How Much Do You Know About Operation Desert Storm?


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: wikimedia

About This Quiz

In August 1990, the dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, ordered his army to enter into Kuwait and started the United States’ first major foreign crisis after the Cold War. This posed a threat to Saudi Arabia as it could lead to Iraq’s control of one-fifth of global oil supply. 

More than 500,000 American troops were deployed across Saudi Arabia as the United States joined the defense in ‘Operation Desert Shield,’ with the support of the United Nations who denounced Iraq and helped form a coalition.

With everything finalized, the United States presented Saddam Hussein with an ultimatum to depart Kuwait by January 15, 1991, or be attacked by the multinational force. However, no response was received by the date demanded which led to the change to ‘Operation Desert Storm.’ 

The ground war commenced on February 24, and 100 hours later Kuwait was declared liberated by American troops. Despite the completion of the military objectives, Kuwait lost millions of dollars worth of valuables, environmental damage grew, and hundreds of thousands died, but the notorious Saddam Hussein remained in control of Iraq.

The test was passed, the possibility for multinational cooperation was confirmed - but the fat lady did not sing. President Bush soon announced the commencement of the new world order. How much do you know about what else happened during ODS? Can you pass our quiz?

Operation Desert Storm was part of which war?

In 1991, Operation Desert Storm was the combat phase of the Gulf War. It started with an incredible buildup of forces that were then unleashed in spectacular, made-for-TV ways.


Desert Storm happened in response to which event?

In August 1990, Saddam Hussein ordered Iraq's military to invade and capture Kuwait. The power grab was immediately condemned by leaders around the world.


Operation Desert Storm was led by the military of which country?

With its wide-ranging oil interests in the Middle East, the United States felt threatened by Iraq's aggression. America led the way in preparations to force Iraq out of Kuwait.


Operation Desert Storm was PRECEDED by which other major operation?

Prior to Desert Storm, Operation Desert Shield was a buildup of forces meant to bring stability to the region … and to prepare to uproot Iraq from Kuwait.


Who was the ultimate leader of America's military during Desert Storm?

President H.W. Bush was commander-in-chief during Desert Storm. Bush is famous for his "line in the sand" speech in which he said that America must counter Iraq's invasion with force.


Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The United Nations gave Hussein a deadline to withdraw -- when was that deadline?

The United Nations roundly scorned Hussein's aggression against Kuwait. It passed a resolution warning Iraq to withdraw by mid-January … or suffer the consequences.


How many nations eventually joined the military alliance that made up Desert Storm?

The United States embarked on a mission to create a coalition against Iraq. America was very successful, drawing 32 nations into the fray for Desert Storm.


After the U.S., which country offered the greatest number of military forces for Desert Storm?

Saudi Arabia had a vested interest in keeping regional turmoil to a minimum. That, and the fact that America was a huge buyer of its oil. The kingdom offered up the second-greatest number of military forces during Desert Storm.


How many military personnel did America send to the region for Desert Storm?

America gathered nearly 700,000 military personnel for Desert Storm. Saudi Arabia was second in terms of numbers, with just under 100,000.


On Jan. 15, Iraq showed no signs of withdrawal, so the coalition launched Desert Storm. How did the operation begin?

If Saddam Hussein envisioned a clash of titans on an open desert battlefield, he was surely disappointed in the coalition's strategy, which was to bomb Iraq's military into the Stone Age. For five weeks, the coalition unleashed countless bombs to soften and demoralize Iraq's forces.


Before the war, how big was Iraq's military?

Thanks largely to an arms supplier by the name of America, Iraq wielded the fourth-largest military in the world. Failing a diplomatic solution, the situation promised to become a bloodbath.


Iraq was a major ally of Russia. How did Russia respond to the coalition buildup?

In another time, perhaps the USSR would have come to Iraq's aid. But Hussein's aggression happened just as Communism was falling and the USSR was breaking apart, meaning the Soviets were too preoccupied to help much.


