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21 facts about the First Gulf War

Remember The First Gulf War? Persian Gulf War? Desert Storm and/or Desert Shield? They’re all the same war. Whatever we call it now, it was the war which expelled Iraqi troops from Kuwait, checked a decade of Saddam Hussein’s aggression toward his neighbors, and broke the looming spectre of Vietnam that hung over the U.S. military.


U.S. troops had seen smaller actions in before that time, but nothing like the scale and scope of a real “mother of all battles,” pitting Saddam’s Iraq vs. the United States and its UN-mandated coalition partners.

“Yours is a society which cannot accept 10,000 dead in one battle.” — Saddam Hussein, July 25, 1990.

“This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait.” — President George H.W. Bush, Aug. 6, 1990.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War

The invasion of Kuwait is now just over 25 years old. It probably seemed like a quick victory, one unlikely to have lasting effects in the annals of history, but little did we know it was just setting the stage for the region’s next 30 years. There was no way to predict this war would even happen. In 1990, President Bush (41) was unable to shake off the “wimp” moniker bestowed on him by Newsweek in 1987.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

 

In the post-9/11 world, the events leading up to and after the conflict came to lasting importance. Today, U.S. troops have come and gone, come and gone, come and gone from Iraq. The country has become America’s enduring sidepiece. Then Operations Northern Watch and Southern Watch gave way to Operation Iraqi Freedom and with it Bayonet Lightning, Red Dawn and countless others who themselves gave way to Operation Inherent Resolve. There are troops in Iraq today who weren’t yet born when Saddam first captured the Kuwaiti oil fields, and Saddam himself didn’t live to see this day.

Here are 21 facts about your daddy’s Iraq War.

1. The Iran-Iraq War led to Iraq invading Kuwait.

Iraq owed $80 million in foreign debt from its 1980-1988 war with Iran. Saddam Hussein demanded Saudi Arabia and Kuwait forgive $30 billion in Iraqi debt, which he saw a result of protecting Kuwait from Shia Iranian forces for eight years. He then accused Kuwait of stealing Iraqi oil through slant drilling.

 

 

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
This also makes Saddam Hussein the first person to think of an idea before the Simpsons.

Since Iraq’s economy depended on oil sales, Saddam hoped to repay its debts by raising the price of oil through OPEC oil production cuts, but instead, Kuwait increased production and repeatedly produced more than its quota, lowering prices in an attempt to leverage a better resolution of its border dispute with Iraq.

2. In 1991, Iraq had the fifth largest army in the world.

It’s true, Iraq’s armed forces boasted more than a million men in uniform in 1991, but only a third of those were skilled professional fighting forces. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait with 120,000 of these and 2,000 tanks. After the Gulf War started, he concluded Iraq’s peace with Iran and raised his occupying force levels to 300,000. Iraq conscripted three fourths of men between ages 15 and 49. Even so, Iraq’s Air Force was large but weak and its Navy was “virtually nonexistent.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

3. Saddam thought the United States gave him the okay to invade Kuwait.

President Bush’s Ambassador to Iraq was April Glaspie, who, in a meeting with the Iraqi dictator, stressed to him that the U.S. did not want a trade war with Iraq. Saddam reiterated his commitment to peace in the region, so long as the Kuwaitis agree to meet OPEC production standards. Ambassador Glaspie told Saddam:

“But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait. I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late 1960s. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction.”

When nothing changed in Kuwait and Egyptian diplomacy failed, Saddam began the invasion. Saddam, frequently emphasizing a desire for U.S. friendship, was surprised to find his actions condemned by President Bush. When asked later why she said that to Saddam, Glaspie said: “We had no idea he would go that far.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

4. Saddam thought Arab states would be okay with Iraq annexing Kuwait.

The invasion happened during the first Palestinian Intifada, which enjoyed wide Arab support. As Palestinians tried to shake off Israeli occupation, Saddam tried to appeal to pan-Arab nationalism by being the strongman who would stand up to the West and Israel. He reasoned that the British illegally cut Kuwait out of greater Iraq in the 19th century and he was trying to right a Western wrong. The Arab League was not okay with this.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak tried to negotiate a treaty to avert a war, but Saddam walked out after two hours. His forces invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Two-thirds of the Arab League states joined the UN in a resolution condemning the invasion as King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and Kuwaiti leaders asked NATO for help. Iraq annexed Kuwait as its 19th province with Ali Hassan al-Majid (aka “Chemical Ali) as governor.

5. Iraq rolled over Kuwait in two days.

Unlike the Iran-Iraq War (which went on for eight years), Iraq’s Elite Republican Guard (with names which sound like they were made up by an American teenager, like the 1st Hammurabi Armored Division or the 4th Nebuchadnezzar Motorized Infantry Division) swiftly defeated Kuwaiti forces, reaching Kuwait City in an hour.

They either overran Kuwaitis on the ground or forced them (like 80% of the Kuwaiti Air Force) into neighboring Saudi Arabia or the island of Bahrain. Kuwait had not mobilized for war despite Saddam’s constant threats.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A Kuwaiti M-84 main battle tank in Operation Desert Shield. (Wikimedia Commons)

Whenever possible, Kuwaitis resisted fiercely, even establishing an underground resistance movement, though it was largely untrained and incapable. In trying to capture Kuwait’s Emir, Iraqis assaulted Dasman Palace even though the Emir had already left. The Emir’s brother was killed after leading a 12-hour defense of the palace, outnumbered by an entire Iraqi division. His body was placed in front of a tank and run over.

6. Iraq occupied Kuwait between August 1990 and January 1991 — and it was brutal.

In that time, the Iraqi forces committed at least sixteen crimes against the Laws of Armed Conflict as outlined in the Geneva and Hague Conventions. Those crimes include running of at least two dozen torture sites in Kuwait City alone, torturing civilians to the point of death and disfigurement. Kuwaiti women were taken hostage and raped repeatedly. Iraqi occupation forces killed at least 1,082 Kuwaiti civilian noncombatants, including women, children, and the mentally handicapped. Then they rigged the oil wells to explode if they were attacked.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
UN Photo

Coalition Forces didn’t begin to expel Iraqis from Kuwait until January 1991, after the UN-mandated January 15th withdrawal deadline. Once Coalition forces and Iraqi forces met in the field, the Iraqis committed more war crimes. Among them, they pretended to surrender to U.S. Marines, then opened fire on them. Iraqis would disguise themselves as civilians and then ambush Coalition forces. Iraqi troops also tortured prisoners of war.

