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Battle of the Bridges
Part of the Gulf War
Date August 2, 1990
Location West of Al Jahra
29°20′23″N 47°36′54″E / 29.33972°N 47.615°E / 29.33972; 47.615
Result Kuwaiti withdrawal
Belligerents
Iraq Iraq Kuwait Kuwait
Commanders and leaders
Iraq Col. Ra’ad Majid Rashid al-Hamdani[1] Col.Ghazi Mohsen Marzouk[2] Kuwait Col. Salem Masoud Al-Sorour
Strength
Elements of 1st Republican Guard Corps
Elements of 1st "Hammurabi" Mech Div.
Elements of 2nd "al-Medinah al-Munawera" Armoured Div.
Elements of 35th Brigade
7th Tank Bn, 3 Coy
(26 Chieftains)
8th Tank Bn, 3rd Coy
(10 Chieftains)
57th Mech Inf Bn, 1 Coy
(5 BMP-2s & several M113s)
51st Art Bn, 1 Bty (7 M109a2s)
Antitank Coy (M901 ITVs)
Casualties and losses
6 BMPs destroyed.

2 T-72 tanks destroyed. 1 ambulance. 1 land cruiser. 1 BTR. wounded 39 soldiers and officers. 32 soldiers and officers dead

Light

2 Chieftain tanks 2 APCs Death of 10 soldiers 35 soldiers injured


The Battle of the Bridges or Kuwaiti Bridges,also known as Battle of Jal Al-Atraf [3] (Arabic language: معركة الجسور‎) was a battle that took place on 2 August 1990, in Kuwait following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

NameEdit

The bridges referred to are the two bridges that cross the Sixth Ring Road at the junction with Highway 70, west of the Kuwaiti town of Al Jahra. Al Jahra, a town to the west of Kuwait City, sits astride the roads from the Iraq border to Kuwait City.

BackgroundEdit

On 2 August 1990, shortly after 00:00 local time, Iraq invaded Kuwait.[4][5] The Kuwaitis were caught unprepared. Despite the diplomatic tension and the Iraqi buildup on the border, no central orders were issued to the Kuwaiti armed forces and they were not on alert. Many of the personnel were on leave as 2 August was both the Islamic equivalent of New Year and one of the hottest days of the year.[6] With many on leave, some new crews were assembled from personnel available. In total, the Kuwaiti 35th Brigade managed to field 36 Chieftain tanks, a company of armoured personnel carriers, another company of antitank vehicles and an artillery battery of 7 self-propelled guns.[4]

They faced units from the Iraqi Republican Guard. The Hammurabi Mechanised Division consisted of two mechanised brigades and one armoured, whereas the Medinah Armoured Division consisted of two armoured brigades and one mechanised. These were equipped with T-72s, BMP-1s and BMP-2s, as well as having attached artillery. It is important to note that the various engagements were against elements of these rather than against the fully deployed divisions.[4]

EngagementEdit

The Kuwait Land Army 35th Armoured Brigade had been put alert at 22:00 on 1 August. It took about eight hours to equip with ammunition and supplies; however, given the limited time and lack of preparedness, the brigade had to deploy before fully supplied and with less than half of its artillery prepared. Colonel Salem departed with the antitank company at 04:30, with the rest of units leaving by 06:00. The camp was 25 km west of Al Jahra, so they moved east and deployed to the west of the interchange between the Highway 70 and Sixth Ring Road.[4]

The Hammurabi Mechanised Division of the Iraqi Republican Guard had by this time reached Al Jahra. Approaching from the north, part of the division moved around the west of Al Jahra, making use of the 6-lane Sixth Ring Road. They were apparently not expecting opposition as they were deployed in road column and were neither reconnoitering nor securing their flanks. This careless behaviour and a consistent failure to use communications were to be a defining feature of Iraqi units in the battle.[4]

The Kuwaiti 7th Battalion was the first to engage the Iraqis, sometime after 06:45, firing at a short range for the Chieftains (1 km to 1.5 km) and halting the column. The Iraqi response was slow and ineffectual. Iraqi units continued to arrive at the scene apparently unaware of the situation, allowing the Kuwaitis to engage infantry still in trucks and even to destroy a SPG that was still on its transport trailer.[4]

At 11:00 elements of the Medinah Armoured Division of the Iraqi Republican Guard approached along Highway 70 from the west, the direction of the 35th Brigade's camp. Again they were deployed in column and actually drove past the Kuwaiti artillery and between the 7th & 8th Battalions, before the Kuwaiti tanks opened fire. Taking heavy casualties, the Iraqis withdrew back to the west. After the Medinah regrouped and deployed they were able to force the Kuwaitis, who were running out of ammunition and in danger of being encircled, to withdraw south. The Kuwaitis reached the Saudi border at 16:30, spending the night on the Kuwaiti side before crossing over the next morning.[4]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.ndu.edu/inss/docuploaded/saddams-generals.pdf
  2. http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ada484530
  3. http://www.alanba.com.kw/archivepdf/pdf/2008/11/02-11-2008/12_13.pdf
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 "The Battle of the Bridges". Armor. September–October 1995. pp. 26–32. http://www.benning.army.mil/armor/armormagazine/content/Issues/1995/ArmorSeptemberOctober1995web.pdf. 
  5. "The History of Kuwait". Greenwood Press. 2007. p. 88. ISBN 0313340730. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AwweY4yYSMIC&pg=PA88#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  6. "The Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait: An Eyewitness Account". Military.com. pp. 3–4. http://www.military.com/Content/MoreContent?file=hart01. 

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