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The First Four Hours

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The First Four Hours Empty The First Four Hours

Post  BJ on Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:35 am

(An overview of the War's first four hours. This is not complete by any means but it does cover the most significant actions. Note that, thus far, the only ground combat has occurred in Qatar.)

The First Four Hours of the War

Offensive operations by the Islamic Alliance (IA) began at 0245 on 12 May with a coordinated attack involving theater ballistic missile, air, naval and special operations forces of Iran, Yemen, and Pakistan, against US and GCC forces in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman.

Action was preceded by a disruption of the Saudi air traffic control network and Peace Shield air defense network, which allowed several civilian airliners with troops aboard to penetrate and effect landings at Riyadh International Airport and Dharan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, plus paradrop a commando unit near Riyadh.

At the same time, a disguised merchant ship was able to transport and land a significant IA force at Doha, Qatar. At the same time, a naval special ops force was able to land and secure a foothold at Al Jubayl Naval Base, where it was later reinforced by a naval infantry unit delivered by hovercraft. The Doha force, having achieved something close to complete surprise, was able to quickly seize the Royal Palace, the US Embassy, Doha International, and Al Jazeera.

Special forces teams knocked out air defense radars at Ali al Salem Air Base in Kuwait, Dharan Air Base and Al Jubayl in Saudi Arabia, and Doha International in Qatar and also undertook operations to disrupt the Saudi command structure in Riyadh and Al Batin.

Iranian TBM attacks were targeted at the US air bases at Ali Al Salem in Kuwait, Al Udeid in Qatar and Thumrait in Oman. Because of the extensive presence of US air and missile defense units, these attacks met with limited success.

The Iranians also launched a massive air attack across the Gulf, intended to strike a range of targets in central Kuwait, the Dharan area and Qatar. While these attacks had some early success (especially knocking down two AWACs aircraft and their escorts), they met fierce resistance from USAF, Saudi, Bahraini and Qatari fighters and took heavy losses. However, one success of the attack was that it helped provide cover for transport aircraft and helicopters to deliver an airborne brigade and a second commando unit to the Dharan area.

In the Persian Gulf, Iranian and Pakistani naval units had earlier moved into range of GCC ships and launched coordinated SSM attacks at H-Hour. All Saudi and Bahraini units then at sea were sunk, and a Kuwaiti vessel was heavily damaged (the attacking Iranian ships themselves did not survive). Iranian missile boats sunk two Qatari patrol vessels northeast of Doha. A Saudi missile boat, moving to intercept the hovercraft heading for Al Jubayl, was torpedoed and sunk by an IA sub. Meanwhile, a large Iranian amphibious force, ostensibly conducting execrcises in the middle of the Persian Gulf, turned southwest at H-Hour and headed for the Saudi Arabian coast at 9 knots.

A US surface group north of Qatar consisting of a Bunker Hill-class cruiser and a Burke-class destroyer were attacked on at least three occasions by both air and sea-launched anti-ship missiles, surviving all attacks. A fourth attack, by a group of Pakistani vessels, was also defeated with the older Pakistani ships getting the worst of it.

In Yemen, virtually the entire active force of the Army had earlier moved from their exercise grounds north to the Saudi border, on the pretext of an imminent Saudi attack. At 0245, the Yemenis crossed the border on four separate axes, as strike aircraft moved north to hit critical targets at Jizan, Khamis Mushayt and Taif, followed by transports which dropped airborne and special forces at the same locations.

Finally, advance units of Iranian ground forces crossed the border uncontested into Iraq at 0245, heading toward Al Basrah.

The initial attacks appear to have ended around 0330, and follow-on attacks since have mostly consisted of theater ballistic missile strikes aimed at Al Jaber Air Base and other targets in Kuwait, and Al Udeid in Qatar, once again with mixed effects. Additional air strikes have also been launched, primarily at targets in Kuwait and have mostly been rebuffed by Kuwaiti air cover.

In Qatar, the Iranian force began to advance toward Al Udeid Air Base on two axes around 0400. This was occuring at the same time a US infantry brigade combat team (IBCT) at Al Udeid was moving east to contact the enemy force. The US was able to detect the movement of the Iranian units as well as spot indirect fire units setting up in the Doha dock area, and immediately vectored Apache heliccopters and A-10 attack aircraft to neutralize the threats. Both Iranian columns were hit and took significant losses while the indirect fire units were effectively destroyed. As of 0600, the IBCT units were in contact with Iranian forces south of the airport and moving forward, with continuing air support.

Since 0400, the US has launched a number of strikes using land- and carrier-based aircraft and Tomahawk missiles. A limited strike was executed against TBM launch sites and air defense nodes in Iran. A second, large-scale strike was launched from a US carrier in the Red Sea against targets in Yemen, including the ground forces in southwest Saudi Arabia. A third, also limited, strike was launched against the bridges at Basrah. Results of these strikes are still only partially known, due to various factors including weather and availability of post-strike damage assessment assets, and appear to be mixed.

Most recently, the US also launched a significant strike against the Iranian amphibious group, using A-10s based at Al Jaber. Details of this action are not complete but indications are that the amphibious units and their escorts have suffered heavy losses.

Despite early setbacks, the IA has achieved a number of critical successes: First, they have removed almost the entirety of Royal Saudi Air Force combat aircraft from play and hold three of the four most important Saudi air bases. Secondly, they have neutralized the Eastern Fleet of the Saudi Navy and hold the main naval base at Al Jubayl. And third, they have established a presence on the western side of the Persian Gulf that will not be easily removed.

Last edited by BJ on Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:35 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : correct a few misspellings)


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