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Royal Moroccan Army - Order of Battle

Forces Armées RoyalesThe Royal Moroccan Army [Armée marocaine] was the product of almost constant reorganization and expansion since its formation. Many changes had been made as a result of the war in the Western Sahara. The number of battalion-size units was expanded, and brigade-size units were reinstituted as part of the order of battle. Initially three brigades had been established in 1979-80 as task groups to conduct the war against the Polisario more effectively, but the brigades were formalized after Dlimi took control of the Southern Zone. The overwhelming majority of the army — about 120,000 men, or some 80 percent of the army's manned strength — was committed to the Southern Zone in 1985. The Southern Zone included all areas south of Agadir on the Atlantic coast and, inland, all areas south of the ridge of the Ouarkziz Plateau. According to available sources, Moroccan army units committed in the south included four mechanized infantry brigades, nine mechanized infantry regiments, nine artillery groups, four armored groups, four engineer battalions, and a variety of other light and specialized battalions. Each of the mechanized infantry regiments was manned by about 2,000 soldiers, and the armored groups were each equipped with about 50 tanks or heavy armored reconnaissance vehicles. The mechanized infantry brigades, each of which had a strength of about 6,000 men, constituted a strategic reserve behind the front lines. Each brigade was assigned to a specific Western Sahara province and was under the authority of the civilian provincial governor; three brigades were stationed behind the berm in Saguia el Hamra, and the fourth was at Dakhla. Most of the remaining units in the south were deployed in defensive positions along the berm or constituted ready reserves stationed close to the line to bolster the defenses immediately in case of trouble. Very few army units remained outside the Southern Zone in 1985. Perhaps the most prominent was the brigade-size Royal Guard, a descendant of the former sultans' Sharifian Guard. This elite military unit was not assigned combat duties but engaged exclusively in ceremonial and protective duties for the king. At least one battalion of the Royal Guard — whose members were recognizable by their red berets—was supposed to accompany the king at all times when he was on Moroccan soil. Other units operating in the north included the Light Security Brigade, one armored group at Berrechid, one mechanized infantry regiment, one antiaircraft group, and the Parachute Brigade. The antiaircraft group, equipped with guns and surface-to-air missiles, was based at Meknes. The Parachute Brigade, stationed at Rabat, was an elite force that acted mainly as a protective service for the king. The 2,000-man Light Security Brigade, which was considered part of the king's security force, had been deployed as an internal security force in street demonstrations in 1965, 1981, and 1984. By 2015 the Army had two commands: one responsible for the northern zone, or Morocco proper, and the other for the southern zone, or Western Sahara. These commands control three mechanized infantry brigades, one light security brigade, two paratroop brigades, and eight mechanized or motorized infantry regiments. Independent units include one armored battalion, two cavalry battalions, 39 infantry battalions, one mountain infantry battalion, two paratroop battalions, three motorized (camel corps) battalions, nine artillery battalions, seven engineering battalions, one air defense group, and seven commando units.

Morocco's unique military organization Al-Deerk Al-Malaki (Royal Guards) not only protects the monarch but provides security in courts, military policing, port security, and airport security. The 1,500-member Royal Guard has one battalion and one cavalry squadron.

There are only Brigades in the FAR and do not have Divisions or Corps d’Armée, which renders the ranks of Général de Division and Général de Corps d’Armée redundant, if not for prestige and vanity. Furthermore, the FAR Head Quarters hierarchy is in disarray and with no real power, and all decisions of promotions, movement of troops and especially officers have to go through the Commander in Chief of the FAR. Most enlisted personnel serve voluntarily, although conscription is authorized for up to 18 months beginning at age 18. Army reserves are required to serve until age 50.

3 Mechanized Infantry Brigades
2 Parachute Brigades
1 Light Security Brigade
8Mechanized Infantry Regiments (each 2 or 3 infantry battalions)
4 Commando Units
10 Armored Battalions
37 Infantry Battalions (some for training and some at cadre strength)
1 Air Defense Battalion
3 Camel Corps Battalions
1 Mountain Battalion
7 Engineer Battalions
2 Airborne Battalions
12 Artillery Battalions
Armored units were mostly deployed in eastern and southern provinces, all along Algerian border and Moroccan wall. More than 600 tanks were in service: 48 VT-1A (150 purchased), 148 T-72B/BK and 427 M60A3/A3TTS Patton. Some M48 Pattons were retired from active service and stored as reserve with the 1991 cease-fire, the SK-105 Kürassiers had the same fate. In Addition, 200 ex-US refurbished and enhanced M1A1 Abrams were to be delivered in a period of 4 years, as the rest of Chinese tanks, to be delivered totally by 2013.

The line tank Squadrons equiped with their tank variants. All Armor Regiments have, more or less, a total of 50 tanks distributed in 4 Squadrons (HQ, 1st, 2nd and 3rd). With a configuration of: a reduced HQ tank with two to four tanks; and a total of 12 to 15 tanks per squadron with two tanks for the Squadrons HQ section.

