Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 16 Sep 2015, 00:20
by oldiaf
Squadron 6 Rasheed AB Baghdad
4 Hunters :
Major Waleed Yunis
Major Sabah Abdulqadir
Major Zuhair Abd Hason
Major Riadh Alrawi

Target Shah Abad AB
Because of the darkness ( aircraft took off before the first light and these Hunters lacked NV equipments ) .. No.3 and 4 couldn't catch up with No.1 and 2 and had to return to base .... So the mission was continued only with 2 aircrafts.
On reaching the target the 2 Aircrafts saw 4 F-4 Phantoms about to take off .. So they attacked these phantoms and destroyed them on the ground but the air defenses started to fire heavily and No.2 aircraft hit and the pilot had to eject ...Major Sabah Abdulqadir either killed on impact or he was killed by ground troops in revenge for the destroyed Phantoms and their dead pilots .. No.1 returned to base safely.

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 16 Sep 2015, 02:58
by oldiaf
The details are a correction for previous post in which stated the Hunter was shut downed by F-4 while the fact they destroyed 4 F-4 Phantoms on the ground and the Hunter was hit by ground fire.

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 16 Sep 2015, 08:01
by 35_aoa
sounds like a pretty shitty flight lead. How about a quick 360 to get his -3 and -4 joined up?

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 16 Sep 2015, 10:43
by oldiaf
35_aoa wrote:sounds like a pretty shitty flight lead. How about a quick 360 to get his -3 and -4 joined up?

Radio silence was necessary to avoid detection and it was dark, so no way he could know

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 16 Sep 2015, 11:50
by nikolaos
I am surprised that Iraqis used Hunters operationally in 1980, did they continue using them in later years?
Which Iranian air base is exactly this Shah-abad AFB?
Do you know if the Iranians confirm the destruction of 4 Phantoms on the ground by Hunters in 1980 ( when exactly?)

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 16 Sep 2015, 12:28
by oldiaf
nikolaos wrote:I am surprised that Iraqis used Hunters operationally in 1980, did they continue using them in later years?
Which Iranian air base is exactly this Shah-abad AFB?
Do you know if the Iranians confirm the destruction of 4 Phantoms on the ground by Hunters in 1980 ( when exactly?)

These questions should be answered by old.iraqi.air.force and tomcooper.

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2015, 04:46
by 35_aoa
oldiaf wrote:
35_aoa wrote:sounds like a pretty shitty flight lead. How about a quick 360 to get his -3 and -4 joined up?

Radio silence was necessary to avoid detection and it was dark, so no way he could know


Fair enough

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2015, 12:59
by oldiaf
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

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2015, 14:07
by old.iraqi.air.force
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.

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2015, 16:40
by oldiaf
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.

87 Squadron I think for MiG-25R/RB but I am confused ... Why in DS Jan 19 91 the 2 MiG-25s were of R type but the pilots were from 97 Squadron ?? ....

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2015, 16:42
by oldiaf
Squadron 39 in Alqadisiyah AB was originally equipped with MiG-23s .. MF and MS I think and these were shifted to OCU Squadron ( I don't remember which one ) to equip squadron 39 with MiG-29s ?

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2015, 19:17
by tomcooper
nikolaos wrote:I am surprised that Iraqis used Hunters operationally in 1980, did they continue using them in later years?
Nope.

Which Iranian air base is exactly this Shah-abad AFB?
I've heard this story, years ago, and tried several times to find what Shahabad do they mean.

There is one in Lorestan (about 350km west of Baghdad), and another in Mazandaran Province (near the coast of the Caspian Sea). Both are so deep inside Iran, I doubt anybody within the IrAF would be as dumb as to send any Hunters there (indeed, Shahabad in Mazandaran is so far away from Iraq, no chance any Hunter could ever get there).

There is no 'air force base' close to either of Shahabads; there was never any, and there is never going to be any. Nearest would be TFB.4 (Dezful), about 150km south, or TFB.3 (Hamadan), about 170km north of Shahabad in Lorestan. At most, south of Shahabad in Lorestan there is a stretch of highway that was designated as 'potential dispersal site' by pre-war Iranian plans.

If it was 'that' Shahabad in Lorestan, only heaven only knows what were Iraqi Hunters searching for there. There were not even any Iranian military units in that area - and it's 100% sure that no Phantoms were lost.

That said: I'm anything but certain that any Iranian F-4 Phantoms were involved. They were primarily reserved for ground attacks at that stage of the war, and only seldom flying CAPs. Similarly, F-5Es from TFB.4 were busy blasting the Iraqi army in Khuzestan around that time (especially so since all the Iranian Army could put in front of 3 Iraqi divisions advancing on their base in Dezful, was a 'Task Force' consisting of less than a dozen of M60s and M113s...).

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if IrAF No.2 was actually knocked down by one of F-14s that were usually on CAP station further south (not that Iraqis would've ever known: their Hunters had no RWRs, just for the start...).

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2015, 19:33
by oldiaf
tomcooper wrote:
nikolaos wrote:I am surprised that Iraqis used Hunters operationally in 1980, did they continue using them in later years?
Nope.

Which Iranian air base is exactly this Shah-abad AFB?
I've heard this story, years ago, and tried several times to find what Shahabad do they mean.

