Fire in the North
Just before the launch of the Warsaw Pact assault, Operation Red Tide, in August 1985, Warsaw Pact forces conducted a limited diversionary assault against Scandanvia at the end of July 1985. This 'feint' in the North drew off critical NATO troops, the Royal Marines, USMC and Dutch Marines just a few of those moved rapidly to deploy against the Soviet threat, only to find themselves virtually cut-off once the main war in Europe started a few short weeks later.
The war in the North consisted of what Soviet propaganda termed 'a reaction to continued and constant Finnish threats and incursions'. Within days Soviet forces pushed through the Finnish and Norwegian borders with troops. The incursions into Norway were termed as 'neccessary' by STAVKA in response to the NATO build-up in that country. The land attacks were supported by airborne and naval attacks in an operational plan not too dissimilar to that of the Germans in 1940.
While the land advance, down Highway E6 along the Noregian coast went reletively well, the Soviets found themselves ambushed every few kilometres. They still managed to push on but with the land assault knowingly limited, the Soviet advance slowed. Meanwhile Soviet airborne and naval landings met with mixed results. A small naval bridgehead was created at Narvik, but this was soon encircles and penned in by NATO land troops and a Royal Navy blockade. The Soviet Airborne had even less success and only managed to secure one airfield, that at Trondheim, and it was so badly damaged in the assault that it was of limited use. However due to lack of troops, NATO was unable to reduce the Trondheim Pocket and Soviet troops continued to use the area for landings and supply drops, though it was essentially defensive in nature until the land assault could reach it. Finland meanwhile seemed virtually over-run, but to NATO's surprise the Soviets failed to use its border to make further attacks into Norway. The truth of the matter was that the Soviet forces in Norway found themselves virtually pinned down in a number of urban areas as every move into the countryside brought a violent response from Finnish troops hiding out in the forests and fighting a successful guerilla campaign using long hidden supply caches. Once NATO realised the success that the Finns were having they moved a number of NATO Special Forces units and supply drops to support the Finns.
The fighting grew slower and slower as the time for launching 'Red Tide' neared. Once the attack in central Europe was launched, Polish Naval troops landed on the coast of Denmark, and the Soviet Baltic Fleet landed troops in Sweden, further hampering the NATO defence of Norway. Even so the fighting continued in the North and grew with a new ferocity now that the rest of Europe was at war...
The fire in the northern sky burned bright that summer.
- This is the intro for another Piers & Gunbird warbuild (Iran-Iraq came before it, The Road to Vilnius isn't finished yet) this time focussing on the Cold War going hot in the Scandinavian region.
- This time though, we'll be adding a few changes. We've been having chats about gaming air and sea as well and thought it would be nice to tie these in with a nice 20mm game, with the results from the air and naval battle directly interfering with the land one. There is still lots to plan and tinker, lists to be made, models to be sourced (as well as the finances!) but this promises to become another great weekend full of battles.
- Just building all of those pine trees.......pine trees......bloody thousands of em, Sir!