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
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
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.