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Mike E
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    Desert Storm (1991): Why this success?


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    Post  flamming_python Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:24 pm

    sheytanelkebir wrote:
    flamming_python wrote:
    Walther von Oldenburg wrote:Iraqi T-72s were almost the same as Soviet T-72A from late 1970s=early 1980s. Only T-72B (introduced in 1985) was better. These tanks would fare excellent against M60s and early model M1s or Leo2s with some poor ammo - but my understanding is that only T-80U and T-72B could fight with M1A1 on equal grounds.

    Information is also crucial - if you know where your enemy is but he does not know where you are - you can dictate where and how to fight

    I wonder - if Iraqis were more competent (let's say, like Serbs in 1999) - would they be able to inflict high casualties on the coalition forces - a few thousand dead for example? AFAIK the most pessimistic analysts predicted 700 killed and most estimates were in the range of 3000-7000 killed coalition soldiers - while the entire campaign concluded with less than 400 casualties. This war is easily in the top 10 of the most lopsided conflcits in the history of mankind.

    You're a funny guy.

    Due to UN Sanctions, Iraq wasn't able to receive T-72M/T-72M1s whole; so they sourced parts from different Warsaw Pact nations in order to assemble these tanks on their own territory.
    The end tanks tended to vary in their features, with the better ones going to the Republican Guard; they were somewhere between the T-72M and T-72M1 in their capabilities.

    However, you can't compare them to T-72As - the Iraqi T-72s had similar armour; but optical rangefinders as opposed to laser ones, and no electronic FCS. Also they had obsolete night-vision equipment. Another thing was their ammo, which was subpar compared to standard Soviet tank rounds at the time.

    However that's only part of the story; the Iraqis in fact only managed to get a few hundred such locally assembled T-72M/T-72M1s in service.

    The rest of their T-72s were actually hybrids that the Iraqis later built due to difficulty acquiring parts, with even more downgraded capabilities and using local components.
    The first of these was the Saddam, with low-quality local parts, no shock absorbers and simplified electronic systems, with an IR searchlight in lieu of a proper night-vision system.
    But this was nothing compared to the Asad Babil; with severely downgraded armour due to the front-hull and turret armour array supplies having run out; and Iraq having to improvise with its own industries. The Asad Babil also had a normal searchlight instead of an IR one.

    Another detail is that Soviet T-72As went through several factory iterations, the last edition to be produced before the introduction of the T-72B had stronger base armour compared to the '79 T-72As, anti-radiation lining and Kontakt-1 ERA.

    Iraq acquired it's t72 tanks during the 1980s.  They certainly bought black market spares during sanctions but they did not build any tanks apart from the few kits they had disassembled from the 80s (one or two dozen... A minute number compared to overall fleet).

    The entire story of Iraqi indigenous t72 with inferior metallurgy and parts is myth. By 2003 most of the tanks were nearly 20 years old and he newest ones were about 14 years old. All heavily used and abused in a series of wars. None were built from parts bought after 1990.

    Also 90% of iraqi T72 were supplied complete and ready built by USSR Poland and czechoslovakia.  Local assembly was less than 100 kits in total. Iraqi T72 was a simplenimported t72m and T72m1. The T72m1 did lave laser range finder (even type 69 had laser range finder)  they had simple infra red night vision... No thermals or anything. .. No era etc... But the metallurgy and manufacturing was 100% Warsaw Pact.

    What about the Asad Babil? It also used 100% Warsaw Pact supplied armour?

    Walther von Oldenburg wrote:Some rangefinder would not change much. I think the only chance for Iraqis to inflict heavy casualties on US armor would be via ambushes

    ... but pulling it off on a large scale would be tough - and would require a masterfully prepared deception operation executed with no mistakes.

    I think the crappy ammunition did the most damage; if we're speaking purely in equipment terms and not doctrine/training/organization/support of army aviation/etc...

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    Post  sheytanelkebir Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:58 pm

    Asad babil is a standard T72m1 they would get an imported tank and paint asad babil on the side. Iraq has never possessed a facility to manufacture the tanks and did not produce a single T72 tank ever. Iraqis did campaigns when they would overhaul tanks and out titles on the side to celebrate the overhaul and bringing the item back to service condition.... They did such campaigns in the 1990s that were mistakenly thought of (by some foreigners maybe)  as new production.... But they simply did not have facilities for producing tanks. Every tank they possessed was fabricated in USSR Poland czechoslovakia.

    And after all this discussion no one has Yet to show evidence of a foundry or an iraqi made tank... Ever. there's a Whole article of nonsense on it Wikipedia to maintain the myth.

    Despite the article itself contradicting itself by showing that the poles themselves say that no asad babil tanks were ever built!
    Showing pictures of standard Warsaw Pact produced t72 tanks and passing off the relative condition of battle damaged tanks as "inferior locally produced Variants"...  Jesus. That's what the tanks look like when they're bashed up and destroyed! Unless they used different metals for iraqi export tanks (a la btr4)... Which could be true I suppose .

    For ground equipment Iraqis in the 80s focused on upgrades of imported items as well as the production of munitions and consumables.  It was cheaper to get tanks from Warsaw Pact than produce locally. In the other hand they devoted a lot of resources to items they couldn't import like missiles and wmd ... As well as the "tri project" of il76 based aew,  ground surveillance aircraft and boeing 727 airborne command post. The spoke allot about assembling aircraft and helicopters but in reality didn't really bother since parts would be imported and no technology transferred. So the talk of Iraqi assembled mirage 2000, alphajet dauphin-2  and Mi28a was just that... Talk. The only thing they seriously pursued to produce were items barred from direct import or where cost saving can be made.
    Mike E
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    Post  Mike E Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:49 pm

    As it has been stated already; even *if* the Iraqi tanks were purely imports, they were heavily downgraded and almost useless against the Western vehicles they were up against. (And also unrepresentative of what the Soviet Union and now Russia is/was using.)

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    Post  sheytanelkebir Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:02 am

    There is no if about this. Every single T72 in Iraqi service was made in the Warsaw Pact and I would challenge anyone to show evidence of an iraqi made tank or production facility. (and not rehashing the same nonsense of the last 25 years is not evidence... Show pictures! Taji was under us rule and pictured left right and centre by tens of thousands of people between 2003-2012... Yet no one seems to have noticed this mythical tank factory and foundry . (Nasr state enterprise across the road on the other hand had a complete assembly line and missiles in line and storage... With plenty of photos). So where are the Asad Babil factory and tank pictures?

    The discussion is about the myth of an inferior iraqi made tank. The inferior (Warsaw pact produced) export t72 is accepted by all as fact Wink
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    Post  Mike E Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:11 am

    sheytanelkebir wrote:The discussion is about the myth of an inferior iraqi made tank. The inferior (Warsaw pact produced)  export t72 is accepted by all as fact Wink
    The "Asad" seems to be even...worse. I highly doubt the steel complaints are not legitimate, plus the issue of the inferior ammunition comes into play.

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    Post  VladimirSahin Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:55 am

    Mike E wrote:
    sheytanelkebir wrote:The discussion is about the myth of an inferior iraqi made tank. The inferior (Warsaw pact produced)  export t72 is accepted by all as fact Wink
    The "Asad" seems to be even...worse. I highly doubt the steel complaints are not legitimate, plus the issue of the inferior ammunition comes into play.

    Not only is the ammunition the problem, But the cannon... Even if equipped with 3BM-27 from 1983, It still wouldn't be good because the cannon was a 2A46-1 from 70s plus used together with early rounds from 70s would only scratch the paint of a M1A1 from 100 meters. A T-72M1 has a armor of 210 MMs on the frontal hull, Not sure about the turret but wont exceed 300MMs, It used the TPN-2 with a max range of 700 meters in good conditions at night, Had a 7X zoom which you cant change its fixed on. Where as the M1A1 of that time had a thermal imaging complex, way better communication devices, 3X, 5X, and to 10X zoom choices. 700-750MM of turret armor. If you ask me this was totally lopsided. And wow I got carried away Very Happy

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    Post  sheytanelkebir Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:42 am

    Mike E wrote:
    sheytanelkebir wrote:The discussion is about the myth of an inferior iraqi made tank. The inferior (Warsaw pact produced)  export t72 is accepted by all as fact Wink
    The "Asad" seems to be even...worse. I highly doubt the steel complaints are not legitimate, plus the issue of the inferior ammunition comes into play.

    You need to re read this thread. How does painting two arabic words on a tank imported from ussr Poland or czekoslovakia degrade its metallurgy ?

    You place doubt on what I say. Show any evidence of an iraqi made tank or tank facility.  Surely after 26 years there would be evidence of at least one such tank or even the factory which was open to all and sundry for 10 years?

    This is like iraqs "underground airbases" myth that doesn't seem to die purely because some person invented it in the 1980s or 1990. .. Then got copied and requoted to place... And no one came forward to refute it. So to this day there are people talking about iraqi underground airbases and dozens of kilometers of underground tunnels under Baghdad etc... All complete nonsense.

    Last edited by sheytanelkebir on Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:58 am; edited 2 times in total
    Mike E
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    Post  Mike E Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:47 am

    sheytanelkebir wrote:
    Mike E wrote:
    sheytanelkebir wrote:The discussion is about the myth of an inferior iraqi made tank. The inferior (Warsaw pact produced)  export t72 is accepted by all as fact Wink
    The "Asad" seems to be even...worse. I highly doubt the steel complaints are not legitimate, plus the issue of the inferior ammunition comes into play.
    You need to re read this thread. How does painting two arabic words on a tank imported from ussr Poland or czekoslovakia degrade its metallurgy ?

    You place doubt on what I say. Show any evidence of an iraqi made tank or tank facility.  Surely after 26 years there would be evidence of at least one such tank or even the factory which was open to all and sundry for 10 years?
    They used cheaper steel? Why is that so hard to believe?

    The evidence is all in words, I have to admit.

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    Post  sheytanelkebir Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:49 am

    Mike E wrote:
    sheytanelkebir wrote:
    Mike E wrote:
    sheytanelkebir wrote:The discussion is about the myth of an inferior iraqi made tank. The inferior (Warsaw pact produced)  export t72 is accepted by all as fact Wink
    The "Asad" seems to be even...worse. I highly doubt the steel complaints are not legitimate, plus the issue of the inferior ammunition comes into play.
    You need to re read this thread. How does painting two arabic words on a tank imported from ussr Poland or czekoslovakia degrade its metallurgy ?

    You place doubt on what I say. Show any evidence of an iraqi made tank or tank facility.  Surely after 26 years there would be evidence of at least one such tank or even the factory which was open to all and sundry for 10 years?
    They used cheaper steel? Why is that so hard to believe?

    The evidence is all in words, I have to admit.

    Who is "they"? Iraq never produced a single tank. Do you mean the exporters Poland ussr czechoslovakia? (that could be true certainly)

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    Post  sheytanelkebir Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:15 am

    It seems we are going round in circles now.

    My evidence is:
    Iraqis working in taji
    Iraqi officers statements on iraqi military forum (who seem to know al sorts of details on iraqi T72 that were never ever published in the west)
    Polish statement that no such tank was ever built.
    Lack of evidence of an iraqi made tank (note Iraqis painted asad babil on imported tanks)
    Lack of evidence of a tank forge in taji

    In the absence of evidence for a tank. I cannot give any more. Like asking me to prove that unicorns and yeti don't exist exist, I can point to the lack of evidence of their existence as proof.

    Now what is your evidence or proof of an iraqi made tank. I am perfectly aware of Kenneth timmermans book from 1990. But that was simply false. I am perfectly aware that iraqi tanks were in different states of repair so sometimes IR lamps were blown out etc... But that is abouts much evidence of tank production as if I change the lamp on my car is evidence of me having a car factory.

    Mike E
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    Post  Mike E Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:24 am

    That was static speech on my part, sorry. 

    "They" in that case, was the supplier of the vehicles aka Poland and the USSR.

    I already agreed with a few others... The vehicle was not produced per se in Iraq, but assembled it was and minor modifications were made to them.

    As for the quality of armor I'm trying to find information on that.... Spalling is a good indication of cheap steel, maybe there is a report on how well HESH performed or something.

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    Post  nemrod Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:05 pm

    VladimirSahin wrote:Quick question on Desert Storm, What were successes achieved by the Iraqi armed forces in this war?
    I will try to reply next at this question.

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    Post  nemrod Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:13 pm

    American view about some excerpts about soviet views. Far from the western hype, we learn many useful things, about for example the behaviour of soviet hardware, and tactics. Obviously US won't reveal all, but it is worth to take a look.

    The views expressed in FMSO publications and reports are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the Department of the Army,
    Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
    DESERT STORM: The Soviet View
    by Major Gilberto Villahermosa, U.S. Army

    Introduction and Summary by Colonel David M. Glantz,
    Foreign Military Studies Office
    Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

    Among the many tasks which it performs, the Soviet General Staff is charged with analyzing and exploiting its own and other armies' war experiences so that the Soviet military can better cope with the challenges of future war. It has performed this task consistently and effectively since the 1920s. The General Staff has equipped the Soviet Army (and the Red Army before it) with a superb theoretical basis upon which to plan and conduct war and military operations. It is historical irony that often political and other factors have negated the benefits of the General Staff's analytical work. The General Staff's understanding of this irony has impelled it to even greater analytical efforts as technological developments accelerate the speed of change in the military realm. Likewise, it has led to increased concern on the part of the General Staff that the fruits of its analysis not be wasted by what it may view as political frivolity.

    The nature and consequences of this war experience analysis was clearly apparent in the 1970s and 1980s as the Soviets analyzed the 1973 Middle Eastern War, their conflict in Afghanistan, and, most recently, the impact of high-precision weapons and systems for their combat employment on contemporary war. The recent Gulf War has intensified Soviet concerns regarding the nature of future war.

    Although Soviet judgements regarding the Gulf War have often reflected a wide diversity of political views, and some have been polemical in tone and unrealistic in content, on balance Soviet observers have begun identifying important trends or tendencies which are significant and worthy of deeper analysis. Among the most disconcerting of these is the possibility that new, technologically sophisticated weaponry may negate many of the more traditional measures of military power and have a revolutionary impact both on future combined-arms concepts and on future war itself.

    This study surveys initial Soviet analysis of the nature of the Gulf War and its potential impact on the nature of future war. More importantly, it provides a framework for assessing possible future developments in Soviet military thought, which must be considered as an essential context for similar changes in the West.

    Desert Storm: The Soviet View (19 January-4 February)

    This paper examines the Soviet view of Operation Desert Storm and is aimed at monitoring Soviet press reports about the war. Such reports are extremely insightful and can provide a great deal of information concerning Soviet interests, priorities, and lessons learned.
    The Persian Gulf and the Soviet Union

    The conflict in the Persian Gulf has generated considerable interest in the Soviet Union. Taking place only a few hundred kilometers from its southern border, many Soviets are concerned about the consequences of the war spilling over into Soviet Central Asia. Other concerns have been voiced about possible nuclear, chemical, and biological contamination from the war. Finally, the war has rekindled intense debates about the nature of Soviet national security and the future direction of Soviet foreign policy."1

    Because of both its national security and domestic-political implications, the Soviet Ministry of Defense (MoD) has shown intense interest in the war. Much of the interest is professional and seeks insights into the nature of future wars, adversaries, and technology. But there are political motives involved as well. Because it will either substantiate or invalidate key aspects of Soviet military doctrine and strategy, the war will either support or undermine the legitimacy and role of the Armed Forces in Soviet society. Accordingly, the conflict in the Persian Gulf is being closely watch, analyzed, and debated by Soviet military experts in the pages of the Soviet press.

    The Soviet General Staff has devoted considerable resources to monitoring allied military operations in the Persian Gulf. Soviet commentaries on allied air and ground operations, technology, training, and troop dispositions indicate that the Soviets are making wide use of both electronic monitoring systems and intelligence satellites to track allied forces.

    With regard to allied forces, a number of recurring themes are evident throughout the Soviet press: the importance of preemption in allied air operations; the achievement of surprise at the tactical and operational level; the decisive role of electronic warfare and technical intelligence in achieving surprise and air supremacy; the exploitation of new technologies (especially cruise missile, stealth, and anti-missile); the large-scale use of precision guided weapons and munitions; the high degree of accuracy of air and naval strikes; the importance of forward based carrier aircraft; the inability to destroy mobile missile launchers; the mistaken belief that the war could be won through air power alone; underestimation of Iraq, its armed forces, and its ability to endure the allied onslaught.

    With regard to Iraqi forces, other themes emerge: the underestimation of Western resolve and capabilities; the failure to launch a preemptive strike against the allied coalition when the opportunity was available; the failure to properly integrate and network air-defense systems; the integration of air-defense missile and artillery systems; the need for truly professional (versus political) air and air defense forces; the importance of redundant command and control systems and facilities; the importance of survivable underground complexes; the importance of survivable mobile missile launchers; the vulnerability of nuclear, biological and chemical production and storage facilities to air strikes.

    These themes are of interest in that they provide a great deal of insight into those aspects of Desert Storm considered important by Soviet military specialists. In the end, Desert Storm will either substantiate or invalidate the accuracy of Soviet military thought in the contemporary period.
    Week One: "The Iraqi air defense system was paralyzed..."

    In one of the first published analyses of American military operations in the Persian Gulf, Major General Zhivits of the USSR Armed Forces General Staff Center for Operations and Strategic Studies commented that despite the initial allied success in their air operations, the war could drag on. In a 19 January interview in Izvestiya, Zhivits observed that by using the element of surprise, the United States had almost completely taken out Iraq's air defense system and command and control system, disrupting the operations of Iraqi ground forces.2 Additionally, the U.S. had gained total air superiority. All of this was accomplished while sustaining minimal losses, testifying to a high level of readiness.

    Zhivits gave the major credit for allied successes to the comprehensive use of allied air and ground-based electronic countermeasures in their air operations. He noted that American knowledge with regard to specific Iraqi weapons systems and their tactical and technical specifications and combat employment characteristics made this possible. He also observed that the American command had carried out a series of organizational and technical measures and special exercises at ranges in Britain, France, and Germany two months prior to the allied attack on Iraq, with the objective of testing and evaluating the effectiveness of the U.S. Air Force in neutralizing Iraq's air defense system. On the basis of these evaluations, modifications were made to weapons systems, especially those designated for use against SAM complexes. Adjustments and reprogramming were carried out on all air and missile systems involved in the first strike, taking into account the latest data from radio and electronic intelligence in the region.

    Zhivits concluded by warning Soviet readers against overestimating allied successes. He noted that Iraqi combat potential remained high and that the war could drag on, and remarked that several allied aircraft had already been shot down, including an "invisible" F-117. This remark was carried by Moscow Radio the same day.3

    In a 21 January interview with Izvestiya, Lieutenant General Gorbachev, Faculty Chief at the General Staff Academy (equivalent to the U.S. War College), noted that superior American technical intelligence and highly accurate U.S. weapons played a key role in neutralizing Iraq's air defense system.4 He refuted assertions that Soviet military advisors had handed the Americans information on Soviet equipment in Iraq's inventory, noting that the decisive factor in accounting for the success of allied air operations was American electronic warfare systems, which overwhelmed Iraqi command and control in the first few minutes of the air operation.5 He observed that it took the Iraqis 90 minutes to recover from the initial shock of the attack. Even then, however, they were able to fire five Scud missiles.

    Gorbachev then evaluated allied strengths and weaknesses. The main strength was the ability to create a powerful grouping of forces in a short period of time. Additional1y, "the powerful and accurate strikes carried out, plus highly efficient intelligence all indicated a high degree of professionalism" among allied forces, He cautioned that the main weaknesses would become evident only if the war became prolonged and coalition forces had to wage large-scale offensive operations in Iraqi territory, and indicated that the long distances from main bases and the vulnerability of lines of communications could greatly hinder allied military operations and threaten their success. He also warned that the operational use of troops and their coordination would become more difficult due to the differing levels of combat readiness among coalition forces. Finally, Gorbachev cautioned that the concentration of men and materiel in small, poorly prepared (from and engineering point of view) areas increased allied vulnerability.

    Gorbachev concluded that the outcome of the war had already been determined in its first minutes by the ability of allied air forces to seize the initiative in the air and win air superiority from the outset. He noted that Iraq failed to take advantage of its one opportunity to mount a preemptive strike against allied forces. Having no opposition in the air, the coalition would be able to compensate for Iraq's superiority in tanks.

    Reports on the accuracy of allied air strikes were disputed by some Soviet sources shortly after the beginning of the war. On 22 January 1991, INTERFAX, the independent and nonofficial Soviet news agency, carried an interview with an unidentified Soviet General Staff officer who asserted that 90 percent of allied air strikes missed their targets.6 The general noted that the allied bombing of Iraq and occupied Kuwait "hit no target" and that "a large number of airports and aircraft are undamaged, despite claims to the contrary." According to the source, "Iraqi air bases are well camouflaged and extremely hard to locate." After losing five planes in one day last week, the general said that allied air forces had been force to change their tactics. "Saying bad weather was the reason the planes were grounded was only a pretext. In fact they were planning a change of tactics."

    INTERFAX had carried an earlier report by the Soviet General Staff, which said that "all the runways and Iraqi airports were destroyed." Additionally, Soviet military experts returning from Iraq had called the allied bombing "extremely accurate" saying that the bombs had fallen "mainly on industrial targets."7

    The theme that the Persian Gulf War would be protracted was most authoritatively stated by Marshal of the Soviet Union Akhromeyev at the end of the first week of the war. In a 23 January interview with the Berlin-based Neues Deutschland, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's top military advisor noted that the United States and its allies had used their superior air and naval power to deal a number of serious blows to Iraqi air and missile bases, air defense system, nuclear centers, and command and control systems. Akhromeyev warned, however, that although the Iraqi control system had been disrupted at the highest level, it was not paralyzed.8 He went on to observe, "I do not think that an army with nine years of combat experience can be paralyzed simply by air attacks. The conflict will drag on rather long." Akhromeyev noted that the Soviet Union had taken measures to strengthen its air defense system along its southern border:

    Combat readiness has been brought up to a level that is necessary when there is a war going on near our borders. However, these steps do not mean that the Soviet Union will enter the war. I believe that the USSR standpoint not to participate with its armed forces in this conflict has solidified even more.

    In general, the Soviet press tended to take Western military reports on the progress of the war at face value during the first week of the war.
    Week Two: "There is no longer any talk of a swift and bloodless victory"

    On 25 January in Krasnaya Zvezda [Red star, hereafter cited as KZ], Colonel General of Aviation Ye. Shaposhnikov, Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Air Force, commented that the initial stage of the allied air operation was "carefully planned, organized, and executed."9 He went on to note that "Good cooperation was noted among the mobilized forces and facilities, particularly with electronic warfare gear." Shaposhnikov cautioned, however, that while the first reports had given the impression that the aims of the operation had mainly been achieved, a somewhat different picture was emerging. Although Iraq might have miscalculated with regard to the timing of the start of the war, it had nonetheless carried out a number of important defensive measures, such as the concealment and dispersion of aircraft. Furthermore, the actual combat situation had not taken shape the way the allies had planned. Difficulties in material and technical supplies had diminished the number of daily sorties by coalition aircraft from 2-3 to 1-1.5 and weather conditions posed a major problem, hampering missile launches and bombing. Finally, a certain drop in the aggressive spirit of allied airmen had been noted as a result of exploitation of captured airmen.

    Shaposhnikov indicated that the Iraqi Air Force had survived intact and was probably being kept in reserve for planned strikes against the ground forces of the allied coalition and Saudi Arabia, and for cover of its own combat formations in the event of large-scale Iraqi ground operations.

    Another 25 January article in KZ by military and political analyst Colonel Manki Ponomarev also reevaluated allied successes in the first week of the war. He noted that the allies had indeed succeeded in achieving tactical and operational surprise, attributing allied success to the extensive use of electronic warfare and precision guided weapons. However, "certain blunders of the Iraqi command" also played an important part in the American success. According to Ponomarev, Iraq had not expected military operations to be initiated until after 17 January. Furthermore, the experience of the Iran-Iraq War, in which Baghdad enjoyed clear military-technical superiority, had engendered "smugness and complacency" among the Iraqi leadership. Despite reports to the contrary, however, Iraq's air defense system survived the initial allied onslaught, albeit at greatly reduced effectiveness. Furthermore, Baghdad succeeded in preserving the bulk of its combat aircraft through dispersion and concealment in shelters, as well as skillful use of prepared mockups and decoys.10 More worrisome for the West was Ponomarev's assertion that reports of the elimination of Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons centers were exaggerated, "to put it mildly." Ponomarev observed:

    As far as possible to judge, Iraq's regular military forces ultimately proved capable of countering the latest weapons and methods of armed struggle. In addition, Iraq has declared with a certain amount of justification that it has won the "first round" and that Bush's game, based on the achievement of a swift victory with the aid of the latest technology, had failed.

    He went on to comment, however, that Baghdad's statement about winning the "first round" was also a gross exaggeration, concluding that a "more sober mood has come to replace the first days euphoria. There is no longer any talk of a swift and bloodless victory."
    Week Three: "I believe that a settlement will be found."

    One of the third week's first articles concerning the war dealt with the nature of chemical warfare in the Gulf War. On 31 January in KZ, Major General I. B. Yevataf'yev, Directorate Chief in the Chemical Troops of the Soviet General Staff, speculated that Iraq did not possess sufficient resources for the effective use of chemical weapons.11 He observed that in order to be effective, chemical weapons must be used on a massive scale. He calculated that, taking in consideration the degree of protection of American troops and chemical defense procedures, losses of 10 to 15 percent could be anticipated among U.S. troops. Casualties among civilians would be even higher. Here the United States would have to share part of the responsibility, due to American air strikes on Iraqi chemical munitions plants and storage facilities. Yevataft'yev noted that:

    according to experts' assessment, the destruction of conventional munitions of chemical bomb stores containing 200-500 tons of sarin and tabun would result in casualties among the population for a distance of several tens of kilometers. In my view, the destruction of such facilities could be equated with chemical warfare.... In practice, a strike against military chemical facilities amounts to provocation of chemical warfare.

    He went on to say that although the war posed no direct threat to the Soviet Union, disturbing trends were emerging:

    The point is that accords have been reached between the USSR and the United States under which they exchanged data not only on their stocks of chemical weapons, but also on the places of manufacture and storage. Precise coordinates were supplied. Well, a secret that two people know is no longer a secret.... Yet the experience of the conflict in the Gulf shows that in the event of war these facilities will be first-strike targets. As a military man, I am obliged to think about this...

    One of the most interesting articles to be published in the Soviet press on the war was a 1 February Komsomol'skaya Pravda interview with Major General V. Filatov, chief editor of Voyennoistoricheskiy zhurnal [Military-historical journal], who predicted that the war would end in a major U.S. defeat.12 He commented that the U.S. was moving steadily toward its "second Vietnam," which would be worse than the first: "Even if Iraq is defeated, which I doubt, other Arab countries will enter the war against the so-called international force. This could happen -- and very soon -- if Israel is drawn into the conflict." Speculating that neither nuclear nor chemical weapons would be used in the conflict, he nonetheless predicted that the war would be "protracted," and went on to comment that the U.S. would lose many of its allies, while the Soviet Union -- remaining on the sidelines -- would acquire them. "The Arabs realize that their rear is secure, that the Soviet Union will not hit them in the back. Therefore, our chances of acquiring new friends in the Arab world are now preferable to those of any other world superpower." He concluded that the chief aim of Soviet foreign policy during the Gulf War was to prevent a conventional war from escalating into a nuclear one.

    A somewhat more balanced picture was presented the same day by General of the Army Vladimir Lobov, Chief of Staff of the Combined Armed Forces of the Warsaw Pact. Speaking on Moscow Radio, Lobov started out by noting that only after ground forces had been committed could any conclusions be made.13 He noted, however, that two weeks of bombing and missile strikes had not produced any definitive results. "I regard today's strategic situation as equal, with some military and technical advantage for the United States." Lobov observed that 90 percent of the aircraft being used belonged to the U.S., and that the allied coalition was, in fact, NATO, operating under another guise. "Although there is interaction and coordination," he criticized, "there is no reason to speak highly of their actions at this stage." Condemning Iraq's aggression against Kuwait, Lobov then commented on the danger the war posed to the Soviet Union: "Accidents may arise. There is the threat of such mass destruction weapons as chemical agents and also germ warfare.... This may be dangerous for the USSR. In particular, its southern part." He concluded by saying that he believed that a settlement to the conflict would be found.

