Thursday, April 21, 2016

The First Gulf War's Battle of Khafji

Robert P. Givens serves as president of RPG Consulting, LLC, a firm he founded. Formerly a pilot and brigadier general in the US Air Force, Robert P. Givens flew an A-10 during the First Gulf War, during which he kept an entire Iraqi armored battalion at bay during the Battle of Khafji.

Occurring on the border of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the Battle of Khafji was the only major Iraqi organized offensive of the war. Details are not clear, but the attack seemed designed to draw American and allied forces into combat, tying up troops meant for deployment farther west. Saddam Hussein may have wanted to weaken the coalition and keep some of his troops in Kuwait.

The main part of the battle lasted only 48 hours. Allied intelligence observed the combat preparations of the Iraqis and prepared defensive obstacles to slow their momentum. Rather than commit large ground forces, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf relied on air strikes to stop the Iraqis' advance.

Although some Iraqi ground units reached Khafji, their reinforcements turned back under pressure from air attacks. After two days, the battle ground to a halt as Saudi and Qatari units occupied the town. The successful allied operations indicated that sizable air strikes could neutralize ground troops who lacked air support.

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