Baltic Approaches D+16 (25 July, 1987) Part III

1300-1600 In the early afternoon, fighting in eastern Jutland intensified as the GDR  17th Motor Rifle Regiment is fully committed and pushes forward. For the next three hours, the East Germans fight a series of engagements against the West German 16th PzG Brigade and sub-units of the US 1st Brigade/9th Infantry Division. The NATO defenders continue call on considerable artillery and air support and this helps to keep the lines in place. By 1500 the East Germans regiment pulls back to reconsolidate and prepare for another attack around dusk. The regimental commander explains his plan to NGF and asks why the 20th Tank Division has not yet joined the effort. He is simply informed that the Soviet tanks will arrive soon.

1615– The 8th Guards Tank Regiment/20th Tank Division is still not in position to join the fight. NATO air attacks have brought on considerable delays. It is estimated the regiment will require at least 3 more hours until it will be in position to relieve or support the East Germans.

1655– Warsaw Pact air support across Jutland has been almost non-existent. The limited number of ground attack sorties that do enter the battle area are almost immediately engaged by NATO fighters. More than one officer at NGF has noticed that the sorties are being flown entirely by Soviet aircraft. An inquiry is made to Western TVD and CINC-West personally responds. He explains to Colonel General Korbutov that for the time being, the East German Air Force has been grounded due to ‘reliability matters.’ Korbutov is unsure if this means the aircraft themselves are unreliable, or perhaps something more alarming is going on behind the scenes.

1720– COMBALTAP consults with the Danish government over the continued presence of Polish Army units on Danish territory. A ceasefire continues, but the Poles have yet to declare their intentions for the future. The government wants the Poles to withdraw entirely from Jutland. COMBALTAP explains such a move is not in his command’s best interests militarily.

1800– The GDR 28th Motor Rifle Regiment has entirely withdrawn from Zealand. NATO air attacks have increased in frequency as the afternoon progressed. The regimental command post has still yet to reestablish communications with the higher headquarters on the East German mainland. However, some less official efforts have had success in making contact with civilian radio operators in Wismar who claim a nationwide 24 hour curfew has been established by the government and state television is openly reporting that a number of GDR military units have rebelled.

1945– Western TVD and Northern Group of Forces have also been monitoring reports out of East Germany. With the interior situation there largely unknown, the loyalty of the East German regiments in Denmark is openly questioned by senior Soviet officers. NGF’s commander, Colonel General Korbutov is especially suspicious of the East German troops now, given that their homeland appears to be on the verge of rebellion.  He can do nothing to affect the regiment stranded on the beaches of Mons. But the 17th MRR in Jutland is a different matter. Orders are transmitted to the 8th Guards Tank Regiment cancelling the attack against NATO lines expected to commence within the hour. Instead, the regiment is directed to take up positions around the East German force and await additional instructions.

2105– The 20th Tank Division’s other regiments are directed to start moving north and conduct the attack that had been assigned to the 8th Guards Tank Regiment and the East German 17th MRR.

Author’s Note: I kept the Gdansk fighting excerpts out of this post because I think they’ll fit better in the upcoming Politics: Poland post. With that in mind, the next two posts will cover events in East Germany and Poland on D+16.

15 Replies to “Baltic Approaches D+16 (25 July, 1987) Part III”

  1. In losing their trust of the Germans…. and assuming those who had been fighting on their behalf will turn… is a very big deal.

    “A house divided cannot stand” was never more true. The Soviets with their War and ill thought plans for it- set themselves up for failure from the start.

    The catalyst appears to have been letting the Pole get slaughtered… And it just snowballed from there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. All of this stems from the Russians just letting the Polish paratroopers fall upon their sword, so to speak.


  2. “He explains to Colonel General Korbutov that for the time being, the East German Air Force has been grounded due to ‘reliability matters.’ Korbutov is unsure if this means the aircraft themselves are unreliable, or perhaps something more alarming is going on behind the scenes.”

