Baltic Approaches D+19 (28 July, 1987)

0500– With the shock and initial paralysis from the limited nuclear exchange on the previous day beginning to wear off, political leadership in the capital cities of allied nations were taking stock of the situation, which was evolving perilously. The Superpowers now occupied center stage with all but the most indispensable allies relegated to the shadows for the time being. In the Baltic region, the anxiety over what the future might hold was heightened by the fact Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces remained on the sovereign territory of Denmark and Finland. The next exchange of nuclear weapons could very well include targets in Jutland, in the case of Denmark or Lapland in northern Finland.

In Copenhagen, Danish Prime Minister Poul Schluter had already suppressed a vocal call from a minority of more liberal cabinet members to withdraw from the NATO alliance forthwith. With this political insurgency squashed in its embryonic stage, Schluter turned his attention to ejecting the East German and Soviet troops now on Danish soil immediately. He was realistic enough to understand there was little he or his government could do to affect the complex dichotomy in southern Jutland, but the East German motor rifle troops ensconced on Mon were another matter entirely.

0618– The departure of Colonel General Ivan Korbutov as the Northern Group of Forces commander is confirmed. His deputy assumes command of the embattled army group and is instructed by Western TVD to discontinue all offensive combat operations until ordered otherwise.

0915– LANDJUT is operating under similar restrictions. NATO ground forces in Jutland and Zeeland have dispersed to lessen the effects of nuclear detonations and subsequent radiation.

1145– At Skrydstrup Airbase, the commander of the 108th Guards Airborne Regiment realizes something terrible has happened. Exactly what this is remains a mystery, since his communication links with higher headquarters have gone silent. Even more disconcerting has been the suspension of probes and harassment by the NATO forces surrounding Skrydstrup. He begins to seriously face the realization that help will not be coming at any point.

1220– Prime Minister Schluter requests information from COMBALTAP concerning the command’s intentions with regards to the East German forces on Mons.

1255– COMBALTAP informs the Danish government that all NATO forces in Denmark have been placed in a defensive posture for the time being.

1325– The East German forces on Mons have been out of contact with their higher headquarters too. However, unlike the Soviet paratroopers at Skrydstrup, the 28th Motor Rifle Regiment officers have been monitoring snippets of civilian radio transmissions through the day. They are aware of the destruction of Madrid and Gorki and word of this has filtered down to the enlisted men. Every passing minute without direction from the GDR increases apprehension and dismay among the troops. Morale plummets.

1400– Under a flag of truce, the 108th Guards Airborne Regiment commander requests a meeting with NATO commanders at 1600 hours. The request is granted.

1455– Danish F-16s make a series of low passes over the East German-occupied island of Mon. No SAMs or anti-aircraft fire rises to meet them.

1600– The Soviet 108th Guards Airborne Regiment commander and select officers meet with local NATO commanders. Terms for a short-term ceasefire are discussed and eventually agreed upon for 2000 hours. A second round of negotiations is set for 0800 the next morning when more senior NATO officers will be present.

2000– As a ceasefire goes into effect between NATO forces and the Soviet paratroopers at Skrydstrup, East German officers on Mon request a meeting with the commander of the Danish forces opposing them at 0030 hours.

2230– SACEUR directs AFNORTH and COMBALTAP to start plans and preparations for a counteroffensive aimed at clearing Jutland and Schleswig-Holstein of Warsaw Pact forces ‘at some point in the next 3-5 days.’

8 Replies to “Baltic Approaches D+19 (28 July, 1987)”

  1. With the potential for the ceasefire between 108th guards airborne regiment and nato to become something more permanent that’s 10% of the deployable VDV forces off the board. Not a big deal from an offensive perspective given transport losses and the air picture, but the VDV and associated special purpose forces were the most politically reliable ground troops in the Soviet Armed Forces and often ended up as “enforcers”. Given what’s happening in Poland, Czechoslovakia and the DDR, they may need enforcers soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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