The 332th Night of Memory– 1

Compiled by: Sepideh Kholousian
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad

2022-2-8


Note: The 332nd Night of memory was held on Thursday, January 27, 2022, in the presence of the defense staffs of the Air Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Soureh Hall of the Arts Center, by Davood Salehi. In this ceremony, the book "Islamic Revolution in 1979" was unveiled in the presence of the families of the defense staffs.

     At the beginning of the night, after the performance of the Defense Army Orchestra of the Islamic Republic of Iran under the direction of Major Davtalab, the presenter started the program by remembering the mothers of the martyrs as follows: "They have had a significant impact on the war, but in addition to all this, much less attention has been paid to the important role of the Army Air Force defense in the success of operations in the eight years of the sacred defense. At the same time, it is necessary to know how much difficult it is to make the sky safe from the ground, whether during the eight years of sacred defense or now, can bring peace and security to the people and the warriors. This defense continues for so long that I can proudly say that right now, during the implementation of this program, some people have stood up with guns in their hands in this city to defend this land."

     Then, the presenter of the program introduced the first narrator and said: "I was born on September 17, 1951, in the lower part of the Tuyserkan neighborhood, his father is an ordinary businessman. He completed his primary and secondary education in Tuyserkan and his secondary education in Tehran National School, and his graduation coincided with the Iraq-Iran conflict over the Arvand River. He is one of the comrades of martyr Chamran in the headquarters of irregular wars and he talks about the memories he had with him in every gathering. His name is Brigadier General Ibrahim Merati."

      After congratulating the birthday of Zahra (PBUH) as Mother's Day, Brigadier General Merati mentioned martyr commanders such as martyr Babaei, martyr Sattari, martyr Ardestani, and other martyrs who were lost, and loved ones such as the late Sinki, Amir Aslani, Mardani, etc. He said: "On the occasion of the blessed days of February, I recall the greatest and most proud air defense operation that took place in Dawn 8. Almost two months before Operation Dawn 8, in December, I was sent by the then commander of the Air Defense, Amir Amini, to the Higher Training Center at the Air Training Center. It was about a week or ten days ago that I was called up to the defense again and he gave me a mission card to go to Ahvaz and introduce myself to Colonel Babaei. I obeyed and arrived in Ahvaz tomorrow evening and joined the air defense group. In defense [unit], there was a school that had been evacuated due to the conditions of the war. At that school, the troops were stationed as the headquarters of the camp being formed, and I introduced myself to the administrative group. They said that Mr. Babaei would return to the camp at night. That night, when the briefing was over, I visited him. Martyr Babaei said: Tehran, do you have anything to do? I told him: No. We are soldiers and ready to work. he said: You may not be able to return to Tehran for two or three months and visit your family. I said: No problem. We are defensive and we understand the situation. He justified our plan, and because the IRGC ground forces (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) were responsible for the main operation, two IRGC forces were also present [in that meeting]. The operation was supported by the Air Force and Offensive Operation [Unit] from the flying group, which, according to Colonel Babaei, was to cover the operation.

We were at that school for about a week; In the mornings we would do the construction work in the area and in the evenings we would return to the camp. One week later, as personnel were being summoned to the Dawn 8 operation and gathered there, the camp was moved to the Omidieh base inside one of the administrative shelters[1]. In the administrative shelters, because IRGC was the acting force, two members of the IRGC defense forces also joined us. According to the work and plan that was coordinated, we were going to build defensive positions from Haft Abadan station to the entrance of Al-Faw [area]. There was a village at the entrance of Al-Faw called Qafas, which was about two kilometers from the mouth of Al-Faw, and we had to build these positions next to Bahmanshir.

