tv Winds of the Storm CSPAN March 22, 2016 1:35am-2:14am EDT
targets. it became known as the highway of death. and a harsh example of allied air power during operation desert storm. the coalition used overwhelming air power to defeat a brutal dictator and free a nation. in this program, the air commanders talk about how they fought the war and the air force's role. august 7, 1990, president bush responding to the iraqi invasion of kuwait orders american forces to deploy to saudi arabia. u.s. central command air forces had to move its forces 7,000 miles quickly.
within days, five u.s. air force squadrons and two u.s. carriers arrived in the gulf. the commander recalls the deployment. >> initially we had to get people over here rapt rapidly because of the threat of an iraqi invasion. so we brought over those kinds of airplanes you need to depend and deter such air defense, aircraft awacs, f-16s and a-10s through ground attack missions. and also the f-15 e for capability at night. >> in just five weeks, the coalition air force outnumbered the iraqi air force. >> when it became apparent we were successful in that initial effort, we then fleshed the force out with more aircraft, primarily aircraft such as b-52s, more a-10s, more f-16s. >> the coalition organized its air power for wartime with
general horner as the single air commander or air boss. >> we created four air divisions. one handled the tankers and bomber aircraft. the second one handled the fighters and attack aircraft. glen profitt, warfare and another for air lift operations. we were able to define each air division by function and that way we could provide the command and control we needed to execute the war. >> we began to open locations throughout saudi arabia. and as we began to get more operating locations, we moved tankers into location s locatio. >> the coalition would have eventually close to 3,000 planes. these fighter and attack planes patrolled the desert providing
cover for the largest military air lift in history. air laft, the hidden part of air power. it was the fastest way to get enough men and material over to defend the desert kingdom. the prig deer general that commanded the air lift forces -- >> then the deployment of the c-5s, 141s, the craft aircraft, the kc-10s, they all just hauled as much as they could as fast as they could 37 very early on, it was evident that desert shield was going to surpass by far the number of strategic air lifts that we had ever had before. >> military and civilian cargo planes delivered 91,000 troops and 72,000 tons of cargo in the month of august alone. to places like riyadh, dahran.
>> in the early going, it was wall to wall planes. literally planes would be holding until a plaep took off so another plane could land. in november and december, after the president decided we needed more forces, we actually went through a second peak. we went through a same thing, strategic forces to bring things into the theatre. >> the allies began a military offensive to liberate kuwait. general schwarzkopf was the commander-in-chief in theatre. his concept for operation desert storm called for an intense massive air campaign to prepare the way for the allied ground offensive. >> found amential towards any air campaign is seize control of the air. >> experts of the air staff and commands throughout the air force helped build the most successf successful air power in history.
>> our target was the field army deployed in the kuwaiti theatre of operations. our mission was to eck pell that army from kuwait. on the airside, our concept really is summarized here. first of all, we knew we needed to operate in iraqi air space. so he was going to have the home court advantage. we had to penetrate into his territory. to do that, we had to take apart and disrupt his ability to stop us from coming in. in other words, we had to disintegrate his integrated air defense setup. >> brigadier buster glausen was the director of campaign plans before the war and commanded fighter and attack aircraft during the war. >> targeting strategy from the start was to take down his ability to command and control his military. whether it be in the air or on the ground. of course, we were obviously most concerned about taking it down in the air to start with. >> the coalition would have to overcome saddam's integrated air
