final report to congress
Pursuant to Title V of the Persian Gulf Conflict Supplemental Authorization and Personnel
Benefits Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-25)
APRIL 1992
For Those Who Were There
pg ii (page is blank)
OVERVIEW ............................................... xiii
PREFACE ................................................ xxxi
Chapter I
THE INVASION OF KUWAIT ................................. 2
PRELUDE TO CRISIS ...................................... 4
IRAQI MILITARY CAPABILITIES, 1990 ...................... 9
Republican Guard Forces Command ........................ 10
Army ................................................... 10
Popular Army ........................................... 11
Air Force .............................................. 11
Air Defense Forces ..................................... 12
Navy ................................................... 13
Short Range Ballistic Missiles ......................... 13
Chemical Weapons ....................................... 15
Biological Weapons ..................................... 15
Nuclear Devices Program ................................ 15
Other Military Research and Development Programs ....... 16
CONCLUSION ............................................. 16
Chapter II
THE RESPONSE TO AGGRESSION ............................. 18
US RESPONSE DRAWING A LINE ........................... 19
INITIAL WORLD RESPONSE ................................. 20
International Organizations ............................ 21
Western Reaction ....................................... 21
Asian Reaction ......................................... 22
REGIONAL RESPONSE ...................................... 23
Coalition Members in the Region ........................ 23
Other Regional Responses ............................... 24
Israeli Reaction ....................................... 25
IRAQI FOLLOW-UP TO THE INVASION ........................ 26
Political Maneuvering .................................. 26
Iraqi Atrocities ....................................... 27
Iraqi Hostage Taking ................................... 28
Chapter III
MILITARY SITUATION, AUGUST 1990 ........................ 31
WINDOW OF VULNERABILITY ................................ 37
EXPANDING THE DEFENSE .................................. 39
OBSERVATIONS ........................................... 46
Chapter IV
INTRODUCTION ........................................... 49
STRATEGY AND OBJECTIVES ................................ 49
OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES ................................. 53
EFFECTIVENESS .......................................... 60
OBSERVATIONS ........................................... 62
Chapter V
TRANSITION TO THE OFFENSIVE ............................ 64
INTRODUCTION ........................................... 65
PLANNING FOR THE OFFENSIVE ............................. 65
Evolution of the Offensive Plan ........................ 65
THE IRAQI THREAT IN OVERVIEW ........................... 70
Intelligence Estimates ................................. 71
Enemy Vulnerabilities .................................. 72
Iraqi Centers of Gravity ............................... 72
Prelude to Conflict .................................... 72
FINALIZING THE PLAN .................................... 73
National Policy Objectives and Military Objectives ..... 73
THE PLAN IS ADOPTED .................................... 74
Air Campaign Plan in Overview .......................... 75
Ground Campaign Plan in Overview ....................... 75
Maritime Campaign Plan in Overview ..................... 76
Deception Operations Plan in Overview .................. 76
REINFORCEMENT AND SUSTAINMENT .......................... 78
DECISION TO BEGIN THE OFFENSIVE ........................ 80
TRAINING FOR THE ATTACK ................................ 80
EVE OF DESERT STORM ................................... 81
Status of Coalition Forces ............................ 81
Status of Iraqi Forces ................................ 82
Iraqi Defensive Concept of Operations ................. 84
Military Balance ...................................... 84
OBSERVATIONS .......................................... 87
Chapter VI
THE AIR CAMPAIGN ...................................... 88
INTRODUCTION .......................................... 89
Decision to Begin the Offensive Ground Campaign ....... 91
The Early Concept Plan Instant Thunder .............. 91
Instant Thunder Evolves Into Operation Desert Storm Air Campaign 93
JFACC Air Campaign Objectives ......................... 95
The Twelve Target Sets ................................ 95
Leadership Command Facilities ......................... 95
Electricity Production Facilities ..................... 96
Telecommunications And Command, Control, And Communication Nodes 96
Strategic Integrated Air Defense System ............... 96
Air Forces And Airfields .............................. 96
Nuclear, Biological And Chemical Weapons Research, Production, And Storage Facilities
........................................................ 97
Scud Missiles, Launchers, And Production And Storage Facilities 97
Naval Forces And Port Facilities ...................... 97
Oil Refining And Distribution Facilities .............. 97
Railroads And Bridges .................................. 98
Iraqi Army Units Including Republican Guard Forces In The KTO 98
Military Storage And Production Sites ................. 98
Constraints on the Concept Plan ....................... 98
Avoid Collateral Damage And Casualties ................ 98
Off Limits Targets .................................... 100
Phased Execution ...................................... 100
PREPARING TO EXECUTE THE PLAN ......................... 101
The Joint Forces Air Component Commander .............. 101
The Master Attack Plan ................................ 102
The Air Tasking Order ................................. 102
TRANSITION TO WARTIME PLANNING ........................ 103
Deception ............................................. 105
ON THE EVE OF THE AIR WAR ............................. 107
Disposition of Air Forces ............................. 107
CENTAF ................................................ 107
NAVCENT ............................................... 107
MARCENT ............................................... 107
Joint Task Force Proven Force ......................... 111
Non-US Forces ......................................... 112
EXECUTING THE AIR CAMPAIGN ............................ 112
Evaluating the Results of the Air Campaign ............ 113
D-Day, The First Night ................................ 114
First Night Reactions ................................. 120
D-Day, Daytime Attacks ................................ 121
D-Day, Second Night ................................... 122
D-Day, Controlling Operations ......................... 123
D-Day, Summary ........................................ 123
D+1 (18 January) ...................................... 124
D+1, Night ............................................ 125
D-Day through D+6: Summary of Week One (17-23 January) 125
D+10 (27 January CINCCENT Declares Air Supremacy)... 127
SEAD Operations ....................................... 129
D+7 through D+13: Summary of Week Two (24-30 January) . 130
D+12 through D+14 (29-31 January The Battle of Al-Khafji) 130
D+20 (6-7 February Emphasis on Degrading the Iraqi Army and Navy) 133
Cutting Off the Iraqi Army ............................ 134
Degrading the Iraqi Army .............................. 135
Kill Boxes ............................................ 135
Destroying the Iraqi Navy ............................. 136
D+14 through D+20: Summary of Week Three (31 January-6 February) 137
Continuing to Disrupt Iraqi C3 ........................ 137
Armored Vehicle Destruction ........................... 138
Tanks Abandoned ....................................... 139
Psychological Operations Impact ....................... 140
D+21 through D+27: Summary of Week Four (7-13 February) 141
D+28 through D+34: Week Five (14-20 February) ......... 141
Summary of the Air Campaign, on the Eve of the Offensive Ground Campaign 142
D+38 (24 February The Strategic Air Campaign Continues, and Air Operations Begin in
Direct Support of the Offensive Ground Campaign) ..... 144
Overview .............................................. 144
Battlefield Air Operations ............................ 144
Air Interdiction ...................................... 144
Close Air Support ..................................... 146
Breaching Operations .................................. 146
Effect of Weather and Oil Well Fires .................. 147
D+35 through D+42: Week Six (21-28 February) .......... 147
RESULTS ............................................... 148
Assessments By Target Set ............................. 149
Leadership Command Facilities ......................... 150
Electrical Production Facilities ...................... 150
Telecommunications and Command, Control, and Communication Nodes 151
Strategic Integrated Air Defense System ............... 154
Air Forces and Airfields .............................. 154
Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons Research and Production Facilities 154
Scud Production and Storage Facilities ................ 156
Naval Forces and Port Facilities ...................... 157
Oil Refining and Distribution Facilities, as Opposed to Long-term Oil Production
Capability ....................................................... 157
Railroads and Bridges Connecting Iraqi Military Forces with Logistical Support Centers
Iraqi Military Units, Including Republican Guards in the KTO 158
Military Production and Storage ....................... 159
EPW Assessments ....................................... 159
Safwan Revelations .................................... 160
OPERATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS ............................ 161
Air Superiority and Air Supremacy ..................... 161
Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses ..................... 161
Aircraft Sorties ...................................... 164
Technological Revolution .............................. 164
Tomahawk Land Attack Missile .......................... 164
GBU-28 ................................................ 165
The Counter-Scud Effort ............................... 166
Patriot Defender Missile Defense System ............... 169
Weather ............................................... 169
Air Refueling ......................................... 170
Reconnaissance and Surveillance ....................... 173
Forward Operating Locations (FOLs) Forward Area Rearming and Refueling Points
(FARPs) ............................................... 174
HUMINT Assistance to Targeting Process ................ 175
Battle Damage Assessment .............................. 175
Space Systems ......................................... 176
Civilian Casualties and Collateral Damage ............. 177
Aircraft Vulnerabilities to SAMs and AAA .............. 178
Coalition Fixed-Wing Aircraft Combat Losses ........... 178
OBSERVATIONS .......................................... 179
Chapter VII
THE MARITIME CAMPAIGN ................................. 182
INTRODUCTION .......................................... 183
THE IMPORTANCE OF SEA CONTROL ......................... 184
THE MARITIME CAMPAIGN PLAN ............................ 187
ANTISURFACE WARFARE (ASUW) ............................ 188
The Iraqi Threat ...................................... 190
ASUW Command and Control .............................. 190
Coalition ASUW Capabilities ........................... 191
Destruction of the Iraqi Navy ......................... 193
ANTIAIR WARFARE (AAW) ................................. 196
The Iraqi Threat ...................................... 197
AAW Command and Control ............................... 197
Coalition AAW Capabilities ............................ 198
Significant Persian Gulf AAW Operations ............... 199
COUNTERMINE WARFARE ................................... 199
The Iraqi Threat ...................................... 200
MCM Command and Control ............................... 202
Coalition MCM Capabilities ............................ 203
MCM Operations ........................................ 206
Impact of Iraq's Mine Warfare ......................... 207
NAVAL GUNFIRE SUPPORT (NGFS) .......................... 208
NGFS Missions ......................................... 208
NGFS Operations ....................................... 210
Use of UAVs ........................................... 211
NGFS Results .......................................... 212
AMPHIBIOUS WARFARE .................................... 212
The Iraqi Threat ...................................... 213
Amphibious Warfare Planning ........................... 213
Amphibious Operations ................................. 217
Umm Al-Maradim Island ................................. 219
Faylaka Island ........................................ 219
Ash Shuaybah Port Facility ............................ 220
Bubiyan Island ........................................ 220
Landing of 5th MEB .................................... 220
Effectiveness of Amphibious Operations ................ 221
SUBMARINE OPERATIONS .................................. 221
SUMMARY OF THE MARITIME CAMPAIGN ...................... 221
OBSERVATIONS .......................................... 223
Chapter VIII
THE GROUND CAMPAIGN ................................... 226
INTRODUCTION .......................................... 227
PLANNING THE GROUND OFFENSIVE ......................... 228
Initial Planning Cell ................................. 228
The Planning Process .................................. 229
Operational Imperatives ............................... 229
Development of Courses of Action ...................... 230
Issues and Concerns Regarding the Plan ................ 230
CINCCENT's Strategy and Concept ....................... 231
Secretary of Defense Reviews War Plans ................ 231
Ground Campaign Phases ................................ 231
PREPARATION FOR THE OFFENSIVE ......................... 232
Ground Forces Buildup ................................. 232
Task Organization (US Ground Forces) .................. 232
Task Organization (Non-US Ground Forces) .............. 233
Command, Control, and Communications .................. 234
Coalition Coordination, Communication, and Integration Center (C3IC) 234
Liaison Teams ......................................... 235
Coordination and Control Measures ..................... 236
Communications ........................................ 236
Joint and Combined Operations ......................... 237
Common Warfighting Doctrine ........................... 237
AirLand Battle Doctrine ............................... 237
Marine Air-Ground Task Force Doctrine ................. 238
Air Operations in Support of the Ground Offensive ..... 238
Naval Operations in Support of the Ground Offensive ... 239
Roles of Non-US Coalition Forces ...................... 239
Tactical Intelligence ................................. 240
Logisitics ............................................ 240
Plan for Sustainment .................................. 241
Establishment of Logisitics Bases ..................... 241
Joint Logistics ....................................... 242
MARCENT Logistics ..................................... 243
The Final Operational Plan ............................ 243
Posturing for the Attack .............................. 245
Repositioning of I Marine Expeditionary Force ......... 245
The Shift West of ARCENT Forces ....................... 245
Preparing and Shaping the Battlefield ................. 246
Deception Operations .................................. 247
Air Preparation of the Battlefield .................... 248
Ground Preparation of the Battlefield ................. 249
Reconnaissance and Counter-Reconnaissance ............. 249
The Battle of Al-Khafji and Contact at Al-Wafrah ...... 251
The Threat as of 23 February the Day Before the Ground Offensive 251
Iraqi Defensive Positions and Plan .................... 251
Iraqi Combat Effectiveness ............................ 252
Iraqi Disposition and Strength in Theater Before the Ground Offensive 254
Weather ............................................... 254
Disposition of Coalition Forces on the Eve of the Ground Offensive 257
Army Component, Central Command ....................... 257
Joint Forces Command North .......................... 258
I Marine Expeditionary Force .......................... 258
Joint Forces Command East ........................... 258
CONDUCT OF THE GROUND OFFENSIVE ....................... 258
G-Day (24 February) The Attack and the Breach ....... 258
Enemy Actions and Dispositions ........................ 258
Army Component, Central Command ....................... 260
XVIII Airborne Corps .................................. 260
VII Corps ............................................. 262
Joint Forces Command North .......................... 264
I Marine Expeditionary Force .......................... 265
Joint Forces Command East ........................... 267
Theater Reserve ....................................... 267
Supporting Operations ................................. 268
G+1 (25 February) Destruction of Enemy Tactical Forces 268
Enemy Actions and Disposition ......................... 268
Army Component, Central Command ....................... 270
Joint Forces Command North .......................... 273
I Marine Expeditionary Force .......................... 273
Joint Forces Command East .......................... 276
Supporting Operations ................................. 276
G+2 (26 February) Destruction of 2nd Echelon Operational Forces and Sealing the
Battlefield ........................................... 276
Enemy Actions And Disposition ......................... 276
Army Component, Central Command ....................... 277
Joint Forces Command-North ............................ 282
I Marine Expeditionary Force .......................... 282
Joint Forces Command East ........................... 283
Supporting Operations ................................. 283
G+3 (27 February) Destruction of the Republican Guards 283
Enemy Actions and Disposition ......................... 284
Army Component, Central Command ....................... 285
Joint Forces Command North .......................... 288
I Marine Expeditionary Force .......................... 289
Joint Forces Command East ........................... 289
Supporting Operations ................................. 289
G+4 (28 February) Offensive Operations Cease ........ 290
Command ............................................... 290
Joint Forces Command North .......................... 292
I Marine Expeditionary Force .......................... 292
Joint Forces Command East ........................... 292
SUMMARY OF THE GROUND CAMPAIGN ........................ 292
CONCLUSIONS .......................................... 294
OBSERVATIONS .......................................... 297
A 313
B 319
C 333
D 347
E 371
F 393
G 451
H 471
I 487
J 523
K 543
L 577
M 589
N 599
O 605
P 633
Q 639
R 647
S 651
T 657
Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, unleashed an extraordinary series
of events that culminated seven months later in the victory of American and Coalition
forces over the Iraqi army and the liberation of Kuwait. Pursuant to Title V, Public Law
102-25, this report discusses the conduct of hostilities in the Persian Gulf theater of
operations. It builds on the Department's Interim Report of July 1991. A proper
understanding of the conduct of these military operations the extraordinary achievements
and the needed improvements is an important and continuing task of the Department of
Defense as we look to the future.
The Persian Gulf War was the first major conflict following the end of the Cold War. The
victory was a triumph of Coalition strategy, of international cooperation, of technology, and
of people. It reflected leadership, patience, and courage at the highest levels and in the field.
Under adverse and hazardous conditions far from home, our airmen, soldiers, sailors, and
marines once again played the leading role in reversing a dangerous threat to a critical
region of the world and to our national interests. Their skill and sacrifice lie at the heart of
this important triumph over aggression in the early post-Cold War era.
The Coalition victory was impressive militarily and important geopolitically; it will affect
the American military and American security interests in the Middle East and beyond for
years to come. Some of the lessons we should draw from the war are clear; others are more
enigmatic. Some aspects of the war are unlikely to be repeated in future conflicts. But this
experience also contains important indications of challenges to come and ways to surmount
America, the peaceful states of the Persian Gulf, and law-abiding nations everywhere are
safer today because of the President's firm conviction that Iraq's aggression against Kuwait
should not stand. Coming together, the nations of the Coalition defied aggression, defended
much of the world's supply of oil, liberated Kuwait, stripped Saddam Hussein of his
offensive military capability, set back his determined pursuit of nuclear weapons, and laid a
foundation for peaceful progress elsewhere in the region that is still unfolding. The efforts
and sacrifices of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm demand that we build on the
lessons we have learned and the good that we have done.
The Coalition victory was impressive militarily. Iraq possessed the fourth largest army in
the world, an army hardened in long years of combat against Iran. During that war Iraq
killed hundreds of thousands of Iranian soldiers in exactly the type of defensive combat it
planned to fight in Kuwait. Saddam Hussein's forces possessed high-quality artillery,
frontline T-72 tanks, modern MiG-29 and Mirage F-1 aircraft, ballistic missiles, biological
agents and chemical weapons, and a large and sophisticated ground-based air defense
system. His combat engineers, rated among the best in the world, had months to construct
their defenses. Nonetheless, Iraqi forces were routed in six weeks by U.S. and other
Coalition forces with extraordinarily low Coalition losses.
The Coalition dominated every area of warfare. The seas belonged to the Coalition from the
start. Naval units were first on the scene and, along with early deploying air assets,
contributed much of our military presence in the early days of the defense of Saudi Arabia.
Coalition naval units also enforced United Nations economic sanctions against Iraq by
inspecting ships and, when necessary, diverting them away from Iraq and Kuwait. This
maritime interception effort was the start of the military cooperation among the Coalition
members, and helped to deprive Iraq of outside resupply and revenues. The early arrival of
the Marine Corps' Maritime Prepositioning Force provided an important addition to our
deterrent on the ground. The Coalition controlled the skies virtually from the beginning of
the air war, freeing our ground and naval units from air attack and preventing the Iraqis
from using aerial reconnaissance to detect the movements of Coalition ground forces.
Tactical aircraft were on the ground and the 82nd Airborne Division's Ready Brigade had
been airlifted to the theater within hours of the order to deploy. Coalition planes destroyed
41 Iraqi aircraft and helicopters in air-to-air combat without suffering a confirmed loss to
Iraqi aircraft. Coalition air power crippled Iraqi command and control and known
unconventional weapons production, severely degraded the combat effectiveness of Iraqi
forces, and paved the way for the final land assault that swept Iraqi forces from the field in
only 100 hours. In the course of flying more than 100,000 sorties the Coalition lost only 38
fixed-wing aircraft. On the ground, Coalition armored forces traveled over 250 miles in 100
hours, one of the fastest movements of armored forces in the history of combat, to execute
the now famous "left hook" that enveloped Iraq's elite, specially trained and equipped
Republican Guards. Shortly after the end of the war, the U.S. Central Command
(CENTCOM) estimated that Iraq lost roughly 3,800 tanks to Coalition air and ground
attack; U.S. combat tank losses were fifteen.
The Coalition defeated not only Saddam Hussein's forces, but his strategy. Coalition
strategy ensured that the war was fought under favorable conditions that took full advantage
of Coalition strengths and Iraqi weaknesses. By contrast, Saddam's political and military
strategy was soundly defeated. Despite his attempts to intimidate his neighbors, the Gulf
states requested outside help; a coalition formed; the Arab "street" did not rise up on his
behalf; and Israeli restraint in the face of Scud attacks undermined his plan to turn this into
an Arab-Israeli war. Saddam's threats of massive casualties did not deter us; his taking of
hostages did not paralyze us; his prepared defenses in Kuwait did not exact the high toll of
Coalition casualties that he expected; and his army was decisively defeated. His attempts to
take the offense his use of Scuds and the attack on the Saudi town of Al-Khafji at the end of
January failed to achieve their strategic purpose. The overall result was a war in which Iraq
was not only beaten, but failed to ever seize the initiative. Saddam consistently misjudged
Coalition conviction and military capability.
The victory against Iraq had several important and positive geopolitical consequences, both
in the Persian Gulf and for the role the United States plays in the world. The geostrategic
objectives set by the President on August 5, 1990, were achieved. Kuwait was liberated, and
the security of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf was enhanced. Saddam Hussein's plan to
dominate the oil-rich Persian Gulf, an ambition on which he squandered his country's
resources, was frustrated. The threat posed by Iraq's preponderance of military power in the
region was swept away. Although underestimated before the war, Iraqi research and
production facilities for ballistic missiles and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons
were significantly damaged; furthermore, victory in the war was the prerequisite for the
intrusive <pg xv start> United Nations inspection regime, which continues the work of
dismantling those weapons programs. And even though Saddam Hussein remains in power,
his political prestige has been crippled and his future prospects are uncertain. He is an
international pariah whose hopes of leading an anti-Western coalition of Arab and Islamic
peoples have been exposed as dangerous but ultimately empty boasts.
Although Saddam Hussein today has been reduced enormously in stature and power, we
need to remember that the stakes in this conflict were large. Had the United States and the
international community not responded to Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, the world would
be much more dangerous today, much less friendly to American interests, and much more
threatening to the peoples of the Middle East and beyond. The seizure of Kuwait placed
significant additional financial resources and, hence, eventually military power in the hands
of an aggressive and ambitious dictator. Saddam would have used Kuwait's wealth to
accelerate the acquisition of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and to expand and
improve his inventory of ballistic missiles. Saddam had set a dangerous example of naked
aggression that, unanswered, would ultimately have led to more aggression by him and
perhaps by others as well. Having defied the United States and the United Nations, Saddam
Hussein's prestige would have been high and his ability to secure new allies would have
Saddam's seizure of Kuwait, left unanswered, threatened Saudi Arabia and its vast oil
resources, in particular. He could have moved against Saudi Arabia; but even if he did not,
the ominous presence of overwhelming force on the Kingdom's borders, coupled with the
stark evidence of his ruthlessness toward his neighbors, constituted a threat to Saudi Arabia
and vital U.S. interests. As Iraqi forces moved toward the border between Kuwait and Saudi
Arabia, the world's largest concentration of oil reserves lay within reach. Iraqi forces could
have quickly moved down the Saudi coast to seize the oil-rich Eastern Province and
threaten the Gulf sheikdoms. Iraqi control of Saudi Gulf ports also would have made
military operations to recapture the seized territory extremely difficult and costly. But even
without physically seizing eastern Saudi Arabia, Saddam threatened to dominate most of the
world's oil reserves and much of current world production, giving him the ability to disrupt
the world oil supply and hence the economies of the advanced industrial nations. He could
have used this economic and political leverage, among other things, to increase his access to
the high technology, materials, and tools needed for the further development of his nuclear,
biological and chemical weapons and ballistic missile programs.
As the UN deadline for withdrawal approached in early January 1991, some wondered
whether the use of force to free Kuwait should be postponed. The use of force will always
remain for us a course of last resort, but there are times when it is necessary. By January of
1991, we had given Saddam every opportunity to withdraw from Kuwait peacefully and
thereby avoid the risk of war and the cost of continued sanctions. By then he had made it
clear that he considered it more important to hold on to Kuwait and had demonstrated his
readiness to impose untold hardships on his people.
Further application of sanctions might have weakened the Iraqi military, especially the Iraqi
Air Force; but delay would have imposed significant risks for Kuwait and the Coalition as
well. Had we delayed longer there might have been little left of Kuwait to liberate.
Moreover, the Coalition had reached a point of optimum strength. U.S. resolve was critical
for holding together a potentially fragile coalition; our allies were reluctant only when they
doubted America's commitment. Not only would it have been difficult to sustain our forces'
fighting edge through a long period of stalemate, delay would have run the risk of
successful Iraqi terrorist actions or a clash between Iraq and Israel or unfavorable political
developments that might weaken the Coalition. Delay would also have given Iraq more time
to thicken and extend the minefields and obstacles through which our ground forces had to
move. It might have allowed the Iraqis to anticipate our plan and strengthen their defenses
in the west. Worst of all, it would have given them more time to work on their chemical,
biological, and even nuclear weapons. Since Saddam had made it clear that he would not
leave Kuwait unless he was forced out, it was better to do so at a time of our choosing.
Unfortunately, Saddam Hussein's brutal treatment of his own people, which long preceded
this war, has survived it. The world will be a better place when Saddam Hussein no longer
misrules Iraq. However, his tyranny over Kuwait has ended. The tyranny he sought to
extend over the Middle East has been turned back. The hold that he tried to secure over the
world's oil supply has been removed. We have frustrated his plans to prepare to fight a
nuclear war with Iran or Saudi Arabia or Israel or others who might oppose him. We will
never know the full extent of the evils this war prevented. What we have learned since the
war about his nuclear weapons program demonstrates with certainty that Saddam Hussein
was preparing for aggression on a still larger scale and with more terrible weapons.
This war set an extraordinary example of international cooperation at the beginning of the
post-Cold War era. By weakening the forces of violence and radicalism, it has created new
openings for progress in the Arab-Israeli peace process, hopes that are symbolized by the
process that began with the unprecedented conference in Madrid. This is part of a broader
change in the dynamics of the region. It may not be a coincidence that after this war our
hostages in Lebanon were freed. The objectives for which the United Nations Security
Council authorized the use of force have been achieved. Potential aggressors will think
twice, and small countries will feel more secure.
Victory in the Gulf has also resulted in much greater credibility for the United States on the
world scene. America demonstrated that it would act decisively to redress a great wrong and
to protect its national interests in the post-Cold War world. Combined with the dissolution
of the Soviet Union, the victory in the Gulf has placed the United States in a strong position
of leadership and influence.
The war was also important for what it tells us about our armed forces, and America's future
defense needs. On August 2, 1990, the very day Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, President
Bush was in Aspen, Colorado, presenting for the first time America's new defense strategy
for the 1990s and beyond, a strategy that takes into account the vast changes in Eastern
Europe and the former Soviet Union and envisions significant reductions in our forces and
budgets. A distinguishing feature of this new strategy which was developed well before the
Kuwait crisis is that it focuses more on regional threats, like the Gulf conflict, and less on
global conventional confrontation.
The new strategy and the Gulf war continue to be linked, as we draw on the lessons of the
war to inform our decisions for the future. As we reshape America's defenses, we need to
look at Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm for indications of what military
capabilities we may need not just in the next few years, but 10, 20 or 30 years hence. We
need to consider why we were successful, what worked and what did not, and what is
important to protect and preserve in our military capability.
As we do so, we must remember that this war, like every other, was unique. We benefitted
greatly from certain of its features such as the long interval to deploy and prepare our forces
that we cannot count on in the future. We benefitted from our enemy's near-total
international isolation and from our own strong Coalition. We received ample support from
the nations that hosted our forces and relied on a well-developed coastal infrastructure that
may not be available the next time. And we fought in a unique desert environment,
challenging in many ways, but presenting advantages too. Enemy forces were fielded for the
most part in terrain ideally suited to armor and air power and largely free of noncombatants.
We also benefitted from the timing of the war, which occurred at a unique moment when
we still retained the forces that had been built up during the Cold War. We could afford to
move the Army's VII Corps from Germany to Saudi Arabia, since the Soviet threat to
Western Europe had greatly diminished. Our deployments and operations benefitted greatly
from a world-wide system of bases that had been developed during, and largely because of,
the Cold War. For example, a large percentage of the flights that airlifted cargo from the
United States to the theater transited through the large and well-equipped air bases at
Rhein-Main in Germany and Torrejon in Spain. Without these bases, the airlift would have
been much more difficult to support. U.S. forces operating from Turkey used
NATO-developed bases. In addition, bases in England and elsewhere were available to
support B-52 operations that would otherwise have required greater flying distances or the
establishment of support structures in the theater.
We should also remember that much of our military capability was not fully tested in
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. There was no submarine threat. Ships did not
face significant anti-surface action. We had little fear that our forces sent from Europe or the
U.S. would be attacked on their way to the region. There was no effective attack by aircraft
on our troops or our port and support facilities. Though there were concerns Iraq might
employ chemical weapons or biological agents, they were never used. American
amphibious capabilities, though used effectively for deception and small scale operations,
were not tested on a large scale under fire. Our ground forces did not have to fight for long.
Saddam Hussein's missiles were inaccurate. There was no interference to our space-based
systems. As such, much of what was tested needs to be viewed in the context of this unique
environment and the specific conflict.
Even more important to remember is that potential adversaries will study the lessons of this
war no less diligently than will we. Future adversaries will seek to avoid Saddam Hussein's
mistakes. Some potential aggressors may be deterred by the punishment Iraq's forces
suffered. But others might wonder if the outcome would have been different if Iraq had
acquired nuclear weapons first, or struck sooner at Saudi Arabia, or possessed a larger
arsenal of more sophisticated ballistic missiles, or used chemical or biological weapons.
During the war, we learned a lot of specific lessons about systems that work and some that
need work, about command relations, and about areas of warfare where we need
improvement. We could have used more ships of particular types. We found we did not
have enough Heavy Equipment Transporters or off-road mobility for logistics support
vehicles. Sophisticated equipment was maintained only with extra care in the harsh desert
environment. We were not nearly capable enough at clearing land and sea mines, especially
shallow water mines. This might have imposed significant additional costs had large scale
amphibious operations been required. We moved quickly to get more Global Positioning
System receivers in the field and improvised to improve identification devices for our
ground combat vehicles, but more navigation and identification capabilities are needed. The
morale and intentions of Iraqi forces and leaders were obscure to us. Field <pg xviii start>
commanders wanted more tactical reconnaissance and imagery. We had difficulty with
battle damage assessment and with communications interoperability. Tactical ballistic
missile defense worked, but imperfectly. Mobile missile targeting and destruction were
difficult and costly; we need to do better. We were ill-prepared at the start for defense
against biological warfare, even though Saddam had developed biological agents. And
tragically, despite our best efforts there were here, as in any war, losses to fire from friendly
forces. These and many other specific accomplishments, shortcomings and lessons are
discussed in greater depth in the body of the report.
Among the many lessons we must study from this war, five general lessons noted in the
Interim Report still stand out.
- Decisive Presidential leadership set clear goals, gave others confidence in America's sense
of purpose, and rallied the domestic and international support necessary to reach those
- A revolutionary new generation of high-technology weapons, combined with innovative
and effective doctrine, gave our forces the edge;
- The high quality of our military, from its skilled commanders to the highly ready,
well-trained, brave and disciplined men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces made an
extraordinary victory possible;
- In a highly uncertain world, sound planning, forces in forward areas, and strategic air and
sea lift are critical for developing the confidence, capabilities, international cooperation, and
reach needed in times of trouble; and
- It takes a long time to build the high-quality forces and systems that gave us success.
These general lessons and related issues are discussed at length below.
President Bush's early conviction built the domestic and international consensus that
underlay the Coalition and its eventual victory. The President was resolute in his
commitment both to expel the Iraqi forces from Kuwait and to use decisive military force to
accomplish that objective. President Bush accepted enormous burdens in committing U.S.
prestige and forces, which in turn helped the nation and the other members of the Coalition
withstand the pressures of confrontation and war. Many counseled inaction. Many predicted
military catastrophe or thousands of casualties. Some warned that even if we won, the Arabs
would unite against us. But, having made his decision, the President never hesitated or
This crisis proved the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, who gave the office of the
Presidency the authority needed to act decisively. When the time came, Congress gave the
President the support he needed to carry his policies through, but those policies could never
have been put in place without his personal strength and the institutional strength of his
Two critical moments of Presidential leadership bear particular mention. In the first few
days following the invasion, the President determined that Saddam Hussein's invasion of
Kuwait would not stand. At the time, we could not be sure that King Fahd of Saudi Arabia
would invite our assistance to resist Iraq's aggression. Without Saudi cooperation, our task
would have been much more difficult and costly. The Saudi decision to do so rested not
only on their assessment of the gravity of the situation, but also on their confidence in the
President. Without that confidence, the course of history might have been different. A
second critical moment came in November, 1990, when the President directed that we
double our forces in the Gulf to provide an overwhelming offensive capability. He sought to
ensure that if U.S. forces were to go into battle, they would possess <pg xix start> decisive
force the U.S. would have enough military strength to be able to seize and maintain the
initiative and to avoid getting bogged down in a long, inconclusive war. The President not
only gave the military the tools to do the job, but he provided it with clear objectives and the
support to carry out its assigned tasks. He allowed it to exercise its best judgment with
respect to the detailed operational aspects of the war. These decisions enabled the military
to perform to the best of its capabilities and saved American lives.
The President's personal diplomacy and his long standing and carefully-nurtured
relationships with other world leaders played a major role in forming and cementing the
political unity of the Coalition, which made possible the political and economic measures
adopted by the United Nations and the Coalition's common military effort. Rarely has the
world community come so close to speaking with a single voice in condemnation of an act
of aggression.
While President Bush's leadership was the central element in the Coalition, its success
depended as well on the strength and wisdom of leaders of the many countries that
comprised it. Prime Minister Thatcher of Great Britain was a major voice for resisting the
aggression from the very outset of the crisis. King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and the leaders of
the other Gulf states Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman defied Saddam
Hussein in the face of imminent danger. President Mubarak of Egypt helped to rally the
forces of the Arab League and committed a large number of troops to the ground war.
President Ozal of Turkey cut off the oil pipeline from Iraq and permitted Coalition forces to
strike Iraq from Turkey, despite the economic cost and the risk of Iraqi military action.
Prime Minister Major of Great Britain continued his predecessor's strong support for the
Coalition, providing important political leadership and committing substantial military
forces. President Mitterrand of France also contributed sizable forces to the Coalition. Our
European allies opened their ports and airfields and yielded priorities on their railroads to
speed our deployment. Countries from other regions, including Africa, East Asia, South
Asia, the Pacific, North and South America, and a sign of new times Eastern Europe chose
to make this their fight. Their commitment provided essential elements to the ultimate
victory. Their unity underlay the widespread compliance with the UN-mandated sanctions
regime, which sought to deprive Iraq of the revenues and imported materials it needed to
pursue its military development programs and to put pressure on its leadership to withdraw
from Kuwait. Once the war began, and the first Iraqi Scud missiles fell on Israeli cities, the
Israeli leadership frustrated Saddam Hussein's plans to widen the war and disrupt the unity
of the Coalition by making the painful, but ultimately vindicated decision to not take
military action and attempt to preempt subsequent attacks.
The prospects for the Coalition were also increased by the vastly changed global context
and the relationship that had been forged between President Bush and President Gorbachev
of the former Soviet Union. During the Cold War, the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq a state
that had close ties to the former Soviet Union might well have resulted in a major East-West
confrontation. Instead, President Bush sought and won Soviet acceptance to deal with the
problem not in the old context of an East-West showdown, but on its own terms. Without
the Cold War motive of thwarting U.S. aims, the Soviet Union participated in an
overwhelming United Nations Security Council majority that expressed an international
consensus opposing the Iraqi aggression. No longer subordinated to East-West rivalry, the
United Nations' action during the Persian Gulf crisis was arguably its greatest success to
date: for the first time since the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June, 1950, the
Security Council was able to authorize the use of force to repel an act of aggression.
Strong political leadership also underlay important international financial support to the war
effort, including large financial contributions from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab
Emirates, Japan, Germany, South Korea and others to help defray U.S. incremental costs.
The total amount committed to defray the costs of the U.S. involvement in the war was
almost $54 billion. This spread the financial burden of the war and helped to cushion the
U.S. economy from its effects. In fact, the $54 billion that was raised, were it a national
defense budget, would be the third largest in the world.
In sum, close examination of the successful international response to the invasion of Kuwait
returns repeatedly to the theme of strong leadership. President Bush's early and firm
opposition to the Iraqi invasion and the military force that stood behind it convinced Saudi
Arabia and the other Gulf states that they could withstand Iraqi threats and led others to
provide not only political support at the UN but also armed forces and money to a Coalition
effort. This remarkable international effort coalesced because Coalition members could take
confidence from the initial U.S. commitment, whose credibility derived from the U.S.
willingness and military capability to do much of the job alone, if necessary. For at the
military level, U.S. leadership was critical. No other nation was in a position to assume the
military responsibility shouldered by the United States in liberating Kuwait.
A Revolutionary New Generation of High-Technology Weapons
A second general lesson of the war is that high-technology systems vastly increased the
effectiveness of our forces. This war demonstrated dramatically the new possibilities of
what has been called the "military- technological revolution in warfare." This technological
revolution encompasses many areas, including stand-off precision weaponry, sophisticated
sensors, stealth for surprise and survivability, night vision capabilities and tactical ballistic
missile defenses. In large part this revolution tracks the development of new technologies
such as the microprocessing of information that has become familiar in our daily lives. The
exploitation of these and still-emerging technologies promises to change the nature of
warfare significantly, as did the earlier advent of tanks, airplanes, and aircraft carriers.
The war tested an entire generation of new weapons and systems at the forefront of this
revolution. In many cases these weapons and systems were being used in large-scale combat
for the first time. In other cases, where the weapons had been used previously, the war
represented their first use in large numbers. For example, precision guided munitions are
not entirely new they were used at the end of the Vietnam war in 1972 to destroy bridges in
Hanoi that had withstood multiple air attacks earlier in the war but their use in large
numbers represented a new stage in the history of warfare.
Technology greatly increased our battlefield effectiveness. Battlefield combat systems, like
the M1A1 tank, AV-8B jet, and the Apache helicopter, and critical subsystems, like
advanced fire control, the Global Positioning System, and thermal and night vision devices,
gave the ground forces unprecedented maneuverability and reach. JSTARS offered a
glimpse of new possibilities for battlefield intelligence. Our forces often found, targeted and
destroyed the enemy's before the enemy could return fire effectively.
The Persian Gulf War saw the first use of a U.S. weapon system (the Patriot) in a tactical
ballistic missile defense role. The war was not the first in which ballistic missiles were used,
and there is no reason to think that it will be the last. Ballistic missiles offered Saddam
Hussein some of his few, limited successes and were the only means by which he had a
plausible opportunity <pg xxi start> (via the attacks on Israel) to achieve a strategic
objective. While the Patriot helped to counter Saddam Hussein's use of
conventionally-armed Scud missiles, we must anticipate that in the future more advanced
types of ballistic missiles, some armed with nuclear, chemical or biological warheads, will
likely exist in the inventories of a number of Third World nations. More advanced forms of
ballistic missile defense, as well as more effective methods of locating and attacking mobile
ballistic missile launchers, will be necessary to deal with that threat.
The importance of technology in the impressive results achieved by Coalition air operations
will be given special prominence as strategists assess the lessons of Desert Storm. Precision
and penetrating munitions, the ability to evade or suppress air defenses, and cruise missiles
made effective, round-the-clock attacks possible on even heavily defended targets with
minimal aircraft losses. Drawing in large part on new capabilities, air power destroyed or
suppressed much of the Iraqi air defense network, neutralized the Iraqi Air Force, crippled
much of Iraq's command and control system, knocked out bridges and storage sites and, as
the war developed, methodically destroyed many Iraqi tanks and much of the artillery in
forward areas capable of delivering chemical munitions.
Indeed, the decisive character of our victory in the Gulf War is attributable in large measure
to the extraordinary effectiveness of air power. That effectiveness apparently came as a
complete surprise to Iraqi leaders. This was illustrated by Saddam Hussein's pronouncement
a few weeks after he invaded Kuwait that, "The United States relies on the air force, and the
air force has never been the decisive factor in the history of war." Coalition land and
sea-based air power was an enormous force multiplier, helping the overall force, and
holding down Coalition casualties to exceptionally low levels. Air power, including attack
helicopters and other organic aircraft employed by ground units, was a major element of the
capability of the ground forces to conduct so effectively a synchronized, high speed,
combined arms attack. Moreover, it helped enable the Arab/Islamic and Marine Corps
forces whose assigned missions were to mount supporting attacks against major Iraqi forces
in place in southeastern Kuwait to reach Kuwait City in just three days.
Although the specific circumstances of the Coalition campaign were highly favorable to
such an air offensive, the results portend advances in warfare made possible by technical
advances enabling precision attacks and the rapid degradation of air defenses. That
assessment acknowledges that the desert climate was well suited to precision air strikes, that
the terrain exposed enemy vehicles to an unusual degree, that Saddam Hussein chose to
establish a static defense, and that harsh desert conditions imposed constant logistical
demands that made Iraqi forces more vulnerable to air interdiction. And, with Iraq isolated
politically, the Coalition air campaign did not risk provoking intervention by a neighboring
power a consideration which has constrained the U.S. in other regional wars. Nonetheless,
while we should not assume that air power will invariably be so successful with such low
casualties in future wars fought under less favorable conditions, it is certain that air power
will continue to offer a special advantage, one that we must keep for ourselves and deny to
our opponents.
On the other hand, air power alone could not have brought the war to so sharp and decisive
a conclusion. Saddam not only underestimated the importance of the Coalition air forces,
but he underestimated our will and ability to employ ground and maritime forces as well.
The ground offensive option ensured that the Coalition would seize the initiative. A
protracted air siege alone would not have had the impact that the combination of air,
maritime and ground offensives was able to achieve. Without the credible threat of ground
and amphibious attacks, the Iraqi defenders might have <pg xxii start> dispersed, dug in
more deeply, concentrated in civilian areas, or otherwise adopted a strategy of outlasting the
bombing from the air. For these purposes, even a much smaller Iraqi force would have
sufficed. Such a strategy would have prolonged the conflict and might have strained the
political cohesion of the Coalition. Given more time, Iraq might have achieved Scud attacks
with chemical or other warheads capable of inflicting catastrophic casualties on Israeli or
Saudi citizens or on Coalition troop concentrations. Even absent those contingencies, a
failure to engage on the ground would have left Saddam Hussein able to claim that his army
was still invincible. The defeat of that army on the ground destroyed his claims to leadership
of the Arab world and doomed his hopes to reemerge as a near term threat.
As was recognized by senior decisionmakers from the earliest days of planning a possible
offensive campaign, the combination of air, naval and ground power used together would
greatly enhance the impact of each. The air campaign not only destroyed the combat
effectiveness of important Iraqi units, but many that survived were deprived of tactical
agility, a weakness that our own ground forces were able to exploit brilliantly. The threat of
ground and amphibious attacks forced the Iraqis to concentrate before the ground attack and
later to move, increasing the effect of air attacks. Similarly, while the air campaign was
undoubtedly a major reason why more than 80,000 Iraqi soldiers surrendered, most of these
surrendered only when advancing ground forces gave the Iraqis in forward positions the
chance to escape the brutal discipline of their military commanders. The ground campaign
also enabled the capture and destruction of vast quantities of Iraqi war materiel.
Evaluations of such complex operations inherently risk selective interpretation, which may
miss the key point that the collective weight of air, maritime, amphibious, and ground
attacks was necessary to achieve the exceptional combat superiority the Coalition forces
achieved in the defeat of Iraq's large, very capable forces. In sum, while air power made a
unique and significantly enlarged contribution to the decisive Coalition victory, the
combined effects of the air, maritime and ground offensives with important contributions
from many supporting forces were key.
The military technological revolution will continue to pose challenges to our forces both to
keep up with competing technologies and to derive the greatest potential from the systems
we have. For example, the extensive use of precision munitions created a requirement for
much more detailed intelligence than had ever existed before. It is no longer enough for
intelligence to report that a certain complex of buildings housed parts of the Iraqi nuclear
program; targeteers now want to know precisely which function is conducted in which
building, or even in which part of the building, since they have the capability to strike with
great accuracy. In addition, the high speed of movement of the ground forces creates a
requirement to know about the locations and movements of friendly and opposing
formations to a greater depth than would have been the case in a more slowly moving battle.
Such improvements can make our forces more effective and save lives that might otherwise
be tragically lost to fire from friendly forces an area in which we still need to improve.
As we assess the impressive performance of our weaponry, we must realize that, under
other circumstances, the results might have been somewhat less favorable. Conditions under
which the Persian Gulf conflict was fought were ideal with respect to some of the more
advanced types of weapons. Even though the weather during the war was characterized by
an atypically large percentage of cloud cover for the region, the desert terrain and climate in
general favored the use of airpower. The desert also allowed the U.S. armored forces to
engage enemy forces at very long range before <pg xxiii start> our forces could be targeted,
an advantage that might have counted for less in a more mountainous or built-up
In addition, future opponents may possess more advanced weapons systems and be more
skilled in using them. In general, Iraqi equipment was not at the same technological level as
that of the Coalition, and Iraq was even further behind when it came to the quality and
training of its military personnel and their understanding of the military possibilities
inherent in contemporary weaponry. A future adversary's strategy may be more adept than
Saddam's. But, the U.S. must anticipate that some advanced weaponry will for a number of
reasons become available to other potential aggressors. Relevant technologies continue to
be developed for civilian use; the end of the Cold War is likely to bring a general relaxation
in constraints on trade in high-technology items; and declining defense budgets in their own
countries may lead some arms producers to pursue more vigorously foreign sales and their
governments to be more willing to let them sell "top-of-the-line" equipment. Thus, much
care is needed in applying the lessons of this war to a possible future one in which the sides
might be more equal in terms of technology, doctrine, and the quality of personnel.
The war showed that we must work to maintain the tremendous advantages that accrue from
being a generation ahead in weapons technology. Future adversaries may have ready access
to advanced technologies and systems from the world arms market. A continued and
substantial research and development effort, along with renewed efforts to prevent or at
least constrain the spread of advanced technologies, will be required to maintain our
The High Quality of the U.S. Armed Forces
The third general lesson is the importance of high-quality troops and commanders. Warriors
win wars, and smart weapons require smart people and sound doctrine to maximize their
effectiveness. The highly trained, highly motivated all-volunteer force we fielded in
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm is the highest quality fighting force the United
States has ever fielded.
Many aspects of the war the complexity of the weapon systems used, the multinational
coalition, the rapidity and intensity of the operations, the harsh physical environment in
which it was fought, the unfamiliar cultural environment, the threat of chemical or
biological attack tested the training, discipline and morale of the members of the Armed
Forces. They passed the test with flying colors. From the very start, men and women in the
theater, supported by thousands on bases and headquarters around the world, devoted
themselves with extraordinary skill and vigor to this sudden task to mount a major military
operation far from the United States and in conditions vastly different from the notional
theaters for which our forces had primarily trained in the Cold War. Reflecting that
American "can do" spirit, the campaign included some remarkable examples where plans
were improvised, work arounds were found, and new ways of operating invented and
rapidly put into practice. Over 98 percent of our all-volunteer force are high school
graduates. They are well trained. When the fighting began, they proved not just their skills,
but their bravery and dedication. To continue to attract such people we must continue to
meet their expectations for top-notch facilities, equipment and training and to provide the
quality of life they and their families deserve. In taking care of them, we protect the single
most important strategic asset of our armed forces.
The units that we deployed to the Gulf contrast meaningfully with the same units a decade
ago. Among our early deployments to Saudi Arabia following King Fahd's invitation were
the F-15 air superiority fighters of the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing from Langley Air Force
Base in Virginia. <pg xxiv start> Within 53 hours of the order to move, 45 aircraft were on
the ground in Saudi Arabia. Ten years ago, that same wing failed its operational readiness
exam; only 27 of 72 aircraft were combat ready the rest lacked spare parts.
The 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kansas, did a tremendous job in the Gulf. When
we called upon them to deploy last fall, they were ready to go. But, 10 years ago, they only
had two-thirds of the equipment needed to equip the division, and half of that was not ready
for combat.
Our forces' performance bore testimony to the high quality of the training they had received.
Of particular note are the various training centers which use advanced simulation, computer
techniques, and rigorous field operations to make the training as realistic as possible and to
exploit the benefits of subsequent critique and review. For example, many of the soldiers
who fought in Desert Storm had been to the armored warfare training at the National
Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, which has been described as tougher than
anything the troops ran into in Iraq. Similarly, the Air Force "Red Flag" exercise program,
which employs joint and multinational air elements in a realistic and demanding training
scenario, provided a forum for the rehearsal of tactics, techniques and procedures for the
conduct of modern theater air warfare. The Navy's "Strike University" aided greatly in air
and cruise missile operations, and the Marine Corps training at 29 Palms sharpened Marine
desert war fighting skills. That is the way training is supposed to work.
The war highlighted as well the importance and capability of the reserves. The early
Operation Desert Shield deployments would not have been possible without volunteers
from the Reserves and National Guard. The call-up of additional reserves under the
authority of Title 10, Section 673(b) the first time that authority has ever been used was
critical to the success of our operations. Reserves served in combat, combat support and
combat service support roles and they served well. However, the use of reserves was not
without some problems. For example, the war exposed problems with including reserve
combat brigades in our earliest-deploying divisions. Tested in combat, the Total Force
concept remains an important element of our national defense. Nonetheless, as we reduce
our active forces under the new strategy, we will need to reduce our reserve components as
Our success in the Gulf reflected outstanding military leadership, whether at the very top,
like General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Norman
Schwarzkopf, Commander in Chief of the forces in U.S. Central Command; or at the
Component level, like Lieutenant General Chuck Horner, who orchestrated the Coalition's
massive and brilliant air campaign, or Vice Admiral Hank Mauz and Vice Admiral Stan
Arthur, who led the largest deployment of naval power into combat since World War II, or
Lieutenant General John Yeosock, who implemented the now-famous "left hook," or
Lieutenant General Walt Boomer who led his Marines to the outskirts of Kuwait City, while
continuing to divert Iraqi attention to a possible amphibious attack, or Lieutenant General
Gus Pagonis who provisioned this enormous force that had deployed unexpectedly half-way
around the world; or at the Corps or division commander, wing commander, or battle group
commander level. The command arrangements and the skills of the military leadership were
challenged by the deployment of such a large force in a relatively short period of time, the
creation or substantial expansion of staffs at various levels of command and the
establishment of working relationships among them, the melding of the forces of many
different nations and of the different services into an integrated theater campaign, and the
rapid pace of the war and the complexity of the operations. The result was a <pg xxv start>
coordinated offensive operation of great speed, intensity and effectiveness.
This conflict represented the first test of the provisions of the Goldwater-Nichols
Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 in a major war. The act strengthened
and clarified the authority of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We were fortunate in
this precedent setting time when joint arrangements were tested to have a Chairman with
the unique qualities of General Colin Powell. General Powell's strategic insight and
exceptional leadership helped the American people through trying times and ensured our
forces fought smart. He drew upon all of our capabilities to bring the necessary military
might to bear. We were also fortunate to have a superb Vice Chairman, Admiral Dave
Jeremiah, and an outstanding group of Service Chiefs who provided excellent military
advice on the proper employment of their forces. Working with their Service Secretaries,
they fielded superbly trained and equipped forces, and saw that General Schwarzkopf got
everything he required to prosecute the campaign successfully. The nation was well served
by General Carl Vuono, Admiral Frank Kelso, General Merrill McPeak, and General Al
Gray of the Joint Chiefs, as well as Admiral Bill Kime of the Coast Guard. To them and
their associates, great credit must be given.
The act also clarified the roles of the Commanders in Chief of the Unified and Specified
Commands and their relationships with the Services and the service components of their
commands. Overall, the operations in the Gulf reflected an increased level of jointness
among the services. Indeed, in the spirit of Goldwater-Nichols, General Schwarzkopf was
well-supported by his fellow commanders. General H.T. Johnson at Transportation
Command delivered the force. General Jack Galvin at European Command provided forces
and support. General Donald Kutyna at Space Command watched the skies for Scuds.
General Ed Burba, commanding Army forces here in the continental U.S., provided the
Army ground forces and served as rear support. Admiral Chuck Larson in the Pacific and
Admiral Leon Edney in the Atlantic provided Navy and Marine Forces, while General Lee
Butler at SAC provided bombers, refuelers, and reconnaissance. General Carl Stiner
provided crack special operations forces. It was a magnificent team effort.
General Schwarzkopf and his counterparts from diverse Coalition nations faced the task of
managing the complex relationships among their forces. This task, challenging enough
under the best of circumstances, was particularly difficult given the great cultural
differences and political sensitivities among the Coalition partners. The problem was solved
by an innovative command arrangement involving parallel international commands, one,
headed by General Schwarzkopf, incorporating the forces from the Western countries, and
another, under the Saudi commander, Lieutenant General Khalid bin Sultan bin
Abdul-Aziz, for the forces from the Arab and Islamic ones. In historical terms, the Coalition
was noteworthy not only because of the large number of nations that participated and the
speed with which it was assembled, but also because the forces of all these nations were
participating in a single theater campaign, within close proximity to each other on the
battlefield. The close coordination and integration of these diverse units into a cohesive
fighting force was achieved in large part thanks to the deftness with which General
Schwarzkopf managed the relations with the various forces of the nations of the Coalition
and to his great skill as a commander.
The high quality of our forces was critical to the planning and execution of two very
successful deception operations that surprised and confused the enemy. The first deception
enabled the Coalition to achieve tactical surprise at the outset of the air war, even though the
attack, given the passage of the United Nations <pg xxvi start> deadline, was in a strategic
sense totally expected and predictable. The deception required, for example, the careful
planning of air operations during the Desert Shield period, to accustom the Iraqis to intense
air activity of certain types, such as refueling operations, along the Saudi border. As a result,
the heavy preparatory air activity over Saudi Arabia on the first night of Desert Storm does
not appear to have alerted the Iraqis that the attack was imminent.
The second deception operation confused the Iraqis about the Coalition's plan for the
ground offensive. Amphibious landing exercises as well as other activities that would be
necessary to prepare for a landing (such as mine sweeping near potential landing areas)
were conducted to convince the Iraqis that such an attack was part of the Coalition plan. At
the same time, unobserved by the Iraqis who could not conduct aerial reconnaissance
because of Coalition air supremacy, the VII Corps and XVIII Airborne Corps shifted
hundreds of kilometers to the west from their initial concentration points south of Kuwait.
Deceptive radio transmissions made it appear that the two Corps were still in their initial
positions, while strict discipline restricted reconnaissance or scouting activity that might
have betrayed an interest in the area west of Kuwait through which the actual attack was to
be made. The success of this deception operation both pinned down several Iraqi divisions
along the Kuwaiti coast and left the Iraqis completely unprepared to meet the Coalition's
"left hook" as it swung around the troop concentrations in Kuwait and enveloped them.
Coalition strategy also benefitted immensely from psychological operations, the success of
which is evidenced primarily by the large number of Iraqi soldiers who deserted Iraqi ranks
or surrendered without putting up any resistance during the ground offensive. Our efforts
built on, among other factors, the disheartening effect on Iraqi troops of the unanswered and
intensive Coalition aerial bombardment, the privations they suffered due to the degradation
of the Iraqi logistics system, and the threat of the impending ground campaign. Radio
transmissions and leaflets exploited this demoralization by explaining to the Iraqi troops
how to surrender and assuring them of humane treatment if they did. More specific
messages reduced Iraqi readiness by warning troops to stay away from their equipment
(which was vulnerable to attack by precision munitions) and induced desertions by warning
troops that their positions were about to be attacked by B-52s.
The skill and dedication of our forces were critical elements for the Coalition's efforts to
design and carry out a campaign that would, within the legitimate bounds of war, minimize
the risks of combat for nearby civilians and treat enemy soldiers humanely. Coalition pilots
took additional risks and planners spared legitimate military targets to minimize civilian
casualties. Coalition air strikes were designed to be as precise as possible. Tens of
thousands of Iraqi prisoners of war were cared for and treated with dignity and compassion.
The world will not soon forget pictures of Iraqi soldiers kissing their captors' hands.
In the course of Desert Shield and Desert Storm our troops spent long hours in harsh desert
conditions, in duststorms and rainstorms, in heat and cold. The war saw tense periods of
uncertainty and intense moments under enemy fire. It was not easy for any American
personnel, including the quarter of a million reservists whose civilian lives were disrupted,
or for the families separated from their loved ones. The fact that our pilots did not
experience high losses going through Iraqi air defenses and our ground forces made it
through the formidable Iraqi fortifications with light casualties does not diminish the
extraordinary courage required from everyone who faced these dangers. It was especially
hard for American prisoners of war, our wounded, and, above all, the Americans <pg xxvii
start> who gave their lives for their country and the families and friends who mourn them.
Throughout these trials as America indeed, all the world watched them on television,
American men and women portrayed the best in American values. We can be proud of the
dignity, humanity and skill of the American soldier, sailor, airman and marine.
Sound Planning
The fourth general lesson of the Persian Gulf conflict is the importance in a highly uncertain
world of sound planning, of having forces forward that build trust and experience in
cooperative efforts, and of sufficient strategic lift.
Advance planning played an important role as the Persian Gulf conflict unfolded. It was
important in the days immediately following Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait to have
a clear concept of how we would defend Saudi Arabia and of the forces we would need.
This was important not just for our decisionmakers, but for King Fahd and other foreign
leaders, who needed to judge our seriousness of purpose, and for our quick action should
there be a decision to deploy. Our response in the crisis was greatly aided because we had
planned for such a contingency.
In the fall of 1989, the Department shifted the focus of planning efforts in Southwest Asia
to countering regional threats to the Arabian peninsula. The primary such threat was Iraq.
As a result, CENTCOM prepared a Concept Outline Plan for addressing the Iraqi threat in
the Spring of 1990. The outline plan contained both the overall forces and strategy for a
successful defense of friendly Gulf states. This plan was developed into a draft operations
plan by July 1990. In conjunction with the development of the plan, General Schwarzkopf
had arranged to conduct an exercise, INTERNAL LOOK 90, which began in July. This
exercise tested aspects of the plan for the defense of the Arabian peninsula. When the
decision was made to deploy forces in response to King Fahd's invitation, this plan was
selected as the best option. It gave CENTCOM a head start.
However, while important aspects of the planning process for the contingency that actually
occurred were quite well along, more detailed planning for the deployment of particular
forces to the region had only just begun and was scheduled to take more than a year to
complete. In the end, the actual deployments for Desert Shield and Desert Storm were
accomplished in about half that time.
In the future we must continue to review and refine our planning methods to make sure that
they enable us to adapt to unforeseen contingencies as quickly and as effectively as possible.
General Eisenhower once remarked that while plans may not be important, planning is. The
actual plans that are devised ahead of time may not fit precisely the circumstances that
eventually arise, but the experience of preparing them is essential preparation for those who
will have to act when the unforeseen actually occurs. If we are to take this maxim seriously,
as our recent experience suggests we should, then several consequences seem to flow.
Training must emphasize the speed with which these types of plans must be drawn up, as
that is likely to be vital in an actual crisis. Management systems, such as those which
support deployment and logistics, must be automated with this need for flexibility in mind.
Overall, planning systems must increasingly adapt rapidly to changing situations, with
forces tailored to meet unexpected contingencies.
Past U.S. investment and experience in the region were particularly critical to the success of
our efforts. Saudi Arabia's airports and coastal infrastructure were well developed to receive
a major military deployment. U.S. pilots had frequently worked with their Saudi
counterparts. Each of these factors, in turn, reflected a legacy <pg xxviii start> of past
defense planning and strategic cooperation. U.S. steadfastness in escorting ships during the
Iran-Iraq War, despite taking casualties, added an important element of credibility to our
commitments. Without this legacy of past cooperation and experience in the region, our
forces would not have been as ready, and the Gulf States might never have had the
confidence in us needed for them to confront Iraq.
The success of Operations Desert Shield (including the maritime interception effort) and
Desert Storm required the creation of an international coalition and multinational military
cooperation, not just with the nations of the Arabian peninsula, but with the United
Kingdom, France, Egypt, Turkey and a host of other nations. These efforts were greatly
enhanced by past military cooperation in NATO, in combined exercises, in U.S. training of
members of the allied forces, and in many other ways.
A key element of our strategy was to frustrate Saddam Hussein's efforts to draw Israel into
the war and thereby change the political complexion of the conflict. We devoted much
attention and resources to this problem, but we could not have succeeded without a history
of trust and cooperation with the Israelis.
The Persian Gulf War teaches us that our current planning should pay explicit attention to
the kinds of relationships which might support future coalition efforts. Building the basis for
future cooperation should be an explicit goal of many of our international programs,
including training, weapons sales, combined exercises and other contacts.
Long Lead Times
The forces that performed so well in Desert Storm took a long time to develop; decades of
preparation were necessary for them to have been ready for use in 1991. The cruise missiles
that people watched fly down the streets of Baghdad were first developed in the mid-'70s.
The F-117 stealth fighter bomber, which flew many missions against heavily defended
targets without ever being struck, was built in the early `80s. Development and production
of major weapons systems today remain long processes. From the time we make a decision
to start a new aircraft system until the time it is first fielded in the force takes on the average
roughly 13 years.
What is true of weapons systems is also true of people. A general who is capable of
commanding a division in combat is the product of more than 25 years' training. The same
is true for other complex tasks of military leadership. To train a senior noncommissioned
officer to the high level of performance that we expect today takes 10 to 15 years.
Units and command arrangements also take time to build and perfect. The units described
earlier that were not ready for combat a decade ago took years to build to their current state.
It takes much longer to build a quality force than to draw it down. Just five years after
winning World War II, the United States was almost pushed off the Korean peninsula by the
army of a third-rate country.
In the past, the appearance of new weapons has often preceded the strategic understanding
of how they could be used. As a result, the side that had a better understanding of the
implications of the new weapons often had a tremendous advantage over an opponent
whose weapons might have been as good and as numerous, but whose concept of how to
use them was not. German success in 1940, for example, was less the result of superior
hardware than superior doctrine. Thus, appropriate doctrine and accumulated training will
be critically important in the years ahead. Here, too, years of study and experiment are
required to get the most from our forces. Study of Desert Storm will, itself, be of great
Finally, as noted earlier, the war has reminded us of how important investments in
infrastructure and practice in international cooperative efforts can be to build the trust and
capabilities that will be needed to put together future coalitions and to enable them to
operate successfully in future crises. It takes years of working together to build these kinds
of ties.
The Persian Gulf conflict reminds us that we cannot be sure when or where the next conflict
will arise. In early 1990, many said there were no threats left because of the Soviet
withdrawal from Eastern Europe; very few expected that we would be at war within a year.
We are constantly reminded of the unpredictability of world events. Few in early 1989
expected the dramatic developments that occurred in Eastern Europe that year. Fewer still
would have predicted that within two years the Soviet Union itself would cease to exist.
Looking back over the past century, enormous strategic changes often arose unexpectedly in
the course of a few years or even less. This is not a lesson which we should have to keep
learning anew.
Our ability to predict events 5, 10, or 15 years in the future is quite limited. But, whatever
occurs, we will need high-quality forces to deter aggression or, if necessary, to defend our
interests. No matter how hard we wish for a just peace, there will come a time when a future
President will have to send young Americans into combat somewhere in the world.
As the Department of Defense reduces the armed forces over the next five years, two
special challenges confront us, both of which were highlighted by Operation Desert Storm.
The first is to retain our technological edge out into the future. The second is to be ready for
the next Desert Storm-like contingency that comes along. Just as the high-technology
systems we used in the Gulf war reflect conceptions and commitments of 15, 20, or 25 years
ago, so the decisions we make today will decide whether our forces 10 or 15 years from
now have what they need to do the job with minimum losses. We want our forces of the
year 2015 to have the same high quality our forces had in Desert Storm.
To provide a high-quality force for the future, we must be smart today. We must keep up
our investment in R&D, personnel and crucial systems. But we must also cut unneeded
production, reduce our active and reserve forces, and close unneeded bases so we can use
our resources where they are most needed. M1A1 tanks, F-16s and F-14 aircraft are
excellent systems, but we have enough of them; and some planned modernization can be
safely deferred. We can better use the money saved by investing in the systems of the future.
Reserve forces are valuable but, as we cut the active forces, we must cut the Reserves and
National Guard units assigned the mission of supporting them. Our declining defense
budgets must sustain the high level of training our remaining forces need. And, as we cut
forces, we should cut base structure. Common sense dictates that a smaller force requires
fewer bases.
To reach these goals, the Department has developed a new acquisition strategy, tailored to
the post-Cold War world, that will enable us to get the most from our research and
acquisition efforts at the lowest cost. We have proposed major cuts in new programs, shut
down production lines, and sought significant cuts in active and reserve forces and domestic
and overseas base structure. With the help of Congress and the American people, we can
have a strong defense at greatly reduced cost.
As we reshape America's military and reduce its size, we must be careful that we do so in
accordance with our new defense strategy and with a plan that will preserve the integrity of
the military capability we have so carefully built. If we try to reduce the force too quickly,
we can break it. If we fail to fund the training and high quality we have come to expect, we
will end up with an organization that may still outwardly look like a military, but that
simply will not function. It will take a long time, lost lives and many resources to rebuild;
our nation's security will be hurt, not furthered by such precipitous defense cuts.
If we choose wisely today, we can do well something America has always done badly
before we can draw down our military force at a responsible rate that will not end up
endangering our security. We did not do this well after World War II, and we found
ourselves unprepared for the Korean war barely five years later. We did not draw down
intelligently after Vietnam, and we found ourselves with the hollow forces of the late `70s.
We are determined to avoid repeating these costly errors.
Our future national security and the lives of young Americans of the next decade and
beyond depend on our learning the proper lessons from the Persian Gulf war. It is a task the
Department of Defense takes seriously. Those Americans lost in the Persian Gulf war and
their families paid a heavy price for freedom. If we make the wrong choices now if we
waste defense dollars on force structure we cannot support or on more weapons than we
need or on bases we cannot afford then the next time young Americans go into combat we
may not have the capabilities we need to win.
America can be proud of its role in the Persian Gulf war. There were lessons to be learned
and problems to be sure. But overall there was an outstanding victory. We can be proud of
our conviction and international leadership. We can be proud of one of the most remarkable
deployments in history. We can be proud of our partnership in arms with many nations. We
can be proud of our technology and the wisdom of our leaders at all levels. But most of all
we can be proud of those dedicated young Americans soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines
who showed their skill, their commitment to what we stand for, and their bravery in the way
they fought this war.
DICK CHENEY signature
The final report to Congress on the conduct of hostilities in the Persian Gulf (pursuant to the
requirements of Title V of the Persian Gulf Supplemental and Personnel Benefits Act of
1991) is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the nature of Iraqi forces, Operation
Desert Shield, the Maritime Interception Operations and Operation Desert Storm. The
second part contains appendices dealing with specific issues.
Discussion in Chapters I through VIII focuses on how the threat in the Persian Gulf
developed and how the United States and its Coalition partners responded to that threat at
the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. The narrative is chronological to the extent
possible. In this sense, it touches on issues such as logistics, intelligence, deployment, the
law of armed conflict, and mobilization, among others, only as those issues have a bearing
on the overall chronicle.
This is not to suggest that other issues are not important. In fact, examination of these issues
is of great substantive value to future security plans and programs. To provide ready access
to this information, discussions of specific issues have been structured into appendices. The
intent is to provide as much detail as possible about a specific issue in one location. For all
intents and purposes, the appendices are independent documents and with enough
background to let the reader concerned with a particular area read the appropriate appendix
and forego other parts of the report. Where cross-referencing or overlapping occurs, it is to
achieve that objective.
The content of this report is the result of extensive research conducted through review of
original source documents (such as orders, plans, estimates, and appraisals); information
from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, the United States Central
Command, other unified and specified commands, component commands, and the military
Services; and, in-depth interviews with many senior officers and policy makers involved in
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Research to determine what lessons ought to be
taken from the crisis began before the conflict ended. Throughout, officials at all levels
willingly provided information. However, this conflict was exceptionally well documented
compared with previous crises. Many data points remain in raw form and information on
some aspects of the campaigns remains uncollated and unevaluated. The volume of
available documents, perhaps in the millions of pages, will provide researchers with data for
a number of years. Therefore, while the depictions, conclusions, and evaluations presented
in this report are based on a thorough examination of the existing evidence, they are subject
to modification as additional research makes more information available.
Preparation of the interim and final versions of this report entailed an intensive twelve
month effort involving hundreds of individuals. It was prepared under the auspices of
Honorable Paul Wolfowitz, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. The overall effort was
directed by Honorable I. Lewis Libby, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Policy
guidance was provided by Dr Zalmay Khalilzad, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of
Defense for Policy Planning.
The report was produced in consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and
the Commander-in-Chief, United States Central Command. Joint Staff efforts were directed
by Rear Admiral David B. Robinson, USN, and Major General Alan V. Rogers, USAF, the
Directors of Operational Plans and Interoperability (J-7). They were assisted by Colonel
David L. Vesely, USAF; Colonel Douglas C. Lovelace Jr., USA; Lieutenant Colonel Daniel
J. Pierre, USAF; Commander Stephen G. Gardner, USN; and Lieutenant Colonel Robert E.
Nedergaard, USAF. Major General Burton R. Moore, USAF, Operations Directorate (J-3)
directed contributions of the United States Central Command. He was assisted by
Lieutenant Colonel Garry P. McNiesh, USA.
The Title V Report was researched, coordinated, and written by a joint team which was
headed by Colonel George T. Raach, USA. Team members were: Colonel Phillip H. Bates,
USAR; Colonel John R. Bioty Jr., USMC; Captain Paul W. Hanley, USN; Colonel Michael
Peters, USA; Colonel Joe W. Robben, USMC; Captain Jerry Russell, USNR; Colonel
Edward Soriano, USA; Captain A.H. White, USN; Lieutenant Colonel Edward A.
Bondzeleske, USAF; Lieutenant Colonel Charles E. Byrd, USAF; Lieutenant Colonel Scott
K. Gordon, USAF; Lieutenant Colonel Bernard E. Harvey, USAF; Lieutenant Colonel
Daniel T. Kuehl, USAF; Lieutenant Colonel Gregory S. Laird, USA; Lieutenant Colonel
Gerard J. Monaghan, USAR; Lieutenant Colonel John Peters, USA; Lieutenant Colonel
Claudio J. Scialdo, USAR; Lieutenant Colonel Lloyd M. Scott, USA; Lieutenant Colonel
Kenneth R. Straffer, USA, (ret); Major Richard C. Francona, USAF; Major Richard S.
Moore, USMC; Major Alexander D. Perwich II, USA; Major David K. Swindell, USA;
Captain Ralph A. Butler, USA; Lieutenant Gregory T. Maxwell, USN; and, Captain Kevin
V. Wilkerson, USA; Lieutenant, Linda A. Petrone, USNR; Second Lieutenant Gail Curley,
USA; and Cadet Patrick R. Brien, USAFA.
Lieutenant General Dale A. Vesser, USA, (ret), Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for
Resources and Plans, and Captain Larry R. Seaquist, USN, Assistant to the Principal
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Resourses, also played a valuable role
in the production of this report. Assisting Dr Khalilzad in his supervision of the report were
Dr Wade P. Hinkle, his deputy, and Dr Abram N. Shulsky of the Policy Planning Staff, and
Ms Carol Kuntz, Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for
Strategy and Resources.
At 0100 (Kuwait time), 2 August, three Iraqi Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC)
divisions attacked across the Kuwaiti frontier. A mechanized infantry division and an
armored division conducted the main attack south into Kuwait along the Safwan-' Abdally
axis, driving for the Al-Jahra pass. Another armored division conducted a supporting attack
farther west. Almost simultaneously, at 0130, a special operations force conducted the first
attack on Kuwait City a heliborne assault against key government facilities. Meanwhile,
commando teams made amphibious assaults against the Amir's palace and other key
facilities. The Amir was able to escape into Saudi Arabia, but his brother was killed in the
Iraqi assault on the Dasman Palace.
The three attacking armored and mechanized formations, supported by combat aircraft,
linked up at Al-Jahra. The two divisions conducting the main attack continued east to
Kuwait City, where they joined the special operations forces by 0530. By 1900, Iraqi forces
had secured the city. Concurrently, the supporting armored division moved south from
Al-Jahra to establish blocking positions on the main avenues of approach from the Saudi
border. By the evening of 2 August, Iraqi tanks were moving south of the capital along the
coast to occupy Kuwait's ports.
Kuwaiti armed forces were no match for the assembled Iraqi force. Although Kuwaiti
armed forces had gone on full alert after Saddam Hussein's 17 July speech, they reduced
alert levels a week later to 25 percent. This may have been done in an attempt to reduce the
tension between Kuwait and Iraq. Kuwaiti military resistance was uncoordinated; despite
individual acts of bravery, Kuwaiti forces were hopelessly outmatched. Army elements
attempted to recapture the Amir's palace, and 35th Armored Brigade tanks tried to mount a
defense against approaching Republican Guard armored formations. Kuwaiti casualties are
estimated to have been light, but specific numbers are unknown. Some Kuwaiti forces
successfully retreated across the Saudi border as defenses collapsed. Kuwait Air Force
pilots flew limited sorties against attacking Iraqi units, but were forced to recover in Saudi
Arabia or Bahrain, since the two Kuwaiti air bases had been overrun. By midday, 3 August,
Iraqi forces had taken up positions near the Kuwaiti-Saudi border.
"Without warrant or warning, Iraq has struck brutally at a tiny Kuwait, a brazen challenge to
world law. Iraq stands condemned by a unanimous UN Security Council...President Bush's
taste for bluntness stands him in good stead: 'Naked Aggression!' is the correct term for
President Saddam Hussein's 1 grab at a vulnerable, oil-rich neighbor.''
New York Times
3 August 1990
On 4 August, Iraqi tanks were establishing defensive positions. Hundreds of logistics
vehicles were moving men and massive quantities of munitions and supplies south. RGFC
infantry divisions that had been deployed to the border area in late July moved into Kuwait,
occupied Kuwait City, and secured the primary lines of communications to and from
southern Iraq. By this time, more Iraqi divisions were moving south to Kuwait from
garrisons in Iraq. These forces would replace the RGFC units in defensive positions in
Kuwait. This replacement was ominous for, while it allowed a possible return of RGFC
units to Iraq, it also freed these formations for a subsequent attack into Saudi Arabia, should
Saddam order it.
pg 4 map: Iraqi Assault Operations, 2 August 90. Area map of Kuwait and Iraq shows four
assault division's (two armored, one mechanized infantry, and one infantry/special forces)
approximate jumpoff locations and attack routes on the day of attack/invasion. Specific
divisions involved are not listed or indicated on the map. The western armored unit is
shown attacking/deploying to the middle and middle western portions of Kuwait. The
centrally positioned armored and mechanized infantry divisions are shown swinging
towards Kuwait City. The special forces infantry division is shown attacking Kuwait City
from a sea route.
Kuwait, a country slightly smaller than New Jersey, consists of flat to slightly undulating
desert plains. It has almost no defensible terrain. The only significant elevation in the
country is the Al-Mutl'a Ridge, just north of the city of Al-Jahra. A pass in this ridge at
Al-Jahra is the traditional defensive position against an approach from the north. British
troops occupied the position in the 1961 defense of Kuwait when Iraq threatened to seize
the newly independent country. In the Gulf War, Iraqi troops mined and fortified this pass as
a defense against potential Coalition attacks north toward the Iraq-Kuwait frontier.
By 6 August, the Iraqis had consolidated their gains and were resupplying their forces,
another indication Iraq might continue its drive south. At this point, elements of at least 11
divisions were either in or entering Kuwait. This amounted to more than 200,000 soldiers,
supported by more than 2,000 tanks. Two days later, Saddam announced the annexation of
the country, describing Kuwait as the "19th Province an eternal part of Iraq."
pg 4 map: Iraqi Dispositions in Kuwait, 6 August 90. Map shows 11 Iraqi divisions (5
armor, 2 mechanized infantry, and 4 infantry) and their general areas of responsibility
(AORs) four days after invasion. The specific units involved are not indicated.
Emerging from the Iran-Iraq war at the helm of the dominant military power in the Gulf,
Saddam saw himself as the premier leader in (and of) the Arab world. In April 1990,
claiming an enlarged regional role, Saddam had demanded withdrawal of US forces from
the Gulf, claiming there no longer was any need for foreign presence in the region. On 1
July, Saddam declared Iraq now had binary chemical weapons (CW) "a deterrent
sufficient to confront the Israeli nuclear weapon." At the same time, the Iraqi leader made
several threatening speeches, turning his attention to his Arab neighbors, claiming Iraq
alone had defended the "Arab nation" against the age-old Persian threat.
On 17 July, Saddam accused Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates of complicity with the
United States to cheat on oil production quotas. He blamed this overproduction for driving
down the price of oil, causing losses of billions of dollars to Iraq. During this period, the
Iraqi million-man armed forces and aggressive research and development programs
(including Iraq's large nuclear development effort) were consuming enormous sums of
money. Iraq's 1990 military budget was $12.9 billion, or approximately $700 per citizen in a
country where the average annual income was $1,950. By mid 1990, Iraq had only enough
cash reserves for three months of imports and an inflation rate of 40 percent.
"He who launches an aggression against Iraq or the Arab nation will now find someone to
repel him. If we can strike him with a stone, we will. With a missile, we will...and with all
the missiles, bombs, and other means at our disposal."
18 April 1990
Saddam was born on 28 April 1937 near Tikrit and was raised in the home of his maternal
uncle, after the breakup of his parents' marriage. After his bid to attend the Iraqi national
military academy was rejected, an embittered Saddam turned to the Ba'ath Party. As a Party
member, he took part in the aborted assassination attempt against the ruler of Iraq in 1959.
Wounded in the attack, he escaped Iraq and made his way to Syria, and in 1961, to Egypt,
where he reportedly attended college. He returned in 1963, after a successful Ba'ath coup in
Baghdad. When the Ba'athis were ousted later that same year, Saddam was arrested and
spent two years in prison. He escaped and spent two years underground, planning the
successful 17 July 1968 coup. Saddam became vice chairman of the Revolutionary
Command Council and de facto ruler of Iraq by eliminating any opposition. In July 1979, he
convinced then-President Ahmad Hassan Al-Bakr to resign, and was named President of the
Republic, Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, Supreme Commander of the
Armed Forces, and Secretary General of the Ba'ath Party.
Iraq largely had financed the military expenditures of the war with Iran through loans. By
1990, creditors were reluctant to extend new development loans until substantial parts of the
old debt were paid. Many loans were in serious arrears, especially those made by other Arab
states. Iraq's Arab neighbors were reluctant to write off more than $37 billion in loans made
to Iraq. Baghdad did not believe it necessary to repay immediately what it considered "soft"
loans from Gulf Cooperation Council members. (Saddam argued Iraq had gone to war with
Iran to protect the Arabian Peninsula from the threat of Iranian expansionism. Thus,
according to this argument, Gulf states ought not dun Iraq for expenses incurred on their
behalf.) If not rescheduled, the required annual principal and interest payments on the
non-Arab debt alone would have consumed more than half of Iraq's estimated $13 billion
1989 oil revenues. Debt service in subsequent years would have had an equally deleterious
pg 6 map: Iraqi-Kuwaiti Island Disputes. Map highlights Kuwaiti Bubiyan and Warbah
islands (under dispute with Iraq). The offshore terminals, Khawr Al-'Amayah and Mina AlBakr, are also shown along with an Iraqi expressway under construction.
Iraq's large expenditures on its military forces both aggravated its financial distress and
provided the muscle with which to intimidate its rich, but weak, neighbor Kuwait. Saddam
initially demanded money from Kuwait; this demand was rejected by the Kuwaiti Amir,
who instead offered a small, long-term loan. Iraq again raised the long-standing question of
ownership of the islands of Warbah and Bubiyan, which it claimed are important for secure
access to its ports on the Khawr 'Abd Allah the waterway leading to the Persian Gulf that
is the only alternative to the closed Shatt Al-'Arab, cluttered with debris from the Iran-Iraq
war, sunken vessels, tons of unexploded ordnance (including nerve and blister agent
rounds), and more than 10 years of silting. Iraq's limited access to the sea had forced the
country to rely on its neighbors' ports since the Shatt was closed in 1980. (For example,
Iraq's energy sector depended on the cooperation of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, whose ports
handled 90 percent of Iraqi oil exports.) Efforts to clear the Shatt had been stymied by cost
and difficulty. An Iraqi-built canal from Al-Basrah to Az-Zubayr could not handle large oil
export vessels. In any case, vessels using this waterway must pass near the Kuwaiti islands
of Warbah and Bubiyan. If held by a hostile government, the islands effectively could deny
Iraqi access to the Persian Gulf. Kuwait, however, had taken no action to deny Iraq access to
the Gulf.
Iraq had demanded repeatedly the two islands be transferred or leased to it. On 20 March
1973, Iraqi troops seized the Kuwaiti border post of As-Samitah and Iraq announced it was
annexing a small strip of Kuwaiti territory near the Iraqi port city of Umm Qasr. Saudi
Arabia immediately came to Kuwait's aid and, with the Arab League, secured Iraq's
withdrawal. There was a minor border incident in this area in 1983, but this issue was
temporarily shelved in 1984 because of the pressures of the war with Iran Baghdad
needed access to Kuwait's ports to import weapons and ammunition.
The issue of Bubiyan and Warbah islands was only part of the history of contention between
Iraq and Kuwait. In 1961, when Great Britain ended its protectorate over Kuwait, then Iraqi
Prime Minister 'Abd Al-Karim Qasim asserted that Kuwait is an "integral part of Iraq,"
because it had been part of the former Ottoman province of Al-Basrah. Iraq threatened to
exert its sovereignty over Kuwait, but the resulting deployment of British troops to Kuwait
forced the Iraqis to back down. Although subsequent regimes have relinquished this claim
by recognizing Kuwait's independence, Iraq never agreed formally to accept the existing
boundary between the two countries. Iraq, in 1990, also claimed Kuwait was illegally
extracting oil from the Iraqi-claimed Ar-Rumaylah oil field, which straddles the de facto
pg 7 map: Iraqi Forces - 1 August 90. 8 Divisions on Kuwaiti Border. Map shows general
locations of 4 RG (republican guard) infantry divisions, 2 RG armor divisions, 1 RG
mechanized infantry division and 1 RG special forces division 1 day before the attack on
Kuwait. Other search words: Republican Guard.
As the situation in July 1990 escalated from a war of words to deployment of a massive
Iraqi force north of Kuwait, Arab leaders sought to resolve the crisis peacefully. Egyptian
President Husni Mubarak and Saudi King Fahd offered their good offices. These leaders
arranged a meeting between Kuwaiti and Iraqi officials in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on 1
August. But the Iraqi representative, Izzat Ibrahim Ad-Duri, walked out, complaining of
Kuwaiti reluctance to discuss Iraqi claims to the islands or to forgive Iraq's debt to Kuwait.
The Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister claimed "no agreement has been reached on anything
because we did not feel from the Kuwaitis any seriousness in dealing with the severe
damage inflicted on Iraq as a result of their recent behavior and stands against Iraq's basic
Kuwait quite reasonably rejected Iraq's demands for money and territory. It had sought to
ameliorate the crisis by concessions at the negotiation table. These concessions included
guaranteed loans to the Iraqi government, and sharing of revenue derived from the
Ar-Rumaylah oil field. By this time, however, Iraqi forces were on the move. Senior Iraqi
military officers captured during Operation Desert Storm claimed the decision to invade had
been made already in Baghdad.
In fact, Iraqi Republican Guard units had begun moving from garrisons around Baghdad as
Saddam made his 17 July speech accusing Kuwait (among others) of cheating Iraq of oil
revenue and of occupying territory belonging to Iraq. By 21 July, a RGFC armored division
had deployed just north of Kuwait. There were reports that as many as 3,000 military
vehicles were on the road leading south from Baghdad to the Kuwaiti border. In two weeks,
the bulk of the combat power of Iraq's best military force the Republican Guard was
moved hundreds of kilometers into positions that would permit an attack into Kuwait with
almost no warning.
By 1 August, there were eight RGFC divisions (two armored, one mechanized, one special
forces and four infantry) between Al-Basrah and the Kuwaiti border. The rapidity of this
buildup indicated the quality and extent of Iraqi staff planning. Some units had moved as far
as 700 kilometers from their home bases. The Iraqis had assembled almost 140,000 troops,
supported by more than 1,500 tanks and infantry vehicles, plus the required artillery, and
logistics. Iraqi air assets in the area increased as well. Attack, fighter, and fighter-bomber
aircraft moved into southern air bases, as did assault helicopters. Air defense systems were
deployed to protect the assembling attack force.
After the fall of the Shah and the rise to power of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini,
relations between Tehran and Baghdad deteriorated quickly. Khomeini called for the
overthrow of Iraq's Ba'ath Party, actively supported anti-Ba'ath groups, and aided
assassination attempts against senior Iraqi officials. Conversely, Iraq saw an opportunity to
abrogate the 1975 Algiers Treaty, which had established joint Iraqi-Iranian control over the
Shatt Al-'Arab by delineating the international border at the center of the navigable channel.
Iraq believed its troops could defeat the Iranian armed forces, badly disintegrated by the
Iranian revolution.
Iraq launched a two-corps attack into Iran in September 1980 and captured Iranian territory
in the Arabic-speaking, oil-rich area of Khuzistan. Saddam expected the invasion to result
in an Arab uprising against Khomeini's fundamentalist Islamic regime. This revolt did not
materialize, however, and the Arab minority remained loyal to Tehran. After a month of
advances, the Iraqi attack stalled; for a time, the situation was characterized by small attacks
and counterattacks, with neither side able to gain a distinct advantage. In 1982, when a
major offensive failed, Saddam ordered a withdrawal to the international borders, believing
Iran would agree to end the war. Iran did not accept this withdrawal as the end of the
conflict, and continued the war into Iraq.
Believing it could win the war merely by holding the line and inflicting unacceptable losses
on the attacking Iranians, Iraq initially adopted a static defensive strategy. This was
successful in repelling successive Iranian offensives until 1986 and 1987, when the Al-Faw
peninsula was lost and Iranian troops reached the gates of Al-Basrah. Embarrassed by the
loss of the peninsula and concerned by the threat to his second largest city, Saddam ordered
a change in strategy. From a defensive posture, in which the only offensive operations were
counterattacks to relieve forces under pressure or to exploit failed Iranian assaults, the Iraqis
adopted an offensive strategy. More decision-making authority was delegated to senior
military commanders. The success of this new strategy, plus the attendant change in
doctrine and procedures, virtually eliminated Iranian military capabilities. The change also
indicated a maturing of Iraqi military capabilities and an improvement in the armed forces'
Four major battles were fought from April to August 1988, in which the Iraqis routed or
defeated the Iranians. In the first offensive, named Blessed Ramadhan, Iraqi Republican
Guard and regular Army units recaptured the Al-Faw peninsula. The 36-hour battle was
conducted in a militarily sophisticated manner with two main thrusts, supported by
heliborne and amphibious landings, and low-level fixed-wing attack sorties. In this battle,
the Iraqis effectively used chemical weapons (CW), using nerve and blister agents against
Iranian command and control facilities, artillery positions, and logistics points.
Three subsequent operations followed much the same pattern, although they were
somewhat less complex. After rehearsals, the Iraqis launched successful attacks on Iranian
forces in the Fish Lake and Shalamjah areas near Al-Basrah and recaptured the oil-rich
Majnun Islands. Farther to the north, in the last major engagement before the August 1988
cease-fire, Iraqi armored and mechanized forces penetrated deep into Iran, defeating Iranian
forces and capturing huge amounts of armor and artillery. In the fall of 1988, the Iraqis
displayed in Baghdad captured Iranian weapons amounting to more than three-quarters of
the Iranian armor inventory and almost half of its artillery pieces and armored personnel
Iraq's victory was not without cost. The Iraqis suffered an estimated 375,000 casualties, the
equivalent of 5.6 million for a population the size of the United States. Another 60,000 were
taken prisoner by the Iranians. The Iraqi military machine numbering more than a
million men with an extensive arsenal of CW, extended range Scud missiles, a large air
force and one of the world's larger armies emerged as the premier armed force in the
Persian Gulf region. In the Middle East, only the Israel Defense Force had superior
In retrospect, it appears Iraq probably never intended to come to terms with Kuwait through
negotiation. Rather, it may well have been that, in Iraq's view, the late-July political
maneuverings and 1 August talks in Jiddah were only a pretext to provide time for final
preparations and to give an air of legitimacy to the coming invasion.
At the time of the invasion of Kuwait, the Iraqi armed forces were, by any measure, a
formidable and battle-tested fighting force. Iraq began the crisis with one of the world's
larger armies, equipped with great numbers of tanks, armored personnel carriers and
artillery, some of which were state-of-the-art models. It had a sizable air force with many
top-line fighters and fighter-bombers (F-1s, MiG-29s and Su-24s) and a modern air defense
command and control (C2) system. During the last six months of the Iran-Iraq war, the Iraqi
army had demonstrated a capability to conduct multi-axis, multi-corps, combined-arms
operations deep into hostile territory. The staff could conduct long-range planning;
coordination of air and artillery preparations; timing of movements and operations;
coordination of complicated logistics requirements; and movement of supplies, equipment,
and troops to the right place at the designated time. They had developed excellent
operational security and deception.
Iraqi armed forces were structured similarly to the British forces, but their operations were
modeled more closely on Soviet armed forces. The senior military echelon in Iraq is the
General Headquarters (GHQ), which integrates operations of the Republican Guard, Army,
Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces, and Popular Army. It is dominated by ground force
Iraqi ground forces were the largest in the Persian Gulf at the time of the invasion of
Kuwait. They included the Republican Guard Forces Command, the regular Army, and the
Popular Army. Iraqi ground forces had more than 5,000 main battle tanks, 5,000 armored
infantry vehicles, and 3,000 artillery pieces larger than 100mm. These forces were
supported by enough heavy equipment transporters to move a three-division heavy corps at
one time. Iraqi troops were well practiced in conducting short-notice division moves across
considerable distances, as well as other tactical operations.
The Iraqi military supply and transportation infrastructure was extensive and well-equipped,
with ample supplies of ammunition, water, food and fuels. A modern transportation system
had been built inside Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war to ease unit movement to and from
combat areas and to keep them supplied. The logistic system was a hybrid of the Soviet
system, in which materiel is delivered forward from higher echelons before it is needed, and
the British system, in which lower echelons draw materiel as needed. In the Iraqi system,
materiel was sent automatically from GHQ to the corps, based on estimated consumption
requirements. Once at the corps depot, divisions and brigades drew replenishment supplies.
Republican Guard Forces Command
The RGFC was Iraq's most capable and loyal force, and had received the best training and
equipment. It began as an elite organization tasked with regime protection. This
organization served as the core around which to build an elite offensive force, which grew
dramatically during the last two years of the war with Iran. Personnel recruited into the
RGFC were given bonuses, new cars and subsidized housing. At the end of the war with
Iran, the RGFC consisted of eight divisions. Combined with its independent infantry and
artillery brigades, the RGFC comprised almost 20 percent of Iraqi ground forces. Most
RGFC heavy divisions were equipped with Soviet T-72 main battle tanks, Soviet BMP
armored personnel carriers, French GCT self-propelled howitzers and Austrian GHN-45
towed howitzers all modern, state-of-the-art equipment. RGFC armored battalions had
nine more tanks than Army tank battalions, giving them added firepower. Otherwise, the
organization of combat arms units in the Guard and regular Army appeared identical.
The RGFC was subordinate to the State Special Security Apparatus, not the Defense
Ministry; it was believed to be under GHQ operational control during combat. Although the
Guard and regular Army were maintained as separate institutions, they had demonstrated
the ability to fight effectively in the same offensive or defensive operation. The RGFC was
the major assault force in each of the 1988 multi-corps offensive operations that reclaimed
the Al-Faw peninsula, Fish Lake and the Majnun Islands from the Iranians. In these
operations, regular forces fixed the enemy while the RGFC attacked. These offensive
operations in 1988 were notable for their detailed preparation and planning.
The Guard's defensive mission was strategic reserve, withheld until it could influence the
battle decisively with a counterattack, or shore up collapsing Army positions. To prevent the
fall of Al-Basrah in 1987, 12 Guard brigades were committed to battle. Without the
determined RGFC defense, the Iranians would have penetrated the Iraqi lines. In early 1988,
RGFC elements again were sent hurriedly to shore up a weakness in the Al-Basrah defenses
in anticipation of an expected Iranian offensive. GHQ usually reserved authority to commit
the RGFC to battle. The RGFC also was an important political force supporting Saddam,
used to counterbalance the regular Army in case of revolt or to deal with civil unrest.
The regular Army in mid-1990 consisted of more than 50 divisions, additional special
forces brigades, and specialized forces commands composed of maneuver and artillery
units. Although most divisions were infantry, the Army had several armored and
mechanized divisions. Some armored units had a small amount of modern Western and
Soviet equipment, but most of the Army had 1960s-vintage Soviet and Chinese equipment.
Training and equipment readiness of Army units varied greatly, ranging from good in the
divisions that existed before the Iran-Iraq war, to poor in the largely conscript infantry
The basic operational level formation was the corps, which consisted of several divisions
and support units. Iraqi Army divisions were of three basic types: armored, mechanized and
infantry. Divisions normally consisted of three brigades, division artillery, air defense,
reconnaissance, combat support and combat service support units, although temporary
assignment of other units was common. Armored and mechanized divisions were triangular
in organization; armored divisions had two armored brigades and a mechanized brigade,
while mechanized divisions had two mechanized brigades and an armored brigade. Infantry
divisions were assigned three infantry brigades and a tank battalion. Iraqi divisions had at
least four artillery battalions, but often were augmented by additional battalions. Armored
and mechanized brigades normally consisted of four battalions. Armored brigades had three
tank and one mechanized battalions, while a mechanized brigade had three mechanized and
one tank battalion.
Popular Army
The Popular Army was created in 1970 as the Ba'ath Party militia. These units were poorly
trained and equipped and, in August 1990, numbered approximately 250,000, down from
650,000 during the war with Iran. Originally restricted to party members, the Popular
Army's mission was to secure the Ba'ath regime against internal opposition and provide a
power base for the regime in case of a regular Army uprising. During the war with Iran,
nonparty members were inducted into the ranks and as many as 100,000 Popular Army
members were integrated into the regular Army and served for limited periods on the front
lines. By 1990, however, membership once again was restricted to Ba'ath Party members
and its mission restricted to rear area security.
Air Force
In terms of numbers of combat aircraft, the Iraqi Air Force was the largest in the Middle
East in August 1990. The quality of the aircraft and aircrew, however, was very uneven. Its
effectiveness was constrained by the conservative doctrine and aircraft systems limitations.
While Iraqi pilots performed some impressive, relatively complex strikes with the F-1,
air-to-air engagements were unimpressive. Lock on by Iranian fighters generally would
cause Iraqi pilots conducting offensive counter air missions to abort their missions. Survival
dominated their tactics, even when the odds were overwhelmingly in their favor. Aerial
engagements were characterized by high-speed, maximum-range missile launches, and a
lack of aggressive maneuvering. Saddam had proven reluctant to commit the air force to
combat, preferring to keep it in reserve for a final defense of Baghdad and the regime. The
Iraqi Air Force had been used most effectively in the war with Iran against economic targets
such as oil facilities and tankers. During the war, tactics evolved from high-altitude level
bombing to low-level attacks with precision guided munitions (PGMs). Iraq not only
imported cluster bombs and fuel-air explosives, but also had acquired the technology to
produce these weapons. Pilots had become adept at delivering both conventional and
chemical-filled munitions during the final 1988 offensives.
Iraq had more than 700 combat aircraft in its inventory before the invasion of Kuwait.
Fewer than half of these aircraft were either third generation (comparable to the US F-4) or
fourth generation (comparable to US F-15 technology), and were flown by pilots of
marginal quality, compared with US aviators. These aircraft included the Soviet MiG-29
and Su-24 (both fourth generation) as well as the MiG-23, MiG-25, and the French F-1
(third generation). The rest of the aircraft were 1950s and 1960s Soviet and Chinese
technology, and were flown by poorly trained personnel. Nevertheless, under the proper
conditions, even the older aircraft models were effective.
The 65 French-built F-1s and their pilots were the Iraqi Air Force elite. Iraq had acquired a
wide range of weapons and electronic warfare gear for the F-1, including laser-guided
air-to-surface missiles. French-trained pilots exhibited a high degree of skill and
determination when attacking Iranian surface targets, and were more willing to engage in
air-to-air combat than their colleagues flying Soviet-built aircraft. It was an Iraqi F-1 that
fired two Exocet antiship missiles at the USS Stark (FFG 31) in 1987. During the Iraqi
offensives of 1988, F-1s equipped with PGMs attacked Iranian armaments factories, oil
refineries and facilities, bridges and causeways, as well as merchant shipping in the Gulf.
Iraqi aircraft were deployed at more than 24 primary and 30 dispersal airfields throughout
the country. The main operating bases were well constructed, built to withstand
conventional attack. The Iraqis could shelter almost all their aircraft in hardened shelters,
some built by Yugoslav contractors to standards believed to be able to withstand the effects
of air burst detonations of tactical nuclear weapons. Other air base facilities were placed in
hardened shelters or took advantage of natural protection, such as caves.
Air Defense Forces
Iraqi air defenses were redesigned after the Israeli raid on the Osirak nuclear reactor in
1981. A network of radars, surface-to-air missiles (SAM) and antiaircraft artillery (AAA)
was installed, primarily concentrated around strategic and industrial facilities in the
Baghdad area. The national air defense operations center (ADOC) in downtown Baghdad
controlled Iraq's air defenses. The ADOC maintained the overall air picture in Iraq and
established priorities for air defense engagements. Subordinate to this facility were sector
operations centers (SOC), each controlling a specific geographic area. The SOC and the
ADOC were connected by the French-built Kari command and control system. This
modern, computerized system linked the diverse inventory of Soviet and Western radar and
air defense weaponry. It provided a redundant C2 capability.
Air defense weaponry included SA-2, SA-3, SA-6 and Roland SAM systems. Additional air
defense was provided by Air Force interceptors and organic Army assets, including the
SA-7/14, SA-8, SA-9/13, SA-16 missile systems, and the ZSU-23/4 self-propelled AAA
system. In addition, the Iraqi air defense had more than 7,500 AAA pieces protecting all
targets of value, some deployed on the roofs of numerous buildings in Baghdad housing
government facilities. These weapons 57-mm and 37-mm AAA pieces, ZSU-23/4 and
ZSU-57/2 self-propelled AAA systems, and hundreds of 14.5-mm and 23-mm light
antiaircraft weapons formed the backbone of the integrated air defense network. In major
high value target areas (such as Baghdad, airfields, chemical agent production complexes,
and nuclear facilities) the combined arms air defense could prove lethal to aircraft operating
below 10,000 feet.
The Iraqi air defense system was formidable, combining the best features of several
systems. The multi-layered, redundant, computer- controlled air defense network around
Baghdad was more dense than that surrounding most Eastern European cities during the
Cold War, and several orders of magnitude greater than that which had defended Hanoi
during the later stages of the Vietnam War. If permitted to function as designed, the air
defense array was capable of effective protection of key targets in Iraq.
The navy consisted of a collection of Osa guided-missile patrol boats and numerous
auxiliaries. Iraq's Soviet-built Osas were outfitted with the Styx missile with a maximum
range of 46 or 95 kilometers, depending on the variant. While offensive capabilities were
limited, the navy also had the 100-km range Silkworm surface-to-surface missile, whose
half-ton warhead could sink a frigate or damage a battleship.
Another weapon in the Iraqi naval arsenal was a diverse inventory numbering in the
thousands of moored contact and bottom influence mines. Iraqi mines were both
imported and indigenously produced, reverse-engineered copies of at least five foreign
models. Iraq's minelayers could lay extensive minefields in a nonhostile environment.
Moored contact mines detonate when struck and normally are positioned at or below the
water line, making detection possible but often difficult. Bottom influence mines, on the
other hand, are extremely difficult to detect because they are laid on the ocean floor. They
can be programmed to detonate in response to a variety of conditions, such as acoustic or
magnetic stimuli, or after a designated number of ships have passed. The effect of a bottom
influence mine is much more devastating than that of a contact mine.
Iraqi missiles were named for religious leaders or political causes. The first modified Scud
produced by Iraq was named the Al-Husayn, for the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad
and son of 'Ali. Both are revered in Shi'a Islam, whose adherents comprise the majority in
Iraq. 'Ali was martyred in An-Najaf, and Husayn was killed in Karbala, both in Iraq and
both now considered Shi'a holy places. Saddam is a Sunni; the name Al-Husayn may have
been an attempt to appeal to the Shi'a population.
The Al-Hijarah, meaning "The Stones" was named for the Palestinian intifadhah, or
uprising. The youth of the uprising are commonly known in the Arabic press as the
"Children of the Stones." By naming the missile for the preferred weapon of the intifadhah,
Saddam attempted to tie his weapons program (and anti-Israel stance) to the Palestinian
Iraq realized the weakness of its navy; however, financial and political problems prevented
timely correction. In 1980, Iraq signed a $1.8 billion contract with Italy for delivery of four
Lupo class frigates, six Esmerelda class corvettes, one Stromboli class replenishment oiler,
and one floating dry dock. These vessels had not been delivered by the time of the invasion
of Kuwait. Further, Iran stated that any attempt to bring the vessels to the Gulf would
provoke an Iranian effort to block their passage.
Short Range Ballistic Missiles
The Iraqis had launched almost 200 Al-Husayn missiles at targets in Iran in the
February-April 1988 "War of the Cities." The Iranians responded with fewer than 50
standard Scuds. This was the first time Baghdad could strike Tehran with missiles. Because
the circular error probable of the modified Scud missiles was approximately 3,000 meters,
targets were Iranian cities rather than discrete military installations or facilities. Even with a
small warhead, these attacks had great psychological impact on Tehran's population,
causing almost one third of the residents to evacuate the city. It also gave the Iraqi
population a psychological boost.
By the middle of 1990, the Iraqis had the basic Soviet-supplied Scud missile, plus two
indigenous variants. The Al-Husayn missile could reach targets at 600 kilometers, and the
Al-Hijarah could reach targets as far as 750 kilometers. (The Al-Husayn and Al-Hijarah
were used to attack Israel and Saudi Arabia in 1991.) Iraq's modified Scud missiles could be
fired from standard Scud transporter-erector- launchers or Iraqi-produced mobile
erector-launchers. The Iraqi Scud family of missiles could carry conventional (high
explosive) or unitary and binary nerve agent warheads.
pg 14 map and table: Iraqi Missile Capabilities. Map shows 300 km, 600 km, and 750 km
range rings and targetable countries/cities throughout Middle East for the Scud B, AlHusayn, and Al-Hijarah missiles for launch areas in western Iraq (H-2 Airfield) and
southern Iraq (near Kuwait). The table shows the Scud B as having a 300 km range, 900 m
(meter) CEP (circular error probable), and an HE (high explosive) or CW (chemical
warhead) Warhead Option. The Al-Husayn is depicted as having 600 km range, a 3,000 m
CEP, and an HE or CW Warhead. The Al-Hijarah is shown with a 750 km range, an
unknown CEP and an HE or CW warhead. Other search words: surface-to-surface missile,
SSM, missile order of battle, MOB, short ranged ballistic missile, SRBM.
In February 1990, US intelligence detected Iraq construction of five Scud-type missile fixed
launcher complexes in western Iraq. These complexes eventually contained 28 operational
launchers. Assuming the standard 600-km flight trajectory of Iraqi-modified Scud missiles,
missiles launched from the complexes could reach the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv, Haifa, and
the nuclear facility at Dimona in the Negev desert. These sites also could strike targets in
Syria and Turkey.
Chemical Weapons
By 1990, Iraq had the largest chemical agent production capability in the Third World,
annually producing thousands of tons of blister agent mustard and nerve agents Sarin (GB)
and GF. Sarin, a nonpersistent agent, is relatively easy to produce from readily available
chemical precursors. GF, a semipersistent nerve agent similar to Soman (GD), was
produced by the Iraqi research and development establishment when Western nations
restricted the export of chemical precursors required for Soman. Iraqi delivery means, in
addition to missile warheads, included aerial bombs, artillery shells, rockets, and
aircraft-mounted spray tanks. During the war with Iran, Saddam exhibited the willingness to
use CW against not only the Iranians, but also his own Kurdish population. In the spring of
1988, Iraqi troops used CW against Iraqi Kurdish insurgents in the town of Halabjah.
Thousands of civilian men, women, and children died.
