From March 21 to 27, the US British coalition forces launched a large-scale air strike code named “shock and awe”.
Its fundamental goal, as US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said, was to show the Iraqi people that Saddam Hussein and his regime would be doomed with powerful bombing.
At the same time, he believes that Saddam’s regime is gradually losing control of Iraq.
Before the “shock and awe” operation and after the “beheading” operation, the US British coalition forces carried out two rounds of air strikes on Baghdad.
The targets of the air raid were government agencies and the homes of dignitaries.
In these two rounds of air strikes, the government building, the office of deputy prime minister Aziz and the residence of Saddam Hussein’s wife were hit, and the building of the Iraqi Ministry of planning ignited a fire.
At 20:09 on the 21st, the coalition forces began to implement the “shock and awe” operation and launched a new round of air strikes on Baghdad.
The operation was carried out by the US Air Force B-52 and B-2 long-range strategic bombers and fighter attack aircraft, the Truman in the Mediterranean, the Royal ark in the Red Sea, the constellation in the Persian Gulf, the Nimitz in the Arabian Gulf, various types of carrier based aircraft on the Navy’s aircraft carrier battle groups and ships that directly launch cruise missiles.
The main targets are Saddam Hussein’s residence, government leading institutions, command center, Ministry of public information, national television, satellite communication and other communication facilities and power supply system.
The US and British air forces dispatched 1000 aircraft to launch a fierce attack on Iraq, the largest attack since the outbreak of the war.
For a time, nearly a thousand cruise missiles and thousands of high-power bombs rained down on Iraq.
Huge explosions continued, and the capital Baghdad was shrouded in heavy fire and smoke.
So far, the large-scale air raid operation codenamed “shock and awe” by the coalition forces officially kicked off.
An analysis article published in the British times on March 22 pointed out that the weight lifting of the coalition forces is to make the Iraqi army fall without war through the deterrent force, so as to achieve the purpose of overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s rule without a single soldier, which reflects the highest state of Sun Tzu’s art of war: winning without war.
In the first round of attacks, the US British coalition forces fired 320 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Baghdad and its suburbs, more than the total number of launches in the Gulf War.
Later, according to Pentagon officials, the US and British air forces dispatched 1000 aircraft to launch fierce attacks on Iraq that day, launching a total of 1000 cruise missiles. U.S. officials revealed that the setback in persuading surrender was the main reason for the U.S. military to launch the “shock and awe” action, and the war decision of Franks, commander-in-chief of the U.S. – British coalition forces, was also directly linked to the process of persuading surrender negotiations.
Before the “shock and awe” operation began, the United States had been conducting “face-to-face” negotiations with the leaders of Iraq’s elite Republican Guard force to persuade them to surrender, and strengthened contacts with other Iraqi generals by means of wireless telephone, e-mail and leaflets to persuade them not to work for Saddam Hussein.
However, although some Iraqi officers and soldiers surrendered, according to the original assumption of the United States, almost all Iraqi troops should surrender without war, so the United States is very dissatisfied.
The United States feels that it may be necessary to continue to exert pressure on Iraqis to force their people to resolutely turn to the United States.
Pentagon officials said that if the United States could not achieve its goal of persuading the surrender, they would launch a “strangling” air attack.
They were ready to drop more than 1500 bombs and missiles by the evening of the 22nd.
The operational strategy of the US Army in the first few days of the war can be summarized as “carrot and stick”.
No matter using “carrot” soft means to lure or using “big stick” to intimidate, the U.S. Army has only one purpose, that is, to persuade the Iraqi army to surrender and abandon Saddam Hussein, and finally achieve victory without war.
In the first two days of the war, the US military only fired more than 100 missiles at some carefully selected targets in Baghdad.
After this symbolic attack, or the US “carrot” policy did not achieve great results, the United States felt that it should adopt a “big stick” policy to fully display its military strength to deter the enemy. U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld also said that the United States hopes to send a clear signal to Iraqis that Saddam’s regime is on the verge of doom through this cruel and precise attack.
In addition to the “deterrence” of the United States and Britain, the main task of the coalition is to destroy Saddam Hussein’s military stronghold on a large scale.
The purpose of this military operation is to maximize the deterrent effect and minimize the damage to Iraq.
The US Army was ready to deter the Iraqi army before the war.
First of all, the US military has established a good news reporting system, which has accepted 700 military reporters for all-weather follow-up coverage in an unprecedented way, so that the Iraqi regime headed by Saddam knows the situation of the coalition’s promotion of Baghdad like the back of his hand.