defenses. brigadier general glen proffitt ran the combat forces during the war. >> it's set up so that the s.a.m.s have an envelope at medium to high altitude as you fly into it. in order to avoid that, you go in low. he puts his aaa up with the redundancy he had with large barrages. so basically you have to fly through it. if you can avoid the aaa and the s.a.m., his fighters will engage you in other flass, t place, t engagement zones. it's made up op the is a.m. missiles, acquisition radars, fighter aircraft and the nervous system, the control system where you have an air defense operation center, a main one like you had in baghdad, a sector operation center spread
out and each one of those has intercept operation centers. that's what that integrated system does. they control which airplanes are going to be sent again against to engage our fighters and which airplanes are going to be engaged with s.a.m. missiles. >> perhaps as many as 17,000 surface-to-air-missiles on the order of 9,000 or 10,000 anti-aircraft artillery pieces. very modern radars all lashed together with high tech equipment. >> so basically it's a totally integrated system and our objective was to tear that system down. one, take away his nervous system, the control of it, the integration. and secondly, start shooting down or tearing up the pieces of it one by one. >> the desert storm air campaign would have four phases. phase one had three goals -- gain air superiority, destroy
saddam's stroo teategic capabil, namely scuds, and disrupt his command and control. the allies estimated the first phase would last 20 to 25 days. phase two would be short. the allies planned on taking one day to suppress mobile air defenses in the kto or kuwaiti theatre of operations. during phase three, allied air power would continue to hit the targets of phase one, but they would shift their attack to the iraqi field army and the kto, totaling close to half a million men, over 4,000 tanks, and 3,000 artillery pieces. >> one of the main missions was preparing the battlefield. he called it shaping the battlefield. he had to defeat those elements of his ground forces capable of mass casualties, artillery, armor. >> an important part was the
republican guard. saddam was depending on them to drive back the coalition ground forces if they attacked his dug-in army. >> one of the centers of gravity, we were told, is destroy the republican guard and destroy a lot of the military support for saddam hussein. >> planners believed phase three would take about three weeks. the fourth and final phase of the air campaign was to support the allied ground troops as they moved into kuwait. planners estimated the ground offensive would be launched 30 days after the air campaign began. >> now the 28 countries with forces in the gulf area have exhausted all reasonable efforts to reach a peaceful resolution. we have no choice but to drive saddam from kuwait by force. we will not fail. air attacks are under way against military targets in i q iraq. >> the coalition waited 48 hours after the u.n. deadline expired, then began their attack.
h-hour was 0300 on january 17, 1991. that was when the first bomb would fall on baghdad and when operation desert shield became operation desert storm. over 600 planes were launched that night from bases throughout the arabian peninsula, from turkey, from carriers in the red sea and the persian gulf, from the indian ocean, from even as far as the united states. >> now, to give you some idea of the order of magnitude within the first 24 to 30 hours, we launched over 300 tanker sorties alone to support the strike package that went in through that period of time. there had never been any launch as big of support packages ever in the history of the air force that incorporated that many
tankers. >> in their opening attack, the allies combined their stealth and precision technology, electronic warfare tactics and the classical elements of mass and surprise. >> we had been here since august, and so he had seen every day an awac sitting up here, f-15s in defensive mode. he was kwlused to seeing that ey day. he knew that was up there and that's what we wanted him to see right up until the minute that the bombs started falling. >> just beyond the radar warning capabilities and the iraqi radars, our attack aircraft were forming up in orbits with tankers so that they were able to top off their fuel at the last moment before heading on into the target area. >> although they numbered less than 3% of the coalition fighters, the f-117s struck almost 1/3 of the targets on the first day.
