Arab Revolt Tribal Cavalry – Tribes of Jordan and Arabia, c. 1918.
On 21 November 1920, Prince Abdullah Bin Al-Hussien
(later King) arrived at Ma'an
, where he expressed his resolution to drive out the Turkish forces from Syria
. Later, on 5 December 1920, he proclaimed himself as deputy king
in Syria and appealed to members of the Al-Faissali army
to join his forces in Ma'an. His calls received much attention in the Arab world as several prominent Arab nationalists
and other Arab princes joined his campaign; these later formed the embryonic force of the Arab legion.
- Gendarmerie (Darak) force of 400 men.
- A mobile (mainly cavalry) force of 150 men and horses.
- A regular Army battalion of some 200 infantrymen.
- A camelry of 100 men.
- An Arab force, which was probably the battalion that had accompanied prince Abdullah to Amman from Ma'an.
Roles of Military Formations in Jordan from the Foundation of the Emirate until the 1948 Arab–Israeli War
- Transjordan Frontier Force: It had played an important role for the United Kingdom during World War II, as it provided protection for British lines of communication extending from Iraq to Soviet Union. It also took part in the fighting against the French forces in Syria.
- The Arab Legion: – During World War II, it was mainly tasked with maintaining law and order in the country. Moreover, it extended support to British Forces engaged in military actions in Syria, Iraq and Palestine. A military detachment of this force participated in the Victory Day ceremonies in London on 8 June 1946, and the victory festival of Allied Forces in Jerusalem.
- The Desert Force (Al-Badia Force): AKA Desert Patrol. Its main task was to guard Jordan's borders with neighboring Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria, as well as to provide protection for the petroleum pipelines of the Iraqi Petroleum Company (IPC). Besides that, it participated in the campaigns of Syria and Iraq during World War II.
Units from Jordan's Arab Legion
take part in the Victory March in London in 1946
During 1930, the Arab Legion
's strength was expanded to approximately 1,100. In 1931, a camel-mounted desert mobile force was organized under the command of John Bagot Glubb
to maintain security and order.
This organization attracted numerous Bedouin
volunteers. In 1933, the first mechanized force was formed. This element consisted of three vehicles and 120 men including the camel-mounted desert mobile force. It undertook the responsibility of maintaining security, preventing the raids among the tribal groups and deterring the raids from the outside.
By the eve of World War II, the legion had been expanded to a force of about 1,600 men. This legion took part in operations in Syria during the war. Independent companies were established in addition to a regular battalion, which was later expanded to become the 1st Brigade.
In 1942, the 2nd battalion was formed, which later became the 2nd Brigade. The army continued its expansion in numbers and equipment.
In 1948, it consisted of two brigades
; two garrisons
and four battalions were merged to become six battalions. At this time, the army consisted of an infantry division, an artillery brigade, a mortar battery, an artillery battery, an engineer and signal battalion and a field aid unit.
After the announcement of the 1947 UN Partition Plan
, and the disclosure of the British decision to leave Palestine on 15 May 1948, both warring sides (the Arabs and the Jews) began to make their military preparations for a forthcoming confrontation they believed would be inevitable.
In May 1948, the Arab countries decided to send their forces to assist the Palestinians. The Arab Legion entered Palestine with other Arab Forces on 15 May 1948 using the Allenby
(King Hussein) bridge as they were advancing to cover the approaches from Jenin
, in the north to Afula
and from Al-Majame'a bridge on the Jordan River
and from there to Afula
Units of the Arab Legion were engaged in several battles with the Jewish forces including the following:
King Hussein spared no pains at all to improve the army in terms of cadre and equipment, and in the early 1956 dismissed Glubb and Arab commanders assumed leadership posts in the army, most notably Habis Al-Majali
In 1957, King Hussein ordered the establishment of the 4th infantry brigade and another of field artillery. In 1958, the heavy artillery was entered, In the same year, the Armoured Brigade was reorganized as an Armoured Division and, in 1961, it became the Armour Corps. During this period, the 40th Armoured Brigade
, 60th Armoured Brigade
and the Royal Guard Brigade were established.
On 11 September, an Israeli force infiltrated the Jordanian territories in the Al-Rahwa, Hebron sector, and attacked the police station there. After long clashes with a Jordanian unit from the Desert Guards, the Israeli force was forced to withdraw repulsed.