Four years earlier, Iraq had become the first nation in history to use nerve agents on the
battlefield. While the agent was not used effectively in 1984, by the beginning of 1988, the
Iraqis had developed an effective offensive doctrine for the use of nerve agents, which fully
integrated CW into fire support plans. Both nerve and blister agents were used successfully
in the final offensives that defeated the Iranians in 1988. These weapons were targeted
specifically against command and control facilities, artillery positions and logistics areas.
Experimental data indicate botulinum toxin is about 3 million times more potent than the
nerve agent Sarin. A Scud missile warhead filled with botulinum could contaminate an area
of 3,700 square kilometers (based on ideal weather conditions and an effective dispersal
mechanism), or 16 times greater than the same warhead filled with Sarin. By the time
symptoms occur, treatment has little chance of success. Rapid field detection methods for
biological warfare agents do not exist. Although botulinum can debilitate in a few hours and
kill in a little as 12, and anthrax takes two to four days to kill, anthrax is more persistent and
can contaminate a much larger area using the same delivery means.
Biological Weapons
By the time of the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq had developed biological weapons. Its advanced
and aggressive biological warfare program was the most extensive in the Arab world.
Although Baghdad stated in 1991 it was in compliance with the 1972 Biological and Toxin
Weapons Convention, the program probably began in the late 1970s and concentrated on
development of two agents botulinum toxin and anthrax bacteria. (United Nations
inspection teams were later to find evidence of these two toxins, as well as clostridium
perfingens.) Large scale production of these agents began in 1989 at four facilities near
Baghdad. Delivery means for biological agents ranged from simple aerial bombs and
artillery rockets to surface-to-surface missiles.
Nuclear Devices Program
By 1990, Saddam had made the development of a nuclear device a high priority project. The
Iraqi nuclear research program had reached the initial stages of producing enriched uranium.
Iraqi scientists were involved in the design, engineering and nonnuclear testing required to
ensure the viability of a nuclear device. The Iraqis had pursued at least five techniques for
enriching uranium; their efforts using electromagnetic isotope separation had progressed the
furthest. The program still required foreign technology and equipment; Iraq's covert
procurement network had obtained much of it.
In March 1990, a joint US-British sting operation prevented the illegal export of US-built
nuclear device-triggering components by Iraqi front companies and Iraqi Airways. In July
1990, the Defense Technology Security Administration discovered that US-built skull
induction furnaces (needed for melting and casting of metals such as uranium, plutonium,
and titanium) were destined for the Iraqi nuclear devices program. Further research revealed
that similar British-made furnaces were also on order for the same research program. Both
US and British shipments were halted.
Iraq did not have a nuclear device at the time of its invasion of Kuwait, although it may
have been able to assemble one or two crude nuclear explosive devices within six months to
one year, using the uranium in the French- and Soviet- supplied reactor fuel. Although
information on Iraqi nuclear devices development was limited at the time of crisis, the
conflict and resulting UN Special Commission inspections will provide greater details on
the scope and progress of the program.
Other Military Research and Development Programs
On 5 December 1989, Iraq launched an indigenously designed prototype experimental space
launch vehicle, the Al-'Abid. Although this vehicle was a crude attempt at space launch
technology, it was an impressive achievement. In September 1988, the Israelis had placed a
satellite in orbit; Saddam was eager to demonstrate his nation's technological achievements.
The Al-'Abid appeared to have three stages; the first were engines in an indigenously built
airframe. The second and third stages were inert, but needed for weight and aerodynamics.
In wide-scale press and television coverage of the launch, Saddam claimed his engineers
also had developed a 2,000-km range ballistic missile (the Tammuz, or July) using similar
In March 1990, British Customs seized parts for a "Super Gun," called Project Babylon by
the Iraqis. This 1,000-mm diameter bore weapon was designed to fire a gun-launched
guided rocket with conventional, chemical or nuclear warheads hundreds of miles.
Although the full-size weapon never was assembled (its components were destroyed after
the war under UN auspices), a 350-mm research prototype had been fired at a site about 120
miles north of Baghdad.
It was this military machine that threatened the almost defenseless state of Kuwait on 1
August. Despite the numerous efforts of Arab and international diplomats and
organizations, the Iraqi leader continued to rattle his saber against another Arab state. When
the Kuwaiti Amir did not acquiesce to his demands, Saddam ordered his forces to attack.
The resulting invasion shocked and outraged the world.
On 2 August, President Bush condemned the invasion, stating the seizure of Kuwait and
potential Iraqi domination of Saudi Arabia through intimidation or invasion presented a real
threat to US national interests, requiring a decisive response. The President immediately
froze all Iraqi and Kuwaiti financial assets in the United States to prevent Iraq from gaining
access to this wealth. On 5 August, after consultations with allies, President Bush
characterized the invasion as "naked aggression" and stated "this shall not stand." The
President decisively framed US national policy objectives:
- Immediate, complete, and unconditional withdrawal of all Iraqi forces from Kuwait;
- Restoration of Kuwait's legitimate government;
- Security and stability of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf; and
- Safety and protection of the lives of American citizens abroad.
US military reaction to the invasion was immediate. Within one hour of the start of the 2
August attack, the Department of Defense (DOD) ordered the USS Independence (CV 62)
battle group to move from near Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to the Gulf of Oman. The
USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) battle group was ordered to sail to the eastern
Mediterranean Sea in preparation for entering the Red Sea. Two Air Force KC-135 tanker
aircraft in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 23 July were ordered to remain in the
area. These aircraft were supporting UAE combat air patrols over its oil facilities in
response to Saddam's accusations on 17 July.
"If history teaches us anything, it is that we must resist aggression or it will destroy our
President George Bush
8 August 1990
On 5 August, three days after the invasion of Kuwait, the President dispatched the Secretary
of Defense to consult with King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. The Secretary was accompanied by
the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Commander-in-Chief, US Central
Command, and his Army and Air Force component commanders. Meeting with the King on
6 August, the Secretary reiterated President Bush's pledge of support for the Kingdom's
security and stability and briefed the Saudi monarch on the US assessment of the situation.
The world's premier oil-producing region Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province was within
the easy reach of Saddam's army. Iraqi forces poised on the Saudi border had the ability,
with little or no warning, to launch an armored thrust into the oil fields, move down the
coast, and close Saudi Arabia's Gulf ports. Such a move would have threatened the
Kingdom's survival, and would have allowed Saddam to control an additional 20 percent of
the world's oil reserves, in addition to the 20 percent he controlled already in Iraq and
Kuwait. Iraqi control of Saudi Arabia's Gulf ports also would have made any military
operations to recapture the seized territory extremely difficult and costly. Whether Saddam
actually planned to invade Saudi Arabia is unknown, but the ominous presence of
overwhelming military force at the Kingdom's northern border, coupled with the fresh
evidence of his willingness to attack his neighbors, constituted a threat to the vital interests
of both Saudi Arabia and the United States. If Saddam's conquest of Kuwait were not
reversed, he would have been in a position to intimidate all the countries of the Arabian
Peninsula. Moreover, no effort to compel Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait could succeed if
Saudi Arabia remained vulnerable to Iraqi attack.
The Secretary of Defense underscored the US willingness to provide the forces needed to
defend Saudi Arabia, and emphasized US forces would leave the Kingdom when the job
was done. In response, King Fahd invited the United States to send forces. President Bush
immediately ordered DOD to begin deployments. (A detailed discussion of US force
deployments is in Chapter III, with supporting information in Appendix E.)
The international coalition that opposed Saddam's wrongful invasion was put together
almost as swiftly, largely through the President's decisive leadership that focused the
international consensus against the aggression and galvanized the nations of the world to act
promptly and forcefully. The United States played a leading role not only in opposing the
invasion, but also in bringing together and maintaining this unprecedented effort.
From the outset of the Gulf crisis, it was clear that American leadership was needed. The
United States was willing to assume the leading role both politically and militarily, but did
not want to be alone. America's allies and friends understood that. They joined the United
States in the United Nations. They joined American forces in the Gulf with soldiers, planes,
ships, and equipment. They provided financial assistance to front-line states and helped with
the United States' incremental costs. What was accomplished in terms of responsibility
sharing was unprecedented.
Nearly 50 countries made a contribution. Among those, 38 countries deployed air, sea, or
ground forces. Together, they committed more than 200,000 troops, more than 60 warships,
750 aircraft, and 1,200 tanks. They came from all parts of the world, including Arab and
Islamic countries. Their troops fought side by side with American forces. They faced danger
and mourned casualties as did the United States. But they remained firmly committed to the
Many countries contributed financially. They gave billions in cash to the United States, and
provided valuable in-kind assistance, including construction equipment, computers, heavy
equipment transporters, chemical detection vehicles, food, fuel, water, airlift, and sealift.
They also gave billions in economic aid to countries most affected by the crisis.
Perhaps most remarkable was the amount of support provided by Coalition members to
cover US incremental costs for the war. The contributions of US allies would rank, by a
considerable margin, as the world's third largest defense budget, after that of the United
States and the former Soviet Union. Few would have imagined this level of participation.
US allies provided $54 billion against the estimated $61 billion of incremental costs.
Roughly two-thirds of these commitments were from the Gulf states directly threatened by
Iraq, with the other one-third largely coming from Japan and Germany.
Not only was unprecedented financial support forthcoming from friends and allies as the
Coalition confronted Saddam's aggression, but the governments also worked effectively in
common cause against the aggression. The diplomats coordinated positions together at the
United Nations, the combat forces planned and fought effectively together, and the
logisticians worked quickly and efficiently to transport needed items to the Gulf. This
cooperation greatly contributed to the decisive victory over Iraqi aggression. It is not
possible to detail here the responses of every nation that stood against Iraqi aggression;
many are described throughout this report. As an introduction, this section briefly surveys
some of these many cooperative acts. (Detailed information about financial contributions is
in Appendix P, with amplifying information in Appendices F and I.)
International Organizations
The United Nations played an active and important role. The nearly unanimous manner in
which the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the UN membership as a whole responded
during this crisis was unprecedented. Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm were
conducted in accordance with UNSC resolutions and Iraq's refusal to abide by them. On 2
August, the UNSC passed Resolution 660, condemning the invasion as a violation of the
UN Charter and demanding Iraqi withdrawal. The resolution passed 14-0, with Yemen
abstaining. Four days later, the UNSC passed Resolution 661, imposing a trade and
financial embargo on Iraq and establishing a special sanctions committee. This measure
passed 13-0, with Cuba and Yemen abstaining. After these and nine subsequent resolutions
failed to end the Iraqi occupation, on 29 November the UNSC authorized members to use
"all means necessary" to enforce previous resolutions if Iraq did not leave Kuwait by 15
January. (All applicable UNSC Resolutions are in Appendix B.)
The Arab League convened an emergency summit in Cairo one week after the invasion. The
summit passed a resolution calling for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwaiti territory. The
membership voted 12 for (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Bahrain, Somalia,
Lebanon, Oman, UAE, Syria, and Djibouti); three against (Iraq, Libya, and Palestine); two
abstaining (Yemen and Algeria); three expressing reservations (Jordan, Sudan, and
Mauritania); and one absence (Tunisia). The meeting was marked by heated rhetoric among
the Iraqi, Saudi and Kuwaiti delegations.
Western Reaction
US allies in Western Europe responded immediately. In the United Kingdom (UK), the
prime minister froze all Iraqi and Kuwaiti assets. On 6 August, two additional Royal Navy
frigates were ordered to join the single British warship keeping station in the Persian Gulf.
This flotilla's purpose was to show resolve and to help enforce sanctions. Two days later,
after a request by King Fahd, the UK announced the start of what would be a major
deployment of air and naval units as part of the multinational command forming against
Also acting quickly, France sent an additional frigate on 6 August to augment two French
warships already in the Gulf. Three days later, the French president announced he would
commit ground units and advisers to Saudi Arabia although, in keeping with past policy
decisions, they would not subordinate their forces formally to a multinational defense
command. Initial French ground forces, code named Force Daguet, deployed to Hafr
Al-Batin, near the convergence of the Saudi, Iraqi and Kuwaiti borders.
Italy, Spain and Germany declared that deploying American forces could use their air and
naval bases. Greece later pledged this same support. This access was to become invaluable
when the United States moved the VII Corps from Germany to Saudi Arabia late in 1990.
Germany, whose constitution is interpreted to prohibit contribution of forces outside of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization, became a major logistic and financial supporter of the
Coalition effort. On 10 August, the Canadian prime minister announced he would dispatch
three ships two destroyers and a supply ship to the Persian Gulf.
Turkey played a crucial role in early opposition to the Iraqi invasion. Before the crisis, about
half of Iraqi oil exports had passed through Turkey. Turkey's decision to shut down the Iraqi
pipeline to the port of Ceyhan was vital in eliminating Iraq's ability to export oil and,
combined with Saudi Arabia's closure of the Iraqi Pipeline Saudi Arabia, contributed
substantially to Iraq's economic isolation.
Turkish military preparedness forced Iraq to maintain a sizable force on its northern border.
Several squadrons of Turkish Air Force fighters and more than 50,000 troops were deployed
to bases near the Iraqi border. On 12 August, the Turkish National Assembly gave the
government power to declare war. This grant of authority was an indication of how
seriously Turkey viewed the invasion. Ultimately, Turkey authorized the stationing of
Coalition forces on its soil for operations against Iraq.
Although it was not a Coalition member, the Soviet Union's reaction was a key element in
the success of the overall effort. Had the Soviet government chosen to oppose UN efforts,
building a consensus would have been more difficult. Instead, on 2 August, the Soviets also
demanded an immediate withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait. The Soviet government
issued a statement that the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait "totally contradicts the interests of Arab
states, creates new additional obstacles to the settlement of conflicts in the Middle East, and
runs counter to the positive tendencies in improvement in international life."
In Eastern Europe, former Warsaw Pact members and Yugoslavia all supported the UN
actions against Iraq including the use of force despite a substantial economic burden
posed by compliance with UN sanctions. All of the Eastern European governments were
Iraq's creditors and lost substantial amounts of money as a result of unpaid Iraqi debts and
blocked exports. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria responded to
Iraq's invasion of Kuwait with a willingness to commit noncombatant military units or
humanitarian assistance to support the defense of Saudi Arabia. Many of these states
granted overflight rights for aircraft carrying troops and materiel to the Gulf. Eventually,
Czechoslovakia deployed a chemical defense unit to Saudi Arabia. Poland dispatched a
medical ship, and an additional 100 medical personnel to Saudi military hospitals. Hungary
provided a 37-man medical team that was attached to Saudi forces.
Asian Reaction
Japan, heavily dependent on Middle East oil it imports 12 percent of its annual needs
from Iraq and Kuwait denounced the invasion as unlawful and a rejection of the UN
Charter. Japan's constitution, written in the aftermath of World War II, allows maintenance
of forces only to defend its own territory interpreted as proscribing deployments abroad.
As a compromise, the Japanese prime minister announced a six-point plan, which allowed
Japan to make available civilian ships and airplanes, but restricted the cargo to food,
medicine, and other noncombatant items. Japan also agreed to pay for chartering aircraft
and ships from foreign countries. An initial grant of $1 billion was earmarked immediately
for the multinational forces in Saudi Arabia. Financial assistance was pledged for refugee
relief as well, and to nations suffering economically as a result of adhering to the sanctions,
specifically Jordan, Turkey, and Egypt.
The Chinese premier stated his government's opposition to Iraq's invasion and annexation of
Kuwait. He further stated that China opposed any military intervention by world powers,
believing that Gulf and Arab affairs were best handled by Gulf and Arab nations, or by the
United Nations. On 5 August, the Chinese announced they would end arms deliveries to
Iraq. China supported all but one UNSC resolutions concerning the Iraqi invasion of
Kuwait; it abstained on Resolution 678 authorizing use of all necessary means to enforce
other UNSC resolutions. In addition, on grounds that the use of force was premature at that
time, China insisted on deletion of the phrase "using the minimum degree of military force"
from the text of UNSC Resolution 665, which called for the enforcement of sanctions
against Iraq.
Coalition Members in the Region
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Oman,
and Kuwait formed in 1981 as a reaction to the Iran-Iraq war, reacted strongly. Kuwait's
ambassador to the United States requested US military assistance as Iraqi troops crossed the
border on 2 August. As American and other forces began to deploy to Saudi Arabia, other
GCC states committed forces, offered increased access to bases, and provided logistic
assistance. These contributions of the GCC states, often attended by direct risks of Iraqi
reprisals, proved important to the overall effort.
Egypt played a particularly important role. Egyptian denunciation of the Iraqi invasion of
Kuwait was strong and immediate. When the invasion of Kuwait occurred, the Egyptian
president had been trying to defuse the crisis. Reportedly, Saddam had assured him only a
few days before 2 August that Iraq would not resort to military force to resolve differences
with Kuwait. He regarded the action as a breach of faith between fellow Arab leaders and
the Arab Cooperation Council members (Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen). Egypt would
become a major party in the Coalition's Arab/Islamic forces, sending more than two heavy
divisions to Saudi Arabia. Also, Cairo became a center for Kuwaiti exiles; with Egyptian
government support, Kuwaiti television, radio, and print media continued to report from
Cairo on the crisis to its citizens throughout the Middle East and Europe.
We worked closely with the Egyptians and President Mubarak. President Mubarak and
King Fahd were really the two very strong leaders in the Arab world that we worked with
throughout this period.
President Mubarak, on that very first weekend [after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait], was the first
official I briefed after I talked with King Fahd and had gotten President Bush's approval to
deploy the [US] force. I stopped, landed in Cairo, and then flew down to Alexandria in a
small little twin engine prop plane that the US Army keeps at our embassy over there, and
landed right next to the Iraqi jet that was carrying the Iraqi Vice President who was making
the rounds and trying to drum up support for the Iraqi position and justify their action of
having invaded Kuwait. I had to wait to get in to see President Mubarak, as he was seeing
the Iraqis first. We did not meet coming in. They kept me in a building across the street to
avoid a diplomatic confrontation.
But I went in to see President Mubarak and told him what we were doing. He, of course,
had been talking with President Bush. One of the things that's characteristic throughout the
whole crisis is the President working the phones. Every place I went, he had greased the
skids, so to speak, in front of me, which was enormously helpful, building on his personal
relationships. I told President Mubarak we were going to deploy forces. He, at that point,
had decided he wanted to convene the Arab League in Cairo, which was vital, which he did
a few days later.
I asked him for a number of things overflight rights, because we had a lot of aircraft
coming from the United States that would have to overfly Egypt to get to Saudi Arabia which he readily agreed to. I also asked permission to pass one of our aircraft carriers
through the Suez Canal. The carrier was the Eisenhower, which was deployed in the Med,
and we wanted to immediately move it down to the Red Sea just off the Saudi coast and
provide air cover in case Saddam Hussein did make a move south. President Mubarak said
when do you want to move the carrier? I said tonight. He said okay, and immediately signed
up for it.
Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney
December 1991
Relations between Baghdad and Cairo had been tense for some time. As many as 800,000
Egyptians had been working in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. This number had been reduced
forcibly to about 500,000 by the summer of 1990, and was a source of tension between
Cairo and Baghdad. Remittances to Egypt in 1989 had totaled almost $550 million. On 2
August, these remittances ceased, as well as the remittances from the approximately
185,000 Egyptians working in Kuwait. The Egyptian government estimated the annualized
loss at $400 million to $600 million.
Syria, a long-time rival of neighboring Iraq, condemned the invasion of another Arab state.
Demonstrations erupted in Damascus, both in support of the Kuwaiti ruling family, and
against Western intervention. The Syrians joined other regional states opposing Iraq and
pledged deployment of a special forces regiment to Saudi Arabia. The first Syrian troops
arrived in Saudi Arabia in mid-August, at the request of the Saudi government. Syria also
moved two army divisions closer to its largely undefended border with Iraq. In October,
Damascus began deployment of its 9th Armored Division to Saudi Arabia.
Morocco's King Hassan deployed troops to defend Saudi Arabia. Although other Arab
Maghreb Union member states (Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Mauritania are Morocco's
partners) did not support the Iraqi invasion, they spoke out against foreign intervention and
did not join the Coalition.
Other Regional Responses
Iran condemned the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, but immediately declared its neutrality. For
the last decade, Iran had demanded the withdrawal of foreign forces from the Gulf,
especially US naval assets represented by ships of the Joint Task Force, Middle East. After
the American commitment to deploy troops to the area, Iran labeled the move as "impudent"
and called it a pretext to establish permanent military bases in the area. Nevertheless, it also
called on the United Nations to respond to Saddam's aggression.
Nations in the multinational Coalition were very concerned about possible agreements
between Tehran and Baghdad that would allow Iraq to import weapons through Iranian
ports in violation of UN sanctions. Concern was heightened by Saddam's sudden reversal of
his position regarding sovereignty of the Shatt Al-'Arab. In a surprise move, he accepted the
thalweg (the center of the navigational channel) as the sovereign boundary between the two
countries. He further withdrew all Iraqi forces from Iranian territory seized in the 1988
offensives. In essence, he gave up all he had won in eight years of war with Iran. Although
there was smuggling of food, there is no evidence that Iran allowed weapons, munitions, or
military materiel to cross the border.
During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, most notably after December, Iranian
smugglers were a major source of foodstuffs to Iraq, in violation of UN sanctions. The level
of possible involvement of the Iranian government in these sanctions violations is not
known. During Operation Desert Storm, Iraqi pilots flew more than 130 military and
civilian aircraft to Iran where they remained impounded after the war.
The Hrawi government in Lebanon was the first Arab League member state to condemn
Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Apart from some pro-Iraqi demonstrations in Palestinian camps
in the south, Lebanon played no direct role in the crisis.
Jordan's actions were the subject of intense international scrutiny throughout the crisis.
Relations between Jordan and Iraq had been close since the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war.
Because Iraq's sole outlet to the Persian Gulf was easily controlled by the Iranians in that
conflict, Iraq had reached an agreement with Jordan for the use of the Red Sea port of
Al-'Aqabah to import arms. The port and the associated land route into Iraq became one of
the immediate focal points for maritime interception force scrutiny. An economically fragile
Arab state, Jordan had received low-priced Iraqi oil, as well as increased business
opportunities with Iraqi merchants, in return for Iraqi use of Al-'Aqabah .
The official level of Jordanian economic support for Iraq still is unclear. Some trade
continued in violation of UN sanctions, although at a much lower level than before 2
August. The Jordanian government continued to accept Iraqi oil shipments, also technically
in violation of the UN sanctions. Smuggling at an undetermined level almost certainly
continued. Charitable and humanitarian groups were permitted to send food shipments
through Jordan until 16 January and Jordan was the primary exit point for hundreds of
thousands of refugees leaving Iraq and Kuwait.
Some Arabs were vocal in their support of Iraqi aggression. This was especially the case
with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). With the exception of the
Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, all PLO
member organizations supported Saddam.
Two other vocal supporters of Saddam were Yemen and the Sudan. In the Yemeni capital
of Sana'a, demonstrations of support for Saddam took place outside the American, British,
Saudi and Egyptian embassies on 11 August. Some Yemenis volunteered to enlist in the
Iraqi Popular Army, while students in Khartoum, Sudan, demonstrated in solidarity with
Iraq. Support from these quarters for Saddam was more in the nature of a nuisance to the
Coalition than an actual threat. However, because of long-standing border disputes between
Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and between Oman and Yemen, that country's alignment with
Iraq had to be treated as a potentially serious threat. A Yemeni invasion of southern Saudi
Arabia or western Oman could not have succeeded; however, such a move would have
diverted resources and attention away from the primary threat. Saudi Arabia remained
concerned about potential threats to the kingdom's security from Sudan and Yemen
throughout Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Saudi concerns led to its expulsion
of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis a problem that continues in Saudi-Yemeni
Although Sana'a and Khartoum claimed thousands of their citizens volunteered to fight
alongside Iraqi forces in the defense of Kuwait, only a few hundred probably went.
Coalition forces captured some Yemenis and Sudanese during Operation Desert Storm. At
the 3 March military talks at Safwan, Iraq, between senior Coalition and Iraqi officers, the
Coalition provided the Iraqis an accounting of captured troops, including Yemeni and
Sudanese volunteers. The senior Iraqi general disavowed any knowledge of these two
groups, claiming all his forces in the KTO were Iraqis.
Israeli Reaction
On 6 August, Israel stated it was prepared to participate in any military attempt to prevent
an Iraqi attack on Saudi Arabia, if asked by the United States. The Israeli prime minister
warned Saddam an attack on Israel would "bring heavy disaster on himself." Coalition
leaders were worried an Israeli-Iraqi confrontation would hinder creation of an international
coalition and help Iraq shift attention away from its aggression against a fellow Arab
country. Throughout the crisis, the United States worked closely with Israel to encourage a
"low profile" posture.
The United States took unprecedented steps to persuade Israel not to respond to the Iraqi
Scud attacks and committed a significant part of its own air assets to Scud suppression
efforts. A special, secure communications link established between DOD and the Israeli
Ministry of Defense enabled immediate and frequent contact between senior US and Israeli
officials. Near- real-time warning of Iraqi Scud missile attacks on Israel gave the Israeli
populace as much as five minutes to take shelter before missile impact. In the fall of 1990,
the President authorized the transfer of two Patriot air defense missile batteries to Israel, and
the training of Israeli crews for their operation. After the initial Scud attacks, Israel agreed to
accept four additional Patriot batteries, to be manned by US troops. Finally, the Central
Command devoted a substantial amount of its air power to combat the Scud threat. The
President twice sent the Deputy Secretary of State and the Under Secretary of Defense for
Policy to Israel to reaffirm the US commitment to Israel's security, to ensure US objectives
were clearly understood, and to coordinate the common response to the crisis.
Israel's decision to restrain its own military response denied Saddam one of his key
objectives, was crucial in keeping Jordan from becoming engulfed by the war, and
contributed substantially to holding the Coalition together. The increased US cooperation
with Israel was, in turn, crucial to its decision to exercise restraint in the face of extreme
provocation. While there never was any doubt about Israel's will to defend itself or about
the capability of its professional military, it is also clear that Israeli restraint was in its own
best national interests; was its best policy option; and was overwhelmingly supported by the
Israeli public, senior leadership, and strategic policy makers. Israel's extraordinary restraint,
however, not only was in its best interests, but also in the best interests of the United States,
the other Coalition members, and Jordan.
Political Maneuvering
Immediately after the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq began campaigning for public support. This
effort included defaming Kuwait's ruling family and portraying Iraq as the champion of
anticolonialism, social justice, Arab unity, the Palestinian cause, and Islam. In an apparent
move to defuse initial international condemnation of its invasion of Kuwait, Saddam
announced Iraqi troops would begin pulling out of Kuwait on 6 August. In the first days
following the invasion, he had justified the invasion with the fiction that Kuwaiti officers
had engaged in a coup d'etat against the Amir. These officers had "invited" Iraq to send
forces to assist them. Now, Saddam announced to the world the group that had conducted
the coup was now in full control of Kuwait, and Iraqi troops would return to garrison.
There was a suitably staged "withdrawal" near the northern Kuwait border station at
'Abdally. This was recorded by the press and videotapes of a few tanks loaded aboard tank
transporters were released for broadcast. At the same moment, however, at least four more
heavy Iraqi Army divisions were deploying into Kuwait from Iraq. In addition to reinforcing
Iraqi forces in Kuwait, Saddam took action on another front.
On 8 August, Iraqi media began broadcasting threats that regimes cooperating with the
United States would be destabilized. The focus of these threats was Saudi Arabia and Egypt,
which Saddam blamed for organizing Arab opposition to Iraq. Two days later, Iraq
indicated it no longer recognized the legitimacy of the ruling family of Saudi Arabia. An
extensive media disinformation campaign was begun to support this announcement. Two
anti-Saudi radio stations named "Voice of Holy Mecca" and "Holy Madinah" began
broadcasting programs condemning the Saudi royal family for allowing US "infidel"
soldiers to defile the Islamic holy places with "alcohol, whores, and all kinds of heroin and
narcotics." Public diplomacy and psychological warfare initiatives by Iraq would continue
throughout the crisis.
On 12 August, Saddam stated he would not withdraw Iraqi forces from Kuwait unless all
"issues of occupation" in the Middle East were resolved. He specifically called for Israel to
first withdraw from the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and Syria to withdraw its military
forces from Lebanon. The Iraqi leader also proposed defusing the current crisis by replacing
US and Egyptian forces deployed to Saudi Arabia with UN troops.
Iraqi Atrocities
After Kuwait was firmly under Iraqi military control, Iraqi Popular Army "volunteers"
began arriving in Kuwait. They were accompanied by members of the Iraqi Intelligence
Service and the Directorate of Military Intelligence. The new arrivals' mission was to
establish stringent control mechanisms in Kuwait City. They immediately went about their
task with unbridled brutality. Kuwaiti resistance to Iraqi rule was systematically sought out
and dealt with ruthlessly. The Kuwaiti Resistance fought the invaders for weeks after the
Kuwaiti armed forces had been forced to evacuate the country. They continued to attack
Iraqi soldiers, equipment, and facilities until the Iraqis inflicted brutal reprisals against
whole neighborhoods. Even in the face of these horrible punishments, Kuwaitis continued
to risk their lives to shelter innocent foreigners, including Americans.
Kuwaitis and foreigners fleeing Kuwait reported arrests and abuse on a grand scale.
Influential Kuwaitis were rounded up and taken away, many to detention centers in Iraq.
Iraqi intelligence and security officials combed the city, armed with lists of names of
Kuwaitis who might prove troublesome to their rule. These lists were compiled by the
extensive Iraqi intelligence network. As these persons were removed from the city, bus
loads of Iraqi citizens began arriving to move into their homes, part of a campaign to
resettle the "19th Province" with loyal Iraqi citizens.
Physical abuse and brutality were common. There are numerous reports of rapes of Kuwaiti
and foreign women, often in the presence of family members. Anyone detained by Iraqi
authorities was subject to torture, often resulting in death. Iraqi intelligence and security
officials converted Kuwaiti schools and other public buildings to detention and
interrogation centers. Summary executions were common. The Kuwaiti government
estimates more than 1,000 civilians were murdered during the Iraqi occupation. Hundreds of
people remain unaccounted for, and Kuwait claims more than 2,000 of its nationals still are
being detained in Iraq.
All Kuwaiti citizens and residents were protected by the Geneva Conventions for the
Protection of War Victims (12 August 1949). Kuwaiti armed forces members captured by
Iraqi troops were entitled to treatment as prisoners of war. As an occupying power, Iraq had
specific obligations to the civilian population of Kuwait. Kuwaiti resistance fighters
captured by Iraqi forces were entitled to certain fundamental rights, such as protection from
torture, and a regular trial for alleged offenses. All of these obligations frequently and
systematically were breached throughout the seven-month Iraqi occupation. (See Appendix
O for a discussion of the role of the law of war in the conflict.)
Soon after Iraqi gains in Kuwait had been consolidated, Baghdad began the organized,
systematic plunder of the conquered country. In mid-August, flatbed trucks began loading
shipping containers at the Ash-Shuwaykh port. Later, Iraqi ships were used to transport
cargo to the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. From there, the cargo was redistributed throughout
Iraq by barge and truck. Large quantities of oil pipe sections and related materials also were
shipped to Umm Qasr from Ash-Shuwaykh.
Iraqi troops broke into the Central Bank of Kuwait and removed the country's gold and
currency reserves, which were transported by truck convoy to Baghdad. National museum
holdings and government records also were transported to Baghdad or destroyed. Soldiers
looted the gold and gem markets of the city and the homes of wealthy merchants, taking
virtually anything of value. Almost all vehicles were taken by Iraqi soldiers; the more
expensive vehicles were loaded onto heavy equipment transporters and taken to Iraq; many
were stripped for parts to be sold on the black markets in Iraq.
After Saddam announced the annexation of Kuwait as Iraq's 19th province, Iraqi occupation
officials began the relicensing of all vehicles remaining in Kuwait. The new license plates
were standard Iraqi plates, with the word "Kuwait" appearing in the province identification
block. Vehicle registration became a control mechanism for the occupation authorities.
Foreigners mostly Jordanians and Palestinians allowed to leave Kuwait by vehicle
through Iraq to Iran or Jordan, were required to display the new Kuwait province license
plates before leaving Iraq.
Iraqi Hostage Taking
At the time of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, there were an estimated 3,000 Americans living
in that country, in addition to thousands of other Westerners. Less than 10 days after the 8
August announcement that it had annexed Kuwait as its 19th province, Iraqi officials began
the systematic rounding up of Western and Japanese nationals in Kuwait. They were
detained in hotels in Kuwait City or transported to Baghdad. Those taken to Baghdad hotels
were permitted contact with their diplomatic representations. The Iraqis appear to have
respected the status and immunity of diplomatic personnel in Baghdad; however, this
became an issue in Kuwait. Iraqi officials informed foreign ambassadors in Kuwait City that
since Kuwait no longer was a sovereign state, embassies no longer were appropriate; all
diplomatic functions were to be conducted in Baghdad. A deadline was set for the
embassies to close, at which time the diplomatic status of the representatives would expire.
Iraqi occupation forces cut off water and electricity supplies to the embassies that refused to
close and move their functions to Baghdad.
During the second week of August, the US Embassy in Baghdad received reports that
Americans without diplomatic status in Iraq were to be taken to strategic installations as
"human shields." There were about 500 Americans in Iraq at the time of the invasion. Many
were seized during the next few days and detained at the Ar-Rashid Hotel. On 19 August,
Saddam announced that as many as 10,000 Westerners would be sent to strategic sites to
deter attacks. From the Ar-Rashid, these Americans and others were transported to power
plants, oil production facilities and strategic military installations. On 20 August, President
Bush labeled the detainees as hostages and demanded their immediate release.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq 'Aziz claimed that Baghdad had detained foreign guests as a
prudent peacemaking gesture, stating, "Our people and their representatives simply want to
feel safe from a US attack on Iraq."
Information Minister Latif Nusayyif Jasim, in remarks directed at President Bush's claim
that foreign detainees were being mistreated, said "Iraq's guests were being provided with
all the means necessary for their comfort," in keeping with Arab and Islamic traditions of
hospitality. He invited relatives of the "guests" to visit them for Christmas and New Year
Despite these claims, information from released detainees indicated that hostages those
sent to strategic sites as human shields lived in appalling conditions, including poor to
inedible food, unsanitary facilities, lack of medical care, and exposure to toxic waste.
Saddam's detention of Westerners for use as human shields was not limited to foreigners
living in Kuwait and Iraq. More than 350 passengers on a British Airways 747 en route to
India that had landed at Kuwait's international airport for a one-hour refueling stop were
detained. Many, including a 10-year-old American girl traveling alone, were taken to the
Ar-Rashid and Al-Mansur Melia hotels in Baghdad. The girl later was turned over to the US
Embassy. On 28 August, Saddam announced that all women and children being held
hostage would be allowed to leave Iraq, although the departures did not begin until 6
After limited hostage releases in late October, mostly as a result of appeals to the Iraqi
leader by governments and private organizations, Saddam announced on 18 November that
all hostages would be freed between 25 December and 25 March if peace continued in the
region. On 3 December, Iraq announced that 1,100 Soviet nationals would be allowed to
return home, followed the next day by an announcement of the Iraqi Revolutionary
Command Council that all 3,200 Soviets in Iraq were free to leave. Although never used as
human shields, the Soviets, mostly civilian contractors, had been barred from leaving the
It was not until 6 December that Saddam announced that all hostages would be released at
once. The first hostages to be freed as part of this release left Iraq on 9 December. Many
others who had been in hiding in Kuwait were repatriated as well. All detainees and
hostages who wished to leave did so in the next few days.
The Iraqi occupation of Kuwait was a difficult and urgent problem for US military planners.
Iraqi forces, consolidating in Kuwait, appeared to be massing for possible further offensive
operations into Saudi Arabia. By 6 August, the day before the first US force deployments,
11 Iraqi divisions were in or deploying to Kuwait. Far exceeding occupation requirements,
Iraq had more than enough forces to launch an immediate invasion of Saudi Arabia's
oil-rich Eastern Province. Intelligence reports indicated Iraqi units were being positioned
along the Saudi border, while reinforcements continued to arrive in Kuwait.
If the Iraqis were contemplating an attack on Saudi Arabia, a course of action deemed
possible by both the United States and Saudi Arabia in August, intelligence estimates
identified three avenues of approach. First, the area along the Saudi coast road which runs
through Al-Mish'ab, Al-Jubayl and Ad-Dammam seemed the most likely avenue, since it
offered the most direct, high speed route to the port areas and coastal facilities. Although
somewhat restricted by marshy salt flats, called sabkhas, near Al-Mish'ab, the coastal road
favored armor, mechanized forces and accompanying logistics vehicles. Captured Saudi
desalinization plants also would provide advancing Iraqi columns essential water. The
coastal area, however, was mostly flat or gently rolling terrain that offered defenders
excellent observation and fields of fire. Advancing Iraqi forces would be exposed to
long-range air and ground weapons. The most defensible terrain was about 40 miles
northwest of Al-Jubayl, where several low hills dominate surrounding terrain and numerous
Saudi rock and limestone quarries created obstacles.
"I view very seriously our determination to reverse this aggression. There are an awful lot of
countries that are in total accord with what I've just said, and we will be working with them
all for collective action. This will not stand. This will not stand, this aggression against
President Bush
5 August 1990
- Immediate, complete, and unconditional withdrawal of all Iraqi forces from Kuwait;
- Restoration of Kuwait's legitimate government;
- Security and stability of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf; and
- Safety and protection of the lives of American citizens abroad.
The second avenue of approach ran from central Kuwait west of Al-Wafrah, across the
Saudi border to the Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline) road and then southeast to the coastal
road. Although it only contained a few unimproved desert roads, Iraqi forces on this avenue
could bypass the sabkhas that restricted off-road movement along the coast while still
enabling them to seize the key coastal objectives of Al-Jubayl and possibly Ad-Dammam.
Desert terrain was almost devoid of any vegetation and predominantly consisted of flat or
rolling terrain, excellent for both armor maneuver and long-range defensive fires. Cover and
concealment was almost nonexistent, which would expose advancing forces to air attack.
Other than a small oasis village near Al-Kibrit, the area contained no water sources between
Kuwait and the town of An-Nu'ariyah along the Tapline Road, which would have
constrained logistically any advance of large forces.
pg 32 map: Iraqi Avenues of Approach. Map shows three possible/potential Iraqi
attack/invasion routes from Kuwait into Saudi Arabia. Two of the routes strike along or
near the Persian Gulf while the third strikes from Western Kuwait directly at Riyadh.
A third avenue, which Coalition planners assessed to be the least likely option, led from
Kuwait straight for Riyadh on unimproved roads, soft sand, and mountainous desert.
Although Riyadh's capture would have given the Iraqis a decisive political and military
victory, the long desert distances, extremely rough terrain, and vulnerability to air attack
while in the numerous narrow passes that channelized movement, made this option
impractical. North of Riyadh, the desert turned to soft sand, which would have slowed
advancing armor and, more important, the truck-mounted logistics tail. Absence of water,
lack of roads to move the large quantities of fuel, water, and other supplies required by an
army equipped with modern weapons, probably would have overtaxed the Iraqi logistics
Planners and intelligence analysts viewed the coastal area north of Ad-Dammam as crucial
to both an attacking Iraqi force and the Coalition defense efforts. For the Coalition, loss of
or serious damage to the port facilities at Al-Jubayl and Ad-Dammam would have made any
force buildup in theater extremely difficult. For the Saudis, the loss of oil, port, water, and
industrial facilities at Al-Khafji, Al-Mish'ab, Al-Manifah, Al-Jubayl, and Ras Tanurah
would have been a serious economic and political blow. By seizing these areas, the Iraqis
not only could have prevented a rapid Coalition military buildup, but also would have
placed themselves in a politically strong position to negotiate a solution to the crisis on
Baghdad's terms. They also could have achieved an important strategic victory, both in
military and political terms. The mere threat of capture or destruction of these facilities by
the large forces massing in Kuwait was seen as placing the Saudi government in a position
that could have shifted the region's power balance substantially.
On the morning of 2 August, the Commander-in-Chief, Central Command (CINCCENT)
briefed the Secretary of Defense, his key advisors, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff (CJCS) on two options for the use of military forces in response to the Iraqi invasion
of Kuwait. One option involved retaliatory air strikes against targets in Iraq; the other
involved deployment of air and ground forces in accordance with draft Operations Plans
(OPLAN) 1002-90, Defense of the Arabian Peninsula. Two days later, at Camp David, the
CJCS and CINCCENT briefed the President on available military options. CINCCENT
discussed in detail the numbers and types of forces required to defend Saudi Arabia should
that be necessary, estimating 17 weeks would be required to deploy all forces. The
President, aware of the regional sensitivities of a large US military presence, made the
decision that, if <pg 33 start> invited, the United States initially would deploy enough
forces to deter further Iraqi attack, defend Saudi Arabia, and enforce UN resolutions,
retaining the option to deploy more forces if needed to eject Iraq from Kuwait.
A post-Vietnam survey of key military leaders who commanded relatively large forces
during that conflict revealed many were, at times, unsure of the war's objectives. Those who
commanded, as well as those who served, during the Gulf crisis did not suffer the same
misgivings. Little confusion existed within Coalition military establishments as to what
military force was expected to accomplish. Clear statements of goals helped instill
confidence and eased the formulation of military objectives.
US military objectives during Operation Desert Shield were to:
- Develop a defensive capability in the Gulf region to deter Saddam Hussein from further
- Defend Saudi Arabia effectively if deterrence failed;
- Build a militarily effective Coalition and integrate Coalition forces into operational plans;
and, finally,
- Enforce the economic sanctions prescribed by UNSC Resolutions 661 and 665.
These objectives provided planning staffs with the necessary direction to develop options
and concepts.
While Saudi forces established a thin defensive line along the Kuwait border, initial
deployment of US ground forces secured key facilities to ensure uninterrupted follow-on
deployments. This placed US units in positions from which they could support Coalition
forces in any defensive battle. Ports and airfields along the Gulf coast, primarily Al-Jubayl
and the Dhahran complex, were chosen since they offered the best unloading facilities and
were near the primary avenue of approach for an Iraqi invasion. Thus, Saddam Hussein
would be forced to fight US forces on the ground soon after attacking. Both land- and
carrier-based air forces provided immediate combat power able, if necessary, to inflict
severe casualties on advancing Iraqi mechanized columns. They also would be able to begin
a limited strategic air campaign to reduce Iraqi military capabilities and isolate Saddam
Hussein. Naval forces would seal off the region, enforcing the UN embargo against Iraq.
In the fall of 1989, in the course of the Department of Defense's (DOD) regular planning
process, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USD(P)) recommended a shift in focus
in the Persian Gulf. During most of the 1980s, security concerns in the Persian Gulf focused
on the Soviet Union as the primary threat. Now, however, the USD(P) and the
Commander-in-Chief, Central Command (CINCCENT) judged that this was no longer the
primary threat. Instead, the disruption of the regional balance of power caused by Iraq's
decisive defeat of Iran, the growing ambitions of Iraq, and the sharp disparity between its
forces and those of the wealthy oil-producing nations of the Arabian Peniinsula pointed to
the growing possibility of regional, vice Soviet, threats to US interests in this vital region.
During planning deliberations, the Secretary of Defense emphasized the importance of the
Persian Gulf. Accordingly, the Secretary directed DOD to sharpen its ability to counter
regional conflicts on the Arabian Peninsula. In turn, the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
directed CINCCENT to develop war plans consistent with this shift.
In the Spring of 1990, Central Command (CENTCOM) re-evaluated its operations plans for
the Persian Gulf region in light of the new regional strategic and military situation. A new
concept outline plan was completed in late spring. The outline plan included an estimate of
the forces needed to respond to a regional threat. Based on the plan, the CENTCOM staff
developed draft operations plan. In July 1990, the draft plan was tested during Exercise
Internal Look 90. The exercise validated tactical concepts, logistics plans, and force
requirements. The lessons learned served as a basis for subsequent deployments and
operations during Operation Desert Shield.
Based on these decisions, CINCCENT developed a concept of operations and began
detailed planning. The initial deployment of air, naval, and light ground forces was intended
to establish combat forces in theater quickly to deter an Iraqi ground attack and defend key
ports and airfields along the Saudi northern Gulf coast. As heavier ground forces arrived in
Saudi Arabia, defensive dispositions were to be expanded to block the two eastern avenues
of approach. Continuing arrival of armored forces would let CINCCENT counterattack any
attacking Iraqi forces with a strong mechanized reserve.
The area defense concept called for establishing initial defenses near Al-Jubayl and
Dhahran, and using air power to reduce substantially the combat power of attacking Iraqi
forces. The idea was to rely on an enclave strategy to hold key ports and airfields or, in
essence, trade space for time while US combat forces deployed to Saudi Arabia. Coalition
air power in conjunction with Saudi land forces in the forward area would bear the initial
brunt of an Iraqi attack. During this initial phase, CINCCENT considered air power crucial
to delaying an Iraqi attack. In early August, Central Command's (CENTCOM) Air Force
planners had developed the "D-Day" air plan, with the objectives of maintaining air
superiority over the Arabian Peninsula, establishing air superiority over Kuwait and
southern Iraq, and attacking Iraqi forces. Behind the Saudi units, US ground forces were
considered essential to defending arrival airfields and ports. Use of the ports and airfields at
Al-Jubayl and Ad-Dammam placed US ground forces in blocking positions along the
anticipated direct path of any advancing Iraqi forces.
The Saudis expressed some concern with the concept of operations. Understandably, the
Saudis sought to defend all their territory and population centers. CINCCENT focused on
defending key areas given the limited forces available. Desiring a forward defensive
strategy that would place US forces along the Kuwait border and protect all Saudi territory
and population, the Saudis suggested US forces enter through the northern ports of Ras
Al-Khafji and Ras Al-Mish'ab rather than further south. US planners advocated a concept of
operations which would force the Iraqis to extend themselves and subject their forces to
Coalition airpower and superiority in mobile warfare. These differing views did not affect
the arrival and initial positioning of US forces. The discussions of alternatives continued
until November when growing force levels had substantially eased the defensive problem.
An interim combined operations order was published on 20 August. Intended to ensure US
commanders understood Saudi defensive plans, it authorized liaison and coordination
between US and Saudi units. This close liaison between commanders characterized much of
the defensive planning and operations during Operation Desert Shield.
After the decision to deploy US forces, the question facing CENTCOM and Saudi planners
involved the order in which forces should be deployed and how those forces should be used.
Pre-crisis planning had assumed 19 days of pre-hostility deployments and nine more days of
deployments after hostilities began would be available before lead enemy elements reached
defensive positions near Al-Jubayl. The emerging situation indicated these assumptions
were too optimistic. A credible deterrence required the early presence of substantial
numbers of combat units. The same sorts of forces would be required to defend Saudi
Arabia if deterrence failed. However, available sealift meant the buildup of heavy ground
forces would take several weeks, if not months. The overall intent of all deterrence and
defense options was to confront Iraq with the prospects of unacceptable costs and a widened
conflict with the United States if it launched further attacks.
A crucial CINCCENT decision was made early in the crisis. To ensure the greatest amount
of ground combat power was available as soon as possible, CINCCENT accelerated
deployment of combat forces and deferred deployment of theater logistics forces. He
specifically requested Air Force (USAF) A-10 units and the Army 3rd Armored Cavalry
Regiment (ACR) be moved up in the deployment schedule to get more antiarmor assets into
Saudi Arabia as soon as possible. As a result, many ground combat units found themselves
relying on organic supplies and equipment, initial combat sustainment, host nation support
(HNS), and afloat prepositioned supplies. Although many units were largely self-sufficient
initially, some combat units began to experience shortages. Both the 82nd Airborne
Division and the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) relied for a short time on HNS and on
Marine Corps (USMC) forces for resupply of food and water. The theater logistics structure
did not mature until mid-November. Although placing arriving units in a somewhat
precarious logistics position, the decision to deploy primarily combat forces in August and
September let CINCCENT place a capable defensive and deterrent force in theater rapidly
during the crucial weeks when the Iraqis greatly outnumbered the Coalition.
USMC and USAF units were not as severely affected as Army units by CINCCENT's
decision to deploy ground combat forces before their logistics. Marine Expeditionary
Brigades (MEB) are structured and deploy as integrated air-ground-logistics task forces.
Able to draw on up to 30 days' supplies and equipment from Maritime Prepositioning
Squadrons (MPS) ships, and with organic combat service support units, the MEBs proved
largely self-sufficient. Arriving USAF squadrons deployed with organic aviation support
packages designed to support 30 days of flight operations. Other support requirements were
drawn from USAF prepositioned stocks or the host nation. Still, by C+60, both the USAF
and USMC suffered from a lack of common item support normally provided by a theater
logistics structure.
The initial order to deploy combat forces to the Gulf was issued on 6 August. CENTCOM
began to deploy its combat forces on 7 August, marking the beginning of Operation Desert
Shield. Maritime Prepositioning Squadrons based at Diego Garcia and Guam sailed while
USAF fighters and a brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division began deployment by air.
(Consideration had been given to sailing MPS as early as 2 August to shorten response time
and signal US intent; however, sailing orders were withheld until the President's decision to
deploy air and ground forces to the region.)
Even before Operation Desert Shield began, the United States had combat forces in the
region. Two carrier battle groups with more than 100 fighter and attack aircraft, and more
than 10 surface combatant ships were directed to the Gulf region on 2 August. The carrier
USS Independence (CV 62) and her battle group sailed from near Diego Garcia to the
Arabian Sea, while the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) battle group moved to the
eastern Mediterranean Sea in preparation for entering the Red Sea. In the Persian Gulf, six
Navy ships, on station as part of the permanent Joint Task <pg 36 start> Force Middle
East, were placed on alert and began active patrolling. Naval forces in the region soon
began active operations as part of the UN embargo, beginning maritime intercept operations
(MIO) in mid August, which would continue throughout the crisis. (See Chapter IV for a
detailed discussion of MIO.) Two USAF KC-135s and a mobile operations center (MOC)
also were operating in Abu Dhabi as part of a United Arab Emirates-requested deployment,
Operation Ivory Justice. The MOC provided the only land-based secure satellite
communications during the initial weeks of Operation Desert Shield. These naval and air
units were, initially, the only substantial forces in theater.
Within a day of notification, USAF F-15C fighter aircraft of the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing
(TFW) arrived in Saudi Arabia from Langley Air Force Base, VA. The aircraft flew
non-stop for more than 14 hours, with seven aerial refuelings. By 9 August, these fighters
were flying combat air patrols along the Iraq-Saudi border, supported by USAF RC-135
Rivet Joint reconnaissance platforms that had deployed from Europe and E-3 Airborne
Warning and Control System aircraft just arrived from the United States. Also on 9 August,
the first 82nd Airborne Division ready brigade troops from Fort Bragg, NC, arrived and
established a defensive perimeter around the Saudi airport at Dhahran. The entire brigade
was in position by 13 August; a second brigade was in place eight days later. Rapid buildup
of initial forces during these crucial days would have been impossible without strategic
airlift. During the first two days of the deployment, Military Airlift Command aircraft flew
91 missions into theater and averaged more than 70 missions a day for the rest of August.
US military capabilities to respond to crisis in the Gulf reflected the longstanding US
commitment to the region. Since 1951, the US Military Training Mission had assisted Saudi
Arabia in modernizing its military force. The Army Corps of Engineers entered into a
continuous military construction program that included the Dhahran complex and King
Khalid Military City. Naval forces had provided a continuous presence in the region for
several decades. In the 1980s, US forces, under the newly activated Joint Task Force Middle
East, protected Gulf shipping during Operation Earnest Will. Prepositioned equipment and
supplies, both ashore and at sea, increased responsiveness. All these measures boosted
regional confidence in the United States and eased the introduction of US forces during
Operation Desert Shield.
On 11 August, Strategic Air Command B-52G bombers with full weapons loads arrived
within striking range and went on immediate alert under Air Force Component, Central
Command (CENTAF) control. A USAF C-130 squadron arrived in Saudi Arabia to meet
intra-theater airlift requirements. On 12 August, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
began to deploy by air from Fort Campbell, KY. Two days later, the 7th Marine
Expeditionary Brigade from southern California, a combined arms force with tanks,
helicopters, and fixed-wing attack aircraft, began unloading its MPS at Al-Jubayl. In three
weeks, CINCCENT had seven brigades, three carrier battle groups, 14 tactical fighter
squadrons, four tactical airlift C-130 squadrons, a strategic bomber squadron, and a Patriot
air defense missile umbrella 8,000 miles from the United States.
Other Army, Navy, USAF, and USMC forces had been alerted and were en route. To
manage the massive flow of personnel and equipment to the theater, many logistics
arrangements had to be made. On 10 August, the first 17 Ready Reserve Fleet ships were
activated; the first fast sealift ship arrived at Savannah, GA, and began loading the 24th
Infantry Division (Mechanized). The first agreement to charter a US-flagged ship was
signed the same day. On 11 August, the first foreign-flagged ship was chartered. However,
sufficient fast sealift, able to move heavy combat units, remained a problem throughout the
crisis. To improve the speed of deployment to Saudi Arabia, Phase I of the Civil Reserve
Air Fleet was activated on 18 August, adding 18 passenger and 23 cargo aircraft of US
commercial airlines to the effort.
On 22 August, the President signed Executive Order 12727 authorizing the Secretary of
Defense, under Title 10, Section 673b of the US Code, to call to active duty selected
Reserve units and individual Reservists. On 23 August, the Secretary of Defense delegated
to the Service Secretaries the authority to order Selected Reserve members to active duty.
Initial authorization provided for the recall of 25,000 Army, 14,500 USAF, 6,300 Navy, and
3,000 USMC Reservists. Simultaneously, the Secretary of Transportation authorized the
Coast Guard to order to active duty as many as 1,250 Reservists. The first calls to active
duty were announced on 24 August and, within the next few days, Army, Navy, and USAF
Reservists had been notified to report.
While these mobilization and deployment actions were going on in the United States, Arab
League member nations also deployed forces to Saudi Arabia. Egyptian and Syrian special
forces were among the first Arab forces to arrive, augmenting Saudi and Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC) forces. It was around these initial deployments that the Coalition military
force was built.
While US resolve had been demonstrated, offering a credible deterrent to an Iraqi invasion
of Saudi Arabia and bolstering Coalition forces, the ability of Coalition forces to defeat a
determined Iraqi attack into Saudi Arabia remained questionable. CINCCENT determined
this would require deployment of heavy armored and mechanized forces. However,
shortages of sufficient fast sealift with a roll-on/ roll-off capability so crucial to loading and
unloading armored equipment rapidly meant that heavy forces would deploy incrementally.
The weeks that passed until adequate heavy forces arrived in theater became known as the
"window of vulnerability". Primary defense continued to rely on air power and a thin line of
Saudi units along the Kuwait border, and French and Egyptian forces staging in King
Khalid Military City (KKMC). To the south of these forces, XVIII Airborne Corps,
commanding all Army forces, and I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), in command of
7th MEB and other USMC forces arriving in theater, dug into defensive positions north and
west of Al-Jubayl and in the desert outside Dhahran. Capable of putting up a stiff fight,
these ground units nonetheless lacked the combat power to defeat an Iraqi attack with forces
estimated at three armored and two mechanized divisions in the initial assault, supported by
additional armored, mechanized, and infantry divisions.
The deployment of heavy ground forces able to conduct mobile mechanized operations was
possible only through rapid sealift which, unfortunately, did not exist in sufficient numbers.
The 82nd Airborne Division, although deployable rapidly, is primarily a light infantry
division, albeit one that has substantial antiarmor capabilities with its attack helicopters. I
MEF, a mechanized air-ground task force deployed by airlift and MPS shipping, provided a
strong mechanized capability, but not enough strength to defeat the Iraqis. USAF, Navy,
Army and USMC attack aircraft could inflict serious damage to the Iraqis, but might not be
decisive against a determined Iraqi ground attack.
During this period, commanders and troops acutely felt the uncertainty of their situation.
Strong indicators of Iraqi attack preparation, reported by intelligence agencies in mid and
late August, led to numerous alerts and often hasty defensive preparations. USMC and
Army units arriving at Al-Jubayl and Dhahran were rushed to defensive positions to protect
these crucial airfields and ports. Deploying combat units fully expected to fight shortly after
arrival. Some units were issued ammunition before their deployment in case they landed at
Saudi airfields under attack. Living under austere conditions and manning desert outposts,
the troops who arrived in these early weeks performed missions under mentally and
physically exhausting conditions. Aircrews who had ferried aircraft into Saudi air bases
found themselves flying patrols or on strip alert within hours after arrival. Ports and airfields
were furiously cleared of arriving supplies and equipment to minimize risks of major losses
should Iraq choose to attack these concentrations with missiles or attack aircraft.
US ground forces continued to flow into the theater in September and October. The 4th
MEB, able to conduct an amphibious assault into the flank of an Iraqi attack, arrived in the
Northern Arabian Sea on 7 September. The final 1st MEB elements arrived on 12
September, integrated into I MEF, and its ground combat element filled out the 1st Marine
Division (MARDIV). By mid-September, the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), with its
mechanized brigades equipped with M-1 series tanks and M-2 series fighting vehicles had
unloaded at Ad-Dammam. On 23 September, the final division elements arrived and moved
into position alongside I MEF north and west of Al-Jubayl, establishing a line of
mechanized US forces across the two most likely Iraqi avenues of approach. The 3d
Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), just arrived from the United States, was assigned to the
24th Infantry Division. On 6 October, the rest of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
arrived in Saudi Arabia, as did the European based 12th Aviation Brigade with AH-64
helicopters. Lead 1st Cavalry Division elements began arriving in early October; the
division's deployment was completed by 22 October.
Substantial air reinforcements also deployed to the theater, greatly increasing CENTCOM's
combat power; total combat aircraft in the region numbered nearly 1,000 by early October.
Elements of the Air Force's 4th, 37th, and 48th TFWs provided a long-range, precision
strike capability. Iraqi air defenses could be suppressed or eliminated by the arriving
electronic countermeasures capabilities of squadrons from the 366th and 35th TFWs.
Finally, aircraft crucial for ground support arrived in the form of five squadrons of F-16Cs
and four of A-10s. Additionally, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing had both fixed wing attack
aircraft and AH-1W attack helicopters to support the ground forces, as well as fighters to
help maintain air supremacy over the crucial coastal area. Carrier air wings aboard the USS
John F. Kennedy (CV 67) and the USS Saratoga (CV 60), which had replaced the USS
Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea and USS Independence in the Arabian Sea,
respectively, added to the attack and fighter capabilities.
By early October, CINCCENT was satisfied the "window of vulnerability" had narrowed
and that he could conduct a successful defense of Saudi Arabia. The deployment of forces
essential for the defensive mission, however, had taken nearly two months.
Although Iraq may have been deterred from an early attack into Saudi Arabia, it remained a
potent threat, still able to attack and inflict serious military and political damage to the
Coalition. Intelligence sources estimated Iraqi forces in the Kuwait Theater of Operations
(KTO) in mid-October represented most of the country's combat power. By that time, 27
Iraqi divisions were deployed, including all eight Republican Guard Forces Command
(RGFC) divisions. Of these 27 divisions, nine were armored or mechanized, 17 were
infantry, and one was special forces. These elements were organized into the II Corps, III
Corps, IV Corps and VII Corps, as well as the RGFC, which operated as a corps. Iraqi
manpower in the KTO numbered more than 435,000, supported by more than 3,600 tanks,
almost 2,400 armored personnel carriers, and more than 2,400 artillery pieces.
On 13 September, CINCCENT met with Lieutenant General Khalid bin Sultan bin 'Abd
Al-'Aziz, Commander, Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces and operational commander of
Saudi forces committed to Operation Desert Shield, to discuss future strategy for defending
Saudi Arabia. Lieutenant General Khalid re-emphasized the Saudi desire for defensive
strongpoints and positions to retain territory and key population areas. CINCCENT urged
that the strongpoint defenses be held to a minimum and used only as a last resort, preferring
a more mobile defense. He also stressed that Saudi forces might be bypassed and destroyed
by advancing Iraqi forces. Finally, CINCCENT pointed out that I MEF defenses along the
coast just south of the Saudi units might eliminate the need for strongpoints. As an
alternative, the use of strongpoints was recommended as a temporary measure to wear down
advancing Iraqi forces, with Saudi units withdrawn before they could be bypassed or
overrun. CINCCENT recommended a deception plan to make the Iraqis think the
Coalition's main defense was along the border. As the meeting ended, the two commanders
agreed that defenses should focus on stopping the enemy north of Al-Jubayl to protect
crucial facilities and cities to the south.
pg 40 map: Coalition Defense October 1990. Map shows 19 Allied ground units and their
general areas of defensive deployment in Saudi Arabia. The unit type (division/brigade etc),
nationality (UK, FR, SY, KU, EG, SA, and US) and general location of unit is depicted.
Specific units include: 6th FR mechanized infantry division, 9th SY armored division, 35th
KU mechanized infantry division, 4th EG armored division, 20th KU mechanized infantry
brigade, 3rd EG mechanized infantry division, 101st air assault division, 7th UK armored
division, 82nd airborne division, 1st Marine division, 1st Cavalry armored division, 24th
mechanized infantry division, one SY SF regiment, one EG RGR (ranger) regiment, two SA
mechanized infantry battalions, one US mechanized cavalry battalions, one SA infantry
brigade, and 4th MEB (Afloat). MARCENT and ARCENT headquarter locations are
shown. Map depicts main supply nodes and supply road network.
The agreed-upon concept of operations <pg 41 start> envisioned Coalition ground forces
delaying an Iraqi attack as far forward as possible while inflicting increasing damage on the
enemy, primarily through Coalition air power. In the Eastern Area Command (EAC), along
the Gulf coast, defensive operations would concentrate on key cities, ports, and terrain
starting at the Kuwaiti border. Behind the EAC, US forces would conduct a mobile defense
designed to delay and then defeat the Iraqis before they reached Al-Jubayl. In the Northern
Area Command (NAC), the defense hinged on screening the border area and strongpoints at
KKMC, Hafr Al-Batin, Al-Qaysumah and Hail. If attacked, NAC was to defend in sector
while evacuating population centers.
Arrival of additional Coalition forces in theater let CINCCENT and the Saudis establish
defenses in accordance with this concept of operations. CINCCENT's defensive plan
positioned I MEF's 1st MARDIV along the coastal road with forward positions 70 miles
north of Al-Jubayl. The Marines would fall back on successive defensive positions, until
reaching a final defensive line in the quarries and ridges 40 miles north of the port. On I
MEF's left, XVIII Airborne Corps established a mobile defense in depth. The 101st
Airborne Division (Air Assault) served as the Corps' covering force, forward and on the left
of the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) which occupied the main battle area, ready to
defend against an Iraqi attack along the Tapline Road and, more important, to act as a
counterattack force into the flank of Iraqi forces advancing down the coast road against the
Marines. To the rear, the 82nd Airborne Division assumed defensive positions in the
oilfields near Abqaiq. Upon arrival, the 1st Cavalry Division, with its heavy armor, was
placed in reserve, ready to counterattack Iraqi forces and drive them back into Kuwait. At
sea, an amphibious task force threatened the potentially long Iraqi line of communications
along the coast.
With his forces arrayed, CINCCENT intended to fight a joint and combined battle to defeat
an Iraqi attack. Defensive plans relied heavily on Coalition naval and air power and
night-fighting capability to balance the numerical inferiority of Coalition ground forces.
Intensive coordination between Coalition units was required to ensure plans could be
executed smoothly. Saudi and other Coalition units were expected to withdraw through US
forces, a complicated maneuver under the best of conditions. Withdrawal routes, link-up
points, fire support coordination, and many other details demanded close cooperation.
Special staffs and liaison teams were established to coordinate planning. On a less formal
level, units and commanders conducted regular meetings, conferences, map exercises, and
rehearsals. XVIII Airborne Corps and I MEF closely coordinated their actions. In late
September, a joint conference ironed out fire support and air support issues among US air,
naval, and ground forces. CINCCENT conducted a map exercise on 4 October for all
commanders down to division level, ensuring each understood the defensive plan and his
role; lingering questions were resolved. At lower levels, informal liaison solved the
immediate problems of tactical commanders. As the last elements of the XVIII Airborne
Corps arrived in theater, US forces were fully integrated into defensive plans.
Forward of US defenses, Coalition forces established a thin, but gradually strengthening,
line along the Kuwait and southern Iraq border. These forces were to carry out the Saudi
plan of defending key areas. Politically, they served notice to the Iraqis of Coalition resolve.
In the NAC sector, elements of the 6th French Light Armored Division, the initial portion of
Force Daguet, assumed positions west of Hafr Al-Batin, screening the Coalition forces'
desert flank. North of Hafr Al-Batin, a Syrian Special Forces regiment patrolled the Iraqi
and former Neutral Zone border area, backed by elements of the arriving 9th Syrian
Armored Division. On their right, an Egyptian Ranger battalion screened the Kuwait border
east of Wadi <pg 42 start> Al-Batin in front of the 3rd Egyptian Mechanized Infantry
Division. Saudi and other non-US units established additional strongpoints at Hafr Al-Batin
and KKMC. In the EAC zone, Saudi forces, consisting of a thin screen of mechanized
battalions, watched over the Kuwait border between the Egyptians and the Gulf.
At CINCCENT's recommendation, the three Saudi brigades positioned along the coast were
shifted to defensive positions along the border, to provide better early warning of an attack
and increase the impression that Coalition defenses were positioned well forward. As more
Coalition forces arrived in November and December, they were integrated into the
defensive line. These forces included a Qatari battalion, additional Egyptian and Syrian
forces, the remainder of the 6th French Light Armored Division, numerous contingents
from throughout the Coalition, and the growing strength of the Kuwait armed forces, which
were being rebuilt at training camps near KKMC.
Throughout October, Coalition forces continued to refine defensive plans. Cross training
between US and other Coalition units built mutual understanding. Coalition air forces
conducted regular rehearsals of the actions they would take in an Iraqi attack. Amphibious
exercises in Oman demonstrated the 4th MEB's capabilities. While the likelihood of an Iraqi
attack had receded by the end of the month (CINCCENT believed it had become
improbable), air, naval, and land forces continued to prepare defenses, rehearse, and, most
importantly, ensure common joint and combined understanding. In late November, Exercise
Imminent Thunder, a final defensive plan rehearsal, was conducted. This exercise integrated
Coalition land, sea, and air forces.
The final combined defense plan for Operation Desert Shield was signed on 29 November
and published in Arabic and English versions. Although supporting plans were not required
from subordinate units and the OPLAN never was executed in its entirety, it confirmed
actual plans and unit dispositions. While the plan also harmonized the views of both
CINCCENT and Lieutenant General Khalid, it ensured common understanding and
required detailed coordination at all levels. Although events already were overcoming the
need to execute the plan, it can be viewed as a model of unity of effort and combined
planning in coalition warfare.
Command arrangements were a matter of concern to all nations contributing forces to the
Coalition. Several arrangements were considered and discussed, with unity of command the
underlying consideration. It became clear an acceptable command structure must reflect the
participating nations' national, ethnic, and religious pride. Political factors were of
exceptional importance. Eventually, a dual chain of command, one under CINCCENT and
the other under the control of a Saudi commander, was developed. This structure required
maximum coordination and cooperation among commanders, but did achieve a high level
of unity of effort.
CINCCENT relied on a clearly defined command structure that provided him with
unambiguous command of all US forces in the theater. CINCCENT received his orders
from the Secretary of Defense through the CJCS. CINCCENT submitted force requirements
to the Secretary of Defense through the CJCS, who directed the military Services to identify
and deploy those forces to the theater. As the supported commander-in-chief (CINC), he
drew forces from the entire US military establishment. All forces in theater, except some
specialized support units and strategic intelligence gathering assets, fell under subordinate
component commanders who reported directly to CINCCENT. The Services thus provided
forces to the components as directed by the Secretary of Defense through the CJCS, but
held no command authority over those forces once they arrived in the theater.
Although structured along Service lines, these component commands reported directly to
CINCCENT and assumed responsibility for administration, logistics, and operations of
deployed forces. The Army Component, Central Command (ARCENT) commanded all
Army forces in theater, other than those attached to other components. During Operation
Desert Shield, these forces eventually consisted of XVIII Airborne Corps, VII Corps, and
echelon above corps units providing logistics, intelligence, air defense, and other support.
The Marine Corps Component, Central Command (MARCENT) commanded all Marine
forces ashore in Saudi Arabia. The tactical headquarters was I Marine Expeditionary Force,
although the same person commanded both MARCENT and I MEF. Those Marines
embarked aboard amphibious ships fell under Navy Component, Central Command, who
commanded all US naval forces in the Gulf region, less some naval special warfare units
and those Navy units assigned directly to MARCENT, such as naval construction
CENTAF commanded all USAF units in theater and also was assigned the functions of
airspace control authority and Joint Force Air Component Commander , responsible for
planning, coordinating, allocating, and tasking theater-wide air operations in accordance
with the CINC's apportionment decisions, to include air defense.
A subunified command, Special Operations Command, Central Command (SOCCENT),
retained operational command of all special operations forces (SOF) in theater, but Service
component commands provided administration and logistics. While the component
commands were oriented primarily along Service lines (with the exception of SOCCENT),
CINCCENT was free to, and did, cross attach units to meet changing situations.
CINCCENT exercised command by allowing component commanders maximum initiative
within the scope of his guidance. He directed close coordination at those levels necessary to
ensure operational effectiveness and resolve problems. Component commanders
coordinated directly with each other and exchanged liaison detachments. Lower level
commanders who found themselves relying on other component elements did the same.
This command system allowed maximum flexibility and reduced friction. More
importantly, the command structure let CINCCENT maximize each component's unique
capabilities, while ensuring a joint approach to operations and planning at all levels.
The Coalition command structure enabled close coordination between US and other nations'
military forces. Arriving United Kingdom (UK) forces were placed under CINCCENT's
operational control (OPCON), while remaining under UK command. French forces
operated independently under national command and control, but coordinated closely with
the Saudis and CENTCOM. Islamic forces invited to participate in military operations did
so with the understanding they would operate under Saudi control. Arab ground forces were
under Saudi OPCON either in the Eastern Area Command, which held responsibility for the
northern coastal region of Saudi Arabia, or the Northern Area Command, which included
Hafr Al-Batin, KKMC and the area to the north and west. The EAC contained primarily
Saudi and other GCC forces. The NAC commanded other GCC forces, as well as deployed
Egyptian and Syrian units. Initially, all decisions for these forces were made by the Saudi
Ministry of Defense and Aviation (MODA) Chief of Staff, a process that often proved time
consuming. To streamline operational decision making, Lieutenant General Khalid was
designated the Commander, Joint Forces and Theater of Operations in October, a position
he held throughout the war.
pg 44 chart: CENTCOM Command Structure. (Mid-October 1990). Organizational
structure shown between the following major CENTCOM organizations: CINCCENT,
To ensure close coordination between CENTCOM and forces under Saudi OPCON, an
informal planning group was established in August that combined Saudi and CENTCOM
military planners. The initial group included the CENTCOM Director of Plans and Policy,
the MODA Director of Operations, several general officers from the Saudi armed forces,
and a working group of US and Saudi field grade officers. The planning group conducted
continuous coordination as forces were being rushed to the theater. It proved essential to
resolving functional issues, preparing defensive plans, and arranging for ports and facilities
for US forces. At lower levels, SOF teams were assigned to Islamic units down to the
battalion level to assist with training and provide continuous liaison with US forces. These
teams served with their Coalition counterparts throughout the crisis.
It quickly became clear that detailed coordination among Coalition ground forces would be
necessary. In mid-August, the Coalition Coordination, Communication and Integration
Center (C3IC) was formed under the ARCENT's lead.The C3IC became a clearinghouse for
coordination of training areas, firing ranges, logistics, frequency management, and
intelligence sharing. Manned by officers from all Coalition forces, the C3IC served as the
primary tool for coordination of the myriad details inherent in combined military operations.
It soon expanded and was divided into ground, air, naval, logistics, special operations, and
intelligence sections. The C3IC became a vital tool in ensuring unity of effort among
Coalition forces, remaining in operation throughout Operations Desert Shield and Desert
A substantial difference in experience and expertise existed between US and Saudi military
planners, understandable given the size, mission, and history of the two nations' armed
forces. Continuous close coordination and daily meetings were required to ensure combined
plans evolved. This process was made more difficult by language and cultural differences,
which placed a premium on US Arab linguists with requisite operational experience and an
understanding of the region. While senior Saudi officers meticulously reviewed Arabic
translations of operations plans, the few available US linguists also reviewed plans to ensure
Arrangements for Coalition C2 reflected the political concerns of the providing nations.
Parallel chains of command that enabled commanders to refer to their governments on
military questions placed a premium on cooperation and military leadership. That so few
issues were elevated to the national level is a tribute to these commanders' professionalism.
(For detailed discussion of Coalition C2, see Appendix I.)
Clearly defined and articulated political objectives ensured development of equally clear
military objectives and decisively contributed to the success of Operation Desert Shield.
Forward-deployed and rapidly deployable forces let the United States quickly establish a
deterrent capability in theater.
The US military command structure was unambiguous, letting CINCCENT exercise full
command over all US forces in theater, maximizing the unique service capabilities of all
forces, while ensuring unity of command.
The Coalition command structure, while having no overall commander, was successful
because of close coordination and the professionalism of the personnel assigned to the staffs
and units at all levels.
Lack of fully developed defensive plans between the United States and Saudi Arabia
hindered initial operational planning. CENTCOM continues to conduct planning and close
coordination with Gulf region nations to ensure mutual understanding.
Initial military options were limited by the time required to move large forces into the
theater. Ground force deployment depended on sufficient, dedicated, fast sealift. Sealift
shortages resulted in slow buildup of heavy forces during September and October.
. Successful buildup of forces depended on the availability of sealift, the Saudi port and
airfield infrastructure, and host nation support. Shortages of fast, roll-on/ roll-off ships
limited rapid deployment of heavy forces. The Department of Defense is addressing this
The complexities of joint military contingency planning are compounded by the
requirement for rapid response, limitations on the availability of strategic lift, and
operational differences among forces of a Coalition.
Earlier MPS sailing could have provided additional military options, in terms of deterrence
or rapid response without committing US forces.
The Maritime Interception Force (MIF) was the primary instrument the Coalition used to
enforce the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) economic sanctions against Iraq.
Sanctions require a long and concerted effort. Although Maritime Interception Operations
(MIO) continued after the cease fire, this report focuses on the period from 2 August to 28
One of the first steps the UNSC took to compel Iraq to relinquish its control of Kuwait was
the imposition of economic sanctions. UNSC Resolution 661, which imposed these
sanctions, was passed on 6 August. This resolution called on all States to prevent the import
and export of all commodities and products to and from Iraq and Kuwait, except medical
supplies and certain humanitarian shipments of foodstuffs. The resolution passed 13 to 0;
Cuba and Yemen abstained. Within a few days of the Iraqi invasion, Coalition naval forces
were gathering in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. However, during the first two weeks of the
crisis, the focus was on defending Saudi Arabia from a possible Iraqi invasion and building
a coalition in support of Kuwait. Moreover, UNSC Resolution 661 had not authorized
enforcement of the economic sanctions.
The initial Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff MIO alert order was dated 11 August and the
Commander-in-Chief, Central Command's (CINCCENT) MIO operations order was drafted
on 12 August. On 16 August, CINCCENT was directed to execute MIO, effective 17
August, consistent with the scope of the United Nations (UN) Charter's article 51, and
UNSC Resolution 661. At the same time, a notice to mariners was issued to alert merchant
shipping of the operation and the potential for inspections.
"Calling upon those Member States cooperating with the Government of Kuwait which are
deploying maritime forces to the area to use such measures commensurate to the specific
circumstance as may be necessary under the authority of the Security Council to halt all
inward and outward maritime shipping in order to inspect and verify their cargoes and
destinations and to ensure strict implementation of the provisions related to such shipping
laid down in Resolution 661 (1990)."
United Nations Security Council Resolution 665
25 August 1990
A multinational MIF was developed to enforce the UNSC economic sanctions against Iraq
by intercepting prohibited cargo on shipping headed for or leaving Iraqi and Kuwaiti ports,
or Al-'Aqabah, Jordan. Because the United Nations did not have standardized operating
procedures to enforce the sanctions, CINCCENT directed Naval Forces Component,
Central Command (NAVCENT) to develop an operational plan for multinational MIO, with
the understanding that multinational units participating in the MIF would operate under
their national commands. Initially NAVCENT directed the Commander, Middle East Force
(CMEF) to plan, coordinate, and execute US MIO. CMEF drafted an operational plan for
the US MIF with two primary goals:
- Effectively use available US naval forces to monitor shipping channels used by Iraq
throughout the region without compromising security objectives.
- Base MIO on the most universally accepted international legal principles to enforce the
sanctions with minimal interference with legitimate maritime commerce.
The operational plan considered the danger that unnecessary use of force at the early stages
of the crisis might undercut international support for the sanctions or even prompt an Iraqi
military response at an inopportune time relative to Coalition building and Operation Desert
Shield force deployment.
On 25 August, the UNSC authorized the use of force to enforce the sanctions and MIO
began in earnest. While the use of force during MIO was justified under the UN Charter and
authorized by UNSC Resolution 665, great efforts were taken to avoid not only the use of
force during MIO, but also the appearance of taking any action that could be construed as
the action of a belligerent during armed conflict. For example, the visit and search of
suspect merchant vessels was announced to the merchant as an inspection, not a boarding.
Although authorized by international law, seizure of vessels or cargoes that violated UNSC
resolutions generally was not done. Instead, vessels violating the sanctions were diverted to
Coalition or non-aligned Middle East ports. Additionally, careful efforts were made to
minimize interference with legitimate maritime commerce to avoid adverse effects on the
economies of other nations.
At the time of Iraq's invasion, the total Iraqi merchant fleet consisted of about 140 vessels,
but only some 42 ships were suitable for overseas cargo shipment. Of these 42 ships, there
were 20 tankers, three roll-on/roll-off vessels, and 19 cargo vessels of various classes.
The major ports for seaborne cargo were Umm Qasr and Khawr Az-Zubayr in Iraq, and the
Jordanian port of Al-'Aqabah, from which cargo for Iraq was shipped overland. Since oil
pipelines through Saudi Arabia and Turkey were shut down shortly after the invasion, the
Iraqi oil terminal at Mina Al-Bakr served as the only major facility with the potential to
export substantial amounts of oil.
Trade related to the Az-Zarqa free-trade zone in Jordan much of it seaborne through
Al-'Aqabah, some by air or truck caused some confusion early in MIO. Free-trade zones
are legal constructs Third World countries use to encourage industry to operate in the zone,
by offering tax exemptions and other incentives. The Az-Zarqa free trade zone served as a
transfer point for Iraqi-bound cargo. Initially, there was some uncertainty as to whether
UNSC sanctions prohibited cargo destined for this free-trade zone. Ultimately, cargo
consigned to this free trade zone was required to have an accurately documented final
destination or the ships carrying it were diverted.
"Each naval force received Maritime Interception Force tasking .from its own national
command authority. Even without a formal international command and control structure,
MIF demonstrated superb international cooperation, enhanced through monthly MIF
conferences. Conferences facilitated cooperation, ensured mutual protection, and reduced
The MIO's rapid development and smooth functioning was directly the product of extensive
experience several of the key navies had accumulated. Importantly, during the "Tanker
War" phase of the Iran-Iraq War, five European nations (members of both the Western
European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)) and the United States
conducted operations that protected reflagged merchant shipping in the Persian Gulf.
Although these operations like Earnest Will (the name of the US effort) were separately
mounted by each participating state, substantial collective experience in Persian Gulf naval
operations was developed.
pg 51 map: MIF Sector Assignments. MIF (Maritime Interception Force) assignments are
shown for the Red Sea (France, Greece, Spain, and the United States), Gulf of Aden
(France), Gulf of Oman (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Netherlands,
Spain, and the United States), and the Persian Gulf (Denmark, Italy, Norway, United
Kingdom, and the United States). Note in text: GCC states patrolled in areas near their
territorial waters.
After UNSC Resolutions 661 and 665 were passed, nations continued to join the effort for
several weeks. By 1 September, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), the
Netherlands, and France had dispatched 20 ships to Middle East waters, but had not yet
committed these forces to the MIF.
CINCCENT assigned overall MIO coordination to NAVCENT, who initiated and chaired a
series of monthly coordination meetings of representatives from each participating nation.
The first conference was 9 September. After the first meeting, NAVCENT delineated
operating sectors for the Coalition navies who committed ships to the MIF. Each sector
generally included ships from more than one country, in addition to the forces of the local
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States, with the understanding that the senior naval
officer in each sector would be the local sector coordinator. In the Red Sea and northern
Persian Gulf, the local coordinators usually were the US carrier battle group (CVBG) and
destroyer squadron commanders.
By 27 September, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, the
Netherlands, Spain, and the UK had committed 42 ships to the MIF. The GCC states
participated in MIO by preventing merchant vessels from using their coastal waters to avoid
the MIF. In addition to the GCC states, 13 nations (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada,
Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the UK, and the United
States) ultimately provided ships for the MIF. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert
Storm, 22 nations participated in the MIF effort, providing support ranging from CVBGs to
port logistics facilities.
The informal, multilateral MIF command structure achieved international cooperation and
superb operational effectiveness. When <pg 53 start> implementing the sanctions under
the UNSC resolutions, each country operated under its own national command directives.
Although operational procedures varied, coordination among the Coalition naval forces
resulted in an effective multinational effort. Information on operating procedures and tactics
was routinely shared among the Coalition naval forces. For example, meetings, exchanges,
and briefings among Greek, French, Spanish, and US MIF participants in the Red Sea
served to increase mutual understanding and standardize operating procedures.
Furthermore, uniform procedures and communications methods developed during years of
NATO, Australia-New Zealand-United States (ANZUS), and various bilateral exercises
greatly improved the Coalition's ability to work together effectively. Diplomatic support to
prevent evasion of sanctions by merchant vessels in territorial waters also was crucial to the
success of MIO.
MIO centered on surveillance of commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of
Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, and the eastern Mediterranean Sea, supported by
worldwide monitoring of ships and cargoes potentially destined for Iraq, Kuwait, or
Al-'Aqabah. When merchant vessels were intercepted, they were queried to identify the
vessel and its shipping information (e.g., destination, origination, registration, and cargo).
Suspect vessels were boarded for visual inspection, and, if prohibited cargo were found, the
merchant ship was diverted. Rarely, and only when necessary, warning shots were fired to
induce a vessel to allow boarding by the inspection team. As an additional step, takedowns
the insertion of armed teams from helicopters were used to take temporary control of
uncooperative, suspect merchant vessels that refused to stop for inspection.
The Naval Operational Intelligence Center (NOIC) provided detailed technical data on
numerous merchant ships. The center also developed an inspection checklist for Coalition
boarding teams. As an element of the overall US contribution to UNSC Sanctions
Committee deliberations, which guided the UN effort, NOIC used its resources to develop
watch lists of companies suspected of trading with, or on behalf of, Iraq.
Nearly 250,000 square miles of sea lanes were patrolled by Coalition naval forces. Maritime
Patrol Aircraft (MPA) such as US Navy P-3 Orions, Royal Air Force Nimrods and French
Navy Atlantiques ranged over the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. During Operation Desert
Shield, the combined efforts of Coalition MPA resulted in the interception of more than
6,300 ships.
Queries requesting a vessel's identity, its point of origin, destination, and cargo were issued
to merchant ships by radio from warships, MPA, helicopters, or tactical aircraft flying
surveillance patrols. After vessels were queried, information from imagery, radar,
intelligence, shipboard computer data bases, and public shipping records were used to
corroborate the responses. Some warships, like USS J. L. Hall (FFG 32) (the first ship to
challenge a merchant vessel), averaged 10 challenges daily.
"The success of MIF operations was due in no small measure to experience and training
provided by Coast Guard LEDETs."
The Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment hadn't been aboard but a few minutes when
we realized that the Coast Guard had the corporate knowledge we needed badly."
Executive Officer, USS Goldsborough (DDG 20)
To reduce the number of unnecessary boardings, intercepted shipping could be released
without boarding if the vessel signaled its intention to proceed to a port other than one in
Iraq, Kuwait, or Jordan. However, any ship that failed to proceed as directed, or attempted
to proceed to an Iraqi, Kuwaiti, or Jordanian port would be boarded. An exception to this
policy applied to ferries and passenger liners, so long as there was no indication of
subterfuge. Also, no boarding generally was required for any merchant visually confirmed
to be riding high on the water (indicating the ship's holds were empty).
Two MIF warships normally conducted boarding operations. A team from one ship boarded
the suspect vessel while the second ship remained nearby to provide assistance. To
supplement the MIF assets, carrier-based aircraft remained on alert, prepared to launch in
support of an abnormal boarding (e.g., when only one Coalition ship was available to board
a suspect Iraqi-flagged merchant). Helicopters also were tasked to inspect merchant vessels.
If cargo holds were open, a helicopter visually confirmed whether the vessel was empty.
Reasons for diverting a merchant vessel to a port different from its intended destination
included irregularities with the ship's manifest and blatant shipment of prohibited cargo
destined for Iraq or Kuwait. Manifest irregularities included improper designation of
consignees on the manifests and bookkeeping discrepancies. Prohibited cargo discovered
and diverted by the MIF included such items as military equipment, food, cars stolen from
Kuwait, chemicals, and spare parts.
Because of their experience and expertise, United States Coast Guard (USCG) Law
Enforcement Detachments (LEDETs) proved to be invaluable to MIO. Previous drug
interdiction operations in the Caribbean provided LEDETs an opportunity to become
familiar with Navy shipboard operating procedures, capabilities, and support assets. These
operations also provided the Navy and USCG experience in conducting at-sea inspections
in potentially hostile environments. LEDETs provided Navy personnel with training in
boarding procedures, handling of small arms, tactics used by smugglers, and the intricacies
of shipping documentation and maritime law. A USCG officer normally led a 10-person
boarding team composed of three USCG enlisted specialists, one Naval officer, and five
Navy enlisted personnel.
Between 18 and 31 August, three Iraqi tankers refused to allow boarding inspections after
being challenged by US naval forces. On 18 August, the first MIO warning shots were fired
by USS Reid (FFG 30) after the Iraqi tanker Khanaqin refused to alter course in the Persian
Gulf. Even after warning shots were fired, the Iraqi vessel refused to comply with the MIF's
orders to halt and eventually was allowed to proceed to Aden, Yemen, where it anchored.
Boarding operations were temporarily suspended while diplomatic efforts were made to
obtain UNSC authorization to use force to obtain compliance with the sanctions. UNSC
Resolution 665 was approved on 25 August and boarding operations resumed the same day.
On 27 August, US MIO procedures were changed to require NAVCENT's permission
before warning shots could be fired at suspected vessels. From the beginning of MIO until
28 February, 11 interceptions required warning shots. At no time, however, was disabling
gunfire used. The use of warning shots and disabling fire was tightly controlled to ensure all
other means short of this display of force were used to induce compliance.
"Going through the boat was probably the most stressful part because you didn't know what
was behind every door. We didn't know if it was going to be a regular boarding or if
someone would be waiting for us."
Boarding Team Member, USS Brewton (FF 1086)
US warships were authorized to use disabling fire on Iraqi merchant ships three times
during MIO. Permission for disabling fire was first granted on 18 August against Khanaqin,
but was rescinded (see Significant MIO Events section). CINCENT's MIO operations order
was revised on 1 September to require National Command Authorities approval for
disabling fire. Disabling fire was authorized again on 14 September for Al Fao, but its
master consented to boarding before disabling force was necessary. The last authorization
was granted on 22 October against Al Sahil Al Arabi, which also consented to boarding
before disabling fire actually was used.
Most merchant traffic the MIF queried was encountered inside the Persian Gulf (78
percent); however, most boardings occurred in the Red Sea (91 percent). Most takedowns
took place against Iraqi ships in the Gulf of Oman and northern Arabian Sea. Because of
concern for avoiding incidents involving infringement of territorial waters and oil spills,
takedowns were purposely not conducted in the Persian Gulf. The UK was the first to
conduct a takedown on 8 October, demonstrating the procedure's effectiveness.
pg 56 paragraph 2
Because of the risks involved and the potential for combat with hostile crews, takedowns
were carried out by special forces using helicopter assets to insert the specially trained
teams. Navy SEALS and special teams from the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB)
and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable (MEU (SOC)) carried out
most Coalition takedowns. (Marine Corps (USMC) teams were not always available to the
MIF because of other tasking such as the Coalition's amphibious warfare preparations.)
Since any attempt to board a ship that had refused to stop could meet with a hostile
reception, Coalition naval units typically sought to muster overwhelming force against such
a ship. Usually three or four warships surrounded the challenged vessel while a helicopter
gunship prepared to provide covering fire. Helicopters then hovered above the ship in
question, and the takedown team "fast roped" (i.e., rappelled) onto the deck. The takedown
team took control of the vessel and additional forces were brought aboard, often by small
boats from the surrounding coalition warships, to secure and inspect the merchant ship.
Takedowns of uncooperative vessels evolved into an intermediate step between warning
shots and disabling fire. Although successful, takedowns strained available shipboard
helicopter resources. There were not enough helicopters capable of inserting a full
16-member takedown team onto a vessel. Though designed primarily for antisubmarine
warfare, both the SH-3 and SH-60 were adapted to meet takedown requirements. The full
complement of a takedown squad usually required three SH-3s to conduct a successful
insertion. The Navy's SH-60 helicopter was equipped with an M-60 machine gun and
generally was used as the helicopter gunship during takedowns.
Iraq used many tactics in attempts to avoid the sanctions or frustrate the MIF. The families
of Iraqi masters and crews were threatened with violence if any ship stopped for boarding.
Iraqi crews often ignored verbal challenges, delayed responses to MIF interrogations,
ignored warning shots, used water cannons against boarding parties, refused to cooperate
after boarding, and refused to divert after verbally agreeing to do so. In most cases, the
ship's master cooperated once he knew he could inform the Iraqi government he had been
forced to comply. Iraqi masters sometimes labeled cargo as crew food or produced false
manifests and documents. The Coalition countered these tactics by thorough searches of
cargo and close scrutiny of documentation. To make it more difficult to produce fraudulent
documentation, NAVCENT did not publish specific inspection criteria. In some cases,
cargo was hidden in inaccessible areas of a merchant ship. Underway inspections in these
situations were ineffective. With the government of Saudi Arabia's permission, suspect
ships occasionally were diverted to the Saudi Red Sea port of Yanbu, where full inspections
were conducted.
On 27 August, US naval forces participating in the MIF were authorized to offer safe haven
to Iraqi masters and crews of vessels which refused to stop for inspection. Intercepting ships
were authorized to communicate the following offer to the master of the ship: "If you fear
persecution in Iraq for permitting boarding of your vessel in compliance with UN Security
Council Resolutions, the United States will assist you in finding a safe haven outside Iraq."
The term "safe haven" was developed to avoid confusion with existing policies concerning
temporary refuge and asylum. Safe haven involved a pre-approved commitment by the State
Department to protect an individual without guaranteeing asylum in the United States. No
Iraqi ship master or crew requested safe haven.
More than 7,500 interceptions took place during Operations Desert Shield and Desert
Storm, and it is not feasible to chronicle all those events in this chapter. The following
descriptions, however, briefly highlight significant events that occurred.
On 18 August, the first boarding of a merchant vessel occurred when a team from USS
England (CG 22) inspected the cargo and manifest of the Chinese freighter Heng Chung
Hai. Later that day, the first diversion occurred when USS Scott (DDG 995) ordered the
Cypriot merchant Dongola away from Al-'Aqabah after the vessel's master admitted
carrying cargo bound for Iraq.
That same day, USS Reid intercepted the Iraqi tanker Khanaqin in the Persian Gulf. The
Iraqi vessel refused to comply with boarding instructions or change course. USS Reid fired
both 25-mm and 76-mm warning shots, which also failed to induce the ship's master to
comply with the boarding instructions, but did cause some of Khanaqin's crew to don life
jackets. USS Reid continued to follow the Iraqi vessel and later was relieved by USS
Goldsborough (DDG 20). The Iraqi vessel was allowed to proceed to Aden, Yemen, where
it anchored. A similar incident occurred that same day between USS R. G. Bradley (FFG
49) and the Iraqi merchant vessel Baba Gurgur. The Iraqi vessel ignored three warning
shots and was allowed to proceed to Aden, where it also anchored. In late November, both
crews were transferred to the Iraqi roll-on/roll-off ship Khawla Bint Al Azwar, ferried to
Al'Aqabah, and then returned to Iraq.
"One cannot think about this activity without mentioning the Navy the very quiet, very
professional way they put the [Maritime Interception Operations] on very, very effective
maybe one of the most important things we did."
General Merrill McPeak, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force
On 31 August, USS Biddle (CG 34) boarded the first Iraqi merchant vessel, Al Karamah, en
route to Al'Aqabah. A thorough inspection revealed the vessel was empty and it was
allowed to proceed.
In the early morning hours of 4 September, crew members of USS Goldsborough and a
LEDET boarded the Iraqi vessel Zanoobia. The Iraqi merchant had enough tea to supply the
entire population of Iraq for a month and was ordered to divert to a port outside the Persian
Gulf. The Iraqi merchant's master refused to divert and USS Goldsborough was directed to
take control of the Iraqi ship. More USS Goldsborough crewmen were brought aboard and
took Zanoobia to the port of Muscat, Oman, where Iraqi diplomats advised the master to
return to his port of origin in Sri Lanka.
In an attempt to break down the multinational Coalition and reduce the MIF's effectiveness,
Iraq, on 11 September, offered free oil to Third World countries, if they would send ships to
load it. No country responded.
On 14 September, US and Australian warships conducted the first multinational boarding of
an Iraqi vessel. After 24 hours of radio negotiations, the Iraqi master of the merchant vessel,
Al Fao, still refused to stop for inspection. The Australian Frigate HMAS Darwin (F 04)
and USS Brewton (FF 1086) proceeded to the next step of the interception and fired
warning shots ahead of the vessel, which caused the Iraqi vessel to slow down. The
merchant vessel was boarded by a 13-member team consisting of Coast Guardsmen, USS
Brewton, and HMAS Darwin crew members as HMAS Darwin's helicopter provided
assistance. Al Fao was empty and allowed to proceed to the Iraqi port of Al-Basrah.
On 27 September, USS Montgomery (FF 1082), with the Spanish Frigate SNS Cazadora (F
35), intercepted the Iraqi merchant Tadmur outbound from Al-'Aqabah. The Iraqi vessel
did not respond to several verbal warnings to stop. Eventually, the Iraqi master informed the
Coalition ships his instructions were to proceed unless stopped by force. After USS
Montgomery fired several .50-caliber warning shots, Tadmur agreed to stop and permit
boarding. A US and Spanish team boarded the vessel as the Iraqi crew held up pictures of
Saddam Hussein. Inspection revealed the vessel was empty. The purpose of the vessel's
departure from Al-'Aqabah may have been to gather intelligence on MIO procedures and to
test the Coalition's resolve.
On 2 October, the French frigate Doudart de Lagree (F 728), intercepted the North Korean
vessel, Sam Il Po, which was carrying plywood panels. After the merchant vessel repeatedly
failed to answer bridge-to-bridge radio calls, warning shots were fired across the vessel's
bow. Sam Il Po then stopped and permitted the French ship to board. The North Korean
master claimed he was not monitoring the bridge-to- bridge radio, and that stopping would
have damaged his engines. The boarding team verified the cargo and ship's destination, and
allowed the ship to proceed.
The Iraqi merchant Alwasitti was intercepted in the Gulf of Oman on 8 October by the
British frigate HMS Battleaxe (F 89), HMAS Adelaide (F 01), and USS Reasoner (FF
1063). All three ships fired warning shots, but Alwasitti refused to stop or acknowledge any
communications. HMS Battleaxe inserted four Royal Marines by helicopter and secured the
vessel, executing the first takedown of the Gulf crisis.
Also on 8 October, the Iraqi vessel Tadmur was intercepted again by HMS Brazen (F 91),
USS Goldsborough, and HMAS Darwin. The Iraqi vessel informed the Coalition ships that
higher authority had instructed it not to allow boarding and it refused to stop. Royal Marines
from HMS Brazen were inserted by helicopter and USS Goldsborough and HMAS Darwin
crew members boarded by small boat. The boarding team instructed the Iraqi master to
divert, but he refused and instead offered to jettison his cargo at sea. HMS Brazen's
Commanding Officer, the local MIO coordinator, ordered the Iraqi merchant to divert to
USS Brewton intercepted the Iraqi merchant Almutanabbi on 13 October, after it refused to
heed verbal orders to stop. HMAS Darwin made a close, high speed crossing pass within
100 yards of Almutanabbi's bow. Two detachments of Marines from 13th MEU (SOC),
aboard USS Ogden (LPD 5) were inserted and rapidly gained control of the ship. The Iraqi
vessel was then boarded by additional teams from USS Brewton, USS Ogden, HMAS
Darwin, and HMS Jupiter (F 60). This boarding was the first takedown by US Marines.
From 20 to 22 October, USS O'Brien (DD 975) intercepted and challenged the Iraqi vessel,
Al Sahil Al Arabi, which was visually identified as a small cargo ship. The Iraqi master
claimed the vessel was a fishing boat and, when boarded, it was confirmed to be a fishing
refrigeration ship. However, the vessel was carrying lumber and piping, and was ordered
either to divert to Bahrain or return to Iraq. The master, fearing he would be arrested if he
went to Bahrain, initially agreed to return to Iraq. After the boarding party departed, the
master apparently changed his mind about returning to Iraq and the crew started throwing
wood over the side. When ordered to slow down, the Iraqi vessel increased speed and
refused to stop.
The next day the Iraqi master again refused to turn back to Iraq, and USS O'Brien fired
warning shots from .50-caliber, 25-mm, and 5-inch guns. Even after warning shots were
fired, the vessel did not stop. On 22 October, USS Reasoner followed abeam of the Iraqi
vessel while HMAS Adelaide made two close passes across the bow of Al Sahil Al Arabi.
After the second pass, the Iraqi vessel stopped and allowed boarding. With US Marines
standing by in USS Ogden, HMAS Adelaide's Commanding Officer, the local MIO
coordinator, decided to insert HMAS Adelaide's takedown team. After the takedown, the
Iraqi master cooperated fully with the team and complied with all MIF orders.
On 28 October, USS Reasoner intercepted the Iraqi merchant Amuriyah, which initially
refused to answer bridge-to-bridge radio calls. HMAS Darwin made a close, high-speed
crossing maneuver while towing a spar, which caused the Iraqi merchant to turn away and
then resume its original course. In an effort to convince the vessel's master to submit to
boarding, F-14s and F/A-18s from USS Independence (CV 62) made six low subsonic
passes. The master remained extremely uncooperative and refused to accept a boarding
party. HMAS Darwin and USS Reasoner fired warning shots, which only caused the Iraqi
crew to don life-jackets. A 21-member USMC takedown team was inserted and initially
reported no active resistance. The Iraqi master refused to muster his crew, and SEALs from
USS Ogden were called in to help with the takedown. The crew of Amuriyah attempted to
use a water cannon to prevent the SEALs from boarding. The crew then resisted passively
as the vessel was secured; however, one crew member in the engineering spaces who tried
to attack a Marine with an axe was disarmed and restrained. The ship's master also had to be
restrained temporarily. Inspection revealed no prohibited cargo, so the vessel was not
diverted. It appeared throughout the interception the Iraqi crew had received detailed
guidance on how to avoid the sanctions and hamper Coalition boarding operations.
On 13 December, USS Mississippi (CGN 40) intercepted and boarded the Cypriot-flagged
merchant vessel Tilia, outbound from Al-'Aqabah with motor vehicles and household
goods. Careful inspection revealed most of the cars were stolen from Kuwait. The following
day, USS Sampson (DDG 5) intercepted another ship with a similar load; both vessels were
sent back to Al-'Aqabah.
In December, the Iraqi-flagged vessel Ibn Khaldoon attempted to carry food and
approximately 60 peace activists to Iraq. On 26 December, HMAS Sydney intercepted the
Iraqi ship after it refused to respond to challenges by bridge-to-bridge radio. A team of
SEALs and 4th MEB Marines were inserted by USMC helicopters and met some resistance
from women who formed a human chain across the vessel's midships to prevent access to
the bridge. Some women also tried to grab the team's weapons and knocked one team
member down. The team fired warning shots and used smoke grenades to restore order.
After the takedown team gained control of the ship and slowed it down, a multinational
team from HMAS Sydney (F 03), USS Oldendorf (DD 972), and USS Fife (DD 991)
boarded the vessel. The vessel then was inspected and ordered to divert because it carried
prohibited cargo (food), not authorized specifically by the UNSC as humanitarian
During the night of 27 December, a Swedish woman aboard Ibn Khaldoon became ill. A
medical team was dispatched from USS Trenton (LPD 14) and the woman was treated for
an apparent heart attack. The patient later was evacuated by helicopter to USS Trenton
where she was stabilized and then transferred to a hospital in Muscat.
USS Mississippi and the Spanish frigate SNS Infanta-Christina (F 35) inspected the
Russian merchant ship, Dmitriy-Furmanov on 4 January, while it was en route to
Al-'Aqabah. <pg 60 start> The vessel was carrying an unmanifested cargo of tank parts,
detonators and rocket launchers. On 10 January, the vessel was reboarded by USS
Mississippi and SNS Diana (F 32). Inspection revealed the cargo was still unmanifested
and the vessel was allowed to depart the Red Sea via the Suez Canal.
pg 60 map and (bar)chart: Summary of Maritime Interception Operations. MIF results are
shown for the Red Sea & Gulf of Aden, the Persian Gulf & N. Arabian Sea (North Arabian
Sea), and for the total area. The Red Sea & Gulf of Aden results: 4 Coalition Navies made
1,673 Inquires (22% of total), 879 Boardings (91%), and 45 Diversions (88%). Persian
Gulf & N. Arabian Sea results: 13 Coalition Navies made 6,000 Inquires (78% of total), 85
Boardings (9%), and 6 Diversions (12%). In both the Red Sea and Persian Gulf areas (The
map does not make it clear if these include the Gulf of Aden and the N. Arabian Sea area.)
there were over 30,000 transits, over 7,500 inquires, only 964 boardings, only 51 diversions,
only 11 warning shots, only 11 take downs, and no disabling fire.
When Operation Desert Storm began, MIF boardings were stopped for one day, 17 January,
to await Iraq's response to the initial attack and to allow US participants to fire Tomahawk
missiles. Because of wartime conditions, NAVCENT modified his directions to the MIF to
allow frequent travelers to the ports of Al-'Aqabah and Eilat to pass without boarding.
Furthermore, all boardings were to be conducted in daylight, and all Iraqi ships were to be
diverted automatically without boarding.
On 31 January, a Greek helicopter observed the St. Vincent-flagged cargo ship, Superstar,
dropping what appeared to be mines in the northern Red Sea. A SEAL team from USS John
F. Kennedy (CV 67) was inserted by helicopter and took control of the ship. Once the
vessel was secured, a LEDET from USS Biddle boarded and inspected the vessel. The
master was cooperative and provided logs and manifests. No evidence of minelaying was
MIO appear to have been very effective. As a result of Coalition efforts during the seven
months of the Persian Gulf crisis, more than 165 ships from 19 Coalition navies challenged
more than 7,500 merchant vessels, boarded 964 ships to inspect manifests and cargo holds,
and diverted 51 ships carrying more than one million tons of cargo in violation of UNSC
sanctions. Commerce through Iraqi and Kuwaiti ports essentially was eliminated; ships
were deterred from loading Iraqi oil while Turkey and Saudi Arabia prohibited use of Iraqi
oil pipelines that crossed their territory. Virtually all Iraqi oil revenues were cut off; thus the
source of much of Iraq's international credit was severed, along with 95 percent of the
country's total pre-invasion revenues.
By severely restricting Iraqi seaborne trade, MIO played a major role in intercepting the
import of materials required to sustain military operations and operate such equipment as
surface-to-air-missile systems, command and control equipment, and early warning radar
systems. Importantly, access to outside sources of tanks, aircraft, munitions, and other war
material to replenish combat losses effectively was precluded. Iraq did obtain some imports
by smuggling along its borders, and by air, but most high-volume bulk imports were
completely cut off.
pg 61 chart: MIO Boardings: The Maritime Intercept Operation boardings were 57 percent
by the US and 43 percent by non-US countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, France,
Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and the United Kingdom).
