A section from the book A Soldier Forever

A Narration about the Badr Operation

Compiled by: Faezeh Sasanikhah
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad

2023-3-14


After several small operations, the Badr operation[1] began. The operation was carried out in complete secrecy and even we, who were often informed about the news of the front and the war and during the attacks, did not know the least about this operation. Later, we heard from the Basij and militants who participated in the reconnaissance of this operation, that they took some loyal Basij and Islamic Revolutionary Gurds Corps (IRGC), but they did not return them. They took the forces for two months and did not let even one of them return. They could not write a letter or make a phone call. Everyone who went was quarantined. During this time, they were in Hor (Marsh) and reconnoitering. The operation remains completely confidential until the execution stage. During the attack, they were extremely successful in the first phase, that is, breaking the line and surprising the enemy, but because 14 to 15 kilometers were swamps, hors, bushes, and reeds, and there were few logistical facilities, it was the second and third days that the enemy He managed to stop the advance of our forces. On the Al-Amara-Basra road and inside Al-Qarna (Al-Qarna is the place where the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers meet near a village called Al-Qarna and form Shatt al-Arab), it was an operational area, and this was while our rear was miles of swamps and reeds with It was the front line.

The troops have to travel this route with difficulty by boat. This factor made the operation not a complete success.

The Badr operation was carried out in Hor Al-Azim (Hawizeh Marshes) area, between the southern Majnoon Island and the northern Majnoon Island and near the Tabor area. We settled on martyr Hemet road and started working. The role of Bushehr forces in the preparation of Badr operation was very important and noteworthy. About a month before the operation, they went to the operational area of Hoor and were dispersed in several places.

Some of them were assigned to the 7th Waliasr army and another group went to the Tharullah army. These armies were supposed to carry out operations and our unit had to transport their forces and facilities. Our forces worked sincerely in the worst conditions, day and night. Most of the time, the basic facilities to maintain themselves and their belongings were not available for them and the difficulty of the work was too much.

The Badr operation area was located in the reeds, water and marshes of Hor and the troops were supposed to pass through these difficult areas. The main problem that showed itself in the months before the operation was that reeds had covered the entire operational area. The reeds were covered on the water and this caused the movement of the boat and the float to be difficult. In addition to these forces, after passing through the thick reeds, they reached the enemy's dam and embankments, and in this area, the Iraqis, in order to prevent the passage of our forces, placed many obstacles, including barbed wires, a sun that was composed of several irons that were welded together in a star pattern. They were given and hammered into the ground so that if the boat passes by it, it will hit it and make a hole. A little further, they had planted a mine.

Mines included traps, explosives, and lights. Passing through Hor area had its own problem and special boats were needed to move on the surface of the water. The most important thing was that the crossing of Hor required a waterway. That is, before the operation, some people had to secretly cut the reeds on the surface of the water and open the way for the boats to move. At this point, there were two main problems. One was reed leaves that got stuck in the engine propeller of the boats and caused it to fail. The other was the sound of the boats' engines, which could alert the enemy to the presence of our forces in the area. The reeds were so densely grown that even our divers could not easily pass through them, and had to contend with great difficulty. Also, due to the absence of natural complications in Hor and the surrounding reeds, all areas were the same, which often caused our divers and boaters to lose their original path. Despite all these hardships, only when the reeds were cut and the waterway was prepared, the Iraqi helicopters that regularly patrolled over Hor could see and report the damaged reeds or the waterway. The depth of the hoar was not deep enough for a heavy-capacity vessel to enter, and it was not shallow enough for a person to put his foot on the bottom of the hoar and walk through the water. All in all, there was a special situation in the region that distinguished this operation from other previous operations.

Finally, with all the suffering and hardships, our forces were ready for the operation. The first thing we did in the preliminary stage was to go to Nizar and make observation posts for ourselves in suitable areas. We glued the styrofoam together and made them into a bridge, so that they floated on the water, and built a trench on it. There was no soil to fill sacks, so we had to carry soil with us from a few kilometers away and from within our own border.

On the floating bridges, we made trenches with sacks piled up with dirt. The distance between us and the Iraqis, which were all water and swamps, was 18 to 20 kilometers. Some Iranian units were stationed in the southern and northern Majnoon islands. Others had to cross Hor from the north side of Majnoon Island towards Hoveyzeh.

At night, we connected the floating bridges, which were known as Khyber bridges, and in the morning, we covered the built bridges with straw so that the enemy planes or helicopters would not see the bridges in the morning when they passed over Hor. Next to the bridge and the road, we made a series of "pads" for the trench, emergency room, reconnaissance area, ammunition depot, and observation area. We used to transport the 5th Nasr Division, the Tharullah Division, the 7th Waliasr Division, the Karbala Camp and several other units so that they could use these devices at night.

