Interview with retired Colonel Qassem Nematollahi-2

Telecommunications is Like a Nervous System of the Army

Compiled by: Zahra Abu Ali
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad



Telecommunication in the war was the title of the first part of the conversation with Colonel Nematollahi, the officer and commander of the 77th Division of Mashhad. The second and final part of this interview is mentioned as follows.

Tell us about the importance of telecommunications in the army and on the battlefield?

Telecommunications is the nerves of the military. Have you ever encountered people with upset nerves?! How are they?! Just as the nervous system transmits commands from the brain to the nerves, so do telecommunication systems deliver the commands of a commander to his subordinate elements. Telecommunications in war is like a chain of nerves for a human being. Without Telecommunications, the commander, the watcher and the artillery will be useless, and none of the commanders can do anything. Telecommunication is needed for coordination, integration, and unity in important battles and important operations on a large scale, and this coordination of war is not possible without telecommunication communication.

I think communication is a condition, but protection and communication is necessary condition. What do you think about it?

Yes. Because about ninety-five percent of the information needed by hostile armies is collected through electronic devices at no cost. A wireless device, for example, transmits a message at a speed of 300,000 kilometers per second in the space around the transmitter antenna. Now, any person, whether insider or enemy, will be able to receive messages published in space if they are equipped with a receiver similar to the opposite station. It is the easiest, cheapest, and simplest way to get information.

In World War II, the use of electronic devices, including radio waves and electronic systems, was one of the determining factors in battle scenes. Given the importance and advancement of electronic devices during the presidency of the United States (Reagan), a plan called Star Wars was approved with a budget of 225 billion dollars, which should have been implemented by 2000. The plan was to militarize outer space.

The armies of the world are looking for plans to use electronic devices, did we use these devices in the war?

One of the great benefits of the devices (TCR 145) I took a training course in Canada was that it provided communication protection. No one with any system or device can eavesdrop on this device unless it is similar to the device in that country.

Until then, the Canadian government had not sold the device to neighboring countries. I knew that Iraq did not have any of these devices, and I was sure that they had not been looted until Operation Samen al-A'meh. For this reason, I assured the commanders to speak safely and openly. Thus, commanders up to the battalion were able to use secure communication.

You mentioned Operation Samen al-A'emeh. What did you do to connect the brigades?

To communicate with the brigade and the Abadan military base, I solved the connection between the two by placing two relays between Mahshahr and Abadan. Commanders could easily communicate (through a hotline) with each other. These devices, of course, were powered by electric motors. It was very difficult to work to turn on the electric motor in the very hot weather of Khuzestan. If there was electricity, it would be much easier, but I was able to use (relay TRC 133) to connect with Abadan for forty kilometers. There was a hotline communication between the White House and the Kremlin House, which was no one could hear the two presidents talking. I established the same system for the 77th Division.

In addition to the commanders' contact using these devices, what did you do for the well-being of the troops and for them to be able to communicate with their families?

I set a device so that they can talk to their family easily without being listened to. I rationed the units according to statistics; for a brigade, for example, I would give them (FX) a few hours a week. The brigade did the same quota up to the detachment rank. For example, equal to the ratio of a detachment; the soldier, officer, and non-commissioned officer would give his number to the machine in Mahshahr from the front line and the number would be taken by (FX); the relay was connected to the trench on the front line via a radio line, and soldiers could communicate with their families.

What did you do to communicate with the battalions during the operation?

In an offensive operations, most of the devices (PRC 77) were used more than (VRC) devices. These devices had a very low range designed to communicate between battalions and squads on the offensive. All of these devices were complementary.

Did you wire the distance between Abadan and Mahshahr?

No. the distance between Abadan and Mahshahr was about eighty kilometers. We could not wire this distance, but we were able to communicate by telephone and wirelessly. I wanted the password not to be discovered. A wireless radio relay is a device that no one can hear or discover it by any means.