7. The U.S. could not have prevented Iraq from invading Saudi Arabia.

Shortly after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the UN passed resolutions condemning it, calling for the removal of Iraqi troops, and the nullification of Iraq’s annexation. Desert Shield began as the U.S. and the Coalition took six months building up air and naval forces in the region, enforcing the UN blockade of Iraq and U.S.-imposed sanctions. Until the buildup, however, Iraqi forces would have easily overwhelmed the Saudi defenses. Why Saddam didn’t immediately press his advantage is unknown.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
These guys may have had something to do with it. (U.S. Army photo)

Iraqi forces invaded Saudi Arabia at the January 1991 Battle of Khafji, capturing the city on the night of 29 January. By this time, however, it was far too late. Coalition forces had more than enough troops and hardware to repel the Iraqis. The attacks were fought off by U.S. Marines, Army Rangers, and Coalition aircraft and the city was soon recaptured by Saudi and Qatari forces, backed by U.S. airpower.

8. The Coalition built fake bases and units to dupe Iraqis into defending the wrong area.

The coalition used deception cells to create the impression that they were going to attack near the Kuwaiti “boot heel,” as opposed to the strategy actually implemented. The Army set up FOB Weasel near the opposite end of the Kuwaiti border, which was a network of fake camps manned only by several dozen soldiers. With computer-controlled radios, messages were passed between fictitious headquarters sections. Smoke generators and loudspeakers playing prerecorded tank and truck noises were used, along with inflatable Humvees and helicopters.

9. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf commanded a force larger and more complex than the D-Day invasion in WWII  and didn’t want a ground war.

“Stormin’ Norman,” as he came to be known, was a highly-decorated and respected Vietnam War veteran. He commanded a Coalition of 670,000 personnel from 28 countries, along with combined Naval and Air Forces, with 425,000 troops from the United States. According to his memoirs, he implemented his operational plan to defend Saudi Arabia and expel Iraq from Kuwait using Gen. Colin Powell’s (then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) doctrine of overwhelming force and incorporated Montgomery’s desert armor tactics from the second battle of El-Alamein in World War II, all in an effort to minimize casualties on both sides.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
With Gen. Colin Powell in Saudi Arabia (U.S. Army Photo)

 

“I hate war. Absolutely, I hate war,” he once said. “When the war started, we were hoping that they’d come to their senses and stop right then,” he said. “After 38 days, we got to a point where we could launch the ground war and, by that time, they hadn’t withdrawn.” Once begun, the ground war lasted only 100 hours before Iraq capitulated.

10. Desert Storm was a relatively cheap war.

Though the U.S. was the primary supplier, 39 countries contributed men and/or materiel to the Coalition in some significant way. Yeah, that’s Afghanistan in blue down there.

 

The U.S. Department of Defense has estimated the cost of the Gulf War at $61 billion. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states covered $36 billion while Germany and Japan covered $16 billion. Still, as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (0.3%), Desert Storm was the cheapest war fought in U.S. history. The greater cost of the war to the region was likely more than $676 billion.

11. Saddam Hussein declared a jihad against the U.S.-led coalition.

Saddam began to convey a more Islamic, religious appearance in Iraqi media, showing himself praying at mosques and supporting the Palestinian cause, hoping to reframe the war as a struggle against Western imperialism and Israeli scheming.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

The plan didn’t work. Sheik Abdul-Aziz Bin Baz, the Saudis’ leading interpreter of Islamic law, called Saddam Hussein the “enemy of God.”

12. Desert Storm helped secure a Bill Clinton presidency.

The Iraqi invasion already caused the price of oil to more than double, which led to a worldwide recession in the 1990s and the defeat of George H.W. Bush at the hands of Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential election, despite being a popular, successful wartime President. Bill Clinton’s election team famously coined the term “It’s the economy, stupid” as their campaign mantra.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Also, mean sax solos became policy.

 

13. Iraq used oil as a weapon.

Smoke plumes from burning oil fields were intended to disrupt coalition aircraft and the heat from fires was expected to slow the advance of coalition troops. Iraqi combat engineers dug trenches filled with oil and ignited them to slow Coalition advances and spilled oil into the Persian Gulf in an effort to keep U.S. Marines from making an amphibious landing. Estimates of Iraqi oil spilled into the Gulf range from 4 to 11 million barrels, several time the size of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, and was never cleaned up on Saudi Arabian shores. The 610 oil fires set by Iraq destroyed 85% of Kuwaiti oil wells. The total amount of oil burned is an estimated 1 billion barrels, worth $2.8 billion.

The oil fires took down a Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) C-130, killing 92 Senegalese soldiers and the 6 Saudi crew members. They allowed Iraqi Republican Guard units to get the jump on Americans at the Battle of Phase Line Bullet, one of the few Iraqi victories of the war.

14. Israel had the third largest casualty count, despite not being in the war.

Iraq fired Scud missiles at Israel in an attempt to draw the country into the conflict, a move that would force many Arab states in the Coalition to choose between withdrawing or fighting alongside Israel, neither of which were appealing to the Arabs. In response, the U.S. and Netherlands deployed Patriot Missile Battalions to Israel and Turkey to keep Israel from retaliating (The Gulf War marked the first mid-air missile-to-missile interception).

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Israelis  in their home in Tel Aviv. Many feared Iraqi chemical attacks would come with the Scuds.

Seventy-four Israelis died as Iraq fired Scud missiles toward Tel Aviv. Many hit the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Ramat Gan which was, oddly enough, a neighborhood of Iraqi expatriates. Strangely, only three Israelis died from the missiles — the rest died of heart attacks or similar ailments as a result of the bombing. Iraq launched some 88 Scud missiles toward Israel and Saudi Arabia over the course of the war.

15. The Air War was one of the most massive, effective air campaigns ever.

The Iraqi Air Force was almost completely annihilated, and was never fully effective. The Coalition massed more than 3,000 airplanes leading up to the January 15th withdrawal deadline. It was the largest airlift effort in history, surpassing even the Berlin Airlift. The U.S. Air Force launched more than 100,000 sorties (air missions) starting on Jan. 17th, 1991 and dropped more than 88,500 tons of bombs.

Iraqis lost 38 MiGs to Coalition air forces, while the rest fled to Iran rather than be shot down. There they were captured and held for years and Iran kept the planes. Coalition laser-guided “smart bombs” still caused hundreds of civilian casualties, even hitting a civilian air raid shelter, then hitting the civilian al-Fallujah neighborhood in Baghdad. When relatives and first responders rushed to the area in the wake of the bombing, they were bombed too.

