D+18 1201-1600 Zulu 27 July, 1987 Part II

Greene, FRG 1240 Zulu (1440 Local Time)

His presence on the western bank of the Leine was giving his security detail, as well as 2nd Brigade’s commander fits. 1st Cavalry Division’s commander Major General John Yeosock understood this but did not allow it to deter him from coming forward to personally observe operations.

The river crossing was ongoing at three locations now. The bridges at Alfeld were operational and those at Brüggen were expected to be active by dusk. A British armored regiment was starting to make its way up the western bank of the Leine right now. Its orders were to relieve Yeosock’s 1st Brigade, then assume responsibility for the northern Leine crossing points, as well as containment of the Soviet units pocketed between the river and the approaches to Hameln. As soon as the Brits were in place, 1st Brigade would reform on the opposite bank of the river and start advancing east. 2nd Brigade/1st Cav would continue holding the southern crossing points until 3rd Brigade/1st Cav was entirely over the Leine. At that point 2nd Brigade would be relieved by units of the follow-on 2nd Armored Division and begin crossing the river itself.

Right now, Yeosock stood beside a pair of Humvees with 3rd Brigade’s commander. Together, the officers watched the nearly constant stream of M-1s and Bradleys crossing the Leine on ribbon bridges. Yeosock marveled at the bravery and skill of the combat engineers in establishing this crossing point and keeping vehicles flowing across at a brisk pace. These men were worth their weight in gold. He watched in silent admiration for another four minutes before motioning 3rd Brigade’s commander to follow him over to the Humvee.

Yeosock unrolled a map on the hood. “Okay, Joe,” he spoke loud to be heard over the noise of combat vehicles nearby. “A good portion of your brigade is on the eastern side of the river. Your new mission is to push east along Route 64.” He stabbed the roadway on the map with an index finger. “2nd Brigade’s perimeter reaches out to Bad Gandersheim. I want you to blow through the town and cut Autobahn 7. Ivan’s been using that highway to shuttle material and troops north and south all day. Recon reports from two hours ago show a reinforced tank battalion situated just above where Route 64 runs into the highway. That’s your main opposition for the moment. Clear so far?”

“Yes, General,” 3rd Brigade’s commander affirmed.

“Good. Grab the highway, push the Russians off and then clamp down on it until the rest of your brigade, as well as 1st Brigade arrive. I’m still working on where we go from there,” Yeosock admitted sheepishly. “Let you know when I find out. But for now,  I want two-thirds of this brigade pushing east of the Leine by midnight. We have a big edge over Ivan right now in night vision equipment and comms. Plus, we own the skies in case you haven’t noticed. It’s time to take advantage of all this and knock him on his ass before he knows what’s going on. Still with me?”

With a twinkle in his eye and a wolfish grin now spreading across his face, 3rd Brigade’s commander nodded his head. “Entirely, sir. My troops and I will be in possession of that autobahn by 2100.”

Yeosock glanced at his watch quickly and then stared hard at the colonel. “I’m gonna hold you to that, Joseph. Get moving.”

Moscow, USSR 1300 Zulu (1600 Local Time)

The Defense Council meeting came to an end shortly before 4 PM. Plans had been presented, and a voracious debate followed. A vote was taken at twenty minutes before the top of the hour and the result was unanimous. The Politburo would reconvene at 5:00 PM, but this was more a matter of formality than substance. A consensus had been reached. The time for discussion had passed and the afternoon transitioned to the preparation phase. In the Kremlin, General Secretary Romanov slipped into his private office to draft a letter. Marshal Akhromeyev and his rather ghoulish nuclear war planners left for the Defense Ministry building where the final plan was drawn up and orders issued.

With every passing minute on the clock, the Soviet government moved closer to the nuclear threshold while the Strategic Rocket Forces commenced the preparation and steps required should the final order to initiate the first nuclear attack in almost forty-two years be given.

