The war report delivered by Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf yesterday suggests the U.S.-led allies have fought with a methodical ferocity that ranks Operation Desert Storm among the most successful campaigns in the history of modern warfare.

Yet as Schwarzkopf put it, there is no evidence "that the Iraqi army is close to capitulation." By launching four surprise attacks across the Saudi border beginning Tuesday night, the commander added, the Iraqis demonstrated that they "certainly have a lot of fight left in them."

In his riveting 60-minute summary of the combat, Schwarzkopf appeared to deliver two distinct messages: the Persian Gulf War is going very well, but the allies may still be a long way from victory.

Schwarzkopf put the most positive gloss yet on the accomplishments of the coalition. Iraq's air force has been neutralized to the point that the only planes taking off are trying to flee the country; the nation's air defenses have been shattered; the army's ability to communicate is so degraded that corps commanders at times cannot speak directly to their division subordinates, and hungry soldiers in Kuwait are begging or stealing food.Tribute to Iraqi Resourcefulness

At the same time, Schwarzkopf paid tribute to the enemy's resourcefulness and pluck by noting that "there's no way that I'm suggesting that the Iraqi army is . . . going to give up." He added, "As a military planner, you always plan for the worst case rather than the best, and I'm certainly not going to assume away the capabilities of the enemy at all."

He declined to assess the effect of bombing on the Republican Guard and sidestepped the question of whether a ground war will be required to evict entrenched Iraqi forces from Kuwait. On the 14th day of Desert Storm, more than 545,000 Iraqi troops remain entrenched in greater Kuwait, as they were two weeks ago.

Yesterday's summary also gave some sense of the magnitude of the task before the allies and the difficulty in knowing what damage has been wreaked.

For example, in one arresting videotape sequence, Schwarzkopf showed an F-15E ambushing 11 Iraqi vehicles loaded with Scud missiles. Flinging cluster munitions in a night attack, the bomber plainly shattered the Iraqi formation; yet Schwarzkopf reported, "There's a little bit of argument going on in the {intelligence} community as to how much damage we did in this film." The estimates range from three to seven of the mobile launchers destroyed, Schwarzkopf said.Allied Air Sorties Continue Climb

More than 30,000 allied sorties have now been flown, more than half bombing runs. Pentagon strategists believe the sortie number could climb into the hundreds of thousands as the war is waged against enemy forces in Iraq and Kuwait spread across an area bigger than California.

Five percent, or 1,500 missions, have been committed to the hunt for Scud missiles, a considerably larger figure than Desert Storm planners had anticipated and a reflection of the political volatility of a weapon Schwarzkopf dismissed as "militarily insignificant."

The air war to date was described by Schwarzkopf as a triumph of technology. The F-117A "stealth" fighter "remains virtually invisible," the general said, using 2,000-pound bombs to smash 70 hardened shelters with such impunity that "the Iraqi aircraft are running out of places to hide." One reason for allied success, Pentagon officials have said, is the overpowering electronic warfare blitz used to blind and befuddle Iraqi defenders.

Yet it remains to be seen whether technology wins wars. The technology gap between the United States and its enemy in Vietnam was wider than the gap between the allied coalition and Iraq; the gap between the Soviet Union and Afghan rebels was wider yet. In both instances, other martial virtues -- courage, diligence, sacrifice, ingenuity -- compensated for microchips and lasers, permitting the "backward" foe to triumph. Terrain and other low-tech equalizers can be as critical as weaponry and equipment.

Schwarzkopf's statistics, while initially impressive, may require further sifting before final judgment can be rendered on coalition successes. For example, allied planes have flown 790 sorties against 33 bridges, Schwarzkopf said, a ratio that suggests the direct-hit videos shown yesterday cannot be entirely representative of the bridge campaign.

The general also said allied planes destroyed 55 artillery pieces and 52 tanks in the past day and night of bombing, among the few such confirmed numbers released during the war; that leaves an estimated 3,950 artillery pieces and 5,450 tanks unaccounted for. Allied forces need not destroy the entire Iraqi arsenal to force Baghdad's withdrawal from Kuwait, but there is no public indication yet that the bulk of Iraqi armored strength has been engaged.

