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

Aalborg Airbase, Denmark  1330 Zulu (1530 Local Time)

Colonel Carsten climbed down from the cockpit of his F-16 Falcon slowly and unsteadily. The crew chief, waiting nearby, came over with a concerned look on his face. The pilot waved him off.

“I’m alright, sergeant,” he said slowly.

“You’re not injured are you, sir?”

Carsten allowed a brief smile. “No. Simply exhausted. Long mission.”

“How did it go?” The crew chief was genuinely curious, yet he also had a professional need to know. This was his aircraft, after all.

“Good. Air to ground mission north of Padborg. We struck a convoy of fuel and supply trucks on the highway. No damage sustained and everything is working good.”

The NCO pointed to the empty right wingtip rail.

“Oh. A pair of MiGs bounced us as we cleared the target area. I got one. My wingman’s shot missed.” A casual shrug.

“Congratulations, sir.” The NCO looked exceptionally pleased. Carsten felt bad that he wasn’t showing as much emotion, but he was so tired it took a herculean effort just to stand straight.

He gathered his flight bag and an airman handed him a black container that held the gun camera tape for this mission. With everything he needed, the squadron commander headed off in the direction of the headquarters building. His wingman could catch up with him later. 

On the walk over, Carsten let his thoughts glide away from the mission he’d flown and focus on other matters. His squadron would fly more missions this coming evening and into the following day. This was to continue until hostilities ended or the aircraft and pilots could not fly any more. 727 Squadron was performing well, he admitted. In spite of a nearly constant stream of losses and replacement pilots and aircraft, his men were holding up their end of the war effort.

The Danish armed forces and those of her NATO allies had stopped the Warsaw Pact advances into Denmark. Despite almost fanatical determination, the enemy steamroller had ground to a halt. The problem was that Russian paratroopers continued to hold Skrydstrup, a valuable airbase and former home to Karsten’s squadron. Their current home Aalborg, was located farther away from the front. The longer transit times to the battle line did not bode well for jets like the F-16. The amount and types of ordnance each jet could carry was limited, as was the time each plane could spend on station. Carsten’s last mission was a good example of this.

When he walked into the building serving as 727 Squadron’s headquarters, Carsten was greeted by a frenzy of activity taking place. His eyes searched the room for the squadron intel officer, who had been slated to handle his debriefing. After a couple sweeps, Carsten caught sight of the man standing at a window and talking animatedly into a phone receiver. Before he could even begin walking over there, the squadron operations officer Major Erik Wolff appeared in front of Carsten.

“Afternoon, Colonel,” the short, thick officer greeted. “How was your mission?”

“Fine,” Carsten replied. “What’s going on around here?”

Wolff shook his head. “Earlier this afternoon, the Russians began to probe NATO rear areas in Germany with reconnaissance flights. They sent two fighter squadrons directly towards an AWACS aircraft and all hell broke loose. Fighters were scrambled from six different airbases. In the confusion, the Russians slipped two MiG-25 recon fighters by everyone.”

“Wow,” Carsten raised an eyebrow, genuinely impressed. “What does that have to do with us, though?”

“We could be next. AIRBALTAP wants to establish barrier air patrols down the length of Jutland to counter a determined reconnaissance attempt like that here. On that note, sir, you’re wanted in Air/Ops immediately.”

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

    1. Not a bad plan, Pete. Cause a diversion that the other side just can’t ignore and slip some recon birds in through the chaos. Classic.
      Question is, what were they looking for?

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Oh I have more than few ideas on what they are looking for…. None are pleasant to contemplate.

    But a node to drop a Hot Egg on would be up high on the list…. as would be any sort of idea what Nato has coming for them.

    Oh desperate men and their desperate plans….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Certainly possible. Or they could be searching for GLCM and Pershing launch areas. I mean, those will go in the 1st volley of a limited exchange


  2. As someone who grew up near Karup Airbase, and now lives near Aalborg Airbase – it’s fun to read about in the story. However as we are nearing the nuclear phase of the war…it’s also a sombra reminder of a pretty scary time.

    My father has later told me, that sometimes during the 80s would have nightmares about a bright flash from the direction of Karup.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your father’s nightmares were pretty common in Western Europe back in the 80s. Nuclear war was a real fear and it would’ve probably started with places like Karup and Aalborg being targeted. Looking back at it now, we had no idea what the future had in store by the end of the decade. The Warsaw Pact collapsed and the Soviet Union was no more. That was something nobody expected just a few years earlier.


  3. They are looking for resevre concentrations, headquarters, and supply centers.
    I dont think they plan on nuclear weapons yet in Central Europe, at least not on the Major powers.
    They will probably hit these targets with persistent chemical strikes hoping NATO won’t escalate beyond that

    The problem being the US stated policy is
    Nuke=chemical= biological and might still respond with nukes

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agreed. Reece flights need to pinpoint some of these target locations, along with some of the more mobile ones. Otherwise it’s a crapshoot just how effective your volley will be.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Uh, oh. Looks like things are almost at the ‘elephant walk and survival scramble” phase!

    Have victor alert postures changed during the conflict? Given that attacks in glcm and Pershing was nit successful I’m wondering if this is a last minute look at those areas to see activity at victor areas, qra missile sites, etc.

    Making the case to their peers that NATO is prepared to hit back with assets that can’t be located or engaged may be the fuel to push for a “change of strategic direction” on the part of the Politburo.

    After all, the KGB, Marshall’s, etc have vested interests in maintaining their status and associated trappings. Hard to enjoy that dacha when it’s been reduced to glass and you’re eating canned food under Yamantau!

    Liked by 1 person

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