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A Picture in History: General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.

We take a look at General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. and his command of NATO and American troops during the Gulf War.

In early August 1990, Saddam Hussein took over the country of Kuwait.

By August 8, U.S. Air Force craft and personnel began to arrive in Saudi Arabia en masse. NATO troops began to position there as well. 

Saddam Hussein 1982
Saddam Hussein in 1982

By November, the United Nations gave the go-ahead for military action against Saddam, provided he didn’t leave Kuwait. Saddam didn’t leave, and by January 1991, Americans moved out to war.

Four-star general and Vietnam War volunteer Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. was designated as the “battlefield commander” of virtually all American and NATO forces.

General Schwarzkopf visits 354th at King Fahd International Airport
General Schwarzkopf visits the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at King Fahd International Airport

The Beginning

On January 17, 1991, Schwarzkopf attacked. 

His first order of battle was to render Iraq deaf and blind. If he could take out communications, he could isolate them. 

Knowing this, MH-53J and AH-64 helicopters were first sent in to take out Iraq’s early warning radar systems, succeeding without any hiccups.

After this, a massive aerial bombardment campaign began.

USAF aircraft of the 4th Fighter Wing (F-16, F-15C and F-15E) fly over Kuwaiti oil fires during Operation Desert Storm
US F-16s and F-15s during Desert Storm

Airfields and air defenses were targeted first by bombers, effectively rendering the Iraqi air force non-existent by the end of day one. This bombardment would continue for the next 42 days.

Virtually all of Iraq’s oil refineries, weapons plants, and any other form of infrastructure that could possibly be used against the coalition forces was annihilated. 

Oil well fires outside Kuwait City after Operation Desert Storm
Oil well fires outside Kuwait City after Operation Desert Storm

By this point, Schwarzkopf had 670,000 men at his command, 500,00+ of them of whom were Americans.

Having used his power over the skies to virtually wipe out the Iraqi military, Schwarzkopf then moved on to the next phase of his plan…Operation Desert Sabre, where he prepared to move his ground forces into Iraq. 

Operation Desert Storm map
Map of Troop Movements from Desert Shield/Storm

Using his “Left Hook” strategy, Schwarzkopf tricked the remaining members of the Iraqi military into thinking he was going to strike at one point before he moved far west to his actual attack point. 


By February 28, virtually all of the Iraqi military machine had been destroyed. It only took Schwarzkopf 100 hours with his Operation Desert Sabre campaign to render Iraq contained.

Abandoned vehicles during Desert Storm
Abandoned vehicles during Desert Storm

Schwarzkopf completely surrounded Saddam’s forces, a ceasefire was signed.

It’s estimated that up to 100,000 Iraqi forces were killed. The Coalition lost approximately 300 men

Kuwaiti M-84 battle tank during Operation Desert Storm
Kuwaiti M-84 battle tank during Operation Desert Storm

The Gulf War came to a close that day, and Schwarzkopf retired the next year. 

This is a new style of article for Pew Pew Tactical, if you liked it — let us know in the comments! If you didn’t enjoy it…well phooey. To catch up on previous Pictures from History, click on over to our History Category.

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4 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Chuck Cochran

    In hindsight, President George H.W. Bush (the first one, #41) should have let Stormin' Norman march right into dowtown Bagdad and taken SoDamn Insane out in the first Gulf War. Iraq was so overwhelmed by the General's attack and strategies, that Iraqui resistance was almost completely wiped out. It would have prevented the repeat under Bush (#43) years later.
    History, might have played out differently.

    February 5, 2023 9:58 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Big fan of this new history section! Keep up the good work

    February 5, 2023 7:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Great job, keep up the good work.

    February 5, 2023 6:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I liked this style, nice to get some history refresh and not go full gear nerd on new guns/gear all the time

    February 4, 2023 9:31 pm
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