Wednesday, March 19
The war has started
By Robert Fox, Defence Correspondent and David Taylor, Evening Standard, March 19, 2003
British and American troops were involved in fierce fighting near Iraq's main port today as the war to topple Saddam Hussein began.
The firefight broke out near Basra as men of the Special Boat Service targeted the strategically vital city and the oilfields in southern Iraq.
At the same time allied troops were flooding into the demilitarised zone on the Iraqi border with Kuwait 40 miles away to take up positions for an all-out invasion.
Cruise missiles were also loaded onto B52 bombers at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, a clear sign that the bombardment of Baghdad could be only hours away.
British troops taking up "forward battle positions" were ordered to switch off satellite phones and allied warplanes bombed targets in Iraq after coming under fire in the no-fly zone. [...]