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‘A target of opportunity’

March 19

A salvo of missiles and laser-guided bombs hits targets where coalition forces believe Saddam, his sons and other leaders are gathered.

The ground war begins

March 20

The ground war begins as the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division starts shelling Iraqi troops near the Kuwaiti border.

March 21

Airstrikes level Baghdad government buildings and a presidential compound as American warplanes begin what military officials would label a "shock and awe" campaign.

U.S. and British commanders accept the surrender of the 51st Iraqi Infantry Division near the southern city of Basra.

March 22

During a 24-hour period, 500 cruise missiles and several hundred precision weapons are fired on Iraq.

March 23

A dozen U.S. soldiers are captured in a fake surrender near Nasiriyah.

Six soldiers are captured and nine killed by Iraqi forces after a U.S. convoy takes a wrong turn.

In Kuwait City, American soldier Sgt. Asan Akbar throws grenades into tents, ultimately killing two soldiers.

March 24

Heavy sandstorms slows the U.S. advance, but troops still get within 50 miles of Baghdad.

March 25

British troops continue battling Iraqi militiamen in the strategic city of Basra, control of which is key to delivering humanitarian aid.

March 26

Iraq’s northern front is opened when U.S. Army para-troopers lands in a Kurdish-controlled enclave and seize an airfield.

March 28

With the harbor cleared of mines, a British supply ship arrives at the port of Umm Qasr.

March 29

Suicide attacks become a weapon north of the sacred city of Najaf, when a taxi driver pretending to need help blows himself up, killing four U.S. soldiers as they approach.

March 30

Missile attacks hit military facilities in Baghdad, including a presidential palace, telephone exchanges, a military intelligence complex and paramilitary training barracks.

April 1

U.S. Special Forces rescue Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch from a hospital in Nasiriyah; 11 bodies are also found, eight of which are later identified as members of her ambushed convoy.

April 2

The Baghdad and Medina divisions of Iraq’s Republican Guard are defeated by U.S. troops.

Bridges over the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are seized by U.S. forces who then advance to within 35 miles of Baghdad.

April 3

U.S. Army units attack Saddam International Airport, 10 miles southwest of the capital.

Into Baghdad

April 5

American armored vehicles drive briefly through Baghdad after smashing through Republican Guard units.

April 7

U.S. tanks rumble through downtown Baghdad and a B-1B bomber attack hits buildings where Saddam and other leaders again are said to be meeting.

British forces take Basra.

April 9

American commanders declare Saddam’s regime no longer in control of Baghdad. Before the city falls, jubilant crowds topple a 40-foot statue of Saddam.

April 10

Northern city of Kirkuk falls.

April 11

U.S. forces and Kurdish allies take the northern city of Mosul.

April 12

Looters ransack government buildings, embassies, hospitals, businesses and even the National Museum.

Iraq’s science adviser surrenders to U.S. forces, the first of the 55 most-wanted leaders list issued by the coalition.

April 13

Following 22 days of imprisonment, seven U.S. prisoners of war are released and flown to Kuwait.

April 14

Meeting light resistance, U.S. forces take Tikrit.

Looting in Baghdad finally slows down and discussions begin to restore the capital with power, water, security and other vital services.

NOTE: All dates Eastern time

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