      The gathering was coming to an end when Amir Gholami, the former commander of the Khark Island defense, was also summoned as the head of defense at Raad Nahaja base. After completing our duties and clarifying our duties, I was formed with two newly formed troops and combat engineering forces - Haj Agha Qashqai, who was just starting their work - and with only a bulldozer, a loader, and a grader; I started my work. Martyr Sattari strongly insisted that combat engineering should be equipped, and several times in various meetings held at the central base in Karbala, they had proposed that this combat engineering strengthen the air force defense, because combat engineering was familiar with building positions and personnel, and understood the needs of defense forces more easily and can help them better. After a while, the military engineering began to work and was equipped almost completely, we began to expand our defensive positions. We had a HAWK[2] site at the Shadegan intersection, which was the support site of the region, at the Shadegan intersection, a HAWK site between the Abadan intersection and the Shadegan intersection, and from the Haft Abadan station to the Al-Faw entrance, which was a cage, there were 750 Sky-guard defense areas which were the first to enter the front line. We also brought two Sky-guards to the [front] line. Also, we built a 750 defense area with HAWK Kowsar site in front of Bahmanshir Bridge, Rapir site, Orlikan site, Skyguard, and other units and forces until the night of the operation through the main, accessory and deceptive positions.

      On the night of the operation, on February 11, 1985, the attack was scheduled to begin at 2 o'clock; But it seems that the divers who had to cross the Arvand were identified by the enemy and the operation was revealed. It was about ten o'clock at night when they announced that the operation had begun under the code "Ya Zahra". It was raining lightly that night, and we were facing roads that were not asphalted.

      The roads of Khuzestan are ones which becomes muddy its rainy days, and the movement of cars on them becomes almost impossible; It was an almost rural road that came from the Abadan highway to Qafas. This road was slightly improved by Jihad Sazandegi, which was headed by Mr. Aga Khani from the Karbala base so that at least two cars could move on it next to each other. We were going to build a site in front of Bahmanshir Bridge. We started in the morning and said that we had enough time until the attack, which is 2 midnight, to be able to carry the devices so that the reconnaissance aircraft or Saudi AWACS that might come to their aid would not recognize our devices, but we went into road traffic at night. , And the cars were left behind in traffic, and the road was blocked; Defense equipment and support devices were left behind in traffic.

      Since I had the experience of Khuzestan since the time of the irregular headquarters, I took a van that was for my transportation to an open area away from the road. The Cars that wanted to overtake and pass each other either turned left or bumped into other cars. Somewhere we were arguing with one of these truck drivers, why he came from the left side of the road, I saw one of our comrades, Colonel Hossein Anvari came and said, "My car has broken and my whole body has been hit by the glass, and I have suffered by cold and I am shivering. What should I do?" "Go to the yard, the car is there," I said "Turn on the air conditioner until we solve the problem of the traffic and follow you." In any case, we rejected this situation and brought the HAWK site that was stopped in the traffic to the place where we were supposed to establish the site; That is, in front of Bahmanshir Bridge.

     Now these popular trucks, which the construction jihad had brought voluntarily or on duty, were only working for of dumping this cargo, which was mostly a mixture of sand, on the roads and under the defensive positions and equipment that had to be placed on them. they were not strict in their work and did not follow our words and did not answer our requests. Mr. Agakhani and I went to the place we had planned for the HAWK site and saw that we, as pedestrians, walk up and down on the ground like a mattress. That is, the land was very swampy. We did everything we could to deploy these devices was not possible. This site was to cause the downing of a variety of aircraft that were both box, eavesdropping, bomber, missile, and anti-radar, and in large numbers.

Here, I would like to mention the late Mr. Amir Aslani, one of the forces of the tactical radar and their successor, who worked hard in the radar unit of Bandar-e-Imam during Operation Dawn 8. Apart from the skilled and experienced officers that we lost in the missile attack on the Subashi site, the survivors of these loved ones were those who gave their lives with all power and could not rest even for four hours during the entire operation. These men were constantly supporting escorts and leading missile sites, patrolling aircraft, and F-14s and phantoms that were going to bomb the area.

