Wednesday, September 12, 2012

130th IIB

 Stylistic note: Since I've used a numbering system (i.e (1), (2), (3)) for both footnotes, and for annotating GE Imagery, I'd better codeify a new way to use them. Footnotes are designated by - unsuprisingly - the label "Footnote" inside the parenthesis, while the imagery annotations will not. The annotations will also likely all be grouped in the same location and be fairly self-evident


The newly-formed 130th independent infantry brigade (IIB) is one of the byproducts of the Army's 2011/2012 reorganization. Originally attached to the 30th infantry division (ID), the 130th IIB is based out of the city of Bojnourd in the North Khorasan province; its base located in the north-central part of the city itself. This means the brigade falls into the Army's eastern theater of operations tasked with defending Iran's Afghan/Pakistan border. 

According to General Pourdastan, current commander of the Artesh's ground forces, this reorganization was aimed at increasing the brigades "agility". (Footnote 1) Operationally, we can make several guesses about this brigade's operational role. Lacking any apparent mechanization, this infantry-centric brigade would likely be deployed in maneuver warfare to secure and hold territory in support of vanguard units like the 38th IAB. This operational theory contextualizes Pourdastan's comment on the brigade's improvided flexability. Located in Bojnourd, this brigade would be the best well-suited to be transformed into a rapid reaction force (the 30th ID's other two brigades can be found further west in Gorgan and Sari). Giving them the ability to support their own forces rather than wait on divisional logistics could drastically affect mobilization time.

While details remain unknown, at the most general level this reorganization would entail the pushing of divisional assets downward. Because the brigade is now operating independently, it must be capable of providing all of its own maintenance, logistical, and other support capability below the theater-level. Pourdastan obliquely confirms this when he talks about the addition and subtraction of units. On one level, we are likely to see an increase in the amount of firepower directly available to the brigade. Some possibilities might include the addition of Zu-23-2 batteries, towed gun batteries, and anti-tank companies. Logistically, the brigade would have to duplicate their battlefield supply chain in addition to their peace-time facilities for training, maintenance, and so forth. This might manifest itself in battalion sized signal and material support battalions where companies might have been found before. It must be emphasized that any descriptor of unit size (Bn, Co, etc) is largely speculative on my part, but should illustrate the situation nonetheless.

As of July 2009, very little can be observed with satellite imagery that would help fill out an ORBAT (especially since it dates since before the reorganization). The base itself is rather small, which may suggest there is additional off-site facilities. Indeed, there is a military facility about 8 km north-west of the city, but this cannot be tied to the 130th IIB, and may very well be an IRGC facility. At any rate, the base inside the city can be tentatively identified as such since the main entry-control-point (ECP) (1) can be seen in images accompanying news footage of the base dedication along with the adjacent building. (2)

The few visible assets include a battalion of towed guns with three batteries of six, five, and six guns respectively; they are likely D-30s in travel-configuration M-101s. (3) The only other thing of note in the motor pool are the soft-skinned trucks of the 5-ton and lighter types. (4) Assuming there is no depot elsewhere, this lack of even basic mechanization drives home just how light many of Iran's infantry divisions are.


1 comment:

  1. Me and my friends read your stuff regularly. Do not underestimate the job you're doing for the rest of us in this regard.

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