Rumor, Fact, and Confusion D+24 (2 August, 1987) 0030-0100 Zulu

Author’s Note: The pace will pick up considerably beginning this weekend. 😊

0031 Zulu– Military and national leaders in London, Paris, Bonn and capitals of other NATO member-states were waking up to the news. As prime ministers and chancellors were preparing to meet with their advisers and ministers, inquiries went out to Brussels and Washington urgently requesting an accurate update on what was going on. 

0035 Zulu– Rumors and reports about a possible nuclear event in Eastern Europe were gaining steam and spreading fast. Reuters, Associated Press and a dozen Western newspapers and news agencies had received fragmented third-party reports from sources across the continent. Yet none have managed to contact their own journalists inside of West Berlin, owing to the blackout caused by the ongoing communications disruption. The electronic disruption, albeit temporary, only served to fuel speculation that something was going terribly wrong somewhere in Eastern Europe.

0045 Zulu– Both NATO and Soviet military forces in Europe were responding to the warnings and orders being transmitted by their higher headquarters. Some Soviet units have lost contact with their higher headquarters because of communications disruptions and others due to the GSFG headquarters complex having been destroyed. Some regiments and divisions moving west had established temporary headquarters at Wünsdorf. For the moment now, many of those units were decapitated and entirely separated from the command structure less than an hour after the detonation of a nuclear device in the GDR.

0048 Zulu– NATO forces were contending with their own concerns and discord around the same time. By now it was known a nuclear explosion had been detected in East Germany and all NATO ground forces were being ordered to adopt MOPP 4 postures. This was the extent of the updates and orders making their way below the divisional headquarters level. Corps-level headquarters were not receiving that much solid information from NORTHAG or CENTAG. The army group commanders, in turn, were awaiting more concrete information from SACEUR.

0055 Zulu– Marshal Snetkov’s assessment and analysis of the present situation is two steps ahead of his NATO counterparts or his political masters in Moscow. The destruction of his former headquarters at Wunsdorf took place less than sixty minutes after NATO forces conducted a chemical attack against Northern Group of Forces divisions on the Danish-West German border. It was improbable for these two separate attacks to be unrelated. NATO was executing a bold move, this much was clear. But the end game wasn’t identifiable just yet and this worried Snetkov tremendously. What was coming next and when? For all he knew there was a wave of low flying NATO cruise missiles heading east in the darkness towards more targets in the GDR and other Warsaw Pact nations. Or maybe there was only one enemy missile currently in the air and it was following a computer-mapped course towards its intended target: Western TVD headquarters……

4 Replies to “Rumor, Fact, and Confusion D+24 (2 August, 1987) 0030-0100 Zulu”

  1. You probably expected it given my weakness for a Lightning, but what a lovely title picture! Where’s it from if I can ask?

    You can really see this smoke and mirrors leading to all sorts of wrong decisions in the minutes to come …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew this was coming. 🙂 I’ve been dying to get the Lightning back into a photo. I have the info somewhere, I’ll track it down over the weekend and get it to you.

      Yep, I agree. Different points of view, an incomplete picture and each person’s own preconceived ideas about what the enemy will do…..not a good mix

      Liked by 2 people

  2. If Snetkov survives long enough to learn the truth, will he be madder that his government ordered the nuke or that the air force turned what were supposed to be witnesses into victims?

    Liked by 1 person

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