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.