Fog and a thin green line are all that stand between the Soviet 10th Guard and the Rhine.
“Snoopy 2 to Flying Eye we got bogies inbound. Hinds running across 2290 South West of Waldberg. Do you copy?”
“Roger that Snoopy 1 got a count for us? ” Said the dispassionate voice of the combat controller @ HQ.
“Two bogies…wait and holy crap make that 4 count FOUR Hinds at high speed. I think we found the bad guys. Shit I think they see us. We are taking evasive, evasive, evasive, lets roll!” The connection is lost.
SITREP – 1st Battalion 68th Armor, 8th Infantry Division
Date: 21 July 1989
Time: D1 + 6 hours (0600 Hours)
Location: On Route 279 near Schönau an der Brend, West Germany.
Weather: Foggy with dense clouds. Threatening to rain. Light wind from the Northwest.
There can be no doubt now, the 79th Guards Tank Division has broken through the border near Rödelmaier and through Bad Neustadt. They are now advancing west on Route 279 towards Fulda.
In the center of the Fulda Gap the Soviets have made a clean breakthrough. Behind them in tatters are the remains of the 2nd Squadron 11th ACR from Camp Lee. Ahead of them is the 1st Battalion 68th Armor moving out from it’s base at Wildflecken. The two forces had no idea where the other side was. Electronic warfare (EW) was much worse than either side had thought it would be before the war started. Both sides thought they could counter the EW of the other. In reality, they couldn’t.
In the foggy morning, HMMWV’s of the 11th ACR, escaped detection of Soviet forces and carried the news far and wide. The Soviets are clear of the border area and moving west down Route 279. After the first barrage of missiles and artillery things quieted down.
“The Russians are coming!”
Yes, but from where? We don’t want to run into them head on.
“Snoopy 1 crackle..pffszzt,kashhhha…zzt. Over”
The Rangers looked at each other, EW (electronic warfare) measure were playing havoc with comms and they were having hard time getting intel back to HQ. Their job after all was to scout, find the enemy without being found, and identify the main thrust of the attack. Their Humvees had passed thru Bischosheim uneventfully, however they knew the Soviet 2nd Guard was out there somewhere.
On a hunch they skirted Unterweissenbrunn to the South and angled into the wooded hills, separating and finding a good and higher elevation to listen for the rumble of tank engines.
Shells arced over head, and exploded dispensing smoke outside of Bischofsheim.
Route N279 maybe the primary route! Command had spread TOW units with fire lanes to cover just this approach, but arty had not laid mines yet per the plan. Shit was delayed and the M150’s were hoping for more support. “Get those mines out of the pipe now!!!” Was the terse order across the battle net. No panic, just urgent and intense focus by the US Commander.
“Flying Eye, this is Snoopy 3 we just engaged 4 BRDM recon units South of S51, Spigot armed BRDM’s are spotted moving west rapidly, over”
Contact reports come in thick and fast. Soviets quickly take the linking towns along Route 279. ” Roger that Major, civilian police and Heer report troop movement thru Shonau” The Intel specialist reported to Major Zanders. Meanwhile M1’s prepared for the onslaught digging in along routes of advance and trying to develop decent firing lanes in the dense woods and rolling hills.
“3 Hinds , no 4 Hinds are shooting at us taking evasive measure. Several companies of T-80’s are staging on S51, they” , CRACK, KABooo….Silence.
“Snoopy 3 come in you are breaking up.” Came the now tense voice of the controller.
“This is Flying Eye report again”
The splattered remains of occupants of Snoopy 3’s Humvee did not respond.
” Contact, 4x T-80’s, remaining, fire at will.” Switching to Battalion net the Tank commander reports the situation and clues in results of the deadly firefight. Behind the T-80’s 6 wrecks burn off, their crews dead from direct hits or from 50 cal rounds as they sought escape. US wrecks litter the streets of the township and hillsides.
Trundling down the road, 1/36th arrives and takes stock of the situation.
HQ liaison meets them on the road. The discussion is a long one. Orders are to stand in place until the main thrust is assessed and no, repeat NO arty fire other than Counter Battery is permitted until the main thrust is identified. The troops remain on 5 minute alert and break out MRE’s. Apaches are now stationed overhead, while Command sorts out just where the hell the Russkies are.
Arty slams Waldberg cratering the township and the main cathedral. 3 M1’s are caught in the maelstrom, before they can fire a shot.
Reports come in of heavy fire from AH 1, and large tank and mech unit formations are moving up Rte 279.
But contact is lost.
Is this the main thrust? Chatter increases as smoke falls AFTER the initial rush. Switching to thermal the US can spot no further activity….where are they?
“Inbound, Regiment sized force and at least 2 companies of T-80s are hitting us.” The Captain in Waldberg radios in. “We need arty support asap.”
“Arty is under Counter Battery fire and unable to respond for at least ten minutes, hold” Says the dispassionate combat controller.
“Well screw me, I’ll be dead by then.”says the Captain to himself.
In Waldberg 1st Company is spread out and now feeling a little better with the recent drop of mines on road S51. The previously spotted Hinds have disappeared and only one lite arty strike has come their way! Maybe the main thrust will come somewhere else?
Tank Commander Burton says “I hate to sound like a broken record but something ought to have happened by now” “I know” says his comms specialist, “where are they? I got nothing on the battle net, everything is jammed and we can’t see shit in town.” Just then the Company commander pulls up “Burton, I need you to recon up the hill behind Waldberg.”
