AIRPOWER AGAINST AN ARMY
CHALLENGE AND RESPONSE IN CENTAF’S DUEL WITH THE REPUBLICAN GUARD.
WILLIAM F. ANDREWS
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE FACULTY OF
THE SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIRPOWER STUDIES
FOR COMPLETION OF GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIRPOWER STUDIES
MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, ALABAMA
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force, or Air University.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
William F. Andrews graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1980. After receiving his wings at Columbus AFB, Mississippi he instructed primary jet training in the T-37. In 1984, he converted to EF-111s at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. As an EF-111A instructor pilot in the 390th Electronic Combat Squadron, he served as the squadron chief of weapons and tactics. Major Andrews converted to the F-16 in 1989. Reporting for duty at Hahn AB, Germany, he served as chief of programming, flight commander, and assistant operations officer.
On December 31, 1990 Major Andrews deployed with the 10th Tactical Fighter Squadron to Al Dhafra AB, United Arab Emirates, for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. During Desert Storm, Major Andrews was a mission commander and flew 35 combat missions over Kuwait and Iraq. On 27 February 1991, he was forced to eject from a damaged F-16C over southern Iraq and was captured by the Republican Guards He was held as a POW until the end of hostilities. After a three month convalescence for war related injuries, Major Andrews returned to flying status and was reassigned to Luke AFB, Arizona. There he served as an instructor pilot in F-16 night attack using the Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) system.
He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Military History from the USAF Academy and a Master of Arts degree in History from the University of Alabama. Major Andrews is a Senior Pilot with more than 3400 flying hours. He is married to the former Stacey Williams of Colorado Springs, Colorado. They have three children, Sean (9) and Shannon (7), and Patrick (1).
I would like to thank Dr. Harold R. Winton, for mentoring my thoughts on military adaptation.
In January and February 1991, Central Command Air Forces (CENTAF) conducted an air-to-ground onslaught against Iraq’s Republican Guard. The requirements of this operation conflicted with several aspects of the U.S. Air Force’s preparations for a European battleground. The low-altitude tactics CENTAF crews had practiced for the previous decade and a half were unsuitable for the task at hand.
This study examines how effectively CENTAF adjusted air operations against the Republican Guards to the changing realities of combat. The extent to which existing USAF doctrine prepared CENTAF for this operation provides a baseline for the amount of adaptation required. The subsequent narrative identifies tactical innovations developed during the operation, the main elements of adaptive process, those factors that helped and hindered the process, and the sources of CENTAF’s innovations.
Initial F-16 and B-52 attacks on the Republican Guard registered little success. In response, CENTAF launched six significant tactical innovations in one week: A-10 deep interdiction, A-10 reconnaissance, F-16 Killer Scout operations, F-16 forward basing, F-111 and F-15E "Tank Plinking," and the use of cockpit videotape as a bomb damage assessment (BDA) source. These innovations required CENTAF aviators to create new tactics as they conducted operations. CENTAF’s effectiveness against the Guard divisions improved, resulting in greater destruction of Iraqi forces. Critically weakened by air attack, the two Guard divisions that stood and fought were annihilated during the campaign’s ground phase.
CENTAF’s adaptation to the realities of war in the Gulf, accomplished with impressive speed, was facilitated by four conditions. Air superiority created a permissive environment for innovative tactics. Open-minded attitudes of senior commanders nurtured the growth of new methods from all quadrants, allowing innovative ideas to flow freely up and down the chain of command. The commander’s faith in motivated and well-trained subordinates allowed units to find optimal solutions to complex problems in minimum time. Personal initiative cultivated on U.S. training and tactics ranges, in the classrooms at Nellis AFB, and flight briefing rooms across the USAF was the bedrock of the adaptation process. Although CENTAF did not precisely "fight the way it trained," the Air Force’s mantra, "flexibility is the key to airpower," was reaffirmed by CENTAF’s adaptive process. Such flexibility should be perpetuated during peacetime in order to provide the Air Force the mental, physical, and organizational capability to adapt in future conflicts.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. The Innovation Imperative
chapter 3. The Adversaries
The Republican Guard
The United States Air Force
chapter 4. The Plan3 August 1990 - 15 January 1991
chapter 5. Clash of Arms 17 - 26 January 1991
chapter 6. CENTAF Adapts 27 January-5 February
chapter 7. Attrition War 6 - 23 February 1991
chapter 8. Ground War 24 - 28 February 1991
chapter 9. The Keys to Innovation
ORDER OF BACK MATTER
Appendix 1: Primary Participating USAF Units
Appendix 2: Chronology 101
TABLE OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Republican Guard Dispositions in CENTAF Killboxes
Figure 2: Section of Tawakalna Division Template
Figure 3: Numerous Revetments Confounded CENTAF Targeting.
Figure 4: Ground Offensive and RGFC Actions
For nearly two decades the United States Air Force oriented the bulk of its thinking, acquisition, planning, and training on the threat of a Soviet blitzkrieg across the inter-German border. The Air Force fielded a powerful conventional arm well-rehearsed in the tactics required to operate over a central European battlefield. In a matter of days, the 1990 invasion of Kuwait altered key assumptions that had been developed over the previous decade and a half. The USAF would face a different foe employing a different military doctrine, in an unexpected environment. Instead of disrupting a fast-paced land offensive, the combat wings of United States Central Command Air Forces (CENTAF) were ordered to attack a large, well-fortified, and dispersed Iraqi ground force. The heart of that ground force was the Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC). CENTAF’s mission dictated the need to develop an unfamiliar repertoire of tactics and procedures to meet theater objectives. This requirement for change leads to the question: how effectively did CENTAF adjust air operations against the Republican Guards to the changing realities of combat?
The answer to this question resides in the innovations developed by CENTAF to improve its operational and tactical performance against the Republican Guard. Effectiveness and timeliness are the primary criteria for evaluating innovations.
Although CENTAF conducted operations against a variety of Iraqi organizations, all requiring some degree of adaptation, the operations against the Republican Guard are the subject of this study for three reasons. First, the Republican Guard was the most important element of the Iraqi Army; because its defeat guaranteed the defeat of the remainder, it captured much of CENTAF’s efforts and attention. Second, changes to operations against the RGFC provide a significant case for analyzing wartime adaptation. USAF doctrine that outlined operations against a land force was based on assumptions different than those encountered in the Persian Gulf. As a result, air operations against the Guard units underwent several changes during the war, validating the need to adapt preconceived tactics and procedures during war. Third, operations against the Republican Guard reflect the limits to a study of this scope.
This study will examine the extent to which existing USAF doctrine prepared CENTAF for its mission against the Republican Guards. How closely Air Force doctrine "fit" the situation at hand will provide a baseline for the amount of adaptation required. Examination of CENTAF’s adaptation will also attempt to identify the main elements of adaptive process, those factors that helped and hindered the process, and the sources of CENTAF’s innovations.
This study is confined to Air Force operations against the Republican Guard within the Kuwait theater of operations (KTO). The CENTAF commander, Lt Gen Charles Horner, directed USAF, Navy, Marine, and Allied air units, but the main weight of the air effort against the RGFC was generated by the United States Air Force.
Most documentary evidence used in this study was obtained from the USAF Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Its extensive collection of documents and briefing slides is only partially usable due to the secret classification assigned to most of the Gulf War materials. Some declassified excerpts are reproduced in the Gulf War Air Power Survey, which also provides important Gulf War statistical data. Personal accounts in professional military journals were useful additional sources. Much business during the war was conducted over the phone, with little documentation. Personal interviews, therefore, were an important source of information. Because this study deals with ideas and their origins, some uncertainty exists four years after the fact.
The discussion that follows examines the theoretical basis for adaptation during war, definitions, and criteria to evaluate innovations. The theory is followed by a description of the combatants, their doctrines, and the USAF’s plan for defeating the Republican Guard. The ensuing narrative of the first ten days of air attacks on the RGFC suggests CENTAF saw the need to adapt. The section that follows describes several major innovations that were incorporated into the air campaign. A relatively static period followed, culminating in the ground war that subjected USAF efforts against the Republican Guards to a final audit.
Conclusions of this study, springing from one specific set of conditions, may not apply to all situations in the future. One other significant limitation of this study is that a true measurement of effectiveness on Guard units cannot be known without Iraqi assistance and, even with that, Iraqi knowledge of the status of their own forces is questionable. Iraqi defector and POW debriefings would help, but these reports are classified and cannot be cited.
The Innovation Imperative
I am tempted indeed to declare dogmatically that whatever doctrine the armed forces are working on now, they have got it wrong. I am also tempted to declare that it does not matter that they have got it wrong. What does matter is their capacity to get it right quickly when the moment arrives.
Innovations bridge the gaps that separate doctrines developed in peacetime from the realities of war. They range from minor modifications of existing procedures to fundamental changes that establish entirely new methods. They should be evaluated in terms of timeliness and effectiveness.
Military doctrines and practices established in peacetime are designed to meet the anticipated challenges of war. Based on past experiences and a vision of how future conflict should be fought, a military organization’s doctrine is "a codified and sanctioned body of propositions related to war and conflict" that link theory and practice. Serving as a point of departure for all of a service’s activities, doctrine defines how that service intends to fight, how it will be organized, and with what weapons it will fight.
A military organization’s practices are equal in importance to its doctrine because methods exercised in peacetime result in the formulation of common perceptions of how war should and will be waged in the future by those who will do the fighting. Peacetime training forms patterns and establishes standard operating procedures. Doctrine and practices have an interactive relationship, each taking the lead at times and producing change in the other.
The reality of war will differ from that which is anticipated in peacetime. This stems from an inability adequately to predict the continuing multitudinous changes that influence the conduct of war. Technological changes are especially problematic, as those who formulate doctrine may not recognize technical opportunities or imperatives until it is too late. Doctrines based on experience may fail due to altered circumstances, while those based on theory may fail due to lack of feedback. American military doctrine is especially vulnerable to being undermined by invalidated assumptions because we are hard-pressed to identify accurately our next opponent.
Doctrine and practices must change to meet the demands of the new realities encountered on the field of battle. Military adaptation during war is the process by which a military institution modifies its methods to meet the changing requirements of the wartime environment. This process of military adaptation involves a form of organizational learning through which military institutions change in response to experience and find more effective or efficient methods of waging war. Success may be possible without adaptation, but will come at an increased cost in terms of time, treasure, or blood. Conversely, useful adaptation does not guarantee success. The German Army, for example, adapted well to the realities of the First and Second World War battlefields, yet Germany lost both wars. "First-rate operational and tactical performance is a virtue to be sought by those responsible for military forces," stated Lt Gen John H. Cushman. Adaptation is required to achieve "first-rate" performance.
One product of adaptation in war is military innovation: a change that deviates from doctrine or practices established in peacetime. Stephen P. Rosen distinguishes between peacetime, wartime, and technological innovations and the unique challenges of each. Acknowledging the importance of each, this study concentrates on tactical innovation during war.
The amount of innovation required is dependent on how closely established doctrine and procedures match battlefield realities. A wing trained and equipped to wage intercontinental nuclear war sent to fight guerrillas is likely to require more extensive innovations to succeed than a unit trained to perform close air support. Wartime innovations can be categorized as minor, major, or fundamental; and are easily thought of in terms of modified methods. Rosen, however, emphasizes the possibility of adopting altered military objectives as an innovation. Blending the two criteria, I consider a minor innovation to be a modification of existing methods towards an anticipated objective. Improving tactical formations to maximize visual search within the context of an existing mission is an example of a tactical innovation. A major innovation is the substitution of existing or modified methods in unexpected combinations towards an anticipated or modified objective. The use of U.S. Army Apache and USAF special operations helicopters to attack the Iraqi early warning system the first night of Desert Storm is one such unexpected combination. A fundamental innovation is the replacement of existing methods with unprecedented methods or the replacement of an existing objective with an entirely new objective. The change in the objective of Eighth Air Force’s long range fighters from protecting the bombers to seeking out and attacking Luftwaffe fighters as a means to enable strategic bombing attacks is one such replacement of objective.
Innovations are judged in terms of effectiveness and timeliness. An innovation is effective if it improves operational progress towards the objective, while saving time, manpower, or materiel, or if it produces enhanced results with an equal expenditure of resources. An innovation that yields little change in effectiveness is of limited value. An innovation is timely if it takes effect within the planned campaign schedule. Subjective consideration, however, must be given to unnecessary losses of material, manpower or time during the interval required to implement the innovation. Because an adversary’s adaptive process will attempt to negate one’s actions, there are advantages of one’s own adaptive process being faster than the enemy’s.
There appears to be a tension, however, between the breadth and timeliness of an innovation. In order to limit enemy ability to react to an innovation, delayed, but widespread implementation may be more beneficial than a very rapid piecemeal change. One example of a premature innovation was the first British tank attack at the Somme, which allowed the Germans time to develop countermeasures and sacrificed the potential surprise of a mass tank attack. Attacks against command and control nodes may relieve some of this scale-timeliness tension by decreasing the enemy capability to detect, analyze, and react to innovations.
Because innovations are the offspring of unique circumstances they are unlikely to be of permanent value. The process of adaptation, however, may yield insights that could facilitate the formulation of future innovations. Cushman divides military responses (adaptation) into "insight" and "execution"; it appears beneficial to disaggregate the process further in order to better identify the elements necessary for successful adaptation.
An operable system of command and control (C2) is assumed to be a necessary element of the adaptation process, otherwise adaptation takes place randomly. There are several alternative models of command and control, but the observe-orient-decide-act cycle (or OODA loop), identified by Colonel John Boyd is one of the most widely recognized, and it does a credible job approximating reality. The OODA loop, which divides C2 into separate functions of observe, orient, decide, act, appears to be useful for identifying elements of adaptation. All four functions are normally required for effective C2 and appear to be required for effective adaptation. No function, however, is easily accomplished in wartime. Each step of the process must surmount formidable obstacles. If a step is obstructed, innovation is unlikely. Likewise, a series of impediments could have a cumulative effect on the entire system and prevent adaptation.
"Observation" describes the gathering of data regarding the status of enemy and friendly forces, the battlefield, or other significant areas of interest. Observation must be continuous. Before battle is joined, it is needed for the formulation of plans; once fighting begins, it is needed to detect the new reality that results from the initial battle and enemy reactions. It may include surveillance by a variety of sensors, subordinate units or individuals; it has often included direct observation of the battle by the commander. Observation is a necessary element of adaptation because it is required to detect changed or unanticipated realities of the battlefield. It is an indispensable precondition of accurate orientation, the next step in the OODA process. Recognizing the need for observation von Moltke decreed: "the most precise possible knowledge of the situation is an absolute prerequisite for giving correct and appropriate orders."
There are considerable obstacles to effective observation and, therefore, to adaptation. Labeling many intelligence reports in war "contradictory," "false," or "uncertain," Clausewitz adopts a pessimistic view of the commander’s ability of the to penetrate the uncertainties of war. Limitations of intelligence collection systems can be compounded by active measures employed by a thinking adversary to confound accurate observation. If the enemy is successful, adaptation is unlikely because the need to change is unlikely to be perceived. Addressing fundamental innovations, Stephen Rosen shares Clausewitz’s pessimism on the ability to gather needed information: "intelligence relevant to innovation very likely will not be available in wartime, and wartime innovation is likely to be limited in its impact."
"Orientation" describes the translation of data into useful information; its product is the organization’s perception of reality. Boyd considered orientation the most important part of the OODA loop: "orientation is the schwerpunkt. It shapes the way we interact with the environment--hence orientation shapes the way we observe, the way we decide, the way we act." Analysis and synthesis of an organization’s observations should contribute to the formulation of insights into difficulties experienced on the battlefield. With the formulation of these vital insights, the need to adapt can be perceived. Orientation is a necessary element of adaptation and must result in the perception that a need or opportunity exists to improve performance. Adaptation can be expected as a response to the challenges of war, but it may also spring from the realization that an opportunity to achieve enhanced results exists. Chance events that improve performance may be observed, and if perceived as favorable, the decision to incorporate them can be made.
The synthesis of imperfect reports from a variety of sources is difficult from both the organizational and the personal perspectives. Martin van Creveld clearly illustrated the many organizational obstacles faced by military staffs in handling the increased information available (and required) to wage war, labeling them "information pathologies." Affirming Van Creveld’s findings, a recent article on Desert Storm noted organizational "blind spots" due to information overload and undue attention given to particular forms of information. Personal obstacles to accurate orientation are equally formidable, including "superficial thinking. . .self-satisfaction, complacency, and arrogance." Emotions that spring from war can cloud the mind in what Clausewitz referred to as a "psychological fog" obstructing "clear and complete insights"
"Decision" describes the formulation of courses of action and their selection. At this point alternative solutions are evaluated and optimal solutions selected. The formulation of new solutions is contingent on the participant’s ability to imagine and articulate new options. It is the role of the organization to cultivate, encourage, and recognize valuable solutions. It then falls on the commander to decide whether or not to implement new solutions, or to delegate sufficient freedom of action to make such decisions at lower levels. The cultivation of ideas and the decisions to implement them are necessary for adaptation. Intuition, creativity, and imagination are all individual characteristics of the commander, his staff, and subordinates that can lead to the initiation of an innovation. For a proposed innovation to have an effect it must be implemented, which hinges on the decision of someone in a position of authority.
Obstacles to formulating or selecting appropriate courses of action include a lack of flexibility in the mind of the commander, lack of flexibility in doctrine (dogma), or lack of organizational flexibility. Commanders who believe they have all the answers can be a tremendous obstacle to innovation: Sir Douglas Haig is widely viewed as the epitome of inflexible thinking. As one biographer notes: "before the war, Haig was quite sure he had uncovered all the rules of war. He was equally certain that these rules had to be accepted as dogma and not weakened by debate." Rigid military hierarchies or organizations can restrict the flow of ideas either through many levels of command, or restricted means of communication. For organizations with the requisite flexibility, anticipated costs of implementation may give sufficient cause for rejection of a potential innovation. All aspects of a potential innovation may not be beneficial; a gain in one area may penalize another.
"Action" describes the implementation of plans, i.e. combat operations, although it may also entail changes to organizations, procedures, or equipment. Although it may be easy to concentrate attention to only the actions of one’s military forces and the effects of their activities on the enemy, there is another important dimension of action. Every decision must be transmitted through the organization in order for it to be implemented. Planning, coordination, training and, execution are all part of the process.
If innovations are not successfully implemented the adaptive process fails. Ultimately, it is the output of the process of adaptation, the modified method itself, that will interact with the changing wartime environment. It is here--when actions are implemented--that innovations affect the system and should be graded for effectiveness and timeliness. It should be noted, however, that innovations cannot be graded without further observation and orientation
The difficulties encountered while carrying out plans during war constitute a considerable impediment to adaptation. These difficulties include poor communications, inadequate understanding of orders, inflexible attitudes, or imperfect execution. Labeled "friction" by Clausewitz, these myriad difficulties combine to turn war into "a medium that impedes activity" which must be overcome by "iron will-power." There is also the danger that an innovation may exceed the unit’s ability to carry it out. Timothy Lupfer’s examination of the German tactical adaptation in the First World War noted the Germans were attentive to their Army’s ability to perform because "an army that adopts tactical doctrine that it cannot apply will greatly multiply its misfortune." Excessive caution, on the other hand can be equally costly. Overly concerned with the ability of its crews to execute complex tactics, SAC headquarters dictated predictable tactics during the first days of Operation Linebacker II, increasing risk to the bomber crews and perhaps suffering unnecessary losses.
In a large military organization, numerous individuals and sub-units accomplish part or all of the functions described. Discrete functions or the entire process may be accomplished at more than one echelon simultaneously, leading to the question: at what level are innovations developed? Since observation and action responsibilities are normally clearly defined, a more specific question is: at what level does the orientation and decision take place?
There are three potential hypotheses: top-down, bottom-up, or a combination of the two. A top-down process involves a headquarters staff (at the theater or possibly national level) that analyzes reports from the field, develops innovations (possibly by refining suggestions from sub-units) and disseminates them to the command. This process was used by the German Army to adapt tactical doctrine to realities of the Western Front in World War I, and the Red Army to find a suitable operational doctrine against the Wehrmacht during World War II. Both involved orderly, centralized processes that disseminated changes uniformly across the theater. The drawbacks to centralized change are that it is potentially less responsive to immediate requirements, nor is it well suited for handling unique local conditions.
Bottom-up adaptation starts at the tactical unit level. Innovations are developed quickly in response to immediate problems and tactical units then advise headquarters. Headquarters then advises other units of ideas and lessons learned. During World War II, the U.S. Army used bottom-up adaptation to adjust tactics to conditions encountered in the campaigns for France and Germany, capitalizing on "Yankee ingenuity. . . a hallmark of U.S. commercial production and manufacturing . . . that also accompanies [American] soldiers to the battlefield." Bottom up adaptations, it is argued, are more responsive to local conditions and better suited where incremental changes are desirable. The decentralized approach, however, is not well suited when fundamental changes are required or situations are beyond unit capabilities to handle.
There is the possibility of a third option, which is that innovations originate from both sources and flow both directions. Theoretically, this arrangement could permit fundamental or widespread adaptations to be directed from above, yet permit tactical units the flexibility to quickly adapt to immediate needs. This possibility would require organizational flexibility of the headquarters as it would be required to perform both advisory and directive functions. A means to resolve conflicting guidance might also be required.
To recapitulate, issues to consider in examining the attack on the Republican Guards are: what was USAF prewar doctrine; how much adaptation was required to cope with the realities of war; how effective and timely were CENTAF’s innovations, what facilitated or hindered adaptation, and from where did changes originate? Because Operation Desert Storm pitted the USAF directly against the Republican Guard, it is important to describe these opposing forces.
The Republican Guard
On August 3, 1990, the Iraqi armed forces conducted an overwhelming combined arms assault on Kuwait. Iraqi ground units penetrated deep into Kuwait, reaching Kuwait City in less than five hours. The Kuwaiti armed forces collapsed, the government fled to Saudi Arabia, and the country was completely overrun within two days.
