Twenty two years ago, at about 2am, I was out in the desert of northern Saudi Arabia. We’d seen Coalition fighters and tankers cycling north to patrol stations for weeks. But this night, we saw multitudes of aircraft head north.

After months of fruitless negotiations and pleadings to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the US led Coalition forces began a massive aerial onslaught against Iraqi air defense, command and control, infrastructure, and deployed forces. The goal was to eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Before ground forces would engage the Iraqi Army, Coalition airpower,  primarily US and British, but with help from others, to be sure, would set conditions for victory.

If airpower didn’t do all it claimed it could do, it was far more effective than in past wars, and learned a great deal about what could be done, and how.

Even as the air war began, ground forces were not yet ready to strike. The reason I was standing outside was my battalion’s Bradley’s had not yet arrived. Our vehicle crews waited at the port to unload and ready them, but us dismounts were already in our assembly area. It would be the 1st of February before our vehicles arrived. And even then, it would be almost another month before we struck.

I’ve said it before, you could not have built a scenario better suited for the heavy divisions of the Army in 1991 to demonstrate AirLand Battle Doctrine. Open spaces, an enemy largely equipped with Warsaw Pact weapons. Little to no involvement of civilian population areas.

More than 20 years after Desert Storm, no near peer is eager to face off with US forces in a fair fight.

4 thoughts on “ODS”

  1. The world took note, too. It was in the wake of DS/DS that those two PLA colonels wrote “Unrestricted Warfare”.

    As an aside, in the year or so leading to Desert Storm, there was considerable discussion among the avant garde “technology changes EVERYthing” crowd that the traditional heavy divisions would never, ever be used in warfare again, were obsolete and expensive, and should be totally disbanded forthwith.

    Ironically, there was significant discussion among the Officers and SNCOs on that very subject as we gathered for Graduation Parade practice at Parris Island My company 1st Sgt was insistent that any need for tanks and mech infantry was all but gone. That was on a Wednesday, 1 August 1990. No kidding.

    1. And there’s no need for a forced amphibious entry capability, either!

      And yes, since ODS, the Chinese, among others, have focused on denying the US forces the ability to leverage their strengths and exploit others weaknesses. One hopes some of the brighter heads in the halls of doctrine are up to snuff.

  2. All in a vain attempt to be the latest, greatest big idea guy. Those idea tend to be epic fails. There is no recall for an uh-oh in warfare.

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