I also did this write up.
58th Commando Infantry Division
Based out of Dezful, the troops of this division wear the duck hunter camo similar to AUSCAM, and are immediately identifiable by it. Armour is not apparent beyond the simple steel helmet most often covered by a camouflaged cover and less often, netting. Support weaponry at the squad level is the MG-3 and RPG, with the exception of the ranger brigade using the PKM. The individual rifle is the AK-47, though very rarely a unit has been seen with a G3 bearing the distinctive qualities of this division.
The 58th is highly mechanized making extensive use of the BTR-60’s in Iranian service. The same holds true for, trucks, jeeps and motor cycles, the latter often deployed from helicopters. BMP-2’s may be deployed also, however it is unclear whether this is the case, or if the 58th was simply acting in close support of the 92nd Armoured Division.
We know that the 2nd brigade of this division has the following composition:
- 3 Infantry commando battalions
- 1 Air defence battalion
- 1 Artillery battalion
- 1 Instruction battalion
Another fact we know is that Iranian divisions tend to be ‘light’ in the sense that they’re usually smaller then their western equivalents. Given this, we can extrapolate this data to the rest of the division, and it is likely that the rest of division looks something like this:
- 9 Infantry commando battalions
- 3 Air defence battalion
- 3 Artillery battalion
- 3 Instruction battalion
28th and 64th Infantry Divisions
Based in the Kermanshah province and Tabriz respectively. Very little information is available at this time. The only possible hint came during Sacred Defence Week 2008, when a parade took place in the greater “Tabriz-Zanjan-Hamedan” area. This means that troops visible could have come from either the 28th or 64th, or even the local garrisons. However the troops that were the average soldiers in the Army, wearing woodland BDU’s, and carrying G3 rifles, and rode in jeeps with recoilless rifles, in other words no distinguishing features whatsoever.
30th Infantry Division
Based out of Gorgan. Like the 28th and 54th, not a lot of information on these troops are available, primarily because they’ve never been glimpsed in exercises. However, there are more definitive pictures of them on parade, albeit if only be a little. From what is available however, we can tell that they use the newer Safir’s rather then the older Jeeps. Artillery support is given by M-46 towed gun.
77th Infantry Division
Based near Mashhad, the 77th is your generic infantry within the army, wearing woodland fatigues and carrying G3 rifles, however they can be identified to an extend because they commonly wear orange neck scarves on parade. This division also has a number of M-47 tanks to act as support, the exact number is not known, but i estimate it to be around 20 or 30.
23rd Commando Division
Based out of Tehran, they are perhaps one of the most elite organizations in the Artesh, they are also one of the more elusive, and they are rarely ever seen except for on parade a few times per year. This division is almost entirely volunteers, with no conscripts ensuring a high degree of professionalism. They are identifiable by their top-notch equipment by Artesh standards, notably, desert dominant safariflage, body armour, Kevlar helmets, and newly manufactured G3 rifles. They do have a distinctive patch on the upper right arm, though unfortunately it is never visible enough to give proper identification, it is possible there is a parachute on the patch indicating that they are an airborne division, but at this point, due to the image quality, that is no more then a stab in the dark. Equipment wise, as mentioned above they are never without full body armor, as well as collapsible stock G3 rifles. As far as support weaponry goes it is most commonly RPG’s and PKM at the squad level. Use of motor bikes is the only proven vehicle use as of yet
55th Airborne Brigade:
The 55th airborne brigade is based out of Shiraz. Identifiable via the duck hunter camo, a black beret and two distinctive patches on the right upper arm, visible below. They are occasionally visible wearing body armour. They are armed with G3 rifles. They jump, most likely out of the C-130H’s seen in Shiraz.
65th Airborne Operations Brigade:
Another famous unit, they are visible due to their use of safariflage DPM pattern camouflage. They wear a tactical vest and a green beret. The patch of the 65th is a dagger and golden wing superimposed over a green parachute and is located on the left shoulder. As for weapons, the MPT-9S (collapsible stock MP5) is standard, replacing the older uzi. Assault rifles are extremely rare, occasionally using a folding stock AK-47. Support weaponry, specifically the PKM, is equally rare.
