Iranian Army Order of Battle

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The following article lists three Orders of Battle for the Iranian Army at different periods. Note, that this is not the order of battle of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards but of the regular ground forces (Artesh). The source is for the first three lists, and for the final series of notes.

Army Order of Battle (Localities)[edit]

First Army Headquarters Tehran
Second Army Headquarters Esfahan
Third Army Headquarters Shiraz
28th Mechanized Division Kerman
35th Mechanized Division Khorramabad
84th Mechanized Division Shiraz
2nd Armored Division Dezful
16th Armored Division Qazvin, Qasr-e Shirin region
18th Armored Division Tehran
81st Armored Division Sistan
88th Armored Division Ahvaz
92nd Armored Division Khuzestan
30th Infantry Division Tehran
40th Infantry Division Hamadan
58th Infantry Division Ahvaz
64th Infantry Division Bandar 'E Mah Shahr
77th Infantry Division Khorasan
79th Infantry Division Tabriz
84th Infantry Division Lorestan
23rd Special Forces Division Tehran
55th Parachute Division Tehran
351st SSM Brigade Tehran
75th Logistics Brigade
22nd Artillery Division
23rd Artillery Division
44th Artillery Division
55th Artillery Division

Army Order of Battle, circa 1998[edit]

Southern Operations Sector
Northern Operations Sector
Western Operations Sector
81st/92nd? Armored Division 28th Mechanized Infantry Division 16th/18th? Armored Division
45th Commando Brigade 64th Infantry Division 81st Armored Division
40th Infantry Brigade 84th Mechanized Infantry Division
25th Commando Brigade 23rd Commando Division
11th Artillery Division 35th Commando Brigade
58th Commando Brigade
22nd Artillery Division
23rd Artillery Division
44th Artillery Division
55th Artillery Division
411th Engineer Division
Eastern Operations Sector
Airmobile Forces Group
88th Armored Division 29th Commando Division (Airmobile)
30th Infantry Division 55th Airborne Division
77th Infantry Division

Imperial Army Order of Battle, circa 1970s[edit]

16th Armored Division Ghazvin
81st Armored Division Kermanshah
92nd Armored Division Khuzestan
88th Armored Division Sistan
1st Infantry Imperial Guard Division E. Azarbaijan (21st Infantry Div. after the Revolution)
2nd Imperial Guard Division E. Azarbaijan (21st Infantry Div. after the Revolution)
28th Infantry Division Kurdestan
30th Infantry Division Golestan
64th Infantry Division (Iran) W. Azerbaijan
77th Infantry Division Khorasan
84th Infantry Division Lorestan
55th Airborne Brigade Fars (Division during the war with Iraq)
56th Airborne Brigade Tehran (Division during the war with Iraq)
23rd Airborne Division (NOHED) Tehran
37th Armored Brigade Fars
11th Artillery Group E.Azarbaijan
22nd Artillery Group
33rd Artillery Group Tehran
44th Artillery Group
55th Artillery Group
99th Air Defence Group
4 Hawk missiles Battalions
Source: Imperial Iranian Ground Forces at Sarbazan

Arkenstone assessment[edit]

According to the Iranian military blog site the Arkenstone, the Iranian Order of Battle is as follows:[1]

  • 58th Commando Infantry Division: Based at 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 defense battalion
  • 1 Artillery battalion
  • 1 Instruction battalion
  • 28th Infantry Division: Based in the Kermanshah province. 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.
  • 64th Infantry Division: Based on the outskirts of Tabriz. There was a morning parade by units of the 'Orumiyeh Infantry Division 64' on 5 April 2007.[2]
  • 30th Infantry Division - based at 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 than 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 in Tehran, they are perhaps one of the most elite army formations, and are also one of the more elusive, and they are rarely 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 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 than 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.
  • 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.
  • 45th Commando Brigade - Based out of Dezful, the 45th can easily be confused with the 58th due to their close proximity. One interesting feature is that they use both the G3 rifle as well as the Ak-47. They may also be deployed with BMP-2 IFV's, or they might have merely been acting in close support with the 92nd armored division, it is unclear.
  • Gorgan Commando Brigade - Same as the Zahedan brigade, nothing is known beyond that they are equipped in the same manner as the rest of the commando units.
  • Tabriz Commando Brigade - Same as the Zahedan brigade, nothing is known beyond that they are equipped in the same manner as the rest of the commando units.
  • 92nd Armoured Division - The 92nd Armoured 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 than 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 than 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 than 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 than 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 Armoured Division - Based out of Kermanshah. No further information available.
  • 16th Armoured Division - based out of Qazvin, base is located north of the city, about 3–4 km. No further information is available.
  • 88th Armoured Division - the 88th armoured division, based at 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-48A5s and an unspecified number of M-47Ms, 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. Examining this further we only get two half-strength tank battalions. This is extremely weak 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 armoured formations. Infantry support within the division is much like that in the 92nd, generic army infantry with woodland camouflage uniforms and G3 rifles, MG-3s and RPGs.

  • Marines - Like most marine units of the world, these troops are optimized for amphibious warfare, immediately identifiable by there unique camouflage, a mix of blue, black and sage safariflage with chocolate chip pattern. As well as their red rank and branch insignia. They are identifiable via the blue service patch on the left upper arm.

They armed with the G3 rifle and make frequent use of support arms such as mortars, short range rockets, RPG's, MANPADS, and recoilless rifles. They use the M1 steel helmet. They make use of the IRIN’s stock of hovercraft for amphibious assault operations as well as smaller Zodiac and Boghammer style boats. They also use naval UH-1’s and SH-3’s for helicopter. While on land they make use of motorbikes and small jeeps.


  1. ^
  2. ^ 'Iran ready to ward off acts of aggression - senior army commander,' Credit: West Azarbayjan Provincial TV, Orumiyeh, in Persian 1315 5 Apr 07, BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC