Western Pacific D+19 (28 July, 1987)

By the early hours of D+19 the military and geopolitical ramifications from the nuclear exchange had taken hold in the Western Pacific. The nuclear-capable forces in the region went to high alert and remained there as tensions ebbed and flowed through the day. The ballistic missile submarines assigned to the Soviet Red Banner Pacific Fleet were departing from Petropavlovsk and steaming towards their firing positions in the Sea of Okhotsk. In the People’s Republic of China launch preparation and refueling was underway on the nation’s DF-4 and DF-5 intercontinental ballistic missiles. That nation’s single Xia class SSBN had also left its port and was heading for open waters. For US forces in the Western Pacific, the array of nuclear weapons available was similar to those found in other theaters worldwide. Preparations were underway on the aircraft carriers USS Ranger and USS Midway, as well as their escorts. In the Republic of Korea nuclear artillery shells and short-range tactical missiles were removed from their bunkers and mated with the units tasked with delivering them. At US airbases in Japan and the Philippine Islands, the number of aircraft and crews on Victor Alert was increased. As these measures were taking place, national leaders in Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, and a host of other capitals enacted civil defense and emergency plans as clouds of uncertainty settled over the region.

On the ground in South Korea, limited ROK-US counterattacks along the western section of the frontline continued to make progress. Tongduchon was back in allied hands by the early afternoon and the North Korean forces north of there appeared to be retreating in disarray. Farther west, there were still incidents of North Korean units firing on each other as the political violence following the death of Kim Il Sung threatened to engulf the North Korean military completely. In the North, more information was becoming available to US, ROK and Japanese military leaders. Kim Jong Il controlled one of the factions battling for control of the regime, while the other was being led by a troika of North Korean generals. By evening of D+19 it appeared that Jong Il’s faction had gained the upper hand. It remained to be seen if this would be permanent or not though. Fighting was continuing in Pyongyang and a host of other North Korean cities.

The Sino-Soviet border was quiet but strained throughout the day. PLA and Soviet Army forces absorbed reinforcements and heavy patrols were conducted in close proximity to the frontier. In the absence of revised orders from Moscow, the Far Eastern TVD opted to keep the border forces in a defensive posture and focus on the dispersal of strategic forces as its primary mission through the day.

Author’s Note: I wanted to get the main peripheries done first since I glossed over them on D+18. Now we can get to the heart of D+19. Politics of Global War Part I up next and then we go into the individual theaters.  

12 Replies to “Western Pacific D+19 (28 July, 1987)”

  1. It still pains me to see the Kim regime continue to rule North Korea in this scenario…
    I feel like that cancerous regime is never going to die…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry man I was just venting a little. Given the fact that my family is South Korean, there is a lot of pent up frustration that the Kim regime has somehow managed to survive all these years. Let’s just say we are not big fans of them…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah the Honest John had such a large CEP that it needed to be Nuke to be effective.
        I think the final CEP of the improved rocket (30 mile range) was about 250M, the conventional warhead was 1,500 lbs and blast only (no or little shrapnel) which would only be really effective within about 5-600M. So you need to fire several to ensure you destroyed a target. Now the 20Kt nuke… didn’t care about a couple hundred meters…
        The Lance wasn’t that much better but the nuke was bigger

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Much bigger. Hey, what accuracy can’t give you, a larger payload will. 🙂
          I still can’t believe some Honest Johns were still operational into the late 1980s.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, they were old. Some Nike Hercules were still serving as well, not in the US forces but Japan, Turkey and some others I think.
    Gulf War story – a Bde of Lance were scheduled to go but were finally stopped at the docks. The ATACMs was undergoing acceptance trials at White Sands – 48 missiles. 12 were fired on the range and the other 36 in Iraq, they just had to coord telemetry tracking from AWACS & J-STARS to complete acceptance trials.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They really did rush some weapons systems into service as the shield became the storm. And some darn good weapons were cobbled together in a matter of days or weeks after the shooting started. Like the GBU-28, one of the most fun bombs to drop. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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