The Southern Flank: 10 July, 1987 Part II


It was generally accepted that the Southwestern Theater of Military Operations (SWTVD) would constitute a secondary theater in the opening days of a war against NATO. The Western TVD (WTVD) was the theater of highest priority and understandably so. SWTVD objectives in the first 3-4 days of hostilities were to halt any NATO air or land countermove against WTVD, and prevent a major conflict in the SWTVD while preparations for offensive operations were underway. The preparatory phase for land operations against Thrace and the subsequent battle for the Dardanelles was still underway on the second day and was expected to continue for another 24-48 hours. The Bulgarian Army was fully deployed on that country’s border with Turkey and Greece, along with a limited number of Soviet units. The main Soviet ground forces allocated to SWTVD were still deploying into the region. When the time came, the bulk of the initial Warsaw Pact thrust into Thrace would be made up primarily of Bulgarian forces.

SWTVD air operations on the second day continued to be chiefly focused against Turkish air defenses, radars, and airbases. With more air assets becoming available as elements of the 24th Air Army arrived in theater, the attacks were becoming focused and intense. The airstrikes were not limited to targets only in the western half of Turkey. A portion were being directed against Hellenic Air Force bases and radar sites, but the center of attention was Turkey. The Commander, Sixth Allied Tactical Air Force (COMSIXATAF) was becoming more concerned about his losses as the day went on. From his headquarters at Izmir, Turkey he monitored the air battle and directed the air defense of Turkey. Twice he and his staff had to head to the shelters when installations around Izmir were targeted by Soviet aircraft.

Sixth ATAF’s fighter squadrons and air defenses were inflicting losses on the attackers, but it was costing them. As the day went on and the tempo of air strikes peaked, Turkish F-4 Phantoms, F-16s, and F-104s allotted to defending Turkey were almost fully committed. Losses in aircraft and pilots were heavy and climbing. Almost as disconcerting was the grim fact that, as losses climbed, COMSIXATAF was losing its ability to take the fight to enemy forces in Bulgaria. He concluded, quite correctly, that without a swift infusion of NATO air reinforcements, air superiority over Thrace and much of Turkey could not be guaranteed for more than the next 24 hours.

In Naples, CINCSOUTH was fully aware of the situation in Turkey. He agreed with COMSIXATAF regarding the reinforcements equation and was working to get additional squadrons to Turkey rapidly. Unfortunately, CINCSOUTH could not begin moving squadrons from 5th ATAF in Italy east until reinforcing squadrons from the US arrived in significant numbers. As desperate as the situation in Turkey was becoming, CINCSOUTH couldn’t afford to strip 5th ATAF of fighters right now and leave Northern Italy naked. Thus far, Soviet forces in Hungary, and their Hungarian comrades had not moved into Austria or Yugoslavia. A move into Yugoslavia was not anticipated, however, a thrust into Austria would pose a grave danger to AFSOUTH.  Italian forces guarding the Gorizia Gap, and corridors in the Austrian Alps were going to need air cover and close air support. For the moment the Northern Italian subregion was quiet. Moving fighters and attack aircraft from Italy to Turkey could inspire the Soviets to move and take advantage of the situation. For the moment, 6th ATAF was on its own.




The North Atlantic: 10 July, 1987 Part III


Of the twenty Backfires that made up the Iceland strike group four were shot down by F-15s before reaching their launch points. A further three were destroyed  after launching their air-to-surface missiles. Another pair suffered battle damage but managed to return safely to their bases on the Kola Peninsula. Of the sixteen ASMs launched by the bombers, only four landed in the area around Keflavik’s runways, flight line and support facilities. A hangar was destroyed along with the P-3 it had housed, however the rest of the damage was mostly superficial. Air operations would continue undisturbed, and the lost aircraft was soon replaced by reserve Orion from NAS Brunswick.

The Soviets lost nearly half of their bomber force in return for causing less damage than the previous day’s raid had. For two straight days the bombers used similar attack profiles and tactics and had little to show for it aside from horrendous losses at the hands of Keflavik’s Eagles. New tactics had to be devised even quicker, the raid commander realized bitterly. Better yet, Iceland needed to be taken in order to be fully neutralized. Unbeknownst to him, that very argument was being made by senior officers in Severomorsk even before he landed.


