The tension began on September 2nd 1986 when Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and General Secretary of the Communist Party came under pressure during a meeting of the Central Committee to stop the Soviet Union from collapsing. The Geneva Arms Limitation talks had made slow progress and the agricultural land of the Ukraine was yielding little with the Soviet Union having to import grain from abroad.
Europe in 1986
Countdown to War
On September 9th Mikhail Gorbachev suddenly without warning, suspended his policies of "perestroika" and "glasnost" and imposed the restrictions not felt since Leonid Brezhnev had ruled the Soviet Union. The United States President Ronald Reagan abruptly cancelled the Reykjavik summit in Iceland as a statement of protest. Gorbachev ignored this and on September 10th began to order "high category" assault divisions to full readiness and started to deploy them in Czechoslovakia and Hungary.
Meanwhile, on that same day, the NATO countries next to or near to the "Iron Curtain" such as West Germany and France began to mobilise their forces in opposition to this move. US Forces inside West Germany also began to secretly bring Lance SRBMs along with Pershing II IRBMs to readiness. Later on the morning of September 11th Intelligence was gathered stating that Gorbachev had forbidden the use of nuclear weapons too "protect humanity." However, intelligence also finally alerted the NATO commanders that Soviet "high category" assault divisions were in Czechoslovakia and Hungary with secondary forces in Poland and East Germany holding the northern flank of the projected attack. By Midnight on September 12th British forces in West Germany numbering 20,000 made their way to pre war positions. The Territorial Army formations along with Regular Forces stationed in Britain prepared for a Soviet Landing.
The Storm breaks
At around 3am on September 12th 1986, Soviet artillery began to shell cities and towns in eastern Austria and northern Yugoslavia. Austria had no major army and Yugoslavia hadn't mobilised its army as it thought that the Soviet Union wouldn't dare attack them. 1 hour into the offensive, Soviet Tu-195s, codenamed "Bear" by NATO began appearing in Austrian airspace. People rushed into nuclear shelters fearing the worst, not knowing that this was a conventional raid. The bombers flew deeper and deeper into Austrian airspace totally confounding NATO radar operators who were tracking their movement. Then suddenly they turned south over Linz and headed towards the Yugoslavian border. As the bombers began to cross the Alps, a French Dassualt Mirage III Fighter equipped in its Interceptor role locked on to the lead Tu-190 and fired a Matra R.530 medium range air to air missile which impacted below the bomb bay. The Bomber exploded and swerved in front of his right wingman causing a mid air collision. The fighter then escaped as MIG-31 "Foxhounds" came to intercept it. 30 minutes later, the Tu-190s dropped their bomb loads on a major Yugoslav ammunition dump crippling the Yugoslav 12th Army Group who was assigned to the northwest border and creating a path which the Soviets could cut Yugoslavia from Italy.
The first ground attacks began at 5:30am towards Vienna, the Austrian Capital in the north and Zagreb in the south. Flanking attacks were made from Hungary to cut off Zagreb from the south and prevent the 3rd Army Group from falling back to help protect Belgrade the Yugoslavian Capital. A fierce air raid pounded Belgrade destroying most of the eastern part of the city. The Yugoslavs then pleaded NATO to come to their rescue.
The Soviet Army falters
At 9am near Enzersdorf east of Vienna, 30 M1 Abram Main Battle Tanks raided the forward Soviet positions inflicting heavy casualties. This forced a Soviet Armored Division that had penetrated to a mile of Vienna to withdraw eastward and move to counter the threat. It failed to reach its objective as two Royal Air Force Vulcan Bombers dropped high explosive on the main road heading into Vienna and the tanks were caught in the open by US F-15E Fighters firing Anti-Armor missiles destroying most of the tanks and causing the remaining crews to flee on foot. Meanwhile near the Hungary-Yugoslavia border, the advance had been halted due to the events further north. Gorbachev had intervened personally and had sent 3 fresh armored divisions from their bases in the Ukraine which would relieve the battered forces. However without warning at 1pm, the Yugoslav Army's 3rd Army Group counterattacked the depleted forces resting along the Drava River which relinquished the vital road and rail bridges near Varazdin which allowed the Yugoslav Army to start forcing its way northeast towards the Hungarian border. Soviet air attacks were ineffective as SAM batteries brought up brought down several fighters and as ammunition and fuel ran low, the air attacks ceased allowing the Yugoslavs full control of the air. Gorbachev in Moscow, issued this communication:
TO ALL SOVIET FORCES:
YOU ARE TO WITHDRAW BACK INTO SOVIET HELD TERRITORY. REINFORCEMENTS WILL COME AND PUSH THE ENEMY BACK.
