In the comments to Size Matters – On A U.S. Ground Intervention In Ukraine, Outraged who took part in Operation Desert Storm explains the time line:
Desert Storm by the way was preceded by Op Desert Shield.
The Iraqi Airforce aircraft that survived the initial start of the war were flown by raw ferry pilots to Iran, to be interned then seized. It promptly ceased to exist.
We spent almost six months battlefield preparation & shaping, destroying with impunity every piece of Iraqi Arms materiel identifiable, every bridge, every power station/transformer, ground attack on any vehicle that moved. MBTs, IFVs & Artillery, Grads, mortars were relentlessly targeted day in day out.
Multiple rotating CAP & ground attack patrol flights, free roam, on rotating station all across Iraq.
HQs units were identified & destroyed many times over. Bunkers & Air force shielded hangers, ammo & stores dumps were destroyed until none were left to add to the target list.
Then we simply ran the target lists again over already destroyed assets/facilities/infrastructure.
When Desert Storm commenced we had already attrited the Republican Guard Divisions to less than 10% materiel strength, the armored & mechanized divisions to less than 15% materiel strength.
The poorly trained & equipped conscripted, sacrificial Iraqi Shia Divisions in the forward defensive lines at the FEBA were incohesive & utterly shattered, broken.
We ran regular B-52 full payload dumb iron bomb runs in broad daylight destroying multiple grid squares at a time. Some times repeatedly. And we would drop propaganda flyers telling the targeted troops the precise time the bomb run would commence, hours in advance. We dropped Air fuel explosive bombs the same way, by rolling the prepared bladders off the lowered ramp of C-130s.
The Iraqi Army had ceased to exist in any measurable form, its morale utterly crushed, by the time we executed Desert Storm at H-hour.
With overwhelming uncontested total Air Dominance.
Not the situ re NATO mythical possible direct deployment into Ukraine today. Not at all.
It’s unlikely that NATO would be able to establish air superiority over the Ukraine. Russia has excellent long range air defence. If NATO brought enough concentrated force to bear to make air superiority technically possible, they would trigger nuclear war.
Who is going to pay for this field army to amass and sit on its hands1 for six months? Every large Western economy is already running a deep deficit. Presumably we the people would be asked to pay for these dangerous military games. Or the money would be borrowed/printed. That’s more inflation. It’s starting to sound like the warlike kings of the Middle Ages who would quickly go bankrupt quarreling with their neighbours.
More important than the economic consequences are the human consequences. Like the Great War, such a war over the Ukraine would quickly result in millions of casualties. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and millions of civilians. For Europeans, this war makes no sense, neither militarily nor in terms of economics. Surely diplomacy would be the more sensible path here?
Image credit: Page, Paul, J./Tech. Sgt., official released photo 19910319. Headline Desert Storm
Exile writes: “The logistics of a glorious counter offensive are staggering – A NATO light infantry brigade these days needs 1,400 short tons of supply daily. Imagine the stores needed to sustain a 30 day big arrow counter offensive with 1.5 million ground troops.” A NATO light infantry brigage is apparently numbers only 5000 soldiers. I’m wondering how they could use that much supply, but Exile is usually reliable. ↩