There were four NATO convoys at sea at 0800 EDT. Another was expected to depart from Norfolk by dusk. After that there would be a twenty four hour pause as the second wave of convoys was formed and prepared for movement. The escorts and merchant ships that were to make up these convoys were still making their way to US east coast ports. SACLANT intended for the next convoys to be larger and better protected than those currently at sea. The almost instant transition from peacetime conditions to a period of heightened tension, and then war forced NATO to adopt a running start convoy strategy. Hostilities were underway and there was no time for a set piece plan to be devised and put in place. With fighting underway in Europe NATO forces there were in urgent need of reinforcement and resupply.

Convoy 27, the easternmost NATO convoy at sea, came under attack in the late morning. The convoy was 471 nautical miles northeast of Newfoundland and heading northeast at eighteen knots when a Charlie II class SSGN fired three SS-N-9 Siren anti-ship cruise missiles from a position twenty two miles northeast of the formation. All three missiles were intercepted by SAM-equipped escort ships and immediately ASW helicopters from the convoy, along with a land based P-3 began hunting for the sub. After two hours of unsuccessful searching the effort was called off. Later in the afternoon, a second Russian sub struck the convoy. Of four torpedoes launched only one found its mark, striking the Canadian destroyer HMCS Algonquin and sinking her. This time, the attacking sub, a Victor I, did not get away. ASW helicopters leapt into action once more and sent the Russian boat to the bottom of the Atlantic.

The other eastbound convoys remained untouched over the entire day, although a host of false contacts and unconfirmed reports of periscopes in the vicinities of convoy ships made matters interesting and tense. Westbound merchant ships and escorts sailing for their ports of embarkation on the eastern US coast found themselves contending with some enemy subs that were looking purely for targets of opportunity. An occasional torpedo was loosed or solitary cruise missile lofted and then the sub would run away. The Soviet intentions to keep their subs concealed until the main convoys entered the area was clear. Nevertheless, a handful of red boats did get lucky. Two NATO ships, a Greek merchant ship and Portuguese frigate were sunk, and a small number of allied ships suffered damage to one degree or another. One Soviet sub was killed three hundred miles northwest of the Azores. At the time it was believed to be a Foxtrot class sub, though records accessed after the war seem to indicate the stricken submarine was of the Tango class.


In the Western Atlantic, the second day of the war marked the end of a constant Soviet sub presence. Three submarines were destroyed within the space of ten hours. Two Yankee class ballistic missile boats were dispatched by US attack submarines shortly after 0200 hours. The USS Jack sank K-426 one hundred miles east of the Outer Banks, and the USS Tunny put two Mk-48 torpedoes into K-451 and sent her to the bottom one hundred and twenty nautical miles off of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The presence of the missile subs was no surprise to SACLANT and both were continuously tracked.  The delay in prosecuting them was the result of a debate in the White House. Some of President Reagan’s advisers were opposed to destroying strategic assets of the Soviet Union after the informal agreement on missile sub deployments was reached between Moscow and Washington. The close proximity of the Yankees to the US coast, however, and their ballistic missile armaments settled the debate. Reagan ordered them to be destroyed immediately and the US Navy obeyed this order with particular speed.

ASW efforts in the Western Atlantic continued. Close in to the coast the efforts were redoubled when a Kilo class submarine was caught laying mines off the Chesapeake Bay. P-3s were called in and made short work of the boat while mine countermeasure units were dispatched to clear the sea lanes. The possibility of a Soviet sub getting in close and launching a cruise missile attack on Norfolk or another east coast port was too alarming to discount. A respectable number of MPAs, frigates and destroyers, and ASW helicopters sanitized the coastal waters around the clock.

As the second day of the war ended in the North Atlantic, the attention of both sides was being focused on the waters in and around the GIUK gap. For the moment it appeared to SACLANT in Norfolk, and his counterpart in Severomorsk that the Third Battle of the Atlantic would be won or lost there.

The North Atlantic: 10 July, 1987 Part II


Deployment and preparation of the forces dedicated for defense of the GIUK gap continued through the afternoon and into the evening of 10 July. US Orions from Iceland and RAF Nimrods out of Scotland had already been patrolling non-stop since the start of hostilities and had scored a respectable number of kills already. The tempo of these operations was increasing as much as time and available resources would allow.  By mid-afternoon, the US Navy had additional P-3s operating out of Greenland to support the convoys, as well as GIUK operations, and more aircraft were scheduled to arrive at Keflavik within twelve hours. The RAF was working to free up more Nimrods for the North Atlantic. However, availability and commitments in other areas were likely going to keep the current numbers unchanged for at least the coming twenty four hours. To make up for any shortfall of maritime patrol aircraft in Scotland, the Invincible group and STANAVFORLANT were moving to support the Faroes-Shetlands gap. Defensive minefields had been laid in the same area in the days leading up to war. Now these were being reinforced and expanded at a rapid rate.

South of the Iceland-Faroes gap NATO was gathering  a formidable collection of ASW assets to backstop the Orions and Nimrods. Three nuclear powered attack submarines (two British and one American) were hurrying to take up positions to interdict the surge of Soviet subs heading towards the open waters of the North Atlantic. From US 2nd Fleet Task Group 24.3, an ASW surface group consisting of four frigates (two Knox, and two short-hulled Perry class)  and two destroyers (both Spruances) had formed and was moving towards the gap. 2nd Fleet was hoping to have a second ASW task group formed and positioned in near the Denmark Straits by this point as well, but with the convoys desperately needing every available escort ship it had not happened. For now the Denmark Straits would be defended solely by US Navy P-3s.

The SOSUS system hydrophones planted on the floor of the Atlantic could not be expected to detect every single Russian sub heading south, though it was expected, by both sides, to pick up a large majority of them. Backing up SOSUS were two Stalwart class ocean-going surveillance ships fitted with the SURTASS system. The exact position of these ships during the war remains classified, though it is fair to deduce that both of these vessels were in the North Atlantic. Even the names of the Stalwart class ships that took place in North Atlantic operations during the war have not been made public yet. Various third party sources, however, believe Triumph and Assertive were the ships directly involved with GIUK operations at the time.

By early evening SOSUS control in Norfolk was becoming a busy place. Data from the ocean hydrophones, sonobuoys and SURTASS was streaming in via FLTSATCOM. As the data arrived it was fed into the computer for processing and once this was accomplished, the end product was analyzed by career ASW officers and senior chiefs. Contact and potential target tracks were plotted and monitored with the information going to an ASW battle staff. These were the men who were responsible for working up an overall defensive strategy, and vectoring NATO ASW forces towards their Soviet prey. By good fortune, the US Navy’s Fleet Satellite Communication system did not sustain damage from Soviet anti-satellite weaponry the previous day and was functioning perfectly.

As NATO ASW forces in the vicinity of the GIUK line were going into overdrive, word of a possible downbound Backfire raid over northern Norway reached SACLANT. From the information provided by AFNORTH, Iceland looked to be the most likely target. The E-3 Sentry patrolling over central Iceland was ordered to a position farther north in the hopes of its powerful radar detecting signs of the Backfires over the Norwegian Sea. The four ship flight of F-15C Eagles on CAP at the time were sent to refuel from orbiting KC-135 tankers over Hellissandur. A second flight of fighters was launched from Keflavik and the remaining Eagles there were quickly being prepared for action if the Backfires were actually heading for Iceland.

Twenty minutes later, the AWACS detected the first radar signatures denoting a possible large group of contacts just east of Jan Mayen on a southwestern heading.

The North Atlantic: 10 July, 1987 Part I


Through thirty-eight years of multinational naval exercises from the Barents Sea to the Bahamas,  naval conferences, and spending innumerable hours at sea, NATO naval officers had developed a staunch respect for the significance of the North Atlantic to alliance plans. Senior officers especially recognized it as the lynchpin of the alliance in a time of war. Its importance inextricably linked it to every other theater. Norway, the Mediterranean, and especially Western Europe could not be reinforced unless NATO maintained control of the North Atlantic. Now that the balloon had gone up, SACLANT’s naval and air forces, as well as those of his counterpart in Murmansk were maneuvering and positioning themselves for the monumental battle both sides knew was coming within the next 24-36 hours.

In the Barents Sea there were ten NATO SSNs present. Three were staking out the homeports of Soviet SSBNs watching for telltale signs that the missile subs were preparing to sortie. Another three were evaluating the ASW defenses in the area or, in the case of the converted ballistic missile submarine USS Sam Houston, laying Captor mines along the routes Soviet SSBNs and their attack sub escorts were expected to use in the event of a sortie. The remaining four were tasked with acquiring the Soviet surface groups steaming south and tailing them, transmitting periodic location reports. As events in northern Norway played out, one of the subs, USS Minneapolis-St Paul, was diverted to take up station from a position where she could provide raid warning of Soviet bombers coming south.

