D+16 Primer Part I

Back to reality in a manner of speaking. As I discussed earlier in the week, a primer for D+16 will help ease a lot of readers back into the world war raging in July, 1987. In some theaters the physical battles are winding down and the conflict is entering a political phase. Meanwhile in others, the main battles continue on. Then there is the Central Front where the battle is hanging in the balance. Below, I’ll go through the political realm and active theaters one at a time to provide a brief summary of where the situation stands in each. Also, since this is a holiday weekend, I’m going to divide the primer into a pair of entries. Part II goes up tomorrow night or Monday morning at the latest.

Political- Interior pressures and discontent in a number of Warsaw Pact countries continues to rise. The situation in Poland is growing so bad that it will only be a matter of time until the chaos there directly affects the Soviet war effort farther west in Germany. There are indications now that Czechoslovakia, East Germany and perhaps even Hungary could be experiencing similar problems. In Moscow, Soviet leadership is attempting to keep the lid on the Pact kettle and continue the war with minimum interference. General Secretary Romanov, however, sees the writing on the wall and understands he’s running out of time. With NATO aircraft dropping ordnance on Soviet territory and the nation’s sea-based nuclear deterrent under threat, Romanov might be forced to roll the dice and make a rather risky move to right the ship. Then there is the situation in Germany. If the Red Army is defeated at the Weser and unable to continue the advance to the Rhine, nuclear and chemical weapons may have to be employed to ensure victory.

Northern Flank– Northwestern TVD is shifting the posture of all theater forces from offensive to defense. The main priority for the time being is defending the Kola from NATO air, sea and potentially even land attack. The advance into Finland has been halted and the motor rifle division there will hold its ground for as long as necessary to prevent a new avenue for NATO ground troops from opening up NATO is probing at sea in preparation for the time when the US 2nd Marine Division arrives in North Cape waters in the near future.

Baltic Approaches– On Jutland, Northern Group of Forces has been tasked with conducting an attack on the rebelling Polish Army divisions in Western Poland. Its own advance north will be handed off to East German units, yet none have arrived. Meanwhile, the Soviet paratroopers who landed at Skrydstrup Airbase are still holding out and awaiting rescue. The East German motor rifle troops that landed in Denmark have not received reinforcements or support. Their prospect for receiving support and additional forces remain dim. At sea, NATO has secured control of the Baltic approaches. The Soviet amphibious group that departed Bornholm will become part of a major Soviet effort against the rebel Poles in Gdansk.

North Atlantic– The battle for control of the sea lanes is all but over. The focus has shifted to northern waters where Strike Fleet Atlantic continues to conduct offensive air operations against Soviet bases on the Kola Peninsula. A decision on whether or not to attack the Soviet ballistic missile submarine bastions hasn’t been reached yet, but preparations for that operation continue on. Reinforcements are on the way as well. The USS Coral Sea and USS Iowa battlegroups, as well as the amphibious assault ships carrying the 2nd Marine Division will be entering the northern Norwegian Sea in a matter of days, giving Strike Fleet Atlantic more tools to work with.

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