29 JAN 1991: Coalition warships and helicopters destroyed the Iraqi Navy at the Battle of Bubiyan.


The Battle of Bubiyan was a naval engagement of the first Gulf War, where the bulk of the Iraqi Navy was engaged and destroyed by Coalition warships and helicopters.

35 nations led by the United States took part in the war against Iraq, in response to their invasion and annexation of Kuwait.

And following the RAF’s extensive bombing campaign, Lynx helicopters of the Royal Navy using Sea Skua missiles targeted the Iraqi Navy and were responsible for destroying 14 vessels during the battle in 21 separate engagements that lasted over 13 hours.

Also related to the Bubiyan action was the Battle of Khafji, where Saddam Hussein sent an amphibious assault to Khafji to reinforce the city against the Coalition attack.

HMS Gloucester

This too was spotted by the Coalition naval forces and subsequently destroyed. The last action of the Iraqi Navy was to fire a Silkworm missile from an inland launcher at the battleship USS Missouri; however, it was intercepted by a Sea Dart missile from the British destroyer HMS Gloucester (pictured) and successfully destroyed.

After the Bubiyan action, the Iraqi Navy ceased to exist as a fighting force at all, leaving Iraq with very few ships, all in poor condition.

The United Kingdom committed the largest contingent of any European state that participated in the war’s combat operations, codenamed Operation Granby. The war lasted 1 month, 1 week and 4 days.