The Central Front D+19 (28 July, 1987) Part III

1300– President Reagan places a call to SACEUR and gives the American general the green light to prepare and launch the anticipated counter-offensive. He warns SACEUR that NATO forces are not to cross the Inner-German or Czech border under any circumstances unless Reagan orders otherwise. “Your mission is to push the Russians out of West Germany,” he explains. “After that, we can deal with whatever comes next.”

1330– Colonel General Ivan Korbutov arrives at his new headquarters south of Berlin. This was formerly General Snetkov’s headquarters until his promotion. Immediately, Korbutov goes to work familiarizing himself with the situation on the ground in the west and putting together a plan for 5th Guards Tank Army in the coming hours and days.

1405– The commanding general of I NL Corps arrives at NORTHAG’s forward headquarters. He’d been summoned by General Crosbie Saint to give a detailed report on the present condition of the Dutch corps and its ability to partake in any upcoming offensive operations. Following the Dutch general’s departure, the commanders of the British Army of the Rhine and I West German Corps arrive for similar meetings with the Northern Army Group’s still relatively new commanding general. The discussions held are along similar lines as those with the Dutch general.

1500– 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force, reinforced by several squadrons from its sister ATAF to the south, goes back to work. Interdiction attacks on supply depots and assembly areas in the Soviet rear areas.

1520– SACEUR orders General Saint to Belgium by 1800 that evening.

1555– Colonel General Korbutov informs CINC-West that an attack against the NATO bridgeheads on the Leine is no longer feasible. He is concentrating his army group on defending against the NATO attack that appears more likely with each passing minute.

1725– 3rd Shock Army’s surrounded divisions west of the Leine attempt a breakout against the West German and British units around it. The attack fails completely after four hours of heavy fighting.

1820– General Saint and SACEUR meet in Mons. He learns of the discussion earlier in the day between SACEUR and President Reagan and the guidelines for an upcoming operation. SACEUR wants to kick off the attack as soon as possible. Saint tells him he has a plan ready to go and could potentially begin moving at dawn the next morning with III Corps. But the other corps under his command will need more time to prepare. “Except for the Dutch,” Saint concluded. “They’re ready to move right now.” SACEUR orders his Northern Army Group commander to begin making the final preparations. He would attack at dawn.

2105– 3rd Shock Army formally surrenders to NORTHAG.

32 Replies to “The Central Front D+19 (28 July, 1987) Part III”

  1. I have to wonder how well-marked the Inner German/Czech borders are at this point. I doubt many border markers have survived.

    I also have to wonder whether any nuclear-tipped SAMs made their way west. Given the nuclear threshold has been crossed and the Soviets haven’t exactly been successful in stopping NATO’s interdiction strikes, at least some Soviet air-defense strategists have to think a few kilotons detonated over East Germany/Poland in the middle of a NATO strike package would be worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a simple format before the war. Red tip poles for their side. Blue tip polls for ours. No clue how many markers had survived by this point.

      If I was a Soviet air commander, I’d use a nuclear-tipped SAM to buy some time and tip the balance in my side’s favor.

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  2. Oh …. well I guess the surrender of 3rd SA means it’s game over …. next stop, the liberation of the occupied areas of West Germany, the Pact falls apart, quickly followed by the USSR (four years earlier than it did in reality). It would have been far more interesting to have them breakout and wreck havoc in NATO’s rear areas (attacking in conjunction with 5th Guards Tank Army hitting the bridgeheads), even if they finally got toasted but hey.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. When I games out the Central Front, that’s exactly what I tried. But the breakout was decisively defeated and I couldn’t bring myself to change the format

      Liked by 2 people

    1. 3rd Shock kept the Soviets in the war for the last seven or eight days. Now it hands off to the other groups coming in. Groups that are green and untried, more or less

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  3. 3rd Shock surrendering….

    THAT is huge and not completely unexpected. Moscow is going to have kittens… and Snetkov is going to have to pull *something* out of his ass in order to avoid a Makarov to the temple.

    Or those who are looking to stop the regime finally move…. because sane heads do not want more nukes being tossed.

    The Soviets are going to have a good plan- but the problem Good Plans have is competent enemies always have a say and Soviet hubris will dictate ignoring the enemy’s say in their plan.

    Which will cause it to fail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, precisely. They’ve had fresh divisions infused more than once and now most of them are in just as bad shape and cut off.

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    1. Yep but it was in bad shape. It did everything asked of it. Too bad the follow on army groups were so delayed by NATO airpower. Otherwise, they’d be at the Rhine by now

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      1. Yes, that was part of the philosophy behind the Soviet view that the offensive was all-important …. you replace units as and when you need to (i.e. they’ve exhausted themselves), all the way from battalion-level to front-level. They just keep coming in a conveyor belt … of course, it only works if the follow-on formation gets their timings right.
        PS. I see what you mean about the comments … 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s basically the guts of the Center of the North, isn’t it? No more push across Fulda…and…well, no more war effort. Now it becomes various pockets of combat. South, the Netherlands, off in the Southeast (Balkans)…

    I’m not making any political comparisons so please don’t @ me, as the kids say, but this is like the Germans’ back being broken at Kursk. Not a 1000+ mile retreat behind them, but after that it was a few efforts here and there but never anything that amounted to a concerted offensive again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well in the north there’s 5th Guards Tank Army coming on line and another behind it. The Russians still might be able to hold on to what it has but their offensive days are done

      Liked by 1 person

          1. A soldier’s (“sojer’s” to quote Bill Mauldin) eye view here would be interesting. I’m sure the Zampolit make sure the average Soviet grunt is convinced the US and Germans are one step away from Hitlering everyone in sight, but “sojers talk” and I can’t help but wondering what the grunt-eye view from the Soviets’ perspective is.

            “Every one of our boys they capture is executed/tortured” or “I hear they’re giving prisoners пепси-кола and a walk-man cassette player!”

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Same story in every war. “The enemy is barbaric and will kill all prisoners.” But yeah, the truth gets around and I’m sure many Soviet troops are wondering just how ‘evil’ the enemy is.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. I would love to see the numbers as far as casualties and equipment and manpower reinforcements and losses for 3SA over the duration of the war. I wonder how their destruction compared to that of 6th army at stalingrad, for example.

    This is such great work, btw. Found it recently and just caught up to your present writing. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m planning to release a number of statistics for each Soviet and NATO army group and corps in the future showing casualties and reinforcements. I think its probably best to wait until the end of the war to start showing the end numbers.

      Thanks! I’m glad you came across it and have been enjoying it. 🙂

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