Secondly, the US military has also deployed sophisticated weapons that have made great achievements in the neutrality of the Gulf War and frightened Iraqis, including B-52 bombers, B-2 stealth bombers and “Tomahawk” cruise missiles, which mainly exert psychological pressure on Iraqis.
In addition, the Pentagon also launched an unprecedented “cyber war” to contact Iraqi officers and government officials through e-mail and mobile phones, trying to shake their will to fight and instigate them to betray Saddam Hussein.
The “shock and awe” theory, known as the “new concept of US military operations in the 21st century”, was put forward by seven retired officers after the 1991 Gulf War.
In 1996, they submitted a report entitled “shock and Deterrence: rapidly gaining dominance”.
In the same year, the Pentagon published the military works “shock and Deterrence: rapidly gaining dominance” by Harlan K.
Ullman and James Wilder, This paper expounds a new military strategy: “completely destroy and frustrate the enemy’s will to resist, forcing the enemy to have no choice but to accept our strategic intention and military purpose.
” They pointed out that compared with any potential opponent, the U.S. Army has an advantage in “warships, tanks, aircraft, weapons, especially capable fighters”.
However, in future wars, the emphasis will no longer be on destroying the enemy’s forces, but on weakening the enemy’s will to fight.
The important means to realize the combat intention is the new technology weapons with deterrent power, especially the long-range precision strike weapons.
In the new operation, there is no need to invest large-scale troops, and only a small number of elite troops can achieve the purpose of operation.
This idea soon attracted ram’s attentionThe manager’s office was smashed.
These cultural relics, which can be traced back to thousands of years ago and reflect the ancient civilization of mankind, are invaluable.
The US military occupying Baghdad did not accept the request of the museum staff to protect the museum.
In order to prevent robbery and control the chaos, Baghdad citizens took up rifles and blocked the main streets.
Residents of Baghdad and Mosul spontaneously formed armed teams to maintain urban order under the condition that Iraq is in a power vacuum and public security is out of control.
In the afternoon, the US Army captured the last Arab soldier stronghold loyal to Saddam Hussein in the central area of Baghdad.
The personnel of the 4th mechanized infantry division of the US army arrived in Kuwait by air and the equipment arrived by sea.
That evening, Amir Saadi, Saddam’s senior scientific assistant, surrendered to the US Army, one of the 55 senior Iraqi officials wanted by the United States.
The US Marines took control of the eastern city of Kut and opened up a new supply line from southern Iraq to Baghdad.
The aircraft carrier battle groups “” Kitty Hawk “,” constellation “and” “returned one after another, and the US Navy gradually reduced its strength in the Gulf region.
On the morning of April 13, the US Marines quickly advanced to the northern Iraqi city and the surrounding area of Saddam Hussein’s hometown Tikrit.
In the afternoon, 15 tribal leaders in Tikrit asked the coalition forces to immediately stop bombing and were willing to negotiate with the coalition forces on peaceful surrender.
The leaders of the main tribes in Tikrit issued an ultimatum to the local Saddam death squads, asking them to lay down their weapons within 48 hours after the US military stopped bombing.
Saddam’s brother watban’i Brahim Hassan was captured by us British coalition forces when he tried to cross the border into Syria.
That night, the leading force of the 4th mechanized infantry division of the United States entered southern Iraq to enhance the strength of us ground forces.
At the same time, the US military launched a large-scale bombing of Tikrit, and hundreds of tanks attacked the “Saddam base” under the cover of the air.
On the southern outskirts of Tikrit, US Marines, with the cooperation of armed helicopters, had a fierce exchange of fire with 2500 Saddam supporters.
The US Tripoli task force, namely the soldiers of the US Navy’s 1st expeditionary force, participated in the battle on that day.
Subsequently, the U.S. military entered the center of Tikrit.
At the same time, about 20 U.S. tanks and armored vehicles entered the main square of Tikrit through the Tigris River and occupied the presidential palace of Tikrit.
The US military announced that all oil fields in Iraq were controlled by coalition forces.
On April 15, the basic purpose of the “encirclement and suppression” operation was achieved, and the US military ordered the withdrawal of the aircraft carrier battle group.
In the 1991 Gulf War, air power fully demonstrated many of its unique advantages and took the lead in the war.
In the Iraq war, air combat not only opened the prelude to the war, but also the whole first phase of the “beheading” operation was completed by air combat alone.