    In contrast to Lobov's remarks, Lieutenant General V. Pereverzev expressed the opinion that after the second week of fighting, the advantage belonged to the allied coalition. Writing in Izvestiya on 4 February, he noted: "A blockade has been set up around Iraq. This country can rely on those resources it has today, and these are steadily diminishing.14 Pereverzev observed that after two weeks of "relentless" air strikes, the allied coalition had gained air superiority, paralyzed Iraq's nuclear and chemical centers, and neutralized a significant number of Iraq's airfields, as well as part of its air defense system. In addition, the state and military administrative system had been partially disrupted. Despite these successes, however, the allied coalition's hopes of achieving a quick victory had been replaced by a more sober evaluation of the opponent and his potential. "It is clear," remarked Pereverzev, "that the allies and especially the United States underestimated Iraq's capability. Iraq had prepared itself to repulse possible attacks firmly and thoroughly..." Pereverzov outlined Iraqi preparations in much greater detail than previous writers, detailing the use of operational camouflage, dummy radio nets, field fortifications, obstacles, and secure administrative posts. He concluded by noting that, while the allied decision to continue air strikes would result in fewer casualties, it would also bring greater complexity to the allied situation in the region, as well as to adjacent areas.
    Desert Storm - A Protracted Downpour?

    Soviet press coverage during the first three weeks of the war was, for the most part, well balanced and objective. It is clear that Soviet military analysts were very impressed with the success of allied air and naval strikes against Iraq. It was pointed out, however, that a war against Iraq could only be won by allied ground forces. "A war cannot be ended," one military writer observed, "until a soldier's foot steps onto enemy territory, its army has been routed or has surrendered, and the population's potential for waging a partisan war has been crushed."15 The majority of Soviet military analysts agreed that a ground war would be prolonged. One quipped that Desert Storm had turned into a "protracted downpour."16
    Desert Storm: The Soviet View (6-19 February 1991)
    War in the Gulf and the Soviet General Staff

    The conflict in the Persian Gulf has given the Soviet Union the unprecedented opportunity to evaluate all aspects of allied military operations in the region. Major General S. Bogdanov, Chief of the Soviet Armed Forces General Staff Center for Operations and Strategic Studies, recently observed that the Soviet General Staff is closely monitoring the developing situation in the Persian Gulf.17 Reports in the Soviet press indicate that the Soviets have committed considerable resources to monitoring allied performance, including electronic systems and space-based reconnaissance satellites.18 The Soviets are also taking advantage of media reports on the war, as well as observations on the ground, based on their relationship with Iraq.19 Thus, Soviet military experts are receiving continuous updates on the Persian Gulf situation. A map of military developments in the theater of operations and a report on the latest events are presented to the Soviet Minister of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union D.T. Yazov, every morning by 0630. A copy of the report also goes to Soviet President Gorbachev and other key Soviet leaders.20
    Themes in the Soviet Press

    During this period, the Soviet press devoted the majority of its coverage to coalition rather than Iraqi forces. A distinctly pro-Iraqi/anti-American bias was evident. Some of the major themes discussed include the impressive nature of allied electronic warfare capabilities, the performance of Soviet weaponry (especially air defense systems and aircraft) in the Gulf War, the accuracy and destructiveness of allied air strikes against Baghdad and Iraqi nuclear and chemical facilities, U.S. amphibious warfare capabilities, the possibility of allied nuclear and chemical strikes against Iraq, the allied coalition as a cover for NATO operations in the region, and allied use of the war in the Persian Gulf to test advanced weaponry (especially cruise missile and Stealth).
    Week Four: "...Soviet Military equipment. of which Iraq has an abundance. has not shown itself at its best."

    One of the most controversial issues to have emerged from the war in the Persian Gulf deals with the performance of Soviet weaponry: did it meet performance criteria or did it fail?21 The issue is one of great concern: a majority of the weapons systems used by Iraq in the war, especially air defense and combat aircraft, were of Soviet manufacture, and many of these same systems are used by the Soviets.22 The issue of Soviet weaponry also has serious political and economic overtones: in 1989, the Soviets provided some $15 billion in military assistance to Afghanistan, North Korea, Libya, Angola, Vietnam, Syria, and Cuba, much of it in military hardware.23 If it is discovered that Soviet weapon systems in Iraq failed, the Soviets stand to lose a great deal in terms of prestige and hard currency accounts.24

    On 6 February in KZ, Colonel V. Demidenko, a Soviet Air Force pilot, attempted to dispel charges that Soviet military equipment had failed in Iraq:25

    In my view, Baghdad decided to preserve its Air Force and use it to cover ground forces during the land operation. People in Iraq were bound to take into consideration the experience of other wars in the Middle East; in particular, the wars between Israel and Egypt. I witnessed and took part in the battles for the Sinai in 1970. I know how skillfully the Arabs are fitting out blast walls for the aircraft. I am sure Iraq built the appropriate bunkers in time for the start of hostilities.26

    Colonel Demidenko went on to say that, although he believed the accuracy of initial allied air attacks to have been quite high, allied statements claiming to have destroyed up to 70 percent of the Iraqi Air Force were a "propaganda bluff." He also remarked that, while Soviet fighters such as the Su-17 and MiG-23 could hardly be expected to counter U.S. F-15s, Iraqi MiG-29s were more than a match for U.S. aircraft. He concluded: "Even an average MiG-29 pilot has a better chance of emerging victorious in a dogfight than his adversary in an F-15, not to mention other aircraft."

    The alleged failure of Soviet equipment was also addressed by Major General N. Kostin, a department chief at the General Staff Academy. In an 8 February interview, Kostin told a KZ correspondent that any categorical condemnation of Soviet-made equipment should be avoided. "Speaking of air defenses," he observed, "a significant part of the Iraqi air defense's electronic network is made up of modern hardware bought from France. It cannot be ruled out that French specialists might have shared their secrets with their U.S. colleagues..."27 Kostin went on to explain that the failure of Soviet Scud missiles was due to the lack of an electronic protection system. "But if the Iraqis install a small jamming station," he speculated, "the Scuds' invulnerability will increase tenfold." He illustrated his point by mentioning that while the North Vietnamese were expending one or two missiles for every U.S. aircraft downed early in the Vietnam war, American jamming increased this number five- to six-fold.

    Kostin called electronic warfare, "the technical basis of modern combat." He praised American electronic warfare capability, remarking that it had been used quite skillfully against Iraq, and went on to say that, since 1970, the U.S. had tripled the combat potential of its motorized and mechanized infantry divisions through electronics systems alone. He indicated, however, that while the Iraqi armed forces lacked modern electronic gear for aerial warfare, they did possess electronic warfare units in their ground forces. He observed that the Iraqi ground forces were well equipped, well fortified, and superior to their opponents in desert warfare skills. "But the Iraqis' strength," he concluded, "will ebb considerably faster than the coalition's. The Baghdad leader has no support from the side."

    The debate over the performance of Soviet weaponry in the Gulf War has been intense and has already resulted in a sweeping review of the Soviet air defense system in the wake of the Iraqi defeat. The Soviet Minister of Defense is reported to have admitted that Soviet air defenses have "weak spots" and that the MoD is "analyzing the use of the armed forces of the United States and other countries during the war." Yazov observed that Iraqi pilots flying Soviet MiG-29s "failed in most cases" in dogfights with allied aircraft.28

    Allied attacks on Iraqi air and nuclear sites have also drawn considerable attention in the Soviet press. On 8 February in Sovetskaya Rossiya, Major General I. B. Yevetaf'yev again condemned allied air strikes on Iraqi nuclear and chemical facilities.29 ".. .the destruction of chemical and biological installations using conventional weapons," he reiterated, "may be equated with chemical warfare, primarily against the civilian population." He observed that, in light of the lack of delivery systems and allied chemical defenses, "...a possible Iraqi chemical attack on the coalition's forces would not be very effective and would have no effect on combat operations." He speculated that allied attacks on Iraqi chemical facilities were meant to provoke an Iraqi chemical strike against allied forces in order to justify an American nuclear response against Iraq.

    Yevstaf'yev repeated an earlier theme: a convention banning chemical weapons and destroying stockpiles would be worthless, unless the destruction of chemical production and storage facilities using conventional weapons was also banned "although he fails to mention why such facilities would be necessary if chemical weapons were banned and existing stockpiles destroyed]. He concluded by warning that the Soviet Union "must not reveal information during any disarmament and arms reduction talks that may be used, even in theory, to the detriment of our country's population in the future... Ultimately, conventions are formulated to boost our people's security."

    Yevstaf'yev's views indicate deep concern on the part of the Soviet General Staff over the vulnerability of the numerous Soviet nuclear and chemical production and storage facilities to strikes by conventional Western precision-guided weapons. They may also be indicative of concern over the vulnerability of those Soviet allies in the region possessing chemical and nuclear facilities, such as Libya, to allied strikes in the future. Finally, Yevetaf'yev's views are indicative of retrenchment on the part of the Soviet General Staff with regard to pursuit of conventional and nuclear arms control treaties with the West. The Soviet military has made a great deal of the fact that current treaties between the Soviet Union and NATO fail to address either cruise missiles, stealth technology, or forward basing of carrier aircraft. Moreover, the war in the Persian Gulf appears to have invalidated the quantitative paradigm at the heart of current arms control treaties. Instead a new qualitative paradigm in which a smaller, professional, technologically superior force is able to defeat a much larger, technologically inferior one is taking shape. The success of the allied air campaign in Desert Storm has thus created a new set of security concerns for the Soviet Union.

    As might have been expected, some elements of the Soviet press have taken an anti-American stance in the Persian Gulf War. On 9 February, Moscow Radio aired a commentary by Nikolay Agayants criticizing the pro-Iraqi bias in Soviet coverage of Operation Desert Storm:

    I refuse point-blank to understand the standpoint of some of my compatriots and representatives of our mass media who, in the tragedy that has flared up in the Persian Gulf, perceive only intrigue by the imperialists and secret services, and who cast doubt on the justice of the U.N. decisions on Baghdad which, after all, has occupied sovereign Kuwait.30

    Agayants identified the newspapers KZ and Sovetskaya Rossiya, both bastions of Soviet conservatism, as the two main culprits:

    You know, it would not surprise me in the least if tomorrow some of our jingoistic publications raised one almighty hullabaloo about poor old Saddam --put in a word for him. Well, those who long for a firm hand and who fancy a dictator in the mold of Baghdad's Hussein need not hold back. When all is said and done, that is their right.... But... what about their individual consciences?

    It has been taken for granted in the Soviet press that U.S. forces would conduct amphibious operations against Iraqi forces. On 12 February in KZ, Lieutenant General Skuratov discussed the nature of an American amphibious landing in the Persian Gulf. "Taking into account the presence of a large contingent of U.S. Marines and amphibious forces in the region," he observed, "one can presume that they will conduct amphibious landings..."31 Skuratov analyzed American and British amphibious landings during the Korean, Middle East, and the Vietnam Wars, and the Falklands Conflict. He emphasized the growing role of helicopters and hovercraft in U.S. Marine amphibious landings. Shuratov calculated that a force of 2000 to 2500 Marines (two-three battalions) supported by a tank regiment, two-three artillery batteries, one-two antiaircraft batteries, additional armored equipment and armored tank and engineer platoons or companies could be landed in one hour. He went on to compute that an independent Marine brigade, along with a minimum amount of equipment, could be landed in three hours; with all combat equipment - in up to half a day. Skuratov pointed out that onshore Marine operations were characterized by high maneuverability, with some LAV units operating in enemy territory, more than 200 kilometers from the beachhead.

    Skuratov's article is indicative of the success of the allied disinformation campaign in the Persian Gulf. The inevitability of a Marine amphibious assault into Kuwait received world-wide press coverage. American amphibious exercises and the subsequent threat of a landing by U.S. Marines kept a significant Iraqi force close to the shores of the Persian Gulf, while allied forces executed a strategic envelopment. It is high praise for the allied plan that in the end, even the Soviets, long considered the masters of deception, were themselves deceived.
    Week Five: "We are worried...about the possibility of use of mass destruction weapons during the course of hostilities."

    Possible American use of nuclear and chemical weapons against Iraq continued to be a major theme.32 In a 13 February commentary on Moscow Radio, Vladislav Kozyakov asserted that some political leaders in the United States favored the use of nuclear weapons in the Gulf War to minimize American losses. He also questioned whether the U.S. had given up its policy of preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and promoting the Nonproliferation Treaty. Kozyakov concluded that the very fact that American officials were considering the use of nuclear weapons as an option in the Gulf showed that events were threatening to go beyond the UN mandate.33

    On 18 February, INTERFAX reported that senior Soviet Army officers had strongly criticized allied military operations in the Persian Gulf. According to the report, these were the first public criticisms of U.S. actions by senior Soviet officers since the beginning of the war.

    Marshal Akhromeyev strongly criticized bombardment of the Iraqi people and economy:

    These strikes have been launched against the Iraqi people and economy. This cannot be tolerated any longer.... If necessary we should go to the Security Council and demand that the fighting be conducted within the framework of the U.N. resolutions, or else it must stop.

    The Soviet President's top military adviser also admitted to differing with Gorbachev on Soviet policy in the Gulf, although he found it "fairly correct." "The bombing of the bunker [in Baghdad]," he continued, "cannot be tolerated." He added that senior Soviet Army officers were "very closely" following events in the gulf.

    Akhromeyev was followed by General Lobov, who was even more stinging in his criticism of allied military operations in the conflict. "No one," he noted, "should be allowed to use the Security Council resolutions as a smoke-screen to camouflage the massacre on Iraqi territory." Lobov went on to express concern over the "testing of advanced weaponry, such as cruise missiles or Stealth aircraft." He warned that such tests could "disturb the qualitative parity in the weapons sector and have serious consequences for the future." He concluded that the prospects were very alarming.

    Public condemnation of American military operations by such senior-level Soviet officers is indicative of increasingly problematic Soviet-American relations in the postwar period. With the military gaining an increasingly influential role in Soviet domestic politics, Gorbachev's "New Thinking" is rapidly being replaced by to the General Staff's old thinking. According to reports in the Western press, resurgent military conservatives in the Kremlin are taking an increasingly hard line in both the START and CFE talks.34

    In a 19 February speech to the Supreme Soviet in Moscow, Soviet Foreign Minister Aleksandr Bessmertnykh reiterated Soviet concerns over reports pertaining to the possible use of nuclear and chemical weapons in the conflict.

    We are worried by statements that have been made recently at the political level...about the possibility of use of mass-destruction weapons during the course of hostilities. We consider absolutely impermissible the use of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. As Soviet President M. S. Gorbachev warned in his statement of 9 February, if this occurs, then all world politics and the whole world community would be shaken to its foundations. There cannot be any doubt of this.35

    Bessmertnykh went on to indicate that continuous nuclear, chemical and biological monitoring had been taking place along the Soviet Union's southern border since the beginning of the conflict.

