The North Atlantic D+12 (21 July, 1987) Part I


D+12 marks the start of a crucial, and decisive three-day period of the war in the Norwegian and Barents Seas, Baltic Approaches, and Germany. Before diving headfirst into these areas, I’m posting an order of battle for Strike Fleet Atlantic  as it stood at 000 on D+12. Given the significance of the carrier force’s contributions from D+12 through D+14 to the final outcome of the war, I believe this will be quite useful to the reader.


Task Force 20.5

USS Dwight Eisenhower CV-69

USS Ticonderoga CG-47

USS South Carolina CG-38

USS John Hancock DD-981

USS Nicholson DD-982

USS Preble DDG-46

USS Barney DDG-6

USS Elmer Montgomery FF-1082

HNLMS Jan van Brakel F825



USS Forrestal CV-59

USS Thomas Gates CG-51

USS Virginia CGN-38

USS Scott DDG-995

HMS York D98

USS Aubrey Fitch FFG-34

USS Talbot FFG-4

USS Nicholas FFG-47

USS Moinester FFG-1097

FGS Rommel D-187

USNS Henry J. Kaiser T-AO-187

USS Detroit AOE-4


Task Force 21.3

USS Kitty Hawk CV-63

Foch R99 (France)

USS Harry E. Yarnell CG-17

USS Fox CG-33

USS Dahlgren DDG-43

USS Jack Williams FFG-24

USS Vandegrift FFG-48

Primauget D644 (France)

USS Camden AOE-2

USS San Diego AFS-6


NATO SSNs Attached to Strike Fleet Atlantic

USS Batfish SSN-681

USS Augusta SSN-710

USS Key West SSN-722

USS New York City SSN-696

Casabianca S603 (French Rubis class)

USS Jack SSN-605

16 Replies to “The North Atlantic D+12 (21 July, 1987) Part I”

  1. Wow, the average carrier has EIGHT escorts. I know this is wartime at the height of the buildup, but that’s still more than I’m used to seeing. (Of course, against the Kh-22 Swarm, they need as many as they can get).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s one hell of a powerful collection of missile-armed ships and carriers. You’re right, against multiple swarms of those missiles you need all the help you can get.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, the carrier groups pretty much absorbed STANAVFORLANT, and a few stragglers. If that group had survived up to that point in the war they would’ve been folded into the carriers headed north. The more the merrier.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is an all-in thing, then. Just as an outside observer, my hot take is: it’s now or never. If the USN assets in the north Atlantic survive the coming battle, then the Soviets are broken and Naval supremacy will be NATO’s.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You nailed it, really. We’re entering a critical phase of the war at sea. By D+15 the winners and losers will be pretty clear.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I think an interesting thing to consider is what each side considers winning and losing. Do the Soviets consider the loss of 2 NATO carriers and a not inconsiderable portion of their escorts a “win”, and does NATO consider that a loss? Or do the Soviets consider it not good enough, while NATO still considers it a loss, or do the Soviets consider it a win while NATO chalks it in the “W” column (because they can still operate)…time will tell. Can’t wait to see what D-15 holds for us…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My take, to echo Bill…

    Each side has a different threshold for a win here. The Soviets will be happy if they sink two of the Carriers, no matter which ones. The “Shitty Kitty” and the Forrestal are tied for which is the weakest boat of the three but given the “Forest Fire” has this string of interesting luck over the years… its kinda even money who has the worst chance of surviving a dedicated attack.

    Forrestal has more Air Defense around her so who knows…

    My thoughts…. Soviets make their attempts (three to five, depending on how much losses are deemed acceptable) and I think the Foch takes it on the chin. She gets rendered Ineffective and is forced to retire to the nearest land-based coverage and her birds go to one of the other three ships or burn for some airstrip within reach. Kitty and the Forrestal both suffer damage but not enough to take them out (though Soviet intel might think otherwise- their standards for DCM is far different than ours) with the Kittyhawk the worse for wear. Remember, they have nine escorts for TWO carriers… where Forrestal and the Ike have the same numbers for each (I count a CG as a really big escort here…).

