Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Disappearing Divisions - The 64th Infantry Division

In the continuing series of “Disappearing Divisions” we turn to the 64th infantry division in West Azerbaijan, in north-west Iran, which is also being put under the knife of the army's “Samen Alaeme” restructuring plan.

Compared to other divisions, relatively little has been written about the reorganization of the 64th division. The 264th division, based in Salmas, became independent in November 2011, and the 364th brigade, based in Mahabad, followed suit in March 2012. While it is not known exactly when the 164th brigade came into existence in Orumiyeh, it was first mentioned in July 2011, which disrupts the pattern initially observed in the 28th and 21st divisions described previously.

Little more is known about the brigades through reporting beyond that they are “...entirely independent in terms of logistics, and personnel...”. Presumably, a divisional HQ remains in the same manner as the 21st and 28th.

The 164th division, previously based in Orumiyeh, is transitioning its garrison away from the city to free up more of the city core for civilian use. Unfortunately, the location of the new base is not known. Google Earth imagery from August 2010 shows divisional assets including engineering and transport units, the former including ten large bucket loaders, two cranes, three graders, and five more earth-movers of indiscernible type.

  Parade imagery has included M-47 tanks, and while they are not visible on overhead imagery, were likely deployed at company strength judging from what might be their garage.

In September 2005, a handful of towed artillery pieces can be seen on the parade grounds, including four large caliber pieces with towing vehicles, four small caliber guns with split tails, and four slightly smaller towed weapons.

Interestingly, and rather in contrast to other divisions – armored or infantry – five bell-type helicopters are consistently deployed at the base, visible on the parade yard in 2005, 2009, and 2010. At least two of them are 206s, while the other three appear to be larger transport types. Possible applications include air assault, or reconnaissance.

Unfortunately, Google Earth does not provide clear imagery of the 264th brigade in Salmas, though a pair of D-30s have been seen from event photography. Likewise, while parade-imagery is lacking for the 364th brigade in Mahabad, overhead imagery shows a battalion of D-30 guns, as well as a battalion (~18 pieces) of smaller towed weapons.

 Works Cited
Rasht IRNA Article on the 364th brigade
Salmas-AG Article on the 264th Brigade
Ostan-AG Article on Relocation of 64th division out of Oruymiyeh
July 2011 reference to 164th brigade

1 comment:

  1. Mountainous regions nearby, rotary wing aircraft could also provide emergency services.