From the "Saudi Spearhead"
Issue 4 - February 27, 1991
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By Spearhead Staff

IT WAS ROMMEL'S legendary Afrika Corps that inherited the mystigue its commander earned with the "Ghost Division," in the 1941 Nazi campaign that conquered France.

But it is the 3rd Armored Division and its associated elements in 7th Corps that carry on the mantle of the Desert Fox.

It may seem obvious, to soldiers deployed to the desert, where our unit is. After all, everyone you talk to knows everything you do. A division is a huge thing. Surely its location is no secret.

But what seems obvious to us remains a mystery for the rest of the world. The Feb. 25 international edition of Newsweek reported that the 18th Airborne Corps had been split into two forces, that 17,000 Marines were poised for amphibious operations in the Gulf, and that allied Arab armies were paired with Marines along the Kuwaiti border.

But Newsweek went on to observe that "The missions of two other heavy divisions - the U.S. 1st and 24th Mechanized Infantry - are still a mystery. And the entire U.S. 7th Corps, consisting of two and a half crack U.S. armored divisions from Germany reinforced by the British 1st Armored Division, has vanished from the map."

Those crack divisions didn't reappear on the map until 17:50 Dhahran time Feb. 26, when shocked and excited broadcasters reported the Corps had reached the Euphrates River and sat between the vaunted Republican Guard and their retreat routes to Baghdad.

The ghost divisions had materialized in the middle of the worst of Saddam Hussein's nightmares. While the better-publicized Marine and Airborne operations knocked the front door down before the gates of Kuwait City, the 3rd Armored Division bolted the back door shut just as Saddam announced his intention to retreat through it.

It was a maneuver that turned a demoralizing rout into a devastating and complete defeat. Because of one of the most determined and successful deep-penetration missions in the history of armored warfare, the Iraqi's faced not a setback, but a strategic defeat from which there was no hope to recover.


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