Monday, September 16, 2013

72nd Independent Mechanized Infantry Brigade

Note: "(_)" corresponds to numbered map inlays, while "[_]" correspond to end-notes.

Another brigade with little written about it, is the 72nd independent mechanized-infantry brigade stationed in Iran's south-western Khuzestan province.

While one July 2011 report from 'Oromiyeh Sport' describes the brigade as being based in the city of Susengard, this is unlikely given that there are no significant garrisons close to the city. [1] On the other hand, a March 2013 report from IRNA indicated that the brigade is based in Andimeshk, north of Dezful. [2] Furthermore, an autobiographical account by Brigadier General 2nd Class Mehboob Qurbani – the former commander of the brigade – places the brigade in the Dokooheh Garrison just north of Andimeshk, which is backed up by user annotations on Wikimapia. [3] [4]

During the Iran-Iraq war, this garrison was a major base for IRGC units, including the 27th division, and the 7th, 8th, 14th and 17th brigades. [5] Today, the garrison's functions include use as a war-memorial and is included as a stop-over point for the 'Rahin-e Noor' (path of light) tours, which gives citizens an opportunity to visit battlefields.

Available Google Earth imagery dates from October 2010 (in select portions only) May 2012 (black and white) and April 2013 (color), and available Bing imagery dates from sometime before, but close to, May 2012.

Located along the north-south Road 37, a handful of military compounds are located on either side of the road, which may be administratively part of, or distinct from, the Dokooheh garrison. These include a munitions depot with hardened-shelters and revetted storage facilities. Opposite the garrison, on the eastern side of the highway is a major compound under construction, whose purpose and ownership is unknown.

The first of the compounds linked with the brigade, labeled 'northern facility' on the above map - includes barracks for at least eight companies worth of soldiers. Four of these 'T'-shaped buildings, along with smaller ancillary buildings, are clustered around a respective 'H'-shaped headquarters. (1) [6]

Observable assets at this base include nine BTR-60s and 11 tanks (likely T-72s) in proximity to covered vehicle garages, both of which are roughly equal to one companies worth of vehicles (2). There is a moderate-to-high probability that there are several M113/M577 command vehicles. It's noteworthy that the imagery of the BTR-60s are among the clearest on Google Earth, clearly showing their pointed noses, sloped/ squared rear ends, and the shadow from the skewed-forward turret*.

* - Iranian BTR-60PBs have been seen armed with both a turret-mounted 14.5 mm KPV and pintle-mounted 12.7 mm DShK. It's possible the latter is responsible for the distinct shadowing. The following image is from Dezful's Army Day 2013 celebrations, which may show BTR's belonging to the 72nd MIB; note the same light-sand paint scheme. However, since the parade also featured units from the 292nd AB, confirmation is impossible. Note the M577s in the distant background.

While both Bing and GE show M109 SPGs on the edge of the parade-yard, the Bing imagery shows them at full battalion strength. (3) Unlike other M109 battalions in Iran, each battery has a strength of five, rather than four guns, giving a total strength of 15 guns/Bn.

To the south of the northern facility is a secondary cluster of buildings with a greater number of armored vehicles, including 22 M113 APCs (4) and around 40 mixed AFVs of an indeterminate type (5, 6). Although this case-study will be explored – and hopefully resolved – later in a series on armor identification, the working assumption is that they are assigned to mechanized infantry battalions; the other alternative is that some of them are Boragh AMVs that belong to combat-support units.

One possibility is that the M113s and BTRs comprise a mixed-battalion with two companies of the former, and one company of the latter, with a total strength of around 30 APCs, with the total varying according to unit readiness at any given time.


Though not strictly linked with the brigade per se, the presence of Rahin-e Noor facilities in the garrison means more than a handful of private pictures are available on the internet.
GE / Various Private Pictures

Cites and Footnotes
[1] (July 6, 2011) -
[2] (March 21, 2013) (cached) -
[3] (Jan 28, 2013)
[4] -
[5] -
[6] – Identification of buildings based on Wikimapia user annotions on the new Birjand training garrison, which give clues to basic layout and role of buildings.