Saddam Hussein had boasted the coming ground war between the U.S.-led coalition in Saudi Arabia and his Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait would be the “Mother of All Battles.”
Instead, American forces rolled over the Iraqis, needing a mere 100 hours from the start of their ground assault on Feb. 24, 1991 until a cease-fire ended the fighting on Feb. 28. It was an abrupt end to a showdown that had escalated over the previous six months, reflecting the superiority of American technology, training and planning.
Yet, from the perspective of 25 year later, although a clear success, the campaign was still a war, with all its trappings—death, injury, stress and the fog of battle. The speed of operations was intense.
“It was very, very hard for them,” said Tom Carhart, who wrote about the 1st Armored Division’s role in the war. “It was only a couple of days, but they didn’t get much sleep.”
Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf’s assault plan depended on two main actions, a Marine-led invasion of Iraq-occupied Kuwait from the south and an attack to the rear by Army tankers—the famed “left hook” that would cut off Iraqi retreat and confront elite Republican Guard forces. French and American paratroopers would secure the far western flank and establish forward operating bases early in the assault. Saudi and Egyptian forces would join the invading forces from the south.