SACLANT had a fairly accurate idea of where the Red Banner Northern Fleet’s surface action groups were located. Everyone already knew with certainty what direction they were steaming in. The time would come when sufficient NATO sea and air power was on hand to contend with these seaborne threats before they wrestled control of the Norwegian Sea and effectively cut off Norway from seaborne reinforcement. Regrettably, that time was not going to be soon in coming. The primary objective for NATO navies in the Norwegian Sea and North Atlantic on 10 July were, respectively, to ensure the safe arrival of the first convoy carrying the equipment of 3 Commando Brigade and forming an impenetrable ASW barrier along the GIUK gap to defeat the main group of Soviet submarines as they transited the gap.

The first convoy carrying war material to Norway from England was under twelve hours from reaching port when it was attacked by a two Soviet Foxtrot diesel subs. The RFA Sir Lancelot suffered a torpedo hit that severely reduced her speed. HMS Brave, a Type 22 class frigate was less fortunate. A torpedo impacted directly amidships broke her back and she sank in under twenty minutes, taking over one hundred men with her. Lynx helicopters managed to localize and sink one of the Foxtrots as it attempted to depart the area. Sea Kings from HMS Illustrious spent hours hunting for the second diesel sub but came up empty.

Submarines were the greatest danger to the convoys bound for Norway on 10 July. Russian fighter bombers, Backfires, and Badgers did not venture that far south to engage the groups. Their attention was focused primarily on northern Norway, and air cover from land based fighters and the Illustrious’ air wing would make any effort a costly one. Over the coming days, the threats would expand somewhat.

In the early afternoon STANAVFORLANT was ordered to detached from supporting Norway-bound convoys and ordered to head southwest towards the GIUK gap. The multinational group of destroyers and frigates were not the only NATO warships heading in that direction either. HMS Invincible and her escorts, in the North Sea at the same time, received similar orders. Simultaneously, P-3s from Iceland and RAF Nimrods operating out of Scotland were increasing their tempo of operations, and SACLANT was querying his submarine commander as to the availability of attack boats in the vicinity of the Iceland-Faroes gap.

As previously mentioned, the focus in the North Atlantic was to establish an impenetrable ASW barrier along the extent of the GIUK line. The first group of Russian subs was expected to begin approaching the area before midnight.



The Northern Flank: 10 July, 1987 Part II


The loss of air superiority over Northern Norway brought immediate ramifications for NATO’s entire Northern Flank defensive strategy. Air and sea surveillance of the Norwegian coast and Barents Sea would now be severely limited. The same was true for subsequent air and naval operations north of Tromso and Bardufoss. NATO land units in the northern areas, primarily elements of Norway’s Brigade North, were now faced with the grim reality of operating without friendly air support for the time being. It did not take very long after the air raids against Andoya and Bardufoss for AFNORTH to appreciate that NATO’s position in Northern Norway was on the verge of unravelling entirely.

Losing air and sea surveillance in the Barents was perhaps the most consequential development of the second day. It was known that the Soviets had multiple surface groups at sea in the Barents. Two, perhaps three were surface action groups (SAG) making up the bulk of the Red Banner Northern Fleet.  This would be the force responsible for breaking out into the Norwegian Sea and seizing control of it. The remaining group was built around a quartet of amphibious assault ships. This was the group NATO was most concerned with for the time being. A Soviet landing somewhere along the Norwegian coastline was anticipated, however, without accurate intelligence there was no way to determine when or where the event might take place. The last known position of the amphibious group was  71° 52 North 26° 14 East at 0800 CEST.

AFNORTH, with SACLANT’s reluctant approval ordered all Norwegian and attached allied surface ships operating in the northern Norwegian Sea and Barents to speed south and regroup in the waters off of the central Norwegian Coast. Their survival in northern waters was doubtful without air support. Only nuclear powered attack submarines were exempt from the orders. NATO fast attack boats operating in the Barents Sea were undertaking vital missions separate to the action going on in Norway and had to continue. They could not be diverted to support the Northern Flank right now regardless of how dire the situation was becoming.

