Baltic Approaches D+12 (21 July, 1987) Part I


Western TVD’s commitment to a combined airborne-amphibious operation against the Denmark oscillated in the first eleven days of the war. The initial expectation had been for the operation to be launched in conjunction with the land thrust into Jutland from Schelswig-Holstein on the seventh or eighth day of the war, and only after air superiority, and sea supremacy in the Baltic were won. Unfortunately, none of these benchmarks were achieved in the expected timeframe. The drive through Schleswig-Holstein by Northern Group of Forces encountered unexpectedly heavy resistance right from the start. Air superiority was not attained. Reinforcing NATO fighter squadrons arrived at airbases in Denmark in time to prevent Warsaw Pact air forces from gaining the upper hand. At sea, the fight for supremacy was conversely tied to the amphibious operation, and subsequent attempted breakout by the Soviet Baltic Fleet.

Marshal Ogarkov, Western TVD’s commander-in-chief had already decided the airborne-amphibious operation against Denmark would be launched in the early hours of D+13. He wanted to move earlier, but it was not possible. Preparations for the operation required significant time. 4th Air Army, along with attached Polish and East German squadrons had started their preparations the previous afternoon. For D+12 its mission was generally defensive, maintaining heavy combat air patrols over airbases, and ports in the GDR and Poland. As this was going on, the ground attack squadrons would receive their mission orders and targets for the next day and begin planning. In the Warsaw Pact ports on the Baltic coast, amphibious assault, and cargo ships were being readied for action. The units these ships were to transport into action were encamped in staging areas nearby going about their own preparations. Transport aircraft continued to stream into the region from points farther east in the Soviet Union. These aircraft would carry two regiments of the 7th Guards Airborne Division, and a Polish airborne brigade to their drop zones across Jutland. One regiment of the 7th Guards was on Bornholm after seizing the island on D+8 and would remain there to guard it against a possible NATO or Swedish attempt to recapture it.

As first light approached, both sides launched their early morning aerial reconnaissance missions. Four Soviet MiG-25 Foxbat Bs fitted with cameras, and ELINT equipment made their usual morning runs over Denmark. As they approached the coast, Danish and US fighters rose to intercept them and the daily early morning chase across Zealand, and Jutland commenced. One of the Foxbats was destroyed by a missile fired from a US F-15 but the others made it home with good photographs and other data of NATO airbases and air defense sites across the Danish homeland.

NATO reconnaissance pilots immediately noted the heavier-than-normal air defenses on the ground, and reinforced CAPs in the air. Of six recce aircraft launched, only half returned to their bases. The air defenses encountered in the mission, and the images on the photos brought back made COMBALTAP anxious. They showed increased activity at a number of airbases, and ports. Clearly, the enemy was preparing for a major operation in the coming hours or days. When the early morning commanders briefing in Karup started at 0700, COMBALTAP laid out the photos and let it be known that he expected a major attack in the next twenty-four hours. Before the meeting ended, the general directed his intelligence officer to determine if the coming attack would be aimed north at Sweden or northwest at Denmark.

9 Replies to “Baltic Approaches D+12 (21 July, 1987) Part I”

  1. Very nice!

    Stoked to see how this works out. Swedens entry into the war, must have made the airspace and sea lanes in baltic approaches a lot more complicated for Western TVD.

    Interesting tidbit: The Danish Frogmen Corps and The Danish Jaeger Corps was (and is) top special force units. Both of these units where tasked with long-range penetration in to East Germany and Poland. Their main mission was to gather intelligence about the iming of airborne and amphibious operations against Denmark.

    Their odds where not good, but its possible that some of them are lurking in a bush near a Polish airbase or a East German habour….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, Sweden coming in has really tossed a monkey wrench in the plan for the Soviets. No room for subtlety or any places to hide. An attack now just has to bull its way through.

      I’d venture to say there are some Danish Frogmen lurking around Rostock maybe.


  2. This is going to be a disaster for the soviets.

    They don’t own the Baltic seas.
    They don’t own the skies or anything close to superiority.
    Ground situation is far more tougher than they thought too…

    No no, this is going to be a definitive disaster for no real gain. And pressing on with a battleplan that does not have what was believed needed for success… is stupid on so many levels.

    Add in the Swedes and Finns…. Definitive Disaster might be kind.

    IIRC, the mindset of Soviet Command in this fiction jives with some of what I recall reading about actual mindsets…. and I am both impressed with your writing on this and screaming internally over decisions made by fictional characters… And characters who really are only doing their Duty.

    When I was in, I didn’t hate Ivan- no different than the average grunt but with some morally questionable leadership directing him. My distaste for those directing Ivan to do some of the shit they did…. yeah no. The level of distaste was strong.

    Then again, my distaste for those who never walked any distance in the shoes of those they direct/order is fairly strong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The distaste is well understood on this end. Same story throughout history. Orders are given, and you can only hope the guys at the top of the chain of command have a better grasp of the situation than you do. Unfortunately as history has shown, this isn’t always the case.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: