The North Atlantic D+8 (17 July, 1987) Part III


1030-1200 Hours- Following the emergency broadcast from the stricken Tu-95 Bear, and the ill-considered acknowledgements by other Soviet aircraft, the search for signs of the enemy surface action groups intensified. USAF F-15 Eagles did locate and dispatch the second Bear, but the Helix remained airborne and undetected. As time went on, radio traffic between Soviet ships was picked up at briefly at irregular intervals. The big break came when electronic emissions from a Kara class cruiser were detected. By 1200 hours, US P-3s and the Sentry had established a solid fix on a formation of Soviet warships suspected to contain one Kiev class carrier. The data was pushed to Strike Fleet Atlantic’s battle staff on Mount Whitney, and CVW-9 aboard Kitty Hawk. Planning for a Sierra Strike on the group begins immediately.


1300 Hours– CVW-9 aircraft are launched from Kitty Hawk. By launch time, the Soviet formation has been positively identified as the Kiev group. An hour and fifteen minutes later the air wing conducts a successful attack. Kiev, the Sverdlov class cruiser Murmansk, and Kara class missile cruiser Ochakov are all sunk. Another cruiser, and two destroyers receive heavy damage. Twelve Yak-38 Forgers, and three Ka-27 Helix helicopters are destroyed by US Navy F-14s. US losses are limited to a pair of A-7 Corsair IIs.


1430 Hours– News of the attack on Kiev reaches Northern Fleet’s headquarters. Admiral Kapitanets redoubles efforts to find the US carrier responsible for conducting the attack. The fleet commander, and his staff engage in a debate about whether to order the Kirov/Baku group north to protect it, or send it south. No decision is reached.


1500 Hours– The demise of the Kiev group energizes NATO’s efforts to find the other Soviet surface groups.


1630 Hours- With a RORSAT pass expected over the Norwegian Sea shortly, Task Force 20.5 and Task Force 21.3 conduct course changes, and start deception maneuvers.


1800 Hours– Data and photography from the late afternoon RORSAT pass are indecisive. Long Range Aviation, and their naval counterparts press Northern Fleet to get the bomber force involved in the fray even without accurate targeting data. Kapitanets declines, opting to wait for the next RORSAT pass, which will take place in seven hours.


2015 Hours– A Victor II attack submarine discovers the outer screen of Task Force 20.5. Undetected, the sub’s captain maneuvers his boat to penetrate but is soon found. A cat and mouse game with US frigates, destroyers, and ASW helicopters develops.

2100 Hours- Radio comms from the ASW activity are picked up by a Bear one hundred and eighty miles north of the US task force. The aircraft commander sends a message and is rewarded a short while later by having his Tu-95 destroyed by two AIM-54s launched by a Tomcat flying CAP.


2130 Hours- The captain of the Victor II realizes it will only be a matter of time before the Americans sink his submarine. He’s evaded three torpedoes already, but the writing is on the wall. He orders the sub to periscope depth and transmits a message to Severomorsk reporting the current location of his boat, and informing his superiors that a US aircraft carrier is likely nearby. The message was transmitted 120 seconds before a Mk-46 torpedo sent the Victor II class submarine and its entire crew to the bottom of the Norwegian Sea.

10 Replies to “The North Atlantic D+8 (17 July, 1987) Part III”

  1. Great stuff! Let’s see if that Victor’s sacrifice was worth it …
    This has left me wondering what other similar published work with WW3 full naval engagements are out there. Obviously RSR and now Northern Fury. Any other spring to mind?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cauldron was pretty good, though it wasn’t a traditional US-Soviet Cold War World War III scenario. It was France and Germany vs the US/UK and Poland. Good naval scenes though. There was a book about a US-Soviet naval clash in the South Atlantic off of Africa, but I can’t think of the name. I’ll see if I can remember any others.


      1. Cauldron’s been on the read list for far too long … must get onto that.
        Thunder of Erebus was another – maybe the one you meant about Africa; though Antarctica is the focus there are naval clashes around it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The book your thinking was called “The sixth Battle”. I was actually looking for it online when I stumbled across your blog. Loving it so far by the way: Highly impressed by the attention to detail.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Gregg! Thanks for checking in and welcome aboard. The Sixth Battle, that’s right! Great book, if a bit underrated. Came out at a bad time, when the Cold War was wrapping up


  2. There’s one that I can’t recall the title of at the moment; it was pretty good, but it’s been over twenty years since I read it, and was in the middle of a technothriller spate, so I read a lot of books. But a key event was the loss of the USS Abraham Lincoln, struck in the stern by a Soviet torpedo in an incident that mimicked the penultimate scene in The Bedford Incident (although in the book I’m thinking of the torpedo attack was non-nuclear, and IIRC the ship was wholly evacuated and sank without too much loss of life or any aircraft as they were able to get aloft).

    Anyone remember the book?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow! I just read through the whole blog over the last couple of days and I loved it. I definitely support the idea of you making a book and I am very impressed by your research! I look forward to the posts to come!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind words and for taking out so much time to read the blog. Glad you enjoyed it. I’ll be posting again this coming week. Look for a Politics of War entry followed by Central Front D+8 starting Tuesday at the latest


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