On 10 October 1956, an enemy force, estimated at a motorized infantry brigade, supported by medium-range artillery and 10 combat aircraft, attacked the Arab towns of Hubla, Al-Nabi Illias and Azroun. The assaulting troops fought the Arab legion west of Al-Nabi Illias and were forced to withdraw to Qalqilia hills.
King Hussein after checking an abandoned Israeli tank in the aftermath of the Battle of Karameh
On 13 November 1966, in response to a Fatah
land mine incident two days prior, Israeli forces raided the Palestinian
village of Samu (in the Muhafazat of Hebron) with an infantry brigade reinforced by two tank battalions and supported by artillery and combat aircraft. The Jordanian army suffered 16 dead, as well as material damages.
In 1965, King Hussein ordered the formation of five infantry brigades. The army was divided into two fronts: Western front and Eastern front, ten infantry battalions were concentrated on both fronts.
In 1967, a new armoured brigade was established. The artillery brigade was recognized to have consisted of three field artillery battalions and an anti-aircraft battalion.
Believing that Israel was a becoming more of a threat, Egypt declared a state of emergency and started to concentrate its forces in the Sinai desert. In addition to that, Jordan signed a mutual defense agreement with Egypt. Consequently, Israel ordered the full mobilisation of its forces on 25 May 1967. As a result, the Arab Jordan Army was placed on maximum alert.
The operational Strengths Of Opposing Forces on the Jordanian Front included:
- Jordan Armed Forces (JAF): several infantry brigades, 2 Armoured brigades and 20 operational combat aircraft, distributed in defensive positions in both western and eastern fronts.
- Iraq: 2 infantry brigades, 1 mechanised brigade, 1 armoured brigade, and 34 aircraft.
- Syria: one infantry brigade crossed the Jordanian border on 7 June, and left on 9 June 1967 without being involved in any military actions.
- Saudi Arabia: one infantry brigade and an armoured company, which arrived at the Al-Modawara border crossing point on 21 March 1968.
- Egypt: 2 Ranger battalions arrived in Jordan on 3 June 1967. Their primary mission was to destroy six Israeli airfields. Due to their late arrival in the occupied territories, they could not accomplish their mission.
Israeli forces opposing the Jordanian front included
- 4 infantry brigades
- 3 mechanised brigades
- 2 paratroop brigades
- 2 armoured brigades with their full standard support elements
- 286 combat aircraft of different types.
When the military operations were over on both Egyptian and Syrian fronts, Israel redeployed a part of its forces from these fronts to the Jordanian front.
At 0730 hrs. on 5 June 1967, the Israelis surprised the Arab states with a series of continuous air strikes directed at Arab airfields. As a result, most of the Arab air force was neutralized.
Amid the battles in Jerusalem was the Battle of Ammunition Hill
; 71 Jordanian soldiers died. Eventually, the Jordanian Army was driven from East Jerusalem.
Jordanian Army Order of Battle, June 1967
- 2 × Armoured Brigades (40/60, Each 96 with Patton M-48/M-48A-1 MBTs, 40 × FV-701 Ferret ARVs, 45 × M-113 APCs, 18 × M-52 105mm self-propelled howitzers, 18 × M-42 2×40mm self-propelled anti-aircraft guns)
- 3 × Indp. Armoured Battalions (with Centurion MK-V/VII or Patton M-47 MBTs)
- 1 × Paratroop Battalion
- 1 × "Royal Brigade" (Mechanized Infantry)
- 9 × Infantry Brigades (1/2/3/4/12/25/27/29/36)
- 12 × Artillery Battalions
- 6 × Mortar Batteries
Jordanian Air Force Order of Battle
Equipment of Jordanian Armed Forces, June 1967
Jordanian soldiers on a captured Israeli half-track
After the 1967 war, the army was rearmed. In 1968, the army defended Jordan against Israeli troops that had invaded Jordanian territory in pursuit of Palestinian guerrillas – the Battle of Karameh
. Palestinians claim a victory just for resisting Israeli troops; the Jordanians say that they forced the Israelis back; the Israelis say that they pulled back after hitting the Palestinians at which time they were bombed by the Jordanians.
Daily clashes continued on the Jordanian Front after the 1967 war until the mid 1970s – the War of Attrition
. The most famous one was the Battle of Karameh
. In 1968, Israeli forces
crossed the border and advanced on the town of Karameh. The Jordanian army mobilized and a battle broke out between the Jordanian army and the IDF. The Israeli forces retreated after a heavy bombardment.'
