0445-The GAZ jeep holding the hapless officer from 8th Guards Tank Division’s command staff and his driver approach Greene from the west. The sky is beginning to brighten as the vehicle slows and pulls off the B-64 roadway onto a fire trail carved into the thick forest west of the town. It comes to a halt two hundred meters in and the men get out. They will cover the remaining 1 kilometer on foot and by an indirect route. The sounds filtering through the thick trees are unmistakable though. Explosions, small arms fire and the thunder of tank main guns firing. There is a battle going on at the bridgehead.
0459– Two more companies from 1/8 Cav are approaching Greene and are expected to arrive by 0515. C Company has seized the bridgehead and is mopping up. Mustang 6 orders the company commander to destroy the bridgehead and directs the approaching companies to establish a defensive perimeter on the west bank of the Leine.
0505– 8th Guards Tank Division’s commander steps out of the command post at Brunsen. Columns of smoke are visible to the south, and more ominously, to the east. There has been no word from the officer he dispatched east to provide an eyewitness report from Greene, but the rising smoke makes it clear something has gone disastrously wrong at the river.
0515– 2nd Brigade/1st Cavalry Division’s commander is satisfied with the progress his battalions have made. 1/8 Cav will orient to defend the Greene bridgehead…or what remains of it….from a potential enemy counterattack. 1/32 Armor is now in the Soviet rear area as well, adding to the chaos and confusion. 1/5 Cav is establishing positions to defend the corridors to the east open and prevent the Soviets from closing that particular door. With dawn fast approaching, communication jamming efforts increase and NATO airpower starts to make its presence felt.
0524-3rd Shock Army’s commanding general’s attempts to raise 8th Guards TD fail as communications networks fall victim to the enemy interference. As the pieces falling into place it is becoming apparent a counterattack to recapture the Greene bridgehead will have to come from the eastern bank of the Leine.
0545– 1/32 Armor’s combat companies concentrate their efforts on disrupting the Soviet support units and regiments preparing to jump off at 0700.
0600– 3rd Shock Army’s commander reaches the GFSG (Group Soviet Forces Germany) command bunker via radio and explains the situation to General Snetkov. There is an American force at Greene and multiple reports of American tanks savaging the rear areas of 8th Guards and 9th Guards tank divisions. 3rd Shock lays out his plan to peel off a regiment from the Operational Maneuver Group (OMG), presently the 29th Tank Division and use it to recapture the Leine bridgehead at Greene. Snetkov overrules the plan, informing 3rd Shock’s commanding general that control of the OMG has been reverted to the theater commander. He’ll have to get hold of the situation with forces already on hand.
0620– The Belgian 16th Armored Division prepares to defend against a Soviet attack expected to begin at any time.
0630– The tail-end company of 1/8 Cavalry is tipped off by Cobra/Kiowa teams scouting ahead of it about a regimental-sized headquarters that appears to be set up at Brunsen, a small village at the crossroads the company is currently approaching.
0645– 9th Guards Tank Division’s commander has not heard from higher headquarters in two hours. Attempts to reach the headquarters of his sister division have also been unsuccessful. Despite the heavy NATO jamming and reports of NATO forces in his division’s rear area, the general assumes that the attack is still moving forward as scheduled.
0657– The commander of 8th Guards Tank Division, as well as his entire headquarters staff are now enemy prisoners of war in the custody of D Company, 1/8 Cavalry.
0700– Lead elements of 1st Brigade/1st Cavalry Division begin their movement to the corridors leading to the Soviet rear that were established earlier in the morning by 2nd Brigade. Iron Horse is on the move!
Author’s Note: Just a quick update on the upcoming posts after this one. Central Front D+17 Part IV Charlie will be a continuation of the timeline and cover the 0700-1100 period of the day. Part V, coming around midweek will handle the remainder of the day in the NORTHAG area in narrative form. Part VI and VII will cover CENTAG. Sorry for cutting up the NORTHAG posts a little more than I had hoped but a situation developed with some striking similarities between the novel manuscript and blog timelines. I needed to adjust. – Mike