Gulf War – US Airpower Proves Decisive Against Ground Operations

The Epic Little Battle of Khafji pic
The Epic Little Battle of Khafji
Image: airforcemag.com

With an extensive combat background in the US Air Force, Robert P. Givens has served as command pilot and carried out senior executive responsibilities in the national security process. Robert P. Givens was one of a number of military members featured in an Air Force Magazine article “The Epic Little Battle of Khafji,” which recounts the effects of US airpower on Iraq’s only organized offensive during the Gulf War.

Lasting only two days, the Battle of Khafji answered key questions about a long-running debate on the ability of airpower to contain enemy maneuvering capacities. Undertaken a month before the significant ground battles, the response to Iraqi movements occurred at night and on extremely short notice, with no ground attack synchronized.

General Norm Schwarzkopf deliberately avoided ground confrontation, with the Air Operations Center guiding sorties against Iraqi forces that had been identified by the Air Force E-8 Joint STARS, as well as the A-10 Mr. Givens piloted. Air attacks were effective in destroying Saddam Hussein’s vehicles, with the desert environment making them relatively easy to target. Secondary sweeps were then directed against stranded forces and the offensive was stopped in its tracks.

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