Baltic Approaches D+13 (22 July, 1987) Part IV- Bravo

Bravo Section- Naval and Amphibious Activity D+13 0000-1200 CEST

0145– The Soviet SAG (Surface Action Group) is detected east of Bornholm by patrolling Swedish aircraft. Intermittent radar returns are picked up from four ships: three Krivak class frigates and a single Kresta II class guided missile cruiser. The information is forwarded to NAVBALTAP headquarters in Karup.

0217U28, a West German Type 206 conventionally powered submarine detects the Soviet and Polish amphibious groups in the waters of the Baltic Proper. The sub radios in the positions of the two groups, and shortly thereafter conducts an attack. Four DM2A3 Seehecht torpedoes are fired at the Soviet ships but none reach their intended targets. In the confusion brought on by the attack, U28 slips away.

0320– The Danish submarine Narhvalen is destroyed by East German naval units in Lubeck Bay.

0350– The eight ships of the West German 7th Fast Attack Craft Squadron attack the Soviet SAG forty-three miles southeast of Bornholm. The two groups exchange anti-ship missile fire. Two of the Krivaks, and the Kresta II are struck by Exocets. Six of the eight West German Gepard class fast attack craft are hit and sink. One frigate and the cruiser sink within thirty minutes. The surviving Soviet ships steam southeast in the direction of the amphibious groups with the surviving NATO ships in pursuit.

0445– Three hours after making initial contact with the Soviet amphibious group, U28 conducts a second torpedo attack that sinks a Ropucha class landing ship.

0521– After an intense hunt, U28 is destroyed by a torpedo dropped by a Ka-25 Hormone.

0615– Over the period of an hour, the West German 2nd and 5th Fast Attack Squadrons each conduct a pair of anti-ship missile attacks against the Soviet amphibious group. Hits are scored, though not as many as expected. Soviet SAM coverage was strong enough to knock down eighty percent of the Exocets fired at the group. But three landing ships, and a destroyer are lost, and multiple ships sustain damage to varying degrees, including the Alexander Nevsky. The West German squadrons sustain heavy losses. Of seventeen fast attack craft, thirteen are lost, and the remainder damaged.

0645– East German amphibious troops land at Hovmarken.

0730– For the time being, NAVBALTAP turns down the request from LANDZEALAND for naval support. The FGE (Danish Frigate Squadron) and TBE (Danish Torpedo Boat Squadron) are positioned to attack the Warsaw Pact amphibious groups once they pass west of Bornholm. Retasking them to hit the East German ships anchored off Hovmarken would run the risk of leaving the sea approaches to Zealand undefended, and exposed.

1159– Through the late morning fighting on Hovmarken flares. The initial landing was unopposed, and East German shock troops quickly established an initial beachhead to bring the remainder of their equipment and men ashore. By 0900 two battalions were ashore and starting to fan out across the island of Mon. The Danish Home Guard infantry companies assigned to the area established defensive positions at Keldby and Bissinge to delay any East German advance towards the bridges leading to Zealand. Small unit actions break out at various locations with the Home Guard desperately trying to hold on until the 3rd Zealand Battlegroup begins to arrive in the early afternoon.

10 Replies to “Baltic Approaches D+13 (22 July, 1987) Part IV- Bravo”

  1. Are there any shore Harpoon batteries still in action, Mike? Regardless, great write up. Man, did the West Germans take it on the chin tho!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are a few left. They will come into play during the conclusion…which will be posted this weekend. Thanks, Bill! Yeah, they sure did.


  2. Navy stuff….

    Ouch. Just ouch. Ivan had to get something to fall right…. and knowing that it is going to be a anti-ship missile hell in the Baltic, SAM coverage needs to be good to limit damage. Fast Attack Craft are a pain to face but if you can withstand their sting and return fire, y’all will survive. This showed that… though the day ain’t over yet by a long shot.

    Still lost some valuable men/equipment from those Bn’s and now the support/supply actions need to withstand counter-attacks while they get gear from those floating targets.

    As for the ground side- unopposed landing makes sense. Its two BN’s of troops on the ground now and you know where they are going to go. Defending those approaches with available forces is really the only option available for NATO, outside of the raids you mention (3-5 men with small arms who really know the ground can play absolute havoc with time tables and the nerves of the invaders).

    Its harassment stuff…. but again, a lesson from Vietnam shows exactly what you can do with small groups against someone bigger. And any losses incurred on the invaders will get felt. Yeah, they got two bn’s of troops on the ground but will the other waves get there to reinforce.

    I did think the planned sea defense would do better but again, something had to go right for Ivan. I do wonder where the rest of the German u-boats are though….

    Someone needs to tell those Polish landing troops how bad their brothers got sold out in the air…..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Keep in mind there’s still a good amount of sea defense left. Might even be some more West German diesels out there.

      Yeah, I wonder what will happen if word gets out about the Polish paratroopers getting thrown to the wolves by their Soviet allies. Might cause some problems from the Baltic Sea all the way to Warsaw. And of course in Jutland too

      Liked by 1 person

  3. They (I.e. WP Naval forces) have already taken a beating and they still will have to face the Royal Danish Navy surface forces, the mine fields, probably some mor subs, shore based Harpoons, coastal artillery, the FRG naval air arm, well at least what is left of it, and whatever Sweden and NATO can come up with ….

    No air supremacy over the beach head…

    The Swedes on their right flank…

    And finally they have to come ashore against an adversary who has had nearly two weeks of preparing the likely avenues of approach. Even the poorly equipped Danish forces of Zealand should prevail under these circumstances.

    I do not see how they can avoid a Dieppe style disaster, but who am I to judge?

    But I am very excited about the next chapter, as always, the only I am looking forward to, while going to work in the morning …

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It could be a mess on the beaches but there are some wild cards out there that can affect the outcome. For example, if the Danish surface groups and minefields don’t cause enough ship losses and disruptions, the Pact might get on the beach with a relatively intact, powerful force. What then?

      I’ll try to have the next entry posted by Sunday evening your time. That way you can read through it on Monday morning 🙂


  4. I bow my head to your wisdom! But I suppose we will see some Swedish forces, as it is more comfortable to defend Skåne on Zealand than in Malmö.

    The FRG naval air is gone by this time? No more subs?

    Thank you for your work, it brightens up the way to work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FRG’s naval arm is very depleted. Not many Kormorran-armed Tornadoes left. There are still some subs.

      I’ll definitely have something for your commute on Monday morning!


  5. Regarding the Danish Home Guard near Hovmarken:

    You are right about two Home Guard Companies. There was a Møn-East and a Møn West company. In addition there was a Company centered on Bogø. It had the bridges as Unit insignia, so it were most likely responsible for defending them. (or blowing them up..)

    By the way… Klintholm Havn, just 1 km from Hovmarken… was one of the places were danish MTBs was supposed to lay in waiting….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for confirming that, Christian. I’m grateful for it, and it’s satisfying to find out from an informed source that my initial research was accurate 🙂

      Klintholm Havn would’ve been a nice place to turn those boats loose from.


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