these stealth fighters led the attack, penetrating the iraqi iads on seen. >> the first step that was taken that one could not then stop was a t-lan coming out of a ship. >> at h minus 1 hour and 26 minutes, a navy cruiser in the red sea launched a tomahawk land attack missile or t-land. they would arrive five to ten minutes after the first f-117 strike. >> the second thing that occurred, of course, was taking down the sites by forces. >> eight apache gunships guided by pave load helicopters took out two iraqi reporting sites on the border. this helped clear the way for nonstealthy fighters heading towards western iraq. >> the first actual bomb to fall on iraq, that occurred at about nine minutes before we refer to
as h-hour. >> a 117 took out an ioc that patrolled the sites. >> we knew 32 f-117s right into downtown baghdad in the first hour and 20 minute ps . >> their next target was the principal telephone communication, also referred to as the at&t building. >> it was really their central com node. >> cnn was reporting and he went blank at h-hour plus about four seconds. that was that bomb hitting the at&t building. >> at h-hour, f-117s took out the adoc in baghdad and the iocs and socs in the southern part of the country. >> immediately at h-hour, his ability to see airplanes coming in from the south was degraded. the iocs and the socs were taken down. his ability to communicate was
taken down and the city went black. >> having opened up the gateway then, our other strike packages rushed through and we hit very hard. that w this was a massive attack. we attacked all the stroo teej call targets, electric power, air communication and defenses and so forth. >> our goal was to put them into shock and destroy their ability to defend their homeland. we were able to do that by having massive attacks across the full spectrum of targets, primary command and control and his air forces and also surface-to-aramisles. >> once we took down what he preferred to socs and iocs, then we fired a few harms, when i say a few arms, i'm talking about hundreds in the first 24 hours. >> harms are high speed anti-radar missiles. when fired, these missiles hone in on enemy radar munitions and
destroy those radar sites. >> the f-15-es went after all the permanent scud launchers in the western part of iraqi and the storage associated with that. the f-11s dpurg the same time period took out of the some power grids and hit many of the industrial sites and the airfields. the gr-1s also were very heavy in striking airfields as were the b-52s in striking the southern airfields. the f-14s and f-15 cs were there from the start that evening making sure the tankers and the airplanes were protected. >> the iraqis never recovered from the allies' first punch on that first night. >> of course, at sun up the first morning, we brought in the f-16s and fa-18s. it was almost eerie to how precise the plan unfolded in to the first 24 hours.
for all practical purposes, there were no glitches. all the details worked out the numerous times we, to use the phrase, we desk flew the first 24 hours to make sure there wnt any glitches. >> it was a good plan. it was very thorough, and we used a lot of airplanes and assets to do that and we totally overwhelmed them from the get-go. he never was able to recover from the first 24 hours in terms of being able to effectively use a defense against our capability. >> so we seized control of the air in the initial moments of the air campaign and as a result made all the rest of it much more easy and efficient and possible. >> the first bomb dropped 18 hours later, the longest continuous weather front that hit iraqi in three years moved in and we fought nothing but weather for eight straight das.s
but we intended in the first three days to take out all his nuclear, biological and chemical storage. the weather really hampered up in this area, and that was our number one concern. he would go into the facilities and take the stuff out and start moving it around. >> the coalition was still able to destroy many nuclear, biological and chemical storage sites and cripple saddam's ability to produce and research these weapons. he was never able to use these weapon against the allies during the war. >> the thing that slowed us down more than anything else. the second most important thing was scuds. we had to divert an inordinate amount of assets to deal with that problem. >> although coalition air power destroyed many permanent scud launchers in the opening attack, they did not destroy saddam's mobile launchers. saddam was still able to send
scuds towards israel and saudi arabia. >> scud missiles caused a lot of problems in terms of psychological impact on both saudi arabia and israel. so it became important we locate these very time sensitive fleetding targets. >> we actually wound up using 24 airplanes continuously. and then we supplemented those airplanes with strikes. so it averaged out that we were using almost 100 airplanes a day just to deal with scuds. >> we used landing pods on the f-16s. we used a variety of intelligent sources to provide us the quick data we needed. then used a command and control network to put the airplanes over the target at the right time. >> the coalition knew that the mobile launchers had to come out of hiding and drive to certain areas so their scuds could reach their targets. these launch areas were called scud boxes. during the day a-10s flew along the roadways looking for them. by night, f-15es circled
overhead. british forces used dez cig nay tors to target scud missiles. in eastern iraq, the new experimental joint stars aircraft successfully directed strike against scuds as well. they were able to locate mobile launchers with their radar which can track movement on the ground. hunted down and destroyed. >> day 11, we were actually at day 4 1/2 in the car, just because of weather alone. then when you subtract the scuds out, we had only accomplished about three days worth of what we had intended to accomplish. >> although the scuds were never fully suppressed, air power greatly produced their chances of hitting their targets and dramatically reduced scud launches from five a day to three a week. although the coalition struggled with the weather and the scuds, they had little difficulty with the iraqi air force.
