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

**This is a transcript  of the Hotline message transmitted by Moscow and received in the National Military Command Center at 1555 Hours Zulu (1155 Local Time) 27 July, 1987**

Mr. President,

I will begin this message by reminding you the Soviet Union never wanted this war. It was the reluctance of you and other Western leaders to reach a satisfactory compromise with my government on issues of mutual importance that provided the spark for it. Now, our two countries, as well as our respective allies, are engaged in a global conflict. I remain open to holding a sincere dialogue with you on the matter of terminating hostilities. Unfortunately, this cannot happen until the two of us desire it, and your actions over the past week have made it clear the United States is not interested in any outcome other than the unconditional surrender of my country.

I will not allow that to occur under any circumstances. As this letter reaches you, American aircraft carriers are situated perilously close to our territorial waters in the Barents Sea. Your ballistic missile submarines have left port and are moving to their firing positions. In Europe, external interference has brought on domestic unrest among our allies in Eastern Europe. Most ominously, it has come to my attention that your armies in West Germany are preparing for a counteroffensive designed to reach as far as the eastern boundaries of Poland.

This will not be permitted. The Soviet Union is resolved to keep this conflict as far away from its borders as possible. I recognize the interior border between our respective German satellite states as the de facto border between east and west. Any future incursion of that line by NATO land forces will bring about an immediate nuclear response against NATO units on the battlefield, as well as on NATO support bases deep in the rear.

My nation’s resolve is real. As the United States has demonstrated countless times, the only language it recognizes is that of brute force. Therefore, as a final warning to you, Mr. President, I have ordered a physical demonstration of the Soviet Union’s resolve and determination to defend its territory. Fifteen minutes from now, two intercontinental ballistic missiles will be launched from the Tatishchevo missile field. One is aimed at a civilian target in Western Europe and the other on a military target on the North American continent. The coordinates of the intended targets are attached below.

I understand the pressure you will be under from your military leaders following the detonation of our warheads. Therefore, I will accept a proportionate retaliatory response. Anything beyond that, however, will inevitably lead to rapid escalation and place the future of the entire planet in danger. I urge you to choose carefully Mr. President.


                                   G. Romanov

Military- 82° 30′ 0″ N, 62° 22′ 0″ W

Civilian- 40° 25′ 0″ N, 3° 43′ 0″ W

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

    1. Yep, and it hurt choosing that particular city. Lots of fond memories from that town. But I could certainly picture it becoming a logical target for the Russians. Its the national capital of a NATO member, yet not a member with nuclear forces or one who’s heavily invested in the fighting over in Germany.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Note to self, no more criticising Mike…. else he drops a nuke on you! Nuking a NATO capital (and on top, one that is lukewarm towards NATO, not being part of the military structure in 1987) is some escalation.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. LOL One bad word and your country’s capital gets it! 🙂
          The West will see it as escalation. Moscow views it as a stern warning. Interpretation will play a major role in the coming hours.


  1. Well, the slippery slope has been reached …. Nunavet, a Candian Air Force base and ooopps, the Campo del Moro Gardens in Madrid (well, in this case, it’ll take out the whole city) …. are you sure you didn’t fancy taking out Birmingham (UK, not Alabama) just like a certain other book …. ? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I figured that nuking a British city has been done enough times. Birmingham in Third World War, and Sheffield in Threads. Plus the fact I believe nuking a US, French or British city is just the point of no return for all parties. Escalation would be certain.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel sick to my stomach.

    55°45’7.99″N, 37°36’56.02″E

    59°56’19.07″N, 30°18’50.87″E

    One is a military installation, the other is a civilian population center.

    In the words of Bob Geldof in The Wall : “Take that, you fuckers.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to say, Bill, I’m impressed but not surprised how quickly everyone copied the Lat/Long coordinates and looked them up. 🙂 I have some clever and very intelligent readers and am blessed by that.


