Day by day on the battlefield



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.

The first humanitarian aid, including water and food, for Iraqi civilians arrived in Umm Qasr on a relief convoy.


Thursday, March 27

Coalition forces renewed airstrikes over Baghdad and northern Iraq, flying more than 600 bombing missions after the sandstorms stopped and the skies cleared.

Enormous explosions filled the night sky, and one of Saddam Hussein's presidential palaces was hit for the second time in a week.

Thousands of Iraqi soldiers retreated from a stronghold near the Kurdish-held northern region.

British troops destroyed Iraqi tanks fleeing Basra, where resistance continued around the second-largest city and also around Nasiriyah.

Allies cleared a former Iraqi airfield near Nasiriyah for transport planes to carry supplies.

Ships loaded with humanitarian aid for Iraqi civilians stalled in the Persian Gulf when mines were found in the channel near Umm Qasr.

President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed that the United Nations could help rebuild postwar Iraq. Bush said the war would last "how ever long it takes."

DAY 10

Friday, March 28

American-led forces bombed a Republican Guard fuel depot and a missile facility, and British pilots struck sites near Baghdad.

Marines and Iraqi troops continued a fierce battle for control of the city of Nasiriyah. Four Marines with the 1st Expeditionary Force were reported missing.

A missile, apparently fired from southern Iraq, exploded near a shopping mall in Kuwait City but caused no injuries and little damage, officials said.

U.S. planes delivered tanks, off-road vehicles and equipment to an airfield in northern Iraq.

Two Army helicopters returning from a mission crashed, but all crew members escaped serious injury.

At least 58 people were killed and 50 were wounded when a missile struck a market in Baghdad, Iraqi officials and medical workers said.

The biggest bombs dropped on Baghdad - two 4,700-pound so-called bunker busters - struck a communications tower.

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