The Central Front D+15 (24 July, 1987) Part VI

CENTAG Region D+15

The 4th Infantry Division and 1st Armored Division’s attacks went off as scheduled before dawn and within twenty minutes of one another. Each attack force consisted of a heavy maneuver brigade supported by division-level artillery, along with attack helicopters as well. Early on, both forces met stiff resistance, especially 2nd Brigade/4th Infantry Division.

Whereas the tank regiment that 1st Brigade/1st Armored Division crashed into was deployed in depth, the bulk of the motor rifle regiment anchoring the first line of Soviet defense in front of 2/4 ID was deployed up front. Battlefield reconnaissance from late on D+14 identified three probable points of vulnerability in the enemy’s main defensive area. 2nd Brigade’s cavalry scouts probed forward before dawn to determine which points were most susceptible to pressure. Two areas were identified, but as it turned out, neither was as vulnerable as hoped.

Fighting was fierce in the Alsfeld sector through the later part of the day. After overcoming its initial shock, the 39th Guards Motor Rifle Division settled in and defended every meter of ground fiercely. The motor-rifle troops were unwilling to cede control of the town and its valuable network of roads. In the early afternoon a second US brigade was committed to the action along with a good amount of corps-level assets in support. As sunset approached, US forces had secured control over two-thirds of Alsfeld and pushed Soviet forces south of the town back 7 kilometers beyond Bundestrasse-254.

1st Armored Division’s attack met stiff resistance as well from the 11th Guards Tank Division. The Soviet division’s forward regiments were deployed in depth. Their initial defenses were not penetrated until around 1200. Within two hours much of the division’s MRR had been enveloped south of Stockhausen. A counterattack made up of two tank battalions hit the Americans later in the day to break through to the surrounded motor-rifle troops. It failed to reach them, however, it was enough to slow the US advance and force 1st AD’s commanding general to commit a second brigade to the fight.

In VII Corps area the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment probed against the Czech motor rifle regiments to its front as the 1st Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade did the same against the Soviet tank regiment opposite the Big Red One’s present positions. Neither Pact formation put up much resistance and fell back quickly, unwilling to engage the American units. The bulk of one Czech battalion did not resist or pull back though. As the Abrams and Bradleys of 2/2nd ACR approached their positions, two GAZ jeeps sporting white flags emerged from the woods. Inside was the Czech battalion commander who identified himself to the first US officer encountered and explained his intention to formally surrender the men under his command. Later in the day the newly processed prisoners of war began to speak openly to their captors about rebellion brewing in the Czech Army and the defection of a senior Czechoslovakian general two days before.

The French 1st Army was now moving into West Germany in large numbers. II Corps was closest to the front and would be the first to make contact. With CENTAG in agreement, SACEUR’s plan was to use II Corps three divisions (two armored, 1 infantry) to reinforce the NATO divisions currently defending the approaches to Nuremburg and Munich. After the Pact advance in the south is blunted, the remainder of the French 1st Army will move into the VII Corps area, thus freeing up that US corps for less-defensive oriented operations in the future.

20 Replies to “The Central Front D+15 (24 July, 1987) Part VI”

    1. That works for me. 🙂 Or, how about Operation “OK Corral”? Because this last shootout is going to be bloody, violent and decide everything

      Liked by 1 person

      1. FROM: 1/1 AD NORCOM CDR.




        Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right, the scenario is very underused and underrepresented. The shoe gets placed on the other foot and now Ivan has to consider defending Fulda against the US Army


    2. I remember spending afternoons playing campaign mode in M1 Tank Platoon on the ol’ Amiga 500, and going from a bunch of scenarios on the defensive, to finally counterattacking, eventually hitting Cat. B & C troops. They’d get so thin that the CPU would be sending infantry at me in trucks and jeeps. Not exactly the *best* use of a tank platoon…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. French Fire Brigades…. freeing up US assets to go east and North. This is going to be messy

    And the Czechs are folding. Kinda predicted and ya hinted at. As mentioned, Prague Spring was only 19 years ago….

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I got a feeling the French are going to be out for blood. Probably a *lot* of anti-Pact sentiment drummed up after the loss of the Foch, and while nobody wants a war, there’s always proud young men in any army itching to “get in the fight” when national pride is on the line.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike how do you keep pulling such HOLY S— moments out of the bag! The Czechs surrendering is … oh my God that is like blocking a 21 yard punt in the last 3 seconds that would’ve won the game for the bad guys!!!

    Wow, this is *SO* *GOOD*. I cannot wait for the next post.

    No, literally, post more words. NOW!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. if the czech are folding means follow their on forces are t34/85s and trucks of infantry boys and old men not how a country wants to throw away a generation of people if they throw in the towel now they will have a slim chance of having enough hardware to leave the warsaw pact as russia wont have much iron fist to punish any one when its over

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Months late, but I finally finished the first part of my write-up for tabletop wargame of this scenario on my blog. Quite an interesting tactical puzzle, and I really enjoyed digging into the research material to flesh out this battle. I may have to move onto the 1st ID’s attack next. Your story could keep me in scenarios for quite some time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jake, I just saw the post and I’m so glad my blog could give you some scenario fuel. 🙂 Wow, I’m jumping into it now and will respond tomorrow after reading through it all. This is great how you brought Stockhausen to life!


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