The Iraqi units that conducted the assault were divisions of Iraq’s Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC). The ground attack was spearheaded by Iraq’s most capable combat formations: the Hammurabi and Medinah armored divisions and the Tawakalna mechanized infantry division. Three heliborne brigades of the RGFC Special Forces division supported the armored onslaught with a vertical envelopment south of Kuwait City. Behind the lead divisions, four Republican Guard infantry divisions were committed to mop-up remaining Kuwaiti resistance.
The Republican Guard’s utility as a military force is evident in its origins, equipment, functions, and doctrine. The RGFC began as a brigade-sized praetorian guard formed shortly after Saddam Hussein’s 1968 coup. The unit was formed by combining the most loyal Baathists serving in the Iraqi Army and was sustained by recruits from Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. Although not used in the September 1980 invasion of Iran, the Republican Guard was committed to the bloody battle for Khorramshahr in October and thereafter saw intermittent action as a "fire brigade" along the southern front. By 1986, the Republican Guards had expanded to five brigades, the bulk of which were committed to an ill-fated counterattack on the Al-Faw peninsula. This Iraqi defeat has been convincingly described as the turning point of the Iran-Iraq war, the catalyst for a shift from the static defensive strategy to an offensive strategy that would ultimately end the war. Guard recruiting was expanded to include previously-deferred university students, and Guard formations soon grew to twenty-five brigades. These units were extensively trained in offensive combined arms tactics, signifying a major departure from the static-defensive mindset gripping the rest of the Iraqi army. Committed to a series of well-planned, set-piece offensives from April to August of 1988, these Republican Guard formations quickly swept away depleted Iranian formations, helping to bring decision to long-stalemated battlefields and a brief peace to the northern Persian Gulf.
The Republican Guard formations were equipped with Iraq’s best and most modern equipment. While regular heavy divisions were primarily equipped with obsolescent T-55, type 59, and T-62 tanks, Guard heavy divisions were equipped with the "well-known and very capable" T-72. Reflecting their offensive and mobile orientation, RGFC heavy divisions were equipped with modern Soviet built self-propelled artillery in addition to towed weapons that equipped the remainder of the Iraqi Army. Air defense artillery units assigned to Guard divisions were more robust than regular army units, as some operated radar-guided SA-6 batteries in addition to the normal infrared-guided SAMs and anti-aircraft artillery systems. Additionally, the RGFC maintained an independent supply system and enjoyed priority for all supplies.
Western impressions of the Republican Guard were shaped by its offensive role in 1988, its elevated reputation, and robust tables of organization and equipment. Rightly acknowledged as Iraq’s best troops, many writers have found it easy to overestimate the abilities of the Republican Guard. Analogies have been made in U.S. military writings between the RGFC and Napoleon’s Old Guard, or Hitler’s politico-military elite, the Waffen SS. Oft-touted as an elite force hardened by years of battle, proud of the "fire brigade" role, "possessing excellent reactive abilities," and "the world’s most seasoned [troops] in carrying out assaults preceded by chemical attack," Guard formations gained a fearsome reputation. Indeed, when compared to the armed forces of Iraq’s neighbors, the Republican Guard was the most powerful military organization in the Persian Gulf region.
An evaluation of the Republican Guard must be balanced by an examination of Iraqi military doctrine, which reveals major shortcomings. Despite the Guard’s offensive successes of 1988 and 1990, some important limitations have been illuminated by several authors. Republican Guard tactical successes were largely set-piece affairs, hinging on extensive planning, logistics stockpiling, and rehearsals. After 1987, all Guard offensives were conducted against vastly weaker forces: Iranian formations encountered in 1988 were debilitated by the failed Karballa offensives of 1987 and collapsing civilian morale. Kuwaiti armed forces were taken by surprise in 1990, only one brigade of which opposed the RGFC as the bulk of the Kuwaiti forces were over-run in garrison. Republican Guard tactical doctrine was probably strongly shaped by (if not identical to) regular army tactical doctrine. The only significant tank battle the Iraqis fought was a static defense against a grossly mis-handled Iranian armored division in January 1981. The Iranian division blundered into an Iraqi anti-tank kill zone piecemeal (over the period of three days) and was obliterated. An excellent analysis by Colonel Wallace Franz (USA, Ret.) further emphasized the likelihood of a static Iraqi strategy because the army had been molded by its eight years of fighting a "war of position, tied to fortifications, communications nets, against a low-tech enemy." Iraqi officers were inexperienced at handling large mechanized formations in mobile operations and would be unable to "think rapidly" or "improvise in the heat of battle" due to Iraqi political preferences for loyalty over independent thought or initiative.
Despite doctrinal shortcomings, Republican Guards were the most potent and best equipped units in the Iraqi Army, marking them as an important operational center of gravity in the campaign to liberate Kuwait. As the offensive arm of the Iraqi Army and the most potent military force in the region, the Republican Guards were also a strategic center of gravity, a powerful military instrument of coercion or decision. The Republican Guards also played an important political role. Guard units were the most overt element of the Baath Party’s control over the country. The superior equipment operated by the Republican Guard units ensured that they would be well equipped to defeat potentially rebellious Regular Army units. An RGFC mechanized division was stationed in Baghdad throughout the Gulf War, a visible and powerful deterrent to potential mutineers. Additionally, four RGFC infantry divisions, not committed to the KTO, were formed during the war to provide internal security. Guard units were believed to have been involved in the suppression of dissent before the Gulf War, and surviving elements were reported to have participated in the suppression of the Shia and Kurdish revolts after the war. Top U.S. military commanders, Powell and Schwarzkopf correctly perceived the Republican Guards as operational and strategic centers of gravity, forming perceptions that profoundly affected U.S. planning.
Although there were seven Republican Guard divisions deployed in the KTO, the three Guard heavy divisions that spearheaded the Kuwait invasion captured the interest of the theater CINC. These three divisions were emplaced along the Kuwait-Iraq border as a theater reserve. The remaining four divisions were infantry formations entrenched in an east-west line between the heavy units and the Euphrates River.
The Guard divisions used the five-month lull between the invasion of Kuwait and the coalition counteroffensive to prepare vast defensive positions. The units were widely dispersed and deeply entrenched. Engineers prepared thousands of horseshoe-shaped berms to protect individual vehicles. Personnel were protected by shallow five- to ten-man bunkers. Units were stocked with up to thirty days of provisions, and the Guard Corps straddled a huge fortified corps-sized depot and logistics area.
Iraqi intentions for the use of the RGFC were unclear to Coalition commanders. Once the threat of an invasion of Saudi Arabia subsided, it was widely believed the Republican Guard divisions would be held in reserve and then committed to repulse Coalition ground units depleted by battles with the first and second Iraqi echelons. This mission--counterattack--would be similar to much of the Guard’s experience in the Iran-Iraq War; heavy air attack, however, would be a new experience for a force that had always enjoyed air superiority.
The United States Air Force
The USAF waged an intense air-to-ground battle against the Republican Guards for forty-three days; its ability to conduct this battle was shaped by pre-war doctrine, training, and equipment. Doctrine provided the basis for many USAF weapons system acquisitions and, within the context of the European NATO-Warsaw Pact scenario, shaped Air Force tactics throughout the 1980s.
"The [U.S.] Air Force has articulated aerospace doctrine at different levels and depths of detail in the forms of basic, operational, and tactical doctrine." Basic USAF doctrine, as established in AF Manual 1-1, anticipated the attack on the Republican Guard in the broadest sense. Air operations to "attack the enemy in depth" were considered an "imperative of effectively employing aerospace forces" by the authors of the 1984 version of Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force. More explicitly, air commanders were urged to exploit airpower’s "devastating firepower" to disrupt enemy momentum and "place his surface forces at risk" with attacks on enemy forces in "reserve or rear echelons." Such attacks fell under the category of air interdiction (AI), which was intended to "delay, disrupt, divert, or destroy an enemy’s military potential before it [could] be brought to bear broadly against friendly forces." Although attacks on distant ground units have always been a subset of interdiction, they are considered to be best accomplished along lines of communication when ground units are moving and vulnerable to air attack.
Official operational-level doctrine was completely unsuitable for preparing USAF units for the attack on the Republican Guards because it focused entirely on enemy lines of communication. Prescribing attacks to disrupt the flow of "personnel, supplies, and equipment . . . required to sustain the enemy’s war effort," AFM 2-1, Tactical Air Operations was written in 1969 and reflected contemporary interdiction efforts being used in Southeast Asia. Elusive enemy forces were not considered to be a suitable target for interdiction. Instead, interdiction efforts were directed against lines of communication, enemy concentration points, supply stockpiles, and reconstitution facilities. AFM 2-1 described the protracted interdiction battle waged over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. After Vietnam, however, the possibility of a rapid Soviet blitzkrieg across Western Europe threatened to render this mode of interdiction less than optimal.
"Semi-official" operational doctrine developed in the early 1980s had a much more profound effect in shaping the Air Force that would counter the Republican Guards in 1991. Developed in response to political requirements for increased conventional capability against growing Warsaw Pact conventional capability, the USAF’s Tactical Air Command (TAC) and the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) developed the joint operational concept of joint attack of the second echelon (J-SAK). Published in 1982, J-SAK was an important adjunct to the U.S. Army’s airland battle doctrine. J-SAK was "semi-official" doctrine because its approving official, General W. L. Creech, (TAC commander), could not speak for the entire USAF, nor was TAC a warfighting command: its role was to provide forces for the theater commanders-in-chief. Tactical Air Command Pamphlet 50-26 (J-SAK) described a deep battle against second echelon units that was intended to provide time and space for ground commanders to win the close battle being waged with the first echelon.
J-SAK was designed against the specific threat of echeloned attack posed by Soviet tactical doctrine. Echeloned attacks would "attempt to retain the initiative by maintaining momentum and rapidly exploiting the success of . . . first echelon forces." Although 50-26 briefly noted the possibility of countering a "U.S.-type reserve" force vice a Soviet-style second echelon, virtually all other discussion focuses on defeating the Soviet model. Key elements of the Soviet doctrine included a fast-paced attack by a numerically superior enemy, continuous operations to sustain initiative and momentum, and the reinforcement of success until the enemy is defeated. Second echelon targets included "combat forces, their support elements, as well as lines of communication."
Follow on Forces Attack (FOFA) was a similar doctrine approved by NATO’s Defense Planning Committee in November, 1984. Beginning in late 1979, the SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) staff developed FOFA to bolster the alliance’s conventional capability against Soviet offensive doctrine and a "continuing massive Soviet conventional forces build-up." Closely related to J-SAK, FOFA was more authoritative and prescriptive, but geographically limited to NATO’s theater of operations. FOFA was designed to attack enemy forces "from just behind the troops in contact to as far into the enemy’s rear as our target acquisition and conventional weapons systems will permit."
The aim of J-SAK and FOFA (hereafter combined and referred to as "deep air attack") was to delay, disrupt, or destroy second echelon mechanized units. This operational concept optimized airpower’s ability to impose an "intractable dilemma" on the enemy commander: if the second echelon attempted to advance rapidly (as Soviet doctrine prescribed), it would be vulnerable to air attack. If advancing forces took defensive precautions against the air threat (through dispersal and camouflage), they would be unable to maintain a rapid rate of movement. Maximizing the advantages of synchronized air and ground efforts, deep air attack principles resonated with many airmen.
Despite J-SAK’s authoritative limitation and FOFA’s geographical limitation, the combination of the two had a powerful impact on USAF equipment and tactics. Based in part on emerging weapon and sensor technologies, deep air attack generated the requirement to develop several weapons systems that would eventually be used against the Republican Guard. The most pressing need was to develop sensors capable of looking deep behind enemy lines and detecting advancing second echelon forces. Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) was the Army/USAF solution; its powerful radar was capable of tracking moving vehicles over wide areas of the battlefield or examining selected fixed sites in a narrower mapping mode. Another capable radar, Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar II (ASARS II), was fielded on the TR-1 aircraft, and dedicated down-link and command and control systems were deployed to take advantage of the real-time imagery available.
The USAF and U.S. Army fielded several air-to-ground delivery systems that enabled deep air attack, including the F-15E long-range interdiction aircraft, F-16C fighter-bombers equipped with radar capable of tracking moving vehicles, and night navigation and targeting systems (Low Altitude Navigation Targeting and Infrared for Night--LANTIRN). Advanced anti-armor weapons developed and deployed during the 1980s included the imaging infrared (IIR) AGM-65D Maverick Missile, an advanced cluster bomb--the CBU-87 combined effects munition (CEM), and an air scattered anti-tank and anti-personnel mine--the CBU-89 Gator. Army systems included the multiple launcher rocket system (MLRS), Army tactical missile system (ATACMS), and Apache attack helicopter.
Employment of these weapons systems is described in USAF tactical doctrine. Tactical doctrine outlines a broad range of tactical considerations in the 3- series multi-command manuals (MCM). There are separate volumes for each type of combat aircraft, a general planning volume, and an enemy threat volume. Standardized volume outlines and chapter headings result in the consideration of a wide variety of potential missions. Tactical considerations described in these volumes are not prescriptive, but are intended to "stimulate thinking." MCM manuals "consolidate tactical considerations learned from past armed conflicts, operational evaluations, training exercises, tactics development programs, and analyses of the threat." Updated on a twenty-four month cycle, MCM 3-1 is a living document reflecting tactical thoughts of the combat air forces. Each volume encourages "personal initiative and innovative thinking. . . to improve our combat capability" and challenges "all echelons of the combat air forces" to "build and expand on these tactics."
MCM 3-1 discusses the best available thoughts on a variety of potential missions. Its scope, however, is too wide to guide Air Force training and preparations; finite training resources and time limitations force tactical units to make choices and establish training priorities within 3-1’s repertoire. Although headquarters staffs determine minimum semi-annual training events for combat crews, the real tactical emphasis is determined within a flying squadron by the combined efforts of the commander, operations officer, flight commanders, and weapons officer. Normally following general guidance provided by the squadron commander, flight leaders conceive hypothetical scenarios, determine tactics, and evaluate performance during routine training missions. Although Pacific-based squadrons had a Korean orientation, most other TAC and USAFE squadrons were focused on the European scenario and prepared for it throughout the 1980s. All but one of the USAF wings that participated in Operation Desert Storm had formal tasking for the European theater in the event of war.
The bulk of TAC’s tactical training was geared towards executing deep air attack in the European environment. The Air Force’s premier training program, Red Flag, emphasized deep interdiction in large "gorilla formations" to counter high threat environment. The exception was USAF close air support (CAS) training, for A-10 wings, which concentrated attention on high threat, low-altitude employment along the front lines to support an Army pressured by large enemy mechanized units. Many crews were exposed to flying in Europe during overseas assignments or frequent training deployments to European bases (called "Checkered Flag" deployments). TAC’s only fighter wing free from European tasking, the 363d TFW, shared the remainder of TAC’s tactical vision. Wing training focused on low-altitude deep attacks against a a Soviet mechanized thrust into north Iran. Virtually all air-to-ground training throughout the tactical air forces (TAF) involved low-level navigation and weapons deliveries, which were required for survival on the high-threat battlefields of central Europe, and for target acquisition which could be impaired by low European ceilings.
Despite its Eurocentric orientation, the USAF’s philosophy guiding weapons acquisition and training built in considerable flexibility.Most of the USAF’s air-to-ground weapons systems were designed to perform several missions in a variety of environments (high-or low-altitude attack, in day or night). The swing-role F-15E and F-16 are prime examples. They were well-equipped with highly-capable radars capable of functioning in air-to-air or air-to-ground modes, and the latest air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions, and comprised most of CENTAF’s fighter force. CENTAF’s B-52 bombers had proven their flexibility long before Desert Storm. Specialized fighter aircraft were present in more limited numbers. The F-111 was optimized for night low-altitude interdiction, and the A-10 was designed for day low-level CAS. Both, however, proved versatile enough to operate in unanticipated environments. The major exception was the F-117 stealth fighter: with its highly specialized role of night precision penetration and limited bomb load had limited utility in other missions. USAF munitions were another key to flexibility. Radar fuses permitted all-altitude employment of cluster bombs (CBU), while guidance kits of U.S. laser guided bombs permitted a wide range of delivery options. Flexible USAF weapons and munitions characteristics were of major significance because they allowed a considerable margin for error in tactical doctrine or practices.
Realistic and demanding training allowed USAF crews to accomplish unanticipated tasks in unexpected situations. Day-to-day training of aircrews emphasized tactical employment in realistic scenarios developed by flight leaders. Frequent multi-unit exercises and composite force training with dissimilar aircraft (such as that done at Red Flag) built familiarity with other systems and enabled crews to solve different tactical problems. Nellis AFB NV, home of the Tactical Fighter Weapons Center (TFWC), played a key role in the training of these combat aircrews. Red Flag is a recurring training exercise conducted at Nellis to expose crews to the most realistic combat environment possible; it provides an opportunity to solve difficult tactical problems in a controlled environment. Adversaries for Red Flag exercises were often provided by the Aggressor Squadrons, two specialized units that simulated Soviet tactics. The Fighter Weapon School (FWS), also located at Nellis, is a graduate-level tactics school that cultivates aggressive problem-solving in a select group of USAF crews. FWS students are required to solve a wide variety of demanding tactical problems throughout the course. Once back in their squadrons, FWS graduates (called "patch wearers" or "target arms" due to the distinctive patches awarded at graduation) provide a foundation of tactical know-how and problem solving within the unit. The thinking, teaching, and flying conducted at this center would have a powerful influence on USAF conduct in the Gulf War.
Both forces were products of their times and experiences: the Iraqi Army was a product of the static war of attrition with Iran, U.S. forces were products of the Cold War. Neither had tactical doctrines that adequately anticipated the Gulf War. USAF training, flexible weapons systems, and a core belief that "flexibility is the key to airpower" provided a sizable margin for errors in USAF doctrine.
The Plan: 3 August 1990 - 15 January 1991
I want the Republican Guards Bombed the very first day, and I want them bombed every day after that. They’re the heart and soul of this army and therefore they will pay the price.
Gen H Norman Schwarzkopf
The plan against the Republican Guard was the product of several organizations and included elements of attrition, interdiction, and psychological operations. Three groups planned air operations involving the Republican Guards. The Air Staff’s Checkmate branch provided support to planners in the theater. CENTAF’s special planning group (commonly called the "Black Hole") concentrated on offensive operations to eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait, while CENTAF’s combat plans staff made defensive preparations to stop an Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia. The initial Air Force plan, developed by Colonel John Warden’s Checkmate staff, concentrated on strategic targets deep in Iraq in an attempt to coerce the Iraqis from Kuwait. Upon receiving the plan, General Colin Powell (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), insisted that the USAF include operations against Iraqi armored units, demanding "smoking tanks as kilometer fence posts all the way to Baghdad." Days later, the theater Commander-in-Chief (CINC), General Schwarzkopf, identified the Republican Guards as an Iraqi center of gravity and directed the air planners to incorporate operations against them in a four-phased theater air campaign plan. Operations against the Republican Guard were concentrated in the third phase (attacks on the Iraqi Army) that would follow strategic air efforts (phase I) and a short operation to secure air superiority over Kuwait (phase II). Phase IV, a ground attack into Iraq and Kuwait would hinge on the satisfactory completion of phase III.
In the early stages of planning there was no explicit statement of phase III objectives. This void resulted in confusion and varying expectations of what phase III would accomplish. Draft briefing slides from late August list the objectives as: "reduce Iraqi ground force capability, soften ground forces to assure successful penetration and exploitation. . .destroy Republican Guard capability to reinforce into Kuwait." Two months later, the objective of phase III was listed in briefings to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and President as simply "attrit [sic] enemy ground forces." The following month, on November 14, phase III was briefed by General Schwarzkopf to his senior commanders as "battlefield preparation." The groups that planned the phase III operations appear to have focused their thoughts on rendering the Republican Guards "combat ineffective" through attacks on several systems (infrastructure, logistics, C2) and direct attrition of maneuver units. Encouraging calculations regarding airpower’s potential to attrite the Iraqi Army led some planners to adopt "destroy" the Republican Guard as a goal of phase III. This goal appears to have been overly ambitious and did not serve airpower in the long run because other positive aspects of airpower’s effects on ground forces were eclipsed.
Air Staff planners developed early plans to destroy the entire Iraqi Army in the KTO. Analysts studied the Iraqi Army and planned to exploit the vulnerabilities of an army arrayed in the desert. Operations would begin with attacks against key systems that would affect all Iraqi forces in the theater (command and control, logistics, air defense), continue with attrition of the Republican Guards, then shift to the rest of the Iraqi Army. A great deal of the planning was quantitative in nature, using computer models and spreadsheets. The Checkmate calculations consideration multiple quantitative and qualitative factors. Quantifications included including munitions available in the theater, aircraft numbers, sortie rates, target types, objectives, and expected success per sortie (based on Saber Selector, an advanced computer program modeling weapons deliveries). The product of these calculations was a graph that predicted an impressive and rapid attrition of the Iraqi forces in the KTO when subjected to concentrated air attacks. These calculations reportedly led Checkmate to conclude that the attack on the Iraqi army could negate the 15,000+ anticipated U.S. casualties of a ground war, particularly if the requirement for the ground war could be obviated by air action.
Major Roy Y. Sikes, a checkmate analyst, considered the probability of Iraqi adaptation to an air attack and devised means to minimize the effects of Iraqi countermeasures. He emphasized concentration and massive attacks on specific ground units until the desired level of destruction was achieved (estimated to be between 20% and 40% of full strength). Under continuous attack and constant scrutiny from airborne forward air controllers (FACs), units would be unable to survive long enough to benefit from a "learning curve." Air attacks would then rapidly shift to another unit, destroying it in turn. Coalition learning opportunities could be maximized through the FAC, who would become familiar with an area and ground units in that area until the objectives were achieved. Sikes was in frequent contact with planners in the theater, and suggested the desirability to concentrate effort against units in turn, noting some success as other individuals in the planning effort began to advocate similar positions.
