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Such was the daunting challenge faced by the World War I battlefield commanders at all levels. The first of these paradigm shifts was the transition from human and animal muscle power to machine power as the primary motive force in war. The horse had dominated the battlefield for thousands of years, providing speed and mobility to the cavalry and draft power for transport and logistics. And although horses played a major role throughout World War I, their days were clearly numbered by The transition to mechanical motive power did not occur all at once, of course, but it reached full maturity during World War I.
The transition started with the invention of the steam engine and railroads during the 19 th century, but it went into high gear with the development of the internal combustion engine at the end of the century. By the military technologies based on the internal combustion engine were starting to mature with the introduction of the tank and heavier-than-air combat aircraft.
The aircraft ushered in the second major paradigm shift, the transition from two-dimensional to three-dimensional warfare. Up to that point battles had been fought on two-dimensional planes, although any piece of high ground on that plane gave an advantage to the side holding it. Now, aircraft made the sky itself the new high ground, and it was no longer sufficient to dominate the horizontal space within the range of your weapons. You also had to control the sky above you, or you would be vulnerable to deadly attack from the air.
The problem of control of the air also extended to the battle at sea, but there the introduction of the submarine extended the battle space below the surface as well as above it. The combination of submarines and naval aircraft quickly made the heavy-gun ship-of-the-line — the battleship — obsolete. The third paradigm shift was the introduction of depth. Throughout history most battles were fought and decided at the line of contact.
Now, with the advent of aircraft, long-range artillery , fire-control technologies to engage accurately targets far beyond the line of sight of the gun crews, and target-acquisition technologies capable of accurately locating deep targets, it became possible to attack an enemy force deep in its vulnerable rear areas, rather than just along the hardened defenses of its front line.
Now, the combat problem became one of striking at the enemy simultaneously along his front and deep in his rear, while defending simultaneously along your own front and the vulnerable and critical installations in your own rear. Thus, warfare between and became an extremely complicated business. And they all had to be coordinated and synchronized. Modern communication technologies played a major role in making all that possible, but rapid communications and mobility also speeded-up the process, cutting down the reaction times and the time available for the decision cycles.
If warfare before was like a standard chess game, warfare since World War I has been like a multi-level chess game where each player moves ten, fifteen, or even twenty pieces at the same time. World War I was history's first high-tech war. The first wave ushered in breech-loading, rifled weapons of increased firing speed and accuracy. The second wave brought smokeless powder, repeating rifles, machine guns , rapid-firing artillery, and the internal combustion engine.
All of these changes came together during World War I to create a technological perfect storm. The new technologies, which dramatically increased the tempo and lethality of combat operations, also made coordination between the various arms infantry, cavalry, artillery, etc.
All sides in had difficulties coping with and integrating the new technologies, but especially the Germans. Despite their impressive tactical and organizational innovations later during World War I, the German army remained handicapped by an institutional bias against many of the technical possibilities, and pursued instead largely tactical solutions to most of the problems of the modern battlefield. The moral forces in the breast of the commander and in the soul of the entire people are the qualities which have finally turned the scales in war.
Nonetheless, other German analysts correctly identified the problem. The report of one of the post-war study commissions established by General Hans von Seeckt criticized the German General Staff for having too many tacticians but not enough technicians. The Germans sorely lacked weapons specialists who really understood both the tactical effects and the limitations of current technology.
The Germans, of course, were not completely hostile to the new military technologies. In some areas, they were significantly ahead of the Allies. Most of those areas fell into the realm of firepower—field artillery, heavy artillery, mortars, machine guns. The mobility area was where they seem to have had the greatest shortcomings, which is somewhat ironic considering their exploitation of the railroad during the later 19 th century.
During the years between the two world wars the various armies of the world adopted modern technologies at varying rates. The U. Despite their embrace of the tank, the German army overall was still heavily dependent on horses right through , as was the Soviet army. The two basic elements of combat power are firepower and maneuver. Firepower produces the kinetic energy effect that destroys, neutralizes, or suppresses an objective.
Maneuver is movement throughout the battle space to gain positional advantage. The two complement each other. The side with greater positional advantage can position its firepower to better effect; and the side with superior firepower can better support its maneuver element. Over the course of military history, these two elements have been locked in a cyclical struggle for dominance.
Rarely has one gained dominance over the other, or held it for very long. But in the seventy or so years before the start of World War I, firepower technology had advanced much farther and faster than mobility technology. Bolt-action rifles, machine guns, and rapid-firing artillery had increased drastically the rates of fire, but battlefield mobility still plodded along at the speed of a man or a horse. That would begin to change by , with the emergence of combat aircraft, the tank, and the increased use of motor vehicles.
By , the balance between fire and maneuver was almost restored, which largely explains why World War II did not bog down in trench warfare. But, for most of World War I, maneuver in the face of such overwhelming firepower became almost suicidal. The result was trench warfare.
Neither side anticipated or planned for anything like the long and drawn-out static warfare that actually developed, but many military thinkers did recognize the basic problems of modern warfare. In his five-volume book published in , the Polish civilian banker Jan Bloch argued that modern weaponry made offensive maneuver all but impossible. There was no common consensus for a solution to the problem of fire and maneuver. Many planners, likewise, recognized that any war on the Continent would be a long one, rather than the short and decisive war everyone hoped for.
The large numbers of troops committed at the start of the war quickly created a massive force density along the German, French, and Belgian borders, leaving little room for maneuver and no open flanks to exploit. That problem was compounded by the firepower-maneuver disconnect. The Wars of German Unification ended in , and from then until there had been no major wars in western or central Europe. During that same period, the vast technological improvements in weapons resulted in greatly increased range, accuracy, volume of fire, and lethality that placed the soldier in the open at a distinct disadvantage to the soldier fighting from a protected position.
During the early battles of August and September , there was a great deal of attempted maneuver. But, as both sides groped across the battlefield searching open flanks that did not exist, firepower took its grim toll. The troops themselves soon realized the near impossibility of survival on the surface of the earth. Soldiers on all sides hated and still hate the spade, but the overwhelming volumes firepower forced them to dig.
As the war continued, these defenses became more elaborate and semi-permanent. The Eastern Front never quite solidified into the static and rigid network of trenches and fortifications so typical of the Western Front. While the problem on the Western Front was too many forces in too little space, the problem on the Eastern Front was just the opposite. The flat terrain and open spaces in the east, combined with the increased firepower yet very limited mobility of the World War I armies, resulted in the Eastern Front's own brand of stagnation.
Many professional soldiers clung to the belief that aggressive spirit was the only way the attacker could overcome modern firepower. The cult of the offensive became a substitute for any coherent system of tactical doctrine. The military tacticians of the period, therefore, concentrated on ways to restore the old paradigm, failing to understand that the central paradigm of war itself had shifted.
War was no longer a contest between two opposing forces of blood, muscle, and bayonets, but now a struggle between two armies consisting of machines. The most important human roles in warfare were now the operation and direction of those machines. Gone forever were the days when massed infantry alone, attacking with bayonets could win battles. The greatly improved range, accuracy, and rates of fire of artillery created serious challenges for coordinating its fires with the infantry on the battlefield.
Indirect fire techniques, which allowed guns to engage targets far beyond the line of sight of their crews, combined with the still primitive communications systems, made close support of the infantry very difficult the farther the attack advanced from the line of departure. Radio was still in its infancy.
The telephone worked well enough in defensive situations, but during an attack, messengers were the only way to send and receive requests for fire support and corrections. That sometimes took hours, assuming the messengers survived to get through. One solution to the problem was to advance the artillery fire on a pre-set schedule, controlled by phase lines on the map.
That technique evolved into the creeping barrage, with the attacking infantry trained to follow closely behind the moving wall of their own artillery fire. Infantry commanders were ordered to keep their lead troops as close as possible to the advancing barrage, even though they almost certainly sustained casualties from friendly fire in the process.
The underlying assumption was that the closer the infantry hugged to the back of the barrage, the less time the defending enemy would have to recover and react when the leading attack wave reached the objective. Creeping barrages, phase lines, and rigid firing schedules, however, completely subordinated the infantry advance to the artillery plan. But, the communications systems of the period were inadequate for greater centralization of control, resulting in slower response times.