    On 19 February in KZ, Colonel I. Vladimirov remarked that "...from the first days of the conflict, the North Atlantic alliance assumed the functions of coordinator of the alliance countries' war preparations in the Persian Gulf zone."36 Vladimirov speculated that the dispatch of naval and air assets to the Persian Gulf and Turkey by Western European countries was conducted under the auspices of NATO. He warned that the war in the Persian Gulf had provided impetus for building up NATO's military might. Vladimirov observed ominously that work on the reduction of armed forces and conventional arms in Europe had been suspended. "Unfortunately," he concluded, "this NATO response to the Persian Gulf crisis could quite easily cast into doubt everything positive that has been achieved in the sphere of disarmament on the European continent and in the world."

    Vladimirov's article suggests that, having concluded that conventional force reductions in Europe run counter to Soviet security interests, the Soviet military is prepared to blame NATO for their failure.
    Conclusion: "...the highest standard of technical problem solving was demonstrated at all levels."

    The success of the allied air campaign --and Western technology --in the Persian Gulf has created a security dilemma for the Soviet Union; it finds itself increasingly unable to keep pace with Western technological developments. That dilemma was best illustrated in a recent interview with Colonel Aleksandr Radionov, a leading specialist of the Ministry of Defense's Space Units.37 Speaking to a correspondent from Izvestiya on 11 February, Radionov outlined the development and successful testing of the U.S. Army Strategic Defense Command's ExoAtmospheric Reentry Interceptor System (ERIS). He observed that the system could enter into U.S. Army service in 1994-1996:

    It is planned to have up to 100 missiles on combat standby. Although U.S. specialists believe that such a quantity is hardly enough to intercept a massive nuclear missile strike, it is very effective as an anti-satellite weapon: it could hit 60-85 percent of spacecraft in low orbits.38

    When the concerned Izvestiya correspondent asked whether the Soviet Union was capable of carrying out similar missions, the Soviet Colonel frankly admitted: "I do not think so."39

    Desert Storm: The Soviet View (20 February-4 March)
    War in the Persian Gulf: The Soviet Central Asian Factor

    One reason cited to explain the Soviet Union's lukewarm support for the allied coalition is Soviet Muslim backing for Saddam Hussein.40 In a poll conducted by INTERFAX early in the war, most Soviet citizens supported the allies in the war.41 The survey, however, failed to take into account Soviet Muslim sentiment. According to Oleg Shchedrov, a Radio Moscow commentator, many Soviet Muslims view Saddam Hussein as a defender of the faith, "comparable to the late Ayatollah Khomeini."42 Novosti, the government news agency, reported that the Iraqi Embassy in Moscow had received more than 10,000 letters from Soviet Muslims volunteering to fight on the side of Iraq against allied forces.43

    Some 58 million Muslims live in the Soviet Union, most in the Central Asian republics (Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Kirghizia, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan) located only 250 kilometers from the fighting in the Persian Gulf. Thus, Soviet Muslims account for more than 20 percent of the Soviet population.44 Furthermore, they are rapidly growing in number. The latest census figures indicate a significant population increase in Central Asia as opposed to a relative decrease in the Slavic republics (Russia, Belarussia, Ukraine and the Baltics). Between 1979 and 1989, the population of the Central Asian republics grew 22-34 percent. In comparison, the population of the Slavic republics grew only 4-7 percent.45 Soviet authorities fear that the war will further exacerbate tensions between the Soviet Government and a rapidly growing and increasingly militant Muslim population. The result would be a further escalation of the ethnic violence which has already engulfed the region.46
    Major Themes in the Soviet Press

    During this period the Soviet press devoted the majority of its coverage to coalition rather than Iraqi forces. While the tone at the beginning of the period was stridently anti-American, a more balanced view has emerged since the end of the war. Although the Gulf War strained Soviet-American relations, it is generally believed that once both countries turn their attention back to normalizing relations it will be possible to repair the damage.

    Some of the themes discussed during this period included allied adherence to UN resolutions on the use of force, the impact of the war on the future of arms control and troop- reductions in Europe, NATO exploitation of the conflict to test new technologies, the effectiveness and destructiveness of the allied air campaign, allied use of space-based communications and reconnaissance systems, allied technological superiority over Iraq, the possible use of chemical weapons, Iraqi use of operational camouflage, the importance of the "human factor" as the decisive element in war, Soviet military assistance to Iraq, and the need to reexamine prevailing Soviet views on modern war, Soviet military doctrine, military strategy, Soviet air defense, and the quality of Soviet weaponry and equipment.
    Week Six: "The conflagration of war is blazing near our southern borders in the Persian Gulf."

    The destructiveness of the allied air campaign in the Persian Gulf has raised questions about the adherence by the allied coalition to UN resolutions on the use of force. Speaking in a 21 February interview on Moscow Radio, Colonel General Stanislav Petrov, Commander of Soviet Chemical Troops, expressed the opinion that the war had already gone beyond the limitations of the UN resolution authorizing the use of force in order to restore the sovereignty of Kuwait. Petrov called for an immediate cessation of hostilities without any preliminary conditions, noting that the continued use of military force would only

    escalate the tragedy and result in additional casualties.... In spite of the heaviest air attacks on Iraqi military and administrative centers its Army is still capable of fighting back....My opinion is that the means used in this war go beyond the level which is necessary to achieve the goal. This is a war for the complete destruction of the Iraqi military and economic potential.47

    Petrov concluded that the final outcome of the war was difficult to predict.

    The war in the Persian Gulf has raised concerns about the future of arms control and troop reductions in Europe. On 22 February in KZ, Major M. Zheglov lamented the disbanding of the Warsaw Treaty Organization (effective 1 April 1991), especially in light of the situation in the Persian Gulf. "We hardly have the right to forget about the Warsaw Pact's modern, constructive ideas aimed at detente, arms reductions, and the development of the all-European process.... What," he asked rhetorically, "will happen to our security?"48 Zheglov argued that forces which advocated the resurrection of the Cold War were once again active in NATO. "A crisis had only to break out in the Persian Gulf region," he pointed out, "for NATO to begin putting the brakes on the programs to reduce armed forces and armaments and appealing for the creation of new mobile forces capable of operating in any region." Despite his rhetoric, however, Zheglov concluded that the Soviet Union must pin its hopes on the current CSCE "Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe] process. "It is not hard to see that these structures and, if necessary, others too, given active and effective work, are also capable of regulating the complete package of security problems, security in Europe above all, and thus, for the Soviet Union too."

    Zheglov's views on arms control and troop reductions in Europe are not widely shared by most senior Soviet military officials. Indeed, the Soviet General Staff appears to be the driving force behind Moscow's retrenchment in both CFE and START negotiations.49 Zheglov's article indicates that the Soviet military is attempting to shift the blame for the failure of CFE and START onto NATO.

    The performance of Soviet military equipment in the Persian Gulf continues to be a major theme. Perhaps in an effort to restore the confidence of the people in Soviet military technology, a military affairs commentator on Radio Moscow announced that the Soviet Union was preparing to provide the People's Republic of China with a number of MiG-29 advanced fighters. In a 22 February broadcast, the commentator, identified only as Korzelov, pointed out that a Soviet delegation, headed by Igor Belousov, Deputy Chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers, recently returned from China after holding talks on cooperation in the field of defense industry. In light of these talks, it is very probable that the Soviet Union will sell arms to the PRC. Korzelov indicated that the Chinese were particularly interested in purchasing Soviet MiG-29s. The aircraft belongs to the export category of Soviet arms. He stated that:

    many of the capabilities of the MiG-29 are greater than those of similar aircraft of the Western nations. Experts draw attention to the fact that its engine is very powerful, enabling the fighter to reach a height of 1,000 meters just 15 seconds after take-off.50

    Korzelov remarked that the German Defense Minister, Gerhard Stoltenberg, believed the MiG-29 to be the most advanced fighter in Europe. He noted that during the recent reunification of Germany, the German MoD inherited "scores" of Soviet MiG-29s. Since then the Germans have conducted exercises to test the capabilities of the MiG-29. He notes that

    a prestigious journal in military circles carried a report on an air war game in Germany involving U.S. F16s and Soviet MiG-29s. The MiG won several times. After the exercise, a defeated U.S. pilot said: first, the MiGs vertical speed is much higher; second, the radar on the MiGs is able to detect enemy planes earlier.51

    Korzelov pointed out that India, Bulgaria, Cuba, and Syria had already signed contracts to purchase the MiG-29. He added that companies in Britain, Israel, South Korea, and Canada had also shown interest in buying the aircraft.52 "I would not be surprised," he concluded, "if the Chinese military decided to buy the MiGs.... In light of the current level of miliary training in the Soviet Union and China, broad prospects for military cooperation between the two countries exist."53

    Despite allegations that Soviet equipment failed, the war in the Persian Gulf will probably not have an adverse impact on Soviet arms sales. The comparatively low price of Soviet weaponry (vis-a-vis Western systems), its simplicity and ruggedness, and the favorable sales terms under which it has been offered in the past, will continue to make it attractive to foreign buyers. In light of the Soviet need for hard currency, one can expect that they will make their top-of-the-line models available to any and all potential customers.54

    In another 22 February broadcast on Moscow Radio, the Soviet MoD took the opportunity to refute Western reports that a delegation of the Soviet General Staff was staying in Iraq. According to the Defense Ministry, allegations that the Soviet Union was supplying Iraq with either military supplies, specialists or intelligence were false. It also denied providing the United States with information on Iraqi systems. The report notes that

    despite the fact that all previous fabrications have been officially denied, a mythical delegation has now been added. It is not difficult to guess that this is being done with a view to discredit the basic Soviet stance on the crisis in the Persian Gulf area.55

    The broadcast concluded by stressing that such "disinformation" is being spread by someone "who is not interested in a peaceful settlement to the conflict," a clear allusion to the United States.

    Allegations of Soviet military assistance to Iraq were also refuted by the Soviet MoD in New Times. Colonel Vladimir Nikanorov, an MoD spokesman, and Sergei Gorbunov, a press service officer for the Main Space Command of the MoD Space Units, denied reports that the Soviet Union was providing military assistance to Iraq. New Times correspondents also interviewed General Vladlen Mikhaylov, Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Armed Forces of the Soviet General Staff [the GRU]:

    As for space intelligence, I can say that in accordance with the decision of the government and the Defense Ministry, such data is not passed on to anyone. We did not even pass on such data to our former Warsaw Treaty allies. I should add, however, that Baghdad submitted a request, asking U.S. to provide it with satellite intelligence. But we categorically refused.56

    The investigative trail led to General Yevgeniy Smirnov, Chief of the Tenth Directorate of the Soviet General Staff. The directorate is responsible for sending armaments and military specialists to work abroad. Smirnov called Western reports "absolute nonsense":

    The last Soviet specialist left Iraq on the night of January 9 to 10. No one even expressed a desire to remain there. It is not the first time that mis- information of this kind has appeared. We firmly and strictly adhere to the provisions of the Security Council resolution. We stopped deliveries as soon as Iraq began its aggression against Kuwait.

    It is evident that allegations that the MoD provided military assistance to Iraq during the conflict will continue to haunt it (and Soviet-American relations) for some time to come. Indeed, a week after this interview, as the war was coming to an end, the Soviet Minister of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union D. T. Yazov, denied publicly that the Soviet Union had provided Iraq with any military assistance during the war.57

    In his 22 February Order marking Soviet Army and Navy Day, Yazov, called attention to the conflict in the Persian Gulf.

    The conflagration of war is blazing near our southern borders in the Persian Gulf region. Under these conditions, while insistently implementing military reform, it is necessary to maintain the Soviet state's defensive capability and the combat readiness of the Armed Forces of the USSR at the level of reliable sufficiency.58

    In a 23 February interview with Pravda, Yazov remarked that he wanted to believe that the war would end soon. Speaking on Army and Navy Day, he commented that Saddam Hussein's actions in the Persian Gulf could not be vindicated. "There is no bad or good aggression. Aggression is aggression.... nor can one justify those who are destroying a totally innocent people."59 The Defense Minister was clearly alluding to the tremendous destruction wrought by the allied air operations against Iraq. Yazov reiterated a theme being stressed by other senior Soviet military and political leaders: the U.S. had gone beyond the mandate of the UN Security Council. "Let me repeat," he warned, "its bombs and missiles are destroying not only Iraq's military might, but also its cities, streets, and monuments."

    In response to criticisms of Soviet technology, Yazov remarked that while "the Iraqi's have at most a couple of squadron's of MiG-29s", allied aircraft were "almost all the latest models." Comparing the Soviet T-62 being used by Syrian forces and the American M-1, he commented: "I know that not one tank has lagged behind, not one has become unserviceable. This is in the desert. What about the U.S. Abrams tanks? They have to be stopped frequently so filters can be cleaned. So there is not reason to say that the Abrams is good and the T-62 is bad."60 Yazov indicated that he was in favor of studying the lessons of the Gulf War and taking them into account. "But," he cautioned, "this is not a war whose experience can be taken as a 'pearl"'

    The Soviet Minister of Defense pointed out that Soviet forces of the Transcaucasus, North Caucasus, and Odessa Military Districts and the Black Sea Fleet had been placed on alert status rather than in full combat readiness.

    There has been no need to place the troops and the fleet forces in a higher state of combat readiness.... [S]pace and air surveillance has been stepped up and electronic intelligence has been intensified. Intelligence collected by space assets has worked more purposefully.

    On the same day, Yazov told the USSR Supreme Soviet that the allied victory in the Persian Gulf had prompted the MoD to reexamine its air defense capability. He warned that the Soviet Union was currently capable of repelling attacks, although this might not be true in two or three years. He nonetheless defended the performance of Soviet supplied weaponry, arguing that the allies had enjoyed a huge quantitative superiority over Iraq.61

    According to Soviet commentators, the conflict in the Persian Gulf illustrates the need for a comprehensive ban on chemical weapons. On 23 February in Pravda, Colonel-General Stanislav Petrov, Commander of Soviet Chemical Troops, observed that the effectiveness of Iraqi chemical weapons, in terms of decisively affecting the outcome of military operations, would be small:

    Chemical weapons are militarily effective only if they are used on a large-scale.... In my view, such use of aircraft delivered chemical weapons is unlikely, since the multinational force has air superiority. This also applies to rocket delivered chemical agents. Therefore, one should not expect the use of chemical weapons to bring Iraq any significant results.62

    Petrov stated that in the event that chemical weapons were used in the Persian Gulf, the danger to the Soviet Union's southern republics {Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkmenistan) would be minimal. "Large mountainous areas and considerable altitude variations would prevent air currents from carrying chemical agents as far as our borders in any significant concentrations." He offered the opinion that the Americans should not have hit chemical weapons storage facilities for fear of provoking Iraq into retaliating with chemical munitions. He also indicated that air strikes against Iraqi chemical weapons facilities were not altogether successful.63 Petrov concluded by observing that the Gulf War had seriously threatened the prospects for the signing of a comprehensive convention banning the production and storage of chemical weapons.
    Week Seven "Humanity has of the most just wars ever fought."

