As Ready As They Can Be D+24 (2 August, 1987) 0200-0250 Zulu

0205 Zulu– In Moscow, General Secretary Romanov selects a retaliatory response option, and the decision is finalized. It will be some 45 minutes until Western TVD completes the necessary preparations. In the meantime, Romanov turns to the handling an assortment of important tasks. The first of which is delaying the Politburo meeting until 0715.

0215 Zulu– In western Poland, Marshal Boris Snetkov is overseeing preparations for the coming strike. 0250 is the designated strike time and he is cautiously optimistic it will be met with no problem. Orders had already been transmitted to the firing units and acknowledged. CINC-West’s next step was to make sure his conventional forces were preparing to fight, maneuver and survive on the fast-approaching nuclear battlefield. Once this was accomplished, Snetkov would consider shifting the theater headquarters to an alternative command post in Lithuania.

0227 Zulu– In Severomorsk, Red Banner Northern Fleet’s commander Admiral Feliks Gromov is also in the process of preparing his forces to fight in a possible nuclear environment. All vessels still in port, no matter size or condition, are ordered to get underway immediately. Aircraft were in the process of being dispersed as much as possible too. Especially those of the PVO’s interceptor force.

0233 Zulu– Media reports in Europe and North America are confirming a nuclear detonation inside of the German Democratic Republic. No video or photographs have yet emerged. However, live telephone interviews with a handful of reporters in West Berlin paint a graphic, if rather limited, picture of what’s taking place. Alarm and concern is rising among the citizenry on both sides of the Atlantic.

0246 Zulu– In the National Military Command Center deep beneath the Pentagon, the tone announcing an inbound Hotline message went off. The Moscow-Link duty officer went to the machine and started to translate the message even before all of it had come through on the high-speed facsimile line. Normally, Hotline messages are translated at once. Then the original message and translated copy are transmitted to the White House Situation Room. Only when the nature of the message was urgent did the procedure change. In that case, the duty officer would contact his counterpart at the White House and summarize the contents of the message over the phone. On this late evening in Washington, the duty officer was reaching for his phone after translating just two lines of the message from the Soviet general secretary.

15 Replies to “As Ready As They Can Be D+24 (2 August, 1987) 0200-0250 Zulu”

  1. Will the number of people not making it to noon be 9 figures or 10? I just don’t see the death toll of what the Soviets just unleashed being under 100,000,000 once all the retaliations and escalations kick in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If it escalates and gets out of control, sunscreen will become a very hot commodity in Europe. All I’m saying 🙂


    1. Some Wargames showed that, true enough and it is a very tempting solution once the missiles begin flying. Leaders tend to lose their nerve


  2. The US leadership has figured out what happened; assume Thatcher and the French have too – or will be briefed. Question is whether NATO is willing to ride out Romanov’s strike without retaliation and make their case publicly afterwards (and if they’ll be believed). Doing this would get them out of the escalatory ladder and the box Romanov is trying to put them in while leaving them free for conventional ops – including air strikes into the Eastern Block to disrupt Soviet efforts to keep the Pact in line. War continues, next move by Romanov can’t be a replay of this: winter is coming on in four months and delaying the Politburo meeting isn’t going to delay an internal debate if things don’t go his way with NATO. KGB and Foreign Ministry are already suspicious. The comrades might not like the war running into the snowy season given they don’t produce enough to feed themselves and their merchant fleet is sunk.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I’m most concerned that the Russians use this event to go after the carrier fleet threatening the Kola Peninsula. Seems like where this is leading. And I hate it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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