Desert Storm Lsn 25
Background • Majority of region administered by Britain until post-WWII. • Long-standing disputes between Iraq and Kuwait. • Iraq argues Kuwait is an Iraqi province. • Iraq mobilized and prepared for invasion in 1961 immediately after Kuwait was granted independence by Britain. • Iraq wants Kuwait to forgive debts Iraq owes from Iran-Iraq War. • Kuwait actually owes Iraq for “defending” it against Iran. • Iraq accuses Kuwait of overproduction of oil/theft of Iraqi oil.
The Road to War • March 1990 - US Central Command (CENTCOM) conducts a Command Post Exercise with a Iraqi invasion scenario. • July 25 - US Ambassador April Galaspie tells Iraq that their dispute with Kuwait is not a US matter • Aug 2 - Iraq invades Kuwait. • Aug 7 - Two squadrons of USAF F-15s are first US forces to arrive in Saudi Arabia. • Aug 9 - First elements of 82nd Abn arrive in Saudi Arabia. • Aug 25, 1990 - UN authorizes use of force. • Oct 31 - President Bush gives go ahead for two corps offensive and authorizes doubling of force. • Nov 29 - UN Resolution 678 authorizes all force needed to expel Iraq if they are not out by Jan 15, 1991.
Combat Operations • Jan 17, 1991 - Air war begins • Feb 23 - Ground war begins • Feb 28 - Cease fire takes effect • March 2 - 24th ID fights last engagement of the war • March 3 - Schwarzkopf accepts Iraqi surrender at Safwan
US Army Doctrine: AirLand Battle • Tenets • Agility • Initiative • Depth • Synchronization • Stresses synchronization of ground maneuver with artillery and air support • Implicitly assumes possession of air superiority • Attacks enemy in depth
AirLand Battle and Maneuver Warfare • “The object of all operations is to impose our will upon the enemy… To do this we must throw the enemy off balance with a powerful blow from an unexpected direction, follow up rapidly to prevent his recovery and continue operations aggressively to achieve the higher commander’s goals. The best results are obtained when powerful blows are struck against critical units or areas whose loss will degrade the coherence of enemy operations in depth.” • FM 100-5, Operations (May 1986), p. 14
AirLand Battle and Desert Storm • Our will • Powerful blow • Air superiority • Off balance and unexpected direction • Critical units • Depth
“Our will” • UN mandate was to liberate Kuwait, not to remove Saddam • Essential to keep the coalition together • Wanted to maximize US technological advantage
Mass One corps vs two corps Original plan likely to result in higher casualties “… if we are serious about ejecting them [Iraq] from Kuwait what we need is more forces to be able to execute a proper campaign” “Lucky War,” Swain, p. 81 Maneuver Frontal vs flank Importance of deception and secrecy Comparison
Shaping Operations • Create and preserve conditions for the success of the operation • FM 3-0, p. 4-23 • Air operation • Deception operation Operational Framework for the Offense
Air War(“air superiority”) • 100k sorties in 6 weeks. • Initial Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) and Stealth strikes focused on air defense sites, creating gaps that facilitated the remainder of the air campaign. • Combined manned bombing, UAVs, and propaganda. • Cut supplies bound for Iraqi forces in Kuwait from 20k tons per week to 2k tons per week. • Deep operations
Deception(“off balance”) • Two MEBs afloat on amphibious shipping. • Exercise/rehearsal conducted in Oman in January. • Media allowed to film and report. • SEALs make their presence known on Kuwaiti beaches. • 5th MEB lands on D+1 to perpetuate the ruse and become sector reserve. • Saddam must commit forces (estimated at four divisions) to protect his flank against an amphibious assault, creating a gap (or at least weakening a surface) to the Allies front.
