Unit History: Trucial Oman Scouts

Trucial Oman Scouts
Established in 1951 as “Trucial Oman Levies “[T.O.L]
As a very small uniformed internal security and rural patrol force
With originally 1 British Major in command
2 Jordanian officers [from the Arab Legion]
32 other ranks [from the Arab Legion]
Expanded to 30 British officers [in command positions]
Handful of Arab officers
and Locally recruited soldiers [mainly from Abu Dhabi]
With 1 Battalion
Under the command of a British Major
With Headquarters at Sharjah
1952 Mutiny at Buraimi
When the British commander of the Trucial Oman Levies, Major Otto Thwaites
was shot dead along with a Jordanian TOL Sergeant Major and a British Royal
Air Force medical doctor by Arab soldiers of the TOL when his vehicle [with 4
occupants] was ambushed outside Buraimi. Only one survivor, a British
REME Sergeant TOL soldiers were believed to be selling their ammunition to
the Saudi garrison.
The Trucial Oman Levies were renamed in 1956 as
“Trucial Oman Scouts”
In 1955 had 500 paramilitary personnel
Organized into 3 Rifle Squadrons
In 1956 had 500 paramilitary personnel
Organized in 4 operational/Rifle Squadrons
Including 1 Squadron based at Buraimi oasis
by 1957 included 160 British officers & soldiers
in 1960 had 1 000 paramilitary personnel
1964 had 1 324 paramilitary personnel
Including 38 British officers
85 British other ranks
Organized into
5 Rifle Squadrons
[Each with 3 British officers
3 Arab officers
145 Arab other ranks
1Group [equipped with machine guns
and Mortars]
Plus 1 Signals Squadron
1 Motor Transport Squadron
1 Medical Centre
1 Workshop
1 Boys Squadron
1 Boys School
1 Training Depot
1970 had 1 600 to 1 700 paramilitary trained personnel
1971 had 2 500 paramilitary personnel
The Trucial Oman Scouts were a highly respected impartial paramilitary armed regular internal security and rural police force ,.
Regarded as well trained, well paid efficient military unit
Who cost 2 million UK pounds a year to run and operate in 1971
with small garrisons based in most of the coastal towns and other key posts
had a base in Dubai since 1952
And a permanent garrison at Buraimi oasis of 1 Field Squadron
Organized as highly mobile light armored cavalry
Included 40% locally recruited Arab personnel
50 Jordanian NCOs
Omani [bulk of troops]
Under the control and command of 30 British officers
Head Quarters at Sharjah [since 1951]
Equiped with armoured cars
British weapons
Bedford trucks
The only major military operation the Trucial Oman Scouts were involved in
was in October 1956 Clash at the disputed Buraimi Oasis.
Two TOS Field Squadrons were used, along with troops from the Sultan of Muscat & Oman personal guard to forcibly evict a 40 strong Saudi Arabian garrison of 40 armed police based in a old fort and a village.
The Saudi garrison had been based there since August 1952 when the Saudi Arabian force of 40 armed men forcibly occupied the Buraimi Oasis following a armed clash in which 3 people were killed
with 9 people killed in October 1956
including 7 Saudi policemen/military personnel
and 2 TOS paramilitary troops
In 1971 renamed “Union Defence Force “ [ U.D.F.]
On formation of United Arab Emirates [ U.A.E.]
With 2 500 regular military personnel in the UDF
In 1975 had 3 250 regular military personnel
Organised in 6 Mobile Squadrons
Air Detachment
[ with 7 helicopters ]
equipped with Scorpion Light Tanks
Ferret Armored Cars
Land Rovers
[ 8 ] 81mm Mortars
2 Dhows
The Union Defense Force were used on two occasions in Sharjah Emirate;
In January 1972 during a Attempted Coup [one night long] In which a force of 18 armed supporters of the former ruler of Sharjah including the former ruler ,Sheikh Saqr bin Sultan in person who ruled from 1951 until deposed by British in 1965] attacked and seized the
palace of the rule. The ruler Sheikh Khalid bin Mohammad el Eassim [ruler
since 1965] was killed along with one of his guards in the process.
The palace was surrounded by Sharjah soldiers and troops of the Union Defense Force.
Several UDF troops were wounded Including a British Captain before the rebels surrendered next morning. Sheikh Saqr exiled.
And in February 1972 following a brief Border War
between armed Bedu tribesmen from both Sharjah Emirate , and Fujairah Emirate , over status of a disputed area of land. Disputed area covering a quarter of an acre with water wells and date palm trees.
With 22 people killed and 12 wounded before Union Defense Force troops deployed to impose ceasefire
In May 1976 the Union Defence Force unified with military forces of various U.A.E states and to a large extent, lost its individual identity as a unit.

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