The Central Front D+13 (22 July, 1987) Part III

The meeting took place at the same location as the one held ten days earlier; a luxury home in Waldsiedlung, a suburb north of Berlin that served as an exclusive residential zone for senior GDR politicians and party officials. Snetkov arrived shortly before 2100. The journey from Stendal to this exclusionary neighborhood outside of Berlin had been a long one. A circuitous route was taken around West Berlin. Far enough away from the city to minimize the risk of arousing attention, or enticing a British, American, or French soldier from taking a shot at one of the armored vehicles transporting Snetkov, an aide, and his security detachment. Ground transportation, though slower, was less conspicuous then traveling by helicopter with a MiG escort overhead.

An officer who Snetkov recognized as CINC-West’s personal aide greeted them in the foyer. After salutes were exchanged, the aide pointed to the small den opposite the living room, then took Snetkov’s own aide down the hall. In the den the general found Marshal Ogarkov sitting at a desk and looking over a large map of the Federal Republic. The Western TVD commander rose from the chair, waving his friend, and subordinate over. Salutes were exchanged and Ogarkov pointed to the map on the desk.

“Comrade general,” he began without preamble. “Bring me up to speed on developments in West Germany.”

The two men walked to the desk and for the next fifteen minutes Snetkov followed his commander’s order.  He laid out the present situation in deep detail, then explained in even greater detail exactly why the Soviet divisions on the Leine were in the positions they were at the moment. A laundry list of related topics was then discussed, from the inability of the Red Air Force to retake control of the night skies from NATO, to the need for operational maneuver groups above the division-level to be under the control of army group commanders and not Moscow.

Through it all, Ogarkov listened patiently, his mind absorbing everything he was being told. He said nothing, and asked no questions, preferring to allow Snetkov to speak unfettered. Not something a general officer in the Soviet military is accustomed to doing. This time it was different.  Ogarkov’s security people had done a thorough job sweeping the house for electronic listening devices. What Snetkov said here tonight would never go farther than the four walls of the room where he now stood. He was safe. His superior’s fate, on the other hand, was less secure.

“When will your next attack commence?” Ogarkov asked at the conclusion of the update.

“As soon as the two tank armies are ready to go. 5th Guards Tank Army will be ready tomorrow. 7th Guards Tank Army though, needs thirty-six hours at least. Then there are the other issues I made mention of.”

Ogarkov waved his hand like he was swatting away an insect. “Never mind all of that,” he snapped. “I asked for a simple answer, Boris Vasilievich.”

 “Thirty-six to forty-eight hours, Comrade Marshal.”

Ogarkov’s face went pale. The man known in Red Army circles as the Formidable Soldier seemed to be rapidly aging right there in front of Snetkov. It was at that moment when the general realized the heavy strain his superior was under.

“Perhaps not fast enough,” Ogarkov mumbled.

“What does that mean, Comrade Marshal?” Snetkov asked.

CINC-West looked up from the map. “Boris Vasilievich,” he said slowly. “We are running out of time. You are unaware of what is happening outside of Germany. Things are going from bad to worse in every other theater. Today has been an especially dark day for the Soviet military.

“This morning Naval Aviation and Long Range Aviation bombers attacked the American carrier force approaching the Kola. It failed and heavy aircraft losses were sustained. The door to the north has been kicked open and NATO aircraft are now bombing targets on Soviet soil. The Rodina!”

Snetkov instinctively knew what this meant. “Mother of God.”

“It gets worse,” Ogarkov insisted. He went on to summarize the day’s events on the Arabian Peninsula, and then moved to the Baltic. “More of our elite paratroopers wasted in a futile effort,” he remarked bitterly. “And naval infantrymen. That is my fault I suppose, but there was no real alternative. The Baltic is a mess.”

“If Denmark can be taken we can still salvage something.”

“There is little chance of that happening,” Ogarkov grinned irritably. “Let me tell you about the fucking Poles.” And he did.

When the marshal was finished Snetkov felt like he had been run over by a truck. “I had no idea it was that bad.”

“It will likely be worse by the time I get back to Legnica. Trying to defeat NATO in the Baltic and Germany is difficult enough. But now I have to keep a lid on the Polacks as well! That will require more troops and equipment.”

“From divisions earmarked for Germany.” Snetkov drew the conclusion at once.

