1990-91 IRAQ-Kuwait War, "Operation Desert Storm"
On August 2, 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait. Saddam Hussein had been making threats against Kuwait for some time, but the magnitude of the attack surprised the world. Within hours, Iraqi forces had seized downtown Kuwait City and were headed South toward the Saudi Arabian border.
The Pentagon had plans in place to aid the Saudis and orders were issued and thus began the biggest buildup of American forces since the Vietnam War. Within a short period, members of the 82nd Airborne Division, as well as 300 combat aircraft, were headed to Saudi Arabia. By the end of September 1990 (2 months), there were nearly 200,000 American personnel in Saudi Arabia.
The first phase of “Operation Desert Storm” started with massive air attacks targeting border radar stations and other key elements of the Iraqi air defense. They began to bomb key targets in downtown Iraq including the Presidential palace, communication centers and power stations.
After a 38 day air campaign, a massive ground attack was launched by American and coalition partners into both Iraq and Kuwait.
Day One of the ground attack was led by U. S. Marines crossing into Iraq. The Allied offensive targeted three major offensive venues: the first aimed at Kuwait City, the second to the West aimed at the Iraqi flank, and the final one far to the West, beyond the major Iraqi lines that would totally outflank the Iraqi lines. In the first day, the Marines advanced halfway to Kuwait City and the western units proceeded without difficulty.
Day Two continued with American troops advancing on all fronts. The Marines approached Kuwait City, while the western flank began to cut off the Iraqi’s army retreat route.
Day Three dawned on the largest tank battle in history. The American armored forces engaged the tank forces of the Iraqi Republican Guard. Like shooting fish in a barrel, the American tanks destroyed the Iraqi heavy armor without losing a single tank.
100 hours after the ground campaign started, President Bush declared a cease-fire, declaring the liberation of Kuwait.