"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Norman Schwarzkopf (1934 – 2012)

Norman Schwarzkopf   (1934 – 2012)

By Gary;

Americans mourned a military legend after retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf died Thursday at age 78, leaving behind a legacy that most famously included driving Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait.

Schwarzkopf died, in Tampa, from complications from pneumonia. He was remembered not only for his impressive military record, but his intelligence, his modesty and his warmth and dedication to fellow service members.

"His epitaph should read that he was a soldier who loved solders," retired Gen. Bob Scales, who knew the late general, told Fox News.

Nicknamed "Stormin' Norman," Schwarzkopf went on after he retired to support various national causes and children's charities while eschewing the spotlight and resisting efforts to draft him to run for political office.

Desert Storm - Air Campaign
On the ground both sides in Iraq pretended to play World War II generals.  But World War II style warfare ended on June 6th, 1944 with the total supremacy of air power.

"Highway of Death" Iraqi Army Armed Retreat from Kuwait 1991 
The Highway of Death refers to a road between Kuwait and Basra on which retreating units of the Iraqi army as well as Iraqi civilians were attacked and destroyed by American aircraft and ground forces during the United Nations Coalition offensive in the Gulf War, on the night of February 26-February 27, 1991, resulting in the destruction of hundreds of vehicles and the deaths of an unknown and disputed number of Iraqi soldiers and civilians. The scenes of carnage on the road are some of the most recognizable images of the war.

Operation Desert Storm
  • The last of the massive World War II style battles.  Modern technology makes that type of warfare totally obsolete decades ago.
  • From a historical point of view, fewer Americans died in this much hyped "war" than were killed in the very militarily insignificant Battle of the Little Big Horn.

On land at least, both sides in the Gulf War tried to recreate the World War II tank battles.

But luckily for the Allies, General Norman Schwarzkopf understood that armored style warfare is as dead as the cavalry charge.

Starting on D-Day, June 6th, 1944 airpower became supreme.  German troops could not move three feet without primitive propeller airplanes bombing them out of existence.  By 1991 large land armies were a relic of a dead military past found in dusty history books.

The Gulf War began with an extensive aerial bombing campaign in January 1991. The Coalition flew over 100,000 sorties, dropping 88,500 tons of bombs, and widely destroying military and civilian infrastructure.  Anything that moved was obliterated.

The Worst General in History 

Schwarzkopf had the luck of facing perhaps the worst military commander in history:  Saddam Hussein.  In fact, no real battle was even fought.

Hussein had insanely placed Iraqi troops in the wide open deserts.  His soldiers were systematically starved to death by allied airpower.  Iraqis could not even get water delivered without attracting dozens of Allied jets.  His armies were slaughtered from the air.

The nearly 1,000,000 Allied troops gathered had no meaning in a modern technology driven war. A single American division surrounded by a bubble of airpower could have marched to Baghdad itself with little trouble.

Battleground Kuwait City? 
Today with nearly 2.4 million people.

The Correct Iraqi Battle Plan

  • An Iraqi Army of 200,000 dug into Kuwait City could have been a nightmare.

Have you heard of Stalingrad?  If Saddam Hussein had any knowledge of military history at all he would have copied Stalingrad.

Hussein could easily have had almost all of his 650,000 troops dig into Kuwait City and Basra in southern Iraq leaving only token forces on the border.

In both of those large cities they would have access to water, food and military supplies.  Allied airpower would be confronted by an enemy using the millions of local inhabitants as human shields. 

House to house frighting in Stalingrad.

Using this battle plan the only way to kill Iraqi soldiers would be to slaughter countless civilians on live TV.

Wolf Blitzer, the media, the politicians and the people of the world would have looked on in horror at an Allied air campaign on civilian targets.

Schwarzkopf's troops could easily have rolled up to Kuwait City.  But the real test would have been what to do if 200,000 Iraqi soldiers had dug into the city and fortified their positions while surrounded by civilians.

General Schwarzkopf would have faced a military choice of block to block street Stalingrad fighting or a siege lasting for weeks or months that could have seen huge numbers of civilians die of starvation.

We will never know.  Schwarzkopf got off easy.

The Highway of Death
It has almost reached the point of giving the infantry brooms to clean up the mess created by airpower.  No enemy force can gather in one place without being decimated from the air. 

Airpower is supreme against any target out in the open.

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