AFNORTH’s plan was to concentrate most theater air and sea power in and around central Norway for the moment. Three convoys carrying equipment of the Royal Marines 3 Commando Brigade, and a Dutch Marines unit were approaching their disembarkation ports. Troops of the US 4th MAB were arriving at a steady pace, marrying up to their prepositioned equipment as air reinforcements from the US Marines, and RAF were beginning to arrive at airbases in southern and central Norway. This defense of this area was essential at the moment to allow NATO forces additional time to arrive and prepare ahead of an effort to reestablish control in Northern Norway.

The Soviets, for their part, were making every effort to consolidate their hold on the northern region as rapidly as possible. Paratroopers were dropped on the airfields at Kirkenes, and Hammerfest in the afternoon and by the evening both facilities were secure and under Soviet control. Closer to Norway’s border with Russia, air strikes were now being launched against the Norwegian Army garrison at Sor-Varanger. As the remainder of the day and evening went on, additional strikes were made against garrisons at Alta, and Porsanger. Their purpose was clearly to keep the Norwegian forces there pinned down, unable to disrupt Soviet operations at the airfields.

By 2100 hours Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Northern Europe, British General Sir Geoffrey Howlett had grown increasingly frustrated by his command’s inability to directly affect the situation in the north. Howlett understood it was simply a matter of time before the Soviets began deploying combat aircraft to the captured airfields. Then there was the prospect of Soviet motorized forces crossing the border at any given moment. The limited reconnaissance photos and reports from the area painted a picture of growing activity on the Soviet side of the border. That evening, Howlett’s opponents in Murmansk started making use of their newly established air corridor through Norwegian airspace. A large force of Backfire bombers was reported to be transiting the area on a southeast heading. Raid warnings were sent out to naval units in the region, but as time went on it became obvious the Backfires were heading for Iceland. The incident unnerved Howlett and pressed home the urgency of closing off the air corridor before its existence could have an adverse effect on NATO’s efforts to keep the sea lanes across the Atlantic open.

Unfortunately, there was little AFNORTH could do about it for the moment.


The Northern Flank: 10 July, 1987 Part I


10 July, 1987 began with redoubled Soviet efforts to establish air superiority over Northern Norway and pave the way for future air and sea operations farther south. The  Northwestern TVD, like its sister commands, was contending with sizable delays to its  timeline of operations. The air situation over Norway especially was a half day behind schedule in spite of the gains made against NATO air defenses in the region on 9 July. With NATO convoys a day or so away from entering range of Long Range Aviation and Naval Aviation heavy bombers, it was imperative that an impervious air corridor be established over Northern Norway and the Soviet air defense perimeter be expanded to cover the northern third of Norway and the Norwegian Sea.

Losses in aircraft, namely tactical fighters, had so far been higher than anticipated. The experiences and lessons learned on the first day of war underscored the strengths and shortcomings of the Soviet Quantity vs NATO Quality argument. Soviet air commanders had openly expected NATO’s fighters, sensors, and weapons to be technologically superior to their Soviet counterparts. Nevertheless, they were still shocked by the loss ratios and the stories that surviving Soviet pilots were bringing back after their missions.

It was evident that a maximum effort had to be made to break what the Soviets viewed as a deadlock in the skies. On the morning of the 10th, that effort commenced.

NATO’s assessment of the situation was strikingly different. The Royal Norwegian Air Force was hanging on by a thread in the northern counties. The reinforcements reluctantly dispatched to AIRNON from airbases in the south were a welcomed addition, however, their numbers were  nowhere what was needed to plug the hole in Norway’s air defenses.  Difficult decisions were made regarding priorities and assets were allocated accordingly. Airbases and radar sites essential to NATO’s overall defensive plan for the North Flank would be defended extensively for as long as possible. Other less critical installations were to be left practically naked.

Right after dawn, the first formations of Soviet fighter-bombers and their escorts crossed into Norwegian airspace virtually unmolested. Air defense radars that survived the first day’s effort, and forward airfields in Finnmark were the first priorities. The northern-most radars had already been written off by AIRNON. Minimal effort was made to intercept the attacking MiGs and Sukhois. Ground based SAMs in the area did manage to inflict some losses before they too were silenced by air-defense suppression missions. Banak air station was a different story. F-16s and NF-5s defended Banak as much as circumstances allowed. Unfortunately, in most cases the Norwegian fighters expended their ordnance against Soviet aircraft that had already expended their air to ground ordnance. The hit and run type tactics employed by the Norwegians minimized their losses, however, the damage done to the air station was too great to warrant further effort. Banak was declared ineffective and surviving support personnel and the few aircraft to survive the morning’s airstrikes were evacuated to bases in the south. By midafternoon, two companies of Soviet heliborne troops assaulted Banak and after a brief firefight with Norwegian security troops that had been left behind, took control of the base.

