The 317th Night of Memory – 2

Siege of the Destruction Battalion

Compiled by: Iranian Oral History Website
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad

2020-10-14


Note: The 317th Night of Memory was broadcast online on the Aparat website on Thursday, September 28, 2020. In this program, Commander Assadollah Mir-Mohammadi and General Jafar Jahroutizadeh shared their memories, and Davood Salehi was the presenter.

The second narrator of the Night of Memory was General Jafar Jahroutizadeh, born in 1961 in Qom. His father is a farmer. He has been studying and doing building-wiring since the third grade. On the day when Imam returned after 15 years, he was one of the members of the welcoming committee. At the age of 17, he went to the war front.[1] When Haj Ahmad Motavaselian was in Do-Kuheh garrison - at the end of February 1981- and was planning the first organizational chart of the Mohammad Prophet Brigade, wrote his name – i.e. Jafar Jahroutizadeh – next to the name of the Destruction Battalion. After the war, he went to Syria and participated in Assist Operations. This narrator is a 70% veteran, a chemical veteran, and the brother of a martyr. General Jahroutizadeh has been wounded at least 16 times during his attendance in the war. Martyr Haj Ahmad Motavselian, martyr Reza Cheraghi, martyr Mohammad Ibrahim Hemmat, martyr Abbas Karimi, martyr Mohammad Reza Dastavareh, martyr Mansour Haj Amini, and martyr Ali Mahmoudvand are some of the martyred commanders who were his comrades.

General Jahroutizadeh began his memoirs as follows: "We were in the Kurdistan region before the sacred defense. On the first day of the war, we came to Kermanshah to send troops. Since we had not even been able to go to the bathroom for a long time and we were in a bad situation, we tried to solve the problem and arrange affairs. The radio reported that a shepherd had arrived in the Qasr Shirin area and announced that the Ba'athist army was planning to cross the Iranian border. Here, we found out about this plan. A few days passed; the friends who were with us went to away and we were supposed to go to the other way. When the Ba'athist regime's attacks on Iran became serious, the attack on Khorramshahr gradually began. Here, we were sent to Khorramshahr. The Iraqi army had come behind Karkheh River and had set fire to parts of the road from Ahwaz to Andimeshk, that is, from the Dehloran intersection onwards.