Between early October and 15 January, 18 tankers and cargo ships were identified in
Kuwaiti and Iraqi ports. Most of these ships transported oil or food between Iraq and
Kuwait. A Maltese cargo/bulk ship also transited between various Iraqi ports. Only eight of
the ships attempted to leave the Persian Gulf and subsequently were boarded; however, two
ships were unaccounted for and it was not determined if they had passed through the Strait
of Hormuz. The low activity level of shipping observed in Iraqi and Kuwaiti ports, coupled
with reports of immobile, fully loaded tankers, verified that the flow of shipping into and
out of Iraq and Kuwait had been severely curtailed.
MIO could have been streamlined and made more effective if guidance detailing the
sanctions and MIO procedures could have been provided to the international maritime
community. Such guidance was slow to take form, primarily because of the volatile nature
of the evolving crisis and the number of changes made to procedures as MIO progressed.
Also, the commanders responsible for conducting the operations were concerned that, if
more details concerning procedures were made public, more creative efforts to circumvent
the sanctions could be developed. This concern was particularly applicable to shipping
through Al-'Aqabah.
In retrospect, detailed information might have been promulgated earlier concerning the
extent of at-sea inspections, the documentation requirements, and the need to ensure cargoes
were accessible for inspection. Promulgation of guidance was hindered by the lack of
international standards for cargo documentation and by the absence of a readily available
medium by which such information could be transmitted effectively. Without prior notice of
the procedures required to satisfy the UNSC sanctions, merchantmen often were
ill-prepared for required inspections. Normal practices of peacetime documentation
frequently were inadequate. There were countless instances of inaccessible cargo, improper
manifests, and incorrect cargo labeling, which effectively precluded manifest verification.
These vessels were diverted or their movement restricted until such problems could be
remedied by rearranging cargo or by acquiring the correct documentation.
The UNSC sanctions against Iraq and the MIO that helped enforce them contributed
significantly to the Coalition's victory. Although the Navy was involved in a majority of
MIO, ranging from intelligence gathering and surveillance to boardings and takedowns,
other Coalition navies participated in roughly half of all boardings. US ships conducted
several combined boardings with Australian, British, Canadian, Greek, and Spanish
warships. The MIF's multinational character built and sustained the Coalition's political and
military effectiveness. Importantly, this multinational character promoted worldwide
acceptance of MIO. The Coalition's procedures to enforce the UNSC sanctions were crafted
in a manner least obtrusive to the rights of neutral nations and were accepted as legitimate
by the majority of non-participating nations.
MIO provided a foundation for Coalition building and were an example of multinational
cooperation at its best. The legitimacy of their conduct and their basis in international law
were internationally accepted, which contributed to the operational success.
International cooperation within the Coalition worked extremely well, even without
formal command relationships. The uniform procedures and communications methods
developed during years of NATO, ANZUS, and various bilateral exercises greatly
improved the Coalition's ability to work effectively.
Diplomatic support to prevent evasion of sanctions by suspect ships transiting territorial
waters was crucial to the success of MIO. Obtaining permission to use local ports for
diversions and inspections also was important.
USCG expertise in boarding, small arms handling, maritime law, shipping
documentation, and countersmuggling techniques proved to be invaluable.
Special forces successfully executed takedowns to board uncooperative merchant ships.
Takedowns became the intermediary step in MIO enforcement escalation, occurring after
warning shots, but before disabling fire. They were a substantial factor in the MlF's
effectiveness and success. This innovation demonstrated resolve and allowed Coalition
naval forces to prevent Iraqi merchant vessels from avoiding the sanctions without taking
more extreme measures such as disabling fire.
There were not enough helicopters able to insert a full takedown team onto a vessel.
Three SH-3s normally were required to conduct a successful takedown. Takedowns also
required a dedicated helicopter gunship to provide covering fire if the situation became
hostile. The SH-60B usually was used as the helicopter gunship. These requirements
strained the battle group's limited helicopter resources.
Small boats were vital for boardings. Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) or Zodiac
boats, available on only a few US warships, were more effective than the Navy's standard
motor whaleboats because of the RHlB's better durability, speed, and sea-keeping
abilities. Generally, the weather in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf was good, but heavy
seas sometimes precluded non-RHlB small boat operations. Many Coalition forces were
equipped with RHlBs and Zodiacs and could board vessels when US boat crews could
Conducting MIO effectively required issuing detailed guidance to international
merchantmen - guidance that often was slow to take form. Without prior notice of the
procedures required to satisfy UNSC provisions, merchantmen often were ill-prepared for
required inspections.
Normal practices of peacetime shipping documentation frequently were inadequate.
There were countless instances of inaccessible cargo, improper manifests, and incorrect
cargo labeling, which effectively precluded manifest verification.
President Bush, speaking to the nation on 8 November, announced the United States would
send more forces to the Gulf to give the Coalition a combined arms offensive capability.
The President's statement marked a new phase in the crisis. Until that announcement, the
United States and its allies had concentrated on deploying enough forces and materiel to
deter Iraqi attack and defend Saudi Arabia from invasion. By early October, that goal had
been achieved. Concurrently, the United States and several Coalition partners began
discussing a wide range of military options in the event economic sanctions proved
insufficient to convince Saddam Hussein to withdraw his army from Kuwait. While
increasing the pressure on Saddam Hussein through further action at the United Nations and
the application of sanctions, President Bush told his national security advisors in October he
wanted them to develop a strong military option to force Iraq from Kuwait should that
prove necessary. For the next three-and-a-half months, the Defense Department planned and
prepared for offensive operations.
Evolution of the Offensive Plan
Immediately after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the Commander in Chief, Central Command
(CINCCENT) developed several Deterrent Force Packages for consideration by the
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), Secretary of Defense, and the President. On 4
August, at a meeting in Camp David, MD, CINCCENT presented his initial ideas to the
President. These Deterrent Force Packages included an array of forces which included
carrier battle groups (CVBG), tactical fighter squadrons, tanker aircraft, Airborne Warning
and Control System (AWACS), B-52s, Maritime Prepositioning Force Marine
Expeditionary Brigades (MPF MEB), and an airborne division.
"The first thing for a commander in chief to determine is what he is going to do, to see if he
has the means to overcome the obstacles which the enemy can oppose to him, and, when he
has decided, to do all he can to surmount them."
The Secretary of Defense instructed CJCS and CINCCENT to develop an offensive option
that would be available to the President in case Saddam Hussein chose to engage in further
aggression or other unacceptable behavior, such as killing Kuwaiti citizens or foreign
nationals in Kuwait or Iraq. On 10 August, the Air Force (USAF) deputy director of plans
for warfighting concepts briefed CINCCENT in Florida. The CJCS was briefed the
following day and directed the Air Staff to expand the planning group to include Navy,
Army, and Marine Corps members and to proceed with detailed planning under the
authority of the Joint Staff's (JS) director of operations (J3). He reviewed the concept with
the Secretary of Defense and received his approval. As the plan was developed further, it
continued to be reviewed in detail by the Secretary of Defense and CJCS, culminating in an
intensive two-day review of the plan in Saudi Arabia in December. If all <pg 66 start>
went well, air attacks would paralyze Iraqi leadership, degrade their military capabilities,
and neutralize their will to fight. (For more details of early air campaign planning, see
Chapter VI)
After the Camp David meetings, planning continued at Central Command (CENTCOM)
headquarters. On 25 August, CINCCENT briefed the Secretary of Defense and the CJCS on
a four-phase offensive campaign, designed to provide a coordinated multi-axis air, naval
and ground attack beginning with Phase I, "Strategic Air Campaign" against Iraq; Phase II,
"Kuwait Air Campaign" against Iraqi air forces in Kuwait; Phase III, "Ground Combat
Power Attrition" to neutralize the Republican Guard and isolate the Kuwait battlefield; and
Phase IV, "Ground Attack" to eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait. At this point, the plan for the
ground campaign was in outline form, although no request was made for these forces at this
time. CINCCENT concluded that assembling the necessary forces in theater for a ground
offensive would take at least eight months. (The precise phase titles later were changed as
the plan evolved.)
pg 66 map: Physical Features in Kuwait. Map shows Mutla Pass and High Ground Mutla
Ridge. Both are northwest of Kuwait City.
"We will offset the imbalance of ground combat power by using our strength against his
weakness. Initially execute deception operations to focus his attention on defense and cause
incorrect organization of forces. We will initially attack into the Iraqi homeland using air
power to decapitate his leadership, command and control, and eliminate his ability to
reinforce Iraqi forces in Kuwait and southern Iraq. We will then gain undisputed air
superiority over Kuwait so that we can subsequently and selectively attack Iraqi ground
forces with air power in order to reduce his combat power and destroy reinforcing units.
Finally, we will fix Iraqi forces in place by feints and limited objective attacks followed by
armored force penetration and exploitation to seize key lines of communication nodes,
which will put us in a position to interdict resupply and remaining reinforcements from Iraq
and eliminate forces in Kuwait."
The development and refinement of the plans continued to be reviewed in detail by the
Secretary of Defense and CJCS, culminating in an intensive two-day review of the plan in
Saudi Arabia in December.
The initial concept of operations for the ground campaign included use of only a single
corps and called for a night ground attack with the objective being an area of high ground
north of the Mutla Pass and Ridge, near Al-Jahra and Kuwait City, on the main line of
communication (LOC) northwest of Kuwait City. The plan involved an attack north by a
single corps, fighting only selected enemy forces, conducting high tempo operations, and
overwhelming enemy defenses with mass rather than finesse.
On 11 October, this plan, with the single corps ground campaign, was briefed to the
President, Secretary of Defense, and the CJCS, by the CENTCOM Chief of Staff who
conveyed CINCCENT's assessment of the plan. Many risks were outlined, including the
possibility of significant casualties; the difficulty of sustaining forces across an extended
LOC; the lack of an armor force to serve as theater reserve; and the threat that Iraqi
chemical attacks would slow the pace of operations. Further, success depended on several
key accomplishments: the air campaign had to produce projected attrition of combat
effectiveness to ensure success on the ground; the Coalition had to overcome
interoperability obstacles; and the campaign had to end quickly with capitulation of Iraqi
forces to avoid a protracted war of attrition. Planning for Phases I-III was sound. However,
there were strong reservations concerning Phase IV. The draft plan called for advancing
through the southern Kuwait border 60 kilometers east of the Tri-border area. A frontal
attack was to be directed at the enemy's obstacle belts and defensive fortifications and
The CENTCOM briefing produced two reactions. One was a concern because the plan
called for an attack into the strength of the Iraqi positions. A second concern was that no
matter what plan of attack was decided on, there was a need for more forces than were in
the Kuwait Theater of Operations (KTO) at the time.
The day after the meeting with the President, the Secretary of Defense directed preparation
of options for an attack on Iraqi forces through the western Iraqi desert in lieu of the riskier
frontal attack. After consultation with the President, the Secretary of Defense directed CJCS
to go to Saudi Arabia in order to find out from CINCCENT what he needed and to tell him
that the President would be disposed to give him whatever forces he needed to do the job.
pg 67 map: Iraqi Forces Disposition as of 23 Oct. Map shows locations or AORs (area of
responsibility) of up to 13 separate divisions in Kuwait (plus other smaller units) and 10
divisions (plus other smaller units) in southern Iraq. Units are named if known. Units
named include the 42nd Infantry Division, the RG Madinah Manawrah Armored Division,
26th Infantry Division, 16th Infantry Division, the 14th Infantry Division, the 1st
Mechanized Division, 19th Infantry Division, the 65th and 66th Special Forces Brigades,
the 80th Armored Division, the 30th Infantry Division, the 20th Infantry Division, the 5th
Mechanized Division, the 6th Armored Division, the 10th Armored Division, the 11th
Infantry Division, and the 2d Infantry Division. Other search words: ground forces, ground
units, GOB.
At a meeting of planners on 15 October, CINCCENT directed that the concept of the
ground attack include a wider envelopment to the west. Although planning for a single
corps attack would continue, CINCCENT directed consideration of a two-corps option as
well. The concept of operations for the two-corps option assumed that attrition of crucial
ground, air defense and command, control and communication (C3) systems would be
achieved by strategic and tactical air before Phase IV began, and that Iraqi forces would use
chemical weapons during the ground attack. The intent was for the air campaign to establish
favorable strategic conditions, and to set the stage for the ground offensive. On 21 October,
CINCCENT was briefed on the revised offensive plan. He directed that the main effort
would be to destroy the RGFC.
On 22 October, the CJCS was briefed in the CENTCOM headquarters on the ground
offensive. The CJCS was briefed on both a single and a two-corps attack. The advantages
and disadvantages of both options were assessed. Discussion ensued concerning the
advisability of using a single corps attack. CINCCENT stated that a single corps frontal
attack put the force at risk because Coalition strength was insufficient to attack a force the
size of Iraq's. In terms of advantages, the concept for a two-corps attack would permit:
massing of Coalition forces; high tempo of operations; fighting only selected Iraqi forces;
bypassing of the obstacle belt; and surprise. The disadvantages were the risk to supply lines
180 km long and the risk to the flanks of the main attack which were exposed for about 100
km. The plan sacrificed simplicity and flexibility because of the relative complexity of
multiple supporting attacks and the precise timing of the attacks. Discussion ensued
concerning the advisability of employing a single corps attack. As a result of the meeting,
the CJCS reiterated that CINCCENT should continue planning for a two-corps attack and
agreed to seek approval from the Secretary of Defense and the President for additional
forces consisting of the VII Corps, the 1st Infantry Division, a Marine division, additional
CVBGs, an additional amphibious MEB, and tactical fighter wings.
On 27 October, CJCS asked CINCCENT to develop a plan to conduct an attack with
ground forces against Scud fixed launcher complexes at H2 and H3 airfields in the extreme
western part of Iraq (H2 and H3 are designations of pumping stations along the now-defunct
Iraqi pipeline that terminated at Haifa). Although CENTCOM planners considered some
options, this plan later was rejected because of the extended LOC to support the operation
and the risk and the demands of planned corps operations.
With the rejection of the plan to attack H2/H3, CENTCOM focused on the corps
envelopment options. Direction was issued to expand the area of offensive operations
farther to the west to a road the Iraqis had built from As Salman to the Saudi border.
Guidance was given to investigate an area of operations from the vicinity of As-Samawh to
the east along Highway 8 to select suitable terrain for a battle to destroy the RGFC in the
KTO. Planning assumptions now were based on the availability of: two Army corps, one
USMC corps, one corps consisting of two Egyptian divisions and one Syrian division, and
Arab forces consisting of Saudi and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) forces.
A campaign plan is a plan for a series of related military operations designed to
accomplish a common objective, normally within a given time and space. The "Combin-ed
OPLAN for Offensive Operations to Eject Iraqi Forces from Kuwait" as finally adopted in
January was a combined campaign plan jointly signed by CINCCENT and the Commander,
Joint Force/Theater of Operations. It featured related air, land, sea, space and special
operations. The common objectives of the plan were de- signed "to counter Iraqi aggression,
secure Kuwait, and provide for the establishment of a legitimate government in Kuwait."
As a result of popular use of the word "campaign" when referring to air, land, and sea
operations during Operation Desert Storm, confusion exists concerning how many
campaigns actually were planned and conducted. Adding to the confusion are the titles used
for campaign Phases I (Strategic Air Campaign) and IV (Ground Offensive Campaign) in
the combined OPLAN. In fact, there was only one overall theater campaign, divided into
four distinct phases: I Strategic Air Campaign, II Air Supremacy in the KTO, III Battlefield Preparation, and IV Ground Offensive Campaign. The campaign included
supporting air, land, sea, space, and special operations in each phase. This joint and
combined campaign was planned with close attention to joint doctrinal principles. These
principles have been developed and reinforced throughout US military history, forming the
central tenets of warfighting.
However, throughout Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the term "campaign"
frequently was used informally and generically to describe various aspects of the overall
effort. For example, numerous official comments were made about the "air campaign", the
"ground campaign" or the "maritime campaign". These comments appeared in various
documents and media reports, to include statements by senior officials. These terms were
routinely used to refer to the air, ground, and maritime forces' contributions to the theater
campaign objectives.
In compiling this report, the intent has been to record, in historically accurate terms, how the
conflict was conducted. As such, the term "campaign" is occasionally used in the context of
references made before and during the war and to refer to contributions of a single service.
Throughout, trafficability issues played a role in planning. There was concern as to whether
wheeled vehicles could negotiate the terrain north of the Saudi-Iraqi border. A secondary
concern was cross-country mobility for large trucks west of the Kuwait-Iraq border. A
trafficability test was conducted by XVIII <pg 69 start> Airborne Corps in the area east of
Wadi Al-Batin and south of the Kuwait-Saudi border. The terrain in this location most
closely resembled that west of the Wadi Al-Batin and north of the intended line of
departure. Tracked and wheeled vehicles were driven cross-country to confirm the terrain
could accommodate them.
CENTCOM planners met 1 November to discuss logistics requirements to support
Operation Desert Storm. Sustainment in the desert for a second increment of deployments
and for existing forces was a major concern. Initial force deployments in August had
demonstrated it would be too difficult to receive, move, and sustain more forces in such an
austere environment without first deploying additional combat service support (CSS)
capabilities. (For a discussion of logistics considerations, see Appendix F). The planners
decided to deploy more CSS before combat and combat support (CS) forces. The CSS
forces were needed to provide support and transport forces. Contrary to the practice of
marshaling units and their equipment at the ports of debarkation, the plan was to receive and
push forces directly to assembly areas because the capacity of air and sea ports of
debarkation would not support linkup and marshaling operations on the scale and in the
time available for the second increment of forces.
On 14 November, CINCCENT conducted a commanders' conference at Dhahran to discuss
offensive operations. CINCCENT explained his concept. XVIII Airborne Corps was to be
used in the west in the vicinity of As Salman to As Samawah. The European-based VII
Corps would be the main effort and destroy the RGFC. British forces would remain with the
Marine Corps Component, Central Command (MARCENT) (a decision later reversed). A
heavy division was to be assigned as the theater reserve. Supporting attacks would be
conducted by the First Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), Joint Forces Command - North
(consisting of Egyptian, Saudi, and Syrian forces) and Joint Forces Command - East
(consisting of Saudi and GCC forces). Commanders were directed to have forces ready by
Initially, the United States planned unilaterally for the offensive while simultaneously
participating with the Coalition in the defense of Saudi Arabia. Coalition partners became
fully involved in planning the overall offensive once the United Nations (UN) and Coalition
members agreed to UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 678. (Discussion of
Resolution 678 is in Appendix B). On 10 December, CINCCENT directed that combined
planning begin on the offensive campaign. Each Coalition force had unique strengths and
weaknesses which planners had to take into account to achieve the best overall results.
Saudi Arabia and Egypt, as the designated planners for <pg 70 start> Arab-Islamic forces,
were then involved in the detailed planning. On 15 December, a combined warning order
was issued to Coalition forces so they could begin their preparations for offensive
On December 19 and 20, the plans were reviewed in detail by the Secretary of Defense and
CJCS during the course of two full days of briefings at CINCCENT Headquarters in
Riyadh. At the conclusion of that review, the Secretary of Defense gave his approval of the
plan. On their return to Washington, he and the Chairman briefed the President, who also
approved the plan. At that time, it was decided that if Saddam Hussein refused to withdraw
from Kuwait and it became necessary to use force, the offensive would begin with the air
campaign. While the ground campaign was approved, its start would be a separate and
subsequent decision also requiring Presidential approval. Factors influencing the decision to
begin the ground campaign are discussed in Chapter VIII, The Ground Offensive
The operational imperatives outlined were:
- Achieve air superiority to allow Coalition freedom of movement and maneuver.
- Reduce to about half the combat effectiveness of Iraqi armor and mechanized forces with
Coalition air assets . Of these, reduce selected brigades so the surviving unit was no larger
than a battalion.
- Fight only selected Iraqi ground forces in close battle.
- Mass Coalition forces against selected Iraqi forces.
- Accept losses no greater than the equivalent of three companies per Coalition brigade.
- Achieve rapid theater tactical intelligence feedback on battlefield events.
- Use strategic deception to portray a defensive posture.
- Use operational deception to fix or divert Republican Guard and other heavy units away
from main effort.
- Use tactical deception to facilitate penetration of barriers.
- Friendly LOCs must support minimum daily supply requirements.
Decisive Force
In order to achieve assigned goals quickly and with minimum Coalition casualties, US
defense planners applied the principle of decisive force. This contrasted with the
incremental, attrition warfare which had characterized US operations in Vietnam. When US
forces were committed to combat in Southwest Asia, planners were able to exploit every
possible advantage in tactics, equipment, command and control, and the forces deployed to
the theater at maximum speed. The Coalition used these advantages to conduct massive,
simultaneous operations throughout the KTO and Iraq, rather than attacking centers of
gravity and other crucial objectives piecemeal.
Strength Against Weakness
The overall offensive strategy was designed according to tested principles of applying
strength against the enemy's weakness, while preventing him from doing the same to
Coalition forces. Although the Coalition was operating in an environment seemingly more
familiar to the opponent, uncertain about Saddam Husayn's intent to use weapons of mass
destruction, operating across an enormous area and with extended LOCs, and was,
according to intelligence estimates, outnumbered, the Coalition nevertheless could exploit a
number of distinct strengths. Among these were the high quality of Coalition air, ground,
and naval forces, specifically:
- Superior personnel and training;
- Technological advantages in weaponry;
- The prospect of early and effective air superiority;
- A superior ability to acquire intelligence throughout the theater, including unimpeded
access to space;
- Widespread international support; and,
- The high caliber of Coalition political and military leadership.
A central element of military campaign planning is the estimation of enemy forces,
including their strengths and weaknesses.
pg 71 map: Ground Offensive Campaign Concept of Operations. Map shows potential
attack jumpoff points/areas/locations of the XVIII Abn Corps, the VII Corps, JFC-N,
MARCENT, JFC-E, and the 4th MEB forces. The Objective locations and names inside of
Iraq and Kuwait are given. Objective names include Rochambeau, White, FOB Cobra,
Brown, Gray, Red, Gold, Orange, Purple, Collins, and others (including the letters A, B, C,
and D). Note: This map also appears on page 244 (Ground Tactical Plan).
Intelligence Estimates
By mid-October, intelligence estimates indicated Saddam Hussein had more than 435,000
troops on the ground in Kuwait, dug in and arrayed in mutually supporting defenses in
depth. These forces continued to grow, and were believed to have reached more than
500,000 by January. At least two defensive belts interspersed with formidable triangular
fortifications had been established along the Saudi border with Kuwait. These defensive
belts consisted of minefields and oil-filled fire trenches, covered by interlocking fields of
fire from tanks, artillery, and machine gun positions. Strong, mobile, heavily armored
counterattack forces, composed of the best elements of the Iraqi army, stood poised to strike
at Coalition penetrations of the initial lines of defense. The Republican Guard units,
augmented by army <pg 72 start> heavy divisions, served as the theater reserve and
counterattack force. Equally strong positions were constructed along the sea coast,
incorporating naval and land mines. Iraqi troops also fortified high rise apartment buildings
fronting on the Gulf, turning them into multi-tiered fortresses.
Iraqi forces constructed an impressive system of roads, buried communications lines and
supply depots. Command posts also were buried, often under 25 feet of desert soil. This
infrastructure did much to multiply the combat power of an already powerful defensive
force. It allowed reinforcements and supplies to move over multiple routes to any point on
the battlefield. These roads, many of which were multi-lane, were so numerous that it was
not feasible to destroy all of them. Buried telephone lines and fiber optic cables for
command and control (C2) purposes also were very difficult to attack. In early January,
stocks of supplies in Kuwait and just north of the Iraq-Kuwait border were estimated to be
sufficient to last through a month or more of sustained combat without replenishment, and
many of these stocks had been dispersed to make detection and destruction more difficult.
Enemy Vulnerabilities
Despite Iraq's numerical strength and extensive military infrastructure, the Coalition knew
the Iraqi forces had significant weaknesses:
- A rigid, top-down C2 system and the reluctance of Iraqi commanders to exercise initiative;
- Ground forces and logistics especially vulnerable to air attack in desert
- A generally defensive approach to battle and limited ability to conduct deep offensive
- An over-extended and cumbersome logistics system;
- An uneven quality of military forces, built around a limited number of Republican Guards
divisions ;
- Faulty understanding of Coalition forces' operational capabilities;
- A limited ability to interfere with US space-based assets;
- A limited air offensive capability; and,
- Ineffective foreign intelligence.
Iraqi Centers of Gravity
In addition to these weaknesses, the Coalition had identified Iraq's centers of gravity. First
was the command, control, and leadership of the Saddam Hussein regime. If rendered
unable to direct its military forces, or to maintain a firm grip on its internal population
control mechanisms, Iraq might be compelled to comply with Coalition demands. Second,
degrading Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability would reduce a major part of the
threat to other regional states. This meant attacking the known Iraqi nuclear, chemical and
biological (NBC) warfare production facilities along with various means of delivery principally ballistic missiles and long-range aircraft. The third of Iraq's centers of gravity
was the Republican Guard. Eliminating the Guard in the KTO as a combat force would
reduce dramatically Iraq's ability to conduct a coordinated defense of Kuwait or to pose an
offensive threat to the region later.
Prelude To Conflict
As the UN deadline approached, attempts to induce Saddam Hussein to withdraw from
Kuwait and comply with UN resolutions continued. Late in December, the 12-member
European Community (EC) called for a special session in Luxembourg in an effort to
develop a solution to the crisis. On 3 January, President Bush, declaring his willingness to
"go the extra mile for peace", offered to send the Secretary of State to meet with the Iraqi
Foreign Minister. Such a meeting was conducted in Geneva on 9 January to no avail, as Iraq
refused to accede to UN and Coalition demands. On 12 January, the <pg 73 start> US
Congress passed a Resolution supporting President Bush's decision to use force.
Saddam Hussein, despite repeated warnings and the demonstrated Coalition solidarity,
remained defiant. He continued to reinforce his forces in the KTO, while attempting to
divide the Coalition through propaganda and political maneuvering. The Iraqis repeatedly
attempted to tie US and Western involvement in the crisis to Israel in an attempt to exploit
Islamic sensitivities. In this, Saddam Hussein was aided to some extent by Iranian religious
leaders who called for Islamic war against Western forces in the Gulf region. This attempt
to create an Islamic-Western faultline sought to break up the Coalition by extracting
Arab/Islamic states from it. Saddam Hussein repeatedly vowed to inflict massive casualties
on US and Coalition forces should war occur another gambit designed to disrupt the
Coalition by eroding popular support. On 30 December, the ruling Ba'ath Party newspaper
stated that a war with Iraq would not be confined to the Gulf, but would include a global
terrorist campaign against the United States by Moslem guerrilla fighters. On 3 January,
Iraq informed the foreign diplomatic corps in Baghdad the government would move all
functions out of the capital in preparation for war. Inside Kuwait, harsh measures by Iraqi
occupation forces reinforced Saddam Hussein's hard-line rhetoric. Indeed, reports of
atrocities committed by Iraqi troops grimly attested to the cruelty of Iraqi occupation.
Intelligence sources continued to report systematic looting in Kuwait City, as well as
random killing and torture of Kuwait civilians. Saddam Hussein appeared committed to
confronting the Coalition.
In the United States, and in many Coalition capitals, some debate continued about whether
the economic sanctions and embargo should be given more time. More than $3 billion in
Iraqi assets had been frozen worldwide, and Iraqi credit had been severed, along with almost
95 percent of its pre-crisis revenue. The air and naval embargo had sealed off Iraq from the
rest of the world, reducing trade to overland smuggling, mostly of foodstuffs. The primary
effect of the sanctions, however, was on the civilian rather than military side of the Iraqi
economy. Food was rationed, but large-scale shortages had not occurred. Manufacturing of
non-essential goods was curtailed. Oil refineries continued at reduced levels, and rationing
provided adequate quantities of petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) for military operations.
Although spare parts and crucial components were in short supply, leading to some
cannibalization and stripping of commercial vehicles in Kuwait, most units remained
combat ready.
National Policy Objectives and Military Objectives
Plans for possible offensive operations were completed while these events played out. The
military objectives for the offensive operation were derived from the national policy
objectives discussed in Chapter II. Operation Desert Storm departed from the "deter and
defend" objectives of Operation Desert Shield and focused on forcing Iraq to withdraw from
Mission Statement
- Neutralize Iraqi National Command Authority
- Eject Iraqi Armed Forces from Kuwait
- Destroy the Republican Guard
- As Early As Possible, Destroy Iraq's Ballistic Missile, NBC Capability
- Assist in the Restoration of the Legitimate Government of Kuwait
In accordance with that mission statement, CINCCENT promulgated the key theater
military objectives as stated in CENTCOM Operations Order 91-001, dated 17 January as
- Attack Iraqi political-military leadership and C2;
- Gain and maintain air superiority;
- Sever Iraqi supply lines;
- Destroy known nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) production, storage, and delivery
- Destroy Republican Guard forces in the KTO; and,
- Liberate Kuwait City.
As a result of the extensive planning process described above with its attendant, frequent
consultation among the political and military leaders of the Coalition, the final, four-phased
concept of operations was developed and adopted.
As noted, the Coalition plan was crafted to emphasize Coalition strengths and to exploit
Iraqi weaknesses. Years of experience in joint service, air-ground operations and similarly
extensive experience in coalition operations in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
enabled CENTCOM to create the right mix of forces for the circumstances confronting the
Coalition. Especially within US forces, the experience gained from many joint and
combined exercises, the presence of first-rate equipment and weapons, and the advantage of
well-trained, motivated personnel led by confident, competent leaders resulted in military
forces that could not only execute their battle plans, but also could improvise and overcome
the unexpected. (For a detailed discussion of US military preparedness see Appendix D.)
Further, well-coordinated air, ground and naval operations were expected to produce a
synergy that would overwhelm Saddam Hussein with minimum Coalition losses.
Concept of Operations
- Conduct a Coordinated, Multi-National, Multi-Axis Air, Naval and Ground Attack
- Strategic Air Campaign Focused on Enemy Centers of Gravity
-- Iraqi National Command Authority
-- NBC Capability
-- Republican Guard Forces Command
- Progressively Shift Air Operations to; and Conduct Ground Operation in the KTO to
-- Isolate KTO-Sever Iraqi Supply Lines
-- Destroy Republican Guard Force
-- Liberate Kuwait City with Arab Forces
Just as the theater campaign plan contemplated Coalition strengths, it anticipated Saddam
Hussein's weaknesses. The Coalition heavily targeted his rigid C2 system, his strategy,
doctrine, logistics infrastructure and air defense system vulnerabilities. Similarly, expecting
the Iraqi army would be unable to see the battlefield in depth, the Coalition planned the
long, sweeping ground force maneuvers through the desert against a blinded enemy.
Four Phased Campaign
- Phase I - Strategic Air Campaign
- Phase II - Air Supremacy in KTO
- Phase III - Battlefield Preparation
- Phase IV - Offensive Ground Campaign
Coalition political leaders and commanders planned to use air power and ground combat
power to eject Iraq's forces from Kuwait. The Coalition also sought to destroy Iraqi ability
to threaten regional peace and stability further. The Coalition would accomplish this by
attacking carefully selected targets, but leave most of the basic economic infrastructure of
the country intact. Collectively, these actions would weaken Saddam Hussein's regime and
set the stage for a stable regional military balance.
Air Campaign Plan in Overview
The air campaign was developed to provide the President an offensive option in the early
fall. It was a "strategic" plan designed to attack Saddam Hussein's vital centers of gravity.
The concept was designed to paralyze the Iraqi leadership's ability to command and control
(C2) its forces, to destroy known Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, to render Iraqi forces in
the KTO combat ineffective, to prepare the battlefield for ground force operations, and to
minimize the loss of life for Coalition forces. The air campaign was designed to be executed
in three phases and its success depended on overwhelming the Iraqi military command
structure and air defenses, gaining accurate intelligence, exploiting technological
advantages, and, ultimately, on the ability of the combat crews. Once the air attacks had
brought the ratios of combat power to an acceptable level, and if the Iraqis had not yet
complied with UN demands, multinational air and ground forces would conduct a
coordinated combined arms attack to eject Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait and to destroy
those forces remaining in the KTO. By January, there were enough air forces available that
Coalition leaders decided to execute the three phases of the air campaign almost
simultaneously, thus applying overwhelming pressure from the opening minutes of the war.
(Chapter VI provides detailed discussion on the Air Campaign.)
The air campaign was intended to achieve the specific objectives listed below:
- Gain and maintain air supremacy to permit unhindered air and ground operations.
- Isolate and incapacitate the Iraqi regime.
- Destroy Iraq's known NBC warfare capability.
- Eliminate Iraq's offensive military capability by destroying key military production,
infrastructure, and power capabilities.
- Render the Iraqi army and its mechanized equipment in Kuwait ineffective, causing its
Theater Campaign Plan and Military Objectives
-----------------------------------------------------------------------PHASE I
in the KTO
------------------------------------------------------------------------Leadership/ | X
| X
| X
Supremacy |
------------------------------------------------------------------------Cut Supply | X
| X
| X |
| X
Capability |
------------------------------------------------------------------------Destroy | X
| X |
Republican |
Guards |
------------------------------------------------------------------------Leadership/ |
| X |
------------------------------------------------------------------------Ground Campaign Plan in Overview
The ground campaign plan envisioned a main attack coming as a "left hook" by
armor-heavy forces against Iraq's right flank, sweeping in from the west to avoid most fixed
defenses and to attack one of Saddam Hussein's centers of gravity, the Republican Guard
armored and mechanized divisions. Overwhelming combat power; rapid maneuver;
deception; a sound, combined arms approach; a well-trained, highly motivated body of
troops; and a skilled team of combat leaders in the field, were crucial factors in the plan for
the success of the ground phase. The main attack would be supported by an elaborate
deception operation, including an amphibious feint, and by supporting attacks along the
Kuwaiti-Saudi border to fix Iraqi forces in Kuwait and to liberate Kuwait City. Throughout,
the plan was intended to achieve the objectives decisively and with minimum casualties.
(Chapter VIII provides detailed discussion on the Ground Campaign.)
Objectives for the ground attack were:
- To complete the envelopment with a US corps sized armored force positioned west of the
Republican Guards Forces Command (RGFC) and a US corps armored force positioned
south of the RGFC. A combined Egyptian, Syrian, Saudi, Nigerien, and Kuwaiti armored
heavy force would be positioned on the north-south LOCs in Kuwait.
- Draw Iraq's reserve forces away from the main attack with deception, feints and two
supporting attacks.
- The US supporting attack was to defend the right flank of the main attack from a
counterattack by the tactical reserves, draw forces away from the main attack, and block
- The main attack was to bypass forces and attack west of the Kuwait border, occupying a
position to the west of the RGFC to prevent successful counterattack by Iraq's strategic
reserve and attack the RGFC.
- Conduct psychological operations (PSYOP) to degrade Iraqi morale.
- Use Special Operations Forces (SOF) for deception, direct action, and surveillance.
- Use electronic warfare to disrupt Iraqi communications from corps to brigade after this
first supporting attack began; from corps to General Headquarters before the western
supporting attack began.
Maritime Campaign Plan in Overview
NAVCENT planned its major maritime tasks within the framework of CENTCOM's
four-phased theater campaign plan. During phases I and II of the CENTCOM campaign
plan, (strategic air strikes and air superiority over the KTO), the NAVCENT plan directed
conduct of the air operation in accordance with the air tasking order; sea control and mine
countermeasure operations in the northern Persian Gulf; and strikes at shore facilities
threatening naval operations. During Phase III (battlefield preparation), Navy plans called
for attacking Iraqi ground forces with naval air and gunfire and continuing phase I and II
operations. The final tasks in the NAVCENT plan would take place during Phase IV
(Offensive Ground Campaign). Naval and amphibious forces would conduct feints and
demonstrations in the KTO; be prepared to conduct amphibious operations to link up with I
MEF near Ash Shuaybah; and, continue execution of Phase I, II, and III tasks. (Chapter VII
provides detailed discussion on the Maritime Campaign.)
Navy Component, Central Command (NAVCENT's) primary objectives were to:
- Provide naval operations in support of Coalition ground, air, and sea units.
- Support maritime interception operations.
- Provide naval tactical aircraft and Tomahawk land-attack missiles strikes against Iraqi
- Maintain an expeditionary amphibious assault capability.
- Conduct offensive operations in the Northern Persian Gulf.
- Defend the coastlines of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and
to patrol adjacent maritime areas.
Deception Operations Plan in Overview
Throughout the planning process, CINCCENT emphasized the need for a comprehensive
plan to deceive Iraqi forces regarding Coalition intentions and to conceal the Coalition
scheme of maneuver. The deception plan was intended to convince Iraq the Coalition main
attack would be directly into Kuwait, supported by an amphibious assault. The plan also
sought to divert Iraqi forces from the Coalition main attack and to fix Iraqi forces in eastern
Kuwait and along the Kuwaiti coast.
All components contributed to the deception. Among the activities planned to support the
deception were Navy feints and demonstrations in the northern Persian Gulf, Marine
landing exercises along the Gulf and Omani coast, positioning of a large amphibious task
force in the Gulf, and air refueling and training activity surges that desensitized the Iraqis to
the real pre-attack buildup. The absence of air attacks on some western targets was also to
contribute to the impression the Coalition main attack would come from the vicinity of the
Saudi-Kuwaiti border and from the sea. This impression was to be reinforced by USMC and
Joint Forces East (JFC-E) operations south of Kuwait to fix Iraqi divisions along Kuwait's
southern border. Raids and some SOF activities were expected to contribute to Saddam
Hussein's confusion as to the most likely location for the main attack.
In early November, intelligence projections indicated three more Iraqi infantry divisions
could deploy to the KTO in the next two to three months. Buildup of Coalition forces south
of Kuwait was attracting stronger Iraqi defensive deployments. Also, Coalition force
buildup in the west caused the Iraqis to shift forces in the western KTO opposite Coalition
forces. Because of Iraqi responses to Coalition deployments, a proposal to begin a near-term
buildup of supplies at King Khalid Military City for the offensive was rejected. Such a
buildup was certain to compromise the intended position for launching the main attack. For
these same reasons, a proposed early buildup of combat forces in the west was prohibited.
Instead, forces initially deployed to base camps in eastern Saudi Arabia and then moved
forward to attack positions when their movements were covered by the air campaign.
"The President did things for us that were enormously helpful. When it was time to double
the size of the force that we deployed, it would have been a relatively simple proposition to
say let's see if we can't do it with smaller forces. He consistently said do whatever you have
to to assemble the force and make certain that in the final analysis we can prevail at the
lowest possible cost."
Dick Cheney
Secretary of Defense
21 March 1991
None of the divisions would move until the air war had begun. Together, that and the
planned ground, counter-reconnaissance battles would hinder Saddam Hussein's ability to
detect and effectively react. The 1st Cavalry Division was to remain in the east, simulating
the activities of the divisions which moved west, so Iraqi intelligence would not notice their
absence. The 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions (MARDIV) conducted combined arms raids
along the Kuwaiti border to confuse the Iraqis and focus their attention on the east. Finally,
operations security practices supported deception.
As the weeks went by, Saddam Hussein showed no signs of abiding by the UNSC
resolutions calling for his withdrawal from Kuwait. Operation Desert Shield appeared to
have met its objective of deterring an Iraqi drive into Saudi Arabia; however, Kuwait was
still under Iraqi occupation. CENTCOM had developed a viable offensive campaign plan
which involved considerable risk.
Opposing the 27 Iraqi divisions in the KTO, US forces in October consisted of XVIII
Airborne Corps with four Army divisions, I MEF, three CVBG, an amphibious task force
(ATF), and more than five fighter and bomb wing equivalents.
On 8 November, the President announced the deployment of additional US forces into
theater. Forces moved during this phase included more than 400 additional USAF aircraft;
three additional CVBGs; the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) and an armored brigade
from the United States; and the VII Corps from Germany, which included two armored
divisions and an armored cavalry regiment. Additionally, the 2nd MARDIV, an ATF
carrying the 5th MEB, and II MEF air and logistics elements were prepared for deployment.
On 14 November, the Secretary of Defense increased reserve call-up authorization for the
Army to 80,000 Selected Reserves; the Navy to 10,000; the USMC to 15,000; and the
USAF to 20,000. On 1 December, the Secretary again increased the call-up authorization.
The Service Secretaries now were authorized to call-up 188,000 Selected Reserve members.
This authorization included as many as 115,000 from the Army; 30,000 Navy; 23,000
USMC and 20,000 USAF.
As these forces continued to deploy, so did those from other Coalition partners. The
remainder of what would be the major combat elements of Joint Forces Command-North
moved to positions north of Hafr Al-Batin. This included the rest of the 9th Syrian Armored
Division and the 4th Egyptian Armored Division. The final elements of 1st UK Armoured
Division, whose 7th UK Armoured Brigade had arrived earlier and was attached to I MEF,
arrived in late December. Additional French reinforcements arrived during this period. By
mid-January, all units that were to participate in the liberation of Kuwait had arrived in
Saudi Arabia or were en route.
Iraq also increased its forces in the KTO. On 19 November, Saddam Hussein announced he
was reinforcing with an additional 250,000 men. This was to be accomplished by
mobilizing seven additional divisions and activating 150,000 reservists and draftees; these
units began arriving immediately. By early January, the Iraqi KTO order of battle had
reached the equivalent of 43 divisions organized into four corps and the RGFC. These
included seven armored, four mechanized, 29 infantry, one special operations division, and
several separate brigades. CENTCOM estimated the forces had more than 4,500 tanks,
2,800 armored personnel carriers, and 3,200 artillery pieces. Iraq could deploy no more
meaningful combat power to the KTO. Nearly all of its armored and mechanized divisions
were committed to the theater; more infantry would only add to the logistics burden and
strip the rest of Iraq of internal security forces.
As additional US and Coalition air and ground combat forces arrived, offensive plans were
adjusted to use the full array of available military power. Coalition strength increased
steadily. By early February, with the deployment of 500 additional strike aircraft from the
United States and Europe, the VII Corps from Germany, substantial Marine forces from II
MEF, a MEB on amphibious ships and additional Naval reinforcement, as well as the
arrival of substantial numbers of Arab/Islamic and allied troops and equipment, the
Coalition had the forces necessary for ground offensive operations to liberate Kuwait with
acceptable risk.
As the combat forces grew in-country, the demand for support CS and CSS grew
proportionately. The US theater force structure had to be tailored to meet the demand. Since
most Army CS and CSS units as well as some essential combat units are in the Reserve
Components (RC), the military services asked for and received additional authority to call
more units and individuals to active duty. In late November, the Secretary of Defense
determined the Presidential Call Up Authority announced 8 November was insufficient to
meet the needs of the theater of operations. The JCS examined their requirements and
prepared a decision briefing for the President. At that mid-December briefing, the Services
explained their complete unit requirements. The President agreed to authorize the ceiling
limits set forth in Section 673, Title 10, Partial Mobilization. A Presidential Order was
drafted and enacted on 18 January. Even with the Partial Mobilization authority in place,
additional latitude gained for the RC recall, stop-loss authority, and related measures, the
military force structure still lacked certain types of CS and CSS units. Host Nation Support
units and third nation donations covered the short-fall. (An in-depth discussion of non-US
Coalition contributions is in Appendices I and P).
ARCENT's 22nd Support Command (SUPCOM) created the theater ground support plan,
and provided and orchestrated most logistics support for US and some other Coalition
forces. The ARCENT SUPCOM was the executive agent for food, water, bulk fuel,
common ground munitions, port operations, inland cargo transportation, construction
support, and grave registration for all US forces. The SUPCOM support plan included five
phases. Phase Alpha involved repositioning support units and stocks to the north along main
supply route (MSR) Dodge, while simultaneously receiving and moving VII Corps to its
tactical assembly areas. SUPCOM also built large logistic bases during this phase along
MSR Dodge to support ARCENT units. Phase Bravo involved moving simultaneously both
the XVIII Airborne Corps and VII Corps to their attack positions. The 22nd SUPCOM
helped by providing the heavy transportation assets needed to move the corps over the
several hundred miles of desert. Two corps support commands established two new bases to
support each corps when the offensive began. Phase Charlie entailed support and
sustainment of the ground offensive into Iraq and Kuwait. The support plan called for
transport of all classes of supply, especially fuel, water, and ammunition, and construction
of additional logistics bases deep in Iraq to sustain the offensive. During Phase Delta,
SUPCOM and Civil Affairs units supported efforts to restore facilities and services inside
liberated Kuwait. Phase Echo focused on preparations for the defense of Kuwait for the
longer term.
SUPCOM benefited from extensive Saudi, European, and third-nation contributions in
supporting Coalition combat forces. Saudi Arabia, for example, provided approximately
4,800 tents; 1.7 million gallons of packaged petroleum, oil and lubricants; more than 300
heavy equipment transporters (HETs); about 20 million meals; on average more than 20.5
million gallons of fuel a day; and bottled water for the entire theater. Even with this level of
support, ARCENT still found it necessary to continue to hunt for such critical equipment as
HETs to acquire enough rolling stock to move VII Corps to its attack positions.
The focus of combat service support for MARCENT was the 1st Force Service Support
Group (FSSG). The 1st FSSG had the additional tasking to maintain the Al-Jubayl Port as a
major logistical node for CENTCOM. The 1st FSSG used organic motor transport assets
from the 7th and 8th Motor Transport Battalions, commercial vehicles driven by the
Marines of 6th Motor Transport Battalion (USMCR), Army cargo trucks, CH-46 and
CH-53 helicopters as well as USAF and USMC C-130s to move supplies from the ports to
the forward combat service support areas. The 1st FSSG also provided mobile combat
service support detachments to regimental-size maneuver elements.
As the US forces built up the in-theater logistics and sustainment base, they also undertook
an ambitious modernization program. Units deploying from the Continental United States
(CONUS) arrived with current equipment. Within about three months, these units had their
equipment upgraded or replaced. The Army Material Command managed some of the
modernization effort through its control element in theater. Perhaps one of the more
important new items issued was the global positioning system (GPS). The GPS enabled
units to navigate accurately despite the absence of prominent terrain features to guide them.
Other improvements included upgrades to the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and new trucks to
improve CSS capabilities.
The final decision to begin Operation Desert Storm was not made by the President until
early January, allowing the diplomatic overtures to Saddam Hussein's government the
opportunity to succeed. Senior commanders were given the tentative go ahead for the attack
just four days before the 15 January deadline. These four days provided time to concentrate
on last-minute details for the execution of the complex operational plan. Unit commanders
worked throughout the last days refining their plans for when the "green light had been
flashed," as one commander termed the time before launching the attack. Coordination
between Airborne Warning and Control System, Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar
System, air refueling tankers and numerous Coalition air forces continued in exercises up
until the day before the air attack.
Coalition forces conducted a wide variety of training once they arrived in the theater of
operations, ranging from some common to all (e.g., desert survival, chemical and biological
warfare protective measures, and local customs) to very mission-specific training once the
war plans evolved in enough detail to allow units to rehearse. In addition, some units
underwent extensive new equipment training to master M1A1 tanks and other major
weapons systems issued in theater. (All of the Army divisions which deployed from the
CONUS received the new tanks. This meant each division had to retrain about 325 tank
crews, a major challenge for units about to go on the offensive.)
Air forces trained extensively after arrival in theater to become familiar with the desert
flying environment. The deploying air forces faced the challenge of strange fields, bare base
operating conditions, and long sortie durations because of the distances to targets in Iraq.
The numbers and types of aircraft from all the Coalition members also meant that
procedures had to be created for airspace management and common safety practices
instituted. One example of this was the management of airspace and tankers to provide
refueling for the thousands of aircraft that would fly daily in Operation Desert Storm.
Because of the distances involved, most sorties required refueling. Although in-flight
refueling is normally routine, the number of fighters and tankers operating near each other,
often at night and sometimes in bad weather, added another layer of planning and difficulty
to every mission. With a limited number of tankers available, procedures had to be
established to get the maximum number of fighters serviced by each tanker in the shortest
time possible.
The aircrews also trained to execute specific roles in the air operation. In some cases, this
meant refining medium altitude tactics and practicing multiple weapons deliveries. The
weather, threats, and targets in Kuwait and Iraq allowed medium altitude, multiple attacks
instead of the low altitude, single pass attacks once the air environment had been shaped by
air superiority and SEAD attacks. Advanced training programs such as Red Flag and Cope
Thunder had laid an important foundation of skills upon which the aircrews of Operation
Desert Storm built.
Ground forces generally practiced obstacle breaching techniques, attack of strongpoints,
land navigation, night operations, and chemical defense. Commanders emphasized
maneuver warfare in anticipation of the deep envelopment that was central to the scheme of
maneuver. Most units also practiced combined arms training, integrating supporting arms,
close-in fire support, air strikes, artillery fires, and use of attack helicopters with the scheme
of maneuver. The 82nd Airborne Division built its own model of an Iraqi triangular defense
work based on observer reports of the Iran-Iraq war. The 101st Airborne Division (Air
Assault) used an abandoned village to practice fighting in an urban setting. I MEF
conducted extensive live fire exercises to ensure all weapons were boresighted and zeroed.
It also carried out extensive combined arms training, integrating supporting arms and close
air support (CAS), to build mutual confidence between air and ground units. The MEF also
constructed a mock-up of a typical Iraqi defensive strongpoint and rehearsed ways of
attacking it.
Much training focused on the unique problems of desert warfare. Almost all of the Army's
units benefited from training at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, CA.
Certain units like the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and the USMC divisions stressed
desert warfare in their training programs. Marines of the I MEF had extensive experience at
the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) at 29 Palms, CA. Prior training
received at the NTC and MCAGCC major maneuver training areas proved to be of great
value in the desert.
The USMC 2nd Tank Battalion and elements of the reserve 4th Tank Battalion had recently
changed from the M60A1 to the M1 tank, and, when they arrived in theater, conducted
extensive live fire training to hone their newly acquired skills.
Between late August and early January, the aircraft carriers USS Saratoga (CV 60), USS
Kennedy (CV 67), and USS Midway (CV 41), together with their escorts, participated in
exercises that were, in many ways, similar to the advanced training phase normally used by
battle groups to prepare for overseas deployment. The training focus for the air wings
included repulsing a potential Iraqi attack into Saudi Arabia, air and sea control, and
airspace coordination in a dense air traffic environment.
In November, USMC, Navy, and USAF aircraft, and Navy Ships participated in Exercise
Imminent Thunder. The final rehearsal of the Operation Desert Shield defensive plan
included joint and combined air, ground, and naval portions, and an amphibious landing.
The training was to prove invaluable in the offensive campaign.
Other local exercises dealt with the USAF and Naval Air Groups working on common tasks
such as air interdiction, CAS, and combat search and rescue. These exercises were used to
simplify peacetime rules and to coordinate procedures for implementation during the actual
strike missions over Iraq or Kuwait. To increase the offensive posture and present a
different air defense picture to the Iraqi defenders in Kuwait, the USAF began Operation
Border Look on 17 December. The operation ran six days and allowed the Coalition to
collect data on the Iraqi air defense radars and their ability to detect Coalition aircraft.
Exercises and training also were conducted across thousands of miles, between CENTCOM
and Space Command (SPACECOM) forces, to develop and refine Scud warning
procedures. SPACECOM cut the warning times for a Scud launch in half. CENTCOM
developed ways to warn Patriot batteries and Coalition forces of Scud launches, letting
Coalition units take cover and aiding Patriot units to intercept in-coming missiles.
Status of Coalition Forces
As the UN deadline approached Coalition air forces conducted final preparations and
ground forces continued to move into assembly areas. Coalition aircraft were placed on
ground alert and aircrews began mission planning as details of the air campaign were
released. Along the Saudi coast south of the Kuwait border, JFC-E, composed of Saudi and
CGG units, continued to train in preparation for attacking directly toward Kuwait City while
manning defensive positions along the border. On their left, I MEF was displacing its
logistics bases and moving the 1st and 2nd MARDIV into assembly areas for final attack
rehearsals. Farther west, Arab-Islamic forces from JFC-N, consisting of Egyptian, Syrian,
Kuwaiti, Nigerien, and Saudi units, continued to screen the border area north of Hafr
Al-Batin. VII Corps, still arriving from Europe and including the 1st UK Armoured
Division, continued to move its forces across the desert roads to assembly areas west of
Wadi Al-Batin, while the XVIII Airborne Corps displaced even farther west, where it linked
with the 6th French Light Armored Division. (Chapter VI Air Campaign and Chapter
VIII Ground Campaign provide maps and graphics depicting disposition of Coalition
Coalition forces exhibited a readiness that, in many cases, exceeded peacetime expectations.
For US forces, maintenance readiness of such major items as M1 tanks, M2/3 fighting
vehicles, AH-64 attack helicopters, and AV-8B attack aircraft often exceeded 90 percent.
Some units, such as the USMC 2nd Tank Battalion recently had received Abrams tanks.
The 1st UK Armoured Division was equipped with the Challenger tank, considered one of
the better main battle tanks built. Saudi, Qatari and Kuwaiti forces, accompanied by US and
other advisors, trained constantly, displaying a confidence in their capabilities. Kuwait
Army units had been rebuilt since the Iraqi invasion and were now equipped with modern
Yugoslav M84 tanks and Soviet BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles. Although long LOCs
and harsh conditions strained the structure, equipment and supplies continued to flow into
the theater in order to meet the stockage levels CENTCOM established and supply points
located at forward sites in the desert were stockpiling for combat.
Perhaps most important, the morale of Coalition troops, who felt confident they could
defeat the Iraqis in battle, was high. Discipline problems were almost nonexistent.
Cross-training between US and other Coalition forces, conducted throughout Operation
Desert Shield, ensured mutual understanding. Among Coalition troops, high morale
reinforced the advantages of superior equipment and training.
Status of Iraqi Forces
It was not clear until the offensive had begun that Saddam Hussein would choose to remain
on the defensive. Iraqi preparations throughout the prior months had continued to raise the
readiness of forces and it was estimated that they remained capable of launching an
offensive (as they were later to attempt at Al-Khafji). The Iraqi Air Force stepped up
training and defensive patrols from airfields in central and southern Iraq. Intelligence
analysts estimated the Iraqi Air Force to be capable of surging up to 900 to 1,000 sorties
daily, although the Iraqi capability to sustain such a sortie rate was questioned. Air C2,
logistics, and maintenance sites had been dispersed and hardened. Surface-to-surface
missiles, most notably the Scud, had been on alert for several months and several test firings
were conducted in the late Fall. The Scuds were capable of reaching targets in Saudi Arabia
from southern Iraq. Some intelligence analysts predicted many launchers would be
exceedingly difficult to locate because of their mobility and ability to hide. Iraq also
emplaced Silkworm missiles at strategic coastal points and actively mined Persian Gulf
waterways. Surface-to-air missiles (SAM) and antiaircraft artillery (AAA) remained
concentrated around major population centers and strategic military targets. Many of Iraq's
SAM launchers, even those with mobile capabilities, were tied to point defense of fixed
targets. At least one battery of captured Kuwaiti <pg 83 start> HAWK missiles was
thought to have been positioned south of Baghdad. While the air defense system used by
Iraq could provide centralized control of antiair assets, barrage fire was thought by Coalition
intelligence analysts to be the most probable means of air defense engagements, particularly
with AAA.
Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, particularly CW, posed a formidable threat. Although
Iraqi nerve agents deteriorated after being placed in munitions, DIA assessed on 11 January
that Iraq was probably in the final stages of an additional chemical production cycle and that
munition fill activity was continuing, putting the chemical arsenal on a high level of
readiness. Moreover, some Iraqi weapons, such as mustard agents, did not deteriorate and
others remained dangerous even after deterioration. Most artillery in the Iraqi inventory was
capable of firing chemical shells, and aircraft could be armed with chemical bombs or spray
tanks. Iraqi training emphasized the use of CW. During the later stages of the Iran-Iraq war,
tactical commanders displayed a keen understanding of the use of CW, often fully
integrating them into their fire support plans. Although some units, particularly infantry and
People's Army units, were short of chemical protective equipment, the stated willingness of
Saddam Hussein to use CW combined with the Iraqi army's extensive prior use of CW
made the threat of great concern to the Coalition.
pg 83 map: Iraqi Force Dispositions, January 1991. Overall Iraqi Ground Strength: 1.2
million men, 69-71 divisions and forces commands, 5,800 tanks, 5,100 armored personnel
carriers, and 3,850 artillery pieces. Individual area dispositions as follows:
Northern Iraq-Kurdistan: 2 corps, 17-18 infantry divisions, 6 forces commands;
Forces in Baghdad: 2 Republican Guard brigades (possibly 2 others), 0-1 mechanized
infantry division (forming);
Western Iraq: 2 armored regiments, 1-2 infantry divisions;
Central Iraq: 1 corps, 3 infantry;
Kuwait Theater: 5 corps, 35-36 divisions including 11 armored and mechanized divisions,
24-25 infantry divisions (including 1 special forces division). Other search words: GOB,
Iraqi ground order of battle.
Inside the KTO, at least 43 divisions were arrayed in depth with strong operational and
tactical reserves. In Kuwait and stretching several miles into southern Iraq, Iraqi infantry
had established two belts of minefields and obstacles, backed by trench lines and
strongpoints. Thousands of mines had been sown in the sands, covered by extensive barbed
wire obstacles, fire trenches, antitank ditches and berms. Dug-in infantry was reinforced by
revetted tanks and artillery, all backed by armored reserves of brigade strength or larger.
Along the beaches, in testimony to Iraqi concern about an amphibious assault, no fewer than
four infantry divisions and a mechanized division dug in behind minefields and obstacles,
while strongly fortifying coastal sections of Kuwait City. In central Kuwait, roughly in the
area between Ali As-Salim Air Base and the Kuwait International Airport, one armored and
two mechanized divisions formed strong corps-level reserves. with additional forces to the
northwest. Along the main north-south road from Kuwait City to Iraq stood an operational
reserve of several regular Army armored and mechanized divisions. Positioned along the
Iraq-Kuwait border, the theater reserve of at least six Republican Guards Divisions and
other Army armored, mechanized, and infantry divisions formed the backbone of Iraqi
forces in the KTO.
Iraqi Defensive Concept of Operations
While it was clear Iraq had established a formidable array of defenses in the KTO, its
intentions were not clear at the time. The discussion in this section is drawn from post-war
intelligence assessments.
The front line infantry divisions were to defend in sector from prepared positions. The
commander of the 27th Infantry Division, VII Corps, stated his mission had been very clear,
"to defend Wadi Al-Batin, period." Immediately behind the forward-deployed infantry
divisions was a corps reserve. In addition to infantry divisions, the VII Corps, in the
ARCENT main attack zone, deployed the 52nd Armored Division, and the IV Corps, just
east of the Wadi and opposite the Multinational Force Corps, deployed the 6th Armored and
1st Mechanized divisions. The mission of the reserve forces was to counterattack any
Coalition penetration within their respective sectors.
To the rear of the corps reserve was the operational reserve. In the western part of the KTO,
the operational reserve was the Jihad Corps. It was composed of the 10th and 12th Armored
divisions, its mission was to either counterattack, or to occupy blocking positions in the
event of a Coalition penetration. In the eastern part of the KTO the operational reserve was
the II Armored Corps comprised of the 51st Mechanized Infantry Division and the 17th
Armored Division. Its missions were similar to the Jihad Corps, with the addition of
countering expected airborne and amphibious assaults in Kuwait and Southern Iraq.
Behind the theater reserves, deployed in a crescent formation in Southern Iraq just north of
the IV and VII Corps, was the RGFC as a theater reserve, composed of the Tawakalna
Mechanized Infantry Division, the Medinah Armored Division, and the Hammurabi
Armored Division. Once the main thrust of the Coalition was apparent and had been
reduced by the forward divisions, the corps reserves, and the operational reserve, the RGFC
would be committed as a corps to destroy the Coalition main attack.
Military Balance
By late December, CENTCOM had assessed the balance of ground forces using an
assumption that the air campaign would succeed in destroying or neutralizing
approximately half of the Iraqi forces in the KTO. The analysis was based on heavy
brigades and was computed by axes of attack, for the main phases of the ground attack (i.e.,
before the breach, en route to final objectives, and before final objectives). The overall force
correlations by attack axis were (Coalition forces/Iraqi forces): supporting attack 1.3/1;
main attack 1.4/1; Egyptian/Syria attack 1.4/1; and MEF 0.75/1. The force correlations at
the final objective (RGFC) for the supporting and main attacks were 2.7/1 and 2.2/1,
respectively. These force ratios were believed to be sufficiently favorable to ensure success.
As noted earlier, Iraqi forces also exhibited several weaknesses, some of which were not
appreciated until after action surveys were conducted. Although equipped with large
numbers of fighter and attack aircraft, including modern French and Soviet fighters, the Air
Force was built around a core of obsolescent planes. The Iraqis were almost totally reliant
on tactical intelligence systems and human intelligence to discern Coalition dispositions; as
the war proceeded, Iraqi forces became almost totally blind. Finally, the Iraqis had assumed
a static defensive posture, conceding the initiative to the Coalition. Obstacles dug in
September and October had been neglected in the following weeks. Some minefields had
been exposed by wind and mines could be seen from the air or by approaching ground
troops. Many alternate positions and trenches had filled with sand. Maintenance of
equipment suffered from the embargo and extended logistics lines. In some cases, units
resorted to cannibalization to meet <pg 85 start> maintenance needs. As the UN deadline
approached, intelligence analysts detected some indications of morale and cohesion
problems among some front line Iraqi troops in the KTO. Later information revealed that
those problems had become increasingly severe in many units.
Despite its core of highly trained and motivated Republican Guards and a few elite regular
Army units, the bulk of the Iraqi Army was composed of poorly trained conscripts. Most
infantry divisions in Kuwait, charged with defending the extensive minefields, were made
up of these second-class troops. As post-war information was to show, desertions,
particularly in some front-line infantry units, became almost epidemic. Many soldiers
simply went home. Iraqi propaganda and political maneuvering resulted in a backlash
among Iraqi troops, particularly those in Kuwait. They began to realize they had been placed
in the distasteful position of an occupying force in another Islamic country, faced with
fighting their religious and cultural brothers. Increasing numbers of deserters expressed a
growing antipathy towards Saddam Hussein, some claiming their comrades would not fight.
Reports of Iraqi discipline squads, ordered to shoot deserters, began to filter into Coalition
intelligence. Those Iraqi soldiers who remained suffered from food shortages. To induce
them to stay, Saddam Hussein authorized special increases in pay; the troops were given
worthless script which only served to make them more cynical.
Nevertheless, the Iraqi order of battle on the eve of war was formidable. DIA assessed Iraq
to have 540,000 troops, more than 4,200 tanks, more than 2,800 armored personnel carriers,
and approximately 3,100 artillery pieces fielded in the KTO. They could draw on up to 30
days of ammunition stockpiled in Kuwait and southern Iraq in the event of combat, with at
least three days of ammunition being carried by each unit. An extensive air defense
umbrella of AAA and SAM, to include several SA-2 and SA-3 launchers in Kuwait,
provided some protection from air attack. These systems were highly mobile and capable of
putting up a substantial challenge to Coalition aircraft, particularly those that attacked using
low-level tactics. Although few aircraft were based inside the KTO, the Iraqi Air Force had
demonstrated the capability to shift aircraft rapidly and conduct strikes and air defense
operations throughout the KTO as well as into Saudi Arabia. The Iraqi Navy positioned
missile-firing fast patrol boats and coastal defense surface-to-surface missiles along the
Kuwaiti coast that could disrupt any attempts at amphibious landings. More importantly,
Iraqi mine layers had begun sowing mines in the northern Gulf to help ward off any
Coalition amphibious attack.
On the Coalition side, total numbers roughly equaled Iraqi totals, but ground forces were
thought to be numerically inferior. Despite that apparent disadvantage, Coalition forces held
several important tactical and operational advantages. These included high technology
weapons, an extensive intelligence network, and a combined air-land-sea capability that
sought to create strategic, operational, and tactical dilemmas with which the Iraqi command
structure could not cope. While the state of training of the Coalition units varied, overall it
was superior to that of the Iraqis, particularly those Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait.
In Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, seven Army divisions, two USMC Divisions, a British
armored division, a French light armored division, and the equivalent of more than four
Arab/Islamic divisions were moving into their assembly areas. There were 1,736 combat
aircraft from 12 Coalition countries flying from bases and aircraft carriers throughout the
theater and Turkey, and 60 B-52s waited at worldwide locations. In the Persian Gulf and
Red Sea, naval forces including six aircraft carrier battle groups, two battleships, several
submarines capable of launching cruise missiles, and the largest amphibious force mustered
since the <pg 86 start> Korean War, carrying nearly 17,000 Marines, were prepared to
carry out their missions. A massive air and sea logistics effort continued to pour supplies
into the theater. In all, more than 540,000 Coalition troops from 31 countries prepared to
liberate Kuwait.
Of crucial importance, the Coalition would fight with a level of initiative and flexibility far
superior to the Iraqis. Despite its disparate nature, the Coalition maintained unity of effort
through a clear understanding of the mission, open coordination between elements, and a
command structure that enabled each unit to carry out its mission unhindered by
over-centralized control. US military warfighting doctrine emphasized the dislocation of
enemy forces in a fluid battlefield. US and many Coalition commanders were capable of
exercising a level of initiative of which the Iraqi commanders were totally incapable. C2
systems enabled rapid shifting of forces, particularly aircraft, to crucial areas. In the ensuing
fighting, this flexibility would become decisive. Superior training and organization enabled
the US forces, and much of the Coalition as a whole, to outfight the centralized and
cumbersome Iraqi armed forces.
With the likelihood of war looming, Saddam Hussein's warfighting strategy seems to have
been based on several elements. First, he continued his efforts to divide the Coalition by
appealing to radical Arab distrust of the West and Israel, while portraying Kuwait as a
nation not worthy of Arab bloodshed. Continual references to the Israeli threat and attempts
to tie negotiations to the Palestinian question played on the very real concerns of the Arab
world. Subsequent attempts to draw the Israelis into the war reinforced these efforts.
Second, he hoped to outlast the Coalition by prolonging the crisis and waiting for resolve to
erode. This belief in his political ability to outlast the Coalition manifested itself in bellicose
statements, occasionally conciliatory gestures, and continuous propaganda aimed at
deterring a Coalition attack with the threat of heavy casualties. Even after fighting started,
Iraqi deserters and, later, enemy prisoners of war often expressed a belief that, somehow,
Saddam Hussein would once again politically maneuver his way to a favorable resolution.
Third, if these measures failed, Saddam threatened a costly war of attrition that, he hoped,
would quickly turn public opinion against the war. This strategic objective was manifested
in the Iraqi dispositions, reflecting the preconception that the Coalition would attack
frontally through Kuwait into prepared defenses. Finally, Saddam Hussein may have
calculated he would withdraw the bulk of his forces even after war began, if necessary.
Saddam Hussein suffered from several miscalculations, however. First, he underestimated
the Coalition's resolve and strength. Believing he could sever the ties between the United
States and Western nations and the Arab/Islamic states, he continually orchestrated
propaganda and political overtures in an attempt to create internal strife, to no avail. When
conflict seemed inevitable, he mistook democratic debate for weakness, threatening the
Coalition with heavy casualties to shake its resolve. Next, the Iraqi defensive posture in the
KTO, which seemed to ignore the exposed flank in the Iraqi desert, underscored the
mistaken belief that the Coalition would not attack through Iraq to free Kuwait. Enhanced
by the ongoing Coalition deception plan, this miscalculation positioned Iraqi forces facing
south and east, intent on fighting a battle of attrition for which the Iraqi commanders were
well trained, based on their combat experiences in Iran. Third, Saddam Hussein completely
underestimated the efficacy of modern weapons and combat technology. Basing his
calculations on his experiences in the Iran-Iraq War, he failed to comprehend the destructive
potential of the air, land, and naval power that would be used against him. The battlefield
advantages of precision-guided munitions, stealth technology, electronic warfare systems, a
host of target acquisition and sighting systems, and highly mobile, lethal ground combat
vehicles, used by highly trained personnel, were simply not understood by the Iraqis. First
his air force and air defense forces, then his ground forces, and ultimately the Iraqi people
suffered for Saddam Hussein's gross miscalculations.
Overall, the Coalition succeeded in what Sun Tzu calls the greatest achievement of a
commander, defeating the enemy's strategy. Saddam Hussein's strategy was to inflict
casualties on the Coalition to break our will, to draw Israel into the war to break the
Coalition and to inflict casualties on Israel to claim a victory among the Arabs. Expecting
that the Coalition would blunder into these traps, Saddam found himself frustrated. Taking
significant casualties himself, without inflicting any serious blows on his enemies, he
launched the ground attack on Khafji. His disastrous defeat in that engagement
foreshadowed his larger, ultimate defeat.
The Coalition developed and executed a coordinated, multi-national, multi-axis, combined
arms theater campaign that succeeded in defeating Iraq.
The Coalition built a multi-national armed force capable of offensive operations and the
logistics to support and sustain it.
Some Coalition forces modernized their units on the eve of battle. successfully undergoing
new equipment training and improving the combat potential of their units.
The services exploited the time available to reach the highest possible levels of unit
The United States demonstrated the ability to deploy and support large, complex forces far
from home.
The UNSC resolutions made US domestic support for offensive operations easier to
garner, and contributed to US national political will. The UNSC resolutions made actions
against Iraq legitimate in the eyes of much of the world, and made it easier for many nations
to support Coalition actions with donations of money or supplies.
Political will, excellent planning, prior training and exercises, and Coalition solidarity,
were decisive determinants of success.
Availability of staging bases and a well developed infrastructure, especially airfields and
ports, were crucial to the Coalition s success. These facilities and resources may not be as
readily available In future contingencies without considerable emphasis on HNS
US strategic lift, the CS and CSS capabilities inherent in the active and RC units deployed,
in-theater facilities, HNS, and the time to build the infrastructure in theater, facilitated
transition to the offensive. The eventuality of short warning contingencies necessitates
actions to improve strategic lift capabilities and enhance host nation support.
The Coalition had sufficient time to plan and prepare for the offensive. This was a
significant advantage that may not be the case in future crises.
In immediate response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the United States rapidly deployed
substantial land and sea based air power to the Central Command (CENTCOM) area of
responsibility (AOR) and increased the readiness level of forces outside Southwest Asia.
Simultaneously, the Air Staff, in response to the Commander-in-Chief, Central Command's
(CINCCENT) request, developed a concept plan, Instant Thunder, which formed the basis
for CENTCOM's more comprehensive Operation Desert Storm air campaign. This, in turn,
was devised to help achieve the President's four objectives: force unconditional Iraqi
withdrawal from Kuwait, re-establish the legitimate Kuwait government, protect American
lives, and ensure regional stability and security.
The air campaign was designed to exploit Coalition strengths (which included well-trained
aircrews; advanced technology such as stealth, cruise missiles, precision-guided munitions
(PGMs), superior command and control (C2), and ability to operate effectively at night); and
to take advantage of Iraqi weaknesses (including a rigid C2 network and a defensive
orientation). Coalition air planners intended to seize air superiority rapidly and paralyze the
Iraqi leadership and command structure by striking simultaneously Iraq's most crucial
centers of gravity: its National Command Authority (NCA); its nuclear, biological, and
chemical (NBC) warfare capability; and the Republican Guard divisions.
The Strategic Air Campaign formed Phase I of the four phases of Operation Desert Storm.
Phase II focused on suppressing or eliminating Iraqi ground-based air defenses in the
Kuwait Theater of Operations (KTO). Phase III emphasized direct air attacks on Iraqi
ground forces in the KTO (including the Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC) and
the Iraqi Army in Kuwait). Phases I-III constituted the air campaign. Phase IV, the ground
campaign to liberate Kuwait, used air attacks and sea bombardment in addition to ground
attacks on concentrations of Iraqi forces remaining in the KTO. Concurrent with the
Offensive Ground Campaign was an amphibious landing option, Operation Desert Saber, to
be executed as required for the liberation of Kuwait City. The theater campaign plan
recognized the phases were not necessarily discrete or sequential, but could overlap as
resources became available or priorities shifted.
"Gulf lesson one is the value of air power. . . . (it) was right on target from day one. The
Gulf war taught us that we must retain combat superiority in the skies . . . . Our air strikes
were the most effective, yet humane, in the history of warfare."
President George Bush
29 May 1991
On 16 January, at 1535 (H 11 hours, 25 minutes), B-52s took off from Louisiana
carrying conventionally armed air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs). They would launch
their ALCMs approximately two hours after H-Hour. The first irretrievable hostile fire in
Operation Desert Storm began at approximately 0130 (H-90 minutes), 17 January, when US
warships launched Tomahawk land attack missiles (TLAMs) toward Baghdad. At 0238,
while the TLAMs were still in flight, helicopters attacked early warning radar sites in
southern Iraq. Stealth fighters already had passed over these sites enroute to attack targets in
western Iraq and Baghdad. The helicopter, F-117A, cruise missile, F-15E Eagle fighter, and
GR-1 Tornado fighter-bomber attacks helped create gaps in Iraqi radar coverage and the C2
network for the non-stealth aircraft which followed. Powerful air strikes then continued
throughout the country. Within hours, key parts of the Iraqi leadership, C2 network, strategic
air defense system, and NBC warfare capabilities were neutralized. By the conflict's first
dawn, air attacks on Iraqi forces in the KTO had begun. These led to a steady reduction of
their combat capability, and made it difficult for them to mass or move forces without
coming under heavy Coalition air attack, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency
(DIA) and CENTCOM. Hundreds of Coalition aircraft participated in these missions,
marked by precision and impact, while suffering extremely low losses. Coalition air power
continued to destroy strategic targets in Iraq and the KTO. Although hindered by bad
weather, the air campaign, which extended throughout the 43 days of Operation Desert
Storm, won air supremacy and met its key objectives, although suppression of Scud attacks
proved far more difficult than anticipated and the destruction of Iraqi nuclear facilities was
incomplete because of intelligence limitations.
Phase II of Operation Desert Storm sought the systematic neutralization or destruction of
Iraqi surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems and large-caliber antiaircraft artillery (AAA)
pieces that threatened Coalition aircraft in the KTO. The suppression of enemy air defenses
(SEAD), which began in the air war's first minutes, not only attacked enemy air defense
weapons, but also the C2 centers that linked them. Many accompanying acquisition, fire
control, and target tracking radars, according to DIA reports, also were put out of action or
dissuaded from coming on line. In this way, Coalition air planners carved out a mediumand high-altitude sanctuary, which allowed friendly aircraft to operate in the KTO with
some degree of safety.
Coalition electronic warfare (EW) aircraft were invaluable during this phase. With active
jamming, passive location systems, and antiradiation missile delivery ability, they either
attacked enemy weapon systems or rendered them ineffective. Because of the number and
mobility of enemy antiaircraft systems, SEAD continued throughout the war. It paved the
way for strike aircraft to begin direct air attacks on enemy artillery, armor, and troops in the
Direct air attacks on Iraqi forces in the KTO continued until the cease-fire. In early
February, the weight of Coalition air power shifted from strategic operations in Iraq to
attacks on ground forces in the KTO, which could not resist the aerial attack effectively. By
G-Day, interdiction of supply lines to the KTO reduced deliveries to a trickle. These and
direct attacks on Iraqi supply points and in-theater logistical transportation, according to
enemy prisoner of war (EPW) reports, resulted in major local shortages of food for fielded
Iraqi forces in Kuwait. The RGFC and other high priority units, however, predominantly
were located farther from Coalition forces, closer to rear-area supply depots, and tended to
be better supplied than frontline forces.
Coalition aircrews developed innovative tactics to use PGMs against Iraqi armor. While
estimates vary, by the start of the ground offensive, Army Component Central Command
(ARCENT) estimated many of Iraq's tanks, other armored vehicles, and artillery in the KTO
had been destroyed from the air. CINCCENT had stated he would not recommend starting
the ground offensive until the combat effectiveness of the forces in the KTO had been
degraded by half. The destruction of Iraqi operational command centers and
communications links prevented effective military C2 and helped prepare for the rapid,
successful Offensive Ground Campaign. When the Iraqis attempted their only substantial
ground offensive operation, at the Saudi Arabian town of Al-Khafji, Coalition air power
responded rapidly to help ground forces defeat the initial assault. At the same time, aircraft
attacked and dispersed Iraq's two-division follow-on force before it could join the battle.
When ground forces encountered Iraqi resistance, Coalition airpower again was called on to
attack the enemy and help minimize Coalition losses. This often required aircraft to fly
lower into harm's way to identify and attack targets. Most Coalition air losses during the
latter stages of the war were suffered in direct support of ground forces. During this final
phase, the Coalition's speedy conclusion of the war, with minimal casualties, highlighted the
synergy of powerful air and ground forces.
Decision to Begin the Offensive Ground Campaign
CINCCENT has said that several factors influenced his belief as to when the Offensive
Ground Campaign should begin. These factors included force deployments and planning,
logistics buildup, weather forecasts favorable for ground offensive operations, cohesion of
the Coalition, and attack preparations, along with the air campaign. All were important in
reducing risks and enhancing the probability of success with limited losses. While precise
measurement of force ratios was not possible, senior commanders considered that Iraqi
combat effectiveness needed to be reduced by about half before the ground offensive began.
Combat effectiveness included both measures such as numbers of soldiers, tanks, armored
personnel carriers (APC), and artillery (and degradation thereof), as well as less measurable
factors such as morale. Once air operations began, Iraqi reactions could be analyzed to
provide further evidence on their military capability. For example, the Iraqi failure at Khafji
indicated an inability to orchestrate the sorts of complex operations needed for a mobile
defense. Further, the battle seemed to indicate a decline in the will of Iraqi soldiers while at
the same time it provided a great boost in morale and confidence among Coalition Arab
The Early Concept Plan Instant Thunder
During the initial days after the invasion of Kuwait, the CENTCOM and Service component
staffs began planning for defensive and offensive operations from Saudi Arabia. The Air
Force Component, Central Command (CENTAF) staff began planning an air campaign on 3
August; this provided the basic input for CINCCENT and CENTAF commander briefings
to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), the Secretary of Defense, and the
The Secretary of Defense instructed CJCS and CINCCENT to develop an offensive option
that would be available to the President if Saddam Hussein chose to engage in further
aggression or other unacceptable behavior, such as killing Kuwaiti citizens or foreign
nationals in Kuwait or Iraq. This planning was the basis of CINCCENT's 8 August request
to the Air Staff for a conceptual offensive air campaign plan directed exclusively against
strategic targets in Iraq. He determined it would not be advisable to divert the deployed
CENTAF staff from organizing the arrival and beddown of forces, while preparing a plan to
defend Saudi Arabia from further Iraqi aggression. (See Chapter III for details of the D-Day
plan). On 10 August, the Air Staff's deputy director of plans for warfighting concepts
briefed CINCCENT in Florida on the Instant Thunder concept plan. The CJCS was briefed
the following day and directed the Air Staff to expand the planning group to include Navy,
Army, and Marine Corps (USMC) members and to proceed with detailed planning under
the authority of the Joint Staff's director of operations. The CJCS reviewed the concept with
the Secretary of Defense and received his approval.
When CINCCENT saw the expanded briefing again on 17 August, it bore the Joint Chiefs
of Staff seal; by then both the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the
Marine Corps also had accepted the concept plan. On 25 August, CINCCENT briefed the
Secretary of Defense and the CJCS on a four-phase offensive campaign plan: Phase I, a
Strategic Air Campaign against Iraq; Phase II, Kuwait Air Campaign against Iraqi air forces
in the KTO; Phase III, Ground Combat Power Attrition to neutralize the Republican Guards
and isolate the Kuwait battlefield; and Phase IV, Ground Attack, to eject Iraqi forces from
Kuwait. The broad outlines of Operation Desert Storm had taken shape, but plans were
further developed and refined for the next several months. As the plan was developed
further, the Secretary of Defense and CJCS continued to review it in detail, culminating in
an intensive two-day review in Saudi Arabia in December.
Non-US Coalition members became involved in planning during September. By the end of
November, British Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) planners
were integrated fully.
The Air Staff concept plan had been called Instant Thunder to contrast it with Operation
Rolling Thunder's prolonged, gradualistic approach to bombing North Vietnam during the
1960s. Instead of piecemeal attacks designed to send signals to enemy leaders, Instant
Thunder was designed to destroy 84 strategic targets in Iraq in a single week. If all went
well, air attacks would paralyze Iraqi leadership, degrade their military capabilities and
neutralize their will to fight. There was, however, great concern on the part of CJCS and
CINCCENT, particularly in August and the first part of September, that an aggressive Iraqi
ground offensive in the absence of significant heavy Coalition ground forces might succeed
in seizing key airfields as well as ports, water facilities, and oil production sites.
As the air planners built Instant Thunder, they realized that in this war, the development of
PGMs and active and passive antiradar technologies (stealth, jamming, antiradiation
missiles) would allow attacks directly against the enemy leadership's ability to function.
These attacks could neutralize the regime's ability to direct military operations by eroding
communications, and depriving leaders of secure locations from which to plan and control
operations. These leadership capabilities became key targets for Instant Thunder, and the
main difference between it and more traditional strategic bombing campaigns.
In addition to attacks designed to influence the Iraqi leadership's ability to control their
forces, the plan also envisaged attacks to reduce the effectiveness of forces in the KTO.
Targets included NBC facilities, ballistic missile production and storage facilities, key
bridges, railroads and ports that enabled Iraq to supply its forces in the KTO, and the Iraqi
air defense system.
The Air Staff planning group (known as Checkmate), working under the Air Staff's deputy
director of plans for warfighting concepts, categorized strategic targets as follows:
- Leadership Saddam Hussein's command facilities and telecommunications
- Key production electricity, oil refining, refined oil products, NBC, other military
production, military storage
- Infrastructure railroads, ports, and bridges (initial plans expected to attack only
railroads; later, ports and bridges were added when the theater plan expanded to include
attacks on the fielded forces in the KTO)
- Fielded forces air defenses, naval forces, long-range combat aircraft and missiles, and
airfields. (Although not included in the early drafts the Secretary of Defense instructed
CINCCENT to add the RGFC to the strategic target list because they were key to the Iraqi
position in Kuwait and a serious offensive threat to Iraq's neighbors.)
Targets in each category were identified, imagery obtained, weapons and aiming points
chosen, and an attack flow plan assembled using aircraft scheduled to deploy. Eventually,
target identification became a joint-Service, multi-agency, and Coalition effort.
The Instant Thunder concept plan was designed to attack Iraq's centers of gravity. It
envisioned a six-day (good weather and 700 attack sorties a day) attack on 84 strategic
targets in Iraq. This initial plan, however, did not address some major target systems that
became important in Operation Desert Storm.
Although suppressing Scud attacks later proved crucial to the strategic objective of
frustrating Saddam Hussein's effort to draw Israel into the war, the missiles were not
regarded initially as a threat to military forces unless they were equipped with
unconventional warheads because of their inaccuracy. (In fact, however, a Scud strike on
a barracks in February inflicted more US casualties than any single engagement. Moreover,
Scud attacks elsewhere in the theater, for example on the ports of Ad-Dammam and Jubayl,
in the early stages of the war when large concentrations of VII Corps troops were waiting
for their equipment to arrive by sealift, potentially could have inflicted very large
casualties.) In any case, trying to find and attack such mobile, easily hidden targets promised
to absorb many sorties without likelihood of much success. The early plans, therefore,
concentrated on attacking the fixed Scud launch facilities and production centers.
If Iraq attacked Saudi Arabia, the CENTAF commander, who also acted as the Joint Forces
Air Component Commander (JFACC), planned to concentrate air attacks on the Iraqi
ground forces which might move against the Saudi oil fields and northern airfields. The
Instant Thunder concept expected those targets to be attacked by RAF and Saudi Tornados,
and US F-16s, AV-8Bs, A-10s, AH-64s, AH-1s, and F/A-18s.
Meanwhile, aircraft designed for long-range attacks would concentrate on strategic targets
in Iraq. In time, this difference of focus lost much of its practical meaning, especially after
the deployment of additional air and ground assets starting in November. An abundance of
Coalition air and ground power gave assurance that an air campaign could be waged
simultaneously against strategic targets in Iraq and Iraqi forces moving into Saudi Arabia, if
Instant Thunder Evolves Into Operation Desert Storm Air Campaign
During the fall, JFACC planners merged CENTAF's pre-deployment concept of operations
with the Instant Thunder concept to form the foundation for the Operation Desert Storm air
campaign plan.
Navy, USMC, and Army planners worked closely with Air Force (USAF) planners in
August and September to draft the initial offensive air campaign plan. In Riyadh, Naval
Component, Central Command (NAVCENT), Marine Corps Component, Central
Command (MARCENT), and ARCENT were integral planning process members. RAF
planners joined the JFACC staff on 19 September.
CENTCOM's offensive air campaign special planning group (SPG), in the RSAF
Headquarters, was part of the JFACC staff and eventually became known as the Black Hole
because of the extreme secrecy surrounding its activities. The Black Hole was led by a
USAF brigadier general, reassigned from the USS Lasalle (AGF 3) where he had been
serving as the deputy commander of Joint Task Force Middle East when Iraq invaded
Kuwait. His small staff grew gradually to about 30 and included RAF, Army, Navy, USMC,
and USAF personnel. Because of operational security (OPSEC) concerns, most of
CENTAF headquarters was denied information on the plan until only a few hours before
execution. By 15 September, the initial air planning stage was complete; the President was
advised there were sufficient air forces to execute and sustain an offensive strategic air
campaign against Iraq, should he order one.
During October, as planning began for a possible offensive ground operation to liberate
Kuwait, air planners began to give more attention to Phase III, air attacks on Iraqi ground
forces in the KTO. There was concern a ground assault against the well prepared KTO
defenses might result in large and unnecessary loss of life. If Saddam Hussein did not
comply with UN demands, air attacks would help the Offensive Ground Campaign meet its
objectives rapidly and with minimal casualties. Computer modeling suggested to air
planners it would take about a month of air attacks to destroy 75 to 80 percent of the
armored vehicles, trucks, and artillery of the regular Iraqi army in Kuwait. Historical
evidence shows attrition levels of 20 to 50 percent usually render a military force combat
Another change from Instant Thunder was the decision to begin bombing the Republican
Guards in southern Iraq at the start of Operation Desert Storm. The Secretary of Defense
and CJCS identified the forces as the mainstay of the Iraqi defenses in the KTO, not only
because they provided the bulk of Iraq's mobile reserves, but also because the regime
counted on them to enforce the loyalty and discipline of the regular troops. In addition,
weakening the Republican Guards would diminish Iraq's post-war threat to the region.
Given the SPG's small size, and the restrictions imposed by distance and limited
communications, the director of campaign plans needed help. Checkmate augmented the
SPG as an information fusion and analysis center; it provided an educated pool of
manpower with face-to-face access to the national Intelligence Community. Instant Thunder
had identified only 84 targets, but by January, intelligence experts and operations planners
identified more than 600 potential targets, of which more than 300 became part of the
CENTCOM strategic target list.
The planners in theater also received help from the Strike Projection Evaluation and Antiair
Research (SPEAR) team of the Navy Operational Intelligence Center. SPEAR helped
complete the picture of the Iraqi integrated air defense system (IADS), which used a mix of
Soviet and Western equipment and concepts tied together by a C2 system largely designed
by French technicians. Named Kari, this C2 system coordinated Iraqi air defense forces
which could inflict severe Coalition losses. As part of a joint analysis with USAF and
national agency participation, SPEAR helped identify the extent and nature of the threat, the
key IADS nodes, and the importance of destroying those nodes early in the campaign.
On the basis of the joint analysis, in-theater modeling using the Command, Control,
Communications, and Intelligence simulation model (provided by the USAF Center for
Studies and Analysis and Headquarters USAF Plans and Operations) predicted low-altitude
attacks on key leadership, Command, Control, and Communications (C3), and electrical
targets in Baghdad would be extremely dangerous for both F-111F and A-6E aircraft.
Consequently, these crucial targets were attacked from medium altitudes by F-117As and
low altitudes by TLAMs. The SEAD effort to neutralize the Kari system proved vital to
Coalition success; the initial blow, according to intelligence reports, was one from which
Iraqi air defenses never recovered.
At first, planners could rely on fewer than 75 <pg 95 start> long-range aircraft with a laser
self-designation capability: 18 F-117As and 55 A-6Es. The mid-August decision to deploy
32 F-111Fs was the first major expansion in the laser- guided bombing capability. After the
November decision to deploy additional forces, the number of aircraft so equipped
increased to more than 200 F-117As, F-15Es, F-111Fs, and A-6Es.
Instead of having to make the first attack, return to base to rearm, refuel, and then make a
second attack, the larger number of aircraft would strike about as many targets with a single
wave. This increased the number of targets attacked almost simultaneously, complicated
Iraq's air defense task, and increased aircraft availability for later strikes.
The plan was based on achieving the five military objectives listed below. These objectives
were derived from the President's objectives and a planning model developed by the Air
Staff's deputy director of plans for warfighting concepts. Below each objective are listed the
target sets that would be attacked to secure the objective. (Although degrading a target set
commonly would help achieve more than one goal, target sets are listed only once.)
JFACC Air Campaign Objectives
- Isolate and incapacitate the Iraqi regime:
-- Leadership command facilities.
-- Crucial aspects of electricity production facilities that power military and
military-related industrial systems.
-- Telecommunications and C3 systems.
- Gain and maintain air supremacy to permit unhindered air operations:
-- Strategic IADS, including radar sites, SAMs, and IADS control centers.
-- Air forces and airfields.
- Destroy NBC warfare capability:
-- Known NBC research, production, and storage facilities.
- Eliminate Iraq's offensive military capability by destroying major parts of key military
production, infrastructure, and power projection capabilities:
-- Military production and storage sites.
-- Scud missiles and launchers, production and storage facilities.
-- Oil refining and distribution facilities, as opposed to long-term production
-- Naval forces and port facilities.
- Render the Iraqi army and its mechanized equipment in Kuwait ineffective, causing its
-- Railroads and bridges connecting military forces to means of support.
-- Army units to include RGFC in the KTO.
The Twelve Target Sets
The air campaign's 12 target sets are listed separately below. However, creating each day's
attack plan was more complex than dealing with the target sets individually. The planners
assessed progress toward the five military objectives, and how well they were
accomplishing desired levels of damage and disruption, within each target set. The method
for producing the daily attack plan involved synthesizing many inputs battle damage
assessment (BDA) from previous attacks, CINCCENT guidance, weather, target set
priorities, new targets, intelligence, and the air campaign objectives. The target sets were
interrelated and were not targeted individually. The available aircraft, special operations
forces (SOF), and other assets then were assigned on the basis of ability and the most
effective use of force.
Leadership Command Facilities
There were 45 targets in the Baghdad area, and others throughout Iraq, in the leadership
command facilities target set. The intent was to fragment and disrupt Iraqi political and
military leadership by attacking its C2 of Iraqi military forces, internal security elements,
and key nodes within the government. The attacks should cause the leaders to hide or
relocate, making it difficult for them to control or even keep pace with events. The target
set's primary objective was incapacitating and isolating Iraq's senior decision-making
authorities. Specifically targeted were facilities from which the Iraqi military leadership,
including Saddam Hussein, would attempt to coordinate military actions. Targets included
national-level political and military headquarters and command posts (CPs) in Baghdad and
elsewhere in Iraq.
Electricity Production Facilities
Electricity is vital to the functioning of a modern military and industrial power such as Iraq,
and disrupting the electrical supply can make destruction of other facilities unnecessary.
Disrupting the electricity supply to key Iraqi facilities degraded a wide variety of crucial
capabilities, from the radar sites that warned of Coalition air strikes, to the refrigeration used
to preserve biological weapons (BW), to nuclear weapons production facilities.
To do this effectively required the disruption of virtually the entire Iraqi electric grid, to
prevent the rerouting of power around damaged nodes. Although backup generators
sometimes were available, they usually are slow to come on line, provide less power than
main sources, and are not as reliable.
During switch over from main power to a backup generator, computers drop off line,
temporary confusion ensues, and other residual problems can occur. Because of the fast
pace of a modern, massed air attack, even milliseconds of enemy power disruption can
mean the difference between life and death for aircrews.
Telecommunications And Command, Control, And Communication Nodes
The ability to issue orders to military and security forces, receive reports on the status of
operations, and communicate with senior political and military leaders was crucial to
Saddam Hussein's deployment and use of his forces. To challenge his C3, the Coalition
bombed microwave relay towers, telephone exchanges, switching rooms, fiber optic nodes,
and bridges that carried coaxial communications cables. These national communications
could be reestablished and so, required persistent restrikes. These either silenced them or
forced the Iraqi leadership to use backup systems vulnerable to eavesdropping that produced
valuable intelligence, according to DIA assessments, particularly in the period before the
ground campaign.
More than half of Iraq's military landline communications passed through major switching
facilities in Baghdad. Civil TV and radio facilities could be used easily for C3 backup for
military purposes. The Saddam Hussein regime also controlled TV and radio and used them
as the principal media for Iraqi propaganda. Thus, these installations also were struck.
Strategic Integrated Air Defense System
The Iraqi strategic IADS was one of the more important immediate target sets; before
Coalition air power could exercise its full aerial bombardment potential, the effectiveness of
Iraqi air forces and ground-based air defenses had to be reduced to negligible proportions.
Targets included the mid- and upper-level air defense control centers, SAM sites, radar
sites, and the C3 nodes that connected the system.
Air Forces And Airfields
The Iraqi Air Force posed both a defensive threat to Coalition air operations, and an
offensive threat to Coalition forces in the region. In addition to a defensive capability, the
Iraqi Air Force had a chemical weapons (CW) delivery capability and had used PGMs.
Initial targeting of the Iraqi Air Force during Operation Desert Storm emphasized the
suppression of air operations at airfields by cratering and mining runways, bombing aircraft,
maintenance and storage facilities, and attacking C3 facilities. Coalition planners anticipated
the Iraqis initially would attempt to fly large numbers of defensive sorties, requiring an
extensive counter-air effort. Air commanders also expected the Iraqis to house and protect
aircraft in hardened shelters. An attempt to fly some aircraft to sanctuary in a neighboring
country also was expected, although the safe haven was thought to be Jordan, rather than
Nuclear, Biological And Chemical Weapons Research, Production, And Storage
The extensive Iraqi NBC program was a serious threat to regional stability. Coalition
planners intended to destroy weapons research and production capability and delivery
vehicles. Because of the Iraqis' elaborate efforts to hide the extent of their programs,
Coalition forces were uncertain of their exact scope.
Intelligence estimates varied, but the planning assumption was that Iraq could produce a
rudimentary nuclear weapon by the end of 1992, if not sooner. Throughout the planning
period, and during the conflict, finding and destroying NBC weapons facilities remained a
top priority. International investigations continue to reveal the advanced character of Iraq's
nuclear program, and to uncover additional facilities. The existence of the Al-Athir
complex, 40 miles south of Baghdad, which was reported lightly damaged by bombing, was
not confirmed until late in the war. It was the target of the last bomb dropped by an F-117A
in the conflict.
Scud Missiles, Launchers, And Production And Storage Facilities
Iraq's Scud missile capability was considered a military and a psychological threat to
Coalition forces, a threat to civilian populations in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and some other
Gulf countries, and a threat to long-term regional stability. Along with targeting the fixed
launch sites in western Iraq, Coalition planners targeted Iraq's ability to deploy existing
missiles and build more.
Intelligence estimates at the time of the total numbers of mobile launchers and Scuds were
sketchy and proved to be too low. As a working estimate, planners used 600 Scud missiles
(and variants), 36 mobile launchers, and 28 fixed launchers in five complexes in western
Iraq, plus some training launchers at At-Taji. Initial attacks concentrated on eliminating the
fixed sites. Plans were developed for hunting and destroying mobile Scud launchers, but the
missiles would prove to be elusive targets.
Naval Forces And Port Facilities
Although Iraq was not a major naval power, its naval forces posed a threat to Coalition
naval and amphibious forces, and sealift assets. Iraqi forces had Silkworm and Exocet
antiship missiles and mines; they could create a substantial political and military problem by
destroying or seriously damaging a major surface ship. Coalition planners targeted Iraqi
naval vessels, including captured Kuwaiti Exocet-equipped patrol boats, port facilities, and
antiship missiles to prevent interference with Coalition operations and to reduce the threat
to friendly ports and logistical systems in the Persian Gulf.
Oil Refining And Distribution Facilities
Fuel and lubricants are the lifeblood of a major industrial and military power. Iraq had a
modern petroleum extraction, cracking, and distillation system, befitting its position as one
of the world's major oil producing and refining nations. Coalition planners targeted Iraq's
ability to produce refined oil products (such as gasoline) that had immediate military use,
instead of its long-term crude oil production capability.
Railroads And Bridges
Most major railroad and highway bridges in Iraq served routes that ran between Baghdad
and Al-Basrah. Iraqi forces in the KTO were almost totally dependent for their logistical
support on the lines of communication (LOCs) that crossed these bridges, making them
lucrative targets. Although Iraqi forces had built large stockpiles of supplies in southeast
Iraq by January, DIA reported cutting the bridges prevented or reduced restocking, and
prevented reinforcement of deployed forces once the air campaign began.
Iraqi Army Units Including Republican Guard Forces In The KTO
Iraq's means of projecting power into Kuwait and against the Coalition centered on its
ground forces deployed in the KTO, especially its best units, the Republican Guard.
Although Iraqi forces were dug into strong positions built to defend against ground attack,
they were vulnerable to air attack. Coalition planners hoped to reduce the combat
effectiveness of these forces in the KTO by about 50 percent before the ground offensive.
Military Storage And Production Sites
The long-term combat effectiveness of Iraq's large military forces depended on military
production facilities and continued support from its logistical base. Destruction of repair
facilities, spare parts supplies, and storage depots would degrade Iraq's combat capability
and long-term threat to the region. Planners knew there were too many targets to be
eliminated entirely. For example, there were seven primary and 19 secondary ammunition
storage facilities alone identified on target lists; each was composed of scores of individual
storage bunkers. Consequently, they planned first to destroy the most threatening production
facilities and stored materiel, then methodically to proceed with attacks on other storage and
production facilities as time and assets allowed.
Constraints on the Concept Plan
Avoid Collateral Damage And Casualties
A key principle underlying Coalition strategy was the need to minimize casualties and
damage, both to the Coalition and to Iraqi civilians. It was recognized at the beginning that
this campaign would cause some unavoidable hardships for the Iraqi people. It was
impossible, for example, to shut down the electrical power supply for Iraqi C2 facilities or
CW factories, yet leave untouched the electricity supply to the general populace. Coalition
targeting policy and aircrews made every effort to minimize civilian casualties and
collateral damage. Because of these restrictive policies, only PGMs were used to destroy
key targets in downtown Baghdad in order to avoid damaging adjacent civilian buildings.
pg 100 start
Off Limits Targets
Planners were aware that each bomb carried a potential moral and political impact, and that
Iraq has a rich cultural and religious heritage dating back several thousand years. Within its
borders are sacred religious areas and literally thousands of archaeological sites that trace
the evolution of modern civilization. Targeting policies, therefore, scrupulously avoided
damage to mosques, religious shrines, and archaeological sites, as well as to civilian
facilities and the civilian population. To help strike planners, CENTCOM target intelligence
analysts, in close coordination with the national intelligence agencies and the State
Department, produced a joint no-fire target list. This list was a compilation of historical,
archaeological, economic, religious and politically sensitive installations in Iraq and Kuwait
that could not be targeted. Additionally, target intelligence analysts were tasked to look in a
six-mile area around each master attack list target for schools, hospitals, and mosques to
identify targets where extreme care was required in planning. Further, using imagery, tourist
maps, and human resource intelligence (HUMINT) reports, these same types of areas were
identified for the entire city of Baghdad. When targeting officers calculated the probability
of collateral damage as too high, the target was not attacked.
Only when a target satisfied the criteria was it placed on the target list, and eventually
attacked based on its relative priority compared with other targets and on the availability of
attack assets. The weapon system, munition, time of attack, direction of attack, desired
impact point, and level of effort all were carefully planned. For example, attacks on known
dual (i.e., military and civilian) use facilities normally were scheduled at night, because
fewer people would be inside or on the streets outside.
pg 100 chart: Estimated Theater Campaign Phase Lengths. Phase I: The Strategic Air
Campaign was estimated to last from day 0 to day 6 (six days). Phase II: The KTO Air
Supremacy Phase was estimated to take one day (day 5 approximately). Phase III:
Battlefield Preparation, Republican Guards was estimated to take place from day 5 to day
10 (5 days). Phase III: Battlefield Preparation, Kuwait was estimated to take from day 8 to
day 14 (6 days). Phase IV: The Offensive Ground Campaign was estimated to take place
from day 15 to day 32 (17 days).
Phased Execution
CINCCENT planners estimated that, with good weather and a specified level of effort,
Phases I-III would last approximately 18 days. The main attacks of Phase I, the Strategic Air
Campaign, would last about six days; a lower level of effort, against strategic targets, would
continue throughout the remainder of the war to maintain pressure inside Iraq, to reattack
targets not previously destroyed, and to attack newly discovered targets. The concentrated
Phase II effort to establish air superiority over the KTO would last approximately one day;
as was true for Phase I, a lower level of effort would continue to keep enemy air defense
suppressed. Phase III, designed to reduce Iraqi combat effectiveness in the KTO by half,
was to begin near the end of the Phase II SEAD effort and was expected to complete its
objectives in about 10 to 12 days. Phase III attacks would continue until the President
directed the start of the Offensive Ground Campaign. During Phase IV of Operation Desert
Storm, air operations were designed to support the ground maneuver scheme by flying
interdiction, battlefield air operations, and close air support (CAS) sorties. Interdiction
would continue against enemy artillery, rockets, and reserve forces throughout the KTO.
There was some planned overlap of the phases.
pg 101 start
The original sequential air campaign execution was designed to reduce the threat to
Coalition aircraft conducting Phase III, the systematic reduction of the Iraqi military forces
in the KTO. With the increased amount of Coalition air power available in January,
CINCCENT merged the execution of Phases I - III so Operation Desert Storm would begin
with air attacks throughout the theater against the most crucial targets in each phase.
The predicted phase lengths were planning guidelines. CINCCENT built the Phase IV
Offensive Ground Campaign plan on the assumption that air power alone would reduce
Iraqi combat effectiveness in the KTO by about half. If all went as planned, Saddam
Hussein and his forces in the Kuwait theater would be immobilized unable to coordinate
an effective defense, or to plan and execute large-scale counter offensives. Continued
attacks and restrikes would maintain desired levels of disruption. If the Offensive Ground
Campaign became necessary, it would be fought on Coalition terms. There would not be
months of fighting and thousands of casualties as some had predicted, or as Saddam
Hussein hoped. The ground offensive would last only days and Coalition casualties would
be lighter. Together, the air and ground campaigns would ensure destruction of the Iraqi
army's offensive capability, and the Coalition's success. Referring to the Iraqi Army in the
KTO, the CJCS said in January, "First we're going to cut it off; then we're going to kill it."
The Joint Forces Air Component Commander
The historical problem of fragmented air operations command was solved when the
CINCCENT operations order (OPORD) assigned the CENTAF Commander as the JFACC,
responsible for planning the air campaign, and coordinating, allocating, and tasking
apportioned Coalition air sorties to meet the theater objectives.
Although this concept had been used at least as early as World War II, Operation Desert
Storm was the first regional conflict in which the JFACC was established formally. The
concept proved its value; JFACC planned, coordinated, and, based on CINCCENT's
apportionment decision, allocated, and tasked the efforts of more than 2,700 Coalition
aircraft, representing 14 separate national or Service components. He integrated operations
into a unified and focused 43-day air campaign using the master attack plan (MAP) and the
air tasking order (ATO) process, which provided the necessary details to execute the attack.
pg 101 chart/graph: Air Campaign - Sorties by Phase. The chart/graph shows how many
sorties were allocated each day for each of three phases:
Phase I (Strategic Air Campaign),
Phase II (KTO Air Supremacy), and
Phase III (Battlefield Preparation).
