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VII Corps

The Iraqi defensive organization continued for a short distance west of the Wadi al-Batin. The Iraqi VII Corps placed five infantry divisions on line there, supported by an armored division. However, the Iraqis did not anticipate a major attack in this area or further west. The terrain just west of the wadi they considered unsuitable for tanks, since there were lots of boulders and sabkhas of quicksand. (Initial terrain analysis by the CIA came to the same conclusion.) Moreover, there were no roads in this area, and the Iraqis firmly believed that units trying to operate away from roads in the desert would simply get lost. This view ignored the profound change which the introduction of the Global Positioning System (GPS) had made in desert warfare. In addition, they anticipated that the Coalition would limit any offensive to Kuwait itself, because of Arab reluctance to attack other Arab states.

As the ground offensive progressed, by 25 February 1991 Iraqi units' ineffectiveness became more clear. By the end of G + 1, five Iraqi 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 Iraqi 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 Iraqi VII Corps, the 48th, 25th, 26th, 31st, and 45th Infantry divisions were engaged by American VII Corps armored and mechanized infantry divisions and rendered combat ineffective. 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 Iraqi 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.

In the American VII Corps' sector on 26 February the American 1st Armored Division fired heavy artillery and rocket preparatory fires into Al Busayyah shortly after dawn, and by noon had advanced through a sandstorm to overrun the small town. In the process, the American troops completed the destruction of the Iraqi 26th Infantry Division and, once in the objective area, discovered they had taken the Iraqi VII Corps headquarters and a corps logistical base as well. More than 100 tons of munitions were captured and large numbers of tanks and other vehicles destroyed.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:46:58 ZULU