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45th (As Salman) Mechanized Infantry Division - Saddam\'s Ground Forces

45th (As Salman) Mechanized Infantry Division


At 0400 on 24 February, 6th French Light Armored Division scouts advanced into Iraq. Three hours later, the French main body attacked through a light rain. Its objective was As-Salman, a small airfield about 90 miles inside Iraq. Reinforced by the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, the French crossed the border unopposed and attacked north. Short of their objective, the French ran into outposts of the 45th Iraqi Mechanized Infantry Division. After a brief battle, using missile-armed Gazelle attack helicopters against dug-in enemy tanks and bunkers, the French captured 2,500 prisoners and controlled the objective. As the ground offensive progressed, by 25 February 1991 Iraqi units' ineffectiveness became more clear. By the end of G + 1, five Iraqi VII Corps infantry divisions, one in US VII Corps zone in the tri-border area, were in jeopardy of being isolated on the front lines. From west to east in front of the Iraqi VII Corps, the 48th, 25th, 26th, 31st, and 45th Infantry divisions were engaged by American VII Corps armored and mechanized infantry divisions and rendered combat ineffective. By the end of G + 1, the Iraqi forward corps were assessed as combat ineffective - no longer capable of conducting a coherent defense in sector.

47th Infantry Division


As the ground offensive progressed, by 25 February 1991 Iraqi units' ineffectiveness became more clear. The Iraqi 12th Armored Division, in front of the 1st UK Armoured Division, was engaged with Coalition armored forces as it attempted to maintain a LOC for the 47th, 27th, and 28th Infantry divisions along the US VII Corps eastern flank. During the Gulf War the envelopment and destruction of Republican Guard units was a high priority of Coalition planners. On 26 February the XVIII Airborne Corps units turned their attack northeast and entered the Euphrates River valley. With the French and the American 101st and 82d Airborne Divisions protecting the west and north flanks, the American 24th Division spearheaded Luck's attack into the valley. The first obstacle was the weather. An out-of-season shamal in the objective area kicked up thick clouds of swirling dust that promised to give thermal-imaging equipment a rigorous field test through the day. After refueling in the morning, all three brigades of the 24th moved out at 1400 toward the Iraqi airfields at Jabbah and Tallil. In these attacks the 24th encountered the heaviest resistance of the war. The Iraqi 47th and 49th Infantry Divisions, the Nebuchadnezzar Division of the Republican Guard, and the 26th Commando Brigade took heavy fire but stood and fought. The 1st Brigade took direct tank and artillery fire for four hours. For the first time in the advance the terrain gave the enemy a clear advantage. The 24th Division troops found Iraqi artillery and automatic weapons dug into rocky escarpments reminiscent of the Japanese positions in coral outcroppings on Pacific islands that an earlier generation of 24th Infantry Division soldiers had faced. But Iraqi troops were not as tenacious in defense as the Japanese had been, and the 24th had much better weapons than its predecessors. American artillery crews located enemy batteries with their Firefinder radars and returned between three and six rounds for every round of incoming. With that advantage, American gunners destroyed six full Iraqi artillery battalions. In the dust storm and darkness, American technology gave the US forces a clear advantage. Tank, infantry fighting vehicle, and attack helicopter crews worked so well together that they could spot and hit Iraqi tanks at ranges over 3500 meters long before the Iraqis saw them.
2014-07-19 18:44
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