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Breakdown of Opposing Forces in Gulf Region

December 1, 1990

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ The U.S.-led multinational force in the Persian Gulf, the biggest such force since the Korean War, is to be reinforced with another 200,000 American personnel by mid-January.

That will raise U.S. strength in the region to around 450,000 soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors. They are supported by a 27-nation force of about 150,000 men. Saddam Hussein has an estimated 430,000 troops in occupied Kuwait and southern Iraq and says another 250,000 men will be deployed there soon.


Here is a breakdown of the forces confronting each other in the gulf:

UNITED STATES: There are more than 240,000 military personnel in the region in Operation Desert Shield. At the peak of the Vietnam War in 1968, some 545,000 Americans were involved.

Ground forces include the 82nd ″All American″ Airborne Division, the 101st ″Screaming Eagles″ Airborne Division, the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division, the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, the 197th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, the 1st Cavalry Division and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

By the end of November, the U.S. force had around 2,000 tanks. But they will be joined by four armored divisions by mid-January to give it a significant offensive capability.

Three aircraft carrier battle groups built around the USS America, the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ranger, and the battleship USS Missouri, more air force units and the 45,000-man 5th Marine Expeditionary Force will also be deployed in the second phase.

Current amphibious capability is provided by 45,000 men of the 1st, 4th and 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigades who make up the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. When deployment is complete, virtually the whole of the U.S. Marine Corps will be committed to Desert Shield.

There is a Special Forces contingent from the 1st Special Operations Command.

The U.S. fleet already in the Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the eastern Mediterranean totals around 55 ships. They include the aircraft carriers Independence, Saratoga, John F. Kennedy and Midway, the battleship Wisconsin with 32 Tomahawk cruise missiles, five missile cruisers, four destroyers, several frigates, plus supply ships and an estimated six to eight nuclear submarines.

The aircraft carriers now in place have a combined strike force of 180 A-6 Intruders, F/A-18 Hornet fighters and F-14 Tomcats. The Marines have some 60 AV-8B Harrier jump-jets.

Among the 800 tactical combat aircraft deployed so far are 22 F117A Stealth fighter-bombers and as many as 38 long-range F-111F bombers.

There are an estimated 150 F-16s and F-15s, more than 70 A-10 tank-killing Thunderbolts and unspecified numbers of F-4 Wild Weasel air-defense suppression jets and other combat aircraft deployed at 30 airbases in the region.

A squadron of an estimated 26 B-52G strategic bombers is on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.


BRITAIN: With 16,000 military personnel in the gulf region, and 14,000 more to be deployed by mid-January, Britain will have the second largest Western contingent in the region after the United States.

It is Britain’s biggest military operation since the 1982 Falklands War against Argentina.

The three-ship Armilla Patrol permanently in the gulf has been beefed up to 12 ships, including three missile destroyers, five missile frigates and three minesweepers with support ships.

Four squadrons of Tornado and Jaguar interceptors and ground attack jets are in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Three Nimrod maritime reconnaisance aircraft are in Oman.

The 7th Armored Brigade, successors to the famous ″Desert Rats″ of World War II, with 120 Challenger tanks and 9,500 troops is attached to the U.S. Marine force in northeastern Saudi Arabia.

It is to be joined by the ″infantry heavy″ 4th Amored Brigade from Germany, with 43 Challengers, scores of armored fighting vehicles, artillery, multiple rocket launchers, 36 attack and scout helicopter and major engineering units whose task will be to breach Iraqi defenses in Kuwait. The two brigades will form the 25,000-man 1st Armored Division.


FRANCE: It has 12 to 14 warships and 13,000 men in the gulf region. The warships include a guided-missile cruiser, two missile destroyers, four frigates and a corvette with support vessels.

France has sent three squadrons of interceptors and fighter-bombers. Its 4,000-man Rapid Action Force is deployed with Arab forces in the northeastern Saudi desert. It includes the 5th Combat Helicopter Regiment with 42 gunships, the Foreign Legion’s 3rd Infantry Regiment with anti-tank missiles, the 1st Spahis Cavalry Regiment with armored vehicles and an anti-aircraft missile unit. France may soon send an additional 1,000-man artillery unit with 24 155mm guns.

A company of 190 paratroopers equipped for chemical warfare is in the United Arab Emirates. The French deployment is the biggest overseas operation since the 1954-62 Algerian war.


ITALY: The frigates Libeccio, Orsa and Zeffiro and a support ship, the Stromboli, are in the gulf. The corvettes Minerva and Stinge are in the eastern Mediterranean replacing U.S. units assigned to the gulf.

A squadron of eight Tornado fighters is based near Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., to provide air cover for Italian warships. No ground force deployment is planned.


CANADA: The destroyers Athabaskan and Terra Nova and the supply ship Protecteur are heading for the gulf. A squadron of 18 CF-18 fighter jets and 450 military personnel from Germany is in Saudi Arabia.

NETHERLANDS: The frigates Witte de With and Pieter Florisz are in the Gulf of Oman with the combat supply ship Zuiderkruis. ---

SPAIN: The frigates Nuamancia, Infanta Cristina and Diana are patrolling the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, southern gateway to the Red Sea. ---

AUSTRALIA: The guided-missile frigates Adelaide and Darwin and the supply ship Success are in the Red Sea.


