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Battle of Khorramshahr Area Today

A map of the area around the battle positions

Battle of Khorramshahr summary

On September 17 1980, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein declared the 1975 Algiers Agreement null and void, thus setting the countdown to war, which would begin a few days later.

  1. In the afternoon of September 22, Iraq launched its first phase of the invasion in Iran with a series of air strikes. Khorramshahr was among the first targets of Iraqi artillery as well.
  2. During the night, 500 Iraqi tanks moved towards Khorramshahr attacking severl Iranian outposts surrounding the city.
  3. By early morning September 23, most of the outposts had fallen to Iraqi mechanized divisions. This, however, gave the Iranians enough time to prepare the defences in and around the city.
  4. In the following days the Iraqis proceeded to surround Khorramshahr in a crescent like formation. The Iranian forces responded to the attacks with rocket-propelled grenades and 106-millimetre guns. Iraqi advance was very slow.
  5. By September 30, the Iraqis had cleared most of the dikes and captured the area around the city, cutting it off from both Abadan and the rest of the Khuzestan province.
  6. At sunrise, a unit of sixty commandos became the first of thousands of Iraqi forces to enter Khorramshahr via the southernmost port.
  7. The commandos force was repulsed by a number of Pasdaran defenders but more Iraqi troops entered the suburbs of the city.
  8. In the suburbs the Iraqi attack stalled when they encountered Chieftain tanks. Determined local counter attacks by Pasdaran anti-tank teams met poorly trained Iraqui conscripts. In addition when Iraqui tanks encountered Iranian armour the advance came to a standstill.
  9. The Iraqis recuperated on the outskirts of the city until their next attack on October 11. During that time, the Iraqis mercilessly shelled the city. The Iraqui high command send additional commando units with armour providing backup.
  10. On October 14, the Iraqis moved in once again, using the element of night attacks to advance troops. Again the Iranians slowed them down but could not stop their movements. The Iraqis managed to secure part of the city and moved towards the center.
  11. By October 21 the Iraqis had rearch the city center but it was only on October 24 that they briefly seized the Government building.
  12. Over the night of October 25 and 26, the remainders of the Iranian defenders proceeded to evacuate towards the Karun River. Iraqi artillery shelled them in their flight, but some youth volunteers stayed behind to cover their retreat. By November 10, the city of Khorramshahr was effectively under Iraqi control. The city remained in Iraqi hands until April 1982