Baltic Approaches D+15 (24 July, 1987) Part II

Operations against the rebelling Polish Army divisions in Western Jutland had been scheduled to commence at 0200 hours. The failure of the expected East German regiments to arrive at the scheduled time, and massive traffic logjams on the roads in the Pact rear areas had forced Northern Group of Forces (NGF) to delay the start of those operations. Tentatively, Colonel General Ivan Korbutov had set 1400 hours as the new start time, though he was uncertain the goal could realistically be met. As the morning dragged on, the general’s pessimism increased greatly.

According to Western TVD, three East German motor-rifle and tank regiments had been slated to arrive after midnight. The bulk of this force was still nowhere to be found. One regiment was presently moving through Schleswig-Holstein. If traffic foul ups and NATO airstrikes didn’t delay them further, Korbutov expected the regiment to arrive by nightfall. The problem was that a single regiment of East German motor-rifle troops did not possess enough firepower to break through NATO lines and reach the Soviet paratroopers at Skrydtrup. And at the moment, there were no indications of any other East German units heading north. The single motor rifle regiment was the only one in motion.

Until the East Germans arrived in larger numbers, NGF’s divisions were prevented from moving on the Poles in force. The 6th Guards Motor Rifle Division remained positioned in the east, preparing to hand off to the East Germans. The division continued to conduct aggressive probes against the NATO defensive positions in front of them, searching for a weak point that their GDR replacements could potentially exploit. When its replacements did finally arrive, 6th Guards would disengage, move west and hit the Polish forces spread out in the western area of southern Jutland. Simultaneously, NGF’s main attack would come from the southeast and be centered around the 20th Tank Division, with army-level assets supporting.

At 1015 hours, Korbutov transmitted a status update to Western TVD’s headquarters in Poland. The report was acknowledged, and he was ordered to continue NGF’s preparations for the attack, as well as transmit updates every two hours. With that task complete, the general turned his attention back to planning the upcoming operation as best he could given the circumstances.

At the same time, the Polish 8th Mechanized, and 16th Armored divisions were digging in deeper in expectation of an eventual Soviet attack. Patrols by forward deployed units and battlefield reconnaissance provided by NATO made it clear their one-time ally was currently in the process of laying the groundwork for an attack. The commander of the 8th Mechanized Division had taken overall command of Polish forces in Jutland and northern Schleswig-Holstein. Officers suspected of being, or known to be ardent supporters of the Soviet Union were removed from their commands and detained. Capable, anti-Soviet officers had replaced them.

The Polish divisions were operating under a cloud of uncertainty. Aside from the prospects of a Soviet attack in the coming hours, they had no clue about what was happening in their homeland. Communications links with military leaders and the government in Warsaw had broken down entirely. NATO was providing occasional updates from their own intelligence reports, but the information offered few answers and prompted more questions.

It was clear that something major was taking place back home, but the details remained unknown. Had the government imposed a crackdown on the populace? Or did the Jaruzelski regime turn on its Soviet masters? Those were the two most likely possibilities. Whichever one had come about, the commander of the 8th Mechanized Division was convinced his actions on D+13 following the disastrous Polish airborne drop had provided the catalyst for what was now happening in Poland.

13 Replies to “Baltic Approaches D+15 (24 July, 1987) Part II”

  1. This reminds me of an anecdote re Poland after the curtain fell, the intelligence service promptly reorganised firing all communists officers and re-hiring those that had been fired under the communists. Turns out a substantial number of those fired had been for an objective reason and they had to start anew, re-hiring the communist cadre to train the new officers.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Makes sense though. They needed experienced officers to train the new officers. Kind of like after World War II and the Allies fired all Nazis from town and city government positions. Then they ended up having to rehire a few because nobody else knew how to work the local government.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How correct he is, the Cmdr of the 8th…..

    And when that attack does happen, it is going to be bloody. Determined Desperate Men given a chance to exact a blood price on their back stabbing former masters?

    There will be no give here, in my opinion, nor any real quarter. They know the playbook and given how NATO controls the air, the Soviets coming for them are going to pay a very bloody price for the actions of Moscow.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s like you know you’re gonna catch hell from your parents when you get home from school so you literally drag your feet to stave it off as long as possible.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Man, it is tough to be Polish, or East German for that matter!

    Not sure if this has been asked before, but have you ever considered doing writeups on branching timelines? For example, what if the Poles had not rebelled and they continued to carry out their operation in Denmark? I know, a what if inside a what if is starting to border on the crazy haha. Could be interesting though.

    I’m about a third of the way through Michael Palmers “The War That Never Was” and I’m really enjoying it. Not sure if you have ever read it but if not I would highly recommend it. Its really interesting comparing the scenario that unfolds in his gook to yours here on this blog. Fairly similar so far. Plus there are a bunch of well made scenarios covering many of the prominent battles from the book in Command: Modern Operations.

    Looking forward to the next Baltic entry!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Palmer did a great job with that book. I first read it back in 2002 or 03′ and have re-read it a few times. since.
      Some of those TWTNW inspired scenarios are fantastic. I love reading them


    2. I’ve thought about some ideas similar to branching. Truth be told, this blog will stick around even after the last day of the war occurs. So that’s an idea for the post-war days. 🙂


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