16. One American pilot was believed missing in action for 18 years after the war.

Coalition forces captured some 70,000 Iraqis throughout the course of the war. At the end of the war Iraq was known to have held a total of 26 allied prisoners: 22 Americans, two Britons, an Italian and a Kuwaiti. Iraq also is believed to have abducted 30-40,000 Kuwaiti civilians. According to Marine Col. Jim Acree, the Iraqis followed the Geneva Convention “for all of 20 minutes.” American POWs were tortured, beaten, and starved. Many of these POWs forcefully appeared in Iraqi Propaganda.

For years afterward, U.S. Navy Lt. Col. Scott Speicher remained missing in action after his FA-18 Hornet was shot down over Iraq, and his flight suit was found near the crash site. Speicher’s remains were found in 2009, and returned home.

“Our Navy will never give up looking for a shipmate, regardless of how long or how difficult that search may be,” said Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, in a statement at the time. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Captain Speicher and his family for the sacrifice they have made for our nation and the example of strength they have set for all of us.”

17. President Bush didn’t press on to Baghdad to abide by the UN Mandate.

President Bush only wanted to do what the UN Security Council authorized. Coalition forces expelled the Iraqi Army from Kuwait by February 27th and President Bush halted all offensive operations. This would be controversial until his son George W. Bush’s presidency, when we learned to respect our elders.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(photo from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library)

“Had we taken all of Iraq,” Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf wrote in his memoirs, “we would have been like a dinosaur in the tar pit — we would still be there, and we, not the United Nations, would be bearing the costs of that occupation.” In 2007, Colin Powell remarked, “In recent months, nobody’s been asking me about why we didn’t go to Baghdad. Pretty good idea now why Baghdad should always be looked at with some reservations.”

18. More Americans died from HIV infection in 1991 than in Operation Desert Storm.

An estimated 100,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed in the conflict, while the United States had only 383 fatalities in the region. 1991 was the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as infection rates increased 15.3% over the previous year. HIV/AIDS was the ninth highest cause of death in the U.S. that year, killing 29,850 Americans. The number of infected and dead from HIV/AIDS would double by 1993.

19. The First Gulf War brought about the rise of cable news, and thus, cable television.

Media Coverage was very restricted as Coalition commanders feared the horrors of war would lead to another Vietnam syndrome, where the imagery turns the public against war in general. The Pentagon gave regular briefings but few journalists were allowed to visit the front. At the same time, satellite technology allowed for live video of missiles firing off of aircraft carriers and airstrikes on Iraqi targets while night vision camera technology gave the war a futuristic, almost video game like feel. So much so, it came to be dubbed “The Nintendo War.”

Oil covered birds, Coalition war briefings, videos of rockets being shot down chimneys and immediate responses from Kuwaiti and Saudi civilians all made for great television imagery. CNN’s live reporting from a hotel in downtown Baghdad became the main driver of its viewership, as it was the only network broadcasting the war 24 hours a day. Since CNN was only available through cable, subscriptions spiked and pay TV became a permanent facet of American life, the first step in ending the dominance of the “Big Three” networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
So yes, Saddam Hussein is kind of responsible for Don Lemon

20. The U.S. encouraged uprisings against Saddam’s regime.

President Bush gave speeches hinting the U.S. would support factions fighting against the Iraqi Ba’athist regime. A Shia rebellion began in Southern Iraq in 1991, but was not supported militarily by the U.S. or Coalition forces — even allowing pro-regime helicopters to brutally suppress the rebellion — despite the Southern No-Fly Zone. In the North, Kurdish fighters staged an uprising of their own, but since no U.S. help was forthcoming, Iraqi generals stayed loyal and massacred the Kurds.

21. Saddam Hussein publicly apologized for the Invasion of Kuwait

Sort of. The Iraqi information minister, Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf (who became known as “Comical Ali” or “Baghdad Bob” during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq), who also announced in 2003 that there were no U.S. troops in Baghdad as U.S. troops were rapidly capturing most of the city, read a statement:

“We apologize for what happened to you in the past,” he read for the Iraqi dictator. “The devoted and the holy warriors in Kuwait met with Iraqi counterparts” under their common creator against the “infidel armies” of “London, Washington and the Zionist entity.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

If we’ve learned anything, it’s to be careful about who you call a “wimp.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

NOW: 17 Wild Facts About the Vietnam War

OR: 15 Unforgettable Photos from Operation Desert Storm

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16 of the best excerpts from the greatest military speeches ever given

For as long as wars have been fought, great military leaders have been able to use the power of the pulpit to motivate their troops. The right words delivered in the right way at the right time have helped to turn the tide when morale was suffering, when casualties were high and ammo was low.


Here are 16 excerpts from the best orations given to key audiences during history’s crucial pivot points:

1. PERICLES appealing for war against the Spartans, 432BCE

“When our fathers stood against the Persians they had no such resources as we have now; indeed, they abandoned even what they had, and then it was by wisdom rather than by good fortune, by daring rather than by material power, that they drove back the foreign invasion and made our city what it is today. We must live up to the standard they set: we must resist our enemies in any and every way, and try to leave ot those who come after us an Athens that is as great as ever.”

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War

2. HANNIBAL addressing his soldiers after crossing the Alps, 218 BCE

“On the right and left two seas enclose you, without your possessing even a single ship for escape. The river Po around you; the Alps behind hem you in.Her soldiers, where you have first met the enemy, you must conquer or die; and the same fortune which has imposed the necessity of fighting hold out to you, if victorious, rewards than which men are not wont to desire greater, even from the immortal gods.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

3. ST. BERNARD rallying the troops before the Second Crusade, 1146

“Christian warriors, He who gave His life for you today demands yours in return. These are combats worth of you, combats in which it is glorious to conquer and advantageous to die. Illustrious knights, generous defenders of the Cross, remember the example of your fathers who conquered Jerusalem and whose names are inscribed in Heaven.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

4. QUEEN ELIZABETH I supporting her military against the Spanish Armada, July 1588

“I am amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honor and my blood.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

5. GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON calming his increasingly rebellious and doubtful army, March 15, 1783

“You will, by the dignity of your conduct, afford occasion for posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to mankind, ‘Had this day been wanting, the world had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining.'”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

6. GENERAL NAPOLEON BONAPARTE firing up his forces before the Battle of Marengo in Italy, June 14, 1800

“Shall we allow our audacious enemies to violate with impunity the territory of the Republic? Will you permit the army to escape which has carried terror into your families? You will not. March, then, to meet him. Tear from his brows the laurels he has won. Teach the world that a malediction attends those that violate the territory of the Great People. The result of our efforts will be unclouded glory, and a durable peace.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

7. PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN speaking to the 166th Ohio Regiment, August 22, 1864

“For the service you have done in this great struggle in which we are engaged I present you sincere thanks for myself and the country. I almost always feel inclined, when I happen to say anything to soldiers, to impress upon them in a few brief remarks the importance of success in this contest. It is not merely for today, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate for our children’s children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives. I beg you to remember this, not merely for my sake, but for yours . . . The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

