After coalition forces drove Iraqi occupiers out of Kuwait in February 1991, U.S. special forces discovered an intricate sand-table model used by the Republican Guard to plan for the defense of Kuwait City.
Most of the defenses displayed on the mockup were pointed toward the nearby sea coast, from where the Iraqis believed – as did most of the world that had watched – U.S. Marines would mount an amphibious assault. Model artillery and concertina wire lined the shoreline.
But that anticipated amphibious attack was an illusion, an elaborate ruse concocted by Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf’s planners to conceal the real main attack: a roughly 150-mile sweep west by U.S. Army ground forces into Iraq that cut off supply lines and retreat for many Republican Guard troops.
More than a month of bomb strikes had largely blinded Iraqi surveillance capability, allowing the U.S. to manipulate what the enemy still could see. A week before the main ground attack began on Feb. 23, Marines had crossed over the Saudi Arabia border to conduct attacks on the Republican Guard defenses.
But they were a feint -- although powerful enough to keep Saddam Hussein’s forces believing they were the main ground attack to support an amphibious landing.