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Operation Dawn 3
Part of Iran–Iraq War
Date July 30, 1983 - August 9, 1983
Result Decisive Iraqi victory
Iraq captures Mehran, Ilam Province

</tr><tr> <th colspan="2" style="background-color: #B0C4DE; text-align: center; vertical-align: middle;">Belligerents</th> </tr><tr> <td style="width:50%; border-right:1px dotted #aaa;">Flag of Iraq (1963–1991); Flag of Syria (1963–1972).svg Iraq </td><td style="width:50%; padding-left:0.25em">Flag of Iran.svg Iran </td> </tr><tr> <th colspan="2" style="background-color: #B0C4DE; text-align: center; vertical-align: middle;">Strength</th> </tr><tr> <td style="width:50%; border-right:1px dotted #aaa;">60,000 </td><td style="width:50%; padding-left:0.25em">unknown </td> </tr><tr> <th colspan="2" style="background-color: #B0C4DE; text-align: center; vertical-align: middle;">Casualties and losses</th> </tr><tr> <td style="width:50%; border-right:1px dotted #aaa;">heavy </td><td style="width:50%; padding-left:0.25em">heavy </td> </tr></table>

Operation Dawn 3 or Operation Valfajr-3 was Iran's worst defeat out of all the Dawn operations. 180,000 Iranian troops participated in this attack but withering Iraqi firepower in support of deeply entrenched troops slaughtered the advancing Iranians.

The Iraqis struck back by emerging from their trenches to counterattack into Iran and capture Mehran. Although Iranian troops were highly motivated, they were poorly trained and equipped for this battle. For Iran the operation was a disaster.


The Iranians attempted to further exploit activities in the north after Operation Dawn 2 on 30 July 1983. Iran saw an opportunity to sweep away Iraqi forces controlling the roads between the Iranian controlled mountain border towns of Mehran, Dehloran and Elam. Iraq conducted airstrikes against 50,000 Iranian forces lodged in mountainous terrain, exhausting themselves attempting to dislodge the Iranians. Realising they needed to alter their tactics, Iraq equipped attack helicopters with chemical warheads; while ineffective, it demonstrated both the Iraqi general staff's and Saddam's increasing interest in using chemical weapons. In the end, 17,000 had been killed on both sides,[clarification needed] with no gain for either country.[73]



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