they were no match for coalition pilots. >> blast, blast coming out westbound. >> the iraqi air force was basically decimated at day three. it was decimated more emotionally and psychologically than it was in reality, because every time they took off they got shot down. they could not complete intercepts. they couldn't even get close to airplanes and that had to be very demoralizing for them. >> splash two, splash two. second coming off hot. >> since they couldn't survive in the air, the iraqis began hiding their aircraft in shelters. >> secondary, big time. >> four, three, two, one. impact. >> oh, there's a hit.
there's a shack. oh, yeah. keep it in there. good time secondaries. 9 allies began to concentrate their attacks on these shelters by day seven of the air campaign. laser-guided bombs penetrated and destroyed over 300 of them since they couldn't survive in the air or on the ground, iraqi began to run en masse since day nine. >> it changed mass to precision where we drop 30,000 bombs to take out a target in world war ii and 300 bombs in vietnam, we dropped one in iraq. >> precision guided munitions are conventional bombs fitted with laser or electrooptical guidance systems.
>> with the combination of stealth and precision attack capability in 117, we were able to attack targets very d discretely. we made sure we attacked only military targets and attacked them quite precisely. >> with precision munitions, the coalition could avoid civilian areas. >> we went after the securities facilities, the baath party headquarters facilities. those were the areas where the most barbaric acts and decisions
supporting those were made and executed and controlled from. it was critical to be able to take that element out of that society. and it's also critical to let the populious see that segment f society was as vulnerable as anyone else. >> this was an electronic war like no other in history. >> the f-111 was able to go in there very close and jam the acquisition radars. anytime we sent a package somewhere, we had jammers. because of that.
you're being jammed. you can't work through that jamming. they wouldn't leave their radars on long enough to work through that jamming. >> they had almost zero effectiveness. >> another danger is anti-aircraft fire. >> if you've got as many gun sights as he's got, you can't take them all out. >> the basic tactic we use for that was medium and high altitude to overcome aaa.
from the very beginning we had essential had air superiority. we didn't lose many airplanes. you look at the volume of this campaign. >> we lost 20, 22 airplanes. i think that speaks for itself. >> we had more than enough air power on the scene to do the phase one job at the beginning and we simply diverted it to begin on phase three. there was no time from day one on that the iraqi ground forces were not under heavy air attack. >> the allies use precision
weapons to take down iraqi bridges, cutting down the army from re-enforcements and supplies. >> i put 11 f-117s and fou four f-111s to drop precision bombs. and we put seven bridges in the water the first night. the resupply of the iraqi army slowed from 20,000 a day. b-52s hammered airfields and large stra teak intargets such as power plants, petroleum supplies and military center ps . their most important mission hit the republican guard. >> very early on, we were providing b-52s over republican guard targets or the targets
that had to do with softening up the kuwaiti theatre operation. the b-52 struck regardless of what kind of weather that there was over the target area. secondly, we struck all day and all night without their ability to effectively mass a counter air offensive against the b-52s. as such, it was very, very effective putting fire power on their equipment, their troop locations, their artillery, their tanks, and they could do nothing about it. and it was extremely demoralizing. >> behind the bombs that fell and the planes that delivered them were e-3a century planes more commonly known as awacs. they delivered bombs on the iraqi iacs, bridges and now the iraqi army. the coalition averaged one bombing mission per minute against iraq. >> the focus became destroying equipment as opposed to
destroying troops. our initial intelligence of the forces in field was poor and we were sending aircraft. when they arrived at the location where they were thought to be, they weren't there. and the flight lead would have difficult time getting a valid target for his flight. so one thing we did is we put f-16s up over the battlefield. we call them killer scouts. their job was to control a 20 by 20 box and find the targets in there. he was able to point out where the tanks were and we could make our attacks much more efficient. we also did that at night using lase laser-guided bombs, for example. >> in the last 11 days of the air campaign before the ground campaign started with precision weapons of the 111s and f-15es, we destroyed in excess of 1,000 tanks. we destroyed in excess 100
artillery pieces. >> on day 30, general horner gave this assessment of the air war. >> we've had some tough times in the 30 days. particularly unusual weather in january. it was far worse than we had forecast, and it was only because we were doing so well in our counter air campaign taking down airfields and the s.a.m. system in order to maintain the schedule despite a lot of sor dis, up to 50% some days in regard to weather. more importantly, we've demonstrated we were able to dig out his forces in the field in kuwait. eve had particularly good luck with our systems at night, the f-111s, the f-15es and the f f-117s. their bombing accuracy is phenomenal.