Sortie numbers per day vary between approximately 900 (day 12) and approximately 1800
(day 40). Note: Use the chart to obtain approximate sortie totals for any given day.
pg 101 end and end of chapter 6a
pg 102 start
The Master Attack Plan
The JFACC's intent for the air campaign was set forth in the MAP and the more detailed
document derived from it, the ATO. The MAP was the key JFACC internal planning
document which consolidated all inputs into a single, concise plan. CINCCENT had
identified the crucial enemy elements or centers of gravity which had to be attacked
effectively to achieve the President's stated objectives. From these centers of gravity,
planners identified the Iraqi targets sets and, with the help of intelligence from a variety of
agencies and institutions, set out to identify and locate the crucial nodes as well as those
making up the bulk of the targets in each set. Using the concept of a strategic attack striking directly at each target set's crucial nodes the initial attack plan was developed. It
focused on achieving desired effects appropriate to each target set rather than each target.
As a subset of the CENTCOM joint target list, a JFACC master strategic target list was
developed using a target reference number system based on the initial 12 target categories.
However, the MAP did not merely service the target lists; it required timely analysis of
BDA, and reflected changing target priorities, and other political and combat developments.
MAP preparation reflected a dynamic JFACC process in which strategic decision making
was based on objectives, CINCCENT guidance, target priorities, the desired effect on each
target, a synthesis of the latest multi-source intelligence and analysis, operational factors
such as weather, the threat, and the availability and suitability of strike assets. In putting
together the MAP, the best weapon system to achieve the desired effect was selected regardless of Service or country of origin and requested by the JFACC through
CINCCENT if not already available in theater. Force packages were built to exploit enemy
weakness and Coalition advantages (e.g., night operations, stealth, PGMs, cruise missiles,
drones, attack helicopters, SOF, and airborne refueling).
The result was a relatively compact document (the first day's MAP was only 21 pages) that
integrated all attacking elements into force packages and provided strategic coherency and
timing to the day's operations. It consisted of the sequence of attacks for a 24-hour period
and included the time on target, target number, target description, number and type of
weapon systems and supporting systems for each attack package. The MAP drove the
The Air Tasking Order
The ATO was the daily schedule that provided the details and guidance aircrews needed to
execute the MAP. Through a laptop computer, it meshed the MAP with the air refueling
plan. Weapon system experts from the JFACC staff and field units worked together with
intelligence, logistics, and weather experts to add such details as mission numbers, target
identification, and, sometimes, ordnance loads to the MAP. The weapon system experts
included representatives from all of the Services, the RAF, the RSAF and, during the war,
other Coalition air forces based on their degree of participation. Service and Coalition
representatives served both as planners and as liaisons to their component or national staffs.
Target assignments, route plans, altitudes, refueling tracks, fuel offloads, call signs,
identification friend or foe codes, and other details were allocated for every Coalition sortie.
The ATO was a two-part document. The first focused on targeting and mission data and
EW/SEAD support. The second contained the special instructions on topics such as
communications frequencies, tanker and reconnaissance support, Airborne Warning and
Control System (AWACS) coverage, combat search and rescue (CSAR) resources, routes
into and out of enemy airspace, and many other <pg 103 start> details. If they did not
adhere strictly to the ATO, Coalition air forces risked air-to-air and surface-to-air fratricide,
inadequate fighter and SEAD support, or inadequate tanker support to reach the target and
return safely. The ATO allowed C2 elements to orchestrate combat and support operations.
C2 elements such as the land-based Tactical Air Control Center (TACC), EC-130 Airborne
Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC), AWACS and E-2Cs functioned more
effectively and efficiently because the ATO provided a single attack script. While including
Navy aircraft flights into Kuwait or Iraq, the ATO excluded Navy sorties over water. It
tasked some aircraft originating outside the CENTCOM AOR, such as B-52s based in
Spain, England, and the continental United States (CONUS).
pg 103 paragraph 2
Incorporating the closehold, offensive air campaign ATO into the normal planning process
was challenging. During the planning phase for Operation Desert Storm, all the information
was loaded into a laptop computer in the SPG, carried to the CENTAF ATO division in the
middle of the night, and connected to heavy duty printers used for the daily training ATOs.
When the hundred-page-plus ATOs were printed, they were carried back to the SPG where
they were reviewed for accuracy, packaged, transmitted electronically by secure channels,
flown around the theater, and delivered to units that were to participate in the air campaign.
As the enemy situation changed, the MAP and the ATO were refined continuously.
The ATO was very effective and successful, particularly for the initial, preplanned stages of
the Strategic Air Campaign. However, the ATO did not respond as rapidly when air
operations progressed and emphasis shifted to more mobile targets. This was caused by a
lengthy planning cycle, the size and perceived complexity of the ATO, and dissemination
delays caused by some forces' not having compatible equipment. In addition, the ATO
planning cycle was out of phase with available BDA. Target selection and planning often
were nearly complete before results of the previous missions were available. Plans were
developed to use kill boxes, strip-alert aircraft, and uncommitted sorties in the ATO to
ensure ATO execution flexibility and operational responsiveness.
As the offensive approached, the JFACC merged his special-access planning program with
the rest of his headquarters. The JFACC's director of air campaign plans (DCP) determined
the SPG's compartmented nature was too cumbersome and that the planning process should
be part of the daily ATO processing and execution cycle.
An early January SPG reorganization satisfied that need by consolidating several planning
functions to establish the Guidance, Apportionment, and Targeting Division (GAT). The
Black Hole became the Iraqi Strategic Planning Cell primarily responsible for the
Strategic Air Campaign. It functioned as before in creating the MAP, but no longer was
responsible for the mechanics of ATO processing and distribution. The JFACC combat
operations plans division became the KTO Planning Cell primarily responsible for direct
attack on Iraqi forces in the KTO. Planning cells for electronic combat, counter-Scud and
NBC attack planning, ARCENT ground operations liaison, and an analysis cell, rounded out
the GAT staff.
The DCP also was given responsibility for the ATO division, as well as the Airborne
Command Element division, whose officers flew on board AWACS and helped control the
air war. The DCP's responsibilities, therefore, encompassed planning, processing, and part
of execution, with some people from every function participating in every other function.
This organizational structure made it easier to carry the strategic focus of the air campaign
<pg 104 start> from the MAP through the ATO to the AWACS mission director's console.
pg 104 paragraph 2
When the air offensive began, the DCP divisions began to operate on a 24-hour basis. The
process began with CINCCENT guidance for adjustments to the air campaign plan passed
through the JFACC 0700 staff meeting. Based on this guidance, the chief planners of the
Iraqi/KTO planning cell created the MAP, which was approved by the DCP by 2000 that
same day. Once approved, it was given to the intelligence division for aimpoint selection
and verification for some specified targets. In other cases, planners and Navy, USMC, and
RAF units selected aimpoints. Additional planning cell members transferred the MAP onto
target planning worksheets (TPWs) and added details such as mission numbers required for
processing the MAP into an ATO.
At 0430 the next day the TPWs were delivered to the ATO division, which worked out the
details required to make the plan an executable ATO (e.g., airspace deconfliction, tanker
routing, identification squawks, and special operating instructions). This information was
then entered into the computer-aided force management system (CAFMS). Between 1700
and 1900, the final ATO was completed and sent to those units equipped to receive it
electronically. The execution day the ATO covered began the next morning.
Three wars were going on each day the execution war of today; the ATO building for
tomorrow's war; and the MAP for the day-after-tomorrow's war. Weather, slow and limited
BDA, the implications of Scud attacks and associated shifting of resources eventually
compressed the three-day process into two. As a result, planners assumed more of the
current operations tasks, improvised to work around BDA shortcomings, and developed a
system to track the multitude of adjustments and changes to avoid unnecessary restrikes.
The ATO was much larger than the MAP, often more than 300 pages of text, and there were
difficulties disseminating it. To transmit the ATO, the USAF deployed an existing
electronic system, CAFMS, an interactive computer system for passing information that
allows online discussion between the TACC combat operations section and combat units.
CAFMS transmitted the ATO and real-time changes to most land-based units. However,
CENTAF had problems using CAFMS to transmit the ATO to some B-52 units and aircraft
carriers, in large part because of the complexity of the satellite relays to units outside the
peninsula. Some problems were solved by extending CENTCOM's tactical super-high
frequency satellite communications (SATCOM) network to include B-52 bases. After the
MAP was written, planners rarely changed Navy sorties because of planning and
communications concerns. Initially, this limited the flexible use of Navy air assets and
resulted in USAF and USMC land-based air assigned to most short-notice changes.
The ATO reflects the USAF philosophy and practice for attack planning. The USAF
focused on the potential for large-scale theater war and developed a system that allowed an
orderly management of large numbers of aircraft. Because USAF doctrine separates
intelligence, targeting, and flying functions, the ATO was designed to provide mission
commanders with detailed direction about many aspects of the mission (including the target,
weapon type, and strike composition, but not tactics).
Navy JFACC planning staff members provided targeting data before ATO dissemination
through the Fleet satellite command net, and secure voice satellite telephone (INMARSAT).
The Navy ultimately found the best way to distribute the final ATO and any strike support
graphics and photos to the carriers was to use an S-3 aircraft or a courier. There were
acknowledged difficulties with the mechanics of <pg 105 start> disseminating the ATO
because of the lack of interoperability between the carriers' data systems and CAFMS.
Nevertheless, it would have been impossible to achieve the air campaign's success and
conduct combat operations as they were fought without the MAP and ATO.
pg 105 paragraph 2
Planners built flexibility and responsiveness into operations by delegating most detailed
mission planning to the wing and unit level. Some aircraft were held in reserve or placed on
ground alert to allow quick response to combat developments, Scud launches or missile
transporter sightings, convoys or troop movements, and newly discovered targets. Many
aircraft were assigned to generic or regional target locations, such as kill boxes in the KTO,
where they might receive detailed attack instructions from air controllers. Most aircraft had
alternate targets that allowed flexible response to changes in weather or other developments
in the tactical situation.
At the beginning of Operation Desert Shield force deployment, there essentially was no
existing US military command, control, communications, and computer (C4) infrastructure
in the region. By mid-January, the Coalition had established the largest tactical C4 network
ever assembled. This network provided for the C2 of forces, dissemination of intelligence,
establishment of an in-theater logistics capability and for myriad other combat service
support activities such as personnel, finance, and EW. Despite this effort, the start of
Operation Desert Storm made it clear the requirement for communications outstripped the
capacity. This was especially true for the large amounts of imagery and intelligence data
bases that needed to be transmitted throughout the theater. These products required large
bandwidth capacity circuits for transmission. The available circuits simply were not able to
handle the magnitude of data.
The Fleet pursued several initiatives to relieve some overloaded military circuits. One of the
more effective innovations was use of INMARSAT to help with tactical communications.
INMARSAT proved to be a vital link for coordinating the efforts of NAVCENT in the USS
Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and staff elements in Riyadh, for communicating directly with
CINCCENT, and for coordinating ATO inputs with the Persian Gulf battle force
commander in USS Midway. (A discussion of C3 is found in Appendix K.)
CENTCOM deception helped achieve the tactical surprise that set the stage for defeat of
Iraq. A visible pattern of round-the-clock air activity was established as part of the overall
deception plan. Placement of air refueling tracks and training areas emphasized support for
a frontal assault against entrenched Iraqi defenses that helped CINCCENT play on Iraqi
beliefs about Coalition intentions.
The Iraqis were conditioned to the presence of large numbers of AWACS and fighter
combat air patrols (CAPs) on the borders with Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. These
aircraft flew defensive missions in the same orbits and numbers that would be used for the
air offensive. A series of surges began to create a pattern of increased activity one night a
The final preparations for Operations Desert Storm were masked by placing many aircraft
on ground alert. The published reason was as a precaution against a pre-emptive Iraqi attack
before the 15 January UN deadline. The true reason was to permit mission planning, crew
rest, and aircraft reconfigurations without revealing the Coalition's actual intentions. Ground
alert weapons loads matched the loads listed in the ATO for the attack. However, F-15s
flew daily operational CAP missions within EW coverage and could not stand down
without leaving Saudi airspace unprotected and raising <pg 107 start> Iraqi suspicions. To
maintain the desired Iraqi perception of routine Coalition operations, but also allow F-15
units to make final preparations, F-16s not involved in the first attack were tasked to fill the
defensive gaps. These and other Coalition deception efforts helped apply the principle of
surprise in warfare.
Note: Text immediately above is from page 107.
pg 106 map: US AOB "shooters". (Land-based Fixed-Wing Only As of 24 Feb 91). Base
locations are depicted on map with the numbers of "shooters" stationed at each.
Information depicted is as follows:
RAF Fairford (England), 8 B-52Gs;
Moron (Spain), 22 B-52Gs;
Incirlik (Turkey), 37 F-16s, 28 F-15Cs, 18 F-111Es, and 12 F-4Gs;
Tabuk (Saudi Arabia), 24 F-15Cs;
King 'Abd Al-'Aziz NB, 62 AV-8Bs;
King Fahd, 132 A-10s, and 8 AC-130 A/Hs;
Al-Kharj, 24 F-15Cs, 48 F-15Es, 24 F-16As, 18 F/A-16As;
At-Taif, 18 EF-111s, and 66 F-111Fs;
Dhahran, 48 F-15Cs;
Shaikh Isa (Bahrain), 84 F/A-18A/C/Ds, 20 A-6Es, 48 F-4Gs, and 12 EA-6Bs;
Doha (Qatar), 24 F-16Cs;
Al Minhad (UAE/U.A.E.), 72 F-16Cs; and
Al-Dhafra (UAE), 72 F-16Cs.
Other search words: fighter basing, AOB, air order of battle.
pg 107 paragraph 2
Disposition of Air Forces
At the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, there were 2,430 fixed-wing aircraft in theater,
just more than one quarter of which belonged to non-US Coalition partners. Thirty-eight
days later, G-Day, that number had grown by more than 350. Approximately 60 percent of
all aircraft were shooters, producing a relatively high tooth-to-tail ratio in the theater.
USAF aircraft were bedded down throughout Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states,
initially depending on where they could be received; relocations were based primarily on
each aircraft's role in Operation Desert Storm. Some tanker assets, as well as unique
reconnaissance platforms such as the TR-1s, and U-2s, and specialized combat aircraft such
as the F-117As, EF-111s, and F-111Fs, were based at installations near Saudi Arabia's Red
Sea coast. This increased security by keeping them well away from areas that could be
reached by a sudden Iraqi pre-emptive strike. It also let them practice and refine most tactics
outside of Iraqi radar range.
Air superiority fighters, such as the F-15C, and air-to-ground aircraft, such as the F-15E,
were based relatively close to the Iraqi border, where they had the greatest reach and were
near long-duration CAP stations over Iraq. Finally, battlefield attack assets such as the
A-10s also were based close to the KTO, to allow rapid reaction to battlefield events and
improve their ability to generate a high number of sorties quickly. (The disposition of Air
Force Special Operations Command, Central Command aircraft are in Appendix J.)
The operating areas of the aircraft carrier battle forces at the beginning of Operation Desert
Storm are shown on Map VI-4. The USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), USS Saratoga (CV 60),
and USS America (CV 66) battle groups operated in the Red Sea while the USS Midway
(CV 41), USS Ranger (CV 61), and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) battle groups
operated in the Persian Gulf. USS America left the Red Sea on 7 February and arrived in the
Gulf on 15 February to provide more air support for ground forces in the ground offensive.
Typically, with three carriers present in the Red Sea early in the war, one carrier operated in
a northern station and one in a southern station while the third replenished fuel and
ammunition to the west.
In addition to the six carrier air wings, other Navy air assets in theater supported the
Coalition effort. EP-3 and EA-3B aircraft conducted EW missions to support the strike
offensive, while the P-3Cs conducted extensive reconnaissance, supporting maritime strike
and Coalition maritime intercept operations.
In keeping with a Naval expeditionary posture, USMC aircraft were based both on
amphibious ships in the Gulf and at bases ashore. The main operating bases ashore for 3rd
Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), the I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) aviation combat
element, were at Shaikh Isa, Bahrain, and at Al-Jubayl Naval Air Facility and King 'Abd
Al-'Aziz Naval Base, Saudi Arabia. Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 11, based in Bahrain,
was equipped with F/A-18A, C and D aircraft as well as A-6E, EA-6B and KC-130 aircraft.
MAG 16 and MAG 26, the helicopter groups, initially were at Al-Jubayl with CH-46,
CH-53, AH-1, and UH-1 <pg 108 start> aircraft. Later, before the beginning of Operation
Desert Storm, some helicopters were forward based at Al-Mishab to support the forward
movement of I MEF. MAG 13 (Forward) was at King 'Abd Al-'Aziz Naval Base, with
AV-8Bs and OV-10s. The AV-8Bs and OV-10s were the most forward land-based
fixed-wing aircraft of any Service. Forward bases for both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft
also were established at various locations <pg 109 start> throughout the theater. Three
locations were Tanajib, an ARAMCO facility 35 miles south of the Kuwait border,
Al-Mishab, 28 miles south of the border, and Lonesome Dove, a logistics support base in
the Saudi desert, also near the border. Marine Air Control Group (MACG) 38 provided the
Marine Tactical Air Command Center, an alternate Tactical Air Command Center, a
ground-based Direct Air Support Center (DASC), a DASC Airborne (DASC-A) <pg 110
start> in a KC-130, a Tactical Air Operations Control Center, an associated early
warning/control site, two I-HAWK missile battalions, and two Stinger antiaircraft
Note: Text immediately above is from both page 108 and 109 and 110.
pg 108 map: US AOB "Support". (Land-Based Fixed-Wing Only As of 24 Feb 91). Base
locations are depicted with numbers of stationed nonfighter/support aircraft. Information is
as follows:
Incirlik (Turkey), 3 EC-130s, 6 RF-4Cs, 13 KC-135As, 6 EF-111s, 3 E3-Bs;
KKIA (Saudi Arabia), 46 KC-135A/Q/Rs;
Cairo West (Egypt), 15 KC-135Es;
Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), 2 E-8s, 11 E-3s, 7 RC-135s, 7 EC-130s, 10 KC-135Qs, 8 C-21s,
and 1 C-20;
Al Kharj, 16 C-130s;
Jiddah, 4 C-130s, 62 KC-135A/Es, 13 KC-10s, 3 P-3Cs, 2 EA-3Bs;
Shaikh Isa, 18 RF-4Cs and 4 KC-130s;
King 'Abd Al-'Aziz NB, 18 OV-10s;
NAF Jubayl, 4 KC-130s;
King Fahd, 12 OA-10s, 27 C-130s, 2 EC-130s;
Al Dhafra (UAE), 7 KC-135Rs;
Bateen (UAE), 16 C-130s, and 6 EC-130s;
Masirah (Oman), 1 EP-3, 16 C-130s, 10 KC-135Rs, and 3 P-3Cs;
Bahrain Intl, 1 C-130, 12 KC-130s, 2 EP-3s and 1 P-3B Reefpoint;
Sharjah (UAE), 16 C-130s;
Dubai (UAE), 12 KC-135Es;
Al-Ayn (UAE), 40 C-130s;
Abu Dhabi (UAE), 12 KC-135Es;
Seeb (Oman), 15 KC-135Rs, and 10 KC-10s;
Thumrait (Oman), 16 C-130s; and
Diego Garcia (Indian Ocean), 5 KC-135Rs, 7 KC-10s, and 4 P-3Cs.
Other search words: AOB, air order of battle.
pg 109 map: US Rotary Wing Aircraft Beddown - 16 January 1991. Rotary Wing aircraft
at Saudi bases and offshore (aboard amphibious ships) are depicted on a Middle East map.
The information presented is as follows:
Al Jawf, 4 HH-60s;
AA Roosevelt (1st Infantry division), 18 AH-64s, 18 UH-60s, 3 EH-60s, 31 OH-58s, 8 AH1s, and 11 UH-1Hs;
AA Midway (1st Armored division/3rd ACR), 36 AH-64s, 31 AH-1s, 40 UH-60s, 6 EH60s and 57 OH-58s;
AA Hinesville/AA Columbus (12th Avn Brigade/24th Infantry Division), 56 AH-64s, 39
UH-60s, 3 EH-60s, 31 OH-58s, 8 AH-1s, 11 UH-1H, and 8 CH-47s;
AA Horse (1st Cavalry Division/3rd Armored Division), 54 AH-64s, 32 UH-60s, 6 EH60s, 44 OH-58s, 32 UH-1Hs, and 21 AH-1s;
Al-Jubayl NAF (3rd MAW), 28 AH-1s, 23 CH-46s, 8 CH-53s, and 18 UH-1s;
Ras Al-Ghar (3rd MAW), 26 CH-53s;
Al-Mishab (3rd MAW), 12 AH-1s, 36 CH-46s, 20 CH-53s, and 12 UH-1s;
5th MEB (Afloat)*, 6 AV-8Bs, 20 AH-1s, 24 CH-46s, 4 CH-53, and 12 UH-1s;
13th MEU (SOC) (Afloat), 4 AH-1s, 12 CH-46s, 4 CH-53s, and 2 UH-1s;
AA Bastogne* (101st AA Division/2nd ACR/11th Avn Brigade), 34 AH-1Ss, 73 AH-64s,
126 UH-60s, 54 CH-47s, 3 EH-60s, 97 OH-58s, 41 UH-1Hs, 12 UH-60Vs, 8 MH-53s, 8
MH-60s, 11 OV-1Ds, 7 RU-21Hs and 5 RV-1Ds;
4th MEB (Afloat)*, 20 AV-8Bs, 15 AH-1s, 24 CH-46s, 14 CH-53s, and 6 UH-1s;
Dhahran* (XVIII ABC), 10 AH-1s, 1 AH-64, 5 UH-60s, 44 UH-1Hs, 24 UH-60Vs, 12
UH-1Vs, 58 CH-47s and 3 C-12s;
Al-Ahsa (82nd Abn Division), 10 AH-1s, 19 AH-64s, 43 UH-60s, 3 EH-3s, and 34 OH58s. Note: the * symbol indicates a base which also contains some fixed wing
combat/combat support A\C. Other search words: AOB, air order of battle.
pg 110 map: Operation Desert Storm Carrier Operating Areas - 21 January 1991. Map
shows three carrier operating areas in the Red Sea (Gas Alley, North CVOA, and South
CVOA). Three carrier operating areas for the Persian Gulf are also depicted. They are
designated as: Midway, Ranger, and Roosevelt. Carriers and their air orders of battle are
also shown. The Red Sea Battle Force is as follows:
USS America (20 F-14s, 18 F/A-18s, 14 A-6Es, 5 EA-6Bs, 4 E-2s, 8 S-3Bs, 4 KA-6Ds,
and 6 SH-3Hs) (moved to the Persian Gulf on 7 Feb),
USS Kennedy (20 F-14s, 24 A-7Es, 13 A-6Es, 5 EA-6Bs, 5 E-2s, 8 S-3Bs, 3 KA-6Ds, and
6 SH-3Hs), and the
USS Saratoga (20 F-14s, 18 F/A-18s, 14 A-6Es, 4 KA-6Ds, 4 EA-6Bs, 4 E-2s, 8 S-3Bs,
and 6 SH-3Hs).
The Persian Gulf Battle Force was made up of the:
USS Midway (30 F/A-18s, 14 A-6Es, 4 EA-6Bs, 4 E-2s, 4 KA-6Ds, and 6 SH-3Hs), the
USS Ranger (20 F-14s, 22 A-6Es, 4 EA-6Bs, 4 E-2s, 8 S-3Bs, 4 KA-6Ds, and 6 SH-3Hs),
and the USS Roosevelt (20 F-14s, 19 F/A-18s, 18 A-6Es, 5 EA-6Bs, 4 E-2s, 8 S-3Bs, 4
KA-6Ds, and 6 SH-3Hs).
The map has a note which reads: "On 7 February, USS America moved to the Persian Gulf.
This is not depicted above. Other search words: NOB, naval order of battle, air order of
pg 110 paragraph 2
Marine aircraft also were positioned on amphibious ships in the Persian Gulf as part of the
Amphibious Task Force (ATF) under NAVCENT. MAG 40, the 4th Marine Expeditionary
Brigagde (MEB) aviation combat element, had arrived in the Gulf in September. Its aviation
assets included fixed-wing and <pg 111 start> rotary-wing aircraft (20 AV-8Bs, 24
CH-46s, 14 CH-53s, 6 UH-1Ns, and 15 AH-1s). The 13th MEU (SOC), under the
operational control of 4th MEB, had an additional 12 CH-46s, four CH-53s, four AH-1s,
and two UH-1Ns. In January, the 5th MEB arrived in the Gulf, bringing an additional six
AV-8Bs, 24 CH-46s, four CH-53s, 12 UH-1Ns, and 20 AH-1s to the ATF. The 5th MEB
joined the 4th MEB, forming a major amphibious force that included 31 ships and more
than 17,000 Marines and sailors in the landing force.
pg 111 paragraph 2
Joint Task Force Proven Force
During the first few weeks after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Headquarters United States
Air Forces Europe (USAFE) planners developed a concept to base EW support at Incirlik
Air Base, Turkey. They envisioned complicating Iraqi defensive efforts by diverting
attention electronically. The proposal eventually was endorsed by European Command
(EUCOM) and the CJCS. The proposal was briefed to the Turks and discussions regarding
authorization began.
Meanwhile, USAFE began to form the force package that eventually would coalesce at
Incirlik as Joint Task Force (JTF) Proven Force, a composite wing (similar in concept to a
Navy carrier air wing) of reconnaissance, fighter, bomber, tanker, EW, and C3 aircraft. The
Commander-in-Chief Europe (CINCEUR) and CINCCENT agreed that while EUCOM
would retain operational control, CENTCOM would exercise tactical control and provide
targeting requirements and tactical direction.
On 21 December, the CINCEUR Crisis Action Team telefaxed an advance copy of the
preliminary JTF Proven Force OPORD to Headquarters USAFE. Two days later, on 23
December, CINCEUR sent Headquarters USAFE the formal OPORD message. The
CINCEUR OPORD tasked USAFE to appoint a JTF commander in the rank of major
general, establish a staff to support the JTF commander, and coordinate air refueling, strike
planning, and mission execution activities.
The first contingent of 39 JTF Proven Force headquarters personnel deployed from
Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and arrived at Incirlik Air Base on 16 January. The next day,
the Turkish Parliament empowered the Turkish government to use "those forces previously
authorized (e.g. foreign military [forces] brought to Turkey since the Gulf Crisis) at the time
and in the manner the government deems appropriate to carry out UN Security Council
resolutions." The Turkish General Staff's rapid coordination and approval of airspace
control, safe passage procedures, and air refueling tracks facilitated JTF Proven Force's
entry into the air war.
JTF Proven Force was a powerful group of aircraft that included F-15s for air cover; F-16s
for day strike; F-111Es for night strike; EF-111s, EC-130s and F-4Gs for EW and SEAD;
KC-135s for aerial refueling; RF-4s for reconnaissance; and E-3Bs for airborne surveillance
and C3.
To reduce the amount of detailed communication required between Riyadh and Incirlik, JTF
Proven Force missions were planned as part of the MAP, but their tasking was not as
detailed, and in some cases was similar to mission type orders, which provide broad
guidance on an expected outcome, such as, "Destroy CW production facilities at Mosul."
JTF Proven Force planners were assigned targets on the master target list and then
determined force size, mix, and desired weaponry details normally included in ATO
taskings for most other units. Their relative geographical isolation in northern Iraq allowed
them to operate semi-autonomously, and the amount of coordination they required with
mission packages from other Coalition air forces was limited. JTF Proven Force conducted
most of its operations north of At-Taji. This was primarily because its location allowed
aircraft to <pg 112 start> reach targets in northern Iraq more readily than could the forces
based in Saudi Arabia.
pg 112 paragraph 2
Once Operation Desert Storm began, B-52s deployed to Moron Air Base, Spain, came
under EUCOM control and sometimes flew missions coordinated with JTF Proven Force.
Later, more B-52s deployed to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom. The decision to fly
bombing missions from this location came after approval was granted to fly over French
territory carrying conventional weapons. Once bombers based at Fairford began flying in
support of JTF Proven Force, bombers at Moron switched to targets near the southern
Iraq/Kuwait border under CENTCOM control.
Other EUCOM forces deployed to Turkey as well. On 12 January, the Secretary of Defense
authorized the deployment of two EUCOM Patriot batteries from Dexheim, Germany, to
Turkey to provide air defense for Incirlik Air Base. By 22 January, six of the eight launchers
and 43 missiles were in place and operational.
Non-US Forces
A large contingent of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Allied Command, Europe,
Mobile Forces (Air) deployed to Turkey to deter an Iraqi attack . Eighteen Luftwaffe Alpha
Jets deployed with approximately 800 personnel. Three German reconnaissance aircraft also
arrived with about 125 support personnel.
The non-US Coalition partners made a valuable contribution to the success of the air
campaign through diplomatic, logistic, and operational support. Some partners who, for
various reasons, did not send air forces, provided overflight or basing rights which made
support of the effort in theater possible.
Others provided air forces which reinforced the Coalition's capabilities in numerous ways.
The RAF provided tactical fighter squadrons as well as helicopters, reconnaissance aircraft,
tankers and transports. The Royal Canadian Air Forces (CAF) deployed air superiority and
ground attack fighters available for defensive counter air missions, and support of ground
forces. The French Air Force (FAF) provided tactical strike squadrons, air superiority
fighters, tankers, transports, reconnaissance aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), and
helicopters. The Italian Air Force deployed attack fighters, transports, tankers, and
reconnaissance aircraft, available to conduct and support air intercept and interdiction
The Gulf Cooperation Council states provided logistic and operational support, as well as
air superiority and ground attack fighter aircraft available to fly offensive counter air,
defensive counter air, and interdiction sorties. Air forces also were available to conduct
refueling, airborne command and control (C2), reconnaissance, utility, and airlift missions.
In this section of Chapter VI, the air campaign is portrayed chronologically, primarily by
week, to give an historical perspective of the effort from the first hours of Operation
Desert Storm through the application of air power in the KTO during the Offensive Ground
Campaign. In some instances, a particular day (D-Day, D+1, D+2, D+20, and D+38) is
highlighted to show the weight of effort applied. In other cases, particular subjects, such as
armored vehicle destruction or attacks on hardened aircraft shelters, have received special
attention because of their significance. In the last section of this chapter, the effects of the
air campaign are recounted by target set, and some operational considerations (such as air
supremacy, TLAMs, and the counter-Scud effort) are addressed. But before beginning the
description of air operations, a brief discussion of the techniques used during the war <pg
113 start> to evaluate the effectiveness of the air campaign is necessary to place the
campaign narrative in the proper context.
pg 113 paragraph 2
Evaluating the Results of the Air Campaign
Estimates of Iraqi losses were one of a number of tools CENTCOM used to manage combat
operations. CENTCOM used loss estimates, among other things, to determine when combat
capabilities of Iraqi ground forces had been reduced by half (which was one of the decision
criteria for beginning the Offensive Ground Campaign). A methodology for assessing battle
damage therefore was developed, and adjusted as circumstances warranted.
Estimating levels of destruction inflicted on the enemy always has been difficult. This was
especially true during Operation Desert Storm, with its fast-moving, high-speed air, sea, and
ground campaigns, which involved massive attacks throughout the theater of operations,
using a wide variety of equipment and munitions. These difficulties were compounded by
the fact that some new precision weapons allowed Coalition forces to place ordnance on
targets in ways that made determination of actual damage difficult, and by the fact not all
platforms had sensors and equipment to record the effects of their weapons. For example,
PGMs gave pilots the unique ability to target precisely and strike sections of buildings or
hardened shelters, significantly complicating bomb damage assessment. BDA was,
therefore, by no means a precise science. It is quite possible that assessments of Iraqi losses
during the course of the war, at various times, overestimated or underestimated actual
results. Thus the estimates of Iraqi losses presented in this chapter and elsewhere in the
report must be read in the proper context. The loss estimates shown in this report are
accurate portrayals of the information provided to decision makers at the time. They were
intended at the time to represent the best estimates of Iraq's losses then available. They were
used at the time by decision makers as one input into a decision making process that relied
fundamentally on the exercise of professional military judgment. That, after all, is the
primary purpose of military intelligence to assist commanders in the field in making
informed judgments.
It is possible the levels of damage never will be known with precision. That said, it is
important to note that, even with these limitations, probably no set of American
commanders has had more information available about the battlefield and enemy forces
than the commanders of Operation Desert Storm. Tactical BDA was good enough to help
CINCCENT make informed decisions. In retrospect, Operation Desert Storm's success
strongly suggests the decisions were sound. In the end, it was professional military
judgment assisted by BDA and other information that chose the right time to begin
the ground offensive.
Two different BDA methodologies, based on fundamentally distinct purposes and guidance
were used in the two principal periods of conflict during the Persian Gulf War. Before
G-Day, 24 February, BDA estimates were designed to help CINCCENT determine when
Iraqi forces in the KTO had been reduced to about half of their overall combat effectiveness
the point when he would be confident in starting the ground offensive. Consequently,
ARCENT attempted to track carefully the number of tanks, APC, and artillery pieces
destroyed, primarily by air attack, to produce an approximate measure of Iraqi unit
degradation. This was one estimate available to CINCCENT for evaluating Iraqi combat
effectiveness. He and his staff also used other information such as bridge destruction,
communications degradation, estimates of supplies available, troop physical condition and
morale, EPW debriefings, the results of the battle of Khafji, intelligence reports and
assessments, and destruction of other vehicles.
pg 114 start
After G-Day, the emphasis shifted to ground combat. Estimates of Iraqi losses were based
on reports from advancing ground units as well as reports from air units. There was a fastpaced accounting of destroyed or captured tanks, APC, and artillery pieces with little
attempt to determine if the equipment was destroyed by ground, air, or sea assets, or if the
equipment were in working order or in use when destroyed. (For additional discussion of
BDA during the Offensive Ground Campaign, see Chapter VIII.)
In connection with this report's preparation, there were extensive searches for any
information available after cessation of hostilities that would improve the wartime estimates
of Iraqi equipment losses. Postwar surveys were made of selected parts of the KTO, but
none covered parts of the theater large enough to permit calculation of comprehensive
estimates of overall losses. Many relevant areas were in Iraq itself, and thus inaccessible
after the Coalition withdrew. Many parts of Kuwait also were difficult to study because of
problems such as the lack of transportation infrastructure and danger from unexploded
ordnance. The two analyses based on survey data that were completed after the war cover
very small, and not necessarily representative areas. In the case of one study, many of the
vehicles had been abandoned without substantial damage and less than half of the tanks
destroyed appeared to have been destroyed from the air. However, the sample was small
and may not have been representative. Efforts to analyze the available data further are
pg 114 map: Iraqi Air Threat. Map shows 28 main radars, 8 SAM/surface to air missile
locations, 2 fighter base locations, and 4 air defense reporting headquarters. Major caption
reads: Well Developed "State of the Art" Air Defenses, Radars, Missiles, AAA. The text
on the map has the other following detailed text: (1) Aircraft, 750 shooters, and 200
support; (2) 24 Main Operating Bases and 30 Dispersal Bases; (3) Surface-To-Surface
Missiles (SCUD) and Chem-Bio Capability. Other search words: air order of battle, AOB,
air defense.
D-Day, The First Night
Early in the evening of 16 January, under the guise of routine AWACS station changes, the
Coalition launched its first night crews to the standard Operation Desert Shield surveillance
At Coalition airfields and on board Coalition warships all across the Gulf region, the first
hours after midnight 17 January were marked by activity with a new sense of urgency. At
the air bases and on flight decks, crews prepared to launch the biggest air strike since World
War II. On other warships, sailors were preparing TLAMs for their first combat launch. In
cramped compartments, dozens of B-52 crew members, some of whom had left US bases
hours earlier, prepared for combat. More than 160 aerial tankers orbited outside Iraqi early
warning radar range and refueled hundreds of Coalition aircraft. Shifts of RC-135, U-2R,
and TR-1 reconnaissance aircraft maintained normal 24-hour orbits to provide intelligence
coverage of Iraq and Kuwait. E-3 AWACS and E-2Cs orbited over Saudi Arabia, powerful
radars probed deep into Iraq and crews watched for Iraqi reactions. Meanwhile, the initial
attack <pg 115 start> packages marshaled south of the Iraqi and Jordanian early warning
and ground control intercept (GCI) coverage. As H-Hour approached, the entire attack
armada moved north, led by a fighter sweep of F-15s and F-14s. As the attack packages
flew past, each AWACS moved forward to its wartime orbit. The huge air armada,
comprising hundreds of aircraft from many different nations and Services, headed into the
dark and threatening hostile airspace.
pg 115 paragraph 2
Even before the fighters struck Iraqi targets, three USAF MH-53J Pave Low special
operations helicopters from the 1st Special Operations Wing (SOW) led nine Army AH-64
attack helicopters from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) on a mission into
southern Iraq. Shortly before H-Hour, the helicopters, organized as Task Force (TF)
Normandy, completed the long, earth-hugging flight and sighted the assigned targets, two
early warning radar sites inside Iraq. This mission was possible because of technological
advances in night- and low-light vision devices, precise navigational capability resulting
from space-based systems such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, and
highly trained crews.
pg 115 map: Iraqi Picture (Before H-Hour). Map shows three Iraqi air defense radars along
the Saudi border. (Previous map shows more). These are used to draw/show early warning
radar range rings/circles. General orbiting areas for 3 Allied AWACS, 3 CAPs and 3 Strike
Package Air Refueling orbits are depicted.
Commitment to hostilities occurred at approximately H-90 minutes when US warships
launched TLAM cruise missiles toward targets in Baghdad. At approximately H-22
minutes, the AH-64s struck the opening blow of the conflict by destroying the radar sites
with Hellfire missiles. Above and in front of TF Normandy, F-117 stealth fighters from the
37th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) already had passed the early warning sites and were well
inside Iraqi radar coverage when the attacks occurred. The timing of the helicopter attacks
was determined by the projected time when Iraqi air defense radar would detect the EF-111s
scheduled to support air attacks on the Baghdad area. Its job complete, TF Normandy
headed for home. Nine minutes before H-Hour, an F-117A dropped the first bomb of the
war, striking a hardened air defense intercept operations center (IOC) in southern Iraq, then
continued on to drop a second bomb on a regional air defense sector operations center
(SOC) in western Iraq. The helicopter and F-117A attacks created gaps in Iraqi radar
coverage and in the C2 network for the non-stealth aircraft which followed. Meanwhile,
other F-117As were about to destroy several high-priority targets.
At H-Hour, 0300, two F-117As dropped the first <pg 116 start> bombs on Baghdad.
Shortly thereafter, TLAMs began to strike targets in the Baghdad area. Each F-117A carried
two 2,000-lb hardened, penetrating laser-guided bombs (LGBs) and, within the offensive's
first minutes, bombed crucial installations in Baghdad and elsewhere. Each aircraft had an
individual route through the Iraqi air defense system and a tailored target attack plan. The
F-117A by virtue of its stealth characteristics allowed operations without the full range of
support assets required by non-stealthy aircraft. Typically, F-117A sorties used no direct
airborne support other than tankers.
pg 116 paragraph 2
An initial Coalition air task was to fragment and eventually destroy the Iraqi IADS. The
initial fragmentation was accomplished by the early attacks by Apache helicopters,
F-117As, cruise missiles, F-15Es, and GR-1s. Once the IADS was nullified, the enemy
became increasingly vulnerable to attack and destruction from the air.
pg 116 map: H-21 Minutes. Map of Iraq shows first Allied offensive air activity. 15 Iraqi
radars including the two being attacked and neutralized by US helicopter strikes are shown.
Incoming F117 tracks and other strike aircraft tracks are also shown. Only the helicopters
and some of the F117 aircraft have already penetrated Iraqi airspace at this time.
pg 116 map: H-09 Minutes. Same physical map as previous map. Symbols now depict air
activity 12 minutes later than that on previous map. 15 radar sites are shown (including the
remains of the two destroyed by helicopters). Some F117A tracks are shown nearing
Baghdad. Other incoming aircraft are now well inside of Iraq.
F-117As reached into the heart of downtown Baghdad to strike the Iraqi Air Force
headquarters accurately. Ignoring flak, tracers, and SAMs, they systematically hit vital
targets. One pilot high over Baghdad that night reported seeing Iraqi AAA wildly spraying
fire over Baghdad, hitting the tops of buildings. AAA fire and expended SAMs probably
caused some collateral damage inside the capital. Because of the density of the threat and
the requirement to minimize collateral damage, F-117As, attacking at night, were the only
manned aircraft to attack central Baghdad targets. The only weapon system used for
daylight attacks on central Baghdad were TLAMs, which also struck at night. F-16s, B-52s,
F/A-18s, A-6s, and A-7s attacked targets in the outskirts of the city. RF-4s, TR-1s, and U-2s
flew over Baghdad later in the war, when the threat was reduced.
The first wave of attackers actually encompassed three separate groups that included 30
F-117s and 54 TLAMs. Within the first five minutes, nearly 20 air defense, C3, electrical,
and leadership nodes had been struck in Baghdad; within an hour, another 25 similar targets
had been struck, as well as electric distribution and CW sites. By the end of the first <pg
118 start> 24 hours, nearly four dozen key targets in or near the enemy capital had been hit.
These installations included more than a dozen leadership targets, a similar number of air
defense and electric distribution facilities, 10 C3 nodes, and installations in several other
target sets. This was not a gradual rolling back of the Iraqi air defense system. The nearly
simultaneous suppression of so many vital centers helped cripple Iraq's air defense system,
and began seriously to disrupt the LOCs between Saddam Hussein and his forces in the
KTO and southeastern Iraq. Nonetheless, the Iraqis always retained some ability to recover
at least partially, given enough time and resources. Consequently, target categories required
constant monitoring to measure residual capability and recovery attempts. Restrikes and
attacks on new targets were used to maintain the pressure. As a result, according to DIA and
CENTCOM intelligence reports, it became increasingly difficult for the Iraqi political and
military leadership to organize coherent, timely, and integrated responses to Coalition
actions. In part, this was due to physical destruction of hardware and systems, such as C3
links or CPs. It also was due to the psychological impact of the Coalition attacks. Leaders
could not gather timely information on what was happening. When they did get
information, they learned specific parts of the Iraqi government and military leadership had
been destroyed, sometimes to the extent that individual offices had been bombed and
Note: Text immediately above is from page 118.
pg 117 map: The First Wave (Planned) 0239(L) - 0525(L). (First Two Hours and Forty Six
Minutes). Target locations in Iraq and Kuwait are shown for aircraft involved. Aircraft
shown include B52, A6, F4G, EF111, F111, F15E, F16, EA6B, F18, and F117. Orbits are
shown for E2s (2 orbits), AWACS (3 orbits) and Rivet Joint (1 orbit). Map note indicates
that fighter escorts and sweeps are omitted for clarity. Specific targets shown include: H2
airfield, GR1 (ground radar), GR1-AL, and GR1A.
pg 118 paragraph 2
First-day TLAM attacks, launched from cruisers, destroyers, and battleships in the Persian
Gulf and the Red Sea, were coordinated with F-117A and other manned aircraft during the
initial attacks as part of the carefully crafted <pg 119 start> Strategic Air Campaign. The
Aegis cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) fired the first TLAM from the Red Sea. USS
Bunker Hill (CG 52) followed moments later from the Persian Gulf. In the first 24 hours,
116 TLAMs from seven warships hit 16 heavily defended targets in Baghdad and its
vicinity, damaging electrical power facilities and C2 capabilities.
pg 119 paragraph 2
Conventional ALCMs also were used in the opening hours of the air campaign. B-52s that
had taken from Barksdale AFB, LA, more than 11 hours before H-Hour launched 35
ALCMs to attack military communications sites and power generation and transmission
Nearly 700 combat aircraft, including fighters, bombers, and EW aircraft (jammers and
high-speed antiradiation missile (HARM) shooters) entered Iraqi airspace that night. As
they began their attacks, they benefited from encountering a foe who already was reeling
and partly blinded from the opening strikes.
Strike packages were as small as a single F-117A or could contain more than 50 aircraft.
The strike package against the Ahmad Al-Jabir Airfield complex, for example, consisted of
16 Low-Altitude Navigation Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN)- equipped F-16s with
MK-84 bombs, escorted by four F-4Gs configured with HARMs for SEAD, an EA-6B EW
jammer, and four F/A-18s configured for the strike-fighter dual role. Supporting these strike
packages were many tanker aircraft, including KC-135s, KC-10s, KA-6s, and KC-130s,
which were airborne and waiting outside Iraqi airspace.
From the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, and from bases along the Persian Gulf, Navy and
Marine aircraft headed towards their targets near Baghdad and in southwestern and
southeastern Iraq. Nineteen USAF F-15Es headed for Scud missile sites in western Iraq,
passing through the gap the helicopters and F-117s had blown in the Iraqi defenses. From
bases across Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, other aircraft prepared to strike strategic
centers of gravity throughout Iraq.
pg 119 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Each of the pilots of four F-15Cs from the 58th Tactical Fighter Squadron was flying his
first combat mission on 17 January, sweeping for Iraqi fighters. Around Baghdad, "The
whole ground was red with Triple-A fire as far as you could see," recalled one pilot. The
four F-15s were inbound toward Mudaysis airfield when two Iraqi Mirage F-1 fighters took
off and headed for them at low level. Using the look down, shoot down radar capability, one
F-15 fired an AIM-7 radar-guided missile and saw the F-1 explode. The Iraqi wingman,
evidently startled by this disaster, created an even greater one for himself when he turned
right and dove straight into the desert floor.
58th TFS Unit History
An overall depiction of the Coalition air armada at H-Hour would show a multipronged
effort. Navy aircraft from the Red Sea carriers USS John F. Kennedy and USS Saratoga,
together with USAF and RAF aircraft, were preparing to strike targets near Baghdad and at
heavily defended airfields in western Iraq. Their targets included Scud missile sites,
airfields, and air defenses. Navy aircraft also flew many SEAD and EW missions. In
southeastern Iraq, between Baghdad and Kuwait, targets such as airfields, port facilities, and
air defenses were attacked by Navy aircraft and other Coalition forces, including RAF,
RSAF, and Kuwaiti Air Force aircraft, based in eastern Saudi Arabia. Coming up the
middle were Coalition air forces striking fixed targets in southern and central Iraq.
Simultaneously, scores of USAF, Navy, USMC, Army, and other Coalition attack and
support aircraft closed on strategic targets throughout Iraq and Kuwait, focusing on the
IADS and Iraq's C2 infrastructure, including communications and the electrical power
distribution system, which supported Iraqi military operations. The Iraqi air defense <pg
120 start> system was overwhelmed by the number of attacking aircraft. Nothing
approaching the depth, breadth, magnitude, and simultaneity of this coordinated air attack
ever had been achieved previously.
pg 120 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
On the morning of 17 January, an EA-6B from Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare
Squadron Two provided electronic warfare support for Marine, Navy, and Royal Air Force
strike packages attacking strategic targets at the Al-'Amarah and Az-Zubayr command and
control sites, as well as the Az-Zubayr railroad yards and the Al-Basrah bridges across the
Tigris River. These targets were heavily defended by interlocking belts of surface-to-air
missiles (SAM) and antiaircraft artillery (AAA). Iraqi fighters also were a potential threat.
This was a dangerous mission among the first daylight strikes of the war. Long before
they approached the targets, the EA-6B crew started to work. The first enemy radar that
came up was quickly jammed. Shortly after, however, additional radars were noted
searching for the strike groups. Jamming of Iraqi long range early warning radars allowed
the strikers to approach undetected. However, Iraqi ground control intercept radars as well
as target tracking radars simultaneously began probing the Coalition strike package. The
EA-6B crew quickly introduced intense electronic jamming into all modes of the Iraqi air
defense system, which prevented the vectoring of enemy fighters. They also forced SAM
and AAA systems into autonomous operation, uncoordinated by the command and control
system which greatly reduced their ability to locate and track Coalition aircraft. To
accomplish this, the EA-6B crew did not attempt evasive action but placed themselves into
a predictable, wings-level orbit which highlighted their position amidst the beaconing and
jamming strobes of the enemy radars. The severe degradation to radio transmissions caused
by jamming interference limited the EA-6Bs ability to receive threat calls, making them
vulnerable to enemy aircraft. Nonetheless, the crew remained on station, enabling all
Coalition aircraft to strike the targets, accomplish the missions, and return home without
loss or damage.
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Award Citation
pg 120 paragraph 2
The first missions conducted to suppress enemy air defenses were difficult yet vital. At one
time during that first hour, the lead F-4G flight countered more than 15 radar sites and
several different type SAMs. More than 200 HARMs were fired against Iraqi radars, 100 by
USMC F/A-18s alone. USAF EF-111s and F-4Gs, Navy and USMC EA-6Bs, A-6s, A-7s,
and F /A-18s, determined threat locations then jammed enemy radar installations or
attacked them with HARMs, while EC-130 Compass Call aircraft jammed enemy
communications. These SEAD efforts helped keep Coalition losses low; in fact, most
missions were possible only because of the SEAD aircraft.
One effective tactic to fool enemy air defenses involved Navy and Marine Corps (USMC)
tactical air launched decoys (TALDs). The decoys caused Iraqi defenders to turn on their
radars, revealing their locations and making them vulnerable to Coalition SEAD aircraft.
The tactic confused the Iraqis and helped divert their defensive effort.
The joint SEAD effort also used 10 long-range Army tactical missile system (ATACMS)
missiles to attack an Iraqi air defense site with good success. Overall, Coalition SEAD was
highly successful and instrumental in limiting aircraft losses.
First Night Reactions
As these initial strikes took place, the pilots and ground crews back at base or aboard ship
could only wait. No one knew how many losses the Coalition would suffer. Even more
concerned were the commanders who sent the crews into combat. The commander of the
F-111F wing at At-Taif airbase, for example, said, "losses were predicted to be at least 10
percent. I was figuring on ours being higher than that, because of the targets we had. I was
personally convinced we were going to lose some airplanes that first night." No matter what
the final cost, everyone anticipated the heaviest losses would be during <pg 121 start> the
first attacks, when the defenses were strongest and the air campaign had not had time to win
air superiority.
pg 121 paragraph 2
Fortunately, all but one plane (an F/A-18 from the USS Saratoga) returned safely. But no
one had any illusions that this would be quick or easy, that victory would be achieved
without hard fighting and losses. Indeed, even as the air campaign's first wave of aircraft
headed for home, the second wave was preparing to strike its targets.
D-Day, Daytime Attacks
The start of the second wave attacks roughly coincided with sunrise. This made available
even more aircraft, as those best suited for daylight operations began flying missions.
Throughout the day, USAF A-10s conducted more than 150 sorties against Iraqi ground
forces in the KTO and radar sites in Iraq, while F-16s struck targets in the KTO, including
airfields and many SAM sites. The initial USMC strikes during the dawn hours of the first
day included attacks on enemy aircraft on runways or in revetments at the heavily defended
Iraqi air bases of Tallil, Sh'aybah, Al-Qurnah, and Ar-Rumaylah. Thirty-one aircraft were
assigned to hit Tallil Airfield alone. Thirty-six aircraft were tasked to strike <pg 122 start>
other targets in and around Al-Basrah, and more than a dozen aircraft struck the heavily
defended airfield at Sh'aybah. Other attacks hit the airfield, bridges, and railroad yards at
Al-'Amarah on the outskirts of Al-Basrah. AV-8Bs attacked armor and artillery targets in
southern Kuwait.
pg 122 paragraph 2
Planners were unable to determine if F-15E strikes against fixed Scud launch sites had been
successful. The Coalition did not know how many mobile Scud launchers Iraq had in
retrospect, some early estimates of the number were too low. A basic planning assumption
always had been that Iraq would use its Scuds to attack Israel, intending to draw it into the
war and fragment the Coalition. Scuds also would be targeted against Saudi Arabia and
other regional states. This assumption proved correct, but the amount of effort and the
length of time required to deal with the Scud threat was underestimated.
By nightfall on the first day of Operation Desert Storm, the Iraqis had suffered serious
damage to the strategic C3 network, the formerly robust strategic air defense system, and
key leadership facilities. Part of the known NBC long-term threat already had been
degraded, and Coalition air forces had defeated Iraqi Air Force attempts to offer a
coordinated resistance.
D-Day, Second Night
The Coalition's ability to fight at night made it difficult for the Iraqis to use the cover of
darkness to maintain and repair equipment, and replenish supplies. This was a key
advantage helping to keep pressure on the Iraqis 24 hours a day. As night fell, a third wave
of Coalition aircraft continued the attacks on key Iraqi strategic targets with emphasis on air
defenses. The Iraqi Air Force coordination of defensive operations had been defeated up to
this point; indeed they flew only about 50 air patrols during the first day. Shortly after
nightfall on the <pg 123 start> second night of Operation Desert Storm, F-111Fs and
A-6Es attacked Iraqi airfields. These aircraft made major contributions because their
laser-designator systems let them identify and strike targets day or night without the need
for a separate designator airplane. In addition, the F-111s' heavy bombload and relatively
long range let them concentrate many precision bombs on target in a short period of time,
deep in enemy territory, while exposing a limited number of aircraft to the threat. B-52s
struck key Republican Guard elements, with several sorties targeted against the Tawakalna
Mechanized Infantry Division.
pg 123 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
A MiG shootdown recounted by an F/A-18 pilot, VFA-81, from USS Saratoga: "We
crossed the Iraqi border in an offset battle box formation to maintain the best lookout
possible. As the strike developed, the volume and intensity of communications over the
strike frequency increased. Bandit [enemy aircraft] calls from the E-2 to our other strike
group crowded into my mind as I plotted where those bandits should be relative to our
position. A call from the E-2 clearly intended for the Hornet strikers finally registered:
'Bandits on your nose, 15 miles!' I immediately selected Sidewinder [air-to-air missile] and
obtained a radar lock on a head-on, supersonic Iraqi MiG-21. I fired a Sidewinder and lost
sight of it while concentrating on watching the MiG. Thinking the Sidewinder wasn't
tracking, I selected Sparrow and fired. A few seconds after the Sparrow left the rail, the
Sidewinder impacted the MiG-21 with a bright flash and puff of black smoke. Trailing
flame, the MiG was hit seconds later by the Sparrow and began a pronounced deceleration
and descent. As the flaming MiG passed below me, I rocked up on my left wing to watch
him go by. Another F/A-18 pilot killed the MiG's wingman with a Sparrow shot only
seconds after my missiles impacted the lead MiG . . . . After the hectic activity associated
with bagging a MiG while entering a high threat target area, the dive bombing run on our
primary target was effortless. Visible below me were numerous muzzle flashes, dust and
smoke from gun emplacements, a light carpet of AAA bursts and several corkscrew streaks
of handheld SAMs being fired. I glanced back at the target just in time to see my four 2,000
pound bombs explode on the hangar. Our division quickly reformed off target without
incident and beat a hasty retreat south of the border. Our relief in having successfully
completed the strike without loss to ourselves was overwhelming."
Unit Mission Report
pg 123 paragraph 2
On D-Day, JTF Proven Force concentrated on targets in northern Iraq in the Mosul, Kirkuk,
Tikrit, Quayyarah, and Erbil areas. The EC-130, KC-135, and EF-111A aircraft, along with
their F-15 protection, established orbits north of the border. The F-111Es turned south and
arrived over their targets at 0410 on 18 January.
D-Day, Controlling Operations
Unity of effort in coordinating and tasking Coalition air power was crucial to ensuring that
all Coalition aircraft operated in support of stated goals. The following air-to-air
engagement was successful, in part, because airborne warning and control aircraft were part
of a unified effort.
A strike package hit the oil facility at Habbaniyah and the airfield at At-Taqaddum with 32
F-16s; 16 F-15s provided air cover, while four EF-111s and eight F-4Gs provided jamming
and SEAD support. Over Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, the AWACS and
E-2C surveillance planes watched the missions and identified who was friendly. During this
particular F-16 mission, the AWACS controllers were able to alert the covering F-15s that
two Iraqi MiG-29s were in the area and, in the ensuing action, the F-15s shot them both
down. One victory went to a USMC exchange officer flying with the USAF's 58th Tactical
Fighter Squadron.
D-Day, Summary
One key immediate objective was to seize air superiority so the full weight of Coalition air
power could be brought to bear. The Iraqi Air Force's disorganized response was a positive
and heartening sign that air superiority operations were succeeding. Air superiority was
clearly important to the rest of Operation Desert Storm. Although the Iraqis would <pg 124
start> retain the ability throughout the war to react piecemeal to some Coalition strike
packages, they would lose the ability to coordinate defensive actions, and each defensive
sector would become increasingly isolated from the overall system.
pg 124 paragraph 2
Air superiority, or the dominance of a group of aircraft in a given time and space without
prohibitive interference by the opposing force, was effectively gained in the first hours of
the war. Coalition aircraft demonstrated they could control airspace of their choosing the
Iraqi Air Force could not coordinate an effective defense. Air supremacy (the degree of air
superiority wherein the enemy is incapable of effective interference) would be announced
on 27 January.
D+1 (18 January)
Day two operations continued the campaign against key strategic and tactical targets.
Nuclear targets were again struck, as they were on D-Day. Between 0400 and 0530, the
Coalition attacked air defense, BW and CW facilities, leadership targets, and airfields using
more than 80 Coalition night-attack aircraft, including F-117s, F-15Es, F-111s, A-6s, and
RAF and Italian Air Force GR-1s. Shortly after sunrise, F-16s and F/A-18s attacked Iraqi
army units, including three Republican Guard division elements. Nearly 100 F-16 sorties
struck the Tawakalna Division. Approximately 150 A-10 sorties were scheduled against
Iraqi forces near, and west of the tri-border area, where the ground campaign's flanking
maneuver would pass through weeks later. F/A-18s and A-6s, supported by EA-6Bs,
attacked Tallil Airfield. Large groups of USMC aircraft flew against the Republican Guard's
Al-Madinah Division, just west of Al-Basrah. EA-6Bs provided composite active and
passive electronic support for air strikes in and around Basrah.
pg 124 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
-------------------------------------------------------------------TAWAKALNA 90 F-16s, 8 F/A-18s, 3 B-52s
36 F-16s, 3 B-52s
HAMMURABI 16 F/A-18s, 3 B-52s
42 F-16s, 6 F/A-18s, 8 F-15Es,
12 B-52s
AL-MADINAH 24 F-16s, 3 B-52s
2 F-16s, 6 F/A-18s 7 B-52s
JTF Proven Force aircrews flew their first combat missions shortly after midnight 18
January, when F-111Es raced into Iraq at low level to destroy four EW radar sites in
northern Iraq and open an electronic gate. The sky was overcast at 3,000 feet with visibility
at three miles with fog. Despite the poor weather, the F-111E crews found the targets and
delivered their ordnance, encountering little Iraqi resistance. These, and subsequent
missions forced Iraqi commanders to contend with attacks from all directions and to
respond to a second air front as well as a potential second ground front. This pressured Iraq
from the north, surrounded and forced them to retain forces in the northern region.
Early in Operation Desert Storm planning, CINCCENT had identified the RGFC as a key
target; Phase III attacks on the RGFC and frontline armored forces in Kuwait began the first
day. The RGFC began to feel real pressure starting the next day, when Coalition aircraft
struck three divisions, the Tawakalna Mechanized Infantry Division, and the Hammurabi
and Al-Madinah armored divisions, repeatedly throughout that day and the next.
During these two days, the three divisions were targeted for strikes by 214 F-16s, 36
F/A-18s, eight F-15Es, and 31 B-52s. Not included in these totals are missions not targeted
directly against these divisions but which nonetheless affected their combat capability, such
as air strikes against communications nodes outside the KTO.
The Navy attacked Iraqi naval installations near Umm Qasr, hit hangars and parking <pg
125 start> ramp areas at Sh'aybah and Ahmad Al-Jabir airfields during the late morning,
and struck 17 oil, electric, and leadership targets with TLAMs.
pg 125 paragraph 2
D+1, Night
Darkness on D+1 did not mean the Iraqis would gain any respite. Coalition forward looking
infrared (FLIR)- and radar-equipped aircraft attacked bridges behind the Republican
Guards, to cut them off from their supply bases. Seven B-52 sorties took off from bases in
the CONUS and bombed RGFC divisional elements in the KTO. An hour before midnight,
a dozen F-117s bombed key C3, leadership, and strategic air defense installations, including
the ministries of Defense, Information, and Internal Security in downtown Baghdad.
By the end of the second day, Navy warships had fired 216 TLAMs, 64 percent of those
fired during Operation Desert Storm, in support of the air campaign, while continuing to
engage surface combatants, antiship missile bases and to track and destroy floating mines in
the Persian Gulf. On 17 and 18 January, the Persian Gulf battle force flew more than half of
its initial strikes against Iraqi naval facilities, coastal defense sites, and fortified oil
platforms Iraq used in surveillance and small boat operations. Specific targets included the
port facility, naval base, and Styx missile storage facility at Umm Qasr; the coastal defense
sites at Al-Faw, Mina 'Abd Allah, Al-Qaruh Island and Umm Al-Maradim; the Mina
Al-Bakr oil terminal and platform; and the Khawr Al-'Amayah oil platform. Naval aircraft
flying from the Red Sea and Persian Gulf battle groups completed 1,100 sorties in support
of the air campaign. USMC attack aircraft began shaping the battlefield during the first two
days. F/A-18s, A-6s, and AV-8Bs attacked and destroyed armored vehicles, tanks, artillery,
and Free Rocket Over Ground batteries throughout southern and central Kuwait. USMC
F/A-18 and EA-6B aircraft struck Tallil airfield and bombed the Republican Guard's
Al-Madinah Division as well as a Republican Guard armored battalion. AV-8Bs nearly
tripled their sorties from the first day, flying 55 missions against Iraqi front-line artillery
battalions on the eastern side of Kuwait.
RAF GR-1s continued attacking Iraqi airfields, while A-6s attacked electricity-related and
C3 targets in the Al-Basrah, Az-Zubayr, and Al-Hadithah area. B-52s again bombed
Republican Guard formations and began striking industrial targets, with eight sorties
targeted against Iraqi oil installations in isolated areas where there was little probability of
collateral damage. Finally, at 0300, the dividing line between D+1 and D+2, 10 F-117
sorties struck 17 C3, air defense, and leadership targets around Baghdad and At-Taji.
D-Day through D+6: Summary of Week One (17-23 January)
At the end of Operation Desert Storm's first week, substantial results had been
accomplished against several target categories, according to CENTCOM and intelligence
reports. Many important targets had been destroyed by the first two days' operations,
affecting several key Iraqi capabilities. The Coalition enjoyed air superiority, primarily
because the Iraqi Air Force was not vigorously contesting the air campaign; still, the Iraqi
Air Force remained a potential threat. Iraq's strategic air defenses and C3 network had been
fragmented, partly as a result of damage to the Iraqi national electric power grid. Iraq's
known nuclear and BW programs, as well as its stocks of deployable CW were under daily
attack. National political and military leadership was becoming increasingly cut off and
isolated from preferred, secure means to direct operations. Iraqi ground and naval forces in
the KTO were attacked from the beginning, to eliminate their ability to conduct substantial
offensive operations and reduce their ability to oppose later military operations.
In combination with the naval embargo, the <pg 126 start> Strategic Air Campaign's early
effect on Iraqi war support infrastructure was substantial. Iraq's internal fuels refining and
production capability was shut down, limiting its ability to produce fuel for its tanks, planes,
and war-supporting infrastructure and resulting in government-imposed rationing of
pre-attack inventory. Saddam Hussein's internal telecommunications capability was so
badly damaged that, while he could broadcast televised propaganda to the world by portable
satellite uplinks, he was limited in the use of telecommunications to influence the Iraqi
pg 126 paragraph 2
During the first week, aircraft attacked Iraqi facilities throughout Iraq and Kuwait. USAF
F-117As, F-16s, B-52s, A-10s, and F-4Gs, Navy and USMC A-6Es and F/A-18s, USMC
AV-8Bs, and Navy A-7s attacked air defense radars, communications nodes, and military
headquarters. During the first 24 hours alone, for example, 3rd MAW flew four major
strategic strike packages. Another three waves hit such targets as the bridges in Al-Basrah
and the RGFC Al-Madinah Division on days two and three. Aircraft such as RAF and
RSAF GR-1 fighter-bombers attacked Iraqi airfields to destroy aircraft and bomb support
facilities, and to suppress air defenses. USAF F-15s, Navy F-14s, and Navy and USMC
F/A-18s provided CAP and sweeps for attack packages and played an important role in
establishing air supremacy quickly. USAF A-10s performed Scud-hunter and antitank
pg 126 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
On 19 January, as more than 70 F-16s, along with F-15 escorts and EF-111 and F-4G
support, headed toward Baghdad, the weather steadily worsened. Just after the package
broke out of the weather north of the Iraqi border, antiaircraft artillery (AAA) fire disrupted
the formation. About a fourth of the pilots could not find the rest of the formation and had
to return home. The first group to strike were the F-16s from the 388th Tactical Fighter
Wing, which hit the nuclear research facility near Baghdad. Unfortunately for the following
F-16s, the Suppression of Enemy Air Defense package of F-4Gs had fired all its high-speed
antiradiation missiles and left the area, as did the covering F-15s. That left the F-16s from
the 614th Tactical Fighter Squadron with no air cover and no electronic support assets. The
F-16s immediately came under heavy surface-to-air missile and AAA fire two were shot
401 Tactical Fighter Wing Report
The Iraqi Air Force had lost 39 aircraft, 14 of them in air-to-air combat. The Coalition's
technology provided the ability to detect and destroy enemy fighters from beyond visual
range. Coalition aircraft losses had been remarkably light, due in large measure to the
successful initial attacks that quickly seized the initiative. Eleven US aircraft had been lost
in combat, while other Coalition forces had lost six, most notably four RAF GR-1 Tornados
lost on low-level airfield attack missions. With the possible exception of one F/A-18 loss
still under investigation, all Coalition losses were inflicted by ground-based air defenses
(antiaircraft fire or SAMs).
Perhaps the most significant tactical issue to arise in planning the air campaign concerned
Coalition aircraft flying above the AAA and hand-held SAMs threat. Despite the strong
peacetime emphasis on training for low-level delivery tactics, which exploit terrain to
reduce aircraft detectability to radar and hence vulnerability to SAMs and to increase
weapon delivery accuracy under the weather, the density of the Iraqi AAA and the dangers
posed by unaimed barrage fire to low-flying aircraft drove some aircraft to higher altitude
delivery tactics. After the initial attacks on Iraqi air defense nodes succeeded in largely
neutralizing the SAMs able to engage at medium and high altitudes, a virtual sanctuary
existed for Coalition aircraft above 10,000 feet, allowing medium-altitude delivery tactics.
Two factors slowed progress of the air campaign in its first week: bad weather and a
greater-than-expected effort against Scuds. A weather front stalled over Iraq on the third day
of the conflict, and disrupted operations for the next three days. Many sorties were canceled;
<pg 127 start> others were diverted to different and sometimes less important targets;
some missions were less effective even when they got to their assigned targets, or flew into
greater danger.
pg 127 paragraph 2
Because the effort to suppress Scud attacks proved more difficult than originally
anticipated, greater emphasis against Iraqi Scuds began on the third day; this effort also took
sorties away from other planned targets. Although the Army's Patriot air defense missile
system experienced operational success against Scuds, the Coalition still faced an urgent
requirement to prevent launches, and the Iraqi ability to hide before and after launch proved
D+10 (27 January CINCCENT Declares Air Supremacy)
The air superiority gained in the first days of Operation Desert Storm, and the air supremacy
declared on D+10, against some of the more heavily defended airspace in the history of
warfare, granted Coalition aircraft a safety and freedom that permitted operations at high
and medium altitudes over Iraq with virtual impunity. Air attacks continued on strategic
targets in Iraq and to cut off and destroy the combat effectiveness of the Iraqi army in the
KTO. For example, in Iraq, Coalition air forces continued to target Scud production and
storage facilities, airfield facilities at H-2, Tallil, and Shaykhah Mazhar as well as the air
defense headquarters, the Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization and several
secret police and intelligence headquarters buildings in Baghdad. In the KTO air forces
targeted the Ar-Rumaylah ammunition storage area, the Al-Basrah radio relay and TV
transmission facility, divisional logistics sites, and directed hundreds of sorties against Iraqi
army artillery, armor, and support units.
The Iraqi Air Force was expected to react to Coalition attacks. However, Coalition fighter
pilots were confident they would prevail. Although the Coalition had air superiority at the
end of D-Day, commanders wanted to guarantee the Iraqi Air Force would stay out of the
fight; they wanted no surprises.
When Iraqi aircraft challenged the Coalition and suffered high losses, Iraq tried to shelter its
aircraft. Iraqi doctrine envisioned keeping the Iraqi Air Force as a kind of strategic reserve, a
role it had fulfilled during the war with Iran. Saddam Hussein thought his Air Force would
be <pg 128 start> safe inside the extensive Iraqi aircraft shelter system.
pg 128 paragraph 2
For the first week of the war the Iraqi Air Force averaged only about 30 fighter sorties a
day; it did not lose many airplanes that week because it did not fly much. Coalition planners
considered the Iraqis might suddenly launch an aerial offensive, a last-gasp expenditure of
the air force in an effort to engage Israel, attack Dhahran or Riyadh, cause significant
Coalition ground casualties (perhaps through a CW attack), or strike a Fleet element in
hopes of severely damaging a carrier. Any of these possibilities was highly undesirable in its
own right, but, in addition, might galvanize western public opinion against the war, or split
the Coalition. To preclude this possibility, the Coalition began attacking the hardened
aircraft shelters.
This was a difficult task. The Iraqis had 594 shelters, some of which were believed to be
hardened in a manner similar to missile silos, able to withstand the effects and blast
over-pressures that would accompany nearby air-burst detonation of tactical nuclear
weapons. Although Iraqi airfields had been attacked since the first hours of the war, the
early emphasis was on denying the the use of the runways, not on destroying the shelters
(except those suspected of hiding Scud missiles). On 23 January, however, the JFACC
changed the tactic and started attacking directly the aircraft hidden in shelters, using
2,000-lb case-hardened penetrating LGBs. F-117As attacked Balad and other airfields.
F-111s and RAF Tornados and Buccaneers attacked the shelters from medium-altitudes,
which gave the crews a better, longer look at their targets than low-altitude attacks. Other
Coalition aircraft provided SEAD support and fighter cover.
The impact was dramatic. Post-strike target photos revealed the progressive destruction of
the Iraqi Air Force. Each F-111 carried up to four bombs. In one attack, 20 F-111s made
two passes each on an airfield, delivering PGMs directly on command bunkers and aircraft
shelters, within seven minutes. This equates to a weapon impact about every five seconds.
Most of these case hardened bombs penetrated many feet of reinforced concrete and
detonated inside the shelters, causing catastrophic explosions that destroyed the shelters and
their contents from the inside out. Concrete and steel blast doors weighing as much as 60
tons were hurled up to 250 feet. In some cases, the bombs penetrated the roof and the floor
of the shelter before <pg 129 start> detonation, crushing aircraft between the floor and
pg 129 paragraph 2
Although the Iraqis had flown a few aircraft to Iran before Operation Desert Storm, most
had been cargo or transport aircraft. On 26 January, however, the Iraqis suddenly began a
mass exodus of their more capable combat aircraft to Iran. During the next three days,
CENTCOM estimated nearly 80 combat aircraft fled across the border.
The Coalition responded by establishing barrier air patrols between Baghdad and the Iranian
border with F-15s, and later with F-14s, which resulted in several MiG-23s being shot
down. No Iraqi aircraft entered Iranian airspace for several days. However, when the patrols
were reduced, the Iraqis resumed the flights. Between 6 and 10 February, more than 40
aircraft fled to Iran, where aircraft and pilots were interned by the Iranian government. The
Coalition then increased the patrols and prevented most aircraft from leaving Iraq.
Meanwhile, in further attempts to prevent the air force's annihilation, the Iraqis also
dispersed their aircraft around airfields, onto public roads, into civilian neighborhoods, and
even in the shadows of ancient historical structures. Perhaps they guessed Coalition
aircrews would not risk killing civilians or damaging historical monuments to destroy
isolated aircraft. Although some dispersed aircraft were attacked during the remainder of the
war, the Coalition considered them a low priority because they were difficult to service,
launch, and maintain; they were effectively out of the fight. By 27 January, CINCCENT
was able to announce the Iraqi Air Force was combat ineffective air supremacy had been
SEAD Operations
Establishment of air superiority in the KTO, planned as the second phase of the campaign,
took place in conjunction with Phase I. The targets included Iraqi air defense weapons
systems able to disrupt Coalition air strikes against Iraq and Kuwait. Particular emphasis
was placed on enemy SAM systems, including mobile launchers, AAA, early warning and
target tracking radars, and C2 links that tied these systems together. Phase II was a combined
operation involving the aircraft of several Coalition nations as well as Army, Navy, USMC
and USAF assets. EW aircraft, dedicated to SEAD missions, were the heart and soul of
Phase II operations.
In the early days of the air campaign, EA-6Bs, A-6Es, and F/A-18s escorted large strike
packages into southern Iraq. The F/A-18s, A-6Es, A-7s, and S-3s successfully used TALDs
to saturate, confuse, and deceive the air defense system. This tandem combination of soft
and hard kill capability proved successful no Coalition losses to radar-guided SAMs
occurred during SEAD escort.
EA-6Bs and EF-111s also were highly effective in jamming Iraqi low-frequency early
warning and higher frequency target-track and acquisition radars throughout the early air
campaign, providing an umbrella for strikes. This jamming tactic was reduced as the war
evolved because of the apparent success of HARMs and hard-kill weapons Coalition air
forces delivered.
The carefully planned, large-scale SEAD operation, begun during the opening moments of
the war, was successful. During the latter part of the war, many sites not destroyed by
HARMs or bombs were wary about turning on radars for fear of being attacked. Although
some target-acquisition and target-track radars were not destroyed, enemy radar activity
decreased as the war progressed; consequently, the number of HARMs fired also declined.
The captured commander of an Iraqi armored unit stated a fear of instant retaliation if his
radars or radios were turned on. With this disruption of SAM and AAA radars, Coalition
forces were able to operate at medium to high altitudes, <pg 130 start> staying out of the
low altitude, highly lethal AAA and infrared (IR) SAM environment. SEAD helped degrade
air defense capabilities and command links, stopping the effective flow of information
throughout the Iraqi chain of command.
pg 130 paragraph 2
D+7 through D+13: Summary of Week Two (24 - 30 January)
As the bad weather that disrupted air operations during the first week of Operation Desert
Storm cleared, the Coalition intensified its air attacks. The most notable aspects of week
two operations were the interdiction of Iraqi LOCs in the KTO, the start of hardened aircraft
shelter destruction, and the direct attacks on Iraqi forces in the KTO. Additional Coalition
members began or increased their participation the Qatari Emirates Air Force began
flying combat missions and the FAF extended its combat operations into Iraq. Air attacks
against strategic targets continued. The Iraqi strategic air defense system was so badly
fragmented that only three of 16 IOC were fully operational. The anti-Scud effort continued
unabated, although Iraq continued to launch Scuds at both Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Coalition air losses were extremely light, with only three aircraft (an F-16, an AV-8B, and
an RAF GR-1) lost to enemy action in seven days' operations. The Iraqi Air Force lost 11
aircraft in air-to-air combat.
On 25 January, Saddam Hussein began fouling the Gulf with millions of barrels of heavy,
black crude oil. The damage inflicted through pumping crude oil directly into the Gulf was
unprecedented. Iraq's intent may have been to block Coalition amphibious operations, or to
threaten Saudi desalinization plants. Whatever the motive, the impact would have been even
worse except for the Coalition's actions. Two F-111Fs used 2,000-lb GBU-15 bombs to
destroy the pumping system and manifolds, cutting off the flow of oil into the Persian Gulf
Air operations to cut Iraqi movements into the KTO began in earnest during week two. On
27 January, eight bridges were dropped or substantially damaged. These strikes not only
caused traffic backups, which themselves became lucrative targets, but also further
degraded Iraqi C3 because some bridges carried communications cables. Once again, the
ability of Coalition aircraft, especially F-111Fs, A-6s, F-15Es, F/A-18s, and RAF GR-1 (in
cooperation with RAF Buccaneers), to deliver PGMs with extraordinary accuracy was a key
factor in this effort.
Also on 27 January, Coalition air planners increased emphasis on the isolation and
destruction of the Republican Guard and Iraqi Army in the KTO. The Republican Guard,
Iraqi armor, artillery, C3, and logistics throughout the KTO were marked for heavy attacks.
D+12 through D+14 (29 - 31 January The Battle of Al-Khafji)
On 29 January, the Iraqis launched several small attacks into Saudi Arabia and captured the
undefended, evacuated border town of Al-Khafji. Coalition air power played a key role in
defeating these attacks, which ended with an important Coalition victory during the air
campaign's third week. Other than Scud attacks on Saudi and Israeli cities, this was the only
noteworthy Iraqi offensive action. Saddam Hussein's exact purpose is not known, although
he might have sought to probe Coalition forces or provoke a large-scale ground battle. EPW
reports show a major objective was to capture American troops. Although Iraqi forces
occupied the nearly deserted town, their ultimate defeat said much about their combat
capabilities 12 days into the air campaign (Coalition ground actions in Al-Khafji are
discussed in more detail in Appendices I and J).
During the night of 29 and 30 January, Iraqi armored and mechanized infantry forces began
several battalion-sized attacks against Coalition <pg 131 start> ground forces, including
elements of the Saudi Arabian National Guard and USMC forces. The eastern most Iraqi
force occupied the Saudi Arabian border town of Al-Khafji. Despite being outgunned by the
heavier Iraqi forces, Coalition ground forces offered stiff resistance. Saudi M60 tanks
destroyed Iraqi tanks and armored personnel carriers. Farther to the west at Al-Wafrah and
across the southwestern corner of Kuwait , the USMC inflicted substantial losses on the
Iraqis, using Light Armor Vehicles equipped with TOW anti-tank missiles.
pg 131 paragraph 2
The Iraqi forces were from the 5th Mechanized and the 3rd Armored divisions of the
regular army, equipped with several hundred tanks and other armored vehicles, but they had
no air support.
While Coalition ground forces were fighting the advancing Iraqis, Coalition air power had a
major effect on the battle. While USMC helicopter gunships provided close-in fire support,
a steady stream of Coalition fixed- wing aircraft struck the Iraqis. AV-8Bs, A-6s, and
F/A-18s, working with OV-10 forward air controllers (FACs), delivered general purpose
and cluster bombs against Iraqi troops near Coalition ground forces. A-6s used radar
beacons broadcasting from special forces on the ground to guide their bombing of Iraqi
artillery positions, while A-10s using Maverick missiles and LANTIRN-equipped F-16s
using CBU-87 combined effects munitions attacked armor and vehicles. Three AC-130
gunships from the 1st SOW delivered minigun and cannon fire against vehicles and
armored personnel carriers; one AC-130 was shot down. The combination of dogged
resistance by the ground forces and the constant pounding from Coalition air forces stopped
the Iraqi advance.
pg 131 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
On 30 January, two Iraqi divisions were detected marshaling for a follow-on attack into
Al-Khafji. This offered Coalition air power a lucrative target and, shortly after nightfall,
Coalition aircraft took full advantage of their night combat capabilities. Heavy Coalition air
attacks were directed onto the two Iraqi divisions. B-52s dropped armor-sensing mines,
AV-8Bs, A-6s, and F/A-18s delivered cluster and precision munitions, A-10s and F-16s
fired Maverick missiles, and F-15Es and F-16s dropped combined effects munitions. In
some cases, when Iraqi vehicles were found in columns, the first aircraft took out the lead
and trail vehicles, trapping the rest of the vehicles for follow-on attacks. In another case, the
Tactical Air Control Center used Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft to redirect
a three-ship B-52 formation to strike Iraqi armor north of Al-Khafji. The strike caught more
than 80 Iraqi vehicles in column and broke it apart, making it easier for other aircraft to
destroy the rest of the column.
CENTCOM Messages and Unit Reports
During daylight on 30 January, Coalition ground and air forces continued to maul the Iraqis,
demonstrating the degree to which Coalition military power was coordinated and integrated.
That night, Saudi Arabian and Qatari armored elements launched a counter strike against
the Iraqis holding Al-Khafji; by midday on 31 January, they had destroyed the remaining
Iraqi forces in the town, taking several hundred EPWs.
This ended the ground engagements of the battle of Al-Khafji, but a lesser known aspect
had taken place that night, 30-31 January, farther north, inside occupied Kuwait. During the
daylight hours of 30 January, while Coalition aircraft conducted tactical strikes on Iraqi
forces in contact with Coalition ground forces, manned and unmanned reconnaissance, and
intelligence assets gathered a clearer picture of what was going on behind the leading Iraqi
elements. New reconnaissance technologies such as the TR-1, Joint Surveillance Target
Attack Radar System (JSTARS), and Navy and USMC unmanned aerial vehicles played an
important role.
For eight hours, throughout the night, Coalition air power systematically attacked and
decimated the two divisions; by daybreak the divisions were retreating in disarray. If they
had been able to attack into Saudi Arabia in good order, they might have precipitated a
large-scale ground <pg 133 start> engagement and caused significant Coalition casualties.
Instead, they were repulsed. III Corps suffered numerous casualties and lost a substantial
number of tanks and an undetermined number of other vehicles, according to combat unit
and intelligence reports.
Note: Text immediately above is from page 133.
pg 132 map: D + 20, 6-7 Feb, 1700 - 0025 Hours. Map is very similar to previous map
except for the later period. Aircraft involved include: F111, F4G, F15E, EF111, F16, F111,
B52, A6, F18, F117, F15, A10, EC-130, AC-130, MC-130, and EA6B. Orbits areas are
shown for JSTARS, EC-130, and AC-130. Map notes that fighter escorts and sweeps are
not shown and also that AWACS, RIVET JOINT, U-2/TR-1, and Air Refueling Fighter
Caps are not shown. General target locations are shown on the map but exact targets are not
pg 133 paragraph 2
The Battle of Al-Khafji was important for the Coalition; the only ground offensive
operation Saddam Hussein mounted had been defeated. The Pan-Arab forces had defeated
the Iraqis in a pitched battle, launching a difficult night counterattack against enemy armor.
The destruction inflicted on two Iraqi divisions by Coalition aircraft seemed to presage what
awaited any Iraqi force that left dug-in defenses to conduct a mobile operation. The strategic
significance: Any Iraqi unit that moved probably would be struck from the air. Any unit that
remained in place eventually would be struck either from the air, or by the impending
ground assault.
D+20 (6-7 February Emphasis on Degrading the Iraqi Army and Navy)
During the air campaign's 21st day, attacks continued across the theater, although
CINCCENT was shifting the emphasis from strategic targets in Iraq to direct attacks on
Iraqi forces in the KTO. Map VI-10 depicts the D+20 planned sorties during 6 to 7
February, 1700 to 0025 hours. These attacks were roughly concentrated in four geographic
regions strategic targets in Baghdad; strategic targets in northern Iraq; Scud-related
targets in the southwest and southeast of Iraq; direct attack on Iraqi forces in the KTO.
Attacks in northern Iraq were planned primarily against airfields and hardened aircraft
shelters, <pg 134 start> CW and nuclear weapons storage and production facilities. As
examples, a dozen F-111s from At-Taif bombed the nuclear production and storage
facilities at Mosul (Al-Mawsil); JTF Proven Force F-111s hit communications transmitters
and a railroad station near Kirkuk.
pg 134 paragraph 2
Attacks in and near Baghdad concentrated on leadership, C2, and airfields. F-117A sorties
were planned against leadership command facilities and a Signals Intelligence facility in
Baghdad. Other F-117As were scheduled to bomb leadership facilities and hardened aircraft
shelters at Ar-Rashid and Balad Southeast airfields near Baghdad. B-52s were tasked to
bomb the military production plant at Habbaniyah. More than a dozen A-6s and F/A-18s
were scheduled to attack the SAM production and support facility at Al-Falliyah.
Concurrently, Red Sea Battle Force aircraft were bombing targets north of Baghdad in the
target complexes around Samarra.
pg 134 chart/graph: Resupply Movements from Baghdad to Al-Basrah. Graph shows
metric tons/day of supply delivered during 45 days of conflict. Supplies delivered shown as
decreasing steadily from 100 tons to 0 tons (by day 45). Points on the graph are shown
where the supplies delivered are: (1) Required to Sustain Offensive Operations
(approximately 75 metric tons/day), (2) Required to Sustain Defensive Operations (30 42K MT/D) and (3) Required to Subsist in Place (Non Combat) (12 - 17K MT/D) (at
approximately day 25).
During the same period, taking advantage of night detection and targeting systems, dozens
of F-15Es and LANTIRN-equipped F-16s were scheduled to respond to JSTARS and
AWACS, which would direct attacks on Scud launchers and transporters, and other targets
of opportunity such as convoys and Iraqi Army forces.
Meanwhile, waves of attacks were to take place in the KTO against Iraqi armored and
mechanized units, personnel, artillery, headquarters facilities, C2 facilities, supply vehicles
and bridges, and storage areas. MC-130s were to drop 15,000-lb BLU-82 bombs against
front line Iraqi positions in southern Kuwait. Silkworm missile sites and an infantry division
at Al-Faw were scheduled for attacks by A-6s and B-52s. Scores of sorties by B-52s,
AV-8Bs, F-16s, A-10s, F/A-18s, A-6s, A-7s, and an AC-130 were directed to attack Iraqi
ground forces in kill boxes inside Kuwait.
pg 134 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
The executive officer of Marine Attack Squadron 311, and his division went on standby
alert for the first morning of the war. At 0740 an OV-10 reported Iraqi artillery was firing
on the Saudi town of Al-Khafji. The Major led his four AV-8Bs, each loaded with four
1,000 pound bombs, Sidewinder missiles, and guns, north over the Persian Gulf. From their
position 20,000 feet over the sea they could see smoke from burning oil tanks billowing
10,000 feet into the air. The OV-10 controller briefed the AV-8Bs, which then rolled in on
six Iraqi artillery pieces. From out of the morning sun, the AV-8B pilots watched artillery
tubes tossed high into the air from the impact of their bombs, then they headed back to base.
The AV-8Bs' first combat mission was a success.
Marine Attack Group 13 (Forward)
Commanding Officer Report
Cutting Off the Iraqi Army
Air interdiction attacks were planned to reduce and slow resupply for the forces in the KTO,
which were almost totally dependent on outside sources for supplies, including food and
water. The Iraqis had extensive stockpiles in rear areas which were only moderately
degraded by air <pg 135 start> attacks but air attacks dramatically slowed resupply. The
key interdiction targets were identified as about 40 of the 54 bridges across the Tigris and
Euphrates rivers, along with railroad marshaling yards, fuel depots and supply concentration
areas. Truck convoys also were hit.
pg 135 paragraph 2
Cutting the one rail line running south from Al-Basrah through Az-Zubayr to the KTO and
the bridges over the Tigris and Euphrates rivers reduced the ability of the Iraqi army to
resupply the theater. Once stockpiled supplies had been destroyed from the air or consumed,
the Iraqi army would be unable to sustain itself.
Interdiction attacks reduced the flow of supplies from Baghdad to the KTO and made
supply movements within the KTO extremely difficult and slow. By 4 February (D+18),
intelligence estimated the amount of supplies reaching Iraqi forces in the KTO was below
the level needed to sustain combat operations. One captured senior Iraqi infantry officer said
that one week after the bombing began, there was no more resupply. Food shortages
apparently caused desertion rates to escalate. Air interdiction attacks left most of the Iraqi
army in the KTO weak and demoralized, although frontline forces in Kuwait bore the brunt
of these privations. These and other air attacks, according to Military Intelligence reports,
psychologically disarmed some Iraqi soldiers.
Degrading the Iraqi Army
Beginning on D-Day, Coalition air power, naval gunfire bombardment from the Gulf, and
ground based artillery and rocket systems methodically struck Iraqi armor, artillery, and
infantry forces. During the war, more than 35,000 attack sorties were flown against KTO
targets, including 5,600 against Republican Guard forces. Artillery, CPs, C2 facilities,
armor, and logistics installations were hit daily. As the ground offensive approached, more
sorties were allocated to battlefield preparation and breaching operations. B-52s and USMC
A-6s were used along enemy front lines in conjunction with MC-130s and other aircraft to
deliver more than 21 million psychological warfare leaflets to warn Iraqi forces of what to
expect if they did not leave Kuwait.
pg 135 map: Kill Box Locations in the KTO. A map of Kuwait is divided into eight kill
box areas which are numbered AF5, AF6, AG4, AG5, AG6, AH4, AH5, and AH6. (A
small portion of Kuwaiti territory is not enclosed by the boxes. Other key words:
deconflicting, deconfliction, ABCCC, airborne command and control squadron.
Kill Boxes
Locating and destroying the enemy in the tight confines of the KTO, while deconflicting
Coalition air strikes, was a major concern. With the large number of Coalition aircraft
operating <pg 136 start> over the KTO, especially in bad weather and the limited visibility
caused by the smoke from burning oil fields, it was imperative to separate air strike
elements, both to prevent the inefficiency of striking the same target and to prevent
fratricide or mid-air collisions. Before Operation Desert Storm began, air planners devised a
kill box system.
pg 136 paragraph 2
Kill boxes were assigned on the ATO and aircraft operating in them were allowed to locate
and attack targets of opportunity. The boxes were 30 miles on a side (more than three times
the size of New York City) and were subdivided into four quadrants to be assigned to a
flight for a specified period of time. This system not only deconflicted the many Coalition
aircraft operating in the region but also simplified the task of locating targets. When
possible, airborne FACs and strike units were assigned repeatedly to a specific kill box
increasing their familiarity with its features and terrain and making operations more
effective. Within the I MEF area of operations, the kill boxes were further subdivided into
maneuver boxes and fire support boxes, which simplified the task of coordinating and
controlling air strikes at known locations.
Destroying the Iraqi Navy
The maritime campaign plan called for neutralization and destruction of Iraqi naval
combatants and Iraqi mine layers. This effort was considered a prerequisite to moving
Coalition naval forces into the northern Persian Gulf to support the anticipated ground
offensive and a possible amphibious assault. (See Chapter VII, Maritime Campaign, for
detailed description of naval operations.) To carry out these attacks, Navy commanders
used, in <pg 137 start> addition to Coalition warships, carrier-based aircraft (A-6Es,
F/A-18s, F-14s, and S-3A/Bs), MPA (P-3Cs and RAF Nimrods), helicopters (Navy
SH-60Bs, RAF Lynxes, and Army OH-58Ds), and land-based Coalition aircraft (CAF
CF-18s). These assets used such weapons as Mark 80 series 500- and 1,000-lb bombs,
1,000-lb LGBs, Skipper air-to-surface missiles, Zuni 5-inch rockets, and MK-20 Rockeye
500-lb cluster bombs. Sea Skua helicopters launched air-to-surface missiles, and used .50
caliber and 20-mm aircraft machine guns. By 2 February, the Iraqi navy was assessed as
being incapable of offensive action.
pg 137 paragraph 2
D+14 through D+20: Summary of Week Three (31 January - 6 February)
Week three focused attacks on the Republican Guard and other Iraqi forces in the KTO,
with the overall emphasis shifting from strategic attacks towards KTO objectives. JTF
Proven Force kept up the pressure over northern and central Iraq. The Iraqi Navy was
eliminated as a fighting force.
Convoys jammed up behind destroyed bridges and made large numbers of Iraqi supply
vehicles vulnerable to destruction. Newly implemented FAC techniques, such as operating
special scout FACs within designated geographic kill boxes, increased the efficiency and
destructiveness of battlefield air operations. Psychological Operations (PSYOP) were
mounted to weaken Iraqi morale and increase desertion. These included operations such as
leaflet drops to warn Iraqi units of impending attacks (to spur desertion), and the use of
BLU-82 bombs to send a threatening signal to Iraqi ground soldiers.
Coalition losses during this week were again quite low, with only three planes (an A-10, an
AC-130, and A-6E) lost to enemy action.
Continuing to Disrupt Iraqi C 3
Some bridges between Baghdad and the KTO were used not only to move supplies but also
as conduits for Iraqi communications cables. Bombing these bridges would help cut the
supply line, and a link in the Iraqi military communications network into the KTO. The
fiber optic network Saddam Hussein used to communicate with his field commanders also
included many switching stations (one of which was in the basement of the Ar-Rashid
Hotel) and dozens of relay sites along the oil pipeline from Baghdad through Al-Basrah to
the <pg 138 start> south of Iraq. However, hitting some of these targets was not desirable,
despite their military significance, because of possible collateral damage.
pg 138 paragraph 2
By mid-February, according to CENTCOM and EPW reports, communications between
corps and division headquarters and their subordinate units along the Kuwaiti-Saudi border
had become sporadic. In many instances, Iraqi commanders had to use messengers to
communicate with other units and with different command levels. Some captured Iraqi
commanders indicated they had no communications at all with their headquarters for more
than a week before G-Day.
Armored Vehicle Destruction
It was necessary to reduce Iraqi armored and mechanized forces because they were a threat
to Coalition ground forces during the final phase of the war. Not only were they the
underpinning of Iraq's position in Kuwait, but they also strengthened Iraq's ability to
threaten its Gulf neighbors.
Locating and destroying this equipment was difficult. In many cases, tanks and artillery
pieces were spread out, dug in up to their turrets, sandbagged and surrounded by berms,
trading mobility for supposed survivability.
Before the war, reconnaissance systems provided extremely accurate depictions of the Iraqi
deployments, and planners realized there might be ways to exploit the Iraqis' visible and
predictable deployment patterns. A F-16 pilot from the 614th TFS said "Flying in the area
of the Republican Guard was a fighter pilot's dream come true. There were revetments full
of tanks, armored personnel carriers, ammunition, AAA and artillery as far as the eye could
see." In some areas, CENTCOM reported during the war that air power damaged or
destroyed a large percentage of the Iraqi armored vehicles.
Aircrews learned that desert conditions created some unique opportunities for weapons that
use thermal imaging or IR seekers. In early February, F-111 crews returning to base near
sunset noted the presence of buried armor could be detected by FLIR equipment, because
the metallic surfaces cooled slower than the surrounding sand. On 8 February, F-111Fs tried
a new tactic, that informally became known as "tank plinking," in which an F-111, carrying
four GBU-12, 500-lb LGBs, located and bombed individual Iraqi tanks.
The JFACC was satisfied with the results of these efforts. Soon, A-6Es and F-15Es joined
the fray and achieved similar results. There were several instances, according to JFACC
staff reports, when two F-15Es carrying 16 bombs were believed to have destroyed 16
tanks. These tactics demonstrate the creativity of American airmen and are a good example
of excellent technology being improved on by outstanding personnel. The F-111 was
designed to conduct long-range, strategic bombing runs, not to destroy tanks one by one.
Yet when the need arose, crews responded and developed a tactic (permitted by air
supremacy) that helped meet a vital objective. A-6Es and A-10s, on the other <pg 139
start> hand, do train for day and night attacks on armored vehicles.
pg 139 paragraph 2
The AGM-65 Maverick missiles (fired from A-10, F-16, AV-8, and F/A-18) had
electro-optical, IR, or laser seekers, and were effective against tanks. The Coalition fired
more than 5,100 AGM-65s; A-10s fired 4,801. In fact, more than 90 percent of the tank
kills credited to the A-10 were achieved with IR Mavericks and not with its 30mm GAU-8
gun. (This was in part a factor of the Iraqi AAA threat, which forced the aircraft to operate
at altitudes where the gun was less effective.) More importantly, the innovative and
aggressive use of PGMs sped the destruction of Iraq's armored forces in the KTO. (For
more details on AGM-65, see Appendix T.)
Tanks Abandoned
An Iraqi officer commented that during the war with Iran, the tank had been the soldier's
friend, keeping him safe from enemy fire during cold desert nights. During the Operation
Desert <pg 140 start> Storm air campaign, the tank was his enemy because high flying
aircraft could destroy it without warning, even at night. As a result, soldiers would leave
their vehicles and live in trenches a hundred yards away. Some US ground forces
commanders reported that many enemy tank crews had abandoned their tanks presumably
in part because of Coalition air and artillery attacks. We do not know if this was a
widespread phenomenon.
pg 140 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Equipment Degradation in KTO Before G-Day
--------------------------------------------------------------22 Jan
27 Jan
01 Feb
06 Feb
11 Feb
16 Feb
21 Feb
23 Feb
24 Feb
pg 140 paragraph 2
Psychological Operations Impact
Millions of PSYOP leaflets were dropped; they called on the Iraqis not only to surrender,
but also warned them to stay away from their equipment because it was the target of
Coalition air strikes. Most leaflets were dropped by MC-130s. F-16s and other aircraft flew
several missions a day carrying the MK 129 leaflet container, showering the Iraqi troops
with messages and warnings. USMC A-6s dropped another version of the leaflet in Kuwait.
UH-1N used loudspeakers and Arab linguists to convince Iraqi soldiers to surrender along
the Kuwait border. One leaflet depicted a mosque and a schoolyard, in which Saddam
Hussein had liberally interspersed tanks, AAA guns, and other military equipment. The
message to the Iraqi soldier was that Saddam Hussein was deliberately endangering their
religion and families.
The detonation of several 15,000-lb bombs, dropped from MC-130 special operations
planes, also seemed to have a psychological effect on Iraqi troops. Senior Iraqi officer
EPWs frequently commented their troops also were terrified of B-52s, and could clearly see
and hear their strikes, even when miles away. (PSYOP are discussed in greater detail in
Appendix J.)
CINCCENT assigned ARCENT responsibility for estimating attrition inflicted by aerial
attack on three types of Iraqi ground equipment. Table VI-4 shows the estimates that
ARCENT prepared during the war of attrition. These estimates were among several tools
used by CINCCENT in making his decision on when to begin the Offensive Ground
Campaign. The objective of the battlefield preparation phase of the air campaign was to
reduce Iraqi capabilities in the KTO by about 50 percent in preparation for ground
operations. Consequently, BDA methodology was focused on developing estimates of Iraqi
equipment that contributed to those capabilities. In this methodology, the estimates began
by using flying unit reports of equipment destruction. A-10, F-111, and F-15E reports
accounted for most ARCENT counted claims, although other aircraft also were involved.
Pilot reports had to be supported by either an aircraft generated video tape recording (VTR),
or imagery produced by other sources. The unit's mission reports and imagery were
reviewed by a Ground Liaison Officer (GLO). If the GLO confirmed the claim, ARCENT
then adjusted the estimates to account for imprecision in the pilot reports and the imagery.
For example, an A-10 mission report of a destroyed tank was counted as one third of a tank
destroyed. An F-111 report would be counted as one half of the report's claim. These
adjustment factors were changed several times during Operation Desert Storm. BDA
methodology is <pg 141 start> addressed in more detail in this chapter in the section
entitled, "Evaluating the Results of the Air Campaign."
pg 141 paragraph 2
D+21 through D+27: Summary of Week Four (7 - 13 February)
Week four maintained the emphasis on attacking Iraqi forces in the KTO. It was notable for
the full implementation of tank plinking attacks on enemy armor forces, and for a strategic
attack on an alternate military command bunker in which, regrettably, Iraqi civilians were
Because of Coalition air superiority, the Iraqi Air Force was unable to gather intelligence
about, or interfere with, the westward flanking movement Coalition ground forces were
making as they prepared to execute the ground offensive. The air campaign had degraded
the combat effectiveness of major parts of the Iraqi Army in the KTO.
The Strategic Air Campaign continued, although at a lower level of effort because of the
focus on direct air attacks on deployed Iraqi forces. After four weeks of intense air attack,
Iraq was strategically crippled. Its navy had been eliminated as an effective combat force,
much of its air force either interned in neutral Iran or destroyed in Iraq, and its strategic air
defenses neutralized. Iraq's forces and military capabilities were vulnerable to Coalition air
power. The national electric grid had collapsed and refined oil products production halted.
NBC facilities and systems had been struck, and Iraq's ability to produce CW munitions and
agents badly damaged. Based on the reduced frequency of Scud launches after mobile
Scud-hunting air operations began, the combined effects of the counter-Scud effort and the
continued degradation of Iraqi military capabilities appeared to reduce Iraq's ability to
launch missiles. Table VI-10 shows that during the first 10 days of Operation Desert Storm,
Scud launches averaged five a day; during February, the average was slightly more than one
a day.
Careful targeting and use of PGMs minimized collateral damage and civilian casualties,
reflecting US policy that Saddam Hussein and his military machine, not the Iraqi people,
were the enemy. Regrettably, there were civilian casualties. One of the more publicized
incidents was the destruction of the Al-Firdus district bomb shelter and alternate military
CP in Baghdad on the night of 13-14 February. The Al Firdus bunker originally was
constructed as a bomb shelter, but had been modified to serve as part of the national C3
network providing C2 of Iraqi forces.
When Coalition intelligence sources reported the bunker had been activated and its
communications capabilities were being used by senior Iraqi military officials, Al Firdus
was placed on the MAP. The attack was carried out by two F-117s, which each dropped one
case-hardened penetrating 2,000-lb LGB, which set the bunker afire and destroyed it.
Unfortunately, Iraqi authorities had permitted several hundred civilians into the facility,
many of whom were killed or seriously injured. Intelligence had reported there were no
civilians using the bomb shelter facilities. The resultant loss of civilian life led to a review
of targeting policies, which were determined to be proper. (See Appendix O, The Role of
Law of War, for further discussion.)
Coalition aircraft losses remained low during the week's operations. Two AV-8Bs and an
RSAF F-5 were shot down. Iraqi air-to-air losses also were light (five aircraft shot down)
because they continued to avoid combat.
D+28 through D+34: Week Five(14 - 20 February)
During Week Five, heavy attacks continued to focus on Iraqi forces in the KTO, while <pg
142 start> operations against strategic targets and the SEAD effort continued. Iraq's
strategic air defenses remained quiescent, with only six of the more than 70 operations
centers and reporting posts active. JTF Proven Force struck NBC and missile production
facilities in Kirkuk and Mosul in northern Iraq. The counter-Scud effort continued with
direct attacks on suspected Scud launch vehicles, mining and bombing of suspected launch
and hide areas, and airborne alert sorties to search for targets of opportunity. These efforts
appeared to make Scud movements more dangerous and probably narrowed the mobile
launchers' operating areas.
pg 142 paragraph 2
Interdiction of LOCs leading into the KTO continued, as Coalition aircraft attacked pontoon
bridges, which replaced previously destroyed fixed bridges. The Iraqis' heavy vehicle losses
led to the use of civilian vehicles, even garbage trucks, to transport supplies to the KTO.
The emphasis was now shifting to attacks on front line Iraqi units and direct battlefield
preparation for the impending ground offensive. While the antiarmor effort continued to
damage or destroy a number of armored vehicles every night, other aircraft struck front line
defenses and vehicles during the day. AV-8Bs dropped napalm on Iraqi fire trenches by day
while, after dark, F-117s destroyed the pumps that supplied crude oil to the trenches. B-52
mine-breaching strikes continued, while MC-130s dropped the giant BLU-82.
The greatest threat to Coalition aircraft remained ground-based defenses; during the week,
the Coalition lost five aircraft: An OA-10, two A-10s, an F-16 and an RAF GR-1. The loss
of two A-10s on the same day while attacking the same Republican Guard target led to
restrictions on the use of A-10s in the higher threat areas. Again, due to the Iraqi Air Force's
almost total incapacitation in the face of Coalition air supremacy, the remaining fixed-wing
force did not fly any combat sorties. Many Iraqi EPWs commented on the lack of air
support they received during the war.
Summary of the Air Campaign, on the Eve of the Offensive Ground Campaign
The Operation Desert Storm air campaign helped isolate Iraq's leadership, seriously
degraded the ability to conduct effective offensive and defensive operations, and reduced
the threat to regional stability and security. Nearly 100,000 combat and support sorties were
flown and 288 TLAMs and 35 ALCMs launched before G-Day. Of all sorties flown, 60
percent were combat missions. Damage to Iraqi forces was extensive, and Iraqi C2 was
disrupted radically. In some cases, corps, division and brigade commanders lost touch with
their commands. Moderate amounts of equipment and supplies Iraq positioned to support
the KTO were destroyed, and the road nets on which replenishment had to pass were
degraded. Interdiction operations against fielded forces during Phase III sapped Iraqi forces'
morale according to intelligence reports in the week before the ground offensive,
confirmed by subsequent reports from captured Iraqi officers, desertion rates were
substantial. Phase III greatly reduced Saddam Hussein's ability to bring the strength of his
army to bear against the Coalition forces. At the end of a month of bombardment, Iraqi
forces remained in Kuwait; however, most were in poor condition with heavy desertions,
low morale, and a severely degraded capability to coordinate an effective defense.
