D+18 0801-1200 Zulu, 27 July, 1987 Part II

Bredebro, Denmark 0955 Zulu (1145 Local Time)

The request for a meeting between the commander of Polish forces and his NATO counterpart at 1000 arrived at the Jutland Division’s forward headquarters a few minutes before 0800. The request was granted, arrangements were made, and the Polish general walked into the operations center of the Jutland Division a few minutes before 1000. He was greeted by the commander of the Danish division who led him to a nearby tent. The Pole got right down to the heart of the matter and announced his intention to surrender the forces under his command. The Danish general was slightly taken by surprise. He pressed for an explanation. The Polish general calmly replied that the political leaders in Warsaw had ‘seen the light’ and were now on the same page as he. The government of Wojciech Jaruzelsi was ordering him to surrender his command to NATO as soon as conditions allowed. Poland’s role in Warsaw Pact operations on the Central Front were effectively drawing to an end.

Wunsdorf, GDR  1100 Zulu (1300 Local Time)

The moment General Boris Snetkov’s presentation to the Politburo had concluded, he was taken to a car and driven to the airport. An aircraft was waiting there for him, its engines already spooling up. Two and a half hours later it landed in Berlin and a short time after that, Snetkov arrived back at his headquarters.

The time he spent here would be short. In a few hours, the general and his new staff would be moving to the Western TVD forward headquarters in Legnica, Poland. Legnica and the surrounding area was firmly controlled by Soviet forces. Originally, Snetkov intended to move the theater forward command post to the underground bunker not far from Wunsdorf. However, following the morning meetings in Moscow, he altered that plan. Poland, for all its potential dangers, seemed to be a safer choice. Before he could leave for Legnica, however, Snetkov had some matters that needed to be handled.

The Theater Operations Officer brought him up to speed on the theater-wide picture. In Germany matters had gone from bad to worse, not unexpectedly. The bulk of 3rd Shock Army was almost completely cut off. While he in Moscow, NATO forces had seized the bridgeheads at Alfeld and Bruggen. 3rd Shock’s commander, located at his forward command post east of the Leine, had been desperately planning a counterattack by his reserve formations to rescue the trapped divisions from impending encirclement. Only now, with NATO armor building up on the east bank of the river, it was becoming clear he had to choose between either a counterattack against that buildup or a potential rescue of his forces west of the river. Snetkov was not confident 3rd Shock could successfully execute either.

Central and southern Germany seemed stable for the time being. The American formations in the CENTAG area were not expected to extend their current attacks beyond the IGB, according to theater intelligence. Snetkov remains dubious about this, though. The Baltic and Denmark were inconsequential for now. He orders all land and air operations there halted with the exception of the operation to rescue the paratroopers under siege at Skrystrup.

As Akhromeyev predicted earlier in the morning, Snetkov had returned with new orders. Western TVD’s raison d’être was now preventing NATO forces from advancing beyond the Inner-German Border. The Politburo and General Secretary had made it abundantly clear that should NATO cross the border in force, it would spark an immediate shift to a nuclear defense. Fortunately for Snetkov, stopping NATO before they reached that point remained very possible. A handful of variables had to swing in favor of his command, but the correlation of forces remained in favor of the Soviet Army.

Despite having transferred a number of its divisions to support 3rd Shock Army’s drive to the Weser, 5th Guards Tank Army remained capable of offensive or defensive operations. 5th Guards was also the nearest army group to the Leine. Coming up behind it was 7th Guards Tank Army, whose lead elements were assembling southeast of Hanover. This was the formation Snetkov intended to use to halt and pin down NATO’s burgeoning counteroffensive until the next wave of reinforcements arrived from the Carpathian Military District. Snetkov had the foundation of a defensive plan in mind and would present it to his staff upon arriving in Legnica.

As the general’s mind was returning to 3rd Shock’s current predicament, the Theater Operations Officer mentioned that the commander of the Northern Group of Forces had been summoned to Legnica by Snetkov’s predecessor. Colonel General Korbutov was still waiting in Poland for the new CINC-West. Snetkov decided to have the man remain there until he arrived.

5 Replies to “D+18 0801-1200 Zulu, 27 July, 1987 Part II”

    1. That would be a hell of a message. Probably would backfire in Ivan’s face too. Doesn’t mean they wouldn’t try it though

      Like

  1. So does the Kremlin not know how behind the 8-ball they are in Poland, and that the Poles have de facto surrendered to NATO, and Snetkov is about to land in enemy territory, or do they know, but the sector he’s going to is so firmly in Soviet hands that it’s not an immediate issue?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a definite gap between the Kremlin’s knowledge of events in Poland and what’s actually happening. I mentioned in the Wunsdorf part that Legnica is secured by Soviet troops so Snetkov will be safe for the moment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Safe Enough at least.

        however, anything Flying isn’t necessarily so. Nor are his radio towers. The Poles know where all the Soviet stuff is in their country. There really is no good way to avoid this…

        I can see him being all of a sudden cut off from his main command in the West… because the Towers get smoked…. and cut off long enough for disaster on a monster scale…. and things get worse.

        To quote Ambassador Kosh of the Vorlons-

        “The Avalanche has Started. Its too late for the pebbles to vote.”

        Liked by 3 people

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