30 Years After Desert Storm: Feb. 27-28

In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, Air Force Magazine is posting daily recollections from the six-week war, which expelled Iraq from occupied Kuwait.

Feb. 27:

  • The coalition liberates Kuwait City, and envelops Iraqi forces.
  • Coalition and Iraqi units fight the largest tank battle since the World War II Battle of Kursk between the Germans and the Soviets: Two Army divisions decimate two Republican Guard divisions.
  • Two specially made 4,700-pound GBU-28 bombs destroy an “impregnable” Iraqi command bunker at Al Taji.
  • Coalition attack sorties reach a one-day record of 3,500.
  • Bush announces that coalition forces would suspend offensive operations the next day at 8 a.m. local time.
  • President George H.W. Bush says Iraq must end military action; free all prisoners of war, third-country nationals, and Kuwaiti hostages; release the remains of coalition forces killed in action; agree to comply with all UN resolutions; and reveal the location of land and sea mines.

Feb. 28:

  • The fighting stops.
  • Iraq agrees to observe the cease-fire, and attend military-to-military talks on cessation of hostilities.
  • Coalition air forces fly 3,500 sorties, for a total of 110,000.
  • Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz notifies the UN Security Council that Iraq accepts 12 United Nations resolutions dealing with the invasion of Kuwait.
  • The Defense Department says coalition forces destroyed or rendered ineffective 42 Iraqi divisions, captured more than 50,000 Iraqi prisoners, destroyed or captured 3,000 of 4,030 tanks in southern Iraq and Kuwait, and destroyed or captured 962 of 2,870 armored vehicles, 1,005 of 3,110 artillery pieces, and 103 of 639 aircraft (with another 100 or so in quarantine in Iran).
  • Coalition forces continue to destroy captured and abandoned Iraqi armor and artillery.
  • Coalition airplanes flew 110,000 sorties over Iraq and Kuwait, one-half of which were combat and one-half support (reconnaissance, air refueling, search and rescue, etc.)
  • U.S. casualties are reported as 79 killed in action, 212 wounded in action, 45 missing in action, and nine POWs. (Casualties were later revised to 613.)

Check out our complete chronology of the Gulf War, starting with Iraq’s July 1990 invasion of Kuwait and running through Iraq’s April 1991 acceptance of peace terms.