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    Desert Storm (1991): Why this success? - Page 3 Empty Re: Desert Storm (1991): Why this success?

    Post  nemrod Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:15 pm

    The most comprehensive and authoritative insight into official General Staff views on the war was provided by Major General N. Kutsenko, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Center of Operational-Strategic Research. On 27 February in Izvestiya, he outlined the allied ground campaign for Soviet readers.64 Kutsenko pointed out that three separate allied army corps --each consisting of 4-7 tank, mechanized, and marine divisions, and 3-5 brigades --had participated in the ground assault against Iraq. The main effort was launched in the center sector by American, British, and French forces. Moving along the Iraq-Kuwait border, allied forces were advancing toward Basra. A second attack, conducted by U.S. Marines and Egyptian troops in cooperation with airborne and naval landings, was launched along the coast. A third attack was launched in the West by an American army corps. Finally, an airborne landing was conducted in the vicinity of Kuwait city.

    According to Rutsenko, the allied offensive was supported by more than 4000 artillery pieces and mortars, and 2000 aircraft and attack helicopters. Coalition electronic warfare assets were used on a large scale to disrupt Iraqi command and control systems. He highlighted the fact that Allied forces of battalion size and higher were utilizing space-based communication systems, as were allied staffs, which were making use of satellite reconnaissance to keep track of developments along the front.65

    Kutsenko observed that while Iraqi forces were preparing to conduct an organized withdrawal from Kuwait, this would be difficult to accomplish. Allied forces enjoyed air superiority and would be able to completely destroy the withdrawing Iraqis. He argued that the United States sought not only the restoration of Kuwait, but complete control over a strategically important region of the world and its sources of oil. It was for this reason that attempts by the President of the Soviet Union to resolve the conflict through peaceful means were rejected.

    Izvestiya commentator V. Litovkin, pointed out that the bulk of Iraqi military equipment was Soviet-produced, and that Iraqi Army officers had been trained in Soviet military academies. Thus, for many people the war in the Persian Gulf represented a clash between "U.S. and Soviet military science, between their weapons and ours.... It is obvious," he concluded, "which side has the advantage..." Kutsenko responded that Iraq had been armed by both East and West, not just the Soviet Union. In addition, Iraqi officers were trained "in the best military schools in the West; France, Britain, Italy..." He called the assertion that the Iraqi Army had copied Soviet tactics and operational art ridiculous. Kutsenko commented that the Iraqi Army had developed its own system of tactics and operational art during the Gulf War with Iran. It was there, he stressed, that the Iraqi Army had "perfected [their] own methods and means of waging armed combat," including the art of concealment, disinformation, and preparation of engineer positions for personnel and equipment. Kutsenko also indicated that the outcome of the conflict was not dependent on technology as much as on the professional preparation of the people operating and servicing it. "In the Iraqi Army, both [technology and preparation] left a great deal to be desired."66 Finally, he noted that most of Iraqi's military arsenal had been produced in the 1960s and 70s. In comparison, U.S.. British, and French weapons had been produced in the 1980s and 90s.

    Kutsenko remarked that the leadership of NATO had exploited the war as an opportunity for testing the newest weapon systems and military technologies, many of which are already entering the arsenals of NATO armies.67 These included the F-117A Stealth fighter-bomber, the Patriot air defense missile complex with its "anti-missile missiles," the E-3A with its radar system for ground target reconnaissance and target designation, reconnaissance-strike complexes, air- and sea-launched cruise missiles, laser-guided bombs, and new armored equipment. The desert terrain and climate, however, revealed serious deficiencies in coalition equipment. Kutsenko noted, for example, that the gas-turbine engines of the Abrams tank were quite frequently disabled by sand. Additionally, the Apache, Puma, and other coalition helicopters proved unreliable in sandstorms. In comparison, Kutsenko pointed out that, according to the Syrian Minister of Defense, Corps General M. Tlass, Soviet T-62s and other tanks, Mi-8 helicopters and later models, and small arms proved "very reliable and effective in desert conditions."

    Kutsenko concluded by drawing attention to the fact that the U.S. might exceed its authority and conduct military operations into Iraq. "Then," he warned, "the war would assume a completely different character. As to how everything does, however, only time will tell."

    For the second time since the beginning of the conflict, Major General Viktor Filatov, the editor of Military-Historical Journal, provided one of the most colorful and wrongheaded reports of the war. Filatov was covering the war as a special Soviet correspondent in Baghdad. Writing in Sovetskaya Rossiya, he reported that the Iraqi army had shown "its bravery and courage" in a series of counterattacks which "smashed" allied forces in the Persian Gulf.68 Filatov observed that the U.S. was bent on bombing Iraq "back into the stone age" as it had tried to do to Vietnam. He called American soldiers "the barbarians of the 20th century" and asserted that American forces had not actually entered Kuwait on February 24, as announced, but remained inside Saudi Arabia on the defensive. Filatov noted that those allied forces that did attack were halted by the Iraqi Army. "[A]fter resisting the initial power allied assault," he concluded, "the Iraqi 3d Army Corps launched its counteroffensive, which has been going on for eight hours."

    Filatov's report accurately reflects the tone set by Sovetskaya Rossiya throughout the war, a bastion of Soviet conservatism, viewing the United States through Cold-War-colored glasses. It is interesting to note that Filatov's article in Sovetskaya Rossiya closely paralleled Iraqi dispatches of the fighting broadcast the same day.69 This suggests that Filatov-and perhaps the Soviet General Staff as well --was overly reliant on Iraq for information and thus misled on the progress of the war. The errors in Kutsenko's reports indicate that the Soviet General Staff encountered difficulties in effectively and accurately monitoring and analyzing developments during the Persian Gulf conflict, despite the formation of a special "operations group" early in the war and the commitment of additional Soviet space and communications intelligence assets to monitor the war's progress.70 The alternative explanation is that the Soviet General Staff knew the specifics of allied ground operations, but did not want to reveal the extent of the Iraqi defeat for fear of triggering an avalanche of criticism about the inadequacies of Soviet military thought and technology.

    In stark contrast to Filatov's stridently anti-American tone, was a 27 February broadcast on Radio Moscow, which called the Gulf War "one of the most just wars ever fought."71

    The war in the Gulf did not bury the hopes for a new world order, as some people had though it would. It only sharpened the outlines of a new worldwide political structure. The Soviet Union and the United States demonstrated common goals, even when quite natural subtle differences appeared in their approaches.

    The broadcast went on to note that though the course of war proved "inevitable", its escalation was forestalled due to the efforts of Israel, Iran, and Turkey. "Today," it concluded, "we must congratulate all who took part in the anti-Iraqi coalition; from the men in uniform to the diplomats who battled as fiercely at the negotiation table. Humanity has survived another war, one of the most just wars ever fought."
    Conclusion: "the Soviet Armed Forces will have to take a closer look at the quality of their weapons, their equipment. and their strategy."

    Soviet officers are discussing the outcome of the Gulf War and attempting to derive relevant lessons. Opinions vary: some laud the efficiency of allied air and ground operations, while others refuse to accept Western reports at face value.

    Colonel Aleksandr Tsalko, who headed a Soviet Air Force Training Center prior to assuming his duties as a Soviet People's Deputy, observed that the crushing defeat of the Iraqi Army made it clear the Soviet military doctrine and the entire model of military development were obsolete. On a 1 March Moscow Radio broadcast he stated:

    Some military authorities in this country continue to believe that the outcome of a war is determined by a clash of huge masses of ground troops. It is sheer madness. The war in the Gulf clearly showed that the Iraqi Army was simply overwhelmed by air strikes and the troops had to keep their noses buried in the sand.72

    Tsalko disagreed with those who claimed that the war demonstrated the inferiority of Soviet military equipment. "On many counts we are not so much behind." He stressed, however, that the main lesson of the war was that huge amounts of tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery pieces were "absolutely useless."

    In the same broadcast, Colonel Nikolay Petrushenko, one of the leaders of the powerful, conservative, Soyuz [Union] organization, stated that he had no doubts that the reported successes of the multinational forces were exaggerated by the Western press. "Only a very naive person," he commented, "can believe that during the month and a half of preparations for the war, the U.S. lost 80 people, while more than a month of hostilities claimed a total of 70 men killed or wounded."73

    In a separate 1 March broadcast on Radio Moscow, Major General Kutsenko remarked that operation Desert Storm "was not very novel in the operational-tactical sense."74 He pointed out that the large-scale use of air forces, cruise missiles and other precision-guided weapons, and prolonged electronic warfare operations to disable the enemy's command and control structure and undermine his military and economic potential had already been employed in other wars and conflicts. These had involved the air forces of the United States, Israel, and Great Britain. With regard to the Iraqi Army, however, Kutsenko stated that its imaginative use of operational camouflage was of some military interest.75 He concluded by announcing that the MoD would soon hold a workshop to analyze all aspects of the Gulf War.

    A conference of the Moscow City Council on 3 March discussed the lessons of the Gulf War. According to speakers, the war showed that Soviet military doctrine and principles of military development had "considerable drawbacks" and that prevailing Soviet views on modern war had become "outdated."76 The war also showed the advantages of a highly-professional army over a mass army based on universal military service. Participants in the conference included Soviet and Russian People's Deputies, members of the Democratic Russia Movement, and military servicemen. They pointed out that the previously announced military reforms were actually not taking place for lack of relevant legislation.

    In an interview with INTERFAX, Marshal of the Soviet Union Viktor Kulikov, former Commander-in-Chief of Warsaw Pact Forces, said that the "human factor" was largely responsible for the Iraqi defeat in the Gulf War.77 Kulikov, who is now responsible for veterans' affairs at the MoD, noted that the Soviet equipment sold to Iraq was not technologically inferior to Western equipment. He claimed that the "human element" was always the derisive element in the success or failure of any weapon system. He observed that while the Iraqis had been trained by Soviet military advisors, "one does not always succeed in injecting one's knowledge into someone else's head." However, like Soviet Defense Minister Yazov, Kulikov acknowledged that the Iraqi air defense system, composed essentially of Soviet equipment, had not functioned. He concluded:

    The military operations between the coalition forces and Iraq have modified the idea which we had about the nature of modern military operations. A deeper analysis is necessary, but one point is already clear; the Soviet Armed Forces will have to take a closer look at the quality of their weapons, their equipment, and their strategy.

    by Colonel David M. Glantz

    The Gulf War has fueled Soviet concerns regarding the nature and consequences of future war. Soviet observers commented extensively on the diplomatic and military deployment phases (August 1990-January 1991) and on the air war (January-February 1991), and have begun critiquing the short but violent ground phase. Although their judgments have often reflected a wide diversity of political views, arid some have been polemical in tone and unrealistic in content, these observers have begun identifying several important trends or tendencies which are worth, of deeper analysis.

    Certainly the question of coalition-building and power projection heads the list of important Soviet concerns. Although they themselves contributed to the process, they were impressed by the ability of the U.S., within the context of the United Nations, to form a coalition from such diverse and often mutually hostile states. Observers have also noted U.S. ability to move a sizeable force to and, even more important, conduct an impressive logistical build-up in a distant region which lacked a well-developed communications infrastructure. Despite the fact that this process of "preparing a remote theater of military operations " took up to six months, the military results and political consequences of that feat will likely prompt increased concern on the part of those who, since Marshal Ogarkov's time, have warned of U.S. power projection capabilities.

    To Soviet planners the most troubling trend was the seeming dominance of the battlefield, if not the theater as a whole, by modern technology in the form of hi8h-precision weapons Despite the predictable achievement by the Allies of total air superiority, the crushing weight of technology seemed to confirm the Soviet's worst fears -- that new high-precision weapons and weapons whose effect could not be readily predicted did, in fact, dominate and even alter the course and outcome of the subsequent ground war. These new weapons and, even more important, the systems employed to integrate them and older weapons in combat may, they fear, negate many more traditional measures of military power and have a revolutionary impact on future combined-arms concepts. The role of the Allied naval forces during active operations and as a means of deception will reinforce Soviet anxiety regarding the issue of naval power in warfare and insure that the U.S. Navy is a subject of future arms control negotiations.

    Deception and surprise, in the Soviet view, played critical roles in both the air and ground phases of the war. This judgement reinforced the existing Soviet belief that recent technological developments have placed an even greater premium on the conduct of deception and the achievement of surprise. Both are absolute necessities if a state is to achieve success in future warfare. Early Soviet concerns that the Allies had not exploited the effects of the air campaign soon enough probably evaporated when the Allies ultimately did so quickly, effectively, and with practically no ground casualties. Soviet anxiety over the poor performance of specific Soviet weapons and integrating systems will probably pale beside their realization that modern high-precision weaponry, artfully and extensively applied, produced paralysis and utter defeat. Subsequent large- scale Allied conduct of successful operational maneuver sustained to great depths by an unprecedented logistical effort, combined with limited loss of materiel and weapons on the part of the attacker, will likely become major subjects of future Soviet study. While Soviets analyze these important issues, it is likely they will be plagued by the nagging questions, "Did not the air phase of the operation render all subsequent ground actions anti- climatic," and if so, "Why?."

    Soviet planners certainly recognize the unique circumstances existing in the theater and asymmetries in forces, levels of modernization, and military competence between coalition and Iraqi military establishments. Nevertheless, in all probability the Allies ability to forge an effective combined effort and apply force efficiently in both the air and ground phases of the campaign has prompted concern in Soviet military and political circles. The unprecedented disruption of Iraq's military infrastructure, combined with extensive operational maneuver conducted within the context of the Airland Battle concept against Iraq's military center of gravity, seems to have confirmed Marshal Ogarkov's oft-expressed concern about a potential Soviet enemy's so-called war-winning potential in an initial period of any future war. Depending on one's political point of view, this will give cause for concern on the part of both those who have supported the concept of defensive sufficiency and those who have argued strenuously against it. The events of the Gulf War will likely, reinforce the arguments of reformers who have underscored the destructiveness and, hence, folly of future war. Conversely, it will serve as fodder for those who have argued against defensiveness or for greater defensive strength in light of what they perceive as a growing threat to the Soviet Union.

