Royal Engineers 1st Armoured Division Saudi Arabia Training Gulf War 120191 CREDIT PA
Gulf War

Remembering The Gulf War: Key Facts And Figures About The Conflict

Royal Engineers 1st Armoured Division Saudi Arabia Training Gulf War 120191 CREDIT PA

The Gulf War started when Iraq's President Saddam Hussein ordered his troops to invade oil-rich Kuwait on 2 August 1990.

His action was immediately condemned by the UN and sanctions were imposed on Iraq to pressure them into withdrawing.

US President George H W Bush ordered the build-up of forces in the region under Operation Desert Shield.

When diplomacy failed, Operation Desert Storm commenced on 16 January 1991.

The coalition against Iraq was made up of 39 countries: Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, the UK, US, and UAE.

In all, 670,000 troops were supplied by 28 of these countries.

The US contributed the most in the way of resources, deploying 470,000 personnel.

Operation Granby was the name of the UK's Gulf War operations.

Gulf War Operation Desert Storm Challenger 1 main battle tanks CREDIT MOD
British Challenger 1 battle tanks, fitted with additional fuel drums, during Operation Desert Storm (Picture: MOD).

It was the largest deployment of the UK Armed Forces since the Second World War, with more than 53,000 British troops involved.

During the first 24 hours of Operation Desert Storm, the name of the US operation, more than 1,000 sorties were flown.

The Iraqis are thought to have had 300,000 soldiers in Kuwait.

The war ended on 28 February, when Iraq pulled out of the country, and formally accepted cease-fire terms on 6 April.

Allied total losses were estimated to be 250 personnel killed as a direct result of enemy action.

Most of the fatalities were American, while 47 British personnel died.

According to the Imperial War Museum, between 20,000 and 35,000 Iraqi soldiers died during the ground war.

Civilian deaths resulting from the conflict are estimated at between 100,000 and 200,000.

Watch: A documentary from 1990 on the build-up to the Gulf War.

Iraq carried out provocative Scud missile attacks against Israel and Saudi Arabia during the war.

Following an appeal from US President George Bush, Israel, which had the strongest military forces of any Middle Eastern country, did not retaliate. 

Twenty-eight US soldiers were killed and more than 100 injured when an Iraqi Scud hit a makeshift barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. 

Iraq's Scud missile launchers were a key target for allied operations – including the ill-fated SAS Bravo Two Zero mission, which ended with three Special Forces soldiers dead and four captured by the Iraqis, with Chris Ryan the only one to escape the country.

Listen to the story of the First Gulf War, told by those who were there. Decision-makers, military commanders, soldiers, sailors and air personnel reflect on their roles in the conflict, 30 years on.

'GRANBY: The Storm in the Desert' is available from Friday 15 January, wherever you get your podcasts and on

Cover image: Royal Engineers of The 1st Armoured Division take cover as live mines explode during training in Saudi Arabia 12 January 1991 (Picture: PA).

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