The Central Front D+5 (14 July, 1987) Part I

Not long after 0100 hours CEST, a diplomat at the Soviet consulate in Geneva was hand-delivered a message by a middle-aged, bookish official from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The Swiss official explained that the message came from a West German man claiming to be a representative for a bloc of West German, …

The Southern Flank D+5 (14 July, 1987) Part II

Since their introduction into the conflict, Libya’s air and naval forces had not performed as Colonel Gaddafi promised they would. The expectations of their Soviet allies had been more realistic, but even they were not being met. Libya’s main role in a theater-wide conflict was to close off the central Mediterranean to NATO naval vessels, …

The Southern Flank D+5 (14 July, 1987) Part I

Saratoga’s air wing went back into action in the pre-dawn hours. The morning’s target list included POL facilities and staging areas in southern Bulgaria. CVW-17s airstrikes were not preceded by cruise missile strikes as they had been twenty-four hours earlier. The Los Angeles class attack submarines that had fired most of the TLAMs against targets …

The North Atlantic D+5 (14 July, 1987) Part II

The Red Banner Northern Fleet’s intelligence projection of the NATO convoy picture in the North Atlantic was remarkably accurate in many regards. Convoy 27-1, NATO’s first wartime Atlantic convoy was approaching Le Havre on the morning of D+5 and by mid-afternoon its merchant vessels were starting to disembark material. Behind it, two more convoys were …

The North Atlantic D+5 (14 July, 1987) Part I

All of the hopes which commander-in-chief of the Red Banner Northern Fleet Admiral Ivan Kapitanets held regarding closer coordination between his attack submarines operating beneath the  waters of the North Atlantic had been dashed by the early afternoon. The reports reaching his headquarters in Severmorsk made it perfectly clear coordination was not improving. This didn’t …

The Northern Flank: D+5 (14 July, 1987) Part I

It did not take long for word of the pending offensive counter-air effort to reach Oslo. The Norwegian government was directly opposed to the measure. Like many officers at AFNORTH headquarters, Norway’s civilian leaders were worried the commitment of so much airpower to efforts in the north would leave NATO airbases, and Norwegian cities in …

The North Atlantic D+4 (13 July, 1987) Part III

Later in the afternoon, fifteen Bear D reconnaissance aircraft came across Northern Norway, and  headed south over the Norwegian Sea. As the Bears approached within 200 miles of the Icelandic coast they descended to altitudes of between 300 and 500 feet. The five formations of three aircraft each separated as they neared the Iceland-Faroes gap …