8. PRIME MINISTER WINSTON CHURCHILL before the House of Commons as the French retreat from Hitler, May 13, 1940

“We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

9. PREMIER JOSEPH STALIN appealing to the Russian people to defend their soil as the German Army advances, July 3, 1941

“The issue is one of life or death for the Soviet State, for the peoples of the U.S.S.R. The issue is whether the peoples of the Soviet Union shall remain free or fall into slavery . . . There must be no room in our ranks for whimperers and cowards, for panic-mongers and deserters. Our people must know no fear in fight and must selflessly join our patriotic war of liberation, our war against the fascist enslavers.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

10. GENERAL SIR BERNARD MONTGOMERY speaking to his demoralized troops before defeating Rommel’s Afrika Corps, August 13, 1942

“Here we will stand and fight; there will be no further withdrawal. I have ordered that all plans and instructions dealing with further withdrawal are to be burned, and at once. We will stand and fight here. If we can’t stay here alive, then let us stay here dead.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

11. GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON exhorting the Third Army, Spring 1944

“I don’t want to get any messages saying, ‘I am holding my position.’ We are not holding a goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy’s balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living shit out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy.”

12. GENERAL DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER ordering the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944

21 facts about the First Gulf War

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the eliminations of Nazi tyranny over oppressed people of Europe, and the security for ourselves in a free world.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

13. MENACHEM BEGIN speaking to the people of Israel on the radio, preparing them for an Arab attack, May 14, 1948

“We shall go our way into battle . . . And we shall be accompanied by the spirit of millions of our martyrs, our ancestors tortured and burned for their faith, our murdered fathers and butchered mothers, our murdered brothers and strangled children. And in this battle we shall break the enemy and bring salvation to our people, tried in the furnace of persecution, thirsting only for freedom, for righteousness, and for justice.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

14. GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR addressing West Point, May 12, 1962

“Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government; whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing, indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grow too violent . . . These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

15. PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY bracing the nation for the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 22, 1962

“The path we have chosen for he present is full of hazards, as all paths are; but it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the world. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission. Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right; not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this hemisphere, and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

16. PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN hastening the fall of Communism while speaking at the Berlin Wall, June 12, 1987

“There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Easter Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

(The complete transcripts of these speeches and many others can be found in Charge!, History’s Greatest Military Speeches, edited by Congressman Steve Israel and published in 2007 by the Naval Institute Press.)

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13 funniest military memes for the week of Jan. 13

Look, nobody get ninja punched this weekend and maybe we’ll stop getting these safety briefs every Friday. But who are we kidding? Someone is going to be on the carpet first thing Monday.


Oh well. Here are some funny military memes before the festivities start:

1. It’s gonna be out of this world (via U.S Army W.T.F! moments)

21 facts about the First Gulf War
The tape plays at three times the speed of sound.

2. No such thing as a “touch” of food poisoning (via The Salty Soldier).

21 facts about the First Gulf War
But the chili mac was good.

3. Stalin, you’re holding your fist wrong (via Military Memes).

21 facts about the First Gulf War

ALSO READ: 6 new changes to expect at the Pentagon with Mattis as SECDEF

4. Come on. Push ups and flutter kicks are just good physical training (via Lost in the Sauce).

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Guess I’ll just have him practice individual movement techniques for the next few hours. Mostly just the low crawl.

5. What the —!? Don’t do it! Think of the bad juju!

(via Coast Guard Memes)

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Y’all acting like you want the terrorists to win.

6. You’re about to get eviscerated, buddy (via Air Force Memes Humor).

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Maybe try to play dead or something.

7. “My friends and I are here for the violence.”

(via Military Memes)

21 facts about the First Gulf War
I wonder if he laughs more or less when it’s not a rehearsal.

8. The USS New York is ready to visit freedom on everyone who seeks to destroy it (via Navy Crow).

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Maybe don’t aim at skyscrapers anymore.

9. Just pray that it’s a late sunrise and all the NCOs are hungover (via The Salty Soldier).

21 facts about the First Gulf War
But maybe save some of your strength for the smoke session, just in case.

10. Yeah, seems about right.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
If you stay in long enough, you get to be the bear.

11. New Air Force tattoo policy be like:

(via Air Force amn/nco/snco)

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Hope some of you had money invested in tattoo parlors near Air Force bases.

12. Remember: profiles are just suggestions until the commander signs off on them (via U.S Army W.T.F! moments).

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Looks like someone is going to spend the next few months driving the command and staff vehicles.

13. Recruiters are like D.A.R.E. officers. “Just say no.”

(via Devil Dog Nation)

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Special bonus meme 1:

(via The Salty Soldier)

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Special bonus meme 2:

(via Devil Dog Nation)

21 facts about the First Gulf War

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25 incredible photos of life on a US Navy submarine

A U.S. Navy nuclear submarine is one of the most mysterious places in which a member of the military could serve.

Armed with advanced technology and enough firepower to destroy civilizations, it’s no wonder that every sailor aboard these vessels must have a secret clearance or better.


WATM scoured the Navy’s official website and asked the sailors of the Submarine Bubblehead Brotherhood for personal pictures to come up with these 27 incredible photos of life under the sea.

Deployment starts with departing from home port…

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: US Navy

Submarine life is cramped…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: US Navy

Hatches are smaller than on surface vessels…

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Bubbleheads – Navy speak for submariners – go without sunlight for weeks at a time.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: US Navy

Sailors as young as 18 years-old drive the ship…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: US Navy

Seriously, even midshipmen get a turn…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo

There are no windows on a submarine; sonar technology is the eyes and ears of the crew.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo

 Submarines have some of the same amenities as surface ships…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: YouTube

… but, everything in a submarine is modified to limit noise. These are rubber shock absorbers under the treadmill…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: YouTube

It pays to keep the cook happy…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: YouTube

Submarine chow is some of the best in the Navy…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: YouTube

Swim calls on a submarine are awesome. . .

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: US Navy

After months in the ocean depths, a little Vitamin D (sunlight) could be just what the doctor ordered . . .

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: A. Ceglia

This is what a steel beach picnic looks like on a submarine . . .

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Reddit

Life-long friendships are made…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: S. Southard

Shipmates become an extended family…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: J. Barton

Some things never change. This photo of sailors painting the sub was taken in the 1950s . . .

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: K. Haughton

This one was taken in 2010…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: A. Ceglia

One lesson holds true in any era: Don’t use the submarine paint to dress up like the Hulk . . .