      1. Yeah, Warsaw is valuable. But its also a major city not in the Soviet Union, and the center of a government revolting against Moscow at present.
        Baku, absolutely a good pick. Lose POL sites and production and the nationalities there will raise hell


  3. But let’s be real for a second, these satanic mf’ers know exactly what they’re doing: a meaningless “counterforce” strike on a “base” that will be evacuated minutes from this warning being received (with still 20-30 minutes *after* the 15 minute mark for everyone to get clear, so call it 40 minutes total, that’s 40-50 miles away, depending on the warhead, spread, and air vs ground burst, nobody dies), so NATO loses no significant capability, but the other is a strike on a country that has done nothing to merit getting hit, one of the greatest historical cities on Earth, a city of art and culture second only (perhaps) to Paris, and of course in a country that cannot strategically retaliate against the USSR, but the terror will be real. Whatever is left of the Spanish gov’t will fold, and vote out of NATO*, and other nation states in the alliance will consider their standing.

    They (the Soviets) know if they’d hit, say, Le Harvre or Orly or anywhere else in France, Pluton missiles would be raining on the USSR in hours, NATO and frantic phone calls from Pres. Reagan be damned. So it was a calculatedly smart, if absolutely gutless and cowardly move on the part of the Soviets.

    Anyway, Mike. What are the odds that the Madrid strike is so low yield as to be a “token” hit? Like, sub-25kt?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ll say this; Tatishchevo missile field holds SS-19. They carry either four warheads, each one around 400 kilotons or a single 5 megaton warhead. Using a 5 megaton warhead on Madrid will cause major damage around a wide area, not to mention the fallout. So let’s hope they’re using the multiple warhead variant and only fuse one to airburst.


    2. Russians would’ve loved to hit France, but you’re right. The French would’ve hit back hard no matter what. It’s been a hard war for Paris and I doubt they’re taking any more of Ivan’s shit 🙂


  4. Hmm, what is a proportionate military response? An alert field in N. Siberia and Kuibyshev/Samara or maybe Chelyabinsk? Dunno what Madrid’s population was in 1987; trying to think of relative population to USSR…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Population or strategic/political value. Madrid is a message job, more or less, showing NATO that the Russians mean business. But taking it out doesn’t directly affect NATO operations in Germany. So those factors need to be taken into account by the US and allies in crafting an appropriate response.


      1. Excellent point, Mike. Takes careful focus as to “how will Moscow see this”. So many target cities are on the Trans-Siberian RR and cutting that railroad with a strike on a city could be interpreted as trying to cut the country in half.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks! 🙂 Oh, I don’t think hitting a city like Irkutsk could be seen as anything but trying to slice Russia in half. And Moscow will not be having any of that.


  5. Interesting turn. I am not sure I would agree with a NATO retaliation against a Soviet Controlled City if only because they lose the ‘moral high ground’ by targeting a counter-value target. I would pitch for something like Vladivostok to eliminate the Pacific Fleet or Cam Ranh Bay if they didn’t want to strike a target within the USSR. Both hold high military value but don’t disrupt the ‘balance of power’ in Europe, have relatively low fallout effects on NATO nations, and demonstrate resolve. Either way, the USSR solidifies their status as a pariah nation for generations to come. The Warsaw Pact is done, do the Russians have enough left to try and occupy their former vassal states?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the problem there is the military value. True, losing either one won’t affect the balance in Europe, but it will cause problems in the Far East. Especially with fallout, depending on how the winds are blowing. China, Japan and the Philippines might get a dusting. Two of them are formal US allies. The third is an ally of convenience.


  6. I respect the story line but I am a bit twitchy about the choice of weapon. I feel a theater weapon like an SS-20 would have been a safer bet fro the Sov’s stated intentino of sending the right message while limiting escalation potential. Using ICBMs means they’re coming over the pole. US would be 100% at launch on warning at this stage. It would be very hard to keep our SIOP on the shelf. (Especially since it was learned after the cold war the SIOP basically had one answer to any scenario – launch everything!) At a minimum we will be frantically flushing bombers in case the Sovs are lying. Using strategic platforms for a demonstration at this point almost assures miscalculation / escalation. The first two ICBM’s either will be MIRV with 8 total warheads or two massive 50 megaton warheads. 8 warheads coming over the pole, with the letter hopefully causing some strategic hesittion, might just be worth a gamble in the Soviet’s eyes to hope to freeze NCA decision-making just long enough to try for a decapitation first strike, or two massive EMP detonations over North America and Europe as a prelude for a follow-on full strike. This at least is what SAC will be screaming from Omaha and the doomsday plan as POTUS is raced to safety on a helo. If POTUS actually holds out to see if its just CSF Alert and Madrid, well damn – that makes him almost as stone cold as Thatcher. Then do we use two ICBMs in reply? Flinging ICBMs in small numbers at each other only leads to flinging them in large numbers. Better two Pershing IIs from West Germany – fast strike time, no MIRV, does not enter that all dangerous polar launch trajectory, and coming from Europe, speaks to NATO solidarity. Its going to be up to Yeltsin to throw the coup after a Soviet city is vaporized or else this story does not go past D+19. A 2nd round will be a last round. And woozers the north Atlantic is about to go bonkers as we go all in on their boomers. The level of effort to press the attack to knock them out will be almost suicidal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fair point. The primary reason to use strategic nuclear weapons instead of theater ones is to avoid any mistakes. If radar sites start to see SS-20s coming up, who’s to say where they’re going? Sure, Moscow said Madrid, but those -20s could just as easily be heading for Bonn or Brussels. With the ICBMs, there’s no doubt. Same issue with using Pershing IIs or GLCMs in the retaliatory strike. The Russians are skittish enough now and could very well panic. Then we have a battlefield exchange that will definitely escalate.

