In southern Germany, Warsaw Pact ground operations continued to lose steam on D+16. While fresh NATO divisions continued arrive and join the battle, Pact forces were nowhere near as fortunate. Soviet and Czech reserve combat formations were almost entirely committed. To expound matters even more, fuel and ammunition was not making its way forward as rapidly as it was being consumed. This problem was not exclusive to Czech units and the Soviet Central Group of Forces. Every Pact combat unit from Murmansk to Thrace was dealing with similar problems. Supply lines were under increasing pressure from NATO air attacks, special operations teams, and in the past twenty-four hours, from domestic unrest. This third factor was the one most directly effecting Soviet and Czech forces in southern Germany.
The temperature in Czechoslovakia was running hot. There had been no signs of an open insurrection brewing, yet the amount of passive-aggressive resistance breaking out across the nation was now having a pronounced effect on Warsaw Pact ground operations in the south. Czech soldiers, drivers and civilians were still working to keep the supply line functioning, but their efforts were becoming more sluggish as the hours went on. Pallets filled with ammunition and other supplies were taking longer to load onto trucks, and the pace of those trucks heading forward had slowed to a snail’s pace. Czech railways were also experiencing unprecedented delays in train movements. The Soviets suspected the cause was the passive resistance by a growing percentage of the Czech population. Unfortunately for them, as well as the pro-Soviet Czechs, there was no way to prove it. And in any case, there were more pressing matters that demanded attention.
The Czech 1st Army’s advance on Munich had grinded to a halt. Partly because of the supply problems in the rear, but also due to a growing unsilent minority within the ranks. Officers were speaking out against the war now, in some cases openly. As soon as they were silenced, another rose to take his place, and so forth. As a result, the forward-most Czech divisions were incapable of any offensive operations above battalion-strength. Luckily, the West German brigades opposing them were in a similar fix. The difference here though, was that the French II Corps continued to arrive in increasing numbers. It was simply a matter of time before Leopard tanks were replaced by AMX-30s.
In the VII Corps area, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and 1st Infantry Division reached the Czech border. The cavalry regiment arrived first. Ghost Troop, 2nd Squadron took the honor with its tracks pulling up to the frontier 5 kilometers east of Selb at 1355 hours local time. 3/34th Armor from 1st Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade reached the border just after 1600, 30 kilometers to the south at Neualbenreuth.
Author’s Note: There will be two posts coming on Thursday: The last entry for D+16, tying up peripheries more or less. The second post will be an update on the novel. A lot has been going on (most of it good) and I want to bring everyone up to speed. –Mike