By G-Day, CENTCOM intelligence estimated Iraqi front line divisions had been reduced in
effectiveness by approximately 50 percent due to desertion, supply degradation, and
casualties the air campaign inflicted. Air attacks had been so effective that some Iraqi forces
in the KTO were largely immobilized, cut off from effective C2, increasingly isolated from
their supply <pg 143 start> sources, and demoralized. Not only were the front line forces
unaware of the overall situation, but some Iraqi leadership and command elements also
were unaware of the condition of their forces. CENTCOM estimated the combat
effectiveness of Iraqi forces, before G-Day, was reduced by approximately 25 percent in the
rear (which principally were the more potent Republican Guard forces), and by about half in
the front echelon of regular army units. The Republican Guards were not attacked more
heavily because of targeting priorities, as well as resource and BDA limitations.
Nonetheless, when Coalition ground forces launched their offensive, they were met by an
Iraqi army already demoralized and severely degraded in <pg 144 start> combat
effectiveness. The CJCS subsequently said, "...air power took a terrible toll, not only by
destroying equipment, but by breaking formations and breaking the will of the Iraqi armed
Note: Text immediately above is from page 144.
pg 143 map: D + 38, 0430 Hours - 1230 Hours. Airstrikes for indicated time in central and
southern Iraq and Kuwait are shown. Aircraft used include F16, F4G, RF4, EF111, F16,
A6, F18, A10, B52, JAG (Jaguar), F1, AJET, F5, A4, EA6B, CF18, AV8, M2000 (Mirage
2000), and the F14. The JSTARS orbit is depicted. Fighter escorts and sweeps are not
shown. General target locations are noted, however the exact target description is not given.
pg 144 paragraph 2
D+38 (24 February The Strategic Air Campaign Continues, and Air Operations
Begin in Direct Support of the Offensive Ground Campaign)
During the Offensive Ground Campaign's four days, strategic air operations continued
throughout Iraq and Kuwait. RAF GR-1s and Buccaneers, escorted by F-4Gs, bombed
hardened aircraft shelters at Tallil and Jalibah airfields. A large package of F-16s and F-4Es
escorted by F-15s, EF-111s, and F-4Gs attacked the Al Mawsil military research and
production facility in northern Iraq. F-16s bombed the Shahiyat liquid fuel research and
development facility. F-15Es sat ground alert and flew airborne alert ready for rapid
response to Scud targeting by JSTARS and other surveillance systems. LANTIRN-equipped
F-16s also flew in response to JSTARS target advisories during the night. B-52s bombed C3
sites in southern Iraq.
Interdiction attacks also continued to disrupt the movement and resupply of Iraqi forces in
the KTO. F-16s and A-10s, responding to JSTARS targeting, flew armed reconnaissance
along Iraqi roads. Restrikes were conducted against bridges to curtail Iraqi reconstruction.
Battlefield air attack sorties increased to support ground forces. On G-Day, scores of ground
attack aircraft assigned to kill boxes attacked artillery, armor, APC, supply vehicles, CPs,
and troops. F/A-18s and A-6s with EA-6B SEAD, E-2 early warning and C2, and KA-6
refueling support, attacked ZSU-23-4 AAA and SAM batteries in the KTO. Sections of
AV-8Bs attacked Faylaka Island about every half hour throughout the day in preparation for
the pending Coalition occupation. RSAF F-5s, United Arab Emirates Air Force M2000s,
and Kuwaiti Air Force (KAF) F-1s attacked artillery batteries and other Iraqi forces in the
KTO. F-16s and Tornados bombed sites used to pump oil into trenches along planned
Coalition ground attack corridors. Italian GR-1s and FAF F-1s and Jaguars struck artillery,
armor, and troops in the KTO.
Battlefield Air Operations
Coalition air forces provided invaluable assistance to CINCCENT's ground scheme of
maneuver. But the ground offensive's speed required innovative actions beyond what is
considered to be the norm for combined arms operations. For example, determining the
exact position of the forward edge of Coalition ground forces was difficult because they
moved faster than anticipated. Ground liaison officers, air liaison officers, and airborne C2
posts (such as FACs, AWACS, and ABCCC) worked to deconflict the movements and
attacks in the KTO. In effect, each attack was deconflicted on a case-by-case basis.
Air attacks used in conjunction with ground forces will be discussed in three categories.
These operations over and around the battlefield can be described as interdiction, close air
support (CAS), and breaching operations support.
Air Interdiction
By the ground offensive's start, Coalition air interdiction of Iraqi LOCs had destroyed key
logistical system elements. Interdiction of supply lines to the KTO reduced deliveries to a
trickle. These and direct attacks on Iraqi supply points and transportation resulted in major
supply shortages for fielded Iraqi forces in Kuwait, although the Republican Guards and
other high priority units in Iraq appeared to suffer less. The effort to disrupt, delay, and
destroy enemy forces and capabilities before they could be used against friendly forces
continued, but the focus shifted to Iraqi systems nearer to Coalition forces. Air <pg 145
start> power engaged Iraqi supply elements that attempted to move food, fuel, and
ammunition. Combat elements that attempted to shift position, retreat or advance, were
identified by Coalition reconnaissance and surveillance systems such as U-2, TR-1,
JSTARS, and RC-135s and were subjected to air attack. Iraqi forces thus were on the horns
of a dilemma: if they remained in position, they would be struck either from the air or by
advancing Coalition ground forces; if they tried to move, they made themselves extremely
vulnerable to patrolling Coalition aircraft, including attack helicopters.
pg 145 paragraph 2
One of the more important targets for Coalition aircraft was Iraqi artillery, because of its
long range and ability to fire chemical projectiles. Two days before ground operations
started, air planners, in response to a request from the VII Corps commander, switched the
F-111s from the Republican Guard to the Iraqi 47th Infantry Division artillery, because that
unit had an abnormally large artillery component (204 instead of the normal complement of
72 pieces) and was in a position to fire on either the Egyptian forces or VII Corps. In less
than a day, many artillery pieces were destroyed as a result of airstrikes and artillery raids.
Thirty-six hours later, when the VII Corps began its breaching operation, Iraqi artillery near
the breaching site was ineffectual, and the Corps completed breaching operations with
minimal casualties. Large numbers of Iraqi soldiers began surrendering to advancing
Coalition forces throughout G-Day. By day's end, more than 8,000 had been collected, and
their condition said much about the effectiveness of Coalition efforts. Many were weak
from hunger, sick, lice-infested, demoralized or in shock.
Another example of interdiction operations occurred on the night of G+2, when JSTARS
detected large numbers of Iraqi vehicles moving from Kuwait towards Iraq. III Corps, trying
to reach Al-Basrah and avoid destruction by I MEF and the Arab Joint Forces
Command-East (JFC-E) forces, became enmeshed with Iraqi occupation forces in Kuwait
City. North and west of Kuwait City the roads and causeways formed a bottleneck and the
mass of vehicles presented a lucrative target for Coalition airpower. Coalition commanders,
aware that forces escaping with their combat equipment could regroup and pose a danger to
Coalition ground forces, focused repeated air strikes in the area. Striking first at night, then
into the daylight hours, Coalition aircraft destroyed a large number of vehicles, many
abandoned by their crews who fled into the desert.
Military formations particularly armored units in the open desert exposed to constant
attack from the air suffer losses and degradation of combat effectiveness. The many
different Coalition air power elements served to magnify this effect on the Iraqis. One Iraqi
officer stated he surrendered because of B-52 strikes. "But your position was never attacked
by B-52s," his interrogator exclaimed. "That is true," the Iraqi officer stated, "but I saw one
that had been attacked." After one BLU-82 bombing of an Iraqi minefield, leaflets were
dropped on Iraqi troops that had witnessed the explosion, warning they would be next. Not
knowing the bomb had been targeted on a minefield, mass defections resulted, including
virtually the entire staff of one Iraqi battalion.
pg 145 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
On 24 February, an Air Force captain leading a flight of four F-16s from the 10th Tactical
Fighter Squadron was redirected to support a 16-member Special Forces (SF) team in
trouble more than 135 miles from the flight's original target. The SF team was surrounded
by a company-size Iraqi force. The lead pilot directed his flight to attack the approaching
enemy troops. With disregard for intense enemy 23-mm and 37-mm anti-aircraft fire, his
flight made multiple attacks, placing cluster bomb munitions on target as close as 200
meters from friendly positions. On the last pass, while low on fuel, the captain put his
bombs exactly on target, causing numerous enemy casualties and forcing the remaining
enemy troops to retreat. Army helicopters extracted the SF team without a single Coalition
50th Tactical Fighter Wing Report
pg 146 start
Close Air Support
The USAF, Navy, and USMC provided FACs and air naval gunfire liaison companies
(ANGLICOs) to select and identify targets, and to guide strike aircraft to them; this
procedure is the principal means for controlling CAS. The USAF and USMC used FACs
with the ground forces, and in a liaison role with non-US Coalition ground forces; for
example, a USAF officer accompanied the 4th Egyptian Armored Division. The USMC
positioned tactical air control parties from 1st ANGLICO team with JFC-E.
During the months before Operation Desert Storm, Coalition aircraft flew simulated CAS
sorties under the direction of the 1st ANGLICO FACs. This practice paid dividends at the
battle of Al-Khafji. Airborne FACs also were used extensively; the USMC used the
F/A-18D and the OV-10, while the USAF used OA-10s. The F-16s also performed FAC
duties informally called Killer Scouts.
Locating and marking targets in this phase of the air war was crucial to effective CAS.
FACs marked targets with a white phosphorus rocket or a laser designator so attack pilots
could find and strike dug-in artillery, armor and troops. FACs sped and improved the
effectiveness of attacks on ground forces in the KTO.
The basic CAS plan during the ground offensive involved multi-sortie surge operations,
particularly by those aircraft designed for CAS operations and operating from forward
operating locations (FOLs) near the battlefield, the A-10s and AV-8Bs. Since Iraqi artillery
posed the greatest immediate threat to ground forces penetrating the minefield breaches and
obstacle belt, it was a prime Coalition aircraft target. USMC aircraft began increased
operations into Kuwait two days before the ground offensive. Operations were based on a
system in which fixed-wing aircraft were launched according to schedule, instead of against
specific targets, and flew to a series of stacks or holding points. AV-8Bs, for example, flew
to a stack east of the battle zone and orbited for approximately 20 minutes while awaiting
tasking. If no CAS were needed at that moment they were sent deeper into the KTO to
receive targeting from a FAC in a kill box. During the daytime, a section of two USMC
aircraft entered the stack every seven and a half minutes; at night, a section of A-6s or other
USMC aircraft checked into the stack every 15 minutes. To the east and west, EA-6Bs
orbited to provide jamming and EW support, effectively blocking Iraqi battlefield radars.
With the concurrence of the JFACC, I MEF used a high density air control zone (HIDACZ)
to coordinate and control the large number of aircraft, artillery, and rockets within I MEF's
AOR. Aircraft conducting interdiction or CAS missions within the HIDACZ worked with
Marine Air Command and Control Systems for air traffic control and FAC handoffs. The
HIDACZ size and shape was under continuous negotiation with the JFACC as other users
requested the airspace. Despite some airspace dimensions restrictions, the HIDACZ
effectively gave the Marine ground commander a flexible means of coordinating and
controlling battlefield air attacks.
As G-Day approached, the JFACC modified the directions to Coalition pilots. Instead of
remaining in the relative safety of the medium altitudes from which they bombed strategic
and interdiction targets, they were to press home their attacks at lower altitudes. However,
the effects of Coalition operations against Iraqi forces before G-Day, and the overall light
resistance by Iraqi forces, limited the amount of CAS Coalition ground forces needed.
Breaching Operations
Coalition ground forces south of Kuwait faced a series of formidable defensive positions the
Iraqis built during the five months before Operation Desert Storm. Coalition air power <pg
147 start> was used in several ways to help disrupt these defenses. B-52s bombed the
minefields with 750-lb M-117 and 500-lb MK-82 bombs; MC-130s dropped 15,000-lb
BLU-82 bombs to create over-pressure and detonate mines. A few days before G-Day,
USMC AV-8Bs dropped napalm on the Iraqi fire trenches and attacked the pumping
stations to ignite and burn off the oil, while fuel air explosives also were used against
minefields. F-117As dropped 500-lb LGBs on oil pipes and distribution points in the fire
trenches. Despite the extensive bombing to reduce the size of the Iraqi minefields and
obstacles, these bombing efforts were not always effective. Most ground units used their
organic countermine and counterobstacle equipment to breach enemy minefields and
pg 147 paragraph 2
Effect of Weather and Oil Well Fires
Air attacks were affected by the weather, which turned bad on G-Day and stayed that way
until hostilities ended. Conditions varied from solid cloud cover with severe icing from the
surface up to 35,000 feet, to crystal blue sky above a thick carpet of ground fog that totally
obscured targets. This forced pilots to make choices about the feasibility of some missions.
To acquire targets visually, pilots had to go under the cloud layer, which made them
vulnerable to Iraqi ground forces and to air defense weapons. On the first day of the ground
offensive the Coalition lost four airplanes to Iraqi ground fire. Some A-10 pilots noted their
green aircraft were quite visible to ground forces, because the dark paint made them stand
out against the overcast skies. Fortunately, the effect of these problems was ameliorated by
the speed of the ground advance, the rapid collapse of the Iraqis, and the ceasefire.
Just before and during the Offensive Ground Campaign, Iraqi forces detonated charges
placed around Kuwaiti well heads, pipelines, and oil facilities. Thick, viscous pools of crude
oil many acres wide formed from some ruptured pipes while more than 700 oil wells burned
furiously, sending great balls of flames and clouds of thick, greasy smoke into the air. The
fumes and vapors were noxious and the clouds of smoke were a hazard to flying. Weapons
also were affected. Sensitive optical devices such as seeker heads on missiles that earlier
had been affected by gritty, windblown sand, also were affected by filmy drops of oil.
D+35 through D+42: Week Six (21 - 28 February)
During the four days before the ground offensive, the Coalition continued heavy emphasis
on interdiction of the KTO and destruction of Iraqi forces in their defensive positions.
Nearly 90 percent of all combat sorties were targeted into the KTO against armor, artillery,
and other elements that threatened Coalition ground forces. According to CENTCOM rough
estimates at the time, based only on pilot reports, air attacks on 23 February destroyed 178
tanks, 97 APCs, 202 vehicles, 201 artillery pieces or multiple rocket launchers, 66
revetments, buildings, and bunkers, and two AAA/SAM facilities.
Because of the Coalition ground forces' rapid advance, and the light resistance most ground
elements met, relatively more air effort was expended on interdiction than on direct
battlefield support. By G-Day, thousands of Iraqi soldiers had deserted, either returning
home or crossing the border to surrender to Coalition forces.
pg 147 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"If there is one attitude more dangerous than to assume that a future war will be just like the
last one, it is to imagine that it will be so utterly different that we can afford to ignore all the
lessons of the last one."
Former RAF Marshal, Sir John Slessor
Air Power and Armies, 1936
Bad weather caused cancellation or diversion of many planned sorties, and forced many
others to operate at lower altitudes and use <pg 148 start> attack profiles that increased
their exposure to Iraqi air defenses. The combination of poor weather, the smoke and haze
caused by Saddam Hussein's deliberate torching of hundreds of Kuwaiti oil wells, the fluid
nature of the rapid ground advance, and the Coalition decision to operate and fight at night
placed severe demands on Coalition forces and played a role in the few instances of
fratricide that occurred.
pg 148 paragraph 2
Coalition air forces continued to strike strategic targets until the last moments of the war.
Airfields were hit to prevent any Iraqi Air Force attempt to interfere with Coalition
operations. Scuds remained a key target. Other attacks continued against NBC, missile
production, and C3 targets, including a mission just before the cease-fire that used a
specially developed hard-target penetration bomb (the 4,700-lb GBU-28) to destroy a
leadership C3 bunker near At-Taji.
The Coalition lost eight aircraft during this final week of the war: Three AV-8Bs, one
OV-10, one OA-10, one A-10, and two F-16s. Several US and UK troops were killed,
wounded, or themselves captured in attempts to reach and rescue downed pilots. (CSAR
Operations are discussed in Appendix J.)
Not all the Coalition advantages enjoyed during Operation Desert Storm will be present
during the next conflict. However, all modern industrial and military powers share certain
universal vulnerabilities. The technological advances that make them powerful also are their
great vulnerabilities: these include computer dependent C3 systems; networked air defense
systems and airfields; and easily located sources of energy. When the key nodes are
destroyed, such systems suffer cascading, and potentially catastrophic, failure.
pg 149 start
The initial Operation Desert Storm air strikes attacked the entire target base nearly
simultaneously to produce visible pressure and destructive effects against Iraqi centers of
gravity. The highest initial priority was to establish air supremacy by degrading the Iraqi
IADS, making enemy air forces ineffective, and preventing use of CW biological weapons.
Achieving air supremacy allowed continuous air attacks with non-stealth aircraft against the
complete range of targets. Stealth aircraft and cruise missiles allowed the Coalition to keep
pressure on key leadership, as well as C2 nodes, in the more heavily defended areas, around
the clock.
CINCCENT neutralized the enemy with decisive air attacks. Iraq's sophisticated air defense
system was defeated by stealth, large packages of EW aircraft, decoy drones, and attack
aircraft using PGMs and gravity weapons, while key nodes in the electrical power system,
air defenses, C2 structure, and intelligence apparatus were attacked by stealth and
conventional aircraft using PGMs and by cruise missiles. Scores of aircraft attacked Iraqi
forces and facilities across the KTO and Iraq, using mostly gravity bombs and cluster bomb
units, as well as PGMs (which constituted about 10 percent of the total munitions
delivered). Saddam Hussein was unable to coordinate an effective response to the rest of
Coalition military operations. What came after was not easy, and ground forces had to eject
Saddam Hussein's forces from the KTO and secure the liberation of Kuwait, but air power
set the stage and helped the Offensive Ground Campaign exploit a weakened enemy.
Assessments By Target Set
This section describes what air power, supported <pg 150 start> by some special
operations and artillery attacks, accomplished by target set. These assessments cannot be
definitive, because not all the data have been collected, analyzed, and examined in detail.
For the most part, they must be both tentative and subjective because of the magnitude of
Coalition air operations, difficulties with gathering records for each of some 60,000 attack
sorties, and inaccessibility of enemy soldiers, equipment and facilities.
pg 150 paragraph 2
Leadership Command Facilities
A Strategic Air Campaign objective of overriding importance was the isolation and
incapacitation of Saddam Hussein's regime. In Iraq's rigid, authoritarian society, where
decision-making power is highly centralized in the hands of Saddam Hussein and a few
others, destruction of the means of C2 has a particularly crippling effect on forces in the
field. Bombing several leadership facilities, (i.e., places from which Saddam Hussein
controlled operations), caused him and other important leaders to avoid facilities that were
best suited for C3, and made them move often. This reduced the ability to communicate
with their military forces, population, and the outside world. It also forced them to use less
secure communications, thereby providing valuable intelligence.
pg 150 chart/graph: Iraq SAM/EW Radar Activity. Graph has 16 January to 3 February
dates on the horizontal axis and Radar Activity on the vertical axis (from 0 to 2000).
1300 to 1700 is depicted as being a normal radar activity level for Iraq. Radar Activity fell
off rapidly on 18th of January and was less than 300 on the 19th and for all days afterwards.
The Activity is divided into SAM/AAA Radar Activity and EW Radar Activity.
Electrical Production Facilities
Attacks on Iraqi power facilities shut down their effective operation and eventually
collapsed the national power grid. This had a cascading effect, reducing or eliminating the
reliable supply of electricity needed to power NBC weapons production facilities, as well as
other war-supporting industries; to refrigerate bio-toxins and some CW agents; to power the
computer systems required to integrate the air defense network; to pump fuel and oil from
storage facilities into trucks, tanks, and aircraft; to operate reinforced doors at aircraft
storage and maintenance facilities; and to provide the lighting and power for maintenance,
planning, repairs, and the loading of bombs and explosive agents. This increased Iraqi use
of less-reliable backup power generators which, generally, are slow to come on line, and
provide less power. Taken together, the synergistic effect of losing primary electrical power
sources in the first days of the war helped reduce Iraq's ability to respond to Coalition
attacks. The early disruption of electrical power undoubtedly helped keep Coalition
casualties low.
Coalition planners in the theater directed that the switching system be targeted, rather than
the generator halls. There were several deliberate exceptions made to this policy. For <pg
151 start> the first three days, the ATO explicitly contained specific aimpoints for strikes
against electrical production facilities. Subsequent to that, the specific aimpoints were only
sporadically included. When wing-level planners lacked specific guidance on which
aimpoints to hit at electrical power plants, they sometimes chose to target generator halls,
which are among the aimpoints listed in standard targeting manuals.
pg 151 paragraph 2
Telecommunications and Command, Control, and Communication Nodes
Saddam Hussein's ability to transmit detailed, timely orders to his senior field commanders
deteriorated rapidly. The physical destruction of the Iraqi C3 capability began before
H-Hour with attacks on key nodes of the air defense and C3 systems. The destruction of the
Iraqi Air Force headquarters, publicized by the CENTAF commander's press briefing in late
January, was one of many attacks against Iraq's ability to control combat operations
In Iraq, the civil telecommunications system was designed to serve the regime it was an
integral part of military communications. For example, approximately 60 percent of military
landline communications passed through the civil telephone system. Degrading this system
appears to have had an immediate effect on the ability to command military forces and
secret police.
The bombing campaign seriously degraded Iraq's national communications network by
destroying Saddam Hussein's preferred secure system for communicating with his fielded
forces. However, this national-level capability could be repaired and thus needed to be
attacked repeatedly. Also, redundancy was built into the national communications network;
these other systems tended to be more vulnerable to <pg 152 start> eavesdropping but
difficult to destroy because they included a dispersed network of CPs with radio
transmission capability. These sites could be bombed if planners had precise targeting
intelligence, but were difficult to destroy.
pg 152 paragraph 2
To deepen this isolation and incapacitation, telecommunications sites in Baghdad and
elsewhere were attacked heavily during the first three days of the war. Internal radio and
television systems also were attacked. The Iraqis had a reduced capability to broadcast
outside the country and could broadcast only sporadically inside the country.
pg 152 graph: Degradation of Iraqi Flight Activity. Graph shows Iraqi shooter sorties and
other sorties for days 1 through 45. After day 25 sorties equal 0 except for day 39 (G - Day)
when there were about 5 sorties. The maximum numbers of sorties equalled approximately
97 on day one and approximately 129 on day two. For all other days Iraqi sortie levels were
less than or equal to 60.
By G-Day, regular means of electronic communication were reduced dramatically. During
the Offensive Ground Campaign, communications continued to deteriorate. This also
greatly improved intelligence collection against Iraqi communications.
pg 152 end and chapter 6b end
pg 153 start (page has three unclassified photos)
pg 154 start
Strategic Integrated Air Defense System
On the eve of the air campaign, Iraq's strategic IADS was dense, overlapping, and
dangerous. It used a mix of Soviet and Western equipment, including radars, interceptor
aircraft, SAMs, and AAA, and was tied together by a French-built, computerized C2 system,
Kari. The AAA was either radar or optically guided; SAMs used either radar or IR
guidance. The AAA was most dangerous below 12,000 to 15,000 feet, while Iraqi SAMs
provided overlapping coverage from virtually ground level to above 40,000 feet. Coalition
air operations neutralized most of the effectiveness of these systems through innovative
tactics, technology, massive waves of aircraft, cruise missiles, SEAD, intelligence, and
careful targeting.
Within hours of the start of combat operations, the IADS had been fragmented and
individual air defense sectors forced into autonomous operations. Most hardened SOC and
IOC were destroyed or neutralized within the first few days, markedly reducing the Iraqis'
ability to coordinate and conduct air defense. The early warning radar net had been so badly
damaged that the Iraqis were forced, in many cases, to rely on individual SAM battery
radars to provide warning of attacks. After the first week, Coalition aircraft were able to
operate at medium and high altitudes with virtual impunity; during the next three weeks, the
Coalition lost only seven aircraft to Iraqi defenses. Not until the final few days of the war
did air operations move down into the lower altitudes and higher threat posed by Iraqi
battlefield defenses< (handheld IR SAMs and small-caliber AAA, for example), and aircraft
losses increased.
Air Forces and Airfields
The neutralization of the Iraqi Air Force occurred when Coalition air forces destroyed Iraqi
aircraft in the air and on the ground. The destruction began with several air-to-air victories
on the first night, and continued with the shelter-busting effort during the air campaign's
second week. This effort caused the Iraqi Air Force to disperse around airfields, into civilian
neighborhoods, and to fly to Iran. By the war's end, 324 of the original 750-plus Iraqi
fixed-wing combat aircraft, were reported destroyed, captured, or relocated outside Iraq.
According to CENTAF estimates, 109 Iraqi combat fixed-wing aircraft flew to Iran; 151
were destroyed on the ground; 33 were shot down by Coalition fighter aircraft; and 31 were
captured or destroyed by ground forces (the status of others was unknown). Fewer than 300
were believed to remain in Iraq and their combat readiness was doubtful because of the
disintegrated air defense C3 system, inadequate maintenance, and lack of other necessary
support. Of the 594 Iraqi aircraft shelters, 375 were severely damaged or destroyed. Within
six weeks, the world's sixth largest air force had been decimated.
Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons Research and Production
A key objective was degrading the threat from Iraqi NBC weapons of mass destruction and
their delivery systems (one of Iraq's centers of gravity). Air power was one of the more
effective ways to reach research and production facilities deep inside Iraq. Damage to the
known nuclear weapons program was substantial. The Baghdad Nuclear Research Center
was damaged, including both research reactors. However, UN inspection teams and US
intelligence sources subsequently discovered Iraq's nuclear weapons program was more
extensive than previously thought, and did not suffer as serious a setback as was desired.
During December, a team was formed in CONUS to determine the most effective way to
attack Iraq's arsenal of CW/BW weapons. Several experiments were conducted which
attempted to find a way to destroy these weapons without releasing BW agents or causing
significant collateral damage. Finally, <pg 155 start> through timing of attacks and choice
of munitions, planners were able to minimize the chance for toxins to spread. No chemical
of biological agents were detected after the attacks and no CW/BW collateral damage was
pg 155 paragraph 2
During Operation Desert Storm, the BW program was damaged and its known key research
and development facilities were destroyed. All known BW research and production
capabilities were made unusable. Most of Iraq's refrigerated storage bunkers were destroyed.
Iraq's CW program was seriously damaged. At least 75 percent of Iraq's CW production
capability was destroyed. At Samarra, Coalition forces destroyed or severely damaged most
known primary CW production, processing, or production support buildings. All three
buildings used to fill munitions at Samarra were destroyed, although the Iraqis may have
moved the equipment from one building before Operation Desert Storm for safekeeping.
All three precursor chemical facilities at Habbaniyah were seriously damaged. Although
Iraq previously had produced and distributed many CW agents to storage sites throughout
the country, the means for delivering the weapons was badly damaged. Coalition air
supremacy made Iraqi Air Force delivery of these weapons unlikely; most artillery (Iraq's
preferred method of delivering CW) was disabled.
Why Iraq did not use CW still is a matter of conjecture. Concerted efforts, both public and
private, were made before the war to warn Saddam Hussein of severe consequences of CW
use. The fact that almost no chemical munitions were distributed to Iraqi forces in the KTO
suggests Saddam Hussein chose to retain tight control over this capability. UN inspections
since the war have confirmed Iraq did have chemical warheads for its Scud missiles, which
Iraq continued to fire until the end of the war. This suggests deterrence worked. However,
Coalition attacks also disrupted the Iraqis' ability to move, load, and fire weapons, and
eliminated many battlefield delivery systems. The rapid ground offensive against the already
<pg 156 start> blinded and confused Iraqis made effective use of CW against the Coalition
offensive almost impossible. At present, there is no conclusive answer.
pg 156 paragraph 2
Scud Production and Storage Facilities
Immediately after the war, estimates, based on imagery analysis of heavily damaged or
destroyed complexes associated with Scud production, concluded Iraq's overall ability to
modify or produce Scud missiles and support equipment was severely degraded and that
Baghdad's overall potential to build liquid-propellant missiles had been reduced. More
recently, UN inspection teams have determined most production equipment, components,
and documents had been removed before the beginning of the air campaign. Recent
intelligence estimates confirm that actual damage to Scud production and storage facilities
is less than previously thought.
pg 157 paragraph 2
Naval Forces and Port Facilities
Coalition air strikes and naval gunfire effectively destroyed the Iraqi Navy in the first three
weeks of Operation Desert Storm. While Iraq did not have major surface combatants, it did
have dangerous antiship missile capabilities that could have inflicted politically significant
damage to Coalition ships, giving Iraq a needed psychological victory. Approximately 87
percent (143 of 165) of Iraqi combatant naval vessels were destroyed or damaged. By 2
February, 11 of the 13 Iraqi missile-capable boats were destroyed, and the remaining Iraqi
naval forces were assessed as incapable of offensive operations. The Umm Qasr Naval Base
and Khawr Az-Zubayr port facility, the primary Iraqi naval operating areas, sustained
substantial damage to storage facilities. Coalition air strikes also destroyed three of Iraq's
seven shore-based Silkworm antiship missile launchers and an unknown number of
missiles. Because of the destruction of the Iraqi naval threat, Coalition naval forces were
able to move farther north in the Persian Gulf to increase the pressure on Iraqi forces, and to
support better the Offensive Ground Campaign.
Oil Refining and Distribution Facilities, as Opposed to Long-term Oil
Production Capability
Reducing Iraq's ability to refine and distribute finished oil products helped reduce Iraqi
military forces' mobility. Aircraft carried out about 500 sorties against Iraqi oil facilities,
dropping about 1,200 tons of bombs to shut down the national refining and distribution
system. This offers another illustration of the effect modern PGMs and other advanced
technologies have on the nature of war. For about half the bomb load dropped on one
typical refinery in Germany during World War II, the <pg 158 start> Coalition effectively
stopped all Iraqi refined fuels production.
pg 158 paragraph 2
The air campaign damaged approximately 80 percent of Iraq's refining capacity, and the
Iraqis closed the rest of the system to prevent its destruction. This left them with about 55
days of supply at prewar consumption rates. This figure may be misleading, however,
because the synergistic effect of targeting oil refining and distribution, electricity, the road,
rail and bridge infrastructure, and the national C3 network, all combined to degrade amounts
of oil and lubricants Iraqi commanders received. Saddam Hussein apparently was counting
on a relatively protracted conflict in which conserving Iraqi fuel supplies could be
Railroads and Bridges Connecting Iraqi Military Forces with Logistical
Support Centers
About three fourths of the bridges between central Iraq and the KTO were severely
damaged or destroyed. Iraqi LOCs into the KTO were vulnerable because they crossed
bridges over the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The bridges were destroyed at the rate of seven
to 10 a week, and the supply flow into the KTO dropped precipitously. While the supply
routes into the KTO were being interdicted, Iraqi supply troops also were subjected to heavy
air attacks. As bridges were destroyed, long convoys of military trucks waiting to cross were
stranded and attacked. Air attacks also destroyed supplies stockpiled in the KTO and
severely disrupted their distribution. In an environment where literally nothing was
available locally, these efforts resulted in major shortages of food for fielded forces,
particularly for those units farthest forward.
The effort to cut the rail and road LOCs from central Iraq into the KTO further
demonstrated the effect of advanced technology. During the early years of the Vietnam War,
hundreds of USAF and Navy aircraft bombed the Thanh Hoa bridge in North Vietnam. It
was not seriously damaged, and many aircraft were shot down. During Operation
Linebacker I in 1972, the bridge was knocked down by just a few sorties using LGB and
Walleye II, both PGMs. The Operation Desert Storm air campaign saw the use of improved
PGMs, including LGB, Maverick, and Standoff Land-Attack Missiles (SLAM).
Video footage of Iraqi bridges falling to LGB became commonplace during briefings and on
the television news. Not every PGM hit its intended target. But so many bridges were
knocked down (41 major bridges and 31 pontoon bridges) and so many supply lines cut that
the effect on the Iraqi forces in the KTO was severe.
In addition, the air campaign effectively interdicted LOCs within the KTO and destroyed
thin-skinned tankers and other vehicles that supplied food and water. This was made
possible in part by the lack of cover for moving vehicles in the desert and by US night
vision capabilities that exploited this advantage even at night.
Iraqi Military Units, Including Republican Guards in the KTO
Iraqi forces in the KTO posed a serious threat to Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf
states; until they either evacuated Kuwait, were ejected, or destroyed, Kuwait could not be
liberated. The air campaign worked towards all three possibilities. Saddam Hussein refused
to withdraw his forces; however, the Coalition began direct air attacks to degrade the more
important capabilities and assets (especially armor and artillery) and to prepare for Coalition
ground forces to reoccupy Kuwait. The degree to which these objectives were accomplished
was virtually unprecedented in warfare. In less than six weeks, a combat experienced army
of several hundred thousand troops, with thousands of tanks, other armored vehicles, and
artillery pieces, dug into well-sited and constructed defensive positions, was severely
degraded and weakened from the air. The Iraqi forces' overall combat effectiveness was
reduced dramatically.
pg 159 paragraph 2
CINCCENT's Operation Desert Storm OPORD identified the Republican Guard as an Iraqi
center of gravity. Primary targets included armor and artillery, because these represented a
major threat to Coalition forces; logistics installations such as fuel, ammunition and supply
dumps; and C3 facilities such as CPs. Not every Republican Guard division was hit equally
hard; those in the path of the planned Coalition ground forces received the brunt of the
attacks. Other divisions, such as those south of Al-Basrah, received less damage. The
Republican Guard was not as heavily targeted as were the front-line regular Army divisions
the Coalition ground forces would encounter first, for a number of reasons they were
farther from Coalition bases and better equipped than front-line forces, which required
longer flights with more airborne support, and risked higher aircraft attrition. More
importantly, CINCCENT directed that comparatively greater damage be inflicted on the
front-line forces to reduce Coalition ground forces' casualties.
Military Production and Storage
Military production and storage areas made up 15 percent of the total Strategic Air
Campaign targets, attacked by about 2,750 sorties. By the end of the war, military
production facilities had been severely damaged. At least 30 percent of Iraq's conventional
weapons production capability, which made small arms, artillery, small- and large-caliber
ammunition, electronic and optical systems, and repaired armored vehicles, was damaged or
Supply depots were so numerous and large that they could not be eliminated; however, they
were methodically attacked throughout the war, resulting in moderate reduction in stored
materials. As an example, the massive military supply complex at At-Taji occupied more
than 10 square miles. Thousands of targets were within its confines, and it was struck
repeatedly. On 29 January, as another example, B-52s hit the ammunition storage facility at
Ar-Rumaylah, touching off a tremendous explosion the equivalent of an erupting
pg 159 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Strategic Targets Level of Effort
------------------------------------------------------------------------Percent of
Number of
Total Effort
Sorties Total: 18,276
Electrical Power
National CMD Authority
Air Defense
Railroad and Bridges 04
Military Support
REP Guard
EPW Assessments
One benefit of the rapid Coalition ground advance was the capture or surrender of many
Iraqi senior officers and thousands of Iraqi troops. The officers provided Coalition
intelligence debriefers with a unique perspective.
According to sources from four different Iraqi Army and Republican Guard armor, infantry,
and antiaircraft units, for example, the air campaign's effect was telling. According to
selected EPW reports, in some divisions, up to half the personnel who had deployed to the
KTO deserted because of shortages of food and water, hardships caused by the bombing, or
fear of being killed or wounded. Selected senior officer EPW also described very high
(roughly 77 percent) attrition rates for tanks or wheeled vehicles in particular units. Not all
units suffered attrition rates as high as this. For example, senior EPWs from other Iraqi
units, such as the <pg 160 start> 50th Armored Brigade, 12th Armored Division, and the
8th Mechanized Brigade, 3rd Armored Division, reported lower attrition rates.
pg 160 paragraph 2
An indirect impact of Coalition air supremacy was reflected in the Iraqis' ignorance of
Coalition dispositions and operations. This was important in preparing for and executing the
ground campaign's left hook. In addition, although some units did relocate, one senior
officer said that, after the start of Operation Desert Storm, he could no longer safely move
his forces because of the threat of air attack. The Iraqis' problems were compounded by the
inability to train their forces and maintain their equipment. The air interdiction effort and
degradation of the supply system stressed the Iraqi forces to and, in some cases, beyond the
breaking point. Experienced armor officers were visibly shaken when they described
helplessly watching the progressive destruction of their forces from the air.
pg 160 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Shooter Type
Aircraft Downed
17 Jan 91
33 TFW
F-15C MIG-29
17 Jan 91
F-15C F-1 Mirage
17 Jan 91
33 TFW
2/F-1 Mirage
17 Jan 91
33 TFW
F-15C MIG-29
17 Jan 91
33 TFW
F-15C MIG-29
17 Jan 91
17 Jan 91
19 Jan 91
33 TFW
F-15C MIG-25
19 Jan 91
33 TFW
F-15C MIG-25
19 Jan 91
33 TFW
F-15C MIG-29
19 Jan 91
33 TFW
F-15C MIG-29
19 Jan 91
33 TFW
F-15C F-1 Mirage
19 Jan 91
33 TFW
F-15C F-1 Mirage
24 Jan 91
F-15C 2/F-1 Mirage AIM 9 (Both)
26 Jan 91
33 TFW
F-15C MIG-23
26 Jan 91
26 Jan 91
27 Jan 91
27 Jan 91
27 Jan 9
28 Jan 91
29 Jan 91
2 Feb 91
6 Feb 91
6 Feb 91
6 Feb 91
6 Feb 91
7 Feb 91
7 Feb 91
7 Feb 91
11 Feb 91
15 Feb 91
33 TFW
33 TFW
36 TFW
36 TFW
36 TFW
32 TFG
33 TFW
36 TFW
36 TFW
36 TFW
926 TFG
33 TFW
33 TFW
36 TFW
36 TFW
10 TFW
F-1 Mirage
AIM 9 (Both)
AIM 9 (Both)
AIM 9 (Both)
AIM 7 (Both)
Helo Gun<R>
Operation Desert Storm Air-to-Air Victories by Coalition Air Forces, 17 January to 28
February. Source: Joint Staff/J3 (Joint Operations Division).
The EPWs agreed almost unanimously that PSYOP at the battlefield level had a substantial
effect on front line forces' morale. Air strikes made it impossible for Iraqi commanders to
stop the flow of soldiers deserting from some units.
Safwan Revelations
On 3 March, CINCCENT met with Iraqi senior military officers, including the III Corps
commander, to finalize cease-fire terms. After the Iraqis informed CINCCENT about the
status of Coalition Prisoners of War (POW) in Iraqi hands, the Iraqis asked for an
accounting of the Iraqi EPWs the Coalition held. When CINCCENT replied the counting
was still going on, but the number exceeded 58,000, the Iraqi vice chief of staff, according
to eyewitness accounts, appeared stunned. When he asked the III Corps commander if this
were possible, he replied that it was possible, but he did not know. The discussion then
turned to establishing a no-contact line to separate Coalition and Iraqi forces. When
CINCCENT presented his proposed line, the Iraqi vice chief of staff asked why it was
drawn behind the Iraqi troops. CINCCENT said this was the forward line of the Coalition
advance. The Iraqi officer, again looking stunned, turned to the III Corps commander, who
again replied that it was possible, but he did not know. Thus, three days after hostilities
ended, the Iraqi senior military leadership did not know how many men they had lost or
where the Coalition forces were. While their ignorance may in part reflect the <pg 161
start> weaknesses of a totalitarian system in which bad news travels slowly, it undoubtedly
also reflects the crippling of Iraqi intelligence and communications by the air campaign, the
effectiveness of the deception actions at all levels, and the sweep, speed, and boldness of the
ground campaign.
pg 161 paragraph 2
Air Superiority and Air Supremacy
Throughout Operation Desert Shield, Coalition air forces were flying defensive counter air
sorties to ensure the arrival and movement of forces into the AOR remained unimpeded by
hostile attack. These missions typically lasted several hours, with fighters patrolling the
border and refueling periodically to maintain an around the clock umbrella over Coalition
Once Operation Desert Storm began, defensive counter air patrols continued; while
additional offensive counter air fighter sweeps and strike package escorts into Iraq sought
out and engaged Iraqi Air Force opposition. Assisted by AWACS and E-2Cs, these fighters
achieved and maintained air superiority throughout the Persian Gulf War.
The air campaign's pre-eminent initial objective was the fragmentation and virtual
destruction of the Iraqi IADS, which was paralyzed in Operation Desert Storm's early hours.
It is difficult, if not virtually impossible, for a modern, mechanized army to operate
effectively once control of the sky above it is lost. American ground forces have not had to
fight without air superiority since World War II; the last time an American soldier was
killed by enemy aircraft attack was during the Korean War. Dominance of the airspace is
not, however, an end in itself, but something to allow other forces to operate more
effectively. Air supremacy allowed Coalition land, sea and air forces to maneuver, deploy,
resupply, stockpile and fight as they desired a luxury the enemy did not have.
pg 161 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
No. of Type of
Unit/Service Aircraft Aircraft
Shaikh Isa, Bahrain
Shaikh Isa, Bahrain
At-Taif, Saudi Arabia
King Fahd, Saudi Arabia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Bateen, UAE
USS Midway, USS Ranger, USN 27
USS America, US Roosevelt,
USS Kennedy, USS Saratoga
Jiddah, Saudi Arabia
Bahrain Intl, Bahrain
Masirah, Oman
Bahrain Intl, Bahrain
JTF Proven Force
(Incirlik, Turkey)
P-3B (RP)
NOTE: Some of these aircraft (e.g., F-4Gs and F-16Cs) eventually were used for missions
other than suppression of enemy air defenses.
In future conflicts against a sophisticated military, the battle for air supremacy will be a key
determinant. The fate of the Iraqi military machine will be remembered for decades. The
Soviet Air Force Chief of Staff, General A. Malyukov, remarked after the war: "The war in
the Persian Gulf provided a textbook example of what air supremacy means both for the
country that gained it, and for the country ceding it."
Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses
Coalition aircraft conducting air defense suppression missions saturated Iraqi airspace with
jammers, shooters, and bombers. Iraqi defenses that attempted to engage were disrupted,
and risked being destroyed.
pg 162 start
EF-111As and EA-6Bs were used in stand-off and close-in orbits to jam early warning,
acquisition, and GCI radars. EC-130H Compass Call aircraft jammed radio
communications, data links, and navigation systems. F-4Gs, F-16s, EA-6Bs, A-6Es, A-7Es,
and F/A-18s used HARMs to destroy acquisition, GCI, and target tracking radars. Various
aircraft dropped bombs on air defense emplacements and control facilities. SEAD forces
and bomb droppers caused confusion, hesitation, and loss of capability, which degraded
Iraqi air defense capability.
Navy, Marine, and USAF aircraft used HARMs during Operations Desert Storm. USAF
F-4Gs used most of the HARMs. For Navy and USMC HARM-shooters, initial tactics were
based on the pre-emptive use of HARMs and Electronic Countermeasures (ECM).
Typically, the use of HARMs in the preemptive mode was more common when supporting
attacks on heavily defended strategic targets inside Iraq. The target-of-opportunity mode
was more frequently used during operations against less well- defended targets and fielded
forces in the KTO. More than half of all HARMs used were expended during the first week
of the war, with another third expended from 6 to 13 February when the emphasis on
attacking Iraqi forces in the KTO increased. Both of these periods also saw a significant
concentration of strike efforts on heavily defended strategic targets. By the end of the
conflict, reactive HARMs and ECM became common as a result of combat experience and
the perceived need to husband HARMs.
Because of the extensive air defense threat, coordination among the Services to provide
mutual support was essential to Operation Desert Storm's success. The JFACC tasked
apportioned SEAD sorties, guaranteeing a <pg 163 start> coordinated, effective, and
prioritized SEAD effort. Almost all Coalition aircraft contributed. In their first combat use,
ATACMS demonstrated a rapid response capability. A Multiple Launch Rocket System
launcher, armed with ATACMS, received a fire mission while moving in convoy, occupied
a hasty firing position, computed firing data and launched a missile that neutralized an SA-2
site. On 20 February, an Army attack helicopter battalion conducted a deep strike in the
Iraqi 45th Infantry Division rear area EF-111As, F-4Gs, and EC-130Hs provided SEAD
support on the way in, which helped the helicopters safely complete the mission.
pg 163 chart/graph: Numbers of Coalition Aircraft Sorties. Coalition Aircraft Sorties from
16 Jan to Feb 27 is shown in barchart form. Sorties are broken down into four types:
Allied, Marine, Navy, and Air Force. Maximum number of sorties occurred on 25 Feb and
numbered approximately 3,200. Accuracy of eyeball chart estimate is plus-minus 50
sorties. 43 days are shown. On 26 of the 43 days the number of aircraft sorties varies
between 2,500 and 3,000. On 9 of the 43 days the number depicted is between 2,000 and
pg 163 paragraph 2
SEAD tactics changed during the conflict, especially in the KTO. By using the APR-47
electromagnetic sensor system to see and attack threats as they came on the air, the F-4Gs
conserved HARMs when threat activity diminished. The F-4Gs then were more available to
support attack flights as they serviced kill boxes. For example, F-4Gs located and attacked
mobile SA-6s deployed with the Republican Guards.
The attacks on the Iraqi electronic order of battle (EOB) affected every aspect of air
supremacy operation. Using Tactical Electronic Reconnaissance Processing and Evaluation
System, USMC EA-6Bs provided near-real-time (NRT) updates to the threat EOB.
The EC-130Hs also made major contributions, <pg 164 start> flying from both Bateen,
United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Incirlik, Turkey. Jamming enemy radio communications,
data links, and enemy navigation systems, EC-130Hs disrupted air-to-air and air-to-ground
Iraqi C3 networks.
pg 164 paragraph 2
EF-111As flew from At-Taif, and from Incirlik. They were part of the initial surge of
aircraft across the Iraqi border the first night of the war, and established orbits to escort
strike packages into the H-3 and Baghdad areas. They jammed EW, height finder, GCI, and
target-acquisition radars, and were effective in tricking the enemy into opening fire at false
radar returns in areas where there were no Coalition aircraft.
The F-4G and the F-16 (in the SEAD role) flew from Shaikh Isa and from Incirlik, firing
1,061 HARMs. F-4Gs were among the first aircraft to cross the Iraqi border to protect strike
flights in the Baghdad and H-2/H-3 areas. During the latter stages of the war, with the
remaining Iraqi radars rarely emitting, F-4G aircrews used AGM-65D Maverick missiles
against non- emitting radar targets.
Electronics intelligence data for the period 16 January to 10 February shows a high level of
EOB activity initially, with a dramatic decrease 48 to 72 hours into the war. SAM operators
frequently fired with limited or no radar guidance, reducing their overall effectiveness. This
much reduced level continued for the remainder of the war.
Aircraft Sorties
The 43-day air campaign against Iraq and Iraqi forces in Kuwait involved more than 2,780
US fixed-wing aircraft, which flew more than 112,000 individual sorties. To support this
enormous undertaking, the USAF committed more than 1,300 aircraft (about half of the
Coalition total), the USMC about 240 aircraft (about nine percent of the total), and
Coalition partners more than 600 aircraft (about 25 percent of the total). The Navy deployed
six aircraft carriers to the theater, with more than 400 aircraft, or about 16 percent of the
Coalition total. (For more details on specific weapons systems, see Appendix T.)
Technological Revolution
Technological breakthroughs revolutionized air warfare. Because of its precision delivery
capability and low-observable, or stealth technology, planners assigned F-117As to attack
the most heavily defended, high-value, and hardened targets. Forty-two F-117As flew
approximately two percent of Coalition fixed-wing attack sorties, and struck about 40
percent of the strategic targets. This advanced technological capability allowed aircrews to
strike more targets using fewer aircraft.
The development and improvement of PGMs that use IR, electro-optical (EO),
electromagnetic radiation, or laser guidance, improved the effectiveness and efficiency of
air attacks. These technological breakthroughs, with improvements in such areas as
electronic warfare and C3I, combined to provide the Coalition an overwhelming air warfare
Tomahawk Land Attack Missile
Unmanned TLAMs attacked high value targets day and night, helping deprive the Iraqi
leadership of respite from attack, especially early in the air campaign. TLAMs were
launched by surface warships and submarines at targets 450 to 700 miles away.
Two types of TLAM were used during Operation Desert Storm: The conventional missile
with a unitary warhead (TLAM-C); and, a variant equipped with submunitions (TLAM-D).
The TLAM-C delivered single, 1,000-lb warheads. The TLAM-D dispensed up to 166
armor-piercing, fragmentation, or <pg 165 start> incendiary bomblets in 24 packages.
pg 165 chart/graph: Dedicated Scud Sorties/Scuds Launched. Chart shows Allied sorties
dedicated against Scud missiles from day 1 to day 43. Sorties flown vary from a low of 40
(day 3) to a high of 165 on day 5. Numbers of actual Scud launches also shown. Scud
launches on days 1 - 43 as follows: 1, 7, 4, 8, 1, 7, 5, 0, 10, 6, 0, 2, 0, 0, 1, 0, 3, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1,
0, 1, 0, 3, 0, 0, 5, 1, 4, 0, 0, 1, 0, 6, 0, 3, 3, 5, 0, 0, 0. Other key words: SRBM, short ranged
ballistic missile, SSM, surface-to-surface-missile.
pg 165 paragraph 2
By the war's end, the Navy had fired 288 TLAMs from 16 surface ships and two submarines
an important part of the air campaign. TLAM missions required no airborne aircraft
The GBU-28, a 4,700-lb deep-penetrator LGB, was not even in the early stages of research
when Kuwait was invaded. The USAF did not ask industry for ideas until the week after
combat operations started. Its rapid development and combat delivery were impressive.
The bomb was fabricated starting on 1 February, using surplus 8-inch artillery tubes. The
official go-ahead for the project was issued on 14 February, and explosives for the initial
units were hand-loaded by laboratory personnel into <pg 166 start> a bomb body that was
partially buried upright in the ground outside the laboratory in New York.
pg 166 paragraph 2
The first two units were delivered to the USAF on 16 and 17 February, and the first flight to
test the guidance software and fin configuration was conducted on 20 February. These tests
were successful and the program proceeded, with a contract let on 22 February. A sled test
on 26 February proved that the bomb could penetrate over 20 feet of concrete, while an
earlier flight test had demonstrated the bomb's ability to penetrate more than 100 feet of
earth. The first two operational bombs were delivered to the theater on 27 February and
were used in combat just before the cease-fire.
The Counter-Scud Effort
Long before the offensive, it was recognized that Saddam Hussein was likely to attack Israel
with Scuds in the event of hostilities. Accordingly, considerable thought was given to how
Israel could be protected from such attacks without Israel's own forces entering the war.
Although there was never any doubt about the willingness of Israel's highly capable forces
to take on this mission, the President realized this was precisely what Saddam Hussein
hoped to achieve. At a minimum, this almost certainly would have led to a war between
Israel and Jordan and allowed Saddam Hussein to change the complexion of the war from
the liberation of Kuwait to another Arab-Israeli conflict. It might easily have brought down
the government of Jordan and replaced it with a radical one. The Coalition's unity would be
tested severely, with potentially major repercussions.
Accordingly, the President directed that unprecedented steps be taken to persuade Israel not
to exercise its unquestioned right to respond to Iraqi attacks. A special, secure
communications link established between the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Israeli
Ministry of Defense (MOD) before the offensive began enabled immediate and frequent
contact between senior US and Israeli officials. Early warning of Iraqi Scud missile attacks
on this link gave the Israeli populace as much as five minutes to take shelter before missile
impact. The President offered and Israel agreed to accept four US Patriot batteries manned
with US troops which deployed from Europe in record time. Delivery of Israeli-manned
Patriot batteries was accelerated.
One air campaign target was Iraq's strategic offensive capability, including Scud production,
assembly and storage, and launch sites. The first counter-Scud missions were flown on
D-Day against fixed launch complexes and Scud support depots. By the third day of air
operations, attacks had begun on ballistic missile production and storage capability.
On the second day of Operation Desert Storm, Iraqi Scud missiles struck Tel Aviv and
Haifa, Israel. Seven people were slightly injured by broken glass, but the political and
emotional impact was tremendous. There was concern Saddam Hussein might use CW
against Israel. In fact, 11 trucks were observed departing the Samarra CW storage facility in
Iraq, heightening speculation about Iraqi CW preparations. Concern intensified that if the
Scud threat were left unchecked, Israel might be forced to strike back.
When Iraq launched another Scud attack on Tel Aviv on 19 January, the pressure to respond
was intense. A target intelligence officer assigned to the Black Hole identified what he
believed to be a Scud launch site and recommended that F-15Es, loaded with CBU-89s and
CBU-87s, strike the location. After this strike by the 4th TFW, which reported secondary
explosions, there was a break of 85 hours before the Iraqis launched a single Scud against
Israel, and more than five days before another mass launch.
The fourth day saw increased effort to locate, disrupt operations, and destroy mobile Scud
<pg 167 start> missiles. Many sorties were diverted or replanned from their intended
targets to hunt for and suppress the Scuds. Although the strategic target list included Scud
missile capabilities only as one of several higher priority target sets, Scud suppression
missions quickly took up an increasing share of air operations. Despite the poor weather
conditions that caused the cancellation of nearly 300 sorties on 20 January, the JFACC kept
planes on both air and ground alert for rapid response to Scud launches.
pg 167 paragraph 2
The Scud crews had several initial advantages. They fired from pre-surveyed launch
positions. Mobile erector launchers are only about as large as a medium-sized truck and
moved constantly. This enabled crews to set up relatively quickly, fire, and move before
Coalition forces could respond. The area of western Iraq from which the missiles that struck
Israel were launched is rugged, a good setting in which to conceal mobile launchers in
ravines, beneath highway underpasses, or in culverts.
Scud launchers could be reconfigured and moving within a few minutes after a launch.
Within 10 minutes after launch, a mobile Scud launcher could be anywhere within five
miles of the launch site. If the Iraqi Scud crew were given five more minutes, it could be
anywhere within nine miles of the launch point 12 miles if it traveled on a road.
Destruction of mobile Scud launchers depended on time the faster strike aircraft could
get to the target the better the chance of destroying the launcher. (See Appendix K and
Appendix T for additional discussion of Scud launch detection.)
pg 168 start
A considerable segment of the available intelligence-gathering capability was shifted to
counter-Scud operations, including reconnaissance aircraft (U-2/TR-1s and RF-4Cs).
Intelligence originally had estimated Iraq had 36 mobile Scud launchers, 33 of which were
believed operational. Ad hoc groups were formed to develop options to the seemingly
intractable problem of how to find and destroy Scuds. A special planning cell was set up in
the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, headed by a Joint Staff flag officer, to give the Israelis a
chance to analyze the available intelligence, and elicit their ideas. When one Scud hit a
residential section in Tel Aviv on 22 January, killing three Israelis and injuring dozens
more, the problem took on even greater urgency.
The next week saw an intense effort in western Iraq to eliminate the mobile Scud launchers.
B-52s bombed suspected Scud hide sites and support facilities at H-2 and H-3 airfields in
western Iraq during the day and at night. During the day, A-10s and F-16s patrolled the area;
at night, LANTIRN-equipped F-16s and F-15Es, and FLIR-equipped A-6Es took up the
task. Pilots often received target coordinates or patrol areas, based on the most up-to-date
information, as they headed out to the planes. Using Defense Support Program (DSP) early
warning information and other indications, CENTCOM directed aircraft to attack the
launchers. JSTARS helped detect and report destruction of several possible mobile
launchers north of the KTO on D+5. By D+10, the weather had cleared and A-10s joined in
what came to be called the Great Scud Hunt.
The Scud-hunting effort in southeast Iraq was similar to that in the west. The search area
was nearly as large, and the mobile Scud launchers were difficult to find. However,
Coalition tactics made it dangerous for Scud transporters, and any other vehicles, to move;
JSTARS and other surveillance assets alerted ground- and airborne-alert aircraft to
vehicular movement, resulting in rapid attack in many cases. Following Scud launches,
attack aircraft were concentrated in the launch area to search for and attack suspect vehicles.
By early February, the counter-Scud effort seemed to be having an effect, although no
destruction of mobile launchers had been confirmed. The daily CENTCOM chronology for
this period contains numerous entries such as, "one Scud launched towards Israel, no
damage," and "Patriots destroyed the only Scud launched at Saudi Arabia." As more
intelligence assets were brought to bear on the problem, specific Scud operating areas (Scud
boxes) were more clearly defined; Coalition striking power was concentrated there. On 19
February, Coalition aircraft began dropping CBU-89 area denial mines into suspected
operating areas, to hamper the launchers' mobility. A key element in this effort was small
SOF groups on the ground who provided vital information about the Scuds.
On 25 February, a Scud struck a barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 28 US soldiers
and wounding almost 100 more. When the war ended, intelligence analysis showed the
Iraqis had fired 88 modified Scuds, 42 towards Israel and 46 at Saudi Arabia and other
Persian Gulf states.
pg 169 start
Patriot Defender Missile Defense System
Scud ballistic missiles were the main weapon system with which Saddam Hussein took
significant offensive action against Coalition forces, and the only one to offer him a possible
opportunity, through the attacks on Israel, to achieve a strategic objective. Had they been
more accurate or able to penetrate more successfully, they might have inflicted serious
damage on military targets, including the large troop concentrations at Saudi ports at the
start of the war. The Army's Patriot Defender missile defense system not only helped defeat
the psychological threat of Iraq's Scuds, instilling a feeling of confidence in people in the
targeted areas, but also almost certainly reduced civilian casualties. Scud attacks resulted in
substantial property damage, including that caused by falling debris from the Patriots
themselves. (For additional discussion of Patriot, see Appendix T.)
The worst weather in at least 14 years (the time the USAF has kept records of Iraqi weather
patterns) was a factor during all phases of the war. Although no TLAM attack was canceled
by poor weather, approximately 15 percent of scheduled aircraft attack sorties during the
first 10 days were canceled because of poor visibility or low overcast sky conditions. Cloud
ceilings of 5,000 to 7,000 feet were common, especially during the ground campaign's last
few days. These conditions also had a negative effect on the ability to collect imagery and
hindered the BDA process.
Before the air campaign began, forecasters warned the Baghdad region's weather would
deteriorate the evening of 18 January as a frontal system moved into Iraq. A morning F-16
mission scheduled to strike the At-Taji Rocket Production Facility north of Baghdad, for
example, was diverted to an alternate target, the Ar-Rumaylah airfield, because of a solid
undercast. However, mission results could not be assessed for several days because of cloud
Weather and cloud cover also affected the delivery of LGB. Clouds could interfere with the
laser beam used to illuminate targets, causing the LGB to lose guidance. Since JFACC
directives required aircrews to avoid collateral damage, some aircraft returned to base with
their weapons.
The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) helped the JFACC plan the most
effective use of systems whose performance was affected by high humidity, fog, rain, and
low clouds. DMSP was so important the JFACC kept a light table next to his desk to review
the latest DMSP data, and the TACC waited for the latest DMSP images before finalizing
the daily ATO.
An example on 24 January illustrates DMSP's value. Two DMSP images, only an hour and
40 <pg 170 start> minutes apart, showed cloudy skies over Baghdad clearing while sunny
skies in Al-Basrah gave way to cloud cover. This type of timely, cloud cover assessment
allowed the JFACC to make adjustments in the MAP, and Coalition aircrews to make
tactical adjustments, in order to put more bombs on target.
pg 170 paragraph 2
Air Refueling
Aerial refueling was crucial throughout the crisis; the thousands of airlift missions to the
Gulf, and the hundreds of combat aircraft deployments, could not have been accomplished
without the KC-135s and KC-10s of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) tanker force.
Likewise, the air campaign could not have been conducted without the efforts of USAF
KC-135s and KC-10s, USMC KC-130s, Navy KA-6s and tanker-configured S-3s, Saudi
KE-3s, French KC-135s, and RAF Tristars and VC-10s. The single largest source of aerial
refueling support came from SAC's tanker fleet; by the end of the war, SAC had committed
46 KC-10s and 262 KC-135s to Operation Desert Storm. Most combat sorties Coalition
aircraft flew required one or more aerial refuelings. Navy, USMC, and other Coalition
tankers flew more than 4,000 sorties, while USAF tankers flew more than 15,000.
Approximately 16 percent of USAF tanker missions supported Navy or USMC aircraft.
The mission's importance cannot be described by merely reciting the numbers of sorties,
aircraft refueled, or gallons of fuel dispensed. The strike packages that hit Iraq on the first
night of the war were able to reach their targets only because of repeated aerial refuelings
going to and returning from their targets. The fighters that patrolled Iraqi airspace and kept
the Iraqi Air Force on the ground needed several refuelings. By themselves, most attack
aircraft are limited to a few hours' flight; with aerial refueling, their range and endurance is
limited only by crew stamina. Missions by bombers and attack aircraft, AWACS,
reconnaissance, EW, and special operations aircraft were either made possible or improved
by aerial refueling.
Scheduling and coordinating refueling support for attack aircraft were major tasks. At
JFACC headquarters, coordinating refueling was a separate event that took place after MAP
strike sortie planning was completed. AWACS and E-2s played a key role in air refueling,
but it was a major challenge. Initially, the air refueling plan was to have the tankers and
receivers <pg 171 start> operate almost independently, with AWACS providing limited
assistance, on request. However, this became unwieldy because of the large numbers of
tankers and receivers. Eventually, an AWACS weapons director was assigned full time
responsibility for tanker control. Also, the complexity of the air refueling task dictated that a
tanker liaison be added to the AWACS airborne command element team on one of the five
AWACS airborne at any given time.
pg 171 paragraph 2
One limiting factor for tanker operations was a lack of multipoint-equipped land-based
tankers, although quick flow procedures for cycling aircraft off a single boom worked
adequately in most cases. Airspace congestion also was a limiting factor. Strike package
size sometimes was constrained by the number of tankers that could be scheduled into the
heavily congested air refueling tracks. This was another Coalition air operation made more
efficient through the unity of effort provided by the JFACC and the ATO. That there were
no midair collisions between different packages was a tribute to the skill and
professionalism of Coalition aircrews and the firm control of available airspace.
The Red Sea battle force was allocated about twice as many tanker sorties as the Persian
Gulf battle force, because of greater flight distances to assigned targets and because initial
strike plans required two carriers to strike targets simultaneously from the Red Sea. Most
tankers used for these sorties were either KC-135Es or KC-135Rs. To increase availability
of refueling hoses, Navy KA-6 and specially equipped S-3s accompanied many KC-135
pg 171 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
On the afternoon of 17 January, two Air Force Reserve KC-135 tanker crews were orbiting
near the Iraqi border, awaiting post-strike refueling requirements. An E-3A advised that a
flight of four F-16s, some with battle damage and all low on fuel, were coming back from
deep in central Iraq and needed immediate assistance. The two KC-135E tankers turned
northwards into Iraq and towards the F-16s. Inside Iraqi airspace without fighter escort, and
lacking good intelligence on the possible antiaircraft artillery and surface-to-air missile
threat along the route, they located and joined up with the F-16s and provided enough fuel
for the safe recovery of one battle-damaged and three fuel-starved aircraft.
CENTAF After Action Reports
Processing large strike packages through the single-boom tankers was time consuming; <pg
172 start> by the time the last aircraft had refueled, the first aircraft had burned up much of
the fuel it had received. Tanking procedures evolved to include Navy organic tankers with
the strike packages; the Navy tankers refueled from the USAF single-point and RAF
multi-point tankers and helped refuel the rest of the strike package en route to the target.
pg 172 paragraph 2
Practice during Operation Desert Shield allowed other Services' pilots to become
accustomed to refueling from the large USAF tankers. During Operation Desert Storm, this
familiarity paid off, especially when tankers escorted attack aircraft over enemy territory to
extend their range.
pg 172 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"The many strike rehearsals flown by USS Kennedy and USS Saratoga really paid off that
first night. It went just like clockwork. We launched right on time at 0115; over 70 aircraft
from the two carriers. The Air Force tankers were right on time, on altitude and on speed.
We were really pumped up as we hit the tankers for that first drink heading north toward the
Iraqi border."
Red Sea Battle Force Air Wing Commander
Strike packages from the Persian Gulf carriers evolved away from a reliance on
ATO-scheduled tanking as the carriers moved north in the Gulf. The reduction in the range
to targets and the consequent shift to normal carrier launch and recovery operations on 4
February substantially decreased the requirement for land-based refueling aircraft. After the
fleet's arrival in the northernmost carrier operating areas on 14 February, Navy refueling
aircraft provided virtually all refueling for Persian Gulf naval air strikes.
The USMC maintained 20 KC-130 refuelers in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to support fighter,
attack, and helicopter missions. Usually operating in a cell of three to five aircraft, the
KC-130s refueled strike packages before and after missions in southern or central Iraq,
flying 1,271 missions.
Aerial refueling operations normally are conducted in a no- or low-threat area, for obvious
reasons. During Operation Desert Storm, however, Coalition tankers occasionally had to fly
over hostile territory to enable strike forces to reach their targets, or to prevent the loss of
fuel-starved Coalition aircraft. They flew over southern Iraq, for example, to refuel the
fighters flying barrier patrols between Iraq and Iran. An SA-8 SAM exploded above a JTF
Proven Force KC-135 tanker flying out of Incirlik.
pg 173 start
Aerial refueling coordination with carrier-based aircraft was complicated by two
requirements: JP-5 fuel which, because of its relatively high combustion temperature is used
aboard ships for safety considerations, and basket adapters to fit KC-135 tankers for probe
refueling. KC-10 tankers had the flexibility while airborne to refuel aircraft with either a
basket or boom configuration, but the KC-135 had to be configured with a basket adapter
before takeoff to refuel Navy, USMC, or most other Coalition aircraft.
Reconnaissance and Surveillance
Airborne reconnaissance and surveillance played a key role in Operations Desert Shield and
Desert Storm. The Coalition's ability to monitor and control the battle area confirmed the
Iraqis' ignorance of what Coalition forces were doing.
E-3B AWACS aircraft (among the first US assets to arrive in Saudi Arabia) maintained one
to three 24-hour surveillance orbits during Operation Desert Shield. For Operation Desert
Storm, this was expanded so the United States manned five orbits (four in Saudi Arabia and
one in Turkey) and the RSAF manned one to three. With these orbits, AWACS provided
comprehensive radar coverage 24 hours a day throughout the war. AWACS gave early
warning of Iraqi air attack or other Iraqi Air Force movements, and helped control
engagement of Iraqi aircraft. It also supported Coalition strike packages, and provided
airborne surveillance and threat warning for other airborne assets such as SOF and CSAR
U-2R and TR-1 aircraft provided valuable reconnaissance using a variety of sensors, and
satisfied imagery collection requirements that could not be met by other collection sources.
Initially, the aircraft remained over friendly territory but, when air supremacy was achieved,
missions began to fly over Iraq.
RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft was the first on-scene airborne reconnaissance system, flying
the first operational sortie enroute from Hellenikon Air Base, Greece, to Riyadh on 9
Naval electronic reconnaissance squadrons provided crucial support to Coalition forces
beginning 7 August.
The 3rd MAW also flew the Senior Warrior package aboard a USMC Reserve KC-130T in
support of MARCENT and the CENTCOM intelligence gathering effort.
Though still in development, CINCCENT requested E-8 JSTARS to be deployed in
mid-December to give Coalition forces a tactical edge in combat. JSTARS provided theater
commanders and other tactical users an NRT capability to locate and track moving ground
targets across a wide area and quickly relay this information to air and ground commanders.
The two JSTARS aircraft flew an 11-to-13 hour mission daily throughout Operation Desert
Storm, with all sorties taking off in late afternoon or early evening. The aircraft usually flew
in an eastern orbit just south of the KTO, where they were able to monitor ground activity.
They also operated from a western orbit in northern Saudi Arabia near the Iraq/Jordan
border to detect and track Scud launchers. An orbit in north central Saudi Arabia supported
the Army's XVIII Airborne Corps before and during the Offensive Ground Campaign.
JSTARS tasking for the air campaign was to locate and target high-value armor, army
forces, and resupply activity in the KTO (including the area encompassing the Republican
Guard and secondary echelon forces). JSTARS also was tasked to find and target Scud
locations, gather intelligence on the movement of forces within the KTO and eastern Iraq,
and validate targets for other weapons systems. For the ground campaign, JSTARS was
tasked to locate and <pg 174 start> target movement within the second echelon forces with
emphasis on the Republican Guard, provide intelligence on the movement of forces within
the KTO and eastern Iraq, and respond to immediate requests for support of engaged ground
pg 174 paragraph 2
The information JSTARS provided during the ground offensive allowed CINCCENT to
make key operational decisions at crucial moments. JSTARS found significant target
groups, such as convoys. JSTARS detected the Republican Guard movement and massive
retreats from Kuwait City during the ground offensive, which gave CINCCENT the
opportunity to press the attack and destroy the Iraqi forces while they were moving.
Navy E-2C aircraft were the first US airborne early warning (AEW) and C2 assets in theater.
They provided continuous AEW, and were deployed to Bahrain during Operation Desert
Shield to fill AWACS radar surveillance gaps. During Operation Desert Storm they
primarily operated off aircraft carriers.
The E-2C was crucial for carrier-based naval aviation it synthesized information,
analyzed and corrected battlefield problems, and provided a more complete picture for
strike leaders and warfare commanders. E-2Cs flew around the clock from carrier battle
groups in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, fusing tactical and strategic intelligence from
AWACS, Aegis, and other assets to produce a comprehensive picture of the KTO. Airborne
controllers provided tailored tactical control, intelligence filtering, and friendly forces
deconfliction, and improved the situational awareness for Navy strike groups as well as
other Coalition forces.
P-3 and S-3 aircraft made important contributions to maritime interception force operations,
antisurface warfare, strike support, and the counter-Scud campaign. The Navy and USMC
both used EA-6Bs to good effect.
Forward Operating Locations (FOLs) Forward Area Rearming and Refueling Points
Both the USMC and USAF attempted to base their primary attack assets at a home base, but
also operated from FOLs to get closer to the target areas. The USAF based its A-10s at King
Fahd International Airport in Saudi Arabia and operated from two FOLs, especially King
Khalid Military City, while the USMC AV-8Bs operated from King 'Abd Al-'Aziz Naval
Base as well as additional FOLs and forward area rearming and refueling points (FARP)
near the Kuwaiti-Saudi border.
Before G-Day, the USMC established FARP for both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft in
northern Saudi Arabia. These locations allowed quicker aircraft response times. Fixed-wing
sites were established at Al-Jubayl for F/A-18s and at Tanajib for AV-8Bs and OV-10s. The
assets needed to refuel, rearm, and provide normal maintenance were at these sites;
intelligence briefings and debriefings also were conducted. At Tanajib, an ARAMCO
facility 35 miles south of the Kuwaiti border, AV-8B operations began on 18 February.
AV-8Bs were able to rearm and refuel within 17 to 25 minutes and could reach the Kuwait
border in five to seven minutes. The FARP allowed AV-8B aircraft to range farther north,
without aerial refueling. These locations proved extremely valuable in attacking Iraqi troops
in the I MEF area. FARP also allowed returning pilots an additional base for low fuel and
other problems.
USMC rotary wing squadrons also deployed forward. AH-1s maintained a strip alert of four
aircraft at Ras Al-Mish'ab, 27 miles south of the Kuwaiti border, beginning on D-Day.
These aircraft responded to close-in fire support requests at Al-Khafji and during the ground
offensive. Helicopter squadrons also deployed to Tanajib on 2 February, and on 16 February
to a USMC expeditionary base in the desert, south of the "elbow," the bend in the <pg 175
start> Kuwaiti border. This base, which included an AM-2 matting air strip, was named
Lonesome Dove.
pg 175 paragraph 2
HUMINT Assistance to Targeting Process
Identifying military targets was difficult; however, information acquired by HUMINT
operations improved targeting and destruction of significant military facilities in Baghdad,
including the MOD and various communications nodes. In addition to blueprints and plans,
HUMINT sources provided detailed memory sketches and were able to pinpoint on maps
and photographs key locations, which subsequently were targeted.
Sources detailed the locations of bunkers underneath key facilities, including the Iraqi Air
Force headquarters, which was composed of several main buildings and five underground
bunkers, and the Iraqi practice of stringing coaxial communications cable under bridges
rather than under the river beds in Baghdad and southern Iraq. This information was the
deciding factor in the decision to target key bridges in Baghdad. Sources identified the
communications center in Baghdad; less than 12 hours later, this facility was destroyed.
Information obtained from EPWs also helped planners direct effective air attacks against
troops and logistics targets.
Battle Damage Assessment
While the intelligence support to CENTCOM was considered an overall success, the BDA
process was only a limited success. The following recounts some of the problems and
successes with BDA support for the air campaign (see Appendix C).
The BDA process at the theater level suffered from a lack of adequate systems, procedures,
and manpower and had difficulty trying to keep pace with the size, speed, and scope of the
air campaign. Not since Vietnam had the DOD Intelligence Community been faced with
such a large scale BDA challenge. With the beginning of Operation Desert Shield, DIA
began extensive preparations to provide BDA to CENTCOM. These preparations included
13 DIA-led end-to-end exercises of imagery dissemination, and training for DIA personnel,
as well as other participants. CENTCOM and its components took part in these
preparations; however, not all aspects of the BDA architecture, especially within theater,
were tested fully before Operation Desert Storm.
Further, the BDA process was not fully synchronized with the attack planning process. The
air operations tempo and the massive number of targets outstripped the established system
for collecting and reporting intelligence. This complicated the intelligence collection
strategy and generally delayed BDA analysis and reporting. Additionally, BDA primarily
relied on imagery and was severely hampered by bad weather. Even some of the better
imagery analysts had difficulty assessing degrees of damage for targets not catastrophically
Coupled with massive, fast-paced air attacks, it was difficult to provide aim point and
damage criteria specifics in the MAP and ATO. Instead, planners at the air wing level often
were forced to rely on cockpit video, pilot reports, and limited organic intelligence and
planning capabilities to choose the best attack options and aimpoints. Doing that required
access to recent target imagery and BDA information, which often were neither timely nor
adequate. At times, this led to unnecessary restrikes.
At the tactical level, few assets were available to collect BDA after artillery or air strikes.
Frustration at this level was increased by the competition at higher echelons for limited <pg
176 start> national intelligence collection assets. Further, communications down to the
tactical level often were not adequate to pass reconnaissance results. Moreover, the
disseminated BDA often was not useful to some tactical commanders. There was no system
specifically designed to provide feedback from the tactical user to the national level
pg 176 paragraph 2
Although BDA inputs from many different intelligence agencies were frequent and often
timely, fusion of the BDA at the theater level posed problems. Throughout the war, damage
assessment and intelligence information to support decisions to restrike particular targets
were piecemeal affairs, requiring individual users, whether on a carrier or in Riyadh, to
synthesize assessments independently.
The desire not to overstate operational accomplishments led to assessing damage based only
on what could be proven using imagery. In some cases, this seems to have precluded
making rapid judgments about what probably had been accomplished.
This practice did not serve well the needs of commanders operating under combat time
pressures. They could not wait for in-depth analysis; decisions had to be made based on
judgment. Consequently, planners were forced to make their own assessments of how
attacks were succeeding, and whether restrikes were needed. In addition, some agencies
doing BDA did not have some essential planning data, such as, the desired aimpoint,
weapon destruction information, the target list priority, or the desired damage level.
Finally, neither training doctrine nor training standards existed; consequently, damage
analysts were too few and not adequately trained to assess the effects of penetrating
weapons or special weapons which typically reveal little visible damage beyond the entry
The Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA) provided Checkmate with vulnerability analyses of
Iraqi underground facilities. These analyses were submitted in a report format designed as a
quick reference for attack planning. Requests for DNA assistance from Checkmate were
handled on a rapid reaction basis; DNA's assessments usually were provided directly to the
Checkmate staff within hours of the request. In addition, DNA received BDA data and
provided munitions effectiveness assessments to Checkmate and DIA to help CENTCOM
planning. (For additional assessment of BDA, see Appendix C.)
Ultimately CINCCENT relied upon a synergistic approach to determine BDA across the
board and within individual target categories. He meshed BDA assessments from DIA and
other national agencies and tactical reconnaissance (which tended to be conservative) with
mission reports (which tended to be inflated) and gun camera imagery to provide a balanced
assessment of the air campaign.
Space Systems
The war with Iraq was the first conflict in history to make comprehensive use of space
systems support. All of the following helped the Coalition's air, ground, and naval forces:
The DMSP weather satellites; US LANDSAT multi-spectral imagery satellites; the GPS;
DSP early warning satellites; the tactical receive, equipment and related applications
satellite broadcast; the Tactical Information Broadcast Service; as well as communications
satellites. Space systems communications played a central role in the effective use of
advanced weapon systems. (For more detailed discussion, see Appendices K and T.)
The largely featureless KTO terrain made precise electronic navigation crucial to many
missions and functions. GPS was used by TLAM launch platforms to obtain accurate <pg
177 start> firing positions; by artillery for accurate targeting; by aircraft for more precise
navigation; by SLAM for flight guidance; by minesweeping ships and helicopters to
maintain accurate sweep lanes; by Navy CSAR and USMC medical evacuation helicopters
to locate downed airmen or injured ground troops; and by many other units to provide grid
locations for navigation aids and radars.
pg 177 paragraph 2
DSP was the primary Scud launch detection system during Operation Desert Storm. The
DSP constellation and associated ground station processing provided crucial warning data
of Scud launches. This data was disseminated by a variety of means. The national military
command center used DSP data to provide military and civilian warning to Israel and the
Gulf states.
Civilian Casualties and Collateral Damage
From the beginning, Coalition objectives made a clear distinction between the regime and
the Iraqi populace the regime and its military capabilities were the target; the Iraqi people
were not.
Coalition planners followed stringent procedures to select and attack targets. Attack routes
were planned to minimize the results of errant ordnance; the norm was to use PGMs, rather
than less-accurate gravity weapons, in built-up or populated areas. Attack procedures
specified that if the pilot could not positively identify his target or was not confident the
weapon would guide properly (because of clouds, for example), he could not deliver that
weapon. Several attack sorties were forced to return with their bombs for this reason.
Coalition planners recognized not all weapons would perform in every case as designed
and, despite all efforts to prevent collateral damage, some would occur. Although the death
or injury of any civilian is regrettable, the apparently low number clearly reflects Coalition
efforts to minimize civilian casualties.
pg 177 map: SAM/AAA Threat, January 1991. Map shows SAM and AAA threat at five
locations and the total Iraqi air threat. Total Iraqi SAM/AAA threat information is as
follows: 3679 Missiles (does not include 6500 SA-7s, 400 SA-9s, 192 SA-13s, and 288 SA14s); 972 AAA Sites; 2404 Guns; and 6100 Mobile Guns.
At Mosul/Kirkuk there are a total of 122 Missiles, 39 AAA Sites, and 110 Guns. Major
individual weapons: 1 SA-2, 12 SA-3s, 0 SA-6s, 1 SA-8, 2 ROLANDs, 0 ZSU-23/4s, and 8
At H-2/H-3 there are a total of 90 Missiles, 138 AAA Sites, and 281 Guns. Major
individual weapons: 1 SA-2, 0 SA-3s, 6 SA-6s, 0 SA-8s, 6 ROLANDs, 0 ZSU-23/4s, and 3
At Tallil/Jalibah there are a total of 10 Missiles, 73 AAA Sites, and 180 Guns. Major
individual weapons: 1 SA-2, 0 SA-3s, 0 SA-6s, 0 SA-8s, 2 ROLANDs, 0 ZSU-23/4s, and 2
At Al-Basrah there are a total of 118 Missiles, 167 AAA Sites, and 442 Guns. Major
individual weapons: 2 SA-2s, 0 SA-3s, 8 SA-6s, 0 SA-8, 5 ROLANDs, 5 ZSU-23/4s, and
14 S-60s.
At Baghdad there are a total of 552 Missiles, 380 AAA Sites, and 1267 Guns. Major
individual weapons: 10 SA-2s, 16 SA-3s, 8 SA-6s, 15 SA-8s, 9 ROLANDs, 8 ZSU-23/4s,
and 10 S-60s. Note indicates that Baghdad is "more heavily defended than Murmansk.
Twice density of most heavily defended target in Eastern Europe."
Other key words: SAM OB, SAM order of battle, AAA OB, AAA order of battle,
antiaircraft artillery.
As discussed in Appendix O (The Role of Law of War), the problem of collateral civilian
casualties was worsened by Saddam Hussein's failure to carry out routine air raid
precautions to protect the civilian population and his conscious use of civilians to shield
military objectives from attack.
There is also a probability that some casualties occurred when unexploded Iraqi SAMs or
AAA fell back to earth. The often dense fire the Iraqis expended in attempts to shoot down
Coalition aircraft and cruise missiles almost certainly <pg 178 start> caused some
destruction on the ground from malfunctioning fuses or self-destruction features, as well as
the simple impact of spent rounds.
pg 178 paragraph 2
Aircraft Vulnerabilities to SAMs and AAA
All aircraft are vulnerable to radar-guided weapons unless the radar tracking system can be
denied crucial information such as altitude, heading, and speed. Coalition aircraft denied
much of this information through stealth, jamming or chaff, and attacks on the radar
systems (using bombs and missiles). Coalition aircraft also had to nullify the Iraqis' IR
tracking systems; this was more difficult because jet exhausts produce heat. IR sensors
cannot be jammed, but they can be defeated or fooled by flares the sensors detect.
The Coalition's aggressive SEAD defeated most Iraqi radar systems. This enabled Coalition
aircraft to conduct operations in the middle altitudes (about 15,000 feet) in relative safety
because they were less vulnerable to IR-guided SAMs or unguided AAA. One of the greater
dangers Coalition pilots faced was from IR- or EO-guided SAMs while they were flying at
relatively low altitudes, supporting Coalition ground forces. Although sortie rates were
relatively constant, approximately half of its fixed-wing combat losses occurred during
either the first week of Operation Desert Storm (17 aircraft), before enemy defenses had
been suppressed, or during the last week (eight aircraft), when aircraft were operating at
lower altitudes in the IR SAM threat region.
pg 178 chart/graph: Coalition Fixed-Wing Aircraft Losses By Week Beginning D-Day.
Coalition Fixed-Wing losses are as follows: 17 during week 1, 2 during week 2, 3 during
week 3, 2 during week 4, 6 during week 5, and 8 during week 8. Note: The numbers add
up to 38.
pg 178 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
On the last day of the war, an A-10 pilot from the 511th Tactical Fighter Squadron was
awaiting his next mission. Instead of an attack on the enemy, however, his last mission of
the war offered a sobering reminder of the cost of freedom. It is best told in his own words:
"As we're on our way out the door [to his plane], I overhear that there's a hog [A-10
Warthog] coming in with battle damage. He's been hit by an infrared surface-to-air missile
in the tail, and he's flying [with] no hydraulics. Tower asks if we would mind flying a CAP
over the airfield while he comes in, [so] we take off. We are overhead when he comes
across the threshold [the end of the runway]. He is lined up and everything looks good. All
of a sudden the aircraft hits the threshold very hard, all three gear collapse and shear out
from under him. The aircraft bounces about 40 to 50 feet into the air. It then rolls into the
wind, to the right. The flight lead starts yelling into the radio, and someone on the ground
yells for him to punch out. It is too late, though, he is probably unconscious from the hard
landing. The aircraft rolls and hits nose first. He didn't have a chance the aircraft
instantly goes up into a ball of flame . . . . We park our jets and go through debrief. Not
more than two words are said. The next day the war is over, and we have won a big victory.
Some have paid a higher price than others."
511 Tactical Fighter Squadron Unit History
Coalition Fixed-Wing Aircraft Combat Losses
Ten aircraft were lost during the final 10 days of the war (19 to 28 February), all in the
KTO. During this period, Coalition aircraft often <pg 179 start> operated at lower
altitudes, where the Iraqi defensive threat was still potent, to get below the prevalent bad
weather and to support the ground forces better. This not only exposed the aircrews to
battlefield defenses, such as hand-held IR SAMs that were not a threat at the middle
altitudes, but also reduced aircrew reaction time and ability to evade SAMs.
pg 179 paragraph 2
Operation Desert Storm validated the concept of a campaign in which air power, applied
precisely and nearly simultaneously against centers of gravity, significantly degraded enemy
capabilities. Air power degraded much of the Iraqi command structure, markedly reduced
military production, made the Iraqi Air Force ineffective, and significantly degraded the
overall combat effectiveness of the Iraqi army in the KTO.
The theater campaign strategy exploited wise investments, superior planning, people,
training, doctrine, and technology to achieve surprise.
Technology gave the Coalition a decisive edge. Stealth, PGMs, SEAD, C3I, air refueling,
reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft, space systems, night-fighting capabilities, tactical
ballistic missile defense systems, logistics systems, airlift and sealift, cruise missiles, attack
helicopters, remotely piloted vehicles, and flexible-basing aircraft made major
The revolutionary combination of stealth aircraft and PGMs allowed nearly simultaneous
attack against scores of targets across the theater. They enabled a relatively small number of
offensive assets to attack effectively many more targets than would have been possible
without stealth (which requires little airborne support) and PGMs (which require few
munitions to achieve the desired effect). Without these capabilities, the attacks would have
required many more sorties, and would have been much more costly. Many attacks would
have been impractical (because they would have caused too much collateral damage or
would have required too many assets) or impossible (because the desired level of damage
against pinpoint or hardened targets could not have been achieved with conventional
The TLAM played an important role in the air campaign as the only weapon system used
to attack central Baghdad in daylight. The cruise missile concept--incorporating an
unmanned, low-observable platform able to strike accurately at long distances--was
validated as a significant new instrument for future conflicts.
The JFACC concept was validated. JFACC planning, coordination, allocation, and tasking
of apportioned sorties and capabilities secured unity of effort.
Planning for air campaign levels of enemy force destruction, and crippling of enemy C3
and logistics generally was accurate, despite the unusually bad weather. NBC destruction
estimates suffered from incomplete target set information. Scud suppression, expected to be
difficult, proved very much so.
Mission capable maintenance rates were higher for most aircraft than peacetime rates,
despite harsh desert conditions, high sortie rates, and flight under combat conditions.
Despite difficulties with BDA, the NCA and Coalition commanders rated intelligence
support to Operation Desert Storm as the best for any war. Improvements always are
possible, but the intelligence and operations communities worked together, although
sometimes in nonsystematic, innovative ways, to produce careful targeting and successful
execution of massive air and ground campaigns.
pg 180 start
An ad hoc BDA system was developed using both objective (physical evidence) and
subjective (military judgment) analysis, to determine damage inflicted by air power to
strategic and operational targets.
Ad hoc cooperative efforts injected hardened target vulnerability expertise directly into the
real-time targeting process. However, Operation Desert Storm experience demonstrated that
such operations should be practiced to maximize effectiveness during future conflicts.
The lack of PGM capability on many US aircraft required planners to select
less-than-optimum attack options, such as delaying attacks or assigning multiple sorties
with non-precision munitions. Operation Desert Storm results argue that a higher percentage
of US attack aircraft should have PGM capability to increase the amount of target damage
that can be inflicted by a finite number of aircraft.There was no published joint guidance on
TLAM use. A joint TLAM strike-planning manual should be developed.
Operation Desert Storm highlighted the need for high resolution systems for capturing and
rapidly exploiting mission results to allow accurate and timely BDA. Many aircraft that flew
in the war had no system or a system that did not meet the BDA needs of a large-scale, rapid
war, in which air attacks generated most BDA requirements.
In the Persian Gulf War, some target sets, such as electrical power production, were more
heavily damaged than originally planned. As exceptions to the general targeting guidance to
minimize long-term damage, some electricity-producing facilities purposely were severely
damaged to ensure they remained unusable for the entire conflict. In some instances,
wing-level planners were not briefed adequately on air campaign objectives. For example,
JFACC planners had decided to target the switching systems at electrical power plants
because they are easier to repair than other plant facilities. Unfortunately, this direction was
not always passed to the units in the form of aimpoints in the ATO; this left some units to
select their own aimpoints. As a result, many generator halls--which are easier to strike, but
harder to repair--were damaged heavily. BDA limitations further complicated targeting.
BDA sometimes was slow to reach air planners and did not assess fully the effects of
modern munitions. Because disrupting electricity was time-crucial and considered vital to
protect aircrew lives and ensure mission accomplishment, and BDA might never provide
complete assessments of damage effects, commanders, based on the information available
at the time, sometimes directed additional attacks. In some cases, this resulted in additional
damage at facilities that apparently already were out of operation.
Although there were no ground-to-air or air-to-air losses caused by fire from friendly
forces, some air-to-ground fire from friendly forces took place during the air campaign. (See
Appendix M for discussion)
The lack of a tested, fully coordinated BDA system to support CENTCOM needs was a
VTR imagery was very useful in Operation Desert Storm for providing BDA of PGM
attacks. For the future, the resolution and overall capabilities of these sensors need to be
improved to handle a variety of weapon delivery tactics at different flight levels. VTR for
BDA should be provided to all attack aircraft. To obtain higher resolution, use of
low-light-level, high-definition TV should be considered along with IR systems.
The theater Commander-in-Chief has the key role in theater-level targeting, but this role is
not clearly defined in <pg 181 start> joint doctrine. This lack of definition caused
confusion and duplication. Ground force commanders expressed discontent with the
JFACC targeting process for not being responsive to pre-G-Day targeting nominations. On
the other hand, the JFACC targeting process reacted to CINCCENT direction regarding
priorities and maintenance of the overall deception plan. Difficulties were experienced in
nominating and validating targets. CINCCENT has recommended, for future major military
operations, the JFACC be staffed with personnel from all using as well as providing
Services. This issue will be addressed in the DOD joint doctrinal development process.
pg 181 paragraph 2
Before Operation Desert Shield, the USAF had already begun developing an upgraded
force management and planning system to replace CAFMS, which is relatively slow, and
not fully interoperable with the other Services. The Services are working together on an
interoperable follow-on system that will help shorten the ATO planning cycle.
Prudence dictates national defense planning assume future adversaries will be more adept,
better equipped, and more effective than Saddam Hussein.
Although the Coalition was able to take advantage of favorable environmental conditions
in this war, in the future, elimination of an adversary's stockpile of chemical and biological
weapons before deployment or use, with current conventional weapons inventories, is
Locating and destroying mobile missiles proved very difficult and required substantially
more resources than planned. This could be a more serious problem in the future against an
enemy with more accurate missiles or one who uses weapons of mass destruction.
More countries are expected to acquire ballistic missiles and will be prepared to use them
in future conflicts. Tomorrow's forces must be defended against the more advanced missiles
that soon will be found in some third world arsenals, perhaps armed with unconventional
warheads. Continual expansion of the threat, as illustrated by Iraqi Scud attacks, indicates
antiballistic missile defensive capabilities and counterforce location and targeting must be
It appears at least 15 Coalition aircraft were lost to AAA or IR SAMs. When aircraft
operated at lower altitudes to ensure target acquisition and destruction, they became more
vulnerable to IR SAMs and AAA. SEAD can reduce, but not eradicate, these threats. All
aircraft require improved protection. Possible improvements could come from automatic
warning systems to indicate to the pilot his aircraft is being targeted by IR-, EO-, or
radar-guided SAMs, and automatic defensive systems to react to the threat. Improved flares
also may help.
There is a need to field an all-weather reconnaissance system to provide NRT battlefield
intelligence and BDA at long range.
Future adversaries may be expected to invest in protective shelters and bunkers for aircraft
and C2 facilities. As other nations study the lessons of Operation Desert Storm, they may
see the importance of a more balanced approach to passive air defenses. Shelters may be
strengthened or facilities may be dispersed and made more mobile to avoid the increased
likelihood that fixed targets will be vulnerable to attack. Further development of
anti-hardened shelter weapons, methods for distinguishing decoys from targets, and
methods to react quickly to mobile targets, all remain important issues.
pg 181 end and chapter 6c end
pg 182 start
pg 183 start
The Navy benefited from years of operating experience in the harsh Middle East
environment. Because there were no permanent US bases in the area, forward- deployed
ships became increasingly important in the region. The Joint Task Force Middle East
(JTFME) ships operated daily in the Persian Gulf before 2 August, conducting training
exercises with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations, while their forward presence
protected shipping routes.
In addition to the JTFME surface combatants, the United States routinely maintained an
aircraft carrier battle group (CVBG) in the Indian Ocean. This battle group was tethered to
the Persian Gulf region, requiring it to be in a position ready to respond to a crisis within a
designated time period to support the National Command Authorities. As the Middle East
political climate changed, this tether was shortened when tensions rose and lengthened
during periods of stability.
The eight forward-deployed JTFME ships in the Persian Gulf, along with the USS
Independence (CV 62) CVBG in the Indian Ocean and the USS D. D. Eisenhower (CVN
69) CVBG in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, were the only sustainable US combat forces
nearby when Iraq invaded Kuwait. By 7 August, the Independence and Eisenhower battle
groups (and embarked air wings) were operating under Commander-in- Chief, Central
Command (CINCCENT) control. Eventually, the Persian Gulf conflict brought together the
largest naval force assembled in a single theater since World War II.
pg 183 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"We continued heavy operations out in the sea because we wanted the Iraqis to believe that
we were going to conduct a massive amphibious operation. The Iraqis thought that we were
going to take them head on into their most heavily defended area. We launched amphibious
feints and naval gunfire so they continued to think we were going to be attacking along the
coast, and therefore fixed their forces there. Our hope was that by fixing the forces in this
position and with a ground attack [from the south], we would basically keep the forces here
[in southern Kuwait] and they wouldn't know what was going on out in this area [west of
Kuwait]. We succeeded in that very well."
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
Commander-in-Chief, Central Command
This chapter first discusses the importance of sea control in Operations Desert Shield and
Desert Storm, and then reviews the planning and execution of Operation Desert Storm's
maritime campaign, which was conducted to support the theater campaign. In this report,
the maritime campaign is addressed by warfare area: antisurface warfare (ASUW), antiair
warfare (AAW), countermine warfare, naval gunfire support (NGFS), and amphibious
warfare. Each naval warfare area generally presents the specific Iraqi capabilities, followed
by a discussion of Coalition capabilities in that area, and then a chronological description of
significant operations. Also included is a discussion of the role US submarines played in
support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. This chapter concludes with a
maritime campaign summary followed by an observations section that lists significant
accomplishments, shortcomings, and issues. (Chapter IV discusses Maritime Interception
Operations (MIO) and Chapter VI discusses naval aviation's contributions to the air
pg 184 start
pg 184 chart: USS John F. Kennedy Carrier Battle Group. Battle Group components
shown as including: USS John F. Kennedy (Aircraft Carrier), USS San Jacinto and USS
Thomas S. Gates (Ticonderoga Class Aegis Cruisers), USS Mississippi (Virginia Class
Nuclear Powered Cruiser), USS Moosbrugger (Spruance Class Destroyer), USS Samuel B.
Roberts (O.H. Perry Class Frigate), and USS Seattle (Sacramento Class Combat Logistics
Force Ship). Aircraft on John F. Kennedy (Carrier Air Wing Three) include 22 F-14s, 24
A-7s, 13 A-6s, 3 KA-6s, 5 E-2s, 6 EA-6s, 8 S-3s, and 6 SH-3s. Other search words: JFK.
As the Coalition formed and plans were developed to restore the independence of Kuwait,
the Navy set about classic naval missions sea control and power projection. During the
Persian Gulf conflict, the United States deployed more than 165 ships, including six carrier
battle groups with embarked air wings, to the Persian Gulf, Arabian, Red, and eastern
Mediterranean Seas. Other Coalition nations deployed more than 65 ships to Southwest
Asia (SWA). As a result, the Coalition's control of the seas was never in question and naval
forces made significant contributions to operations against Iraq.
Sea control allowed the Coalition to isolate Iraq from outside support. Maritime
Interception Operations cut off Iraqi trade. In addition, sea control assured the free use of
the sea lines of communication for the deployment of Coalition forces. Sealift carried 95
percent of the cargo <pg 185 start> required for Operations Desert Shield and Storm. As
demonstrated during the Iran-Iraq War, mines, missile-firing patrol boats,
antiship-missile-firing aircraft, and land-based antiship missile systems were capable of
damaging and disrupting seaborne commerce. Without control of the sea and the airspace
over it, that cargo would have been at risk, slowing the deployment of forces and support
equipment, threatening US ability to charter foreign merchant vessels, and substantially
increasing shipping costs. Because Coalition naval forces controlled the seas, this sealift
effort was never challenged.
pg 185 paragraph 2
Control of the seas also permitted carrier battle groups to make maximum use of their
mobility. Mobility is one of the carrier battle group's greater advantages. The America
CVBG, initially used during the Strategic Air Campaign against targets in western Iraq,
moved from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf in early February. This redeployment
reinforced the Persian Gulf battle force's participation in tactical operations against Iraqi
forces in Kuwait. Similarly, repositioning the Persian Gulf battle force to operating areas
farther north reduced the range to targets, thereby increasing the sortie rate of aircraft flying
from those carriers. Mobility also made it possible to diversify attack axes against Iraq
(from the Red Sea, GCC states, and the Persian Gulf), and provided the Coalition aircraft
operating bases out of range of Iraq's short-range ballistic missile and chemical warfare
Establishing control over the Persian Gulf also prevented Iraq from mounting small-scale
surprise attacks against the coastlines of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE),
Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. During the Iran-Iraq War, both sides demonstrated the ability to
attack both ships in the Persian Gulf and coastal facilities. Thus, Coalition naval forces were
required to maintain constant vigilance against attacks from Iraq and Iran. At the same time,
naval forces in the Persian Gulf added depth to the air defenses protecting Gulf states and
the right flank of Coalition forces.
Finally, establishing sea control in the Gulf was an essential prerequisite to any amphibious
operations against the Iraqi left flank in Kuwait. Although an amphibious assault never
occurred, preparations for such an assault were part of the theater campaign's deception. The
threat of amphibious attack induced the Iraqis to fortify the coast, diverting manpower and
material from the area of the Coalition's actual assault.
The maritime campaign highlighted the crucial importance of the ability to:
- Take control of the sea and air, and to exploit that control to affect the course and outcome
of maritime operations, even in the enemy's own territory;
- Operate in coastal waters such as the Persian Gulf; and
- Insert forces ashore, possibly against opposition, and sustain combat operations.
Furthermore, the Persian Gulf War demonstrated once again that sea control is fundamental
to successful power projection, and revalidated the importance of maritime superiority to
US global leadership.
As plans were developed for offensive operations, additional strike forces were deployed to
the theater to augment forces already in place. This deployment of additional forces
permitted Naval Forces Component, Central Command (NAVCENT) to restructure the
command organization and form two carrier battle forces. Ultimately, six CVBGs were
merged into these battle forces. Initially, the USS Midway (CV 41), USS Ranger (CV 61),
and USS Theodore R. Roosevelt (CV 71) battle groups comprised the Persian Gulf Battle
Force, with Commander, Carrier Group <pg 186 start> (COMCARGRU) 5 aboard USS
Midway as battle force commander. The USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), USS Saratoga (CV
60), and USS America battle groups formed the Red Sea Battle Force, with COMCARGRU
2 aboard USS John F. Kennedy as commander. In February, USS America joined the
Persian Gulf battle force to provide more strike assets to support the anticipated ground
pg 186 chart: NAVCENT Operation Desert Storm Command Structure. Organizational
Chart elements include CINCCENT, NAVCENT (head), Persian Gulf Battle Force,
Mediterranean Strike Group, Red Sea Battle Force, Middle East Force, Amphibious Task
Force, NAVCENT Representative Riyadh, and the Logistics Supply Force.
pg 186 paragraph 2
In addition to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf battle forces, NAVCENT controlled other task
forces. The Commander, Middle East Force (CMEF) maintained operational control of the
extensive US Maritime Interception Force, as well as the US mine countermeasure (MCM)
forces and the Middle East Force surface combatant squadron in the Persian Gulf. The
amphibious task force (ATF), which included the Marine Corps (USMC) landing force
embarked in amphibious ships, also was under NAVCENT control. During some
operations, NAVCENT controlled the surface combatants and submarines in the
Mediterranean Strike Group. NAVCENT also coordinated with the Navy's Atlantic,
European, and Pacific fleets, which provided various forms of support (e.g., logistics,
communications, intelligence, and maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) assets) to Operations
Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
During Operation Desert Storm, NAVCENT exercised overall control of all warfare areas at
sea, with Navy air strikes against occupied Kuwait conducted under the Joint Force Air
Component Commander (JFACC) concept. NAVCENT assigned sea control and strike
warfare tasks to his battle force commanders. Amphibious warfare tasks were assigned to
the Commander, Amphibious Task Force (CATF) and the Commander, Landing Force
(CLF) which comprised the ATF. NAVCENT's naval forces at sea implemented command
and control (C2), for the most part, through the Navy's <pg 187 start> standardized
Composite Warfare Commander (CWC) concept. This concept embodies a basic
organizational structure, which enables the CWCs (who were the battle force and task force
commanders during Operation Desert Storm) to wage combat operations against air,
surface, and subsurface threats to accomplish primary missions (such as sea control, strike
warfare, or amphibious operations). During Operation Desert Storm, NAVCENT assigned
missions to the battle force and task force CWCs, who planned and directed the execution
of those missions.
pg 187 chart: Red Sea Battle Force CWC Organization. Organizational structure includes
the following: CWC (Commander Carrier Group 2), Antiair Warfare Commander
(Commander Cruiser Destroyer Group 8), Antisurface Warfare Commander (Commander
Cruiser Destroyer Group 2), Strike Warfare Commander (Commander Carrier Group 2),
Electronic Warfare Coordinator (Commander Carrier Group 2), Logistics Coordinator
(Commander Carrier Group 2), MIF Coordinator (Commander Destroyer Squadron 36),
Aircraft Resource Element Coordinator (CO, USS Kennedy), and Search and Rescue
Coordinator (CO, USS Kennedy). Note: see chart on previous page to see where the Red
Sea Battle Force fits into higher command structure.
pg 187 paragraph 2
To conduct combat operations, the CWC designates subordinate warfare commanders
within his command organization, who are responsible to the CWC for conducting strike
warfare, AAW, ASUW, and antisubmarine warfare (ASW). (ASW was not used in
Operation Desert Storm). The warfare commanders are responsible for collecting,
evaluating, and disseminating tactical information; executing assigned missions; and, at the
CWC's discretion, are delegated authority to respond to threats. A wide range of options
exist for the delegation of command authority to the warfare commanders. Regardless of the
amount of authority delegated, the CWC always retains the option to overrule his
subordinate commanders' decisions, if required.
The key pedestals of CINCCENT's theater campaign plan were the air campaign, the
ground campaign, and an amphibious invasion, which evolved into part of the theater
campaign's deception. In addition to supporting the air campaign, NAVCENT's other
primary objective was developing and maintaining this amphibious invasion capability.
Even though an amphibious invasion did not occur, the amphibious invasion threat had to
be credible to <pg 188 start> induce Iraq to commit a substantial part of its military forces
to defending against this threat. In addition to maintaining a well trained ATF, conducting
amphibious operations first required extensive efforts in ASUW, mine countermeasures
(MCM), and NGFS. Along with the amphibious invasion, NAVCENT was responsible for
defending the coastlines of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the adjoining
maritime areas. During the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq had demonstrated capabilities that could
threaten Coalition ports, such as Ad-Dammam and Al-Jubayl, as well as Coalition naval
forces operating in the Gulf.
pg 188 paragraph 2
To support CINCCENT's theater campaign plan, NAVCENT's major tasks during
Operation Desert Storm phases I and II (Strategic Air Campaign and Establishment of Air
Superiority over the Kuwait Theater of Operations (KTO)) were:
- Conduct the air campaign in accordance with the Air Tasking Order (ATO);
- Establish sea control and conduct MCM operations in the northern Persian Gulf; and
- Attack shore facilities that threaten naval operations.