Thus, front line infantry commanders had no alternative but to ignore terrain in their planning, and they had less and less control of their immediate tactical situations. By the middle of the war, the basic principles of battlefield maneuver had largely been forgotten. Attack planning was reduced to fixed sets of mathematical formulae, a function of the numbers of heavy guns, machine guns, and riflemen per hundred meters of front in the primary attack sector, and the number of rounds to be fired during the artillery preparation.
By that stage of the attack, the leading infantry elements were totally spent and they did not have the mechanical means of mobility to continue the advance. The supporting artillery too was most likely firing at the maximum limit of its range, and did not have the mechanical means to displace forward. For the attack to continue, therefore, fresh infantry units had to be moved up and the artillery somehow had to be brought forward over the shattered and broken ground, littered with the refuse of war.
The only way for the infantry to move was by foot, and the artillery could only move with horses, which could only be worked so hard and were extremely vulnerable to enemy fire. While that was going on, the defender, who was operating within his own lines, was able to reinforce the threatened area much more quickly by taking advantage of the roads and rail networks in his own rear area.
By mid, many Allied commanders had realized that decisive penetration was no longer possible. The mission of these special groups was to infiltrate into the German lines ahead of the main attack, locate and neutralize the deadly German machine guns, and even probe deeply enough to disrupt the German artillery.
Laffargue's pamphlet at first did not get much serious attention from the British and French armies. The Germans, however, translated and printed a captured copy during the summer of Captain Wilhelm Rohr was one of the major German pioneers in the development of new offensive tactics.
By the end of , each German field army had an assault battalion that functioned as a training cadre. The storm battalions were one of the earliest forms of a true combined arms task force. Typically, their structure included three to four infantry companies; a trench mortar company; an accompanying artillery battery; a flamethrower section; a signal section; and a pioneer combat engineer section. Rohr's infiltration tactics, developed largely in a counterattack role, were eventually adopted as official German attack doctrine on the Western Front.
In September , the Germans successfully used the new tactics for the first time on a large scale at the Battle of Riga, on the Eastern Front. Instead of the typical attack formations of rigid lines advancing at a fixed pace, the German Eighth Army of General Oskar von Hutier attacked in fluid leaps and bounds. One element moved forward while a supporting element provided fire cover.
Then the two elements reversed roles and leapfrogged each other. Rather that being thrown in where an attack was faltering, reserves were committed only to reinforce and exploit success. The Germans used similar tactics during their successful attack at Caporetto the following month. The results of those two battles shocked the Western Allies, although for some time they failed to grasp the underlying tactical principles. The Germans used storm-troop tactics on a large scale for the first time on the Western Front during their counterattack at Cambrai on 30 November The new doctrine organized the attack into two principal phases.
It was followed by an aggressive exploitation of the attack characterized by decentralized execution and initiative on the part of the subordinate commanders. This phase began in the intermediate zone, beyond the range of the creeping barrage, substituting shock and audacity for fire support. The new doctrine was based on infantry-artillery coordination, with artillery neutralization fire emphasized over destruction.
The intent was to disrupt the enemy's communications, and bypass and isolate his strong points. The new tactics represented key conceptual shift from destruction to large-scale disruption. Because firepower mechanization was so much more advanced than mobility mechanization, artillery dominated World War I as no other war in history. Artillery turned into a blunt instrument for hammering large sections of ground.
The main functions of artillery on the battlefield became destruction and annihilation—destroy the attacking enemy forces before they reached friendly lines; and destroy the defending enemy before attacking friendly troops reached the hostile positions. Artillery was expected to obliterate the enemy's fortifications and trench works, and even cut holes through the barbed wire in front.
Throughout the war, leaders on both sides and at all levels searched for ways to break the deadlock. The Germans on the Eastern Front especially, experimented aggressively with artillery tactics. The key to the new fire support thinking that started to emerge during was the idea that artillery fire was more effective when its tactical effect was neutralization rather than destruction.
While neutralization was a temporary effect, it only had to last long enough for the attacking infantry to take the objective. Thus, the evolving artillery neutralization tactics complemented the emerging infantry infiltration tactics.
Although preparations were not long, they were incredibly violent—designed not to obliterate a defending enemy, but to stun him senseless. He managed to do this in the face of significant opposition from many of the hide-bound traditionalists in the German army. During the reinforced counter-battery phase of the preparation, however, the IKA guns joined in with the AKA guns to overwhelm the enemy batteries. These units fired highly selective destruction missions against critical high-value targets, including rail centers, bridges, and concrete-reinforced command posts.
Accuracy in artillery fire was, and still is, the principal technical challenge. The primary way to achieve accuracy was to fire a registration against a target having a precisely known location. The system worked something like zeroing a rifle. The only problem was that in registering, an artillery battery gave away its position, and it usually became an instant enemy counter-battery target in the process.
Also, hundreds of batteries suddenly registering in a given sector were a clear indicator that a major attack was in the works. The system, developed by Captain Erich Pulkowski ?? It could be done in a rear area, where the calibration firing could not be observed by the enemy.
They used the full version of the system in the remaining four of the offensives. The result was stunning tactical surprise. He did, however, perfect many of them on the battlefield, and he was the first to integrate them all into a comprehensive and devastatingly effective system.
French artillerymen, for the most part, were always several steps behind the Germans. They were slow to accept a return to neutralization, and to understand the value of surprise. Several British Gunners, on the other hand, had been advocating many of the same principles as the war progressed. Tudor For the most part, they were held back by Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig's prejudices on artillery, and the more rigid British staff system. The British attack at Cambrai actually pre-dated the Germans in the use of a system to predict artillery corrections without registering.
Technical errors in the application, however, produced mixed results. The tank was either the most potentially decisive weapon of World War I, or the most overrated. Almost one hundred years after the end of the war the debate continues. What is clear is that the Germans were far slower than the Allies to recognize the potential of the new weapon system, and a number of factors contributed to this. Even before the start of the war, the Germans had conducted trials with armored cars armed with light guns and machine guns.
Committed in small numbers, they produced some initial surprise effect, which did not last long. The French first used them on 16 April , but the results were bad because of poor terrain. The initial poor results led General Erich Ludendorff and many others at German Army Supreme Command Oberste Heeresleitung , or OHL to conclude that the tank was little more than a nuisance weapon that could be neutralized with the right tactics. The German solution included special training for artillery crews, the construction of anti-tank obstacles, and the introduction of a 13 mm anti-tank rifle that required a crew of two to operate it.
The first German tactical manual on tank operations, issued in January , classified the tank as an auxiliary weapon that could not be decisive on its own. Its primary mission, rather, was to support the infantry in reaching its objectives. Ludendorff thought that the primary functions of the tank were crushing enemy barbed wire and overrunning machine gun positions.
Some of the General Staff officers at OHL, however, began to see the tank differently after the British committed them in mass for the first time at Cambrai on 20 November Only with the decline in discipline and the weakening of the fighting power of our infantry did the tanks in their mass employment and in conjunction with smoke gain a dangerous influence on the course of military events.
By the end of the war, the British had built 2, tanks and the French had built 3, The question remains - just how effective was the tank in World War I? Major-General J. Fuller argued that the Germans would have won the war in early if they had concentrated all their manufacturing resources on field guns and tanks.
The important fact was how many operational tanks they had in action on the second and subsequent days of the attack. Tanks in were mechanically very unreliable. And, as the German experience against tanks increased, their anti-tank methods became more sophisticated and effective. On the following day, were operational, and fifty of those were knocked out that day. Because Iraq had become landlocked during the course of the war, they had to rely on their Arab allies, primarily Kuwait, to transport their oil.
Iran attacked tankers carrying Iraqi oil from Kuwait, later attacking tankers from any Persian Gulf state supporting Iraq. Attacks on ships of noncombatant nations in the Persian Gulf sharply increased thereafter, with both nations attacking oil tankers and merchant ships of neutral nations in an effort to deprive their opponent of trade. The air and small-boat attacks, however, did little damage to Persian Gulf state economies, and Iran moved its shipping port to Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz.