The U.S. military used four surface ships, two submarines and F-117A stealth fighters to launch 72 missiles (45 Tomahawk cruise missiles) into Iraq and air raid the residence of Iraqi military and political dignitaries, including Saddam Hussein, in Baghdad.
In the large-scale air raid of the “shock and awe” operation, the US and British air forces dispatched more than 1000 sorties to successively bomb the Iraqi capital Baghdad and other cities for more than three hours, dropped 3000 bombs, and some targets, including Saddam Hussein’s residence, were bombed.
The aircraft carrier battle groups “Kitty Hawk”, “constellation” and “Lincoln” participated in the air raid.
In the early morning of March 22, the US British coalition forces launched several rounds of air strikes on Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, an important oil town, and Tikrit, Saddam’s hometown.
In this operation, the US British coalition forces dispatched hundreds of fighters, using B-52 strategic bombers, cruise missiles and 2000 pound heavy bombs.
By April 3, the US military had launched 750 cruise missiles and 14000 precision guided bombs in the Iraq war.
Since then, air strikes of different intensities have been carried out almost every day to carry out air strikes on key targets such as the residence, command system, communication system, ground air defense system and power facilities of Iraqi military and political dignitaries, which has greatly shaken the hearts of the Iraqi army and the people, weakened the morale, combat will and combat effectiveness of the Iraqi army, and greatly accelerated the war process, Played a decisive role in the victory of the war.
In the Iraq war, the effect of air strikes was outstanding.
The US British coalition forces made full use of the technical and equipment advantages of air forces to carry out all-weather and uninterrupted air strikes on important military and political targets in Iraq.
At the same time, in order to avoid being condemned by international public opinion and minimize collateral damage, the first round of air strikes of “beheading” operation began at the beginning of the war.
The United States launched “Tomahawk” cruise missiles from the Red Sea and used F-117A stealth fighters to throw precision guided bombs at targets in and south of Baghdad.
The second round of air strikes was launched 15 minutes after the first round of air strikes.
The U.S. military jointly launched more than 20 cruise missiles from warships in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, and dispatched two F-117A stealth fighters to throw four precision guided bombs weighing up to 1 ton at Baghdad.
The third round of air strikes took place 40 minutes after the second round of air strikes, and the US military attacked key targets such as government heads and institutions in Baghdad.
In the “shock and awe” operation, the air strikes of the US British coalition forces mostly choose to be carried out in the early morning or at night.
As the Iraqi army’s radar, electronic and technical reconnaissance means are affected by the darkness of the night and suppressed by the coalition’s information, the night combat capability is limited, and it is difficult to effectively resist the coalition’s high-intensity and high-density air assault.
Therefore, the Iraqi army has always been in a passive position, and the rhythm of the war is completely controlled by the coalition.
The coalition forces have deployed a large number of air force forces in the countries around Iraq, which can carry out all-round and in-depth attacks on Iraq.
The air raid targets are all over the country, and there is no distinction between the front and the rear.
Moreover, attacks on targets in various regions are often carried out at the same time.
Its fire delivery mode is multi means, multi-mode, full depth, high precision and high efficiency.
During the war, the United States and Britain realized multi-means fire delivery: aircraft dropped free falling bombs, glide bombs, launched air to ground missiles, and aircraft or ships launched cruise missiles.
The platforms used include fighters, bombers, surface ships, submarines, etc.
The US British coalition forces made full use of their long-range advantages, combined a variety of long-range aircraft with a variety of long-range projectiles, and carried out a full-depth attack on Iraq’s strategic campaign targets outside Iraq’s air defense zone.
For example, B-1B is dispatched from 12000 kilometers away to carry out air bombing, or cruise missiles are launched from 800 kilometers away, and ships from 1000 kilometers awayCruise missiles are launched from ships, and missiles are launched from fighter planes in the air or hundreds of kilometers away.
The US British coalition forces use a large number of new precision guided high-energy ammunition.
Most of them use inertial guidance, terrain matching guidance, laser guidance, infrared guidance, electromagnetic radiation guidance, thermal imaging guidance, television guidance and GPS guidance.
Their warheads have a little killing and surface killing efficiency, which is against Saddam Hussein’s presidential palace building, communication building Many large and solid facilities, such as power systems and underground buildings, were accurately destroyed.
At the same time, it also used new surface killing weapons, such as cbu87b (CEM) cluster bomb to carry out coverage attack, which caused a strong psychological shock to the Iraqi army.
