With the memoirs of Abbas Kiani who was "the commander of antiaircraft artillery" in war area

The day of hunting fighter plane "Mirrage" of Saddam Army

Interviewed and compiled by: Amin Kiani
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Note: In a cold winter day, I was a guest of Abbas Kiani to listen his memoirs. He was one of the fighters of sacred defense, and as a member of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army, he had attended in north and west frontage of war for 2700 days. Artillerist(s) didn’t attend in the first line of war; therefore, their memoirs had been left unsaid. But one of the artillerists of antiaircraft artillery 23mm has more interesting memoirs about fighting against bombardiers and fighters, because he was within the impact of enemy's fire. Abbas was in various activities as the commander of antiaircraft artillery. As he said. Operation Valfajar 8 was more memorable one than others which he was attended in. now, let's listen this Veteran soldier's memoirs.


Could you introduce yourself briefly?

I'm Abbas Kiani, the son of Hassan Kiani, and I was born in Asadabadi zone (the former Cyrus) of Khorramabad city in 1345 (1966). My father was the staff of Telecommunication Company of Iran, and while I was educating, I, like other peers, was working too.


When did you join to army?

I was employed in army in 1362(1983). I was born in 1345 and joined to army in 1362; so, in those days, I was 17 years old, wasn’t I?


Yes, you were. Why did you join to army?

(He replied laughingly): actually, seeing the people who was wearing army uniform and boot, I was waiting to become of legal age and employed in army. It is better to abandon for such memoirs and skip to the years 1364 (1985) and operation Valfajar 8.


Yes, sure. Please tell me when were you explained to do operation Valfajar 8?

We were not explained to do operation at all. In 1364, we were transferred from war area to a position to take rest; a new military unit was replaced with us. The position was near to Shadgan Three-way. We remained there for 2 weeks. On 15 Bahman 1364 (on 4 February 1986), we moved toward Arvankenar District. Here, as we experienced, we found that Iran would get in a operation after some days. Changing place, moving to a position to take rest, preparing equipment and repairing the artilleries were reprehensive of an operation.


Let's look back a bit. Had it rumor that it was going to do operation?

No, it hadn’t. The preservation of information was an important factor in army, but, concerning the situation, I found that an operation would be taken place soon. Until one hour before the operation, nobody knew about the operation, but it was insisted on repairing and keeping the antiaircraft artilleries.


What was the date of moving from rest position to operational area?

It was on 15 Bahnam 1364. We moved towards Arvandkenar and deployed on there.


In this operation, which unit and division did you attended in?

I attended in 27th division of Hamza Seyed al-Shohada


Which military corps did you belong to?

I belonged to the corps of artillery in army; antiaircraft artillery 22mm.


Was whole the artillery of army transferred to the area of Arvandkenar?

No, it wasn’t. The battery of 327th battalion with antiaircraft artillery 105 mm. I was missioned for going to Arvandkenar; I was member of antiaircraft artillery and missioned to preserve of the battery. We carried the equipment to the area of Arvandkenar. Every artillery was carrying by military cars. Artillery carriers, ammunition and tools of bulwark were also transferred there. We moved in the evening and after dinner, and arrived at Arvandkenar at absolute darkness of night.


How did you determine the position of the artillery?

The positions of the artilleries 105 mm and heavy artilleries were determined by the commanders of battery using some observers, goniometer, surveyor, etc. but we were member of antiaircraft, and the antiaircraft artillery should be placed on highest and best position; I was responsible for choosing the position of the artillery.


So, the antiaircraft artillery was within gunshot, wasn’t it?

Yes, it was.


What post did you have in operation?

I was the commander of antiaircraft artillery 23 mm.


How was the condition of deployment till the beginning of operation?

We were deployed in the area 4 days before the operation. We tried to arrange the equipment such as bulwark of antiaircraft artillery and fighters. We, of course, had already been there and were acquaint with the operation area. We were not informed of information, it was clear for me that an operation would being done there.


It means, you were not informed till the operation was taken place. Wasn’t it?