The Iranian Navy imposed a naval blockade of Iraq, using its British-built frigates to stop and inspect any ships thought to be trading with Iraq. They operated with virtual impunity, as Iraqi pilots had little training in hitting naval targets. Some Iranian warships attacked tankers with ship-to-ship missiles, while others used their radars to guide land-based anti-ship missiles to their targets.
These speedboats would launch surprise attacks against tankers and cause substantial damage. Iran also used F-4 Phantom II fighters and helicopters to launch Maverick missiles and unguided rockets at tankers. Lloyd's of London , a British insurance market, estimated that the Tanker War damaged commercial vessels and killed about civilian sailors. The largest portion of the attacks was directed by Iraq against vessels in Iranian waters, with the Iraqis launching three times as many attacks as the Iranians.
The Soviet Union agreed to charter tankers starting in , and the United States Navy offered to provide protection for foreign tankers reflagged and flying the U. Iran accused the United States of helping Iraq. During the course of the war, Iran attacked two Soviet merchant ships.
Seawise Giant , the largest ship ever built, was struck by Iraqi Exocet missiles as it was carrying Iranian crude oil out of the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, Iraq's air force also began carrying out strategic bombing raids against Iranian cities.
While Iraq had launched numerous attacks with aircraft and missiles against border cities from the beginning of the war and sporadic raids on Iran's main cities, this was the first systematic strategic bombing that Iraq carried out during the war. This would become known as the "War of the Cities". Iraq used Tu Blinder and Tu Badger strategic bombers to carry out long-range high-speed raids on Iranian cities, including Tehran. Fighter-bombers such as the MiG Foxbat and Su Fitter were used against smaller or shorter range targets, as well as escorting the strategic bombers.
In response, the Iranians deployed their F-4 Phantoms to combat the Iraqis, and eventually they deployed Fs as well. By , Iran also expanded their air defense network heavily to relieve the pressure on the air force. By later in the war, Iraqi raids primarily consisted of indiscriminate missile attacks [ citation needed ] while air attacks were used only on fewer, more important targets.
Iran also launched several retaliatory air raids on Iraq, while primarily shelling border cities such as Basra. Iran also bought some Scud missiles from Libya , and launched them against Baghdad. These too inflicted damage upon Iraq.
On 7 February , during the first war of the cities, Saddam ordered his air force to attack eleven Iranian cities;  bombardments ceased on 22 February Though Saddam intended the attacks to demoralise Iran and force them to negotiate, they had little effect, and Iran quickly repaired the damage. The attacks resulted in tens of thousands of civilian casualties on both sides, and became known as the first "war of the cities".
It was estimated that 1, Iranian civilians were killed during the raids in February alone. While interior cities such as Tehran, Tabriz , Qom , Isfahan and Shiraz received numerous raids, the cities of western Iran suffered the most.
By , Iran's losses were estimated to be , soldiers, while Iraq's losses were estimated to be , Both sides also abandoned equipment in the battlefield because their technicians were unable to carry out repairs. Iran and Iraq showed little internal coordination on the battlefield, and in many cases units were left to fight on their own. As a result, by the end of , the war was a stalemate.
By , Iraqi armed forces were receiving financial support from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Persian Gulf states, and were making substantial arms purchases from the Soviet Union, China, and France. For the first time since early , Saddam launched new offensives. On 6 January , the Iraqis launched an offensive attempting to retake Majnoon Island.
However, they were quickly bogged down into a stalemate against , Iranian infantrymen, reinforced by amphibious divisions. Iraq also carried out another "war of the cities" between 12 and 14 March, hitting up to targets in over 30 towns and cities, including Tehran. Iran responded by launching 14 Scud missiles for the first time, purchased from Libya.
More Iraqi air attacks were carried out in August, resulting in hundreds of additional civilian casualties. Iraqi attacks against both Iranian and neutral oil tankers in Iranian waters continued, with Iraq carrying out airstrikes using French bought Super Etendard and Mirage F-1 jets as well as Super Frelon helicopters, armed with Exocet missiles. The Iraqis attacked again on 28 January ; they were defeated, and the Iranians retaliated on 11 March with a major offensive directed against the Baghdad-Basra highway one of the few major offensives conducted in , codenamed Operation Badr after the Battle of Badr , Muhammad's first military victory in Mecca.
It is our belief that Saddam wishes to return Islam to blasphemy and polytheism The issue is one of Islam versus blasphemy, and not of Iran versus Iraq. This operation was similar to Operation Kheibar, though it invoked more planning. Iran used , troops, with 60, more in reserve. They assessed the marshy terrain, plotted points where they could land tanks, and constructed pontoon bridges across the marshes. The Basij forces were also equipped with anti-tank weapons.
The ferocity of the Iranian offensive broke through the Iraqi lines. The Revolutionary Guard, with the support of tanks and artillery, broke through north of Qurna on 14 March. That same night 3, Iranian troops reached and crossed the Tigris River using pontoon bridges and captured part of the Baghdad—Basra Highway 6 , which they had failed to achieve in Operations Dawn 5 and 6.
Saddam responded by launching chemical attacks against the Iranian positions along the highway and by initiating the aforementioned second "war of the cities", with an air and missile campaign against twenty to thirty Iranian population centres, including Tehran. They then launched a pincer attack using mechanized infantry and heavy artillery.
The Iranians retreated back to the Hoveyzeh marshes while being attacked by helicopters,  and the highway was recaptured by the Iraqis. Operation Badr resulted in 10,—12, Iraqi casualties and 15, Iranian ones. The failure of the human wave attacks in earlier years had prompted Iran to develop a better working relationship between the Army and the Revolutionary Guard  and to mould the Revolutionary Guard units into a more conventional fighting force.
To combat Iraq's use of chemical weapons, Iran began producing an antidote. They were primarily used in observation, being used for up to sorties. For the rest of , and until the spring of , the Iranian Air Force's efficiency in air defence increased, with weapons being repaired or replaced and new tactical methods being used. The Iraqi Air Force reacted by increasing the sophistication of its equipment, incorporating modern electronic countermeasure pods, decoys such as chaff and flare , and anti-radiation missiles.
Instead, they would launch Scud missiles, which the Iranians could not stop. Since the range of the Scud missile was too short to reach Tehran, they converted them to al-Hussein missiles with the help of East German engineers, cutting up their Scuds into three chunks and attaching them together. Iran responded to these attacks by using their own Scud missiles.
Compounding the extensive foreign help to Iraq, Iranian attacks were severely hampered by their shortages of weaponry, particularly heavy weapons as large amounts had been lost during the war. Iran still managed to maintain 1, tanks often by capturing Iraqi ones and additional artillery, but many needed repairs to be operational. However, by this time Iran managed to procure spare parts from various sources, helping them to restore some weapons.
Iran later reverse-engineered and produced those weapons themselves. On the night of 10—11 February , the Iranians launched Operation Dawn 8,  in which 30, troops comprising five Army divisions and men from the Revolutionary Guard and Basij advanced in a two-pronged offensive to capture the al-Faw peninsula in southern Iraq, the only area touching the Persian Gulf.
The resistance, consisting of several thousand poorly trained soldiers of the Iraqi Popular Army , fled or were defeated, and the Iranian forces set up pontoon bridges crossing the Shatt al-Arab [note 5] , allowing 30, soldiers to cross in a short period of time. The sudden capture of al-Faw shocked the Iraqis, since they had thought it impossible for the Iranians to cross the Shatt al-Arab. On 12 February , the Iraqis began a counter-offensive to retake al-Faw, which failed after a week of heavy fighting.
However, their attempts again ended in failure, costing them many tanks and aircraft:  their 15th mechanised division was almost completely wiped out. In March , the Iranians tried to follow up their success by attempting to take Umm Qasr , which would have completely severed Iraq from the Gulf and placed Iranian troops on the border with Kuwait. The battle bogged down into a World War I-style stalemate in the marshes of the peninsula.
Immediately after the Iranian capture of al-Faw, Saddam declared a new offensive against Iran, designed to drive deep into the state. On 15—19 May, Iraqi Army's Second Corps, supported by helicopter gunships, attacked and captured the city. Saddam then offered the Iranians to exchange Mehran for al-Faw. Iraq then continued the attack, attempting to push deeper into Iran.
