Setting the stage

Occupying force: 545,000 Iraqis in Kuwait

Buildup: U.S. positions the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions, 24th Mechanized Infantry and 3rd Armored Cavalry behind Saudi Arabian task force.

Ground forces bluff: Allied forces are aligned opposite Iraqi positions in Kuwait so that it appears they plan to attack the Iraqi positions directly. The Iraqis build an extensive barrier on the border and along the east coast of Kuwait.

Feb. 23, 1991: Before the storm

The allied strategy in the war relies on two feints:

1. A threatened amphibious assault on the Kuwaiti coast. Purpose: force the Iraqis to deploy their forces along the coast - which they do.

2. A last-minute shift of vast numbers of allied soldiers to the west, allowing them to enter Iraq west of the dug-in Iraqi forces. The Iraqis are unaware of this movement because their air force has been put out of action.

Feb. 24: The attack begins

4:00 A.M. Local Time:

1. 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions launch attacks through the barrier system, accompanied by the U.S. Army Tiger Brigade of the 2nd Armored Division.

2. French 6th Armored Division, accompanied by U.S. units, launches an overland attack to the As Salman airfield.

3. Two Saudi task forces breach the Iraqi border defenses and continue attacking up the east coast.

8:00 A.M.:

4. 101st Airborne launches an assault deep into enemy territory to establish a forward operating base.


5. Diversionary Pan-Arab and Saudi attacks.

6. U.S. 24th Mechanized Division crosses the border.

7. U.S. 7th Corps, 1st and 3rd Army Divisions and 2nd Cavalry Division cross the border.

8. U.S. 1st Infantry Division and British 1st Aromred Division cross the border.

Special Forces have been sent deep into enemy territory to observe.

Feb. 25-26: Tightening the Vice

1. Saudis continue up the eastern flank.

2. Saudi and Arab forces turn toward Kuwait City.

3. British unit continues to attack.

4. U.S. 7th Corps sweeps eastward toward the Republican Guard.

5. 24th Infantry Division moves into the Tigris and Euphrates valley and blocks the only escape route for retreating Iraqi units.

6. The French set up a flanking position to prevent Iraqi forces from entering from the west.

Feb. 27: Claiming Kuwait

1. 18th Airborne Corps forms solid wall across north, attacking due east.

2. 7th Corps also attacks due easy.

3. Arab forces from both the west and the east close in on Kuwait City.

4. 1st Marine Division continues to hold Kuwait International Airport.

5. The 2nd Marine division blocks all exits from Kuwait City.