The Air campaign of the 1991 Gulf War began with an extensive aerial bombing to shape the battlefield. Stealth aircraft were used to for the first time. The aerial strike force was made up of over 2,250 combat aircraft, which included 1,800 US aircraft with over 100,000 sorties flown. The air campaign began January 17th and largely completed by February 23 when the ground war commenced with Coalition ground forces entering Kuwait. This initial air attack phase of the war drove the Iraqi air force from the sky, whether through combat losses or Iraqi pilots flying their planes to Iran to escape the air assault. The air campaign also devastated Iraqi armored and infantry field forces before the ground phase of the war began.