        Anyway, we did everything to use this site, but we were not able to do. It was morning; Colonel Sattari came and said: What did you do? We said: Colonel, come and see that even a pedestrian cannot walk on this ground at all, let alone deploy the device here. They came, patrolled, and said: "Trucks has mixed material come after me." Because of his and Mr. Babaei's greatness, the truck drivers listened and followed Mr. Sattari. They said: one truck should be emptied here and another dump somewhere. We had planned to build platforms and deploy the devices, but the colonel said, "Forget the platforms, I do not want to[built it]." Pour and spread the same mixed material and install the devices on the floor right here." We deployed the devices.

      The last device we wanted to take into the shelter was the p.c.c or fire control center. The forces of communicating unit were launching the 145 radar to communicate with the p.c.c wireless when enemy aircrafts suddenly appeared. It was only God's mercy, and if instead of the ground that was like a mattress, it was hard ground, all the comrades would be martyred at that moment. More than one hundred and fifty bombs fell on our area, all of which fell on the same ground and all of them exploded in the swamp. From this explosion, only mud was spread upwards and not even quiver came up; Even if one of the quivers came up, all our comrades who were there would have been martyred or, at least, injured.

      In any case, by his decision, we deployed the devices and the missiles were ready to fire. After the bombing, the cabling was carried out twice and the equipment was ready, and at about 8 a.m., we fired the first aircraft and the comrades were in good morality and welcomed the victory of the HAWK,s forces with joy, shouts, and blessings. Then, Sky-guard fired an aircraft and then Rapier fired. Thus, the aircraft realized that there was a good and strong defensive line of fire here and left the area, and until 2 days after the operation, we no longer had aircraft in the defensive positions. Although these conditions existed on the front line, which was on the other side of the Arvand River, and the forces who were entering Al-Faw, and the aircraft came and bombed, there was no more bombing in the depths of the defensive line that we were stationed next to Bahmanshir.

       Operation Dawn 8 was a turning point in that all previous defense tactics and the use of equipment were abandoned, and with the strategy of martyr Sattari, the previous search radar was removed from the devices and Bandar-e-Imam radar became the main search radar. He appeared on the radar of Bandar-e-Imam, cooperated with the hunting forces, and gave the direction of the targets that came to this area to the site of HAWK or Sky-guard. On that side, the pursuit radar was turned on for a moment, as soon as the pursuit radar focused on the aircraft, the missile was fired and the radar returned to its previous state twice. This made our equipment both smaller and lighter, which in turn empowered the devices and sites, as well as secured our radars to be safe from missiles fired by the enemy from ten or fifteen kilometers away. From then on, it became a tactic to move HAWK sites that brought a lot of equipment with them to the area. From then on, the equipment became three launchers - sometimes we even carried one launcher in some operations – i.e. one p.c.c, two generators, and three Benz 911s that were placed inside them, towed and moved.

      After this stage, we came to the area between Shadegan and Abadan intersections and moved a HAWK site there; because both the previous place was revealed and it was unsuitable and it was not possible to travel in it to make the necessary repairs. More importantly, when the bridge over the Arvand was built and we were able to take the devices into Al-Faw, we went into the palm trees and stationed the HAWK site, where we were stationed until the end of Operation Dawn 8, to investigate the mentioned purposes and aircraft that were reported through Bandar-e-Imam radar. About fifteen days later, I was summoned to the Defense Headquarters and told that the commander of the force should send a team of 35 men for the HQ2 missile course, at which point we had already left the area. The achievements of this operation were titrated as follows: During the operation, more than eighty aircraft were shot down by Tucano air defense weapons and patrol aircraft; 10 helicopters, 600 tanks and personnel carriers, 150 anti-aircraft cannons, 300 mortars, three field radars, 500 light, and heavy vehicles, large quantities of telecommunication equipment, individual weapons, air cannons and 17,000 casualties to the enemy and 25,000 injured."

 


[1] Shelters are prefabricated rooms that are produced for the installation of sensitive equipment and devices in the military and telecommunications industries, power plants, and aerospace, in a variety of cores and security.

[2] HAWK missile defense



 
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