July 15, 2007

Iranian Rockets Recovered In Iraq [with Photos]

Via MNF-I:

After several rockets hit FOB Hammer on July 11, the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team maneuvered to find the source of the attack. Early on July 12, the 3rd HBCT’s unmanned aerial vehicle located 46 rocket launchers in the northern section of Besmaya Range Complex aimed at FOB Hammer. Thirty-four of the launchers were armed with Iranian 107mm rockets. The Besmaya Range Complex is adjacent to the Coalition Force base. Soldiers of the 789th Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, currently attached to the 3rd HBCT, immediately responded to the site. According to Capt. Justin Gerken, from Red Wing, Minn., commander of the 789th EOD team, 12 of the 46 rockets had already been used to attack FOB Hammer the day prior. EOD Soldiers were able to determine that the rockets originated from Iran after analyzing the unexploded ordnance. The 789th EOD team was successful in neutralizing the remaining rockets.

That press release went up yesterday. I got copies of the photographs documenting the scene from MNF-I PAO this morning.

Iranian 107mm rocket captured while aimed at U.S. FOB Hammer in Iraq. (click photo for full size).

U.S. Army EOD securing Iranian 107mm rockets and launchers captured in Iraq. (click photo for full size).

Unfired Iranian 107mm rockets recovered after attack on U.S. FOB Hammer in Iraq. (click photo for full size).

Update: Some seem to expect these rockets and previously-captured Iranian munitions to be marked with some sort of "Iranian" language markings, whether Farsi or Persian or some other regional language.

The fact of the matter is that many countries, including Iran, use English language markings on some or all of their military ordnance, and Iran even has an English-language web site for exporting these and other military munitions.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 15, 2007 08:33 AM

hate to sound like a skeptic, but what would be the purpose of lining these rockets up and leaving them there? It doesn't look like they'd be that hard to set up, so why wouldn't their owner wait until just before firing before doing so?

Posted by: stevesturm at July 15, 2007 09:28 AM

what would be the purpose of lining these rockets up and leaving them there?

So you can deposit and aim them a few at a time while ambling by innocuously in preparation for a large scale volley later on?

They look rather heavy. Making a hasty escape while winded after hauling heavy stuff isn't terribly smart is it?

Posted by: Purple Avenger at July 15, 2007 09:38 AM

"hate to sound like a skeptic, but what would be the purpose of lining these rockets up and leaving them there? It doesn't look like they'd be that hard to set up, so why wouldn't their owner wait until just before firing before doing so?"

Rockets are, by definition, unguided munitions. The best the crew can do to aim these things is point them in the right direction and hope the rockets run out of fuel over their intended targets. This makes them only effective when fired at very large, area targets, like FOB Hammer. Because of the inherent inaccuracy of rockets, they are fired in large volleys. Accuracy by volume, if you will. That's the purpose of lining them up in large numbers. We saw these same tactics used by Hezbollah against Israel only with larger rockets.

Posted by: Vegetius at July 15, 2007 11:05 AM

CY, I'm not up on how this stuff works. How did the Iranians get their hands on rockets that are labeled in English?

Posted by: Doc Washboard at July 15, 2007 11:24 AM

"How did the Iranians get their hands on rockets that are labeled in English?"

And while you are at it, How did all those fine 'Made in China' products at WalMart get labeled in English?

Posted by: PETN Sandwich at July 15, 2007 01:37 PM

Doc, why is Iran's weapons export site in English as well?

The answer is quite simple: just like English is the worldwide standard language for air travel and some other applications, so it is for munitions that may be sold on the export market.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 15, 2007 01:53 PM

Been that way for a long time, too.

I have a really old Brazilian single-shot shotgun from the 1940s, and the stampings are in English - it even says "Miami, FL," but that was the importer.

Posted by: cirby at July 15, 2007 02:56 PM

it's ridiculous to suppose iranian munitions should be marked in something other than english. why, the american public found out 20 years ago that they are likely to signed, "To Iran; Love, Ronald Reagan, Ollie North, G.H.W. Bush, et al."

