The Southern Flank D+14 (23 July, 1987) Part II

The remainder of the day in Thrace continued along the same lines as the first part. Heavy fighting, especially in eastern Thrace, coupled with minimal advances. The first echelon of Warsaw Pact ground forces was made up primarily of the two Bulgarian army groups, with a small number of Soviet regiments in accompaniment. The plan for offensive operations was basic: Push the Bulgarians south and east until either their combat power was depleted, or they broke through NATO lines. At that point the Soviet 19th CAA would be committed and be tasked with completing the push to the Bosphorus. The Bulgarians were expected to remain effective until the seventh day of offensive operations in Thrace. Given the pace of the advance, and rate of casualties in the first twelve hours or so, the Southwestern TVD commander General Ivan Gerasimov didn’t expect the Bulgarians to last beyond the fifth day of the offensive. Accordingly, he adjusted the plans to compensate for an earlier commitment of the 19th CAA. The general also postponed the airborne drop on the Dardanelles and the amphibious landing at the Bosphorus set to go off at dusk. The operations would commence only after the advance in Eastern Thrace had made significant progress.

With the ground war in Southern Europe now fully underway, Moscow was becoming impatient with the recalcitrant Romanians. Romania’s position in the Eastern Bloc was quite similar to France and its role within NATO. The Romanians wanted to enjoy all of the benefits of being a Warsaw Pact member  without having to make the same contributions as the other satellites. Put simply, Romania was the least enthusiastic of all Soviet allies. For years, Moscow had endured Ceaușescu and his cult of personality because Romania was a valuable ally, and the prospect of Romania falling into the Western sphere of influence was unthinkable.

Now was the time for Ceausescu to live up to his end of the bargain and commit Romanian land and air forces to the Pact offensive in Thrace. The Romanians had agreed to make three motor rifle divisions, and four squadrons of combat aircraft available as immediate reinforcements but were dragging their feet. Perhaps more significantly, Bucharest continued to refuse Soviet troops permission to cross its territory. Gerasimov was growing frustrated with the Romanians by this time and pushed Moscow to increase the pressure on Ceausescu immediately.

Little did Gerasimov know, the Kremlin  had just about had enough of Romania. With conditions in Poland presently going from bad to worse, there were growing calls on Romanov to make an example out of Ceausescu and his regime immediately before he grew bolder.

 Author’s Note: Short entry today. Was hoping to get to Yugoslavia and the Sixth Fleet as well. That will come in Part III on Thursday.

4 Replies to “The Southern Flank D+14 (23 July, 1987) Part II”

  1. Romania and France weren’t exactly comparable. Romania basically gave the finger to the WP and stopped investing on its armed forces, France remained comitted and participated in exercises and such, even though it didn’t want foreing forces in France. OTOH, toppling Ceacescu was pretty much what the Soviets did in 89, so a good kick will see him gone, but I doubt the Soviet high command will rate the Romanians very highly. Agains an entrenched defence, we should see more artillery on the red side…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair enough to say France and Romania were militarily incomparable. As far as alliance members go, however, the two countries were soulmates basically. They wanted membership on their terms. Its true eventually France came back into the fold but that was only after the end of the Cold War. From the late 60s through 1989 they were very selective with what they did with regards to NATO, military exercises and all.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. “amphibious landing at the Bosphorus set to go off at dusk” – Amphibious landing in the Bosphorus…why does that sound familiar…Something…someone tried that once before but darned if I can remember how it went… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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