Yes. About 5 or 6 hours before operation, we were summoned to a meeting and informed that we were going to do an operation tonight; we were justified on the ground of operation party.


Did you, as antiaircraft corps, react independently?

Yes. Antiaircraft guns must react in operation independently; as soon as enemy's airplane into operational area, it should fire at the airplane in a shortest time. If there is a delay to fire, the enemy's airplanes will overpower your forces. In this operation, whereas the engaged military unit was Sepah (Islamic revolutionary Guard corps), we were missioned to Sepah's units and had a role to protect Sepah's fighters.


What was the distance between your deployment and Arvand River?

We were in a distance of 250 meters from clamorous river of Arvand. We camouflage our positions. In the first place, we were in palms, and one of the batteries was placed a bit behind and in the palms. The first battery was also deployed in the environment of Khosrowabad[1].   


When did the operation start and its passwords declared?   

The operation, with a holly password "Ya-Zahra" (PBHM) was started, but we were not declared for the password. When the hands of clock were stopped at 22:10 on 22 Bahman 1364, all artilleries, ballistic Missiles, and heavy artilleries 135 mm and 130 mm were started to fire; by the time, we found that the operation was being started.


What was the duty of the artillery?

It tried to exterminate the enemy's airplane. In the morning, when the enemy's airplanes were emerged, we started to fire against them. In fact, we, defense corps, started to fight in the mornings. Precisely, it was 7:00 o'clock of morning, five Iraqi airplane came together, and fire our positions. Of course, as soon as the operation was started, we were all agog to face enemy's attack until morning.


Were you working at nights solely? Did you take a absolutely rest at nights?

 No. The enemy's airplane were coming there steady. The antiaircraft guns were being used on days only. We hadn’t permission to shoot at nights. Enemy's airplane, of course, did come at nights to be exterminated by us. We didn’t take an absolute rest at nights; we started to clean artillery and tape the ammunition to be gotten ready for tomorrow. We used to take a rest at dinner time, and often had lunch in the artillery.


What was the condition of food?

It was good and available.


Was there any own battery to be injured by enemy?

Yes. Good old day. There was a young second lieutenant named Lieutenant Ghaznavi. He was from Kerman and had already gotten married. They were in palms with warrant officer Bayat, who was from Malayer and he, with some soldiers, was in late days of military service the enemy's airplane bombed the palms where they were gathered in; all of them became Martyr and about 50 percent of batteries were destroyed.


Had you ever made a mistake to recognize Iraqi airplanes instead of Iranian ones?

Yes. There was an antiaircraft for a distance of 500 mm. its crew were from Isfahan and they were not educating well. Somebody, one of them asked me to repair their artillery; we repaired it. We had bulwark as a shelter. I was inside of shelter. At noontime, three fighter planes came from Faw[2]. I said to soldiers of artillery rapidly. "Antiaircraft! Airplane..." incredulously, I saw that the soldier of didn’t attend on his post. It perpetrated a wrongful. But, it was a mercy of God that there wasn’t any soldiers to use of antiaircraft gun, because the fighter plane was one; I praised God. Our airplanes were appointed by a secret action. It names, own airplanes wried themselves up while they came near. (This secret action was determined by the commander of artillery, who was former commander of the battery, and he told this secret action to pilot while they were training for airplane). The fighter plane came near and wried at low height. When the airplane showed themselves as insiders, they soared into the air. This is one of my memoirs about the operation.


How were you informed about the news of operation?

We often provided information through frontage's watchers, and also pursued the new by radio.

Did you destroy any fighter planes of Iraq by your artillery?

Yes. It was on 22 Bahman, the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. The Iraq airplane came into the border of Iran, like every day. They usually came to fire every ten minutes. It was noontime. Some of fighter planes coming near us. They were flying a low height. The artillery 23mm is able to shot with a range of 2500 extremely. By the time, I fired on them; I, with help of God, exterminated one of the fighter planes. It was a Mirrage.


How was the mood of entourage?

The entourage gathered around the artillery and congratulated us.


