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September 18, 2014

Combat Units Available

Iraqi Forces

Seven corps, 25 divisions, 7 independent  brigades. About 85 combat brigades total. 

City unit is stationed in shown in (parenthesis, along with number of troops).


1st Army Corps (Kirkuk, 45,000 troops in four divisions)

2nd Infantry Division (Alrabee), 5th Mechanized Division (Shuwan), 8th Infantry Division (Shuwan), 38th Infantry Division (Quader Karam)


2nd Army Corps (Deyala, 35,000 troops  in three divisions)

3rd Armored Division (Jalawia), 15th Infantry Division (Amerli), 34th Infantry Division (Khanaqin).


3rd Army Corps (Al Nasseria, 35,000 troops in three divisions)

6th Armored Division (Majnoon), 11th Infantry Division (Al Nasseria), 51st Mechanized Division (Zubair).


4th Army Corps (Al Amara, 35,000 troops  in three divisions)

10th Armored Division (Al Teab), 14th Infantry Division (Al Amara), 18th Infantry Division (Al Musharah).


5th Army Corps (Mosul, 40,000 troops in four divisions)

1st Mechanized Division (Makhmur), 4th Infantry Division (Bashiqa), 7th Infantry Division (Alton Kopri Castle), 16th Infantry Division (Saddam Dam). 


1st (Northern) Republican Guard Corps (Tikrit, 40,000 troops in four divisions)

1st Adnan Mechanized Division (Mosul), al Nida Armored Division (Bagubah), 2nd Baghdad Infantry Division (Maqloob Maontin-Mosul), Al Abed (Infantry Division (Kirkuk).


2nd (Southern) Republican Guard Corps (Al Hafreia, 40,000 troops in three divisions)

Al Madina Armored Division (As Suwayrah), Nebuchadnezzer Infantry Division (Al Husseinia-al Kutt), Hamurabi Mechanized Division (Al Taji).

Special Republican Guard Division 

Four motorized infantry brigades (14 battalions), an armored brigade and an air defense brigade (Baghdad, 20,000 troops)

Special Forces Command

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 33rd, 65th, 66th and 68th Special Forces Brigades. Each of these brigades has about a thousand well trained light infantry. These men are used for protecting senior government officials and "special weapons (chemical and nuclear), terrorizing civilians suspected of disloyalty and commando type operations. These troops did not perform particularly well in 1991, but have been reorganized and retrained since then.


There are also 100,000 secret police, armed with some heavy weapons. There are also (in theory) 200,000 Saddam loyalists who could be armed. But would they fight? These forces were of no use in 1991.

Iraq is thought to have some 140 SA-2 launchers, 100 SA-3 launchers, 100 SA-6s,
25 SA-8s, 35 SA-9s, a few SA-13s, and 24 Roland VI and 4 Crotale surface-to-air
launchers. Iraq may have a dozen or more missiles per launcher. There are also about 2,000 shoulder fired SA-7s and SA-14s, and some SA-16s.

The Iraqi Air Force has nearly 300 aircraft, but most are out of action for want of spare parts. It is thought the Iraqis can put into the air less than a third of their existing warplanes. What is thought to be on hand at the moment is;

150-200 Fighters (20-30 Mirage F-1s, 12 MiG-29s, 40-60 MiG-23s, 50-150 MiG-21s) 

12 Reconnaissance aircraft (MiG-25s). 

80-90 Ground Attack aircraft (25-30 Su-25s, and 50-60 Su-17s, Su-20s, and Su-22s).

Kurd Forces

5 KDP brigades
3 PUK brigades

Shia Forces (southern Iraq)

Anywhere from 3-20 brigades
depending on negotiations with
Shia leaders.

Turkomen Forces

One or two brigades armed by the Turks.


US and British Forces

3rd Infantry Division (4 brigades), 101st Airmobile Division (3 brigades), 1st Marine Division (4 brigades), 82nd Airborne Division (one brigade), 173rd Airborne Brigade, and Maring 15th MEU is embedded with the British 16th Air Assault  

British 7th Armored Brigade, Royal Marine Commando Brigade, 16th Air Assault Brigade. 

Several thousand Special Forces and commando troops.

Over 900 warplanes, with the final number being close to 1,000 (on land and aboard carriers.)


Turkish Forces
2nd Corps (35,000 troops)
3rd Corps (35,000)
Kurdistan Brigade (2,000)


Notes on Combat Power: Although the US and British brigades only have 4-5,000 troops each, they have the best equipment, training, leadership and air support. As a result, two or three of these brigades could fight, and probably defeat, an Iraqi army corps (which have 9-15 or more brigades.) The Republican Guard units are twice as good as the army units, and the Special Republican Guard at bit better, but, more importantly, more likely to be loyal to Saddam. The Kurd, Shia and Turkomen can, if provided with US air support successfully stop two or three times as many Iraqi brigades for days, or even weeks.  

The coalition force massing in the Persian Gulf as of mid March comprises over 250,000 troops. France has alerted forces, probably a brigade or two, for service in the Gulf. Meanwhile, secret defection negotiations go on with Iraqi military officers and government officials. During the 1991 war, the US force consisted of  eight US divisions (including three armored divisions), two US Marine divisions, a British division, a French division and four Arab divisions. In addition there were 5,000 Special Forces troops and over 2,000 warplanes.

Iraq's army is, on paper, a formidable force. They have 25 combat divisions, and seven independent brigades. Nine of the divisions are armored or mechanized. But Iraq only has about 1,800 tanks in working order, and most of these are 1950s and 60s designs. They can be dangerous to American IFVs (M-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicles), but are otherwise just targets to American tanks and anti-tank weapons. The four mechanized divisions probably have fewer than a hundred tanks each. The two Republican Guard tank divisions probably have about 250 tanks each, and the two Republican Guard mechanized infantry divisions about half as many. Some infantry divisions have tank battalions, as does the Special Republican Guard division. This leaves the regular army tank and mechanized divisions with about two thirds as many tanks as the Republican Guard units. Moreover, the Republican Guard has the more modern tanks (T-72s, a 1970s design). The Iraqis also have about 2,000 lighter armored vehicles, and nearly a thousand ATGM (anti-tank guided missile launchers) of various models. The infantry divisions get most of the ATGMs, which did little damage to U.S. forces in 1991. The Iraqis also have about 2200 artillery, which are evenly distributed among the divisions, with the Republican Guard getting the 150 self propelled guns and most of the 200 rocket launchers. Iraqi artillery did not perform well in 1991. 

Iraqi divisions are about two-thirds the size of American ones, in terms of manpower. Most Iraqi divisions have 8-10,000 troops, although this can be increased by a few thousand if reserves are called up. A major problem with the Iraqi army is that about 80 percent of the population want Saddam and his gang gone. So most of the Saddam loyalists are in the Republican Guard units, or serve as officers in the regular army units. Saddam uses a combination of terror and rewards to keep the troops in line, and this works in peacetime. When there's a war, and Iraqis are getting beat on, the troops not loyal to Saddam tend to run away or surrender to the enemy. They did this during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war and during the 1991 Gulf War. There's nothing to indicate that the average Iraqi has changed his mind about this matter. 
  

Return to Iraq War

Map of Iraq


SOURCES: We use open sources and educated guesses as to were units are to be placed. As soon as we receive information we update the map. You'll probably notice that several US forces and British forces are not listed on the map. This because we have seen no open source reports on them. The assumption is they are being used in special operations or being held in reserve.

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