On The Edge Of The Precipice D+24 (2 August, 1987) 1100-1530 Zulu

1100 Zulu– In Western Poland Marshal Snetkov learns of multiple Soviet divisions in West Germany surrendering to NATO forces. Unfortunately for CINC-West, communication disruptions make it almost impossible to verify the authenticity of the reports.

1115 Zulu– Similar claims of Soviet surrenders are making their way to SACEUR in Belgium. Only his reports come from General Saint at NORTHAG. Commanders of multiple III Corps divisions and regiments claim thousands of Soviet soldiers and officers are approaching their unit positions and surrendering.

1124 Zulu– The Czechoslovakian government informs NATO headquarters that it has officially withdrawn the Czechoslovak nation from the Warsaw Pact and declared its neutrality in the war.

1205 Zulu– Fighting erupts near the Kremlin as KGB security troops clash with a column of Red Army soldiers and APCs of the 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Division.

1219 Zulu– Inside the Kremlin, General Secretary Romanov’s attempts to contact STAVKA and the defense ministry are unsuccessful. Romanov presumes Akhromeyev, as well as Defense Minister Yazov’s opponents have chosen sides.

1247 Zulu– The final Soviet Navy attack of the Third World War is executed when the Oscar I class SSGN Minskiy Komsomolets launches eight SS-N-19 Shipwreck anti-ship missiles from a point perilously close to the inner-screen of the USS Kitty Hawk battlegroup in the northern Norwegian Sea. Six of the missiles are felled by SAMs and Close-In Weapons Systems, but two survive and reach the Kitty Hawk. The carrier is severely wounded and damage control efforts begin immediately. Minskiy Komsomolets  does not live long enough to fire more missiles. Once the first missile had broached the surface, a trio of S-3 Vikings and LAMPs helicopters descended on its location. The SSGN died before its final missile struck the American carrier.

1316 Zulu– CIA Director William Webster makes contact with NEACP and informs President Reagan of current events in Moscow. He then tells the president that KGB Chairman Viktor Chebrikov wants to talk with him directly. Webster vouches for the authenticity of his KGB counterpart without going into detail. Reagan agrees and the call is connected. The men speak for fifteen minutes with Chebrikov providing hard information on the destabilizing situation now going on in the Soviet capital.

1340 Zulu– Marshal Akhromeyev contacts Western TVD and learns of the surrenders taking place from Snetkov. The chief of the general staff in Moscow is surprisingly unmoved by the news. He orders CINC-West to have loyal men secure all nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and delivery systems at once and to ignore any directives from the Kremlin until told otherwise. Next, Akhromeyev contacts Severomorsk and inquires if there is any way to prevent the general secretary from issuing new orders to the ballistic missile submarines in the bastions. Fleet Admiral Gromov tells him there is no way to override or circumvent Romanov’s nuclear communicators.

1400 Zulu– Moscow television and radio stations go off the air.

1430 Zulu– President Reagan has been conferring with advisers about Chebrikov’s sincerity and the worsening conditions in Moscow. He decides to transmit a hotline message to the Kremlin.

1442 Zulu– Romanov responds at once, accusing Reagan of attempting to overthrow the Soviet government in a time of war using CIA agents and mercenaries. He warns that if the Kremlin walls are breached by Chebrikov and Dolgikh’s ‘mercenaries’ he will order a massive nuclear attack on the United States. To demonstrate that the threat is genuine, Romanov claims the silo doors on forty percent of Soviet ICBMs will be opened shortly. He invites the US to verify this in twenty minutes time. Next, Romanov softens his tone and assures Reagan once the coup attempt is defeated he will be open to bringing about an immediate ceasefire and subsequent negotiations aimed at bringing the war to an end.

1447 Zulu-With damage control efforts unable to keep up with the fires aboard Kitty Hawk, her captain gives the order to prepare to abandon ship.