      Moscow was smart enough to allow a short amount of time for Reagan to inform the allies, but didn’t give him enough time to pre-empt, not that it would’ve been likely.


  7. After Alert gets hit its just you and the polar bears…

    At least Torrejon might be able to ride it out and serve as an entrepot for what aid there is. That said Spain is crippled for the foreseeable future.

    Sounds like its time for Warsaw Pact Central Heating.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah, Torrejon might make it through. All depends on where the warhead detonates. CEP is a very real factor in nuclear warfare 🙂

      And yeah, it might be that time soon. 🙂


  8. Kola Peninsula & Leningrad would be an appropriate response to such an atrocity. Especially Leningrad. Let the Pact members know their probable fate if they stay tied to the Bear. It’s close enough where the news could not be hidden. But now that Pandora’s Box is open, it’s going to be incredibly hard to close back up. SIOP just became a lot closer to initiation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kola and Lenin would be a major escalation though. I don’t think there’d be any way back from taking out those areas. It would be Norfolk and Chicago in response


  9. Damn if I didn’t call the Spanish strike. Guess the Soviets want Bucharest hit to “solve” their Romanian problem, though almost any of the non-Soviet Pact capitals getting the world’s third-worst (to date, behind the twin Soviet strikes) artificial sunburn would serve their purpose. I really would like to have seen a Republic capital hit, but hitting Baku/Minsk/Kiev (my personal choice) is by definition hitting the Soviet Union.

    Judging by Snetkov’s change in destination and the Polish surrender, the Soviets are gambling the military target will be in East Germany (again serving their political purposes), even though every equivalent target to CFS Alert is almost certainly in Soviet territory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You did call it, and it took every fiber of self-restraint for me not to acknowledge it earlier. 🙂 But that would’ve let the cat out of the bag before it was time.

      Baku is a legitimate choice. Minsk and Kiev are too near and dear to Mother Russia though. The problem for NATO is that the USSR doesn’t have nearly as many major cities as the West does. That makes target selection very difficult, especially early on.


      1. I just remembered that Baku sits on top of a lot of oil and oil pipelines, so I doubt the Soviets will let its destruction pass unchallenged. If the Soviets were to tolerate the loss of a Republic capital, it would have to be one of the -stans, and to get there, an RV would have to cross over a lot of Mother Russian territory (unless there happens to be a SSBN in the Indian Ocean).

        It is quite the political pickle NATO is in. I wonder how many nuclear depth charges Strike Fleet Atlantic is carrying, and how much of the Bastion they can cover with said charges in an Alpha (or should I call it Omega) strike.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Baku is a legitimate target and would do serious damage to Russia’s war effort.

          Hmmmm….you know, Strike Fleet Atlantic might have to go after the Bastion as well as the Kola simultaneously. That’s going to stretch them to the max.


  10. If I were the Soviets I would have have hit Keflavik, Lajes, Shemya, Adak, Goose Bay, and Halifax each with relatively low yield air bursts. Except for Shemya….ground burst there.

    Then trumpeted Europe for the Europeans.

    In this case, with a base in the Canadian Arctic and Madrid? As the Americans, British, and French? Say good bye to Sevastopol, Vladivostok, Kaliningrad (one for each NATO nuclear power) and everything in Cuba and North Korea. Then I’d openly offer NATO membership to East Germany, Poland, and Romania.

    Or maybe just launch everything at the Russians right now. Just kidding…but a couple Soviet clients would definitely cease to exist. I might not hit the Russians with nukes at all. Just give the carriers a green light up north.

    I’d also recognize the independence of every Soviet Republic…including Russia.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Ah – there we go.
    Interesting – I can posit Soviet group-think making a line in the sand statement and I’m coming round to the idea of selecting Madrid.
    My view would be that it’s going to be a hard sell for Reagan to prevent Thatcher and Mitterand being bullish whilst keeping the rest of NATO together – Kohl will be getting very twitchy!
    The Swedes are going to have second thoughts and if the southern NATO members wobble, where does that leave Turkey?
    This could adjust the balance enough to allow the Soviets to greatly improve thier conventional capabilities…assuming they have enough time left to push kit through the shakey Pact frontline states.
    Hell in a hand cart or conference table?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice write-up, Jules. I think a major concern will be the French. They’ve had a difficult war so far and want blood. Reagan and Thatcher could have a hard time keeping them in check.
      Nice point about the flank alliance members too. They can’t be forgotten, especially those on the Southern Flank


  12. Anyway, points to Mike for pulling the unexpected out of the hat, it got me thinking, in 1987 Madrid and the metropolitan area housed 4 million people, Torrejon AB would have been emptied of combat aircraft (deployed to Turkey) but would have been a node in the air bridge as was the case in the Gulf War, which means plently of US servicemen will get instant suntans too. It’s also downwind from the impact point, Now, local factors. 27th July would be the last Monday before the city empties for the summer, so plenty of casualties, Hitting in the area of the Royal Palace (which is the highest point) will ensure plenty of destruction but the critical railroad nodes would be missed. Roads would be messed up but (unless deployed to Italy) there should be plenty of military units to assist with recovery (not mine, too close…). Politically, it’s unlikely it will force the country out of NATO, but it depends on US assurances of support. If the US waivers, US forces will be kicked out overnight, and that may take out Portugal too. Italy at the time had a Socialist government, hasn’t been touched by war… so they may bail out too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting take on things, Jose. The Southern Flank could experience serious consequences if the US waivers. As far as the 27th being the last Monday before cities empty out for the summer, figure that the war has affected that. A lot of those folks will hopefully already be away from the city. I’m debating how much detail to put into the Madrid Detonation post. Assuming the warhead doesn’t malfunction. I mean we are talking about Russian equipment here 🙂


  13. Wow

    I think the Russians are gambling on Reagan’s response and I don’t see Reagan (or Thatcher) choosing a Warsaw Pact city over a Soviet city.
    (They should just hit military targets in this exchange, hoping no further exchanges are needed)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re taking a major chance with Western leadership. This was back in ’87 too when Reagan and Thatcher never budged an inch on anything


  14. Maybe I don’t understand the politics of it all but I’ve been following this massively interesting story for a good while now and I’m
    confused by this escalation – why are the soviets taking the stance of not allowing any attack on their homeland? And if there is, then a line has been crossed?
    They started the war and tried to defeat NATO/ take over Europe that didn’t work so their fall back position is to effectively to act like a petulant child and start making demands? Surely this was alway going to be a win win for them then? I guess that when you have a nuclear deterrent you can make these demands and fairness doesn’t come into it but it seems very “sour grapes” to effectively get your “big brother” (nukes) to fight your battle seeing as you couldn’t do it yourself (conventional)?
    Sorry if this isn’t the style of questioning you normally get but I’m fascinated by how this now plays out and how realistic this stance is – why didn’t NATO threaten nukes earlier to end the war quicker?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Dave. No worries about this not being the style of questioning I get often.

      The Russians said in the hotline message they’ll accept a proportionate retaliatory response from the US and NATO. So, that means two Russian or Warsaw Pact targets that fit the description and value of Madrid and ALERT up in Northern Canada. Anything beyond that will be crossing the line.

      I think you nailed it perfectly. They started the war, it did not go well for them and now they’re trying to get things back to a status quo ante bellum of sorts. That’s why the Inner-German Border was mentioned in the message. Cross it and there will be consequences to pay. Sour grapes? Absolutely. But with Eastern Europe just about in complete revolt, Moscow has to be getting desperate.


