Oral memoirs of commandos

Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan

2019-01-01


The sixth and seventh volumes of the "Oral History of the Combatants" are dedicated to the oral memories of Hasan Soltani and Ali As'habi. These two are the commandos of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Army and have talked with Mir Amad al-Din Fayyazi.

The 6th volume of the series of Oral History of the Combatants has been named "Hasan Zhipad" in 203 pages. According to the author, the book is the result of 40 hours of formal and non-formal interview with captain Hasan Soltani; one of the pioneers in the course of commando pilot of the Iranian Navy who has been present in the epic of resistance and liberation of Khorramshahr. 

In the first pages of the book's chapter 15, we read, "It was in Bushehr that we heard the sound of war from Khorramshahr and Abadan. Immediately the commandos were missioned to go to Khorramshahr. On 22nd of September 1980, the whole battalion of the commandos went to Abadan at night. We were deployed in the Golestan Club on Berim Street. Earlier, in September, one or two groups of commandoes who had gone to Khorramshahr were based in different places, including Shalamcheh. Since their number was few, they were stationed at the Kuhdasht base to join the rest of the group and identify the missions. In the Golestan Club, Mr. Zargham, the commander-in-chief of the Commandos, gave us information on the state of the war, and it turned out that there were no shells and tanks on our side to counter the enemy, and we are ourselves to protect the area. We were categorized here and the groups were identified and our mission which was moving towards Khorramshahr started. Here, we were divided into two parts. Our heavy weapons included 106 and 120 mm cannons - these were our only heavy weapons. We told them that the artillery of the commandoes, who, when they were stationed in the area, were encouraged, and our hope went further towards the base of Kohdasht and we, as commandoes, our resting place became the stream of the Berim Street. Because they were likely to target the Golestan club. We stayed on the streets for a rest after the mission. In fact, we would move from Golestan Club to Khorramshahr and were deployed into parts, and from the left and right of the alleys and passages in order to reach ourselves to the enemy's side, namely we started from wherever the enemy was. The enemy had advanced from the border of Shalamcheh and had seized the checkpoints and villages and was moving towards Khorramshahr.

The first day of our group movement in the city, if I do not make a mistake, was 26th or 27th of September. We were in a street which had a way toward the railroad from the mosque. The custom office was in the left. We were divided on the two sides of the street, one group to left and the other to the right. Captain Rahman al-Fatti led the group on the left. I supervised the right wing. During the move, we found out that one of the guys in the left winged group was shot. We went toward them, and saw that Jawad Safari from Anzali, had been shot from behind. "When we arrived, Rahman said," Lie down, they are shoot from the buildings."

We just found out the fifth column was deployed in Khorramshahr and had to first neutralize them.

Earlier, the heavy weapons with the commandoes was Bazooka which belonged to the world war. We should put the Bazooka on our shoulder like RPG-7 and fired. It was known among the commandoes as "heater hose".  In general, I saw just three Bazookas. Its useful range was fifty meters. With this weapon, the enemy would not allow us to go to its fifty meters. When we saw that the Bazooka was not effective, and it did not work for us, we took it out and did not use it.

The first six seven days of the war was very terrible. None of us had seen any war. It is correct that we had pseudo-wars but not any formal war in which the fighter jets above us pour bombs. We were all confused. We Iranians also have a special bias on our own people, when suddenly a fighter jet appeared in front of our eyes and poured bombs or the enemy's artillery bombarded our cities continuously and the cities' people ranging from children to the elders lost their lives, the houses and shops were burnt and destroyed, the streets were unsafe, it was very hard for us who were seeing such scenes for the first time…" 

The 7th volume of the series of Oral History of the Combatants has been named as "The Lovers of Home" and has 224 pages. According to the author, the book is the result of 40 hours of formal and informal interview with Captain Ali As'habi. In the book's introduction, Fayazi has introduced him as a well-known commando defending Khorramshahr. 