“Which is why there must be progress on the central front very soon. If Poland becomes an open revolt we’re in trouble. I won’t be able to guarantee the safe movement of supplies, and reinforcements through Polish territory. NATO airpower, and their damned special forces are causing enough problems as it is.” Ogarkov paused briefly. “There is another reason why we must have substantial progress in Germany soon, Boris Vasilievich.”

Snetkov sighed dejectedly. “What now, Comrade Marshal?”

“The Politburo is growing restless. Our good comrade in the defense ministry is keeping the wolves at bay for the moment, but questions are being asked,” he warned. “And we will only be able to mask the news from up north, and from Poland for so long. Eventually, Comrade Romanov and his cohorts will learn the truth. And when they do, we will need a major victory in Germany to counterbalance the bad news coming from everywhere else. Otherwise our heads will be on the chopping block, and the Politburo will begin to consider non-conventional measures to win the war.”

21 Replies to “The Central Front D+13 (22 July, 1987) Part III”

  1. I’m old enough to feel the chill (and hear the wailing of the sirens) in that last line. Nicely done Mike. Hope all’s relatively well with you?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Gary. All things considered, I’m doing well. Had a wisdom tooth removed yesterday and that wasn’t fun but I’m not complaining….too loudly

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Classic doomsday decision making on the horizon for the Ruskies. Whether to use tactical nukes or not in a worsening situation on all fronts.

    Problem is, if they do what will the response be from NATO?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question. Escalation is becoming more possible at this point. I’ll give more insight to that in the upcoming politics of global war posts, but strategic forces and all could be coming back into play.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I recall reading somewhere that the Soviet MILITARY was not for the use of Atomics. Chemical Weapons? Sure- they train extensively for it though their use was very much an immediate decision if an advantage was to be gained… but not nukes.

        Atomics… were considered bad idea because of the potential of the fallout to come back and bite the Rodina. yes they trained for it… but under the thought process that it would be US (ie NATO) that was tossing them.

        Granted, this was the military thinking this. The Politburo… had its proponents for their usage- even right from the rip… no matter what it would do to their client states or Mother Russia.

        Those guys… had their heads in the sand. Or so far inside the vodka bottle, you wonder how they saw anything but alcohol-induced visions.

        I recall thinking when I read this was everyone thought the other side would first strike with them and resolved not to be the one to toss first. How alike we were in thinking… Go figure.

        Mind you… this is based on some stuff I read elsewhere written by a Soviet officer who was involved in planning. Take with a grain or five of salt… but No One Wins when the glowing eggs get tossed.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m no policy genius but…the opening shots will be against brigade-level targets, on the battlefield. The Soviets will probably start with a high ante and strike forward airbases.

      NATO will respond in kind, hitting martialing points for the 5th TGA.

      Over the course of the next 8-12 hours (if that long) divisional headquarters will begin to be struck. Theater-wide, we’ll see an increase in depth of strikes and megatonnage.

      Then, someone will decide that Brussels needs to be struck. It’s counterforce…but also counter-value.

      The exchange will widen over the next three hours. SIOP will kick into high gear, Omaha will go into full lockdown. The Dakotas, Whiteman AFB, and other locations will switch to LOW.

      Then some (literally) God-damned fool will decide that Sheffield or Birmingham or Holy Loch or Groton, or Patrick AFB, or Anniston needs to be made an example of.

      “History does not record what happened next.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. With the Soviet nukes in Poland and if the Poles do leave The Pact I wonder where they would rank as a nuclear power? LOL At this point in history weren’t the only nuclear powers the US/Soviets/China/maybe South Africa and Israel?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You left out the French and Brits 🙂 . Still hard to believe South Africa had nukes at one point. The Poles would probably be between Brits and French as far as the number of weapons.


        1. Well the Brits have SLBMs. Tridents and before that Poseidons. Not sure of the arrangement but they are US-made missiles


  4. Sorry, I don’t mean to spam but…I’m reminded of the line from one of the best episodes of Star Trek, ever, “A Taste of Armageddon”

    ANAN: You will be responsible for an escalation that will destroy everything. Millions of people horribly killed. […] Disaster, disease, starvation, horrible, lingering death, pain and anguish!
    KIRK: That seems to frighten you.
    ANAN: It would frighten any sane man.

    Liked by 1 person

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