BELGIUM: The minehunters Iris and Myosotis with the supply ship Zinnia are in the Gulf of Oman. The Belgians have also commited four C-130 military transport planes. ---

ARGENTINA: The destroyer Almirante Brown and the frigate Spiro are in the Red Sea. A 100-man army unit will also be sent.


SOVIET UNION: The Udaloy-class destroyer Admiral Tributs and an anti- submarine ship are in the Gulf of Oman. Moscow has indicated it would send ground forces, but only under U.N. command.


GREECE: The frigate Elli is in the Red Sea. Greece is supplying merchant ships for the U.S. sealift.


GERMANY: It is providing merchant ships to the sealift and provided 2 billion dollars toward the multinational force. Germany’s constitution prohibits it commiting military forces.


DENMARK: The corvette Olfert Fischer is in the gulf. Danish merchant ships are helping in the U.S. sealift.


NORWAY: The Coast Guard cutter Andenes is in the gulf supporting the Danish corvette. Norway has offered anti-chemical warfare euipment.


PORTUGAL: The naval support Sao Miguel is carrying equipment and supplies to the British force. Portugal has also allowed U.S. aircraft to refuel at its airbases.


POLAND: It will send a military field hospital and a hospital ship to the Gulf.


CZECHOSLOVAKIA: It has sent a 200-man army unit with anti-chemical warfare equipment, the first Warsaw Pact country to send forces to the gulf.


HONDURAS: It is sending 150 troops to Saudi Arabia and possibly 350 more, in the country’s first foreign military deployment.


BULGARIA: It will send a small detachment of military medical personnel.


Allied Arab Forces:

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and, until Aug. 2, Kuwait): A rapid deployment force of up to 10,000 troops is based at Hafr al-Batin, northeast Saudi Arabia 40 miles south of the Kuwait border. They and allied Arab-Islamic forces form the first line of defense with the Americans and others south of them.

The GCC force has been beefed up with some 7,000 soldiers of Kuwait’s 20,000-man army who escaped their country when Iraq invaded. Most of their heavy weapons were captured by Iraq, but some combat jets, naval attack craft and tanks were saved.

The cooperation council and other gulf Arab forces total around 150,500 men, 330 combat aircraft, 800 tanks and 36 major naval units, although not all are likely to be involved in Desert Shield.


They are supported by:

EGYPT: 20,000 troops, including paratroopers, commandos, chemical warfare specialists and infantry, are in Saudi Arabia. The force includes the 3rd Armored Division and the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division. Another 7,000 men have been pledged. Five hundred troops are in the United Arab Emirates.


SYRIA: 4,000 troops, mostly elite Special Forces units who have fought the Israelis and others in Lebanon, are in Saudi Arabia. Half the 15,000-man 9th Armored Division with some 270 T-72 tanks, have arrived. Another 2,000 troops are in the United Arab Emirates.


PAKISTAN: 2,000 troops are in Saudi Arabia and 2,000 in the United Arab Emirates with 1,000 advisers. Some 5,000 advisers are already attached to the Saudi armed forces. An additional armored division may be commited.


MOROCCO: It has 1,200 troops in Saudi Arabia and 500 in the United Arab Emirates.


BANGLADESH: It has 2,000 troops, including engineering and infantry units, in Saudi Arabia.


SENEGAL: 500 troops are to be deployed in Saudi Arabia.


NIGER: It is sending 480 troops to guard the holy shrines of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.



The army has seven corps totalling 55 to 60 divisions. There are 555,000 regular troops and 480,000 reserves. Regular forces include six divisions of elite Republican Guards.

Iraq claims a militia called the Popular Army has 8 million men, but its true strength is estimated at around 850,000.

Saddam Hussein has 5,500 tanks, including some 500 high-quality T-72s and 1,000 medium-quality T-62s; 3,500 artillery guns; 200 multiple rocket launchers; an estimated 500 surface-to-surface missiles; more than 330 surface-to-air missile launchers, including captured Kuwaiti systems; 500-plus combat aircraft, including Soviet-supplied long-range Su-24 fighter-bombers and advanced MiG-29 interceptors, spread around an estimated 25 airbases.

Its main naval units are a training frigate with anti-submarine torpedoes, an estimated eight Soviet-built missile-attack craft and six torpedo boats.

In Kuwait, Iraq has an estimated 10 divisions, four of them armored, totalling 220,000 troops, 1,700 T-55 and T-62 tanks and 800 artillery pieces in defensive positions.

A further 230,000 men, including the Republican Guard divisions with up to 1,800 tanks and 800 guns, are deployed in southern Iraq as a strategic reserve. This also includes elements of the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 7th Army Corps.

Saddam has said 250,000 more men - seven new divisions and 150,000 reservists - will be sent to Kuwait. U.S. officials believe deployment could take a month.

Silkworm anti-ship missiles are believed to have been deployed to counter any U.S. amphibious landing in Kuwait. FROG-7 battlefield missiles have also been deployed, including batteries captured in Kuwait.

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