Baltic Approaches D+11 (20 July, 1987) Part II


Jutland was proving to be a tough nut to crack for the Warsaw Pact. The advance by the Northern Group of Forces (NGF) into Danish territory was meeting stubborn resistance on the ground and fighting under a sky that belonged to NATO entirely. NGF’s commander Colonel General Ivan Korbutov had been warned that the amount of support available to his forces during the advance might be less than expected. It had taken roughly twenty-four hours for that prophesy to be realized. Accepting it would require a lengthier amount of time.

The 6th Motor Rifle Division resumed its northward push in the morning. After the previous day’s heavy fighting at Kliplev, the West German 6th Panzergrenadier Division shifted to a more fluid, mobile defense. Its objective remained to prevent the Soviets from capturing the E-3 Highway. If they managed to take control of a large portion of the road it would give 6th MRD the opportunity to leapfrog units into position behind the West German lines before they could react.

West German and Soviet battalions sparred through the morning until mid-afternoon when the West Germans disengaged and fell back to Rollum where the next line of defensive positions had been established. This line ran for 12 kilometers from Bolderslev in the west through Rollum to Sonder Hostrup in the east.  It was manned by the bulk of the West German 17th Panzergrenadier Brigade with a handful of Danish Home Guard formations supporting it.

Soviet reconnaissance companies probed to determine the scope of the defenses and were engaged well forward by Danish and West German reconnaissance and Danish mobile anti-tank units. Two battalions from the 6th MRD’s tank regiment were sent forward to reinforce the probe. Following a series of sharp engagements with the units mentioned above, as well as reinforcing West German armor, the Soviets withdrew. It was evident to the commander of the 6th MRD that a regiment-sized force at least was blocking the route north. As 2100 approached, the general was busy putting together a major attack to punch through -or go around- the West Germans and give Korbutov the hole he was looking for to commit the 20th Tank Division fully.

In the western half of the Jutland peninsula, the Poles were advancing and being contested by units of the Jutland Division and Danish Home Guard units. So far, the fighting had resulted in a push with neither side yet able to obtain and hold an advantage over the other. One reason for the sluggish pace of the Polish advance were the problems the Poles were having in moving their reinforcements forward. NATO airpower was a big reason for this, and we’ll discuss that in Part III. However, the Danish Home Guard was proving to be an adept, and increasingly irksome opponent. As the Polish advance crawled northward, a growing number of Home Guard squads, and platoons were being injected behind the lines. Some had even remained in hiding as Polish units went by, their orders to remain covered until the main enemy formations passed through their areas. Now these units were making their presence known with attacks on the Polish supply lines, and other targets in the rear areas. As the number of attacks increased, the amount of effort and troops the Poles needed to defeat them were taking a growing number of Polish troops away from the frontline.


Author’s Note: I had expected to write more and have published this on Friday, but Coronavirus preparations took longer than expected. I’ll finish up the Baltic Approaches by Monday. I hope everyone is doing well, given what’s going on in the world. My prayers are with you and your families. — Mike

12 Replies to “Baltic Approaches D+11 (20 July, 1987) Part II”

  1. Great writing as always. I am in Denmark, and due to the virus, i am In lock down at Home. With some time on ny hands, and a member of the Danish Home Guard – i have been thinking about sending you some notes regarding how we would have fought in a the 80’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Christian. From what I see on the news you and your fellow Home Guardsmen might be headed to the border soon.
      I’d love some notes and maybe to pick your mind about how you would’ve fought in the 80s. That’s going to figure into the coming days of war in the Baltics.


  2. I’m surprised considering how this war has been destroying ussr divisions that the 6th is still in the fight, figured it would have been rotated off with a reserve division do to being combat infective by this point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ideally, yeah it would’ve been. But with the air picture growing more unfavorable to the Pact, reinforcing units arent getting forward as fast as possible


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