Published Authors

Gulf War Air Power Survey - Volume 5: A Statistical Compendium and Chronology

by Robert C. Owen

From 16 January through 28 February 1991, the United States and its allies conducted one of the most operationally successful wars in history, a conflict in which air operations played a preeminent role. The Gulf War Air Power Survey was commissioned to review all aspects of air warfare in the Persian Gulf for use by the United States Air Force. The Survey has produced reports on planning, the conduct of operations, the effects of the air campaign, command and control, logistics, air base support, space, weapons and tactics, as well as a chronology and a compendium of statistics on the war.
The Survey was an attempt to provide a comprehensive and documented account of the war. It is not a definitive history: that will await the passage of time and the opening of sources (Iraqi records, for example) that were not available to Survey researchers. Nor is it a summary of lessons learned: other organizations, including many within the Air Force, have already done that. Rather, the Survey provides an analytical and evidentiary point of departure for future studies of the air campaign. It concentrates on an analysis of the operational level of war in the belief that this level of warfare is at once one of the most difficult to characterize and one of the most important to understand.
The Survey was directed by Dr. Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and was staffed by a mixture of civilian and military analysts. It was divided into task forces, most of which were run by civilians working temporarily for the Air Force. Throughout, the Survey strived to conduct its research in a spirit of impartiality and scholarly rigor. Its members had as their standard the observation of Mr. Franklin D’Olier, chairman of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey during and after the Second World War:
“We wanted to burn into everybody’s souls that fact that the survey’s responsibility . . . was to ascertain facts and to seek truth, eliminating completely any preconceived theories or dogmas.”
This volume consists of two reports. The first, A Statistical Compendium, concentrates on airpower-related aspects of the conflict and is not intended to portray other facets of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm except as they concern aerial operations. The organization of statistics is roughly chronological, moving from prewar force postures and the deployment of Desert Shield through the air campaign of Desert Storm, tabulating aircraft victories and losses as well as the human cost of the war. Briefly, the report intends to serve as a logical starting point for the issue: “What happened during the war?”
The second report, Chronology, outlines many of the principal events of clear, direct, and tangible relevance to the planning of the Gulf War. It begins immediately prior to the Iraqi invasion and ends immediately following the ceasefire.
Partial Contents:
Instant Thunder and Desert Shield
Net Assessment of the Opposing Sides
The Opening Days: Final Plan and the Scripted War
Friction and the Conduct of Operations
Diminished Attack on the Center
Air against Iraq’s Ground Forces
The 100-Hour Ground War
978 pages; dozens of photos, illustrations and charts.