During Phase III, battlefield preparations, NAVCENT was tasked to carry out phase I and II
tasks as well as attack Iraqi ground forces with aircraft and naval gunfire. During Phase IV,
the Offensive Ground Campaign, NAVCENT was to:
- Continue to carry out phase I, II, and III tasks;
- Conduct amphibious feints and demonstrations in the KTO; and
- Be prepared to conduct an amphibious assault to link up with Marine Corps Component,
Central Command (MARCENT) near Ash Shuaybah.
To accomplish these tasks, NAVCENT assigned the following primary missions to his
battle force commanders in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea:
- Conduct naval operations in defense of Coalition ground, air, and sea units;
- Support Maritime Interception Operations;
- Provide naval tactical aircraft and TLAM strikes against Iraqi forces and assets;
- Establish naval control of shipping in designated areas and provide air defense of the
Coalition sealift effort; and
- Coordinate and provide Combat Search and Rescue in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.
The Persian Gulf Battle Force also was directed to provide close air support and NGFS to
the ATF and Coalition ground forces as required. The Red Sea Battle Force also was tasked
to ensure the freedom of navigation of vital sea lines of communication such as the Bab
Al-Mandab Strait. NAVCENT directed the ATF to plan, prepare for, and conduct
amphibious operations.
ASUW played an important role in the liberation of Kuwait. While Coalition naval forces
continued MIO, the Navy, with assistance from the British Royal Navy, the Kuwaiti Navy,
and the Royal Saudi Naval Force (RSNF) destroyed the Iraqi Navy. By using an <pg 190
start> aggressive and offensive ASUW concept during Operation Desert Storm, Coalition
naval forces found and destroyed Iraqi naval vessels significantly beyond the range of
enemy antiship missiles.
Note: Text immediately above is from page 190.
pg 189 map: Iraqi and Kuwaiti Naval, Port, and Oil Facilities. Iraqi facilities as follows:
Two port facilities at Az Zubayr and Umm Qasr. Two naval bases at Al Basrah and Umm
Qasr. Two offshore oil terminals at Khawr Al-'Amaya and Mina Al-Bakr. Kuwaiti
facilities include port facilities at Kuwait City, Mina Al-Ahmadi and Ash-Shuaybah. One
offshore oil terminal, the Mina Al-Ahmadi Sea Island Terminal. One oil field in the Persian
Gulf, the Ad-Dawrah Oil Field.
pg 190 paragraph 2
The Iraqi Threat
The Iraqi Navy and Air Force antiship capabilities posed a threat to Coalition naval forces
in the Persian Gulf. The principal Iraqi port facilities and naval bases from which surface
combatants could operate were concentrated near Al-Basrah, along the banks of the Shatt
Al-'Arab, Iraq's only outlet to the Persian Gulf. Iraq also had the potential to use Kuwaiti
ports and facilities, as well as several oil platforms in the northern Persian Gulf, as bases for
small boat operations.
During the Iran-Iraq War, Iraqi F-1s conducted successful long range attacks against
southern Persian Gulf shipping. In the Persian Gulf conflict, the principal Iraqi naval
strength was its ability to conduct small scale, small boat operations, including missile
attacks, mine warfare, and terrorist attacks against shipping in the northern Persian Gulf.
The 13 Iraqi missile boats posed another lethal threat to Coalition naval forces and shipping.
Iraq's missile boat inventory consisted of seven ex-Soviet Osa missile boats carrying Styx
missiles (maximum range of 42 miles), five captured Kuwaiti TNC-45 and one FPB-57
missile boats carrying Exocet missiles (maximum range of 96 miles). This ASUW
capability was used successfully during the Iran-Iraq War against at least one Iranian
combatant and several merchant ships in the northern Persian Gulf. The rest of the
approximately 165 Iraqi naval vessels were mostly small patrol boats, supplemented by
minelaying boats and other specialized craft, such as hovercraft, Polnocny class amphibious
tank landing ships, and auxiliary ships. The Iraqi Navy also operated one frigate, but this
vessel historically had been used as a training ship and was not assessed as a serious threat.
To minimize casualties, destruction of the Iraqi surface threat was considered a prerequisite
for moving the carrier battle force in the Gulf farther north to bring naval air power closer to
targets and to prepare for amphibious operations. Iraqi surface threats also had to be
eliminated to allow US and United Kingdom (UK) minesweepers and minehunting ships
unimpeded access into enemy waters to clear lanes through the Iraqi minefields for
amphibious operations or for NGFS. Other high-priority ASUW targets included land-based
Silkworm antiship cruise missile batteries (using an active seeker with a 68-mile range),
surface-to-air missiles (SAM), and aircraft capable of launching air-to-surface missiles. At
the beginning of the conflict, Iraq had approximately 50 Silkworm missiles and seven
ASUW Command and Control
The battle force ASUW commander was tasked with neutralizing Iraqi naval forces in the
northern Persian Gulf, as well as defending Coalition forces in the Persian Gulf and the
GCC states' coastlines. Ensuring adequate surveillance for offensive ASUW, fleet defense,
and coastal defense operations was a crucial concern of the Persian Gulf battle force ASUW
commander. Continuous coverage of the surface vessel traffic in the entire Gulf was
required and 24-mile exclusion zones for Iraqi combatants were established around each
carrier and combat logistics force operating area.
At first, ASUW operations were directed by Commander, Destroyer Squadron
(COMDESRON) 15 aboard USS Midway. In accordance with the maritime campaign plan,
the ASUW commander set out the following objectives: <pg 191 start>
- Maintain accurate surface surveillance in the Persian Gulf;
- Establish sea control;
- Support MIO; and
- Conduct offensive ASUW operations.
pg 191 paragraph 2
The ASUW commander appointed several subordinate ASUW commanders to control
specific operating areas and carry out these objectives. In the northern Persian Gulf, ASUW
operations were directed by COMDESRON 35 embarked in USS Leftwich (DD 984), while
the Commanding Officer of USS Wisconsin (BB 64) controlled the south/central Persian
Gulf operating areas. A Canadian naval commander was assigned as the subordinate
ASUW commander for the underway replenishment area and was responsible for protecting
Coalition combat logistics ships.
After USS Ranger's arrival in the Persian Gulf on 15 January, responsibility for ASUW in
the Persian Gulf shifted on 21 January to COMCARGRU 7, embarked in USS Ranger.
COMCARGRU 7 adopted a more aggressive plan to eliminate the Iraqi naval threat as
quickly as possible. To reflect this new offensive ASUW strategy, the ASUW objectives
were changed to:
- Destroy all Iraqi surface combatants and minelayers;
- Deny Iraq the use of oil platforms for military purposes;
- Move back Iraqi surface forces in the northern Persian Gulf from south to north; and
- Prevent attacks or threats against Coalition forces and countries in the Gulf.
This plan called for using armed surface reconnaissance aircraft (ASR), helicopters and
naval gunfire to achieve these goals.
COMCARGRU 7 continued to use local ASUW commanders, but modified the command
structure and operating areas. COMDESRON 7, embarked in USS P. F. Foster (DD 964),
became the northern Persian Gulf local ASUW commander and was primarily responsible
for conducting offensive operations against Iraqi naval forces. The Commanding Officer of
USS Ranger was the south/central Persian Gulf local ASUW commander and was tasked to
provide fleet defense of the Coalition naval forces. The Canadian naval force commander
remained in control of the underway replenishment area.
Coalition ASUW Capabilities
Assets used in ASUW operations included carrier-based aircraft (A-6E, F/A-18, F-14, and
S-3A/B), maritime patrol aircraft (P-3C and British Nimrod), ground-based Coalition
combat air patrol (CAP) aircraft (e.g., Canadian CF-18), helicopters (Navy SH-60B, British
Lynx, and Army OH-58D), and Coalition surface combatants. The following section briefly
describes these ASUW assets. Some assets, such as MPA and helicopters, were under the
ASUW commander's control. Other assets, such as strike, fighter, and E-2C airborne early
warning (AEW) aircraft, also were used by other warfare commanders, who coordinated the
use of these limited resources.
To increase the emphasis of offensive ASUW, the Persian Gulf battle force ASUW
commander began ASR and armed scout missions on 21 January. Carrier-based A-6 and
F/A-18 aircraft were used in ASR missions to search for and engage Iraqi surface vessels.
However, since A-6s and F/A-18s also were the primary Navy strike aircraft used in the air
campaign, ASR sorties were limited. S-3 aircraft conducted armed scout missions in the
central Gulf and provided surveillance when maritime patrol aircraft were unable to support
ASUW operations. S-3 aircraft actually engaged Iraqi naval forces twice during Operation
Desert Storm and destroyed one enemy patrol boat. F-14 aircraft were not specifically
launched for ASUW missions, but occasionally supported ASUW engagements when not
engaged during CAP missions.
pg 192 start
Surface surveillance in the northern Gulf was maintained by maritime patrol aircraft (MPA)
US P-3C from Masirah, and UK Nimrod aircraft from Seeb. These aircraft patrolled
specified search areas near the aircraft carriers and surface ships. P-3C and Nimrod aircraft,
which normally have a primary ASW mission, provided over-the-horizon (OTH) detection
of targets. The aircraft then were able to prioritize surface contacts so Coalition aircraft
could evaluate them efficiently. MPA also directed ASR aircraft to targets, and provided
battle damage assessments (BDA). About 66 percent of all ASUW engagements were
supported by MPA, primarily in the open Gulf south of Bubiyan Island. Engagements north
of Bubiyan Island usually were initiated by ASR aircraft against targets of opportunity.
pg 192 paragraph 2
The ASUW commander also used ground-based Coalition aircraft, such as Canadian
CF-18s, assigned to CAP duties over the Persian Gulf, to engage Iraqi naval vessels. Their
use depended on AAW mission priorities, aircraft availability, and whether the CAP was
within range of Iraqi surface combatants.
Helicopters were used extensively for ASUW operations. The battle force ASUW
commander normally had two to five British Lynx, 10 to 23 SH-60Bs , and four OH-58Ds
available for ASUW operations. The primary ASUW missions for the helicopters operating
in the northern Persian Gulf were mine surveillance, surface surveillance and tracking, oil
slick reconnaissance, and offensive ASUW engagements.
Mine surveillance was a primary helicopter mission until 23 January. Visual surveillance
was conducted over Coalition ship operating areas. Between 24 January and 4 February, the
primary mission of northern Gulf helicopters shifted to surface search, surveillance, and
tracking of Iraqi naval combatants. The helicopters were instructed to find and interdict
Iraqi patrol boats and minelayers, search oil platforms for evidence of Iraqi military activity,
and conduct quick reaction engagements against Iraqi surface vessels.
Coalition helicopters operating in the northern Persian Gulf participated extensively in
offensive ASUW engagements. These offensive operations most commonly used a tactic
which took advantage of the SH-60B's superior electronic surveillance measures and radar
capability and the British Lynx's radar-guided missile capability. The OH-58Ds were used
primarily against armed oil platforms and land targets.
Oil slick reconnaissance (i.e., monitoring the spread of oil spills caused by Iraq's
environmental terrorism) became the highest priority for northern Gulf helicopters
beginning 5 February. Helicopters were required to record on videotape the affected oil
terminals and the extent of sea contamination. This mission was conducted to help contain
the spreading oil slick, to report on the oil flow situation, and to document Iraq's use of oil
as an act of environmental terrorism.
In addition to the US and the GCC states' navies, surface combatants from Argentina,
Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the <pg 193 start> Netherlands, Norway, Spain,
and the United Kingdom (UK) participated in ASUW operations. Only US, UK, Kuwaiti,
and Saudi surface combatants were involved in offensive ASUW operations against the
Iraqi Navy. The GCC navies patrolled their coastal waters and defended Coalition facilities
near shore against possible surprise attacks by Iraqi special forces operating from small
boats. Other Coalition surface combatants provided fleet defense and protected the aircraft
carriers and combat logistics forces. For example, France placed one frigate under US
operational control on 15 February to carry out escort missions for the Coalition's combat
logistics ships; however it was not authorized to engage in offensive operations.
pg 193 paragraph 2
Destruction of the Iraqi Navy
The first ASUW strike occurred on 18 January when strike aircraft from USS Ranger and
USS Midway engaged and damaged two Iraqi gunboats, including an unconfirmed TNC-45
class missile boat, as well as a Sawahil class service craft supporting Iraqi forces operating
from oil platforms.
Also on 18 January, several strike aircraft flying over the northern Gulf reported taking fire
from Iraqi forces on oil platforms in the Ad-Dawrah offshore oil field, about 40 miles off of
the Kuwaiti coast. The field's 11 oil rigs were along approach and departure routes used by
Coalition aircraft to strike targets in Iraq. Nine platforms were believed to be occupied by
Iraqi troops, who also were using them to spy on Coalition ship and aircraft movements.
USS Nicholas (FFG 47) and embarked OH-58Ds, scouted the oil field and identified targets.
That night, within range of Iraqi Silkworm missiles and near Iraqi combatant ships and
aircraft armed with Exocet antiship missiles, USS Nicholas and the Kuwaiti fast attack craft
Istiqlal (P5702) conducted the first surface engagement of the war. Masked by darkness and
emitting no electronic transmissions, USS Nicholas approached the platforms from the
south. Over the horizon, the helicopter pilots, wearing night-vision devices, readied
air-to-surface missiles. Flying low, the OH-58Ds, along with a Royal Navy Lynx helicopter
and USS Nicholas' SH-60B, reached the targets two platforms believed to be heavily
armed and out of range of USS Nicholas' 76-mm gun. The OH-58D and Lynx helicopters
attacked the platform with guided missiles. As an ammunition stockpile on the platform
exploded, six Iraqi soldiers attempted to escape by using a Zodiac rubber boat. Istiqlal later
captured them.
Soon after the helicopter attack, USS Nicholas and Istiqlal shelled nine of the 11 armed
platforms to destroy remaining fortifications. The Coalition forces then picked up 23 Iraqis
and landed a SEAL platoon on the platforms. Upon inspection, caches of shoulder-fired
SAMs and a long range radio were discovered. The operation successfully removed a SAM
threat to Coalition air forces, destroyed Iraqi surveillance posts, and captured the first enemy
prisoners of war (EPWs) in Operation Desert Storm.
In an attempt to isolate Iraqi naval combatants in the northern Persian Gulf from the port
facilities and naval bases at Al-Basrah, Az-Zubayr, and Umm Qasr (and to prevent more
Iraqi vessels from leaving these bases), a mining operation was conducted 18 January at the
mouth of the Khawr Az-Zubayr river. The entrance to this river is on the Iraqi-Kuwaiti
border northwest of Bubiyan Island. Iraqi naval vessels which used this waterway were
mostly fast patrol boats similar in size to a Soviet Osa class patrol boat. The mission
involved 18 aircraft from USS Ranger, including four A-6s carrying Mark 36 Destructor
mines. Forty-two of the 48 mines were successfully dropped on four separate locations. Six
mines on one aircraft failed to release and the aircraft diverted to Shaikh Isa, Bahrain, to
download the ordnance before returning to USS Ranger. One A-6 <pg 194 start> was shot
down during the mission. Because no BDA was available, it was not possible to determine
the effectiveness of the mining.
pg 194 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"The high point for me was when I saw the Kuwaiti flag flying over its own territory."
Commanding Officer, USS Curts
pg 194 paragraph 2
On the night of 22 January, a P-3C detected and tracked an Iraqi tanker carrying a
hovercraft. The Iraqi merchant vessel had been conducting electronic warfare operations
and was thought to be supporting small boats operating in the area. It also was suspected of
carrying refined fuel, which could be used to ignite a crude oil spill. A-6s from USS Midway
attacked the tanker as the hovercraft launched from the ship and took cover near the Mina
Al-Bakr oil terminal. An A-6 then flushed the hovercraft away from the oil terminal and
sank it with Rockeye cluster bombs.
After these initial actions in the northern Gulf and the capture of the Ad-Dawrah oil
platforms, the pace of ASUW operations accelerated. On 24 January, A-6s from USS
Theodore R. Roosevelt destroyed an Iraqi minelayer and another patrol boat. Also on 24
January, the Saudi Arabian patrol boat Faisal (517) launched a Harpoon surface-to-surface
missile against a reported Iraqi utility craft with unknown results. Near Qaruh Island, a
second enemy minelayer, attempting to evade an A-6E, sank after hitting one of its own
Around noon on 24 January, OH-58Ds operating from USS Curts (FFG 38) attempted to
rescue 22 Iraqis from the minelayer sunk near Qaruh Island. As the helicopters assisted the
survivors, Iraqi forces on the island fired on the helicopters. The helicopters returned fire,
and USS Curts maneuvered closer to the island and attacked the positions with 76-mm
guns, beginning a six-hour operation to retake the first parcel of Kuwaiti territory. SEALs
from Naval Special Warfare Group 1 landed on Qaruh aboard helicopters from USS
Leftwich. With USS Nicholas and USS Curts covering the island, the SEALs reclaimed the
island and raised the Kuwaiti flag. The Coalition forces captured 67 EPWs during the battle
and obtained intelligence about Iraqi minefields in the area.
Although several Iraqi vessels were engaged before 24 January, the missile boats remained
operational. As early as 27 January, the ASUW commander expressed concern that Iraqi
naval forces might seek safe haven in Iran, just as the Iraqi air force had attempted.
Surveillance regions for maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters, and ships were established to
intercept fleeing ships. Coalition ships and aircraft were positioned along the northwest
Persian Gulf <pg 195 start> coast to detect Iraqi vessels leaving ports in Kuwait and Iraq.
A barrier of ships and aircraft also was set up along the eastern coast of the Persian Gulf to
intercept any Iraqi missile boats moving along the coastline under cover of merchant
pg 195 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
On the night of 29 January, a moonless night with restricted visibility caused by weather
and oil fires, an A-6E on an armed surface reconnaissance mission located four suspicious
vessels south of Al-Faw Peninsula. With their lights out, the vessels were headed toward
Iranian coastal waters. The antisurface warfare commander assigned tactical control of the
A-6 to an E-2C, which was in the area on an early warning mission. The vessels were
identified as patrol boats, but their nationality could not be determined immediately. Several
navies operated small boats in the northern Gulf so suspected enemy vessels had to be
identified positively before they could be engaged. Time was crucial to prevent Iraqi vessels
from escaping to Iran, but fire from friendly forces, or an international incident involving
Iran, had to be prevented.
Using available intelligence, the E-2C positively identified the vessels as hostile and
authorized the A-6 to attack. The A-6 dropped a 500-lb laser-guided bomb (LGB) and
guided it to a direct hit on the leading vessel. The other Iraqi boats scattered, but the A-6
continued to attack, dropping another bomb on a second boat. The second direct hit
destroyed the superstructure and caused the boat to go dead in the water. Meanwhile the
E-2C located an F/A-18 to assist in the attack and directed it to the targets. The A-6E
teamed with the F/A-18 to guide a 500-lb LGB dropped by the F/A-18 to a direct hit on the
third boat. By this time both aircraft had expended their ordnance and the fourth Iraqi patrol
boat continued its escape to Iran.
The E-2C contacted fighter control which released two Canadian CF-18 on CAP that had
just completed refueling from a tanker. The E-2C assumed tactical control of the Canadian
aircraft and directed them to the last gunboat. Since the CF-18s were configured for a
combat air patrol mission, they did not have any bombs, but attacked the Iraqi gunboat with
strafing runs using 20-mm guns. Three Iraqi patrol boats were found capsized (a FPB-53,
FPB-70, and a TNC-45). The fourth Iraqi vessel, an Osa patrol boat, later was located in an
Iranian port with substantial strafing damage to its superstructure.
pg 195 paragraph 2
On 29 January, Royal Air Force Jaguars detected 15 Iraqi fast patrol boats attempting to
move from Ras Al-Qul'ayah to Mina Al-Saud as part of an apparent combined operation to
attack the port of Ras Al-Khafji. Lynx helicopters from HMS Gloucester (D 96), Cardiff (D
108), and Brazen (F 91) located and engaged the Iraqi boats with Sea Skua missiles, leaving
two sunk or damaged, and scattered the rest of the flotilla. Coalition aircraft then sank or
severely damaged 10 more of the 15 small boats.
The next day, a large force of Iraqi combatants based at Az-Zubayr and Umm Qasr
attempted to flee to Iran, but was detected and engaged by Coalition forces near Bubiyan
Island in what was later called "the Battle of Bubiyan." This battle lasted 13 hours and
ended with the destruction of the Iraqi Navy. With P-3Cs providing target locations,
helicopters, ASR aircraft on alert, and other aircraft diverted from strike and CAP missions
conducted 21 engagements against Iraqi surface combatants. By the end of the Battle of
Bubiyan, one FPB-57 missile boat and two TNC-45 missile boats were heavily damaged.
An additional three Osa missile boats and possibly a third TNC-45 were damaged. Three
Polnocny amphibious ships were damaged, two of them heavily, along with one T-43
minesweeper. Only two damaged ships, an Osa II missile boat and a Polnocny amphibious
ship escaped to Iranian waters.
pg 195 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"With the burning Polnocny combatant only a mile away, the EPWs were searched and
hoisted aboard the helos. Each helo picked up 10 EPWs with the mission completed well
after dark."
Pilot, HS-12, CVW-5, USS Midway
On 31 January, Coalition helicopters captured 20 EPWs on the Mina Al-Bakr oil platform
after the Iraqis fled a sinking Iraqi Polnocny class amphibious ship, which had been laying
mines when Coalition aircraft attacked. During that operation, a Lynx helicopter severely
damaged <pg 196 start> an Iraqi TNC-45 combatant attempting to prevent the capture.
pg 196 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"We could identify the speed boat between Bubiyan Island and Iran. As the two Mk 82
500-lb bombs came off the aircraft, I quickly broke left and pumped out several flares in our
defense. We realized that we had become the first Viking crew to sink a surface boat in
Pilot, VS-24, CVW-8, USS Theodore Roosevelt
pg 196 paragraph 2
The Battle of Bubiyan and further air strikes against Iraqi port facilities essentially
eliminated the Iraqi surface threat to Coalition shipping in the Gulf. By 2 February, all 13
Iraqi surface craft capable of delivering antiship missiles had been destroyed or disabled,
and the Iraqi naval force was considered combat ineffective. NAVCENT declared Coalition
sea control of the northern Persian Gulf on 8 February. Thereafter, the remaining Iraqi naval
units conducted only minor, isolated operations at sea, and these vessels were engaged by
Coalition aircraft. For example, after 8 February, five Iraqi vessels were engaged by Royal
Navy Lynx helicopters.
pg 196 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Antisurface Warfare Results
-------------------------------- 143 Iraqi Naval Vessels Destroyed/Damaged
11 Antiship Missile Boats Destroyed
2 Antiship Boats Disabled
3 Polnocny Class Amphibious Ships Destroyed
1 Ibn Khaldun Frigate Destroyed
1 Bogomol PCF Patrol Boat Destroyed
116 Small Patrol Boats and Auxilaries Destroyed/Damaged
9 Minelayers Destroyed
- All Iraqi Naval Bases/Ports Significantly Damaged
- All Northern Persian Gulf Oil Platforms Searched and Secured
- No Attacks by Iraqi Surface Vessels Against Coalition Forces
On 16 February, an SH-60B helicopter from USS P. F. Foster located an Iraqi patrol boat
operating with an Iraqi merchant ship and directed the Kuwaiti patrol boat Istiqlal to the
target. Istiqlal fired an Exocet missile and its 76-mm gun against the patrol boat, causing an
explosion and unknown damage.
ASUW forces also attacked land-based Silkworm antiship missile sites, which threatened
Coalition naval forces. On 18 February, USS Jarrett's (FFG 33) SH-60B directed two
OH-58Ds to a suspected Silkworm missile site on Faylaka Island. The OH-58Ds fired
Hellfire missiles and reportedly destroyed a launcher.
On 20 February, the crew of a Navy S-3 aircraft from USS T. R. Roosevelt, but under the
tactical control of USS Valley Forge (CG 50) engaged and destroyed an Iraqi gunboat with
three 500-lb bombs, becoming the first S-3 crew to sink a hostile surface vessel in combat.
By using an offensive ASUW concept, Coalition naval forces found and destroyed Iraqi
naval vessels well beyond the range of enemy antiship missiles. Carrier-based aircraft
attacked and damaged many Iraqi ships while they were still alongside piers in Iraqi naval
bases and port facilities. This ASUW strategy resulted in the destruction of, or damage to
143 Iraqi naval vessels. ASUW operations also extended beyond the destruction of naval
vessels, attacking other threats to Coalition naval forces such as armed oil platforms and
Silkworm antiship missile sites along the Kuwaiti and Iraqi coastlines.
The limited reaction times caused by the relatively short distances between Iraqi airfields
and Coalition naval forces made it necessary to rely primarily on airborne,
forward-positioned CAPs instead of deck-launched or ground-launched interceptors.
Although both the <pg 197 start> Red Sea battle force and Persian gulf battle force
conducted AAW operations during Operation Desert Storm, this discussion focuses
primarily on Persian Gulf operations. The relatively constrained Persian Gulf airspace
resulted in using CAP aircraft in small, fixed operating areas. This geographical limit and
the requirement for positive target identification before engagement prevented the use of
standard fleet air defense tactics, including long-range indication and warning, layered air
and SAM defenses, and beyond-visual-range engagements. Instead, fixed CAP stations
were established in the central and northern Persian Gulf; these stations were manned 24
hours a day and were designed to respond quickly to an Iraqi air raid.
pg 197 paragraph 2
The Iraqi Threat
The Coalition's AAW operations in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf were influenced by the
Iraqi antiship capabilities. During the Iran-Iraq War, Iraqi aircraft had used coordinated
long-range antiship missile attacks with in-flight refueling. Furthermore, during Operation
Desert Shield, Iraq practiced its antiship tactics in several large-scale exercises over Iraq and
the northern Persian Gulf. Iraq had four types of airborne antiship-capable platforms. Each
of the 32 strike-capable F-1 aircraft could fire two Exocet missiles. Iraq's four B-6D
long-range bomber aircraft carried air-launched Silkworm missiles. However, these
Chinese-made bombers were not deemed a significant threat because of their large size,
slow speed, and ineffective navigation equipment. Iraq also had 25 Su-24s, capable of
carrying the AS-7, 9, and 14 air-to-surface missiles, rockets, and laser-guided and general
purpose bombs. The Su-24 also had the potential to use a sophisticated electronic
countermeasure system. The French-built Super Frelon helicopter could launch two Exocet
missiles and had been used by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War in an antiship role before the
F-1 was introduced.
AAW Command and Control
Since cruisers had trained and performed routinely in the role of Battle Force AAW
commander, Aegis and New Threat Upgrade (NTU) cruisers were selected as AAW
commanders in both the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and USS
Worden (CG 18) alternated as AAW commander <pg 198 start> in the Persian Gulf. The
AAW commander's primary mission was to establish and maintain air superiority over the
Persian Gulf. To accomplish this mission, the following objectives were established:
- Maintain an extended air space surveillance over the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, and
northern Arabian Sea;
- Detect, identify, intercept, and engage or escort all hostile or unknown aircraft entering the
Persian Gulf battle force AAW surveillance area;
- Provide AAW protection for Coalition forces operating in the battle force surveillance
areas; and
- Establish air control and deconfliction procedures for Coalition air forces operating over
the Persian Gulf.
pg 198 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"Bunker Hill's control of more than 65,000 combat sorties with zero blue-on-blue [friendly]
engagements is a benchmark I doubt will ever be exceeded."
US Naval Surface Group Western Pacific Commander
pg 198 paragraph 2
Deconfliction involved distinguishing Coalition aircraft returning from missions over Iraq
from hostile aircraft possibly attempting surprise attacks against Coalition forces or GCC
states by trailing behind the returning Coalition aircraft.
Day-to-day AAW command and control were concerned mostly with the tasks of air control
and deconfliction. Air controllers kept track of hundreds of aircraft entering the Red Sea and
the northern Persian Gulf every day, including transiting Coalition strike aircraft, CAP,
airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft, tankers, ASUW aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft,
helicopters, and special mission aircraft. Coalition forces in the Persian Gulf shared AAW
information over a high frequency radio data link. This Persian Gulf data link was
interfaced with a larger, theater-wide data link, which included airborne warning and
control system (AWACS) aircraft and ground-based Coalition air defense sites.
US naval forces took primary responsibility for deconfliction and target identification over
the northern Persian Gulf, as well as the Red Sea. During the Persian Gulf Crisis, USS
Worden used the NTU combat system successfully to deconflict more than 15,000 Coalition
aircraft returning from missions, control 17 different types of US aircraft, and control the
CAP of six Coalition nations. Designated return corridors and flight profiles proved the key
methods to separate friendly aircraft from potentially hostile ones. These deconfliction
methods required returning Coalition aircraft to fly within specific altitude bands and speeds
along designated return corridors.
Coalition AAW Capabilities
AAW detection requirements in the Persian Gulf were particularly complex and demanding.
Substantial numbers of ships were dedicated partially or totally to AAW responsibilities.
For example, on 15 February, excluding the four aircraft carriers operating in the Gulf, 21
surface combatants, including six Aegis and three NTU cruisers and 12 US, UK, Australian,
Spanish, and Italian destroyers and frigates, were under the AAW commander's control for
AAW defense of Coalition naval forces. In addition to providing complete AAW
surveillance, radar picket ships controlled hundreds of aircraft and helicopters in multiple
warfare missions. For example, during the amphibious exercise Imminent Thunder, USS
Bunker Hill's Aegis combat system, operated by well-trained shipboard air controllers,
safely controlled more than 40 aircraft operating simultaneously in the amphibious objective
area. AAW ships also controlled Coalition CAP aircraft over the Persian Gulf and Red Sea.
The E-2C, an all-weather, carrier-based AEW and command and control aircraft, provided
<pg 199 start> AEW coverage, some CAP control, and relayed communications for
CVBGs in the northern and central Persian Gulf. At least one E-2C was kept airborne
continuously during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
pg 199 paragraph 2
Of the approximately 18,120 sorties flown by carrier-based aircraft during Operation Desert
Storm, about 21 percent were devoted to defensive counterair missions. Of these, 67 percent
were flown by F-14s and 33 percent were flown by F/A-18s. Canadian CF-18 squadrons
played an important role by manning one of the northern Persian Gulf CAP stations
continuously from early October until the start of the war and then supplementing those
stations through the end of hostilities.
Despite some degradation in performance because of weather and near-land operations, the
complementary capabilities of the air search radars in NTU and Aegis cruisers, and the E-2
AEW aircraft provided complete coverage of air contacts in the Persian Gulf. (Since the
E-2C was designed for open ocean operations, the aircraft's radar system experienced
expected reductions in detection because of land clutter and weather effects. This limitation
required the extensive use of surface platforms to ensure optimum airspace radar
Significant Persian Gulf AAW Operations
The only attempted airborne attack mounted by Iraqi aircraft against the Coalition occurred
on 24 January. Two Iraqi F-1s, on a mission against the oil production facility and port in
Ad-Dammam, Saudi Arabia, departed Iraqi airspace flying just to seaward of the Kuwaiti
coastline, the boundary between the USAF AWACS and fleet air defense responsibilities.
The AWACS aircraft directed four Saudi F-15s toward the incoming Iraqi F-1s and a Saudi
pilot successfully shot down the two F-1s, thus thwarting the Iraqi attack before missiles
were launched.
Only one actual antiair engagement against Iraqi missiles occurred during the hostilities. On
24 February, USS Missouri (BB 63), escorted by USS Jarrett and HMS Gloucester,
approached within 10 miles of the Kuwaiti coast to provide naval gunfire support (NGFS)
to advancing Coalition troops. As the battleship fired 16-inch guns in the early morning of
25 February, 10 USMC helicopters from USS Okinawa (LPH 3), along with the amphibious
landing ship USS Portland (LSD 37), conducted a night heliborne amphibious feint near the
Kuwaiti port of Ash Shuaybah.
Iraqis manning the Kuwait Silkworm missile sites reacted to the amphibious feint by firing
two antiship missiles towards the USS Missouri and her escorts. The first missile landed
between USS Missouri and USS Jarrett, possibly deceived by chaff fired by the two ships.
The second missile was detected on radar by HMS Gloucester leaving the coastline 21
miles to the west and heading for USS Missouri. HMS Gloucester's crew identified the
contact as a Silkworm missile, evaluated it as a direct threat to Coalition warships, and fired
two Sea Dart surface-to-air missiles, which destroyed it.
The Silkworm activity then was reported to an E-2C, which assumed responsibility for
coordinating an attack on the missile site. Using several intelligence assets, including an
EP-3, the site was located and strike aircraft were directed to the target. An A-6E, evading
heavy SAM and antiaircraft artillery activity near its target, dropped 12 Rockeye cluster
bombs. Initial BDA reported heavy smoke from the target and all indications of Silkworm
activity ceased. Later, reconnaissance confirmed the missile site's destruction.
The five months of Operation Desert Shield permitted Iraq to develop an extensive coastal
defense system in Kuwait. The Iraqi mine threat affected almost all naval operations during
the <pg 200 start> Persian Gulf Conflict. After Operation Desert Storm began, the
principal mission of Coalition MCM assets was to clear a path to the Kuwaiti coast for
NGFS and a possible amphibious landing.
pg 200 paragraph 2
The Iraqi Threat
The bulk of Iraq's mine inventory consisted of Iraqi reproductions of pre-World War I
designed Russian contact mines. However, it also included high-technology magnetic and
acoustic influence mines purchased from the Soviet Union and Italy. Specifically, Iraq had
11 types of mines including moored contact mines (e.g., the Myam, the Soviet M-08, and a
similar Iraqi-produced LUGM-145) and bottom acoustic influence mines (e.g., the Italian
Manta acoustic/magnetic mine, the Soviet KMD magnetic influence mine, the Soviet UDM
acoustic influence mine, and the Iraqi-produced Sigeel acoustic influence mine). Before
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Iraq was estimated to have 1,000 to 2,000
mines. After the cease fire, Iraq reported it had laid 1,167 mines during the conflict.
Iraq could deliver mines from surface and air platforms. Sea-based mine delivery platforms
ranged from mine rail-equipped minesweepers to landing craft, auxiliaries, and even small
boats. As Iran had demonstrated during the Iran-Iraq War, practically any surface vessel
could become a minelayer. Iraq's Super Frelon helicopter was assessed as its principal
airborne minelaying asset. Other possible air delivery platforms included Hip helicopters
and B-6 bombers.
Iraq's minelaying strategy seemed to focus on protecting its seaward flank from an
amphibious assault. Iraq apparently started laying mines in the northern Persian Gulf in late
November. The Iraqis used two principal methods of offshore mining operations. They laid
fields of moored and bottom mines and single mine lines to protect logistics sea lines of
communication and the Kuwaiti coast from amphibious assault. In addition, it appears the
Iraqis deliberately may have set some mines adrift in the Persian Gulf, perhaps so the mines
would drift in the southern currents and damage Coalition ships, or at least disrupt Coalition
naval operations. The first drifting mine was discovered by Royal Saudi MCM forces in the
Zuluf oil field on 21 December. Although it is possible some floating mines accidentally
broke free from their <pg 202 start> moorings, there is evidence (e.g., no mooring chains
and little marine growth or corrosion) that approximately 20 percent of the floating mines
recovered and destroyed by Coalition MCM forces were set adrift intentionally.
Note: Text immediately above is from page 202.
pg 201 map: Actual Iraqi Mine Fields. Mine lines and mine fields from 3 March Iraqi
disclosure. Map shows six mine fields in a rough perimeter around Kuwait. Distance from
shore is approximately from 5 to 50 miles. Inside of the mine fields and/or guarding the
northern flank are four separate mine lines.
pg 202 paragraph 2
Intelligence reports during the war indicated the Iraqis used small rubber boats, each
carrying a maximum of four mines, to deploy the drifting mines. These small boats operated
from Ras Al-Qul'ayah and probably set 20 mines adrift intentionally. After the Coalition's
success in neutralizing the Iraqi Air Force, the drifting mines were viewed as the primary
threat to Coalition naval vessels operating in the Gulf beyond antiship missile ranges. The
drifting mine threat was a considerable concern to the aircraft carriers operating in the Gulf.
The high-speed nature of the carrier flight operations reduced the effectiveness of mine
watches and helicopter searches.
MCM Command and Control
NAVCENT established a US MCM Group (USMCMG) early in Operation Desert Shield to
respond to the Iraqi mine threat. This group operated under Commander Middle East
Force's (CMEF) control. The staff assigned to the USMCMG commander were both
active-duty personnel from other naval commands and reservists. A British MCM force
joined with the USMCMG to conduct most MCM operations during Operation Desert
Storm. This British MCM group was under the operational control of the UK's Senior Naval
Officer Middle East, but tactical control was given to the USMCMG commander.
MCM planning initially focused on supporting an amphibious assault north of Ash
Shuaybah on the Kuwaiti coastline. CINCCENT made the final decision in early February
to cancel this amphibious assault and directed NAVCENT to concentrate on an amphibious
raid on Faylaka Island. MCM planning then shifted toward the new target. The mine
clearance areas required for the Faylaka Island raid at first included a full set of fire support
areas (FSA), a sea echelon area, and a cleared channel to the amphibious objective area.
MCM objectives later were reduced to providing a safe path for USS Missouri to position
herself off Faylaka Island to provide NGFS and present the Iraqis with credible indications
of an amphibious landing.
pg 203 start
Coalition MCM Capabilities
The US mine warfare concept was designed around a European war scenario which relied
on North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies to participate substantially in mine
warfare operations, especially in MCM. The Navy's MCM capabilities in the Persian Gulf
consisted of surface mine countermeasures (SMCM), aviation mine countermeasures
(AMCM), and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams. (Special Operations Forces also
were used for MCM operations and are discussed in Appendix J.) SMCM capabilities
included the newly commissioned USS Avenger (MCM 1) class MCM ship and three
30-year-old USS Aggressive and USS Acme (MSO 422 and 508) class minesweepers. The
AMCM capability <pg 204 start> consisted of six MH-53E AMCM helicopters. More than
20 US EOD teams and a 23-man Australian team also were deployed to neutralize or
destroy detected mines.
pg 204 paragraph 2
USS Avenger, the Navy's newest and most capable MCM ship, used the AN/SQQ-32 MCM
sonar, a sophisticated mine-hunting sonar, to detect moored and bottom mines in shallow or
deep waters. USS Avenger then used the AN/SLQ-48 mine neutralization system (MNS) to
locate, examine, and destroy the detected mines. The MNS consists of a remotely piloted
submersible vehicle equipped with sonar and two television cameras for locating mines,
explosives for neutralizing mines, and cable cutters for cutting the mooring so the mine
floats to the surface for destruction. The other US minesweepers used the AN/SQQ-14
MCM sonar to detect bottom and moored mines and mechanical minesweeping gear to cut
mine cables.
AMCM helicopters towed a cable with a mechanical cutting device through the water, to
cut a mine's mooring cable and release the mine to the surface. EOD teams or gunfire then
detonated the mine. The helicopters also used acoustic and magnetic MCM sleds, which
simulate a ship's propellers and magnetic signature to detonate influence mines.
pg 205 paragraph 2
The minesweepers USS Impervious (MSO 449), USS Adroit (MSO 509), USS Leader
(MSO 490), and the MCM ship USS Avenger arrived in the theater 30 September on the
Dutch heavy-lift ship Super Servant III. USS Adroit and USS Impervious were Naval
Reserve Force minesweepers, which deployed to the Gulf augmented by Reserve crews. On
7 October, the six MH-53E AMCM helicopters arrived by USAF C-5A airlift. USS Tripoli
(LPH 10), which had been part of the amphibious task force, was assigned to the
USMCMG as a support ship for the AMCM helicopters and as the USMCMG command
ship. The USMC landing force disembarked and offloaded its equipment as the USMCMG
staff embarked in USS Tripoli on 22 January. In addition, two UAE-flagged vessels, Vivi
and Celina, were contracted as support ships for EOD teams that accompanied the
USMCMG. These forces, along with the EOD teams, formed the USMCMG, based in Abu
Dhabi, UAE.
pg 205 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Commanding Officer, USS Princeton "The ship was steaming slowly, barely
maintaining steerageway in order to allow maximum reaction time if a mine was spotted. I
had just told the crew that we had to be especially cautious and be on the lookout for mines
because Tripoli had been hit just hours earlier. Just as I made that comment, the force of the
mine explosion under the stern lifted up the ship and caused a whiplash. We on the bridge
were moving up and down rapidly. We all grabbed on to something and tried to maintain
our footing. . . My immediate reaction was that we had hit a mine. But the fact that the ship
continued this violent motion for more than a second or two concerned me. I didn't expect
the violent motion to continue as long as it did. At this point, both the Boatswain's
Mate-of-the-Watch and I sounded General Quarters."
Two seconds after the mine exploded under the stern another mine exploded about 300
yards off the starboard bow. The combined effect of these two mines ripped the ship's
superstructure in two at the amidships quarterdeck.
"My first reaction was to notify someone else that we had struck a mine. We had to keep the
ship from sinking. Another immediate reaction was that this was what we had been
preparing for months. I had total confidence that my crew would do the right thing that
they would do what they had been trained to do."
"The first report that came in was about the injured people on the forecastle. Petty Officer . .
. was already there giving first aid to Petty Officer . . ., who was the most seriously injured.
Petty Officer . . . was standing right at the bullnose looking for mines when the blast went
off under the stern. Petty Officer . . . was thrown 10 feet into the air."
Near the ship's stern, where the most serious damage occurred, the firemain ruptured and
doused an electrical distribution switchboard, causing a major electrical fire hazard. The
switchboard was remotely isolated after the rupture was reported to Damage Control
Central. The mine blasts also ruptured fuel tanks, forcing damage control parties to work in
a mixture of fuel and water. Automatic sprinklers near the after 5-inch gun mount activated
which aggravated the ship's flooding problem. The crew installed and activated dewatering
systems within 10 minutes of the explosions and thus reduced the danger of both fire and
Loss of cooling water to electronic equipment, due to ruptured piping, disabled the ship's
combat systems. Damage control teams quickly isolated the ruptures and immediately
began emergency repairs to the cooling water systems.
"Within two hours the combat systems and combat information center teams had their
equipment back on line with the forward gun and missile systems ready to shoot. Princeton
reassumed duties as the local AAW commander and did not relinquish those duties until
relieved by USS Valley Forge."
"As the day wore on I was concerned about drifting around in the mine field. So I made the
decision to have the salvage ship, USS Beaufort, take us in tow since our maneuverability
was not good. Once under way, we moved slowly west with the minesweeper, USS Adroit,
leading us, searching for mines. USS Beaufort continued to twist and turn, pulling us
around the mines located by USS Adroit and marked by flares. Throughout the night, USS
Adroit continued to lay flares. Near early morning, having run out of flares, she began
marking the mines with chem-lights tied together. The teamwork of USS Adroit and USS
Beaufort was superb."
"I felt the life of my ship and my men were in the hands of this small minesweeper's
commanding officer and his crew. I directed USS Adroit to stay with us. I trusted him and I
didn't want to let him go until I was clear of the danger area. All of us on USS Princeton
owe a big debt to the officers and crew of USS Beaufort and USS Adroit. They were real
In addition to the US MCM assets, two other NATO countries and Saudi Arabia provided
SMCM ships during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The Royal Navy provided
the <pg 206 start> most SMCM assets to the Coalition MCM effort. The UK initially
deployed the Hunt Class mine hunters HMS Atherstone (M 38), HMS Cattistock (M31),
and HMS Hurworth (M 39), along with the support ship HMS Herald (AGSH 138). Later,
the mine hunters HMS Ledbury (M 30) and HMS Dulverton (M35) joined the MCM force.
This UK MCM group operated closely with the USMCMG in clearing Iraqi mines in the
northern Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. Belgium contributed two Tripartite
class mine hunters, Iris (M 920) and Myosotis (M 922), plus the support ship Zinnia (A
961). The Belgian MCM group operated mostly in the Gulf of Oman. Saudi Arabia's MCM
ships included the minesweepers Addriyah (MSC 412), Al Quysumah (MSC 414), Al
-Wadi'ah (MSC 416), and Safwa (MSC 418).
pg 206 paragraph 2
The SMCM and AMCM assets were responsible for clearing areas with water depths
greater than 10 meters. The Coalition's MCM force provided the ability to survey the
Persian Gulf open water areas, port approaches, harbors, potential amphibious objective
areas, and sea lines of communication. The MCM force also had the ability to detect and
counter all types of Iraqi bottom and moored mines.
MCM Operations
Before the start of Operation Desert Storm, the US ability to gather intelligence on Iraqi
minefield locations, or observe and counter Iraqi minelaying activity in international waters
(considered a hostile act under international law), was degraded by restrictions on naval and
air operations in the northern Persian Gulf. To avoid any possibility of provoking Iraqi
military action before Coalition defensive and later offensive preparations were complete,
CINCCENT restricted naval surface forces in the Gulf to operating south of the 27-30'N
parallel (approximately 72 miles south of the Kuwaiti-Saudi border) until early January.
Similar restrictions kept the flight paths of aircraft south of 27-45'N (approximately 55
miles south of the Kuwaiti-Saudi border) unless tactically required to exceed that limit.
Those restrictions precluded gathering intelligence on Iraqi mining activity and also
prevented NAVCENT from acting to deter or counter Iraqi forces from setting mines adrift
in the Gulf.
After the RSNF discovered the first drifting mine in December, the USMCMG found and
destroyed six drifting mines before Operation Desert Storm started. On 24 January, the
USMCMG left Abu Dhabi and conducted training and maintenance while enroute to its
designated MCM operating area in the northern Persian Gulf. On 14 February, the
oceanographic survey vessel HMS Herald and five Royal Navy mine hunters joined the
USMCMG. This task force started its MCM operations on 16 February, 60 miles east of the
Kuwaiti coast, working initially to clear a 15-mile long, 1,000 yard wide path to a 10-mile
by 3.5-mile FSA south of Faylaka Island.
While sweeping toward the shore of Faylaka Island on 17 February, the MCM force was
targeted by Iraqi Silkworm antiship missile fire control radars in Kuwait. The ships moved
out of the missile's range while Coalition forces located and attacked the radar site. With the
Silkworm missile threat diminished, the MCM forces began to move back to the previous
minesweeping areas at 0240 on 18 February. At 0435, after operating for 11 hours in an
undetected Iraqi minefield, USS Tripoli hit a moored contact mine in 30 meters of water.
The explosion ripped a 16 foot by 20 foot hole below the water line. As USS Avenger and
USS Leader attempted to assist the damaged warship, USS Princeton (CG 59), while
unknowingly heading along a line of Manta mines, continued to provide air defense for the
MCM Group. At 0715, USS Princeton actuated a Manta mine in 16 meters of water. A
sympathetic actuation of another mine about 350 yards from <pg 207 start> USS Princeton
occurred about three seconds later. These mine blasts caused substantial damage to USS
Princeton, including a cracked superstructure, severe deck buckling, and a damaged
propeller shaft and rudder. As damage control teams overcame fires and flooding aboard
USS Tripoli and USS Princeton, the minesweepers USS Impervious, USS Leader, and USS
Avenger searched for additional mines in the area. The minesweeper USS Adroit led the
salvage ship USS Beaufort (ATS 2) toward USS Princeton; USS Beaufort then towed the
damaged warship to safety.
pg 207 paragraph 2
USS Princeton restored her TLAM strike and Aegis AAW capabilities within two hours of
the mine strike and reassumed duties as the local AAW commander, providing air defense
for the Coalition MCM group for 30 additional hours until relieved. USS Tripoli was able to
continue her mission for several days before being relieved by USS Lasalle (AGF 3) and
USS New Orleans (LPH 11). The amphibious assault ship USS New Orleans detached from
the ATF and provided the flight deck for AMCM helicopters while the USMCMG staff
moved aboard USS Lasalle to continue coordinating the mine clearing operations. USS
Tripoli then proceeded to Bahrain for repair.
Charts and intelligence captured from Iraqi forces showed the minefield where USS Tripoli
and USS Princeton were hit was one of six in a 150-mile arc from Faylaka Island to the
Saudi-Kuwaiti border. Within the arc, there were four additional mine lines, with more than
1,000 mines laid before Operation Desert Storm began.
The initial intelligence assessment, based on limited knowledge of Iraqi minelaying
operations and on observations of the transit of an Iraqi merchant ship through the area, was
that the Iraqis had placed their minefields closer to the coast. As a result, Coalition MCM
forces initially passed through the outermost minefield and started MCM operations near a
second barrier of bottom mines. The USS Tripoli and USS Princeton incidents proved the
initial assumption incorrect. The Coalition forces revised the MCM plan, extended the
transit lanes 24 miles to the east, moved the MCM and NGFS task groups back out of the
Iraqi minefield to unmined areas, and then resumed MCM operations.
On 27 February, USS Avenger, using the AN/SQQ-32 MCM sonar, detected, classified and
marked a bottom influence mine similar to the type that had struck USS Princeton the
first bottom influence mine ever found intact during combat. Divers from EOD Mobile Unit
6 placed neutralizing charges and detonated the mine.
After the cease-fire, MCM assets from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the
Netherlands joined the MCM group. This MCM force swept paths to Kuwait's ports and
completed Persian Gulf mine clearing operations by 10 September 1991.
Impact of Iraq's Mine Warfare
Although the Iraqi minefields were not placed to maximize their effectiveness and many
mines were deployed improperly, mine warfare had a considerable effect on Coalition
maritime operations in the Persian Gulf. Kuwait's relatively short coastline, combined with
the large Iraqi mine inventory, caused the Coalition MCM forces to plan and conduct MCM
operations in support of an amphibious landing through dense minefields while vulnerable
to missile, artillery, and small boat attacks from fortified beaches. Considering hydrographic
and operational characteristics, an amphibious landing probably could only occur between
Kuwait City and Ras Al-Qul'ayah, along 30 miles of coastline.
Many deployed mines lacked sensors or batteries which prevented their proper operation.
During MCM operations, 95 percent of the <pg 208 start> UDM-type acoustic influence
mines were evaluated as inoperable. Several moored contact mines were recovered on the
bottom and apparently 13 percent of the moored mines broke away from their moorings.
However, even the poorly planned and improperly deployed minefields caused damage to
two combatants and were one of several reasons the amphibious invasion was not
conducted. (Other factors, such as collateral damage to Kuwait's infrastructure, risks to the
landing force, and lack of a MARCENT requirement for a coastal supply route, are
discussed in this chapter's Amphibious Warfare section.)
pg 208 paragraph 2
In addition to playing a major role in launching TLAM strikes against Iraq, the battleships
USS Wisconsin and USS Missouri contributed the firepower of 16-inch guns in support of
Coalition ground forces ashore. This NGFS marked the first time both battleships had fired
in combat since the Korean War. The 16-inch NGFS in Operation Desert Storm also may
have been an historical event the final combat operations of the battleship.
NGFS Missions
To defend against an amphibious landing by Coalition forces, Iraq had positioned a large
proportion of its troops and weapons along the Kuwaiti coastline. This positioning exposed
Iraqi forces to offshore naval gunfire; however, the combination of local hydrographic
features and the Iraqi mine threat precluded the effective use of the 5-inch gun against shore
targets; therefore the battleship's 16-inch gun was used primarily for NGFS. (The limited
water depths in the area held ships several miles off the coast, out of the 5-inch gun's
effective range, while the Iraqi mine threat prevented free movement of ships up and down
the coast).
pg 208 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"The USMC OV-10 observation aircraft spotted an Iraqi artillery post in southern Kuwait
that had been harassing Coalition troops in Saudi Arabia. The plane relayed the coordinates
to USS Wisconsin which silenced the enemy emplacement with 16-inch shells. The
emplacement was hit at an estimated range of 19 miles from USS Wisconsin. After the
shelling the pilot of the OV-10 reported back, 'Artillery destroyed.'"
Intelligence Officer, USS Wisconsin
NGFS missions were allocated to both amphibious forces and ground forces and were
divided into four major target areas: the Kuwait-Saudi Arabia border area, the Ras
Al-Qul'ayah area, the area north of Ash Shuaybah, and Faylaka Island. At the start of the
theater campaign's battlefield preparation phase, neither battleship provided NGFS because
of the mine threat and navigational hazards off the Kuwaiti coast. After the battle of Ras
Al-Khafji, at least one battleship was stationed off the coast <pg 209 start> of Ras
Al-Khafji at FSA RK2 from 4 to 9 February. Until the start of the ground offensive, the
battleships were on seven-hour alert to MARCENT requests for fire support. During the
ground offensive, the theater campaign plan required at least one battleship to provide
NGFS to the Commander, Joint Forces Command-East (JFC-E) and MARCENT.
pg 209 map: Battleship Fire Support and Target Areas. Map of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and
the Persian Gulf shows three major separate naval fire support areas. Some of these are
subdivided into smaller areas. Four major target areas for battleship gunfire in Kuwait are
also depicted. The northernmost is Faylaka Island. The other three are along the coast and
to the south of Kuwait City. Other search words: SEA/sea echelon area, FSA/fire support
area, RK, NGFS, naval gunfire support.
pg 209 paragraph 2
During Operation Desert Storm, battleship <pg 210 start> NGFS missions were generated
in three ways: pre-arranged fires, self-determined targets of opportunity, and fires called for
by ground forces. Before 15 February, NGFS missions focused more on command, control,
and communications (C3) facilities, radar sites, and electronic warfare sites. Once the
ground offensive began, the focus shifted to artillery positions, mortar batteries, ammunition
storage facilities, logistics sites, Silkworm antiship missile batteries, and troops on beaches.
Only six percent of the missions were fired in a direct support role responding to calls from
ground forces. This small percentage was due primarily to MARCENT's inland position
beyond NGFS range before the ground offensive and the rapid Coalition advance during the
ground offensive.
pg 210 graph: NGFS Missions Involving 16-Inch Guns. Bargraphs presents the following
NGFS Targets, Number of Missions, and Number of Rounds fired information. The
numbers are approximate as the barcharts are not easy to read.
Buildings, 5, 60;
Bunkers/Trenches, 10, 75;
SAM/AAA Sites, 7, 75;
Antiship Missile Sites, 5, 80;
Radar/Communication Sites, 7, 70;
C2 Sites, 8, 130;
Artillery/Mortar, 25, 310;
Infantry/Trenches, 10, 45;
Armor/Mechanized, 5, 20;
Logistics Sites, 6, 150;
Minefields, 5, 50;
Marina/Small Boats, 5, 50.
Other search words: naval gunfire support.
pg 210 chart: NGFS Mission Generation Classes. Piechart shows three classes of NGFS
missions: Pre-Arranged (64%), Targets of Opportunity (30%), and Call By Ground Forces
(6%). Other search words: naval gunfire support.
pg 210 paragraph 2
NGFS Operations
On 4 February, USS Missouri, escorted by USS Curts using an advanced mine avoidance
sonar (a modified hull mounted SQS-56 sonar), threaded through a mine cleared channel
and unlighted navigational hazards to a position close to the coast (FSA RK2). With
Marines providing fire control direction, USS Missouri's 16-inch guns fired 2,700-pound
shells onto Iraqi C3 bunkers, artillery emplacements, radar sites, and other targets. Between
4 and 6 February, USS Missouri fired 112 16-inch shells, 12 five-inch shells, and
successfully used an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in support of combat missions.
USS Wisconsin, escorted by USS Nicholas, relieved USS Missouri on 6 February. On her
first mission, the most recently recommissioned battleship fired 11 shells 19 miles to
destroy an Iraqi artillery battery in southern Kuwait. Using an UAV for spotting, USS
Wisconsin attacked targets ashore, as well as small boats which were used during Iraqi raids
along the Saudi coast. USS Wisconsin's guns opened fire again on 8 February, destroying
Iraqi bunkers and artillery sites near Ras Al-Khafji.
pg 211 start
Both battleships also used 16-inch guns to destroy enemy targets and soften defenses along
the Kuwaiti coastline in preparation for a possible amphibious assault. On 21 February, the
battleships moved north to conduct battlefield preparation as the ground offensive neared.
As USS Wisconsin and USS Missouri operated in the FSA south of Faylaka Island, which
had been cleared recently of mines, the 16-inch guns continued to fire at Iraqi targets.
pg 211 chart: NGFS Results. Types of Spotting Provided. Spotting information as follows:
UAV/unmanned aerial vehicle (57%), OV-10 Bronko (3%), Ground (2%), No Spotting
(35%), and Unknown Spotting (3%). Other search words: naval gunfire support.
On 23 February, the night before the ground offensive started, USS Missouri's guns fired
pyrotechnic shells onto Faylaka Island to convince Iraqi troops an amphibious invasion had
begun. USS Wisconsin, accompanied by USS McInerney (FFG 8), moved in closer to the
Kuwaiti coast to complement the deception. NGFS continued against Faylaka Island on 24
February to deceive the Iraqis that a large-scale amphibious assault was imminent.
As Coalition ground forces advanced around and through the Iraqi defenders in Kuwait ,
USS Wisconsin and USS Missouri's guns continued to support them. The battleships
provided NGFS during the ground offensive to Joint Forces Command-East (JFC-E) on
several occasions against dug-in Iraqi positions. On 26 February, the battleships provided
support to the 1st Marine Division (MARDIV) when naval gunfire struck Iraqi tanks dug in
at the Kuwait International Airport. USS Wisconsin fired the last NGFS of the war; together,
both battleships passed the two million-pound mark in ordnance delivered on Iraqi targets
by the cease-fire on 28 February.
Use of UAVs
The battleships used UAVs extensively in NGFS for target selection, spotting, and BDA.
The UAV accounted for 52 percent of spotting and virtually all BDA support the battleships
received. The battleships were able to generate NGFS missions using organic UAV for
spotting. Targets of opportunity accounted for 30 percent of the total missions and about 40
percent of the shells fired. Using an UAV in this manner increased the battleship's flexibility
to provide NGFS because it allowed each battleship to <pg 212 start> receive real-time
target acquisition and BDA without relying on external spotting and intelligence assets.
pg 212 paragraph 2
In addition to direct support of NGFS missions, UAVs also were used to gather intelligence
on Faylaka Island when national sensors were not available and weather prevented aircraft
reconnaissance. Over Faylaka Island, USS Wisconsin's UAV recorded hundreds of Iraqi
soldiers waving white flags the first-ever surrender of enemy troops to an unmanned
aircraft. After the cease-fire, UAVs monitored the coastline and outlying islands in
reconnaissance support of occupying Coalition forces. Because UAVs were under direct
tactical control of combat forces, they could respond quickly in dynamic situations. On one
occasion, USS Wisconsin's UAV located two Iraqi patrol boats, which were sunk by aircraft
directed to investigate.
NGFS Results
Sixty-five percent of all the fire support missions and 90 percent of all rounds fired received
some degree of spotting support. When spotting was not available for a mission, only three
or four rounds were fired, usually to harass Iraqi artillery or troop positions. The two
battleships fired 1,102 rounds of 16-inch shells in 83 individual missions. Approximately
2,166,000 pounds of ordnance were delivered. The average range for the NGFS missions
was approximately 22 miles, with all but 16 missions having ranges exceeding 18 miles.
BDA was obtained for 37 of the 52 missions where spotting was used. Damage was
classified as light for 40 percent of these missions, while about 30 percent of the missions
inflicted moderate to heavy damage or targets were evaluated as neutralized or destroyed.
As expected, a higher percentage of point targets was destroyed, neutralized, or heavily
damaged than area targets because area targets are made up of many, smaller individual
targets. For point target missions with BDA available, 28 percent were classified as heavily
damaged, neutralized, or destroyed.
A major maritime campaign component centered on preparing for and executing
amphibious operations during the ground offensive. For this purpose, the USMC deployed
the 4th and 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEB) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit
(Special Operation Capable) (MEU (SOC)) aboard amphibious ships to the Persian Gulf.
Continuous planning for amphibious operations started when the lead elements of the 4th
MEB and Amphibious Group 2 deployed to Southwest Asia (SWA) from the US East
Coast in mid-August. Concurrently, the 13th MEU (SOC), aboard ships of Amphibious
Squadron 5, which already were deployed to the Western Pacific, sailed for SWA. Upon its
arrival, this amphibious force joined the East Coast amphibious force to form the
amphibious task force (ATF). At the time of the these deployments, the distinct possibility
existed that an amphibious assault would be required to defend against an Iraqi invasion of
Saudi Arabia. In fact, during the initial deployment of Operation Desert Shield, the ATF
provided CINCCENT's only forcible entry capability.
In the weeks leading up to the ground offensive, amphibious warfare planners afloat
responded to tactical missions, which required them to develop plans ranging from
large-scale amphibious assaults into Kuwait to raids and feints on islands and coastal areas.
Additionally, as part of the theater campaign plan, the ATF conducted several
well-publicized landings in Oman and the southern Persian Gulf. Finally, when the ground
offensive began, the ATF conducted feints and raids, and was ready to conduct a large-scale
amphibious assault if required. Although a major amphibious operation was not conducted,
the ATF played a crucial part in the overall success of Operation <pg 213 start> Desert
Storm by fixing large numbers of Iraqi troops near the Kuwaiti coast and preventing their
use in inland operations.
pg 213 paragraph 2
The Iraqi Threat
The unique geographic and military situation in the Persian Gulf meant an amphibious
assault would be conducted against a heavily defended landing beach. The ATF was
confronted with formidable coastal and beach defenses. One observer, who later examined
Iraqi defenses along the Kuwait border, described them as more formidable than those
encountered by Marines during many of the World War II Central Pacific battles. In the area
close to shore, the Iraqis placed underwater obstacles, mines and barbed wire to ensnare and
disable landing craft and vehicles. Between the low and high water marks, additional mines
and barbed wire were positioned to stop infantry. Behind the beaches, the Iraqi defenders
dug trench lines and bunkers, and, in the urban areas from Ash Shuaybah north, fortified
buildings. Berms, minefields, antitank ditches, dug-in tanks and barbed wire blocked beach
exits. To the rear, artillery, and mobile reserves stood ready to counterattack any Marines
able to break through the beach defenses. At least three enemy infantry divisions were
assigned to defend the Kuwaiti coast from Kuwait City south to the Saudi-Kuwaiti border.
Additional Iraqi infantry divisions defended the coast north of Kuwait City. These forces
were backed by the 5th Mechanized Division, in reserve near Al-Ahmadi. Similar defenses
existed on Faylaka Island, defended by the Iraqi 440th Marine Brigade, and on Bubiyan
Amphibious Warfare Planning
The ATF began preparations for offensive amphibious operations as soon as it reached the
theater in mid-September. This force provided an important seaborne threat to the flank of
Iraqi forces who, it was feared, might attack Saudi Arabia along the main coastal road from
Ras Al-Khafji to Ad-Dammam. In late October, the ATF conducted amphibious exercises at
Ras Al-Madrakah, Oman, providing the opportunity to rehearse generic landing plans.
Meanwhile, the 13th MEU (SOC) participated in Maritime Interception Operations and then
left SWA on 10 November to conduct exercises in the Philippines. In mid-November, the
ATF conducted a highly publicized amphibious exercise along the eastern Saudi Arabian
coast, <pg 214 start> in conjunction with Exercise Imminent Thunder, a final rehearsal of
CINCCENT's defensive plans. This exercise was the first in a continuous series of
operations carefully designed to deceive the Iraqi command as to the direction of the
Coalition's ground attack. A few weeks later, the ATF returned to Ras Al-Madrakah to
conduct Exercise Sea Soldier III. By this time, the ATF had received preliminary guidance
that its assault objective during the ground offensive would be along the Kuwaiti coast,
precipitating staff rehearsals and planning to counter the extensive Iraqi coast defenses.
pg 214 paragraph 2
As Operation Desert Storm approached, amphibious planning intensified. On 30 and 31
December, an amphibious planning conference was conducted aboard USS Blue Ridge
(LCC 19), during which the evolving ground offensive plan, and the ATF's role in it, was
discussed. MARCENT continued to express concern, and VII Corps later concurred, that if
the ground campaign became extended, then a secure port on the Kuwaiti coast would be
needed to provide logistic support. I MEF had shifted more than 50 miles inland and
MARCENT was concerned about the strain that position placed on logistics lines. Rather
than trying to support the entire advance logistically from Saudi Arabia, MARCENT
desired an amphibious landing to open a forward logistics base in Kuwait to take advantage
of available sea-based logistics. The prospects for conducting an amphibious assault
increased. Furthermore, the planning conference re-emphasized the ATF's requirement to
plan for raids and feints along the Kuwaiti coast to fix Iraqi attention away from ground
forces moving west.
On 6 January, NAVCENT issued a warning order directing the ATF to finalize plans for an
amphibious assault on the Kuwaiti coast. The final plans for what had become known as
Operation Desert Saber called for the ATF to conduct an amphibious assault north of Ash
Shuaybah, establish the landing force ashore, and link up with MARCENT. The
amphibious assault's objectives were to reduce the threat facing MARCENT by fixing
enemy forces along the Kuwaiti coastline and destroying enemy forces in the beachhead
area, and to seize the port facilities at Ash Shuaybah for sustained logistic support of
Based on the expected rate of advance of the ground offensive, the time needed to place
amphibious forces into position after the ground campaign began, and the desire to fix as
many Iraqi forces in coastal positions as possible, preliminary time lines scheduled the
amphibious landing to take place four days after the ground offensive began. The plan
envisioned the initial landing would be north of the Ash Shuaybah refinery. The landing
force would then attack to the south to secure the port. A potentially serious obstacle to the
attack was a liquid natural gas plant near the port complex; the plant's explosive potential
posed a serious danger to the landing force. The damage the plant's destruction might cause
to the surrounding Kuwaiti infrastructure caused CINCCENT to place it on the list of
targets prohibited from attack by Coalition forces during the air campaign. In addition, a
large number of high-rise apartment complexes and condominiums near the waterfront
provided the Iraqis excellent defensive positions from which to oppose the landing. They,
too, were not on CINCCENT's approved target list. These obstacles complicated the
amphibious operations planning and decision making.
Available amphibious forces more than doubled in mid-January. Amphibious Squadron 5,
with the 13th MEU (SOC) embarked, returned to the Persian Gulf on 12 January.
Amphibious Group 3 with the 5th MEB embarked, which had left California in early
December, also arrived in the theater on 12 January, and was integrated immediately into
the ATF. Amphibious forces then consisted of 36 ships (31 amphibious assault ships and
five Military Sealift Command ships) carrying the landing force (the assault echelon of the
4th and 5th MEBs, and the 13th <pg 215 start> MEU (SOC). The landing force
commander (CLF), preferring the flexibility the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF)
structure provided for multiple missions, opted to retain that structure for the subordinate
units rather than attempt to combine them into one large MAGTF. The 13th MEU (SOC)
was assigned the task of conducting advanced force operations and raids, while the 4th and
5th MEB remained capable of attacking separate objectives or, if necessary, joining as a
single composite unit.
pg 215 paragraph 2
With the opening of the air campaign on 17 January, amphibious warfare planning and
training accelerated. Along with 31 amphibious ships, the ATF also had one repair ship, 17
Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and 13 Landing Craft Utility (LCU). The landing force
had approximately 17,000 Marines, built around two regimental landing teams, with five
infantry battalions, plus supporting arms, including tanks, antitank vehicles, and light
armored vehicles (LAV). In addition to the LCUs and LCACs available within the ATF,
ship-to-shore movement also could be supported by 115 assault amphibian vehicles (AAV).
The landing force's Air Combat Element included 19 AV-8Bs and 136 helicopters.
Exercises and planning surfaced several issues that needed resolution before the ATF could
conduct an assault. Among them were problems of defining an amphibious objective area,
given the expected close proximity of any landing to advancing Coalition ground forces;
fire support and airspace coordination issues; and, link-up procedures in a rapidly moving
ground offensive. Workaround procedures were developed, however. Foremost among the
ATF's concerns was integrating its plans into the air campaign, and ensuring the JFACC
targeting process considered the ATF's needs. To accomplish this, an ATF targeting cell
was formed, composed of both Navy and USMC officers, who developed targets and
submitted reports and requests directly to the JFACC in Riyadh for incorporation into the
ATO. To assist NAVCENT, and to provide closer liaison between NAVCENT,
MARCENT, and CINCCENT, the USMC sent a planning staff to NAVCENT's flagship,
USS Blue Ridge. This planning staff helped with the complex coordination between the
ATF and forces ashore.
Because amphibious ships also were deployed to other regions to respond to potential
crises, the number of amphibious ships deployed to the Persian Gulf, although sizable, was
not enough to load the full assault echelons of two MEBs. Normal USMC practice involves
loading amphibious ships so crucial pieces of equipment, particularly helicopters, are not
concentrated on one or a few ships. The distribution of amphibious forces during the
deployment to the Gulf resulted in the concentration of most or all of a particular aircraft
type on a single ship. This practice had some administrative and maintenance advantages
during the buildup and required fewer support personnel and equipment. However, it
limited flexibility and exposed the landing force to serious degradation if ATF ships were
damaged or, as later occurred, detached from the ATF to support MCM operations.
Furthermore, because of the unavailability of amphibious lift in the theater, some of 5th
MEB's assault echelon equipment was loaded aboard two MSC ships that were unsuitable
for amphibious assault operations.
An additional concern centered on the composition of the Assault Follow-On Echelon
(AFOE), which carried supplies and equipment for 4th MEB's sustainment of operations
once ashore. Initially, the AFOE was loaded on five MSC ships. These ships, none of which
had been specifically designed for amphibious assaults, had only a limited capability to
conduct in-stream unloading, and virtually no capability for logistics-over-the-shore
operations. In addition, two ships required pier cranes <pg 216 start> for unloading cargo
because of inadequate onboard cranes. Moreover, Kuwaiti ports probably would not be
available initially during an amphibious assault. These limitations severely reduced these
ships' effectiveness in supporting an amphibious assault in such an austere operating
environment. Because of the AFOE ships' operational shortfalls, they were unloaded in
November and the equipment and supplies loaded onto two Maritime Prepositioning
Squadron (MPS) roll-on/roll-off ships which had delivered their prepositioned equipment.
These MPS ships were ideally configured for AFOE use because of their in-stream
unloading capabilities.
pg 216 paragraph 2
Intelligence collection also became a concern during Operation Desert Storm. Because of
competing theater requirements, the ATF was given lower priority for theater and national
intelligence collection assets.
Near-shore and beach mines presented obstacles to the ATF. In an assault, AAVs emerging
from the surf would be endangered, as would debarking infantrymen. The 4th and 5th MEB
lacked the numbers and types of specialized engineer equipment available to the 1st and 2nd
Marine Divisions. This shortage of mine clearing assets limited the size of planned initial
surface assault waves, whose primary mission would be to clear the beaches. An
amphibious assault would rely on heliborne waves that could secure the designated landing
beaches from the rear. However, the primary USMC medium lift helicopter, the CH-46, had
a limited range that would require the ATF ships to operate in areas suspected to be heavily
An option considered for both a possible assault and a raid was an over-the-horizon (OTH)
assault. The concept involves launching heliborne and surface assault waves at extended
distances from the beach. OTH operations are practiced regularly as part of the MEU (SOC)
training program and were demonstrated during Operation Eastern Exit in January when 4th
MEB, unexpectedly tasked by CINCCENT, landed Marines in Mogadishu, Somalia, to
protect and evacuate US citizens. In this operation, the 4th MEB used CH-53E helicopters
launched from USS Trenton (LPD 14) 466 miles off Somalia's coast. An OTH assault
requires both long-range helicopters and assault craft capable of open ocean operations,
both of which the ATF had, but in limited numbers. Enough CH-53E and CH-53D heavy
lift helicopters, with the required range, were available to lift an infantry battalion. The
ATF's 17 LCACs, capable of high-speed, open-ocean operations, could land the assault
elements of a battalion landing team, reinforced by the necessary tanks and LAVs. With
ATF ships remaining well offshore to avoid detection, engagement by Iraqi defenses, and
the mine threat, a smaller, but still potent landing force of about two reinforced battalions
could be put ashore. This concept also would use extensive air support to shape landing
zones and destroy beach defenses. An OTH amphibious assault with the available assets
had risks, but was considered feasible. Several smaller raid packages also were planned
using this concept.
Amphibious planning continued to focus on several options as the ATF adjusted to
continuous changes in the military situation and a host of possible missions. In late January,
the enlarged ATF conducted Exercise Sea Soldier IV in Oman. The exercise was again
highly publicized to ensure the Iraqi command understood the Coalition's amphibious
On 2 February, CINCCENT and MARCENT met with NAVCENT aboard USS Blue Ridge
to discuss the timing and feasibility of amphibious plans. Estimates assumed the main
assault would need 10 days of MCM operations to clear a path through Iraqi minefields and
three to five days of NGFS and air strikes to neutralize Iraqi beach defenses. Shore
bombardment and air strikes also would be needed before the landing <pg 217 start> to
allow MCM forces to clear mines from near-shore waters well inside the range of Iraqi
land-based artillery. Without a concentrated MCM effort, offshore mines essentially kept
the ATF off the coast by as much as 72 miles. NAVCENT also pointed out the possibility
of collateral damage to Kuwaiti territory from the NGFS and air strikes against the highly
fortified beach front during MCM operations and the amphibious landing. The wholesale
destruction of the Kuwaiti infrastructure that could result from necessary pre-assault
operations, and the evident risks to the assaulting landing force, were serious considerations.
On the other hand, since the start of Operation Desert Storm, USMC service support units
and Navy Seabees had worked diligently to improve the overland transportation routes in
their area of responsibility. The deployment of substantial USMC reinforcements also
improved I Marine Expeditionary Force's (I MEF) logistics capabilities. MARCENT now
believed the ground attack could be supported logistically without the need to open a coastal
supply route.
pg 217 paragraph 2
As a result of these and other considerations, CINCCENT decided to exclude the
amphibious assault from the initial ground attack, but the ATF was directed to prepare for a
possible amphibious assault on Ash Shuaybah if the ground offensive required it, and to
continue active operations as part of the theater campaign plan. Such an assault would be
timed to coincide with I MEF's advance, and thus would be executed on short notice.
Although planning for Operation Desert Saber continued as a contingency in case an assault
proved necessary, the planning focus shifted. In an 8 February message to NAVCENT,
CINCCENT noted, "an amphibious assault into Kuwait, or the credible threat to execute
one, is an integral part of the overall campaign plan for Operation Desert Storm."
CINCCENT also ordered NAVCENT to establish an amphibious objective area and begin
pre-assault operations, including MCM, NGFS, deception measures, air and sea control, and
threat suppression.
Although a large scale, preplanned assault against the Kuwaiti coast had been decided
against, the ATF identified several possible raid targets, ranging from the Kuwaiti border to
the Al-Faw Peninsula and began detailed planning for an attack on Faylaka Island. A week
later, CINCCENT approved continued planning for NAVCENT's proposed option for an
attack, raid, or demonstration against Faylaka Island, where intelligence sources estimated a
2,500-man brigade was stationed. The advantages of such an operation were that it could
accomplish the objective of distracting Iraqi attention, continue to fix enemy forces along
the coast, minimize collateral damage in Kuwait, and also reduce the required MCM effort.
Amphibious Operations
In addition to exercises, the ATF conducted five amphibious operations during Operation
Desert Storm. On 29 January, the 13th MEU (SOC) raided Umm Al-Maradim Island off the
Kuwaiti coast. Amphibious operations supporting the ground offensive were <pg 219
start> conducted from 20 to 26 February against Faylaka Island, the Ash Shuaybah port
facility, and Bubiyan Island. The following section briefly describes these amphibious
operations as well as the landing of the 5th MEB.
Note: Text immediately above is from page 219.
pg 218 map: Amphibious Operations During Operation Desert Storm. Map shows
locations of 4 amphibious operations: (1) Raid by 13th MEU(SOC) on 29 Jan against
Umm Al-Maradim island. (2) Feint by 4th MEB on 25 Feb. Feint was towards Kuwaiti
seacoast town of Ash-Shuaybah (20 miles south of Kuwait City). (3) Feint by 4th MEB on
26 Feb. Feint was towards Faylaka island (20 miles east/northeast of Kuwait City). (4)
Second Feint by 4th MEB on 26 Feb towards Bubiyan island. Other search words:
amphibious, Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Special
Operations Command.
pg 219 paragraph 2
Umm Al-Maradim Island
Concurrently with Exercise Sea Soldier IV in mid-January, 13th MEU (SOC) moved into
the Persian Gulf, having received a warning order to conduct a raid on Umm Al-Maradim
Island off the Kuwaiti coast. To support this operation, Kuwaiti Marines were transferred to
USS Okinawa to provide interpreter and EPW interrogation support as the MEU (SOC)
moved toward the objective area. As an Iraqi radar and listening post, the island was
thought to be occupied in company strength. Having rehearsed the raid during the preceding
week, 13th MEU (SOC) assaulted the island on 29 January. For the Marines, however, the
raid turned out to be anticlimactic. A Navy A-6, followed by Marine AH-1 helicopters
overflew the island and reported it apparently abandoned. When riflemen from C Company,
1st Battalion, 4th Marines landed by helicopter a few hours later, they found no Iraqis.
Quickly removing documents and equipment found there, they destroyed Iraqi heavy
equipment that could not be removed and returned to the ATF ships. Many documents
provided intelligence on the extent of Iraqi mining in the northern Persian Gulf. The raid
demonstrated to the Iraqis the capabilities of the amphibious forces, reinforced the theater
deception plan, and captured documents provided intelligence for amphibious operations
Faylaka Island
NAVCENT issued a warning order on 6 February for a raid on Faylaka Island. The ATF
was ordered to plan an OTH raid on the island as a diversionary attack before the ground
offensive began. The warning order also specified the force was not to become embroiled in
a fight with Iraqi defenders if that would make withdrawal difficult.
On 11 February, NAVCENT ordered preliminary operations for the raid to begin. On 12
February, the ATF commanders met aboard USS Nassau (LHA 4) to work out the plan's
final details. The final concept of operations was issued on 13 February. The plan called for
landing a reduced infantry battalion (two companies) supported by LAVs, tanks, and High
Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles mounting TOW launchers and heavy machine
guns. The raid's objectives were to destroy communications facilities, radar sites, and a
command post that had been identified by intelligence sources, as well as to capture Iraqi
A rehearsal was conducted 15 February as NAVCENT, CATF, and CLF briefed
CINCCENT on the planned raid. After the meeting with CINCCENT, NAVCENT directed
MCM operations to begin the next day. Approximately 48 hours later, on the morning of 18
February, USS Tripoli and USS Princeton struck mines.
Following these mine strikes, NAVCENT directed the ATF to examine the feasibility of
<pg 220 start> conducting the raid from areas east of the Ad-Dawrah oil fields. MCM
forces were staged from that area, and launching a raid from there would reduce the MCM
requirements considerably. Although CLF judged the full scale raid was infeasible because
of the extended ranges, a reduced raid was possible. Renewed planning centered on options
requiring about half the original force and involving no more than one trip for each LCAC
or helicopter. The final plan used heliborne forces from 13th MEU (SOC). On 20 February
and continuing for the next two days, AV-8B attack aircraft from 4th MEB, operating from
the USS Nassau, attacked Faylaka Island. The scope of the raid was scaled back on 22
February and was called off completely on 23 February. NGFS continued as planned on 23
and 24 February to deceive the Iraqis into believing a full-scale amphibious assault was
pg 220 paragraph 2
Ash Shuaybah Port Facility
Late on 24 February, NAVCENT ordered the ATF to conduct a demonstration or feint
before dawn near Ash Shuaybah. Coalition ground forces were advancing faster than
expected and it was important to hold Iraqi forces defending along the coast south of
Kuwait City in position and prevent them from moving into blocking positions or from
reinforcing other Iraqi forces further inland. At 0300, USS Missouri conducted four NGFS
missions in the areas around the simulated landing beaches. Helicopters from 13th MEU
(SOC), launched from USS Okinawa about 0400, proceeded toward Al-Fintas on a
heliborne feint, turned away about three miles from the beach, and returned to the ship
about 0450. In the early morning darkness on 25 February, 10 USMC helicopters, some
carrying EW emitters, dashed towards Ash Shuaybah, turning away at the last moment
within sight of beach defenders, while USS Portland maneuvered offshore. The Iraqi
response to the feint was immediate two Silkworm missiles were launched toward
Coalition naval forces. As described in detail earlier in this chapter, HMS Gloucester shot
down one missile and the other missile landed in the water. At the same time, confused
Iraqi antiaircraft batteries fired into the air.
Bubiyan Island
Shortly before noon on 25 February, NAVCENT ordered additional demonstrations, feints,
or raids on Al-Faw and Faylaka Island because of indications that Iraqi forces were moving
from the Bubiyan Island and Al-Faw regions. Again, the ATF's objective was to hold the
Iraqis in their beach defenses. The next night, a combined Navy-USMC force of helicopters,
EW aircraft, and A-6Es carried out a feint towards Bubiyan Island. When Iraqi defenses
responded with flares and antiaircraft artillery, the A-6Es attacked. Concurrently with this
feint, a smaller armed USMC helicopter force approached Faylaka Island, firing rockets and
machine guns. Again, the Iraqi response was immediate, but confused.
Meanwhile, USMC AV-8Bs and AH-1W helicopter gunships from 4th and 5th MEB
commenced operations in support of I MEF's attack into Kuwait. A detachment of six
AV-8Bs from the USS Tarawa moved to a forward airfield at Tanajib to reduce response
times for conducting deep and close air support missions, while the 4th MEB's AV-8Bs
continued operating from USS Nassau. Both MEBs' helicopter gunships flew to forward
sites near Al-Khanjar to support I MEF's advance.
Landing of 5th MEB
The largest direct contribution to the ground offensive by amphibious forces, came from the
5th MEB, which began landing through Al-Mish'ab and Al-Jubayl, Saudi Arabia on 24
February to assume the mission of I MEF reserve. Although experiencing little active
combat, the MEB assisted in mopping <pg 221 start> up operations, EPW control, and
security duties, while providing the MEF commander, whose two Marine divisions were
fully committed, added tactical and operational flexibility.
pg 221 paragraph 2
Effectiveness of Amphibious Operations
Given the time required to conduct MCM operations, the potential for extensive collateral
damage to the Kuwaiti infrastructure, and the risk to the landing force, coupled with the
changing situation ashore, CINCCENT opted not to execute a large-scale amphibious
assault. The ATF, trained and organized for amphibious landings, could have carried out
such an assault, although offshore mines and beach defenses may have inflicted substantial
casualties. Using the OTH concept, a smaller landing was planned, which could have been
conducted on short notice, if required. Variations of this OTH assault plan were used to
conduct the amphibious feints. Both assault options presented the Iraqis with a substantial
threat to their seaward flank. In the end, the successes of the theater deception plan and the
relatively short ground campaign made an amphibious assault unnecessary.
Since Iraq had no submarines, there was no submarine threat to Coalition naval forces or
merchant ships and ASW was not tested. However, Navy nuclear powered attack
submarines (SSN) played a role in strike warfare and conducted a variety of missions in
support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
On 19 January, USS Louisville became the first submarine to launch a TLAM in combat
when she fired five missiles at targets in Iraq in support of the Strategic Air Campaign. This
action was the first combat for US submarines since World War II. USS Louisville launched
three more TLAMs from the Red Sea before being relieved by the USS Chicago (SSN 721)
on 6 February.
Once Operation Desert Storm began, the Coalition's maritime campaign in the northern
Persian Gulf, including the liberation of the first Kuwaiti territory, the capture of the first
EPW, and the threat of an amphibious assault, focused Iraqi attention to the sea rather than
to the desert to the west. Coalition naval forces in the Gulf also provided the Coalition with
a solid flank to protect the forces and facilities on the Arabian Peninsula. The Coalition's
naval presence also reassured the friendly nations of the Gulf and deterred any temptations
Iran may have had to intervene directly or to allow Iraq to exploit Iranian territorial waters
<pg 222 start> and airspace to strike at Coalition forces. This seagoing barrier was
especially comforting in the early days of the Iraqi Air Force's exodus to Iran, when the
implications of that action were uncertain.
pg 222 paragraph 2
Coalition naval forces essentially destroyed the Iraqi Navy in three weeks, secured control
of the northern Gulf, and maintained the region's sea LOC with minimal Iraqi interference.
The destruction of the Iraqi naval threat limited Iraq's ability to lay additional mines in the
area and let Coalition naval forces establish operating areas farther north, increasing the
number of aircraft strike sorties that could be launched against targets ashore and permitting
amphibious operations.
The Persian Gulf conflict presented an unprecedented AAW deconfliction challenge. All air
operations over the Persian Gulf were conducted safely and successfully. From Operation
Desert Shield through Operation Desert Storm, there was no AAW fire from friendly forces.
Restricted geography, unusual radar propagation conditions, the proximity of the threat
from Iraq, the large number of commercial airfields and air routes in the vicinity, and the
limited time available to establish positive identification of potential hostile air contacts
before their entry into engagement envelopes combined to form a most complex,
demanding AAW environment. The Aegis and NTU AAW systems performed as designed
to provide battle force commanders complete coverage of all air contacts.
The five months of Operation Desert Shield permitted the Iraqis to develop an extensive
coastal defense system in Kuwait. The Iraqi mine threat affected almost all naval operations
during the Persian Gulf Conflict. The Coalition's ability to conduct amphibious operations
and NGFS was constrained by the minefields in the northern Persian Gulf. The mine threat
also affected naval air strike operations because it forced the carrier battle groups in the
Persian Gulf to operate at greater ranges from targets in Iraq. The presence of drifting mines
in the southern Gulf or within a major port in the Gulf could have severely limited the rapid
force build up in Operation Desert Shield. Similarly, the mines laid in Kuwaiti ports could
have affected seriously the Coalition's ability to shift logistics support rapidly to those ports.
NGFS was a useful contribution to the Coalition's efforts during Operation Desert Storm.
NGFS from USS Wisconsin's 16-inch guns supported JFC-E's attack up the Kuwaiti coast,
especially when they breached Iraqi defenses. USS Missouri's NGFS contributed to
maintaining the credibility of the amphibious assault option, particularly after a 16-inch
bombardment of Ras Al-Qul'ayah induced the Iraqi defenders to abandon fortified positions.
USS Missouri also supported Marines at the Kuwait International Airport. The UAV proved
to be an excellent complement to the battleships, allowing them to attack enemy targets
without the need of outside assistance, particularly aircraft, for spotting.
The ATF's contribution to the theater campaign cannot be quantified, yet it was significant
to the Coalition's success. Beginning in late October, the ATF carried out amphibious
exercises and operations that focused the Iraqi command's attention to the coast of Kuwait.
In large measure, Iraq's preoccupation with the defense of Kuwait, and particularly against
an amphibious assault, facilitated the ground offensive's now famous left hook maneuver.
The amphibious invasion was not an idle threat; had the ATF been directed to do so, it
could have conducted a successful assault, although possibly with substantial casualties.
The decision not to conduct that assault is a tribute to the success of the theater deception
efforts. Since the ATF's presence was sufficient, the ATF accomplished its mission without
having to fight. The flexibility of amphibious forces was demonstrated by the <pg 223
start> ATF's operations. Iraq's reactions, and refusal to evacuate coastal defenses even
when ground forces were encircling the rear, testified to the effectiveness of these
operations. In the same vein as the Coalition aircraft that bombed Iraqi forces, and the
Coalition's ground forces that attacked through the desert, the ATF played a vital and
integral role in Operation Desert Storm.
pg 223 paragraph 2
Although Iraq had no submarines and ASW was not tested, Navy nuclear powered attack
submarines participated in the Strategic Air Campaign by launching TLAMs against many
targets. Submarines also conducted such missions as intelligence and surveillance in
support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
The Persian Gulf conflict demonstrated that sea control is fundamental to successful power
projection and revalidated the importance of maritime superiority to US global leadership.
Coalition naval forces essentially destroyed the Iraqi Navy in about three weeks, which
limited Iraq's ability to lay additional mines, allowed the carrier battle groups to move closer
to Kuwait and increase the number of air strikes in the KTO, and permitted amphibious
All air operations over the Persian Gulf were conducted safely and successfully during the
Persian Gulf conflict. There were no AAW engagements involving fire from friendly forces.
Designated return corridors and flight profiles proved to be key methods to separate
Coalition aircraft from potentially hostile ones.
Battleship NGFS made a useful contribution to the Coalition's efforts during Operation
Desert Storm. The 16-inch NGFS supported the JFC-E attack along the coast which secured
the right flank of MARCENT's advance to Kuwait City and contributed to maintaining the
continued credibility of the amphibious assault option.
UAVs proved to be an excellent reconnaissance asset for the battleships, allowing them to
attack enemy targets without the need of outside assistance. particularly aircraft. for spotting
and intelligence support. Because the UAVs were under direct tactical control of the combat
forces, they were able to respond quickly to changing situations and provide real-time
The publicity associated with amphibious assault preparations, and the potential threat of
an assault, forced the Iraqis to focus on their seaward flank, making it more difficult for
them to reorient their defenses when the Coalition attacked their western flank. Although
the assault never was carried out, the threat Induced the Iraqis to fortify the coast and
diverted manpower, materiel, and time from any westward extension of their fortified
border positions.
Maintaining an accurate ASUW order of battle required the identification of Iraqi surface
combatants and the accurate assessment of ASUW engagements. Lacking this information
affected both the conduct of individual ASUW engagements and the strategy for future
operations. Poor BDA resulted in unnecessary launches of additional ASUW aircraft to
attack targets that were sinking or already sunk, or in missed opportunities to destroy targets
that had been mistakenly reported as sunk by a previous strike.
pg 224 start
The Iraqi mine threat affected almost all Coalition naval operations during the Persian Gulf
conflict. US MCM assets, developed in the Cold War context of a limited Soviet threat to
US ports, performed as expected under a more strenuous scenario.
Using MSC ships which were unsuitable for amphibious operations to load some of 5th
MEB's assault echelon equipment and the 4th MEB's AFOE equipment degraded the ATF's
capability to accomplish its mission.
In addition to attacking underway Iraqi surface combatants, ASUW assets also struck other
threats to the battle force, including actual and suspected Silkworm sites and high-value
vessels detected in port. Considering such targets ASUW threats to the battle force allowed
the ASUW commander to implement quick reaction strikes without any potential
scheduling delays in the ATO targeting process. Allowing the ASUW commander to
control strikes against battle force threats wherever they were located resulted in an
operationally clearer division of offensive responsibilities between the ASUW commander
and the strike warfare commander. The ASUW commander was responsible for protecting
the battle force from antisurface threats and the strike warfare commander was responsible
for conducting strike operations against theater targets.
The most effective ASUW tactic used by the Coalition was the British Lynx helicopter,
working with a controlling SH-60B, firing the Sea Skua missile. Providing Navy shipboard
helicopters with a similar weapon would make them more effective in ASUW and extend
the range of the ASUW striking power of US combatants.
Amphibious assault remains one of the more difficult and dangerous military operations.
However, amphibious forces provide a forcible entry capability and forward presence
(independent of bases on foreign territory), which are of strategic and operational value.
pg 224 end and chapter 7 end
pg 226 start
pg 227 start
Operation Desert Storm's final phase began early on 24 February, after more than 180 days
of maritime interception operations and 38 days of aerial bombardment. The ground
offensive's objectives were to eject Iraqi Armed Forces from Kuwait, destroy the
Republican Guard in the KTO, and help restore the legitimate government of Kuwait. The
plan envisioned a supporting attack along the Kuwait-Saudi Arabia border by the I Marine
Expeditionary Force (I MEF) and Arab Coalition forces (JFC-E and JFC-N) to hold most
forward Iraqi divisions in place. Simultaneously, two Army corps, augmented with French
and United Kingdom (UK) divisions more than 200,000 soldiers would sweep west
of the Iraqi defenses, strike deep into Iraq, cut Iraqi lines of communication (LOC) and
destroy the Republican Guards forces in the KTO.
By the morning of 28 February, the Iraqi Army in the Kuwait Theater of Operations (KTO),
including the Republican Guards, was routed and incapable of coordinated resistance. Iraqi
forces were fleeing from Kuwait or surrendering to Coalition forces in large numbers. In 43
days, culminating in 100 hours of ground combat, the Coalition had shattered the fourth
largest army in the world. The victory testified to the capabilities of the men and women
who waged the ground operation and to the overall flexibility and effectiveness of the US
CINCCENT has said that several factors influenced his belief as to when the Offensive
Ground Campaign should begin. These factors included force deployments and planning,
logistics buildup, weather forecasts favorable for ground offensive operations, cohesion of
the Coalition, and attack preparations, along with the air campaign. All were important in
reducing risks and enhancing the probability of success with limited losses. While precise
measurement of force ratios was not possible, senior commanders considered that Iraqi
combat effectiveness needed to be reduced by about half before the ground offensive began.
Combat effectiveness included both measures such as numbers of soldiers, tanks, armored
personnel carriers, and artillery (and degradation thereof) as well as less measurable factors
such as morale. Once air operations began, Iraqi reactions could be analyzed to provide
further evidence on their military capability. For example, the Iraqi failure at Khafji
indicated an inability to orchestrate the sorts of complex operations needed for a mobile
defense. Further, the battle seemed to indicate a decline in the will of Iraqi soldiers while at
the same time it provided a great boost in morale and confidence among Coalition Arab
pg 227 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"You may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it
clean of life but if you desire to defend it, protect it, and keep it for civilization, you must
do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men into the
T. R. Fehrenbach
This Kind of War
While Coalition air forces relentlessly pounded Iraqi defenses, Coalition ground forces
completed combat preparations. They clandestinely repositioned from defensive <pg 227
start> sectors in eastern Saudi Arabia to forward assembly areas farther west. In positioning
forces and supplies for the ground attack, logisticians and movement planners faced many
challenges. The Coalition moved the equivalent of 17 divisions laterally hundreds of miles
over a very limited road network. The trucks used for this movement were mobilized from
US units, purchased and leased from US firms, donated or procured from foreign countries,
and supplied by Saudi Arabia as host nation support (HNS). The move continued 24 hours a
day for two weeks under the air campaign's cover. Forward logistics bases were established
to support the ground offensive. This involved moving thousands of tons of supplies food, water, fuel, ammunition, spare parts on the same constrained road network used to
move combat forces. This repositioning and logistical build up, completed on schedule and
undetected by Iraqi forces, was vital to success.
pg 228 paragraph 2
At the same time, ground combat forces focused on battle preparation. Plans were refined,
completed, issued, and rehearsed. The rehearsals were particularly important since much of
the initial effort involved breaching extensive Iraqi minefields, obstacles, and fortifications
operations that required close coordination.
Meanwhile, ground forces conducted reconnaissance to prepare the battlefield for the
ground attack and counter-reconnaissance to deny Iraq crucial information about Coalition
ground forces' dispositions. Army and Marine forces conducted helicopter raids and armed
aerial reconnaissance missions into Iraq and Kuwait. The Coalition used laser-guided
artillery rounds, Hellfire missiles, and the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) to
strike headquarters, conduct counter-battery fire, and suppress air defense. Indirect fire units
focused on destroying the command, control, communications, intelligence and fire support
capabilities of the first-echelon Iraqi divisions. Artillery raids caused forward Iraqi artillery
to fire counter battery missions, allowing US radar to pinpoint the positions and then
destroy them with multiple launch rocket systems, other artillery, and air attacks. Scout and
attack helicopters, flying at night, identified Iraqi positions and engaged enemy observation
This chapter discusses the planning and execution of Phase IV of the theater campaign the Offensive Ground Campaign. It addresses the planning process, the operational
considerations, and reasons for certain decisions. Next, it discusses the buildup of ground
forces, battlefield preparations, logistics considerations, and intelligence requirements. An
assessment of the enemy just before G-Day follows to set the stage for the ground offensive.
A detailed narrative describes the intensity of ground combat, the firepower and rapid
maneuver of US ground forces, and the integration of joint and combined forces to attain
the theater objectives. The chapter concludes with a summary of the accomplishments,
shortcomings, and issues.
Initial Planning Cell
As early as 25 August, Commander-in-Chief, Central Command (CINCCENT) outlined a
four-phased campaign ending with a ground offensive to drive Iraqi forces from Kuwait. At
CINCCENT's request, in mid-September the Army assembled a group of officers to form
the Central Command J5-Special Planning Group (CCJ5-SPG). CINCCENT chartered this
group, graduates of the Army School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), Fort
Leavenworth, KS, to develop courses of action for the ground offensive. A product of
post-Vietnam military education improvements, SAMS provides a year of concentrated
study of the theory and practice of warfare at the operational level (corps and above) and
campaign planning. Because of this focus, CINCCENT requested SAMS graduates for his
planning staff. The instruction at SAMS <pg 229 start> also is guided by the Army's
AirLand Battle doctrine, which is compatible with other service doctrine, particularly
Marine maneuver warfare. Therefore, the cell shared a common educational background
and used the precepts of AirLand Battle as the basis for their planning.
pg 229 paragraph 2
The ground operations plan was developed from an integrated joint and combined campaign
plan. CINCCENT chose to retain the function of land force commander over Army and
Marine ground forces, although these component commanders had a major role in refining
CINCCENT's concept of operations. The Central Command (CENTCOM) Plans and Policy
Directorate and Combat Analysis Group, augmented by the SAMS graduates, had primary
responsibility for developing and analyzing courses of action for the overall ground
offensive plan. Meanwhile, ARCENT and the Marine Component, Central Command
(MARCENT) had responsibility for developing and analyzing courses of action to
implement the Theater Campaign Plan.
The ground forces' responsibilities (particularly Army Component, Central Command
(ARCENT)), did not end with the cease-fire. Tasks such as post-war reconstruction,
re-establishment of civil authority, and caring for refugees, displaced persons, enemy
prisoners of war, and repatriated friendly prisoners of war remained. This planning and
preparation had to be accomplished concurrent with the planning for combat operations and
required substantial resources and effort.
The Planning Process
As previously discussed in Chapter 5, Transition to the Offensive, planning for the ground
operation was evolutionary. Initially, planning for ground and air operations was unilateral
and highly compartmented. This was due to political sensitivities and security concerns
regarding an offensive campaign. After the President's November decision to deploy
additional forces, ARCENT was assigned the lead for planning the ground offensive.
ARCENT commanded most US Army units in theater and exercised tactical control over
selected non-US coalition forces. ARCENT focused primarily on the Army's joint and
combined coordination role. At the same time, CINCCENT began to develop a combined
Operation Desert Storm Operations Plan (OPLAN), integrating the Coalition's full combat
capability. As the overall land component commander, CINCCENT provided a focal point
for the combined planning of the Coalition. UK, Egyptian and French representatives
augmented the existing US-Saudi combined planning team during this period.
CINCCENT initially instructed the planners to develop an Offensive Ground Campaign
using the forces available in theater at the time: one corps of two heavy, one airborne, and
one air assault division; an armored cavalry regiment (ACR), and a combat aviation brigade
(CAB); a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) ashore along the coast and a Marine
Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) afloat in the Gulf; and other Coalition forces.
Operational Imperatives
Planners had reached several significant conclusions that were designated as operational
imperatives and would remain as central planning tenets throughout planning for the
offensive. The planners concluded that for the ground campaign to be successful, the air
campaign would have to reduce Iraqi combat effectiveness in the Kuwait Theater of
Operations by about half. A second operational imperative was that Coalition ground forces
should fight only those enemy units necessary to achieve Coalition objectives while
bypassing other enemy forces. The third operational imperative was that battlefield tactical
intelligence would be required in the hands of battlefield commanders so rapidly that fire
power could be placed on target before the <pg 230 start> target could move sufficiently to
require retargeting. It was felt that this tactical intelligence-targeting feedback loop would
be critical to success on the battlefield.
pg 230 paragraph 2
Development of Courses of Action
The planning cell briefed their courses of action and recommendation to CINCCENT on 6
October. The preferred course of action called for a one corps frontal attack directly into
Kuwait from Saudi Arabia. The objective for this attack was an area of high ground north of
the Mutla Pass and Ridge. The risk with this plan was that the attack would encounter major
portions of the enemy's strength and operations to breach Iraqi defenses might be extremely
difficult. CINCCENT judged that while such an attack probably would succeed, casualties
could be sizable, and the Republican Guards, one of Iraq's centers of gravity, might escape.
To avoid the enemy's main defensive positions, a wider, deeper envelopment with
additional forces was required.
On 11 October, the CENTCOM chief of staff briefed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff (CJCS), the Secretary of Defense, and the President. The CENTCOM chief of staff
stressed that, although the US ground forces could attack, success could not be guaranteed
because of the existing balance of forces. Additional risks included extended supply lines,
the lack of an armored force in theater reserve, and the threat of chemical warfare.
Based on guidance from the Secretary, CINCCENT subsequently directed his planning staff
to consider an envelopment by two US Army corps west of the Wadi Al-Batin.The purpose
of the envelopment was to get behind the main Iraqi forces while supporting attacks were
conducted by other Coalition forces into Kuwait. The main attack's objective was the
destruction of the Republican Guards forces.
The CJCS was briefed on this concept on 22 October. Following the briefing, his guidance
to CINCCENT was straightforward. "Tell me what you need for assets. We will not do this
halfway. The entire United States military is available to support this operation." The
conclusion was that a second Army corps, initially two divisions and an ACR, should
provide the necessary forces to carry out the maneuver to the west, around the Iraqi main
defenses. The CJCS agreed to seek approval for deployment of the additional force . VII
Corps, based in Germany, was a logical choice for deployment because of its proximity to
the theater, high level of training, and modern equipment. VII Corps began its movement
immediately after the President's 8 November announcement.
In addition to the European-based corps, other forces were required. At ARCENT's request
a third division, the Army's 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, KS, was added to give
VII Corps more capability. MARCENT saw the need for an additional division and
reinforcement of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) in order to conduct effective
supporting attacks. These forces would let the Marines breach the Kuwait border defenses
and defeat the 11 Iraqi divisions thought to be in eastern Kuwait. Planning also continued
for an amphibious assault along the Kuwaiti coast to flank Iraqi defenders on the Kuwaiti
border. Although the amphibious assault was not conducted, it became an integral part of
the theater deception plan, which was intended to portray a Coalition main attack along
Kuwait's southern border. To satisfy the requirement for additional forces, elements of II
MEF, to include the 2nd Marine Division (MARDIV), a large part of the 2nd MAW, 2nd
Force Service Support Group (FSSG), and the 5th MEB were deployed from the
Continental US (CONUS).
Issues and Concerns Regarding the Plan
Several concerns were raised during the plan's final development. These included: <pg 231
- What arrangements could be made for effective command and control (C2) of Coalition
- What was the trafficability for heavy vehicles in the area of operations?
- Was the concept of operations logistically supportable and feasible?
- Could the Coalition penetrate Iraq's defensive belts and formidable obstacles?
pg 231 paragraph 2
In addition, there was the crucial question of the overall size of the Iraqi force that would be
deployed to defend the KTO.
CINCCENT's Strategy and Concept
On 14 November, CINCCENT briefed his concept for the operation to all his ground
commanders down to division level. XVIII Airborne Corps was to be used in the west. VII
Corps would be the main effort and would destroy the RGFC in the KTO. British forces
would remain with MARCENT (a decision later reversed). A heavy division was to be
assigned as theater reserve. Supporting attacks would be conducted by the I MEF, Joint
Forces Command - North (consisting of Egyptian, Saudi, and Syrian forces) and Joint
Forces Command - East (consisting of Saudi and GCC forces). Commanders were directed
to have forces ready by mid-January.
Secretary of Defense Reviews War Plans
On 19 and 20 December, the Secretary of Defense and CJCS were provided an update on
war plans in Riyadh. NCA objectives were reviewed and CENTCOM's mission was
summarized. Ground offensive plans were summarized by phases of preparation and
operations. The logistics buildup, which would be initiated when the air campaign started,
would take two weeks and similarly, force repositioning to attack positions would consume
two weeks. The actual ground offensive was estimated to take up to two weeks, followed by
a period of consolidation that would last up to four weeks. Subsequent logistics buildup and
force repositioning would occur simultaneously. The commander's intentions were
presented. Victory would be achieved through the destruction of the RGFC in the KTO,
preservation of the offensive capability of the combined forces, and restoration of the
sovereignty of Kuwait. Attacking ground forces were to penetrate and bypass static Iraqi
defensive forces which included infantry and other forces that were not mobile and could
not pose a threat to a fast moving Coalition armor forces. It was CINCCENT's intention to
physically and psychologically isolate the Iraqi forces in Kuwait. Operations would fix and
block Iraq's first operational echelon reserves, with the objective of securing Coalition
flanks and LOCs. Ground operations would culminate in the destruction of RGFC divisions
in the KTO.
pg 231 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Commander's Intent
Maximize Friendly Strength Against Iraqi Weakness and Terminate Offensive Operations
with the RGFC Destroyed and Major US Forces Controlling Critical LOC's in the Kuwaiti
Theater of Operations.