“Yes Sir, but weren’t we supposed to hold here Sir?”
Battalion is off air and Snoopy 3 just bought it, we got no eyes, now get going.”
“Report Incoming!!” We got BRDMs spotted North of 279, deep in the woods. Snoopy 2 is under heavy attack.” Says one controller.
Then, “enemy air spotted North East of Sandberg, in a holding pattern, and locals report no, repeat no Soviets in Wegurt.” Says a second controller.
“Targets on the 51, headed west, size and composition unconfirmed” Reports a third.
“This makes no sense Sir. It appears they are NOT using the highways!” Says the perplexed controller.
Major Zanders looks at his board. Just what are you up to Commie? He muses. In the South the situation seems to be resolving itself. Zanders would not save all of the 1st but some forces still hold on, and 3/2/ is the ready reserve.
“Arty strike reported in the vicinity of Snoopy 2. No contact for the last 5 minutes.”
“Hinds approaching Sandberg.” crackles the radio, gunfire is heard in the background across the comms link. Then silence.
“BRDM’s sited South of route 2267!” The reports come in thick and fast.
“Sir we are blind. We have lost contact with all Recon and our last two choppers are refueling.”
“1/36th is on the horn, Sir they want orders….where do they go?”
Major Zanders looks around from the updated charts calmly. Zanders takes a long pull on his cigarette and grinds it out deliberately as he exhales up to the ceiling of the comms station.
“Gentlemen its all good.” He pauses for effect. “Have 3/1/36th move to the ridge line west of Sandberg, bring some TOWs and 2/1 down with 3th HQ to watch route 2267. If the Russkies want to run their tanks thru the woods, they have pop out North of Sandberg and we got them as they run smack into 1/1 platoon. ”
He pauses, and screws up his face squinting at his on illegible writing on the board. “If they are in those woods then the BRDM’s in the North are a recom, ruse or another flanking force. So detach 2/1/36 and place it on call ready 5 in Haselbach with eyes on Route 279, just in case the push does head that way. These bastards are not getting by us.”
“Tanks North of Waldberg!!! Do you copy that Battalion?” “Snoopy1 one, BRDM and HQ units along ridge Bravo North of Sandberg do you copy” Came the urgent message.
“Copy that, we thought we had lost you Snoopy 1” Said the controller.
“The day ain’t over , in fact looks like we are in trouble, sure could use some support here people!”
Wrecks line the road to Waldberg – caught in a mines and a hail of fire from hull down M1’s. But intel reports more units approaching!
In the North units scramble to gain LOS, and fire on a 2nd wave of BMP’s.
We are low Ammo, is the common report. Emergency supplies are raced forward by Humvees! Units roll out of command range and mayhem ensues.
“Target 3,2 degrees range 1500m T-80’s”
“Firing solution set”
“Fire, next target, 3,2 degrees 1490m fire”…..The crew fires 4 rounds in 2 minutes. All strike on target and all stop Soviet tanks in their tracks. The rest of the platoon, fires upon the enemy with such rapidity that they draw down 30% of their ammo in just 10 minutes of shooting. When the smoke from the rounds fired clears the crews let out a ragged cheer.
Arty rains on Walberg, and knocks out 2 M1’s. Infantry arrive from 36th in a nick of time to add some weight.
1/36 engages spigots! Are their more?
Heavy tank forces spotted on ridge C. On Call arty works up a firing solution to respond to the sighting.
Lead units of the Soviets enter the road south of 1/1 . The M1’s open up, splitting them like sour milk cartons and a 100 degree day.
By now the cheering has subsided and all are back hull down and buttoned up as shells hammer their location.
3/1 loses 2 tanks to huge barrages and then spots ATGM vehicles headed their way. Shit gets real, real fast. “Adjust orientation, enemy wheeled ATGM’s fire, fire, fire at will.”
Another 22 Tanks are spotted weaving thru trees, with CAP provided by Hinds.
” Get me arty on the line ASAP, we need heavy barrages in the woods west of Sandberg along the ridge tops!”
“Roger we got you 1/1, Fire for Effect in 90 seconds.”
“Attah boy! Thank God for you guys. We can’t get kill count but the woods are ablaze in there. We see no BMPs, no troop carriers,” Reports Company command for the 1st.
“Alll righty then here come the silly bastards right at us into the mines. Looks like we got at least 2 companies rolling at us here.” Is the report heard by BattleGroup command from 1/1st.
“2/1 get your ass down here, we got ATGM and heavy Infantry frontal assault coming at us. Find yourself some rubble and hunker down, this might be a turkey shoot!”
North of Unterweissenbrunn:
“This is Commander Koppen, heavy vehicle movement in the hills to our North no confirmation yet.”
“Hold your fire until we can obtain confirmation, then light them up, so far we cannot find at least a Regiments worth of BMP’s so we may need to you to relo ASAP.”
“Combat Command this is Koppen, we got BMP’s and tanks, engaging now. Approximate Battalion strength repeat Battalion strength. We are whipping ass here. ”
Battalion Battlenet comms are fully restored.
“Now here this, this is Major Zanders the Soviet forces are retreating. Satellite data shows nearly 2 full Regiments on the run South of Weisbach. Regroup and re arm. We expect them to try again…”
Zanders continues, “Losses are always painful, but we can count our selves lucky that we broke up the attack and the enemy is now regrouping. Well done”