21 facts about the First Gulf War
According to a Reddit feed, this man in Brazil used permanent submarine paint to dress like the Hulk. After unsuccessfully trying to remove the paint, his mother came to help with industrial cleaning materials. Photo: Reddit

Submarines sometimes break through the ice to surface on the North Pole.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: US Navy

Santa wasn’t around for this visit, but these polar bears gave a big welcome . . .

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: US Navy

Many sailors become shellbacks, but few have a blue nose…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
To become a Blue Nose, a sailor must have crossed the Arctic Circle in a Navy vessel. Photo: D. Gudman

The best words a CO could ever say are, “Folks, let’s go home.”

21 facts about the First Gulf War

And nothing beats a homecoming…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: US Navy

Nothing…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
USS Scranton sailor, Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Warren Jack holds his daughter for the first time after a seven-month deployment. Photo: US Navy

Lists

6 questions you asked yourself after your first firefight

You’re on a foot patrol in a dangerous war-zone and you haven’t taken any enemy contact yet. It’s hot outside and all you want to do is head back to the patrol base and snack on an MRE. When will your first firefight begin?


Then, it happens. Snap! Crack! Boom!

firefight

Your first firefight breaks out and you put all of your training to use engaging the enemy. After the chaos ends, these questions will enter your mind and help better prepare you for your next mission or patrol.

Related: 7 whacky life lessons we learned from ‘Team America’

6. How well did you work under real freakin’ pressure?

Throughout your training, your instructors have done their best to stimulate combat stress by increasing your heart rate and making you complete tactical drills during squad-sized maneuvering.

If this is you, then you may want to consider a career change. (Image via GIPHY)

Ultimately, nothing can prepare you for when those AK-47 rounds buzz and snap near your head. Talk to your squad members off-line about what they saw and felt during the engagement. This helps build leadership and strengthens brotherhood.

5. Did you stow your gear in a reachable spot?

Newbies want to look as badass as possible in their staged gear, but when sh*t hit the fan and enemy contact was thick, were you able to grab that next magazine or tourniquet without fumbling?

If not, consider re-configuring everything on your flak jacket for accessibility.

4. Did you communicate effectively?

Communication is key while taking enemy contact. Firefights can pop off out of nowhere and from some unlikely places. If you’re in a leadership position or saw the insurgent first, did you call it out effectively enough to return fire towards the enemy position? Or did you race through everything too quickly?

Slow down. (Image via GIPHY)

3. Did you bring enough ammo gear?

The truth is, you can never bring too much gear since you can’t predict what’s going to happen next on patrol, but you also don’t want to carry the entire armory. That’s a lot of crap to haul and you’ve got enough sh*t on your back.

He put on a pearl necklace. That’s classic. (Image via GIPHY)

2. Were you really prepared for the worst?

Bad things can happen — it’s war. The question is, how prepared will you be for the next time?

Also Read: 14 images that humorously recall your first firefight

1. What were the bad guys protecting?

Their image? An IED factory or weapon cache?

Bring up all these questions at the patrol debrief later. It’s important to put your thoughts out on the table to get everyone on the same page.

Articles

These are the 6 worst carriers (or classes) to ever set sail

Some aircraft carriers are legends – either from long service like that of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) or with an unmatched war record like that of another USS Enterprise (CV 6).


They have either heroic sacrifices, the way USS Yorktown (CV 5) did at Midway, or they simply take a ton of abuse as USS Franklin (CV 13) did.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) transits the Arabian Sea during her last deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jared King)

But some carriers just stink. You wouldn’t wish them on your worst enemy… or maybe you would, simply to make the war easier. There’s arguments on both sides of that. Here are the carriers that would prompt such an internal debate.

6. USS Ranger (CV 4)

When America was down to one carrier in the South Pacific in 1942, re-deploying America’s first purpose-built carrier, the USS Ranger (CV 4) was not considered as an option.

That tells you something about the ship. Her combat career was relatively brief, and she eventually was relegated to training duties. Still, she had a decent air group (mostly fighters and dive-bombers), so she is the best of this bad lot.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
USS Ranger (CV 4) at sea. (US Navy photo)

5. Admiral Kuznetsov Class (Kuznetsov, Liaoning, and unnamed Type 001A)

If you’ve read a lot of WATM, then you know about the Kuznetsov Follies. The crappy engines (the Russians send tugs along with her in case of breakdown), the splash landings, and the fact the Russians ended up using her as a glorified ferry all speak to real problems. In her favor, though, is the presence of 12 long-range anti-ship missiles on the lead ship, and she can fly MiG-29K and Su-33 Flankers off her deck. China’s versions carry J-15 fighters, but not the missiles.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ in her natural habitat, a dry dock, in July 2015. | Christopher Michel/Flickr photo

4. Kiev class (Kiev, Minsk, Novorossiysk)

The Russian Kiev and her sisters are on here for a crap air wing.

The Yak-38 Forger was one of the worst planes to ever operate from a carrier. The Kiev gets a higher ranking largely because she had a lot of firepower, including eight SS-N-12 Sandbox missiles as well as a lot of SA-N-3 Goblets and point-defense systems, which were arguably more of a threat to the enemy than the planes she carried.

Yeah… that kinda has the whole purpose backwards. Now, a modern version with F-35Bs or even AV-8B+ Harriers and the Aegis system could be interesting.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
The Soviet aircraft carrier Kiev, showing off elements of the crap air wing, including the Yak-38 Forger. (US Navy photo)

3. HTMS Chakri Naruebet

The Chakri Naruebet from the Thai navy is on the list not so much for inherent problems, but because of substantial air wing neglect during the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (aka Rana IX). Worse, the Thais officially call her an “offshore patrol helicopter carrier.”

They did buy some second-hand AV-8S Matadors from Spain. But most flunked the maintenance, and soon Thailand had one flyable jet. At least the Kievs had heavy firepower to make up for their crap air wing!

That said, his successor, King Vajiralongkorn, was a former fighter pilot, and hopefully will be able to turn things around.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: PH3 Alex C. Witte/US Navy

2. Ise Class battleship/carrier hybrid conversions

Okay, in some ways, this is understandable. After the Battle of Midway, Japan needed carriers in the worst possible way. Ise and Hyuga are perfect examples of getting those “carriers” — in the worst possible way.

Initially built as battleships with a top speed of 23 knots, they got turned not into full carriers, which might have been useful. But a half-battleship/half-carrier holding 22 seaplanes (okay about 50 percent more than Hosho) that they could launch and recover wasn’t totally awful.