The US British coalition forces also used new mechanism weapons such as electromagnetic pulse bombs and graphite fiber bombs to attack the command and control system of the Iraqi army, resulting in large-scale and long-term power and water outages, paralyzing the Iraqi military, economic and life support system, and having a great psychological shock effect on the Iraqi army and people.
After the Gulf War, it was once believed that in modern war, the status of the army decreased and the impact of ground operations on the process and outcome of the war decreased.
However, the Iraq war has overturned these views.
The army has played an irreplaceable role in the war, and the status of land war is still very important.
On March 20, contrary to everyone’s expectation, while the US military carried out air strikes on Baghdad, the action of ground forces also began.
At 0800 that night, 20000 US Marines and the third mechanized infantry division crossed the Iraqi Kuwaiti border and launched an attack on Iraq.
Combined with the air raid, it advanced towards Baghdad under the cover of F-18 “hornet” fighter and “Cobra” armed helicopter.
At the same time, the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st air assault division of the US military carried out airborne and parachute landings in both north and south directions of Iraq to cooperate with ground operations.
In terms of the composition of the US military, the army’s establishment and equipment have been significantly enhanced.
The number of arms has increased, and the role of the army aviation corps is prominent, except that the armored corps is still the main combat force of the army.
In the ground operations on the southern front, the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the US 3rd Infantry Division, as the leading force, was supported by a combat aviation brigade of the 101st air assault division from beginning to end.
This combat aviation brigade used about 100-200 Apache armed helicopters, 50-100 kilometers away from the front of the 3rd Infantry division, Conduct reconnaissance from the air and seek and annihilate ground targets.
In addition, combat units below the battalion are increasingly using a mixture of armored vehicles, artillery, tactical missiles, armed helicopters, transport helicopters and other weapons and equipment, including multiple arms.
The army’s establishment scale is developing towards miniaturization and integration.
This will greatly improve the flexibility and mobility of combat forces.
The US Army division has been reduced from 18000 to 12000, and four types of integrated units have been formed: an integrated ground force composed of armored forces, artillery, aircraft infantry, missile forces and attack helicopter units.
Air force mixed wing and squadron composed of multiple aircraft types.
“Mechanized land and air forces” with “flying tanks”.
A land, sea and air “joint task force” composed of a marine brigade contingent, an air force fighter squadron, a naval ship unit and a marine expeditionary unit.
The army has a lower level of integration, from the original division and army integration to battalion and company integration.
The degree of informatization has been significantly enhanced.
The US army began to build a digital battlefield in 1993, which is composed of three information networks: C4I system connecting various forces and internal information network of ground and air weapon platforms.
An intelligent information network that integrates the three functions of combat, combat support and combat service support.
An integrated information network connecting the army battlefield information network, the joint information network of the three services in the theater and the US global information network.
In this war, the US army put its only digital force, the 4th mechanized infantry division, into the battlefield.
Through the network information platform, the force can obtain and process battlefield information in real time and effectively, enable all combat units to share this information, and make it possible to perform combat tasks under bad weather conditions such as darkness or fog.
In terms of combat capability, the combat capability of the US Army has been significantly improved.
Large operational range and fast propulsion speed.
In World War I, the range of artillery was only a few kilometers.
In World War II, the range of artillery was increased to more than ten kilometers, but now the range of artillery has reached dozens of kilometers.
The daily advance speed of the army was only more than ten kilometers in World War II.
In the Gulf War, the 18th airborne army and the 24th light infantry division of China and the United States advanced 200 kilometers deep into Iraq in less than two days.
In this war, on the day after the US Army invested in ground forces, the third infantry division broke into Iraq for more than 160 kilometers.
At the same time, the battle front was also greatly increased, and the defense front of the army was five times larger than that in World War II.
The US Army’s long-distance delivery capability has also been greatly improved.
In the Iraq war, the integrated combat capability of the US military was greatly improved.
Guided by joint operations, the US Army has established an integrated force with reasonable structure and multiple capabilities, which has become a highly flexible, responsive force that can play a decisive role in various conflicts.
It unifies the theory, organization and operational methods of the army with the theory of joint operations, and realizes the comprehensive integration of operational capabilities.
Take the digital force as the material basis for participating in joint operations, and vigorously strengthen the digital construction of the army force.
Proceeding from the needs of joint operations, we will reform the operational organization and strive to make the command and control of the troops more effective, more flexible and more effective.