Iraqis battled for 3 hours on platform WAR IN THE GULF

January 21, 1991|By Robert Ruby | Robert Ruby,Sun Staff Correspondent George Rodrigue of the Dallas Morning News contributed to this article.

ABOARD THE USS WISCONSIN -- Iraqi troops aboard an oil platform fought for about three hours before they were overcome, the captain of the battleship Wisconsin said.

The guided missile frigate Nicholas attacked the platform about 40 miles off the Iraqi-Kuwaiti coast, killing five Iraqis and capturing 15, five of them injured, said Capt. David S. Bill III of the Wisconsin.

He said the platform had been used as an observation post by the Iraqi forces, who also had fired on U.S. warplanes.

The attack occurred Friday night, several hours after the Nicholas disabled two Iraqi patrol boats, sinking at least one of them.

The USS Nicholas, which has its homeport in Charleston, S.C., is commanded by Cdr. Dennis G. Morral.

Captain Bill said the Iraqi troops on the platform fought with machine guns -- which would not be terribly effective against a frigate -- and with shoulder-fired missile launchers.

Meanwhile, the Tomahawk missile strike group coordinated by the Wisconsin continued to launch cruise missiles against Iraq during the weekend. Capt. Bill estimated that 20 to 30 Tomahawks were fired Saturday by vessels in the Persian Gulf.

The Wisconsin's crew declined to state which targets its missiles had been aimed at. But after hearing reports of massive and precise destruction of Iraqi military and strategic targets around Baghdad, Cdr. Rod L. Sams, 40, of Parkersburg, W.Va., said: 'We had some of the finest targets you'd want to have.'

After two false alarms that sent crew members to battle stations quickly Friday, the Wisconsin Saturday was an altogether more relaxed place. One small proof was Captain Bill donning a short-sleeved shirt for evening dinner instead of the long-sleeve models that offer at least a modicum of extra protection in case of chemical attack.

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