Posted by: j at July 15, 2007 02:56 PM

OR, they could just as easily be marked, "Love, G.W. Bush, Cheney, the Joint Chiefs, et al."

from the Washington Post:

"AP: Iran Gets Army Gear in Pentagon Sale


The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 16, 2007; 9:56 PM

WASHINGTON -- Fighter jet parts and other sensitive U.S. military gear seized from front companies for Iran and brokers for China have been traced in criminal cases to a surprising source: the Pentagon.

In one case, federal investigators said, contraband purchased in Defense Department surplus auctions was delivered to Iran, a country President Bush has branded part of an 'axis of evil.'

In that instance, a Pakistani arms broker convicted of exporting U.S. missile parts to Iran resumed business after his release from prison. He purchased Chinook helicopter engine parts for Iran from a U.S. company that had bought them in a Pentagon surplus sale. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents say those parts did make it to Iran.


In one case, convicted middlemen for Iran bought Tomcat parts from the Defense Department's surplus division. Customs agents confiscated them and returned them to the Pentagon, which sold them again _customs evidence tags still attached_ to another buyer, a suspected broker for Iran.

The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, found it alarmingly easy to acquire sensitive surplus. Last year, its agents bought $1.1 million worth including rocket launchers [you don't say!], body armor and surveillance antennas by driving onto a base and posing as defense contractors.


Investigators have found the Pentagon's inventory and sales controls rife with errors. They say sales are closely watched by friends and foes of the United States.

Among cases in which U.S. military technology made its way from surplus auctions to brokers for Iran, China and others....

.... "

Posted by: j at July 15, 2007 03:20 PM

You guys read me wrong. I wasn't saying, "So neener neener, why are they in English?" I honestly didn't know that English was the language of munitions makers, and I was looking for information.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at July 15, 2007 03:31 PM

Munition are marked either in English, Russian, or, I think, Chinese.

Posted by: DoesNotMatter at July 15, 2007 05:04 PM

Video Here
(AFP) July 14- US soldiers discovered a field of rocket launchers near a US army base south of Baghdad armed with 34 Iranian-made missiles, the military said Saturday.

“After several rockets hit FOB (Forward Operating Base) Hammer on July 11, the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team manoeuvred to find the source of the attack,” a statement said.

The next morning an “unmanned aerial vehicle located 46 rocket launchers in the northern section of Besmaya Range Complex aimed at FOB Hammer. Thirty-four of the launchers were armed with Iranian 107mm rockets,” it added.

The US army believes the other twelve rockets were launched at the base the day before, killing one US soldier. The military announced the death on June 12 but provided no details at the time.

US commanders frequently accuse Iran of providing weapons, training and support to Shiite militias in Iraq, including many of the rockets launched at Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

Earlier this month, US commanders stepped up the charges, claiming that senior leaders of Iran’s special forces and of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia have trained Iraqi fighters and provided other support.

Iran has always denied that it is fomenting unrest in its war-torn neighbour, insisting that the US occupation is the cause of Iraq’s woes.

Posted by: Karl B at July 15, 2007 05:56 PM

still the skeptic.

why fire 12 one day and then leave the others for the US to find? presuming they set them up without being detected, why not go ahead and light them all off? Wouldn't it be on the dumb side to only fire 12? Wouldn't they be afraid of being ambushed when they came back to fire the other 34?

Posted by: steve sturm at July 15, 2007 07:45 PM

why not go ahead and light them all off?

For the same reason that the vast majority of successful bank robbers spend 60 seconds or less in the bank? Go beyond 60 seconds and your chances of getting caught start to grow exponentially.

You aren't really this dense are you?

Posted by: Purple Avenger at July 15, 2007 08:08 PM

Iranian weapons are marked in Farsi for internal use and in English if intended for export. In other words, these weapons could have been exported by Iran to any of a couple of dozen countries that have bought such rockets then appropriated and redirected by the black market.

After all, that's what the US wants everyone to believe when US weapons turn up in PKK terrorist's hands in Turkey...

Regards, C

Posted by: Cernig at July 15, 2007 08:20 PM

In an act of clear cut revenge for accusations of Irans involvement in supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgents Iran has tracked down and arrested 14 squirrels on charges of spying for the West.

Posted by: Mike at July 15, 2007 08:45 PM

Did the squirrels have little boxes of matches to light the rockets?