Major Mark "Buck" Rogers, a key Black Hole planner, shared some of Sikes’ concepts. In November, Rogers and Brig Gen Buster Glosson, chief of the special plans group, fleshed out a concept of operations for attacking the Iraqi Army. Their plan called for attacks on Iraqi air defenses, field headquarters, mechanized units and artillery, and logistics infrastructure. The Republican Guard units held a prominent place in their plans. Although command and control attacks were designed to minimize Iraqi ability to react to air or ground attack, Iraqi reactions were anticipated. Continuous presence by FACs would be needed to identify targets as Iraqi units began to "thin and displace." FACs would maintain "continuity" over designated sectors, maximizing Coalition learning by "precluding [attacks on] previously destroyed targets," and compensating for anticipated intelligence limitations against transitory targets. Rogers also advocated maintaining continuity between USAF combat wings and specific Iraqi ground units to boost effectiveness. USAF wings would enhance their learning by gaining experience with the terrain, unit layout, and capitalize on awareness of previous wing progress through attacks on the same division for an extended period.
CENTAF planners in Riyadh, led by Glosson, eagerly used the Checkmate analyses. Glosson adjusted some of the assumptions reducing, for example, the probability of locating targets from the recommended value of 95% to 75%. He also adjusted the figures for increased aircraft availability as forces flowed into the theater. The USAF’s quantitative analysis led to the adoption of a sub-objective that quickly captured the attention of the CINC, ground commanders, air commanders, and their staffs. The Air Force agreed to destroy at least 50% of the Iraqi Army’s tanks and artillery. This prospect was so riveting it nearly became the only goal of concern in the minds of some. Several possible attrition figures had been discussed during the planning. General Glosson and CENTCOM planner, LTC Joe Purvis, agreed on 50% as an average point a ground unit could be considered combat ineffective. Although the projections changed frequently, Glosson briefed the CENTAF wing commanders on 18 December that the Republican Guards would require 600 sorties per day for four days to reach the 50% goal, and that 90% could be achieved in nine days. This figure represented an unprecedented operational task for an air force, and the USAF’s progress towards it would be subjected to close scrutiny from many quarters during and after Desert Storm.
Even though the Air Force’s planning was detailed and well-thought-out, the numerical calculations of complex operations are heavily dependent on many assumptions. These initial assumptions are delicate and can be quickly altered by the fog and friction of war. Unexpected and unanticipated events are unavoidable in war and their cumulative effects can have significant impact on the most scientific calculations. In spite of its fragility, the quantitative approach to war has an almost irresistible appeal. With a number to strive for, the goal assumes a crystal clarity. The innate uncertainty of war, however, inhibits the planner’s ability to know if and when such seemingly clear goals have in fact been obtained.
CENTAF’s combat plans staff led by Lt Col Sam Baptiste simultaneously developed a plan to counter an Iraqi thrust into Saudi Arabia. Emphasizing continuous close air support and interdiction, the "D-day plan" was built on the assumption that out-numbered coalition forces would be under heavy ground attack requiring substantial amounts of close air support to survive. The D-day plan also had some characteristics of deep air attack, including interdiction of the Iraqi second echelon. "Kill boxes" (based on a Saudi grid system) were established along likely axes of Iraqi advance to direct coalition sorties against the Iraqi army. These boxes were eventually extended to cover the entire KTO and would exercise a significant influence over the entire course of the battle with the Iraqi Army.
The plans merged when the CENTAF Combat Plans staff and the Black Hole were combined in a December staff reorganization. General Glosson assumed responsibility for all CENTAF planning functions, leading a group called the guidance apportionment and targeting (GAT) cell. Lt Col Baptiste assumed responsibility for planning against the KTO, while the former Black Hole staff planned operations in Iraq. At this late stage of the planning process several ideas key posed by Checkmate and the Black Hole (concentration, sequential attacks on ground units, and FACs) appear to have faded away.
Glosson was also given operational control of all CENTAF fighter wings in December. A command reorganization established separate air divisions (AD) to control electronic warfare, command and control, and reconnaissance assets (15th AD, commanded by Brig Gen Proffit) and fighters (14th AD, Brig Gen Glosson) to match the air division controlling SAC assets (16th AD, Brig Gen Caruana). Assuming planning and command responsibilities, Glosson would play a pivotal role in the subsequent conduct of the campaign.
Republican Guard attacks were supported by operations against lines of communication into the KTO. These operations were called for by all three planning groups and were seen as a means to affect the entire Iraqi Army. Destruction of the bridges across the Euphrates appeared to be an ideal means of restricting the army’s logistics flow. The Euphrates bridges were doubly significant, however, as their destruction could block an army withdrawal from the KTO. For a counter-logistics effort to succeed, the considerable supply depots south of the Euphrates would also have to be neutralized, and B-52 raids were identified as an ideal means of reducing Iraqi stockpiles. Historically, counter-logistics operations conducted by air have been most effective if synchronized with ground action to cause increased consumption of supplies. Large Iraqi unit-level stockpiles would be problematic, requiring considerable effort to destroy. Iraq’s defensive doctrine posed additional problems because static units consume fewer supplies.
In addition to direct attack and interdiction the plan against the Iraqi Army included a significant moral dimension. Psychological operations were integrated in the plans early when CENTCOM psyops experts established liaisons with CENTAF’s planners. General Schwarzkopf appears to have taken an early interest in psyops and displayed a constant interest in using B-52s against the Republican Guards, even though the B-52 was a poor system for destroying dispersed and entrenched armored formations. Leaflets, B-52 strikes, and around-the-clock operations were intended to break down the Iraqi Army’s morale.
Republican Guard corps and division headquarters figured prominently in Coalition air plans. Part of a broader counter-command and control effort, planners anticipated that the attacks on headquarters would reduce Iraqi capability to react. CENTAF attempted to capitalize on the potential weaknesses of Iraq’s highly centralized command structure by attacking key communications and leadership nodes. Communications with units in the field would be restricted (if not severed), hindering Iraqi control.
As the execution date for Desert Storm approached, the nature of the plans against the Republican Guards shifted as they solidified. The separate phases of the air campaign blended together, as targets from all phases were included in the first three days’ air tasking orders (ATOs) at the same time. General Schwarzkopf, for example, demanded the Republican Guards be hit on the very first day. Small F-16 and B-52 raids against the RGFC were therefore blended into the master attack plan for the first day of the campaign. This gradual effort negated the potential advantages of Checkmate’s concentrated operations, and gave the Iraqis a chance to adjust to early attacks before the main effort could shift to the KTO. A gradual approach also sacrificed potential psychological benefits by gradually conditioning the Iraqi Army to air attack. Two other concepts, the use of airborne FACs throughout the KTO, and the matching up of wings to ground units appear to have fallen by the wayside. The friction inherent in pushing a complex plan through a large diverse organization consumed some its more significant features.
The counter-logistics, psychological, and counter-command operations were important elements of the attack on the Republican Guard divisions, but were even harder to evaluate than the attrition operation. Because there was little opportunity to monitor progress and scrutinize impacts, these efforts received considerably less attention and generated far less controversy than the highly-contentious attrition effort. CENTCOM virtually guaranteed a conflict over the attrition figures when it made the initiation of the ground war contingent on the accomplishment of 50% attrition, and gave the responsibility for determining the level of destruction to the ground components.
Clash of Arms:17 - 26 January 1991
Take apart the Republican Guard. Break their will! Keep your eye on the target.
- Lt Gen Charles Horner
No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main strength. Only the layman sees in the course of a campaign a consistent execution of a preconceived and highly detailed original concept pursued consistently to the end.
- Helmuth von Moltke
The air offensive began on the night of 17 January with attacks that struck across the depth and breadth of Iraq and Kuwait. The main weight of effort was initially aimed at disabling Iraq’s integrated air defenses, weakening its national command and control, and eliminating its Scud missile force. CENTAF missions struck the Republican Guards within the first twenty-four hours, and would continue for the next forty-three days. Small F-16 and B-52 raids struck at Republican Guard field headquarters the first day; follow-up missions over the next two days attacked other preplanned RGFC targets. With the physical and intellectual energies of the air campaign focused deep inside Iraq, the Iraqi Army felt only slight pressure from the air. Air strikes (minus A-10 sorties which were concentrated on the border) hovered at approximately one hundred sorties per day against all Iraqi ground units until January 23. During the first six days of the air campaign (17 to 23 Jan) approximately ninety-two F-16, thirty-nine B-52, and six F-18 strikes hit the Republican Guards. On the 23d, strikes against all ground forces increased to 200-300 per day, indicating a shift of effort to the KTO. At the end of the tenth day (26 January), cumulative counts of Republican Guard strikes had jumped to five hundred and sixty-nine F-16, eighty-nine B-52, forty-eight F-15E, and twenty-two F-18 strikes. Even with an emphasis on the KTO, daily sortie counts fell well short of the 600 missions called for in prewar plans.
After January 19th, KTO targeting became more decentralized. Instead of assigning specific point targets and designating desired mean point of impact (DMPI--specific aim points), CENTAF sent missions against large, area-targets (an armored battalion, for example) that contained hundreds of discrete DMPIs often spread over a square mile or more. Some strikes received even less guidance, sent against generic target categories ("armor," for example) within specified kill boxes that covered nine hundred square miles. Targeting shifted to decentralized methods because the GAT cell and flying wings did not have the detailed targeting materials typically used for controlling and planning attacks against fixed targets. USAF crews preparing for missions against fixed facilities (airfields, bridges, and other permanent structures) used numerous planning aids including precise target graphics and overhead imagery. Target photos are critical to mission success for visual weapons deliveries, as they compensate for navigational or imprecise target coordinates by improving chances of accurate target acquisition. Non-visual deliveries also benefit from precise target graphics to identify desired aimpoints. Without accurate target acquisition, mission success is jeopardized. Only a few, critical KTO targets such as corps headquarters were identified, photographed, and targeted before the war. Precision graphics were unavailable for the bulk of the Iraqi Army, perhaps because the potential mobility of a ground unit was assumed to render precision graphics irrelevant.
Little information was available at the unit level to plan these missions, and pilots had difficulty identifying desired ground units within the immense target arrays sprawling across the KTO. Target information was seldom more than a set of coordinates indicating the position of a battalion-sized ground unit wedged among countless other identical units, any of which could be mistaken for the desired target. Target intelligence personnel were unable to obtain imagery of the Iraqi positions from CENTAF intelligence because headquarters was overwhelmed trying to sort out the concurrent strategic, counter-air, and anti-Scud operations. Wing target intelligence staffs ("targeteers") were intensely frustrated because they were unable to provide sorely needed target materials to the crews attacking the Iraqi Army. Missions were launched to attack specific battalions with little more than approximate locations of the parent divisions.
Materials that would have enhanced CENTAF’s ability to plan, direct, and attack the Iraqi Army were present in the theater, but largely unknown to Air Force personnel. The Army Intelligence Agency (AIA) had been studying the Iraqi Army’s dispositions in the theater continuously since the August invasion. Analysts in Washington mapped out Iraqi positions in great detail and provided Army units in the theater with detailed templates of each Iraqi division. The theater joint imagery production complex (JIPC) integrated AIA’s templates and current imagery from RF-4s and U-2s onto 1-50,000 or 1-12,500 scale maps, producing up to 400 copies daily, with the assistance of the 30th Engineer Battalion, for distribution to U.S. Army Central Command (ARCENT) "corps, division and brigade commanders and staffs." These products plotted Iraqi positions down to the level of individual tanks and were so accurate that ground combatants remarked after the ground war that they were able to predict enemy contact and open fire based on the information from the charts. These materials had the potential to help CENTAF orientation and targeting dramatically. Although the JIPC was "designed to support CENTAF," ARCENT became its primary customer. Gen Horner later remarked that ARCENT "overloaded" the entire intelligence system with so many requests the JFACC "couldn’t get [his] foot in the door . . . [and] just said, ‘to hell with it.’" It is ironic that ARCENT monopolized these products for picking potential targets while CENTAF went without as it tried to find and attack many of those targets.
The lack of target materials severely retarded Air Force unit learning curves against the Republican Guard. Each crew member formed individual perceptions of the battlefield, based on what he had observed. Within combat wings, there were hundreds of disjointed impressions of the battlefield, and crews had a difficult time blending these images into a coherent picture without a common framework to provide orientation. Little meaningful target information could be shared within the wing without a common reference. The nature of air war demands some means of maintaining continuity with the enemy. Each crew glimpses the enemy for only a few minutes each mission and then returns to base. Without a common reference, there is little potential for learning within a wing or squadron. This slowed the learning process because crews could not update a common image of the battlefield and aircrews had to build a picture from scratch every mission. The problem was even more pronounced when wings attempted to communicate with other organizations.
B-52 bombers and F-16 fighters conducted the bulk of the initial attacks on the Republican Guards in the KTO. Bombers conducted attacks from high-altitude using radar aiming. Without a visual weapons delivery capability, the bombers needed precise coordinates to attack the Guard units. The CENTAF target database, however, had few Republican Guard targets listed, and those listed were mostly division or brigades that were deployed over many miles. Without detailed target materials available, the GAT cell’s bomber planner, Capt. Steven Hawkins, developed an innovative targeting technique during Desert Shield. A chance conversation with a U-2 pilot revealed the U-2’s ASARS II radar to be capable of determining accurate coordinates of ground units located by radar. The U-2 radar was subsequently used throughout the war to locate army units in the KTO and provide coordinates to the bomber planner in Riyadh, which he then relayed to bombers enroute to the theater. Although this innovation gave the B-52s accurate coordinates in near-real-time, it masked another significant problem. The B-52s were attacking from high-altitude and encountered system accuracy problems that had not been noted in training due to the B-52’s previous low-altitude focus. Because target coordinates were being passed as the bomber was enroute, few knew the exact desired points of impact; therefore, poststrike analysis was slow to detect accuracy problems.
Fighter formations of four-to-eight fighters also attacked the Republican Guards from high-altitude. High-altitude tactics had been considered a relic of the Vietnam era by the majority of Air Force aviators and had been largely discarded after the mid 1970s. Survival and target acquisition in a European scenario appeared to require low-flying, and training throughout the 1980s had a clear low-altitude focus. High-altitude training often met with resistance. The common attitude was that low-flying is more demanding; if one can fly low, he can fly high. Although this may be so, a general lack of high-altitude experience masked some significant problems unique to high-altitude operations that would appear during Desert Storm.
The renaissance of high-altitude tactics was an innovation generated at the unit level during Desert Shield. Individual units gradually shifted from low-to high-altitude tactics during the months before Desert Storm. Most wings began Desert Shield with the belief that low-flying would be required to survive against the Iraqis. One wing commander attributed this to a widespread overestimation of the Iraqis’ capabilities. Observation of the desert environment and increased understanding of the Iraqi threat hinted at the need for change. As familiarity with the desert increased, groups within the combat wings began to question the wisdom of low-altitude tactics. A series of low-altitude training accidents (resulting in six fatalities) during Desert Shield precipitated a 1000’ minimum altitude restriction from CENTAF. Low-altitude advocates railed against the restriction, arguing that training should be conducted as low as 100’ (most USAF crews were trained to fly as low as 300’). The accidents gave many units an opportunity to reappraise their tactics and led to a gradual (but uneven) shift to high-altitude operations.
This adaptation to the anticipated conditions of war took place before the outbreak of hostilities, and was the result of considerable internal debate (and in some units, strife). The change, being bottom-up, was an uneven one. Observation opportunities were limited; there were no Iraqis available to test high-altitude propositions. Some units tested ideas by conducting simulated high-altitude attacks against friendly airfields and were encouraged because observers on the ground found it nearly impossible to acquire the raiders visually, even when attack times and directions were known beforehand. The USAF units most reluctant to transition to high-altitude were the night interdiction wings equipped with F-111s, F-15Es, and B-52s. These units saw low-altitude night operations as their forte, and their mental orientation was an obstacle to innovation. The low-flying ethos was so powerful in these wings that all flew some missions at low-altitude the first days of the war. European units (British, French and Italians) were similarly oriented, and worse off in the sense that their aircraft were purpose-built for low-altitude operations. The Tornado and Jaguar weapons delivery systems were ill-suited for high-altitude attacks. Once the shooting began, feedback (observation and orientation) was instantaneous and all quickly and universally abandoned their low-altitude orientation.
A primary reason for the uneven shift to high-altitude is that CENTAF refused to dictate tactics, leaving those decisions to the tacticians and commanders at the unit level. It is likely that Generals Horner and Glosson shared the views of other Vietnam War aviators--that Vietnam was "a war of fatal over-supervision." When General Glosson was queried by a pilot whether he could use low-altitude tactics during Desert Storm his reply was "You can if that’s what the wing decides to do. The mission commanders and smart captains should be the ones deciding tactics, not higher headquarters."
.Generals Horner and Glosson preached a philosophy that had a major influence on the command’s tactical conduct of the war. The commanders’ philosophy that "there’s no target worth dying for" influenced the attitudes of the crews who fought the war and the commanders who led them into battle. As long as there was no ground war taking place, many missions could avoid high-threat environments and wait for more advantageous circumstances. This is an advantage of a cumulative strategy, where discrete actions are not contingent on other actions.
USAF electronic superiority allowed air supremacy to be quickly achieved above 10,000 feet, but the numerous Iraqi anti aircraft artillery (AAA) pieces and shoulder-launched SAMs denied low-risk operations at lower altitudes. USAF and USN jammers, anti-radiation missiles, and the USAF’s direct attack of critical Iraqi air defense nodes collapsed the Iraqi integrated air defense system (IADS) in the first days of the war, providing Coalition airpower with a high-altitude sanctuary. Thousands of Iraqi AAA units firing autonomously could not be countered systematically and were best avoided by remaining at higher altitudes.
Although high-altitude operations entailed lower risk, they caused a variety of unanticipated problems. The most serious problems stemmed from the lack of high-altitude weapons delivery experience. High-altitude attacks revealed procedural and hardware shortcomings. Fighter units used visual deliveries that might have been appropriate for low-altitude attacks but held very poor prospects of success from high-altitude. Lack of familiarity with high-altitude weapons delivery characteristics led to misconceptions and mistakes. Hardware and software problems revealed poor high-altitude wind modeling. Wind modeling, critical to "dumb" bomb accuracy, attempts to predict winds at lower altitudes that will affect the weapons impact point. Limitations of wind models resulted in impacts well short of the target during B-52 and F-16 attacks. Difficulties were encountered by the A-10. Its most fearsome weapon--the 30 mm cannon--had to be fired at more than double its normal slant range and suffered in accuracy and effectiveness. Increased distance from fighter to target resulted from high-altitude ingress and egress, leading to reduced effectiveness in target acquisition, attack assessment, weapons effects, and weapons accuracy.
The problems of high-altitude tactics experienced by the F-16 units were quickly aggravated by CENTAF headquarters munitions decisions. A prewar weapons conference deprived F-16 units of guided anti-armor munitions and a wartime decision deprived them of their best unguided anti-armor weapon. Checkmate plans assumed all Maverick missile (AGM-65) qualified units would fire these guided anti-armor weapons against Iraqi tanks, but these tank-killing weapons had been shifted to the A-10 wing during Desert Shield. The decision made at a wing weapons officer conference in Riyadh resulted in the transfer of the theater’s Mavericks to the A-10 wing, capitalizing on A-10 expertise with Mavericks. The F-16 squadrons, on the other hand, could capitalize on their system’s compatibility with a superior anti-armor cluster bomb, the CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition (CEM). Large lethal patterns of submunitions generated by these area weapons minimized high-altitude accuracy problems. CBU-87’s radar (ground proximity) fuse allowed it to be used at all altitudes. High-consumption rates of CBU-87 during the first two weeks alarmed planners in Riyadh, and General Horner ordered CENTAF’s best unguided anti-armor munition be saved for the ground war. This decision was prudent if CENTAF believed it would have to provide a great deal of close air support, because many of CBU-87s features also made it CENTAF’s best unguided CAS weapon. The tradeoff, however, was that the conservation of CENTAF’s best unguided anti-armor weapon might increase the necessity for CAS.
F-16 squadrons then began to prosecute their attacks against the Guards with sub-optimal munitions for tank-killing. MK-20 Rockeye, an older anti-armor cluster bomb, was not well suited for high-altitude attack because its timer fuse led to erratic, unpredictable trajectories, which was not a problem at low-altitude. Other cluster munitions, CBU-52, 58, and 72, armed with fragmentation munitions were ineffective against armor. "Iron" bombs, (Mk-82 500 pounders and Mk-84 2000 pounders) became the F-16’s primary weapon. These munitions required a direct hit to kill a revetted tank, which was highly improbable from high-altitude. The diminished accuracy of high-altitude tactics was aggravated by sub-optimal munitions. The detrimental impact of this decision was not apparent because there was very little feedback on the state of operations against the RGFC formations. CENTAF headquarters knew little more than numbers of strikes flown. Wings, therefore, received no feedback from higher headquarters, and wing impressions were formed by the highly individual (and often inaccurate) impressions of the aircrews returning from strikes.
Successful orientation (and therefore adaptation) requires knowledge of the enemy state and actions in addition to knowledge of one’s own condition and actions. CENTAF commanders were unable to perceive accurately the state of the Republican Guards. Observation of the Republican Guard formations was hindered by poor weather and the United States’ highly centralized intelligence collection system. Frequent cloud cover (the worst on record for the region) masked the Iraqi Army from overhead photography throughout the first week.
When imagery began to flow, the intelligence system was overwhelmed by the target array, number of attack missions, and decentralized targeting.The massive size of the target array within the KTO (Iraqi positions covered over 3000 square miles) and the number of potential aimpoints (tens of thousands) were well beyond CENTAF intelligence’s ability to observe, analyze and synthesize. Large target systems were impossible to scrutinize because the entire theater intelligence system was built around and dependent on the imagery of a few centrally controlled surveillance systems. The intelligence system established in peacetime had never been exercised to the level required by Desert Storm and lacked the resources to adapt.
