This was a gray, windy day. At 0640 hrs, the Regiment continued its ground and air attack. Everyone continued to take prisoners as Iraqi soldiers gave up with no resistance. Air scouts reported that Objective GATES was free of enemy –but that Objective MAY contained enemy positions. Third Squadron fired artillery on MAY but blowing sand hampered close air support. The Third Armored Division continued to follow closely while First Armored Division trailed to the northwest in its own zone and First Infantry Division completed clearing passage lanes through the penetration area.
The Regiment refueled at 1000 hrs in the vicinity of PL LONESTAR while scouts continued forward. By 1230, the lead squadrons reported their main bodies on PL SMASH and their scouts as far as PL BLACKTOP. On BLACKTOP, 3/2 met and destroyed a mechanized infantry unit in prepared positions, taking a large number of EPWs including a colonel and lieutenant colonel. They also captured an enemy command vehicle complete with maps and plans. Further west, Ghost Troop destroyed an enemy recon element equipped with MT-LBs. The cross desert convoy was complicated, however, when Support Squadron stuck most of its supporting ammo trucks in soft sand.
It also became apparent that the enemy would fight. Enemy armored units with T-72 tanks were reported near Objective MAY indicating the presence of Republican Guards units, the objective of the VII Corps attack. The rapid advance of the Regiment drew in hundreds of EPWs and Support Squadron with the 214 MP Company struggled manfully to evacuate them as the squadrons prepared for further contact. Most prisoners flew out by CH-47 shuttles over the next few days. Many EPWs taken this night and the next day were evacuated by air but of a different sort– “medevacs” 11 out of Med Troop Base.
Colonel Holder, the Regimental Commander, ordered a hasty defense of PL RT BLACKTOP and met squadron commanders at the RTOC at 1600 hrs. LTG Franks, the Corps-Commander, arrived unexpectedly and joined this meeting. He directed the Regiment to fix the enemy along PL BLACKTOP and to be prepared to pass an additional division through to the east on the following day.
The squadron orientations at this point were as follows: 2/2 on the left, facing generally north; 3/2 in the center, facing northeast; and 1/2 on the right, oriented east and southeast to guard the Regiment’ s flank. First Squadron also tied-in with 1st British Armored Division as it moved northeast through 1st ID’ s penetration.
The Regiment’ s position interdicted an enemy supply route and all the squadrons had sporadic contact that night and into the early morning hours. The 210 FA Brigade ran artillery raids that night as 2-1 Aviation planned deep attacks to fix the enemy in depth. Fights broke out all along the Regimental front as Iraqi forces attempted to move along the road and reacted to artillery raids. A stiff contact erupted at 0205 when an Iraqi company ran into Eagle and Mad Dog and got pounded for their trouble. Each engagement brought in scores of new prisoners.
At 0330 hrs, a Corps FRAGO changed the Regiment’ s orientation to due east in order to fix the Tawakalna Division while the two US armored divisions pivoted around to the Dragoons, north. The APCER2 mission to Jayhawk was simple and straightforward: Destroy the Iraqi Republican Guards by 27 February. The Dragoon Battle Group was to hold the Republican Guard’ s “nose” so that the rest of the Jayhawk Corps could “kick them in the ass.”