September 1970 is known as Black September
in Arab history. In September 1970, King Hussein moved to quash an attempt by armed Palestinian insurgents to overthrow his monarchy. The violence resulted in civilian casualties on both sides. Armed conflict lasted until July 1971 ending only when remaining Palestinian insurgents were surrounded in the Ajloun-Jarash mountains, finally surrendered to the Jordan army and were expelled from the country.'
In October 1970, the Ba'athist regime in neighboring Syria had attempted to intervene in support of the Palestinians by sending an armoured column into the north of Jordan. Jordanian ground and air forces were able to halt this advance and a combination of international political pressure and discord within the Syrian military led to a Syrian retreat.
In the 1973 Yom Kippur War
, the 40th Armoured Brigade was sent to the Syrian front.
Since the major reorganisation of 1977, the Royal Jordanian Army has kept the 5th Armoured Division deployed between the Iraqi border and Ramtha on the Syrian border, the 12th Mechanized Division deployed from Ramtha through Umm Qays to the Zarqa River in a defensive posture that covers both Israel and Syria and the 4th Mechanized Division deployed from the Zarqa River, north of As-Salt to the Dead Sea facing Israel. The 3rd Armoured Division acts as both the strategic reserve and the main protection against any internal disturbances. It has units deployed at Zarqa in the north; near the capital Amman (along with a brigade of Royal Guards made up of hand-picked troops from Bedouin tribes known for their long-standing loyalty to the crown), and at Qatraneh
in the south covering the route into Saudi Arabia.
In 1996, the Jordanian Army finally established a Special Operations Command, the brain-child of Abdullah (then a serving Army officer). It is tasked to deal with a possible Palestinian uprising and the growth of Islamic terrorism. This powerful force now includes the 71st and 101st Special Force Battalions, the 81st and 91st Paracommando Battalions and both electronic warfare and helicopter support units."
The army's organizational structure was traditionally based on two armoured divisions and two mechanized divisions. These have been transformed into a lighter, more mobile forces, based largely on a brigade structure and considered more capable of rapid reaction in emergencies.
Due to the critical position of Jordan (sandwiched between Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Israel), Jordan maintains a strong defensive army, with four regional commands, the Northern command, the Central Command, the Eastern Command and the Southern Command. As of August 2004, the army was reported to be 88,000 strong, and the Northern Command is reported to consist of (2 mech, 1 infantry, 1 artillery, 1 AD brigade), the Southern Command (1 armd, 1 infantry brigade), the Central Command (1 mech, 1 lt. inf, 1 arty, 1 AD brigade), the Eastern Command (2 mech, 1 arty, 1 AD brigade), and a strategic reserve (1 Royal armoured division with 3 armd, 1 arty, 1 AD brigades).
An armoured division has become the core element of a strategic reserve.
Each command is controlled by its Field General, but all of the commands are under the King of Jordan's control.
Currently Royal Jordanian Army is restructuring its armoured units. 80 upgraded second-hand Italian Centauro 105mm 8x8 Mobile Gun Systems and 50 German Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles will equip two battalions. Challenger 1 MBTs equipping four battalions will be retired and only the M60A3s will remain in the service.
Jordanian Army – Major combat units – 2018
large pin – Command, small pin – Brigade
His Majesty King Abdullah II
is the Supreme Commander of the Jordanian Armed Forces. This authority is vested in the king by the Jordanian Constitution of 1952. He exercises the right to appoint and dismiss all members of the High Command of Jordan's Armed forces, and has the authority to exercise command and control over all units of the armed forces.
General Chiefs of Staff
The Headquarters of Jordan's military is called the Armed Forces General Command and is located in Amman. This headquarters is under the supervision of the Chief of the General Staff, who is appointed by the king. He exercises general responsibility for the day to day command, control and administration of the military and reports directly to the king as Supreme Commander.
Chiefs of Staff is a group of officers qualified militarily and technically working to advise the commander and assist in decision-making, they translate decision of the commander to orders and instructions and they are responsible for monitoring the implementation and size varies Chiefs of Staff of the unit level and the level of formations and at the level of the General Command represents assistant chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff group Chiefs of Staff, as follows:
- Chairman Joint chiefs of staff Deputy
- Logistics Support chief of staff
- Strategic Planning chief of staff
- Joint Operations chief of staff
- Training chief of staff
- Intelligence chief of staff
- Personnel chief of staff
- Defense Resources and Investment Management chief of staff
Land Forces Organization
The Jordanian Army has Four Regional Commands (Northern, Central, Eastern and Southern), Quick Reaction Force Brigade, Special Forces Group and Special Royal Guard Command.
