The War in Northern Oman

Muscat and the Sultanate of Oman, 1954-1962

Peter Shergold

This volume is covering one of the least-well-known conflicts in the Middle East, fought in Oman during the second half of the 1950s; and one of very few insurgencies that was successfully suppressed. As such, it provides a host of valuable ‘lessons learned'.
Date Published :
July 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Middle East@War
Illustration :
69 b/w & 9 color photos, 7 color profiles, 4 color figures, 5 b/w & 1 color maps, 2 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913336332
Pages : 64
Dimensions : 11.7 X 8.3 inches
Stock Status : Available


The war fought in northern Oman from 1954 until the mid-1960s is almost completely forgotten. Even amongst contemporary military historians, it is considered less frequently than the subsequent – and widely published – Dhofar War. Though ‘small’, it was a conflict of crucial importance for the nation on the southeastern side of the Arab Peninsula.

While usually thought to have been fought – and won – exclusively by special forces, capacity building, and training of native forces, a closer look reveals an entirely different picture. The victory and lasting peace were actually secured by a conventional military campaign dominated by offensive operations, followed by an entirely separate civilian development program. The role of special forces was overemphasized – not only in regards of their relative number of operations, but also in regards of their impact – while the insurgency was suppressed by punitive means, and the capacity building remained limited during the war. It was only once offensive operations were completed that the development program contributed to the lasting peace. This peace, in turn, would have been impossible without the conventional military campaign. As such, this ‘small’ conflict proved of crucial importance for the nation on the southeastern side of the Arab Peninsula.

The War in Northern Oman provides a detailed account of the political dynamics which led to the eruption of violence, but foremost examines the use of force, the wider conventional military campaign, operations by special forces, military capacity building, and the application of soft power factors for civilian capacity building. Moreover, it emphasizes the process of reconciliation and international engagement. Based on extensive research in official documentation, and including numerous personal testimonies, this volume – richly illustrated by photographs provided by veterans – provides exclusive coverage of one of very few wars in which a grassroots insurgency suffered a clear-cut military defeat.

About The Author

Peter Shergold is originally from Walsall in the West Midlands, educated at the University of Manchester and Kings College London, Peter Shergold is a former Infantry Officer who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. During his service he was seconded as a Loan Service Officer to the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces for two years, and therefore has a detailed insight into the country’s history and armed forces. This is his first instalment for Helion’s @War series.


"The author was a British infantry officer, served in Iraq & Afghanistan and was also seconded to the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces for two years, so ideally placed to deliver this book."

- Scale Military Modelling

"...provides a solid background for understanding the various 20th-century conflicts in this obscure but fascinating hotspot. The author, who spent time in Oman as a Loan Officer to the Sultan’s Armed Forces, presents a fine survey of the events in the country during 1954–62."

- The Aviation Historian Magazine

"The campaign receives a terrific overview..."

- Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

"The author has done a lot of research into the archives as well as the experiences of those British who were there during the time. The result is another great edition from Helion on a conflict the most of the world knows very little."

- ModelingMadness.Com

"Recommended for those interested in anti-insurgency warfare or the Middle East."

- The Miniatures Page

"Some people name this war as 'least-well-known' conflict in the Middle East, but now we have a chance to learn more. It is nice to see a lot of photos in this book, such a publication will be handy not only for model projects, but also for history fans."

- DetailScaleView

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