    For the U.S., it would be a mistake to generalize from the experiences of the Gulf War and assume that the performance of the Iraqi Army with its predominantly Soviet equipment replicates how Soviet forces would operate in future war. The Iraqis did possess Soviet equipment, but did not employ it in a "Soviet manner." An over-arching system similar to that of the Soviets to integrate weaponry was noticeably absent. The result was the almost immediate loss of the air war and subsequent disaster.

    Most Iraqi senior commanders, as Soviet critiques point out, were educated in Western or Indian staff colleges, while lower level commanders were Soviet educated. Much of the Soviet equipment performed well technically, and the Soviet military will not scrap the T-72 tank because its Iraqi crews chose to abandon them rather than fight.

    Soviet military theorists are carefully studying the lessons of Operation Desert Storm and will continue to study them. While that study will be intense and the lessons learned will likely be extensive, the Soviets do not view the results of the war as an indictment of their weaponry or military methodologies. Rather, they will likely view the lessons of the war as an indictment of an inflexible Iraqi war leadership which failed to support its army adequately and gave short shrift to the vital issue of armed forces morale.


    1. See, for example, Suzanne Crow, "The Gulf Conflict and Debate Over Soviet 'National' Interests," Report on the USSR, 3, no. 6 (February 8, 1991), pp. 15-17.BACK

    2. G. Zhivits, "How Professionals Wage War: Soviet Military Expert Analyzes the Course of Hostilities in the Persian Gulf Region," Izvestiya, 19 January 1991, p. 4.BACK

    3. See "Iraqi Aims Analyzed," FBIS-SOV-91-014, 22 January 1991, pp. 23-24.BACK

    4. V. Gorbachev, "...Tanks Will Not Save the Day. Soviet Military Expert Analyzes the Progress of Combat Operations in the Persian Gulf Region," Izvestiya, 21 January 1991, p. 6.BACK

    5. Reports that the MoD had provided the United States with information about Soviet-built Iraqi systems would continue to haunt it. Chief of the Soviet General Staff, General of the Army Mikhail Moiseyev's rebuttal was aired on Moscow TASS International Service, 1110 GMT, 30 January 1991. See "General Denies Revealing Secrets," FBIS-SOV-91-021, 31 January 1991, p. 5.BACK

    6. "General Says 90 Percent Off," FBIS-SOV-91-015, 23 January 1991, p. 12.BACK

    7. "Evacuee Says Extremely Accurate," FBIS-Sov-91-015, 23 January 1991, p. 12.BACK

    8. "USSR Marshal Akhromeyev: Conflict Not of Short Duration," Interview with Marshal of the Soviet Union S. Akhromeyev, Neues Deutschland, 22 January 1991, p. 4.BACK

    9. Captain S. Sidorov, "In the Skies Over Iraq," KZ, 25 January 1991, p. 3.BACK

    10. For insights into Iraqi use of Italian produced military decoys, see N. Miroshnik, "Persian Gulf: Business Is Business," Pravda, 25 January 1991, p. 4.BACK

    11. Alekeandr Colts, "Shadow of Chemical Weapons Over the Persian Gulf," KZ, 31 January 1991, p. 3. Yestaf'yev is described as "a U.N. expert on the use of chemical weapons." However, an article in KZ, 11 September 1990, p. 3. describes him a Chief of a Directorate of Chemical Troops on the Soviet General Staff. BACK

    12. A. Rhokhlov, "The War in the Gulf Has Not Yet Begun," Komsomol'skaya Pravda, 1 February 1991, p. 3.BACK

    13. "Lobov Foresees Settlement," in Moscow World Service in English, 1210 GMT, 1 February 1991, FBIS-SOV-91-023, 4 February 1991, p. 15.BACK

    14. V. Pereverzev, "Military Observer's Notes," Izvestiya, 4 February 1991, p. 4.BACK

    15. Ye. Shchekatikhin, "Protracted Downpour," Sovetskaya Rossiya, 2 February 1991, p. 5.BACK

    16. Ibid.BACK

    17. V. Nikanorov, "The General Staff is Closely Monitoring the Developing Situation," KZ, 31 January 1991, p. 3.BACK

    18. "War Gives Soviets Unprecedented Chance to Evaluate U.S. Performance," Aviation Week and Space Technology, February 18, 1991, p. 46.BACK

    19. One example of this is the recent visit to Baghdad by the Major General V. Filatov, editor of Military-Historical Journal. According to unofficial reports, he recently spent five days in the Iraqi capital during the height of the allied bombing campaign. This would have made Filatov, who has provided Soviet coverage of the Vietnam War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Iran-Iraq War, the ranking Soviet officer in Baghdad.BACK

    20. See Scott Shane, "U.S. Had Underestimated Iraq's Military Capabilities, Soviets Say," Baltimore Sun, reprinted in Kansas City Star, February 10, 1991.BACK

    21. See, for example, S. Zavorotnyy and I. Chernyak, "Baghdad Blazing Like a Christmas Tree," Komsomol'skaya Pravda, 18 January 1991. The two analysts observed: "The Iraqis' helplessness is striking: There is no sound of their aircraft taking off, they have only been able to launch a few missiles. We note that Soviet military equipment, of which Iraq has an abundance, has not shown itself at its best. Will anyone dare to buy it after such an obvious failure?"BACK

    22. While Iraq possessed some French ADA systems and aircraft, the majority were of Soviet origin. At the beginning of the war, the Iraqi Army had Soviet SA-2,3,6,7,8,9,13,14 and 16s, in addition to French Roland Is, IIs and captured American Hawks. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of Iraq anti-air artillery was Soviet, while the remainder was Chinese. See National Training Center Handbook 100-91, The Iraqi Army - Organization and Tactics (Ft. Irwin, California, 3 January 1991), pp. 132-133. The Iraqi Air Force possessed Soviet Su-17/20/22s and MiG 21s, 23s, and 29s, in addition to French F-1 Mirages.BACK

    23. Soviet Military Power 1990, (Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990), p. 5.BACK

    24. This is a repetition of the same debate that followed the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. After the war, Arab clients demanded, and were provided with increasingly sophisticated Soviet weaponry. In light of the need for hard currency, the postwar period may thus find the Soviet Union providing its clients with its most sophisticated systems.BACK

    25. V. Demidenko, "Special Comments on Komsomol'skaya Pravda Correspondents 'Tunnel' Vision of the Quality of Soviet Military Equipment," KZ, 6 February 1991.BACK

    26. According to one Soviet analyst, the bunker system which so effectively sheltered the Iraqi Air Force was built by the West. In "Shelters for Iraqi Air Force According to NATO Standards," Izvestiya, 2 February 1991, B. Moskvichev writes that from 1984 to 1985 a series of underground air bases, including some 300 underground aircraft shelter, were built in Iraq to the same standards that are stipulated for NATO bases. Various French, Italian, German, and British firms took part in the construction of Iraqi underground air bases."Take-offs can be executed right from the hangers, which transforms the concrete underground structure into a real fortress."BACK

    27. N. Burbyga, "Ground War Inevitable," KZ, 8 February 1991, p. 6.BACK

    28. "Soviet Review," USA Today, March 1, 1991, p. 3A.BACK

    29. I. Yevataf'yev, "Chemical Attacks and Nuclear Retaliation," Sovetskaya Rossiya, 8 February 1991, p. 5.BACK

    30. Moscow Radio Rossiya Network (in Russian), 1900 GMT, 9 February 1991. See "Krasnaya Zvezda's Pro-Iraqi Bias Deplored," FBIS-SOV-91-030, 13 February 1991, p. 17.BACK

    31. Lieutenant-General I. Skuratov, "D-Day, February '91? What Will the Amphibious Landing in the Persian Gulf Be Like," KZ, 12 February 1991,p. 3.BACK

    32. In "The General Staff is Closely Monitoring the Developing Situation," KZ, 31 January 1991, p. 3., Major General Bogdanov observed: "Certain Western specialists have no doubt that the American command has plans for low-yield nuclear strikes against Iraq if the latter resorts to chemical weapons."BACK

    33. "Possible Use of Nuclear Weapons in Gulf View," Moscow World Service, 2300 GMT, 13 February 1991, FBIS-SOV-91-031, 14 February 1991, p. 15.BACK

    34. See, for example, "Soviets: Stopping START," Newsweek, February 25, 1991, p. 3., and "Arms Pact Sleight of Hand," Time, March 4, 1991, p. 57.BACK

    35."Bessmertnykh Speaks to Supreme Soviet on Gulf War," Moscow TASS International Service, 1620 GMT, 19 February 1991, FBIS-SOV-91-034, 20 February 1991, pp. 24-27.BACK

    36. I. Vladimirov, "NATO and the Crisis in the Persian Gulf," KZ, 19 February 1991, p. 3.BACK

    37. According to Izvestiya, 12 December 1990, p. 6, Soviet Space Units are commanded by Colonel General V. L. Ivanov.BACK

    38. V. Litovkin, "Patriot for Space: United States Tests New Antimissile Unit," Izvestiya, 11 February 1991, p. 4.BACK

    39. Only a few years ago, such an admission of Soviet technological inferiority would have been unthinkable.BACK

    40. See Scott Shane, "Soviet Muslims Support Saddam Hussein," The Baltimore Sun, January 20, 1991 and George Stein, "Soviet Muslims Divided on Gulf War," Report on the USSR (Radio Free Europe), Vol. 3, No. 8 (February 22, 1991), pp. 13-15.BACK

    41. Some 63% of 2000 Soviet citizens interviewed during the first week of the war supported the allied coalition. See "Soviet General Fears War Could Reach USSR Territory," Reuters, January 31, 1991. Cited in Stein.BACK

    42. Oleg Shchedrov, "Islamic Factor in Policy on Iraq," Radio Moscow (in English), November 8, 1990. Cited in Stein.BACK

    43. "10,000 Soviet Citizens Want to Serve in the Army of Saddam Hussein," Novosti, February 5, 1991. Cited in Stein. The same day the Soviet Ministry of Defense announced that it could not concern itself with sending volunteers to assist either Iraq or the allies in the war. See "We Do Not Enlist Volunteers," KZ, 5 February 1991, p. 3.BACK

    44. See Population of the USSR. A Statistical Yearbook (Moscow: Finances and Statistics, 1989), p. 8.BACK

    45. Ibid., p. 3. Population growth was 17 percent in Azerbaijan, 13 percent in Kazakhstan, 4 percent in Latvia, 6 percent in the Ukraine, and 7 percent in Russia, Byelorussia, and Estonia.BACK

    46. Inter-ethnic violence in the Soviet Union has already led to the appearance of hundreds of thousands of refugees. See Ann Sheehy, "The State of the Multinational Union," Report on the USSR (RFE/RL Research Institute), Vol. 3, No. 1, (January 4, 1991), p. 18. See also Charles Carlson, "Kazakhstan. Inter- ethnic Tensions, Unsolved Economic Problems," Bess Brown, "Tadzhikistan. Ten Months after the Dushanbe Riots," and James Critchlow, "Uzbekistan. The Crisis Deepens," in the same issue, pp. 29-30, 32-34 and 36-40 respectively.BACK

    47. Moscow World Service, 1210 GMT, 21 February 1991. See "Chemical Troops Commander Speaks," FBIS-SOV-91-036, 22 February 1991, pp. 29-30.BACK

    48. M. Zheylov, "The Warsaw Pact and European Security," KZ, 22 February 1991, p. 3.BACK

    49. See "Army-Navy Game," U.S. News and World Report, March 18, 1991, p. 28. The Soviets are reported to be transferring large amounts of military equipment to naval outposts in order to circumvent arms-reduction accords. They are also reported to be building four new ballistic missile submarines, despite assurances to the U.S. to the contrary. Jane's Defense Weekly reports that the Soviets have shifted some 10,000 tanks, 4,000 other armored vehicles, and 20,000 artillery pieces to storage depots located east of the Ural Mountains to escape destruction under a conventional arms treaty. See "Soviets Are Moving Military Equipment," cited in The Kansas City Star, March 14, 1991, p. A7.BACK

    50. Korzelov, "Half an Hour with Wang Xio," Moscow International Service, 1300 GMT, 22 February 1991. Cited in "Commentary Views Possible MiG-29 Sale to PRC," FBIS-SOV-91-037, 25 February 1991, p. 6.BACK

    51. With a maximum take-off weight of 39,000 lbs, the MiG-29 Fulcrum is reported to have an engine thrust of 18,300 lbs, a maximum speed of Mach 2.3, and a service ceiling of 56,000. Soviet and East German aircraft are equipped with an extremely powerful pulse-doppler look-down/shoot down radar. In comparison, the 68,000 lb. F-15 has an engine thrust of 23,830, a maximum speed of Mach 2.5, and a service ceiling of 60,000 ft. With a wingspan of 42 ft. 9.75 inches, a length of 63 ft. 9 in. and a height of 18 ft. 5.5 in. the F-15 has a large radar cross section. In comparison, the MiG-29 has a wingspan of 37 ft. 8.75 in., a length of 56 ft. 8 in., and a height of 14 ft. 5.25 in. In Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in June 1982, Israeli F-15s engaged the best Soviet build fighters in the Syrian Air Force --which included MiG-29s --and destroyed 58 in air combat without suffering any losses. See Walter J. Boyne, Weapons of Desert Storm (Lincolnwood, Illinois: Publications International, Ltd., 1991), pp. 9, 16.BACK

    52. The U.S. has also expressed interest in purchasing or leasing the MiG-29. See Charles Bickers, "U.S. Plans to Lease Soviet Aircraft," Jane's Defence Weekly, 9 March 1991, p. 325. According to the author, coalition pilots practiced against former East German MiG-29s in the buildup to Operation Desert Storm.BACK

    53. In the case of China, the MiG-29s are part of a barter deal in which the Soviets provide arms for food.BACK

    54. See, for example, "Israelis Fear Syria is Buying Sophisticated Weapons," Knight-Rider Newspapers, cited in The Kansas City Star, March 16, 1991, p. A13. The Syrians and Soviets are involved in a "very huge" arms deal as Syria is attempting to upgrade its arsenal as a result of the lessons learned from the Persian Gulf War. "The arms race...," remarked one Israeli military official, "is going to increase in the coming months."BACK

    55. Moscow TASS International Service, 1515 GMT, 22 February, cited in "Defense Ministry Denies Military Delegation in Iraq," FBIS-SOV-91-037, 25 February 1991, p. 17.BACK

    56. "Is Moscow Helping Baghdad," New Times, No. 7 (19-25 February 1991), p. 1.BACK

