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While there is RUMINT [Rumor Intelligence] that the Iraqi Army’s 7th Infantry Division in western Anbar is mechanizing, there is no hard data confirming or denying this. The RUMINT claims that some of the M113s that Iraq is acquiring are to be used to mechanize this division.
Normally, RUMINT that thin would not rate an article. However,
- The 7th Division is planned to be a heavy division. The only real question over the last 3 years has been: When will it upgrade?
- The 7th Division has armor maintenance facilities but, so does Maysan and Baghdad and the priority has been Baghdad. So far.
- While Anbar is a threat border region, so are the Iranian sectors and they are in greater need of armor, Anbar has more considerably more depth to defend in. However, Anbar also has ample room for training mechanized in the field.
- The 7th Division could be planning to relocate in part or whole after upgrading and training. This would eliminate the argument that this is the wrong area to upgrade.
- The 7th Division is part of the Quick Intervention Corps like the upgrading 9th Armored Division. It could be taking over the mechanized reaction role for all of northern and western Iraq.
- The recent movement of the US Army’s 4/10 Cavalry Squadron of the 3/4 Heavy Brigade Combat Team from Basrah to Al Asad to help train the IA 7th Division. Anbar has a US Light Infantry Brigade already so why the additional battalion? The only thing this heavy battalion brings to the training that was not already there are Tracked Mechanized Combat Vehicles and their methods of employment. Since 4/10 Cavalry has only about 3 months left in Iraq – this indicates that the IA 7th Division is upgrading soon. Of note, the training reported so far is only infantry training. [This report is what tilted the balance.]
While 1,026 M113 Family of Vehicles are being provided this year, only 440 are Armored Personnel Carriers [APCs]. The rest are a mix of 120mm mortar carriers, armored ambulances, field surgery vehicles, command vehicles, and cargo carriers. The majority of the 440 M113 APCs are to go to the 9th Armored Division and some are going to the 56/6 (Baghdad) Brigade. There has been some redistribution of armor and mechanized equipment to 6th, 3rd, and 8th Divisions. 3 battalions of BMP1s, 1 of T55s, and 2 of M113s are transferring to those divisions so far.
However, when combined with the remaining BMP1s, MTLBs, Talhas, T55s, and T72s being redistributed from the 9th Armored Division, there is still more than enough armor becoming available this year to upgrade the 7th Division to mechanized status. The remaining tanks and M113s becoming available are enough for 5 Tank Regiments organized on a modified US Combined Arms Battalion structure. 7th Division already has 2 BMP1 equipped battalions and 2 more could be converted from transferred equipment. There are also enough M113, Talha, and MTLB APCs for 4-6 more battalions.
This could mean that the 7th Division is converting to 3 Mechanized Brigades of 1 Tank Regiment [CAB] and 2 Mechanized Battalions plus an Armored Brigade of 2 Tank Regiments [CABs] and 1 Mechanized Battalion. However, the mechanized/armor distribution in the IA indicates partial upgrades, so the 7th Division is more likely to be only partially upgraded this year.
There are 2 circumstances that would support full mechanization of 7th Division this year. They could be assuming the role of northern mechanized reserve or relocating to a more strategic location after completing upgrade and training. Given their location, they are more likely to be relocated to Basrah after upgrade. Basrah is strategic and has no defensive depth which means it requires a heavy division.
The current indications are that 7-8 IA divisions are planned to be armored or mechanized. The 4 currently identified as upgrading are 9th, 6th, 3rd, and 8th. The 4 additional candidate divisions for upgrade are 7th, 11th, 5th, and probably the 1st. These are listed in apparent priority. If the 7th Division is fully mechanizing, then it will probably relocate to Basrah to augment or replace the 14th Infantry Division. Even if only partially mechanizing, the 7th Division would be available for partial redeployment as part of the QIC.
Related: ISF OOB
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Jack winters (01/13/2011 03:18:49)