Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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oldiaf

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Unread post17 Sep 2015, 21:33

I told him the Iraqi army didn't reach the proper city of Dezful but he insisted !!!
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tomcooper

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Unread post17 Sep 2015, 22:11

Well, hand at heart, he should have - in theory. In practice, he just never could, because they were stopped cold outside Dezful.

The story of the Iraqi advance on that town (and the nearby TFB.4) is one of most absurd, ironic, tragy-comic, perhaps - a little bit - 'mysterious' too of that war.

Namely, Iraqis have deployed an entire corps of their army for advance on Dezful. This included the 3rd and 10th Armoured Divisions, 1st Mechanized Infantry Division and several independent brigades. Total of about 45,000 troops and 500-600 T-55 and T-62M tanks...

The first unit of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army (IRIA) they encountered was titled 'Task Force 37'. Sounds 'great', in theory, then a 'task force' is usually a relatively powerful combined arms body consisting of several battalions (1 battalion = 1000 troops, 30 or so tanks or APCs). In this case it was the shameful 'rest' of all the main battle tanks and armoured personnel carriers the 37th Armoured Brigade IRIA could put into the field.

Namely, the TF.37 had exactly 6 M47Ms (two were actually inoperational and had to be towed) and 5 M60A1s (one non-operational) when it went into action for the first time, on afternoon of 22 September. By the evening of that day, it knocked out 18 Iraqi tanks, but was down to 2 operational M60s and 1 M47M. Nevertheless, it successfully evacuated all the 8 tanks damaged in fighting.

The next day Iraqis re-started their advance, so the TF.37 continued fighting 'holding action'. They knew they couldn't stop the Iraqis: there were far too many of them. All they could do was to slow down Iraqi advance, buy time for the rest of the IRIA to mobilize... So, they went into action again, knocked out another 15 Iraqi tanks. In return, not a single of Iranian MBTs was operational any more: the TF.37 was subsequently surrounded by Iraqis while defending the crossroad between Dehloran and Ein-e-Khosh - and destroyed. Iraqis thus captured the IRIAF's early warning radar site in Dehloran and then continued their advance on Dezful...

The next IRIA unit the Iraqi corps run into was the '2nd Brigade' of the 92nd Armoured Division. This had exactly 5 M60A1s and 3 M113 APCs equipped with BGM-71A TOW ATGMs. And these were still facing several hundred of Iraqi tanks, plus some six artillery regiments...

The M60s and TOWs knocked out about 20 Iraqi tanks, but the 2nd Brigade had to withdraw and thus by 25 September, the Iraqi army approached to only about 20km from Dezful (for a while, it even managed to shell TFB.4). That's when the IRIAF went into action. The CO TFB.4 had 77 operational F-5Es under his command and he ordered all ofthem into the air. F-14s from 81st and 82nd TFS (TFB.8, near Esfahan) provided top cover, RF-4Es and even old RF-5As from TFB.1 (Mehrabad/Tehran) flew recce...

The TFB.4 launched its 'counterattack' on the morning of 27 September 1980, and saw F-5Es plastering Iraqi mechanized formations with CBU-57/Bs and Hunting BL.755 CBUs all the way from Dasht-e-Abbas, via Naderi Bridge, Mussian, Dehloran, to Fakkeh. The Iraqi 42nd Armoured Battalion was most heavily hit: it broke and fled, losing over 100 vehicles of all types in the process. On the next day, F-5Es hit two Iraqi columns that nearly destroyed wahtever was left of that '2nd Brigade' (this was menawhile down to 2 operational M60s and 2 M113s). They destroyed 62 Iraqi vehicles of all types...

By the morning of 29 September, Iraqis understood what's going on, so they stopped and dug in. Thus, the F-5-pilots found fewer targets. 'Only' 60 Iraqi vehicles were knocked out that day... And so on...

Make no mistakes: yes, Iraqi Army suffered extensive casualties and its advance was stopped cold. And yes, F-14s prevented but even a single IrAF fighter bomber from approaching this battlefield. But, this was no 'overwhelming' Iranian success or something: no matter how good their pilots were, Iranians had no ground troops to defend. All they could do was to continue launching F-5s into ground attacks: but, air power can't 'occuppy' or 'hold' positions on the gorund. Plus, they've lost one F-5E (and their pilots) on 27 and 28 September each.

This is just the story - and then one of best-documented in Iranian history of this war (there are extremely precise maps of these operations, supported by recce photos: one can really count every single Iraqi tank that was destroyed) - of how the Iraqi advance on Dezful was stopped, i.e. how that town and its air base were saved. Still, it was only the start of what became the 'Battle of Khuzestan'...

Point is: the person you met can boast as much as he likes, but Dezful and its crucial air base never fell into Iraqi hands.
F-Arba-Ashara!! Yalla, yalla!!
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oldiaf

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Unread post18 Sep 2015, 00:21

True it would be difficult to move such a logistics .. But would this airstrip be a FO Airfield for temporary deployment ... Just like Talha AF in Iraq ?
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tomcooper

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Unread post18 Sep 2015, 07:17

oldiaf wrote:True it would be difficult to move such a logistics .. But would this airstrip be a FO Airfield for temporary deployment ... Just like Talha AF in Iraq ?

Again: there was a plan to, in case of a really massive attack upon Iran - foremost by Soviets - disperse some aircraft to such locations. Every decent air force has such plans.

But, IrAF was no Soviet Air Force: it lacked aircraft capable of carrying bombs suitable to demolish the IRIAF on the ground. On the contrary: when the IRIAF hit backin force, on the morning of 23 September, the IrAF began evacuating its own aircraft away from bases in central Iraq to the West, even to Jordan and Yemen...

What did happen was that, time and again, IRIAF fighter-bombers involved in strikes deep inside Iraq - like Operations Alborz and Kaman-99 - run out of fuel and thus landed at some of forward airfields along the border to Iraq. These were such like Army Aviation bases at Orumiyeh and Kermanshah, or Ahwaz IAP. Few others landed on stretches of straight highways (Dehloran highway airstrip, Dezful highway), one (an F-5E) even on a farm, while others diverted to make emergency landings at TFB.4.

For example, this F-4E - flown by Capt Ali Bakhtiari - made a belly-landing at TFB.4 on 23 September 1980, while returning from attack on Rashid AB, in Baghdad. The Phantom slipped out of control after running out of fuel on finals; the crew ejected, and the aircraft made a hard landing, tearing the undercarriage away:
Image

(It was later salvaged by a team from Mehrabad, repaired and returned to service.)

Just, nobody is known to have landed at something like 'Shahabad highway airstrip'.
F-Arba-Ashara!! Yalla, yalla!!
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oldiaf

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Unread post19 Sep 2015, 04:01

old.iraqi.air.force wrote:
oldiaf wrote:This squadron ( 6 ) was later equipped with MiG-29 in 1987 and relocated to Tq base ( Taqqadum/Tammuz ) ... In AlHabaniyah west of Baghdad .. The same base with MiG-25PDS / RB squadron 97

MiG-29 pilots selected from MIG-23ML/MF who scored kills during Iran war.
The MIG-25Rs and RBs had another squadron numbers, No.97 squadron belong to MIG-25PDS AlHabaniyah AB and No.96 belong to MIG-25PD Alqadisiya AB.

Thats true ... For squadron 6 the best MiG-23ML/MS pilots were selected and put into it .. Especially being the first squadron to be equipped with MiG-29 ... But I think that was not the case for squadron 39 ... Being already MiG-23 squadron ... Simply they change the aircrsfts and trained the pilots and crews on them.
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