The Iranians built up their forces on the heights surrounding Mehran. On 30 June, using mountain warfare tactics they launched their attack, recapturing the city by 3 July. Iraqi losses were heavy enough to allow the Iranians to also capture territory inside Iraq,  [ page needed ] and depleted the Iraqi military enough to prevent them from launching a major offensive for the next two years. Through the eyes of international observers, Iran was prevailing in the war by the end of They came within 16 km 9.
Iran's army had also reached the Meimak Hills, only km 70 mi from Baghdad. Iraq responded by launching another "war of the cities". In one attack, Tehran's main oil refinery was hit, and in another instance, Iraq damaged Iran's Assadabad satellite dish, disrupting Iranian overseas telephone and telex service for almost two weeks.
Iraq continued to attack oil tankers via air. Iraq continued to attack Kharg Island and the oil tankers and facilities as well. Iran created a tanker shuttle service of 20 tankers to move oil from Kharg to Larak Island, escorted by Iranian fighter jets. Once moved to Larak, the oil would be moved to oceangoing tankers usually neutral.
By now they almost always used the armed speedboats of the IRGC navy , and attacked many tankers. Iraq got permission from the Saudi government to use its airspace to attack Larak Island, although due to the distance attacks were less frequent there. The escalating tanker war in the Gulf became an ever-increasing concern to foreign powers, especially the United States.
In April , Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa declaring that the war must be won by March The Iranians increased recruitment efforts, obtaining , volunteers. Faced with their recent defeats in al-Faw and Mehran, Iraq appeared to be losing the war. Iraq's generals, angered by Saddam's interference, threatened a full-scale mutiny against the Ba'ath Party unless they were allowed to conduct operations freely.
In one of the few times during his career, Saddam gave in to the demands of his generals. However, the defeat at al-Faw led Saddam to declare the war to be Al-Defa al-Mutaharakha The Dynamic Defense ,  [ page needed ] and announcing that all civilians had to take part in the war effort.
The universities were closed and all of the male students were drafted into the military. Civilians were instructed to clear marshlands to prevent Iranian amphibious infiltrations and to help build fixed defenses. The government tried to integrate the Shias into the war effort by recruiting many as part of the Ba'ath Party.
Scenes of Saddam praying and making pilgrimages to shrines became common on state-run television. While Iraqi morale had been low throughout the war, the attack on al-Faw raised patriotic fervor, as the Iraqis feared invasion. At the same time, Saddam ordered the genocidal al-Anfal Campaign in an attempt to crush the Kurdish resistance, who were now allied with Iran.
The result was the deaths of several hundred thousand Iraqi Kurds, and the destruction of villages, towns, and cities. Iraq began to try to perfect its maneuver tactics. Prior to , the conscription -based Iraqi regular army and the volunteer-based Iraqi Popular Army conducted the bulk of the operations in the war, to little effect.
The Republican Guard, formerly an elite praetorian guard , was expanded as a volunteer army and filled with Iraq's best generals. After the war, due to Saddam's paranoia, the former duties of the Republican Guard were transferred to a new unit, the Special Republican Guard. Meanwhile, Iran continued to attack as the Iraqis were planning their strike. In the Iranians renewed a series of major human wave offensives in both northern and southern Iraq.
The Iraqis had elaborately fortified Basra with 5 defensive rings, exploiting natural waterways such as the Shatt-al-Arab and artificial ones, such as Fish Lake and the Jasim River, along with earth barriers. Fish Lake was a massive lake filled with mines, underwater barbed wire, electrodes and sensors. Behind each waterway and defensive line was radar-guided artillery, ground attack aircraft and helicopters, all capable of firing poison gas or conventional munitions.
The Iranian strategy was to penetrate the Iraqi defences and encircle Basra, cutting off the city as well as the Al-Faw peninsula from the rest of Iraq. They then set up a pontoon bridge and continued the attack, eventually capturing the island in a costly success but failing to advance further; the Iranians had 60, casualties, while the Iraqis 9, When the main Iranian attack, Operation Karbala 5, began, many Iraqi troops were on leave.
This battle, known for its extensive casualties and ferocious conditions, was the biggest battle of the war and proved to be the beginning of the end of the Iran—Iraq War. At the same time as Operation Karbala 5, Iran also launched Operation Karbala-6 against the Iraqis in Qasr-e Shirin in central Iran to prevent the Iraqis from rapidly transferring units down to defend against the Karbala-5 attack.
The attack was carried out by Basij infantry and the Revolutionary Guard's 31st Ashura and the Army's 77th Khorasan armored divisions. The Basij attacked the Iraqi lines, forcing the Iraqi infantry to retreat. An Iraqi armored counter-attack surrounded the Basij in a pincer movement, but the Iranian tank divisions attacked, breaking the encirclement. The Iranian attack was finally stopped by mass Iraqi chemical weapons attacks. Operation Karbala-5 was a severe blow to Iran's military and morale.
By , Iran had become self-sufficient in many areas, such as anti-tank TOW missiles, Scud ballistic missiles Shahab-1 , Silkworm anti-ship missiles, Oghab tactical rockets, and producing spare parts for their weaponry. Iran had also improved its air defenses with smuggled surface to air missiles. While it was not obvious to foreign observers, the Iranian public had become increasingly war-weary and disillusioned with the fighting, and relatively few volunteers joined the fight in — Because the Iranian war effort relied on popular mobilization, their military strength actually declined, and Iran was unable to launch any major offensives after Karbala As a result, for the first time since , the momentum of the fighting shifted towards the regular army.
Since the regular army was conscription based, it made the war even less popular. Many Iranians began to try to escape the conflict. As early as May , anti-war demonstrations took place in 74 cities throughout Iran, which were crushed by the regime, resulting in some protesters being shot and killed.
Others, particularly the more nationalistic and religious, the clergy, and the Revolutionary Guards, wished to continue the war. The leadership acknowledged that the war was a stalemate, and began to plan accordingly. On the Iranian home front, sanctions, declining oil prices, and Iraqi attacks on Iranian oil facilities and shipping took a heavy toll on the economy. While the attacks themselves were not as destructive as some analysts believed, the U.
By the end of , Iraq possessed 5, tanks outnumbering the Iranians six to one and fighter aircraft outnumbering the Iranians ten to one. Iraq also became self-sufficient in chemical weapons and some conventional ones and received much equipment from abroad. While the southern and central fronts were at a stalemate, Iran began to focus on carrying out offensives in northern Iraq with the help of the Peshmerga Kurdish insurgents. The Iranians used a combination of semi-guerrilla and infiltration tactics in the Kurdish mountains with the Peshmerga.
During Operation Karbala-9 in early April, Iran captured territory near Suleimaniya, provoking a severe poison gas counter-attack. During Operation Karbala , Iran attacked near the same area, capturing more territory. During Operation Nasr-4 , the Iranians surrounded the city of Suleimaniya and, with the help of the Peshmerga, infiltrated over km into Iraq and raided and threatened to capture the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and other northern oilfields. The Iranian Air Force, despite its once sophisticated equipment, lacked enough equipment and personnel to sustain the war of attrition that had developed, and was unable to lead an outright onslaught against Iraq.
The Soviets began delivering more advanced aircraft and weapons to Iraq, while the French improved training for flight crews and technical personnel and continually introduced new methods for countering Iranian weapons and tactics. The main Iraqi air effort had shifted to the destruction of Iranian war-fighting capability primarily Persian Gulf oil fields, tankers, and Kharg Island , and starting in late , the Iraqi Air Force began a comprehensive campaign against the Iranian economic infrastructure.
Navy ships tracked and reported movements of Iranian shipping and defences. The attacks on oil tankers continued. Both Iran and Iraq carried out frequent attacks during the first four months of the year. Iran was effectively waging a naval guerilla war with its IRGC navy speedboats, while Iraq attacked with its aircraft. In , Kuwait asked to reflag its tankers to the U. They did so in March, and the U. Navy began Operation Earnest Will to escort the tankers. Iran deployed Silkworm missiles to attack ships, but only a few were actually fired.
Both the United States and Iran jockeyed for influence in the Gulf. To discourage the United States from escorting tankers, Iran secretly mined some areas. The United States began to escort the reflagged tankers, but one was damaged by a mine while under escort. While being a public-relations victory for Iran, the United States increased its reflagging efforts. While Iran mined the Persian Gulf, their speedboat attacks were reduced, primarily attacking unflagged tankers shipping in the area.