Posted by: Big Hugh at July 15, 2007 08:52 PM

any of a couple of dozen countries that have bought such rockets

And four or five examples of those "couple dozen" would be precisely who?

Posted by: Purple Avenger at July 15, 2007 09:06 PM

I'll give you a hint -- Sudan is one of them.

Are you sure you want to make the case that Iran is propping up the Darfur genocide by supplying weapons to the Islamist government?

Posted by: Purple Avenger at July 15, 2007 09:16 PM

They should be taken to the Iranian border and returned to airmail.

Posted by: torabora at July 15, 2007 09:38 PM


its not just iran!!!

the saudis have there hand in the cookie jar too

"the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, SAU

"45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from SAUDI ARABIA"

"Fighters from SAUDI ARABIA are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality"

they there hash settled too

BEFORE or AFTER iran??? choices choices!!!

times a wastin!!! get er DONE

Posted by: Karl at July 15, 2007 11:11 PM

folks, these are amazing pics that only reinforce my conviction that we are fighting evil and we have to vanquish it there otherwise we will face it here on our soil in face to face combat.
i would like to plug one party here. first off, i don't trust the iraqi army or police or whatever they call themselves. to me they're a compromised force from start to finish, top to bottom, you get my occurs to me that the u.s. armed forces are the only forces fighting al-qaeda in actual combat around the world. but their is another army foghting al qaeda also face to face in the middle east and that's the lebanese army who since may 20 has been battling hundreds of terrorist fath-al islam who are al qaeda affiliated and whose fighters had left iraq via syria to lebanon after their tours of terror throughout iraq.i think the u.s. government should strongly continue to support lebanon against the tyranny of terrorists like hizballah, al qaeda, iran and syria.

Posted by: jonathan at July 15, 2007 11:28 PM

the saudis have there hand in the cookie jar too

Sure, but unlike the Iranins, the Saudis are trying to do something about it. You don't think they actually desire a face off with Iran should we fail do you? Because that's what will happen.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at July 16, 2007 12:13 AM


By international convention, since the early 1990's, the international arms market requires English labeling on all weapons & munitions. Other languages are permitted in addition, but for obvious reasons, the Iranians didn't put Farsi on these rockets. The origin of the rockets is determined by design, materials & manufacturing processes. There are tell-tale features of these rockets which reveal that they were made in Iran (ie. they are identical to similar rockets Hezbollah has).

Posted by: Kenneth at July 16, 2007 05:12 AM

"How did the Iranians get their hands on rockets that are labeled in English?"

I dimly remember seeing a vid with an EOD tech explaining that english was "the" language of the international arms trade and it was the normal practice for nations exporting arms to label them in english.

Posted by: avidbuff at July 16, 2007 07:30 AM

I've made the comment before that the markings on these weapons are too simplistic for American manufactured weapons. PETN Sandwich, that's a good comment about crap made in China. I saw a toy fireman set at a supermarket over the weekend. It contained a toy fire extinguisher that was marked "DONT SMOKING". I turned over the box and, sure enough, it was made in China. I'm sure to the Chinese or to a 6 year old, "Dont Smoking" looks like something that would be on a fire extinguisher, but you handed one to a real firefighter, he would laugh. Same with these weapons. A professional could tell the difference.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at July 16, 2007 08:08 AM

Another clue Lowe's is the good one::::Katrina cottage plans.
In this era of preditory developers building massive new homes (ie SUVs) it is quite refreshing to see Lowe's promote modest single family structures.
Looking in Denver these are the kinds of homes I am looking at. To move into a brand new structure would be key, especially in Denver:::::Full insulation, no dreaded leakage leading to high heating bills. No ghosts and no history.
As with all things::::Redwhite&blue IS BAD FOR YOU!!!! Much like some Walmarts, some Lowe's stores are redwhite&blue color scheme:::Assume its a clue that these towns are disfavored and it would be wise to GET THE FUCK OUT!!!
Bet that Oldsmobile was the only good American auto manufacturer left and now they're gone.

