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

The Polish airborne drop that morning was inadvertently spread out over an area of western Jutland measuring 30 kilometers in length, and roughly 16 kilometers in width. Once NATO fighters materialized in large numbers the formation of transport aircraft scattered. Flight paths were no longer a priority as survival became the preeminent aspiration for the An-12 aircrews. The absence of fighter escorts only served to heighten the alarm, and inevitable panic that materialized as missiles filled the air, and transports disappeared in explosions, or fell to the ground trailing smoke and flame. Parachutes started appearing in the sky, in ones and twos at first as some fortunate Polish paratroopers were able to escape from their fatally damaged transports. Gradually, more parachutes blossomed in greater numbers. Some of the transport pilots dropped their human cargo much earlier than the plan called for either because of aircraft damage, or fear. In either case it mattered little. A stampede effect was created as Cub aircrews jockeyed to discharge their paratroopers and depart the area immediately.

For the majority of the 6th Airborne Brigade’s men, the perilous drop only marked the beginning of their difficulties that day. The real troubles started upon landing. Most of the paratroopers came down nowhere near their assigned drop zones outside of Skaerbaek. In fact, less than 25% of the paratroopers landed there. The remainder came down behind or upon Danish and Polish positions, and units moving. Some unfortunate men landed in the middle of fighting. Troops on the ground, both Danes and Poles, were surprised by the sight of large numbers of parachutes dropping from the sky. In some cases, Polish infantry and tankers assumed they were the enemy and opened fire leading to a considerable number of friendly casualties.

By chance, a large portion of the 6th’s command group was dropped in the rear area of the Polish 8th Mechanized Division, not far from the forward division HQ. The brigade commander and his subordinates were escorted to the headquarters and immediately went to work attempting to locate and establish contact with their three battalions. As this was going on, the 6th’s commanding officer discussed the situation with the 8th Mechanized Division’s commander. He described in detail the attack by NATO fighters, lack of Soviet fighter escorts, and the chaotic drop. As he spoke, the rage he felt manifest itself in every word. It was clear he blamed the Soviets for the loss of so many of his men, and felt the decision not to escort the transport aircraft carrying Polish soldiers was deliberate. The colonel was so engrossed in his story that he did not notice either how loud he was speaking, or that he had the undivided attention of every man in the command bunker.

The brigade’s commander was venting his frustration and anger to what was essentially a captive audience. However, he was completely unaware of the earlier unrest in another Polish division, and the brutal crackdown that followed. Even though the 8th Mechanized had not been on the line at the time, once it moved up, stories and rumors filtered through its sub-units. This, matched with the already existing hatred and suspicion of all things Soviet and Russian, angered the Poles. But they kept that anger hidden, waiting for the right moment to bring it to the surface. The 6th Airborne Brigade commander had unknowingly helped regenerate the anger.

He was not the only one to do so.  

Author’s Note: Ran myself a little ragged so the Polish Airborne section will be divided into two parts instead of being just one. Apologies.

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

    1. Interesting point of view. You’re right, I guess I was just being too Type A and trying to do too much at one shot.


  1. Life is what it is, my friend. I view this post as flavoring for the next part. And the Poles jumping ship will be explained out and we will understand how it comes about, if that is the direction it goes.

    Don’t know where you are going to go with this but I’ve suspicions there is a side-change coming. Mostly because of cultural and human tendencies when wronged… and what is part of their history.
    I mean, the Solidarity Trade Union movement creation and events was only just less than seven years prior to when this is set. Not giving them fighter escort… almost ensures sitting out or changing sides. If any one event costs the Soviets the drive on Jutland, it will be that single act that sets the stage for it…

    From a sim perspective, Polish troops changing sides has got to be a nightmare to add into the parameters though resupply would strangely not be difficult- I mean, there is plenty among the Soviet Forces to be had…. Just have to take it from them.

    Just…. ouch.

    RL stuff- how you doing, when you in PA again and where should I send documentation or should I save it for a meet up over a beer?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I’ve definitely left some hints, and indicators of what may come next. Big picture, I think it’s apparent now that the war is taking a bad turn for the Soviets and their minions. And as was the case in RL, once the first Soviet satellite bailed out, the whole structure came tumbling down fast.

      RL, not doing too bad. Finished up treatment, everything is good there. Unfortunately, my wisdom tooth started giving me issues and I had to go to the dentist. I’m just about fully recovered so expect the next post tonight or tomorrow afternoon.

      I’m hoping to get back out there by early next week. If you want to save it, that works. If not, send it to I’ll look it through and we can discuss it over a beer.


      1. Teeth issues always show when you least want them. And ya, as soon as one bails, I expect others to follow. As I mentioned a while back, I had a Scoutmaster that survived the uprising in Hungary- and my impression on reading up on it and such… I think they would jump if they weren’t jumping alone.

        Poles go, so do they- or at least become restive enough to pull resources. Then of course there is the baltic three.

        House of Cards the Warsaw Pact was… as we know NOW, at least. Hindsight being what it is, one can see it now. Not so much then.

        Document- I need to check it one more time then I will send it over.

        theswordsaint is the google email.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. They do show up at the worst possible times. Never fails. I met a couple of people who survived ’56 in Hungary too. I agree.

          House of Cards is a good description for the Pact around 87. Just waiting for one good shove.

          Great, when it shows up I’ll check it through. No worry about typos and such. I’m not a grammar nazi


          1. I remember the Solidarity Union movement. I was ten… and was just starting to get interested in world history, cultures and governments… and I always did wonder why the Soviets let it “live” (well, linger) when they quashed Hungary and the Czechs as hard as they did. And never really followed up on that thought.

            In reading these posts, I started thinking about it and that long ago curiosity about it.

            SO of course I just looked it up. 🙂

            In reading up on it… the crackdown was internal with a hope of avoiding another Prague…. though if the crackdown failed, he wanted Sov troops. (and later said no he didn’t. Who to believe, eh?)

            That Andropov was against intervention… is a wow moment for me. The things ya don’t know.

            Email went out yesterday.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Got the email! Much appreciated. I’ll get back to you tomorrow.

              Yeah, Andropov wanted no intervention. He had enough problems back then. Him and the Politburo thought Reagan was a complete lunatic and didn’t want to provoke him. So that’s one reason why Ivan left Poland alone.
              Another is that they understood damn well how frail the Pact nations were. Intervention would collapse them like dominoes. That would’ve been bad for them, and for us if it happened.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. No problem at all. I’ll finish responding to the rest of your comments tomorrow. I just finished up a bunch though, so feel free to check them out.


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