The Gulf War was a response by the US leading a coalition of 35 nations against Iraq as a result of their invasion and occupation of Kuwait. The two phase campaign began on 2 August 1990 and finished with the ceasefire of 17 January 1991.
Operation Desert Shield was the operation that encompassed the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia. The transfer of forces to the theater came from units across the globe and was as much a success of logistics as the ensuing battle.
The Iraqis significantly outnumbered the coalition in both soldiers and tanks led by their elite troops the Republican Guard. However, technology and air power would more than tip the scales before the start of the ground campaign.
The US forces were aligned across the Saudi border and multiple levels deep.
1st Cavalry Division
1st Infantry Division (Mechanized)
1st Armored Division
1st Marine Division
2nd Marine Division
2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment
3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
3rd Armored Division
24th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
Aircraft Carriers: USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, USS Independence
1st Fighter Wing
36th Tactical Fighter Wing
169th Fighter Wing (South Carolina National Guard)
174th Fighter Wing (New York National Guard)
Desert Shield lasted from 2 August 1990 until 17 January 1991.
Beginning 17 January 1991 an air campaign of fighters and bombers targeted command and control systems, radar and tanks that would prepare the battlefield for the ground operation designed to liberate Kuwait. The sorties continued around the clock. Laser guided munitions proved to be deadly accurate and many target goals were achieved in short order.
What would become known as the Hundred Hour War kicked off on 24 February as various components of the coalition launched their ground campaign. Members of the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions moved into western Kuwait and other units breached barriers and other fortifications setup by the Iraqis. Meanwhile, in a cloaked movement the 82nd and 101st Divisions moved out West across from the Iraq border a virtually undefended sector. The Iraqis had amassed the majority of their troops in Kuwait and along the Iraq-Kuwait border neglecting their right flank. In a huge thrust and right turn like a boxer's left hook, the 82nd, 101st, 24th Mechanized Infantry and other units slammed into the Iraqis right. The units farthest to the West were able to penetrate over 50 miles into Iraq, then turned right into their rear, cutting off avenues of withdrawal. After 100 hours of ground combat the coalition called a halt to offensive operations, Kuwait had been liberated.
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