In the absence of direct knowledge of the enemy condition, bomb damage assessment (BDA) was expected to provide insight by assessing effects of air attack on the enemy forces. CENTAF headquarters personnel attempted to synthesize the reports from each mission and apply the sum to the last estimated condition of the target system. This could help estimate the enemy condition and progress of the campaign for the commander.Two problems were quickly revealed with the BDA system. First, the system was overwhelmed by the number of BDA reports generated by CENTAF wings. Second, quality of the wing’s reports was uneven; many reports did not quantify results into tank or unit kills. Quantifiable results were hard to estimate, particularly when attack results were observed from high-altitude.
Additional problems external to CENTAF arose in Desert Storm because the CINC gave ARCENT and MARCENT responsibility to determine the condition of enemy ground formations in their areas. The rationale was that "if the ground campaign’s initiation was to be determined by a point when air attacks had reduced Iraqi armor and artillery by 50 percent, then ARCENT should make that determination since the Army was to conduct the main attack." A lack of common BDA guidelines led to inter-service tensions and disagreements over the results of coalition air attacks. ARCENT, whose area of responsibility contained the Republican Guards, developed an independent means of reporting and processing BDA: ground liaison officers (GLOs) reviewed mission results and reported through Army channels to ARCENT intelligence (G-2) for independent BDA processing.
Although BDA was important to help headquarters orient on the battlefield, BDA in the form of post-strike photography was equally important for weapons delivery assessment at the unit level. Post-strike imagery can aid units in determining exact weapons impact points and helps the unit to judge munitions effectiveness. With post-strike imagery, the unit can accurately adjust weapons or tactics in response. The immense target array combined with the decentralized aimpoint selection, however, rendered weapons delivery feedback impossible. Combat wings had a nearly impossible time obtaining imagery from overworked CENTAF intelligence. The occasional photos that filtered down to the units were of little use because they were photos of isolated formations that could not be oriented to the larger framework of the battlefield. Furthermore, with decentralized aimpoint selection and hundreds of strikes flown each day there was no recognition of previous targets or attack parameters and little information could be gleaned from the materials presented.
CENTAF had little more than a sortie count to measure its efforts against the Guards, although this was no valid indication of effectiveness. The obstacles to observation and orientation revealed shortcomings of peacetime doctrine and training: large scale target arrays were not practiced against, feedback to the wings was not exercised, and inter-service BDA principles not agreed upon in peacetime. The consequences of air operations without BDA are increased uncertainty and a possible lack of insight into the true nature of the situation which can lead to a lack of adaptation.
Faced with a lack of feedback from intelligence channels, the GAT cell initiated a major innovation by creating a new process to obtain feedback by using cockpit videotapes. Cockpit videotapes were originally collected in Riyadh to facilitate press conferences (General Horner’s first press conference prominently featured footage of an F-117 attack on his "counterpart’s headquarters"), but tapes of laser-guided bomb deliveries were quickly recognized as a potential source of immediate feedback. Glosson directed wings to forward their videotapes to Riyadh where they were used by the GAT to bypass inoperative intelligence channels. Although gun camera film, the predecessor of VTR tapes, had been used in previous conflicts at the wing and squadron level by unit photo interpreters, most of those unit capabilities had been eliminated in the 1970s and 1980s in the belief that satellites could do all the collection centrally. GAT planners further modified the process by communicating directly with the air staff and defense intelligence agency (DIA), which had more manpower and access to data. Tapes of non-LGB attacks had less ability to provide feedback for BDA purposes, because heads-up-display tapes only record weapons aiming, not impacts. They did, however, provide important information to Riyadh as to what the units were doing.
A "flat" organizational structure, multiple formal and informal information channels, and the cockpit videotapes allowed CENTAF headquarters to follow closely the condition and activities of its own forces--an important element of orientation."Organizational flatness," enabled the accurate flow of information between those doing the fighting and headquarters. Wing Commanders and Deputy Commanders for Operations (DO) were flying combat missions and communicated routinely with Generals Glosson and Horner in Riyadh. A parallel network of communications extended between the unit weapons officers and mission planners to the planning and operations branches of CENTAF’s air operations center. This linkage, via secure phones and fax lines, enabled the majors and captains manning these sections to communicate freely and often, fostering more effective operations by both. Wings used these links to communicate horizontally and coordinate actions. Without a common perception of the KTO battlefield, however, operations against the Iraqi Army could not be well coordinated.
As CENTAF attempted to penetrate the fog of war, the staff and commanders knew they experiencing major feedback problems, but suspected F-16 attacks were less effective than anticipated. General Horner examined post-strike photos of several strategic targets attacked by F-16s and observed many misses. Although feedback was lacking from the KTO, General Horner suspected that F-16s (carrying out most of the attacks against the RGFC) might be encountering difficulties there too. An F-16 pilot himself, Horner tasked an F-16 pilot, Maj Rogers, working in the Black Hole to investigate.Rogers examined VTR tapes and observed F-16 units executing attacks with tactics that carried little probability of success. He shared his findings with an informal group of tactics experts in the Tactical Air Control Center (TACC: CENTAF headquarters) to help determine possible solutions.
Informal tactics discussions in Riyadh drew on the expertise of many aviators. Senior officers including Maj Gen Olson (CENTAF/CV), Maj Gen Corder (CENTAF/DO), Brig Gen Proffit (15AD/CC) and Brig Gen Glosson (14AD/CC) took an active part in finding potential solutions to tactical problems. Numerous contributions came from Black Hole and CENTAF’s tactics experts, a group of Fighter Weapons School instructor pilots brought into the TACC from Nellis AFB, NV as the war started.The FWS instructors flew missions with CENTAF wings to gain a firsthand appreciation of the problems experienced by the units. These individuals were able to use their direct knowledge of the battlefield to assist planning and execution from Riyadh. Like the Black Hole personnel, the FWS instructors had numerous personal connections to the wings and capitalized on this connection to find solutions to CENTAF’s problems.
Feedback on B-52 activities reinforced the pre-war perception that they were not well suited for the destruction of point targets. When photos of the KTO became available, B-52 attacks were clearly distinguished from other attacks, and the results were discouraging. Quarter-mile long strings of bomb craters were observed in the vicinity of ground units, with very few direct hits on the widely dispersed revetments. Dispersed, fortified, and armored Iraqi positions were well-suited to minimize physical effects of B-52 "area fire."The psychological value of B-52 attack, however, appears to have been recognized in Riyadh. Leaflets preceded and accompanied B-52 raids in an effort to demoralize Iraqi units, with great effect as Iraqi POW debriefings later indicated.
At this point it is appropriate to address the issue regarding how "right" USAF doctrines and practices were for the situation at hand. CENTAF’s adversary was similarly equipped but employed differently than the opponent around which USAF doctrine was built. The Republican Guards’ defensive doctrine was quite different from the high-tempo offensive doctrine emphasized by the Soviets. The Iraqis did not present the lucrative target concentrations expected from Soviet rapid movement requirements. Defensive Iraqi doctrine led to immobility, dispersal, and fortification and the battle acquired the characteristics of an air-to-ground siege: a battle for which airpower has not been historically well-suited.
The objective was different from that envisioned by deep air attack, reducing effectiveness and hindering measurement. Deep air attack’s primary effects were delay and disrupt, with destroy as a tertiary objective. Against a rapidly moving opponent, delay and disruption may be accomplished economically with attacks on key transportation, logistics, and command nodes. Effectiveness can be measured by following the enemy unit’s progress across a map and monitoring his mobile communications. In the case of the RGFC attack, delay became irrelevant (with the enemy immobile), disruption became less significant, and destruction became the key criterion of effectiveness. With destruction as the main measure of effectiveness, key nodes faded in importance. Thousands of discrete, hardened, and dispersed targets gained equal significance, posing incredible targeting and measurement problems to CENTAF.
In spite of the problems posed by the altered objectives of the operation, USAF planning groups developed useful plans that called for attacks on important systems contributing to the RGFC’s combat effectiveness. Several valuable ideas that might have facilitated the attrition effort (FACs, mass and concentration, matching wings to ground units) were lost in the friction of planning complex operations.
The combat wings executing the attack did a good job recognizing the opportunity to conduct operations at high-altitude with minimal risk (a unit level innovation), although lack of high-altitude weapons delivery experience reduced effectiveness. High-altitude problems were aggravated by munitions choices that took away the F-16’s best anti-armor weapons, marginalizing F-16 effectiveness towards the destruction objective.
Feedback and analysis of early attacks on the Guard were unavailable, which led to a major innovation: the use of cockpit video tape as a means for planners to obtain feedback. Feedback (a combination of observation and orientation in the OODA context) would be a necessary but not sufficient condition for adaptation. Insights formed after the first ten days of the war and additional feedback in the form of ARCENT analysis would stimulate considerable adaptations.
CENTAF Adapts: 27 January-5 February
I think we are making significant improvements in our targeting and execution against the Republican Guard. That’s the result of a lot of good suggestions from a lot of people. There are no new ideas, but there’s some that we collectively haven’t been thinking about. So never hesitate to come forward if you have a suggestion.
-Lt Gen Charles Horner
Between 27 January and 5 February, CENTAF implemented or facilitated the adoption of at least six innovations in the battle with the Republican Guards. These changes, conceived and implemented within a surprisingly brief ten-day period, adjusted some operations and initiated other new operations that considerably improved USAF’s efforts against the RGFC. Several of CENTAF’s changes, as indicated by General Horner’s comments above, were adaptations of tactics used at some point in the Air Force’s experience. Although a previous generation of Air Force aviators may have executed similar tactics, the crews that fought Desert Storm had been schooled in different techniques and had to create these unplanned, unanticipated and unfamiliar tactics as they went.
The first innovation improved effectiveness against the Republican Guard with A-10 attacks on the Tawakalna Division. Gen Glosson reversed a decision to concentrate A-10s against the forward echelon by assigning this additional weapons system against the Republican Guard, possibly in response to unfavorable F-16 and B-52 feedback. Use of the A-10, the USAF’s prime CAS platform, on deep interdiction constituted a major innovation because it was contrary to the attack-pilot ethos. Deep, high-altitude interdiction by the A-10 had been discussed in some circles, mainly by weapons officers, but ran contrary to accepted practices and culture. Deep interdiction was seen by many as a mission unsuited for the A-10: slow, and heavily armored, the A-10 would be exposed to enemy ground fire for extended periods of time during ingress and egress. If attacked, it would lack the energy and maneuverability required to evade SAMs at high-altitude. Close air support was viewed as the A-10 raison d’être, many pilots believed the proper use of their weapon system should entail low-altitude Maverick attacks on enemy positions "while standing on the shoulders of the lead tankers."
Several A-10 missions hit Iraqi radars beyond the border on the first day of the war, and A-10s were used deep over the largely undefended west Iraqi desert in a search for Scuds, but use of the A-10 deep behind the lines in the KTO was unexpected. On February 27, the commanders of the A-10 wings at King Fahd AB were told by General Glosson to prepare for attacks against the Tawakalna Division, located over fifty miles behind Iraqi lines.
Approaching the new tasking with caution, the A-10 mission planners obtained target materials through unofficial contacts and implemented innovative tactics to increase effectiveness and minimize risk. The wing commander insisted on additional target materials "to do this right" and assigned the planning to a pair of weapons officers. Unofficial contacts with a reconnaissance unit allowed the wing to obtain a series of overhead photographs that the planners combined to form a mosaic of the entire division. The ground liaison officer was able to obtain a detailed map of the division, markedly increasing mission effectiveness. Concerned with increased risk and uncertainty of attacking deep behind the lines, wing planners scheduled hour-long wing-sized attacks. Eight-aircraft formations hit the division in six waves, ten minutes apart. These large formations maximized A-10 mutual support, simultaneously enhancing shock effect against the Tawakalna. The big formations presented some adjustment problems, as they were inconsistent with the A-10 pilot’s prior experiences. Accustomed to making many passes over a target (due to the A-10’s large payload and loiter time) in smaller and more manageable two-ship formations, some of the attack formations bunched up over the Tawakalna, and some flights had to leave the area due to the danger of midair collision.
Three days of wing-sized attacks on the Tawakalna appeared to have had a powerful effect. The division offered little further resistance and seems to have begun digging-in deeper. The Iraqis began to dig deep inside their revetments to decrease weapons effects, and to use covers to mask the contents of the many revetments. They increased their use of deception tactics, including moving "live" vehicles to revetments that were scorched by previous kills, and use of decoys in others. Active measures included the lighting of fires beside vehicles when fighters were in the area to give the impression that the vehicle had already been attacked.
The A-10 response was to fly lower to improve target acquisition and discrimination. There had been a constant "grass roots" pressure (frustration) to allow lower attack altitudes to utilize the A-10’s superb cannon. Re-evaluating the nature of the Iraqi threat (now perceived as manageable), and the problems with high-altitude attacks, the A-10 wing commanders allowed flights to make a pass as low as 4500 feet. In addition, normal A-10 tactics involving small two-ship elements were reinstated. The two-ship formations allowed more weapons passes and flexibility in the target area. Small formations operating over the battlefield allowed maximum effectiveness of each individual weapons pass. Increased familiarity with the deep interdiction environment and diminished Iraqi defenses led to a reversion back to more familiar operating procedures.
The A-10 attack on the Tawakalna is difficult to assess with certainty, but it appears that A-10 deep interdiction was an effective innovation. The tactics were left to the wing planners, who devised a good plan to deal with the uncertainty of a new situation. Personal efforts and connections led to the fortunate acquisition of valuable target planning materials. The wing was able to implement the changed tasking in a timely manner: two days from first tasking to execution. Inexperience with mass formations posed problems, but their use was a prudent measure to cope with uncertainty. Increased firepower allowed the formations to better cope with Iraqi air defenses, and presence of other aircraft helped the pilots to cope psychologically with a new, intimidating environment. Against the Iraqis, the large formations may have had enhanced psychological effects (shock, lowered morale) and cognitive effects (lower ability to react to massed raids), at some cost in terms of sheer physical effect (fewer passes over the target per aircraft). After three days, the perception of a decreased threat environment and familiarity with the new environment permitted a reversion to lower-threat tactical formations (two-ships) in order to maximize the physical effect of every mission.
As the first missions struck the Tawakalna, ARCENT estimated the strength of the Republican Guards to be essentially unaffected by the air attacks, catalyzing several other innovations within CENTAF. During the first two weeks of Desert Storm, CENTAF categorized feedback from the KTO as "nonexistent." On 29 January, General Schwarzkopf voiced frustration with the lack of BDA from attacks on the Republican Guards, exclaiming that vehicles "have to be on their backs like cockroaches for J-2 to assess a kill." ARCENT commander, Lt Gen John Yeosock responded two days later with an assessment that the Republican Guards were at 99% of full strength. Such poor results indicated the requirement for CENTAF to initiate considerable adaptation.
This ARCENT assessment was met with incredulity at CENTAF headquarters. Particularly since the air effort on the 29th and 30th of January contained the heaviest attacks on the Republican Guard of the entire war (458 and 408 airstikes hit the RGFC those two days).
In an effort to improve its myopic view of the battlefield, CENTAF headquarters ordered A-10s to reconnoiter the Tawakalna, to verify levels of destruction. Conventional reconnaissance (RF-4 photos) of the Tawakalna resulted in inconclusive findings, and the commanders in Riyadh decided to conduct close-in visual observation. The substitution of this attack aircraft for purpose-built observation systems constituted a major innovation. The A-10’s slow speed, armor, and survivability qualified it best to perform this mission. At great risk, two flights of A-10s visually inspected the Tawakalna from 2000 feet on February 1.
The pilots estimated the Tawakalna’s strength at 50% or less; but more significantly, extensive Iraqi countermeasures to coalition bombing became apparent to the low-flying pilots. The pilots noted roughly half of the revetments were filled with targets and the rest with "old farm equipment, plywood decoys, old pickups, and barrels of oil." From higher altitudes the decoys were indistinguishable from the live targets. Reflecting these findings, the A-10 wing commanders reported "We’re looking in the revetments from four to six thousand feet. It’s nearly impossible to tell what’s in them. . . . Our general impression is that we’re hitting revetments that may or not be lucrative."
Iraqi deception tactics represented a major obstacle to the Coalition air effort. Camouflage and decoys denied any certainty that airstrikes would hit valid targets. With live and false targets indistinguishable from altitude and only 50% of the revetments with valid targets, the potential existed for half of CENTAF’s blows to be deflected. If air attention could be further drawn away from live targets by giving them the appearance of destroyed targets (blackening with oil for example), the probabilities become even worse. Iraqi movement between revetments compounded the coalition problem because "frequent movement compounds the enemy’s problem of targeting in the absence of continuous observation."
The problems posed by Iraqi countermeasures were not uniformly perceived throughout CENTAF. Units using non-visual deliveries had little awareness of a decoy problem. Pilots performing visual attacks from high-altitude were aware of their inability to determine live from dead targets, but probably underestimated the Iraqi decoy effort. The following excerpts are from an F-16 pilot’s war journal, illuminating the problems with target discrimination:
1-31-91: Hit the Hammurabis with rockeyes- no emotional satisfaction from the ride. . . . pick whatever target looks least scorched.
2-16-91: The second sortie and . . . the 3rd sortie were hunt around and blow up whatever you happen to see. It's tough to discern what's worthwhile from 15-20[000 feet].
2-18-91: It's tough finding a place to bomb that looks like it hasn't been hit yet. God help the Kuwaitis, that place is a ravaged wasteland. We describe where our targets are from blown up things and bomb marks and craters.
It is unlikely Riyadh fully appreciated the extent of the Iraqi deception effort. Post-war comments of an Army officer assigned to CENTAF’s battlefield coordination element indicate a complete lack of awareness of the deception problem: "we faced totally exposed target arrays that didn’t move. The Iraqi forces made few attempts to camouflage themselves or deceive us."(emphasis added).CENTAF headquarters was aware of a target acquisition problem, but saw it on a larger scale: CENTAF was concerned that Iraqi battalions and brigades were moving around the battlefield. At one point CENTAF was misled by a few reports to believe (briefly) that the entire Tawakalna division had slipped away. With the benefit of somewhat clearer hindsight, it appears that the Iraqi Army remained relatively static throughout the campaign. Misled by the fog of war and false and misleading reports, CENTAF headquarters overestimated the magnitude of the problem of large unit movements and underestimated the magnitude of the target discrimination problems.
The general under-appreciation of the deception problem appears to have inhibited innovations to deny its effects (orientation on the problem is a necessary condition for successful adaptation). Those most familiar with the Iraqi deception efforts were the A-10s pilots. To counter Iraqi deception the wing commanders offered the following suggestion:
We’re hurting him but feel we could be doing it better through mass and concentration of effort. . . . We feel we need to pick the most lucrative areas at least one day in advance from all sources of intel (imagery immensely improves effectiveness--reference A-10 SEAD results); pre-plan concentrated, multiple aircraft raids against those areas; strike until those two or three are sanitized with the most penetrating weapons available and then move on. In summary: Pick it. Pound it. If it doesn’t explode move on. . . ."
CENTAF, however, seemed either unaware of the scale of effort required to "sanitize" an area, or it was unable or unwilling to achieve the concentration required. Pre-planned and well-supported wing-size attacks were not repeated after the initial assault on the Tawakalna, nor were additional planning materials made available to increase effectiveness. Although several areas received heavier attention than others, most days saw airpower spread throughout the KTO. Several groups appear to have been pushing for increased concentration of air effort against the Republican Guards. General Schwarzkopf wanted CENTAF to break one division to serve as an example to the rest. General Horner’s comments repeatedly return to concentrating efforts on the Guard. The A-10 message called for concentration to counter Iraqi deception tactics, but the required concentration did not materialize. This may have been the innovation that did not happen.
One possible explanation is that CENTAF attempts to concentrate were unsuccessful due to the numerous competing demands on airpower. Horner continually stressed the importance of destroying the RGFC: "do not lose focus on the Republican Guards. Everything else is secondary other than the defense of Saudi Arabia." The command’s best day against the Guard was 29 January, in which the RGFC received 76% of the strikes within the KTO, but still amounted to only 50% of the Coalition’s total strikes for the day. The RGFC received less than half of the strikes in the KTO for thirty-nine of Desert Storm’s forty-three days. From a theater-wide perspective, the Republican Guard received less than one in six of the Coalition’s 41, 309 airstrikes. Strategic, counter-air, interdiction, and Scud target sets required a certain level of "maintenance sorties" that may constitute part of theater airpower’s "overhead." Demands for CAS from the corps commanders continuously pulled the A-10s from preplanned interdiction targets. Even the CINC confounded concentration efforts by frequently specifying RGFC divisions as the "target of the day," impeding efforts at persistence by switching divisions each day. Although the 600 sorties per day used by the planners may have seemed possible, the friction of war as manifested in the competing demands for airpower put this figure out of reach.
The bulk of the strikes against the Republican Guard were carried out by CENTAF’s F-16 force, and the perception of poor effectiveness troubled both the commanders in Riyadh and the pilots in the wings. Tacticians and commanders at both levels perceived problems and worked on solutions. Concerned with the F-16’s poor accuracy from high-altitude, General Glosson instructed F-16 units to bomb from lower altitudes. This order had an uneven effect. Wings still had the Glosson/Horner "there’s no target worth dying for" philosophy in mind, and release altitudes were largely left to individual flight leader discretion. This highly subjective determination concerned some members of Glosson’s staff who believed directives were not being followed after reviewing videotapes. Although this raises the issue of enforcing directed changes, Riyadh in almost all cases deferred final decisions on tactics to the wings.
