The bodies were found lying in trenches, buried in collapsed bunkers, incinerated in tanks and armored cars.
In Kuwait and southern Iraq, tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers - elite Republican Guard soldiers as well as ordinary conscripts sent to the front to slow the allied march like human speed bumps - were left where they were killed during six weeks of war.Even now, some victims of the relentless allied aerial bombardment and the massive ground invasion that followed it are being interred in trenches where they fell, marked by temporary signs in case Iraq wants to claim the bodies later.
Pentagon officials said they are still sifting through sketchy data in an effort to draw up estimates of the number of Iraqi soldiers who died during Operation Desert Storm, which began Jan. 17 and was halted, at least temporarily, at midnight EST Wednesday.
A Saudi government source says as many as 100,000 Iraqi soldiers may have been killed or wounded throughout the war theater. U.S. officials have said that rudimentary medical care and inadequate battlefield evacuations apparently produced a greater ratio of dead to wounded than in previous conflicts.
As one indication of how high the toll might rise, a senior U.S. military official in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, cited this week's allied attack on the veteran Tawakalna division of the Republican Guard. He said the division - probably 10,000 men - was ``destroyed.' No prisoners were known to have been taken, he said, and no soldiers were seen fleeing the battlefield.
Day after day, allied bombers pounded front-line Iraqi troops, housed in rudimentary bunkers that provided protection from little more than the occasional desert rain, and Republican Guard units dug-in in southern Iraq. Wave upon wave of B-52s dropped anti-personnel cluster bombs and fuel-air explosives, which blasted the battlefield with flaming gases.
As the allied forces pushed across the Iraqi border, the tanks and artillery went after what was left.
A senior White House official said the allies ``are right now ... doing what is appropriate in terms of burying the Iraqi dead.'