We got on a bus that day; several fighters also came from other places. It was an unpaved and dusty road. The bus moved on the road. We were on the road for several hours; the bus that had no glass and no suitable windows and doors. After a few hours, we arrived in Ahvaz. When we got off the bus, there was so much dust on everyone's faces that the comrades did not know each other. We tidied up ourselves. Finally, they sent us to Abadan. From there we went to Khorramshahr. When we arrived in Khorramshahr, the Iraqis were fighting near the Khorramshahr customs. Everyone had the means, tried to fight; both the army and The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Even alongside the armed forces, the people of Khorramshahr even fought with hunting weapons against the Ba'athist army. Oppression had risen in Khorramshahr, but in this situation, we started the operation. We had to pass through different villages; we used the darkness of the night and reached that area. We were a total of 24 or 25 troops. The rest were indigenous forces from Javanroud and elsewhere. During the operation, we were in was a hard situation. We were divided into two groups. We fell under a complete siege of the enemy and hadn’t enough ammunition. The group that had separated from us had run out of ammunition and had been arrested. One of the comrades was shot in the leg. We could hardly save our wounded comrades and ourselves from the siege of the enemy. We did not have also enough experience and most of God's grace helped. Sometimes, we heard some things on the radio that caused psychological warfare, for example, we said that helicopters were coming ... even the radio did not have a battery and did not work; we used to take the phone in our hand, and said these words. The enemy also heard our voice because he was close to us and surrounded us. I was the only person who had a bullet to shoot. I had two bullets in my gun. Under the siege, there was a river near us - 200 meters away. Above this river, there was a large forest where concrete bulwarks were built under the trees to fire us. We suddenly saw several trucks coming into the river. We had about 16 sixty-meter mortar shells. In close combat, mortars are not very effective. We fired these bullets at the trucks that came along the river and deployed. We shot everyone. We rescued ourselves from the siege with all our might and came out. Eventually, we came to a place where the entire forces stopped but did not come to give help us. After 7 days, inside the IRGC[2], we had a meeting with martyr Mohammad Boroujerdi. During the meeting, I was told that someone had come with a van to visit you. I saw the van standing and the driver leaning on the car and crying. He pulled back the tent behind the van and I saw that the bodies of the children who had been arrested on the other side of the river were behind the van. Now, I don’t want to tell what was happened on the bodies of these martyrs. It was one of the obvious betrayals of Bani Sadr; if we had helped there and given us ammunition, the oppressed comrades would have not been martyred in this way. We came to Ahvaz and the Irregular Wars Headquarters of martyr Chamran.[3] We were introduced to an army man; He was a colonel we named him "Davood". There was a house where he taught us. Of course, I had been trained for 45 days in the Manjil barrack, but this time he was training more professionally. It was a series of obsolete missiles. They did not have handles and were not used. He trained us on these missiles without handles. At nights, we used to hide 20 or 30 missiles, go to the enemy’s positions and shoot them. This is how we occupied the Iraqis so that they would not go any further. God bless someone who was from Ahvaz, he was 15 or 16 years old - martyr Majid Khayat.  One night we were hiding these missiles and preparing them to shoot. He made a mistake when he was installing the missile timer; missiles fired at the moment. The missile fire killed him. He was our only guide in his area, but we lost him. We had more small operations mostly in Dobhran and other areas. Then they took us behind Karun River. As far as I remember, it was the Persian or Ismaili front. There were only a few of us, but we had to keep a few kilometers of the area. On the days when I was cooperating with Destruction Battalion, certain comrades joined the Destruction Unit, not every force. Thus, three or four thousand troops would be sent into the battalion in Do-Kuheh garrison; we would talk to them; fifty volunteers came to the Destruction Battalion. That is, when we looked at their faces, it was, as if, they were martyrs at that moment, and it was to be proved in one of the operations. In Operation ValFajr-1(Operation Dawn), the width of the minefield, in some places, was from 1,000 meters to 1,500 meters, and even 2,000 meters. We did not aware of it on the night of the operation. May God has mercy on him; martyr Ali Mahmoudvand, who was the commander of the reconnaissance of the 27th Division of Mohammad Prophet (PBUH) at that time, said that when we went to find the martyrs, we just realized how the width of the minefield was on the night of the operation! May God has mercy on the martyr Saeed Mohtadi; One night, while we were talking about Operation ValFajr-1, he said that that night, as the commander of the Kumayl  Battalion of the 27th Division, we ran across the minefield through a passage which was opened by the forces of Destruction Unit to reach the minefield; we were out of breath. That is, the width of the minefield was so great that if the forces move slowly and the enemy started firing, they would be scattered inside the minefield; that is the same disaster that we had during the Ramadan Operation. Many forces of the units were scattered inside the minefield, many