A Second Glimpse at West Berlin D+10 (19 July, 1987) Part III

The US Army’s Berlin Brigade had its own special forces unit. The 410th Special Forces Detachment consisted of six A-Teams, with each one made up of twelve Green Berets (two officers and ten enlisted). Four of the teams were earmarked for operations outside of Berlin in the event of war. The remaining two would operate inside the confines of the city acting as stay-behind units. If there was a period of tension leading up to war, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) planned to reinforce West Berlin with additional A-Teams from the 1st Battalion/10th Special Forces Group based in Bad Tölz in the Federal Republic.

The stars ended up aligning almost perfectly for the plans of SOCEUR, and the 410th SF Detachment. The buildup to hostilities briefly opened windows of opportunity. Three additional A-Teams began quietly moving to the soon-to-be isolated city just hours after REFORGER was implemented. One team was designated for the stay behind mission while the other two were to head out into the East German countryside and prepare hidden caches of supplies and arms for Berlin Brigade and other Allied troops who manage to escape from West Berlin after the Soviets and East Germans overran the city. The remnants of the forces from West Berlin were expected to conduct a guerilla campaign against Warsaw Pact forces in the East German countryside. The A-Teams were responsible for bringing the stragglers in, organizing them into units, and finding targets for them to hit.

The 410th A-Teams designated for operations outside of the city started moving before D+0. Every team was assigned its own individual wartime mission, ranging from strategic intelligence collection, to sabotage, and preparing targets for further airstrikes. The GSFG wartime bunker at Zossen-Wunsforf, and the East German National Defense bunker in Werneuchen were two especially valuable targets on the 410th’s list. Getting over the Wall and past the ring of Soviet and East German troops was the first problem. Leaving West Berlin had to be done fast, and quietly. On D-2 the first teams started crossing over, and in 24 hours all four were on East German soil, out of sight, and awaiting the codeword that hostilities were underway so they could start their missions. The teams charged with providing strategic intelligence went to work prior to D+0, sending reports on the movement of Soviet units and activity directly to EUCOM.

The A-Teams charged with stay-behind duties remained in the city. If the expected Warsaw Pact conquest of West Berlin did come, the task of these troops was to disrupt the enemy occupation through sabotage, and the forming of resistance groups. It was quite similar to what the teams from the 10th SF Group were doing in the GDR countryside, but in an urban environment, and here the game was played by an entirely different set of rules. The British and French also had special operations troops embedded with their Berlin units. Special Air Service teams, and 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment troops spearheaded stay-behind preparations and planning in the British, and French sectors respectively. They both also sent teams into East Germany to conduct operations, but not to the extent of their American counterparts.

War came on 9 July, 1987 and the East Germans and Soviets did not storm West Berlin as many senior officers, and diplomats expected. As the stay-behind teams, and the rest of the city waited anxiously, the A-Teams, SAS, and French commandos went to work around East Germany. There were no communications or contact established between the units and their Berlin-based headquarters for fear of inadvertently revealing their positions to the East Germans and Soviets. The teams and their commands operated on the premise that no news was good news but there were ways for NATO to judge how successful the efforts behind the lines were going. For the first six nights of the war, the tense silence was shattered by at least two major explosion per night in East Germany. This was at one indication that at least some of the teams were still alive and completing their successfully. For as long as the explosions continued, those individuals inside West Berlin who were in the know could take heart. No matter what was happening to the west in the Federal Republic, or what was to come in Berlin, the US, British, and French commandos were taking the war to the enemy.

4 Replies to “A Second Glimpse at West Berlin D+10 (19 July, 1987) Part III”

    1. Thanks! You could definitely write a technothriller just about these operations. When I started to research the SF Detachment and SAS teams stationed in Berlin, and their potential wartime missions I was impressed with what I found.

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