Helion's Armed Forces of the Gulf States: Oman

Author/Artists: Clliff Lord


Helion  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 90 pages, softcover, over 100 images
ISBN 978-1-91-2866-06-9

A nice addition to Helion's various series of wars and crises around the world, is this one that is part of their Middle East War line. It concentrates on the armed forces of Oman, formerly Muscat and Oman. This is a moderate nation on the eastern side of the Arabian peninsula with Yemen to the south and Iran to the north across the Straight of Hormuz.

Basically the territory has been part of an imamate since the eight century, a situation which continued off and on until the 20th century. Parts of the area were briefly occupied by the Portuguese and the Ottomans until a treaty was signed with the British which forced out the French and other nations from the area. It then became a British protectorate though was still locally governed. The Sultan of Muscate joined with the Imamate of Oman in 1820 and after the usual ups and downs the two nations were simply renamed Oman in 1970.

All during the last century or so, Oman has been fairly reliant on the UK for military aid and training. There never was a need for a major armed forces though a small military force was formed in 1921 as a result of attacks from dissident tribes in 1914/15. There was also an issue with Saudi Arabia taking over an oasis in a search for oil that was finally resolved in 1955 with the expulsion of the Saudis. Meanwhile other insurrections popped up from time to time but nothing really major until the 1960s or so.

During this time, Oman's military was slowly growing, but had a real spurt when it was under serious attack in the south from communists in Yemen, who were determined to expand their territory into Oman. This was when a major increase in forces occurred that included both armored vehicles and air power. Most of the troops were local, but leadership was mostly British and a lot of seconded men from the RAF formed their first air units until Omanis could be trained to take their place.

The insurrection was fairly fierce and somewhat prolonged, but eventually fought back. Most of the battles and campaigns in this book are from this time. The book also covers the increases in all of Oman's military forces and spends some time discussing the various equipment that was used over the years. There is also a decent section that goes into the various uniforms and insignia worn by the various branches and units. It makes for a very well rounded edition that you will find interesting and a change from the usual fare of books of this type. Well worth picking up.

January 2020

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