Baltic Approaches D+17 (26 July, 1987) Part III

Danish reinforcements started arriving in southern Zealand on the morning of D+17. With the situation at sea decided for the most part, and the threat of further Warsaw Pact amphibious landings now nonexistent, LANDZEALAND saw fit to release a pair of battlegroups from its reserve. Simultaneously, and in coordination with Flag Officer Denmark, units of the Naval Home Guard and the regular Danish Fleet were moving to seal the maritime approaches to the island of Mon.

The East German 28th Motor Rifle Regiment was now effectively under siege and cut off from the rest of the world. The 28th MRRs commander and officers were prepared to do exactly that. For as long as possible at least. Ammunition and other supplies were starting to run noticeably low. Hard information was also in demand. The day’s attempts to communicate with GDR military or civilian authorities had all failed. The last message that received from home was almost twenty-four hours old. It had ordered the regiment to hold in place until relieved or reinforced.

Danish forces were not yet ready to retake the island by force. LANDZEALAND wanted to avoid doing so unless it was necessary. The Danish government, however, was demanding that Pact forces be ejected from Danish soil as soon as conditions allowed. Complicating the matter was the situation in the German Democratic Republic. Events there remained fluid as factions continued battling for power in East Berlin and other parts of the country. There was no way for NATO commanders to determine where the loyalties of the 28th MRR’s senior officers lay, or how to properly exploit them.

As it was, preparations to retake Mon continued through the remainder of the day. Danish Home Guard long range reconnaissance patrols landed on the island in the later hours of the evening to reconnoiter East German dispositions. The attack was tentatively scheduled for 0600 hours the following day unless the enemy could be convinced to lay down their arms before then.

In the early evening, Northern Group of Forces received a transmission directly from Western TVD’s wartime headquarters ordering an immediate halt of all Soviet combat formations in Denmark. Ten minutes passed before a second radio message arrived. This one ordered all of NGF’s senior officers and division commanders to be present at the forward army group headquarters by 0400 on D+18. Colonel General Korbutov was convinced that the next morning would not bode well for him or his officers. A fatalist by nature, the Northern Group of Forces commander fully expected to be in a car headed west by dawn.  

3 Replies to “Baltic Approaches D+17 (26 July, 1987) Part III”

  1. Re Danish efforts-
    This is the beginning of the end for the 28th. They fought well (damn well) but without reinforcement or support… failure was a matter of time.
    This isn’t to say the Danes didn’t fight well- not in the least. On the contrary, the Home Guard fought far better than anyone would think they could against a highly skilled/motivated attacker. The Osties had a ton of advantages early on but the one item they could not counter effectively is the Dane’s knowing the ground the 28th landed on. As pointed out, it is their training area and they knew every stinking ripple in the terrain.

    Knowing the ground is one of those variables that can make or break an assault/defense. And in the end, Danish resistance/knowledge combined with the inadequate assets available to the 28th overcame the Attacker gear/ advantages.

    I think if the Danish recon gets wild hair and tries to give the German’s the option of surrender or dying in place, the 28th just might decide to live. Might…

    Re NGF and “The Order”-
    Korbutov did the best he could with as many of his short lived advantages as possible. Loss of Air Superiority, poor intel on defender ability AND what the enemy had (lets face it, even though the US 9th is/was a GeeWiz division, its potential to rough up an enemy really was there) complicated matters heavily and if that was all there was to worry over, it was going to be a vicious slog with low chances of success.
    Add in the Soviet betrayal (no other word for it, really) of the Polish Abn and the use of the Polish conventionals as bullet sponges… just compounded their strategic disadvantages. Then the German Question….

    Korbutov didn’t lose this front by any means. Considering the snowball effect of events, I do not see him being the reason everything went south. High Command thinks other wise… because they (High Command) can’t do wrong.

    The prospect of being a scapegoat… is always there in the Soviet System; its never Higher’s Fault if you failed to perform as far as Moscow is concerned… no matter the truth of the matter.

    I don’t see a salvaging of this front. Especially with all the other things going on…. and changing command is only going to make it worse.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A few days ago, on the timeline, with the loss of the Soviet Abn. division in Saudi, the essential bottling of the Red Banner Fleet in the North, and the buckling but not breaking of NATO lines in the north/central Germany region (the attack on Hameln), was the end of the beginning. If the Reds are issuing halt in place orders and just abandoning expeditionary forces en masse, this is the beginning of the end.

    2nd half of the 4th quarter boys, and we’re up by 10. Let’s not get sloppy. Don’t let ’em hang around, just grind away with the running game and eat clock.

    Liked by 3 people

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