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Operation Desert Storm: Bush Announces Ground War

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Published on Jun 30, 2008

President Bush announces the start of the ground war in Kuwait, and why it was necessary. This video comes from one of my VHS tapes of the 1991 gulf war.



Desert Storm: The Land War

By 24 February 1991, airpower had weakened Iraq's land forces in Kuwait to the point where the UN commander, General Schwarzkopf, felt ready to launch a land offensive. Early that morning, UN land forces attacked along a broad front from the Persian Gulf to Rafha on the Iraqi‐Saudi border. This attack had two principal thrusts: a massive, highly mobile "left hook" around and through Iraqi positions to the west of Kuwait to envelop the elite Republican Guard; and a thrust straight through Iraq's defenses along the Kuwaiti border designed to fix the forward Iraqi divisions.

The "left hook" was carried out by a mix of U.S., British, and French armored and airborne forces. The armored VII Corps deployed four armored divisions, one of them British, for the main thrust. Its western flank was protected by the U.S. XVIII Airborne Corps, composed of three U.S. divisions—the 82nd Airborne, the 101st Air Mobile, and the 24th Infantry (Mechanized)—and the French 6th Light Armored Division. They advanced toward the Iraqi cities of Salman, west of Kuwait, and Nasiriya on the Euphrates River, and attacked in an arc to the northeast toward the main routes of communication leading north from Kuwait toward Basra in Iraq. French forces led the attack toward the Iraqi lines of communication along the Euphrates. U.S. armored, mechanized, and attack helicopter forces advanced rapidly toward Basra in the leading edge of the "left hook." British forces guarded the U.S. flank and attacked to the northeast across the gorge of al‐Batin along the Iraqi‐Kuwaiti border.

The other thrust—directly north through the Iraqi positions along the Kuwaiti border—was carried out by the I Marine Expeditionary Force, and an all‐Arab corps composed primarily of the Saudi Army and Egyptian units. These forces rapidly penetrated Iraq's forward defenses and advanced so swiftly that Iraq's shattered ground forces in Kuwait could only launch scattered counterattacks. As a result, the allies rushed toward Kuwait City, Wafrah, and Jahrah.

Though some Iraqi Republican Guard units fought well, the bulk of Iraq's army consisted of poorly trained conscripts with low morale and little motivation. Many Iraqi troops fled after putting up only brief resistance and others were taken prisoner. As a result, UN forces reached their major objectives in Kuwait in half the time originally planned. At the same time, the Coalition continued its air attacks, dropping a total of 88,500 tons of ordnance. U.S. and British air units used 6,520 tons of precision‐guided weapons and destroyed or damaged 54 bridges. These attacks helped to end the war by cutting off Iraqi land forces from the roads along the Tigris River north of Basra, although UN forces did not have time to encircle fully or cut off all Iraqi forces, or to use airpower to destroy the retreating Iraqi forces around Basra.

By 26 February, Coalition land forces were in Kuwait City, and U.S. forces had advanced to positions in Iraq to the south of Nasiriya. Many of these advances had taken place at night and all occurred in spite of major rainfalls, substantial amounts of mud, and weather problems hampering the ability to provide air support. These advances effectively ended the war.

Baghdad radio announced on 26 February that all Iraqi forces would withdraw from Kuwait in compliance with UN Resolution 660. A day later, President Bush declared that the United States would halt military operations early in the morning of 28 February, a week after the land offensive had begun. A cease‐fire was negotiated on 3 March and formally signed on 6 April. IRAQ AGREED TO ABIDE BY ALL THE U.N. RESOLUTIONS.

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