the owem the yyoman's work is beginning o pay off. it has to be very difficult to be an iraqi soldier and sit there night after night, day after day. and endure the pounding he's taken. >> their accuracy in using the p.o.w.s words, they never missed. when they were overhead orbiting and you're in a tank or with a group, you didn't know if you were being picked out. so it was an unnerving situation to be experienced and had a tremendous psychological impact. >> despite saddam's fortifications all around kuwait, his flank in iraq was weak and exposed. general schwarzkopf wanted to exploit it. he had air lifters position thousands of trooms and equipment for a massive allied thrust through iraq. one of the biggest jobs we had
over here was to move major elements of the 18 airborne corps starting on the day after the bombing started. for the first 14 days, we had a 130 scheduled into iraq every ten minutes, 24 hours a day. that ability to move that vast amount of people and a lot of their vehicles that quickly in my mind, saddam hussein never caught on until much later on in the ground war that there was anybody even up there. >> b-52s and the f-117s teamed up to hit iraqi breach lines as the ground troops made their final operations. >> to bomb through those areas, there would be clear paths that went through the breach areas. so when they went through, there would be a pathway cleared of minds and the wire would be cut. >> f-117s with their precision-guided bombs entered the battlefield, took out the
field points of the entire system that he had developed that he was counting on, the field trenches and set them on fire to make the breaching more difficult. >> it was time for the ground troops to liberate kuwait. >> general schwarzkopf launched the grund war on february 24, 1991, 39 days from the start of the air campaign. the original allied plan was only nine days off schedule. >> allied air power entered phase four, providing close air support. >> it's very difficult in a very fast paced war campaign for the army to know when and where they're going to need close air support. so we created a system where we pushed sorties over the battlefield every minute of the hour and we were able to divert
those sorties during close air support. or if there was no need from the army, we would then send them on and do an interdiction target. >> i briefed all of those division commanders and calvary commanders before the war started and i said we will destroy a minimum of 50% of the armor and artillery before you cross the boundary, before you start the ground war. based on what they found, i think there's no doubt in their mind or anyone else's that we exceeded 50% very significantly. one of them related to me, i've got to admit, the majority of the tanks i shot in a radiator, which means the tank is running. the iraqis were routed.
>> he was asked how come you didn't use your artillery, he said my artillery was destroyed 100%. i called for artillery for the division next to mine and their artillery was destroyed 12100%. >> my private conviction is this is the first time in history that a field army has been defeated by air power.
>> air power truly was the wind that carried operation desert storm. >> if there's one thing this war really validated, it's the excellence of our training and the quality of our people. i say that not as any kind of advertisement, it's absolutely true, the people that put these whole things together are absolutely brilliant. from aircraft mechanics to communication. >> we had to go back up and start again. that's dedication beyond belief. and they deserve all the credit in the world and my hat's off to them.
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