Iran had previously sought to maintain at least a pretense of plausible deniability regarding its use of mines, but the Navy SEALS captured and photographed extensive evidence of Iran Ajr ' s mine-laying activities. Navy destroyed four Iranian speedboats, and in response to Iranian Silkworm missile attacks on Kuwaiti oil tankers, launched Operation Nimble Archer , destroying two Iranian oil rigs in the Persian Gulf.
Iran managed to shoot down 30 Iraqi fighters with fighter jets, anti-aircraft guns, and missiles, allowing the Iranian air force to survive to the end of the war. On 28 June, Iraqi fighter bombers attacked the Iranian town of Sardasht near the border, using chemical mustard gas bombs.
While many towns and cities had been bombed before, and troops attacked with gas, this was the first time that the Iraqis had attacked a civilian area with poison gas. While little known outside of Iran unlike the later Halabja massacre , the Sardasht bombing and future similar attacks had a tremendous effect on the Iranian people's psyche.
By , with massive equipment imports and reduced Iranian volunteers, Iraq was ready to launch major offensives against Iran. With their tankers protected by U. These attacks began to have a major toll on the Iranian economy and morale and caused many casualties. In March , the Iranians carried out Operation Dawn 10 , Operation Beit ol-Moqaddas 2 , and Operation Zafar 7 in Iraqi Kurdistan with the aim of capturing the Darbandikhan Dam and the power plant at Lake Dukan , which supplied Iraq with much of its electricity and water, as well as the city of Suleimaniya.
Though the Iranians advanced to within sight of Dukan and captured around 1, km 2 sq mi and 4, Iraqi troops, the offensive failed due to the Iraqi use of chemical warfare. Key areas, such as supply lines, command posts, and ammunition depots, were hit by a storm of mustard gas and nerve gas , as well as by conventional explosives. Helicopters landed Iraqi commandos behind Iranian lines on al-Faw while the main Iraqi force made a frontal assault.
Within 48 hours, all of the Iranian forces had been killed or cleared from the al-Faw Peninsula. The Iraqis had planned the offensive well. Prior to the attack, the Iraqi soldiers gave themselves poison gas antidotes to shield themselves from the effect of the saturation of gas. The heavy and well executed use of chemical weapons was the decisive factor in the victory. To the shock of the Iranians, rather than breaking off the offensive, the Iraqis kept up their drive, and a new force attacked the Iranian positions around Basra.
Using artillery, they would saturate the Iranian front line with rapidly dispersing cyanide and nerve gas, while longer-lasting mustard gas was launched via fighter-bombers and rockets against the Iranian rear, creating a "chemical wall" that blocked reinforcement.
The same day as Iraq's attack on al-Faw peninsula, the United States Navy launched Operation Praying Mantis in retaliation against Iran for damaging a warship with a mine. Iran lost oil platforms , destroyers , and frigates in this battle, which ended only when President Reagan decided that the Iranian navy had been damaged enough.
In spite of this, the Revolutionary Guard Navy continued their speedboat attacks against oil tankers. Faced with such losses, Khomeini appointed the cleric Hashemi Rafsanjani as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces , though he had in actuality occupied that position for months.
The Iranians infiltrated through the Iraqi trenches and moved 10 km 6. With aircraft sorties and heavy use of nerve gas, they crushed the Iranian forces in the area, killing 3, and nearly destroying a Revolutionary Guard division. On 25 May , Iraq launched the first of five Tawakalna ala Allah Operations ,  consisting of one of the largest artillery barrages in history, coupled with chemical weapons. The marshes had been dried by drought, allowing the Iraqis to use tanks to bypass Iranian field fortifications, expelling the Iranians from the border town of Shalamcheh after less than 10 hours of combat.
Iraqi commandos used amphibious craft to block the Iranian rear,  then used hundreds of tanks with massed conventional and chemical artillery barrages to recapture the island after 8 hours of combat. These losses included more than of the 1, remaining Iranian tanks, over armored vehicles, 45 self-propelled artillery, towed artillery pieces, and antiaircraft guns. These figures only included what Iraq could actually put to use; total amount of captured materiel was higher.
Since March, the Iraqis claimed to have captured 1, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, heavy artillery pieces, 6, mortars, 5, recoilless rifles and light guns, 8,man-portable rocket launchers, 60, rifles, pistols, trucks, and 1, light vehicles. During the battles, the Iranians put up little resistance, having been worn out by nearly eight years of war. However, this came too late and, following the capture of of their operable tanks and the destruction of hundreds more, Iran was believed to have fewer than remaining operable tanks on the southern front, against thousands of Iraqi ones.
Saddam sent a warning to Khomeini in mid, threatening to launch a new and powerful full-scale invasion and attack Iranian cities with weapons of mass destruction. Shortly afterwards, Iraqi aircraft bombed the Iranian town of Oshnavieh with poison gas, immediately killing and wounding over 2, civilians.
The fear of an all out chemical attack against Iran's largely unprotected civilian population weighed heavily on the Iranian leadership, and they realized that the international community had no intention of restraining Iraq. Meanwhile, Iraqi conventional bombs and missiles continuously hit towns and cities, destroying vital civilian and military infrastructure, and increasing the death toll.
Iran replied with missile and air attacks, but not sufficiently to deter the Iraqis. With the threat of a new and even more powerful invasion, Commander-in-Chief Rafsanjani ordered the Iranians to retreat from Haj Omran, Kurdistan on 14 July. Dozens of villages, such as Sardasht , and some larger towns, such as Marivan , Baneh and Saqqez ,  were once again attacked with poison gas, resulting in even heavier civilian casualties.
The lack of international sympathy disturbed the Iranian leadership, and they came to the conclusion that the United States was on the verge of waging a full-scale war against them, and that Iraq was on the verge of unleashing its entire chemical arsenal upon their cities. At this point, elements of the Iranian leadership, led by Rafsanjani who had initially pushed for the extension of the war , persuaded Khomeini to accept a ceasefire.
Happy are those who have departed through martyrdom. Happy are those who have lost their lives in this convoy of light. Unhappy am I that I still survive and have drunk the poisoned chalice The news of the end of the war was greeted with celebration in Baghdad, with people dancing in the streets; in Tehran, however, the end of the war was greeted with a somber mood.
Both Iran and Iraq had accepted Resolution , but despite the ceasefire, after seeing Iraqi victories in the previous months, Mujahadeen-e-Khalq MEK decided to launch an attack of its own and wished to advance all the way to Tehran. Saddam and the Iraqi high command decided on a two-pronged offensive across the border into central Iran and Iranian Kurdistan. In the north, Iraq also launched an attack into Iraqi Kurdistan, which was blunted by the Iranians.
The Iranians had withdrawn their remaining soldiers to Khuzestan in fear of a new Iraqi invasion attempt, allowing the Mujahedeen to advance rapidly towards Kermanshah , seizing Qasr-e Shirin , Sarpol-e Zahab , Kerend-e Gharb , and Islamabad-e-Gharb. The MEK expected the Iranian population to rise up and support their advance; the uprising never materialised but they reached km 90 mi deep into Iran.
Iranian paratroopers landed behind the MEK lines while the Iranian Air Force and helicopters launched an air attack, destroying much of the enemy columns. The last notable combat actions of the war took place on 3 August , in the Persian Gulf when the Iranian navy fired on a freighter and Iraq launched chemical attacks on Iranian civilians, killing an unknown number of them and wounding 2, Resolution became effective on 8 August , ending all combat operations between the two countries.
The majority of Western analysts believe that the war had no winners while some believed that Iraq emerged as the victor of the war, based on Iraq's overwhelming successes between April and July Using 60, troops along with helicopter gunships, chemical weapons poison gas , and mass executions, Iraq hit 15 villages, killing rebels and civilians, and forced tens of thousands of Kurds to relocate to settlements.
By 3 September , the anti-Kurd campaign ended, and all resistance had been crushed. At the war's conclusion, it took several weeks for the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran to evacuate Iraqi territory to honor pre-war international borders set by the Algiers Agreement.
