Shield and Sword: The United States Navy and the Persian Gulf War

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Since the UN coalition's victory in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, journalists, generals, and historians have focused on the air blitz against Iraq and General Norman Schwarzkopf's "Hail Mary" maneuver around the desert flank of the Iraqi army, while the U.S. Navy has received relatively little attention. This book highlights the Navy's vital contribution to winning the GulfWar.

The work also emphasizes that the U.S. Navy's presence and actions in the Persian Gulf in the years before the war helped the Bush administration persuade the Arab nations of the region and American's traditional allies to join the international effort against Iraq. Similarly, the navy has been an essential instrument of U.S. foreign policy since the end of Desert storm. As we can go to press in fall 1998, U.S. naval forces stand ready once again to carry out their political-military mission of compelling Iraqi compliance with UN resolutions against the development of weapons of mass destruction.

The work stresses the Navy's involvement in joint and multinational operations. Ironically, the U.S. Navy worked long and hard during the Cold War preparing for armageddon at sea against the Soviet navy, a confrontation that navy envisioned fighting virtually alone. Actual operations were quite different. In the wars in Korea and Vietnam and the hostilities in Lebanon, Grenada, the Persian Gulf (1987-1988), and Panama, the navy routinely operated with U.S. ground and air forces and those of its global allies. Since this was also true of the GulfWar. We have elaborated on the Navy's interaction with the other U.S. armed services and with the navies of America's coalition partners.

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Editorial Reviews

The treatment is candid, the authors' analysis is persuasive, and their style readable.
Two Naval Historical Center historians describe the Navy's role in the 1990 Persian Gulf War. Most accounts on that conflict have emphasized the part played by air and ground forces, but Marolda and Schneller focus on efforts to control the sea. US surface ships and submarines launched hundreds of cruise missiles against Iraqi targets, and naval aviators played a role in the air campaign. Written from a theater- level perspective, the history is based on action and operational reports, command histories, personal communications, and other archived documents as well as on interviews with participants and previously classified summaries. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780160494765
  • Publisher: United States Government Printing Office
  • Publication date: 3/1/1999
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 70.00 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii
Preface xv
Acknowledgments xvii
Chapter 1. Passage to Desert Shield 3
America and the Persian Gulf in the Early Years 4
Creation and Evolution of Central Command 13
Legacy of the Vietnam War 20
Rebirth of the Fleet and the Maritime Strategy 25
The Tanker War 32
End of the Cold War 40
The Iraq-Kuwait Crisis 43
The Invasion of Kuwait 52
Decision to Intervene 54
Chapter 2. Building the Shield 59
Holding the Line 59
Window of Vulnerability 66
The Naval Command 79
The Embargo 83
Sealift 96
Fleet and Shore-based Logistic Support 102
Shield in Place 110
Chapter 3. The Gathering Storm 111
Over to the Attack 111
Naval Deployments to the Gulf 121
Deployment of the VII Corps and the Phase II Buildup 131
Preparations for War 135
Continuing Operations 146
Life in the War Zone 153
Countdown to War 163
Chapter 4. Attack by Air and Sea 167
The Desert Storm Plan and Composite Warfare Doctrine 167
The Air Campaign: D-Day and D+1 170
Problems of the Air Campaign 183
The Great Scud Hunt 196
Deluge from Above 198
Fleet Defense and the Allied Right Flank 202
Storm in the Northern Gulf 210
Saddam Strikes Back 226
Bubiyan Turkey Shoot 229
Chapter 5. Preparing the Battlefield 233
"First we're going to cut it off,..." 233
Interdiction 236
Kill Boxes 238
Gauging the Effectiveness of Phase III Air Attacks 241
The Strategic Air Campaign in February 245
The Right Feint 247
Ground Forces Move into Attack Positions 269
Eleventh Hour Measures 274
Chapter 6. The Final Assault 277
Preliminary Operations 277
G-Day 282
Closing on the Iraqi Army in Kuwait 292
Rout of the Iraqi Army 297
An Aerial and Armored Blitz Ends the War 302
Temporary Cease-Fire 304
Chapter 7. After the Storm 307
Defense of Kuwait 307
Safwan 309
The Prisoner Release 312
Reconstruction of Kuwait 314
Postwar Mine Countermeasures 320
Redeployment of Central Command Forces 325
Military Sealift Command Empties the Desert 329
The Welcome Home 331
Reorganization of Navcent 334
Enforcing the Peace 337
Chapter 8. Summary 355
Prologue to the War 355
Navy Shortcomings 358
Hardening the Shield 360
Increasing the Pressure on Saddam 362
Gearing Up for Battle 365
Littoral Combat in the Persian Gulf 369
The Air War 369
The Maritime Assault on Kuwait 376
Maintaining Peace and Learning from the Gulf War Experience 381
Abbreviations 387
Notes 393
Bibliography 449
Index 491
Central Command Theater 6
Indian Ocean 15
Tanker War Operations 34
The Air Assault on Iraq 171
UN Naval Forces in the Persian Gulf, 17 January 1991 177
Iraqi Air Attack in the Gulf, 24 January 1991 206
Naval Operations in the Northern Gulf, 17 January-2 February 1991 211
Kill Boxes in the KTO 239
Desert Storm Mine Clearance Operations 248
Disposition of Iraqi Ground Divisions, 23 February 1991 271
Ground Assault on Southern Kuwait, 24-28 February 1991 278
UN Naval Forces in the Persian Gulf, 24 February 1991 281
Liberation of Kuwait 291
Reopening of Kuwait 321
1. Iraq's Navy 68
2. Navcent Command Structure (18 August to 26 December) 84
3. Navy Special Warfare Forces in Desert Shield and Desert Storm 122
4. Port Security and Harbor Defense Command 124
5. Navcent Command Structure (26 December 1990 onward) 139
6. North Arabian Gulf Mine Statistics 324
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