Remembering The Gulf War: The Key Facts & Figures

A summary of key facts and events in the 1990 - 1991 conflict.

The Gulf War started when the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, allegedly to use the country’s oil wealth to pay off debts his own country had run up during the 1980 – 1988 Iran-Iraq War.

The invasion occurred on August 2, 1990 and was immediately condemned by the UN.

Four days later, sanctions were imposed on Iraq, and the following day President George H W Bush ordered the commencement of Operation Desert Shield.

This was the name for the initial build-up of forces, up to the commencement of the combat phase on January 16 - 17, 1991 in Operation Desert Storm.

Diplomacy had continued up until this point.

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 would be supplied by 28 of these countries, with 425,000 from the US.

During Desert Storm, more than 1,000 sorties were flown in the first 24 hours.

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

Operation Granby was the name of Britain’s Gulf War operations, and over 53,000 troops were involved.

A British soldier during Operation Desert Shield
A British soldier during Operation Desert Shield

The war would be fought until February 28, with Iraq pulling out of Kuwait and formally accepting cease-fire terms on April 6.

The allied nations had over 290 deaths, most suffered by the US, while Britain suffered 47 deaths (45 operational).

Kuwait saw 1,000 deaths and 600 people go missing.

According to the BBC, between 60,000 and 200,000 Iraqi soldiers are thought to have been killed, 25 - 30,000 during the ground war (the others would have been killed by air and missile strikes). Civilian deaths resulting from the war are estimated at between 100,000 and 200,000.

Because of the concern over potential civilian casualties, Scud missile launchers - 46 Scuds were fired at allied personnel or territory, and 42 at Israel - became a key target for allied operations.

Attempts were made to destroy them, but a Pentagon study after the war concluded that very few had been taken out.

One British patrol that had within its remit the location and destruction of Scuds was Bravo Two Zero, led by Andy McNab, who was captured along with three of his team members.

Another three were killed, while one, Chris Ryan escaped over the border to Syria.