Sudan Campaigns

Rudolf Slatin PashaChronology of Principle Military Operations in the Sudan 1882-1899

1882-3 – Mahdi Mohamed Ahmed defeats various Egyptian expeditions sent against him; conquers large areas of the Sudan, including El Obeid, and capture Slatin Pasha in Darfur.

5th November 1883 – Battle of Sheykan. Annihilation of Hicks Pasha’s Egyptian force of 11,000 men by the Mahdists near El Obeid

4th February 1884 – First Battle of El Teb. Baker Pasha’s Egyptian “Gendarmerie” massacred by Osman Digna’s Beja warriors (Kipling’s Fuzzy Wuzzys) near Suakin.

28th February 1884 – Second Battle of El Teb. British troops defeat Osman Digna on same site.

13th March 1884 – Battle of Tamai. British square penetrated but Osman Digna again defeated.

17th January 1885 – Battle of Abu Klea (Abu Tuleyh). British square again penetrated but Mahdists beaten off by Desert Column under General Stewart (later mortally wounded) after heavy casualties including the famous Colonel Fred Burnaby.

19th January 1885 – Battle of Kru (Cubat). Second attempt by Mahdists to destroy Desert Column frustrated.

26th January 1885 – Fall of Khartoum and death of General Gordon. Wilson’s gunboats, Bordein and Talahawiya, arrive too late on 28th January. Mahdi dies of typhus six months later and is succeeded by Khalifa Abdullahi

10th February 1885 – Battle of Kirbekan. River Column commander General Earle and two other senior British officers killed. First appearance of Egyptian Army (Camel Corps under Bimbashi Marriott) in action.

22nd March 1885 – Battle of Tofrik. Again British and Indian troops in the eastern Sudan severely tested by Osman Digna’s warriors but recover to withstand attack on “McNeill’s Zeriba”

30th December 1885 – Battle of Ginnis – Withdrawing Anglo-Egyptian troops defeat Mahdist near Egyptian border.

1886-1889 – Several major battles were fought between the Mahdiya and the Abyssinnian (Ethiopian) Empire with mixed results and heavy casualties on both sides.

3rd August 1889 – Battle of Toski (Tushki). Egyptian Army under Sirdar Grenfell defeats attempted Mahdist invasion of Egypt. Mahdist commander, Emir Abdel Rahman wad el Nejumi, killed.

1888-1896 – Various minor actions around Suakin in one of which at Handub, Kitchener is wounded.

18th March 1896 – Invasion of Dongola Province by Egyptian Army under Sirdar Kitchener.

7th June 1896 – Battle of Firket. Mahdist forces defeated in the opening battle of the Dongola campaign.

19th September 1896 – Battle of Hafir. Mahdist forces withdraw after an action principally involving Kitchener’s gunboat flotilla opening the way to the capture of Dongola.

7th August 1897 – Battle of Abu Hamed. A flying Column of the Egyptian Army under Hunter Pasha captures the strategic riverside town of Abua Hamed enabling the railway from Wadi Halfa to reach the Nile. Two British officers of 10th Sudanese Battalion were killed.

8th April (Good Friday) 1898 – Battle of Atbara. Anglo Egyptian forces attack the zeriba of the Emir Mahmud suffering significant casualties but destroying an important part of the Mahdist army. Mahmud killed.

2nd September 1898 – Battle of Omdurman. (Khartoum). Anglo Egyptian forces inflict a massive defeat on the Mahdist army. Melik with Kitchener on board leads gunboat flotilla into Khartoum for General Gordon’s Memorial Service on 4th September 1898. Khalifa Abdullahi escapes.

22nd December 1898 – Battle of Gedaref. Egyptian and Sudanese reservists and some tribal “Friendlies” under Colonel Parsons defeat remaining Mahdist foces under Emir Saadullah and capture Gedaref. Lt Hore-Ruthven (later Earl of Gowrie) wins VC.

26th December 1898 – Battle of Roseires. Sudanese troops under Lewis Bey defeat Ahmed Fadel, one of the Khalifa’s senior emirs. 10th Sudanese Battalion suffers heavy casualties.

22nd November 1899 – Battle of Um Dibaykarat (Gedid). An Egyptian Army force under Wingate Pasha defeats the remnant of the Mahdist army. The Khalifa is killed and thus brings about the final end to the Mahdiya.