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Operation Desert Storm

Saddam Hussein's rejection of diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis led to the decision to restore Kuwait's sovereignty by military force. The ensuing air war and the effects of the economic embargo decimated Iraq's military infrastructure, severed communication and supply lines, smashed weapons arsenals, and destroyed morale. Overall, the coalition air campaign accumulated a total of 109,876 sorties over the 43-day war, an average of 2,555 sorties per day. Of these, over 27,000 targeted Scuds, airfields, air defenses, electrical power, biological and chemical weapons, headquarters, intelligence assets, communications, the Iraqi army, and oil refining.

One can get some perspective on the scope of the Gulf air war by comparing it to some predecessors. The following table presents U.S. Army Air Forces, and U. S. Air Force bomb tonnage statistics extracted from various wars, compared with Air Force tonnage dropped in the Gulf War:

    
    War            Tonnage           Length             Tonnage/Month
    WW II           2,150,000       45 months               47,777.78
    Korea           454,000         37 months               12,270.27
    Vietnam/SEA     6,162,000       140 months              44,014.29
    Gulf War        60,624          1.5 months              40,416.00
    

The Gulf War was not an exercise in massive bombing unparalleled in previous air war history; neither the sortie rates nor the bomb tonnage statistics made it so. The Air Force's tonnage expenditure in the Gulf War was only 11% of that expended against Japan (537,000 tons), less than 4% of that expended against Nazi Germany (1,613,000 tons), and less than one percent of the tonnage which the Air Force dropped in Southeast Asia. In measures of tonnage dropped per month, the Gulf air war ranked significantly below Vietnam, and was only 85% of that in the Second World War. Yet it was more decisive overall in what it achieved than any of these previous wars.

During DESERT STORM, 10th ADA Brigade from Germany commanded a task force which included Dutch, US and Israeli Patriot batteries in defense of Tel Aviv and Haifa. ADA lieutenants were debriefed at the Israeli Defense Forces "Pentagon" after each Scud attack. Within twenty nine hours of "wheels up" for the first aircraft, the TF 4-43 ADA was operational in Israel in two locations.

  • TF 4-7 ADA (Patriot) deployed from Germany to Incirlik Turkey where they provided ADA protection to critical assets poised at Iraq's "back door".
  • TF 2-43 ADA (Patriot) deployed from Germany & was attached to 11th ADA Brigade, providing Scud defense of King Khalid Military City in Saudi Arabia.
  • TF 8-43 ADA (Patriot) deployed from Germany and provided general support to VII Corps.

After a 38-day air campaign, the DESERT SABRE ground offensive began with allied forces sweeping through Iraqi defenses. The Iraqi army was crushed after a mere 100 hours. Iraqi troops--tired, hungry and war-weary from six months of economic blockade and more than a month of relentless allied bombing--surrendered by the thousands.

Desert Storm is also known as the Mother of all Battles (Umm Al-Ma'arik -- the Arabic "mother of" is a figure of speech for "major" or "best"). Saddam Hussein's biography notes that he: "Led his country in confrontation the aggression launched by 33 countries led by US. which waged war against Iraq, the Iraqis' confrontation of which is called by Arabs and Iraqis as the Battle of Battles (Um Al-Ma'arik), where Iraq stood fast against the invasion, maintaining its sovereignty and political system."




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