Battle of Mirbat, 1972, Oman: Nine British SAS men held off 400 bloodthirsty fanatics with their last bullets . . .
High on the rooftop of the old mud building, the two SAS soldiers peered out into the desert.
For six desperate hours, they and seven comrades had been under siege, desperately fighting off an army of Arab insurrectionists intent on sweeping them from the face of the earth.
They were surrounded, outnumbered by at least 25 to one.
Then, in the distance, they glimpsed a V-formation of men coming towards them. Their hearts sank. If these were rebel reinforcements, then it was all over.
"How many bullets have you got left?" Corporal Bob Bennett asked his companion quietly.
"Seventeen," Trooper Roger Cole replied. Bennett counted his — less than a full magazine, fewer than 20 rounds.
They would fight to the end but they weren’t going to be taken alive.
In desert wars like this one in the Gulf state of Oman in 1972, there was no mercy.
Two SAS soldiers caught in neighbouring Yemen had been beheaded and their heads displayed on spikes.
Cole dragged out the last box of grenades. They would hurl these down on any rebels who tried to get through the door — and then, if that failed, shoot themselves with their last bullets to avoid capture.
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Video dedicated to the nine members of the SAS and native soldiers, who faced 400 insurgents: Mike Keala Pete Wignall, Roger Chapman, Sec Savesaki, Fuzzy Harris, Bob Bradshaw, Sgt. Talaiasi Labalaba - the machine gun nest with a machine gunner Omani Valide Chalfanem Reynolds, Tom Tobin. (Labalaba and Tobin fell in battle, Savesaki was seriously wounded.)
Mike Keala was awarded the DSO for his action. Tobin and Bradshaw were awarded the Military Medal. Labalaba was only written in despatches, though he should have been given the VC. Perhaps because the British government sought to keep the whole thing in secrecy.