Another means of achieving better results from the F-16 was developed in Riyadh. Nellis AFB tactics expert, Col Clyde "Joe Bob" Phillips devised a plan to capitalize on the F-16’s capacity for fast, short turnarounds on the ground to increase daily sorties by creating an F-16 forward operating location (FOL). Glosson ordered his largest "day-only" F-16 wing, the 363d TFW(P), to deploy support elements and conduct operations from the Saudi airfield at King Khalid Military City(KKMC). A-10s had been operating from KKMC located only sixty miles from the Iraqi border. F-16s operating there were able to exchange their drop-tanks for extra ordnance: KKMC-based missions carried four MK-84 2000 pound bombs (double the normal load of two). FOL operations allowed the wing to fly more sorties per day; KKMC missions launched from the 363d main base in Abu Dhabi to bomb the KTO; landed and rearmed at KKMC for a second sortie to the KTO (which did not requiring refueling); landed and rearmed at KKMC for a third mission and after attacking the KTO, air refueled to return to Abu Dhabi.
Phillips saw an opportunity to improve performance by using the same pilots on the KKMC missions to build familiarity with the terrain, mission, and timing. An increase in effectiveness was anticipated. This effort, however, met with little success. CENTAF’s ATO production section typically scheduled individual KKMC missions against two or three different targets per day. Furthermore, 363d wing planners do not appear to have received any guidance to use the same crews. One aspect of this innovation was not realized, due in part to the friction of forcing ideas through an organization at war.
Although FOL operations were a minor innovation, the implementation of the concept required considerable effort. A-10s were already operating from KKMC, but work areas, quarters, and F-16 specific logistics, support, and ordnance had to be arranged prior to initiating FOL operations. The concept was implemented with startling speed; the wing implemented a full scale operation in four days. Chief KTO planner, Lt Col Sam Baptiste planned for a gradual spin-up in sorties, but was over-ruled. Glosson and the 363d commander, Col Raymond Hout, decided to scheduled the wing to launch twenty-four sorties from KKMC the first two days, but then generate a full forty-eight sorties after February 5. KKMC missions became "the cornerstone of the [363d]schedule, accounting for over 40% of [the wing’s] combat sorties."Although the wing was putting more bombs on target, effectiveness from a BDA standpoint was not improved because ARCENT refused to accept F-16 pilot reports, causing a conflict between ARCENT and CENTAF described later.
F-16 pilots perceived the requirement to increase targeting effectiveness against the Republican Guards. Within the 388TFW(P), pilots saw poor weather and target identification as obstacles to increased effectiveness because each flight did not have sufficient amount of time scheduled by Riyadh to allow them to locate and attack their assigned target . 388TFW(P) mission planners discussed and tried a new tactic (with their wing DO’s approval) to improve target acquisition. The wing internally re-allocated their time-over-target (TOT) windows, launching one flight before the rest to reconnoiter each of the wing’s targets. The lead four-ship formation reported back target status and weather conditions to the four trailing flights which were able to use a reduced spacing of only two minutes. The advance target and weather information allowed the following flights to locate and attack their targets quickly. Subsequently, the wing suggested to Riyadh that "an airborne platform be stationed in the second echelon area to validate Air Tasking Order targets and find new targets if required." This suggestion was well received in Riyadh, where Col Phillips’ tactics group had been considering the use of F-16s as forward air controllers to control attacks on the Republican Guard and provide BDA. The concept was familiar to senior officers because it was similar to the FAST FAC missions flown in south east Asia two decades earlier. General Horner approved the concept on 3 February and the 388TFW(P) flew its first "Killer Scout" missions the next day.
Eight pilots with previous FAC or A-10 experience rotated between the Republican Guard positions and an air-refueling track to maintain a continuous presence over the Iraqi divisions for an eight-hour period. Increased familiarity and continuity with the same area led to increased perceptions and orientation on the Iraqi positions. The pilots were able to note where Iraqi units had shifted overnight and record newly-discovered "assembly areas, ammunition storage bunkers, trans-shipment points, artillery, and communications sites." The wing repeated the effort over the next few days, and it was quickly expanded to cover four to six kill boxes simultaneously. One of the 388TFW(P)’s squadrons, the 4TFS, quickly "checked out"(through on the job training) all of its pilots, and by the end of the first week it was flying 99% of its sorties as Killer Scouts. This innovation took place at an impressive pace. Once the requirement for the change was identified, CENTAF’s senior leadership acted swiftly and demanded much of the pilots who would execute the missions. The success of this rapid change was based on the flexibility of the crews and an active interchange of ideas within the unit to optimize performance.
Although it began as a minor innovation within the unit, it became a major innovation with theater-wide impact as the entire squadron switched to the Killer Scout mission. The full-time diversion of one of CENTAF’s strike squadrons to forward air control was unanticipated. Although some of the pilots were fortunate enough to have had previous FAC experience, none had anticipated the role and undergone training for it in the F-16. Riyadh added responsibilities to the mission. From the first missions the 4TFS was directed to collect BDA in addition to strike control, and as the ground war approached, the unit was further tasked to monitor friendly ground units to prevent fratricide on a fast-moving battlefield.
Riyadh believed the Killer Scouts "increased the effectiveness of the F-16 force. . . three or fourfold." Killer Scouts also improved feedback to CENTAF headquarters. General Glosson noted on 14 February that "F-16 (Killer Scouts) have more than doubled the F-16 BDA per 24 hours." A more distant appraisal reveals that this innovation clearly alleviated some problems that affected operations in the KTO but not all of them. The scouts definitely minimized large-scale target acquisition for many flights of fighters. When weather affected the theater, the scouts located areas suitable for operations and directed fighters there. This function was particularly important to the heavily-armed F-16s flying missions from KKMC; with less loiter time due to light fuel loads, these missions needed to acquire the target quickly. The scouts may have increased BDA flowing to CENTAF, but their BDA did not affect ARCENT (or CENTCOM) figures because the ground components refused to accept F-16 BDA. One critical problem Killer Scouts did not normally resolve was that of precise target discrimination. The Iraqi deception efforts were not uniformly perceived within the squadron. Although the scouts flew with binoculars and were the pilots most familiar with the KTO, there were limits to what could be discerned, and some Iraqi deception measures were very difficult to penetrate. Even if decoys were detected, many of the Killer Scouts believed that their primary purpose was to identify lucrative target concentrations, not to provide close control.
CENTAF’s frustration and uncertainty with poor feedback and questionable effectiveness led to a major innovation that helped resolve both problems simultaneously. Two groups within the headquarters in Riyadh independently concluded that the precision of laser guided bombs (LGBs) coupled with the visual feedback provided by videotape could improve progress towards CENTAF’s 50% attrition goal.
The idea that LGB attacks on the Republican Guard might be practical had two foundations. Laser guided bombs had been used against tanks during the Vietnam War on several occasions, and at least one member of General Glosson’s staff, Lt Col Rick Lewis, was familiar with their potential. A Desert Shield training exercise, "Night Camel," had revealed that armored targets were visible at night when viewed through infrared sensors such as the F-111’s Pave Tack laser designator. Supported by these concepts, General Glosson made preparations for LGB attacks on the RGFC. As the GAT planners prepared to introduce F-111s to the KTO, TACC operations personnel led by Maj Generals Olsen and Corder arrived at a similar conclusion regarding LGBs.
The F-111 wing commander, Col Tom Lennon, was reported to have initially resisted the idea. Loitering over the Republican Guard at high-altitude ran contrary to the F-111 belief in the low-altitude, single pass, night attack as the key to survival. Lennon appears to have quickly been won over to the idea; he led a limited trial of two LGB-armed aircraft. The crews successfully expended 500-pound GBU-12s on revetted Iraqi positions on 5 February. With positive results from the initial effort, the wing increased its effort to forty-four sorties the next night. Quickly labeled "Tank Plinking," LGB attacks were incorporated into the daily ATO, which scheduled roughly fifty F-111 sorties into the KTO per night. That the innovation required three days from conception to full-scale implementation illuminates the mental flexibility of commanders for seizing the opportunity and the initiative of crews in working out the tactics without training.
The wing’s ground liaison officer (GLO) displayed commendable enthusiasm in assisting the crews prepare for LGB missions. Demonstrating personal initiative and using contacts with ARCENT, he provided targeting information beyond what was available through normal intelligence channels. The GLO’s ground unit information increase the wing’s orientation on the Republican Guard allowing F-111 crews to find target concentrations quickly. This assistance was a necessary step for success because the infrared sensor used to designate aimpoints for laser guided bombs is poorly suited for autonomous search for targets. Exact targeting information, however was beyond the wing’s reach, and crews acknowledged many bad targets were likely to have been struck with the good.
Additional weapons systems capable of employing LGBs were quickly incorporated into the effort. Navy A-6Es, equipped with laser designators dropped some LGBs in the KTO, but were constrained by limited numbers of LGB guidance kits on board the carriers. F-15E Strike Eagles, already dropping CBU-87 and MK-82 on KTO positions, were also tasked to commence LGB operations once the system was certified to carry the GBU-12 by aerodynamic engineers in the U.S. The F-15E wing was extremely limited in the number of LGB attacks it could generate because only a limited number of laser designator pods were available. Deployed almost direct from the factory to the desert, the targeting pod was new to F-15E crews and maintenance personnel. Roughly six to eight targeting pods were available each day, and crews with previous LGB experience (from F-111 or F-4 assignments) flew the first missions.
F-15E crews showed considerable flexibility in developing new tactics and incorporating new hardware The lack of targeting pods caused the unit to develop imaginative "buddy lasing" tactics. This concept, founded partly on F-4 and F-111 laser tactics, allowed formations of F-15Es to use one designator-equipped aircraft to illuminate targets for itself and for a non-laser equipped wingman. The problems of coordinating attacks on un-planned aimpoints at night were unique and considerable. In order to develop these tactics, flight leaders took their best guess as to how to accomplish the attacks and refined the tactics in careful post-mission debriefings. In the most successful instances, flights from the squadron were able to attack sixteen discrete aimpoints in a single mission (dropping eight LGBs per aircraft). The rapid tactics development and smooth integration of new technology without additional training reveals an impressive capacity for adaptation by the USAF’s well-trained and highly motivated crews. Furthermore, it demonstrates considerable faith on the part of Air Force leaders in allowing their crews to work out the best tactics in combat.
The effectiveness of the Tank Plinking missions was difficult to argue with all weapons deliveries clearly recorded on 3/4" videotape. Literally thousands of targets were seen engulfed in flame as the bombs hit. In some, turrets or other debris were observed coming from the explosion. However, these dramatic recordings did have limitations, the rapid "blooming" of the IR screen that follows the explosion of a bomb can mask the actual point of impact, and it certainly masks the effect on the target. In spite of this potential limitation, the LGB innovation appears to have been one of the most effective changes by CENTAF.
CENTAF persuaded ARCENT and MARCENT to adopt a final innovation by convincing them to accept videotapes of LGB attacks as a source of valid BDA.With this modification of existing procedures, the progress of the air attrition effort began to show dramatic progress. ARCENT J-2 established rules that permitted accounting of LGB kills recorded on videotape (if verified by a ground liaison officer), A-10 kills, and all kills confirmed by imagery. The contribution of all other aircraft reports were disregarded in this process, leading to emotional responses from CENTAF. ARCENT’s rules were, in fact, no more than a model: a means to estimate progress. This model, however, was used to judge CENTAF performance, and therefore resulted in "ruffled feathers." Any model has limitations, but If ARCENT had not been persuaded to accept VTR and A-10 BDA, the 50% destruction might not have been perceived until D+100.
CENTAF’s adaptation to the realities of war reveals an unusually high-degree of organizational flexibility. That so many changes were implemented quickly, effectively, and simultaneously reflects favorably on the organization. One is challenged to find a military organization that was able to incorporate so many innovations in a similar ten-day period.
At this point it is possible to make some observations on patterns common to CENTAF’s process of adaptation. First, observation and analysis must lead to the perception that adaptation is desirable. The fog of war, however, impairs one’s powers of observation and ability to correctly analyze. For this reason, the most important adaptations by Riyadh were the rapid establishment of alternate sources of information. The additional information provided by cockpit videotapes, informal connections to Washington, A-10 observations, and later, the use of the Killer Scouts allowed the commanders and staff in Riyadh to more effectively perceive battlefield realities. Feedback from ARCENT (the 99% estimate) immediately provided a strong perception that adaptation was required.
With the need to adapt apparent, CENTAF was able to make adjustments to increase effectiveness. Ideas came from a variety of sources, although three sources stand out: the network of junior officers, many Fighter Weapons School graduates, that linked the Black Hole, wing planning cells, and flying squadrons. The second source, a small group of Weapons School instructors, was brought to the TACC as troubleshooters. These individuals, free from the ATO process, worked on specific issues for the commanders.The third group was CENTAF’s senior leaders. The general officers in Riyadh took an energetic and helpful part in working out optimal solutions to perceived problems. General Horner clearly expected his headquarters staff to innovate and he made this clear to them from the start of the war: "If you have a good idea about tactics or target selection or things of that nature, they are always welcome . . . . [There are] no bad ideas in here . . . . Everybody has experience in one form or another in tactical aviation and we need to talk to one another about it." The flexible mentality and receptivity to new ideas as displayed by Generals Horner and Glosson were necessary for successful generation of new ideas, and their aggressive implementation.
Three innovations ( FOL operations, Killer Scouts, and Tank Plinking) reveal a common pattern noted by Fred Frostic in Air Campaign Against the Iraqi Army in the Kuwaiti Theater of Operations. Once innovative concepts were formulated, selected crews conducted a limited trial. If successful, the innovation was included into the next ATO. This pattern was practical for CENTAF because the crews were adequately trained and motivated to be able to handle the changes and because CENTAF commanders trusted their crews and planners enough to relying on the initiative and ingenuity of those who would carry out the changes. The A-10 case differed only in that the wing committed all of its resources to the first attack on the Tawakalna instead of attempting a limited trial. The prudence of this course of action is clearly explained by the uncertainty the A-10 wing faced with this new and unfamiliar tasking.
The speed of these adaptations is surprising. Only two days were required for the A-10, F-16, and F-111 mission changes, and four days were required for the 363d wing to initiate large-scale operations from an FOL. Flexible aircraft and munitions facilitated the process
There were, however, problems that could not be adequately solved. The first was BDA. The BDA process was broken, and all echelons within CENTAF were painfully aware of that fact. Despite the strong desire to correct the system, certain obstacles could not be overcome. The BDA system was designed to operate from the top-down, with imagery providing hard evidence of target conditions. This architecture was dependent on a very few collection platforms; it was physically impossible for those few systems to supply the volume of information required by the process. Had a bottom-up architecture been used, strike aircraft might have been properly equipped to provide the information (equipped with strike cameras, for example), and procedures in place to properly use that information. Although Riyadh forced through some elements of bottom-up BDA through cockpit VTR tapes, it was not enough to overcome the bureaucratic inertia existing across several independent organizations. In short, BDA was mired in bureaucracy and fundamentally flawed in its peacetime top-down centralized framework. For the process to work, a massive technical solution was required, which still has not occurred as of this writing.
The second problem not adequately solved was that of target acquisition. Aircrews attacking the KTO saw hundreds of indistinct ground units and thousands of hard targets with little certainty regarding which were dead, alive, decoy, or real. Lack of continuity (which might have improved with better target information) led to thousands of individual pictures of the battle When continuity was established for the daylight missions through the Killer Scouts, uneven perceptions of the nature of the problem remained. The Iraqi Army’s extensive deception efforts lessened CENTAF’s blows, and this was not clearly understood within the command.
Attrition War:6 - 23 February 1991
We just need to keep up what we’re doing. More of the same. The harder we hit them the sooner it’s over. I think we have to just stick to that strategy.
-Lt Gen Charles Horner, 8 Feb. 1991
After the tumultuous first week of February, CENTAF began to register positive progress towards the Republican Guards’ destruction within the framework established by ARCENT. The innovations adopted at the beginning of the month were "fine tuned" throughout the middle of the month. As the ground war approached at the end of the month, CENTAF’s intellectual and physical energies shifted south to prepare for the final phase of the campaign.
The Tank Plinking and Killer Scout missions built confidence among the CENTAF commanders. Videotapes of LGB attacks were proof of positive progress. General Horner jokingly established a nightly quota. When the command reached his 100-tank goal on 11 February, Horner remarked: "I think we have to keep doing what we’re doing. . . They seem to be getting very effective in finding and killing targets. It’s just a question of time." Although ARCENT BDA rules discounted F-16 results, the Killer Scouts improved the commander’s vision and control of the battlefield. Due to the time spent over the Iraqi positions, the scout pilots had the best perception of the actual condition of the Republican Guards. Generals Glosson and Horner spoke with the Killer Scout pilots on the telephone, questioning them and fine tuning their targeting guidance.
ARCENT Briefing Slides on 4 February estimated the Tawakalna at 59% strength, Hammurabi at 95%, and the Medinah at 99%. Reflecting CENTAF’s changes, the figures stood at 48%, 92% and 83% by 14 February. After a reassessment conducted by DIA analysts in Washington using photographs of the entire division area, Tawakalna’s estimated strength rose from 49% to 74% while that of other divisions decreased slightly to 88% and 74%. In an attempt to adjust the BDA model to account for the discrepancy, ARCENT G-2 began to count only 33% of the A-10 claims and 50% of the F-111 LGB claims. ARCENT’s rationale for accepting A-10 claims at the exclusion of others reveals a lack of understanding of air operations. A-10 claims were accepted on the basis that the they "fly in tandem, loiter longer, and A-10 pilots train in the close air support role." The fact of the matter is that virtually all of CENTAF’s aircraft flew in formation, the Killer Scouts were loitering two to three times longer than the A-10s, and the A-10s were performing interdiction, not CAS. The G-2’s readjustment sent shock wave through the theater. Subordinate Army echelons were distressed by the changes: "by the middle of February, division intelligence personnel had lost much credibility with the division command group because of recurring inexplicable changes in BDA." CENTAF was understandably unhappy with the altered rules. General Horner had often expressed his frustration with rules established by ARCENT: "If you look at some of the videotapes of the F-111s . . . you’re glad you’re not one of the ‘non-statistics’ or one of the ‘partially operational tanks’ in Kuwait." Members of the CENTAF staff took issue with the change, arguing that the DIA assessment was inaccurate because it was only able to detect catastrophic kills. The CENTAF staff was concerned that the revised rules would cause undue targeting of ground units.
The BDA guidelines imposed by ARCENT G-2 led to dysfunctional behavior. On February 12, General Schwarzkopf proscribed further attacks of Iraqi units already below 50%. Because A-10s and LGB missions were the only sorties producing sanctioned BDA, they were assigned priority targets, while other systems were flown against weakened units.
The A-10 wing was subsequently ordered deeper behind Iraqi lines to attack the Medinah Division, and suffered two losses in the process. The Medinah armored division straddled the Iraq-Kuwait border roughly 70 miles from friendly territory. The Medinah was more stoutly protected than most other divisions, and the A-10’s first appearance evoked a strong reception. Comfortable with their interdiction mission, the A-10 wing did not deem as necessary the wing-sized attack tactics used against the Tawakalna division 17 days earlier. Pilots believed the Iraqi air defenses were a "known quantity;" the wing emphasis had been "creeping northward" throughout the month as crews became more comfortable with the environment. As the tide of the wing’s efforts reached the Medinah on 15 February, a two-ship element went down with one pilot killed and the other captured; another aircraft (piloted by the wing commander) suffered major battle damage. When queried about the day’s losses, Col Dave Sawyer’s response noted that the losses were due to constantly increasing risk in the wing’s tasking and ended with: "Believe it or not, on the way home I flew over a flight of F-16s working a target approximately 15 miles north of the Saudi border! A-10’s over the Republican Guard and F-16s in the southern KTO doesn’t compute."
Unfortunately, using the logic of ARCENT’s BDA rules, the action did "compute." The A-10s were attempting to achieve the required RGFC 50% attrition to ARCENT’s satisfaction. Now able to rely on the F-111s and F-15Es, General Horner pulled the A-10s back from the Republican Guards. In order to minimize further losses, he restricted them to the kill boxes adjacent to the Saudi border.
F-111s then assumed the predominant role against the Guards. Tallies of destroyed Iraqi tanks climbed steadily, confirmed by what CENTAF regarded as high-quality feedback. After viewing one evening’s results, General Horner exclaimed that the F-111 videotapes should be "required reading" at the Army War College and the A-10 Weapons School. F-16s continued to pound the Republican Guards throughout the day, guided by the 4TFS Killer Scouts. The F-16 units pushed their jets, pilots and support personnel harder as the month progressed, gradually increasing wing sortie rates. Some of the F-16 focus shifted towards interdicting lines of communication, as the F-16 began to perform regular armed reconnaissance missions along roads and rivers, called "road recce" and "river recce." River reconnaissance became an important task because the Iraqis compensated for the destruction of the Euphrates bridges with increased use of ferries, pontoon bridges, and earthen causeways. F-16s patrolled the Euphrates daily, identifying and attacking numerous improvised river crossing sites.
Likewise, the heavy bombers were pushed to targets more suited to area bombing. In spite of the fact that the B-52s were not producing BDA, the CENTAF staff noted a certain ARCENT infatuation for B-52 strikes on ground units. This may have been due to a perception that the bomber attacks were yielding greater psychological than physical effects. ARCENT apparently reduced its demand for B-52 strikes after the G-2 was shown a photograph of an artillery position that had been subjected to a three-ship B-52 attack. The bomb trains had walked directly through the dispersed position but appeared to have destroyed only one gun. B-52s began to attack area targets such as logistics sites, a mission that capitalized on the B-52’s large payload. The B-52s also began preparing the breaching sites along the border. Feints were conducted with heavy breaching operations conducted in front of the Egyptian Corps, but quickly terminated when they became too successful--Iraqis were observed reinforcing the area in front of the Egyptians.
