September 22, 1980,
Iraq army of 725 units opposed to Iran army of 569 units
for a battle of complexity 4.06 at Brigade(X) level
on a 15 Km/Hex map
for 413 turns of Full Week each.
by Miroslav Salamon submited on 05-08-2008
Rugged-Defense Playing Statistics
Iraqi - Iranian war, 1980-1988
1. UNIT COLORS
1.1. IRAQI FORCES
1.2. IRANIAN FORCES
This scenario is intended to simulate the Iraqi-Iranian war or the first Gulf war. Lasting for more than eight years ,was a test groun for many new and old weapons including mustard gas, strategic missiles, air to air missiles, air to ship missile, new tanks and armoured vehicles etc. Although it was a massive conflict, (in casualties and scales of engagement) it is util today one of the most neglected and forgotten wars in history. Since the literature and resources concerning this conflict are very scarce it was wery difficult to obtain any information that was built into this scenario. Iraqi units and their war paths and composition was relatively easy to find. There were some difficulties concerning Republican Guard units, but I think their appearance in this scenario are preetty accurate. On the other hand, Iranian units gave me the headache! Although composition of regular formations were somewhat easy to obtain, the Pasdaran and Basij formation's names, compositions and deployments were very time consuming to find. Regarding this, I have to thank a dear friend of mine, who has connected me with Iranian veteran of this war (now living in Croatia) who gave me some idea of composition and hierarchy of Basij and Pasdaran units, as well as their timetables.
I also tried to incorporate as many events as possible into this scenario (but also skipping some which were historically unlikely or unrealistic to happen as Turkish intervention in northern Iraq in eighties, or full scale NATO involvement in Iraq while Varsav pact is sitting in Europe and cold war is on it's peak).
What allways fascineted me about this war were differences between two opposed armies! Iraqis had ground technology advantage, using masses of tanks, APCs, and artillery. But they are short in manpower. On the other hand, Iranians had army from the Shah's time, without any way to replace lost equipment. They had one of the most moder air forces in the world, but also without any possibility to obtain replacement aircrafts or even spare parts during the conflict. So instead of relying onto technology, the relied on manpower. Wast manpower. Human wave attacks were quickly countered by Iraqis with chemical weapons. As a player, you have to be well aware of your side's pack of advantages and disadvantages! Iraqis have to capture Khuzestan oilfields quickly before Iranians can moun offensives. although they have thousands of tanks and APCs, they can't replace them until well into the 1982 due to weapons trade embargo which was imposed. They are also short of manpower, and Iranian player can win the war early by the attrition.
Capture of key cities bring any player permanent victory points. Capture of oil producing cities and export terminals lowers or raises supply stockpiles to each army. Iraqi player may win the war by capturing Esfahan. It will win the war if captures Quom, the gate to Tehran, after which the Khomeini's regime will crumble. But the key of victory and main reason for war were Khuzestan oilfields. Iraqi player may be tempted to capture Mahabad in the north. Tha may not be so easy as it seems, since starting the campaign there will activate many Pasdaran and Basij units there. Historically, northern front was not of the interst to either side, but if the Iraqi player choses to take some large scale action there, he must be aware that this may not be a very good idea. Iraqi units are scarce, and north is rampaged by Kurdish rebels. Main goals for Iraqis there are to secure Kirkuk and Mossul oilfields. Capture of any Iranian larger city will activate Iranian partisan guerilla in that sector.
Any approach on main iraqi's cities shall activate Fedayeen volunter militia. Although untrained, they are numerous and similar to Iranian Basij militia. Capture of any main city also gives permanent VPs. There are variable points appointed to each main event on the battlefield. If they reach certain level, first the Kuwait will intervene. then saudi Arabia and Egypt. US is less likely to intervene. Any intervention substracts some of VPs from Iraq. If Iran captures Basra, the big Shia rebelion is about to make place. Kuwait will allways intervene in that case, since it has large shia population, and knows that Iraq shall not return it's loans (which Kuwait was granting it during the war) if it falls apart.
Theater options are to be used cautiously. Proclaiming Jihad may gave you a good reputation in the world. But if you are unlucky, Jihad will bring you sanctions. starting a tanker war is a pure gamble. You may hurt Iran. but if the dices are not good, you'll may find yourself with more problems than Iran. Instead of crippling Iran, you may find yourself under UN sanctions, su use Tanker war at your own risk! ;)
Capture/loss of Larak platforms and Kharg oil terminals may be very valuable for Iraqi player. It will decrease Iranian oil revenues (supply stockpile) and increase Iraqi's. It will also help you control the Gulf (and tanker commerce). So use you Marines and airborne units wisely!