The Security Council did not identify Iraq as the aggressor of the war until 11 December , some 11 years after Iraq invaded Iran and 16 months following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The Iran—Iraq War was the deadliest conventional war ever fought between regular armies of developing countries.
The number killed on both sides was perhaps ,, with Iran suffering the greatest losses. While revolutionary Iran had been bloodied, Iraq was left with a large military and was a regional power , albeit with severe debt, financial problems, and labour shortages. According to Iranian government sources, the war cost Iran an estimated ,—, killed,     or up to , according to the conservative Western estimates.
Both Iraq and Iran manipulated loss figures to suit their purposes. At the same time, Western analysts accepted improbable estimates. With the ceasefire in place, and UN peacekeepers monitoring the border, Iran and Iraq sent their representatives to Geneva , Switzerland , to negotiate a peace agreement on the terms of the ceasefire.
However, peace talks stalled. Iraq, in violation of the UN ceasefire, refused to withdraw its troops from 7, square kilometres 3, sq mi of disputed territory at the border area unless the Iranians accepted Iraq's full sovereignty over the Shatt al-Arab waterway. Foreign powers continued to support Iraq, which wanted to gain at the negotiating table what they failed to achieve on the battlefield, and Iran was portrayed as the one not wanting peace. They also continued to carry out a naval blockade of Iraq, although its effects were mitigated by Iraqi use of ports in friendly neighbouring Arab countries.
Iran also began to improve relations with many of the states that opposed it during the war. Because of Iranian actions, by , Saddam had become more conciliatory, and in a letter to the future fourth President of Iran Rafsanjani, he became more open to the idea of a peace agreement, although he still insisted on full sovereignty over the Shatt al-Arab. Rafsanjani reversed Iran's self-imposed ban on chemical weapons, and ordered the manufacture and stockpile of them Iran destroyed them in after ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Iraq had lost its support from the West, and its position in Iran was increasingly untenable. A peace agreement was signed finalizing the terms of the UN resolution, diplomatic relations were restored, and by late early , the Iraqi military withdrew. The UN peacekeepers withdrew from the border shortly afterward.
Most of the prisoners of war were released in , although some remained as late as Most historians and analysts consider the war to be a stalemate. Certain analysts believe that Iraq won, on the basis of the successes of their offensives which thwarted Iran's major territorial ambitions in Iraq and persuaded Iran to accept the ceasefire. That [Iraq's] explanations do not appear sufficient or acceptable to the international community is a fact Even if before the outbreak of the conflict there had been some encroachment by Iran on Iraqi territory, such encroachment did not justify Iraq's aggression against Iran—which was followed by Iraq's continuous occupation of Iranian territory during the conflict—in violation of the prohibition of the use of force, which is regarded as one of the rules of jus cogens On one occasion I had to note with deep regret the experts' conclusion that "chemical weapons ha[d] been used against Iranian civilians in an area adjacent to an urban center lacking any protection against that kind of attack.
He also stated that had the UN accepted this fact earlier, the war would have almost certainly not lasted as long as it did. Iran, encouraged by the announcement, sought reparations from Iraq, but never received any. Throughout the s and early s, Iran and Iraq relations remained balanced between a cold war and a cold peace. Despite renewed and somewhat thawed relations, both sides continued to have low level conflicts.
Iraq continued to host and support the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, which carried out multiple attacks throughout Iran up until the invasion of Iraq including the assassination of Iranian general Ali Sayyad Shirazi in , cross border raids, and mortar attacks. Iran carried out several airstrikes and missile attacks against Mujahedeen targets inside of Iraq the largest taking place in , when Iran fired 56 Scud missiles at Mujahedeen targets.
After the fall of Saddam in , Hamdani claimed that Iranian agents infiltrated and created numerous militias in Iraq and built an intelligence system operating within the country. In , the new government of Iraq apologised to Iran for starting the war. The war also helped to create a forerunner for the Coalition of the Gulf War , when the Gulf Arab states banded together early in the war to form the Gulf Cooperation Council to help Iraq fight Iran.
The unsustainable economic situation compelled the new Iraqi government to request that a considerable portion of debt incurred during the Iran—Iraq war be written off. Much of the oil industry of both countries was damaged in air raids. The war had its impact on medical science: a surgical intervention for comatose patients with penetrating brain injuries was created by Iranian physicians treating wounded soldiers, later establishing neurosurgery guidelines to treat civilians who had suffered blunt or penetrating skull injuries.
Iraq's military was accustomed to fighting the slow moving Iranian infantry formations with artillery and static defenses, while using mostly unsophisticated tanks to gun down and shell the infantry and overwhelm the smaller Iranian tank force; in addition to being dependent on weapons of mass destruction to help secure victories.
Therefore, they were rapidly overwhelmed by the high-tech, quick-maneuvering Coalition forces using modern doctrines such as AirLand Battle. At first, Saddam attempted to ensure that the Iraqi population suffered from the war as little as possible.
There was rationing, but civilian projects begun before the war continued. After the Iranian victories of the spring of and the Syrian closure of Iraq's main pipeline, Saddam did a volte-face on his policy towards the home front: a policy of austerity and total war was introduced, with the entire population being mobilised for the war effort.
Mass demonstrations of loyalty towards Saddam became more common. In the summer of , Saddam began a campaign of terror. More than Iraqi Army officers were executed for their failures on the battlefield. The crackdown on Kurds saw 8, members of the Barzani clan , whose leader Massoud Barzani also led the Kurdistan Democratic Party, similarly executed.
To secure the loyalty of the Shia population, Saddam allowed more Shias into the Ba'ath Party and the government, and improved Shia living standards, which had been lower than those of the Iraqi Sunnis. The most infamous event was the massacre of civilians of the Shia town of Dujail. Despite the costs of the war, the Iraqi regime made generous contributions to Shia waqf religious endowments as part of the price of buying Iraqi Shia support. Israeli-British historian Ephraim Karsh argued that the Iranian government saw the outbreak of war as chance to strengthen its position and consolidate the Islamic revolution, noting that government propaganda presented it domestically as a glorious jihad and a test of Iranian national character.
Iranian workers had a day's pay deducted from their pay cheques every month to help finance the war, and mass campaigns were launched to encourage the public to donate food, money, and blood. According to former Iraqi general Ra'ad al-Hamdani , the Iraqis believed that in addition to the Arab revolts, the Revolutionary Guards would be drawn out of Tehran, leading to a counter-revolution in Iran that would cause Khomeini's government to collapse and thus ensure Iraqi victory.
In June , street battles broke out between the Revolutionary Guard and the left-wing Mujaheddin e-Khalq MEK , continuing for several days and killing hundreds on both sides. In addition to the open civil conflict with the MEK, the Iranian government was faced with Iraqi-supported rebellions in Iranian Kurdistan, which were gradually put down through a campaign of systematic repression.
As a result, Iran funded the war by the income from oil exports after cash had run out. In January , former prime minister and anti-war Islamic Liberation Movement co-founder Mehdi Bazargan criticised the war in a telegram to the United Nations, calling it un-Islamic and illegitimate and arguing that Khomeini should have accepted Saddam's truce offer in instead of attempting to overthrow the Ba'ath.
Is that not an admission of failure on your part? By , Iranian morale had begun to crumble, reflected in the failure of government campaigns to recruit "martyrs" for the front. Not all saw the war in negative terms. The Islamic Revolution of Iran was strengthened and radicalised.
Iran's regular Army had been purged after the Revolution , with most high-ranking officers either having deserted fled the country or been executed. At the beginning of the war, Iraq held a clear advantage in armour, while both nations were roughly equal in terms of artillery. The gap only widened as the war went on. Iran started with a stronger air force, but over time, the balance of power reversed in Iraq's favour as Iraq was constantly expanding its military, while Iran was under arms sanctions.
Estimates for and were: . The world powers United States and the Soviet Union , together with many Western and Arab countries, provided military, intelligence, economic, and political support for Iraq. Iran was constrained by the price of oil during the s oil glut as foreign countries were largely unwilling to extend credit to Iran, but Iraq financed its continued massive military expansion by taking on vast quantities of debt that allowed it to win a number of victories against Iran near the end of the war but that left the country bankrupt.