1505 Zulu– The silos at three different Soviet ICBM fields are opening. Conformation and accompanying satellite photos are transmitted to President Reagan on NEACP. On his command, SAC is instructed to scramble its bomber and tanker forces and maintain them at positive control points until further notice. CINC-SAC is now airborne on board a second Looking Glass command plane acknowledges at once. Within sixty seconds, General Chain’s staff is transmitting orders to SAC bases across the United States.

1515 Zulu– Chebrikov confirms to the US government that all military and militia forces loyal to him and Dolgikh have been withdrawn from Red Square and the areas near Lubyanka and the Defense Ministry.

Author’s Note: Upon further review, I’ve decided I just can’t end the final hours of D+24 on a timeline format. It needs to be narrative. I’m sure you guys hate my indecisiveness lately. I do too, but I’m convinced this is the right choice. I’ll put up a post tomorrow explaining the new plan more thoroughly. 😊 –Mike

18 Replies to “On The Edge Of The Precipice D+24 (2 August, 1987) 1100-1530 Zulu”

  1. Just damn. Front-line Soviet forces surrendering, the Northern Fleet trading the last SSGN for a carrier, and if I’m reading that last item right, the KGB chair practically inviting the US to nuke Moscow. To think there is still, at least theoretically, 8 1/2 hours left in D+24.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right. It’s all collapsing, Moscow is in shambles, the KGB Chairman is coming across as the voice of sanity in the Soviet government and there’s still time left 🙂


  2. It’s sad what has happened to the Kitty Hawk but she went down fighting. Not like what happened to her in reality. Broken up and looking so sad rusting and empty……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, George. Going to the breakers is no way for a storied warship to meet her end. I’m glad I could give her a fitting tribute at the end.


  3. Mike you ever find ways to leave my jaw on the floor. I did not see an en masse surrender of Soviet forces. My thought was, okay, Center crumbles under NATO counterattack, 3SA surrenders after being cut off/surrounded, Soviets throw a tantrum nuke or two, we respond in kind, status quo ante bellum when the (radioactive) dust settles.


    Mind = blown.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, and damn shame about Kitty Hawk. Still, all things considered, the USN has acquitted itself amazingly during this war (as I suspect would have been the reality).

    I can imagine what Cowboy’s conversation with Chebrikov must have been like. Something along the lines of, “Chairman Chebrikov, you must understand that if the United States is attacked directly, we will have no alternative but to retaliate…”

    Anyway, again let me say : Damn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The US Navy really did acquit itself tremendously well, as did the other NATO navies.

      Well think about it, Bill, when the KGB Chairman is trying to talk terms with Reagan, you know things are bad in Moscow 🙂


  5. Just spectacular. I would pay good money to see a miniseries version of this. Have enjoyed all of it over the past few years.

    I’ve been reading the book “Midnight in Chernobyl” by Adam Higganbotham. It is just a masterpiece of literary non fiction. Beautifully written and exhaustively researched. It makes me wonder how the USSR lasted as long as it did. So much corruption and inefficiency.

    On the other hand, when the command economy and security state was mobilized, it could be brutally efficient in accomplishing specific missions for short periods of time. Once the leadership realized the seriousness of the accident at Chernobyl, the response was overwhelming. Resources and lives were expended in whatever quantity was necessary to save the Soviet State.

    I wonder how this paradox – a weak, corrupt system that could massively mobilize for short periods – would have played out under wartime conditions.

    Brilliant job and thanks for all your creative work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, AT.

      I’ve read that book and have thought the same thing. It’s really a miracle they lasted as long as they did without collapsing. And if the August coup in ’91 had been successful, I can only imagine where that would’ve taken us.

      No miniseries but with luck, the novel based on a NATO-WP war in 1987 will see the light of day once Ukraine settles down.


  6. Timeline worked for getting through the day without getting bogged down, but can’t let it end like that.

    Looking forward to the narratives going into more detail of the day, especially the Soviet Navy’s last gasp.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed, there’s no way it can end on a timeline.

      I just posted the plan for the rest of the month so you’ll be able to get an idea of what’s coming and when


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