Jordanian Army OrBat 2020
M113 of the Jordanian Army
Al-Hussein tanks Firing
Jordanian soldiers discuss battle strategies with a U.S. Soldier
Forward observers from the Jordanian Army
JAF Main Directorates
Military Regions Command
The Jordanian military also contributes to UN peacekeeping missions worldwide, having sent contingents to Africa, Afghanistan, Croatia, Bosnia, parts of the former Soviet Union, and even as far as Haiti and East Timor
. The Jordanian military has established a regional center of excellence with regards to special forces training, having received training from both the United Kingdom and the United States. Jordanian Special Forces have trained counterparts from Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen.
Kenneth Pollack, a U.S. military analyst, wrote in c.2002 that 'from 1948 to 1956, the Arab Legion was far superior to any of the other Arab militaries. In battle, it generally gave as good as it got, and the Israelis considered it their most dangerous adversary. However, after 1956, the Jordanian capabilities began to decline. In 1967, they performed worse than in 1948, although the exceptional performance of the 40th Armoured Brigade and a number of Israeli mistakes helped disguise the deterioration somewhat. Thereafter Jordanian capabilities continued to gradually erode.'
Volunteers and conscripts receive 14 weeks of basic training in military skills and discipline. This is followed by more advanced training in weaponry and various specialities, such as artillery, communications and engineering, after the recruit is assigned to a permanent unit. Soldiers who qualify for promotion undertake courses at a general NCO school. They may then avail themselves of courses in more specialised centres where there is training in armour, artillery, engineering and logistics. Special Forces personnel are trained in a branch of the infantry school.
Officer cadets are trained at the Mutah Military University, which was established in the town of Mutah, south of Amman, in the 1980s. A cadet who successfully completes the four-year course is commissioned as a second lieutenant. Advanced courses for officer training are provided at two centres near Amman – the Jordanian Staff College and the War College. Generally, officers from senior captain to lieutenant colonel attend the Staff College, where they can earn a BA degree in military science, while more senior officers study at the War College, where a master's degree is offered.
Many Jordanian officers study abroad – at the US Army General Staff College, or at the British Army Staff College, and many Jordanian cadets have graduated from the UK's Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Members of the Jordanian Royal Family have a tradition of attending Sandhurst. The late King Hussein graduated from the college in 1952; he was followed by his son, the present ruler King Abdullah in 1981; his daughter Aisha, now head of the Royal Jordanian Army Women's Corps, in 1987; his son Prince Ali in 1994; Crown Prince Hamzeh in 1999 and Prince Hashem, half-brother of King Abdullah, in 2000. In addition, both officers and non-commissioned officers attend specialised courses abroad.
The British Government arranges for senior Jordanian officers to attend the Royal College for Defence Studies in the UK. Britain's special relationship with Jordan has remained strong – this was underlined by the provision by the British Army of two short-term training teams to Jordan to advise and oversee the transition and the conversion training of the Jordan Armed Forces on the Al-Hussein/Challenger 1 tanks supplied as part of Britain's military assistance to the kingdom.
British and Jordanian units regularly carry out joint training exercises in Jordan. The kingdom provides British Army units based in Cyprus with the opportunity to train in a desert environment, alongside Jordanian units. It has become a regular practice for two British Army infantry battalions based in Cyprus to exercise in Jordan every year between August and October. The US has provided significant assistance towards the training of Jordanian military personnel. Under the US International Military Education and Training Program (IMET), US$2 million was allotted to the training programme for Jordan in 2002, making it one of the largest IMET programmes of its kind in the world.
The 2002 IMET grant facilitated the training in the US of more than 200 Jordanian military personnel. Jordanian personnel are trained to a very high standard and Jordan's military training has a very high reputation in the Arab world, to the extent that many Arab states (as well as states beyond the Arab world) have sent personnel to be trained at Jordan's military schools. In recent years, personnel from the following countries have been to Jordan for military training: Bahrain, Egypt, France, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Pakistan, South Korea, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
Secret military exchanges between Jordan and Taiwan, which had been going on for many years, were revealed in late 1999 after a Jordanian army NCO was killed in a parachute accident in Taiwan. Jordan has diplomatic relations with China but none with Taiwan. Reports in November 1999 indicated that Jordan sent two groups of about 10 servicemen to Taiwan every year for intensive military training, which included parachuting sessions in Pingtung County's Tsochou township, where the accident happened, jungle combat drills in Taichung County's mountainous Kukuan area, as well as winter training in the snow in Taiwan's Central Mountain Range. It was revealed that military exchanges between the two countries began in the mid-1950s, when Taiwan sent instructors to Jordan to help train its F-5 fighter pilots.
