The Central Front D+17 (26 July, 1987) Part IV Charlie

0705– 3rd Shock Army’s forward command post was a scene of unrelenting tumult. Enemy jamming was gradually becoming less of a problem, but the situation on the other side of the Leine remained in a state of chaos. One tank division was moving forward into the attack, seemingly blind to what was going on to the north and east. The other tank division – the Category A formation! – was standing still as NATO tanks carved up its rear area and regiments that were supposed to be advancing west right now. Meanwhile,  the division commander was nowhere to be found. On top of all that, American armor was at the Greene bridgehead. Yet still, 3rd Shock was not permitted to touch the OMG!

0715– 1st Cavalry Division’s commander General John Yeosock arrives at 2nd Brigade’s command post outside Arholzen. So far, the first phase of the plan was succeeding beyond Yeosock’s wildest expectations. A battalion was on the Leine at Greene and would be reinforced by another soon. Then attention could be focused on Freden, site of another bridgehead just to the north. As all of this was happening, 1st Brigade would continue passing through the corridor and head east. If all went well, it would begin crossing the Leine later in the afternoon. 3rd Brigade, now crossing the Weser would be in position to reinforce the Belgians by early afternoon if needed. Otherwise, it would follow 1st Brigade’s path east.

0730– 9th Guards Tank Division’s attack begins 30 minutes late and in piecemeal fashion. Its sister division, 8th Guards, to the south does not move at all.

0750– In East Germany, GFSG commander General Snetkov finally makes contact with Marshal Ogarkov at Western TVD and explains what is happening. Ogarkov refuses to allow the OMG to be released until the situation at the Leine is brought under control.

0810– The news that 8th Guards Tank Division’s headquarters was captured finally makes its way to 3rd Shock Army. The army group commander summons his operations officer and sends him forward to take control of the division.

0857– 1/32 Armor starts moving north towards Freden as 2nd Brigade reorients itself fully on the west bank of the Leine.

0945– The first attack by 9th Guards Tank Division grinds to a halt just outside of Stadtoldendorf. It has cost the Soviets the better part of a tank regiment and the Belgians a considerable amount of men and material as well. But they continue to hold, bolstered considerably by NATO airpower.

1005– The 3rd Shock Army’s commander receives a report that two columns of American tanks have been seen approaching the vicinity of Freden. He demands confirmation of this sighting and then contacts 47th Guards Tank Division.

1025– Snetkov is informed of the report from Freden and that 3rd Shock Army is turning the 47th Guards Tank Division around to deal with any NATO force attacking the bridgehead. He is becoming alarmed. If the Americans seize control of the two southern bridgeheads it means the morning’s action is more than a limited counterattack. Taken into consideration with other reports of American armor in the rear areas of the divisions on the western side of the river, Snetkov fears the NATO end game is to trap the Soviet divisions now located west of the Leine. He orders his communications officer to establish contact with Western TVD at once.

1040- The reserve regiment of the 47th Guards Tank Division is ordered to move east and reinforce the Freden crossing.

1050– The lead companies from 1/32 Armor approach Freden and engage the single company of motorized infantry defending the town and its bridgehead. Following thirty minutes of fighting the surviving Soviet troops capitulate, leaving the Americans in command of both southern Leine crossing points.

1059– At NORTHAG’s forward command post, General Crosbie Saint, Northern Army Group’s commander, looks at the recently updated map board and nods his head thoughtfully. 1st Cav pulled it off, he concluded, still hardly able to believe it. The trick now would be to keep the access route to the east open. He intended to push the Cav’s last brigade through later in the afternoon. After that would come a pair of German and British tank brigades. If the stars were aligned just perfectly, by midnight the remainder of III Corps would start crossing the Weser. Right now, lead units from the 5th Infantry Division, 2nd Armored Division and 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment were preparing to commence road marches to the river.

10 Replies to “The Central Front D+17 (26 July, 1987) Part IV Charlie”

  1. I’m thrilled for the success of 1st Cav, and also concerned. Terrified, in fact. The NATO General Secretary and the member countries need to huddle. We have to offer the Soviets a graceful way out of this. I don’t have any ideas, but presumably there are a lot of people smarter than me who can come up with something. I’m no Sovietologist, but Red either escalates or falls back in disarray as the East Bloc falls apart.

    I’m finishing my summer by reading Arc Light, for the first time. Just never got around to it until now. What a novel, what a first novel! (No pressure, Mike 🙂 It has its flaws, but it captures the special, extra thick fog of war that descends once nukes enter the picture. It’s one of the most disturbing things I’ve read lately.

    Good luck with all your writing. I’m on the edge of my seat.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks! And enjoy your reading. I’m in agreement over Arc Light. It covered the aftermath of a limited exchange perfectly. The only factor that didn’t make Arc Light a household name was the timing. Came out at the end of the Cold War. 91 or 92.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Someone needs to turn this into a campaign for Combat Missions Cold War!

    I have not mastered Battlefronts scenario design system unfortunately but this would be a good one! Armored Brigade maybe?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, this would be great for Armored Brigade. When I wargamed it, I used Steel Panthers Brigade Command, and Steel Panthers MBT. Wish Armored Brigade was around then. May have to create a scenario!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We had a thin lead, then got a TD, and they fumbled the kickoff return and we’ve done a scoop-and-score. In less than a minute, the lead went from 7 to 21. The trick is holding on to a solid win without running the points up. The Soviets have gotta see a graceful out here. Offer them an L they can take with pride, otherwise…they’ll start playing to hurt, know what I mean?

    The other concern is that Cav (and it is the very nature of armored cav) is a thin-ish salient into the Red bridgehead. Fumble here and the whole momentum of the war swings back. Lotsa little “ifs”. *If* the Belgians hadn’t held on at Stadtoldendorf, NATO wouldn’t even be having a conversation, it’d be a bulge or possibly a break in the line.

    Liked by 2 people

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