Zahedan Commando Brigade:
Easily confused with the 58th commando division, but a smaller brigade was seen on parade in Zahedan and during the 2006 Blow of Zolfaqar games, wearing the tan beret, and commando patch associated with the independent commando units. They also had used the AK-47 and duck-hunter camp in the same manner as the 58th commando division. This unit works closely with the local IRIAA contingent, often using the CH-47 for airlifts and the AH-1 for CAS.
Continuing with armor....
Starting off, i'd like to make a point, that it might be possible to identify infantry support battalions within the armored divisions, during parade by looking for red berets and neck scarves, i'm not entirely sold on this theory yet, but its definitly a possibility
92nd Armour Division
The 92nd armour division is one of the shining features of the conventional Iranian arsenal. This is evident, if only by its stationing in Ahvaz, the crucial town along the southern border with Iraq. In comparison to the hodge-podge nature of Iranian armour elsewhere, the 92nd has fared relatively well, being at full divisional strength rather then the ‘light’ divisions found elsewhere.
The division itself frequently conducts war games and exercises indicating a high level of training within the division. Luckily for us that mean that there are also lots of good images to analyze.
The armour itself is composed of T-72 tanks painted in a stripe brown pattern. The T-72’s used are probably T-72S’s, rather then the lower quality T-72M1’s, but there is no way of confirming this as the Iranians have added ERA to both models. These tanks are supported by BMP-2’s painted in a similar manner as well as a very small number of BMP-1’s, though it is possible they have been completely phased out by now.. M60 tanks also appear to be deployed in this division, but when they are, they are deployed as second-line armour, usually only in the infantry support role rather then as armour. There are often static defensive positions along the border serving as fortified firing positions.
Speaking of infantry, there appears to be a very large infantry portion of this division, likely due to the fact that there is not a dedicated infantry division located immediately adjacent to them. They wear US-style woodland BDU's and M1 helmets, normally without covers, though sometimes with netting and more recently, painted in camouflage, often garishly like, though not quite rivalling, the paint on the Tosan, Zulfiqar, and Safir. Individual weaponry includes both the AK-47 and the G3, though by far the latter is most common and is regulated by unit. Squad support weaponry is most likely the PKM, though not much information is available on it, it is most likely deployed at a lesser rate then to the. Recoilless rifles and 107 mm rockets are deployed fairly frequently; often in conjunction with Jeeps. The infantry are occasionally supported with M113 and BTR APC’s, both with and without TOW’s. Overall quality of the equipment within the infantry support seems to be lower then of those within the dedicated infantry divisions, for instance, their rifles tend to be older models, their uniforms are second hand and they use older Jeep’s instead of the Safir.
Artillery support within the division is provided the M109, note, most likely not the Raad-2, also used are the towed M-46 130 mm artillery piece and Grad or Arash 122 mm rockets.
MANPAD’s such as the newer Misagh-2 and older Misagh-1 as well as zu-23-2’s, both towed and mounted on trucks, provide embedded anti-aircraft support, though there are dedicated air-defence battalions existing, utilizing, at minimum, the HAWK system.
These are divided into three brigades, but it is unclear how it is divided further.
81st Armour Division
Based out of Kermanshah. No further information available.
16th Armour Division
Based out of Qazvin, base is located north of the city, about 3-4 km. No further information is available.
88th Armour Division
The 88th armoured division, based out of Zahedan in the south-east of the country is definitely the runt of the litter when it comes to Iranian armour. As its stuck defending the sparsely inhabited Sistan-Baluchistan Province near Pakistan instead of the Iraq border or Tehran, it receives the worst of the equipment and participates in less training exercises per year. As such it is stuck with about and 50 M-48A5’s and an unspecified number of M-47M’s, It is likely the number is somewhere around 80 out of the remaining 100 M-47’s, with the remainder being stationed with the 77th Infantry division near Mashhad, though it is impossible to confirm the exact numbers.
This would mean that it would be an extremely light division, being only around 130 tanks total.
Extrapolating this further we only get, two half-strength tank battalions. This is extremely week for an entire division, but keep in mind that this units main enemy are poorly armed Sunni-rebels. The terrain also is extremely rugged, unsuitable for large armored formations.
They are supported by a small amount of BMP's.
Infantry support within the division is much like that in the 92nd, generic army infantry with woodland camouflage uniforms and G3 rifles, MG-3’s and RPG’s. They also work closely with the Zahedan commando division.