Another important mission of Amir al-Momenin's (PBUH) sailors, who were mostly from the children of Bushehri, was to transport troops and disembark them on the other side of the water. This was one of the most difficult jobs and it was extremely exhausting. It required a lot of sacrifice and faith, which of course the children of Bushehr had and they did the assigned mission well.

Finally, the Badr operation began at night. On the night of the operation, I was in Najaf camp. All the commanders were also present, including Vahidi brothers, commander of the camp, Morteza Ghorbani and Gholampour brothers. Radios were on in the Najaf camp and the commanders used them to communicate with the units under their command and receive news from moment to moment.

The right side of the operational area was under the responsibility of Imam Hossein's (a.s.) division, and Nasr's 5th division, Waliasr's 7th division, etc. were in charge of the operational axes. The southernmost army was the 41st army of Tharullah.

The operation began, but some units faced difficulty in crossing Hor. That night, some Yaz people got lost in Hur and could not attack the enemy in time. The army of Imam Hossein (PBUH) also found a serious problem and could not break the front line of the enemy. The reason was that Nasr's army could not reach the army of Imam Hussein (PBUH) and join them. Because the operational area was wide, it was expected that the enemy's line would be broken on the first night and the internal forces would advance on the enemy's positions. It was supposed to bring their own forces to the side of the Tigris river the day after the operation. There was a road (pad) of the Iraqis inside Hor, which was on our side and was on the path of the 5th Nasr Division. Due to the resistance of the Iraqi forces stationed on the pad, they could not capture the tip and the first part of the pad and had to attack its side. In the middle of the road, it was taken over by the children. But its tip was still in the hands of the Iraqis who stubbornly resisted. As could be understood from the sound of the wireless, that night some units reached the Tigris River and even crossed it and reached the Al-Amara road to Basra. But some units were still involved in the front lines of the Iraqis.

The weather was slowly getting brighter, but the Iraqi pad was still resisting strongly and stubbornly, so that it was difficult for our forces to pass. Under the fire of the enemy, they moved the troops and brought back the wounded. A few hours after the operation, the enemy started bombing our forces. The peak of the enemy's attacks was mono-chemical, so that the volume of chemical bombing was much higher than normal bombings.

In addition to the front line, the Iraqis bombarded Aqaba and the rear of the front in detail. Because all operational units were on the pad and road, and it was very easy to see their positions from the air, for this reason, the enemy widely attacked our operating forces with chemical attacks and cluster bombardment. Most of the chemical gases used were either mustard gas or blistering gas. In several cases, they used incendiary bombs and burned the reeds. Because the operational area was near the city of Basra, most of the planes that bombarded us took off from Basra and landed at a low altitude, and bombarded our positions with chemical or cluster bombs without any disturbance. The Iraqi helicopters were also harassing our forces with bullets. It was the first time that I closely witnessed chemical bombing by Iraqi planes. The day after the operation, we came to the operation area with a group of commanders to closely follow the operation. To avoid becoming chemical, we used to wear masks and wet our socks and put them on our heads and faces. Due to the chemical gases, my eyes were burning and red, so that I had to put special drops in my eyes.

Due to the huge amount of enemy fire, it was difficult to travel and was accompanied by martyrdom, but the boatmen of Amir al-Momenin (PBUH) brigade bravely and under the direct fire of the enemy went through the hor and the reeds and transferred their own forces from the operational area to the rear of the front. They did, or they brought fresh forces to the line.

During this process, several boats were hit by enemy fire and their helmsmen were martyred. I remember the day when our pier was bombed. Despite the fact that the Iraqi planes were flying overhead and dropping bombs regularly, the boatmen were going into their boats and evacuating the wounded and bringing the troops back or taking ammunition to the people involved. Sometimes it happened that an Iraqi helicopter chased the boats and attacked the children and hit their boat. Due to the resistance of the enemy in some areas and especially the widespread use of chemical weapons by the Iraqis, the Badr operation was stopped until the destruction of the enemy forces, and after two to three days of difficult and ups and downs, the order to withdraw to the previous positions was issued and the forces They returned to the initial line from Hoor. The result of this operation was 3-4 kilometers from Hor, which was captured by Lashkar Nasr forces, and some bridgeheads in some other areas. Thus, the Badr operation ended with the destruction of the enemy force.[2]

 


[1] The Badr operation was a large-scale military operation of the Iranian armed forces during the Iran-Iraq war, which was carried out for 10 days in the Hor Al-Azim region in March 1985, under the command of the IRGC and with the participation of the army's ground forces, against the Iraqi army. Badr operation started on March 19, 1985 and continued until March 29, 1985.

 

[2] Source: A Soldier Forever, the narration of Basij commander Sardar Hossein Kargar, Madanipour, Mohammad, Yahosseini, Seyyed Qassem, Ch 1, 2012, Darianvard Publisher, General Directorate of Preservation of Antiquities and Publication of Sacred Defense Values of Bushehr Province, pp. 146 to 152.

 



 
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