    57. Moscow International Service, 0100 GMT, 27 February 1991, cited in "Yazov Interviewed on Gulf, Pact, China Ties," FBIS-SOV91-041, 1 March 1991, pp. 51-52.BACK

    58. "USSR Defense Minister's Order of the Day No. 8," KZ, 22 February 1991, p. 1. The order was dated February 1991.BACK

    59. A. Gorokhov and V. Izgarshev, "Today is Soviet Army and Navy Day," KZ, 23 February 1991, pp. 1-2.BACK

    60. Yazov reiterates the point made by Corps General M. Tlass, Syrian Minister of Defense, on Moscow Radio during a recent visit to Moscow.BACK

    61. Report on the USSR (RFE/RL Research Institute), Vol. 3, No. 10 (March 8, 1991), pp. 19-20. See also "Soviets Analyze Air Defence," Jane's Defence Weekly, 9 March 1991, p. 328. Articles in the recently declassified journal of the Soviet General Staff, Voyennaya MYS1' [Military thought], suggest that a debate over the sufficiency of Soviet air defenses has been on-going for a number of years. See, for example, Colonel A. P. Vasil'yev and Colonel V. K. Rudyuk, "Is [Soviet] Air Defense Sufficient?" Voyennaya MYS1', No. 9 (September 1989), pp. 59-68. The authors argue that in light of recent American developments in stealth, cruise missile, and electronic warfare technology, the Soviet air defense system is inadequate.BACK

    62. "But the Chemical War Has Already Begun..," KZ, 23 February 1991, p. 3.BACK

    63. Petrov is the second senior Soviet officer to express the opinion the allied air strikes failed to completely destroy Iraqi chemical weapons production and storage sites. Reports that Saddam Hussein recently approved the use of chemical weapons against anti-government rebel forces in the South of Iraq give some validity to this argument.BACK

    64. N. Kutsenko, "The Lessons of Combat," Izvestiya, 27 February 1991, p. 4.BACK

    65. Kutsenko was drawing attention to the fact that the Gulf War was the first conflict in which wide-scale use was made of space assets, a lesson stressed by Western experts as well. See, for example, Barbara Starr, "Satellites Paved the Way to Victory," Jane's Defence Weekly, 9 March 1991, p. 330.BACK

    66. In comparison, a British general called the Iraqi Army "well equipped but badly trained, with no night fighting capability or experience of the operational level of war....It was totally out of its depth in the context of modern land-air battle." See Ian Kemp, "100-Hour War to Free Kuwait," Jane's Defense Weekly, 9 March 1991, p. 327.BACK

    67. This has been a common theme throughout the Soviet military press. In an earlier interview, Army General M.A. Moiseyev, Chief of the Soviet General Staff remarked: "The Persian Gulf has, to all intents and purposes, become a kind of testing ground for state-of-the-art technology and weapons which are or will become standard equipment for NATO's combined-arms forces in the near future. We must keep this in mind." See Yu. Rubtsov, "Unified Armed Forces for a Unified State," KZ, 23 February 1991, p. 2.BACK

    68. Viktor Filatov, "Those Who Shed Blood," Sovetskaya Rossiya, 27 February 1991.BACK

    69. See, for example, "Iraq Orders Troops to Halt Hostilities," United Press International, 1010 GMT February 28, 1991. "Despite the interference of large numbers of enemy helicopters and jet fighters," announced an Iraqi commentator on Baghdad Radio, "our troops managed to inflict heavy casualties on the enemy troops, which retreated in defeat."BACK

    70. According to Moiseyev, an operations groups was formed at the beginning of the conflict. Its task was to "gather, generalize, and assess the information received." See Rubtsov, "Unified Armed Forces for a Unified State."BACK

    71. Mikhail Mayorov, Moscow World Service, 1210 GMT 28 February 1991, cited in FBIS-SOV-91-040, 28 February 1991, p. 14.BACK

    72. Moscow TASS, 1711 GMT, 1 March 1991, cited in "Officers Discuss War Lessons," FBIS-SOV-91-042, p. 40.BACK

    73. Ibid., p. 41.BACK

    74. Moscow TASS, 1936 GMT, 1 March lg91, cited in "Useful Lessons to be Drawn," FBIS-SOV-91-042, 4 March 1991, p. 42.BACK

    75. This probably refers to mobile missile launchers, a matter of great interest to the Soviets. Despite all its space-based and aerial intelligence-gathering assets, the U.S. was unable to determine until late in the war just how many launchers were available to Iraq (initial estimates stated approximately 30, while final reports stated 200) and where they were located. Thus, the Persian Gulf War appears to vindicate Soviet emphasis on tactical, operational, and strategic mobile missiles. Conversely, it castigates the Soviet concept of the air campaign (at least against an opponent which possesses mobile missiles) which has as one of its main goals the swift destruction of the enemy's nuclear and chemical delivery capability.BACK

    76. Moscow TASS, 1502 GMT, 3 March 1991, cited in "Military Reform Prospects Discussed," FBIS-SOV-91-042, 4 March 1991, p. 41.BACK

    77. "Kulikov Defends Soviet Weaponry," FBIS-SOV-91-042, 4 March 1991, p. 43.BACK

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    Desert Storm (1991): Why this success? - Page 3 Empty The ground offensive, and its so-called success!

    Post  nemrod Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:27 pm

    it took me more than 20 years to learn this information below.
    It shows that there was not a ground offensive, it was slaughter of iraqis soldiers without defense, deactiiving their weapons, their guns, anti aircrafts hardware and during their withdrawals. This extrem cowardly, and barbaric behaviour was made by US air Force, US Navy, Marines, and Gi's. During several weeks of air bombing they could not overcome iraqi forces either in Kuwait, or in Iraq. The republican guards was nearly intact. In order to crunch them, they trapped them in the worst way. Unfortunately Soviet was not predisposed to help Iraq, leaving US to destroy the world in the worst decades that human kind had seen during this history.

    Remembering "The Highway Of Death"

    By Malcom Lagauche

    28 February, 2010

    Headless Iraqi soldiers: trophy photo for U.S. troops

    Nineteen years ago, one of the most diabolical slaughters in war history occurred in Iraq. Despite the assurances of the Bush I regime that retreating Iraqi soldiers would not be attacked, just the opposite happened. Iraqi soldiers and civilians were massacred after Saddam Hussein called for their exit of Kuwait.

    More than 100,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed in five weeks, the majority during the 100-hour ground war. You may say, "This is war and people get killed." That’s true, but tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers were killed by illegal weapons in a most brutal manner that contradicted international laws that apply to war.

    When then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, was asked about the number of deaths the Iraqi military suffered, he said, "I don’t have a clue and I don’t plan to undertake any real effort to find out." This is the same man who stated several months after Desert Storm that his goal was to "make the world scared to death of the United States."

    We all know how Powell as Secretary of State lied to the world about Iraq in 2002 and 2003, yet few remember his affinity for killing during the Gulf War. He was just as vicious and untruthful in 1991 as he was in the early part of the 21st century.

    Prior to the start of the ground phase, many countries were trying to dissuade the U.S. from attacking. Moscow came up with a peace plan that Bush called "a cruel hoax." Bush kept saying that the only objective was for Iraqi troops to leave Kuwait. When one reporter asked him how the Iraqis could retreat while they were still being heavily bombed, Bush answered, "That’s for them to find out."

    On February 22, 1991, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater played his own "cruel hoax." He stated, "The United States and its coalition partners reiterate that their forces will not attack retreating Iraqi forces."

    Despite all the efforts to bring a peaceful conclusion, none was accepted by the U.S. Saddam Hussein ordered a retreat of Iraqi troops from Kuwait on February 25, 1991. This order, with Fitzwater’s earlier statement, appeared to be the beginning of the end of violence in Kuwait and Iraq.

    Bush looked at it another way. He now had his chance to slaughter tens of thousands of defenseless soldiers and one of the most barbaric massacres in history began.

    On February 25, 1991, at a junction of roads leading from Kuwait City, U.S. Marine aircraft, flying close support for ground troops, arrived and saw a five-vehicle-wide stream moving on the highway out of Kuwait City. The vehicles were occupied by Iraqi military personnel (mostly unarmed) and civilians of many nationalities.

    The Marines allowed the vehicles to get out of the city and then laid down an aerial barrage of anti-armor mines across the road, making it impossible for the vehicles to move ahead. There were miles of vehicles and thousands of passengers who were not able to move. Kill zones were assigned to groups of eight aircraft sent into the target area every 15 minutes. According to Major General Royal N. Moore, commander of the Marine Air Wing 3, "It was like a turkey shoot until the weather turned sour."

    By the morning of February 26, the 2nd Marine Division and its augmenting armored brigade (the Tiger brigade) of the Army’s 2nd Armored Division, arrived on the scene. Other ground division followed. Now, the slaughter on what has become to be known as "The Highway of Death" began in earnest.

    U.S. troops observed thousands of Iraqis trying to escape up the highway. They attacked the defenseless soldiers from the high ground, cutting to shreds vehicles and people trapped in a miles-long traffic jam. Allied jets repeatedly pounded the blocked vehicles. Schwarzkopf’s orders were "not to let anybody or anything out of Kuwait City."

    On February 27, the first words hit the outside world about this carnage, however, it still would be a few more weeks until photographs of the destruction made their way to the public, and then only a few were seen. A pool reporter with the 2nd Armored Division wrote:

    As we drove slowly through the wreckage, our armored personnel carrier’s tracks splashed through great pools of bloody water. We passed dead soldiers lying, as if resting, without a mark on them. We found others cut up so badly; a pair of legs in its trousers would be 50 yards from the top half of the body. Four soldiers had died under a truck where they sought protection.

    The Iraqi retreat extended north of Jahra, where the two main roads going into Iraq split at al-Mutlaa. Because the main road was so jammed, Iraqi troops were being diverted along a coastal route. These soldiers suffered the same fate as those on the Highway of Death. According to a U.S. Army officer on the scene (the coastal road):

    There was nothing but shit strewn everywhere, five to seven miles of just solid bombed-out vehicles. The Air Force had been given the word to work over the entire area, to find anything that moved and take it out.

    Surrendering Iraqi troops were also slaughtered. According to a media pool report of February 27:

    One Navy pilot, who asked not to be identified, said Iraqis have affixed white flags to their tanks and are riding with turrets open, scanning the skies with their binoculars. The flier said that under allied rules of engagement, pilots were still bombing tanks unless soldiers abandoned the vehicles and left them behind.

    The first British pilots to arrive at the scenes of slaughter returned to their base. They protested taking part in attacking defenseless soldiers, but, under threat of court martial, they eventually took part in the massacre.

    According to a report by Greenpeace called On Impact:

    Aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ranger, air strikes against Iraqi troops were being launched so feverishly … that pilots said they took whatever bombs happened to be closest to the flight deck. S-3 Viking anti-submarine patrol aircraft were brought into the bombing campaign, carrying cluster bombs. The number of attacking aircraft was so dense that air traffic control had to divert planes to avoid collisions.

    On March 10, the scenes at the coastal road were still horrendous. Reporter Michael Kelly described them:

    For a 50 or 60-mile stretch from just north of Jahra to the Iraqi border, the road was littered with exploded and roasted vehicles, charred and blown-up bodies … I saw no bodies that had not belonged to men in uniform. It was not always easy to ascertain this because the force of the explosions and the heat of the fires had blown most of the clothing off the soldiers, and often too had cooked their remains into wizened, mummified, charcoal-men.

    General McPeak took great pride in the slaughter. He said, "When enemy armies are defeated, they retreat. It’s during this phase that the true fruits of victory are achieved from combat, when the enemy’s disorganized." Less than a week after the White House spokesman assured the world that U.S. forces would not attack a retreating Iraqi army, most of the army was destroyed while it was retreating.

    When the operation was completed, Iraq was stuck with the bill. One of the conditions of the cease-fire was that Iraq had to pay Kuwait $50 billion in reparations for damage caused by the U.S. When the oil-for-food program began, the first 15% of all revenues taken in by Iraq went to Kuwait.

    The most appalling aspect of this end to Desert Storm was the bravado of the U.S. government and the top military officers. They ordered this unnecessary slaughter and took glee every time they publicly spoke of it. Powell and McPeak gained the military accolades that had diverted them a couple of decades earlier in Vietnam.

    In addition to the Highway of Death carnage, an incident occurred that has since been forgotten by most of the world. On the first two days of the ground war (February 24 and 25, 1991), U.S. troops, using tanks and earthmovers that had been specially-fitted with plows, buried thousands of Iraqi soldiers alive.

    Three brigades of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Division (the Big Red One) used the tactic to destroy trenches and bunkers that were defended by about 10,000 Iraqi soldiers. These combatants were draftees, not seasoned troops such as the Republican Guard.

    The assault was carefully planned and rehearsed. According to U.S. participants, about 2,000 Iraqis surrendered and were not buried. Most of the rest, about 8,000, were buried beneath tons of sand — many trying to surrender. Captain Bernie Williams was rewarded for his part in the burying with a Silver Star. He said, "Once we went through there, other than the ones who surrendered, there wasn’t anybody left."

    According to a senior Army official who, under anonymity, was questioned by The Spotlight about the tactics, the use of earthmovers is standard procedure in breaching obstacles and minefields. The heavy equipment precedes armored and infantry units to level barriers, then the vehicles can move quickly through enemy defenses. The official stated that any Iraqi troops who remained in their bunkers would have been buried and killed. He added, "This is war. This isn’t a pickup basketball game."

    Colonel Anthony Moreno, commander of the 2nd Brigade, said, "For all I know, we could’ve killed thousands." A thinner line of trenches on Moreno’s left flank was attacked by the 1st Brigade, commanded by Colonel Lon Maggart. He estimated that his troops alone buried about 650 Iraqis alive.

    After the cease-fire, in an interview with New York Newsday, Maggart and Moreno came forward with some of the first public testimony about the burying alive of Iraqi soldiers. Prior to their interview, then Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, never mentioned the atrocities, even when he submitted a report to Congress just prior to the interviews.

    The technique used in burying the soldiers involved a pair of M1-A1 tanks with plows shaped like giant teeth along each section of the trench line. The tanks took up positions on either side of the trenches. Bradley fighting vehicles and Vulcan armored personnel carriers straddled the trench line and fired into the Iraqi soldiers as the tanks covered them with piles of sand.

    According to Moreno, "I came through right after the lead company. What you saw was a bunch of buried trenches with peoples’ arms and things sticking out of them." Maggart added, "I know burying people alive sounds pretty nasty, but it would be even nastier if we had to put our troops in the trenches and clean them out."

