Village Hall Meeting: First Gulf War Air Campaign

"Instant Thunder" - The Operation Desert Storm Air Campaign

Speaker: Chris Finn

First Gulf War Air Campaign Chris Finn

Wednesday 13th November 2024; 7:30 pm

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BMMHS Meeting Venue

Woodcote Village Hall, Reading Road, Woodcote, RG8 0QY

“Instant Thunder” – The Operation Desert Storm Air Campaign

Chris Finn


The strategic air campaign, INSTANT THUNDER, was supposed to defeat Saddam Hussein in a matter of days.  However, the DESERT STORM air campaign lasted 40 days, and the land campaign just 40 hours.  Christopher Finn was the UK’s LGB specialist in the RAF HQ during Op GRANBY and one of just two non-US officers who worked in the “Black Hole” in the Coalition Air HQ.  Chris’s talk will look at the genesis of the air campaign, how it was developed and then implemented at the HQ level.  He will then offer an analysis of why it was so successful which questions the standard interpretations.


About the Speaker – Chris Finn

Christopher Finn joined the RAF in 1972 as a navigator. He flew predominantly the Buccaneer and was an electronic warfare, weapons and tactics specialist.  During Operation GRANBY he was, as a newly promoted Wg Cdr, the UK’s “SO1 Bucc” in the Coalition Air HQ in Riyadh.  His final flying tour was as the Officer Commanding the Navigator and Airman Aircrew School.  A graduate of the Joint Services’ Defence College he gained an MPhil in International Relations at Cambridge University in 1999 and went on to be the Director of Defence Studies (RAF).  From his retirement in 2005 to 2015 he was a Senior Lecturer in Air Power Studies at the RAF College Cranwell.  Chris is an Accredited Battlefield Guide, specialising in airpower and combined operations.  He lectures extensively on RAF and airpower history, but can turn his hand to most military history subjects, and is also a volunteer guide at the  BBMF and with the CWGC.
Guild of Battlefield Guides
International Guild of Battlefield Guides
Funds raised from this talk will go to RAFBF
Desert Storm
The first British air strikes carried out by RAF Tornados against the Iraqi Air Force took place on 17th January 1991.
RAF Jaguars during Operation Granby
RAF Puma
Desert Storm
RAF Chinook helicopters conducted sorties to land British Special Forces behind Iraqi lines and in the aftermath of the conflict delivered food and aid to displaced refugees.

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