Results of the Air War and Deception(“unexpected direction”) With no Iraqi air to fly reconnaissance, the Coalition forces secretly shift west (away from where the Iraqis expect the amphibious attack to occur
Center of Gravity • Those characteristics, capabilities or localities from which a military force derives its freedom of action, physical strength, or will to fight • Destruction or neutralization of the enemy center of gravity is the most direct path to victory • Once identified, the center of gravity becomes the focus of the commander’s intent and operational design • FM 3-0, p. 5-7
Decisive Point • A geographic place, specific key event, or enabling system that allows commanders to gain a marked advantage over an enemy and greatly influence the outcome of an attack • Keys to attacking or protecting centers of gravity • Shape operational design and allow commanders to select objectives that are clearly defined, decisive, and attainable • FM 3-0, p. 5-7
Enemy Saddam Hussein Friendly The coalition Centers of Gravity Decisive Point (“critical units”) • Enemy • Republican Guards
As Samawah An Nasiriyah Tigris Iran Iraq Euphrates Al Basrah Al Busayyah Republican Guards Persian Gulf XVIII Airborne Corps Iraqi Defenses Kuwait City VIICorps xxxx JFC North Khafji xxx MARCENT xxx Hafir al Batin JFC East xxx Third Army Saudi Arabia The Ground War • Massive air and artillery bombardments prior to D-Day reduced front line forces to less than 50% strength and reserves to 50-75%. • Feb 23 - Iraqis begin torching oil wells. • Feb 24 - Ground campaign kicks off. • Emphasized speed and maneuver. VII Corps will be the decisive operation with the mission to destroy the enemy’s decisive point, the Republican Guards. XVIII Abn Corps will be the shaping operation with the mission to isolate the battlefield
As Samawah An Nasiriyah Iraq Iran Tigris Euphrates Al Basrah 49 N AL Al Busayyah AD H E M 52 51 10 T XX 17 26 Persian Gulf FR 6 6 2 12 XX D 101 47 21 48 Kuwait City 25 15 28 XX 27 11 XX 82 20 30 24 19 16 36 1 III III 3 2 3 7 XX XX XX 1 1 UK XVIII Airborne Corps JFN 14 18 XX XX X 29 1 2 3 xxxx XX JFC North 5 1 XX 2 VIICorps XX xxx XX Marine Hafir al Batin 1 xxx JFE Marine MARCENT JFC East US Third Army xxx Saudi Arabia Situation, 23 February 1991
As Samawah An Nasiriyah Iraq Iran Tigris Euphrates Al Basrah 49 N AL AD Al Busayyah H E M 52 51 10 Persian Gulf T XX 17 26 FR 6 6 2 12 XX D 101 47 21 48 Kuwait City 25 15 28 XX 27 11 XX 82 20 30 24 19 16 36 1 III III 3 2 3 7 XX XX XX 1 1 UK JFN 14 18 XX XVIII Airborne Corps XX X 29 1 2 3 xxxx XX 5 JFC North 1 XX 2 VIICorps XX XX Marine xxx Hafir al Batin 1 xxx JFE Marine MARCENT JFC East US Third Army xxx Saudi Arabia Situation, 24 February 1991
As Samawah An Nasiriyah Iraq Tigris Iran Euphrates Al Basrah 49 N AL AD Al Busayyah H E M 52 51 10 Persian Gulf T XX 17 FR 6 6 XVIII Airborne Corps 2 12 XX D 101 47 21 Kuwait City 15 XX 27 11 XX 82 24 19 1 III III 3 2 3 XX XX JFC North XX 1 1 UK VIICorps JFN XX XX X 1 2 3 XX xxxx 1 xxx XX 2 XX MARCENT XX Marine 1 Hafir al Batin JFE JFC East xxx Marine US Third Army xxx Saudi Arabia Situation, 25 February 1991
As Samawah An Nasiriyah Iraq Iran Tigris Euphrates Al Basrah 49 N AL AD XVIII Airborne Corps Al Busayyah H E M 52 51 10 Persian Gulf T XX 17 FR 6 6 2 12 XX D 101 47 Kuwait City XX XX 82 24 VIICorps III III JFC North 2 3 XX XX XX 1 1 UK JFN XX XX X 1 2 3 xxxx XX xxx 1 XX 2 MARCENT XX JFC East XX Marine Hafir al Batin 1 JFE xxx Marine US Third Army xxx Saudi Arabia Situation, 26 February 1991
As Samawah An Nasiriyah Iraq Iran Tigris Al Basrah XVIII Airborne Corps N AL AD H Al Busayyah M 52 51 10 Persian Gulf XX FR 6 6 2 VIICorps XX xxx 101 Kuwait City XX XX 82 24 III III 2 3 JFC North XX XX XX 1 1 UK JFN XX xxx XX X 1 2 3 XX xxxx US Third Army 1 XX MARCENT 2 XX XX Marine JFC East 1 JFE xxx Hafir al Batin Marine Saudi Arabia Situation, 27 February 1991
As Samawah An Nasiriyah Iraq Iran Tigris Al Basrah XVIII Airborne Corps AL AD Al Busayyah VIICorps Persian Gulf XX FR 6 XX xxx 101 Kuwait City XX XX 82 24 III III 2 3 JFC North XX XX XX 1 1 UK JFN XX xxx XX X US Third Army 1 2 3 XX xxxx 1 XX MARCENT 2 JFC East XX XX Marine 1 Hafir al Batin JFE xxx Marine Saudi Arabia Situation, 28 February 1991
Opening Moves • 1st ID begins breaching operations • 24 ID moves north largely unopposed • 3rd Bde -101st Abn Div inserts 155 miles from its AA to the Euphrates Valley, cutting off an Iraqi main line of withdrawal or reinforcement
Immediate Success • VII Corps begins turning east • Schwarzkopf becoming increasingly frustrated by what he perceives as an overly cautious and slow VII Corps advance • 24th ID begins running wild in Iraqi rear
Victory • Iraqi forces in full scale retreat • Being interdicted from a partial encirclement
Air Assault Operations(“depth”) • While this is all going on, the 101st Airborne Division is fighting the deep battle • “The Air Force and armor were the thunder of Desert Storm, while the 101st was the lightning.” (Norman Schwarzkopf)
Deep Area • The deep area is an area forward of the close area that commanders use to shape enemy forces before they are encountered or engaged in the close area. • The deep area relates to the close area not only in terms of geography but also in terms of purpose and time.
