D+23 (1 August, 1987) 0930-1100 Zulu

The Northern Norwegian Sea, 100 km southeast of Bear Island

0930 Zulu (1130 Local)

One hundred kilometers southeast of Bear Island, the Oscar I class SSGN Minskiy Komsomolets was cruising south at twelve knots. The large submarine’s depth was two hundred meters beneath the surface, and it was on a southern course for the moment. For Minskiy Komsomolets the war had been a quiet one thus far. It was at Polyarny undergoing necessary but time-consuming maintenance when war broke out. Three days into the fighting, the submarine departed port and headed north to its pre-designated patrol pattern and await the expected arrival of NATO carrier groups. The surge of ballistic missile submarines from northern ports and implementation of the bastion defense changed Minskiy Komsomolets mission. Instead of hunting for enemy carriers, the submarine was ordered to screen the bastions and prevent NATO warships from interdicting the Soviet Union’s sea-based nuclear forces.

The submarine’s captain now stood in the operations center watching his crew work. One day earlier, the submarine was ordered away from the bastion defense and tasked with a new mission. One that he and his crew expected to come weeks earlier: Carrier-killer. Two attack subs were now seventy kilometers south of his present position, searching for the enemy carrier feet. Their orders were to find it and transmit the news back to Severomorsk. Then they’d create a diversion, allowing Minskiy Komsomlets to close in. A reconnaissance aircraft would radio last minute updates on targeting information to his boat. Then he was free to launch his compliment of cruise missiles at point blank range.

The captain and his crew were eager to finally enter the war. The orders sending the SSGN south had raised morale considerably on the boat. He now wondered if any of Minskiy Komsomolets sister ships were still alive, and if any managed to sink an American carrier. If not, he was intent to send one or more of the US Navy’s precious flattops to the bottom of the ocean very soon.

Severomorsk, USSR

1055 Zulu (1355 Local)

The Red Banner Northern Fleet’s operations officer arrived in his fleet commander’s office with confirmation that attacking aircraft were now all outbound. He also confirmed that the targets were air defense sites and radars. Admiral Gromov took the news calmly. He figured this was a softening up intended to knock back his remaining air defenses before the main raids arrived. Those would come in the late afternoon or early evening.

Gromov’s edginess rose with each passing second. The time to launch his long-awaited counterstroke still remained hours away. It was difficult, but the fleet commander adhered to the plan. He was aware that all of the pieces were not yet in place. Moscow will complain, Gromov knew, and threaten. But was willing to endure the short-term wrath of his political masters in exchange for the time needed to deliver considerable treasure to them later in the form of a smashed American carrier fleet.

In the meantime, instead of waiting out the clock, Gromov at least whet their appetite and temporarily satisfy their yearning for a sunken NATO aircraft carrier. He issued the necessary orders to his operations officer.

2 Replies to “D+23 (1 August, 1987) 0930-1100 Zulu”

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