The quality of instructors from the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is highly regarded abroad, especially in the Arab world. SOCOM instructors have been providing training in Jordan to special operations troops from a range of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon. It is understood that Jordanian instructors have also provided training in the UAE to that country's troops. In April 2002, Jordanian special operations instructors left for Yemen to assist US forces in training Yemeni forces to fight terrorism.
Jordan has set up a centre specialising in training for special operations personnel. The King Abdullah Special Operations Training Centre is based at Yajooz, Amman.
In April 2004 the Jordan Armed Forces (JAF) established a new committee to further its plans for the creation of a unified national training centre. It was proposed that this combined arms training centre would group together simulation equipment for training infantry, armour and artillery personnel, from the individual to the collective training stages.
Artillery and Armour training takes place in the desert area to the east of Amman and southern desert.
Jordanian troops in a military parade in Amman
The present day Jordanian Army is equipped with mainly Western (US and British) supplied weapons.
The Jordanian Army is equipped with a mix of British and American tanks, including the Al-Hussein
and M-60 Phoenix
. The older Centurion tank
and M-48A5 series are phased out, as the Challenger and M-60A3 undergo further upgrades.
Current projects carried out by KADDB
include integration of the Phoenix digital fire and control system and a revised turret for the M-60A3 (featuring ERA of unknown origin) along RUAG L50/52 Smooth-bore Compact Gun to replace the Rifled 120mm L15A1 and 105mm L7/M68 gun of the Challenger 1 and M-60A3 respectively. The Projects have also been offered for export and existing M-60 users such as Egypt or Saudi Arabia have shown interest in KADDB.
The M113A2MK-1J remains a standard APC and are being supplanted by AIFV
and local vehicles, including the MAP II and Al-Temsah (Crocodile, an APC conversion of a Centurion tank
chassis). 24–28 AH-1S/F 'Cobra' equip Army aviation and are equipped with TOW II ATGW and capable of night-time operations since been upgraded. Earlier the Bofors 40 mm gun
was also used.
Personal Equipment includes the US-supplied M-16 rifles (mainly A2 and some A3/A4), M-4A1, Taiwanese T65
assault rifles and T86
carbines, Browning HP automatic pistols; however, some units utilise the relatively uncommon Beretta Italian SS70/223 (the standard carbine of the Public Security Department and Police Force). The M-60 and FN-MAG are carried as the GPMG. The Badia forces generally carry the M-14 on camel back.
The rank insignia for commissioned officers for the army, navy and air force respectively.
The rank insignia for enlisted personnel for the army, navy and air force respectively.
- ^ Khouri, Rami. "Jordanian Unit Going To Aid Iraq 6 Hussein Will Join Volunteer Force Fighting Iranians". Washington Post.
- ^ Morris,2008, p. 105
- ^ Gelber,2006, p. 90
- ^ David Tal (31 January 2004). War in Palestine, 1948: Israeli and Arab Strategy and Diplomacy. Routledge. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-203-49954-2.
- ^ "Truce commission warns Abdulla". The palestine Post. 2 May 1948. The attack on Gesher settlements...[by Transjordan]
- ^ Morris,2008, p. 132
- ^ Morris,2008, p. 230
- ^ Morris,2008, p. 332
- ^ a b c Kenneth Pollack, Arabs at War, Council on Foreign Relations/University of Nebraska Press, 2002, p.355
- ^ John Keegan. World Armies. p. 684. ISBN 0-333-17236-1.
- ^ "[CTRL] JORDANIAN KING TOTALLY SELLS OUT TO U.S." www.mail-archive.com.
- ^ "Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis: IHS Jane's – IHS". janes.com. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- ^ a b c http://www.gloria-center.org/meria/2001/06/bligh.pdf
- ^ a b c "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-15. Retrieved 2013-04-17.
- ^ IISS Military Balance 2004–2005, p.127-128
- ^ a b c d "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-11-22. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
Last edited on 12 April 2021, at 06:15
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