In the book's eighteenth chapter, we read, "Some seven or eight days had passed from the start of the war when (Mohammad) Jahanara, the Commander of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Khorramshahr brought sixty members of IRGC and asked Lieutenant Suleiman Mahboubi to teach them how to use RPG-7. They were trained in a sport field in Khorramshahr. Fortunately, these guys were so excited and talented and worked form the bottom of heart that they learnt how to use RPG-7 in one day. The training course of using RPG-7 is at least three weeks, but they did within one day. Ayatollah Jami, the Friday Prayer Leader of Abadan cooperated with us very much. He gave us any ammunition we needed as much power as possible for him and asked us to train the guys.

Meanwhile, a number of brothers from Gilan Province that I think they had come to Khorramshahr from the town of Roudsar told us that one of their friends had died and that they had come after the funeral ceremony with black clothes. A man named Ghaffari had organized them. A number of other guys named Mr. Nawab’s Group had come from Tehran who adapted themselves to us and managed to stand against the Iraqis as much as we could. We had just shortage of equipment. The young people of Abadan and Khorramshahr helped us a lot, even the women. They came and some of them put on helmets and said they did this so that the Iraqis thought that we were a brigade of commandoes. When an Iraqi major was arrested after seventeen days, he asked captain Samadi how many brigades of commandoes you have.  Captain Samadi said we are minus one battalion. It meant that we were not even one battalion. The Iraqi man said but our commanders have told us that there is a brigade of commandoes here and you should be very careful.  When he found out that we were less than one battalion, he was surprised how we could capture many Iraqis with this few forces. I myself captured seventeen of them in Khorramshahr custom one of whom was a soldier and the other sixteen were commandoes. We were two. Of course, we had not come there with the intention to clash with them. Two persons can never fight with a brigade or a battalion. We were camouflaged and went there in a war and escape state. I had two jeeps both of which had been destroyed as a result of mortar shells. Since our weapons were heavy, my organization had to have two vehicles. We forgot about our third vehicle which was the commandership vehicle. I suggested one of my friends to go to Khorramshahr custom and take Mazda 1800 pickup, they belong to Iran and if remain there, they either will be destroyed by the Iraqis or they take them out, because after the clash in Pol-e No, they could advance and bypass us. The clashes in Khorramshahr were in fact in the railroad station and the custom. I and my friend went and could take a pickup. We went in tactical way. My friend moved, I stopped, then I started moving and he stopped. Suddenly, I saw that a number of husky commandoes put their hands on their heads and came out. We had both G3 and colt guns. One of them had worn a kaki military cloth; he was weeping and shouting, “Long live Khomeini, death to Saddam, we are Muslims. I did not know Arabic well but I understand what he meant. But those sixteen said nothing. The soldier came forward and I said “Don’t come forward, stop there.” He put something out from his pocket. It was the image of Imam Ali (PBUH). He showed it to us to prove that he was a shia. I said, “OK, stand there.” I told my friend, “Javad, be careful. They are a lot. If just one of them sacrifices himself and come forward, we have gone out.”

Then we gathered them in one place and asked them to sit down and empty if they have anything. Fortunately, they had nothing and no gun. We did not know what to do and how to take them. We saw that in the furthest distance, an IRGC vehicle was passing by. We whistled, we did everything but they did not hear. Finally, we had to shoot. One moment, the truck driver saw us and came.  They picked the captives up and took with themselves.

We managed to bring out one Mazda 1800 pickup from Khorramshahr custom. It was new and its document was inside the dashboard its switch on it. There was a little gas on its tank with which I could drive. The car was with until I was injured on 13th of October 1980. I was taken to Abadan’s Taleqani Hospital by the same car.”

There are several common features about the two books. One is that both cover the memoirs of the commandoes. During the process, they have spoken about commando training course. This feature becomes the reader familiar with their ability.   

Another part of their memoirs is from the western country and the clashes before the start of the Iraqi imposed war against Islamic Republic of Iran. In war memories, the events regarding the defending of Khorramshahr is highlighted that the selected pieces are related to this feature.

The books “Hasan Zhipad” and “Lovers of Home” have been produced in the Art Centre of Gilan province and published for the first time in 2018 by Nekoo Afarin Publications.



 
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