Thursday, May 5, 2011
Who Dares Wins
Today is the thirty first anniversary of the British SAS liberating the Iranian Embassy in London.
Around 11:30 on April 30, 1980 six man calling itself the Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan (that's a bit of a mouth full, lets shorten it to DRMLA) captured the Iranian Embassy in London.
The group's demands were for the autonomy of an Arab-majority petroleum-rich region in southern Iran known as Khūzestān and the release of ninety-one of their 'comrades' held in Iranian jails.
26 hostages were taken, with 5 being released over the next few days. On May 6, 1980 the kidnappers killed a hostage, press attaché Abbas Lavasani and threw his body outside. It was now time for the SAS to go to work and the Counter Revolutionary Warfare (CRW) section was already in place.
To mask preparations for the storming of the building, aircraft taking off and landing from Heathrow Airport were told to reduce altitude and fly lower over the embassy. British Gas began noisy drilling in an adjoining street to provide noise cover as the SAS moved into position. Detailed architectural plans of the building were obtained, and additional information given by the freed hostages and a detailed briefing from the caretaker (who revealed that the first two floors had a very high grade of bullet-resistant glass installed, hence the use of frame charges rather than sledgehammers in the assault).
Consideration was briefly given to a stealthy entry via the skylight during night-time, in which the terrorists would have been shot with suppressed (silenced) weapons while they were asleep. However the plan was abandoned.
Prior to the attack, the kidnappers and hostages had been observed through fibre-optic probes inserted through the shared wall of an adjoining building. Microphones were used to eavesdrop from the building next door. The raid was rehearsed in a mock-up of the building in nearby Regent's Park army barracks in central London (The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war).
Hostages were located on the second floor, with men at the front and women at the rear of the building. The attacking force consisted of five four-man teams:
One team to the front, entry via the first floor, entry from No.14's balcony - as seen by television cameras
One team through the second floor panoramic skylight to the stairwell, via abseiling
One team through the second floor rear balcony, via abseiling
One team through the first floor door, clearing the basement
One team through the first floor door, clearing the first floor
Five of the six militants were killed and 19 hostages were saved (One hostage was killed by a kidnapper during the assault). One of the SAS men became tangled in his abseiling gear on entry to the building. Before he could be cut free, a fire was started by a stun grenade and reached the sergeant, who suffered 60% burns. He carried on with the operation despite his injuries. Below is the picture of him BURNING. This is an example of why these heroes are Elite.
After the assault ended, the last surviving gunman, Fowzi Nejad, posed as a hostage and was escorted outside the embassy with the others. There, a real hostage quickly identified him as one of the attackers.
There was controversy over the deaths of two of the terrorists. At a coroner's inquest the SAS were cleared of unlawful conduct by a jury.
Television clips of the SAS raid were used as an example of how the United Kingdom had stood firm on terrorism and (unlike several other countries at the time) refused to surrender to the demands of terrorists.
More Information can be found HERE
Also of note:
Claude Stanley Choules (3 March 1901 – 5 May 2011) was, at the age of 110, with Florence Green one of the two last living World War I veterans in the world, and was the last living military witness to the scuttling of the German fleet in Scapa Flow. He was also the last living veteran to have served in both world wars, and the last seaman from the first world war. Choules was also the last surviving male World War I veteran (the last female veteran being Florence Green), and the last World War I veteran living in Australia. At the time of his death, he was also the third oldest verified military veteran in the world and the oldest man known living in Australia. He was the 7th-oldest living man in the world. Choules became the oldest man born in the United Kingdom following the death of Stanley Lucas on 21 June 2010. He died in Perth, Western Australia, at the age of 110.
Rest well, Sir.
Dan Emplit WBFD
USN 1986 - 1992