Remember that’s seaplanes, not Zeroes for fighter cover or strike planes. Granted Japan had the A6M-2 Rufe, a seaplane Zero, but this was a rush job, and it showed. At least they each had eight 14-inch guns.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
The HIJMS Ise was a failed battleship/carrier hybrid. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

 

1. HIJMS Hosho

This was the world’s first purpose-built aircraft carrier. But let’s be honest, the Japanese boat was a dog. It had a top speed of 25 knots, and it carried all of 15 planes. During the Battle of Midway, it had eight biplanes.

By comparison, USS Langley (CV 1), America’s first aircraft carrier, could carry 36 planes. Even with a top speed of 15 knots, she would have been useful escorting convoys in the Atlantic – if America hadn’t turned her into a seaplane tender to satisfy an arms-control treaty Japan violated anyhow.

Are there any bad carriers we missed? Let us know in the comments!

 

Lists

5 reasons why military personnel give civilians a hard time

Every single one of us was a civilian before we shipped off to boot camp and had our way of thinking altered to the military mindset that gets hardwired to our brains.


Good work ethic, teamwork, and honor are just a few traits we organically picked up throughout our training.

Even if we get out, that military mindset never really goes away, and as a result, we see civilians in a different light moving forward.

Related: 6 reasons why Marines hate on the Air Force

So check out five reasons why military personnel hate on civilians (we still love you guys, though):

5. They don’t get our humor

We have dark freakin’ humor, and we can’t hide it — nor do we want to. We go through some rough experiences and manage to joke about them as a coping mechanism.

What we think is funny, most civilians consider f*cked up absurd, but we’re not going to change, so get used to it!

This guy gets it. (Image via GIPHY)

4. Most civilians lolly gaggle and fiddle f*ck around

The military teaches us to get sh*t done — oftentimes under great stress or over long hours. Sure, everyone has to sleep at the end of the day, but breaks aren’t guaranteed, there’s no overtime, and we don’t get reimbursed for weekend duty. We can spend all day at work and not see an extra dime.

3. We do more before 0500 than they will do all day

Our command can tell us to be ready for work whenever they want us to without advanced notice. Typically we PT hardcore first thing in the morning or draw weapons before hiking miles out to the field — then eat a cold breakfast.

Why are we awake if there’s no sun? (Image via GIPHY)

2. Most civies don’t know the meaning of a “hard days work.”

Many military jobs require the service member to be in constant danger, and we rarely hear them complain about it — since they did volunteer, afterall. Nowadays, we hear people say how stressful their office job is even though they have breezy air conditioning and hot chow when they want it.

Also Read: 6 reasons why you need a sense of humor in the infantry

1. They get paid more for the same job.

Many contractors get paid way more than we do for the exact same job, and then drive off in an E-Class Mercedes at the end of the day while we march back to our barracks room.

It’s not the civilians’ fault, but we need someone to blame.

They got so much money, they don’t know what to do with it. (Image via GIPHY)Can you think of any others? Comment below.

Lists

13 ways vets with PTSD can get some freakin’ sleep

There is evidence that people with with PTSD, including Veterans, often suffer from sleep problems and poor sleep, which can make it difficult to function and decrease quality of life.


Insomnia can be a significant challenge. Among active duty personnel with PTSD, research tells us 92 percent suffer from clinically significant insomnia, compared to 28 percent of those without PTSD.

Veterans with PTSD often suffer from nightmares, as 53 percent of combat Veterans with PTSD report a significant nightmare problem. In fact, nightmares are one of the criteria used to diagnose PTSD. Often, nightmares are recurrent and may relate to or replay the trauma the Veteran has experienced. They may be frequent and occur several times a week.

Sleep challenges can compound the effects of PTSD, and can lead to more negative effects, including suicidal ideation and behavior. Insomnia is associated with an increased risk of suicide, even independent of PTSD as a risk factor.

Prolonged or intense stress, such as that experienced during a trauma or in PTSD, is associated with a decreased level of serotonin. The serotonin system regulates parts of the brain that deal with fear and worry. Low serotonin production disrupts sleep and often leads to more significant sleep disorders, like insomnia.

Those with PTSD who experience these brain chemistry changes may be hyper-vigilant, even in sleep. This can make it difficult to fall asleep or remain asleep. Excess adrenaline can make Veterans feel wired at night and unable to relax and fall asleep. With elevated cortisol, there is a decrease in short-wave sleep, and increases in light sleep and waking.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Courtesy of David Palka

Treating PTSD and sleep disorders

It’s important for Veterans to seek treatment for trauma-related sleep difficulties. With treatment, Veterans can work to improve sleep difficulties and get more restful sleep. Treatment for Veterans with PTSD may include:

1. Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is used to facilitate processing of a traumatic event. It may include therapies such as prolonged exposure, cognitive processing therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. Although psychotherapy may not be directly aimed at sleep improvement, it can be effective in relieving PTSD, and in turn, the symptoms of sleep disruption from PTSD.

2. Cognitive behavioral therapy: With cognitive behavioral therapy, Veterans with PTSD discuss their sleep habits and identify opportunities for improvement of sleep hygiene.

3. Relaxation therapy: Often combined with meditation, relaxation therapy is used to promote soothing and a peaceful mindset before bedtime. Ideally, relaxation therapy can alleviate hyperarousal so that Veterans with PTSD can relax and fall asleep more easily.

4. Light therapy: Light therapy uses exposure to bright light to realign the circadian clock. With exposure to bright light during the day, your brain is better able to understand that it’s daytime, and time to be alert. Patients of light therapy often fall asleep more easily and sleep later.

5. Sleep restriction: Sleep restriction is controlled sleep deprivation, which limits the time spent in bed so that sleeping takes up 85 to 90 percent of the time spent in bed.

6. Medication and supplements: Medications are typically considered a last resort for solving sleep difficulties due to their potential side effects. Supplements of melatonin, a natural hormone that regulates the sleep cycle can help patients sleep better. Medications including sedatives and hypnotics may be used if therapies and natural supplements are not effective.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Strategies and techniques to help PTSD-affected Veterans get to sleep

Treatment of PTSD and related sleep disorders is key. However, there are steps Veterans can take in addition to treatment that can alleviate the sleep disruption associated with PTSD. These include:

7. Sleep in a comforting location: Your sleep environment should be a location where you feel safe, and free of any triggers that might cause you to relive trauma.

8. Ask friends and family for support: Some with PTSD feel safer and more comfortable sleeping with a trusted friend or family member in the same room or a nearby room.

9. Wind down in the evening: Spend time in the evening before bed winding down from the day to induce relaxation. If you take time to relax and maintain a consistent bedtime routine, you can signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep. This can be done by going through the same steps before bed every night, ideally relaxing activities such as playing soft music, meditating, practicing muscle relaxation, taking a warm bath, or reading a book.

