A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Persian Gulf Wars: Iran-Iraq War, Khorramshahr 1980


After many long years, I have finally managed to organize a game for the Iran-Iraq War.  The scenario I set up was loosely based on the opening phase of the Battle of Khorramshahr in September, 1980.  This battle was a brutal, vicious, engagement, that inflicted appalling losses on both sides, and the civilians living there.  After 34 days, the Iranian defenders had been nearly wiped out, the Iraqis may have suffered 35-50% casualties, and the town (eventually "won" by the Iraqis) was a wrecked ghost town.  In many ways this battle is a good example of the war at large.

My scenario is modified to incorporate the troops and vehicles I have available.  I chose to bring a vehicle heavy game onto our 6x8 table... which meant for deadly anti tank fire on both sides.  Probably, I had too many vehicles, but it does demonstrate incompetent use of armor.  You may notice palm groves on the battlefield, a feature of this region.

All of the infantry are 20mm Liberation, as are the BMPs and M40 portees.  The Chieftains are old 1/76 Airfix, the K-63s are resin (unknown).... the rest of the vehicles are either diecast or models.

The defenders were represented by an understrength Pasdaran platoon, supported by 2 M60A1 tanks [mine are M60A3s, but its what I have], 2 M40 106mm rr jeep portees, and 2 M113s.  Also, they were assigned several Mullahs to offer aid via religious fervor to the Pasdaran infantry.  An understrength Iranian platoon, supported by 3 Chieftain Mk 3/5Ps, and 3 M113s was also present... bringing with them 2 M47 Dragon teams.  The Pasdaran had managed to build some hasty emplacements, but the regulars made do by taking up positions on the outskirts of the town.

In the actual battle the defenders included a wide array of Iranian troops, including Marines, regulars, Pasdaran, Basij, gendarmes, and civilian volunteers.  Chieftains and M113s were certainly involved in the actual battle, though I am not aware if Pattons were.

The Iragi attackers began in "motor pool" areas, out of line of sight from the Iranian defenders.  This allowed the platers to "maneuver" onto the table without having to have everything scattered off table.  The Iraqi regulars were a full platoon, including an AT-3 Sagger team, supported by 3 T-55s, 3 K-63s, and 2 trucks.  The Iraqi "Republican Guard" [I am not sure they would have been considered this in 1980] were a full platoon, supported by 4 T-62s and 4 BMP-1s (one of the models is a BMP-2, fielded here as a BMP-1).  The BMPs were deployed without AT3 Saggers

The Iraqis quickly engaged the Pasdaran M60s, knocking out both very early in the game.
At the same time, their T-55s and T-62s were taking hits.... Republican Guard in BMPs were pushing through a "forested" area on the flank, trying to close with the Iranian regulars in the town.

The Chieftains had been very active, causing grief for the Iraqis... then, on the same turn, 2 of the 3 Chieftains were knocked out, catastrophically.
Sensing an opportunity, Iraqis surged forward.... an entire squad was mowed down in the grove by severely accurate Iranian MG3 and G3 fire, while the BMP was heavily damaged by an RPG-7.  End of surge.  The Iraqis had concentrated fire on the M47 Dragon teams, eliminating one by this time.
Iraqi T-62s... two destroyed, one heavily damaged and abandoned, the last damaged but still fighting.
The Iraqis continued to push the Iranian right flank, making use of a high stone wall to block Iranian small arms fire.  This was a real problem for the defenders.
The Iraqi attack on the Iranian left flank had stalled amidst the palm groves and other vegetation.    An unlucky K-63 had taken a Dragon early on, destroying it and part of the AT-3 team.... however, that AT-3 team was able to kill one of the Chieftains.  A T-55 burns in the grove, while the other hammers away at Pasdaran infantry.  Eventually, both the M40 portees were destroyed, as ere a number of Pasdaran infantry.  With so many losses, the Pasdaran force began to make morale tests every turn to prevent them from routing or surrendering.

We called the game at this point.

The Iraqi regulars had lost a T-55 and a K-63, with another T-55 heavily damaged and a number of infantry casualtied.  The Iraqi "Republican Guard" had lost 2 T-62s, with another heavily damaged and abandoned, and the last damaged, with one BMP damaged and abandoned.  They had also lost an entire infantry squad.

The Iranian regulars had lost 2 Chieftains with the third heavily damaged and immobilized, 1 M113, an entire Dragon team, and a couple of other infantry.  The Iranian Pasdaran, on the other hand, had been mauled severely.  They lost both M60s, both M40 jeep portees, an independent RPG team, and a number of infantry.  They had lost more than 50% of their force and were close to routing or surrendering.  Once thay had done so, it was extremely unlikely the remaining Iranian defenders ... about 2 squads of infantry, an M47 team with no more missiles, the nearly-destroyed Chieftain, and 2 M113s... would have any chance of holding off the continued Iraqi advance.

The fate of the city was still in question, but it seemed the Iraqis had gained a slight (and particularly costly) win at the opening of the battle.  It will be a surprise if their commanders survive the war with "victories" such as these....

OK, very bloody, but very fun.  I am just glad to finally game the conflict, with a few "period flavor" rules.  We had some talk of turning to micro armor for the big vehicle engagements... just not enough space for so much armor.  On the other hand, I'd like to follow this game up with a more infantry centric battle the the middle of Khorramshar with smaller forces.  We shall see.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Had the right feel to the period sure enough! Well done!

  2. Great game report. The Iran Iraq war is one that I seem to be increasingly more interested in.



    1. I hope to get a few more in, over time.

  3. Very enjoyable report. There was something old school about the mixed battle groups that added to the fun. Hope to read some more.

    1. I was explaining to the players not as familiar with the war, just how many different vehicles were used in the war. A chance to use a lot of different things.

  4. Nice looking game...except for two Chieftains !

    1. On the same turn! Changed things for the Iranian regulars.