    Ike also takes damage- but so not enough to stop him.

    The Soviets…. learn that both US Naval Aviation, French Naval Aviation and what Marine Air can be spared flying from their new Airfields… are not something they can deal with when they are being Momma Badgers.

    The NATO subs… are also not going to be quiet. Anything floating that is Soviet is going to have a Bad Day. I think NATO loses 2-3 subs…. but the Soviet Navy becomes quite…. useless by D+15. Yeah, they have capable ASW but iirc, their training was hamstrung by politics a lot…

    In order to get what I think they might get (maybe one sunk CV, 4-7 collectively sunk/rendered ineffective escorts, two moderate damaged carriers plus sub losses), they are going to lose 75% or better of their strength just to get the above and even then, its not a sure thing (none of it is really, other than there will be lots of deaths). Yeah, their land based air is plentiful (sort of) but they have to contend with the USAF and the Norwegian fighters too on the way OUT as well as on the way back IN. So minimum 75% of their TOTAL strength gone to get maybe 50% at best of the Nato combat power… AND losing ground/manpower on the ground fronts… No…. at best, the Soviets consider this a Pyrrhic Win…. if they consider it a win at all.

    On the US side, 50% loss in power is not a Loss but it damn sure ain’t really a win either. If one factors in the likely gains on the ground occur as I think it will happen by the fixation of the Soviet Air assets on the water forces, then it becomes a very potent STRATEGIC win… with a capability of continued operations afterward.

    This thinking is based on what I remember their effectiveness was among other things. I can be (and expect to be) wrong but this is what I think the ultimate outcome will be. Pyrrhic Win at best for the Soviets but ultimate loss on the front, Strategic Win for NATO… and major advances on the ground as a result.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, impressive, and supportable analysis. I won’t comment much on it until after the battle entries are up though. However, after that I’ll show you some of the simulations I ran for the battle and you can see for yourself how well you did. 🙂


      1. ….

        Well shit. I would love to see what I got right with my analysis and where I didn’t get it right…. and try to figure out why.

        I did forget to include two other factors- though they really may count as one.

        The Swedes and the Finns… they absolutely are also a factor in how well/how much the Soviets can throw at the North Atlantic. I am not knowledgeable enough in Swedish and Finnish gear to give an accurate assessment on how much additional pain they can inflict on the Soviets or how much they will force a redirect in going after the North Atlantic.

        In retrospect, I really think 75% losses might be too low a projection with them a factor. I just don’t know.

        Guess we all find out soon. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The Swedes and Finns are definitely a factor. The Soviets can’t ignore them completely and now that they’re at war, some forces need to be held back to defend against them. Its a big mess any way you look ait it.

          Your analysis was pretty good. We’ll do an AAR one day after this phase of the war ends.


  5. I’m expecting TG 21.3 to get hit hard, possibly obliterated if they’re found.

    TG 21.3’s AA escort is sorely lacking. Foch’s Crusaders are pretty much worthless. Neither CG escort has NTU in 1987. No Aegis and only 1 double ender SM-1 launcher, meanwhile there are 2 flight decks to protect. COMSTRIKFLTLANT should move 21.3 into 20.5’s shadow or else shuffle some of the escort over

    To congras: Forrestal’s close escort almost seems too large Not only does she have an Aegis cruiser in Gates but she also has the best non-Aegis ships in Virginia and Scott. To add onto that she has 2 Perrys, a Brooke, and two NATO AA DDGs. 11 Launchers across 8 platforms with Aegis and SM-2s. Forrestal’s AA escorts are more than twice as powerful as the entirety of TG 21.3’s without even factoring on potential overlap with the Tico in Ike’s group

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 21.3 is definitely the red-headed step child of the two groups. You’re right. If it is caught too far away from its sister group to provide mutual support, it’s in serious trouble.


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