However, what he couldn't see was that the Soviet reinforcements had indeed arrived in the area but several Tomahawk Cruise Missiles had destroyed most of them. These had been fired by US warships that had anchored in the Gulf Of Trieste and had been given orders to harass the enemy before it could escape into Soviet Territory. The Soviet advance had been shattered. Now it was NATO's turn.
As the Soviet Army dithered further south, the US 3rd Army Group opened an offensive aimed at Dresden and the Oder. At the same time. the US 2nd Army Group and the West German Army opened up its offensive aimed at capturing East Berlin. Supporting this was the Royal Air Force Vulcans which made an air raid designed to create gaps in the Berlin Wall and cause East Berliners to flood west into West Berlin and create pandemonium among the VOPOs halting Soviet Army reinforcements from entering the area. The raid was pushed home without any resistance. The resulting damage was a major breach in the Berlin Wall south of the Brandenburg Gate destroying the minefield and watch towers allowing many East Berliners to escape into West Berlin. Gorbachev responded by ordering a missile strike on Vienna. A missile silo was opened near Archangel at around 4pm local time. The missile silo was being monitored by NATO intelligence which triggered a first alarm. Meanwhile in the Atlantic Ocean, six Los Angeles Class attack submarines surfaced off the Portuguese Coast. Eight Peacekeeper ICBM's carrying nuclear warheads were readied. President Ronald Reagan sent a message to the Kremlin. It read:
To Premier Gorbachev,
If any nuclear missile is fired against any target in the western hemisphere, we will launch EIGHT Nuclear ICBM's on Moscow. This is not a threat. We will also fire 1000 from the coastal United States and Europe at Leningrad, Kiev and Minsk. We are fully ready to do what is necessary to protect the free world. Do not do anything rash as we are watching you.
Gorbachev, after reading the message, decided to back down. Nuclear War was not an option. The missile silo was closed and the missile launch was stopped. Hearing this, the subs disengaged from the launch and moved to secondary alert positions.
In East Germany, the US 2nd Army Group and West German advances had reached Berlin and was now approaching the Polish Border. Dresden was also in US hands and the US 3rd Army Group had reached the Oder river on the Polish Border. However, the Soviets had built WW1 style trench systems along the Oder and long the Czechoslovakian and Hungarian Border to stop any further NATO advance. The NATO forces dug in opposite them and trench warfare begun.
One Month Later
The war had gone nowhere. Countless lives had been lost trying to outwit each other. Suddenly without warning a massive offensive was launched by the 1st Army Group which consisted of British and French forces which had been placed opposite Szcecin on the northern part of the Oder. At 2am on October 13th, the offensive smashed against the Warsaw Pact forces holding the weak part of the line which broke through. A British spearhead drove south then east of Szececin and north towards the Baltic. By 12pm, Szcecin had fallen to French forces while British forces had reached Kamien and Dziwnow on the Baltic Coast. Then, the second phase of the operation began. Both the US and German Forces in the new reunited German Army began a massive attack to liberate Poland. Within 12 hours, the attack had reached Lodz and Kielce in the south and Bydogszez on the River Vistula. British and French forces had taken Gdynia and Gdansk and had cleared the west bank of the northern part of the Vistula.
Poland changes sides
On October 14th, with Warsaw in NATO hands, Poland declared its withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact and its entry to NATO. This forced the Soviets to fall back into the Soviet Union itself abandoning the rest of Poland to the advancing NATO forces.
Eventually, a named General Alekseyev recognizes this suicidal madness for what it is, and joins forces with the head of the KGB and the Energy Minister, Mikhail Eduardovich Sergetov, in staging a coup d’état, replacing the Politburo and Mikhail Gorbachev with a troika consisting of Sergetov, Agriculture Minister F. M. Krylov, and longtime Politburo member Pyotr Bromkovskiy. A ceasefire is sought by the Soviets and accepted by an exhausted NATO. NATO plans to revive the Nuremberg tribunal and wants the President and the Politburo survivors tried for war crimes. The Soviets also want to try them, presumably for treason or a related crime. Thus, World War 3 had ended.