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


Throughout the morning, and afternoon Soviet efforts to mislead and confuse NATO and the Swedes continued. Military deception has always been more of an artform than a doctrine for the Soviet military. The present goal was to sell the notion that an amphibious-airborne operation was aimed at Sweden, not Denmark. The constricted geography of Baltic presented a challenge given the close proximity of Denmark, and Sweden to the Warsaw Pact nations on the Baltic. Opportunities for deception were potentially limited, narrowing the margin of error for the Soviets.

The limited number of air attacks were concentrated against Swedish military targets on Gotland. Bunge Airbase, and coastal missile batteries received the most attention. Soviet, and East German commando teams that infiltrated the island days earlier now went to work, detonating bombs in the small villages near potential landing beaches, and raiding radar sites. As this was going on, radio traffic on channels known to be susceptible to NATO and Swedish listening posts indicated Soviet, East German, and Polish units were in the final stages of preparation for an invasion of the Swedish island of Gotland, and possibly even the southern coast of the Swedish mainland.

Sweden’s military leaders were not entirely convinced their nation was the target of the coming attack. Their political masters, however, were on the verge of panic as more and more alarming reports were presented to them. In any case, prudent measures needed to be taken. It was assumed the enemy attack was coming north across the Baltic, and the Swedish military was ordered to prepare accordingly.

NATO had its own reservations about Sweden being the Soviet objective. At Karup COMBALTAP’s intelligence chief and his staff continued to analyze the information coming in. By the middle of the afternoon the odds were six to five and pick ‘em whether the coming Soviet attack would be aimed at Sweden or Denmark. As it stood, the attack could go in either direction. The only solid intelligence NATO had was that preparations were indeed underway and entering the final stage. A team of Danish Frogmen monitoring the East German port of Wismar reported the loading of amphibious assault ships. Other NATO special operations teams spread along the enemy’s Baltic coast reported similar scenes.

Like the Swedes, COMBALTAP continued to move forward on the assumption Denmark, and the Baltic Approaches were the enemy’s true objective. For the first time in the war, Allied Naval Forces Baltic Approaches (NAVBALTAP) assumed the role of the main NATO defense against a major Warsaw Pact attack. Although NATO and Pact navies had been dueling on and off since the opening hour of hostilities, the main event was yet to come. The Danish and West German navies were now almost entirely at sea. Fast attack craft squadrons from the two nations were moving away from the Danish coast, as diesel-powered submarines positioned themselves to detect, and attack enemy surface groups if they made their way west towards Denmark. Mine countermeasure vessels were sent out to search for new minefields that could’ve been laid by Soviet subs, and Danish coastal Harpoon anti-ship missile batteries took up positions near the coastline of Zealand.


Author’s Note: I ran late with posting this entry and it’s a bit short. I’ll wrap up Baltic Approaches D+12 and post Tuesday afternoon. Then we move to the Central Front. 😊


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

  1. Great stuff – looking forward to that last entry. I bet there’s some stories amongst those teams emplaced along the Baltic coastline…

    Liked by 1 person

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