Laminated composites can be damaged by foreign object impacts that produce a subsurface delamination. Under certain loading conditions these delaminations can grow and ultimately produce structural failure. In this study it was found that delamination growth results from crack propagation that depends on the stress field at the crack front produced by buckling of the delaminated section. This result was confirmed by three independent analyses. First was the development of an analytical model based on buckling and classical fracture mechanics. Second was the development and solution of a finite element model of the crack front. Third was an experimental study of laminated aluminum sheets with a well-defined delamination.