D+23 (1 August, 1987) 0700-0900 Zulu

Moscow, USSR 0700 Zulu (1100 Local Time) The 10 AM Politburo meeting began twenty minutes late with the delayed arrival of the general secretary. In normal times, late starts to meetings such as this were the rule rather than the exception. In times of crisis or war it occurred less often, sometimes acting as a …

D+23 (1 August, 1987) 0630-0700 Zulu

Brussels, Belgium 0630 Zulu (0830 Local) News of the chemical weapon attack on LANDJUT units along the Danish-West German border reached NATO headquarters in Brussels less than seven minutes after the first CW rounds impacted. Initial reports were understandably lacking in detail, but it was clear beyond a doubt that the Soviets had deliberately initiated …

The Central Front D+18 1830-2359 Zulu 27 July, 1987 Part I

The new commander-in-chief of the Western TVD, General Boris Snetkov, received official word of the nuclear exchange five minutes before the destruction of both Novaya Zemlya and Gorky. This was essentially the extent of the news from Moscow. The absence of information left Snetkov’s head filled with a hopelessly long list of questions. Foremost was …

The Central Front D+17 (26 July, 1987) Part V Charlie

Late in the evening, General John Galvin, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) received word that the first troops from 1st Cavalry Division were over the Leine. The news invigorated SACEUR’s deputies, as well as his staff. After two and a half weeks spent playing round-the-clock defense, NATO had possession of the ball. NORTHAG’s new …

The Politics of Global War: The Swedish Gambit

Negotiations in Brussels resumed on the afternoon of 18 July, 1987. The morning sessions had brought about an unofficial proposal of advantage. Sweden would not be granted immediate full member status in NATO but an association of sorts. The Swedish military would work together with NATO forces in the defense of Scandinavia and the Baltic …

Baltic Approaches D+9 (18 July, 1987) Part I

Meetings between Swedish diplomats and senior NATO officials continued through the night in Brussels. Not long after midnight the meeting adjourned. The Swedes returned to their embassy for consultations with Stockholm. The NATO officials briefed Secretary General Peter Carrington on the progress of the talks. Afterward, Carrington personally contacted President Reagan, Prime Minister Thatcher, and …

The Central Front Chessboard: D-1 (8 July, 1987) **

General Galvin had decided to remain at NATO headquarters in Brussels for the time being instead of moving to his wartime headquarters. It was SACEUR’s prerogative where he chose to direct the defense of Western Europe. For the moment, Galvin preferred his office and the command room in Brussels to a command post nestled deep …

Awakening In Brussels **

In the days following Mikhail Gorbachev’s ouster, NATO’s civilian leadership, and military commanders collectively began to consider what the ramifications of the coup for their alliance, its member-nations, and for the military men, their respective commands. Romanov was a dyed-in-the-wool hardliner. It was generally assumed he would  turn his attention to the smoldering situation in …