As the ground war approached, CENTAF’s strikes shifted south in order to weaken the first echelon of the Iraqi Army, particularly those units in the vicinity of the breaching sites. CENTAF’s intellectual energies were also able to "move south." Horner directed his staff to think about "how . . .to work a difficult close air support operation." Displaying his characteristic appreciation for the knowledge of those around him he exhorted: "Nobody owns the bank as far as good ideas or brilliance around here. Think how we’re going to work Fire Support Coordination Lines for a tank going 20 miles an hour."
With attrition figures steadily rising, commanders were confident the goals would be reached before the ground war commenced. The attitudes of Horner and Schwarzkopf indicate the possibility that they considered the job already accomplished because they believed the BDA figures to be so contrived to be irrelevant, and gradually gave up "chasing" the numbers.
CENTAF’s efforts against the Republican Guard were subjected to a final audit with the beginning of phase IV, the ground offensive.
Ground War:24 - 28 February 1991
The way home is through the RGFC.
- Lt Gen Fred Franks
On February 24, 1991 (G-Day) the U.S.-led coalition ground forces attacked along a 400 kilometer front. Two powerful U.S. Army Corps, the XVIII and the VII, thrust deeply into the Iraqi Army’s west flank as the U.S. Marines and Arab forces pushed directly into Kuwait. As ground forces pushed into Iraq, a steady flow of Coalition fighters accompanied the leading ground elements providing continuous CAS coverage. The rules changed for the air war; crews were to accept risks they had been able to avoid before. Gen Glosson instructed his wing commanders that "effective immediately there will be no altitude restrictions or weapons delivery parameters dictated to the flight leads. . . . Flight lead control has always been and will continue to be, the key to the greatness of American airpower." CENTAF crews supporting the Coalition ground forces were electrified by this pre-mission message from Riyadh:
PLEASE PASS THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE TO ALL WING LEADERSHIP AND CREW MEMBERS ASAP:
THE GROUND WAR HAS STARTED. OUR NUMBER ONE JOB IS SUPPORT OF THE GROUND FORCES. CLOSE AIR SUPPORT AND AIR INTERDICTION MISSIONS ARE NOT WEATHER CANCELED BY SOME DECISION MAKER REMOVED FROM THE SCENE. THE TIME HAS COME FOR EVERY FLIGHT LEAD TO MAKE EVERY REASONABLE EFFORT TO ATTACK THE TARGET AND GET HIS FLIGHT BACK HOME OUR GROUND GUYS ARE DEPENDING ON EVERY SORTIE. FROM NOW ON, IT IS UP TO EVERY AVIATOR TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
Some ground units used the Coalition fighters to locate enemy forces or pin down the next echelon. If close air support was not required the fighters attacked secondary interdiction targets, often under the direction of the Killer Scouts. Within two days the two U.S. corps had pivoted to the east, poised to smash into the Republican Guards and pocket the Iraqi forces remaining in Kuwait. As the U.S. Army closed with the Republican Guards, the character of the battle had been shaped by CENTAF’s month long duel with the Iraqi Army.
As the first troops crossed the Iraqi border the Republican Guard heavy divisions were estimated by ARCENT to be down to 54% (Medinah), 55% (Tawakalna) and 77% (Hammurabi) strength. CENTAF could have driven the figures lower with more time, but the commanders seemed to place less importance on the 50% figure as the ground war approached. Iraqi desertions made it clear that the Iraqi Army was disintegrating. Time for increased attrition was not available as political pressures to launch the ground war overrode military considerations.
The U.S. Army made quick work of the forward Iraqi echelons devastated by Coalition air. On February 26 the 2d ACR of the VII U.S. Corps met the elements of the Tawakalna Division. Moving east towards Kuwait, the cavalrymen overran Tawakalna observation posts and shortly thereafter encountered elements of the Tawakalna’s two southern brigades mixed with remnants of other Iraqi Armored units. The southern elements of the Tawakalna were encountered in the same positions they had occupied throughout most of the air campaign, while the northern half of the division appears to have displaced west into blocking positions. The ACR’s engagement, later named the Battle of 73 Easting, was an intense multi-battalion melee that resulted in heavy Iraqi losses at the cost of one U.S. life. The ACR’s role subsided when the 1st Infantry Division conducted a passage of lines, pressing its advance into Kuwait, and completing the destruction of the Tawakalna’s southernmost elements. The northern elements of the Tawakalna were subsequently engaged and overrun by the 3d Armored Division and 3d Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
The next day (February 27th), the 1st Armored Division engaged the Medinah Division and an infantry brigade, possibly from the Adnan Division. After scattering the infantry, the 1st Armored deployed in a linear formation and hammered the Iraqi armored division in a head-on confrontation since called the Battle of Medinah Ridge. The 1st Armored claimed over 300 Iraqi armored vehicles destroyed, marking the death of the Medinah division.
As the Medinah was being destroyed, the 24th Mechanized Division swept eastwards along the Euphrates racing to seal the Iraqi’s escape route at Basrah. Trailing the 1st Armored by approximately twenty-five kilometers, the 24th encountered uncoordinated pockets of resistance but not the anticipated major contact with the Republican Guard light infantry divisions. The infantry comprising Iraqi’s northernmost echelon, however, fled the battlefield as the battle of Medinah Ridge was lost. Subsequently the 24th Division was unable to close with those units. Much of these infantry divisions’ heavy equipment appeared to have been abandoned on the field of battle. The Republican Guard’s remaining heavy division, the Hammurabi, appears to have used the battle of Medinah Ridge as a rearguard action to escape to the northeast in the direction of Basrah.
When the President declared a unilateral cessation of hostilities on the morning of 28 February, elements of the Hammurabi Division, several Republican Guard infantry divisions, and remains of units able to flee from Kuwait were trapped in a small enclave southwest of Basrah. Exit from the Basrah pocket was severely restricted by damage to the bridges and causeway across the Euphrates. A successful defense of the pocket was improbable if the Coalition forces chose to attack. A plan was in place to conduct an air assault north of Basrah, sealing any escape routes across the Euphrates. Furthermore, there is no evidence to indicate that the disorganized Iraqi units in the pocket would have fared any better than the rest of the Army, particularly without the benefit of prepared defensive positions. An attack into Basrah, however, was not a low risk option for U.S. forces due to the likelihood of costly urban combat.
The Hammurabi attempted to flee the Basrah pocket on 2 March by skirting the 24th Division positions to cross the Euphrates at Rumaylah. In the process, however, shots were exchanged with the 24th, and in the ensuing "Battle of Rumaylah," the 24th claimed 187 armored vehicles, 34 guns, 16 rocket launchers, and 400 wheeled vehicles destroyed. U.S. casualties included one soldier wounded, and one M-1 destroyed. The Iraqis fled back towards Basrah and were not involved in any more engagements with the Coalition. It can be assumed the remnants of the Republican Guard divisions reformed around Basrah and gradually filtered across the Euphrates over the next several weeks.
Major elements of the Republican Guard were destroyed as an effective military force. Remnants may have been lashed together to suppress internal unrest after the war, but the Guard was no longer the most intimidating military force in the region. The Guard’s potential as a strategic instrument of coercion was immeasurably diminished when two of the Republican Guard’s finest divisions were crushed in Desert Storm as the third fled. No longer referred to as Iraq’s fearsome battle hardened elite, the Guard was seen now as a technologically inferior third-world force unable to effectively wage modern war.
Although General Powell would not be able to use "smoking tanks as kilometer posts all the way to Baghdad," he could use them almost all the way to Nasseriyah or Basrah had he wished. As the weeks after the war passed, attention inevitably turned to determining how many of Iraq’s tanks were indeed "smoking." CIA analysts used reconnaissance photographs taken of the Basrah pocket days after the war to count the survivors. Photo interpreters counted 842 tanks, 1412 personnel carriers, and 279 artillery pieces trapped against the Euphrates. How much of Iraq’s Army these vehicles represented is difficult to determine, as there is no agreed upon baseline. The CIA credited the Iraqis in the KTO with 2655 tanks, 2624 personnel carriers, and 889 artillery. The DIA, however, counted 3475 tanks, 3080 APCs, and 2475 artillery in the KTO before the war. If no Iraqi equipment escaped from the Basrah pocket before Coalition reconnaissance photographed the remaining hardware, it may be concluded that the coalition destroyed between two-thirds and three-quarters of the tanks in the KTO. Similarly, the Coalition may have killed two-thirds Iraq’s artillery or it might have been nine-tenths. With a range of authoritative sources available, many positions are defensible; and few may be disproved. A consensus on how many of Iraq’s tanks were killed in Desert Storm appears to be as difficult to establish now as it was in the midst of a war.
Appreciating that most of Iraq’s military hardware was destroyed or captured during this famous victory, accusations and recriminations have rebounded between the services as each service sought to stake a claim in the post-war mechanized "body count." At least two teams traveled to Kuwait to autopsy destroyed Iraqi tanks and determine the cause of death. Findings, however, were inconclusive for a variety of reasons: some vehicles had experienced multiple killing shots, (possibly from land and air attack), many others were never inspected because an indeterminate number of vehicles had already been removed and because many areas were inaccessible due to transportation limitations and the danger posed by unexploded munitions.
In an effort to use more subjective sources, each service, branch, and weapon system has been able to find an Iraqi prisoner debriefing that suggests that their weapon system, branch, or service was predominant. Each Iraqi’s experience was certainly unique, and the Coalition’s air and land power was not spread homogeneously throughout the theater. It may therefore be possible to suggest that each system had a significant but distinct effect on the enemy and the sum of these effects is more meaningful than their disaggregation.
CENTAF’s precise effect on the Republican Guard cannot be determined, but an examination should consider what facts we know about the RGFC in relation to what was attempted. CENTAF used airpower in concert with CENTCOM psychological operations to break the Guard’s capability and will. The results were mixed. The bulk of at least two Republican Guard heavy divisions stood and fought VII Corps, unlike most of the non-Guard units which quickly disintegrated at the approach of Coalition ground units. Republican Guard units encountered by the XVIII Corps, however, were unable to fight as coherent units, and as noted by the 24th Mechanized Division commander: "they were shocked, they were horrified. They would attempt to resist, fire back with tank Saggers, small arms, and then mostly surrender."
CENTAF attacked Iraqi lines of communication and supply areas to isolate the Iraqi Army from its supplies and to prevent its retreat. The bridge cuts inhibited the Iraqi retreat across the Euphrates. The air interdiction operation did not deprive Republican Guard divisions the supplies required to fight in one day of combat against U.S. ground forces. This task was not the goal nor would it have been possible without forcing the Iraqis to consume their supplies; the Iraqi rounds fired in the Battle of 73 Easting may have well been the rounds carried into battle in August the previous year. Bridge interdiction reduced Iraqi traffic across the Euphrates, but use of ferries and pontoon bridges did allow some reduced amount of supplies across. The depots south of the Euphrates would have been largely unaffected by the bridge effort, and they were subjected to B-52 attack. The depots, however, were so hardened and vast they were nearly invulnerable to air attack. General McCaffrey described one area as the largest concentration of ammunition he had ever seen, spanning an area of one-hundred kilometers by eighty kilometers, including underground bunkers, hospitals, and command posts. CENTAF planes were able to reduce substantially Iraqi access to their logistics sites by continuous attacks of logistics vehicles. The Iraqis were forced to shift from a large resupply efforts to very low-rate resupply using few vehicles to avoid coalition air attack. This reaction limited Iraqi options. Deprived of a robust logistics capability, the Iraqi forces were unable to wage a prolonged battle or a battle of maneuver. Degraded logistics put the Iraqi Army on a very short tether.
By wreaked havoc on the Iraqi command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) structure the air campaign further denied the Iraqis the option to wage a coherent defense. Coalition airstrikes hit fixed Iraqi communications links and intimidated the Iraqis into not switching on their radios for fear they would be detected. Air supremacy completely denied Iraqi airborne reconnaissance. Although the Tawakalna and Medinah appeared to have received the order to defend to the west, the maneuver was executed poorly and units became entangled and confused by air attack. The course of the battle suggests disrupted C3I had a large impact; U.S. forces generally knew where the Iraqis were but the Iraqis seldom knew where the coalition forces were. A commander at 73 Easting attacking from the west encountered an Iraqi battalion oriented towards the south. One group of Iraqi soldiers at 73 Easting, unaware of the presence of U.S. forces reacted to an artillery barrage as they were under air attack by leaving their fighting vehicles and taking cover. General McCaffrey’s arrival in the Euphrates valley was a complete surprise to the Iraqis. One armored battalion commander captured by the division was not aware of the Americans 300 km in the Iraqi rear; when the division artillery shelled an Iraqi airfield, the base responded with AAA, unaware of the American’s ground presence. McCaffrey labeled the RGFC infantry units divisions only "in theory" and described the Iraqi operational level command and control as "shattered."
At the tactical level, Guard armor was no match for U.S. equipment, nor were Iraq’s top soldiers a match for the soldiers of the VII or XVIII Corps. Iraqi T-72s were vulnerable to Coalition weapons, even many that were not expected to be effective against armor. The American M-1A1, however, proved impervious to most of Iraq’s weapons. Advantages in American sights and ballistics computers gave them a decisive edge at long range. At closer ranges individual American initiative and superior training paid off. U.S. soldiers were at a peak when the ground war commenced, having adhered to a heavy training schedule during the air campaign. Iraqi soldiers, normally requiring extensive work up training, were unable to prepare for the ground war under steady air attack. Iraqi soldiers were, instead, trained by weeks of bombing to flee their crew-serviced weapons and seek shelter.
Iraq’s respected long-range artillery that did survive the air campaign was ineffective. Denied air surveillance by coalition air superiority, Iraqi artillery units lacked any meaningful targeting capability. Intimidated by continuous air presence, the Iraqis never turned on their counterbattery radars. There is evidence that some Iraqi artillery positions may not have been manned as U.S. units approached. Iraqi fires were described as "erratic" and "completely ineffective." The units that were able to fire were dealt with swiftly. U.S. units were able to use counterbattery radars continuously to silence Iraqi fires with powerful rocket barrages. Fixed in place by destruction of their prime movers, Iraqi artillerymen faced a dilemma: stay and die or abandon the equipment and live.
Iraqi weapons systems were diminished by CENTAF attacks. That there was ground fighting, and in some cases very intense fighting suggests that the 50% attrition figure was not of primary importance. As Lt Gen Franks, VII Corps commander remarked, "50% didn’t mean much to Capt. McMaster" (a company commander at 73 Easting). Airpower’s value to the RGFC battle seems to reside in the options it took away from the enemy commander. Constrained logistics meant he couldn’t go far or fight long; damaged C2 meant he couldn’t coordinate his actions; airpower blinded his artillery and pinned his units, setting the Republican Guard for the coup de grace to be administered by combined air and ground forces during phase IV.
The Keys to Innovation
This analysis has found that USAF preparations in the decade prior to Desert Storm did not adequately predict the tactics needed to operate against the Republican Guard, but CENTAF capitalized on the initiative and flexibility nurtured in Air Force personnel to overcome obstacles to innovation and make timely and effective changes to satisfy theater objectives. USAF operational and tactical doctrines as practiced by Air Force units prior to the Gulf War were not well-suited to the task at hand due to their predominantly European orientation. USAF planners correctly identified many of the new conditions CENTAF faced and crafted a promising plan to defeat the Republican Guard. Some significant features of the planners’ concept of operations, however, were lost in the transition from war on paper to reality. As the war approached, most of CENTAF’s combat wings recognized the need to shift from low-altitude tactics and unevenly shifted to high-altitude operations. When air operations commenced against the Republican Guard, results quickly fell short of expectations. Without hesitation, CENTAF initiated six innovations to improve results. Nearly simultaneously, CENTAF instituted A-10 deep interdiction and reconnaissance, F-16 FOL operations, Killer Scouts, Tank Plinking, and the use of VTR tape as BDA. These innovations increased CENTAF’s effectiveness and enabled it to satisfy the theater objectives.
The experience of the Gulf War appears to corroborate Michael Howard’s assertion that "whatever doctrine the armed forces are working on now, they have got it wrong." Neither side’s doctrine was right: the USAF’s air offensive against the Republican Guard looked entirely different than what had been envisioned in deep air attack doctrine. The objective changed from delay and disruption of a rapidly advancing ground force to destruction of a dug-in ground force, a task enormously harder to achieve and to measure. Likewise, the tactics required in the Gulf looked entirely different than those designed for deep air attack in Europe. Confronted with new realities of the Gulf environment, CENTAF wings set aside the tactics in which they were trained and generated new ones.
Iraq’s static defense was completely unsuited against an opponent who seized the initiative and was able and willing to deliver telling blows in depth. The flaws in Iraq’s reliance on ground-based air defenses (which might have been suitable for deflecting most regional air forces) were quickly revealed with the collapse of Iraq’s air defense system as the country was laid bare to heavy air attack. Unstoppable airstrikes on an army that had enjoyed air superiority in its previous war left it no choice but to disperse and dig in deeper. When that Army attempted to change and seize the initiative at Khafji, unimpeded air attacks drove it back. Iraqi doctrine, in Michael Howard’s words, "was too badly wrong." The Iraqi Army was unable to influence the course of events. Deprived of options, it continued to decay under constant pressure from the air. Critically weakened by air attack, the house of cards collapsed when the Coalition ground attack kicked in the door.
What sets CENTAF apart from other military organizations is the speed of its adaptation process. Time frames of successful wartime innovations are typically discussed in terms of months and years, CENTAF transformed ideas into reality in days. During the week between 27 January and 6 February, CENTAF changed the entire character of the air battle with the Republican Guards. By streamlining the feedback system (VTR generated BDA) the effects of Tank Plinking were detected immediately. Likewise, daytime Killer Scout operations provided another streamlined information conduit to the commander so effects of the changes could be quickly evaluated. These measures allowed CENTAF to realize it had found a winning combination. Constant surveillance of the Iraqi Army reduced its capability to react: Killer Scouts monitored all Iraqi movements during the day, while JSTARS watched the Iraqis at night. Although the theater time frame for phase III of the campaign was left open-ended, air objectives were essentially fulfilled by the time the ground preparations were complete by D+38. If CENTAF had not been able to modify significantly its operations the desired attrition might not have been reached (or perceived) until D+100, adversely impacting the campaign timetable.
CENTAF’s innovations resulted in savings of time, material, and manpower in the effort to reduce the Republican Guards to 50% strength. With the understanding that perceived progress does not equal actual progress, use of VTR tapes improved perceived progress towards the 50% goal. This enhanced feedback certainly saved material and time that would have been expended to satisfy the slower imagery-dependent BDA process. A-10 deep interdiction saved time and resources by applying additional systems against the Republican Guard. The A-10’s munitions (Maverick and 30mm cannon) made the probability of success higher on each sortie. F-16 FOL operations saved time by increasing the daily output of sorties, while the Killer Scouts made many of these sorties more effective by directing them to the most suitable targets. Tank plinking reduced expenditures of ordnance by increasing the accuracy of each weapon delivered, in addition to conserving the resources required to carry that extra ordnance. The F-111, A-6, and F-15 Tank Plinkers also saved time by attacking multiple targets with a high chance of success each sortie. One tactical adaptation, however, increased time and munitions expenditures. The shift to high-altitude attacks increased time and expenditures in order to conserve manpower. The potential material and political costs of the heavy losses that would have occurred at low-altitude are likely to have offset potential savings in other areas. The shift to high-altitude appears to have been a prudent decision in spite of increased time and munitions required.
The adaptive process used by CENTAF appears to be well modeled by the OODA loop. All four steps were present in CENTAF’s successful adaptations:
Several conditions had a major impact on CENTAF’s ability to adapt effectively to the requirements of the war.
Air superiority created a permissive environment for innovative tactics. CENTAF had near total freedom of action above 10,000 feet in the KTO. This freedom of action gave the combat wings the ability to experiment in as a benign environment as possible in wartime. Nearly everybody came back, allowing discussion and refinement of new tactics. Low losses gave the CENTAF commanders a certain "cognitive freedom of action." Freed from undue concern about losses, CENTAF was able to focus on how to defeat the Republican Guards.
Open-minded attitudes of senior commanders nurtured the growth of new methods from all quadrants. General Horner admitted to not having all the answers and encouraged his staff to offer suggestions. Headquarters was responsive to the inputs of the wings. Interaction occurred between headquarters and the wings at several levels and the ATO, easily misunderstood as a one-way demand, was described by one Desert Storm wing commander as . "a compromise between the wing and the fraggers . . . a negotiated product." The tolerance for new ideas and flexible attitudes of commanders allowed subordinates to contribute to their fullest potential.
Faith in motivated and well-trained subordinates allowed units to find optimal solutions to complex problems in minimum time.Riyadh devised new roles for several CENTAF wings but never told them how to accomplish them. In the words of one wing commander: "Riyadh never determined tactics." Wing and Squadron commanders had a similar faith in their crews to be able to improvise procedures and integrate new systems without guidance. Integral to this faith in subordinates were high expectations. In the words of one senior Black Hole planner: "[Gen] Glosson expected package and mission commanders to exercise tactical initiative , that is, to find their own tankers [when plans were changed at the last minute] or to make major in-flight adjustments."
Personal initiative cultivated on U.S. training and tactics ranges, in the classrooms at Nellis AFB, and flight briefing rooms across the USAF was the bedrock of the adaptation process. The USAF’s continuing commitment to training yielded immense dividends in the Gulf War. The USAF Fighter Weapons School fostered tactical excellence among its graduates, who then carried these exacting standards throughout the Air Force. The realistic, unscripted training conducted at Red Flag provided aircrews with the opportunity to solve complex tactical problems in the face of a live, reacting enemy. The personal initiative of the USAF aircrews was enhanced by their technical aptitudes. Aircrews displayed a striking capacity for integrating and optimizing the use of new systems on the battlefield without guidance.