Armored Squadron Group (ARG) includes the Squadron Staff and the Group Command Headquarters' Section. The HQ holds all the maintenance assets of the Squadrons consolidated into one large heterogeneous Battalion, each tank Sqdr. Has a maintenance team attached to it for field operations with Recovery Vehicles. A similar arrangement is made with the medical platoon, which consists of stations under Regiment control. Due to the RMA requirments, the Armored Squadrons are composed of MBTs, Light Tanks, Tank Destroyers and Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).

The mechanized brigades and Cavalries, equipped with Light Armored Carrier (LAVs), armored personnel carriers (APCs) or infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) for transport, combat and reccon missions: 1,200 M113 in different variants (M113A1/A1-B/A2 APCs, M106A1/A2 mortar carriers, M163 VADS, M981 FISTV, M901A1, etc.), 60 Ratel 20/90, 395 VAB VCI/VTT, 110 ex-Belgian AIFV, 175 AML 90/60 and 110 AMX 10 RC. Other APCs are part of other corps as the Auxiliary’s UR-416, or the recent purchase of 88 Lenco BearCat for the Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie.

Mechanized Infantry Regiment (RIM) Headquarters and Headquarters battalion includes the Headquarters troop and the Regiment Command Headquarters' Section. The HQ holds all the maintenance assets of the battalions in a large heterogenous Battalion and the command of assigned support companies to the Recon, Artillery. Signals and Communication units are an integrated part of the HQ Battalion.

The Artillery, gouped in GARs, includes Self-Propelled Howitzers, towed Howitzers, MRLS and Air Defense Systems, mortar carriers are part of the RIMs (Mechanized Infantry Regiments). The equipment includes: 248 155mm M109 SPH in different versions, 60 203mm M110A2 SPH, received as EDA from the USA, and 100 155mm Mk F3. Note that only 155mm towed howitzers are deployed all along the Moroccan Wall, wich includes 140 155mm towed howitzers (M198, FH-70, M-1950, M114), and 18 130mm (M1954) and 54 105mm (M101 and L118) deployed in different regions. 2 Battalions of MRLS are also listed as part of RMAs inventory, the first with 36 122mm BM-21 and the second with 36 300mm AR2.

Royal Artillery Group - GAR (Royal Artillery Group) includes the Headquarters troop and the Regiment Command Headquarters' Section. The HQ hold the command of the radar, Counterbattery, Medical, Signals and Communication units are an integrated part of the HQ Battalion. Logistic support (repair and support, ammo, etc.) still under control.

Moroccan Anti-Aircraft Warfare have been based basically on Self Propelled Air Defense Systems, waiting the arrival of MIM-23 Hawk XXI HIMAD SAMs. In its inventory we find 72 MIM-72 Chaparral, 12 Tunguska M1, 90 ZSU-23-4 and 115 M163 VADS, in addition of the K32 Strela-2 MANPADS. Other systems include AAG as M1939 (61-K), ZU-23-2 or M167 VADS, usually mounted on different type of vehicles.

The structure of Air Defense Batteries depends on the assigned units. The basic air defense unit is typically a battery with 2 to 12 guns or missile launchers, fire control elements and support units. These batteries, particularly with guns, usually deploy in a small area, although batteries may be split; this is usual for some missile systems. SHORAD missile batteries often deploy across an area with individual launchers several kilometers apart. When MANPADS is operated by specialists from an infantry unit, batteries may have several teams deployed in small sections; self-propelled air defense guns may deploy in pairs. Batteries are usually grouped into battalions or equivalent. In the field army Self-propelled gun or SHORAD battalions are often assigned to a Brigade size unit (BRB pe) or other Regiments (Cavalry).

Bataillon d'Infanterie en secteur BIS Sector Infantry Battalion Fortified, Barracks and Caserns.
Bataillon d'Infanterie de Garnison BIGGarrison Infantry Battalion Attached to military bases for protection.
Bataillon Léger de Sécurité BLS Light Security Battalion Attached to military bases and national interest places for security.
Bataillon d'infantrie parachutiste BIPParachute Infantry Battalion Specialized in parachuting.
Bataillon d'Infanterie AeroPortée BIAP Airborne Infantry Battalion Set up to be deployed by any type of aircraft.
Bataillon Leger d'Intervention Rapide BLIR Quick Response Battalion Quick and direct action for any event.
Bataillon des Skieurs BS Skiers Battalion Specialized in mountainous and arctic conditions.

The organization of the Infantry Brigades and Battalions depends on it's mission. There are different organizations where they are attached, their mission and their assignments. Light infantry Brigades are usually organized in 2-5 Infantry battalions with attached anti-tank companies with ATGMs missiles, recon troops, batteries of towed artillery. The brigade will also have support and special forces for CS (Combat Support). These 2 battalions will have such support as signal, intelligence, military police, combat engineers, transportation, quartermaster (supply), maintenance, and medical. Light infantry Battalions consists of a platoon, with a scout platoon, a flat platoon, and a platoon.

Units from Light Infatry Battalions may be attached to Mechanized Infantry and Armor when deployed as Brigade. Known Familiar Tactic Intervention Groups (GTI) and Royal Armored Brigade (BRB). During the Sahara War, Divisions were created, but there is no such configuration. The exact number of Brigades and Regiments is Secret.

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Page last modified: 07-08-2018 23:35:09 ZULU