In what the U.S. military believed was the gulf war's largest ground shelling to date by allied forces, U.S. Marines pounded Iraqi positions with artillery fire lobbed 6 miles into Kuwait.
Two Marine batteries, using 155mm 8-inch self-propelled Howitzers, unloaded both white phosphorous, which burns on impact, and bomblets known as "Bouncing Bettys," which destroy both equipment and personnel.The attack occurred Sunday night and early Monday, and U.S. military censors approved a news media pool report describing it late Monday.
Troops on the ground belonging to the 2nd Marines Division were guided to their targets by OV-10 observation planes and helped by A-6 and Harrier jets that jammed enemy radar and provided other ground support.
Although the ground troops were unable to see their targets, they said the bright orange flashes that lit the skyline afterward indicated secondary explosons signaling successful hits.
Eight-man Howitzer crews fired their first salvos in unison through their 20-foot barrels just before midnight, then scrambled to launch their remaining shells as quickly as possible.
The attack, the first by the 2nd Marines Division and believed to be the largest so far by allied forces, was completed within 10 minutes, and the crews quickly drove from the area.
Retaliation from the Iraqis was expected but never received.
An artillery battery attached to the 1st Marines Division had struck Iraqi forces Friday night. That attack was successful, but three Marines involved in it died in a crash of military vehicles.
The Bouncing Bettys, released from a 240-pound shell, hit the ground and bounce upward 4 feet before exploding in a vicious rain of shrapnel that kills virtually anything within 75 yards.