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


Predictably, security for the coming operation was airtight. So much so that the Northern Group of Forces (NGF) commander was not informed until late in the afternoon. A colonel from Marshal Ogarkov’s staff personally delivered the news. He’d boarded an Mi-17 helicopter and flew from Western TVD’s main command post at Legnica to the forward NGF headquarters. He presented Colonel General Korbutov with an overview of the operation, and a detailed set of orders explaining what role the NGF would play on the following day. Korbutov was encouraged by what he saw. The operation presented him with a mission his forces could successfully accomplish given the amount of support that would be attached to it.

D+12 had been an indecisive day in Jutland. NATO ground forces were bending but refused to break. The absence of air cover, and support for NGF forces over the past 30 hours or so certainly did not improve matters. The hole Korbutov had been looking to create for 20th Tank Division never materialized. 6th Motor Rifle Division continued to slug north against its West German counterpart (6th Panzergrenadier Division) with little to show for it. The plan for the upcoming airborne landings in Jutland looked as though it was going to give Korbutov the opportunity to commit the 20th TD in an effective role.

The Poles in the west were also going to play an important part. Korbutov was becoming more confident about the reliability of the Polish divisions under his command. The near-rebellion had been quashed and by all accounts Polish soldiers were directing their attention, and aggression towards the enemy in front of them and not their own pro-Soviet officers. Still, the Poles would have to be watched closely.


As darkness descended upon the region, activity at the Warsaw Pact ports on the Baltic coastline rose considerably. From Gdansk west to Rostock, amphibious-capable ships stood ready to head out to sea. Crews made last minute preparations, and the soldiers stowed below decks readied themselves for what would hopefully be a smooth, peaceful journey to their landing beaches. The troops aboard the ships in the Polish ports were Russian, part of the 336th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade. The bulk of this unit’s men, and equipment was aboard the amphibious ships, and cargo vessels of the flotilla. At nearby Gdynia, the ships, and the men embarked aboard them were Polish, belonging to the 7th Sea Landing Brigade.

In the East German ports of Rostock, and Peenemünde, men and equipment of the 29th Motor Rifle Regiment were crammed like sardines aboard landing ships. The East German Navy did not have an indigenous naval infantry force, but two motor rifle regiments of the East German Army were trained as amphibious landing units. The 29th MRR was slated to make the initial beach landing, and open the door for the 28th MRR to come ashore in the afternoon of D+13.

ASW ships, aircraft, and helicopters sanitized the harbor and approaches, looking for signs of enemy submarines that might be lurking. Minesweepers searched for any newly laid mines and made certain that the minefields laid by Pact ships remained untampered with. Ground based air search radars were active, and combat air patrols crisscrossed the skies. The ships in Gdynia and Gdansk were scheduled to sail shortly after midnight and were expected to reach their landing beaches on Zealand by 1530. The landing ships in GDR ports would sortie at 0200. The distance to their landing beaches was much shorter and they would begin to arrive ashore after 0600.

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

  1. 1530 … that sent a chill down me. It’s going to be a long Day 13 for the people on those ships. And I’d expect the Baltic to be running red long before the sun goes down …

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The political officers are probably telling the troops not to worry, they have complete control of the air and skies, and the Imperialist mercenaries will run from the beaches when the first shots are fired.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Broad Daylight landing for the follow on forces.

    No control of the Baltic.
    No control of the Air or even really contested…

    This is going to be a small disaster… especially when you factor in the Swede & Norwegian Sub force, the 18 type 206’s of the Bundesmarine and what surface attack boats the Finnish fleet has….

    If the initial landing force manages to get 50% of its potential to the landing zone and on shore, I’ll be sorely surprised…. because the Follow On fleet is going to be mauled because all the attention/defense assets will be expended protecting the initial force.

    The Swedes are super awesome submariners and the Germans…. have a rep to maintain.

    My opinion- I look forward to the next posts on this front…. while I go find more popcorn.

    Excellent stuff, Mike.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, John.

      They’re walking into a potential buzzsaw. In the bigger scheme of things the amphib and airborne drops are just diversions to take the pressure off of the drive coming up Jutland. But its necessary because right now, the Russians need to catch a break…any break before things go south permanently.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, please oh, peae have the Pols or another eastern euro force turn on their masters. Would love to read about that that! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, there was already one attempted mutiny in Polish division earlier in the series, and in Poland the citizens are getting restless.
          Two weeks of war, death, and constant bombs being dropped on their heads are going to start really taking a toll on the Pact populations 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. D день!

    “The Longest Day” indeed, is coming for the Pact.

    If you were taking a list of wishes from readers, Mike, I would love to see a Polish Motor Rifle Company rebel and form a flying wedge and make a break for NATO lines…but considering what they’d be leaving behind and the near-certainty of NATO troops (as well as their own countrymen, and Soviet forces) attacking them, that ain’t gon’ happen…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s not too bad of an idea. In fact, the Poles are going to start playing a more predominant role militarily and politically. Remember, one attempted revolt already took place, and things are simmering back home.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. catch a break… The only break that really is gonna come of this is a broken couple of regiments. And Baltic Fleet will likely be destroyed. Oi… Lenin would be rolling in his grave.

    But it is the mindset more or less, this course of action… If the Soviets toss all their available Aviation at this, the possibility of Pyrrhic is there… and we know they are concentrating on North Atlantic and Norway/Sweden/Finland already so that idea is kinda shot.

    The cost on the other fronts would be horrendous if they did that too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Soviets have really mismanaged the conflict, politically and militarily. Romanov moved too fast and as a result, his soldiers are paying the price in blood.


  5. 22 July, 1987 – The Battle of Denmark. A day that will be a important part of Danish history for many years to come – no matter the outcome.

    Since the late 70s the combined alliede defensive plan for Baltic Approaches was “Operation Hurricane”.

    This plan included Danish, W.German, US and UK assets – airplanes, missiles, ships, submarines, mines etc.

    Here is an article (in danish) about it:

    In short: there where 4 waves of attack against the enemy fleet. 1st wave hits west of Bornholm – long range missiles delivered by air. 2nd wave a bit futher west is short range missiles – again by air, but also from danish frigates and torpedoboats. 3rd wave is near the coast with close in attacks by ships using torpedoes and guns. Also more air attacks. 4th wave is minefields at the coast.

    In addition, danish and german submarines would conduct attacks all the way from Polish and E. German habours – and observe enemy fleet movements.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Christian, all of that information you sent over has been invaluable. It has plugged a lot of holes in my research, as well as answered a lot of questions.

      I still have questions though, so expect an email in the next couple of days. 🙂


  6. Read the translation…. that is some article and it jives with some of my guessed-about-capabilities thinking prior to reading that.

    No battleplan survives contact with the enemy. But as pointed out, the Soviets are rushed and the Baltic Air & Sea is either owned by NATO or just might as well be… So the Op should function as written and be more effective than expected in prewar planning… for the aforementioned reasons.

    From a sim standpoint, I am curious how it will play out, given the conditions. What a mess.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Knife fight in a dark closet where one person has the knife…. and the other guy is blindfolded….

    I’m not sure I got enough popcorn to munch on while waiting for the next chapters… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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