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View Full Version : Iraq attacks Kuwait in 1980?



Ironduke
27 Nov 06,, 09:01
Found this on another forum:

So what if Saddam had a stroke of genius and realized that his army could not hope but to be bogged down attacking Iran, and instead attacked Kuwait in 1980 with plans to move on to Saudi Arabia? It seems to me that the US ability to respond would be vastly weaker, owing to inferior numbers and equipment compared to 1990, and the threat of the Soviet Union would make redeployment of forces from Germany impossible.

Officer of Engineers
27 Nov 06,, 12:48
Saddam tried. A deployment of the RN changed his mind. And the US had over 500,000 men in Vietnam.

troung
27 Nov 06,, 17:09
It seems to me that the US ability to respond would be vastly weaker, owing to inferior numbers and equipment compared to 1990, and the threat of the Soviet Union would make redeployment of forces from Germany impossible.

Iraq was vastly weaker as well in 1980. The Iraqi forces were no where near as good as in 1990 in equipment, training or leadership. Furthermore in 1980 their primary threat was from Iran and the Iranian revolution. Drops their guard in the face of Iran.

They could have rolled Kuwait over for sure but they would not be in a better position in 1990; other then Carter being at the helm busy with Iran/Afghanistan. If America showed up with some allies then you have the 1980 Iraqi military with its greater shortcomings.

Blademaster
27 Nov 06,, 21:29
Saddam tried. A deployment of the RN changed his mind. And the US had over 500,000 men in Vietnam.

uh?? I thought the US completely withdrew from Vietnam by 1974-75. Perhaps you are thinking of Europe. Or are you saying that the Vietnam example shows that the US was willing to step in Kuwait? I am sorry I don't agree with that. Anti-Vietnam sentiments were running very high and they didn't want to step into another conflict. If they did, they would be stepping into the Aghanistan conflict with USSR. No, US needed some time to get rid of its anti-war and anti-Vietnam sentiments.

Ironduke
27 Nov 06,, 22:03
I think he was referring to earlier Iraqi posturing that occurred while the US was still fighting in Vietnam. Saddam Hussein was deputy prime minister or president of Iraq since 1970 or slightly before.

troung
27 Nov 06,, 22:12
If they did, they would be stepping into the Aghanistan conflict with USSR. No, US needed some time to get rid of its anti-war and anti-Vietnam sentiments.

Afghanistan in 1979 was not an American ally; it was already communist.

Officer of Engineers
27 Nov 06,, 22:31
Or are you saying that the Vietnam example shows that the US was willing to step in Kuwait?

I'm not saying anything about willing but that the US was capable of doing so, even during the height of the Cold War. Iraq was a half war in the two and half war doctrine.


I am sorry I don't agree with that. Anti-Vietnam sentiments were running very high and they didn't want to step into another conflict. If they did, they would be stepping into the Aghanistan conflict with USSR. No, US needed some time to get rid of its anti-war and anti-Vietnam sentiments.

Europe and Japan's oil supply under a Soviet proxy? NATO would've come in with guns blazing. They would not have had a choice. The question is would Moscow start WWIII to defend an idiot who was that stupid to cross the line.

Stan187
28 Nov 06,, 02:51
Europe and Japan's oil supply under a Soviet proxy? NATO would've come in with guns blazing. They would not have had a choice. The question is would Moscow start WWIII to defend an idiot who was that stupid to cross the line.

I would think not, I think that even the hardliners in Politburo at the time were more rational than to start a war over that. They would have probably supplied assload of equipment and "volunteers" though, much like the US did in Afghanistan despite the so called Brezhnev Doctrine.

Feel free to disagree though.

Officer of Engineers
28 Nov 06,, 06:22
At the time?

The Soviets were stuck in Afghanistan and was facing two military fronts (NATO and China). The Warsaw Pact was falling apart (Poland's Solidarity), Vietnam and Cuba were failing dismally at their own little wars - just don't see where they can get the stuff and men to ship over.

There will always be mercs, maybe even up to battalion levels, but to take on NATO forces, nothing short of brigades will do.

Stan187
28 Nov 06,, 16:44
I guess I'm not sure what level of committment from NATO or the other side we are talking about? How big of a NATO force? Because that'd help determine how many "volunteers" the Soviets would be willing to supply, I'd think.

Officer of Engineers
28 Nov 06,, 18:09
I say at least a corps.

By the 1980s, unknownist to us, the Warsaw Pact had decided on a counter-attack strategy instead of an offensive one. They were going to wait for a NATO strike across East Germany and Poland before counter-attacking with overwhelming force from the USSR.

Our strategy at the time has always been to re-enforce the Fulda Gap (Op REFORGER) which we've felt would be adequate in repulsing the Warsaw Pact. More than likely, we would have called up the reserves and in Canada's case, we would've fielded the 1st Canadian Division (just speculating here) with 2 brigades going to re-enforced the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group and a third brigade committed to the Iraq theatre.

Also, let's not forget NATO member Turkey who had the manpower to overrun both Iraq and Iran.

Stan187
28 Nov 06,, 22:35
I remember reading a coupla years back on WAB that the Fulda Gap despite being the shortest distance was actually not the most vulnerable point, and that it was in the north due a combination of terrain and lack of the American contingent. Opinions?

Officer of Engineers
29 Nov 06,, 05:00
The BAOR? Depends on the timeframe. You have to understand something. What we thought the Soviets would do and what they actually planned to do were two different things.

Can we think of scenarios in which NORTHAG and CENTAG would be overrunned? Yes, we can. Did the Soviets planned to do so without nukes? Their attack plans included 100+ nukes on the Czech Front alone. After that, they went on a defence-counter-offence posture.

The BAOR is readily more re-enforceable than both V and VII Corps. The Brits just have to cross the English Channel and funnel a French Division in. The Americans and Canadians have to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Stan187
29 Nov 06,, 05:55
The Brits just have to cross the English Channel and funnel a French Division in. The Americans and Canadians have to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

How fast could that happen, according to your estimates?

Officer of Engineers
29 Nov 06,, 06:37
3 scenarios to which NATO expected

24-48 hours notice in which the WP attacked from the barracks.

7-10 days notice in which case, Operation REFORGER would bring all regular units up to full strength

30-60 days - full reserve mobilization

Stan187
29 Nov 06,, 07:36
3 scenarios to which NATO expected

24-48 hours notice in which the WP attacked from the barracks.

7-10 days notice in which case, Operation REFORGER would bring all regular units up to full strength

30-60 days - full reserve mobilization

In that case it sounds like the Sovs would never be able to get through, cuz there is no way they'd be able to bum rush the rhine in 7-10 days. I'm assuming a non-nuke scenario, something akin to Red Storm Rising. Nuclear would probably make it a lot different, cuz it probably targets troops and equipment choke points and concentration. Also, no one really knows how practical operation in a nuclear environment would have worked, since it would be the first of its kind of fighting.