Kola Peninsula
Tourism Information
Reasons not to go there
Satellite Photo

The Final Front
CIA historical report: Operation Ryan

Other Links
First World War.Com

World War III's first battleground
The OpsRoom explains the Kola Peninsula's importance in the pilot episode.

World War lll might have started here.

The Soviet base at Murmansk was the place from which a naval break-out would have been staged in case of hostilities with NATO. Soviet doctrine at the time would have been to flood subs through the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom waters. If this happened, Soviet submarines would have wrought havoc with shipping lines between North America and Europe.

They could have also launched missile attacks against UK, Iceland, Greenland and Canadian air bases. This would hinder anti-submarine aircraft activities throughout the Atlantic.

Obviously, at the same time, the Red Army and Air Force would be pushing through Western Europe. NATO doctrine was naturally to bottle up the massive Soviet Northern Fleet before that happened, that way troops in Europe could be re-supplied from Canada and the United States.

In fact, in the August-September 1981 exercise, an armada of 83 US, British, Canadian, and Norwegian ships led by the carrier CVN Eisenhower managed to sail the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom (GIUK) Gap undetected, using carefully planned and rehearsed tactics.

Concealment and Deception
A combination of obvious if inconvenient passive measures like operating under electronic emissions control conditions and active measures like radar-jamming and transmission of false radar signals was used to hide the allied fleet. They even eluded a Soviet active-radar satellite launched into a low to search for it.

As the warships came within operating areas of Soviet long-range reconnaissance planes, the Soviets were initially able to identify but not track them. Meanwhile, Navy fighters conducted an unprecedented simulated attack on the Soviet planes as they refueled in-flight, flying at low levels to avoid detection by Soviet shore-based radar sites.

In the second phase of this exercise, a cruiser and three other ships left the carrier battle group and sailed north through the Norwegian Sea and then east around Norway's Cape North and into the Barents Sea. They then sailed near the militarily important Kola Peninsula and remained there for nine days before rejoining the main group.

Norway, in case you are not looking at a map, happened to be between Western Europe and the USSR, and right at the point where the NATO and Warsaw Pact navies would be shooting at each other.

It might have been the biggest ship-to-ship confrontation since the First World War, and pretty close to a place called Jutland.

A major naval battle took place during the Great War. There is a wonderful site with bags of information about that terrible war called FirstWorldWar.Com. This includes a section about the Battle of Jutland.