Despite its larger population, by Iran's ground forces numbered only , whereas the Iraqi army had grown to include 1 million soldiers. During the war, Iraq was regarded by the West and the Soviet Union as a counterbalance to post-revolutionary Iran. During the early years of the war, the United States lacked meaningful relations with either Iran or Iraq, the former due to the Iranian Revolution and the Iran hostage crisis and the latter because of Iraq's alliance with the Soviet Union and hostility towards Israel.
Following Iran's success of repelling the Iraqi invasion and Khomeini's refusal to end the war in , the United States made an outreach to Iraq, beginning with the restoration of diplomatic relations in The United States wished to both keep Iran away from Soviet influence and protect other Gulf states from any threat of Iranian expansion.
As a result, it began to provide limited support to Iraq. The focus of Iranian pressure at this moment is Iraq. There are few governments in the world less deserving of our support and less capable of using it. Had Iraq won the war, the fear in the Gulf and the threat to our interest would be scarcely less than it is today. Still, given the importance of the balance of power in the area, it is in our interests to promote a ceasefire in that conflict; though not a cost that will preclude an eventual rapprochement with Iran either if a more moderate regime replaces Khomeini's or if the present rulers wake up to geopolitical reality that the historic threat to Iran's independence has always come from the country with which it shares a border of 1, miles [2, km]: the Soviet Union.
A rapprochement with Iran, of course, must await at a minimum Iran's abandonment of hegemonic aspirations in the Gulf. Richard Murphy , Assistant Secretary of State during the war, testified to Congress in that the Reagan administration believed a victory for either Iran or Iraq was "neither militarily feasible nor strategically desirable".
Support to Iraq was given via technological aid, intelligence, the sale of dual-use chemical and biological warfare related technology and military equipment, and satellite intelligence. While there was direct combat between Iran and the United States, it is not universally agreed that the fighting between the United States and Iran was specifically to benefit Iraq, or for separate issues between the U. American official ambiguity towards which side to support was summed up by Henry Kissinger when he remarked, "It's a pity they both can't lose.
More than 30 countries provided support to Iraq, Iran, or both; most of the aid went to Iraq. Iran had a complex clandestine procurement network to obtain munitions and critical materials. Iraq had an even larger clandestine purchasing network, involving 10—12 allied countries, to maintain ambiguity over their arms purchases and to circumvent "official restrictions". Arab mercenaries and volunteers from Egypt  and Jordan formed the Yarmouk [ disambiguation needed ] Brigade  and participated in the war alongside Iraqis.
The United States pursued policies in favour of Iraq by reopening diplomatic channels, lifting restrictions on the export of dual-use technology , overseeing the transfer of third-party military hardware, and providing operational intelligence on the battlefield. France, which from the s had been one of Iraq's closest allies, was a major supplier of military hardware. Iraq also made extensive use of front companies , middlemen, secret ownership of all or part of companies all over the world, forged end-user certificates , and other methods to hide what it was acquiring.
Some transactions may have involved people, shipping, and manufacturing in as many as 10 countries. Iraq bought at least one British company with operations in the United Kingdom and the United States, and had a complex relationship with France and the Soviet Union, its major suppliers of actual weapons.
Turkey took action against the Kurds in , alleging they were attacking the Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK , which prompted a harsh diplomatic intervention by Iran, which planned a new offensive against Iraq at the time and were counting on the support of Kurdish factions. Sudan supported Iraq directly during the war, sending a contingent to fight at the frontlines. The United Nations Security Council initially called for a cease-fire after a week of fighting while Iraq was occupying Iranian territory, and renewed the call on later occasions.
In August , when FBI agents raided the Atlanta branch of BNL, branch manager Christopher Drogoul was charged with making unauthorised, clandestine, and illegal loans to Iraq—some of which, according to his indictment, were used to purchase arms and weapons technology. While the United States directly fought Iran, citing freedom of navigation as a major casus belli , it also indirectly supplied some weapons to Iran as part of a complex and illegal programme that became known as the Iran—Contra affair.
These secret sales were partly to help secure the release of hostages held in Lebanon , and partly to make money to help the Contras rebel group in Nicaragua. This arms-for-hostages agreement turned into a major scandal. North Korea was a major arms supplier to Iran , often acting as a third party in arms deals between Iran and the Communist bloc. Support included domestically manufactured arms and Eastern-Bloc weapons, for which the major powers wanted deniability.
Among the other arms suppliers and supporters of Iran's Islamic Revolution, the major ones were Libya, Syria, and China. According to the Stockholm International Peace Institute, China was the largest foreign arms supplier to Iran between and Syria and Libya, breaking Arab solidarity, supported Iran with arms, rhetoric and diplomacy.
Besides the United States and the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia also sold weapons to both countries for the entire duration of the conflict. Weapons sold to Iraq included 4x4 vehicles, BO helicopters, explosives, and ammunition. A research party later discovered that an unexploded chemical Iraqi warhead in Iran was manufactured in Spain. Although neither side acquired any weapons from Turkey, both sides enjoyed Turkish civilian trade during the conflict, although the Turkish government remained neutral and refused to support the U.
Trading with both countries helped Turkey to offset its ongoing economic crisis, though the benefits decreased as the war neared its end and accordingly disappeared entirely with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the resulting Iraq sanctions Turkey imposed in response. American support for Ba'athist Iraq during the Iran—Iraq War, in which it fought against post-revolutionary Iran , included several billion dollars' worth of economic aid, the sale of dual-use technology , non-U. Total sales of U.
This was encapsulated by Henry Kissinger when he remarked, "It's a pity they both can't lose. A key element of U. The Iran—Iraq war had been going on for three years and there were significant casualties on both sides, reaching hundreds of thousands. Within the Reagan National Security Council concern was growing that the war could spread beyond the boundaries of the two belligerents.
It was determined that there was a high likelihood that the conflict would spread into Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, but that the United States had little capability to defend the region. Furthermore, it was determined that a prolonged war in the region would induce much higher oil prices and threaten the fragile world recovery which was just beginning to gain momentum. The full declassified presentation can be seen here.
The plan was approved by the President and later affirmed by the G-7 leaders headed by Margaret Thatcher in the London Summit of According to Foreign Policy , the "Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early that relied on U. According to recently declassified CIA documents and interviews with former intelligence officials like Francona, the U. Whether or not Iraqi leadership authorised the attack is still unknown.
Initial claims by the Iraqi government that Stark was inside the Iran—Iraq War zone were shown to be false, and the motives and orders of the pilot remain unanswered. Though American officials claimed that the pilot who attacked Stark had been executed, an ex-Iraqi Air Force commander since stated he had not been punished, and was still alive at the time. It criticised Iran's mining of international waters, and sponsored UN Security Council Resolution , which passed unanimously on 20 July, under which the U.
Roberts was badly damaged by an Iranian mine, and 10 sailors were wounded. Navy's largest engagement of surface warships since World War II. Two Iranian oil platforms were destroyed, and five Iranian warships and gunboats were sunk. An American helicopter also crashed. United States of America , which was eventually dismissed in In the course of escorts by the U.
The American government claimed that Vincennes was in international waters at the time which was later proven to be untrue , that the Airbus A had been mistaken for an Iranian F Tomcat , and that Vincennes feared that she was under attack. Admiral William J. Crowe later admitted on Nightline that Vincennes was in Iranian territorial waters when it launched the missiles.
At the time of the attack, Admiral Crowe claimed that the Iranian plane did not identify itself and sent no response to warning signals he had sent. In , the United States expressed their regret for the event and the civilian deaths it caused.
In a declassified report, the CIA estimated that Iran had suffered more than 50, casualties from Iraq's use of several chemical weapons,  though current estimates are more than , as the long-term effects continue to cause casualties. According to a article in the Star-Ledger , 20, Iranian soldiers were killed on the spot by nerve gas.
As of , 5, of the 80, survivors continue to seek regular medical treatment, while 1, are hospital inpatients. According to Iraqi documents, assistance in developing chemical weapons was obtained from firms in many countries, including the United States, West Germany, the Netherlands , the United Kingdom, and France.