18 Replies to “D+18 1201-1600 Zulu 27 July, 1987 Part II”

  1. Getting a Team Yankee feel from both the successful-so-far American charge and the ominious nuclear tone.

    (In Hackett’s original, the Birmingham-Minsk “trade” feels contrived and artificial. In Coyle’s distant ground-eye-view, it’s far more effective).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is not going to end well. For anyone.

    Any nuclear exchange ends badly for the Soviets…. and most of their scenarios for use had the WEST tossing first….

    And I am still fairly certain saner heads prevail. Then again, this stays conventional, the Soviets lose everything… and there are some desperate folks over there.

    And desperate folks tend to think stupid.

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  3. Ghoulish indeed.

    Interesting that they’re creating plans now, rather than having had a case for this…but then they probably expected the running dog capitalist lackeys to collapse all the way back to west Paris by now and leave them the heart of Europe for the taking. Fuckin’ commies…

    Ahem, sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, some situations just don’t have plans attached. Or circumstances change and the plan has to be revised. Same as conventional operations.
      But yeah, NATO is fighting hard and since the Red Army isn’t on the doorstep of Paris, some plans require finessing 🙂

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  4. 1st Cav had only two maneuver brigades in 1987. In wartime, it would have been “rounded out” by the 155th Armored Brigade of the Mississippi NG. I believe the 5th, 6th, 9th, and 24th IDs also had NG or USAR round out brigades, as did 10th Mountain.

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    1. Right, and in that case the round-out brigade becomes the division’s 3rd Brigade. Funny thing is that in real life that system didn’t work out very good. Desert Shield came up and the 24th Mech, as well as a few other divisions, had to replace their round-outs with active duty brigades. The Guards formations didn’t cut the mustard. There was a huge controversy about it

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      1. They wouldn’t have been referred to as the 3rd Brigade. They would have kept their unit identity as a separate brigade. In Desert Storm, the 197th Infantry Brigade was referred to as such, and not as the 3rd Brigade, 24th Infantry Division. Same with the Tiger Brigade (1/2 AD), which originally deployed in place of the 155th Armored Brigade with 1st CAV. There were allegations that the Guard brigades were being held to standards that active ones didn’t have to meet because the Army resented the political pressure being applied to deploy them. Of course, the Army had a huge motive to establish a narrative of ineffective Guard units at a time in which Congress was debating how much to cut the active force as part of the “peace dividend”.

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        1. That’s very interesting, Matt and I have to say it really surprises me. I remember Tiger Brigade and when it deployed to the Gulf. And yeah, the 155th Armored really was put through hell. Half its officers were canned I think when it kept shitting the bed at the NTC. Granted, I was just 13 years old at the time but I’ve looked into it now and then over the years.

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  5. Minor nomenclature error in this one. A British armoured regiment is a battalion sized formation, so unless you mean for a battalion to relieve a brigade then it should read “a British armoured brigade..”.

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  6. 2nd Armored Division also had a National Guard round out brigade from North Carolina, aside from the one at Ft Hood and 2nd AD (fwd) in West Germany. Like the other round out brigades, they didn’t go to war in 1991. When I was with 5th ID we did an NTC rotation with a mix of active and round out in 1987 around the time frame of this story. It did not work out too well and we actually had “friendly” artillery drop on our platoon’s position from the attached Guard arty unit during the live fire portion of the exercise. Needless to say, my personal view of the 256 Bde. is colored by that incident.
    Back to your story, this is getting to the nail biter phase. Does the “limited exchange” scenario occur? Does a new coup take out the current Central Committee and avert the nuclear threshold? Is SIOP initiated? As if WWIII between the two global superpowers and their respective alliances is not serious enough, this is taking it to the next level.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lots of questions involving the future of the story, eh? 🙂 Answers will be provided in time, I promise.

      As for round outs and everything, the Air Force works different than the Army. ANG and AFRES squadrons are usually up to standards, if not exceeding them. And deploying with active duty squadrons is no major issue. Mostly since the Guard and Reserve pilots are held to the same standards as active pilots training wise and all.

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