The Battle of Muscat
When Turkey entered the Great War as an ally of Germany, Jihad or Holy War was declared by the Islamic authorities in Constantinople against Turkey’s enemies. Muscat and Oman are on the Arabian peninsula. Oman, the mountainous interior, is led by a newly-elected Imam or religious leader while Muscat, the coastal region, is ruled by Sultan Taimur. Britain had signed three treaties with former Sultans and has a small British military garrison there. The Imam and many local tribal leaders sided with Turkey and intended to attack Muscat, Reinforcements were requested and in October 1914 reinforcements arrived from India. This brought the Muscat British garrison strength up to 1,000 men.
On January 10, 1915 the Iman’s troops attacked, some men carrying modern rifles but others carried swords and protected themselves with breastplates and small thick shields made from rhinoceros or hippopotamus leather. The valiant defence by native Indian troops and the Sultan’s soldiers, supported by well-targeted machine gun fire, had won the battle. The Imam’s tribesmen withdrew having lost an estimated 300 or more warriors killed or wounded.