The Central Front D+10 (19 July, 1987) Part II


NORTHAG 0600-1200

As dawn broke on the Central Front, the Commander-in-Chief of Group Soviet Forces Germany General Boris Snetkov studied the battle map and wondered if it would be better for the Leine crossing to be made north of Brüggen where the road network was better able to support a large mechanized advance. Bundestrasse 1 was a far superior east-west artery that could move more Soviet motor rifle and tank units farther and faster. The highway was also vulnerable to NATO air and artillery though, as 10th Guards Tank Division was finding out firsthand. Regardless, a northern route may have been preferable to the current path given how the battle between Bad Salzdetfurth and the Leine was playing out. Here the road network was a hodgepodge of two-lane roads running at odd angles north-south and east-west. This factor, coupled with the defensive terrain in the area gave NATO forces ample opportunities to harass, delay, and even stop cold the advancing Soviets. 3rd Shock Army was moving west, Snetkov reminded himself. But it was coming at a ghastly cost in men, and equipment. To make matters even more complicated, one of the motor rifle divisions moving up to the battle line was delayed and would not be in position until the late afternoon. The division which had arrived, the 56th Motor Rifle, was now moving forward and would join the battle in the early afternoon. NATO airpower was already flexing its muscle across the front this morning as Snetkov had expected. His own air commanders had promised him sufficient numbers of fighters, and attack jets would support the advance west, but so far none had been seen. Snetkov reluctantly accepted reality. The skies over the battlefield belonged to NATO for now.

47th Guards Tank Division resumed its westward movement at 0600. The division’s two leadt-damaged regiments, and supporting units had been brought forward to spearhead what was hoped to be the final push to the Leine. The division’s other regiments had been badly mauled on the previous day and would not be ready to rejoin the fight until later in the day. By that time 56th MRD was expected to be in the lead with the 47th Guards, or what remained of it, serving as an ad-hoc OMG.

The first attacks of the day netted no gain. The Germans, aided by a disproportionate amount of NATO air and artillery stopped the 245th Guards Motor Rifle Regiment cold outside of Westfeld. To the south, the Belgians were confronted with a heavy attack by the 153rd Tank Regiment. Whereas the Germans withstood the initial assault against their positions, the Belgians did not. The combat power of the Belgian brigade had been sapped, and even the late addition of a British battalion wasn’t enough to bring them back up to strength before the attack. At 1145 the first Belgian battalions began falling back to their designated river crossing points at Alfeld, and Freden.

The Germans were compelled to follow suit or else risk being outflanked. As preparations for their move to the river crossing points got underway, 2nd Squadron/3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was starting to move forward from Brüggen.

5 Replies to “The Central Front D+10 (19 July, 1987) Part II”

  1. ” aided by a disproportionate amount of NATO air and artillery” – the most frightening thing on a modern battlefield is a US 1st Lt. with a radio and binoculars.

    Liked by 1 person

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