Battle of Ad-Dawrah

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Battle of Ad-Dawrah
Part of the Persian Gulf War
USS Nicholas (FFG 47) at sea during Operation Desert Shield 1990 DN-SC-92-06592.jpg
USS Nicholas
Date 18–19 January 1991
(1 day)
Location Ad-Dawrah Offshore Oil Fields
Result Coalition victory
Iraqi garrison destroyed
Ad-Dawrah captured
Iraq Iraq United States United States
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Kuwait Kuwait
Commanders and leaders
Iraq Saddam Hussein United States Norman Schwarzkopf
Kuwait Jaber III
50+ Marines
Zodiac Boat
USS Nicholas
Kuwaiti Navy Ship Istiqlal
US Navy and Royal Navy helicopters
Casualties and losses
29 POWs None

The Battle of Ad-Dawrah was a naval engagement fought on the night of 18 January and into 19 January in 1991 during the Gulf War. In the battle, Coalition forces captured an Iraqi offshore oil field forty miles from the Kuwaiti shore. The 29 POWs captured were the first POWs of the war. It was also the first surface engagement after the Coalition intervened in the war.


In the early morning of 18 January, Coalition aircraft began a major campaign against Iraqi forces in preparation for the ground invasion of Kuwait and Iraq. Many of these jets and air sorties were coming from aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships located in the Persian Gulf. Whilst jets were flying over the oil field they reported taking heavy fire from SAMs and shoulder fired rockets. The US suspected that there was a large garrison of Iraqi troops located there being used as an outpost for reporting Coalition aircraft movements back to Iraq.[1]

Air Engagement[edit]

Later that night, OH-58D and U.S. Navy Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk helicopters attacked two platforms out of range of the Coalition surface ships, with air-surface missiles. At one point, six Iraqi soldiers tried to make a run for it in a Zodiac boat, however the Kuwaiti fast attack vessel Istiqlal captured it. Those became the first six POWs of the war. The helicopters left after they started taking fire from the platforms, leaving the platforms ablaze.

Naval Engagement and SEAL Landings[edit]

Meanwhile, USS Nicholas under the cover of darkness, and under radio silence moved in closer to the other nine platforms. Iraqi Silkworm anti-ship missiles were well within range of taking out the ship. For an hour, USS Nicholas shelled the platforms with her 76-mm gun.

After the bombardment, the Coalition forces landed a United States Navy SEALs team on the platforms, where they fought the Iraqis until they surrendered and an additional 23 Iraqi soldiers were captured. There were no Coalition casualties.[2]


After this, the Coalition forces has taken out a vital SAM site of the Iraqis. Naval aircraft were able to fly into Iraq through the corridor opened up by this large gap in the Iraqi air-defenses. It also destroyed a vital post in that the Iraqis could no longer track Coalition ship movements, and dealt a severe blow to Iraqi intelligence.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Iraqi Threat "Maritime Theater of the Gulf War" Rice University. Retrieved: 10 September 2010.
  2. ^ "The Navy in the Gulf War." Archived 1 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved: 10 September 2010.