The Secretary of Defense approved CINCCENT's plan. Upon his return to Washington, he
and the CJCS briefed the President who also approved the plan. However, it was
determined that the actual start of the ground campaign would require a subsequent
Presidential decision, which was made in February.
Ground Campaign Phases
The planning process continued within CINCCENT's general parameters. When Operation
Desert Storm OPLAN was issued, <pg 232 start> it directed the ground campaign part of
the theater campaign be conducted in four phases:
- Phase I Logistical buildup;
- Phase II Force repositioning;
- Phase III Ground attack; and
- Phase IV Tactical consolidation.
pg 232 paragraph 2
Ground Forces Buildup
The first US ground forces, lead elements of the 82nd Airborne Division, arrived in theater
on 9 August. Figure VIII-4 shows the buildup, by brigades, of US ground forces within the
theater. By early December, approximately half of the US combat brigades had arrived.
Within 40 days, most of the remaining forces had arrived. By the end of January, the ground
forces in theater could conduct the type of offensive operations envisioned by CINCCENT.
However, some VII Corps units literally moved directly from the ports into their tactical
assembly areas (TAA) and forward attack positions the day before the ground offensive
pg 232 chart: Ground Forces Command Structure on G-Day. Chart shows operational
command, coordination, and tactical control relations between following organizations: US
Forces Commander (CINCCENT), ARCENT, XVIII Airborne Corps, 6th Lt/Light Armor
Division (French), VII Corps, 1st/First Armor Division (UK), MARCENT, I MEF,
SOCCENT, C3IC (Coalition Coordination, Communication, and Integration Center), Joint
Forces Theater of Operations Commander (Saudi), JFC-N, JFC-E. Other search words:
pg 232 and pg 233 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
A US Army Division, totalling approximately 17,500 soldiers, is organized from a common
division base that consists of a division headquarters, three maneuver brigades, an aviation
brigade, an artillery brigade, an air defense artillery battalion, an engineer battalion, a signal
battalion, a military intelligence battalion, a military police company, a chemical company,
and a support command. The heavy divisions that served in Operation Desert Storm each
consisted of a mix of 10 armor and mechanized infantry battalions along with necessary
combat support and combat service support units.
A US Marine Division is normally organized around three infantry regiments of three
battalions, an artillery regiment, and separate tank, light armored vehicle, reconnaissance,
assault amphibian vehicle, and combat engineer battalions, totalling approximately 20,000
Marines. During combat, the Division may be reinforced with additional infantry or
mechanized units, as occurred during Desert Storm. Infantry regiments are also task
organized for combat, usually consisting of two to four infantry battalions along with
necessary combat support and combat service support units to enable them to accomplish
their missions.
Coalition divisions, on the other hand, are less easy to define, reflecting as they do the broad
differences of culture, national security requirements, and military tradition from which they
are derived. Some are modeled on European analogues, some on US, some on Soviet, and
some on historical influences unique to their country. For example, the 1st British
Armoured Division, reinforced for the conflict like many US divisions, numbered some
28,000 troops. Some other divisions were much smaller.
Task Organization (US Ground Forces)
Coalition ground forces were task organized along corps lines to improve C2 and in
accordance with the ground operation mission. ARCENT provided C2 to Army forces in the
I MEF had two reinforced infantry divisions and the 3rd MAW with 222 fixed-wing aircraft
and 183 helicopters. Its combat power greatly exceeded that normally found in a MEF. In
addition, I MEF could call on 20 AV-8Bs and 141 helicopters afloat in the Gulf with 4th
and 5th MEBs.
The 1st MARDIV, composed of units from all three active MEFs plus Reservists, deployed
during the early stages of Operation Desert <pg 233 start> Shield. To build esprit among
the many units assigned to 1st MARDIV, it was divided into task forces, each organized
and equipped for specific missions and bearing a unique title.
pg 233 paragraph 2
The 2nd MARDIV deployed in December, minus the 2nd Marine Regiment (Reinforced)
afloat with 4th MEB; it also was augmented with Reserves. It retained its traditional
regimental titles although it also was task organized. The 2nd MARDIV was given the 1st
(Tiger) Brigade, 2nd Armored Division with M1A1 tanks and M2/M3 fighting vehicles, to
serve as an exploitation or counterattack force.
Special Operations Forces (SOF) included Army Special Forces (SF) and Army Special
Operations Aviation units; Navy SEALs and Special Boat Units; Air Force (USAF) Special
Operations squadrons and Special Operations Combat Control Teams; and Psychological
Operations (PSYOP) and Civil Affairs (CA) units. A Joint Special Operations Task Force
controlled reconnaissance, special reconnaissance (SR), and direct action operations to
support battlefield preparation.
SOF teams were attached to non-US Coalition units down to battalion level; their presence
increased commanders' confidence. These teams assessed Coalition forces' readiness levels,
provided training and communication capability, coordinated tactical operations, assisted
with fire support coordination, and provided information CINCCENT needed to ensure
effective operational coordination with Coalition forces. (SOF organizations and operations
are further discussed in Appendix J.)
Task Organization (Non-US Ground Forces)
Arab-Islamic ground forces were organized in two corps, the Joint Forces Command-North
(JFC-N) and Joint Forces Command-East (JFC-E). Ground forces in JFC-N and JFC-E
represented 14 countries.
pg 233 chart: US Ground Forces. Barcharts show numbers of major US ground units on 5
December 1991 and 15 January 1991. Data is as follows:
5 Dec 15 Dec
US Marine Corps Amphibious Brigades: 1
I MEF Regiments:
US Army Light Infantry Brigade
(Airborne, Air Assault): 6
US Army Heavy Brigades:
pg 234 start
pg 234 chart: Task Organization. Chart shows ARCENT, JFC-N, MARCENT, and JFC-E
major subordinate units.
ARCENT: Information for ARCENT is less detailed than the information in the table
entitled Major Army Forces (also on page 234). It therefore is not represented here.
JFC-N has the following units:
Corp Command Element,
4th EG Armored Division,
Unnumbered SY SF Regiment,
20th RSLF Mechanized Infantry Brigade,
4th RSLF Armored Brigade,
3rd EG Mechanized Infantry Division,
Unnumbered EG RGR Regiment,
9th SY Armored Division,
35th KU Mechanized Infantry Brigade,
15th KU Infantry Brigade.
MARCENT is listed as having the following units:
1 MEF Corp Level Command Element,
1st Marine Division,
2nd Marine Division,
N: I MEF Task Organization on page 235 shows more units than the above.
JFC-E units are as follows:
Corp Level Command Element,
8th RSLF Mechanized Infantry Brigade,
10th RSLF Mechanized Infantry Brigade,
Unnumbered QA Mechanized Infantry Battalion,
2nd SANG Mechanized Infantry Brigade.
Command, Control, and Communications
Coalition Coordination, Communication, and Integration Center (C 3IC)
The Gulf War presented unique challenges in developing Coalition C2 relationships and
assigning missions. Faced with the diversity of forces from more than 23 nations, often with
unique doctrine, language, customs, religion, equipment, and capabilities, CINCCENT was
aware of the operational contradictions that threatened the Coalition's vitality. Political
considerations, national pride, and public perceptions could, in some instances, complicate
military requirements.
pg 234 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Major Army Forces
Organization for Combat
11th ADA BDE
82d Airborne Division (-)
101st Airborne Division (AASLT)
24th Infantry Division (MECH)
197th Infantry Brigade (MECH)
3d ACR
12th AVN BDE
18th AVN BDE
XVIII Corps Artillery
18th FA BDE
212th FA BDE
196th FA BDE
6th Light Armored Division (FR) (TACON)
2d BDE, 82d Airborne Division (OPCON)
1st Armored Division
3d BDE, 3d Infantry Division
3d Armored Division
1st Infantry Division (MECH)
2d Armored Division (FWD)
1st Cavalry Division (-)
2d ACR
11th AVN BDE
VII Corps Artillery
210th FA BDE
42d FA BDE
75th FA BDE
142d FA BDE
1st AR Division (UK) (TACON)
5th Special Forces Group
3d Special Forces Group (-)
1st BDE, 2d Armored Division
pg 235 start
To harmonize Coalition forces actions and achieve unity of effort (especially with respect to
land forces), CINCCENT, ARCENT, and Saudi military leaders created the Coalition
Coordination, Communication, and Integration Center (C3IC). ARCENT and the Saudi
Arabian Armed Forces (SAAF), initially operated the C3IC. The C3IC gave ARCENT and
the SAAF the ability to bring Coalition forces together to coordinate tasks and missions. In
December, responsibility for the US operation of the center transferred to the CENTCOM
staff. The C3IC did not command; it integrated the Coalition land forces into one solid
effort, receiving reports, collecting data, improving the information flow, and harmonizing
operational planning in areas such as host nation support, movement control, and training.
The C3IC was the combined operations cornerstone, helping meld the Coalition into an
effective combat force. The planning process, involving C3IC members, did much to help
form and hold the Coalition together. In addition, the scope of the operation, movement of
forces across great distances, and the forces' political and cultural complexion demanded
innovative techniques and hard work at all levels to ensure battlefield success. Further
information on the C3IC is in Appendix K.
pg 235 paragraph 2
Liaison Teams
Liaison teams from ARCENT, SOF, USAF Forward Air Controllers (FACs), Air Liaison
Officers (ALO), and Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) Marines also were
key to coordination and control. Service warfighting doctrine requires liaison teams
between flanking units, from higher to lower headquarters, among components and among
Coalition forces. For example, ARCENT liaison teams with substantial communications
capabilities were sent to the two Army corps and I MEF.
Liaison teams also were attached to other Coalition forces. ARCENT teams attached to
JFC-N and JFC-E averaged 35 soldiers and became battle staff members, helping plan <pg
236 start> offensive operations and easing coordination with higher and adjacent units.
These teams were equipped with satellite communications (SATCOM) packages that
allowed them to communicate directly with ARCENT and CENTCOM headquarters. They
became the eyes and ears of the ARCENT commander and CINCCENT, and provided an
accurate battlefield picture in the non-US Coalition sectors as offensive operations
progressed. These liaison teams were crucial to the synchronization, coordination and
control of the combined battle.
Note: Material immediately above is from page 236.
pg 235 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
I MEF Task Organization
I MEF Command Element
1st Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Intelligence Group
3d Civil Affairs Group
3d Naval Construction Regiment (USN)
24th Marines (USMCR) (Rear Area Security)
1st Marine Division
1st Marines (TF Papa Bear)
3d Marines (TF Taro)
4th Marines (TF Grizzly)
7th Marines (TF Ripper)
11th Marines (TF King)
1st Light Armored Infantry Battalion (TF Shepherd)
1st Battalion, 25th Marines (USMCR) (TF Warden)
TF Troy (Deception)
(1st and 3d Tank Battalions, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Reconnaissance
Battalion and other combat support units were attached to the task forces)
2d Marine Division
6th Marines
8th Marines
Tiger Brigade, 2d Armored Division (USA)
10th Marines
2d Light Armored Infantry Battalion
2d Tank Battalion (M1A1)
8th Tank Battalion (USMCR) (M60A1)
2d Reconnaissance Battalion
3d Marine Aircraft Wing
Marine Aircraft Group-11
Marine Aircraft Group-13 (Forward)
Marine Aircraft Group-16
Marine Aircraft Group-26
Marine Air Control Group-38
Marine Wing Support Group-37
1st Force Service Support Group
General Support Group-1
General Support Group-2
Direct Support Command
Direct Support Group-1
Direct Support Group-2
5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade
5th Marines
Marine Aircraft Group 50 (Composite)
Brigade Service Support Group-5
pg 236 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Arab-Islamic Forces:
Joint Forces Command-North
Egyptian Corps
3rd Mech Infantry Division
4th Armored Division
Ranger Regiment
Syrian Division
9th Armored Division
Special Forces Regiment
Force Muthannah
20th Mech Brigade, (RSLF)
35th Mech Infantry BDE, Kuwait
Force SAAD
4th Armored Brigade, (RSLF)
15th Infantry Brigade, Kuwaiti
JFC-N Troops
Niger INF BN
1st Aviation BN (RSLF)
15th FA BN (RSLF)
pg 236 paragraph 2
Coordination and Control Measures
Coordination and control on a battlefield of this magnitude requires extensive measures, not
only to permit joint and combined operations and synchronize the combat power of the
multinational effort, but also to increase Coalition forces' safety. Commanders were
concerned about casualties from friendly fire from the beginning and took account of this
danger in formulating their operational plans. It is almost impossible, however,to prevent
casualties from friendly fires, given the speed of operations, lethality of weapons and the
environmental conditions under which the war was fought. (Friendly fire incidents are
discussed in Appendix M.)
Every level from company to theater used extensive coordination and control measures.
Boundaries between units, phase lines to coordinate advances, fire support coordination
lines (FSCL), and restricted fire lines were among the measures used. For the most part,
these measures are found in doctrine or standard operating procedures. During the
offensive, additional procedures were developed to meet specific needs for additional
To support Operation Desert Storm, CENTCOM created the largest theater communications
system in history. It connected US sustaining bases, CENTCOM, Coalition forces, and
subordinate elements. Because the system expanded rapidly, communications frequency
management and asset availability became crucial. Providing reliable and continuous
command, control and communications with a rapidly moving force across vast distances
during the ground war raised a whole new set of challenges.
To meet the needs of field commanders, multichannel SATCOM was used. These systems
required detailed frequency management and constant attention. There were 115 super high
frequency (SHF) tactical satellite (TACSAT) ground terminal relocations during the
Offensive Ground Campaign, with 33 multichannel satellite terminals in Iraq and Kuwait at
the end of the operation. Planning and executing these satellite terminals' movement to <pg
237 start> support the ground offensive was a major challenge. Signal units frequently
displaced nodes and terminals to maintain and sustain communications for advancing units.
pg 237 paragraph 2
Because of the distances between units, deploying units augmented their organic equipment
with ultra high frequency (UHF) TACSAT ground terminals. UHF single channel TACSAT
terminals were used for C2, intelligence dissemination and logistics support. The need for
this capability across long distances was identified early; the requirement increased steadily
throughout the operation. (More detailed discussion of C3I is in Appendix K.)
Joint and Combined Operations
Common Warfighting Doctrine
Evolving joint operations doctrine guided the planning and conduct of the ground offensive.
The basic principles of initiative, depth, agility, synchronization and combined arms are
understood and practiced by all Services. Forces are trained to fight using common
principles and techniques to ensure battlefield interoperability. Each Service, however, has
developed its own doctrinal concepts, operational principles, and internal organizational and
tactical concepts to maximize capabilities. For example, USMC warfighting doctrine is
based on many of the same principles as Army AirLand Battle doctrine, but it is adapted to
the USMC organization and structure. Technical terminology and procedures are being
standardized at the joint level. These include common maneuver and fire support control
measures, air support procedures, and operational planning and reporting formats.
pg 237 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Non-Affiliated Forces
European Forces
1st Armored Division (United Kingdom)
7th Armored Brigade Group
4th Armored Brigade
6th Light Armored Division (France)
1st Foreign Legion Cavalry Regt
1st Helicopter Regt
1st Spahihf Regt
2nd Foreign Legion Infantry Regt
3rd Helicopter Regt (Reinforced)
4th Dragoon Regt
Kuwaiti Forces
Al-Haq Brigade, Kuwaiti Forces
Khulud Brigade, Kuwaiti Forces
Kuwaiti Commando Battalion
pg 237 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Arab-Islamic Forces:
Joint Forces Command-East
Force Abu Bakr
2nd SANG Brigade
Force Othman
8th Mech Brigade (RSLF)
Kuwait Al-Fatah Brigade
Oman Motorized Infantry Battalion
Bahrain Infantry Company
Task Force Omar
10th Mech Brigade (RSLF)
UAE Motorized Infantry Battalion
Task Force Tariq
Marine Battalion Task Force (RS Marines)
Infantry Battalion (Senegal)
6th Mech Infantry Regiment (Moroccan Forces)
JFC-E Troops
Qatar Mech Infantry Battalion
1st East Bengal INF BN
Combat Aviation Battalion (Kuwait/UAE)
14th FA BN (Towed, 155) (RSLF)
18th FA BN (MLRS) (RSLF)
Engineer Force 5 Saif Allah (RSLF)
pg 238 paragraph 4
AirLand Battle Doctrine
The basis for ARCENT operations was AirLand <pg 238 start> Battle doctrine. The
essence of AirLand Battle is to defeat the enemy by conducting simultaneous offensive
operations over the full breadth and depth of the battlefield. It is the intellectual road map
for operations, conducted at corps and above, and tactics, conducted below corps. This
doctrine places tremendous demands on combat leaders. Commanders must fight
concurrently what are known as close, deep, and rear operations, all as interrelated parts of
one battle. Commanders fight close to destroy enemy forces where the battle is joined.
They fight deep to delay or attack enemy reserves. These operations are intended to
disrupt the enemy's plan and create opportunities for success in close operations. They fight
rear, behind forward units, to protect CSS assets and to retain freedom of action for friendly
sustainment and movement of reserve forces.
pg 238 paragraph 2
AirLand Battle doctrine is centered on the combined arms team, fully integrating the
capabilities of all land, sea and air combat systems, and envisions rapidly shifting and
concentrating decisive combat power, both fire and maneuver, at the proper time and place
on the battlefield.
Ultimately, success on the AirLand battlefield is predicated on four basic tenets:
- Initiative to set or change the terms of battle by offensive action;
- Agility the ability of friendly forces to act mentally and physically faster than the
- Depth the extension of operations in space, time, and resources; and,
- Synchronization the arrangement of battlefield activities in time, space, and purpose to
produce maximum relative combat power at the decisive point.
Marine Air-Ground Task Force Doctrine
Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) doctrine guided I MEF as it planned and
executed its part of Operation Desert Storm. Seeking to unhinge the enemy's cohesion,
Marine forces exploited enemy vulnerabilities while maximizing their own strengths.
Initiative, flexibility, and combined arms synchronization were keys to battlefield success,
and to fully achieve these principles, the MAGTF concept was stressed. Task-organized for
specific missions, the MAGTF is a balanced air-ground-logistics team composed of four
elements the command element, the ground combat element (GCE), the aviation combat
element (ACE), and the CSS element. These elements fall under one commander, who can
fight a three-dimensional battle at both the tactical and operational levels.
Central to MAGTF doctrine is the close integration of ground and air combat elements.
Trained to work in close cooperation, this is more than a relationship in which aircraft
provide close support to ground forces, although that is a key element. The GCE, task
organized to accomplish its mission, can range from a light infantry force to a mechanized
combined arms task force. Common warfighting doctrine and training lets units from
different parent commands or geographic locations be meshed quickly into a fighting team
(as occurred in the 1st MARDIV in Operation Desert Shield). The GCE, however, is only
one MAGTF maneuver element. The ACE, with fighter, attack, and rotary wing aircraft,
extends the battlefield and operates in the enemy's rear areas, seeking to inflict extensive
damage and disruption before ground forces clash. During the ground battle, Marine aircraft
ranged throughout the battle area, under the MAGTF commander's control, providing close
air support (CAS) to ground forces and interdiction of enemy forces throughout the depth of
Air Operations in Support of the Ground Offensive
In CINCCENT's theater campaign plan, elimination of strategic targets and attrition of Iraqi
combat effectiveness in the KTO were prerequisites for the Offensive Ground Campaign.
However, many factors affected this <pg 239 start> plan and the realignment of air
targeting priorities to support CINCCENT's objectives. These included: the air defense
threat; the need to find and strike Scud missile launcher locations; the deception plan, which
placed the weight of battlefield preparation initially in the MARCENT and JFC-N zone;
ranges and capabilities of some airframes, which were not suited for certain types of
missions; and an unusually long period of poor weather and low visibility.
pg 239 paragraph 2
Because the ground offensive's start was predicated on reduction of Iraqi forces in the KTO,
the ground force commanders were directly involved in battle damage assessment and
provided assessments to CENTCOM. CINCCENT's desired level of attrition was
approximately half of the Iraqi combat effectiveness.Ground forces and supporting air assets
closely coordinated the targeting effort to achieve the required attrition levels.
Army aviation operations during the ground offensive were an integral part of the ground
commanders' scheme of maneuver. In addition to the traditional missions of attack, assault,
armed reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, and C2, non-traditional missions, such as
counter-battery and counter-reconnaissance missions, were flown. Cooperative planning
between fire support units and other air assets capitalized on the strengths of both systems.
I MEF relied on 3rd MAW assets. Trained to operate with Marine ground forces, 3rd MAW
provided I MEF with an important combat multiplier, letting I MEF conduct an integrated
air-ground operation that included not only the increased firepower of CAS, but also the
ability to prepare the battlefield and to attack enemy forces throughout its zone. 3rd MAW,
in effect, acted as an additional I MEF maneuver unit, operating in concert with the MEF
attack plan, but able to strike the enemy and influence the battle well forward and to the
flanks of the advancing ground forces.
Naval Operations in Support of the Ground Offensive
While Coalition naval forces continued to operate in the Red and Northern Arabian seas,
primary support to the ground offensive was provided by forces in the Persian Gulf. This
support included an amphibious task force, two battleships and two carrier battle forces, as
well as escorts, smaller vessels and minesweepers from both the United States and several
other Coalition nations. The primary focus of naval support for the ground offensive was an
amphibious assault on the Kuwait coast.
Naval forces in the Gulf also conducted several other missions to support the ground
offensive. The battleships USS Missouri (BB 63) and USS Wisconsin (BB 64) bombarded
Iraqi coastal positions, and later provided naval gunfire support (NGFS) to advancing
Coalition units. Naval aircraft destroyed Iraqi naval forces based in Kuwait and Al-Faw and
conducted bombing attacks, which helped prepare the battlefield. Beginning in late January,
SEALs conducted coastal reconnaissance. Finally, maritime forces ensured the continued
flow of supplies and equipment to the Gulf coast ports, enabling the VII Corps and
additional Marine forces to arrive. A detailed discussion of naval operations is in Chapter
Roles of Non-US Coalition Forces
The various Coalition forces each had different abilities. The theater plans considered these
differences and assigned roles and missions to achieve the best results. Final assignments of
Arab-Islamic forces were coordinated between CINCCENT and Commander, Joint
Forces/Theater of Operations. These missions considered the Arab-Islamic forces' relative
capabilities, tactical mobility, and logistics supportability.
As the plan developed, CINCCENT redistributed missions. The 6th French Light Armored
Division was placed under XVIII Airborne Corps tactical control (TACON); it <pg 240
start> was used to secure the theater's left flank. With the arrival of the remainder of the 1st
UK Armoured Division from Germany, the 7th UK Armoured Brigade, attached to
MARCENT, reverted to its parent unit. The 1st UK Armoured Division was placed under
VII Corps TACON. To compensate for this loss in MARCENT's armor capability, the 1st
(Tiger) Brigade, 2nd Armored Division was detached from the 1st Cavalry Division and
attached to MARCENT.
pg 240 paragraph 2
Tactical Intelligence
Ground commanders at corps and below required as much information as possible about
Iraqi forces and defensive positions, particularly along the Kuwait-Iraq border, where
extensive minefields, complex obstacles, and interlocking defenses had to be breached.
Deception and operations security (OPSEC) requirements precluded those same
commanders from conducting intelligence collection operations to the depth of their
respective areas of interest. As a result, the echelons above corps intelligence systems and
organizations were tasked to provide detailed intelligence support to tactical commanders.
At the same time, those sensors and organizations were expected to continue to provide
intelligence support to other areas of vital US interests.
Competition for scarce and capable resources was intense and resulted in situations where
requirements were not validated or were included in higher headquarters taskings. Sensors
(particularly imagery) were unavailable or were incapable of being reoriented on short
notice, and national-level analysts did not respond in the detail ground tactical commanders
Overall, intelligence organizations attempted to apply innovative solutions to difficult
problems. Intelligence provided to ground tactical commanders from the theater and
national levels was not always timely and often came in unfamiliar formats. In confronting
these difficulties, commanders often generated additional requests for information which, in
turn, further taxed the over burdened theater and national intelligence systems.
Consequently, ground tactical commanders were not confident with the tactical intelligence
picture as G-Day approached.
From the first day of Operation Desert Shield, the logistical effort was a major priority.
Committed to a theater of operations without a broad, well-developed logistics
infrastructure or transportation network, and lacking established alliance support
relationships, US forces had to create these capabilities in the midst of a massive
deployment, with the prospect of imminent combat.
Saudi air and sea ports are modern, sophisticated and complex, rivaling those of Europe and
the Pacific in terms of capacity and capability. Major coastal roads and road systems around
principal Saudi cities were also excellent. These provided a foundation which was critical to
the overall effort. In contrast, the meager inland transportation system dictated a major road
building effort and field logistics infrastructure development.
The ability to support and sustain the force was perhaps the most crucial operational
consideration as CINCCENT planned the theater offensive. Massive logistics assets would
have to be in place to support the ground offensive. Accordingly, two contingency plans
were developed. The first was to shorten the LOC by building roads following the attacking
corps. The second was a logistics over the shore operation, if a port in Kuwait could be
made available. A base along the Kuwaiti coast, at Ash Shuaybah or farther north, would
shorten logistics lines by hundreds of miles and enable supplies to be carried by sea from
main bases in Al-Jubayl and Ad-Dammam.
pg 241 start
Plan For Sustainment
The forces to be supported for the ground offensive were sizable. ARCENT, British, and
French forces totaled 258,701 soldiers, 11,277 tracked vehicles, 47,449 wheeled vehicles,
and 1,619 aircraft. In accordance with joint doctrine and agreements, ARCENT also
retained responsibility for much of the theater logistics support of Air Force Component,
Central Command (CENTAF) and MARCENT. In preparation for G-Day, 29.6 million
meals, 36 million gallons of fuel, and 114.9 thousand tons of ammunition were moved from
the port to forward positions west of Wadi Al-Batin. These supplies had to be moved in a
very short period; however, to preserve security, logistics bases could not be set up west of
the Wadi Al-Batin before air operations began.
The plan for logistical support and sustainment envisioned moving all classes of supplies,
but especially fuel, ammunition, food, and water, forward to the ground forces as they
pushed into Iraq. The corps support commands (COSCOM) in turn received and moved
these supplies and equipment forward to the appropriate division support commands
(DISCOM). The DISCOM then sent these supplies to the respective forward support
battalions which supported the ground maneuver forces. The plan for theater logistics
sustainment further called for support to be echeloned forward to temporary logistics bases,
as the battle unfolded and tactical objectives were seized. Logistics planning and
sustainment below the theater level were conducted according to established doctrine.
Establishment of Logistics Bases
The establishment of logistics bases was a key feature of the plan. CSS assets were required
well forward and positioned to sustain the momentum of the attack once the ground
offensive began. The bases had to be able to sustain the combat forces in their initial
deployment areas and serve as intermediate storage areas for supplies to be moved to sites
west of the Wadi Al-Batin. These sites would, in turn, support operations into Iraq and
pg 241 map: LOG Bases. Map shows 5 major logistics bases in Saudi Arabia. They are
labeled A, B, C, D, and E. A is near Hafr Al-Batin, B is at King Khalid Military City, D is
at Riyadh. C is at Rafhah (near the Iraqi border). E is next to the neutral zone. Two
seaports are highlighted as being part of the supply network: Al-Jubayl and Dhahran. Other
key words: KKMC, logistic base.
Note: The information present here is similar but slightly different from that presented on
page 427 (SWA Sustainment Logistic Bases).
ARCENT established six sites to sustain the XVIII Airborne and VII Corps. In the I MEF
area, four CSS areas were set up near the Kuwait border. All forward sites were stocked
<pg 242 start> with bulk potable water, both bottled and from reverse osmosis water
purification units, ammunition, equipment,food, petroleum, construction materials and
spare parts for delivery forward as needed. At these forward logistics sites, the components
organized logistics units to support and sustain forward elements according to their assigned
pg 242 chart: LOG Base Fill. Log Bases A, B, C, and E are shown with respect to Class I
(food), Class III (fuel) and Class V (Ammo) fill percentages. The Information listed is as
Log Base A: Class I (0 or not given), Class III (70%), Class V (0 or not given);
Log Base B: Class I (210%), Class III (90%), Class V (50%);
Log Base C: Class I (180%), Class III (98%), Class V (80%);
Log Base E: Class I (200%), Class III (90%), Class V (90%);
Log Base D (Riyadh) - information not presented on chart.
Other search words: logistic base.
pg 242 paragraph 2
ARCENT's 22d SUPCOM shifted vast quantities of supplies to these bases in the west. The
supply bases contained enough materiel to support combat operations for up to 60 days.
Some were moved several times, first to the west and then north once the operation began.
Several lessons emerged from planning for this initial shift, including the fact that US forces
lack sufficient heavy equipment transporters (HETs) and trucks with off-road capabilities.
Just one of the five heavy divisions, the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), for example,
needed 3,223 HET, 445 lowboys, and 509 flatbed loads to move its heavy equipment from
forward assembly areas into attack positions. The problem was further complicated because
units arrived at the ports at irregular intervals. While trucks could be surged to meet arriving
units, the limited road space upon which to move them remained constant. The necessary
trucks were obtained with other Coalition countries' help. HNS, Coalition forces' support,
and support from non-traditional allies, including the former Warsaw Pact nations, were
substantial and essential. Although the Army sent considerable numbers of the most modern
wheeled vehicles to the theater before Operation Desert Storm, off-road truck transport
remained a problem throughout the ground offensive.
The extended maneuver of US ground combat units, characterized by rapid advance and
continuous operations, was successfully sustained from the established logistics bases
during the offensive. The greatest challenge for CSS operators at the logistics bases and
supply operators with the maneuver units was trying to manage transportation assets
effectively to ensure resupply across the rapidly expanding battlefield. Keeping the combat
vehicles supplied with fuel was the greatest challenge. The Heavy Expanded Mobility
Tactical Truck was one of the few vehicles that could keep going when rain turned roads
into a quagmire. (Appendix F includes a further discussion of heavy equipment
Joint Logistics
In addition to supporting Army elements, ARCENT supported the other CENTCOM
components. ARCENT was responsible for food, water, bulk fuel, ground munitions, port
operations, inland cargo transportation, construction support for all US forces and for graves
registration after a Service exceeded its own organic capability.
Support for the Tiger Brigade attached to MARCENT for the ground offensive was an
excellent example of how joint logistics was managed. The USMC system is not structured
to support and maintain an Army brigade equipped with M1A1 tanks and M2/M3 fighting
vehicles. To meet this requirement, back-up direct support and general support was
provided <pg 243 start> through a provisional forward area support company tailored from
elements of the ARCENT 593rd Area Support Group and the 176th Maintenance Battalion.
These elements augmented the brigade's direct support battalion and operated with the
USMC 1st FSSG. The relationship between the Army forward area support operations and
the USMC logistics structure provided the necessary support to the brigade.
pg 243 paragraph 2
MARCENT Logistics
CSS in the MARCENT sector was equally challenging. Organized and equipped to conduct
operations relatively close to the shore, the 1st FSSG operated more than 50 miles inland
and 100 miles from its main supply base at Al-Jubayl. As an innovative partial solution,
Marine Reservists, primarily from the 6th Motor Transport Battalion, formed "Saudi
Motors", a collection of several hundred drivers with commercial trucks provided by the
Saudis to link Al-Jubayl with the forward logistics sites. Marine assault support helicopters
shuttled back and forth between the rear and forward logistics sites, carrying cargo and
delivering high priority items. I MEF requested and received some direct support line haul,
transportation and theater level fuel support in the form of HETs, fuel tankers and other
motor transport assets from 22nd SUPCOM.
To support the tactical units, 1st FSSG divided itself into general support and direct support
groups, with mobile service support detachments providing support to each assault regiment
or task force. This decentralized structure let 1st FSSG distribute supplies from Al-Jubayl
directly to front-line units without a cumbersome intervening support organization. Each
level operated to help the next element forward. Although not a part of USMC doctrine, this
innovative organization of the service support structure may have been one of the more
successful aspects of the ground campaign. I MEF supported its combat forces at distances
far exceeding those anticipated in peacetime, and given the volumes of supplies and speed
of advance, Marine logistics abilities were stretched to the limits.
The Final Operational Plan
The final CINCCENT ground offensive plan involved several interrelated operations.
ARCENT would lead the main effort. XVIII Airborne Corps would attack in the west and
deep into Iraq to control the east-west LOC along Highway 8 and cut off Iraqi forces in the
KTO. VII Corps would conduct the main Coalition effort, attacking east of XVIII Airborne
Corps and west of Wadi Al-Batin, driving to the north and then east to destroy Republican
Guard forces. VII Corps adjusted its plan by calling an "audible" during a CPX conducted
6-8 January 1991, to move two armored divisions and a cavalry regiment to the west to take
advantage of a gap in the Iraqi defenses. This was made possible when the 1st Cavalry
Division was made OPCON to VII Corps to prevent a Khafji-type attack by Iraqi forces into
Hafir Al Batin. VII Corps moved the 1st Cavalry Division to prevent an Iraqi attack and to
fix Iraqi forces in place to allow the envelopment to take place.
On the right flank, JFC-N, MARCENT, and JFC-E, would hold the enemy's tactical and
operational forces in place by breaching Iraqi defenses in Kuwait and encircling Iraqi forces
in the heel of Kuwait and Kuwait City. JFC-N would block Iraqi LOC north of Kuwait City.
MARCENT would destroy enemy forces and seize key objectives southeast of Al-Jahra.
MARCENT also would protect JFC-N's right flank. Navy and Marine forces in the Gulf
would create a deception through amphibious exercises and feints before and during the
ground offensive. JFC-E would protect MARCENT's right flank by destroying Iraqi forces
and securing key objectives along the coast. Once Kuwait City was encircled and Iraqi
forces were ejected or defeated, Arab-Islamic forces from both JFC-E and JFC-N, would
<pg 244 start> liberate Kuwait City. CINCCENT initially designated the 1st Cavalry
Division from Fort Hood, TX, as the theater reserve.
pg 244 map: Ground Tactical Plan. Map shows potential attack jumpoff points of the
XVIII Abn Corps, the VII Corps, JFC-N, MARCENT, JFC-E, and the 4th MEB forces.
The Objective locations and names inside of Iraq and Kuwait are given. Objective names
include Rochambeau, White, FOB Cobra, Brown, Gray, Red, Gold, Orange, Purple,
Collins, and others (including the letters A, B, C, and D). Note: This is exactly the same
map as the one appearing on page 71 (Ground Offensive Campaign Concept of Operations).
pg 244 paragraph 2
To further confuse the Iraqis and perhaps draw off tactical and operational reserves, the
ground offensive was to be sequenced. The XVIII Airborne Corps' 6th French Light Armor
Division, 82nd Airborne Division, and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) would
attack at 0400 on G-Day, in the general direction of Baghdad and the lower Euphrates River
to secure the left flank of the main attack. The Marines would attack at the same time,
followed by the JFC-E on the coast. The I MEF's specific mission was to attack into Kuwait
west of Al-Wafrah to hold and destroy Iraqi forces to their front, hold Iraqi tactical and
operational <pg 245 start> reserves to prevent reinforcement of Iraqi forces in the West,
block Iraqi forces' retreat from southeast Kuwait and Kuwait City and help Arab forces
enter Kuwait City. The theater main effort, the VII Corps, was not intended to begin until
G+1, followed an hour later by an attack from JFC-N forces.
pg 245 paragraph 2
The main attack was designed to avoid most fixed defenses, drive deep into Iraq, envelop
Iraqi forces from the west and attack and destroy Saddam Hussein's strategic reserve Republican Guard armored and mechanized infantry divisions augmented by several other
Iraqi Army heavy divisions. This wide left sweep, sometimes referred to as the "Hail Mary"
plan, emphasized the key tenets of AirLand Battle doctrine. Accurate intelligence, air
supremacy, the reduction of combat power by air operations and technological advantages,
such as the Small Lightweight Global Positioning System Receivers (SLGRs) sent to the
theater during the six-month buildup prior to the offensive, made it possible to cross the
desert undetected and effectively apply overwhelming ground combat power from a
direction and in a way the Iraqis did not expect.
During the operation, some adjustments were made to the original ground offensive plan.
The most significant alteration was the acceleration of the time for the main attack. The
high rate of advance by I MEF, JFC-E, and the XVIII Airborne Corps let CINCCENT
accelerate the time table for the operation. As a result, VII Corps crossed the line of
departure 15 hours ahead of schedule. In addition, after it was apparent the attack by JFC-N
was proceeding satisfactorily, the 1st Cavalry Division was released from theater reserve
and attached to the VII Corps on Tuesday morning, 26 February. The 1st Cavalry Division
moved rapidly around the VII Corps left flank and was in position to conduct the northern
assault of the planned corps double envelopment.
Posturing for the Attack
Repositioning of I Marine Expeditionary Force
Because I MEF's area of responsibility had shifted away from the coast, its assault would be
conducted through the defenses covering Ahmad Al-Jabir Airfield west of Al-Wafrah. To
support this move, supply points at Al-Mish'ab and along the coast had to be moved to
newly constructed bases at Al-Kibrit and Al-Khanjar. Two expeditionary airfields and a
helicopter complex were built at Al-Khanjar while the existing dirt strip at Al-Kibrit was
improved to handle C-130s to support the ground attack. The two divisions leapfrogged past
each other, placing the 1st MARDIV on the right and 2nd MARDIV on the left. This
simultaneous movement of nearly 60,000 Marines and all their equipment was
accomplished using a single dirt road that stretched across 100 miles of desert. Difficult to
execute under the best peacetime conditions, the shift was carried out while I MEF elements
remained in direct contact with enemy forces.
Once in assembly areas, assault units honed their skills by conducting extensive training and
rehearsals. Full scale mock-ups of breach areas were constructed. New engineer equipment
arrived, to include armored combat earthmovers and mine-clearing plows loaned by the
The Shift West of ARCENT Forces
Throughout December, the 22nd SUPCOM shifted supplies from the ports to bases near
King Khalid Military City. From 17 January to 24 February, while the Coalition air forces
waged the air operation, VII Corps, XVIII Airborne Corps, and other coalition elements
moved more than 270,000 troops and supplies into position for the attack. XVIII Airborne
Corps displaced approximately 260 miles and VII Corps maneuvered west over 150 miles
in the same tactical formations that it would use to attack from south to north. This was
done <pg 246 start> without HETs and was a corps level rehearsal for the actual attack.
This movement, which continued 24 hours a day for more than three weeks before the start
of the ground war, was one of the largest and longest movements of combat forces in
history. The total number of personnel and amount of equipment exceeded that moved by
General George S. Patton during his attack into the German flank at the Battle of the Bulge.
Whole divisions and extensive support structures moved hundreds of miles, undetected by
the Iraqis. The move was conducted on largely unimproved roads. The road network not
only made repositioning physically difficult, but also complicated movement management.
To avoid massive traffic jams, movement schedules were worked out to the last detail. In
the dense traffic, vehicles were moving at 15 second intervals.
pg 246 paragraph 2
The tactical airlift fleet also supported the westward shift. C-130s established air tactical
routings to Rafha, the XVIII Airborne Corps' destination, from airfields near the Corps rear
staging areas. These routings were established at low altitudes to ensure the movement
would not be detected by the Iraqis and to deconflict them with the near continuous flow of
fighters to targets in Iraq. The C-130s averaged a takeoff and landing out of King Fahd
International Airport every seven minutes, 24 hours a day, for the first 13 days of the move.
Once forces were at Rafha, the C-130s helped build up the supplies, combat replacements,
and the logistics bases. At log base Charlie, the combat engineers blocked a one mile strip
of the Trans Arabian Pipeline (Tapline) Road to serve as an airstrip. Only nine miles from
the Iraqi border, it was essential to get in and out quickly. Perhaps the most important cargo
delivered was fuel. Aircraft equipped with special bladders brought in more than 5,000
gallons of fuel on each lift and pumped it into waiting fuel trucks.
Preparing and Shaping the Battlefield
Preparation and shaping of the battlefield is intended to seize the initiative from the enemy,
forcing him to fight in accordance with your plan rather than his, thus allowing the attacker
to exploit the enemy's weaknesses and to maneuver more freely on the battlefield. The
concept of preparation and shaping entails two aspects physical degradation of the
enemy's capabilities and psychological operations to <pg 247 start> deceive and
demoralize the enemy. Both are carried out throughout the depth of the battlefield. Physical
degradation requires extensive use of supporting arms and raids, both ground and air, to
attack and destroy enemy abilities to conduct operations. PSYOPS attack the enemy's will
to fight and deceive him, thereby forcing him to react to, rather than anticipate the actions of
the attacker. Coalition air and ground forces extensively prepared and shaped the battlefield.
pg 247 map: The Shift West. Map of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait shows the same
sectors/areas of responsibility as do the maps on page 71 (Ground Offensive Campaign
Concept of Operations) and page 244 (Ground Tactical Plan). It leaves out objectives and
shows how VII Corps and XVIII Corps shifted from positions south of Kuwait to their
actual attack positions to the west and south of Iraqi territory.
pg 247 paragraph 2
Deception Operations
CINCCENT placed a high priority on deception operations which were intended to
convince Iraq that the main attack would be directly into Kuwait, supported by an
amphibious assault. All components contributed to the deception operation. Aggressive
ground force patrolling, artillery raids, amphibious feints and ship movements, and air
operations all were part of CINCCENT's orchestrated deception operation. Throughout,
ground force units <pg 248 start> engaged in reconnaissance and counter- reconnaissance
operations with Iraqi forces to deny the Iraqis information about actual Coalition intentions.
pg 248 paragraph 2
For 30 days before the ground offensive, the 1st Cavalry Division conducted aggressive
feints, demonstrations, and artillery raids in the direction of the Iraqi defenses nearest the
Wadi Al-Batin. These activities reinforced the deception that the main attack would be
launched directly north into Western Kuwait. It also held five infantry divisions and an
armored division in place, well away from the actual VII Corps zone of attack.
I MEF also implemented a detailed deception operation. A series of combined arms raids,
similar to those conducted in January, drew Iraqi fire, while PSYOP loud speakers
broadcast across the border. For 10 days, Task Force (TF) Troy, consisting of infantry,
armor, reconnaissance, engineers, Seabees and Army PSYOPS created the impression of a
much larger force, engaging enemy elements in the Al-Wafrah area, conducting deceptive
communications, and building dummy positions.
These operations complemented the deception effort carried out by amphibious forces off
Kuwait's coast. The amphibious task force (ATF), assigned the mission of deceiving the
Iraqis into expecting an assault against Kuwait, and conducting that assault should it
become necessary, began posturing in the Gulf in mid-January. A well publicized
amphibious rehearsal in Oman attracted media attention in the end of January while,
simultaneously, Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations
Capable) conducted a raid on tiny Umm Al-Maradim Island off the Kuwait coast. As the
ground offensive approached, the ATF moved into the northern Gulf, conspicuously
preparing for a possible assault. Overall, the deception operation was key to achieving both
tactical and operational surprise and, ultimately, the ground offensive's success.
Air Preparation of the Battlefield
CINCCENT established priorities for air preparation of the battlefield. Although the ground
commanders made recommendations regarding targets and timing of the operation,
CINCCENT aligned it with the overall theater plan. Ground tactical commanders found this
discomforting, since they were most concerned about the forces immediately to their front
and had only limited information on how CINCCENT was using air power to shape the
entire theater. Additionally, by CINCCENT direction, air operations did not initially
emphasize destruction of front line Iraqi forces in the KTO until just before the ground
offensive. This was done in part to enhance the deception plan. This also concerned the
ground commanders, who naturally wanted air power to degrade the Iraqi units immediately
in their line of advance.
Coalition air forces flew more than 35,000 sorties against KTO targets, including more than
5,600 against the Republican Guards Forces Command (RGFC). The Service components
nominated targets, but CINCCENT apportioned sorties, and the Joint Force Air Component
Commander tasked them. Artillery, CPs, C2 facilities, armor, and logistics installations were
hit repeatedly. As the ground war approached, the percentage of sorties allocated to the
destruction of Iraqi forces in the KTO increased.
In preparation for ground attacks in the eastern portion of the KTO, 3rd MAW used
primarily AV-8Bs and F/A-18s to attack targets inside Kuwait. Priority was given to
locating and destroying enemy artillery, armor and troops in the central and southern parts
of Kuwait. Marine aviation intensified its attacks in Kuwait as the date for the ground
offensive approached. By mid-February, 3rd MAW was used almost totally to prepare the
battlefield. Aircraft were kept on continuous alert to provide <pg 249 start> immediate
CAS, and to respond to enemy sightings, artillery attacks and Iraqi cross-border incursions.
pg 249 paragraph 2
Ground Preparation of the Battlefield
Iraqi artillery was a primary objective in the battlefield preparation. Iraqi artillery, modern
by any standard, often out-ranged Coalition guns, and had been effective in the Iran-Iraq
war. While the Coalition could hold Iraqi maneuver forces in position; left unchecked, Iraqi
artillery alone might disrupt the Coalition ground assault. Properly used, enemy artillery
could have delayed breaching operations long enough for some Iraqi units to counterattack.
Additionally, there was a real concern that Iraqi commanders might use artillery-delivered
chemical weapons. Accordingly, Iraqi artillery, particularly their most modern systems,
were high priority targets during Phase III of the theater campaign. Air, attack helicopters,
and Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) were used to destroy enemy artillery. 3rd
MAW AV-8Bs and F/A-18s, assisted by Marine unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and
airborne FACs, searched out batteries for destruction. The Army and Marines also
conducted many artillery raids to destroy Iraqi artillery.
Reconnaissance and Counter-Reconnaissance
During the air campaign, ground forces conducted extensive reconnaissance to determine
the extent and locations of Iraqi obstacles and defensive positions and
counter-reconnaissance operations to deceive the enemy regarding Coalition forces
disposition. Ground forces conducted raids, patrols, feints and long-range reconnaissance.
Both air and ground maneuver benefited from Army aviation reconnaissance in depth.
Attack, scout, and special operations aircraft performed repetitive armed reconnaissance
missions in each division zone for days before the ground offensive. Even with the array of
deep acquisition platforms, one of the most reliable and timely sources of battlefield
information for tactical commanders was human source intelligence (HUMINT) provided
by aviation.
pg 249 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
During night operations, 30 January, the 24th Infantry Division's Apache attack helicopter
battalion, conducting reconnaissance, found an electronic warfare site with their long-range
optics. Early in the morning of 31 January, the Battalion Commander ordered Apache A
Company across the border to attack it. "It was a great start for the Apaches and a successful
raid," the battalion commander said.
The US Army Aviation Center
Another innovative approach was the extensive use of helicopters to locate Iraqi observation
posts and CPs. Flying at night, Army and Marine observation and attack helicopters found
and destroyed these positions using Hellfire and other laser-designated munitions such as
Copperhead. The same tactics proved effective for air defense sites, and contributed to joint
suppression of enemy air defense activities.
On the left flank, in the days immediately before the ground offensive XVIII Airborne
Corps conducted aerial and mounted raids deep into Iraqi territory to hit armor, artillery,
bunkers, and observation posts. The XVIII Airborne Corps reported, that in one armed
aerial reconnaissance operation on 20 February, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
aviation brigade destroyed 15 bunkers with air and TOW missile fire and induced 476 Iraqis
to surrender. The division, with attack helicopter support, sent CH-47 Chinook helicopters
and troops forward to gather the EPWs. By 22 February, 82nd Airborne Division
helicopters were penetrating deep into Iraqi territory in daylight.
In the VII Corps area, in preparation for the attack, the 2nd ACR pushed 15 kilometers into
Iraq to cover engineers cutting openings in the border berm. Just before the ground
offensive, VII Corps reports show that the 1st Infantry Division <pg 250 start>
(Mechanized) engaged 20 Iraqi tanks and killed several enemy soldiers patrolling the
pg 250 paragraph 2
SOF operated deep in enemy territory and along the coast, reporting enemy disposition and
activities. Early in the crisis, the 5th Special Forces Group (SFG), (Airborne) in cooperation
with Saudi paratroopers, had manned observation posts and conducted patrols along the
Kuwaiti border to provide early warning of an Iraqi attack. 3rd SFG (A) carried out valuable
long-range patrols north of the border. One team used low-light cameras and probing
equipment to determine if the terrain north of the border would support armored vehicles.
Others, including the British Special Air Service (SAS), watched suspected Iraqi
reinforcement routes and searched for Scud launchers. SEALS conducted reconnaissance
operations along the coast to determine enemy dispositions and to clear mines.
In mid-January, I MEF established observation and signal intelligence collection posts along
the Kuwait border to try to locate enemy defenses and concentrations. Reconnaissance
teams and light armored vehicles kept a watchful eye on the border while screening the
forward movement of the 1st and 2nd MARDIVs. The Iraqis reacted quickly; on 17
January, forward elements of 1st Surveillance Reconnaissance and Intelligence Group at
Al-Khafji received artillery fire. Marine AV-8Bs on strip alert at King 'Abd Al-'Aziz
Expeditionary Airfield in northern Saudi Arabia were launched to silence the Iraqi artillery.
On 19 January, several Iraqi soldiers crossed the border and surrendered to Marines, the first
prisoners the MEF took.
Beginning 20 January, and continuing for the next 10 days, I MEF conducted combined
arms raids along the Kuwaiti border. These raids were designed to deceive the enemy as to
the location and disposition of Coalition forces, focus attention toward Kuwait, keep the
Iraqis off-balance, and test their response. Marines manning outposts along the border
continued to call on AV-8Bs to conduct counterbattery attacks, while UAVs flying from
Al-Mish'ab located targets. Although air operations over Iraq absorbed much of the world's
attention, the Kuwaiti border had become a scene of active fighting.
As the ground offensive approached, I MEF increased reconnaissance and surveillance, both
to deny enemy intelligence collection and to gain a more accurate picture of his
dispositions. Reconnaissance teams from both 1st and 2nd MARDIV crossed the border and
moved into Kuwait a week before the attack. Elements of two regimental sized task forces
from 1st MARDIV began infiltrating on the night of 21 February and during the next two
nights, remaining hidden and largely undetected during the day. These elements eliminated
Iraqi forward observers, cleared minefield lanes, and <pg 251 start> positioned themselves
to support the mechanized task forces when they attacked on the morning of 24 February.
pg 251 paragraph 2
In the 2nd MARDIV sector, conditions differed markedly. Only a few kilometers separated
its attack positions from the Iraqi defenses. The two defensive lines were only two to three
kilometers apart and intertwined within the Umm Qudayr oilfields. Obstacles included
forward outposts, berms, and fire trenches in addition to the minefields and trenchlines.
Before G-Day, the 2nd MARDIV's 2nd Light Armored Infantry (LAI) Battalion crossed into
Kuwait on a three-day operation to clear Iraqi outposts and defenses forward of the first
obstacle belt.
The Battle of Al-Khafji and Contact at Al-Wafrah
On 29 January, attention abruptly shifted from air operations to the JFC-E and Marine areas.
Iraqi armored forces launched cross-border attacks, the most newsworthy at Al-Khafji.
However, a second attack, directed at the area south and west of Al-Wafrah, engaged I
MEF's TF Shepherd. A young Marine corporal in the 2nd LAI Battalion scored a TOW
antitank missile kill in the dark from more than 3,000 meters as a T-55 tank emerged
through the border berm, blocking the exit and halting further Iraqi advance. The next day,
the 6th Marine Regiment rushed northward and dug in south of Al-Wafrah, ending any Iraqi
threat in that sector, although sporadic artillery fire continued for several days.
At Al-Khafji, Arab forces, supported by Marine forward observers, who called and adjusted
artillery and CAS, pushed invading Iraqi columns back into Kuwait. At the height of the
fighting, a Marine reconnaissance team, cut off in the town and cornered on the roof of a
building, continued to report enemy movements and call in air and artillery fires. These
battles proved costly to the Iraqis while instilling new confidence in the Coalition and
providing Marines combat experience. (See Chapter 6 for details on air operations at
The Threat as of 23 February the Day Before the Ground Offensive
Iraqi Defensive Positions and Plan
As discussed earlier, the Iraqi Army was prepared to defend the KTO. Operational and
tactical level plans existed, preparations for contingencies were made and executed, and,
while some units in the forward areas were composed of second class troops, many Iraqi
regular and heavy units put up a fight. The Iraqi defensive strategy, however, was not
prepared for the Coalition's offensive strategy. The Iraqi assumption that the tactics used in
the Iran-Iraq War would be applicable against the Coalition proved faulty, as did their
assumption that the attack would be terrain-oriented in support of the Coalition's political
goal of liberating Kuwait. Further, once the air war began, Iraqi tactical intelligence became
virtually blind. Most importantly, Iraqi defensive planning was rendered ineffective due to
the speed, maneuver, firepower, and technological advantages of the Coalition offensive,
which surprised and overwhelmed the Iraqis.
The Iraqis prepared for the expected assault into Kuwait in a manner that reflected the
successes of their defensive strategy during the Iranian War. They constructed two major
defensive belts in addition to extensive fortifications and obstacles along the coast. The first
belt paralleled the border roughly five to 15 kilometers inside Kuwait and was composed of
continuous minefields varying in width from 100 to 200 meters, with barbed wire, antitank
ditches, berms, and oil filled trenches intended to cover key avenues of approach. Covering
the first belt were Iraqi platoon and company-size strongpoints designed to provide early
warning and delay any attacker attempting to cut through.
The second obstacle belt, up to 20 kilometers <pg 252 start> behind the first, began north
of Al-Khafji and proceeded northwest of the Al-Wafrah oilfields until it joined with the first
near Al-Manaqish. This second obstacle belt actually constituted the main Iraqi defensive
line in Kuwait. Obstacles and minefields mirrored those of the first belt. They were covered
by an almost unbroken line of mutually supporting brigade- sized defensive positions
composed of company trench lines and strongpoints. The minefields contained both
antitank and antipersonnel mines.
pg 252 drawing: Iraqi Defense in Depth. The drawing shows the initial 5-15 km wide Iraqi
defenses along the border areas. The drawing shows 3 anti-tank fire trenches fronted by
mine belts (each 100 to 200 meters wide). Behind the trenches and the mine belts are
defensive positions (shown as infantry figures but next drawing on page 253 indicates that
armor vehicles are in these areas). In the rear are counterattack forces (depicted as armored
pg 252 paragraph 2
The Iraqi tactical plan was designed to slow the attacker at the first belt, to trap him in
prearranged kill zones between the two belts, and to destroy him before he could break
through the second belt. Any attacking forces able to breach the second belt would be
counterattacked immediately behind the strongpoints by division and corps level armor
Iraqi Combat Effectiveness
One objective of the initial phases of the theater campaign was to shift the balance of forces
more in favor of the Coalition; this goal was achieved. In all, almost 100,000 total combat
and support sorties were flown and <pg 253 start> 288 Tomahawk land-attack missiles
launched during the first three phases of the campaign. Of the total sorties flown, 60 percent
were combat missions. Damage to Iraqi forces was extensive, and Iraqi C2 was severely
degraded. Saddam Hussein's ability to direct his fielded forces was impeded and in many
cases, forward corps, division and brigade commanders lost touch with their subordinate
commands. Large amounts of equipment were damaged or destroyed. Vast stockpiles of
Iraqi supplies, positioned to support the KTO, were destroyed and the road nets on which
replenishment had to pass were degraded. Air operations against fielded forces, in
conjunction with PSYOPS, helped sap Iraqi morale. Phase III of the campaign greatly
reduced Saddam Hussein's ability to bring the strength of his army to bear against the
Coalition ground forces.
pg 253 drawing: Defense. Battalion-Size Triangular Strongpoint. The drawing shows
triangular defensive positions with each of the three sides being 2500 meters in length.
Each side has a 3 to 4 meter earth berm. The side facing the enemy/Saudi Arabia has an
additional berm and antitank ditch. Positions in the middle of the strongpoint are used to
store and protect armored vehicles (armored revetments). At each of the triangle's tips are
company positions. These company positions are further broken down into platoon
positions/triangular strongpoints.
pg 253 paragraph 2
At the end of more than a month of bombardment, Iraqi forces remained in Kuwait; many,
particularly in the front line units, were in poor condition, with their ability to coordinate an
effective defense along the border severely reduced. When the ground war started,
CINCCENT assessed that, largely through the results of the Coalition air operation, the
overall combat effectiveness of the opposing Iraqi forces had been reduced by about half.
It should be noted that while the forward infantry divisions suffered high attrition, a
substantial portion of the more capable units, such as the Republican Guards, and Iraqi <pg
254 start> armored and infantry divisions to the west and north, still were combat effective.
This was, in part, the result of a conscious decision to target the forward defensive positions
as a part of the deception plan. As the ground offensive unfolded, many Republican Guards
units and other forces to the west and north, even though they were surprised by the
advancing Coalition formations, retained much of their combat capability and put up a fight.
pg 254 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Iraqi Buildup in KTO
As of 15 January 1991:
- Over 545,000 Iraqi Troops in Kuwait Theater
- Approximately 43 Divisions
- Estimate:
4,280 Tanks
3,100 Artillery
2,800 APCS
pg 254 paragraph 2
Iraqi Disposition and Strength in Theater Before the Ground Offensive
The build-up of Iraqi forces in the KTO as estimated by DIA on 15 January 1991, just
before Operation Desert Storm began, had reached more than 540,000 troops.
DIA intelligence assessments of enemy attrition and disposition before the ground offensive
began indicated the combat effectiveness of all first-line defensive divisions were reduced
to less than half. The 45th Mechanized Division south of As-Salman was estimated to be at
50 to 75 percent strength as were the 12th, 52nd, 17th and 10th Armored divisions, the
tactical reserves. The two most western Republican Guards divisions, the Tawakalna
Mechanized and Al-Madinah Armored divisions, were estimated to be at 50 to 75 percent
effectiveness. The general assessment was that the tactical echelon and artillery were
severely degraded, the operational echelon's sustainment capability had been eliminated,
and the Republican Guard somewhat degraded.
Iraqi ground forces in the KTO included elements of up to 43 divisions, 25 of which were
assessed as committed, 10 the operational reserve, and eight the strategic reserve. Some
independent brigades were operating under corps control. The RGFC and Iraqi Army heavy
divisions remained deployed in defensive positions behind the tactical and operational
forces. On the eve of the ground offensive, the Iraqi forces were arrayed on the ground.
Despite these assessments, the Iraqi military's weaknesses were not so apparent to the
ground commanders. They saw an Iraqi force of up to 43 divisions in the theater, arrayed in
depth and with strong operational and tactical reserves. Dug-in infantry was reinforced by
revetted tanks and artillery, all backed by armored reserves of brigade strength or larger. In
central Kuwait, roughly in the area between 'Ali As-Salim airfield and the Kuwait
International Airport, one armored and two mechanized divisions formed strong corps-level
reserves, with additional armored forces to the northwest of Al-Jahra. Along the beaches, in
testimony to the Iraqi fear of an amphibious assault, no fewer than four infantry divisions
and a mechanized division occupied positions behind minefields and obstacles. Finally,
along the Iraq-Kuwait border, at least six Republican Guards divisions and other armored,
mechanized, and infantry divisions were poised to counterattack. On the eve of the ground
offensive, Coalition planners thought nearly 450,000 Iraqi troops remained in the KTO.
Weather was a factor during the entire campaign. Approximately 15 percent of all
scheduled attack sorties during the first 10 days of air operations were canceled because of
poor visibility or low overcast in the KTO. Ceilings of 5,000 to 7,000 feet were not <pg 256
start> uncommon, especially during the ground operation. Coalition planners assumed the
standard 13 percent cloud cover, typical for the region at that time of year. In fact, cloud
cover persisted 39 percent of the time, the worst in 14 years.
Note: Text immediately above is from page 256.
pg 255 map: Iraqi Divisional Armor/Artillery Degradation. Map shows Iraqi divisions and
three SF Brigades in southern Iraq and Kuwait. Legend indicates that there are 43 divisions
and 142 brigades in the KTO. Unit types are given. Unit symbols are color coded to
indicate degrees of degradation: Red (100 - 75%), Light Orange (74 - 50 %), and Yellow
(less than 50 %). 11 of the 13 front line divisions along the Saudi border are shown as 100 75 % degraded. Generally the further the unit is from the border the less degraded it is.
Note: Red on this page means great degradation. On next page (256) red is used to
symbolize little/small degradation. Other search words: GOB, ground order of battle.
pg 256 map: 23 February Intelligence Assessment. Map shows Iraqi division units at their
23 February locations. Units are color coded (as on page 255) to indicate combat strength
(Armor, ARTY, APCs). Legend: Red (75 - 100%), Orange (50 - 75%), Yellow (25 - 50%),
and White (0 - 25%). No Iraqi units depicted are shown in white. Divisions stationed along
the Saudi Arabian border are shown as most severely degraded.
Note: Red on this page means little or no degradation. On previous page (255) red was
used to mean severe degradation. Other search words: GOB, ground order of battle.
pg 256 paragraph 2
The early morning of G-Day was marked by adverse weather throughout the area. Blowing
sand and rain, along with dense smoke from burning oil wells, made visibility extremely
poor. These conditions early in the ground operation improved the US technical advantage
in electro-optics. At the same time, it inhibited CAS and proved the value of the Joint
Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) as both an operational indicator of
enemy movement and a deep targeting system. The bad weather at the beginning of the
attack also threatened sustainability by making cross-country mobility difficult for wheeled
logistics vehicles. Fortunately, the skies cleared and the cease-fire was declared before
serious sustainment problems developed.
pg 257 start
Disposition of Coalition Forces on the Eve of the Ground Offensive
When the ground offensive began, Coalition forces were poised along a line from the
Persian Gulf 300 miles west into the desert, in four major formations.
Army Component, Central Command
ARCENT, which consisted of the XVIII Airborne Corps and VII Corps, was on the western
flank of the theater. Positioned on ARCENT's left flank was the XVIII Airborne Corps; VII
Corps was to the right. These two corps covered about two thirds of the line occupied by the
multi-national force.
pg 257 map: G-1 Disposition 23 February. Map shows Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait and
the sectors assigned to (from left to right) XVIII Abn Corps, VII Corps, JFC-N,
MARCENT, and JFC-E. Units presented on the map are the same ones as those in the page
234 chart (Task Organization) except for MARCENT. Page 257 shows MARCENT as
having a command element and 4 major ground units (1st Marine Division, 2nd Marine
Division, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, and an armored brigade. Page 234 shows MARCENT
as having only the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions.
Note: Map here is almost exactly the same as on page 498 (JFC-N, JFC-E, and Corps
Boundaries). The page 498 map extends the boundaries into Saudi Arabia. These are not
shown here.
pg 258 start
Joint Forces Command North
JFC-N, in the center, consisted of the 3rd Egyptian Mechanized Division, the 4th Egyptian
Armored Division, the 9th Syrian Division, the Egyptian Ranger Regiment, the Syrian
Special Forces Regiment, the 20th Mechanized Brigade, Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF),
the Kuwaiti Ash-Shahid and Al-Tahrir Brigades, and the 4th Armored Brigade (RSLF).
I Marine Expeditionary Force
I MEF, on the right of JFC-N, had the 2nd MARDIV, with the attached Tiger Brigade on
the left and the 1st MARDIV on the right. The 5th MEB, coming ashore at Al-Jubayl and
Al-Mish'ab and staging near Al-Khanjar, acted as the MEF reserve. 3rd MAW flew from
bases in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, basing AV-8Bs and attack helicopters forward at
Tanajib and Al-Khanjar, respectively.
Joint Forces Command East
On the right flank, along the coast, JFC-E anchored the Coalition line. Like JFC-N, JFC-E
was under the command of Saudi Lieutenant General Khalid bin Sultan. JFC-E consisted of
units from all six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. There were three task
forces TF Omar, consisting of the 10th Infantry Brigade (RSLF) and an United Arab
Emirates (UAE) Motorized Infantry Battalion; TF Othman, consisting of the 8th
Mechanized Infantry Brigade (RSLF) an Omani Motorized Infantry Battalion, Bahrain
Infantry Company, and the Kuwaiti Al-Fatah Brigade; TF Abu Bakr with the 2nd Saudi
Arabian National Guard (SANG) Motorized Infantry Brigade and a Qatar Mechanized
At 0400 24 February, the ground assault to liberate Kuwait began. CENTCOM unleashed
combined arms attacks against Iraqi forces at three points. In the far west, the French 6th
Light Armored Division, (with the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division under its
operational control) , and 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) conducted a massive air
and ground envelopment to secure the Coalition western flank and establish forward
support bases deep in Iraq. In the center of the Coalition line, along the Wadi Al-Batin, the
dry ravine that separates Kuwait from Iraq, the 1st Cavalry Division, the theater reserve,
feinted an attack north toward a heavy Iraqi concentration. In the east, I MEF and JFC-E,
attacked north into Kuwait.
G-Day (24 February) The Attack and the Breach
Enemy Actions and Dispositions
When the ground offensive started, Iraqi ground forces remained in defensive positions in
the KTO. There were no indications of any Iraqi troop withdrawal. Iraqi front line units,
including the 7th, 14th and 29th Infantry divisions in the I MEF zone and the 19th Infantry
Division in the JFC-E zone, offered sporadic, but sometimes stiff, resistance. These forces
were bypassed, withdrew or surrendered. Despite these initial setbacks, the Iraqi III Corps,
opposite I MEF and JFC-E and the Iraqi IV Corps, generally opposite JFC-N, still could
counterattack with units from the 3rd Armored Division south of Kuwait International
Airport. However, the large number of III Corps soldiers surrendering suggested many had
lost the will to fight. For the Iraqis to stop the Coalition ground offensive, mobile forces
would have to leave their revetted positions, making them vulnerable to Coalition air attack.
Iraqi artillery fired at Coalition forces during the ground offensive was persistent but
inaccurate. The Iraqis appeared to fire on known points, but did not shift or follow targets.
The infantry fought initially, but surrendered when Coalition forces approached their
positions. Coalition forces found ammunition stored throughout the trenches. The front line
infantry forces' <pg 259 start> performance demonstrated serious shortcomings,
particularly in coordinated indirect fire, air defense, and morale. Perhaps Iraqi commanders
anticipated difficulties since intelligence sources indicated some RGFC artillery units were
assigned to regular army divisions in southeastern Kuwait.
pg 259 map: G-Day 24 February. Map shows approximate locations of major allied
ground units at the end of G-Day. A G-Day line in purple extends from southern Iraq to the
Kuwaiti coast line. Coalition units are depicted. Iraqi units are not shown. Major progress
shown for XVIII Abn Corps and VII Corps.
Note: Map here is exactly the same as the map on page 513.
pg 259 paragraph 2
Enemy prisoners of war (EPWs) and deserters who crossed the Saudi border before the
ground offensive began, complained of the lack of food and water and poor sanitation. A
former battalion commander reported morale was poor, and he had not communicated with
his brigade since the end of January. Expressing surprise that Americans were in front of his
forces, he lacked specific Coalition force dispositions: this illustrates Iraq's weak battlefield
intelligence capabilities, the breakdown of communications with higher headquarters, and
the success of the Coalition in achieving surprise.
pg 260 start
Army Component, Central Command
XVIII Airborne Corps
XVIII Airborne Corps was tasked to penetrate approximately 260 kilometers to the
Euphrates River, cut the Iraqi LOC along Highway 8 to Baghdad, isolate Iraqi forces in the
KTO, and help destroy the theater reserve the RGFC. The 6th French Light Armored
Division with a brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division under operational control
(OPCON) and the 82nd Airborne Division (with two brigades) were along the western
Corps boundary and began the theater ground attack. The 101st Airborne Division (Air
Assault) was east of the French. Its mission was to penetrate rapidly by air assault to the
Euphrates River, cut the LOC between Baghdad and Iraqi forces in the KTO, destroy all
enemy forces along those routes, and turn east to block north of Al-Basrah. In the center of
the Corps zone, the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) was to attack through Iraqi forces
in their zone to the Euphrates River, then turn east to destroy RGFC forces trapped in the
KTO. On the Corps eastern boundary, the 3rd ACR was to secure the Corps right flank and
maintain contact and coordination with VII Corps.
pg 260 map: XVIII Airborne Corps. 24 Feb G Day Attacks. Map shows XVIII Airborne
Corps unit locations and objectives for 24 Feb. XVIII Corp Area is shown as being divided
into five sectors. Some Iraqi units are shown. Objectives Rochambeau, White, FOB Cobra,
Brown, Red, and Gray are shown.
pg 261 start
At 0400, 6th French Light Armored Division scouts advanced into Iraq. Three hours later,
the French main body attacked through a light rain. Its objective was As-Salman, a small
airfield about 90 miles inside Iraq. Reinforced by the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division,
the French crossed the border unopposed and attacked north. Short of their objective, the
French ran into outposts of the 45th Iraqi Mechanized Infantry Division. After a brief battle,
using missile-armed Gazelle attack helicopters against dug-in enemy tanks and bunkers, the
French captured 2,500 prisoners and controlled the objective. The French moved on through
Objective Rochambeau and onto As-Salman, known as Objective White in the plan,
without opposition. Less than seven hours into the operation, the French 6th Light Armored
Division, supported by the 82nd Airborne Division, secured its objectives and continued the
attack north. The left flank was secured.
pg 261 paragraph 2
The remaining two brigades of the 82nd Airborne Division, following the French advance,
were tasked to clear and secure a two-lane highway into southern Iraq. This road, Main
Supply Route (MSR) Texas, would be used to move troops, equipment and supplies
supporting the corps' advance north. The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) was
scheduled to attack at 0500, but fog over the initial objective forced a delay. While the
weather posed problems for aviation, indirect fire support missions continued. Corps
artillery and rocket launchers fired on objectives and approach routes. Two hours later, the
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) began its attack with its AH-64s, AH-1s, 60 UH-60s
and 40 CH-47s augmented by the XVIII Airborne Corps' 18th Aviation Brigade and began
lifting the 1st Brigade into what became Forward Operating Base (FOB) Cobra, 93 miles
into Iraq and halfway to the Euphrates River. Over three hundred helicopter sorties ferried
the troops and equipment into the objective area in the largest heliborne operation in
military history.
pg 261 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
At approximately 0700 hours, 60 UH-60 Blackhawks and 30 CH47D Chinooks carrying 1st
Brigade's first air assault element climbed from the brigade's pickup zone in TAA
Campbell. In just over an hour, the aircraft had safely deposited some 500 soldiers 93 miles
deep into Iraq. The 1st Battalion, 82nd Brigade of Iraq's 49th Infantry Division had
entrenched themselves just north of MSR Virginia. The 1/327th Infantry discovered the
Iraqi battalion while clearing FOB Cobra in zone. A sharp firefight ensued. The Iraqi
battalion commander surrendered once the 1/327th attacked his position. Upon his capture,
the Iraqi commander was persuaded to use a bullhorn to convince his 300-plus soldiers to
lay down their arms.
Situation Report from the 101st Airborne Division
(Air Assault)
The Iraqis were scattered and disorganized. By mid-afternoon, the number of EPWs
increased. Chinook helicopters lifted artillery, ammunition, refueling equipment, and
building materials into FOB Cobra to create a major logistics base and refueling point. By
the end of G+2 the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) had 380,000 gallons of fuel at
FOB Cobra. This logistics base allowed the XVIII Airborne Corps to move infantry and
attack helicopters north quickly to block Highway 8 and served as a springboard to move
eight attack helicopter battalions and <pg 262 start> cavalry squadrons 200 km to the east
to interdict forces fleeing on the Al Hammar causeway toward Al-Basrah on G+3.
pg 262 paragraph 2
As the air assault began, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) CSS assets started a
700-vehicle convoy north along MSR New Market, carved in the desert by the 101st
Division Engineers, to link up with the CH-47s at FOB Cobra. As soon as the Division
secured Cobra and refueled the helicopters, it continued its assault north. By the evening of
24 February, the Division had moved approximately 170 miles into Iraq and cut Highway 8.
The first of several roads connecting Iraqi forces in Kuwait with Baghdad was closed.
Because the initial attacks by the 6th French Light Armored Division and the 101st
Airborne Division (Air Assault) were so successful, the 24th Infantry Division
(Mechanized) crossed the line of departure about five hours ahead of schedule. The division
attacked with three brigades abreast. The division cavalry squadron conducted
reconnaissance and protection operations to the front. The 24th Infantry Division
(Mechanized) advanced rapidly, maintaining a speed of 25 to 30 miles an hour, and pushed
about 50 miles into Iraq against light opposition. Their attack continued into the night. The
division kept on its course with the aid of long range electronic navigation, image
enhancement scopes and goggles, infrared (IR) and thermal imaging systems (TIS), and
GPS. By midnight, the Division was 75 miles into Iraqi, poised to continue the attack.
pg 262 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"In their movement across the line of departure, and whenever not engaging enemy forces,
battalions of the 24th Infantry Division moved in `battle box' formation. With a cavalry
troop screening five to ten miles to the front, four companies, or multi-platoon task forces,
dispersed to form corner positions. Heavier units of the battalion, whether tanks or Bradleys
occupied one or both of the front corners. One company, or smaller units, advanced outside
the box to provide flank security. The battalion commander placed inside the box the
vehicles carrying ammunition, fuel, and water needed to continue the advance in jumps of
about 40 miles. The box covered a front of about four to five miles and extended about 15
to 20 miles front to rear."
US Army Center for Military History
VII Corps
VII Corps conducted the theater main attack with the mission of destroying the armor-heavy
RGFC. The VII Corps plan of advance paralleled that of the XVIII Airborne Corps a
thrust north into Iraq, and a massive right turn toward the east. Once the turn was
completed, both corps were to coordinate their attacks to trap the Republican Guards
divisions. They were then to press until the RGFC was eliminated. The original plan was for
VII Corps to attack on 25 February, but initial success attained by I MEF, JFC-E, and the
XVIII Airborne Corps enabled the theater commander to accelerate the schedule by 15
pg 262 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"A 2nd ACR `Iron' Troop soldier recounted: `That's one time I was really scared, when we
crossed the berm. That was a really intense moment.' His was the first tank through, but fear
of the unknown turned out to be fear of nothing."
Soldier Magazine, June 1991
pg 263 start
pg 263 map: VII Corps. 24 Feb (G-Day). Map shows VII Corps jumpoff points and
movement on first day. Boundary lines showing where VII Corps responsibility ends are
shown. Units shown on the map are the same as those shown on page 257. Phase Line/PL
Smash and PL Grape are depicted. Individual coalition and Iraqi unit symbols are shown.
The VII Corps' plan was a feint and envelopment, much like the overall theater strategy.
The 1st Cavalry Division, still the theater reserve at this point, would make a strong, but
limited attack and feint along the Wadi Al-Batin, causing the Iraqi forces to believe the
main attack would come from that direction. While Iraq's attention was focused on the 1st
Cavalry Division, the VII Corps commander would send two divisions through the berms
and mines along the corps' east flank and the ACR, followed by two more divisions, around
the Iraqi defenses on the corps' west flank. 1st UK Armoured Division was assigned the
mission to pass through the breach created by the 1st Infantry Division and to attack the
Iraqi armored division in its zone to prevent it from moving into the flank of advancing VII
Corps. VII Corps planned to move considerable fuel and ammunition through the breach to
a logistics site in the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) zone. Clearing the breach of enemy
infantry and artillery was a priority so as not to interrupt either the passage of 1st UK
Armoured Division or the Corps CSS assets.
pg 264 start
Before the start of the VII Corps main attack, 2nd ACR swept to the west of the Iraqi
obstacles and crossed into Iraq. AH-64 attack helicopters and artillery raids intensified
across the VII Corps front. With the 2nd ACR leading on the corps west flank, 1st and 3rd
Armored divisions crossed the line of departure and attacked north.
The 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) began to cut lanes through a complex obstacle belt
of wire and land mines against little resistance. By the time the 1st Infantry Division had
crossed the line of departure, the lead elements of the 2nd ACR, leading the 1st and 3rd
Armored divisions along the Corps' west flank, already had pushed more than 30 km into
Iraq. The 1st Infantry Division was given a warning order to leave a battalion task force in
the breach and, after passage of the 1st UK Armoured Division, to move forward to make
the third division of the three division force against the RGFC. 1st Cavalry Division was
still under CENTCOM control.
Breaching the mine fields posed more problems than enemy fire. By nightfall, the 1st
Infantry Division had successfully breached about 50 percent of the enemy's obstacle belt
and forward defenses, and captured several hundred EPW. During the night of 24 February,
the 1st Infantry Division consolidated, repositioned artillery, and coordinated for the 1st UK
Armoured Division's passage of lines through the 1st Infantry Division positions. Since the
1st UK Armored Division would not be able to clear the breach that evening, VII Corps
halted the advance of the 1st and 3rd Armored divisions for the night. Across the VII Corps
front, in-depth artillery fire against the enemy continued throughout the night.
On line from west to east, 1st Armored and 3rd Armored divisions followed the axis cleared
by the 2nd ACR. In the center, 1st Infantry Division continued its deliberate breach of the
Iraqi defenses by plowing through the berms. On the Corps eastern flank, the 1st UK
Armoured Division prepared to pass through the 1st Infantry Division to attack the Iraqi
tactical reserves.
Joint Forces Command North
At 1600 hours 24 February, the 3rd Egyptian Mechanized Division, TF Khalid and TF <pg
265 start> Muthannah began to attack Iraqi positions in Kuwait. They encountered Iraqi
fire trenches, minefields, barriers, and harassing fires as they crossed the border in their
zone. Saudi and Kuwaiti forces began the offensive shortly after the Egyptians. The
Egyptians, concerned about an Iraqi armored counterattack, halted their advance short of
their initial objectives and established blocking positions in sector for the night. They
resumed offensive operations at daybreak the following day. Meanwhile, the 4th Egyptian
Armored Division prepared to follow the 3rd Egyptian Mechanized Division. The 9th
Syrian Armored Division followed the Egyptian Divisions as the JFC-N reserve and
conducted screening operations with one reconnaissance battalion on the right flank to tie in
pg 265 paragraph 2
I Marine Expeditionary Force
I MEF began the assault at 0400, aimed directly at its ultimate objective, Al-Mutl'a Pass and
the roads leading from Kuwait City, 35 to 50 miles to the northeast. I MEF faced the
strongest concentration of enemy defenses in theater. The 1st MARDIV led the attack from
a position just west of the "elbow" of the southern Kuwait border. The 2nd MARDIV
attacked 90 minutes later. Against sometimes stiff resistance, I MEF succeeded in breaching
two defended defensive belts, opened 14 lanes in the east and six lanes in the west, and
established a solid foothold inside Kuwait. These breaching operations were successful
because of detailed preparation, including reconnaissance and mapping of obstacles,
followed by extensive training and rehearsals.
Most importantly, I MEF diverted the attention of the Iraqi high command, which remained
focused on Kuwait, largely oblivious to the enveloping threat to the west. At the end of the
day, I MEF had captured more than 8,000 EPW and attacked 20 miles into Kuwait.
On the right, 1st MARDIV, led by TF Ripper and covered by the two TFs that had
infiltrated earlier, completed its breach of the two defensive belts. The division's after action
report indicated they destroyed the older Iraqi T-55 and T-62 tanks with M60A1 tanks,
TOW-equipped High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs), and heavy artillery.
The 3rd MAW provided both CAS and interdiction. There were several individual acts of
heroism during this intense fighting.
pg 265 map: JFC-N Plan of Attack. Map shows units under JFC-N control. Attack plan is
to advance along two axis each towards a separate objective to the west/northwest of
Kuwait City. (Note: These objectives are not shown on the page 244 map (Ground Tactical
Plan). On page 244 objective A, B, C, and D are shown in the sector. These are to the
south of the two shown on page 265 (this page).
After the two objectives are reached JFC-N forces are shown as planning to swing to the
east, north of Kuwait City. The Coalition units depicted are the same as those on page 257.
Advancing north, the division bypassed Ahmad Al-Jabir airfield, opting to clear its
buildings and bunkers later with infantry. Light Armored <pg 266 start> Infantry (LAI)
screened the right flank of the division while Marines continued to clear the enemy in zone.
pg 266 paragraph 2
To the west, 2nd MARDIV, with the reinforced 6th Marines in the lead, blasted its way
through the obstacle belts against moderate resistance. The leading regiment advanced in
three battalion columns through mortar and artillery fire. The initial opposition came from
Iraqi defenders dug in behind the first minefields. The Iraqis were silenced quickly by
Marine infantrymen and tanks supporting the combat engineers. Here too, there were
examples of heroism. A young Marine reserve combat engineer twice raced into the
minefields to reprime a failed line charge while under small arms and artillery fire.
pg 266 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
On the night of 23 February, Marines from Task Force Grizzly sought a path through the
Iraqi minefields to secure a passage for the mechanized attack of the 1st Marine Division on
G-Day. Unable to locate a path and with time running out, a staff sergeant moved forward
with his bayonet, quietly probing for mines by hand and marking his path with luminescent
chemical lights. Working feverishly, he opened a lane sufficient for two rifle companies to
pass through and secure the far side.
War Records
After clearing the first obstacle, the 6th Marines turned left and attacked the more heavily
defended obstacles. Marine engineers used M-154 Mine Clearing line charges and M60A1
tanks with forked mine plows and rakes to clear six lanes in the division sector. Temporarily
delayed on the right, the regiment pushed its battalions through the center and left breach
lanes, turned and eliminated resistance on the right. Once through, the regiment advanced to
its objectives, overrunning elements of the Iraqi 7th and 14th Infantry divisions. The 2nd
MARDIV noted in its after action report that the regiment captured more than 4,000 EPW
including the Iraqi 9th Tank Battalion with 35 operational tanks.
pg 266 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
As the lead elements of the 6th Marine Regiment fought their way through the enemy
obstacle belts on the morning of G-Day, the strains of the Marine Corps Hymn could be
heard above the sound of artillery, mortar, and small arms fire. Marines, many under fire for
the first time, paused, glanced in the direction of the music, and smiled, unaware that their
hymn blared from the loudspeakers of a US Army psychological operations unit attached to
the regiment.
Interview by 2nd Marine Division
pg 267 start
Having secured its objectives by 1400, the 6th Marines spread out and prepared for an Iraqi
counterattack, while the remainder of the 2nd MARDIV passed through the breach lanes
and assumed positions to its right and left. By nightfall, the bulk of the 2nd MARDIV had
passed through the breach.
Iraqi troops had displayed dogged fighting qualities when attacked frontally, only to quickly
surrender when flanked or attacked from the rear. By day's end, I MEF had overrun the Iraqi
defensive line and eliminated the better part of three infantry divisions. As the Marines
consolidated, CH-46s and CH-53s shuttled into landing zones, replenishing ammunition
and picking up EPWs.
The initial Marine air focus was on support to the ground forces and second to targets
deeper inside Iraq. The 3rd MAW provided support to JFC-E as well as to MARCENT
during this period. To provide 24-hour support to ground forces, the 3rd MAW developed
the concept of push flow, which entailed a section of attack aircraft checking in with the
ground units through the Direct Air Support Center every seven minutes. Prebriefed on the
scheme of maneuver, the pilots would then be "pushed" to a requesting unit or, if not
needed, "pushed" to an airborne FAC for direction to targets behind enemy lines. Airborne
or ground FACs exercised positive control throughout the mission.
A key factor in the day's success was 3rd MAW CAS. AV-8Bs and F/A-18s orbited
overhead, waiting for requests to support ground elements. AH-1s waited at holding areas
behind advancing Marines, quickly popping up and eliminating Iraqi armored vehicles and
strongpoints. Particularly effective at eliminating enemy tanks were the laser-guided
Hellfire missiles carried by AH-1Ws, with target designation provided by spotters with
front-line infantry.
pg 267 map: I MEF Attack on G-Day - 24 February. Marine forces are shown advancing
along two axis. The 1st Marine Division is shown as having been assigned objective A
(which appears to be Al-Tabir Airfield) while the 2nd Marine division is shown to the west
(without objective being shown). The line initial towards which they are advancing is
designated PL Red (Phase Line Red).
Joint Forces Command East
In the east, JFC-E began moving at 0800 and cut six lanes through the first obstacle belt.
The 8th and 10th Saudi Mechanized Brigades secured their respective objectives during the
initial attacks. JFC-E secured all its initial objectives by the end of the first day, capturing
large numbers of Iraqis. The 2nd SANG Brigade continued a reconnaissance in force along
the coastal highway.
Theater Reserve
The 1st Cavalry Division, as theater reserve, <pg 268 start> conducted feints into the
tri-border area while standing by to assist JFC-N east of the Wadi Al-Batin.
pg 268 paragraph 2
Supporting Operations
On 24 February, as ground offensive operations began, integrated air, sea and SOF
operations continued. While maintaining air supremacy and continuing to attack selected
strategic targets, air operations increasingly shifted to interdiction and CAS, which
represented more than 78 percent of the combat sorties on 24 February. Even when weather
reduced the availability of direct CAS missions, interdiction missions continued to isolate
Iraqi forces in the KTO and attack the Republican Guards.
JFC-E received fire support from the 16-inch guns of the USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin.
The Navy continued strike operations, fighter cover, Gulf Combat Air Patrol (CAP), armed
reconnaissance, countermine operations and surface surveillance missions in support of
ground forces and the theater campaign.
Before dawn on 25 February, 4th MEB helicopters conducted an amphibious feint off Ash
Shuaybah to hold Iraqi forces along the coast. Simultaneously, SEALs conducted beach
reconnaissance and detonated charges to the south. Other Naval Special Warfare (NSW)
units entered Kuwait City with returning Kuwaiti resistance fighters. These elements were
to prepare to link up with Coalition ground forces entering Kuwait City later in the
G+1 (25 February) Destruction of Enemy Tactical Forces
Enemy Actions and Disposition
As the ground offensive progressed, Iraqi units' ineffectiveness became more clear. The
Iraqi III Corps units had suffered severe damage. CENTCOM assessed the Corps' 7th, 8th,
14th, 18th, and 29th Infantry divisions, in the I MEF and JFC-E zones, as combat
ineffective and the Iraqi 5th Mechanized Infantry and the 3rd Armored divisions of III
Corps as badly mauled.
On the western side of III Corps, the 14th and 7th Infantry divisions in front of I MEF were
combat ineffective. The 36th Infantry, 1st Mechanized Infantry, and the 56th Armored
Brigade established hasty defensive positions south/southwest of Al-Jahra, northwest of
Kuwait City. The Iraqi 3rd Armored Division was trying to hold blocking positions between
Kuwait International Airfield and Al-Jahra.
On the eastern side of III Corps, the 18th and 8th Infantry divisions, in front of JFC-E, were
assessed as combat ineffective, although they offered stiff resistance against JFC-E forces
near Mina As-Sa'ud. The 29th Infantry Division, withdrawing to the east, also was combat
The Iraqi 19th, 11th, and 15th Infantry divisions and three SF brigades in Kuwait City were
assessed at full strength. These divisions continued to focus on an amphibious assault and
prepare for military operations in Kuwait City.
pg 269 start
pg 269 map: JFC-E Attack. Map shows attack plan of JFC-E forces. Individual units
involved are shown along with their objectives. The 2nd SANG Brigade has the objective
of Jabbar. Other coalition forces are positioned to the west. They have five separate
The deep penetration of Coalition forces in the western side of the III Corps prompted
several Iraqi battalion-size counterattacks from divisions along the flanks of the penetration.
These units took heavy losses.
In the IV Corps area of western Kuwait, in front of JFC-N, the Iraqi 20th and 30th Infantry
divisions were assessed as combat ineffective by the end of the first day of the ground
offensive. The 21st and 16th Infantry divisions appeared to be falling back to a defensive
line south and west of 'Ali As-Salim Airfield. The 6th Armored Division, west of 'Ali
As-Salim Airfield, was heavily reduced.
By the end of G+1, five VII Corps infantry divisions, one in US VII Corps zone in the
tri-border area, were in jeopardy of being isolated on the front lines. The 12th Armored
Division, in front of the 1st UK Armoured Division, was engaged with Coalition armored
forces as it attempted to maintain a LOC for the 47th, 27th, and 28th Infantry divisions
along the US VII Corps eastern flank. From west to east in front of the VII Corps, the 48th,
25th, 26th, <pg 270 start> 31st, and 45th Infantry divisions were engaged by VII Corps
armored and mechanized infantry divisions and rendered combat ineffective.
pg 270 paragraph 2
By the end of G+1, the Iraqi forward corps were assessed as combat ineffective no
longer capable of conducting a coherent defense in sector. It was apparent the Iraqi corps
commanders could not see the battlefield and did not understand the scope and intent of
Coalition ground forces operations. The IV Corps could use forces in a limited
counterattack, but was unable to offer more than isolated pockets of resistance. Iraqi front
line forces had been outmaneuvered by the Coalition ground offensive. Baghdad Radio, at
this point, reported that Saddam Hussein had ordered his forces to withdraw from Kuwait.
Army Component, Central Command
In the west, XVIII Airborne Corps continued to drive into Iraq to interdict LOC and isolate
Iraqi forces. The 82nd Airborne Division followed the 6th French Light Armored Division
along Phase Line Smash. As the 82nd Airborne Division entered FOB Cobra, the 101st
Airborne Division (Air Assault) sent its 3rd Brigade on the deepest air assault in military
history. The 3rd Brigade air assaulted north from its TAA along the Saudi-Iraqi border 175
miles to occupy observation and blocking positions on the south bank of the Euphrates
River, just west of the town of An-Nasiriyah and a few miles north of the Iraqi air base at
pg 270 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"As troopers from the 82nd Airborne Division advanced to the valley, they were faced with
a unique challenge. The commander of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 505th Infantry, relates:
`The 3rd Brigade's mission largely was to secure Tallil Airfield and destroy enemy aircraft.
A major concern in securing the airfield was the local civilians, many of whom were
engaged in battling Saddam's army themselves. Our charter was to capture and destroy
weapons. We had to be careful we didn't have any confrontations with the local peasants or
with the resistance fighters. After a couple of days, you got to know who was who on the
resistance fighters who you could trust and who you couldn't. Soon, the area became a
major treatment center for Iraqi refugees.' `We treated well over 1,000 civilians who were
fighting with the resistance,' said a 3rd Brigade medical NCO. `They were pretty messed up.
I've seen every kind of combat wound that you could imagine everything, it was there.' "
Army Times, 21 October 1991
In the early morning the same day, the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) moved toward
its first major objective. At 0300 hours the 197th Infantry Brigade attacked Objective
Brown, in the western part of the division sector. The brigade found hungry prisoners, dazed
by the heavy artillery preparation. By 0700, the 197th secured its objective and established
blocking positions to the east and west along MSR Virginia. Shortly thereafter, the 2nd
Brigade, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) attacked <pg 271 start> Objective Grey,
encountering no enemy fire and capturing 300 prisoners; it also established blocking
positions to the east. 1st Brigade, 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) continued northwest
in the center of the division sector and attacked and secured Objective Red.
pg 271 map: G+1 - 25 February. Map shows progress after G+1. G+1 line is shown in
purple and is shown extending from southern Iraq to the Persian Gulf. All sectors show
great progress except for JFC-N. Major Coalition units shown on map. No Iraqi units are
Note: This is exactly the same map as the one appearing on page 514 (same title).
pg 271 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"A sergeant of D Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Armor, commented: `At 2,800 meters, the
tankers engaged tanks. I watched Iraqi tank turrets flip 40 feet into the air, and was
dumbfounded. I was amazed by how much firepower we had, how much destruction we
could do. It was a sobering thought.' "
Army Times, 16 September 1991
pg 271 paragraph 2
The 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) had taken three major objectives and hundreds of
prisoners against weak resistance from the Iraqi 26th and 35th Infantry divisions. By the end
of the day, XVIII Airborne Corps had advanced in all division sectors, established an FOB,
placed brigade-size blocking positions in <pg 272 start> the Euphrates River Valley, and
taken thousands of prisoners.
pg 272 paragraph 2
On the VII Corps left flank, the 1st Armored Division resumed its attack shortly after
daybreak and made contact first with units of the Iraqi 26th Infantry Division. While the
division was about 35 to 40 miles from its objective, CAS strikes began, followed by attack
helicopter strikes. As it approached the objective, artillery, rocket launchers, and tactical
missile batteries delivered preparatory fires. When Division lead elements came into visual
range, PSYOP teams broadcast surrender appeals. However, the Iraqis attempted to mount
an attack, and a brigade of the 1st Armored Division reported destroying 40 to 50 tanks and
armored personnel carriers of the Iraqi 26th Infantry Division in 10 minutes at a range of
2,000 meters.
pg 272 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
During this attack, the two companies of 3/1 Attack Helicopter Battalion encountered
minimal resistance in the form of T-55 tanks and BMPs, which they destroyed. The
surprising aspect of this operation was that it was the first of many instances where
hundreds of Iraqi soldiers ran out of their bunkers and attempted to surrender after seeing
Army helicopters in their midst. Without the means to hold them, the aeroscout pilots
played "cowboys" to the "herd" of Iraqi soldiers, hovering them into a tight circle until the
lead ground elements of the Division's 1st Brigade arrived and secured them.
Contributed by the US Army Aviation Center
Approaching Al-Busayyah in early afternoon, the 1st Armored Division directed CAS and
attack helicopter sorties to the Iraqi brigade position, destroying artillery pieces, and several
vehicles, and taking almost 300 prisoners.
The 3rd Armored Division continued its attack north, and by the night of 25 February both
the 2nd ACR and the 3rd Armored Division had turned east, and were encountering isolated
enemy units as high winds and heavy rains began.
Later in the night of 25 February, the 2nd ACR encountered elements of the Tawakalna
Division and the 50th Brigade of the 12th Armored Division. It destroyed the 50th Brigade
then assumed a hasty defense and prepared to continue the attack against the Tawakalna at
first light on 26 February.
In the 1st Infantry Division sector, the 1st UK Armoured Division passed through the
breach lanes the 1st Infantry Division had opened. While the 1st Infantry Division expanded
the breach by defeating enemy brigades to the front, <pg 273 start> the British turned right
to hit the Iraqi 52nd Armored Division. That easterly attack by the British marked the start
of nearly continuous combat for the "Desert Rats" during the next two days.
pg 273 map: XVIII Airborne Corps. 25/26 Feb (G+1/2). Map divides XVIII Corps attack
area of responsibility into 4 sectors. Coalition units in each sector are shown. Some Iraqi
units shown. FOB Cobra and Objective White are depicted.
pg 273 paragraph 2
Joint Forces Command North
JFC-N, in the center, continued to advance. At approximately 0400 hours the Egyptian
forces continued their breaching operations and advanced towards their initial objectives.
The Egyptian Corps had secured a 16-square kilometer bridgehead, but their objective had
not been secured by the early hours of 26 February. TF Khalid continued breaching
obstacles and advanced toward its objectives early on 25 February. By the end of the day,
the Saudis and Kuwaitis on the right flank had seized their objective and consolidated
positions. Other units, including the 9th Syrian Armored Division followed and supported.
The Syrian reconnaissance battalion continued to screen along the border between JFC-N
I Marine Expeditionary Force
On G+1, I MEF advanced against the fiercest resistance it encountered during the ground
<pg 274 start> offensive. In the 2nd MARDIV sector, an Iraqi armored counterattack was
repulsed by the 6th Marine Regiment using a combination of CAS, artillery, tanks, and
TOW missiles. Attacked by aircraft as they formed for the attack south of Kuwait City, the
Iraqis were reduced to less than brigade strength by the time they actually attacked the
regiment. Attacking on schedule, the 2nd MARDIV, with the Tiger Brigade on the left, 6th
Marines in the center, and 8th Marines on the right, advanced against elements of the Iraqi
3rd Armored Division and 1st Mechanized Division that had assumed defensive positions
on the high ground to the north and northwest and in an area of buildings and fences known
as the "ice-cube tray". Weather combined with intense smog from burning oil wells reduced
visibility to a few <pg 275 start> yards. Fighting in near darkness, Marine M1s of the 2nd
Tank Battalion (supporting the 8th Marines) and the Tiger Brigade, equipped with the
M1A1 and enhanced optics, proved particularly successful at engaging armor at long
ranges. Other Marine tank crews, in M60A1 tanks, relied on crew skill to outfight the
enemy. In the "ice-cube tray", tanks and infantry cleared buildings and trenches at close
ranges in the darkness, finally securing the area after 2200 against stiff resistance.
Note: Text immediately above is from page 275.
pg 274 map: VII Corps. 25 Feb (G+1). Map shows VII Corps Forces after G+1. Units are
depicted along with major Iraqi units. PL Smash, and PL Grape are shown. The area called
"The Breach" is clearly shown. (See map on page 275 for breach blowup.)
pg 274 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Silver Star citation of a Marine Corporal: "The next morning [G+1], the enemy
counterattacked . . . with tanks and infantry. Acting immediately and with no regard for his
personal safety, the Corporal grabbed an AT-4 and moved forward through thick smoke and
automatic weapons fire. Sighting a tank, he worked himself close to its right flank, fired,
and singlehandedly destroyed the tank."
I MEF Award Citation
pg 275 map: VII Corps: The Breach. 25 Feb (G+1). Map shows the breach area in the
central part of VII Corps area. Coalition units are shown. The 1st British armored unit is
shown leading the attack. No Iraqi units are depicted. PL Cherry, LD/PL Minnesota, PL
New Jersey, PL Colorado, and PL Iowa are all shown.
pg 275 paragraph 2
On the right of the I MEF sector, the 1st MARDIV encountered a strong counterattack near
the Al-Burqan Oil field which, at one point, was fought within 300 meters of the division
CP. It lasted several hours, and involved close combat.
AH-1W and AV-8B maneuvered in conjunction with tanks and LAV to overwhelm the
enemy thrust. One FAC found himself controlling the simultaneous attacks of eight
different aircraft. At times the fighting became so confused that Marine and Iraqi units
intermingled. One Iraqi tank commander drove his tank up to the TF Papa Bear Command
Post and surrendered. In the end, the attacking formations were <pg 276 start> destroyed.
In this type of fighting, GPS and thermal imaging systems proved their worth, as did
training and discipline. The final tally of the battle (according to 1st MARDIV) included
more than 100 Iraqi armored vehicles destroyed and at least 1,500 EPWs. The 1st MARDIV
completed consolidation of Ahmad Al-Jabir airfield and pushed to within 10 miles of
Kuwait City.
pg 276 paragraph 2
Joint Forces Command East
JFC-E secured its objectives against light resistance and with very few casualties; however,
progress was slowed by the large number of Iraqis who surrendered. TF Omar and Othman
continued their advance toward their objectives. The 2nd SANG Brigade continued its
advance along the coastal highway and assigned one battalion to escort EPW to the rear.
Qatari units followed TF Omar as the JFC-E reserve.
Supporting Operations
With the Coalition ground advance well under way, a Navy amphibious force made its final
effort to convince the Iraqi command that CENTCOM would launch a major
over-the-beach assault into Kuwait. Beginning late on 24 February and continuing during
the following two days, the Navy landed the 5th MEB, a 7,500-man force at Al-Mish'ab
which was attached to MARCENT as the I MEF reserve. An ATF also conducted strike
missions against Faylaka and Bubiyan islands, along with simulated Marine helicopter
assaults and artillery raids along the Kuwaiti coast. Feints and demonstrations by Navy and
US amphibious forces off the coast tied down up to 10 divisions. Both the USS Missouri
and USS Wisconsin continued to provide NGFS for I MEF and JFC-E. The 4th MEB
remained afloat, ready for commitment. 4th MEB also conducted air strikes against Faylaka
Island and continued to carry out amphibious feints along the coast at Bubiyan Island.
Coalition air forces flew a record number of sorties 3,159, of which 1,997 were direct
combat missions. Priority missions remained counter air, CAS, and interdiction. USMC air
priority went to ground forces with second priority to targets further inside Iraq. In the early
morning hours, Iraqi 3rd Armored Division elements, massing west of Kuwait International
Airport, were caught in the open. Air strikes destroyed the force's counterattack potential,
eliminating an obstacle to the rapidly advancing ground forces.
SOF conducted SR patrols that reported enemy dispositions. SOF liaison teams remained
with Coalition units and continued to advise and support these forces in battle.
G+2 (26 February) Destruction of 2nd Echelon Operational Forces and Sealing the
Enemy Actions And Disposition
During this period, the massive exodus of Iraqi forces from the eastern part of the theater
began. Elements of the Iraqi III Corps were pushed back into Kuwait City by I MEF and
JFC-E. They were joined by Iraqi occupation troops from Kuwait City. Iraqi units became
intermingled and disordered. During the early morning of 26 February, military and
commandeered civilian vehicles of every description, loaded with Iraqi soldiers and goods
looted from Kuwait, clogged the main four-lane highway north from Kuwait City. To deny
Iraqi commanders the opportunity to reorganize their forces and establish a cohesive
defense, these forces were struck repeatedly by air attacks.
Although many Iraqis surrendered, some did not. There were several intense engagements,
particularly with the Republican Guards. But by sunset on G+2, Coalition forces had pushed
hundreds of miles into Iraq; DIA assessments reflected that they captured more than 30,000
EPW; destroyed or rendered combat ineffective 26 of 43 Iraqi divisions; overwhelmed the
Iraqi decision making process and rendered its C2 <pg 277 start> ineffective; and forced
the Iraqi Army into full retreat.
pg 277 paragraph 2
Army Component, Central Command
XVIII Airborne Corps turned its attack northeast and advanced into the Euphrates River
Valley. With the 6th French Light Armored Division, the 101st Airborne Division (Air
Assault) and 82nd Airborne Divisions protecting the western and northern flanks, the 24th
Infantry Division (Mechanized) led the Corps attack into the valley. Weather became a
factor at this point in the offensive; a dust storm in the objective area kicked up thick clouds
of swirling dust. The 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) moved out at 1400, with three
brigades heading toward the Iraqi airfields at Jalibah and Tallil. During these attacks, the
3rd ACR screened the division's southern and eastern flanks and the 24th Infantry Division
(Mechanized) encountered its heaviest resistance of the war.
The Iraqi 47th and 49th Infantry divisions, the Republican Guard Nebuchadnezzar Infantry
Division, and the 26th Commando Brigade stood and fought. The terrain gave them a clear
advantage. Iraqi artillery and automatic weapons were dug into rocky escarpments. For four
hours, the 1st Brigade of the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) received intense tank and
artillery fire. The division reported that American artillery crews located enemy batteries
with Firefinder radars and returned three to six rounds for every round of incoming,
destroying six Iraqi artillery battalions.
In the dust storm and darkness, American technology gave the US forces a clear advantage.
Tank, infantry fighting vehicle, and attack helicopter crews worked so well together that
they could spot and hit Iraqi tanks at ranges over 3500 meters long before the Iraqis saw
them. Precise tank gunnery, M-19 automatic grenade launcher fire from the fighting
vehicles and armored personnel carriers, overwhelming artillery, rocket, and AH-64 support
took the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) through the enemy armor and artillery units.
This combination of superior weaponry and technique forced Iraqi troops out of their
bunkers and vehicles. They surrendered in droves.
pg 277 map: I MEF Attacks on G+1 and G+2 - 25/26 February. Map shows advance axis
of 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions. Objectives B and C on PL Green and near Kuwait City
are depicted. The 1st Marine division is shown heading north to the east of the 2nd Marine
division. The 1st Marine division has objective C. Three feints by the 4th MEB in the
Persian Gulf are shown. (Note: These are also shown on the page 218 map.)
After a day and night of hard fighting, all three brigades of the 24th Infantry Division
(Mechanized) were poised just south of the airfields. The 6th French Light Armored
Division secured and cleared all of its objectives and moved to protect the theater left flank.
The 82nd Airborne Division continued to perform rear area security, especially protection
of the MSRs. The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)'s 3rd Brigade continued to interdict
the main LOC between Baghdad and the KTO and planning began to move its 2nd Brigade
to the east to secure FOB Viper and attack the North Al-Basrah road.
pg 278 paragraph 2
The XVIII Airborne Corps had achieved all its objectives; interdicting the LOC in the
Euphrates River Valley, blocking reinforcement of Iraqi forces in the KTO, and completing
the envelopment of Saddam Hussein's forces in southern Iraq and Kuwait.