XVIII Airborne Corps Missions • XVIII Airborne Corps • Penetrate approximately 260 kilometers to the Euphrates River, cut the Iraqi lines of communication (LOC) along Highway 8 to Baghdad, isolate Iraqi forces in the Kuwait Theater of Operations (KTO), and help destroy the theater reserve - the Republican Guards Forces Command (RGFC)
24th Infantry Division Attack through Iraqi forces in their zone to the Euphrates River, then turn east to destroy RGFC forces trapped in the KTO. 101st Abn Div (Air Aslt) 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. Division Missions
FOBViper FOBCobra TAACampbell Air Assault DivisionArea of Operation NEW YORK 120 Km (75 Miles) EAThomas New York, NY Williamsport, PA AOEagle 250 Km (154 Miles) PENNSYLVANIA Philadelphia, PA Harrisburg, PA 150 Km (93 Miles) 150 Km (93 Miles) Washington D.C. 914 Km (567 Miles) KENTUCKY Nashville, TN Camp Eagle II
Feb 26 • By Feb 26, the XVIII Airborne Corps had interdicted the LOC in the Euphrates River Valley, blocked reinforcement of Iraqi forces in the KTO, and completed the envelopment of Saddam Hussein's forces in southern Iraq and Kuwait.
AS-SAMAWAH EUPHRATES RIVER IRAQ AO AN-NASIRIYAH IRAN EAGLE 250 Km EA TALLIL THOMAS JALIBAH BASRAH 150 Km OBJ HIGHWAY 8 VIPER OBJ 121 Km COBRA 150 Km KUWAIT KUWAIT NEUTRAL ZONE TAA CAMPBELL CITY SAUDI ARABIA Feb 27 • At 12:00, the first XVIII Airborne Corps and 101st attack helicopter battalions closed on Forward Operating Base (FOB) Viper, 200 km east of FOB Cobra which had been secured by the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division assaulting at 10:00.
Feb 27 • Attack helicopter battalions destroyed vehicles on and across the Al-Basrah 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.
Feb 27 • However much of the Hammurabi Division escaped intact • Throughout the fighting Schwarzkopf had been pressing VII Corps commander Frederick Franks to pursue faster while Franks felt he still had enemy in contact to deal with • The two never effectively communicated and a gap in the encirclement was the result Franks and Schwarzkopf would provide conflicting versions of events in their post-war writings
Ceasefire • Cessation of hostilities declared was declared at 8:01 a.m. on Feb 28 • Many would later argue that the US should have pressed on to Baghdad but there would have been several problems with that • The UN mandate was to liberate Kuwait, not replace Saddam • The coalition would have likely fractured over this expanded mission • More US casualties would have been inevitable • The US would have then been saddled with responsibility for governing Iraq
Review • Ground war emphasized mass, speed, and maneuver • Still largely a linear battlefield • Iraqi Freedom would be much more nonlinear and trade mass for speed • Renewed Air Force arguments about the relative superiority of air power • Technology, low casualties, short war would lead to increased demands for use of military • Importance of media • Felt somewhat used • Would lead to embedded journalists in Iraqi Freedom • Limited objective (liberate Kuwait) left Saddam in power and the Republican Guards largely in tact • Set stage for Iraqi Freedom
Legacy of Desert Storm • Won with an operational concept that sought in a single climatic operation to destroy the enemy’s center of gravity • In 100 hours of combat, American forces destroyed or captured more than 3,000 tanks, 1,400 armored carriers, and 2,200 artillery pieces • The “Great Wheel” swept over and captured almost 20,000 square miles of territory • Only 140 soldiers died in direct combat • Erased the “Vietnam Syndrome” • Scales, Certain Victory, p. 382-383
Next • MOOTW: Beirut, Weinberger Doctrine, Somalia