Later that morning much larger Soviet air attacks were launched against the airbases at Bardufoss. and Andoya. Both suffered major damage, though the HAWK missile batteries at both acquitted themselves quite well. At Andoya, five of 333rd Squadron’s six P-3C Orion aircraft were destroyed on the ground. The survivor was in the air at the time of the attack and survived. It was these attacks that brought AIRNON to accept the bitter reality that the Soviets had achieved air superiority over the whole northern area of Norway.



The Southern Flank: 9 July, 1987 0600-2359


Authors Note: I seem to have misplaced the original entry for this date somewhere. I thought I placed it on a flash drive but after scouring every one that I have, as well as my hard drive I cannot find it. So, instead of going back and rewriting it I decided to put it forward in a timeline format instead. Apologies.


Southern Flank 9 July Timeline 0600-2359


0639– French Super Etendards from the Clemenceau attack the Slava SAG, damaging a frigate.


0700– The Slava SAG launches a salvo of SS-N-12 missiles at the Clemenceau group sinking a frigate and a destroyer.


0715– In a loosely coordinated effort, Soviet Tu-22 Backfires based in Syria follow up with a second strike against the Clemenceau group. The carrier, along with her surviving escorts, are all sunk. Search and rescue efforts begin immediately from Turkey and RAF Akrotiri.


0745– A Hungarian merchant ship sinks mysteriously in the Suez Canal, effectively blocking the waterway.


0800– The Moskva SAG launches its own SSM attack on the Saratoga carrier battlegroup. All Soviet missiles are intercepted by SAMs and Phalanx gun systems, or lured away by defensive countermeasures.


0900Saratoga’s airwing conducts a Sierra strike against the Moskva group. Moskva, and four accompanying escorts are sunk. Two others are heavily damaged. Only one undamaged warship remains. Greek A-7s operating from Crete will sink the surviving ships later in the day.


0915– Soviet diplomats meet with Turkish and Greek officials in a last ditch effort to keep the rival nations on the sidelines of the war. The Soviet Union promises to respect the boundaries and sovereignty of both nations in exchange for them declaring neutrality. Ankara and Athens both refuse.


0945– In response to the Greek and Turkish refusals, Soviet warplanes begin systematically striking military targets in Turkey and Greece. These attacks will continue through the entire day, effectively tying down much of the Turkish and Hellenic air forces.


1100– Yugoslavia declares its neutrality.


1300– Skirmishes break out on the Thrace frontier between Warsaw Pact and Greek and Turkish ground forces. The intermittent fighting continues off and on for the day, but so far there is no indication of a Warsaw Pact offensive into Thrace taking place.


1320– HMS Superb sunk in the Eastern Med


1340– Soviet Backfires from airbases on the Black Sea coast attack the Saratoga battlegroup. Raid warning is established early and US Navy F-14s from the carrier meet the bombers over the Aegean and inflict severe losses. A number of ASMs are launched though. Most are intercepted, but two make it through the layered defense and hit the destroyer USS Preble. She sinks almost immediately with all hands.


1415– In the Western Med, a Soviet Foxtrot class SS and a Charlie class SSN are sunk respectively by a US attack submarine and Italian ASW forces.


1500– In its second Sierra Strike of the day CVW-17 targets the Slava SAG. Slava, a Kresta II cruiser, two Udaloy class destroyers, and a Krivak III friate are all sent to the bottom of the Eastern Med. A Kashin class destroyer survives the attack with some damage. He begins making his way towards a friendly anchorage in Syria but is later destroyed by French Super Etendards now flying out of RAF Akrotiri.


2045- USS Pogy and a Soviet Victor II SSN are sunk in the Eastern Med.


2300- NATO reconnaissance flights pick up  on heightened activity in southern Bulgaria, including the movement of Warsaw Pact armor and infantry towards the Greek and Turkish borders.