VII Corps continued its deep envelopment into Iraq before turning right and attacking
reserve units and continuing the attack to destroy the Republican Guards. CINCCENT
directed VII Corps to accelerate the pace of its attack. The 11th Aviation Brigade's AH-64
Apaches made two attacks deep into Iraqi territory, one at 2100 hours, and the next at 0300
hours. These attacks destroyed significant numbers of Iraqi armored vehicles and, including
air interdiction, extended VII Corps battle in depth to over 100 kilometers.
In the 3rd Armored Division zone, the division crossed Corps Phase Line Smash just after
daylight, and attacked objective Collins, east of Al-Busayyah. With the capture of those
objectives, VII Corps turned its advance to assault directly east into Republican Guards'
pg 278 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"As the 1st Armored Division moved into the Euphrates River Valley and approached
Al-Busayyah, the scene is described by members of the 6th Battalion, 6th Infantry: `At 1500
meters, a T-55 with its turret swinging toward the advancing, US forces was spotted and
destroyed, as were three others in rapid succession. We killed the tanks so quickly they
didn't get a round off. A fifth tank trying to flee was taken out by an M1A1 main round. The
turret flew through the air like a Frisbee. We moved up to the town expecting them to wave
white handkerchiefs, and they started shooting at us.' "
" `The word was they were going to have the white flags up.' a C Co, 6/6 Inf Bradley vehicle
commander said. `We stopped about 200 meters out, started scanning for white flags, didn't
see any.' He spotted a machine-gun position in a building on the left flank, and the Bradley
fired 60 rounds into it, turning the building into rubble and taking out the gun."
"The commander of the battalion's C Company, reported some Iraqi soldiers coming to the
edge of the town with their hands up. `My instructions to him were have them come out to
you, do not take yourself into RPG range. Immediately after they waved their hands and
some shirts, they dropped back behind fortifications and started shooting at us again, so we
knew we were going to have to go in and get him.' "
"The battalion commander pulled his forces back and ordered the 2nd Battalion, 1st
Artillery Regiment to fire a 10-minute artillery prep on the town. He then sent three
companies to the east side of town, a tank-heavy security element to the north end of town
to catch escaping Iraqi, and a small assault team consisting of a platoon of Bradleys, two
Armored Combat Earthmovers and a combat engineer vehicle to the south side of town.
"Once the forces were in position, the three companies opened up. Fire was lifted to allow
the assault team to enter from the south. They were hit by small-arms fire and the engineer
vehicle opened up. Its huge 165-mm demolition gun fired 21 rounds with devastating
impact. `That totally destroyed all the resistance in the town.' "
Army Times, 16 September 1991
pg 279 start
As the attack east began, VII Corps presented in the northern part of its sector a front of
three divisions and one regiment: 1st Armored Division on the left (north), 3rd Armored
Division in the center, 2nd ACR and the 1st Infantry Division on the right (south). Farther
south, the 1st UK Armored Division advanced on a separate axis into Objective Waterloo,
and on to the junction of Phase Line Smash and the Corps boundary. The 3rd Armored
Division pressed on, turning northeast, and hitting the Republican Guard Tawakalna
Division. Late that night, the 1st Armored Division mounted a night assault on the elite
enemy unit, and in fighting that continued into the next day, destroyed a substantial number
of tanks and other vehicles.
In the early afternoon, the 2nd ACR advanced east through a sandstorm to Objective
Collins. The regiment was screening in front of the 1st Infantry Division, which had just
arrived after clearing the mine belt along the Saudi border. The Iraqis had long expected the
American attack to come from the south and east, and were now frantically turning
hundreds of tanks, towed artillery pieces and other vehicles to meet the onslaught from the
west. On the Iraqi side, unit locations were changing almost by the minute. As the 2nd ACR
neared Phase Line Tangerine, 20 miles east of Objective Collins, it received fire from a
building on the "69 Easting," a north-south line on military maps. The regiment returned fire
and continued east. They were met with more enemy fire for the next two hours. About
1600, the regiment found T-72 tanks in prepared defensive positions at "73 Easting." Using
its thermal imagery equipment, the regiment destroyed every tank that appeared.
This was a different kind of battle from what Americans had fought so far. The destruction
of the first tanks did not signal the surrender of hundreds of Iraqi soldiers. The regiment had
found two Iraqi divisions willing to put up a hard fight, the 12th Armored and the
Republican Guard Tawakalna divisions. The regiment found a seam between the two
divisions, and for a time became the only American unit obviously outnumbered and
outgunned during the campaign. But here again, thermal imaging equipment cut through the
dust storm to give gunners a long-range view of enemy vehicles and grant the first-shot
advantage. For four hours, the 2nd ACR destroyed tanks and armored personnel carriers
while attack helicopters knocked out artillery batteries.
pg 280 start
pg 280 map: G+2 - 26 February. Map shows G+2 line across Kuwait and southern Iraq.
Most of Kuwait is shown under Coalition control except for approximately 30% of the
northeastern part of the country. Large coalition units are shown.
Note: This is exactly the same map as the one appearing on page 515.
pg 280 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"The Iraqi vehicles were dug into defensive revetments that limited their fields of fire to the
south and southeast. `You could just see the top of the turret over the berm,' said a tanker.
`So I started shooting two or three feet down from the top. We were shooting sabot rounds
right through the berms. You'd hit it and see sparks fly, metal fly, equipment fly.' `We were
told before the battle that you've got to hit 'em in a certain place. But, anything you shot 'em
with, they blew up. Using sabot, we blew one turret out of the hole about 20 feet. It landed
upside down,' said an Abrams tank commander."
Soldier Magazine, June 1991
When this "Battle of 73 Easting" ended early in the evening of 26 February, the 2nd ACR
reported they had destroyed at least 29 tanks and 24 armored personnel carriers, and had
taken 1,300 prisoners. That night, the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) passed through
the regiment and continued the attack east.
The evening of 26 February, the 3rd Armored Division attacked due east through an enemy
reconnaissance screen and into the Republican <pg 281 start> Guards' Tawakalna
Division. This attack, under extremely adverse weather conditions, was typical of the heavy
fighting encountered by the VII Corps as it engaged Republican Guard Forces. These forces
were heavily armored and occupied well constructed defensive emplacements. They had
also prepared alternate positions which enabled them to reorient to the west to face the VII
Corps attack. Even after extensive bombardment, most elements of the Tawakalna Division
remained combat effective. Weather conditions continued to deteriorate and winds gusted
from 25-42 knots. Heavy rain and blowing sand often reduced visibility to less than 100
meters. The ceiling was generally very low, and in the words of one senior armor
commander, "neither Army aviation nor air forces could fly."
pg 281 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"During battle, a Bradley scout observer in a screen line forward of an armored task force
sustained severe wounds to the groin, legs, and right hand during an engagement with a
T-72 tank. Two other crewman were wounded and the Bradley commander killed. Despite
his wounds, the private evacuated other more severely wounded crewmen and returned to
his vehicle to gather flares and a radio. Because his hand was badly wounded, he used his
teeth to open a flare canister, signaled his location, and radioed a report to his platoon.
Despite wounds and a burning T-72 in his immediate vicinity, the soldier continued to
provide security and comfort to other wounded soldiers until relief arrived. During
subsequent medical treatment, he repeatedly told medical personnel to treat fellow wounded
soldiers first."
3rd Armored Division Award Citation
pg 281 paragraph 2
Under these conditions, the 1st and 2nd Brigades of the 3rd Armored Division
simultaneously conducted a hasty attack against the 29th and 9th Brigades of the Tawakalna
Division. Spearheaded by the division cavalry squadron and a tank heavy task force,
supported by five battalions of cannon artillery and 27 MLRS launchers, the 3rd Armored
Division succeeded in destroying numerous Iraqi armored vehicles and tanks in intense
fighting. This action effectively destroyed the Tawakalna Division as a coherent fighting
force. US artillery proved extremely effective in the counterfire role during this battle.
Although Iraqi artillery was able to fire initially, it was quickly targeted and rapidly
suppressed or destroyed.
pg 281 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
The ARCENT commander's nightly situation report summed up operations on the evening
of 26 February: "Impressive successes by VII Corps and XVIII Corps have also been
accompanied by the challenges of an extremely rapid operational tempo and poor weather.
Rain, low ceilings, and dense morning fog have limited close air support against enemy
artillery and armor. Rain has also degraded trafficability of main supply routes at a time
when rapid tactical advances have extended supply lines and increased sustainment
demands. These conditions will not significantly hinder the attack and destruction of the
ARCENT Commander's Situation Report
Later in the engagement, visibility improved enough to employ the division's
Apache-equipped attack battalion. In the northern portion of the division zone where the
2nd Brigade operated, the timely arrival of the Apaches (guided by intelligence from
JSTARS) caught an enemy mechanized infantry task force as it moved diagonally across the
brigade's sector but outside of direct fire range. Their unit was evidently attempting to
reinforce other elements of the Tawakalna Division. According <pg 282 start> to unit after
action reports, this engagement resulted in the destruction of eight tanks and nineteen
armored vehicles.
pg 282 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
"As the 1st Marine Division stepped off in the attack on G+2, it immediately ran into Iraqi
T-72 tanks. The smoke from burning oil wells and bad weather had combined to reduce
visibility to only a few yards. Attempts to get close air support were thwarted by this
absence of visibility. Out of the darkness emerged two Marine AH-1W's, flying at ground
level. Knowing the dire need of the Marines on the ground, they had literally taxied along
roads, twice passing under powerlines to reach the forward units. Their Hellfire missiles
quickly eliminated the Iraqi tank threat."
I MEF Award Citation
pg 282 paragraph 2
Farther south, the 1st UK Armoured Division fought a series of sharp fights with enemy
units trying to withdraw. In the largest engagement, the "Desert Rats" destroyed 40 tanks
and captured an Iraqi division commander.
Released from its theater reserve mission and attached to the VII Corps, 1st Cavalry
Division (Mechanized) raced to the northern limit of the VII Corps to help attack the
Republican Guards.
Joint Forces Command-North
The JFC-N continued to attack, seizing its intermediate and final objectives before the
evening of 26 February. Egyptian forces secured their objective near Al-Abraq and turned
east, pushing 60 kilometers toward their next objective, 'Ali As-Salim airfield. The plan was
to pass through the US Marine forces and liberate Kuwait City. TF Khalid secured its
objectives and also turned east towards Kuwait City. The 9th Syrian Armored Division
screened the Saudi border east of TF Khalid and secured JFC-N supply routes with two
brigades. The 3rd Syrian brigade followed TF Khalid toward Kuwait City.
I Marine Expeditionary Force
After refueling and replenishing during the night and early morning hours, I MEF continued
to attack north on 26 February. Its objectives were Kuwait International Airport and the
Al-Mutl'a Pass. The I MEF advanced with the 2nd MARDIV attacking to the northwest
towards Al Jahra and the 1st MARDIV turning towards Kuwait International Airport. The
Tiger Brigade headed toward Al-Mutl'a Ridge, terrain that dominated the roads leading
from Kuwait City and key to cutting off the Iraqi retreat. Occupation of these dominant
terrain features would close the main road, the 6th Ring Road, from coastal Kuwait.
The Iraqi command, belatedly realizing its forces in Kuwait faced entrapment, had issued
orders to begin withdrawing. It was too late. The 2nd MARDIV began the attack at 1200. In
a classic example of joint operations, the Tiger Brigade, with 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor in
the lead supported by USAF and USMC aircraft, smashed its way to the high ground
northwest of Al-Jahra, destroyed the remaining Iraqi resistance and cutting off further Iraqi
retreat. Approaching Al-Mutl'a Ridge, the brigade found a minefield and waited for the
plows to cut a safety lane. Once through the minefield, the brigade began to find enemy
bunker complexes and dug-in armor units. They destroyed the enemy tanks and bunkers.
Moving up and over Al-Mutl'a Ridge, the brigade destroyed many antiaircraft artillery
(AAA) positions and began to consolidate its position.
The Tiger Brigade now controlled the highest point for hundreds of miles in any direction.
The roads were choked with Iraqi vehicles and armor. The previous night, aircraft had
begun destroying enemy military and commandeered vehicles retreating from Kuwait on
these highways. The Tiger Brigade added its firepower to the continuous air strikes. Up and
down the multi-lane highways were hundreds of burning and exploding vehicles of all
types. The result brought the road the name "Highway of Death." Soldiers escaped from
their vehicles and <pg 283 start> fled into the desert to join the growing army of prisoners.
pg 283 paragraph 2
The rest of the 2nd MARDIV reached Al-Jahra, overcoming the Iraqi rear guard dug in
south of the city in quarries and dumps. The 6th Marines advanced into the quarry area,
encountering stiff resistance from elements of the Iraqi 3rd Armored and 5th Mechanized
divisions, some equipped with T-72 tanks. Elaborate bunkers were uncovered that housed
brigade CPs, complete with kitchens and classrooms. 1st Battalion, 6th Marines advanced
to the outskirts of Al-Jahra, the first Marine unit to reach Kuwait City. Relatively few
prisoners were taken since the Iraqi rearguard chose to fight rather than surrender. Hundreds
of civilians were encountered for the first time in the operation.
The 1st MARDIV ran into a desperate Iraqi armored defense centered on Kuwait
International Airport. With TF Papa Bear in the center leading the attack, TF Ripper on the
left, and TF Shepherd on the right, the division fought into the night of 26 February, assisted
by 16-inch naval gunfire from the USS Wisconsin and Marine CAS. Darkness and intense
smoke restricted visibility to only a few yards. TF Shepard was ordered to clear the airport
while the other units held up, to ease coordination. The 1st MARDIV finally seized Kuwait
International Airport at 0330, 27 February. I MEF After Action Reports reflect more than
250 destroyed tanks and 70 armored vehicles were counted in or near the airport, a
testament to the final Iraqi stand. By early morning on 27 February, I MEF had secured all
its assigned objectives. I MEF now awaited the arrival of JFC-E and JFC-N, which would
liberate Kuwait City.
Joint Forces Command East
Coalition forces continued operations well ahead of schedule, meeting generally light
resistance. TF Omar continued its attack in the western sector reaching its objectives. The
Qatari battalion pressed forward and also secured its objectives south of Kuwait City, as did
TF Othman. The UAE motorized infantry battalion screened the 10th RSLF Mechanized
Brigade's left flank. JFC-E was so successful that its western boundary was changed twice,
and it was given four additional objectives. By day's end, preparations were made for a
Pan-Islamic force to enter Kuwait City on 27 February.
Supporting Operations
Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Army helicopters from 160th
Special Operations Aircraft Regiment (SOAR) recovered SF teams from western Iraq.
AFSOC PSYOP EC-130's flew numerous missions dropping leaflets and broadcasting
prerecorded messages for Iraqi forces to surrender or be destroyed.
Despite the adverse weather, Coalition air crews continued the destruction of vehicles,
artillery pieces and fortifications. Support of ground operations took on increased
importance in an effort to destroy the Iraqi forces in the KTO.
As I MEF advanced, 3rd MAW fixed- and rotary wing aircraft continued to push forward.
A large percentage flew interdiction missions as the MEF attempted to eliminate resistance
before it could disrupt advancing ground units. Directed by airborne FACs, attack aircraft,
some of whom flew from amphibious ships offshore, blocked the bottleneck formed by the
Al-Mutl'a Pass. This action was instrumental in the destruction of major elements of the
retreating enemy force.
G+3 (27 February ) Destruction of the Republican Guards
Coalition forces pressed the attack on the night of 26 February and pursued the Iraqi forces
throughout 27 February against disintegrating resistance.
pg 284 start
pg 284 map: VII Corps. 26 Feb G+2. Axis of attack shown for Coalition forces. Point of
departure is PL Smash/Phase Line Smash. Major Coalition and Iraqi units are shown.
Coalition forces shown as nearing Ar-Rumaylah Oilfields.
Enemy Actions and Disposition
By the end of G+3, 33 Iraqi divisions were assessed by DIA as combat ineffective. Only
isolated pockets of Iraqi forces remained in Kuwait. Most Iraqi Army units had surrendered,
been destroyed, or were retreating. Many retreating units abandoned their equipment as they
fled toward Al-Basrah. Coalition forces were involved in several brisk engagements with
the RGFC; however, these remaining RGFC elements were operating independently and
could no longer conduct cohesive operations.
West and south of Al-Basrah, remnants of Iraqi operational and theater reserve forces
attempted to defend against heavy pressure from the Coalition. Remaining elements of the
10th Armored Division linked up with the remains of the RGFC Al-Madinah Division just
north of the Iraq-Kuwait border and attempted, unsuccessfully, to defend against advancing
US forces. To the west of the city, elements of the RGFC Hammurabi Armored Division
with scattered elements of RGFC infantry divisions continued to defend under heavy
pressure from advancing Coalition forces. Some parts of these <pg 285 start> units
succeeded in escaping across the Euphrates River. DIA estimates that upwards of 70,000 to
80,000 troops from defeated divisions in Kuwait may have fled into the city of Al-Basrah.
pg 285 map: G+3 - 27 February. Location of major Coalition units shown at the end of
G+3. Objective Anvil is shown south of Al-Basrah with the 24th mechanized infantry
division nearby (but not physically on the objective). No Iraqi units are depicted.
pg 285 paragraph 2
Army Component, Central Command
On the morning of 27 February, XVIII Airborne Corps was prepared to continue its advance
east toward Al-Basrah. But before the assault could be resumed, the 24th Infantry Division
(Mechanized) had to secure the Euphrates River Valley by taking two airfields still in Iraqi
hands. Tallil airfield was about 20 miles south of the of An-Nasiriyah and Jalibah airfield
lay farther east, near the lake at Hawr Al-Milh. The mission of taking these two airfields
went to the units which had ended the previous day in positions closest to them. 1st Brigade
would support the 2nd Brigade's attack on Jalibah airfield. The 197th Infantry Brigade,
moving north, would take Tallil.
pg 286 start
pg 286 map: G+3 - 27 February Enemy Disposition. General locations of five Iraqi
Divisions shown as of 27 February. Divisions are Nebuchadnezzar, Medina, Adnan,
Tawalkana, and Hamurabi. All are outside of Kuwaiti borders. All are to the south and
west of the Shatt Al-'Arab waterway. IE, these units still have not retreated to safety at Al
However, before attacks against the airfields could begin, a supply problem had to be
solved. The 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) had moved so fast in two days that fuel
tankers were having difficulty keeping up. After halting during the night of the 26 February,
the lead tanks had less than 100 gallons of fuel in their 500-gallon tanks. Replenishment
fuel was with the brigade trains, but lead elements were not sure where to rendezvous in the
desert. Through the initiative of a number of junior officers, the leaders managed to refuel
the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) vehicles by midnight on 26 February. At 0600 27
February, 1st Brigade moved east; by 1000, Jalibah airfield was secured.
pg 286 paragraph 2
At 1200, the first XVIII Airborne Corps and 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) attack
helicopter battalions closed on a new FOB Viper, 200 km east of FOB Cobra which had
been secured by the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) assaulting at 1000.
Two attack helicopter battalions from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) were first
to the Al-Basrah causeway. Smoke from the burning oil wells reduced visibility to less than
1,000 meters, and it was so dark that the aircrews relied completely on thermal sights. The
two battalions destroyed every moving vehicle on the causeway, scattering wreckage and
blocking further movement. A second pair of attack battalions flew further north across the
Al Hammar Lake and began engaging targets that had already crossed the causeway. With
the last escape route now cut, most of Iraqi units were caught between advancing forces of
the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), the VII Corps and the Euphrates River.
With the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) now oriented east after its northern advance,
new phase lines were drawn between Tallil airfield and the Ar-Rumaylah oilfields west of
Al-Basrah. From the line of departure east of Jalibah airfield, the 24th Infantry Division
(Mechanized) advanced east, centering on Highway 8, and tying in with VII Corps to the
south. Through the afternoon and night of 27 February, tankers, fighting vehicle gunners,
helicopter crews and artillerymen destroyed hundreds of vehicles trying to redeploy to meet
the new American attack or simply escape north across the Euphrates River.
In the VII Corps sector, the attack rolled east. VII Corps conducted a coordinated main
attack against the three mechanized Republican Guard Divisions the Tawakalna, the
Al-Madinah, and the Hammurabi. As this operation began, the 1st Infantry Division, in the
south of the Corps zone, conducted a night passage through the 2nd ACR, and immediately
engaged the Iraqi forces. To the north, the 1st and 3rd Armored divisions attacked to the
east and the 1st Cavalry Division attacked on the northern flank to prevent an Iraqi breakout
in that direction. These attacks were closely synchronized combined arms and joint
operations. CAS was first shifted deeper to attack the next expected targets. Waves of
artillery and AH-64 battalions then were called <pg 287 start> in to fix the Iraqis and
prevent them from maneuvering effectively against the approaching Americans. With the
Iraqis set up, the massed maneuver elements of VII Corps struck one decisive blow after
another. In other sectors, Iraqi elements broke and ran. Here, they stood and fought.
pg 287 paragraph 2
The battles begun the previous afternoon continued through the morning of 27 February as
VII Corps divisions bore into Republican Guard units trying to escape or reposition. As the
assault gained momentum, the VII Corps, for the first time, deployed its full combat power.
The 1st Cavalry Division headed north to join the VII Corps assault. By 2100, the 1st
Cavalry Division was in position on the extreme left of the corps sector, tying in with the
24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) across the corps boundary. Now the VII Corps could
send five divisions and an ACR against the Republican Guard. From left (north) to right,
VII Corps deployed the 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Armored Division, 3rd Armored Division,
1st Infantry Division (Mechanized), 2nd ACR, and the 1st UK Armoured Division. GPS
receivers helped keep unit flanks aligned with one another and helped avoid friendly
pg 287 map: XVIII Airborne Corps. 27/28 Feb (G+3/4). General locations of major XVIII
Corp units on 27 Feb and 28 Feb are shown. AO Eagle, AO Bragg, AO Tim, FOB Cobra,
Logbase Romeo and FOB Viper are all shown. Major Iraqi units in area are shown. These
include three divisions and two brigades.
pg 288 start
Early on 27 February, after a night of intense fighting, the 3rd Armored Division's 3rd
Brigade moved through the 2nd Brigade, conducting a passage of lines while in contact
with the enemy. This demanding maneuver required extensive coordination in order to
preclude inflicting casualties on friendly forces. The level of training and the high quality
soldiers and leaders were crucial to the success of this maneuver. Under a supporting
artillery barrage, the 3rd Brigade then attacked the Iraqi 12th Armored Division. After a
sharp fight, the 3rd Brigade broke through the enemy's defensive positions and drove into
Late in the evening on 27 February, the 3rd Armored Division again employed Apaches
under adverse weather conditions and struck deep into the rear area of the enemy 10th
Armored Division. These attacks behind the Iraqi lines broke the continuity of their defense
and forced them to abandon both their positions and much of their equipment. Together
with attacks by the 1st Infantry Division , heavy frontal pressure from the 1st and 3rd
Brigades of the 3rd Armored Division, supported by MLRS fires, forced front line enemy
units to retreat directly into the disorganized rear elements. This combined arms operation
prevented reorganization and completed the rout of the Iraqi 10th Armored Division.
The 1st Armored Division also fought remnants of the Tawakalna, Al-Madinah and Adnan
Republican Guards Divisions. The 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, destroyed 61 tanks
and 34 armored personnel carriers of the Al-Madinah Division in less than one hour. The
1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) overran the 12th Armored Division and scattered the
10th Armored Division into retreat. On the south flank, the 1st UK Armoured Division
destroyed the 52nd Armored Division, then overran three infantry divisions. To finish the
RGFC destruction, VII Corps conducted a double envelopment involving the 1st Cavalry
Division on the left and 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) on the right. The trap closed on
disorganized bands of Iraqis streaming north in full retreat.
The VII Corps pressed its attack farther east. The 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized)
established blocking positions on the north-south highway connecting Al-Basrah to Kuwait
City. In the early morning hours of 28 February, corps artillery units fired an enormous
preparation involving all long-range weapons: 155-mm and 8-inch self-propelled artillery
pieces, rocket launchers, and tactical missiles. Attack helicopters followed to strike
suspected enemy positions. The advance east continued until offensive operations were
halted at 0800, with VII Corps' armored divisions just inside western Kuwait.
Joint Forces Command North
Egyptian forces closed on 'Ali As-Salim <pg 289 start> airfield. The Kuwaiti Ash-Shahid
Brigade and 4th Armored Brigade (RSLF) secured Objective Hotel. Syrian units continued
to handle EPWs for JFC-N. One Syrian Brigade continued to secure the JFC-N LOC.
Another Syrian Brigade, screening the Saudi border moved northeast to join the rest of the
division. A brigade size force entered Kuwait City and prepared to occupy the western part.
pg 289 paragraph 2
I Marine Expeditionary Force
In the I MEF sector on 27 February, the 2nd MARDIV began the fourth day of the ground
war by holding positions and maintaining close liaison with JFC-N units on the left flank.
At 0500 27 February, Tiger Brigade troops made contact with Egyptian units, and four
hours later JFC-N columns passed through the 2nd Marine Division. The Division remained
on Al-Mutl'a Ridge and Phase Line Bear until offensive operations ended at 0800 28
February. To the east, 1st MARDIV consolidated its area, clearing the last pockets of
resistance from near Kuwait International Airport and linking up with JFC-E units
advancing along the coast.
Two small, but symbolic, incidents occurred on this final day of combat. Twelve Marines
from the 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company infiltrated into Kuwait City in the early
morning darkness of 27 February, to be greeted by jubilant Kuwaitis and American flags
waving from buildings, despite sporadic fire from Iraqi stragglers. In Al-Jahra, a Marine
officer slipped into the city on the afternoon of 27 February to contact the Kuwaiti
Resistance, which was battling Iraqi rear-guard forces and stragglers. After conducting a
reconnaissance patrol of key facilities in the city in the company of six well-armed Kuwaiti
resistance fighters, he found himself the guest of honor at a dinner celebrating the liberation
of Kuwait.
Joint Forces Command East
JFC-E's offensive actions secured final objectives south of Kuwait City. Forward elements
continued into Kuwait City and linked up with JFC-N forces which were entering Kuwait
City from the west. JFC-E forces began to occupy the eastern part of Kuwait City.
Supporting Operations
Coalition air forces continued to provide air interdiction (AI) and CAS in adverse weather.
A-10s and F-16s flew from bases in Saudi Arabia during the day while F-15Es and
LANTIRN-equipped F-16s attacked during the night. Carriers in the Gulf provided A-6s,
A-7s and F/A-18s to strike targets beyond the fire support coordination line (FSCL).
F/A-18s and A-6s from Bahrain and forward-based AV-8Bs attacked targets and responded
to requests for CAS in Kuwait. AH-64s and AH-1W s provided close-in fire support for
ground forces. Some aircraft flying combat missions were damaged and lost to AAA and IR
missiles as deteriorating weather conditions forced aircraft to fly at lower, more vulnerable
The 3rd MAW, still pushing AH-1W attack helicopters and attack aircraft to Marine ground
units, shifted its main effort to the north, along the main highway from Kuwait City to Iraq.
Joining in the effort were AV-8Bs flying from the USS Nassau (LHA 4) in the Gulf, the
first time in Naval history that attack aircraft had conducted missions from an amphibious
ship. Behind I MEF's lines, heavy lift CH-53s and medium lift CH-46Es shuttled back and
forth between ground combat units and logistics bases, carrying supplies forward and
returning loaded with enemy prisoners, who were shuttled to Coalition EPW compounds.
SOF recaptured the American embassy in Kuwait City as other coalition forces liberated the
city and linked up with Kuwaiti Resistance forces and helped clear key government
buildings. Naval Special Warfare units took the former Kuwaiti Police Headquarters and
captured numerous documents depicting C2 of the Iraqi-supported terrorist campaign.
pg 290 start
pg 290 map: VII Corps. 27 Feb (G+3). Map shows major Coalition units and Iraqi units.
AA Horse and Phase Line Kiwi/PL Kiwi are shown.
G+4 (28 February) Offensive Operations Cease
Army Component, Central Command
By the time offensive operations were halted, XVIII Airborne Corps had completed its
advance into Iraq, cutting off Iraqi retreat and helping with the RGFC's final destruction.
The 24th Infantry Division with the 3rd ACR continued its attack to the east to block enemy
withdrawal and completed the elimination of the RGFC. The 82nd Airborne Division
continued to clear objectives Red, Gold, and Orange. The 101st Airborne Division (Air
Assault) continued operations along Highway 8 while securing FOBs Cobra and Viper and
interdicting the North Al-Basrah road.
When offensive operations ended at 0800 28 February, the 24th Infantry Division
(Mechanized) lead elements stood along a phase line only 30 miles west of Al-Basrah. The
division established a hasty defense along the appropriately named phase line "Victory," and
there the XVIII Airborne Corps advance ended.
In the VII Corps sector, VII Corps continued to attack early on 28 February to destroy
elements <pg 291 start> of remaining Iraqi divisions west of Al-Basrah. 1st Armored
Division attacked and secured Objective Bonn. 3rd Armored Division cleared Objective
Dorset after meeting stiff resistance and destroying more than 250 enemy vehicles, then
pursued remaining enemy elements towards Objective Minden. The 1st UK Armoured
Division attacked to the east to clear Objective Varsity, encountering limited resistance.
After attacking across the zone and destroying RGFC remnants, the VII Corps established
blocking positions with the 1st Infantry Division and 1st Armored Division along the
Al-Jahra/Al-Basrah MSR. 1st Cavalry Division, 1st Armored Division, 3rd Armored
Division, and the 2nd ACR secured their objectives and cleared positions short of the Corps
limit of advance, which was the MSR between Al-Jahra and Al-Basrah.
pg 291 map: G+4 - 28 February. Major Coalition units shown at G+4. The 24th
Mechanized Infantry division is shown southeast of Al-Basrah.
pg 291 paragraph 2
In 90 hours of continuous movement and combat, VII Corps achieved devastating results
<pg 292 start> against the best units of the Iraqi army. VII Corps reported destroying more
than a dozen Iraqi divisions; an estimated 1,300 tanks, 1,200 fighting vehicles and APCs;
285 artillery pieces and 100 air defense systems;and captured nearly 22,000 enemy soldiers.
At the same time, the corps had extremely light casualties and combat vehicles losses.
pg 292 paragraph 2
After defeating the enemy, VII Corps focused attention on humanitarian operations as did
other US units. US forces ensured that Iraqi citizens, including Iraqi military personnel,
were treated compassionately and with dignity. To do this essential services were restored
as quickly as possible. For example, VII Corps humanitarian support included treating
almost 30,000 Iraqi civilians in military health care facilities, supplying over a million
meals, and reopening the health clinic and school in Safwan. In addition, VII Corps
protected 12,000 Iraqi refugees in Safwan and at a camp near Rafhah, built a camp north of
Rafhah that would hold 30,000 refugees, and provided transportation for refugees who
chose to leave Iraq.
Joint Forces Command North
JFC-N ceased offensive operations, secured enemy locations in their area, and consolidated
positions. Elements of the Egyptian Ranger Regiment secured the Egyptian Embassy and
the 6th Brigade, 4th Egyptian Armored Division began clearing the western part of Kuwait
City. The 3rd Egyptian Mechanized Division screened north from its position at Al-Abraq.
I Marine Expeditionary Force
The final day of the ground offensive found I MEF in defensive position outside of Kuwait
City. In the 2nd MARDIV sector, the 6th and 8th Marines had spent the previous night
planning to attack into Al-Jahra to seize the key Kuwait military bases in the area and secure
the northern road. Liaison had been established with the Kuwaiti resistance, now in control
of most of the city, to ensure that Marines and resistance fighters would not fire on one
another. However, when offensive operations ended, the Marines remained outside the city
as planned. 1st MARDIV consolidated its positions. I MEF assisted the passage of
Arab-Islamic forces into Kuwait City. The 3rd MAW, ordered to stand down, provided
helicopter support, moving supplies and logistics to forward units, and flew CAP over the
MEF sector. During the ground offensive, 3rd MAW had flown 9,569 sorties in support of
Marine and Coalition forces, 8,910 of which were fixed-wing sorties in support of the
advancing ground troops.
Joint Forces Command East
JFC-E ceased offensive operations and consolidated south of the Seventh Ring Road in
Kuwait City. TF Victory of the Saudi SF secured the Saudi Embassy. One battalion- size
task force entered Kuwait City and remained near the Sixth Ring Road. Royal Saudi
Marines occupied Mina As-Sa'ud. Other JFC-E forces continued to clear enemy in their
When offensive operations ended, the Coalition faced the beaten remnants of a
once-formidable foe. Coalition ground forces, with tremendous support from air and naval
forces, had defeated the Iraqi Army. Coalition armies stood on the banks of the Euphrates
River, stretched across the Iraqi and Kuwaiti deserts and patrolled a liberated Kuwait City.
The ground campaign's results were impressive. The ground offensive lasted 100 hours and
achieved all of CINCCENT's objectives. US and Coalition forces:
- Controlled critical Lines Of Communications in the KTO;
- Ejected Iraqi forces from Kuwait;
- Secured Kuwait International Airport and <pg 293 start> crossroads west of Kuwait City;
- Flanked, cut off, and destroyed Republican Guards Forces; and,
- Liberated Kuwait City.
pg 293 map: VII Corps. 28 Feb (G+4). Coalition units and Iraqi units shown in VII Corp
area at G+4 Phase Line Kiwi shown. Six of the seven Iraqi units shown are depicted
retreating to the northeast.
pg 293 paragraph 2
When the ground offensive started, the rapid rate of advance coupled with the violence with
which enemy forces were encountered and suppressed or destroyed precluded an accurate
assessment and count of battle damaged or destroyed enemy equipment. Ground
commanders remained focused on reaching their final objectives with the thought that an
accurate battle damage assessment would be conducted after completion of combat
After cessation of hostilities, most ground unit intelligence sections sent teams of soldiers to
walk the battlefields and more accurately assess the number of enemy armored vehicles
damaged, or captured. Information from these teams was sent to CENTCOM. The
CENTCOM Joint Intelligence Center analyzed the numbers reported from the field and in
many cases validated them with imagery or other sources of <pg 294 start> intelligence.
Analysis and correlation of data was completed by 18 March 1991. The final numbers of
enemy vehicles estimated by CENTCOM as destroyed or captured by Coalition forces
during the entire Operation Desert Storm campaign were 3847 tanks, 1450 armored
personnel carriers, and 2917 artillery pieces. It is important to note that these numbers are
estimates only. (Chapter VI contains additional information on BDA evaluations.)
pg 294 paragraph 2
Final CENTCOM estimates were that only five to seven of their 43 combat divisions
remained capable of offensive operations and an estimated 86,000 prisoners had been
captured (64,000 by US forces). The combined Coalition forces ground, air, naval,
special, and supporting forces had won one of the fastest and most complete victories in
military history.
pg 294 map: Summary of the Offensive Ground Campaign. Map shows ground campaign
from start to finish. Units patches/symbols used.
The ground campaign was clearly a success and the final, crucial element in a decisive
Coalition victory. The Coalition forged an effective fighting force, destroyed much of the
Iraqi army, and liberated Kuwait while sustaining light casualties. This overall victory was
achieved through detailed planning and bold, aggressive execution. Coalition air forces <pg
295 start> rapidly achieved air superiority in the KTO and set the stage for the Coalition
ground forces' dramatic envelopment, destruction of the combat effectiveness of the
Republican Guards and defeat of Saddam Hussein's forces in detail. This is not to say
Coalition forces executed flawlessly, or always operated strictly according to the dictates of
established doctrine; but they showed great professionalism and often improvised
brilliantly. Finally, the enemy's limitations and aspects of the weather and terrain each
contributed at times to ultimate Coalition victory.
pg 295 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
A soldier from the 3rd Armored Division's A Troop, 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry was asked
if it was worth it. "Gut level? Yeah it was worth it. And for all those people back home that
supported us, who believed in us, we did it for them."
(From a videotaped interview by the VII Corps
Public Affairs Office)
pg 295 paragraph 2
However, no examination of the ground campaign would be complete if it dealt solely with
assembly of forces and support structure in the theater of operations and the execution of the
battle plans. The foundation of Operation Desert Storm was laid in the immediate aftermath
of Vietnam. Developments within the US military were set in the context of the US-Soviet
conflict and focused on combat operations in central Europe against a massive, armor-heavy
threat. Programs begun in the mid-1970s reorganized the armed services on a volunteer
basis, began to revise doctrine based on maneuver warfare, revitalized the
noncommissioned officer and officer education programs, and formulated a long-range
modernization effort. These and other steps combined to create the most capable land force
in US history. It was this force that defeated one of the largest armies in the world with
more than 43 committed divisions and 10,000 items of combat equipment.
One hundred hours of ground combat was too short a period to form comprehensive
judgments about specific strengths or shortcomings. Much evidence remains anecdotal. In
addition, the theater, the enemy and the global political situation were unique. Nonetheless,
the Operation Desert Storm victory was unquestionably enabled by many years of thought,
realistic planning, new doctrinal concepts, new unit designs and structures, an investment
strategy for equipment modernization, and a training strategy for all components. The
following observations reflect the essential elements of the land force's success.
Quality people are the single most important requirement for US forces. Without capable,
motivated young men and women, technology alone will not be decisive. Good leadership
and training are essential to readiness. Well-trained forces are confident in themselves, their
leaders, and their equipment. The leaders of Operation Desert Storm were developed
through a combination of practical experience and formal instruction. US combat units were
led by seasoned professionals at every level platoon sergeants with 10 years' troop duty;
company commanders, developed through progressive assignments for six years to prepare
them for command; and battalion commanders with 17 years' service behind them, much of
it in tactical assignments. Operation Desert Storm was rapid, successful, and cost relatively
few American casualties because US forces maintained high levels of combat readiness in
The systematic evolution of doctrine before Operation Desert Storm served the land forces
well. Service doctrines that stressed maneuver warfare fundamentals, coupled with joint
doctrine for air, land, and maritime operations under a unified commander were a
significant advantage. Operation Desert Storm was a clear demonstration of the
overwhelming effectiveness of joint and combined operations synchronized by sound
doctrine and experienced leaders.
pg 296 start
The proper balance of land forces light, airborne, air assault, armored, special operations
and amphibious, along with appropriate combat support (CS) and combat service support
(CSS) Active and Reserve, gave the Coalition the range of capabilities necessary to defeat
Saddam Hussein.
Modern weapons systems and technology, in the hands of well-trained and well-led forces,
provide the critical edge in modern combat. US ground forces had equipment that enabled
them to decisively defeat the Iraqi forces. Moreover, US forces were trained to maximize
this equipment's effectiveness. Tough training, technological superiority, and continued
modernization are crucial to ensuring the lethality of the smaller forces of the future.
The weather and terrain conditions, on balance, favored Coalition victory. As demanding as
the climate was, Coalition forces were well-equipped and supported. Iraqi forces, often
isolated in static defenses for long periods, were steadily demoralized by air and
psychological operations along with the harsh conditions. Accordingly, many Iraqis lost the
will to resist by the time the ground operation began. The combination of austere terrain and
desert weather coupled with extended periods of reduced visibility let US forces exploit the
advantages of long-range weapons and all-weather, day-night sight systems. In many
instances, this provided the crucial edge for success and contributed to the low casualty rate.
Joint and combined exercises, security assistance, and military-to-military contacts
produced valuable relationships and infrastructure within the region that contributed to the
creation of a militarily effective Coalition. Many US military leaders were accustomed to
operating with Arab and other Islamic forces, and thus were adept at modifying US
operational practices to accommodate other nations' requirements. The US doctrine,
strategy, and tactics, developed originally in response to the Soviet threat to Western
Europe, stressed maneuver warfare based on continuous operations, flexibility, agility,
initiative and synchronization, attributes that served Coalition commanders well as they
planned and executed the ground operation against Saddam Hussein. Years of cooperation
and combined operations within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) smoothed
integration of European allies into the operation. In the end, the Coalition executed an
integrated campaign that combined the combat power of each Coalition partner. Although
CINCCENT did not exercise total control over all Coalition forces, unity of effort was
achieved through careful and systematic coordination.
pg 297 start
An overwhelming, rapid, continuous, joint and multi-national ground offensive enveloped
Iraqi forces, destroyed the combat effectiveness of Iraqi units in the KTO and liberated
Service doctrine for land warfare worked. Army AirLand Battle and USMC maneuver
warfare doctrine were compatible and set the example for Coalition ground operations.
Deception played a crucial role in ground operations and was integrated in all phases of the
plan. Coupled with strict OPSEC, it helped fix Iraqi forces until it was too late for them to
react to Coalition ground attacks. Deception was especially important during ground
operations due to the need for surprise, and the vulnerability of large numbers of massed
combat and support troops just before G-Day.
Despite the difficult terrain and weather, Coalition maneuver forces moved rapidly over
great distances. In 100 hours of combat, XVIII Airborne Corps maneuvered its lead
elements approximately 260 miles. Armor-heavy Vll Corps maneuvered over 150 miles as
it enveloped Iraqi forces. I MEF also demonstrated tremendous agility as it breached two
minefields and obstacle belts, fought off several armored counterattacks, and destroyed or
trapped numerous Iraqi divisions.
US Soldiers, Marines, British and French forces, and the forces of JFC-N and JFC-E
outfought their Iraqi foes. Courage, determination, training and leadership at all levels were
decisive in hundreds of individual fire fights and contributed directly to Coalition victory.
Intelligence support to tactical commanders was sufficient, but suffered from a lack of
available assets and difficulties in disseminating national and theater intelligence. Tactical
intelligence dissemination was constrained by a lack of sophisticated and secure
communications below division level.
Logistics units were hard-pressed to keep up with the rapid pace of maneuver units. Both
logistics structure and doctrine were found wanting in the high tempo offensive operation.
HET and off-road truck mobility were limited, and MSRs into Iraq few and constricted. Had
the operation lasted longer, maneuver forces would have outrun their fuel and other support.
The US had time to prepare its ground offensive while coalition-building, political and
diplomatic efforts, and commercial sanctions ran their courses. The ability to rapidly move
robust fighting forces will be a key challenge.
The ground campaign was conducted by heavy, airborne, and air assault forces, all of
which depend on large, bulky equipment for much of their combat power. Ways to improve
strategic lift and tactical mobility continue to be a major priority.
Measures to improve US chemical and biological defense readiness contributed to the
ability of the Coalition to pursue the campaign in the face of a significant Iraqi
chemical/biological warfare threat. The effectiveness of US chemical and biological
defensive equipment and procedures was not challenged during the conflict.
Breaching minefields under enemy fire proved demanding. Requirements for countermine
and engineer equipment should be reviewed carefully.
pg 297 end and chapter 8 end
pg 299 start
DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM ............................................. 313
LIST OF FATALITIES PROVIDED BY THE SERVICES .......................... 313
STORM ................................................................ 317
UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTIONS ON IRAQ ................................... 319
Resolution 660 of 2 August, 1990 .............................. 319
Resolution 661 of 6 August, 1990 .............................. 319
Resolution 662 of 9 August, 1990 .............................. 319
Resolution 664 of 18 August, 1990 ............................. 319
Resolution 665 of 25 August, 1990 ............................. 319
Resolution 666 of 13 September, 1990 .......................... 319
Resolution 667 of 16 September, 1990 .......................... 319
Resolution 669 of 24 September, 1990 .......................... 319
Resolution 670 of 25 September, 1990 .......................... 319
Resolution 674 of 29 October, 1990 ............................ 319
Resolution 677 of 28 November, 1990 ........................... 319
Resolution 678 of 29 November, 1990 ........................... 319
Resolution 686 of 2 March, 1991 ............................... 320
Resolution 660 (2 August, 1990) ............................... 320
The Security Council ................................... 320
Resolution 661 (6 August, 1990) ............................... 320
The Security Council ................................... 320
Resolution 662 (9 August, 1990) ............................... 321
The Security Council ................................... 321
Resolution 664 (18 August, 1990) .............................. 322
The Security Council ................................... 322
Resolution 665 (25 August, 1990).............................. 322
The Security Council ................................... 322
Resolution 666 (13 September, 1990) ........................... 323
The Security Council ................................... 323
pg 300 start
Resolution 667 (16 September, 1990) ........................... 324
The Security Council ................................... 324
Resolution 669 (24 September,1990) ............................ 325
The Security Council ................................... 325
Resolution 670 (25 September, 1990) ........................... 325
The Security Council ................................... 325
Resolution 674 (29 October, 1990) ............................ 327
The Security Council ................................... 327
Resolution 677 (28 November, 1990) ............................ 329
The Security Council ................................... 329
Resolution 678 (29 November, 1990) ............................ 329
The Security Council ................................... 329
Resolution 686 (2 March 1991) ................................. 330
The Security Council ................................... 330
INTELLIGENCE ......................................................... 333
PROLOGUE ............................................................. 333
NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ................................................ 334
THEATER INTELLIGENCE ................................................. 337
Central Command ............................................... 337
CENTCOM Components/Subunified Command ......................... 339
Coalition Intelligence ........................................ 339
Operation Proven Force ........................................ 340
TACTICAL INTELLIGENCE ................................................ 340
I MEF ......................................................... 340
ARCENT Corps .................................................. 340
CENTAF Units .................................................. 341
NAVCENT Units ................................................. 341
Intelligence Collection and Disseminatio ...................... 341
BATTLE DAMAGE ASSESSMENT ............................................. 343
COUNTERINTELLIGENCE .................................................. 345
CONCLUSION ........................................................... 345
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 346
PREPAREDNESS OF UNITED STATES FORCES ................................. 347
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 347
INTERESTS AND PRIOR COMMITMENTS ...................................... 347
Military Involvement .......................................... 347
PLANNING ............................................................. 349
Changes in the Strategic Environment .......................... 349
New Policy Assessments ........................................ 349
New Operations Plan ........................................... 350
pg 301 start
Deployment Planning ........................................... 351
Planning and Preparations for Joint Operations ................ 352
Planning and Preparations for Combined Operations ............. 353
TRAINING ............................................................. 353
Realistic Combat Training ..................................... 353
Combined and Joint Exercises .................................. 356
Training In-Theater ........................................... 357
DEPLOYMENT PREPAREDNESS .............................................. 358
Strategic Lift ................................................ 358
Prepositioned Equipment ....................................... 359
FORCE MODERNIZATION ................................................. 359
Army Modernization ............................................ 360
Air Force Modernization ....................................... 362
Navy Modernization ............................................ 362
Marine Corps Modernization .................................... 363
Other Modernization Issues .................................... 364
PUBLIC AND FAMILY SUPPORT ............................................ 365
SUMMARY .............................................................. 365
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 365
Table 1, History of Defense Planning and Program Development for Persian
Gulf/Southwest Asia Presence & Crisis Response ....................... 367
DEPLOYMENT .......................................................... 371
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 371
DEPLOYMENT PLANNING .................................................. 372
STRATEGIC LIFT CAPABILITIES .......................................... 375
Airlift ....................................................... 375
Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) ......................... 376
Sealift ....................................................... 377
Ready Reserve Force (RRF) .............................. 378
Fast Sealift Ships (FSS) ............................... 378
Sealift Readiness Program (SRP) ........................ 379
Prepositioned Equipment ................................ 379
Afloat Prepositioning Ships (APS) ...................... 379
Air Force Prepositioning ............................... 380
Maritime Prepositioning ................................ 380
DEPLOYMENT OVERVIEW AND EXECUTION .................................... 381
Phase I ....................................................... 381
Army Component, Central Command (ARCENT) Deployments ... 382
pg 302 start
Marine Component, Central Command (MARCENT) Deployments 384
Air Force Component, Central Command (CENTAF) Deployments 384
Navy Component, Central Command (NAVCENT) Deployments .. 386
Other Force Deployments ................................ 387
Phase II ...................................................... 387
SUMMARY .............................................................. 389
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 390
LOGISTICS BUILDUP AND SUSTAINMENT .................................... 393
Army .......................................................... 394
Air Force ..................................................... 397
Navy .......................................................... 399
Marine Corps .................................................. 400
REGIONAL NATIONS' SUPPORT ............................................ 401
Infrastructure ................................................ 402
Aerial Ports of Debarkation (APODs ............................ 402
Sea Ports of Debarkation (SPODs) .............................. 403
Storage Facilities ............................................ 403
Surface Transportation Network ................................ 403
Supply Support ................................................ 404
SUSTAINMENT .......................................................... 405
Nature of the Sustainment Base ................................ 405
Expanding Logistic Requirements ............................... 406
EUCOM Support ................................................. 409
Proven Force .................................................. 410
TRANSPORTATION ....................................................... 411
Strategic Lift ................................................ 412
Airlift ....................................................... 412
Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) ................................ 413
Air Refueling The Force Multiplier .......................... 413
Desert Express ................................................ 415
Sealift ....................................................... 416
Afloat Prepositioning Force ................................... 418
Fast Sealift Ships (FSS) ...................................... 418
Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ..................................... 419
Chartered Ships ............................................... 419
Sealift Express ............................................... 419
Importance of Forward Deployed Assets ......................... 419
The Importance of Lift to Sustainment ......................... 420
pg 303 start
INTRATHEATER TRANSPORTATION .......................................... 421
Intratheater Airlift .......................................... 422
Building the Land Transportation Network ...................... 423
MATERIEL DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM ......................................... 427
Item Visibility .............................................. 427
Use of Containers ............................................. 428
Priority System ............................................... 428
CONSUMABLES STORAGE .................................................. 429
INDUSTRIAL BASE ...................................................... 432
WAR RESERVE STOCKS ................................................... 435
EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE STRATEGY ....................................... 437
Army .......................................................... 437
Air Force ..................................................... 438
Navy .......................................................... 440
USMC .......................................................... 441
ENGINEERING SERVICES ................................................. 442
OTHER ALLIED SUPPORT ................................................. 444
Foreign Military Sales ........................................ 445
SUMMARY .............................................................. 446
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 448
MEDICAL SUPPORT ...................................................... 451
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 451
Overview of Health Service Support Concept .................... 451
Patient Care and Movement ..................................... 452
Army Health Services Operations ............................... 452
Patient Movement .............................................. 454
Navy Health Service Operations ................................ 454
Air Force Health Service Operations ........................... 455
Veterinary Services ........................................... 456
OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM ............................ 456
CONUS OPERATIONS ..................................................... 458
DEPLOYMENT ........................................................... 459
Personnel ..................................................... 460
HEALTH CARE PLANNING AND SUPPORT IN CENTCOM .......................... 460
Patient Evacuation ............................................ 463
Logistics ..................................................... 464
Blood ......................................................... 465
Systems Support ............................................... 465
C3 ............................................................ 467
Chemical and Biological Defense ............................... 467
pg 304 start
Medical Force Structure ....................................... 468
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 469
RESERVE COMPONENT FORCES ............................................. 471
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 471
CONFLICT ............................................................. 471
RESERVE FORCES PREPAREDNESS LEGACY OF THE '80s ..................... 471
INITIAL VOLUNTEERS ................................................... 472
Initial Involuntary Call-Up ................................... 474
Second Involuntary Call-Up .................................... 475
Third Activation .............................................. 476
POST MOBILIZATION TRAINING ........................................... 479
Army National Guard Combat Brigades ........................... 480
Air, Naval, and Marine Elements ............................... 481
INTEGRATION OF RESERVE COMPONENT FORCES .............................. 481
THEATER .............................................................. 483
THEATER .............................................................. 484
ASSESSMENT ........................................................... 484
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 486
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ............................................... 487
FOUNDATIONS FOR MILITARY COALITION ................................... 488
Political Consensus ........................................... 488
International Environment ..................................... 488
Access and Resources .......................................... 488
Within the Gulf Region ........................................ 488
Outside the Gulf Region ....................................... 489
BUILDING THE MILITARY COALITION ...................................... 489
Cultural Sensitivity .......................................... 489
DEFENSIVE PHASE OPERATION DESERT SHIELD ............................ 490
Planning ...................................................... 490
Forces ........................................................ 492
pg 305 start
Command Arrangements .......................................... 493
Summary ....................................................... 497
Offensive Phase Operation Desert Storm ...................... 497
Planning ...................................................... 497
Forces ........................................................ 500
Command Arrangements .......................................... 500
Summary ....................................................... 501
COALITION OPERATIONS ................................................. 501
Sanctions ..................................................... 501
Within the Gulf Region ................................. 501
Outside the Gulf Region ................................ 504
Defensive Phase ............................................... 504
Within the Gulf Region ................................. 504
Kuwaiti Resistance to Iraqi Occupation ................. 506
Outside the Gulf Region ................................ 506
Host Nation Support by NCPs ............................ 506
NATO Activities ........................................ 507
Eastern European Countries ............................. 507
Pacific and Indian Ocean Area .......................... 508
Supporting US CINCs .................................... 508
Summary ....................................................... 509
Offensive Phase ............................................... 509
Within the Gulf Region ........................................ 509
Coalition Air Operations ............................... 509
The Battle of Khafji ................................... 510
The Ground Offensive ................................... 512
The Liberation of Kuwait City ................................. 516
Outside the Gulf Region ....................................... 516
Host Nation Support By NCPs ................................... 517
NATO Activities ............................................... 518
Eastern European Countries .................................... 518
Pacific and Indian Ocean Area ................................. 518
Supporting US CINCs ........................................... 519
Summary ....................................................... 519
Arrangements for Enemy Prisoners of War ....................... 520
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 521
SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES ............................................ 523
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 523
COMMAND AND CONTROL RELATIONSHIPS .................................... 523
SOF MISSIONS ......................................................... 526
pg 306 start
STORM ................................................................ 527
Reconstitution of Kuwaiti Military ............................ 527
Coalition Warfare Support ..................................... 528
Special Reconnaissance (SR) ................................... 529
Direct Action (DA) Missions ................................... 531
Electronic Warfare ............................................ 533
Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) ............................... 533
LOGISTICS ............................................................ 534
COMBATTING TERRORISM (CT) ............................................ 535
PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS (PSYOP) ..................................... 536
Command Relationships for the Psychological Operation Group ... 537
CIVIL AFFAIRS ........................................................ 538
Planning ...................................................... 538
Operations .................................................... 539
CONCLUSION ........................................................... 540
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 541
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 543
Historical Perspective of CENTCOM Involvement in SWA .......... 543
COMMAND AND CONTROL STRUCTURE ........................................ 545
COMMANDS.............................................................. 549
Army Command Relationships .................................... 549
Air Force Command Relationships ............................... 551
Navy Command Relationships .................................... 552
Marine Corps Command Relationships ............................ 553
Special Forces Command Relationships .......................... 554
COALITION FORCES RELATIONSHIPS ....................................... 555
Coalition Coordination, Communication, and Integration Center . 558
COMMUNICATIONS ....................................................... 559
Joint Command,Control,and Communications (C3) Structure ....... 559
Combined Command and Control Communications ................... 562
SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS ..................................... 563
Multichannel Satellite Communications ......................... 563
UHF Satellite Communication ................................... 564
Leased Commercial Satellite Communications .................... 565
pg 307 start
TACTICAL COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS ...................................... 566
EUCOM Communications Support ......................................... 567
Weather Systems ............................................... 568
Multi-Spectral Imagery ........................................ 569
NAVIGATION SYSTEMS ................................................... 569
NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) ....................... 569
Position Location Reporting System (PLRS) ..................... 570
Frequency Management .......................................... 571
COMMUNICATIONS INTEROPERABILITY ...................................... 571
SUMMARY .............................................................. 572
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 573
ENEMY PRISONER OF WAR OPERATIONS ..................................... 577
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 577
AGREEMENTS ........................................................... 578
FORCE STRUCTURE ..................................................... 579
CAMP CONSTRUCTION .................................................... 580
SAUDI RESPONSIBILITIES FOR EPWS ...................................... 583
UNITED KINGDOM AND FRENCH FACILITIES ................................. 584
EPW HANDLING AND PROCESSING .......................................... 584
INTELLIGENCE OPERATIONS .............................................. 585
REPATRIATION ......................................................... 586
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 588
FIRE FROM FRIENDLY FORCES ............................................ 589
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 589
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE .............................................. 589
CONFLICT ............................................................. 592
Technological Initiatives ..................................... 592
Training ...................................................... 592
Control Measures .............................................. 593
ONGOING EFFORTS ...................................................... 594
Technology Initiatives ........................................ 595
Training ...................................................... 595
pg 308 start
SUMMARY .............................................................. 596
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 597
CIVILIAN SUPPORT ..................................................... 599
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 599
ARMY CIVILIAN PERSONNEL .............................................. 600
AIR FORCE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL ......................................... 600
NAVY AND MARINE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL ................................... 601
DEFENSE AGENCIES' CIVILIAN PERSONNEL ................................. 601
PLANNING AND OPERATIONS .............................................. 602
AMERICAN RED CROSS PERSONNEL ......................................... 604
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 604
THE ROLE OF THE LAW OF WAR ........................................... 605
BACKGROUND ........................................................... 605
ROLE OF LEGAL ADVISERS ............................................... 607
TAKING OF HOSTAGES ................................................... 607
ENEMY PRISONER OF WAR PROGRAM ........................................ 617
TREATMENT OF PRISONERS OF WAR ........................................ 619
REPATRIATION OF PRISONERS OF WAR ..................................... 620
USE OF RUSES AND ACTS OF PERFIDY ..................................... 620
WAR CRIMES ........................................................... 621
ENVIRONMENTAL TERRORISM .............................................. 624
CONDUCT OF NEUTRAL NATIONS ........................................... 626
.......... 629
OBSERVATIONS ........................................................ 632
RESPONSIBILITY SHARING ............................................... 633
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 633
........ 633
COSTS ................................................................ 634
DESERT STORM INCREMENTAL COSTS ....................................... 636
pg 309 start
EQUIPMENT, MATERIAL, AND SUPPLIES .................................... 637
IN-KIND AIRLIFT AND SEALIFT .......................................... 637
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 638
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WARFARE DEFENSE .............................. 639
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 639
THE IRAQI THREAT ..................................................... 640
COALITION CW/BW DEFENSIVE MEASURES ................................... 640
CW/BW Defense Force Structure ................................. 640
CW/BW Defense Training ........................................ 641
CW/BW DEFENSE EQUIPMENT .............................................. 641
Detection, Identification and Warning Systems ................. 641
Individual Protective Clothing and Equipment .................. 643
Collective Protective Systems (Vehicles and Shelters) ......... 644
Decontamination Equipment ..................................... 644
LOGISTICS ASPECTS OF CW/BW DEFENSE ................................... 645
SUMMARY .............................................................. 645
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 646
ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE THEATER OF OPERATIONS ........................... 647
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 647
DEPLOYMENT OF WOMEN TO COMBAT ZONES .................................. 647
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 649
MEDIA POLICY ......................................................... 651
INTRODUCTION ......................................................... 651
PUBLIC AFFAIRS OPERATIONS ............................................ 652
National Media Pool ........................................... 652
Joint Information Bureau ...................................... 652
Media Concerns ................................................ 652
Media On the Battlefield ...................................... 652
Media Briefings ............................................... 654
OBSERVATIONS ......................................................... 655
PERFORMANCE OF SELECTED WEAPON SYSTEMS ............................... 657
CAVEATS .............................................................. 657
Scope ......................................................... 657
System Performance and Mission Accomplishment ................. 657
Data Limitations and Biases ................................... 658
pg 310 start
A-6E INTRUDER ATTACK AIRCRAFT ................................. 661
A-10 THUNDERBOLT II ATTACK AIRCRAFT ........................... 664
AH-1 COBRA ATTACK HELICOPTER .................................. 666
AH-64 APACHE ATTACK HELICOPTER ................................ 669
AV-8B HARRIER STOVL AIRCRAFT .................................. 671
B-52 STRATOFORTRESS BOMBER .................................... 674
CH-46 SEA KNIGHT TRANSPORT HELICOPTER ......................... 677
CH-47D CHINOOK TRANSPORT HELICOPTER ........................... 679
E-2C HAWKEYE AEW AIRCRAFT ..................................... 681
EA-6B PROWLER ECM AIRCRAFT .................................... 686
F-4G WILD WEASEL ECM AIRCRAFT ................................. 688
F-14 TOMCAT FIGHTER ........................................... 690
F-15C EAGLE FIGHTER ........................................... 692
F-15E EAGLE FIGHTER ........................................... 694
F-16 FIGHTING FALCON MULTI-ROLE AIRCRAFT ...................... 696
F-111 AARDVARK STRIKE AIRCRAFT ................................ 699
F-117A NIGHTHAWK STEALTH FIGHTER .............................. 702
F/A-18A/C HORNET STRIKE FIGHTER ............................... 704
F/A-18D HORNET STRIKE FIGHTER ................................. 707
............................................................... 709
KC-135 STRATOTANKER REFUELING AIRCRAFT ........................ 712
............................................................... 715
............................................................... 717
OH-58D SCOUT HELICOPTER ....................................... 719
PIONEER UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE (UAV) ......................... 722
S-3B VIKING MULTI-MISSION AIRCRAFT ............................ 725
SH-3H SEA KING MULTI-MISSION HELICOPTER ....................... 727
UH-60 BLACK HAWK UTILITY HELICOPTER ........................... 729
ASSAULT AMPHIBIAN VEHICLE (AAV) ............................... 735
BRADLEY FIGHTING VEHICLE ...................................... 738
............................................................... 741
LIGHT ARMORED VEHICLE (LAV) ................................... 746
M1A1 ABRAMS TANK .............................................. 749
MISSILE SYSTEM (ATACMS) ....................................... 752
PATRIOT AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM .................................... 755
pg 311 start
TACTICAL WHEELED VEHICLES (HEAVY FLEET) ....................... 757
TACTICAL WHEELED VEHICLES (LIGHT FLEET) ....................... 764
............................................................... 766
AIR-LAUNCHED CRUISE MISSILE ................................... 773
LASER GUIDED BOMBS (LGB) ...................................... 775
MAVERICK AIR-TO-GROUND MISSILE ................................ 777
SIDEWINDER AIR-TO-AIR MISSILE ................................. 779
SPARROW AIR-TO-AIR MISSILE .................................... 780
STANDOFF LAND ATTACK MISSILE (SLAM) ........................... 782
TACTICAL AIR-LAUNCHED DECOY ................................... 784
TOMAHAWK MISSILE .............................................. 786
AIRCRAFT CARRIER (CV/CVN) ..................................... 791
MINE COUNTERMEASURES SHIP ..................................... 794
NAVAL GUNFIRE SUPPORT (NGFS) .................................. 796
MULTI-SPECTRAL IMAGERY: LANDSAT ............................... 808
pg 311 end and aa.atc end
pg 313 start
Appendix A
pg 313 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
3 AUGUST 1990 TO 15 DECEMBER 1991
List of Fatalities Provided by the Uniformed Services .............. 313
List of Prisoners of War ............................................ 317
Adams, Thomas R., Jr., Lance Corporal, USMC
Alaniz, Andy, Specialist, USA
Allen, Frank C., Lance Corporal, USMC
Allen, Michael R., Staff Sergeant, USA
Ames, David R., Staff Sergeant, USA
Anderson, Michael F., Chief Warrant Officer Three, USA
Applegate, Tony R., Staff Sergeant, USA
Arteaga, Jorge I., Captain, USAF
Atherton, Steven E., Corporal, USA
Auger, Allen R., Corporal, USMC
Avey, Hans C. R., Private First Class, USA
Awalt, Russell F., Staff Sergeant, USA
Bartusiak, Stanley W., Specialist, USA
Bates, Donald R., Staff Sergeant, USA
Bates, Tommie W., Captain, USA
Beaudoin, Cindy M., Specialist, USA
Belas, Lee A., Sergeant, USA
Belliveau, Michael L., Aviation Electrician's Mate Third Class, USN
Benningfield, Alan H., Boiler Technician Second Class, USN
Bentzlin, Stephen E., Corporal, USMC
Benz, Kurt A., Corporal, USMC
Betz, Dennis W., Sergeant, USMC
Bianco, Scott F., Corporal, USMC
Bland, Thomas C., Jr., Captain, USAF
Blessinger, John P., Staff Sergeant, USAF
Blowe, James, Mr., Army/Contractor
Blue, Tommy A., Sergeant, USA
Bnosky, Jeffrey J., Captain, USA
Boliver, John A Jr., Specialist, USA
Bongiorni, Joseph P., III, Sergeant, USA
Bowers, Tyrone, Private First Class, USA
Bowman, Charles L., Jr., Specialist, USA
Boxler, John T., Sergeant, USA
Brace, William C., Specialist, USA
Bradt, Douglas L., Captain, USAF
Bridges, Cindy D. J., Private First Class, USA
Brilinski, Roger P., Jr., Sergeant,USA
Brogdon,Tracy D.,Sergeant, USA
Brooks, Tyrone M., Boiler Technician Fireman, USN
Brown, Christopher B., Airman Apprentice, USN
Brown, Darrell K., Airman Apprentice, USN
Brown, James R., Specialist, USA
Budzian, Steven A., Airman Apprentice, USN
Buege, Paul G., Senior Master Sergeant, USAF
Bunch, Ricky L., Staff Sergeant, USA
Burt, Paul L., Sergeant, USA
Butch, Michael R., Aviation Structural Mechanic Second Class, USN
Butler, Tommy D., Specialist, USA
Butts, William T., Sergeant First Class, USA
Caldwell, Thomas R., Captain, USAF
Calloway, Kevin L., Private First Class, USA
Campisi, John F., Staff Sergeant, USAF
Carr, Jason C., Sergeant, USA
Carranza, Hector, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel, USA
Carrington, Monray C., Seaman, USN
Cash, Clarence A., Specialist, USA
Chapman, Christopher J., Sergeant, USA
Chinburg, Michael L., Captain, USAF
Clark, Barry M., Sergeant, USAF
Clark, Beverly S., Specialist, USA
Clark, Larry M., Airman, USN
Clark, Otto F., Master Sergeant, USA
pg 314 start
Clark, Steven D., Specialist, USA
Clemente, Samuel J., Mr, Army/Contractor
Codispodo, Edward M., Lance Corporal, USMC
Cohen, Gerald A., Private First Class, USA
Collins, Melford R., Private First Class, USA
Connelly, Mark A., Major, USA
Conner, Michael R., Sr., Staff Sergeant, USMC
Connor, Patrick K., Lieutenant, USN
Cooke, Barry T., Lieutenant Commander, USN
Cooke, Michael D., Corporal, USMC
Cooper, Ardon B., Private First Class, USA
Cooper, Charles W., Captain, USA
Cormier, Dale T., Captain, USAF
Costen, William T., Lieutenant, USN
Cotto, Ismael, Corporal, USMC
Crask, Gary W., Specialist, USA
Craver, Alan B., Sergeant, USA
Crockford, James F., Aviation Structural Mechanic Third Class, USN
Cronin, William D., Jr., Captain, USMC
Cronquist, Mark R., Specialist, USA
Cross, Shirley M., Aerographer's Mate First Class, USN
Crumby, David R., Jr., Sergeant, USA
Cruz, George, Mr., Navy/Contractor
Cunningham, James B., Lance Corporal, USMC
Curtin, John J., Chief Warrant Officer Three, USA
Dailey, Michael C., Jr., Private First Class, USA
Damian, Roy T., Jr., Specialist, USA
Daniel, Candace M., Private First Class, USA
Daniels, Michael D., Specialist, USA
Danielson, Donald C., Sergeant, USA
Daugherty, Robert L., Jr., Private First Class, USA
Davila, Manuel M., Specialist, USA
Davis, Marty R., Private First Class, USA
Dees, Tatiana, Staff Sergeant, USA
Delagneau, Rolando A., Specialist, USA
Delgado, Delwin, Signalman Third Class, USN
Delgado, Luis R., Sergeant, USA
Dierking, Ross A., Sergeant, USA
Diffenbaugh, Thomas M., Warrant Officer One, USMC
Dillon, Gary S., Captain, USMC
Dillon, Young M., Sergeant, USA
Dolvin, Kevin R., Captain, USMC
Donaldson, Patrick A., Chief Warrant Officer Two, USA
Dougherty, Joseph D., III, Lance Corporal, USMC
Douthit, David A., Lieutenant Colonel, USA
Douthit, David Q., Staff Sergeant, USA
Durrell, Robert L., Sergeant, USA
Dwyer, Robert J., Lieutenant, USN
Edwards, Jonathan R., Captain, USMC
Eichenlaub, Paul R., II, Captain, USAF
Fails, Dorothy L., Private, USA
Fajardo, Mario, Captain, USA
Farnen, Steven P., Specialist, USA
Felix, Eliseo C., Lance Corporal, USMC
Fielder, Douglas L., Sergeant, USA
Finneral, George S., Aviation Machinist's Mate Third Class, USN
Fitz, Michael L., Private First Class, USA
Fleming, Anthony J., Aviation Ordnanceman Third Class, USN
Fleming, Joshua J., Private (E-2), USA
Fontaine, Gilbert A., Aviation Storekeeper Airman, USN
Foreman, Ira L., Sergeant, USA
Fowler, John C., Specialist, USA
Galvan, Arthur, Captain, USAF
Garrett, Mike A., Staff Sergeant, USA
Garvey, Philip H., Chief Warrant Officer Four, USA
Garza, Arthur O., Lance Corporal, USMC
Gay, Pamela Y., Private First Class, USA
Gentry, Kenneth B., Staff Sergeant, USA
Gillespie, John H., Major, USA
Gilliland, David A., Boiler Technician Third Class, USN
Godfrey, Robert G., Chief Warrant Officer Three, USA
Gologram, Mark J., Sergeant, USA
Graybeal, Daniel E., Captain, USA
Gregory, Troy L., Lance Corporal, USMC
Grimm, Walter D., Captain, USAF
Guerrero, Jorge L., Airman, USN
Haddad, Albert G., Jr., Corporal, USMC
Haggerty, Thomas J., First Lieutenant, USA
Hailey, Garland V., Staff Sergeant, USA
Hampton, Tracy, Sergeant, USA
Hancock, Joe H., Jr., Lieutenant Colonel, USA
Hansen, Steven M., Staff Sergeant, USA
Harris, Michael A., Jr., Staff Sergeant, USA
Harrison, Timothy R., Staff Sergeant, USAF
Hart, Adrian J., Specialist, USA
Hatcher, Raymond E., Jr., Staff Sergeant, USA
Haws, Jimmy D., Staff Sergeant, USA
Hawthorne, James D., Sergeant, USMC
Hector, Wade E., Specialist, USA
Hedeen, Eric D., First Lieutenant, USAF
Hein, Kerry P., Chief Warrant Officer Two, USA
Hein, Leroy E., Jr., Sergeant, USAF
Henderson, Barry K., Major, USAF
pg 315 start
Henry-Garay, Luis A., Specialist, USA
Herr, David R., Jr., Captain, USMC
Heyden, James P., Specialist, USA
Heyman, David L., Specialist, USA
Hill, Timothy E., Specialist, USA
Hills, Kevin J., Aviation Electrician's Mate Airman, USN
Hoage, Adam T., Lance Corporal, USMC
Hodges, Robert K., Technical Sergeant, USAF
Hogan, Larry G., Sergeant, USMC
Holland, Donnie R., Lieutenant Colonel, USAF
Hollen, Duane W., Jr., Specialist, USA
Hollenbeck, David C., Specialist, USA
Holt, William A., Aviation Electronics Technician Third Class, USN
Holyfield, Ron R, Damage Controlman Third Class, USN
Hook, Peter S., Major, USAF
Hopson, Trezzvant, Jr., Mr., Navy/Contractor
Howard, Aaron W., Private First Class, USA
Hughes, Robert J., Chief Warrant Officer Three, USA
Hurley, Patrick R., Sergeant Major, USA
Hurley, William J., Captain, USMC
Hutchison, Mark E., Boiler Technician Second Class, USN
Hutto, John W., Private First Class, USA
Huyghue, Wilton L., Fireman, USN
Jackson, Arthur, , Staff Sergeant, USA
Jackson, Kenneth J., Private First Class, USA
Jackson, Mark D., Lieutenant, USN
Jackson, Timothy J., Fire Control Technician Third Class, USN
James, Jimmy W., Specialist, USA
Jarrell, Thomas R., Specialist, USA
Jenkins, Thomas A., Lance Corporal, USMC
Jock, Dale W., Machinist's Mate Fireman, USN
Joel, Daniel D., Corporal, USMC
Jones, Alexander, Airman Apprentice, USN
Jones, Daniel M., Electrician's Mate Third Class, USN
Jones, Glen D., Specialist, USA
Jones, Phillip J., Corporal, USMC
Kamm, Jonathan H., Staff Sergeant, USA
Kanuha, Damon V., Staff Sergeant, USAF
Keller, Kenneth T., Jr., Sergeant, USMC
Kelly, Shannon P., Second Lieutenant, USA
Kemp, Nathaniel H., Mess Management Specialist Seaman App., USN
Keough, Frank S., Specialist, USA
Kidd, Anthony W., Specialist, USA
Kilkus, John R., Staff Sergeant, USMC
Kimbrell, Allen, Mr., Army/Corps of Engineers
Kime, Joseph G., III, Captain, USA
King, Jerry L., Private First Class, USA
Kirk, Reuben G., III, Private First Class, USA
Koritz, Thomas F., Major, USAF
Kramer, David W., Private First Class, USA
Kutz, Edwin B., Sergeant, USA
LaMoureux, Dustin C., Private First Class, USA
Lake, Victor T., Jr., Corporal, USMC
Lane, Brianz L., Lance Corporal, USMC
Lang, James M., Lance Corporal, USMC
Larson, Thomas S., Lieutenant, USN
Lawton, Lorraine K., Second Lieutenant, USA
Lee, Richard R., Chief Warrant Officer Three, USA
Linderman, Michael E., Jr., Lance Corporal, USMC
Lindsey, J. Scott, , Sergeant, USA
Long, William E., Major, USA
Lumpkins, James H., Lance Corporal, USMC
Lupatsky, Daniel, Electrician's Mate Second Class, USN
Madison, Anthony E., Specialist, USA
Mahan, Gary W., Specialist, USA
Maks, Joseph D., First Lieutenant, USA
Malak, George N., Warrant Officer, USA
Manns, Michael N., Jr., Fireman, USN
Martin, Christopher A., Warrant Officer, USA
Mason, Steven G., Specialist, USA
Matthews, Kelly, L., Sergeant, USA
May, James B., II, Senior Master Sergeant, USAF
Mayes, Christine L., Specialist, USA
McCarthy, Eugene T., Major, USMC
McCoy, James R., Sergeant, USA
McCreight, Brent A., Airman, USN
McDougle, Melvin D., Sergeant, USA
McKinsey, Daniel C., Boiler Technician Fireman Apprentice, USN
McKnight, Bobby L., Specialist, USA
Middleton, Jeffrey T., Sergeant, USA
Miller, James R., Jr., Specialist, USA
Miller, Mark A., Private First Class, USA
Mills, Michael W., Specialist, USA
Mills, Randall C., Sergeant, USA
Mitchell, Adrienne L., Private, USA
Mitchem, Earnest F., Jr., Sergeant First Class, USA
Mobley, Phillip D., Specialist, USA
Moller, Nels A., Sergeant, USA
Mongrella, Garett A., Sergeant, USMC
Monroe, Michael N., First Lieutenant, USMC
Monsen, Lance M., Staff Sergeant, USMC
pg 316 start
Montalvo, Candelario, Jr., Sergeant, USMC
Moran, Thomas J., Staff Sergeant, USMC
Morgan, Donald W., Staff Sergeant, USA
Morgan, John K., Warrant Officer, USA
Mullin, Jeffrey E., Staff Sergeant, USA
Murphy, Donald T., Sergeant First Class, USA
Murphy, Joe, First Sergeant, USA
Murray, James C., Jr., Specialist, USA
Myers, Donald R., Specialist, USA
Neberman, James F., Mr., Army/Material Command
Neel, Randy L., Airman Apprentice, USN
Nelson, Rocky J., Airman First Class, USAF
Noble, Shawnacee L., Private First Class, USA
Noline, Michael A., Private First Class, USMC
Noonan, Robert A., Specialist, USA
O'Brien, Cheryl L., Sergeant, USA
Oelschlager, John L., Technical Sergeant, USAF
Oliver, Arthur D., Lance Corporal, USMC
Olson, Jeffery J., Captain, USAF
Olson, Patrick B., Captain, USAF
Ortiz, Patbouvier E., Staff Sergeant, USA
Pack, Aaron A., Sergeant, USMC
Paddock, John M., Chief Warrant Officer Four, USN
Palmer, William F., Specialist, USA
Parker, Fred R., Jr., Boiler Technician Second Class, USN
Patterson, Anthony T., Private, USA
Paulson, Dale L., Specialist, USA
Perry, Kenneth J., Specialist, USA
Phillips, Kelly D., Specialist, USA
Phillis, Stephen R., Captain, USAF
Plasch, David G., Warrant Officer, USA
Plummer, Marvin J., Aviation Boatswain's Mate Second Class, USN
Plunk, Terry L., First Lieutenant, USA
Poole, Ramono L., Senior Airman, USAF
Poremba, Kip A., Lance Corporal, USMC
Porter, Christian J., Lance Corporal, USMC
Poulet, James B., Captain, USAF
Powell, Dodge R., Sergeant, USA
Rainwater, Norman R., Jr., Private First Class, USA
Randazzo, Ronald M., Sergeant, USA
Reel, Jeffrey D., Private First Class, USA
Reichle, Hal H., Chief Warrant Officer Two, USA
Reid, Fredrick A., Captain, USAF
Rennison, Ronald D., Specialist, USA
Ritch, Todd C., Private First Class, USA
Rivera, Manuel, Jr., Captain, USMC
Rivers, Ernest, , Sergeant, USMC
Robinette, Stephen R., Sergeant, USA
Robson, Michael R., Staff Sergeant, USA
Rodriguez, Eloy A., Jr., Master Sergeant, USA
Rollins, Jeffrey A., Sergeant, USA
Romei, Timothy W., Corporal, USMC
Rossi, Marie T., Major, USA
Rush, Scott A., Private First Class, USA
Russ, Leonard A., Sergeant, USA
San Juan, Archimedes P., Lance Corporal, USMC
Sanders, Henry J., Jr., First Sergeant, USA
Sapien, Manuel B., Jr., Specialist, USA
Satchell, Baldwin L., Sergeant, USA
Schiedler, Matthew J., Data Systems Technician Third Class, USN
Schmauss, Mark J., Staff Sergeant, USAF
Schmidt, Paul L., Mr., Navy/Contractor
Scholand, Thomas J., Lance Corporal, USMC
Schramm, Stephen G., Lieutenant Colonel, USAF
Schroeder, Scott A., Lance Corporal, USMC
Scott, Brian P., Sergeant, USA
Seay, Timothy B., Disbursing Clerk Third Class, USN
Settimi, Jeffrey A., Mess Management Specialist Seaman App., USN
Shaw, David A., Staff Sergeant, USMC
Shaw, Timothy A., Private First Class, USA
Sherry, Kathleen M., Second Lieutenant, USA
Shukers, Jeffrey W., Fire Control Technician Chief, USN
Siko, Stephen J., Specialist, USA
Simpson, Brian K., Specialist, USA
Smith, James A., Jr., Machinist's Mate Third Class, USN
Smith, James M., Jr., Staff Sergeant, USA
Smith, Michael S., Sergeant, USA
Smith, Russell G., Jr., Sergeant First Class, USA
Snyder, David T., Lance Corporal, USMC
Snyder, John M., Lieutenant, USN
Speicher, Jeffrey W., Private First Class, USA
Speicher, Michael S., Lieutenant Commander, USN
Spellacy, David M., Captain, USMC
Squires, Otha B., Jr., Specialist, USA
Stephens, Christopher H., Staff Sergeant, USA
Stephens, John B., Specialist, USA
Stephenson, Dion J., Lance Corporal, USMC
Stewart, Anthony D., Lance Corporal, USMC
Stewart, Roderick T., Radioman Seaman, USN
Stokes, Adrian L., Private First Class, USA
Stone, Thomas G., Specialist, USA
Streeter, Gary E., Sergeant First Class, USA
Strehlow, William A., Sergeant, USA
Stribling, Earl K., Major, USA
Sumerall, Roy J., Staff Sergeant, USA
pg 317 start
Swano, Peter L., Jr., Specialist, USA
Swartzendruber, George R., Chief Warrant Officer Two, USA
Sylvia, James H., Jr., Corporal, USMC
Talley, Robert D., Private, USA
Tapley, David L., Sergeant First Class, USA
Tatum, James D., Specialist, USA
Thomas, Phillip J., Aviation Structural Mechanic Second Class, USN
Thorp, James K., Captain, USMC
Tillar, Donaldson P., III, First Lieutenant, USA
Tormanen, Thomas R., Lance Corporal, USMC
Trautman, Steven R., Specialist, USA
Turner, Charles J., Lieutenant, USN
Underwood, Reginald C., Captain, USMC
Valentine, Craig E., Lieutenant (junior grade), USN
Valentine, Roger E., Private First Class, USA
Vega Velazquez, Mario, Sergeant, USA
Vigrass, Scott N., Private, USA
Viquez, Carlos A., Lieutenant Colonel, USA
Volden, Robert L., Boiler Technician First Class, USN
Wade, Robert C., Private First Class, USA
Waldron, James E., Lance Corporal, USMC
Walker, Charles S., Private First Class, USA
Walker, Daniel B., Lance Corporal, USMC
Wallington, Michael C., Lieutenant Colonel, USA
Walls, Frank J., Specialist, USA
Walrath, Thomas E., Specialist, USA
Walters, Dixon L., Jr., Captain, USAF
Wanke, Patrick A., Private First Class, USA
Ware, Bobby, M., Specialist, USA
Weaver, Brian P., Aviation Electrican Second Class, USN
Weaver, Paul J., Major, USAF
Wedgwood, Troy, M., Specialist, USA
Welch, Lawrence N., Sergeant, USA
West, John D., Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman, USN
Whittenburg, Scotty L., Sergeant, USA
Wieczorek, David M., Private First Class, USA
Wilbourn, James N., III, Captain, USMC
Wilcher, James, , Sergeant, USA
Wilkinson, Philip L., Mess Management Specialist Second Class, USN
Williams, Jonathan M., Corporal, USA
Winkle, Corey L., Private First Class, USA
Winkley, Bernard S., Chief Warrant Officer Two, USMC
Witzke, Harold P., III, Sergeant First Class, USA
Wolverton, Richard V., Specialist, USA
Worthy, James E., Specialist, USA
Wright, Kevin E., Specialist, USA
Zabel, Carl W., Specialist, USA
Zeugner, Thomas C. M., Major, USA
Acree, Clifford M., Lieutenant Colonel, USMC
Andrews, William F., Captain, USAF
Berryman, Michael C., Captain, USMC
Coleman, Melissa A., Specialist, USA
Cornum, Rhonda L., Major, USA
Dunlap, Troy A., Specialist, USA
Eberly, David W., Colonel, USAF
Fox, Jeffrey D., Lieutenant Colonel, USAF
Griffith, Thomas E. Jr., Major, USAF
Hunter, Guy L. Jr., Chief Warrant Officer Four, USMC
Lockett, David, Specialist, USA
Roberts, Harry M., Captain, USAF
Sanborn, Russell A. C., Captain, USMC
Slade, Lawrence R., Lieutenant, USN
Small, Joseph J. III, Major, USMC
Stamaris, Daniel J. Jr., Staff Sergeant, USA
Storr, Richard D., Captain, USAF
Sweet, Robert J., First Lieutenant, USAF
Tice, Jeffrey S., Major, USAF
Wetzel, Robert, Lieutenant, USN
Zaun, Jeffrey N., Lieutenant, USN
pg 317 end and appendix a end
pg 319 start
Appendix B
Resolution 660 of 2 August, 1990
Condemned invasion. Demanded withdrawal. Adopted 14-0-1, Yemen abstaining.
Resolution 661 of 6 August, 1990
Imposed a trade and financial embargo. Established special sanctions committee. Called on
UN members to protect Kuwaiti assets. Adopted 13-0-2, Cuba and Yemen abstaining.
Resolution 662 of 9 August, 1990
Declared Iraq's annexation of Kuwait null and void. Adopted unanimously.
Resolution 664 of 18 August, 1990
Demanded immediate release of foreigners from Kuwait and Iraq. Insisted Iraq rescind its
order closing missions in Kuwait. Adopted unanimously.
Resolution 665 of 25 August, 1990
Called on UN members cooperating with Kuwait to enforce sanctions by inspecting and
verifying cargoes and destinations. Adopted 13-0-2, Cuba and Yemen abstaining.
Resolution 666 of 13 September, 1990
Affirmed Iraq was responsible for safety of foreign nationals. Specified guidelines for
delivery of food and medical supplies. Adopted 13-2, Cuba and Yemen against.
Resolution 667 of 16 September, 1990
Condemned Iraqi aggression against diplomats. Demanded immediate release of foreign
nationals. Adopted unanimously.
Resolution 669 of 24 September, 1990
Emphasized only special sanctions committee could authorize food and aid shipments to
Iraq or Kuwait. Adopted unanimously.
Resolution 670 of 25 September, 1990
Expanded embargo to include air traffic. Called on UN members to detain Iraqi ships used
to break the embargo. Adopted 14-1, Cuba against.
Resolution 674 of 29 October, 1990
Demanded Iraq stop mistreating Kuwaitis and foreign nationals. Reminded Iraq it is liable
for damages. Adopted 13-0-2, Cuba and Yemen abstaining.
Resolution 677 of 28 November, 1990
Condemned Iraq's attempts to change Kuwait's demographic composition and Iraq's
destruction of Kuwaiti civil records. Adopted unanimously.
Resolution 678 of 29 November, 1990
Authorized UN members to use "all means necessary" to enforce previous resolutions, if
Iraq does not leave Kuwait by 15 January 1991. <pg 320 start> Adopted 12-2-1, Cuba and
Yemen against, China abstaining.
pg 320 paragraph 2
Resolution 686 of 2 March, 1991
Demanded Iraq cease hostile action, return all POWs and detainees, rescind annexation,
accept liability, return Kuwaiti property, and disclose mine locations. Adopted 11-1-3, Cuba
against, Yemen, China, and India abstaining
Resolution 660 (2 August, 1990)
The Security Council,
Alarmed by the invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990 by the military forces of Iraq,
Determining that there exists a breach of international peace and security as regards the Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait,
Acting under Articles 39 and 40 of the Charter of the United Nations,
1. Condemns the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait;
2. Demands that Iraq withdraw immediately and unconditionally all its forces to the
positions in which they were located on 1 August 1990;
3. Calls upon Iraq and Kuwait to begin immediately intensive negotiations for the
resolution of their differences and supports all efforts in this regard, and especially those of
the League of Arab States;
4. Decides to meet again as necessary to consider further steps to ensure compliance
with the present resolution.
VOTE: 14 for, 0 against, 1 abstention (Yemen)
Resolution 661 (6 August, 1990)
The Security Council,
Reaffirming its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990,
Deeply concerned that resolution has not been implemented and that the invasion by Iraq of
Kuwait continues with further loss of human life and material destruction,
Determined to bring the invasion and occupation of Kuwait by Iraq to an end and to restore
the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Kuwait,
Noting that the legitimate Government of Kuwait has expressed its readiness to comply
with resolution 660 (1990),
Mindful of its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance
of international peace and security,
Affirming the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence, in response to the
armed attack by Iraq against Kuwait, in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
1. Determines that Iraq so far has failed to comply with paragraph 2 of resolution
660 (1990) and has usurped the authority of the legitimate Government of Kuwait;
2. Decides, as a consequence, to take the following measures to secure compliance
of Iraq with paragraph 2 of resolution 660 (1990) and to restore the authority of the
legitimate Government of Kuwait;
3. Decides that all States shall prevent:
(a) The import into their territories of all commodities and products
originating in Iraq or Kuwait exported therefrom after the date of the present resolution;
(b) Any activities by their nationals or in their territories which would
promote or are calculated to promote the export or trans-shipment of any commodities or
products from Iraq or Kuwait; and any dealings by their nationals or their flag vessels or in
their territories in any commodities or products originating in Iraq or Kuwait and exported
there <pg 321 start> from after the date of the present resolution, including in particular
any transfer of funds to Iraq or Kuwait for the purposes of such activities or dealings;
pg 321 paragraph 2
(c) The sale or supply by their nationals or from their territories or using
their flag vessels of any commodities or products, including weapons or any other military
equipment, whether or not originating in their territories but not including supplies intended
strictly for medical purposes, and, in humanitarian circumstances, foodstuffs, to any person
or body in Iraq or Kuwait or to any person or body for the purposes of any business carried
on in or operated from Iraq or Kuwait, and any activities by their nationals or in their
territories which promote or are calculated to promote such sale or supply of such
commodities or products;
4. Decides that all States shall not make available to the Government of Iraq or to
any commercial, industrial or public utility undertaking in Iraq or Kuwait, any funds or any
other financial or economic resources and shall prevent their nationals and any persons
within their territories from removing from their territories or otherwise making available to
that Government or to any such undertaking any such funds or resources and from remitting
any other funds to persons or bodies within Iraq or Kuwait, except payments exclusively for
strictly medical or humanitarian purposes and, in humanitarian circumstances, foodstuffs;
5. Calls upon all States, including States non-members of the United Nations, to act
strictly in accordance with the provisions of the present resolution notwithstanding any
contract entered into or license granted before the date of the present resolution;
6. Decides to establish, in accordance with rule 28 of the provisional rules of
procedure of the Security Council, a Committee of the Security Council consisting of all the
members of the Council, to undertake the following tasks and to report on its work to the
Council with its observations and recommendations:
(a) To examine the reports on the progress of the implementation of the
present resolution which will be submitted by the Secretary-General;
(b) To seek from all States further information regarding the action taken by
them concerning the effective implementation of the provisions laid down in the present
7. Calls upon all States to co-operate fully with the Committee in the fulfillment of
its task, including supplying such information as may be sought by the Committee in
pursuance of the present resolution;
8. Requests the Secretary-General to provide all necessary assistance to the
Committee and to make the necessary arrangements in the Secretariat for the purpose;
9. Decides that, notwithstanding paragraphs 4 through 8 above, nothing in the
present resolution shall prohibit assistance to the legitimate Government of Kuwait, and
calls upon all States:
(a) To take appropriate measures to protect assets of the legitimate
Government of Kuwait and its agencies;
(b) Not to recognize any regime set up by the occupying Power;
10. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the progress of the
implementation of the present resolution, the first report to be submitted within thirty days;
11. Decides to keep this item on its agenda and to continue itsefforts to put an early
end to the invasion by Iraq.
VOTE: 13 for, 0 against, 2 abstentions (Cuba and Yemen)
Resolution 662 (9 August, 1990)
The Security Council,
Recalling its resolutions 660 (1990) and 661 (1990),
Gravely alarmed by the declaration by Iraq of a comprehensive and eternal merger with
Demanding, once again, that Iraq withdraw <pg 322 start> immediately and
unconditionally all its forces to the positions in which they were located on 1 August 1990,
pg 322 paragraph 2
Determined to bring the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq to an end and to restore the
sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Kuwait,
Determined also to restore the authority of the legitimate Government of Kuwait,
1. Decides that annexation of Kuwait by Iraq under any form and whatever pretext
has no legal validity, and is considered null and void;
2. Calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to
recognize that annexation, and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be
interpreted as an indirect recognition of the annexation;
3. Further demands that Iraq rescind its actions purporting to annex Kuwait;
4. Decides to keep this item on its agenda and to continue its efforts to put an early
end to the occupation.
VOTE: Unanimous (15-0)
Resolution 664 (18 August, 1990)
The Security Council,
Recalling the Iraqi invasion and purported annexation of Kuwait and resolutions 660, 661
and 662,
Deeply concerned for the safety and well being of third-state nationals in Iraq and Kuwait,
Recalling the obligations of Iraq in this regard under international law,
Welcoming the efforts of the Secretary-General to pursue urgent consultations with the
Government of Iraq following the concern and anxiety expressed by the members of the
Council on 17 August 1990,
Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter:
1. Demands that Iraq permit and facilitate the immediate departure from Kuwait and
Iraq of the nationals of third countries and grant immediate and continuing access of
consular officials to such nationals;
2. Further demands that Iraq take no action to jeopardize the safety, security or
health of such nationals;
3. Reaffirms its decision in resolution 662 (1990) that annexation of Kuwait by Iraq
is null and void, and therefore, demands that the Government of Iraq rescind its orders for
the closure of diplomatic and consular missions in Kuwait and the withdrawal of the
immunity of their personnel, and refrain from any such actions in the future;
4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council on compliance with this
resolution at the earliest possible time.
VOTE: Unanimous (15-0)
Resolution 665 (25 August, 1990)
The Security Council,
Recalling its resolutions 660 (1990), 661 (1990), 662 (1990) and 664 (1990) and demanding
their full and immediate implementation,
Having decided in resolution 661 (1990) to impose economic sanctions under Chapter VII
of the Charter of the United Nations,
Determined to bring an end to the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq which imperils the
existence of a Member State and to restore the legitimate authority, the sovereignty,
independence and territorial integrity of Kuwait which requires the speedy implementation
of the above resolutions,
Deploring the loss of innocent life stemming from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and
determined to prevent further such losses,
Gravely alarmed that Iraq continues to refuse to comply with resolutions 660 (1990), 661
(1990), and 664 (1990) and in particular at the conduct <pg 323 start> of the Government
of Iraq in using Iraqi flag vessels to export oil,
pg 323 paragraph 2
1. Calling upon those Member States cooperating with the Government of Kuwait
which are deploying maritime forces to the area to use such measures commensurate to the
specific circumstance as may be necessary under the authority of the Security Council to
halt all inward and outward maritime shipping in order to inspect and verify their cargoes
and destinations and to ensure strict implementation of the provisions related to such
shipping laid down in resolution 661 (1990);
2. Invites Member States accordingly to co-operate as may be necessary to ensure
compliance with the provisions of resolution 661 (1990) with maximum use of political and
diplomatic measures, in accordance with paragraph l above;
3. Requests all States to provide in accordance with the Charter such assistance as
may be required by the States referred to in paragraph 1 of this resolution;
4. Further requests the States concerned to co-ordinate their actions in pursuit of the
above paragraphs of this resolution using as appropriate mechanisms of the Military Staff
Committee and after consultation with the Secretary-General to submit reports to the
Security Council and its Committee established under resolution 661 (1990) to facilitate the
monitoring of the implementation of this resolution;
5. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
VOTE: 13 for, 0 against, 2 abstentions (Cuba and Yemen)
Resolution 666 (13 September, 1990)
The Security Council,
Recalling its resolution 661 (1990), paragraphs 3 (c) and 4 of which apply, except in
humanitarian circumstances, to foodstuffs,
Recognizing that circumstances may arise in which it will be necessary for foodstuffs to be
supplied to the civilian population in Iraq or Kuwait in order to relieve human suffering,
Noting that in this respect the Committee established under paragraph 6 of that resolution
has received communications from several Member States,
Emphasizing that it is for the Security Council, alone or acting through the Committee, to
determine whether humanitarian circumstances have arisen,
Deeply concerned that Iraq has failed to comply with its obligations under Security Council
resolution 664 (1990) in respect of the safety and well-being of third State nationals, and
reaffirming that Iraq retains full responsibility in this regard under international
humanitarian law including, where applicable, the Fourth Geneva Convention,
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
1. Decides that in order to make the necessary determination whether or not for the
purposes of paragraph 3 (c) and paragraph 4 of resolution 661 (1990) humanitarian
circumstances have arisen, the Committee shall keep the situation regarding foodstuffs in
Iraq and Kuwait under constant review;
2. Expects Iraq to comply with its obligations under Security Council resolution 664
(1990) in respect of third State nationals and reaffirms that Iraq remains fully responsible
for their safety and well-being in accordance with international humanitarian law including,
where applicable, the Fourth Geneva Convention;
3. Requests, for the purposes of paragraphs 1 and 2 of this resolution, that the
Secretary-General seek urgently, and on a continuing basis, information from relevant
United Nations and other appropriate humanitarian agencies and all other sources on the
availability of food in Iraq and Kuwait, such information to be communicated by the <pg
324 start> Secretary-General to the Committee regularly;
pg 324 paragraph 2
4. Requests further that in seeking and supplying such information particular
attention will be paid to such categories of persons who might suffer specially, such as
children under 15 years of age, expectant mothers, maternity cases, the sick and the elderly;
5. Decides that if the Committee, after receiving the reports from the
Secretary-General, determines that circumstances have arisen in which there is an urgent
humanitarian need to supply foodstuffs to Iraq or Kuwait in order to relieve human
suffering, it will report promptly to the Council its decision as to how such need should be
6. Directs the Committee that in formulating its decisions it should bear in mind that
foodstuffs should be provided through the United Nations in co-operation with the
International Committee of the Red Cross or other appropriate humanitarian agencies and
distributed by them or under their supervision in order to ensure that they reach the intended
7. Requests the Secretary-General to use his good offices to facilitate the delivery
and distribution of foodstuffs to Kuwait and Iraq in accordance with the provisions of this
and other relevant resolutions;
8. Recalls that resolution 661 (1990) does not apply to supplies intended strictly for
medical purposes, but in this connection recommends that medical supplies should be
exported under the strict supervision of the Government of the exporting State or by
appropriate humanitarian agencies.
VOTE: 13 for, 0 against, 2 abstentions (Cuba and Yemen)
Resolution 667 (16 September, 1990)
The Security Council,
Reaffirming its resolutions 660 (1990), 661 (1990), 662 (1990), 664 (1990), 665 (1990) and
666 (1990),
Recalling the Vienna Conventions of 18 April 1961 on diplomatic relations and of 24 April
1963 on consular relations, to both of which Iraq is a party,
Considering that the decision of Iraq to order the closure of diplomatic and consular
missions in Kuwait and to withdraw the immunity and privileges of these missions and their
personnel is contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, the international Conventions
mentioned above and international law,
Deeply concerned that Iraq, notwithstanding the decisions of the Security Council and the
provisions of the Conventions mentioned above, has committed acts of violence against
diplomatic missions and their personnel in Kuwait,
Outraged at recent violations by Iraq of diplomatic premises in Kuwait and at the abduction
of personnel enjoying diplomatic immunity and foreign nationals who were present in these
Considering that the above actions by Iraq constitute aggressive acts and a flagrant violation
of its international obligations which strike at the root of the conduct of international
relations in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,
Recalling that Iraq is fully responsible for any use of violence against foreign nationals or
against any diplomatic or consular mission in Kuwait or its personnel,
Determined to ensure respect for its decisions and for Article 25 of the Charter of the United
Further considering that the grave nature of Iraq's actions, which constitute a new escalation
of its violations of international law, obliges the Council not only to express its immediate
reaction but also to consult urgently to take <pg 325 start> further concrete measures to
ensure Iraq's compliance with the Council's resolutions,
pg 325 paragraph 2
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
1. Strongly condemns aggressive acts perpetrated by Iraq against diplomatic
premises and personnel in Kuwait, including the abduction of foreign nationals who were
present in those premises;
2. Demands the immediate release of those foreign nationals as well as all nationals
mentioned in resolution 664 (1990);
3. Further demands that Iraq immediately and fully comply with its international
obligations under resolutions 660 (1990), 662 (1990) and 664 (1990) of the Security
Council, the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations and international
4. Further demands that Iraq immediately protect the safety and well-being of
diplomatic and consular personnel and premises in Kuwait and in Iraq and take no action to
hinder the diplomatic and consular missions in the performance of their functions, including
access to their nationals and the protection of their person and interests;
5. Reminds all States that they are obliged to observe strictly resolutions 661 (1990),
662 (1990), 664 (1990), 665 (1990) and 666 (1990);
6. Decides to consult urgently to take further concrete measures as soon as possible,
under Chapter VII of the Charter, in response to Iraq's continued violation of the Charter, of
resolutions of the Council and of international law.
VOTE: Unanimous (15-0)
Resolution 669 (24 September, 1990)
The Security Council,
Recalling its resolution 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990,
Recalling also Article 50 of the Charter of the United Nations,
Conscious of the fact that an increasing number of requests for assistance have been
received under the provisions of Article 50 of the Charter of the United Nations,
Entrusts the Committee established under resolution 661 (1990) concerning the situation
between Iraq and Kuwait with the task of examining requests for assistance under the
provisions of Article 50 of the Charter of the United Nations and making recommendations
to the President of the Security Council for appropriate action.
VOTE: Unanimous (15-0)
Resolution 670 (25 September, 1990)
The Security Council,
Reaffirming its resolutions 660 (1990), 661 (1990), 662 (1990), 664 (1990), 665 (1990),
666 (1990), and 667 (1990);
Condemning Iraq's continued occupation of Kuwait, its failure to rescind its actions and end
its purported annexation and its holding of third State nationals against their will, in flagrant
violation of resolutions 660 (1990), 662 (1990), 664 (1990) and 667 (1990) and of
international humanitarian law;
Condemning further the treatment by Iraqi forces of Kuwaiti nationals, including measures
to force them to leave their own country and mistreatment of persons and property in
Kuwait in violation of international law;
Noting with grave concern the persistent attempts to evade the measures laid down in
resolution 661 (1990);
Further noting that a number of States have limited the number of Iraqi diplomatic and
consular officials in their countries and that others are planning to do so;
Determined to ensure by all necessary means <pg 326 start> the strict and complete
application of the measures laid down in resolution 661 (1990);
pg 326 paragraph 2
Determined to ensure respect for its decisions and the provisions of Articles 25 and 48 of
the Charter of the United Nations;
Affirming that any acts of the Government of Iraq which are contrary to the
above-mentioned resolutions or to Articles 25 or 48 of the Charter of the United Nations,
such as Decree No. 377 of the Revolution Command Council of Iraq of 16 September 1990,
are null and void;
Reaffirming its determination to ensure compliance with Security Council resolutions by
maximum use of political and diplomatic means;
Welcoming the Secretary-General's use of his good offices to advance a peaceful solution
based on the relevant Security Council resolutions and noting with appreciation his
continuing efforts to this end;
Underlining to the Government of Iraq that its continued failure to comply with the terms of
resolutions 660 (1990), 661 (1990), 662 (1990), 664 (1990), 666 (1990) and 667 (1990)
could lead to further serious action by the Council under the Charter of the United Nations,
including under Chapter VII;
Recalling the provisions of Article 103 of the Charter of the United Nations;
Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations:
1. Calls upon all States to carry out their obligations to ensure strict and complete
compliance with resolution 661 (1990) and in particular paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 thereof;
2. Confirms that resolution 661 (1990) applies to all means of transport, including
3. Decides that all States, notwithstanding the existence of any rights or obligations
conferred or imposed by any international agreement or any contract entered into or any
license or permit granted before the date of the present resolution, shall deny permission to
any aircraft to take off from their territory if the aircraft would carry any cargo to or from
Iraq or Kuwait other than food in humanitarian circumstances, subject to authorization by
the Council or the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) and in accordance with
resolution 666 (1990), or supplies intended strictly for medical purposes or solely for
4. Decides further that all States shall deny permission to any aircraft destined to
land in Iraq or Kuwait, whatever its State of registration, to overfly its territory unless:
(a) The aircraft lands at an airfield designated by that State outside Iraq or Kuwait in
order to permit its inspection to ensure that there is no cargo on board in violation of
resolution 661 (1990) or the present resolution, and for this purpose the aircraft may be
detained for as long as necessary; or
(b) The particular flight has been approved by the Committee established by
resolution 661 (1990); or
(c) The flight is certified by the United Nations as solely for the purposes of
5. Decides that each State shall take all necessary measures to ensure that any
aircraft registered in its territory or operated by an operator who has his principal place of
business or permanent residence in its territory complies with the provisions of resolution
661 (1990) and the present resolution;
6. Decides further that all States shall notify in a timely fashion the Committee
established by resolution 661 (1990) of any flight between its territory and Iraq or Kuwait to
which the requirement to land in paragraph 4 above does not apply, and the purpose for
such a flight;
7. Calls upon all States to co-operate in taking such measures as may be necessary,
consistent with international law, including the Chicago Convention, to ensure the effective
implementation of the provisions of resolution 661 (1990) or the present resolution;
8. Calls upon all States to detain any ships of <pg 327 start> Iraqi registry which
enter their ports and