10. Setup the ideal sleep environment: A nightlight might make you feel more comfortable sleeping in a dark room. If your sleeping environment can be noisy or disruptive, consider playing soft music or using a white noise machine to block out sounds that can startle you out of sleep. Make sure to control the temperature of your room and keep it between 60-67 degrees fahrenheit. From your mattress to your bedding, make sure you know what keeps your spine in alignment and alleviates any pressure points or additional issues you might face.

11. Give yourself enough time to sleep: Being rushed in the evening or morning can contribute to feelings of stress that may exacerbate sleep struggles for Veterans with PTSD. You shouldn’t feel like you don’t have enough time to sleep. Schedule enough time for adequate rest, leaving extra time if you often experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep through the night.

12. Listen to your body’s sleep cues: Following trauma, you may need more sleep than you’re expecting. Listen to your body and go to bed when you feel ready to sleep. However, it’s important to avoid getting into bed too early and lying awake for long periods of time.

13. Avoid activities that can interfere with sleep: Eating a large meal, drinking alcohol, consuming caffeine, or napping or exercising a few hours before bed can make it difficult to fall asleep. Avoid screen time late at night, including video games, TV, and mobile devices.

Articles

The 13 Funniest Military Memes Of The Week

After another arduous week of combing the internetz for good lulz, here are our picks for great military memes.


It wouldn’t sting so much if it weren’t true.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
If you poop on the carpet, you’ll change ranks quickly too.

Ah, the beautiful colors of fall.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
‘Playing’ means different things to different people.

If enlisting didn’t teach you not to volunteer, this cleaning detail will.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
When you see what first sergeant has everyone else doing, you’ll wish you volunteered.

The sun was in his eyes …

21 facts about the First Gulf War
… right before that fist was in his eye.

I’d love to see this guy at the promotion board.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Seeing a panel of sergeants major assess him for proper uniform fit would be amazing.

One way to fix a fat neck? Destroy it.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Throat punch is also a good solution for uppity privates or hovering officers.

Falling asleep at staff duty is a pretty quick ticket to this.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Pilots have so many switches and buttons to worry about.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Just because you’re at war, that’s no reason to be uncivilized.

21 facts about the First Gulf War

Marines don’t always understand how airborne works.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Airborne wings are just a uniform thing. You can’t actually fly, Marine.

Hurry up and clean!

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Ok, now wait. Keep waiting. Keep waiting …

A-10s have a one-track mind.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
And on that track, they rain destruction on a Biblical scale.

Yeah, that’ll show those lazy airmen.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
You should take them outside and teach them how to PT.

NOW: 7 Interesting Facts About The Javelin Missile System

And: Soldiers Record Catchy Beatles Cover From A Snowbank 

Lists

3 early tank designs that were too ridiculous to function

Tanks are a staple of ground warfare. Militaries around the world deploy a wide range of tanks, but typically they conform to some basic principals. In nearly all of them, a large turret sits on top of an armored vehicle that moves on treads.


But this wasn’t always the case. In the early 20th century, engineers around the world were scrambling to figure out how exactly to pass uneven terrain and mobilize troops. This period of innovation resulted in today’s technologically marvelous tanks, but before that, they had some truly outrageous ideas.

The Tsar Tank

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikicommons

Tank development was in its earliest stages when Tsar Nicholas II ruled Russia in the first decades of the 20th century. The Tsar differed from modern tanks in that it didn’t have treads, instead using two massive 27-foot-tall front wheels and a small third wheel, 5 feet in diameter, that trailed behind for steering. Reportedly, when Nicholas II saw a model of the tank roll over a stack of books he was sold on the project and gave it his blessing.

Russian engineers Nikolai Lebedenko, Nikolai Zhukovsky, Boris Stechkin, and Alexander Mikulin developed the Tsar from 1914 to 1915. The vehicle resembled a hanging bat when viewed from above, so it gained the nickname “Netopyr,” which translates to “pipistrellus,” the genus name for “bats.”

The giant bicycle-style wheels in front of the tank did prove effective for traversing a variety of terrains. But they severely limited the firing range of the 12 water-cooled machine guns situated in between the massive wheels. Thanks to two 250-horsepower Sunbeam engines powering either wheel, the Tsar could reach a respectable speed of up to 10.5 mph.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Fastboy

But mobility eventually doomed the Tsar.

When testing began in a forest outside Moscow, the rear wheel became mired in soft soil. Despite the Russian military’s best efforts to free the 60-ton behemoth, it remained in that spot until 1923, when it was sold for scrap.

The Boirault Machine

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The French also had their own ideas about what a mobile weapons platform should look like.

In 1914, a few months before Britain began work on the “Little Willy” tank that would set the precedent for modern tanks, French engineer Louis Boirault presented the French War Ministry with plans for the Boirault Machine.

Boirault’s tank design was 26 feet high and has been described as a rhomboid-shaped skeleton tank without armor, with a single overhead track.” The machine weighed a whopping 30 tons and was powered by a single 80-horsepower motor, which enabled the craft to move at a leisurely rate of less than 1 mph.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
A side view of the Boirault moving over a trench. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The singular tracked “wheel” that encompassed the Boirault was nearly 80 feet long and had a cumbersome 330 foot turn radius, earning it the nickname “Diplodocus Militarus,” after one of the longest and most sluggish dinosaurs.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Boirault did have success in crossing trenches and trampling barbed wire. But more conventional tanks were taking shape around Europe by 1915, and the French War Ministry abandoned the project.

The Screw Tank

21 facts about the First Gulf War
GIF: Wikimedia Commons/Бага

Before tracked wheels came into prominence as the most efficient way to traverse difficult terrain, there was some exploration into corkscrew-driven machines that could twist and crush their way through ice, snow, and mud. As early as 1899 patents were filed for agricultural machines that used auger-like wheels for work in the fields.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia/Office of Stategic Services

In the 1920s, the Armstead Snow-Motor kit made waves across the Northern US and Canada as a screw-driven tractor that could haul up to 20 tons through unwelcoming northern conditions.

Then, in World War II, the unorthodox inventor Geoffrey Pyke worked with the US military to developed a screw-driven tank to pass over ice and snow in Northern Europe.

The tank made it to a prototype stage but was never fully realized, and it died on the drawing board.

Recently, the idea of a screw tank has resurfaced, with the Russians seemingly perfecting the design as illustrated in the video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbDe5dEu07I

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense. Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Articles

15 Unforgettable Photos From Operation Desert Storm

Operation Desert Storm kicked off 24 years ago on Jan. 17, 1991.