What did you do to keep the lines connected?

I had those who were responsible to maintain the lines because at any moment there could be a disruption or disconnection, and the wireless device wouldn’t work.

Did you think about connecting with the lower classes? Did you have any problems during the operation?

In telecommunications, we have wireless (PMC) that is for crops and teams. Some radios have a range of one kilometer. This is for categories. We also have wireless that communicates between the detachments at a distance of ten kilometers, and another of these radios that communicate between the battalions at a distance of three and a half kilometers. I also had a wireless connection to communicate between the commander of the division with senior and junior ones. That is, I had established communication with the commander of the division with the commander of the army and the headquarters of the army, as well as with the neighboring units of the division like the 92nd Khuzestan Division which we were in contact with.

■Who prioritized wireless communication?

The priority was wireless communication with the brigade commanders and the division commander, with whom I had to communicate. Because the commander of the division never has anything to do with the commander of the battalions.

How did you communicate between the types?

The Telecommunication Battalion has a detachment and it includes three categories. Each crop went to a brigade and was required to communicate with a brigade commander with the lower and upper ranks. The brigade commander and his battalions were communicated by a wireless device (PRC 77). The main manufacturer of this wireless was also German.

How many kilometers was the useful range of this type of wireless?

It was ten kilometers and was carried in a backpack. I did something that if the brigade commander was able to talk to the corps commander, but there was no need for the brigade commander to talk to the corps commander. His relation and communication were only with the battalion commander. They also had wired communication devices.

In defense and defense, they talk wirelessly (P-77). Of course, we also have wireless (VRC) that are installed on the car, which is for commanders. We also have a wireless device in each type and each type has three rotations. Suppose Brigade One gives his line to the battalion. The battalion also gives a line to the company. In addition to wireless communication, we also had wired or telephone devices.

How would you communicate if telephone lines were down?

We delivered the messages by an instant courier.

So the connection of the forces of one division was with wire, wireless and courier, and whenever you could replace each other?

Yes. That's right.

So that's why they say telecommunications is the nerve ending of the military!?

Yes. The commanders will be worried about the slightest telecommunication mistake. When the commander of the division came to Mahshahr, I said: "you can call calmly to everyone."

Surely you encountered any problems in setting up these telecommunication systems?

There were many problems. Suppose I have to send a courier to Ahvaz to deliver classified letters. We had a message center in the battalion. Stamped letters coming from the ground forces or the division were distributed and sent to certified forces by address. Suppose a secret and very necessary letter could not be sent by courier. This is what we call it telegraph operator. We also had letters that had to be sent from Lashkar to Ahvaz, Dezful, Tehran, or other divisions. We would send them to the Tehran Message Center, and they would send the letters to the desired location.

Finally, let's conclude wireless. Please name the wireless types?

The device (GRC122) is a wireless device that works on both telegraph, telephone, and landline telephones and can be used on both the car and the ground. Wireless (VRC): can be installed on the car and are used only by phone. Wireless (PRC 77) is one of the cables are carried by a person and the telephone can be used in the company category. Wireless (TRC 145) is the same radio relay or terminal, and wireless (TCR 133) is the same terminal relay.

■What are your last words?

In Operation Samen al-A'meh, only one person was a stranger in our trench; All were comrades of the 77th Division. The martyr, Colonel Massoud Monfared Niaki, commander of the 92nd Razhi Division in Ahvaz, was in our trench on the night of the operation. He was a good and noble officer, brave and resilient. Her daughter had cancer. His wife telegraphed: "Massoud, come to Tehran! Doctors have no hope to treat Mojgan."

The colonel replied: "My dear wife, you know that I cannot leave my soldiers, who are like my children, alone amid the war and the dangerous moments of the front. I believe in you that you will do anything with our children."

He did not go until his daughter died, he did not even go to his funeral and said, "War, country, and Islam are more important than my daughter." When he was able to return home, forty days after the death of his daughter.

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