This study does not suggest that adaptation in war is easy. The obstacles are formidable. If any of the elements of the adaptation process are missing or significantly impaired, adaptation is unlikely. Impaired observation, orientation, and action inhibited CENTAF’s adaptation process. Obstacles to observation impaired adaptation by the night low-level interdiction wings and CENTAF headquarters. During Desert Storm, when most CENTAF wings transitioned from low- to high-altitude tactics, the night low-level community was unable to test (and observe) the utility of high-and high altitude attacks, and were therefore reluctant to change. CENTAF’s widespread under-appreciation of Iraqi deception reveals the difficulty posed by an enemy attempting to hinder observation. Suffering from vision impaired by Iraqi countermeasures, Riyadh never appropriately addressed the problem posed by Iraqi decoys.
Inappropriate orientation contributed to the delayed shift to high-altitude by the night low-level interdictors. The low flyers were slow to perceive the need or opportunity to change tactics due to their "get as low and fast as possible and hide" culture.
Organizational friction was an impediment to implementing adaptations. The technologically intensive top-down intelligence process could not be completely overcome. Bottom-up BDA was accepted by ARCENT for only a few weapons systems and only if verified by an Army GLO. The competing demands on theater airpower prevented implementation of the CINC’s desire to concentrate in order to devastate one division. CENTAF’s tasks were many, and each drew off strength from the main goal.
Several significant problems were never overcome. Most stemmed from the objective of the air battle with the RGFC. CENTAF’s task of attacking the Republican Guard included operations against morale, command and control, logistics, and artillery and armor. The effects of most of these actions were not easily quantifiable, nor did they capture U.S. senior commanders’ attention as the 50% figure did. The evidence suggests that the non-quantifiable efforts may have been more significant to the ground offensive than pure attrition of armor or artillery. If the enemy does not know which way to orient his tanks, or where to target his artillery, then they are all rendered potentially ineffective. If he cannot respond to ground maneuver because his logistics are restricted, or because he is under continuos aerial observation and attack, then his combat potential falls off dramatically. Means to measure these important areas were never institutionalized and their contributions were under-appreciated. Frustration with the process used to measure 50% attrition eventually led to its diminution in importance to the American senior commanders. Schwarzkopf gradually reverted to weight of CENTAF effort as his main measure of merit against the Guards. A fundamental change to the measures of merit used to judge effectiveness seems to have been warranted, but was never instituted.
Even the attrition goal proved to be devilishly hard to measure. The efforts spent chasing it may not have been justified. The problems created by an effort to destroy 50% of the hard targets in a large, dispersed, and mobile target array exceeded Riyadh’s capabilities to guide strikes to the appropriate place. Targeting defaulted to the wings as airpower with "airshaft accuracy" was sprinkled indiscriminately over 900 square-mile kill boxes. Some of the wing GLOs and intelligence personnel were able to procure targeting materials outside normal channels to aid in targeting, but this was not done uniformly. Killer Scouts helped sort out some of the targeting problems, but had limited success identifying individual aimpoints.
The other problem illuminated by the 50% figure was the inability of intelligence to measure progress accurately. The problem was beyond the intelligence system’s technical or manpower capabilities. Staffs were never able to calculate actual BDA. At best ARCENT devised an imperfect model that never reconciled the contributions of several weapons systems.
The innovations used against the Republican Guard came from both the CENTAF staff in Riyadh and its combat wings. These innovations circulated throughout a network of connections between the staff and the units in the field. Commanders and tactics experts in Riyadh conceived A-10 deep interdiction, A-10 reconnaissance, F-16 FOL operations and Tank Plinking. General Glosson then instructed his wings to carry out those new missions. Riyadh, however, refrained from informing wings on how to accomplish the new tasks. Wing and squadron commanders, operations officers, and weapons officers often decided how to implement the changes. Success, however, rode squarely on the shoulders of the mission planners, tacticians, and flight leaders.
The shift from low-altitude tactics to high-altitude was accomplished at the unit level, as tactics were considered a matter best left for the wings to decide. In an effort to clarify how much risk was acceptable, individual units and wings instituted minimum weapons delivery altitudes, leading to a variety of standards throughout the command. The seeds of the Killer Scouts were sown by the 388TFW(P) mission planners when they used wing assets to validate targets for follow-on formations. There is a degree of simultaneity in this innovation, as Riyadh was considering a similar concept when the wing brought up the matter. The concept was well-received in Riyadh and was quickly institutionalized with command-wide impact.
Several innovations were internal to the echelon that instituted them. The struggle to use VTR tape as BDA resided at the headquarters level, and was handled at that level. Likewise, integration of new systems such as the LANTIRN targeting pod were internal to the wings and tactics to optimize employment (such as F-15E buddy-lase tactics) were best decided at the wing.
In all cases and at all levels, networks of motivated individuals stepped forward to take personal initiative and solve the problems at hand as their ideas flowed freely throughout the organization.
CENTAF’s struggle in the Gulf indicates wartime and peacetime imperatives.
The United States Air Force must sustain in peacetime its ability to adapt during war. the Air Force’s central maxim states: "flexibility is the key to airpower." The Gulf War validated this maxim and illuminated the need to perpetuate it. There are four avenues that must be pursued to ensure the organization is flexible enough to meet future demands. The first quality that must be sustained is the mental capability for flexibility. CENTAF personnel possessed the ability to solve unexpected situations quickly because they were trained to do so. The tough, realistic training accomplished at exercises such as Red Flag nurtured mental flexibility. Aggressive problem-solving, like that encouraged at the USAF Weapons School must be perpetuated throughout the USAF. Hard training, without "school solutions" is the means that must be pursued.
The same requirement for mental flexibility applies towards joint training. Increased familiarity with sister component procedures and information available is necessary to lessen organizational friction. Increased awareness and communications between component staffs, beyond that conducted in formal meetings, may facilitate adaptation at the operational level. The alternative, comprehensive and prescriptive joint doctrine, is a two-edged sword. Strengthened joint doctrine has the potential to smooth out some inter-service frictions. Established BDA guidelines, for example, might have eliminated some of the frictions that arose from the ground component’s evaluation of air operations. The risk of enhanced joint doctrine is that it may not be worth the price if it institutionalizes fixed procedures that result in "school solutions."
Although mental agility can accomplish much, it must be supported by physical capacity. If a large portion of the force is based on single-purpose, specialized weapon systems, there is the danger that no mental flexibility may be able to compensate. High-quality, high-capacity, multi-role systems best enable the Air Force to adapt to the unanticipated realities of war in the future. Physical limitations to intelligence systems aggravated the contentious dispute over BDA and restricted the availability of valuable targeting materials, underscoring the continuing requirement to improve intelligence collection and distribution. Enhanced physical capability, however, may not be able to solve the problems posed by an adversary determined to deny certain information to us, making some uncertainty in war inevitable.
Institutional capability for adaptation must be built into the organization. Frequent two-way communications between headquarters and the field allowed for a collective approach toward finding optimal solutions to tough problems. Innovations originated from both the top and the bottom. The system must allow for the incorporation of solutions from either direction. Several important innovations originated from a group of (tactical) experts at the headquarters; there seems to be cause for establishing a permanent cell within each numbered Air Force dedicated to adaptation and analysis. A group of officers with a wide education and critical minds should be trained to examine tactical and operational issues to determine what is working, what is not, and what can be improved. This cell should work directly for the air component commander in order to assist the planning and operations sections of the air operations center.
The most important quality that facilitates adaptation, the ultimate arbiter, resides in the attitude of the commander. Future commanders would be well advised to encourage individual initiative and creative solutions from their subordinates. This flows from faith in one’s subordinates, and encourages them to make decisions in the face of uncertainty. Faith is manifested in the decentralization of decision-making. Such faith does not come easily. General Horner stated "it’s very difficult for military people to learn to let go. We want to be in control." Decentralization, however, is the "fundamental way you release the initiative of thousands of people."
The final implication of this study suggests that in wartime, air component planners need to devise and articulate more meaningful objectives for air operations against enemy land forces. These objectives must more closely reflect air’s multi-faceted effects on land forces. They should be expressed as degraded capabilities of the enemy force that will facilitate accomplishment of the theater objective in light of the overall theater campaign plan. Development of more comprehensive objectives should lead to the better understanding and measurement of airpower’s contributions to a joint campaign. Objectives that better represent what airpower does may reduce the inter-service frictions that sprang from the use of a single criterion. This broader approach can not only clarify airpower contributions, but it can lead to a clearer picture of the state of the adversary. This may help us avoid hammering away at an enemy in pursuit of a fixed attritional goal as his soldiers surrender to newsmen and passing helicopters. Broader criteria may also compensate for enemy tactical deception, because he will be hard-pressed to mask all indicators of the state of his forces. The Air Force needs to think about and identify means to measure air operations against land forces during peacetime because the press of war does not provide time for reflection and analysis.
Appendix 1: Primary USAF Units That Participated
F-16212 Aircraft (1 February)
4 TFW(P) Seymor Johnson AFB. Deployed to Al Karj AB Saudi Arabia
157TFS McEntire ANGB NC
138TFS Hancock Field, NY
363 TFW(P) Shaw AFB. Deployed to Al Dhafra AB UAE
17TFS Shaw AFB SC
33TFS Shaw AFB SC
10TFS Hahn AB GE
388 TFW(P) Hill AFB. Deployed to Al Minhad AB UAE
4TFS Hill AFB UT Killer Scouts
421TFS Hill AFB UT LANTIRN Equipped
69TFS Moody AFB GA LANTIRN Equipped
401TFW(P) Deployed to Doha, Quatar
614TFS Torrejon AB SP
A-10A144 Aircraft (1 February)
23 TFW(P) England AFB, LA and 354TFW(P) Myrtle Beach SC
23TASS Davis Monthan AFB, AZ OA-10 FACs
74TFS England AFB LA
76TFS England AFB LA
353TFS Myrtle Beach SC
355TFS Myrtle Beach SC
511TFS New Orleans LA
706TFS Alconbury AB England
F-111F 64 Aircraft (1 February)
48TFW(P) Lakenheath AB, UK. Deployed to Taif AB SA
492TFS Lakenheath AB, UK
493TFS Lakenheath AB, UK
494TFS Lakenheath AB, UK
495TFS Lakenheath AB, UK
F-15E48 Aircraft (1 February)
4 TFW(P) Seymor Johnson AFB. Deployed to Al Karj AB Saudi Arabia
336TFS Seymor Johnson AFB NC
335TFS Seymor Johnson AFB NC
B-5236 Aircraft (1 February)
1708BMW(P) location unavailable
4300BMW(P) location unavailable
811BMW(P) location unavailable
806BW(P) deployed to Fairford AB, England
Appendix 2: Chronology
1987 RGFC expands to three heavy divisions, one infantry, one Special Forces bde, later expanded by 3 infantry divisions for Kuwait invasion.
1988 RGFC spearheads final offensives into Iran.
8-3 Iraq Invades Kuwait RGFC divisions spearhead the attack.
8-8 Schwarzkopf asks for Air Staff assistance in campaign plan.
8-10 Warden briefs Schwarzkopf
8-13 Warden briefs Powell--Powell demands IQ armor as target
Checkmate begins planning operations vs. KTO.
8-17 Final Instant Thunder brief to Schwarzkopf.
Glosson assigned to campaign planning.
8-? Late August the RGFC divisions pull back to Iraqi/Kuwait border/exchange positions with infantry and assume reserve position.
12-30/31 Night Camel Exercise F-111s observe VII Corps armor with IR systems.
1-16 Air campaign begins.
1-27 A-10s directed to plan RGFC attacks.
1-29 A-10 attacks on the Tawakalna.
BDA labeled "nonexistent" by Lt Col Lewis (CENTAF).
Schwarzkopf criticized J-2, "vehicles had to be on their backs for J2 to assess a kill."
1-31 ARCENT assesses RGFC at 99% strength.
2-1 Theater reconnaissance of Tawakalna inconclusive. A-10s conduct visual recce.
2-3 388FW "frustrating missions" vs. RGFC Lead to request for Fast Facs.
2-4 363 FW FOL operations begin.
Ltc Lewis researches ARCENT BDA criteria.
First Killer Scout missions to increase F-16 effectiveness.
2-5 First Tank plinking.
2-12 CINC directs bombing stop vs. units < 50%.
2-15 BDA rules changed based on DIA survey of Tawakalna.
A-10s lost over Medinah div., A-10s pulled back.
2-24 Ground Offensive begins.
2-26 Battle of 73 Easting Tawakalna Division destroyed.
2-27 FSCL moves north of the RGFC.
Battle of Medinah ridge: Medinah Division destroyed.
2-28 Hostilities ended with remainder of RGFC in Basrah pocket.
Appendix 3 Location of Airstrikes During Desert Storm
This chart represents Coalition airstrikes as reported by the Gulf War Airpower Survey (GWAPS). The RGFC line depicts the number strikes against killboxes AE6, AF7, and AG7. The "Other KTO" line charts all other reported airstikes in the KTO. The "All Other" line tracks air-to ground strikes outside the KTO, including missions against SCUDS, counter air, interdiction, and strategic targets. (Source: Tretler and Kuehl, 462-511)
Appendix 4: Distribution of Strikes Against RGFC Heavy Divisions.
This chart depicts Coalition airstrikes as reported by the Gulf War Airpower Survey (GWAPS) against killboxes AE6, AF7, AG7. These three killboxes contained the three RGFC heavy divisions. The first week saw few strikes on the RGFC units. The greatest weight of effort fell on the RGFC the last days of January. Air strikes never reached the 600 per day level used in the planning of Phase III. (Source: Tretler and Kuehl, 462-511)
Appendix 5: Iraqi POW Comments
These conflicting accounts were used to support conflicting claims in the aftermath of Desert Storm.
Airpower: "One Iraqi prisoner, a division commander, put it bluntly. ‘Why did your men give up?’ his interrogator asked. ‘You know,’ he replied sullenly. ‘I don’t know. Why?’ the interrogator persisted. ‘It was the airplanes!’ he responded." (source: USAF Report: "Reaching Globally, Reaching Powerfully: The United States Air Force in the Gulf War.")
A-10: "The single most recognizable, and feared, aircraft at low level was the A-10/Thunderbolt II. This black-colored jet was seem as deadly accurate, rarely missing it’s target. Seen conducting bombing raids three or four times a day, the A-10 was a seemingly ubiquitous threat. Although the actual bomb run was terrifying, the aircraft’s loitering around the target area prior to target acquisition caused as much, if not, more anxiety since the Iraqi soldiers were unsure of the chosen target." - 36 year-old Iraqi Captain (source: A-10 Combat Recap).
Tank-plinking: "During the Iran War, my tank was my friend because I could sleep in it and know I was safe. . . none of my troops would get near a tank at night because they kept blowing up." - Iraqi General. (source: "Reaching Globally")
B-52: "One troop commander, interrogated after the war, stated he surrendered because of B-52 strikes. ‘But your position was never attacked by B-52’s,’ the interrogator exclaimed. ‘That is true,’ he stated ‘but I had seen one that had been attacked.’" (source: "Reaching Globally")
USAF vs. Artillery: "[An] Iraqi division commander on the front lines when asked by interrogators ‘why didn’t you use your artillery?’ He said, ‘It was 100% destroyed by air. . . there was a division behind me and I asked for their artillery and it was sent forward, and, it was 100% destroyed enroute to my position." (source: Gen Horner, "Dadaelian Dinner Speech")
US Army vs.-artillery as paraphrased by Col Scales (USA): "A prisoner of war whose artillery unit who opposed VII Corps . . . revealed that his 64 gun battalion group lost seven pieces during the air phase and 46 to MLRS raids. . . . One captured battalion commander stated that his unit fired only once during the battle, and within moments, artillery bomblets devastated his position. A third of his soldiers fled the position and left most of his guns destroyed and the rest of his soldiers dead." (source: Scales, "Accuracy Defeated Range in Artillery Duel.")
M1A1 Abrams: "On 17 January, I started with 39 tanks (T-72M1). After 38 days of aerial attacks, I had 32, but in less than 20 minutes with the M1A1, I had zero. . . ." - An Iraqi battalion commander captured by 2d ACR as told to Col Holder, 2d ACR on 16 April 1991.
Interviews reflect the participant’s position during Operation Desert Storm.
Several HRA sources include citation indicating location.
1-4 CAV Operations Staff. "Riders on the Storm: A Narrative History of the 1-4 Cav’s Campaign in Iraq and Kuwait." Armor, May-June 1991.
9TIS. "CENTAF/IN After Action Reports" (U). (Secret). Information extracted is unclassified. The 9th Tactical Intelligence Squadron was CENTAF headquarters’ intelligence unit. HRA: k178.80-174.
10 TFS. "10 Tactical Fighter Squadron: Desert Shield/Storm After Action Report"(U). 9 May 1991. (Secret) Information extracted is unclassified.
17AD(P) Historian. "CENTAF TACC Notes" (U). January-February 1991. (Secret) Information extracted is unclassified.HRA: k-div-17-su-re.
23TFW(P) and 354TFW(P). "Operation Desert Storm A-10 Combat Recap."(U) 5 April 1991. (Secret) Information extracted is unclassified. HRA: NA292.
48 TFW(P). "Operation Desert Storm: 48TFW Taif, Saudi Arabia." USAFE Desert Storm History Inputs. HRA: NA 339.
138TFS/IN AAR. "CENTAF/IN After Action reports" (U). (Secret). Information extracted is unclassified. HRA: k178.80-174.
614TFS. "614TFS Squadron History Desert Shield/Storm." 29 August-29 Mar 1991. HRA: NA-379
"The Gulf War: An Iraqi General’s Perspective." 11 March 1991. HRA: NA-22.
"A Technological Success Story: Joint Stars and Operation Desert Storm." Air Power History, Fall 1991.
Abdul-Moati, Dr. Youssef. "A Diary of an Iraqi Soldier." Kuwait: National Center For Documents Against Iraqi Agression, 1992. HRA: NA-344.
AFM 1-1. Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force. 16 March 1984.
AFM 1-1. Basic Aerospace Doctrine of the United States Air Force. Vol 2, March 1992.
AFM 2-1. Tactical Air Operations- Counter Air, Close Air Support and Air Interdiction. 2 May 69.
Andrews, Captain William F. Unpublished War Diary. Author was 363TFW F-16 pilot and chief of mission planning cell.
Baptiste Col Samuel J. "Headquarters United States Central Command Air Forces in the Gulf: Reflections on Combat Planning and the Air Tasking Order Process." Maxwell AFB: Air War College, May 1993. Author was the chief of the KTO cell within the Black Hole.
_______. telephone interview with the author, 28 April 1994.
Bell, Capt T. "Analysis of the Enemy Threat to the Division’s Future Battle." 24th Mechanized Infantry Division Combat Team: Historical Reference Book. Fort Stewart Georgia: April 1991. This is a useful compilation of division orders and documents. Bell appears to have been a 24th Division intelligence officer. HRA: k585.01-5
Bennion, Maj. Kelly P. "Snapping the Achilles’ Heel: The Counterlogistics Fight." Leavenworth: School of Advanced Military Studies, 1992.
Bigelow Captain Michael E., "The Faw Peninsula: A Battle Analysis." Military Intelligence, April-June 1991.
Bingham Lt Col Price T. "Ground Manuever and Air Interdiction in the Operational Art." CADRE Paper, Maxwell AFB: Air University Press, 1989.
Blackwell, James. "The Status of Follow-on Forces Attack Technologies." Military Technology, 10/88.
Bodner, Maj. Michael J. and Maj. William W. Bruner III. "Tank Plinking." Air Force Magazine, October 1993. Bodner was an F-111 pilot, one of the first F-111F "Tank Plinkers." Bruner was a Black Hole planner.
Bohannon, Lt Richard M. "Dragon’s Roar: 1-37 Armor in the Battle of 73 Easting." Armor, May-June 1992. Firsthand, ground level, account of the battle with the Tawakalna.
Bonsignore, Enzo. "Tank Experience Raises Tank Survivability Issues." Military Technology, (2/92). An examination of Soviet armor design that finds the entire Soviet design philosophy flawed.
Bowman Maj Robert, OH-58D pilot, 4 AVN BDE, 1 AD, interview with the author at Maxwell AFB 16May 1995.
Boyd Col John. "Organic Design for Command and Control," Briefing Slides, published in "A Discourse on Winning and Losing," (1987)
Bruner, Maj. William W. III, Black Hole planner, Interview at Maxwell AFB, 21 April 1995.
Burton, Lt Col James G. "Pushing Them Out the back Door." Proceedings, June 1993. This article argues ARCENT allowed the RGFC to escape and precipitated a series of lively replies over the next several months in Proceedings.
Campden, Alan D. The First Information War. Fairfax Va: AFCEA International Press, 1992.
Carns, General Michael P. USAF Vice Chief of Staff memorandum to Lt Gen Nelson, AF/XO. Subject: "Who Killed the Tanks at Desert Storm?" 24 June 1991. HRA TF6-23-350 pt 9.
Caruana, Brig Gen Patrick P. COMSTRATFOR and Commander 17AD(P). Transcripts of Interview with Tsgt Hosterman, 17 Feb 1991. Caruana was commander of all SAC aircraft in the theater.
CENTAF DO/Event Schedule "Night Republican Guard CONOPS" 17-23 Dec 1990 (Secret) Declassified by HRA declassification and review team. Information extracted is unclassified. HRA microfilm 23988 frames 478-481.
"CENTAF TACC CC/DO Log" (U) January-February 1991 (Secret) Information extracted is unclassified HRA: NA 215. This invaluable source includes notations by most of CENTAF’s senior commanders.
CENTAF TACC NCO Log (U) January-February 1991 (Secret) Information extracted is unclassified HRA: TF6-46-482. This log contains useful records of conversations within the TACC on tactical problems.
Clausewitz, Carl von. On War. ed. and trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976.
Clegg, Col Robert H. "Imagery Intelligence at Echelons Above Corps." Military Intelligence, April-June 1992. The author was the director of the Joint Imagery Processing Complex in Desert Storm and paints an overly-optimistic view of the JIPC’s contributions.
