Americas First Clash with Iran: The Tanker War, 1987–88


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The Kuwaitis appealed for help and America sent a fleet to the Gulf, raising the Stars and Stripes over Kuwait's commercial tankers. The result was a free-for-all, as the Iranians laid mines throughout the narrow passage and launched attack boats against both tankers and US warships.


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The sixth largest ship in the world, the tanker Bridgeton, hit an Iranian mine and flooded. Meanwhile, US Navy Seals had arrived in the Gulf, setting up shop aboard a mobile platform from which they would sally out in fast craft to combat the Iranians. Naval Institute.

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At night, the Revolutionary Guard would drop mines from vessels disguised as traditional dhows, which ferry cargo around the waters of the Persian Gulf. As attacks targeted Kuwaiti oil tankers, the U. The Soviet Union also volunteered.

While mines represented a small number of the attacks, their psychological impact grew. They also allowed Iran to attack its foes without having to take direct responsibility.

America's First Clash with Iran: The Tanker War, 1987-88

They have to disrupt. Ultimately, the U. Roberts struck a mine and nearly sank the next year, the Navy matched it to those seized from the Ajr.


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Losing on the battlefield, Ayatollah Khomeini s Iran had decided to close the Persian Gulf against shipping from Iraq s oil-rich backers, the emirate of Kuwait. The Kuwaitis appealed for help and America sent a fleet to the Gulf, raising the Stars and Stripes over Kuwait s commercial tankers. The result was a free-for-all, as the Iranians laid mines throughout the narrow passage and launched attack boats against both tankers and US warships.

The sixth largest ship in the world, the tanker Bridgeton, hit an Iranian mine and flooded. As Saddam Hussein, who had instigated the conflict, looked on, Iranian gunners fired shore-based Silkworm missiles against US forces, actions which, if made known at the time, would have required the US Congress to declare war against Iran.

Americas First Clash with Iran: The Tanker War, 1987–88 Americas First Clash with Iran: The Tanker War, 1987–88
Americas First Clash with Iran: The Tanker War, 1987–88 Americas First Clash with Iran: The Tanker War, 1987–88
Americas First Clash with Iran: The Tanker War, 1987–88 Americas First Clash with Iran: The Tanker War, 1987–88
Americas First Clash with Iran: The Tanker War, 1987–88 Americas First Clash with Iran: The Tanker War, 1987–88
Americas First Clash with Iran: The Tanker War, 1987–88 Americas First Clash with Iran: The Tanker War, 1987–88

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