Battle of Mirbat

Battle of Mirbat

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Mirbat

partof=Dhofar Rebellion
date=July 19, 1972
place=Mirbat, South Oman
result=Decisive British victory
combatant1=British SAS
combatant2=Dhofarian and Communist rebels
commander1=Mike Kealy
strength1=9 SAS soldiers (later reinforced by 23 more)
strength2=250 Adoo guerillas
casualties1=2 killed, 1 wounded
casualties2=80+ killed

The Battle of Mirbat took place during the 1970s Dhofar Rebellion in Oman which was supported by communist guerillas from South Yemen. Britain assisted the Oman government by sending elements of its Special Air Service to both train soldiers and compete against the PFLOAG guerillas for the "hearts and minds" of the Omani people.

At 6am on 19 July 1972 the PFLOAG retaliated against the British, sending 250 well-armed men against the isolated British Army Training Team (BATT) house near Mirbat (commanded by Captain Mike Kealy). Against overwhelming odds, the nine SAS soldiers stationed there resisted fiercely, holding the PFLOAG back for several hours until reinforcements could arrive. Defeated, the PFLOAG withdrew at about 12:30pm.The 25 pounder gun, now known as the "Mirbat gun" which was used by Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba (a Fijian SAS soldier) during the siege is now housed in the Firepower museum of the Royal Artillery at the former Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. Sgt Labalaba was killed in action. He displayed notable bravery by continuing to fire the 25 pounder in spite of being seriously wounded. Labalaba's actions helped to keep the insurgents pinned down until a relief force arrived. Labalaba was awarded a posthumous Mention in Dispatches for his actions in the Battle of Mirbat, although some of his former comrades have campaigned for him to be award a posthumous Victoria Cross.Fact|date=June 2008

Sir Ranulph Fiennes alleged in his book 'The Feathermen' that Mike Kealy was murdered years later in the Brecon Beacons by an Arab militant cell.Fact|date=October 2008

AS soldiers present

Some of the known SAS soldiers who were present at Mirbat on 19 July 1972:Fact|date=June 2008

Captain Mike Kealy,

Sergeant Bob Bennett

Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba,

Corporal Roger Cole,

Lance Corporal Pete Winner,

Trooper Tommy Tobin,

Sergeant Sekonaia Takavesi

The above list is not complete as 2 of the SAS men who were present at Mirbat have never been named publicly.


*cite book |last=Kennedy |first=Michael Paul |title="Soldier I: SAS" |origyear=1990 |origmonth=October |publisher=Bloomsbury Publishing PLC |location=London |isbn=0747507503 |pages=320

External links

* [ Description of the battle]
* [ BBC News Article]

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