Red Storm Rising

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Red Storm Rising is a techno-thriller novel by Tom Clancy (assisted by Larry Bond), published in 1986. It describes a conventional war between the Warsaw Pact nations and NATO. It is one of two Clancy novels which are not set in the Ryaniverse.


Spoiler warning
This article contains important plot information

Azerbaijani terrorists destroy the oil refinery at Nizhnevartovsk, USSR, cutting Soviet oil production by nearly a third. Without oil, the always-fragile Soviet economy will collapse. Rather than increase oil imports and cut use by the military, the Politburo decides to go to war and seize the Persian Gulf oil fields. To prevent a coordinated NATO response, the Politburo creates a plan: they arrange a KGB operation to make it appear that the Germans launched a terrorist attack on the USSR, then launching an attack on Germany (code-named "Red Storm": a conventional mechanized attack on Germany) as "retaliation." With Germany occupied and NATO defeated, they hope they can seize the fields with impunity. The KGB, under the Politburo's orders, detonates a bomb in the Kremlin, making it appear that a West German planted the explosive, to encourage hatred for the Germans.

In the final few days before the Soviets have scheduled their attack, a Soviet Spetsnaz major is captured in Germany; he is interrogated and the planned attack is detected, leaving NATO virtually intact and giving the West time to mobilize. Greece and Japan refuse to interfere in this "German-Russian" disagreement, and Turkey is unwilling to attack Russia, giving Russia quiet southern and eastern fronts.

Early in the first day of the war, the NATO forces launch a massive air assault, using stealth aircraft (the F-19 Ghostrider) and fighter-bomber aircraft to eliminate bridges, bridging equipment, and several Mainstay AWACS aircraft, as well as over 200 Soviet fighters. This gives NATO a key air advantage, which is badly needed. The Soviet forces advance into Germany; the NATO forces gradually trading land for time.

In the opening days of the war, Soviet forces seize Keflavik, Iceland, disrupting the SOSUS lines of hydrophones designed to detect Soviet submarines, and the Soviet navy places their ballistic missile submarines in port, allowing them to use their entire attack submarine force against resupply convoys. The NATO expedition against Iceland is disastrous: Badger and Backfire bombers fire cruise missiles at the task force, severely damaging the carriers Nimitz and Saratoga, and sinking the transport Saipan and the French aircraft carrier Foch.

In Germany, the campaign settles to a high-tech war of attrition. The Soviets attempt a breakthrough through NATO lines, but succeed only at Alfeld, where General Alekseyev leads a brilliant assault, but NATO reinforcements arrive and the Soviets cannot capitalize on it.

An attack on the Soviet bomber bases by American fast-attack submarines armed with Tomahawk missiles eliminates nearly half of the aircraft, severely hampering the Soviet's convoy killing ability.