A report stated that Dutch, Australian, Italian, French and both West and East German companies were involved in the export of raw materials to Iraqi chemical weapons factories. On 21 March , the United Nations Security Council made a declaration stating that "members are profoundly concerned by the unanimous conclusion of the specialists that chemical weapons on many occasions have been used by Iraqi forces against Iranian troops, and the members of the Council strongly condemn this continued use of chemical weapons in clear violation of the Geneva Protocol of , which prohibits the use in war of chemical weapons.
According to W. Patrick Lang , senior defense intelligence officer at the U. Defense Intelligence Agency , "the use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern" to Reagan and his aides, because they "were desperate to make sure that Iraq did not lose". He claimed that the Defense Intelligence Agency "would have never accepted the use of chemical weapons against civilians, but the use against military objectives was seen as inevitable in the Iraqi struggle for survival".
Joost Hiltermann , the principal researcher for Human Rights Watch between and , conducted a two-year study that included a field investigation in Iraq, and obtained Iraqi government documents in the process. According to Hiltermann, the literature on the Iran—Iraq War reflects allegations of chemical weapons used by Iran, but they are "marred by a lack of specificity as to time and place, and the failure to provide any sort of evidence". Analysts Gary Sick and Lawrence Potter have called the allegations against Iran "mere assertions" and stated, "No persuasive evidence of the claim that Iran was the primary culprit [of using chemical weapons] was ever presented.
At his trial in December , Saddam said he would take responsibility "with honour" for any attacks on Iran using conventional or chemical weapons during the war, but that he took issue with the charges that he ordered attacks on Iraqis. At the time of the conflict, the United Nations Security Council issued statements that "chemical weapons had been used in the war". UN statements never clarified that only Iraq was using chemical weapons, and according to retrospective authors "the international community remained silent as Iraq used weapons of mass destruction against Iranian[s] as well as Iraqi Kurds.
In the absence of conclusive evidence of the weapons used, it could not be determined how the injuries were caused. In response to further Iraqi chemical attacks on Kurdish civilians after the August ceasefire with Iran, United States senators Claiborne Pell and Jesse Helms called for comprehensive economic sanctions against Iraq, including an oil embargo and severe limitations on the export of dual-use technology.
Although the ensuing legislation passed in the U. Senate, it faced strong opposition within the House of Representatives and did not become law. Redman characterized as "unacceptable to the civilized world. Bruce Riedel describes the Iran—Iraq War as "one of the largest and longest conventional interstate wars" of the twentieth century and "the only war in modern times in which chemical weapons were used on a massive scale.
Iran's attack on the Osirak nuclear reactor in September was the first attack on a nuclear reactor and one of only a small handful of military attacks on nuclear facilities in history. It was also the first instance of a pre-emptive attack on a nuclear reactor to forestall the development of a nuclear weapon , though it did not achieve its objective, as France repaired the reactor after the attack. The decommissioning of Osirak has been cited as causing a substantial delay to Iraqi acquisition of nuclear weapons.
The Iran—Iraq War was the first conflict in the history of warfare in which both forces used ballistic missiles against each other. One Mi went down immediately, the other was badly damaged and crashed before reaching base. The final claim tally was 10 SeaCobras and 6 Mis destroyed. The relatively small numbers and the inevitable disputes over actual kill numbers makes it unclear if one gunship had a real technical superiority over the other. In October , Iraqi aircraft began to attack civilian passenger trains and aircraft on Iranian soil, including an Iran Air Boeing unloading passengers at Shiraz International Airport.
Eight Iranian cities came under attack from Iraqi missiles. The bombings killed 65 children in an elementary school in Borujerd. The Iranians responded with Scud missile attacks on Baghdad and struck a primary school there. These events became known as the " War of the Cities ". Nevertheless, scholars have noted that this still "ranks as one of the smallest strategic bombing campaigns in history," paling in comparison to strategic bombing during World War II , which saw 1. In total, 10,—11, civilians died as a result of the aerial bombardment of Iranian cities with the majority of those deaths occurring in the final year of the war.
Despite the war, Iran and Iraq maintained diplomatic relations and embassies in each other's countries until mid Iran's government used human waves to attack enemy troops and even in some cases to clear minefields. Children volunteered as well. Some reports mistakenly have the Basijis marching into battle while marking their expected entry to heaven by wearing " Plastic Keys to Paradise " around their necks, although other analysts regard this story as a hoax involving a misinterpretation of the carrying of a prayer book called "The Keys to Paradise" Mafatih al-Janan by Sheikh Abbas Qumi given to all volunteers.
During the Fateh offensive in February , I toured the southwest front on the Iranian side and saw scores of boys, aged anywhere from nine to sixteen, who said with staggering and seemingly genuine enthusiasm that they had volunteered to become martyrs. Regular army troops, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards and mullahs all lauded these youths, known as baseeji [Basij], for having played the most dangerous role in breaking through Iraqi lines.
They had led the way, running over fields of mines to clear the ground for the Iranian ground assault. Wearing white headbands to signify the embracing of death, and shouting " Shaheed , shaheed" Martyr, martyr they literally blew their way into heaven. Their numbers were never disclosed. But a walk through the residential suburbs of Iranian cities provided a clue. Window after window, block after block, displayed black-bordered photographs of teenage or preteen youths. The relationship between these two nations has warmed immensely since the downfall of Saddam Hussein, but mostly out of pragmatic interest.
Iran and Iraq share many common interests, as they share a common enemy in the Islamic State. Significant military assistance has been provided by Iran to Iraq and this has bought them a large amount of political influence in Iraq's newly elected Shia government. Iraq is also heavily dependent on the more stable and developed Iran for its energy needs, so a peaceful customer is likely a high priority for Iran, foreign policy wise.
The Iran—Iraq War is regarded as being a major trigger for rising sectarianism in the region, as it was viewed by many as a clash between Sunni Muslims Iraq and other Arab States and the Shia revolutionaries that had recently taken power in Iran. The most important factor that governs Iraq's current foreign policy is the national government's consistent fragility following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Iraq's need for any and all allies that can help bring stability and bring development has allowed Iran to exert significant influence over the new Iraqi state; despite lingering memories of the war. Currently, it seems as though Iraq is being pulled in two opposing directions, between a practical relationship with Iran, who can provide a reliable source of power as well as military support to the influential Shia militias and political factions.
The United States is pulling in the opposite direction as they offer Iraq significant economic aid packages, along with military support in the form of air and artillery strikes, all in the hopes to establish a stable ally in the region. If Iraq lurches too far in either direction, then the benefits offered to them by the other side will likely be gradually reduced or cut off completely.
Another significant factor influencing relations is the shared cultural interests of their respective citizens, as they both wish to freely visit the multitude of holy sites located in both countries.
Spectators see CP timers when they are within the capture radius, or when they are using the associated CP camera. Here they are treated as regular players, with full buddy capabilities. Use 'C' to cycle forward through the cameras of a particular type, and 'X' to cycle backwards. Spectators can not view the spawn interface, but they can view the mini-map and scoreboard using the regular controls. Free Camera is not allowed in the tunnels; only chase cameras and the CP camera may be used.
Note that this is determined by the team the player is on, not by the vehicle they are in. Rocket reload time increased from 3 to 4. Battlefield Vietnam 8. Battlefield Vietnam from v1. Hyenas 25 Destiny 2 6 Hogwarts Legacy 24 Genshin Impact 24 Dragon's Dogma 2 56 Starfield 62 The Callisto Protocol 43 Final Fantasy 16 13 Elden Ring 3 Valheim 3 8. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 36 Two bombs will destroy an MBT.
The bomb's blast radius is large and can be highly effective when bombarding enemy troops and bases. Its secondary armament consists of two M Miniguns. These have a total of five-hundred rounds and can take down troops in about four to five hits. The miniguns can destroy vehicles such as sampans and jeeps in about eight or twelve hits, however they cannot destroy APC's and MBTs. Caution should be used when firing horizontally to the aircraft as the guns can hit the left wing and damage the aircraft.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth spots are the passenger seats. The passengers cannot use their weapons or equipment like Wrenches. The passengers can, however, jump out of the aircraft and parachute down to an enemy base. Despite its array of weapons the AC Gunship has its flaws. Its speed is unusually low and this can lead to it being shot down as soon as its spotted. On the bright side it can take more punishment than any other aircraft in the game.
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