Schwarzkopf showed himself to be a soldier with a mission. A great slab of a man who wields a pointer like Hector wielded a sword, the general projected what soldiers call "command presence" and what entertainers call "stage presence." Alternately glaring, grinning, punning -- "generals always speak generally," he quipped at one point -- Schwarzkopf has become a swaggering, rough-hewn counterpoint to the velvet poise of his boss, Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the first American general in memory to say "trust me" to a roomful of reporters without provoking catcalls.

Known as "Stormin' Norman" and a man who suffers no fool lightly, Schwarzkopf flashed his temper while also displaying the powerful emotions that lie close to the skin of someone now responsible for the lives of half a million Americans.

Asked about a recent report in the Washington Times concerning a Navy Seal team, the general denounced the article as "bovine scatology." Commenting on Saddam's threat to use captured allied pilots as human shields around strategic bombing targets, Schwarzkopf flushed and replied in a menacing growl, "I'd really like to tell you how I'd like to deal with it, but I won't get into that."

Schwarzkopf eagerly concurred with a question that noted the distinctions between this war and Vietnam, twice interjecting "Right!" before the reporter finished his query. But some comparisons to Vietnam are instructive in terms of the magnitude of the current bombing campaign.

For example, yesterday 28 B-52s dropped 470 tons of bombs -- Mark-117 750-pounders and Mark-82 500-pounders -- on Iraq's Republican Guard, the focus of an allied campaign that is averaging 300 sorties a day against such units. Many Pentagon officials believe that devastating the Guard -- Iraq's best troops and Saddam's strategic reserve -- is crucial to minimizing bloodshed in a ground war. Schwarzkopf spoke of substantial destruction but declined to be specific about the bombing impact on the Guard.

During the war in Southeast Asia, the Air Force alone dropped 6.1 million tons of ordnance, nearly triple that dropped during World War II. Arc Light, code name for B-52 raids in Southeast Asia from mid-1965 to mid-1973, involved 126,615 sorties.

Although many of those raids attacked targets in dense jungle shrouding the Ho Chi Minh Trail, thousands were directed against North Vietnamese fortifications, factories and other targets generically similar to those in Kuwait and Iraq. The North Vietnamese -- albeit aided and abetted by critical Chinese and Soviet supply lines denied the Iraqis -- withstood the terrible punishment long enough to win the war.

Schwarzkopf's rapid-fire recitation of statistics, necessarily antiseptic, carried an undercurrent of menace as well. There was a matter-of-fact brutality in his description of allied air supremacy -- an image of "systematic destruction" rained on prostrate air defenses -- that recalled Powell's declared agenda last week for the Iraqi army: "First we're going to cut it off, and then we're going to kill it."

The "video game" quality to wing-camera views of precision bombing was also pierced occasionally yesterday by chilling reminders of the human face of war. Schwarzkopf joked that the truck driver seen crossing the Mufwultadam bridge, seconds before it was struck by a 2,000-pound bomb, was "the luckiest man in Iraq." His truck was also the nearest thing yet to a human being glimpsed in the cross-hairs of an American weapon. Schwarzkopf also introduced a distinction yesterday between "military" and "militarily significant" Iraqi targets, acknowledging that Iraqi civilians are suffering as a result of allied strikes.

Civilian targets with militarily significance include three-quarters of Iraq's electrical power generators; the destruction of Baghdad's running water supply, as reported by Western witnesses there, and the use of munitions like cluster bombs next to highways traveled by fleeing civilians.

"We never said that there won't be any civilian casualties," Schwarzkopf said. "What we have said is, the difference between us and the Iraqis is we are not deliberately targeting civilians, and that's the difference. There are going to be casualties. Unfortunately, that's what happens when you have a war."

Brookings Institution analyst Joshua Epstein, acknowledging the moral distinction, said its practical effect was not as clear: "Whether your death was 'militarily significant' or not is pretty much immaterial after it happens."

Staff researcher Lucy Shackelford contributed to this report.