Cutting The Basra Highway

1/4 Horse Cavalry Attacks the Retreating Iraqi Army

by U.S. Army Combat Artist Frank M. Thomas (LTC)

Original 36"x 54" Acrylic/Canvas Painting
found in Collection of U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, D.C.

 Background:
    On 24 February 1991 (G-Day) Lieutenant Colonel Bob Wilson commanded the U.S. Army's 1/4 CAV (Headquarters, 1ST Squadron, 4th Cavalry) into combat in Operation Desert Storm. Known since the Civil War as the "Quarter-Horse" Cav, the squadron consisted of Headquarters Troop, Troop A, Troop B, Troop C & Troop D (approximately 600 men).

Assigned as the cavalry reconnaissance squadron for the 1st Infantry Division (Mech), its major assignment was zone reconnaissance against lead elements of the Iraqi 26th Infantry Division. The 1/4 CAV attacked through the breached enemy line at 1530 Hrs (3:30 PM) on the 24th, and immediately began taking enemy prisoners of war (EPWs), and destroying equipment. By 1730 hrs the squadron had cleared their zone out to phase line COLORADO, 35 miles into Iraqi territory. (That was G-Day). Days G+1, G+2 and G+3 were filled with almost continuous combat against Iraqi armored forces, destroying their tanks, capturing EPWs, all in the dismal, rainy, foggy Arabian Desert winter.

Day G+3, 0130 hrs (1:30 AM..."0-dark-thirty" in U.S. Army slang) found the 1/4 CAV moving into screen line formation as they maneuvered through dense ground fog toward Objective NORFOLK. By dawn, along with the rest of the 1st Infantry Division (mech) they were engaged in a major battle against the Republican Guards Hamarabi Armored Division. By 1300 hrs the Hamarabi Armored Division was totally destroyed.
Day G+3 continued: At 1430 hrs the 1/4 CAV squadron was ordered to advance rapidly northeast and establish an armored screen across the 6-lane main Basra-Kuwait City freeway, ten miles south of the Iraqi border...to prevent the Iraqi Army retreating from Kuwait City north to Iraq. At 1700 hrs Troop A made contact with large numbers of enemy vehicles fleeing up the Basra Highway. A hard fought battle ensued in which every Iraqi vehicle, north and south, within range of our weapons (up to three miles) was destroyed..."cutting the Basra Highway" by dark. More than 600 enemy were casualties. 2,091 EPWs were captured by dawn. Remarkably, Troop A's 100+ soldiers didn't sustain any wounded or killed. This was virtually the last battle fought in the four-day, 100 hour war.


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