Mikhail Kabribov was born in 1922 in the village of Ivanovka, 170 kilometers west of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, into a family of Mountain Jews. In the late 1930s, he moved to Baku, where he studied at the Technicum (college) of Soviet Trade. In June 1941, with the outbreak of the Soviet-German War, Mikayıl Niftəli Oğlu Kabribov (that is the Azerbaijani spelling of his name) was drafted into the Red Army. He was sent to an infantry school in Tbilisi (Georgia), and finished it in June 1942, in the rank of second lieutenant. In August 1942, he was sent to the 76th Rifle Division, which had been deployed to the Don Front in southern Russia. Kabribov commanded a platoon that was made up mainly of Uzbeks and Kazakhs who did not speak Russian. However, Uzbek and Kazakh are mutually intelligible with Azerbaijani (all three languages being members of the Turkic language group). Thus, Mikhail would address his soldiers in Azerbaijani, and they would reply in their mother tongues.
In September 1942, Kabrirov's platoon had to occupy and hold a strategic position named "height 115.2" near the village of Starokletskii in the Don area, 125 kilometers (ca. 80 miles) west of Stalingrad. After storming the height for six hours, the platoon lost all but eleven of its men. Several hours later, their ammunition ran out, and Kabribov ordered them to attack the enemy with bayonets. Thanks to the timely arrival of Red Army reinforcements, Height 115.2 remained in Soviet hands. Kabribov himself was declared dead, and was posthumously nominated for the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Later, the nameless Height 115.2 was named "The Height of the Eleven Heroes of the Orient". ("Now, it [the height] bears a soldierly and poetic name, as magnificent as Thermopylae: 'The Height of the Eleven Heroes of the Orient'. They were eleven: nine Uzbeks, one Kazakh, and one Tat [rather than Mountain Jew]" – from an article published in the Smena magazine, #373-374, December 1942). Later, the word "Orient" was omitted, and the height came to bear the shortened name "The Height of the Eleven Heroes".
However, Mikhail Kabribov survived. Having been seriously wounded, he was taken captive by the Romanians. He managed to escape from a POW camp in eastern Ukraine, was recaptured and then ransomed from the Romanian administration of the camp. Luckily, all his Red Amy documents referred to him as either Azerbaijani or Tat, rather than a Jew, and this enabled him to survive his captivity. In 1943, Kabribov was able to cross the front lines and rejoin the Red Army. He was attached to the 87th Guards Rifle Division, and saw action in southern Ukraine and the Crimea. Having survived and endured captivity, Kabribov did not receive the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, but was awarded the Order of Lenin instead. He was wounded six times, and finished the war in Lithuania in the rank of senior lieutenant.
After the war, he lived in Baku. In 1991, Mikhail Kabribov immigrated to Israel, where he died several years later.