D+18 0000-0400 Zulu 27 July, 1987 Part III

Moscow, USSR 0300 Zulu, 27 July, 1987 (0600 local time)

The Defense Council reconvened in the Kremlin promptly at 6 AM. Marshal Akhromeyev and General Snetkov were the last men to enter the room. The newly minted CINC-West was aware of the eyes on him, particularly those of the General Secretary. Romanov studied the army general intently, his thoughts concealed behind a deadpan expression.

Snetkov noted the presence of the Defense Minister. Yazov appeared considerably more subdued than he remembered from their meeting in Berlin earlier in the war. Akhromeyev had informed him earlier that although Yazov would be present, he would not be speaking in support or opposition to Snetkov’s own position. The minister had been deemed politically unreliable for the time being, according to the present chief of the general staff. He would be a nonentity in the upcoming meeting, something which put Snetkov on guard as soon as he was told.

There were two other men present in the room who were not standing members of the Defense Council. Both were regular Politburo members. One man was a staunch hardliner and ally of Romanov and the other a more moderate career politician with a history of supporting Romanov far more often than not. The two sat together at the table and followed the example set by their General Secretary by remaining expressionless.

Romanov began the meeting by directing CINC-West to describe the present situation in Germany, and to follow that up by explaining what factors led to it. Snetkov obeyed and described the events of the last twenty-four hours in cautious detail, wary not to reveal particulars that might paint him in an exceedingly negative light. The emphasis was placed on his predecessor’s inability to keep up with the speed of maneuver warfare. The former CINC-West’s orders were more often than not outdated or rendered obsolete before they even reached the headquarters of the forward army groups.

Snetkov followed up by presenting essentially an oral history of the war on the Central Front from Soviet eyes. He started with the first NATO air attacks on the army group headquarters in the opening hour of the war and went on through each phase of the campaign up until the present. He spared no details, yet once again was careful not to place the lion’s share of blame and accountability on his shoulders. In concluding remarks, Snetkov stated that NATO was considerably more prepared than anticipated, but not decisively so. “The latest battle has ended,” he declared to his political masters. “There will be more, however. This war is not over.”

“Can it still be won?” Romanov asked point blank.

“Yes, Comrade General Secretary,” Snetkov answered instantly.

“Without resorting to special weapons?”

The answer to this inquiry required an extra moment of thought, as well as careful word choice. “Comrades, I am in no position to answer this. My knowledge of the progress made on fronts outside of Germany is minimal.”

The KGB Chairman reacted promptly to this. He quickly brought the general up to date on events in other theaters where Soviet forces were engaged. Chebrikov saved the worst bit of news for last. Our navy has failed to shut the Atlantic. Convoys are crossing from North America to Europe with impunity now.”

“And depositing large amounts of ammunition, gas, and reinforcements in Western Europe,” Snetkov completed the thought, somewhat shellshocked. He had been told the convoys were being interdicted and suffering heavy losses. A lie, and an effective one at that.

“In light of these revelations,” General Secretary Romanov motioned to Snetkov. “I will ask the question again, Comrade. Can this war be won without nuclear weapons?”

CINC-West could not muster the courage to answer honestly.

11 Replies to “D+18 0000-0400 Zulu 27 July, 1987 Part III”

  1. that answer would be a No unless a whole lot of actions went 100% right at teh right time. And we already know that ain’t happening.

    And using nuclear weapons would poison the Rodina with fallout. Yes, they could strike at the US but unless they took out the Heartland/Breadbasket, we’d manage.

    Would not be pretty… but we’d manage.

    Opening that Box and releasing the Nuclear Genie would spell the end of alot.

    One of which is the Soviet Union… My opinion at least.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Now, I’m not going to say we won’t get our hair mussed – but we’re only talking about twenty to thirty million dead, tops!”

      Having seen the post-ex-facto warplans of the Soviets, I think they were a LOT more cavalier about exercising nuclear discretion.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like this blog. I am anticipating the conclusion of the story! Thanks for your writing.

    Neverthleess, I have the same feedback after every post I read: cut the adverbs. Cut them all. You could eliminate each one and you’d leave behind a better sentence.

    Intently, considerably, exceedingly, instantly, promptly, quickly

    These words add nothing. Consider cutting 95% of them.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ed. 🙂 Appreciate the advice and kind words.
      I understand what you’re saying and you’re right to an extent. But to be honest, it’s a blog. Which means I’m a bit more liberal with adverb usage.
      Different story completely when I’m writing professionally or in a more formal environment. There, I adhere to the less-is-more rule. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t like the direction this is heading. I’m worried about them using some tac-nukes to blow open the frontlines and maybe on the approaching amphibious group threatening to put Marines ashore on the Kola, all while thinking they could control the escalation ladder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel the same way. The Soviets are facing a choice to either back down or escalate. Once the mushroom clouds start popping, I don’t know where it stops. Their first nuke strikes would absolutely have to be the carrier groups, right?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We now know the Soviets were deathly worried about GLCM, Pershing 2, and TLAM- they knew the capabilities and couldn’t see them reliably, much less stop them. Plus they’ve been the recipients of F-117 strikes enough to know they can’t reliably stop them either. The SSBN force in the bastion seems to be the best way of letting you cross the tactical threshold, but those “tactical” GLCMs and Pershing’s can reach out and touch European Russia and the navy can start working B57 armed S-3s or SUBROC on the bastion pretty quickly. If one goes, it may become use it or lose it too quickly to control.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. A Coup might be the only round left in the chamber if things keep going the way they’ve been. Not many good choices left for Soviet leaders and politicians


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