Southern Flank D+24 (2 August, 1987) Part II

0500-1230 Zulu– As the tactical nuclear exchange in Europe and its aftermath gripped world attention through the rest of the morning and early afternoon and the fate of the entire world seemed to hang in the balance, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was motoring obliviously towards final dissolution.  Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina had already declared their independence. Now Slovenia and Montenegro were moving closer to doing the same. Clashes broke out between Yugoslav Army troops and militia members in both regions. Fighting increased as the day went on and helped bring about a speech by Slobodan Milosevic later in the day declaring his intention to make certain Yugoslavia will remain a united country. The speech was not well received by most citizens. There were more urgent matters on their minds. However, the breakup of Yugoslavia would eventually happen in full in November, 1987. The wars that followed would cause severe problems and threaten to derail post-war recovery efforts around Europe.

1254 Zulu– The Israeli government quietly informs the governments of the United States, Soviet Union and its neighbors that has an inventory of nuclear weapons in its possession. Any attack against Israel, whether conventional or otherwise, will result in an Israeli nuclear strike against the initiating nation-state.

1310 Zulu– AFSOUTH and US Sixth Fleet are informed of the attack on USS Kitty Hawk in the Norwegian Sea. Immediately, airborne ASW patrols around the Kennedy and Saratoga battlegroups are doubled with land-based P-3s carrying out the lion’s share of sorties.

1500 Zulu– Moscow has gone quiet. No new updates or orders have arrived at Southwestern TVD in the past four hours. Nuclear-capable forces in theater have been alerted and dispersed as directed and conventional ground fighting continued in Thrace. SWTVD’s commander-in-chief was unsure about what was taking place back in Moscow. In the absence of non-conflicting orders from both the political and military leaderships, CINC-Southwest opted to ignore all orders coming out of the Kremlin for the time being.

1606 Zulu– National Command Authority directs the Commander, Sixth Fleet to have Saratoga and Kennedy both launch eight B-61 armed A-6E Intruders and supporting aircraft and have them hold at stations over the Aegean Sea for the time being. Nuclear release has not been authorized.

1620 Zulu– In a private telephone call Marshal Akhromeyev and KGB Chairman Viktor Chebrikov reveal the identity of all members of his staff and commanders affiliated with the Kryuchkov wing of the Komitet to CINC-Southwest. He is instructed to take all of these men into custody as quietly as possible at once.

1733 Zulu– SACEUR informs AFSOUTH of the surgical pre-emptive attack against a ‘target of critical value inside the Soviet Union.’ The order is given to launch the Victor Alert aircraft and have them loiter at pre-designated stations awaiting either recall or orders to proceed to their targets. Air defense fighters are also scrambled, and ground-based air defense sites go to their highest states of readiness.

1739 Zulu– Three Pershing II medium-range ballistic missiles strike the Kremlin and KGB Headquarters in Moscow. AFSOUTH is not informed of the successful attack for a further thirty minutes.

1755 Zulu– Marshal Akhromeyev contacts CINC-Southwest and gives him the news that a new general secretary has taken power. Southwestern TVD is ordered to relax its posture slightly. Soviet units are not to attack any NATO military units unless fired on first.

2005 Zulu– National Command Authority recalls the B-61-armed Intruders from Saratoga and Kennedy back to their carriers. Sixty seconds later SACEUR issues recall orders for all airborne Victor Alert aircraft in the European theater.

2007 Zulu-All recall orders are confirmed by the affected aircrews.  

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