of then became a martyr. On the night of the operation, we were waiting behind the minefield. We had a Basij (volunteer soldier) who had memorized the entire Quran. I think he was not more than 16 or 17 years old. He had a beautiful voice. That night we waited for the passage to open quickly and move. In that operation, four battalions were destroyed. That is, the mission of destruction was changed there. Destruction was to open the way and break the enemy's front line so that new battalions could come and go ahead toward the enemy's positions. We were not worried about enemy fires; we were worried about the enemy's light bullets. The enemy has completely overlooked us from the heights. We were in District 143. The enemy was deployed on Hill 143 and was ready to fire the forces. In the same situation, we saw bullets being fired. Now, before this bullet was fired, I saw that young man reading the Quran. I even said to him he couldn’t read the Quran in the dark. He mentioned a hadith, although now I can't remember it exactly, it was about that looking at the Qur'an would give a reward to us. We were excited and stressed that the passage would be open for the forces to cross. When the light bullet was fired, I went to the middle of the minefield. I moved the comrades in a hurry. Of course, that light bullet did not work; it fell near to the volunteer soldier. We went forward and encountered the enemy's obstacles such as canal and ring barbed wire that was difficult to cross. The comrades brought lots of Bangalore torpedo, wicks, and detonators. When we put them in the middle of the barbed wire, it would explode and open the way. We did all this. We arrived inside the canal. We had the torpedo, but we did not have wicks and detonators. May God, have mercy on him. Martyr Ali Kafaie Manesh was the commander of one of our four battalions. He found that there was no way to save us, and the enemy was constantly firing; everyone might be massacred behind the canal. There was a minefield behind the comrades as well; if the comrades were to return in that condition, most of them would be martyred in the minefield. It was impossible to find the passage that night. Martyr Ali Kafaie ‌ Manesh jumped into the canal, but the torpedo in the barbed wire. He pulled out the safety lock of the grenade and put it on the torpedo; the torpedo exploded, the way was opened and he was martyred. The comrades passed and left. The battalions came from behind. But their operation was tied in there and the battalions could not go ahead into the enemy’s positions. We had about 93 injured. We instructed the comrades to transport only the wounded. We were waiting; martyr Shahpasand was coming towards us with his forces. They moved everyone back, but one injured person remained. We waited for the battalion to arrive. We put this wounded person aside. We could not take it by hand; there must have been a stretcher. We were sitting on the hill where martyr Assadollah Pazouki was sitting to my right. My brother was also sitting on my left. A radioman was sitting above me. Suddenly a mortar came and fell close to us. The radioman jumped over my head and fell and martyred. Martyr Assadollah Pazouki's hand was amputated and his leg was broken. He stands up, I saw that he does not have a problem in his foot, but he had been injured by the wave of bombs, and he did not know which way to go. In that situation, he came back with my gesture. When I returned, I saw that my brother was looking at me. "Mohsen!" said I, "can you help me move my feet?" As I said these words, he read part of the prayer Ziyarat Ashura[4] and then fell on my feet with his forehead. I saw his back that was so injured that although medically, he could not be alive as much as blinking; he tried to read that prayer. All those around me were martyred. There was also another one, Zavarei; he is still alive. He was injured in his jaw and mouth by a quiver. I led him back. He was suffocating. I could not move. The quivers had damaged my legs, chest, and abdomen. My face was bloody and dusty. The martyr Shahpasand arrived. He did not know me. I could only show him the sentence that was in my pocket. They quickly brought a broken stretcher and took me away. After the hospital, I returned to the area with two canes. They installed a device in my foot that was not available in Iran at that time. When I arrived in the area, I asked about that volunteer soldier who had memorized the entire Quran. It was said that as soon as the light bullet fell on the ground, he threw himself on the light bullet with his stomach so that it would not light up. I do not know exactly how hot a light bullet is, But I know it has a very high temperature. Some say it is above 800 degrees and can melt the steel. It was said that when we went to the area to collect the bodies, this martyrs’ body had been so injured that just his head and boots have remained. This martyr even put his scarf in his mouth so that he would not be able to cry and the enemy would hear; his name was martyr Seyed Mohammad Hosseini. Praise and greeting to the happiness of the holy souls of martyrs."

 

The 317th Night of Memory – 1

 

 


[1] Iraqi imposed war against Iran

[2] Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps

[3] Mostafa Chamran was an Iranian physicist, politician, commander, and guerrilla fighter who served as the first defense minister of post-revolutionary Iran and a member of parliament, as well as the commander of paramilitary volunteers in Iran–Iraq War, known as "Irregular Warfare Headquarters."

[4] It is a Shia salutatory prayer to Hussein ibn Ali and the martyrs of the Battle of Karbala. The prayer is part of the liturgy used in pilgrimages to the shrine of Hussein in Karbala.



 
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