Day by day on the battlefield

War In Iraq

March 30, 2003


Wednesday, MArch 19

In Iraq, Hussein promised an Iraqi victory in a broadcast to his people. He condemned the U.S. attack as "a shameful crime."


Thursday, March 20

The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq got under way as American ground forces crossed from Kuwait into southern Iraq and headed toward the port city of Basra and also toward Baghdad.

U.S. Army soldiers and Marines met scattered resistance, with heavy artillery rounds fired into southern Iraq to pave the way for advancing helicopters and troops, signaling the start of the ground war.

Iraq retaliated for the first night's missile strike on Baghdad by launching a small number of short-range missiles toward U.S. and British military units massed near the border in northern Kuwait.

A U.S. Patriot missile battery shot down at least one and possibly two incoming ballistic missiles.

A U.S. Marine transport helicopter crashed in Kuwait, killing all four American Marines and 12 British commandos on board.

Oil wells in Iraq were ignited in an act of sabotage by the Iraqi regime, U.S. officials said.


Friday, March 21

U.S. airstrikes lighted up the sky over Baghdad with the beginning of the intense air campaign promised by the coalition. Missiles struck a camp for the Republican Guard at one of Saddam Hussein's palace compounds, setting it on fire.

U.S. troops pushed a third of the way to Baghdad, while British forces were situated near the city of Basra.

Fighting in southern Iraq left two Marines dead as their fellow Marines battled for control of the strategic port of Umm Qasr.


Saturday, March 22

American troops sped toward Baghdad, moving to within 100 miles of the capital, while U.S. missiles pounded Saddam Hussein's palaces and offices for a second straight day.

U.S. Cobra helicopters fired missiles at 20 Iraqi tanks defending bridges outside Basra. The coalition forces seized the international airport outside Basra.

Another day of fighting was reported in the port city of Umm Qasr despite reports that the crucial city had been secured.

One of the most damaging attacks on U.S. forces was allegedly caused by a U.S. soldier. Two soldiers were killed and 14 were injured when a member of the 101st Airborne Division allegedly threw grenades into command tents at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait. The soldier was detained by military police.


Sunday, March 23

Twelve U.S. Army soldiers were reported missing, seven of them believed killed and five taken prisoner by Iraqi soldiers after being ambushed near Nasiriyah. Iraqi television aired footage of what it said were dead Americans and interviews with five U.S. prisoners.

At least nine Marines were reported killed and an unknown number wounded in a battle near Nasiriyah after being lured into a trap by Iraqi soldiers pretending to surrender.

Two British pilots were killed when their jet was accidentally hit by a Patriot missile near the Iraqi border with Kuwait.

Heavy bombing continued in Baghdad and in northern Iraq, where U.S. forces are building.


Monday, March 24

Coalition troops pressed toward Baghdad, and the Army's 3rd Infantry Division closed within 50 miles of the Iraqi capital, but it was stopped by howling sandstorms.

Allied warplanes targeted Republican Guard units south of Baghdad in the largest assault on Saddam Hussein's elite troops, while bombing continued in other locations around Baghdad and in the north.

A U.S. Apache helicopter went down in central Iraq, and its two crew members were taken prisoner and then put on Iraqi television.

Allied forces in the south faced ambushes by Iraqi soldiers who fired on British troops in oil fields.


Tuesday, March 25

lowing sandstorms slowed the U.S. drive toward Baghdad, holding movement to a crawl and grounding all air missions.

7th Cavalry fought off a surprise attack by Iraqi soldiers during the sandstorm outside Najaf. More than 150 Iraqis were reported killed.

British forces captured a senior leader of the ruling Baath Party and killed 20 of his bodyguards in a Basra suburb. Coalition troops continued battling Iraqi militiamen in Basra, where allied officers said some civilians in the city of 1.3 million were fighting against Saddam Hussein's regime.

U.S. Marines captured an Iraqi hospital near Nasiriyah, where 200 weapons, stockpiles of ammunition and more than 3,000 chemical suits were confiscated.

President Bush asked Congress to approve $74.7 billion for the war effort.


Wednesday, March 26

U.S. warplanes attacked a column of Iraqi armored vehicles leaving Basra as British troops intensified the siege on Iraq's second-largest city.

Sandstorms finally eased, clearing the way for coalition operations to resume.

Army paratroopers jumped into northern Iraq and seized an airfield for a new front against Saddam Hussein's regime.

Explosions hit a residential area in Baghdad. Iraqi officials said 14 people were killed and 30 injured. It was unclear whether the explosions were caused by U.S missiles.

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