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Battle of Bubiyan
Part of the Persian Gulf War
Date 29 January - 2 February 1991
(4 days)
Location Persian Gulf
Result Coalition victory
Iraqi Naval Forces destroyed
Iraq Iraqi Navy Flag of the United States.svg United States Navy
Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Naval Ensign of Canada.svg Royal Canadian Navy
Commanders and leaders
Iraq Saddam Hussein
Iraq Ali Hassan al-Majid
United States Norman Schwarzkopf
United Kingdom Peter de la Billière
Canada Kenneth J. Summers
Around 22 naval vessels of various types Several frigates, cruisers, Lynx helicopters and CF-18 Hornets
Casualties and losses
Iraqi Navy neutralized USS Princeton disabled
USS Tripoli disabled
12 wounded

The Battle of Bubiyan was a naval engagement of the Gulf War, that occurred in the waters between Bubiyan Island and the Shatt al-Arab marshlands, where the bulk of the Iraqi Navy, while attempting to flee to Iran, much like the Iraqi Air Force, was engaged and destroyed by Coalition warships and helicopters. The battle was completely one-sided. The initial attack by three Lynx helicopters of the Royal Navy using Sea Skua missiles destroyed five TNC 45 fast attack craft, a landing craft and two Zhuk class patrol boats, before the US Navy aircraft arrived. The battle saw 21 separate engagements over a course of 13 hours. A total of 21 of the 22 ships that attempted to escape were destroyed.[1] Both surviving vessels were seized by the Iranians.[2]

Meanwhile, the cruiser USS Princeton (CG-59) and the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LPH-10) hit Iraqi naval mines off Kuwait, and 12 sailors were wounded, six seriously.

Also related to the Bubiyan action was the Battle of Khafji, where Saddam Hussein sent an amphibious assault to Khafji to reinforce the city from the Coalition attack. This too was spotted by the Coalition naval forces and subsequently exterminated.[citation needed] The last action of the Iraqi Navy was to fire a Silkworm missile from an inland launcher at the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63); however, it was intercepted midflight by a Sea Dart missile from the British destroyer HMS Gloucester (D96) and destroyed.

The Iraqi Navy, much like the Iraqi Air Force, was a reluctant enemy, relying on passive force and defensive weapons such as naval mines. After the Bubiyan action, the Iraqi Navy ceased to exist as a fighting force at all, leaving Iraq with very few ships, all in poor condition.[3]


  1. "The Navy in the Gulf War." Retrieved: 09 September 2010.
  2. Head, William P. (1996). The eagle in the desert : looking back on U.S. involvement in the Persian Gulf War. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-275-95025-5. 
  3. Gulf War of 1991. Rosen Publishing. 1996. 

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