    The attack contradicted U.S. Army doctrine, which calls for troops to leave their armored vehicle to clean out trenches or to bypass and isolate fortified positions. Moreno admitted that the assault was not according to policy:

    This was not doctrine. My concept is to defeat the enemy with your power and equipment. We’re going to have to bludgeon them with every piece of equipment we’ve got. I’m not going to sacrifice the lives of my soldiers — it’s not cost-effective.

    The most disturbing aspect of the incident was the secrecy involved. When Newsday broke the story, many were taken by surprise. According to members of the U.S. House and Senate Armed Forces Committees, the Pentagon had withheld details of the assault from the committees. Senate Chairman, Sam Nunn, was unaware of the assault and after he was notified, he stated, "It sounds like another example of the horrors of war." Quickly, the incident was forgotten.

    The killing of defenseless soldiers and civilians did not end with the cease-fire. On the morning of March 2 (two days after the cease-fire was announced), a convoy of Iraqi vehicles was reported moving through the demarcation point of allied operations on Highway 8 about 50 kilometers west of Basra.

    According to a pool reporter from the UPI, a platoon of the 24th Infantry Division reported that the "massive Iraqi convoy … had just shot a couple of rockets at it." The Washington Post added that the convoy of 700 wheeled vehicles and 300 armored vehicles "opened fire in an effort to clear a path toward a causeway across the Euphrates." Lt. Chuck Ware, the battalion commander, received permission to return fire and the battalion received backup from Army artillery and 20 U.S. Cobra and Apache helicopters.

    The ensuing fighting was one-sided and several thousand Iraqis (civilian and military) were killed in two hours. There were few Iraqi survivors.

    According to a Washington Post report on March 18, 1991:

    U.S. tanks were shooting Iraqi tanks off heavy equipment trailers trying to haul them to safety. Bradley fighting vehicles shattered truck after truck with 25mm cannon fire as Iraqi civilians and soldiers alike ran into the surrounding marshes.

    Lt. Col. Ware said, "They shot first, we won big." Another U.S. officer stated, "We really waxed them."

    This massacre took place after the cease-fire had been announced. At the time, it was thought that the convoy was not aware of its position; therefore it ran into the U.S. Army personnel. All the equipment was being transported on trucks — it was not in position to use in battle — so the U.S. forces had nothing to fear in terms of casualties. Some Iraqi soldiers were lying down on the vehicles and sleeping or obtaining a suntan.

    When the post-cease-fire massacre occurred, the U.S. news agencies mentioned a "skirmish" between Iraqi and U.S. troops and said there were no U.S. casualties. They did not mention the slaughter.

    The information made it appear that the unlucky Iraqis had taken a wrong turn somewhere and happened to run into a trigger-happy group of soldiers. The truth, however, is much more diabolical.

    In May 2000, The New Yorker published an article by Seymour Hersh called "Overwhelming Force." Hersh spent years tracking down some of the participants in the slaughter, which was given the moniker the "Battle of Rumaila."

    Instead of a wayward convoy of Iraqis who had the bad luck to shoot at U.S. forces, Hersh paints a picture of U.S. General Barry McCaffrey intentionally giving wrong location information to his superiors so he could concoct a battle with the hapless Iraqis who, in reality, were exactly where they were supposed to be according to the "safe" routes of return designated by the U.S.

    According to the article:

    McCaffrey’s insistence that the Iraqis attacked first was disputed in interviews for this article by some of his subordinates in the wartime headquarters of the 24th Division, and also by soldiers and officers who were at the scene on March 2nd. The accounts of these men, taken together, suggest that McCaffrey’s offensive, two days into a cease-fire, was not so much a counterattack provoked by enemy fire as a systematic destruction of Iraqis who were generally fulfilling the requirements of retreat; most of the Iraqi tanks traveled from the battlefield with their cannons reversed and secured, in a position known as travel-lock. According to these witnesses, the 24th faced little determined Iraqi resistance at any point during the war or its aftermath; they also said that other senior officers exaggerated the extent of Iraqi resistance throughout the war.

    The slaughter may have been forgotten and never discussed if not for an anonymous letter sent to the Pentagon that accused McCaffrey of a series of war crimes. The letter stated that McCaffrey’s division began the March 2nd assault without Iraqi provocation and it included information only an insider would know. An investigation ensued, but, eventually, McCaffrey was exonerated.

    Despite the prospect of an inquiry, McCaffrey openly bragged about his unit’s performance in the massacre. He told another general’s battalion that the 24th Division had carried out:

    "absolutely one of the most astounding goddamned operations ever seen in the history of military science … We were not fighting the Danish Armed Forces up here. There were a half million of those assholes that were extremely well-armed and equipped."

    Some participants of the battle say that Iraq did not fire the first shot. Others maintain the Iraqis shot first, but only once. Authorities differed on the time between the supposed Iraqi shot and the beginning of the U.S. actions. Some say it was about 40 minutes, while others say the time lapse was close to two hours. Either way, it was evident that if Iraq did fire a shot, there was no follow-up or change of formation for the convoy. It still went forward with its equipment not in place for battle.

    Soon, a call came asking for every available unit to come to rescue the U.S. troops. Sergeant Stuart Hirstein and his team rushed to the site. When Hirstein arrived, he said there was no attack and no imminent threat from retreating Iraqi tanks. According to Hirstein:

    Some of the tanks were in travel formation, and their guns were not in any engaged position. The Iraqi crew members were sitting on the outside of their vehicles, catching rays. Nobody was on the machine guns.

    Despite the intelligence that stated the Iraqis were no threat, and the doubts of other officers about an Iraqi attack, McCaffrey still wanted to go to battle. There were more discussions and Captain Bell, who had been involved with the talks before the U.S. "counterattack," believed that McCaffrey moved his brigades to the east of the original cease-fire line to provoke the Iraqis. He added that there is a huge difference between a round or two fired in panic and McCaffrey’s determination that the Iraqis were "attacking us." He added, that "is pure fabrication."

    Hersh described the beginning of the hostilities that wiped out thousands:

    The division log placed the time of McCaffrey’s first known battle order at five minutes after nine o’clock. According to Log Item 74. McCaffrey directed that the causeway "be targeted," thus blocking the basic escape route for the retreating forces. The division’s Apache helicopters were to "engage from south with intent of terminating engagement." Within moments, the assault was all-out. One company reported that it had engaged a force of between a hundred and two hundred Iraqi "dismounts." By ten o’clock, division headquarters had begun receiving reports of extensive damage to the Iraqi forces. One group of Apache helicopters reported in mid-morning, "Enemy not firing back, they are jumping in ditches to hide." Forty minutes later, according to another log item, McCaffrey ordered artillery to be "used in conjunction with personnel sweep to 'pound these guys’ and end the engagement."

    The 24th Division continued pounding the Iraqi column throughout the morning, until every vehicle moving toward the causeway — tank, truck, or automobile — was destroyed

    McCaffrey was triumphant at battle’s end. "He was smiling like a proud father," John Brasfield told me …

    … A couple of evenings later, Pierson was driving toward the causeway. "It must have been a nightmare along this road as the Apaches dispensed death from five kilometers away, one vehicle at a time. I stopped as a familiar smell wafted through the air … It was the smell of a cookout on a warm summer day, the smell of seared steak."

    After the battle, a captured Iraqi tank commander asked again and again, "Why are you killing us? All we were doing was going home. Why are you killing us?"

    Shortly before his troops flew back to Fort Stewart in the U.S., McCaffrey told them he had never been:

    "more proud of American soldiers in my entire life as watching your attack on 2 March … It’s fascinating to watch what’s happening in our country. God, it’s the damnedest thing I ever saw in my life. It’s probably the single most unifying event that has happened in America since World War II … The upshot will be that, just like Vietnam had the tragic effect on our country for years, this one has brought back a new way of looking at ourselves."

    McCaffrey weathered the storm and received his fourth star in 1994. In 1996, he retired from the Army and was appointed by the Clinton administration as the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, more commonly known as the U.S. Drug Czar.

    Hersh’s article received much pre-publicity in 2000 and many people were anticipating the piece. Then, a couple of days before The New Yorker was to appear on the stands with the article, a press conference was called to address the issue. A Clinton spokesman took to the podium and criticized the article. He called it "old wine in a new bottle." In the space of about five minutes, an article that should have been read by the American public was dismissed as rubbish by the Clinton administration. The curious aspect of this denigration is that the article had not yet appeared. Normally, an administration tears apart something in the press after it is published. This fact alone should have piqued the interest of the public. However, the opposite occurred. Within a couple of days of its publishing, few spoke of the article again. It became a non-issue.

    The entire article is a must-read for anyone who wants to know the truth about how the U.S. military conducted itself in Desert Storm. Not all the personnel were as bloodthirsty as McCaffrey, and Hersh interviewed participants who opposed the decision to slaughter thousands of Iraqis who could not fight back. It is available online at many websites. Punch in the name of the article on a search engine and you will be able to find the entire piece.

    Marlin Fitzwater’s statement that retreating Iraqi troops would not be attacked was an outright lie, yet neither he nor the administration paid a price for the deceit. Up to 100,000 retreating Iraqis were slaughtered after he made the statement to the world. Among the retreating Iraqi soldiers were civilian men, women and children of various nationalities. Their deaths were, according to various U.S. military officers, the "spoils of war."

    Those soldiers who did make it out of Kuwait were still not out of the woods. As soon as they approached Basra, they came under attack from Iranians who crossed the Iran-Iraq border during the U.S. bombing and their Iranian-backed Iraqi stooges. Much bloodshed on both sides occurred, creating more deaths for Iraqi troops. When the hostilities ended, the Iraqi army, by putting up a fierce resistance to the attempted coup, came out on top.

    Marlin Fitzwater lied about not attacking retreating Iraqi troops and despite the horrendous circumstances they endured to get back to Iraq, their war was not over. Iran, with the blessing of the U.S., tried to finish off the Iraqi army. But, in the end, the heroic army kept Iraq intact by its brave fighting. Even this part of history has been re-written by the U.S. Instead of stating that Iraqi soldiers faced yet another ambush, the West put its propaganda machine in full gear and the perception of this incident has been attributed to Iraqi soldiers attacking and massacring Iraqi Shi’ite Muslims.

    The Mother of All Battles is available. To order, please click on this link:


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    Desert Storm (1991): Why this success? - Page 3 Empty Re: Desert Storm (1991): Why this success?

    Post  nemrod Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:43 pm

    As you can see Saddam signed cease fire at 25 february, hence he ordered its troops to leave Kuwait. During iraqi soldiers retreat, february 26, the bastards started to cowardly attack. Nevertheless, there were some iraqi divisions seem to not obey to Saddam's orders.
    They waited americans at Phase Line Bullet, the americans after heavy losses failed to drill Iraqi lines.
    It seems that contrary to the filthy western's hype, the T-62, as T-55, and T-72 performed very well against US armored vehicles, and especially US tanks M1 Abrams, as saudi, french, british, and egyptian tanks M-60.
    This battle was nicknamed as skirmishes. Skirmish? American engaged  1st Armored Division, 3rd Armored Division, 1st Infantry Division, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, without counting the egyptian and saudi divisions. There were at least one thousand tanks, and several hundreds armored vehicles engaged in this battle. And US cheerfully said they lost only few Bradley IFVs destroyed and damaged, and only less than 10 killed and wounded. Didn't they make a fool of us ? Iam near sure that they lost at least several dozens, if not hundreds of armored vehicles, and tanks. They had several hundreds deaths and wounded.

    Ps France had AMX-30, and if I recall AMX-40, British Challenger, Chieftain, but egyptian as saudis had M-60.
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    Desert Storm (1991): Why this success? - Page 3 Empty Iraqi assessment of the Gulf war

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:46 pm

    Years ago I came across an Iraqi report detailing their own performance durign the Gulf war. It included the estimation of their own AFV losse as well enemy's. It claimed that Iraqi forces managed to shot down some 150 cruise missiles but I don't remember anything else.

    Can anyone find it?

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    Desert Storm (1991): Why this success? - Page 3 Empty Re: Desert Storm (1991): Why this success?

    Post  andalusia Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:51 pm

    nemrod wrote:As you can see Saddam signed cease fire at 25 february, hence he ordered its troops to leave Kuwait. During iraqi soldiers retreat, february 26, the bastards started to cowardly attack. Nevertheless, there were some iraqi divisions seem to not obey to Saddam's orders.
    They waited americans at Phase Line Bullet, the americans after heavy losses failed to drill Iraqi lines.
    It seems that contrary to the filthy western's hype, the T-62, as T-55, and T-72 performed very well against US armored vehicles, and especially US tanks M1 Abrams, as saudi, french, british, and egyptian tanks M-60.
    This battle was nicknamed as skirmishes. Skirmish? American engaged  1st Armored Division, 3rd Armored Division, 1st Infantry Division, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, without counting the egyptian and saudi divisions. There were at least one thousand tanks, and several hundreds armored vehicles engaged in this battle. And US cheerfully said they lost only few Bradley IFVs destroyed and damaged, and only less than 10 killed and wounded. Didn't they make a fool of us ? Iam near sure that they lost at least several dozens, if not hundreds of armored vehicles, and tanks. They had several hundreds deaths and wounded.

    Ps France had AMX-30, and if I recall AMX-40, British Challenger, Chieftain, but egyptian as saudis had M-60.

    I am interested in what is the truth, I read this on quora: The Iraqis were warned by General "Stormin "Norman to leave behind their equipments or else face action. As far as I know, the Iraqis didn't abide by Norman's request, and retreating enemy combatants are still legitimate targets, not surrendering. There was nothing in international law that outlaw attacks on retreating enemy combatants.

    Were the Iraqis a legitimate target since retreating is a military manenoveur?

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    Desert Storm (1991): Why this success? - Page 3 Empty Re: Desert Storm (1991): Why this success?

    Post  GarryB Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:32 am

    Were the world trade centre and the pentagon legitimate targets... could even justify it morally as preemptive self defence if they wanted to.

    The US holds itself as the moral centre of the universe... attacking a country on the other side of the planet because they dared invade a neighbour without your permission is one thing, but killing retreating forces that are no threat to your own is pure cowardice... especially when it is a conscript force made up of men that might not even support the leadership of their own country.

    Rules of war mean nothing because the US ignores then when it suits them or uses them to accuse others of war crimes they have repeatedly committed themselves.

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    Desert Storm (1991): Why this success? - Page 3 Empty Re: Desert Storm (1991): Why this success?

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