2d Brigade Desert Storm
OPERATION DESERT STORM
BRIGADE SERGEANT MAJOR
CSM CHARLES DE ROSA
COL. ROBERT W. HIGGINS
CORRECTING MYTHS ABOUT THE PERSIAN GULF WAR: THE LAST STAND OF THE TAWAKALNA
by Stephen A. Bourque
The Middle East Journal, Volume 51, Number 4, Autumn 1997
Funk’s main effort was in the northern portion of his sector where the 2nd Brigade attacked. Waiting less than ten kilometers behind the 2nd Brigade, was the 3rd Brigade. Its four battalions were eager to get into the fight at the first opportunity.44 Until 5:20 pm the 2nd Brigade moved in a wedge formation-with Task Force 4-8 Cavalry in the lead, Task Force 4-18 Infantry on the left and TF 3-8 Cavalry on the right-slowly through the Iraqi 29th Mechanized Brigade’s security zone, constantly fighting isolated Iraqi vehicles.45 Like its counterparts in the adjacent sector, this brigade of Iraqis prepared its defenses according to doctrine. Bunkers, dug in vehicles, and pre-planned fires, backed by determined soldiers, made a formidable defense.46
Funk now ordered his divisional artillery to pound the Iraqi positions with all the indirect fire he had available.47 Almost five battalions of artillery fired at identified and suspected targets in a nine square kilometer box. Then Funk ordered the launching of the 2-27 Attack Helicopter Battalion across the forward line of US troops and into the depths of the Iraqi operations zone.48 At 10:00 pm the 2nd brigade’s three battalions and supporting artillery undertook a coordinated combined arms attack. For the next four hours disciplined 2d Brigade tank and Bradley crews moved through the 29th Mechanized Brigade’s operations zone.
US tank companies bounded forward by platoons, using their thermal sights and stand-off range49 to engage Iraqi vehicles on their own terms. Out-ranged and unable to locate the source of the accurate fire they were receiving, the Republican Guard soldiers returned fire without any noticeable effect. Attack helicopters and multiple rocket launchers destroyed Iraqi artillery almost as soon as they fired. As the brigade line moved forward, Iraqi infantry forces emerged from their hiding places and tried to engage US tanks and infantry fighting vehicles from close range. These Iraqi soldiers had little chance of success as a line of infantry fighting vehicles, moving just behind the tanks, killed them with machine-gun fire.50
The Iraqi 29th Brigade commander continued to resist the American advance. He directed several counter-attacks by armored and mechanized platoons and companies. Many of those were effectively targeted against the 2nd Brigade’s left flank, but concentrated tank, Bradley, and artillery fire stopped these attacks before they could interfere with the 2nd Brigade’s progress. It was a confusing mèlée, with rounds flying in all directions.51 By 2:00 am, 27 February, the 2nd Brigade had fought through the 29th Iraqi Brigade’s first defensive echelon.52 The situation was now right for Funk to order the 3rd Brigade forward. That morning it passed through the 2nd Brigade’s front line and started the 3rd Armored Division’s attack at the rear of the Tawakalna Division, and beyond.53
The 3rd Armored Division’s battle against the Tawakalna illustrates that good tactics are just as important as good technology. Had Funk chosen to attack the Iraqi defenses without evaluating the enemy, deciding on a main effort, massing his forces and using his tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, attack helicopters and field artillery as they were designed, the outcome might have been different. At the same time that American units were overwhelming the Tawakalna’s left and center, another heavy division assaulted its exposed right flank
This portion of the Association of 3d Armored Division Veterans’ website is currently under construction. Some information is available, but we need quite a bit of input from 2d Brigade Desert Storm veterans to make this a better site. Please review the unit sites linked on the left side of this page. We greatly appreciate any additions or corrections you can give us. This information can be forwarded to the contact person listed below. Also, if you have Desert Storm pictures or a personal narrative you would like to share, we can work with you get it posted on this site.
Note that rosters for some units are not located under 2d Brigade. For organizational and technical reasons, units are organized under their garrison “peacetime” headquarters. Thus, field artillery units are under “Division Artillery”, support units are under “Division Support Command”, engineer units are under “Division Engineers”, etc.
Read the 2BDE AAR
(PDF - 1.98 MB)
|pdf file: You need Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 7 or higher) to view this file. Download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader for PC or Macintosh.|