Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Iranian delivered North Korean Type-73 machine guns joining the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq



Iraq's war on the Islamic State has seen a myriad of both light and heavy weaponry from all sources around the world in use with the numerous groups pitting it out against the Islamic State for control over Iraq. From Iranian multiple rocket launchers (MRLs) to World War II howitzers, the war in Iraq has so far provided it all.

As the war is now about to enter it's second year, the need for more weapons has everything but diminished, and all involved parties continue to scrounge the list of regional and international supporters that will fuel the war for years to come. Weaponry once presumed to have found its final resting place is dug up, dusted off and once more put to use.

One of these weapons is the North Korean Type-73 light machine gun (LMG), an extremely rare piece of equipment never thought to have been produced for export in any significant quantities. While North Korean designed and produced weaponry had a great impact on Iran's wars in the past and present, these machine guns were not thought to have survived the turbulent 80s. Numerous examples now showing up with Shiite militias operating under the Popular Mobilization Forces umbrella organisation is thus highly suprising.

Indeed, North Korean influence on the equipment of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army has in the past been substantial, but had yet to make a significant appearance in the Iraqi theatre, especially when put into perspective with the masses of other foreign equipment that roam the Iraqi battlegrounds.

The early 80s saw the height of military cooperation between Pyongyang and Tehran. During this time, the DPRK delivered anything from ballistic missiles and artillery to small arms and even aircraft to aid Iran in its fight against neighbouring Iraq. Cooperation in later years mainly focused on the transfer of technology from the DPRK to Iran, enabling Iran to produce various types of ballistic missiles, missile boats and submarines originally of North Korean design.

However, numerous North Korean Bulsae-2 anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) have recently popped up in the Gaza Strip with the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas and the al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades. The Bulsae-2, an indigenous variant of the 9K111 Fagot, is believed to have been delivered to the Gaza Strip by Iran through an elaborate network of smugglers and backdoor channels ranging from Sudan to the Gaza Strip. More on the presence of North Korean Bulsae-2 ATGMs with Hamas can be read here.


The Type-73, seen with Iranian troops during the Iran-Iraq war in the image above, is largely based on the Soviet PK ligh machine gun, but has been fitted with a very different feeding system capable of accepting both box and stick magazines, chambered for the 7.62x54R cartridge. While a large number were produced for the Korean People's Army, where it still sees use today, the machine gun's only documented export success is Iran.

With North Korean designed weaponry continuing to appear in various conflicts throughout the world, it is clear that even in its extremely isolated state of today the DPRK's ability exert influence on conflicts abroad is substantial.

Special thanks to Green lemon.

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19 comments:

  1. Have they shown up in Syria?

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  2. Any idea if Iran will start sending more afghans/iraqi/anyone to aid Assad?

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  3. Persians fuel the war with full force to dominate ME. This is a struggle between factions of Sasanid Empire vs. Umayyad Caliphate.

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    1. Richard Roberts26 May 2015 at 22:08

      This probably isn't the right place for a political argument but Iran's contribution to the Syrian Civil War pales by comparison to that of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States.

      Re. the North Korean MG's, that country must welcome the money from sales as much as the Iranians welcome the weapons. Oryx made a good point about the wide range of weapons being used. About a month ago I found but did not save (stupidly) a photo of Iraqi popular militia armed with the Sa80 and Sa80 LSW - poor blokes.

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    2. Richard,

      Where was that pic- I'm interested.

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    3. Richard Roberts27 May 2015 at 13:06

      I'll look for it today. I tried to find it last evening but without luck but I will try. I found it originally by searching Google Images for 'SA80a2 Iraq' but the image is hard to locate now. In the photo, there was a group of either Iraqi army recruits or popular militia. Aside from the usual AK's, one chap had an L85A1 and the other the LSW. It was so hard to find last night that I wondered whether the photo had been removed as someone thought in indiscreet.

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    4. Richard Roberts27 May 2015 at 14:52

      I've looked again, with multiple search criteria, without luck. I will look this evening. If anyone else saw the photo at the time (about one month ago from today's date) and saved it or knows where it is, please post the info.

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    5. Richard Roberts27 May 2015 at 15:08

      FOUND!!:

      http://allenwestrepublic.com/2015/03/01/developing-story-iraq-launches-long-awaited-offensive-on-isis-north-of-baghdad/

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    6. I want to add kurdish racists who wants to establish a greater kürdistan. As you can see published maps bu kurds they want to do etnic cleanesing all part of this geopraphy for the sake of greater kürdistan. kürdistan is nothing sort of some kind of greater caliphate or persian empire.

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    7. Richard Roberts28 May 2015 at 22:23

      I hope it is ok to post this 'off topic' update re. the use by Iraqi militia of the SA80 and LSW (see 'photo in link above): I raised the issue on a UK website and was reminded by responders of the capture, in 2007, of two RN patrol craft, their RN and Royal Marine crews, and their weapons. The boats and weapons have not been returned. Might that be the source of the weapons in Iraqi use?

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  4. Oryx, in your opinion, what is it that makes Iranian Trained units much more effective than the American trained units?

    Its something I noticed a lot. American trained militaries constantly break, but the Iranian Trained units fight to the death and only break under the harshest morale crushing strain.

    What inherent flaws are present in American Training methods or is it that American training is only effective if a military actually has an exact copy of the American Military?

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    1. I'm sure Oryx can provide a better analysis than I. However here it is: under Maliki's tenure, the U.S. trained Iraqi Officer Corps was purged in place of "supposedly loyal" appointees. Some even claim the officer corps was purged down to the company level. Weak leadership means discipline of the troops will falter under high pressure situations such as fighting as we have seen in Iraq. Mostly the appointed officer corps deployed to certain conflict areas don't want to stick it out and would rather retreat.

      The Iranian "trained" militias seem to be deployed in bigger formations across various militia organizations. However their skills at fighting seem to be questionable in some cases in which several militia members are not trained very well and expend a lot of ammunition. However their leadership is stronger in most cases than the Iraqi military. Also there is the likelihood of the existential variable in which their defending their faith and communities from a foe than plans to eradicate both.

      Also if you haven't check out this Vice News Report : The Battle for Iraq: Shia Militias vs. the Islamic State - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pEZcCJIKkg

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    2. Isıl is no miracle,they are foot soldiers ,poorly trained individuals but fanatically seeking die l to help their religion. They devote their life to their faith. Westerners think and like virgin stories but it is not that simple. İslam is much more then "you will die and go to virginland" promises. Muslim lands are under attack by westerners the invaders. isil fighters save their land from invaders thats western backed tirans. This is not same for regular iraqi soldier. They dont fight aganist invaders but people aganist similar faiths. Faith is all important for a muslim. They are doing this job to feed their lovely ones. They dont believes foreign backed ,puppet regimes,tirans so they run at first shots. Isıs grain ground easily. Persian backed shite militia has totaly different faith. So they believes that when they kill a isis member or killed by a isis member they think that they serve their religion. Same mentality with isis but different faith.

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  5. I wonder if they still use the banana top feed magazines, it looks like the CZ 52 and PK hybird.

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  6. http://nasheer.me/airport/

    So what do we have here?

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  7. Second year?

    Don't you mean fourth?

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    1. Iranian delivered North Korean Type-73 machine guns joining the fight against the Islamic State in >Iraq<.

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  8. Have you noticed the Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq are operating M1 Abrams?

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