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Thunder on the Euphrates
Secrets of the 1991 Persian Gulf War
275 pages; 12 chapters and 4 appendixes
The war in the 1991 Persian Gulf War is recreated and analyzed through many
action-packed chapters, charts, and weapons profiles. Thunder on the Euphrates
includes an examination of the generalship displayed in both
Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Every major air, ground and
naval force that fought in the Persian Gulf War is described, as well as how it was
deployed and maneuvered. In addition, the various options available to the Iraqis are
examined in Thunder on the Euphrates. Major areas covered in
Thunder on the Euphrates include: Operation Desert Storm air strategy;
Ground Forces planning; the “Iraqi Pocket”; and General H. Norman Schwarzkopf's
strategy and personality. Thunder on the Euphrates details the first Persian Gulf War so that anyone can understand it.
“The Commander-in-Chief of the Allied forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, US General H. Norman Schwarzkopf was
biased against special forces units and personnel just like his hero General Abrams. During Operation Desert Shield,
he emphatically declared to everyone that Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, were going to be
principally air and missile campaigns, backed up on the ground by massed armored and infantry divisions. “What the
goddamn hell,' he was fond of asking those around him, `can a goddamned Special Forces unit do that a Stealth bomber
or F- 16 can't do a darned sight better?” General H. Norman Schwarzkopf's hatred of special forces and special
operations was both irrational and irresponsible.
British Lieutenant-General Sir Peter de la Billiere, a much decorated SAS hero„ had been appointed overall British
commander in the Gulf War, and effectively Schwarzkopf's deputy. The two (American and British) generals swiftly
established a rapport, so that by October, Lieutenant-General Sir Peter de la Billiere had become one of General H.
Norman Schwarzkopf 's most trusted colleagues and confidants. Sir Peter de la Billiere now had influence on the
eccentric American general.
Sir Peter de la Billiere had a reason for ingratiating himself with General H. Norman Schwarzkopf. Among Sir Peter's
priorities was finding a worthwhile role for the SAS, and he got rapid results. Soon the order came through from the Allied
Coalition HQ in Saudi Arabia: the SAS was to examine ways of rescuing the thousands of British, other Western and
Japanese citizens trapped or held hostage in Iraq and Kuwait, all of whose lives were at risk from Saddam Hussein's
regime. In order to deter any Coalition attack on Iraq and Kuwait, Saddam Hussein had already ordered most of these
hostages to be dispersed to military and other strategic locations throughout the two countries. The captive civilians were
to act as human shields, displaying in the process the typical Muslim lack of value for human lives or morality.
Sir Peter de la Billiere created a plan that provided an ideal task repertoire for the SAS, The unit had practiced civilian
extraction exercises, in combination with RAF helicopter squadrons and the Royal Marines, on numerous occasions.
Thus, Sir Peter’s plan gave the SAS troops something familiar and definite to train for. It also caused Schwarzkopf,
manipulated by Sir Peter de la Billiere (DLB), to think about the SAS, if only briefly, as participants in “his” war.
Among the US Special Forces, US Delta Force, roughly the American equivalent of the SAS, were also twitching
worriedly, trying to obtain permission to participate, according to their established role, in the Gulf War. On 12 December
1990, new orders came through from Coalition HQ in Saudi Arabia. The SAS were to start planning deep-penetration
raids into Iraq, the type of operation on which the fledgling SAS Regiment had cut its teeth in the Western Desert in
1941. Maybe US Delta Force could tag along?
Saddam Hussein had been given a deadline of 15 January 1991, to get out of Kuwait. DLB gave the SAS the same
deadline, by which time they were to be ready to go into Iraq. Oddly, DLB had not cleared his plans with General H.
Norman Schwarzkopf. However, DLB was not worried. He knew that many US generals show more trust and
consideration to foreign troops than they do to their own. Thus, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, remembered the SAS
but temporarily forgot US Delta Force.”
Excerpt from Thunder on the Euphrates
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