What kinds of fighter plane did Iraqi forces use?

They often used of MIG, supper Etendard, and Mirrage.

Until one hour, there wasn’t any Iraqi airplanes in the sky. I went to help the friend who was working on artillery 5 mm. the commander of the battery authorized all batteries to fire the determined area; our battery fired the area extremely. After two hours, the watchers declared that we, third battery of 327th battalion, destroyed 90 percent of motor units, as they watch. Afterwards, we found that those units belonged to presidency Guard of Iraq which came into the area to protect the forces were failing, buy they were exterminated immediately.


When did you find that Faw was captured?

On 22 Bahman, we were informed that Faw was liberalized and it was in control of own forces; the Iraqi fighters were pulled away to behind Namak Lake. All of us were extremely happy or excited.


Did you carry your battery to Faw?

Yes, we were missioned to go Faw. It was commanded to carry the equipment to Faw. We took turns to go Faw; we went to Faw by a trailer. We entered in Faw on 25 Esfand (3 march) in the morning.


What was your first action in Faw?

After deploying the artilleries, we were going to make some bulwarks for artilleries, but there were sacks available to make the bulwark. There were alots of oil cans; we filled them with dust and made a snazzy bulwark.


Where were you deployed?

We exited from Faw and deployed near Namak Lake. There was an Iraqi bulwark left, and we went inside it. There was an Iraqi corpse. We buried it and cleaned the bulwark to be used.


Could you remember any interesting memoirs of those days?

Yes. There was a newcomer soldier. I found him dressed, like a mummy, by plastic cap-a- pie. If I got there late, he would be chocked with the plastic, because he was told that a chemical bomb was exploded there; whereas he was a dupe, he asked for help from other not to be poisoned by chemical bomb; therefore, others, playfully, dressed him by plastic.

Someday, when I was coming back, by IFA track, through the road from Abadan to Khasrowabad, I wanted to pass a loader. While I was passing the loader, I encountered with a turning. I was not able to turn; my car fell and stuck in a hole. My endeavors to pull it out was unsuccessful. I stayed there and stop a track in the road; it stopped, and towed my car and pulled it out. I switched on and moved it by a slow strike. At last, I arrived our military station when I checked the car backward, I found that the body of it is swerved. One of the lieutenants who was a protester one about everything, got the problem of car; he came to me indignantly and jangled me. We raised the antiaircraft artillery for about 40 cm, and put a sock under it. The antiaircraft artillery was gotten ready to fire. The lieutenant said me continually that you broke the car and should recompensed for the damage done to the track. "Oh, lieutenant! I take it easy!" I responded him while we were arguing together, the Iraqi fighter planes came in there. I jumped behind of the antiaircraft gun and said him: "lieutenant! Go in bulwark! I pressed pedal and shot them. When Iraqi airplanes went away, and the situation became calm, I looked for him. I found two legs under the artillery. He shouted: "Sergeant, pull me out! He had a bit big abandon; he stuck under the antiaircraft artillery. I didn’t know how he went under it. I pulled him out. He spoke in broken words tremulously: "you have permission to do every works. No body can't complain to you I said him: "Lieutenant! What should I do for a track? It is broken. He replied" take it easy, it is better to do your work; I go".


How long did you stay in Faw?

I was in Faw until 6 Farvardin 1365(26 March 1986).  I was in Faw in Nowruz (New Year) of 1365.


Did Iraqi fighter planes shoot Faw too?

Yes. They attack less in first weeks of New Year: we had an opportunity to take rest. On 6 Farvardin, my successor came there, and went Ahvaz and took a vacation to get Khorramabad.


Did you come back Faw after the vacation?

No, when I came back, I went to defense line located in Shalamcheh.


I appreciate you that you took your time for Iranian oral history website

You're welcome!


[1] a village of Kurdistan

[2] it is a marshy region adjoining the Persian Gulf in extreme southeast of Iraq and to the southeast of cities of Basra and Abadan

Number of Visits: 843


Full Name:
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