    The answer, of course, is “Yes.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “He is simply informed that the Soviet tanks will arrive soon.” I can hear Vader’s voice saying “Comrade, I find your lack of faith disturbing.” LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  4. funny thing was the east Germans had a good maintenance record. the Russians feared putting them up against west German units that they would refuse to kill there kin it was the the Russians who had a maintenance issue it was estimated at about a 30% failure in the field the longer it went the more material would fail to work

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The East Germans were better maintainers than the Russians were. Failure in the field was a way of life for Russian units, but the Germans took pride in their tasks and made sure as much equipment was well maintained as possible


  5. Hi Mike – its been a long time since I last commented, but I have been reading every entry.

    Its still very interesting and cause for some great analytical thinking.
    With regards to the East German 28th Motor Rifle Regiment and their activity on Møn and the south part of Zealand, I have some comments.

    As I understand their accomplishments so far:

    An unopposed landing at Hovmarken with a regiment.

    A occupation of Mon with small-scale combat against 2 Danish homeguard companies + attached units.

    An opposed and unsupported assault crossing of Ulvsund (1 kilometer wide with heavy currents) into Kalvehave …right into the assembly area of 3rd Zealand Battle Group and 2nd Zealand Brigade.

    Gaining and holding a beachhead on Zealand

    Under pressure and attack from the additional brigades and battle groups in LANDZEALAND no more under threat from other landings – a fighting retreat back across Ulvsund

    All this with no support or reinforcement – and (perhaps) some amount of homeguard attacks against their rear areas.

    I feel, despite this area being where I would have fought as a reservists, that I must nominate the East German 28th Motor Rifle Regiment as best formation of the war 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Its great to hear from you, Christian! And yeah, I have to support your nomination. For reservists, they’re acquitting themselves quite well. 🙂


      1. Something to be said for Home Ground…. and in the case of the Home Guard, it is their damn training area they are hitting.

        I know from personal experience that knowing the ground is a damn big factor in a battle outcome between peer or near peer.

        Yeah, they may be reservists but they are fighting an invader in an area where they know pretty much every hole in the ground. You can’t really replicate that in training or prepping for battle as an attacker… as maps only go so far.

        One CAN have a set of plans for such a battle but there is no really solid method other than man power and scalpel-level firepower for each strong point or potential line of advance. The Osties have firepower but they don’t necessarily have the manpower.

        Think of Rt 1 between New Brunswick and Princeton. I haven’t driven that route in a good while…. but I remember where some good spots were to slow shit down. Or break an advance… Even as built up as it is now, some of the good spots are still there.

        Another analogy is the Rt 9/35/Parkway bridges over in South Amboy/Melrose area of Sayreville. Same basic idea of the advance from the landing areas… but get you some guys who know the area and watch some tempers flare on the attacker side.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Agreed, its very difficult to gauge the effectiveness of the Danish Home Guard in this period. (And today… I am an member :))


          -Home territory – not only from training, but this is the area they live in.

          -Prepared mission – this invasion scenario is what they have been planning and training for

          -Trained reservists – the memebers of the Home Guard in this period would all have been thru reservist training in the regular army. Depending on age, this would have been 18 to 10 months, plus the training they get in the Home Guard.


          Light weapons – they would have had Carl Gustavs and m/72, mines and C4 as their heavy weapons.

          Not prepared for holding positions – Home Guard tactics stressed the short prepared ambush, the hit-and-run on rear areas and lots of demolitions to hinder mobility.

          Physical fitness: These guys could be as old as 70, and almost all above 30. Their physical fitness would be a as a aveage dane in 1987.

          Morale: A big unknown. Small unit tactics against bad odds, with little contact to higher command… but local inhabitants fighting against an invading enemy…?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I think its great that the information you share is from personal experience and being a member of the Home Guard. All of your points are good, especially the one about holding positions. They would be great for causing havoc in the rear once the initial Soviet and Polish units come through.


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