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The Iraqi army was in combat against the Iranians for 8 years and developed into a battle-hardened force capable of conducting effective offensive and defensive operations. The Iraqi army polished it offensive capability, achieving good results during final operations against the Iranians.

The maneuver brigades, (armor, mechanized infantry and infantry) are the lowest units capable of independent operations. A combat brigade, coupled with additional artillery, rocket, aviation, and air defense support from division and higher commands, makes a powerful battlefield force.

An elite force, the Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC) was initially organized to protect the Iraqi government. Later, this force was employed in highly successful offensive operations against the Iranians. Recently, brigades of the republican guards conducted the blitz-style attack into Kuwait.

Unit Structures

The maneuver brigade organizations show the traditional Iraqi army brigades, and the brigades of the RGFC. Although most Iraqi maneuver brigades well balanced, the republican guard brigades are larger and equipped with better and more powerful weapons. Patches and unit markings may be removed, altered, or changed as part of deception operations.

Army Armored Brigade (6K)

Army Mechanized Infantry Brigade(6K)

Army Infantry Brigade (6K)

Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC) Armored Brigade (8K)

Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC) Mechanized Brigade (7K)

Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC) Infantry Brigade (5K)


Combined arms formation common

Infantry and engineers lead through minefields

Clear and open terrain ... tanks lead

Broken terrain or mines and obstacles ... infantry leads

Artillery prep...

  • 45-60 minutes before assault
  • Then shifts to deep targets
  • Chemical weapons often mixed with prep

Enemy reinforcements attacked by air and artillery

Attack attempt to bypass strong points

Envelopment preferred

Vertical envelopment may support attack

Naval infantry may provide amphibious support

Attack helicopter techniques ... three-aircraft team

  • Battle captain in HIND directs:
    • Gazelle armed with HOT missiles
    • BO-105 armed with rockets

HINDS deployed in groups of four or more to:

  • Loft rockets from low altitude
  • Pop-up and engage from multiple directions


Security zone forward of FLOT

Recon units reinforced by infantry and artillery

Strong forward defensive positions

Defense in depth ... obstacles in depth

Maximum use of natural and manmade obstacles

Minefields cover forward positions

  • Up to 350 meters deep
  • Mix normally three APs and one AT per cluster
  • Mixed with barbed wire

Maximum use of tank ditches and beams

Tank-heavy reserve used for counterattack

ATGMs deployed forward

Tanks are forward when needed in antitank role

Iraqi antitank tactics

  • Channel enemy tanks to open areas
  • Employ antitank weapons in depth
  • Commandos in rear area ambush tanks

Brigade Position Defense (16K)

Battalion-size Triangular Strongpoint (10K)

Table of Contents
Airland Battle: Command and Control
The Iraqi Threat: Equipment

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