The 80s era of M&A and integration with/controlling interest by evil entities has eliminated good from the marketplace.
In this era of Manifest Destiny positioning the gods have the preditory disfavored steal from the good disfavored::::
1. Microsoft stole Windows from Apple Computer/SteveJobs/Wozniac
2. Alexander Graham Bell stole the telephone from Elisha Grey
3. Waffle House's business model was stolen by many entities who copied the style and stole market share. HOLDING BACK THE COFFEE IS A TACTIC THE GODS USE TO SEND THE DISFAVORED ELSEWHERE and a clue they are good::::Coffee is bad for you.


Posted by: Another clue Lowe's is the good one::::Katrina cottage plans. at July 16, 2007 02:08 PM

purple avenger: I understand the 'don't stick around'. What I don't understand is why they lined them all up, only to fire a fraction and leave the rest for the US to discover and confiscate. Did they not think the US would be looking at where the first attack came from? Were they not worried that the US would ambush them when they came back to fire the rest? Why not only line up what they have time to stick around and fire, keeping the others safely in storage (where, obviously, we have no idea) and roll them out 12 at a time.

Posted by: steve sturm at July 16, 2007 09:44 PM

I normally don't comment, but here, since I have some knowledge on the subject--I'll post.

The rockets in question are like the "HASSEBs", used in a 12 tube artillery rocket system that is mounted on a 6x6 truck. They have a range of less than 12 miles and are loud enough to give a trackable signature to anyone who is looking for the launch. The rockets are more often fired without the tubes by land grunts who lean them against rocks or place them on homemade launch platforms (like the ones shown).

Even so, it's not a makeshift launch system that can be set up easily if you want to be even remotely effective. It takes time set the rockets to the (approximate) correct trajectory required to hit a large target area (like a base or staging area). So, they would set up as many as they could to fire at the base in order to ensure they hit the target. Once they began to fire the rockets, it would take anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds per person--per rocket, for each launch (based upon how the rockets were set up in the pictures). So how many they could launch would be determined by how many people were "popping off" the ignition fuses.

I would hazard a guess and say that they didn't have a lot of people launching the rockets--or if they did, they didn't have a lot of "ignitors" for the rockets. Once the firing started, they could have lost courage (which happens more than a few times) due to the noise or fear of discovery, or based upon firebase SOP, they may have seen (or feared) the return fire from the base (fired back in a general way) and simply fled the scene. That would explain why the attach was not completed. Remember, they are paranoid about our capability to strike back without warning from UAVs and circling fighter bombers (remember those great videos the military shows of hard-working, but unaware terrorists being vaporized by our remote weapon systems).

The another possibility is that they set up rockets for an extended attack over several days (like was done by Hez. during Israel's last invasion of Lebanon), and were discovered before they could launch their second, heavier attack.

In truth, there are a number of reasonable explanations for why the rockets were set up, but left behind. Weapons are plentiful there, and the lose of these rockets would not be mourned as heavily as one would think.

Posted by: WB at July 16, 2007 11:27 PM

Skeptics are allways folks who have no first hand knowledge of what the hell is going on in a certain situation. I for one have had these exact rockets exploding all around me for the past six months. I don't mean near me either. Right freakin where I live. After about the first 250 I became a little less fearfull, but non the less still shaken. All that happened was they where spotted or they heard something like a UAV or fastair, and jetted the hell out of there before having an opportunity to detonate these bad boys. It is not a simulated scenario. They intended and are fully capable of launching every rocket you see in this picture. Beleive me I have been on the receiving end of barages like this one for six months. It's like what we call at Basrah( BAD GU GU). I'm not surprised one bit at a set up like this. And for all you skeptics, well you know what you can do!

Posted by: Chuck Kendrick at July 17, 2007 07:17 PM


Much agreed with your comment. It appears that the most likely scenario is that they got spooked and pulled a "bug-out" right after they started firing. You'll never convince any of the skeptics, though.

But after all, there are still fools who think we're faking the Iranian connection to weapons being used against us.


Posted by: WB at July 17, 2007 11:13 PM

This is fake. The military is now firmly behind the Bush/Cheney cabal because they know that next year most troops will leave. They are creating these "Iranian arms everywhere" thing. Its as old as war itself these tricks. The goal is to stay and start fighting with Iran.
My dad work for 30 yaers for the DIA. This stuff was planted by either US or Israeli special ops.

Posted by: Paul Hausser at July 20, 2007 09:28 AM