twenty-four hours before the Poles were combat ready. Colonel-General Korbutov, the NGF commander had no choice but to wait. Two of the Polish brigades deemed most loyal were positioned out ahead of the main force, acting as a screen for Korbutov’s left flank in case NATO decided to launch a counterattack there. It was something at least.

Korbutov did launch two battalion-sized probes from the 6th Motor Rifle Division in the morning and afternoon in the direction of the Jutland border. The first probe made contact with West German units east of Flensberg and a meeting engagement broke out, lasting two hours before both sides disengaged. The afternoon probe actually crossed the border into Jutland briefly before encountering a combination of West German and Danish ground units, and significant NATO air support.

By the evening, the future of the drive into Jutland was placed in doubt once again. Korbutov was informed via messenger that despite the airborne landing on Bornholm that morning, the anticipated airborne and amphibious assaults against Zealand, and Jutland were being postponed once more. Western TVD, in a moment of uncommon honesty, let it be known to Korbutov that it was unclear when those operations would be launched, if at all.


2 Replies to “Baltic Approaches D+8 (17 July, 1987) Part II”

  1. Nice to see the Baltic in focus again.

    Just a quick question – it seems that the facebook-page is now defunct. Is there another way I can get in touch? I’ve got some more stuff for you, if you are still interested.

    Pete the Dane

    Liked by 1 person

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