Thursday, February 24, 2005

On this day in military 1917 and 1991

On this day in military history….in 1917. The British give the Zimmermann Note (or Telegraph) to the US Ambassador to Britain. The Zimmermann Note was a diplomatic communication from Arthur Zimmermann, the Germany Foreign Secretary to Count Johann von Bernstorff, the German Ambassador to Mexico. It was intercepted and de-crypted by British Intelligence and stated that in the event of war between the US and Germany, Mexico would be asked to enter the war as an ally of Germany. In return, Germany would restore the lost territories of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. At the time, the US was trying to negotiate a treaty between the warring European powers and Germany was participating in the talks, not to find a peaceful resolution to World War I, but to stall the US entry into World War I. The telegram was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” as it turned public opinion against Germany and on 2 April, President Wilson urged Congress to declare war against Germany, which they did four days later. Yet another example of wars being lost due to stupid actions.

On this day in military history….in 1991. The ground phase of Operation Desert Storm begins as US-lead coalition forces invade Kuwait to remove the Iraqi invaders. In August 1990, Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait. Immediately, the US sent military forces to Saudi Arabia to stop any Iraqi invasion and also to get ready to remove the Iraqi forces by military means if necessary. After six months of building up the coalition forces, the air phase of Operation Desert Storm started on 16 January 1991. After bombing anything Iraqi that moved in Kuwait and Iraq, the US-lead coalition invaded Kuwait.

The Iraqis had expected the US to try a frontal assault on their forces in Kuwait from Saudi Arabia including amphibious landings. In order to play into these expectations, the US forces kept a large contingency of Marines off shore and along the Kuwait/Saudi Arabian border. When the ground phase of the campaign started, the US forces along the Kuwait/Saudi Arabian attacked Iraqi positions in Kuwait and US Marine forces acted like they would invade Kuwait from the sea. Both of these actions were to hold the Iraqi Army in place so that they would not react to the main US force. The main US forces, aided by new GPS technology, executed the famous “Hail Mary” flanking move where, instead of attacking the Iraqi defenses directly from the front, they moved out to the west into the “impassable” Iraqi/Saudi Arabian desert, turned to the north then turned back to the east to hit the Iraqi forces in the flank and cut off them off from the rest of Iraq. Aided by night-vision goggles and superior equipment and training, the US forces overran the Iraqi forces and took only negligible casualties (125 killed) while the Iraqi forces suffered (estimated) 100,000 killed and 300,000 wounded. On the 28th of February, President George Bush Sr. declared a cease fire after Kuwait was liberated.

Although the US triumphed during the Persian Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was still in power in Iraq and it would be only a matter of time before the US would again be at war with Iraq. That date came in March 2003 when President George Bush Jr. decided that Saddam Hussein had to go for the greater good of mankind and the US invaded Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power.


At 5:54 AM, Blogger Rosemary said...

Why have I never learned that about the 1st WW? Brother. It has been going on for a long time...the dumbing down of our schools. Stalin would be proud.


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