There is one in Lorestan (about 350km west of Baghdad), and another in Mazandaran Province (near the coast of the Caspian Sea). Both are so deep inside Iran, I doubt anybody within the IrAF would be as dumb as to send any Hunters there (indeed, Shahabad in Mazandaran is so far away from Iraq, no chance any Hunter could ever get there).

There is no 'air force base' close to either of Shahabads; there was never any, and there is never going to be any. Nearest would be TFB.4 (Dezful), about 150km south, or TFB.3 (Hamadan), about 170km north of Shahabad in Lorestan. At most, south of Shahabad in Lorestan there is a stretch of highway that was designated as 'potential dispersal site' by pre-war Iranian plans.

If it was 'that' Shahabad in Lorestan, only heaven only knows what were Iraqi Hunters searching for there. There were not even any Iranian military units in that area - and it's 100% sure that no Phantoms were lost.

That said: I'm anything but certain that any Iranian F-4 Phantoms were involved. They were primarily reserved for ground attacks at that stage of the war, and only seldom flying CAPs. Similarly, F-5Es from TFB.4 were busy blasting the Iraqi army in Khuzestan around that time (especially so since all the Iranian Army could put in front of 3 Iraqi divisions advancing on their base in Dezful, was a 'Task Force' consisting of less than a dozen of M60s and M113s...).

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if IrAF No.2 was actually knocked down by one of F-14s that were usually on CAP station further south (not that Iraqis would've ever known: their Hunters had no RWRs, just for the start...).

The original report mentioned Shahabad Airport not base ... The F-4 Phantoms were on ground not on CAP according to the report.
The airport Shahabad highway strip ??

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2015, 19:36
by oldiaf
One of the Iraqi refugess I met in Belgium few months ago was an Iraqi medic with the Iraqi army at that time ... He told me He played Football in Dezful back in early 80s !!

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2015, 21:24
by tomcooper
oldiaf wrote:The original report mentioned Shahabad Airport not base ...
I guess you know about 'Google Earth': please, show me anything 'airfield-alike' near Shahabad in Lorestan.

Anything but that highway.

The F-4 Phantoms were on ground not on CAP according to the report.
Where? Where should they have been 'on the ground'?

I have a strong feeling, you guys simply have no trace of clue about the condition of Iranian military as of September 1980; especially no clue under what condition was the IRIAF 'functioning' at the time.

If you would have any clue, you would know that what you're talking about here, what you 'demand' (kind of), was impossible.

If these were F-4 Phantoms, then from TFB.3. And that was one of IRIAF air bases that felt the worst impacts of the post-revolutionary chaos. Its CO, Col Golchin (mind: a Colonel was normally supposed to command a squadron, but surely not a full 'Tactical Fighter Base' with several thousands of officers and other ranks), was happy if he could find enough ground crews and pilots to man his aircraft.

First of all, think logically: let's say he would have decided to 'disperse' his aircraft and crews. Why do so, after initial Iraqi air strikes on Shahroki have clearly shown that these are at safest in their hardened aircraft shelters? And why do so, if this would only increase his problems with maintaining and operating his aircraft?

At TFB.3, he at least had stocks of ammo and spares on hand, and the same ground crew could take care of 2-3 aircraft. That made the maintenance a very slow process (and thus had a major impact on turn-around times), but at least this was possible.

If he would have sent any aircraft to, say, some kind of 'dispersal strip' near Shahabad, he would have to send gound crews, pilots, ammo, fuel, spares, and ground equipment there - all of which were precious and best-protected right where they already were, at TFB.3.

Plus, he would have to organize housing for personnel, guards and air defences for such a facility too. That all was simply out of his abilities - because Iranian military was in a complete chaos, because of lack of personnel, and because people were refusing to listen to 'Shah's pilots' (meaning 'any officer').

Even the MIM-23B I-HAWK and Rapier sites supposed to defend TFB.3 were inoperational - for lack of personnel (caused not only by post-revolutionary chaos, but also the famous Nojeh Coup attempt, of which the TFB.3 was centrepiece, and after which hundreds of IRIAF officers were arrested). There was lack of kerosene because some of Iraqi bombs (by sheer accident) have hit some of fuel depots etc...

Golchin had his hands full with his NCOs ('Homafars') too: they were protesting for all possible (and usually nonsensical) reasons. Several times they blocked the base for days. Say, even if he managed to issue such an order, what do you think would have happened if he sent them to 'camp in wilderness'...?

And on top of that he was frequently out of contact to the HQ at Dowshan Tappeh, but had to run 'normal' combat operations against Iraq, as ordered by Tehran, plus help save TFB.4 from the threat of those three Iraqi divisions advancing on Dezful...

Come on...

One of the Iraqi refugess I met in Belgium few months ago was an Iraqi medic with the Iraqi army at that time ... He told me He played Football in Dezful back in early 80s !!
In Dezful? Surely not. Iraqis never reached Dezful. The furthest they came was a radar station about 15km west of that town.

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2015, 21:33
by oldiaf
I told him the Iraqi army didn't reach the proper city of Dezful but he insisted !!!

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 17 Sep 2015, 22:11
by tomcooper
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.

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 18 Sep 2015, 00:21
by oldiaf
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 ?

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 18 Sep 2015, 07:17
by tomcooper
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'.

Re: Hawker Hunter mission with Iraqi AF 1980

Unread postPosted: 19 Sep 2015, 04:01
by oldiaf
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.