Starting from the year 1985 there is a chance that Iraq will train Republican Guard divisions. The number of division which will be raised is randomly selected, as much as the turn they will appear. Early forming of RG formations may turn the war into Iraqi favour!
I hope you'll enjoy this scenario. fell free to send me comments and suggestions!
2.1. The Original Iraqi Offensive
Baghdad originally planned a quick victory over Tehran. On September 22, 1980, Iraqi fighter aircraft attacked ten air bases in Iran. Their aim was to destroy the Iranian air force on the ground -- a lesson learned from the Arab-Israeli June 1967 War. They succeeded in destroying runways and fuel and ammunition depots, but much of Iran's aircraft inventory was left intact. Simultaneously, six Iraqi army divisions entered Iran on three fronts in an initially successful surprise attack. On the northern front, an Iraqi mountain infantry division captured Qasr-e Shirin, a border town in Bakhtaran (formerly known as Kermanshahan) Province, and occupied territory thirty kilometers eastward to the base of the Zagros Mountains. This area was strategically significant because the main Baghdad-Tehran highway traversed it. On the central front, Iraqi forces captured Mehran, on the western plain of the Zagros Mountains in Ilam Province, and pushed eastward to the mountain base. Mehran occupied an important position on the major north-south road, close to the border on the Iranian side. The main thrust of the attack, however, was in the south. Iraqi armored units easily crossed the Shatt al Arab waterway and entered the Iranian province of Khuzestan. While some divisions headed toward Khorramshahr and Abadan, others moved toward Ahvaz, the provincial capital and site of an air base. Supported by heavy artillery fire, the troops made a rapid and significant advance -- almost eighty kilometers in the first few days. In the battle for Dezful in Khuzestan, where a major air base is located, the local Iranian army commander requested air support in order to avoid a defeat. President Bani Sadr, therefore, authorized the release from jail of many pilots, some of whom were suspected of still being loyal to the shah. With the increased use of the Iranian air force, the Iraqi progress was somewhat curtailed.
The last major Iraqi territorial gain took place in early November 1980. On November 3, Iraqi forces reached Abadan but were repulsed by a Pasdaran unit. Even though they surrounded Abadan on three sides and occupied a portion of the city, the Iraqis could not overcome the stiff resistance; sections of the city still under Iranian control were resupplied by boat at night. On November 10, Iraq captured Khorramshahr after a bloody house-to-house fight. The price of this victory was high for both sides, approximately 6,000 casualties for Iraq and even more for Iran.
2.2. Iranian Mobilization and Resistance
Iran may have prevented a quick Iraqi victory by a rapid mobilization of volunteers and deployment of loyal Pasdaran forces to the front. Besides enlisting the Iranian pilots, the new revolutionary regime also recalled veterans of the old imperial army, although many experienced officers, most of whom had been trained in the United States, had been purged. Furthermore, the Pasdaran and Basij (what Khomeini called the "Army of Twenty Million" or People's Militia) recruited at least 100,000 volunteers. Approximately 200,000 soldiers were sent to the front by the end of November 1980. They were ideologically committed troops (some members even carried their own shrouds to the front in the expectation of martyrdom) that fought bravely despite inadequate armor support. For example, on November 7 commando units played a significant role, with the navy and air force, in an assault on Iraqi oil export terminals at Mina al Bakr and Al Faw. Iran hoped to diminish Iraq's financial resources by reducing its oil revenues. Iran also attacked the northern pipeline in the early days of the war and persuaded Syria to close the Iraqi pipeline that crossed its territory.
Iran's resistance at the outset of the Iraqi invasion was unexpectedly strong, but it was neither well organized nor equally successful on all fronts. Iraq easily advanced in the northern and central sections and crushed the Pasdaran's scattered resistance there. Iraqi troops, however, faced untiring resistance in Khuzestan. President Saddam Husayn of Iraq may have thought that the approximately 3 million Arabs of Khuzestan would join the Iraqis against Tehran. Instead, many allied with Iran's regular and irregular armed forces and fought in the battles at Dezful, Khorramshahr, and Abadan. Soon after capturing Khorramshahr, the Iraqi troops lost their initiative and began to dig in along their line of advance.
