West Berlin D+25 (3 August, 1987)

On the morning of 3 August, 1987, as dawn broke across the eastern sky, few residents of West Berlin were aware that a temporary ceasefire was now in place across Europe. NATO and Warsaw Pact military forces were no longer engaged in combat with one another. Or that US and Soviet governments had agreed to …

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. …

The Morning’s Second Artificial Sunrise D+24 (2 August, 1987) 0253-0330 Zulu

0253 Zulu- Romanov’s hotline message is summarized for President Reagan and his advisers in the Situation Room by the MOLINK duty officer. The general secretary explains that a direct response to the ‘unprovoked NATO nuclear attack on a Soviet military base in the GDR’ will be launched within minutes. He does not understand the purpose …

The Opening Moments D+24 (2 August, 1987) 0000-0015 Zulu

D+24 (2 August, 1987) 0000-0010 Zulu The gravity bomb contained a 30-kiloton warhead that was set to airburst at 800 meters. This aspect of the plan worked perfectly with the warhead exploding at the prescribed altitude. The Fencer aircrew’s delivery of the weapon, on the other hand, was off. The pre-selected ground zero point had …

Cracks Widen: East Germany D+16 (25 July, 1987) Part II

The motivations behind the bold action Heinz Kessler took early on D+16 stemmed largely from personal rivalry and a desire for personal political gain. To say the Ministries of Defense and State Security were rivals would be a gross understatement. The relationship between the two had been irrevocably severed for years, fueled by professional, as …

Cracks Widen: East Germany D+16 (25 July, 1987) Part I

Word of the Pelkwitz incident reached the halls of the East German government early in the evening of D+15. The initial arrival came in the form of an unsubstantiated rumor with scant details passed between junior-ranking officials at the MND (Ministry of National Defense). It wasn’t until an hour past midnight that the news eventually …

A Meeting Outside of Berlin D+3 (12 July, 1987) Part II

Word of the request for chemical weapons release by 8th Guards Army’s commander arrived at the Kremlin during a strained meeting of the Politburo. The slow progress in Germany, coupled with setbacks in other theaters had been starting to fray the nerves of some Politburo members. News that an army group commander had already requesting …