The Gulf War officially lasted from August 2, 1990 to February 28, 1991. It consisted of two phases; Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Desert Shield was the codename used for the part leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia and Desert Storm was the combat phase by the coalition forces against Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

15,000 Western civilians – including 3,000 Americans – living in Kuwait were rounded up and taken to Baghdad as hostages. In this YouTube screen capture, 5-year-old Briton, Stuart Lockwood refuses Saddam Hussein’s invitation to sit on his knee … Awkward.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: YouTube

700,000 American troops were deployed to the war; that’s more than 2015’s entire population of Nashville, TN.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: DVIDS

Desert Storm was the largest military alliance since World War II; 34 nations led by the United States waged war in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

American troops prepared for every scenario since Iraq was known for employing chemical weapons in the past.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: DOD

Untested in combat, Desert Storm would be the first time the M1 Abrams tank saw action; 1,848 of them were deployed to the war.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

The Iraqi Army used T-55, T-62, and  T-72 tanks imported from the Soviet Union and Poland.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

But they were no match for U.S. forces.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

More than 1,000 military aircraft were deployed to the Gulf War.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

One of the key players in Desert Storm was the stealthy F-117 Nighthawk.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

Coalition forces flew over 100,000 sorties and dropped more than 88,500 tons of bombs.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

You can’t hit what you can’t see. Iraq’s anti-aircraft guns were useless against the F-117.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

Here’s the aftermath of a coalition attack along a road in the Euphrates River Valley…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

The Gulf War was the last time the U.S. Navy used battleships in combat.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

The famous oil fires were a result of Iraq’s scorched earth policy –  destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy – as they retreated from Kuwait.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

737 oil wells were set on fire…

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Photo: Wikimedia

The following video is an hour-long BBC documentary of the Gulf War:

NOW: The Spectacular CIA Screwup That Probably Helped Iran Build A Nuke

AND: This Guy Kept Fighting The War For 30 Years After Japan Surrendered

Lists

6 crazy things actually found in boot camp amnesty boxes

If you’ve never shipped out to boot camp, then you’ve probably never encountered the “last chance” moment all recruits experience before their training kicks off.


Within hours of arriving, the staff gives every newbie a chance to come clean about something they may have lied about to their recruiter or throw an item or two away they weren’t supposed to bring with them into what’s known as the “amnesty box.”

If a boot does toss something away in the box, it’s confidential and they won’t be penalized. But don’t think for a second that the boxes don’t get opened by the staff for a good laugh.

Related: 6 reasons why you need a sense of humor in the infantry

So, we asked a few boot camp instructors from across the branches, “what’s the craziest things you’ve found in the legendary amnesty boxes?” What they found might surprise you.

6. Commerical aircraft sized bottles of liquor — mostly empty.

We guess some recruits just want to catch a quick buzz before they walk in the fiery pit of hell known as boot camp. We can’t blame them.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Who wants shots before our haircuts?

5. Various genres of porn.

You’re not going to get a visual on this one — you’ll just have to use your creative imagination.

4. Live and spent ammo

We’re not sure why someone would bring ammo along with them — there’s a good chance they’ll shoot a weapon soon enough.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Leave your ammo at home, people.

3. Small drug baggies

FYI, you take a urinalysis test in boot camp, so be clean when you show up or your ass could get kicked out.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
We’re curious — who uses DC comic drug baggies?

2. Various adult toys

Again, use your freakin’ imagination.

Also Read: 7 female TV detectives who’d make badass drill instructors

1. Prepaid cell phones

Boot camp is a good place for young adults to turn their life around. Amnesty boxes are a clever way of getting rid of old, burner cell phones.

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Burner cell phones, now with unlimited data plans.

Lists

Here are the 9 scenarios from Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’

The Art of War by Sun Tzu is an ancient classic. There are free versions of the masterpiece available everywhere, from Wikipedia to Amazon, but let’s face it: Sometimes, depending on the translation, it can be hit-or-miss in terms of readability. It was written in the 5th century BC, after all.


Thankfully, there’s an alternative. On YouTube, someone’s been distilling the essence of this military classic. Each chapter has its own video.

The video here discusses one of the most important aspects of war: terrain. If you’ve seen the 1993 movie Gettysburg, you might remember the early portion of the film where John Buford recognizes the terrain that would dominate the battlefield, to wit, Cemetery Ridge. As history shows, Buford tactically deployed his troops, buying time for the Union to take control of Cemetery Ridge. With that control, they eventually won the battle, marking the last time that the Confederate Army invaded the North. Combined with the fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, the defeat of the South was only a matter of time.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Union General John Buford (Library of Congress photo)

 

Battles can be won or lost depending on how land is used. These are the 9 terrains, as described by Sun Tzu, that can dramatically influence the tide of battle.

1. Dispersive Ground

This is defined as territory you control at the start of the war. Sun Tzu advises never fighting here, simply because battles are destructive. Make the mess on the enemy’s territory. Joan of Arc used what Sun Tzu called the proper strategy for this terrain by always taking the fight elsewhere.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

 

2. Facile Ground

This is the initial portion of enemy territory. When you’re in this space, keep moving. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.

3. Contentious Ground

This is ground that can provide a force with a serious advantage in a battle. The aforementioned Cemetery Ridge and its effect on the Battle of Gettysburg is a prime example of contentious ground. You want to identify this terrain and defend it.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
1st Minnesota at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 2, 1863. (Painting by Don Troiani courtesy of the National Guard)

 

4. Open Ground

This is ground where you (and the enemy) can move easily. Think the deserts of Iraq and Saudi Arabia. You don’t want to try to block the enemy, because any attempts can be easily outmaneuvered. Saddam Hussein made that mistake in Desert Storm.

5. Ground of Intersecting Highways

This is where three or more countries meet. In this situation, make like a contestant on Survivor or Big Brother and form alliances. The one who’s left out… well, you wouldn’t want to be them.

6. Serious Ground

When you’ve gone deep into enemy territory, leaving fortified cities behind, you’re in a serious situation. Your best bet is to just loot, plunder, and then get out.

 

21 facts about the First Gulf War
Art looted by the Nazis during World War II. (U.S. Army photo)

 

7. Difficult Ground

As it suggest, this is very tough terrain to travel through. Think forests, mountains — that sort of stuff. This is ground you just want to march on through. These are places where guerrillas can wreak havoc, so be cautious.

8. Hemmed-In Ground

This is also called a ‘chokepoint.’ A prime example is the pass at Thermopylae, where King Leonidas and 300 Spartans famously held off the Persian Army. In this case, your best bet is to come up with a stratagem (or find someone who’s willing to betray the other side).

 

 

9. Desperate Ground

This is terrain where you can’t exactly retreat. Your only strategy is to fight — and it will likely be a battle to the death.

 

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