  15. First, Bagram (aka District 9) was for many values paradise on earth- baked bread and bananas in your choice of dfacs, the px, no light discipline, and flush toilets!

    Second, keeping NATO in line is going require a display of resolve. The non-nuclear and dual key members got into this deal under the promise of US nuclear protection. Now they’ve seen one of their own lose it’s capitol. Striking an insignificant target may not allay them. They’re going to want to see resolve. And they don’t look at their eastern counterparts as part of the problem. There’s evidence they saw the WARPAC satellites as Europeans held in thrall to the Russians. They’re going to want to see Minsk, Kiev, Kishinev, etc struck (maybe a Baltic republic). If the US/NATO drags their feet I wouldn’t be surprised if France uses an ASMP to “send the message” on a dual purpose target- looking at you Kaliningrad.

    Either way I’m sure GLCM and Pershing convoys are rolling into their never used wartime deployment sites, Victor Alert areas are hives of activity,
    Silk Purse is scrambling from Mildenhall, IRBM crews on the Plateau d’Albion are fully awake, and RN and MN SSBNs are ascending to hover. The last 30 minutes if the 20th century may be at hand…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the reaction of Army and Marine personnel when they experience their first USAF-run DFAC. Endless laughs at their facial expressions. The Marines usually get so spoiled there that they quit eating crayons altogether. 🙂

      France really is a wildcard and you’ve brought up some valid points with regards to Paris.


  16. wow Mike! a couple more posts and your blog will have to change its name to “twilight 1987” !!!

    Looking forward to the NATO counter strike. but where??? I hadn’t put nearly the amount of thought into it as your other readers but a retaliation against a wavering Pact ally doesnt seem like enough, especially when those countries are half-surrendered anyways. no, I’d hit a big Port in the southern USSR. then a tactical nuke against one of their best remaining armored divisions in Germany or against the armored reinforcements transiting into West Germany from the East.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s getting a bit dark, isn’t it? lol

      I think you’re right about hitting a Pact ally. Kind of defeats the purpose given that most of them are in revolt or near it. Why am I not surprised that you’d hit a couple tank divisions heading to the front in West Germany? 🙂
      Good to hear from you, pal!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This sure has sparked some interesting debate, if you ask me, the city to hit would be Minsk, sitting astride the main route from Moscow to Warsaw, with Kaliningrad as the military target, with the added bonus that you severe supply lines to Northern Germany and help the Poles kick out the Russians

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Minsk is a valid target. My major concern is that Minsk has already been nuked in Third World War August 1985. I don’t want to be unoriginal. That being said, it’s still on the table as a target.


  17. Three fold response.

    Two Cities…. Baku and its POL facilities… solid AND serves as a message that you will no longer be able to prosecute the ground war without fuel- which is a thing.

    The other city…. Has to be Soviet. And a city in Belarus makes some sense though there are better. Stalingrad/Volgograd is an excellent deep-think choice, due to its history…. and it make a great “Because Fuck You, that’s why…” answer
    . Stalingrad is almost a holy place in the history of the Union and its ability to hold a line/resist. Its removal would sting…. and the message of “Bluff Called. You many not want to raise… cause you won’t like the results…”

    It’s my opinion and if you remember our off line conversation, you know why I’d think this.

    The third item…. is sink their boomers. It was hinted at early on that the Navy knows exactly where they are… and they have NATO shadows right now. The moment those Soviet birds are launched, the subs have free reign to sink as MANY of the boomers as possible. And they might get them all… or close to it.

    Odds are against them being at launch depth right now… and if I am right, the Silent Service boys likely can sink almost all of them before they get *to* comms level to request launch permission.

    Because every command in the Soviet Armed Forces has to go “Mother May I” of some sort for Independent Action.

    The Soviets may think they have thought this through… but Desperate Men rarely do.

    As another commenter said, Yeltsin might be the only hope here. And it IS within the realm of possibility for him. Its the same set of stone to launch a coup as it is to resist one (as he did in August ’91), just a different reason for using them… but the goal would be sorta the same

    The preservation of Russia..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting and thought-provoking. You know I won’t tell you if you’re on target or not, but the case you built up will definitely hold water.


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