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Nebuchadnezzar Division (Mechanized)

The heroic names of some of the Republican Guard units underscores their elite character. The Nebuchadnezzar Motorized Division [Nabu Khuth Nussar] is named after Nebuchadnezzar II, the 2nd king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (605-562 BC). The Babylonian form of the name is Nabu-kudurri-usur, the second part of which is variously interpreted ("O Nebo, defend my crown", or "tiara", "empire", "landmark", "work"). The original has been more or less defaced in the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin transliterations, from which are derived the modern English forms, Nabuchodonosor, Nebuchadnezzar, and Nebuchadrezzar.

Nebuchadnezzar II is especially known for his conquest of Jerusalem and for the rebuilding of Babylon. His long reign of forty-three years (c. 605-562 B.C.) marks the zenith of the grandeur reached by the short-lived second Babylonian Empire. The many inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar that have come to light during the last century speak almost exclusively of his building activities at Babylon and other places; only a few historical texts deal with events of his reign. There is scarcely a place around Babylon where his name does not appear and where traces of his activity are not found. He is mentioned first in the Babylonian Chronicle as commander of a separate army during the 19th regnal year of his father Nabopolassar (607 BC). After the Cimmerians and Scythians were definitively crushed, all his expeditions were directed westwards. Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem after a siege of over 2 years, in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, that is, in the summer of 586 BC. He destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple and deported the majority of the remaining population to Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar is perhaps best known for his elaborate Babylonian building projects. This king created the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, a terraced garden supposedly built to remind Nebuchadnezzar's wife of her mountainous homeland. The Ishtar Gate was another of Nebuchadnezzar's great accomplishments. It was located near the Hanging Gardens and decorated with reliefs of various creatures, including dragons and bulls.

As related in the book of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were worked as administrators in Babylon under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar. The king set up an image of gold and ordered that everyone would bow down and worship it, or else be cast into a fiery furnace. The king's men cast the three into the furnace, but the Lord had sent an angel to protect them. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, they were unhurt and their clothes weren't even singed.

On August 2, 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait. The Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar Republican Guard Divisions attacked from the north down the Basra highway, while the Medina and Tawakalna Republican Guard Divisions attacked from the west across the Wadi al-Batin. The operation was planned in detail and well organized. The Iraqis had used four Republican Guard divisions to seize Kuwait. By early September 1990 these divisions had returned to their preinvasion locations in southeastern Iraq and less-capable Army divisions had been deployed to replace them.

During the Gulf War the envelopment and destruction of Republican Guard units was a high priority of Coalition planners. On 26 February the XVIII Airborne Corps units turned their attack northeast and entered the Euphrates River valley. With the French and the American 101st and 82d Airborne Divisions protecting the west and north flanks, the American 24th Division spearheaded Luck's attack into the valley. The first obstacle was the weather. An out-of-season shamal in the objective area kicked up thick clouds of swirling dust that promised to give thermal-imaging equipment a rigorous field test through the day. After refueling in the morning, all three brigades of the 24th moved out at 1400 toward the Iraqi airfields at Jabbah and Tallil. In these attacks the 24th encountered the heaviest resistance of the war. The Iraqi 47th and 49th Infantry Divisions, the Nebuchadnezzar Division of the Republican Guard, and the 26th Commando Brigade took heavy fire but stood and fought. The 1st Brigade took direct tank and artillery fire for four hours. For the first time in the advance the terrain gave the enemy a clear advantage. The 24th Division troops found Iraqi artillery and automatic weapons dug into rocky escarpments reminiscent of the Japanese positions in coral outcroppings on Pacific islands that an earlier generation of 24th Infantry Division soldiers had faced. But Iraqi troops were not as tenacious in defense as the Japanese had been, and the 24th had much better weapons than its predecessors. American artillery crews located enemy batteries with their Firefinder radars and returned between three and six rounds for every round of incoming. With that advantage, American gunners destroyed six full Iraqi artillery battalions. In the dust storm and darkness, American technology gave the US forces a clear advantage. Tank, infantry fighting vehicle, and attack helicopter crews worked so well together that they could spot and hit Iraqi tanks at ranges over 3500 meters long before the Iraqis saw them.

As of February 1997 it was reported that the Republican Guard Nebuchadnezzar Division was deployed in the Zurbatya, Badra, and Jassan areas, opposite Kut and towards the Iranian border.

As of early 1999 the "Nebuchadhnasser" Forces Command (Quwat Nebuchadhnasser Hares Jimhouri), under the command of the Al-Fathul Mubeen Forces-Southern Corps, was based in Kirkuk.

Opposition sources claimed in January 1999 that the losses inflicted on Saddam's regime during Operation "Desert Fox" included 113 killed among officers and other ranks with 181 wounded. 23 artillery canons of varying ranges were destroyed. The Al-Hamzeh armory belonging to the "Nebuchadhnasser" Forces was destroyed containing 350 assault rifles and 1240 crates of ammunition. 6 155-mm canons were destroyed. 3 launchers for SAM and Roland missiles were destroyed. As a result of these strikes, the 22 and 23 brigades of the "Nebuchadhnasser" Forces were withdrawn from the town of Dibis near Kirkuk because they sustained heavy losses in personnel, weapons and equipment. They were later reconstituted.



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