The Central Front D+16 (25 July, 1987) Part I

NATO was faced with a pair of potentially decisive crises in the early hours of D+16. The first was a crisis of command in NORTHAG while the other was of the physical variety, having to do with the emerging situation on the battlefield. Given the urgency of the moment, these two crises were inexorably joined …

The Central Front D+15 (24 July, 1987) Part V

1705- 6th Guards Tank Division is entirely on the eastern bank of the Leine at Freden. The tail-end elements are moving into the area south of the crossroads of B64 and B3 roadways which has been designated as the division’s rear area. 1730- Crossing operations get underway at the now-operational Greene bridgehead. Lead elements of …

The Central Front D+15 (24 July, 1987) Part IV-Alpha

 NORTHAG 1200-1700 (Northern Sector of the Weser Defenses) The afternoon arrived with Soviet tank and motor-rifle formations engaged in heavy fighting against the West Germans southeast of Hameln. 47th Guards Tank Division’s first push had dislodged the West German mechanized infantry from around Dielmissen. The movement of the 193rd Panzergrenadier Battalion away from the village …

The Central Front D+15 (24 July, 1987) Part III-Bravo

0700- The air battle in the NORTHAG sector starts. NATO air attacks against the Alfeld and Brüggen and meet heavy opposition from ground-based air defenses and MiGs. Nearly seventy Soviet fighters have been committed to defending the airspace above the northern bridgeheads. The unexpectedly heavy defenses lead NATO air commanders to conclude that the increased …

The Central Front D+15 (24 July, 1987) Part II

Precisely on time at 0100, the scheduled reconnaissance mission by the TR-1 tactical reconnaissance aircraft commenced. The aircraft, a variant of the venerable U-2, was an invaluable reconnaissance and intelligence asset. Therefore, its flight path was nowhere near the battlefront. The TR-1’s patrol pattern was essentially a fixed straight line established just east of the …

The Central Front D+15 (24 July, 1987) Part I

NORTHAG’s picture of the battlefront and the Soviet drive to the Weser remained unruffled and consistent as the new day started. 3rd Shock Army’s push to Hameln was continuing with a tank division expected to be committed sometime around daybreak. Behind this unit was a nearly intact tank army approaching the northern Leine bridgeheads. This …