2.3. The Iranian Counteroffensive
Iran had created the SDC in 1980 to undertake what the Iranians called Jange Tahmili, or the imposed war. Iran launched a counteroffensive in January 1981. Both the volunteers and the regular armed forces were eager to fight, the latter seeing an opportunity to regain prestige lost because of their association with the shah's regime. Iran's first major counterattack failed, however, for political and military reasons. President Bani Sadr was engaged in a power struggle with key religious figures and eager to gain political support among the armed forces by direct involvement in military operations. Lacking military expertise, he initiated a premature attack by three regular armored regiments without the assistance of the Pasdaran units. He also failed to take into account that the ground near Susangerd, muddied by the preceding rainy season, would make resupply difficult. As a result of his tactical decision making, the Iranian forces were surrounded on three sides. In a long exchange of fire, many Iranian armored vehicles were destroyed or had to be abandoned because they were either stuck in the mud or needed minor repairs.
Fortunately for Iran, however, the Iraqi forces failed to follow up with another attack.
After Bani Sadr was ousted as president and commander in chief, Iran gained its first major victory, when, as a result of Khomeini's initiative, the army and Pasdaran suppressed their rivalry and cooperated to force Baghdad to lift its long siege of Abadan in September 1981. Iranian forces also defeated Iraq in the Qasr-e Shirin area in December 1981 and January 1982. The Iraqi armed forces were hampered by their unwillingness to sustain a high casualty rate and therefore refused to initiate a new offensive.
In March 1982, Tehran launched a major offensive called "Undeniable Victory." Its forces broke the Iraqi line near Susangerd, separating Iraqi units in northern and southern Khuzestan. Within a week, they succeeded in destroying a large part of three Iraqi divisions. This operation, another combined effort of the army, Pasdaran, and Basij, was a turning point in the war because the strategic initiative shifted from Iraq to Iran. In May 1982, Iranian units finally regained Khorramshahr, but with high casualties. After this victory, the Iranians maintained the pressure on the remaining Iraqi forces, and President Saddam Husayn announced that the Iraqi units would withdraw from Iranian territory.
2.4. The War of Attrition
The "war of attrition" began after the Iranian high command passed from regular military leaders to clergy in mid-1982. Although Basra was within range of Iranian artillery, the clergy used "human-wave" attacks by the Pasdaran and Basij against the city's defenses, apparently waiting for a coup to topple Saddam Husayn. All such assaults faced Iraqi artillery fire and received heavy casualties.
Throughout 1983 both sides demonstrated their ability to absorb and to inflict severe losses. Iraq, in particular, proved adroit at constructing defensive strong points and flooding lowland areas to stymie the Iranian thrusts, hampering the advance of mechanized units. Both sides also experienced difficulties in effectively utilizing their armor. Rather than maneuver their armor, they tended to dig in tanks and use them as artillery pieces. Furthermore, both sides failed to master tank gunsights and fire controls, making themselves vulnerable to antitank weapons.
2.5. Internationalization of the War
Beginning in 1984, Baghdad's military goal changed from controlling Iranian territory to denying Tehran any major gain inside Iraq. Furthermore, Iraq tried to force Iran to the negotiating table by various means. First, President Saddam Husayn sought to increase the war's manpower and economic cost to Iran. For this purpose, Iraq purchased new weapons, mainly from the Soviet Union and France. Iraq also completed the construction of what came to be known as "killing zones" (which consisted primarily of artificially flooded areas near Basra) to stop Iranian units. In addition, according to Jane's Defence Weekly and other sources, Baghdad used chemical weapons against Iranian troop concentrations and launched attacks on many economic centers. Despite Iraqi determination to halt further Iranian progress,
Iranian units in March 1984 captured parts of the Majnun Islands, whose oil fields had economic as well as strategic value.
Second, Iraq turned to diplomatic and political means. In April 1984, Saddam Husayn proposed to meet Khomeini personally in a neutral location to discuss peace negotiations. But Tehran rejected this offer and restated its refusal to negotiate with President Husayn.
Third, Iraq sought to involve the superpowers as a means of ending the war. The Iraqis believed this objective could be achieved by attacking Iranian shipping.
Initially, Baghdad used borrowed French Super Etendard aircraft armed with Exocets. In 1984 Iraq returned these airplanes to France and purchased approximately thirty Mirage F-1 fighters equipped with Exocet missiles. Iraq launched a new series of attacks on shipping on February 1, 1984.