As Desert Storm began, coalition leaders were worried that Iraq might do what?

Many military leaders worried that Hussein might resort to chemical weapons attacks. In the end, those fears turned out to be unfounded.


How did Iraq respond to the coalition's massive bombing campaign?

Iraq had no real answers to the coalition's bombing runs. But it did launch numerous Scud missiles toward the allies. The missiles caused very little real damage.


How many air sorties (missions) did the allies fly during Desert Storm?

The coalition flew about 100,000 sorties against the Iraqis, who had no air force to match American might. Iraq's anti-aircraft systems were rendered inoperable in just a few weeks.


On Feb. 24, 1991, what did the coalition forces do?

After weeks of bombing runs, on Feb. 24 the allies initiated ground attacks in Kuwait. In about four days, the liberation of Kuwait was complete.


What did the coalition do after liberating Kuwait in just four days?

The coalition forces steamrolled Iraqi forces in Kuwait. And then they kept right on going into Iraq. They had no intention of letting Hussein's men run free.


As Iraqi forces retreated from Kuwait, what did they do?

In an act of desperation and revenge, the Iraqis set fire to more than 700 Kuwaiti oilfields during their retreat. The well fires burned incredible amounts of oil and took many months to extinguish.


Why did Iraq launch Scud missiles at Israel during the war?

Hussein attacked Israel -- an enemy of the Arabs -- in hopes of drawing the Israelis into the fight, creating a domino effect in which other Arab countries came to Iraq's defense. But Israel didn't take the bait and Iraq remained isolated.


What was the name of Iraq's elite military unit?

Iraq's large military was bolstered by the Republican Guard, an elite unit of soldiers with superior equipment and training. But the Guard was no match for coalition forces.


True or false, did coalition forces capture Baghdad, the capital of Iraq?

President Bush didn't feel that other countries would take kindly to the occupation of Iraq. The coalition forces mopped up and then fell back to Kuwait, certain that Iraqi forces would not counterattack.


Before the war, Iraq had more than 4,200 tanks in its army. How many were destroyed in the war?

Iraq's aggression was extremely expensive in terms of armor. The military lost 3,700 of its 4,200 tanks during raging battles and air attacks.


How much did Operation Desert Storm cost the coalition?

Desert Storm was no cheap undertaking -- the war cost more than $60 billion. Although America provided the most combat forces, Gulf States actually paid for the lion's share of the conflict.


Which newish technology greatly assisted coalition troops during Desert Storm?

GPS (global positioning system) technology was still fairly new during Desert Storm. Coalition troops used GPS for all sorts of mapping tasks during combat.


Which TV news channel gained fame for its frontline coverage of the war?

Back in the early '90s, cable news was an emerging trend, and CNN capitalized, providing round-the-clock coverage of coalition fighting. The conflict cemented CNN's status as a leader in news.


What was the purpose of Patriot missiles?

Patriot missiles were anti-Scud interceptors deployed during the conflict. They were largely untested … and mostly unsuccessful during their use in combat.


How many Iraqi troops were killed during Desert Storm?

The numbers aren't certain, but at least 50,000 Iraqi troops lost their lives during the ferocity of Desert Storm. Tens of thousands more were wounded or captured. Untold numbers of civilians died during and after the conflict.


How many coalition troops were killed during Desert Storm?

With its advanced military technologies and air supremacy, coalition troops had the upper hand throughout the war. Only around 300 of them died -- and half of those deaths resulted from friendly fire.


What newfangled weapons technology did the coalition use during combat?

The coalition eagerly used its new precision-guided bombs. As journalists stood by with cameras rolling, laser-guided bombs would blast a single building or vehicle with devastating accuracy.


After the Gulf War, what happened to Saddam Hussein?

The coalition did nothing to dislodge Hussein from power, and he ruled ruthlessly until 2003. That year, America invaded Iraq, killed Hussein and occupied the country.


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