Cochran, Alexander S. Gulf War Air Power Survey (GWAPS), Volume I Part I: Planning. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993.
COMUSARCENT Briefing Slide Unit BDA: Theater Echelon (U), 4 Feb, 14 Feb, 15 Feb, 17 Feb, 23 Feb, 26 Feb 1991. (Secret) Information extracted is unclassified. Declassified copies of ARCENT slides were obtained through the G-2’s archives, III Corps, November 1994.
COMUSARCENT Briefing Slides. "ARCENT’s Plan to Shape the Battlefield" (U). 25 January 1991. (Secret) Information extracted is unclassified
"Concept of Operations for Phases II & III--Attacks on Iraqi Forces in the Kuwait Theater of Operations (KTO)", 11 Apr 1995.(TS) Declassified by declassification and review team, HRA Maxwell AFB. Information extracted is unclassified. HRA : TF6-47-543. Only some elements of this black hole plan against the Iraqi Army made it from paper to reality.
Corder, Maj Gen John A. Oral History Transcript: "Desert Storm: An Overview of Air Operations." (U) 7 August and 4 September 1991. (Secret) Information extracted is unclassified. Gen Corder’s comments as CENTAF DO illuminate the major issues as later seen by a main participant.
Cordesman, Anthony S. and Abraham R. Wagner. The Lessons of Modern War Volume II: The Iran-Iraq War. Boulder: Westview Press, 1990.
Corn Col Vollney B. Jr., Capt Richard A. Lacquemont. "Silver Bullets." Field Artillery, Oct 91. Corn was the 1AD Division artllery commander Lacquemont was the assistant G3.
Crawley, Vince. "Ghost Troop’s Battle of 73 Easting." Armor, May-June 1991. Journalistic account of 73 Easting reprinted from Stars and Stripes.
CSI Report No. 13, "Tactical Responses to Concentrated Artillery." Leavenworth: Combat Studies Institute, No Date. This report lends valuable insights into the effects and responses to fires against ground forces and has applicability to air-to-ground fires.
Cushman, Lt Gen John H. "Challenge and Response at the Operational and Tactical Levels, 1914-1945." Military Effectiveness, ed. Alan Millet and Williamson Murray Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1988.
_______. "Desert Storm’s End Game." Proceedings, October 1993. A reply to Burton’s Proceedings article.
Daack, Col Martin T. "Sowing the Seams: Strategic Bombers Versus Follow-on Forces." Airpower Journal, Winter 1988. Advocacy piece on potential SAC contributions to deep air attack.
Dahl, Major Arden, A-10 Pilot, telephone interview with the author. Maxwell AFB 25 April 1995.
Danis, Capt Aaron. "Iraqi Army Operations and Doctrine." Military Intelligence, (April-June 1991). Author was an armor officer, and (currently) analyst at ITAC Army Intelligence and Threat Analysis Center (ITAC).
________. "A Military Analysis of Iraqi Military Operations." Armor, Nov-Dec 1990,
Dascus, SSGT Jeffrey R. "Bravo Company Goes to War." Armor, September-October 1991. Firsthand account of the USMC’s armored engagement with Iraqi T-72s in south east Kuwait (far from known RGFC positions).
Department of Defense, Final Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1993). The first comprehensive official synopsis of the Gulf War.
Department of the Air Force. White Paper: Air Force Performance in Desert Storm. April 1991.
Deptula, Lt Col David A. "Lessons Learned: The Desert Storm Air Campaign" Lecture at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. April 1991. Author was a pivotal figure in the Black Hole, this lecture underscores the operations-intelligence division in Riyadh. HRA TF6-47-539
________. "Wartime Significant Events Outline." March 2-3, 1991. A useful personal precis of the war. HRA: TF6-47-544
Scales, Brig Gen Robert H. et. al. Desert Storm Special Studies Group: Office of the Chief of Staff U.S. Army (DSSSG). Certain Victory: The United States Army in the Gulf War. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1993. Official Army account of the Gulf War emphasizing VII Corps battle with the RGFC.
Dietrich, Lt Col Steve E. "From Valhalla With Pride." Proceedings, August 1993. Rebuttal to Burton article.
Doubler, Michael D. Closing With the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-45. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1994. Important analysis of ottom-up adaptation during World War II.
Dugan, General Michael J. "The Future of FOFA: An Operational Perspective." NATO’s Sixteen Nations, September 1990.
Dunham, Capt Catherine, 10TFS Intelligence Officer, letter to the author, subject: target intelligence dissemination in the Gulf War. 18 November, 1994.
Epkins, Col Steven A. "A Division G2’s Perspective on Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm." Carlisle Barracks: U.S. Army War College, 15 April 1992.
Franks, General Frederick. Memorandum of Conversation with Eliot Cohen, Barry Watts, Tom Keaney, and Dick Gunkel. 7 Sept 1992. Gen Franks was the VII Corps commander.
Fontenot, Col Gregory. "Fright Night: Task Force 2/34 Armor." Military Review, January 1993. Fontenot was the commander of the 2/34 Armor.
Franz Colonel Wallace (USA, Ret.), "Defeating the Iraqis: Saddam’s troops are not Ready for a War of Maneuver." Armor, (January-February 1991). An insightful look at Iraqi doctrinal shortcomings.
Frostic Fred, Air Campaign Against the Iraqi Army in the Kuwaiti Theater of Operations, Project Air Force, Rand. (no date). First balanced analysis of KTO air operations.
Glantz, David M. Soviet Military Operatinal Art: In Pursuit of Deep Battle. London: Frank Cass, 1991.
Glosson, Lt. Gen. Buster C. "Impact of Precision Weapons on Air Operations." Airpower Journal, Summer 1993. Advocacy piece for PGMs.
_______. CENTAF Director of Plans, Memorandum to CENTCOM J3 Plans, Subject Theater Campaign Strategy Assessment (U). Notes from Lt Col Deptula and Lt Col Purvis are attached 14 Feb 1991. (Secret) Declassified by HRA declassification and review team. Information extracted is unclassified. HRA: TF6-47-523-530.
_______. 14AD Commander, Desert Storm campaign briefing to the pilots of the 363TFW Al Dhafra AB, UAE, 10 January 1991. (Author was present)
Goodfellow, Maj Scott, 388TFW(P) Weapons Officer and Killer Scout pilot. Telephone interview 28 August 1995.
Goodman, Glenn W. "New Airborne Sensors Look Deep, Allow Army/USAF to Strike Deep." Armed Forces Journal International. January 1989.
Griffith, Lt Gen Ronald H. "Mission Accomplished--In Full." Proceedings. August 1993. Griffith was 1st Armored Division Commnader during Desert Storm and wrote in response to Burton’s article. This is a unique look at the RGFC ground battle from a division commander’s perspective.
Guilmartin, John F. et al. Gulf War Air Power Survey (GWAPS), Volume III Part I: Weapons Tactics, and Training. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993.
Hallion Richard P. Storm Over Iraq: Air Power and the Gulf War. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992.
Hammick Murray, "Iraqi Obstacles and Defensive Positions," International Defense Review, September 1991. A firsthand look at Iraqi fortifications in Kuwait, primarily in the vicinity of Kuwait City.
Harris, Lt Col Chesley G. "Operation Desert Storm: Armored Brigade in Combat." Infantry, May-June 1992. Harris was the S-3 of 3d BDE, 1st Armored Div.
Hawkins Major Jim. Black Hole B-52 Planner, telephone interview with the author, 19 April 1995.
Herlik, Ed. Separated by War: An Oral History by Desert Storm Fliers and Their Families. (Blue Ridge Summit: McGraw Hill, 1994).
Hertberg, Capt Rob, "Beyond the Fire Support Line (FSCL): Contact the Killer Scouts." USAF Fighter Weapons Review, Spring 1992. Hertberg was a weapons officer and Killer Scout pilot, this article describes Killer Scout proceedures developed by the 4TFS pilots..
Hillen, Lt John. "2d Armored Cavalry: The Campaign to Liberate Kuwait." Armor, July-August 1991. Hillen was assistant S3, 2/2 ACR.
Holley, I. B."An Enduring Challenge: The Problem of Air Force Doctrine." The Harmon Memorial Lectures in Military History 1959-1987. ed. Harry R. Borowski (Washington: Office of Air Force History, 1988).
Holthus Capt Michael D. and Chandler Steven M, "Myths and Lessons of Iraqi Artillery." Field Artillery, (Oct 91)
Hone, Thomas C., et al. Gulf War Air Power Survey(GWAPS)Volume I Part II: Command and Control. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1993.
Hopmier, Major William, 335TFS Weapons Officer, interview with author at Maxwell AFB, 21 April 1995.
Horner, Lt Gen Charles A. "Air ops summary of air war" 26 Feb 91 1100Z. This copy of Gen Horner’s notes on progress of the air war illuminates the JFACC’s thinking on progress of the air war after 8 days. HRA: NA 215.
_______. Transcripted Comments from CENTAF TACC (U) January-February 1991 (Secret) Information extracted is unclassified. Invaluable insight into how the JFACC percieved the course of the air war. HRA: CHP 13B
_______. "Offensive Air Operations: Lessons for the Future." RUSI Journal, December 1993.
_______. "New Age Warfare," The War in The Air: 1914-1994, Alan Stephens ed, RAAF Air Power Studies Center: Canberra, 1994. Clearly reveals Horner’s ideas on the importance of decentralization to bring out the contributions of all.
_______. Transcripts of Dadaelion Dinner Speech. 11 September 1991. HRA: TF6-47-539.
_______. Reuter Transcript Report "Address to Business Executives for National Security Education Fund." May 8, 1991.
Hout, Brig Gen Raymond P. 363TFW(P) Commander, telephone interview with the author, 5 May 1995.
Howard, Sir Michael. "Military Science in an Age of Peace." Journal of the Royal United Services Institute for Defense Studies, March 1974.
Isherwood, Major Michael W. A-10 pilot and weapons officer, telephone Interview with the author, 17 April 95
_______. "Noise or Music? Orchestrating Fixed-Wing Air in the Close-in Battle." Field Artillery, October 1994.
Jackson, Captain John D. "Battle Damage Assessment." Military Intelligence, October-December 1991, Author was a member of the CENTCOM BDA Cell and describes the group’s BDA criteria.
Janis, Irving L. Air War and Emotional Stress: Psychological Studies of Bombing and Civilian Defense. Westport Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1976
Jones, Col Jeffrey B. "Psychological Operations in Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Urban Freedom." Special Warfare, July 1994. Jones was the 8th Psyop Battalion Commander.
Kamiya, Major Jason K. A History of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division During Operation Desert Storm "The Attack to Free Kuwait" (January through March 1991). Fort Stewart Georgia: 1991. Useful divisional official history.
Keaney, Thomas A. "Surveying Gulf War Airpower." Joint Forces Quarterly, Autumn 1993.
Keany, Thomas A. and Cohen, Eliot A. GWAPS Summary Report, Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993).
Kinsvatter, Lt Col Peter S. "VII Corps Goes to War: Ground Offensive." Military Review. February 1992. Kinsvatter was VII Corps historian in Desert Storm. The maps in the article are particularly useful.
Kleiner, Col Martin S. "Joint Stars Goes to War." Field Artillery February 1992. Kleiner was the commander of the U.S. Army’s JSTARS operational Detachment in DS.
Lacquement, Capt Richard A., Joseph V. Pacileo, and Paul A. Gallo. "Targeting During Desert Storm." Field Artillery February 1992. Authors were artillery officers in 1st Armored Div. in Desert Storm.
Lewis, Col Richard B. "JFACC: Problems associated With Battlefield Preparation in Desert Storm." Airpower Journal. Spring 1994. The author well-describes the impact of ARCENT BDA rules on CENTAF operations.
Lewis Col Richard B. Interview at Ft Bliss TX, 5 May 1995.
Lewis Lt Col Richard B. "Corps Air Support at Desert Storm" 3 July 1991. HRA: NA-23 This material is the source for the "JFACC" article.
Liddel Hart, B.H. The Real War 1914-1918. Boston: Little Brown and Company. 1930
Lindell Maj Jay, Interview with Chief of Wing Stan Eval, 388 TFW (P) Al Minhad AB UAE Maxwell AFB, 20 Apr 1995
Lupfer Timothy T., Leavenworth Papers No. 4, The Dynamics of Doctrine: The Changes in German Tactical Doctrine During thre First World War, (Leavenworth: Combat Studies Institute, 1981)
Macedonia Major Michael R, USA, "Information Technology in Desert Storm," Military Review (Oct 1992)
Macgregor, Lt Col Douglas A. "Closing With the Enemy." Military Review February 1993. Macgregor was the S-3 for 2/2 ACR.
Maggert, Col Lon E. "A Leap of Faith." Armor. January-February 1992. Maggert commanded the 1st Bde, 1st Inf Div in Desert Storm, and describes the demise of the Tawakalna.
Maggert, Brig Gen Lon E. and Col Gregory Fontenot. "Breaching Operations: Implications for Battle Command and Battle Space." Military Review." February 1994. Maps of the breaching area reveal how much detailed information of the Iraqi Army was present in theater, but not available to CENTAF.
MCM 3-1 Volume 5, Tactical Doctrine: Tactical Employment--F-16, (1 January 1995)
MCM 3-1, Mission Employment :Volume I-Tactics, Tactical Employment, General Planning & Employment Considerations (11 November 1992)
Melton, Maj Gregory P. "XVIII Airborne Corps Desert Deception," Military Intelligence. October-December 1991. ARCENT deception efforts were not percieved by the Iraqis due to CENTAF’s C2 attacks.
Moltke, Graf Helmuth von, Moltke On the Art of War: Selected Writings, Daniel J. Hughes ed, Daniel J. Hughes and Harry Bell trans., (Novato CA: Presidio Press, 1993)
Murray, Williamson and Watts, Barry D. GWAPS Vol. II part I: Operations. (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993).
National Training Center Handbook 100-91. The Iraqi Army Organization and Tactics. 3 January 1991. 355.30567 I65. The best source for Iraqi tables of organization and tactical doctrine.
North, Col Gary, 363TFW Planner and Mission Director, telephone Interview 19 April 1985
Oppenheimer, Maj Philip A. 4TFS Flight Commander and Killer Scout pilot. telephone interview with the author. 23 May 1995.
Paret, Peter. "Innovation and Reform in Warfare." The Harmon Memorial Lectures in Military History 1959-1987. ed. Harry R. Borowski (Washington: Office of Air Force History, 1988) 395-410.
Pelletiere, Stephen C., Douglas V. Johnson II, and Leif R Rosenberger, Iraqi Power and U.S. Security in the Middle East, (Carlisle Barracks: Strategic Studies Institute, 1990),
Pelletiere, Stephen. The Iran Iraq War: Chaos in a Vacuum. (New York: Praeger, 1992).
Petrosky, Col Daniel J. and Major Marshall T. Hilliard. "An Aviation Brigade Goes to War." U.S. Army Aviation Digest. September/October 1991. A comprehensive account of the 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division’s activities in the war.
Puryear, Capt AA, and Lt Gerald R. Haywood, "Ar Rumaylah Airfield Sucumbs to Hasty Attack." Armor September-October 1991.
Putney, Diane T. "From Instant Thunder to Desert Storm: Developing the Gulf War Air Campaign’s Phases." Air Power History. Fall 1994. A useful overview of the planning of Desert Storm. The footnotes are invaluable.
Risner, Brig Gen Robinson. "Final Report, Red Flag I."(U) December 1995. (Secret) Information extracted is unclassified
Rogers LtC Mark B. "Buck" Black Hole/GAT planner, Riyadh Interview with author at Maxwell AFB AL, 22 and 23 Feb. 1995
Rogers, General Bernard W. "Follow On Forces Attack: Myths and Realities," Nato Review. December 1984.
Rosen, Stephen P. Winning the Next War: Innovation and the Modern Military (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991).
Runge, LtCol. Thomas G. Firepower and Follow-on Forces Attack: Making Every Round Count. (Montgomery: Air University Press, 1991).
Scales Col. Robert H, Jr. "Accuracy Defeated Range in Artillery Duel," International Defense Review (5/1991) 473-481. An overview of artillery lessons from the war.
Schwarzkopf, H. Norman with Petre, Peter. It Doesn't Take a Hero. (New York: Bantam Books, 1992).
Senate, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm Hearings Before the Committee on Armed Services, 102d Cong., 1st sess., 1991. An account that includes the comments of senior officers from all services.
Sharpe, Brigadier General Ervin C., Interviews with former CC of 354 TFW CC. Maxwell AFB 24 and 27 April 1995.
Sharpe, Col Ervin C., Commander 354 TFW and Col David A. Sawyer, Commander 23 TFW, letter, subject A-10 and Iraqi tactics. to Commander, 14AD(P). 3 February 1991 (Secret). Declassified by HRA. HRA: microfilm 23988 frames 411-12.
Sikes, Lt Col Roy Y. "Targeting Iraqi Forces in the KTO." Lecture Air Command and Staff College. 28 Jan 1994.
Sikes, Lt Col Roy Y. telephone interview with the author, 16 May 1995.
Slessor, J.C. Air Power and Armies. London: Oxford University Press, 1936
Smallwood, William L. Warthog: Flying the A-10 in the Gulf War, Washington: Brassey’s, 1993.
Smallwood, William L. Strike Eagle: Flying the F-15E in the Gulf War, Washington: Brassey’s, 1994.
Smith Kevin W., Lt Col, USAF, Cockpit Video: A Low Cost BDA Source, (Air University Press: Maxwell AFB, December 1993). A good discussion of Desert Storm BDA problems and previous solutions (gun camera film)
Stewart, Brig. Gen. John F. Operation Desert Storm The Military Intelligence Story: A View from the G-2 3D U.S. Army. (Riyadh: April 1991).
Strategic Air Command. "Desert Storm Bombing and Navigation Conference 22-24 April 1991. After Action Report" 19 June 1991.
Sullivan, Gen Gordon R. and Col James M. Dubik. "War in the Information Age" Military Review. April 1994
Swain, Richard M. "Lucky War" Third Army in Desert Storm. Fort Leavenworth: CGSC Press, 1994.
Swain, Col Richard M. "Compounding the Error." Proceedings. August 1993. A response to Burton’ article.
Tactical Air Command Pamphlet 50-26, Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet 525-16, U.S. Redcom Pamphlet 5245-4, Joint Operational Concept: Joint Attack of the Second Echelod (J-SAK), (13 December 1982)
Talbot, Robert and Gene Gibson. "SWA Armor Analysis"(U) Secret. Information extracted is unclassified. HRA: NA-167
Taylor, Maj John R., F-111F pilot, telephone interview with the author 5 June 1995
Teixeira, Lt Col D. G. "Linebacker II: A Strategic and Tactical Case Study" Maxwell AFB: Air War College, 1990. Texiera was a participant in Linebacker II as a B-52 crew member.
Thompson, Maj Larry, 363d TFW pilot, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, interview with author, 5 May 1995
Tretler, Col David and Lt Col Daniel T. Kuehl. Gulf War Air Power Survey (GWAPS), Volume V Part I: A Statistical Compendium. (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993). The only "user-friendly" source of Gulf War statistics, the strike tabulations are particularly useful, although not always clear in what they represent.
U.S. Department of Defense. Final Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1993. A useful, congratulatory, overview of the war.
van Creveld, Martin Command in War. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985.
Vincent, 1st Lt Gary A. "A New Approach to Command and Control: The Cybernetic Design." Airpower Journal. Summer 1993.
Wagamon,. Ed telephone interview (analyst) ITAC, FSU division. 14 Dec 1994, Maxwell AFB. Wagamon helped prepare the AIA templates of the Iraqi Army divisions.
War Department Field Manual FM 100-20. Command and Employment of Air Power. 21 July 1943.
Warden, Col John A. III, The Air Campaign: Planning for Combat. Washington: Pergamon-Brassey’s, 1989
Warford James M., Capt. USA, "The Tanks of Babylon: Main Battle Tanks of the Iraqi Army," Armor, (Nov-Dec, 1990) Author was an armor school instructor.
Warn, Lt, "Battle Damage Assessment From Lantirn Videos." CENTAF/IN After Action reports (U) (Secret). Information extracted is unclassified. Warn was 4TFW Intelligence Officer during Desert Storm. HRA: k178.80-174.
Warn, Lt, "Lantirn Targeting Pod Imagery Interpretation." CENTAF/IN After Action reports (U) (Secret). Information extracted is unclassified. HRA: k178.80-174.
Watts, Barry D. and Keany, Thomas A. GWAPS vol II part II: Effects and Effectiveness. (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993).
Welch, Lt Col William G. "Notes From the BCE: Observations on Joint Combat Operations at Echelons Above Corps." Field Artillery. June 1992. Welch was the U.S. Army plans officer, Battlefield Coordination Element (BCE), attached to CENTAF during Desert Storm.
Welsh, Lt Col Mark A. "Day of the Killer Scouts" Air Force Magazine, April 1993. Welsh was the squadron commander of the 4TFS, and original Killer Scout.
Winter, Denis, Haig’s Comamnd: A Reassessment, (New York: Viking, 1991)
Winton, Harold R. Professor of Military History and Theory, School of Advanced Airpower Studies (SAAS). Class lecture on the nature and purpose of doctrine. On Doctrine: Thinking About How to Think About War. Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. 26 August 1994.
Wood, Col Steve, Phone conversation USACOM J-7, former operations officer 10 TFS, Al Dhafra AB UAE 20 March 1995
Wright Major Edward J., USA "The Topographic Challenge of Desert Shield and Desert Storm," Military Review, (March 1992) Author is Bde Topographic officer, 20 Engr Bde, XVIII Corps Fort Bragg NC. He was chief of topographic technology exploitation cell, 30 Engr Bn, Riyadh
Wylie, R Adm J. C. Military Strategy: A General Theory of Power Control. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1967.