Black Jack Dawn D+24 (2 August, 1987) 0400-0450

0415 Zulu– SACEUR submits a final target recommendation to President Reagan. The US leader reviews it with the Joint Chiefs and NSC members first. Next comes a discussion with the leaders of Great Britain, France and the Federal Republic. There is general agreement with SACEUR’s selection. For the Germans, however, their approval is understandably reluctant. Reagan then orders his military aide to open the Presidential Emergency Satchel and place the contents on the table. The commander-in-chief glances at his Secretary of Defense. In a voice interlaced with resolve and melancholy Reagan announces, “Well, Cap. Here we go again.”

0427 Zulu– The mood of the Politburo meeting is growing combative. A cadre of the more liberal members and candidates openly demands to know from Romanov if he had something to do with the Wunsdorf attack. The general secretary vehemently denies this and blames Reagan for sewing seeds of confusion with his previous message. His claim does not satisfy the opposition and even Romanov’s own supporters seem uncertain what to believe.

0434 Zulu– From the thick forest just south of Nersingen West Germany two Pershing II medium range missiles of C Battery, 4/9 Field Artillery Battalion are launched into the pre-dawn sky. Just six minutes later at 0440 precisely, the warheads from the Pershings detonate directly over their targets in East Germany: The Group Soviet Forces Germany wartime command post near Stendal, and the 8th Guards Tank Division’s main defensive positions just east of the Helmstedt checkpoint, a short distance from the Inner-German Border.

0446 Zulu– Marshal Akhromeyev is summoned from the conference room by a senior aide waiting in the hallway. He hands the senior Soviet military officer a telex message from Western TVD announcing two nuclear detonations have been detected near Soviet units and headquarters in the eastern GDR. Contact has been lost with the senior GSFG commander at Stendal and the 8th Guards Tank Division near the border. Before going back into the room with the Politburo, Akhromeyev pocketed the telex message and ordered his aide not to reveal this news to anyone without an order. “Even the general secretary,” Akhromeyev emphasized to hammer the point home.

34 Replies to “Black Jack Dawn D+24 (2 August, 1987) 0400-0450”

    1. The Stendal bird was 5 kilotons, the Helmstedt hit was 15. Pershing IIs traveled at Mach 8 and were incredibly accurate so they didn’t need huge warheads

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Technically, it’s a tit-for-tat as the false-flag nuclear detonation was Soviet, but I’m sure they won’t see it that way, even though all 4 detonations in this round were on German soil, equally spread between East and West.

    I wonder if there are any reinforcements passing through Moscow on their way west in the next few hours.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to confess to something blackly humorous…I was dialing the target info into Alex Wellerstein’s excellent Nukemap web-page, and for the first city rather than Helmstedt, Germany, I mis-typed and entered Helmstadt, Germany, which is a completely different location. Imagine some SAC officer muttering “Oops,” when they got the detonation info…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL hey, some of those names in Germany are pretty common and confusing. Just think about how a Soviet target planner would have to deal with a strike on Springfield, USA. There’s one in every state lol

      Like

      1. I noted this; pity the mission planner who was told “Target Jacksonville, they have a massive naval base there.” and then a little town in Ohio gets hit with an SS18 spread.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Jax has always been a huge target for the Russians…..Florida, not Ohio 🙂 They have a couple regiments aimed at Mayport, the NAX and every other military target in the area.
          Bill, hope you’re holding up well, buddy! Thoughts and prayers are with you

          Like

          1. Thank you, Mike; things are proceeding pretty well all things considered. I appreciate the support.

            Unfortunately if you’re in FL from really the 1960s through 1991 or so, and the Russians let the birds fly, unless you’re in the glades or NORTH of Orlando but SOUTH of the panhandle…you’re gonna have a bad time. Patrick, McCoy, MacDill, Jax, Eglin: it’s all spread out perfectly to leave two rural belts somewhat untouched, everything else either gets hit or gets caught in the fallout footprints.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Glad to hear it, Bill.

              Florida has always been one big counterforce bullseye going back to the 50s. Alas Babylon really clued folks in on that. There was very little safe ground there in the event of a major attack.

              Like

  3. Real world questions here: In our current discourse, the Pershing would be described as a “hypersonic” weapon. Why the recent focus and angst on these type weapons when the IRBM’s of the Cold War were hypersonic?

    2nd question: are today’s missile defenses, Patriot/THAAD, Iron Dome, SM 2/3 capable of intercepting the Pershing missile as deployed in the 1980s

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think for some reason, once INF was signed and the Pershings were decommissioned, everyone forgot about them. Figured they were a sign of the past. Don’t really understand why. The Tomahawk got all the fame because it had a conventional mission too and Desert Storm made it a star.

      2- Good question. I don’t honestly think any SAM could beat Pershing II, even today. It just moves too fast. Maybe in a test with restrictions and all a THAAD could kill one but in real world, everything would need to work in the SAM team’s favor.
      Great questions, Ed and definitely worth some thought

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who wonders why there is so much hubbub about “hypersonic” weapons. Granted, newer ones will be more accurate…

        I got tripped up on the “Blackjack” title, as I immediately thought of the Sov bomber. I then remembered that this post should be about a US/NATO response, and was tuned in by the time I got to the page (with the conveniently selected photo)…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah! I knew someone would think I was referring to the Blackjack bomber. I was going to make it ‘Pershings At Dawn’ but figured ‘Blackjack’ would better fit the previous entry’s ‘Dealer’s Choice’ Title

          Like

          1. Just like in the late 70s and early 80s. Russians brought out the SS-20 and SS-21, we countered with Pershing II and GLCM. Similar race going on now, but the details won’t become known for some time yet

            Like

      2. “everyone forgot about the Pershings” – meanwhile, elsewhere, people are busy lobbing Tochka-Us and Iskanders with conventional warheads at each other, to substantial effect. Extremely high precision delivery of 400kg of HE could really ruin someone’s day.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. PAC-3, THAAD, and SM-2 should actually do fine in a terminal intercept mode since that’s what they are designed for. SM-3 should do pretty well in midcourse intercepts as well. The biggest issue these days is saturation not complexity of intercept.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Right. That’s the big issue, saturation. I hope we never have to test the concept of these SAMs vs Hypersonic weapons for real but I have a feeling we will one day

          Like

      1. True.They’re supposed to be accurate, but I think it will be a bit before we start to see them as genuine maneuvering weapons. Their speed is enough to deal with 🙂

        Like

    2. 1. I think the new focus on hypersonic weapons is largely focused on hypersonic cruise missiles which are a relatively new weapon system.

      2. Patriot, THAAD, and SM-2 would probably be able to intercept Pershings although they would still likely have some struggles due to the fact that they are doing terminal intercepts. SM-3 should be able to intercept Pershings easily since that is a midcourse intercept. Iron Dome is for short ranged rocket defense not BMD.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: