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"Kitchener vs. the Mahdi" Topic


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Mephistopheles Inactive Member28 Aug 2008 4:49 p.m. PST

If the two forces actually had clashed, what result? Kitchener was able to beat the Khalifa, but how much of that was due to loss of the religious zeal (and the support derived thereby) that was attributable to the Mahdi? How much of it was his generalship?

Remember that the Mahdi had virtually no modern firearms when he defeated Hicks Pasha at the Battle of El Obeid. The weapons and ammunition recovered from that battle virtually turned his desert warriors into a modern army. Also, while they might not have had the advanced training of the British, they certainly made up for it in zealotry and courage.

So, what result?

Mephistopheles Inactive Member28 Aug 2008 4:51 p.m. PST

And, of course, for the VSF slant, how would the Mahdi's pterodactyl-mounted dervishes have done againt the machinegun armed British dirigibles?

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Aug 2008 5:06 p.m. PST

Have you read about the battle of omdurman?

If you have there can be no question of the result. No one went at the Mahdi with the full weight and determination of the british empire.

Personal logo Streitax Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2008 5:22 p.m. PST

I am, however, working on a Science vs. Pluck of British vs. Mahdi and 'friends', thanks to DWW's donation of tentacled friends from Jupiter. Now I don't know if that falls under this thing you call VSF or not, but it will be an intersting encounter. It will be SvP, but Who's Who?

Mephistopheles Inactive Member28 Aug 2008 6:49 p.m. PST

Pictors Studio "Have you read about the battle of omdurman?"

LOL! Uh, dude… you do realize there was a SLIGHT difference between the armies of the Khalifa and the Mahdi? Also considerable difference in their generalship? Kitchener just sailed up the Nile to attack an immobile and greatly weakened enemy. If he'd had to chase the Mahdi around the desert as Hicks had done, might've been a really different outcome.

Still,why bother with facts, when we can simply deal with the issue with a snort and a wave of the hand, eh?

Dear, dear old chap. Wogs defeating British regulars? Simply won't do.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Aug 2008 7:22 p.m. PST

I'm taking that as a "no" then.

Mephistopheles Inactive Member28 Aug 2008 7:25 p.m. PST

Your command of the English language does you credit. evil grin

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Aug 2008 7:26 p.m. PST

I think that if the soldiers from Jupiter are capable of preventing the passage of the British ships up river then the Mahdist forces have a chance.

Mephistopheles Inactive Member28 Aug 2008 7:33 p.m. PST

Well, at least now you're talking sense!

Oppiedog28 Aug 2008 8:57 p.m. PST

I see it as a "Who Knows?". If not why are we always refighting Waterloo, Gettysburg and World War II. We as gamers/generals aren't going to do the same things history did. Of course our Zulus are going to break the square, Custer will break out and the Nazi's will save Hilters Brain (did you order your movie yet). So maybe the Mahdi would do some things different…who knows…need to paint up some more Fuzzies…

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member28 Aug 2008 9:27 p.m. PST

"Remember that the Mahdi had virtually no modern firearms when he defeated Hicks Pasha at the Battle of El Obeid."

Not quite right. The mahdiyya had already defeated at least two other significant Egyptian forces and taken their weapons and ammunition: the expedition from Fashoda, and Yufuf Pasha's force at the first battle of El Obeid.

"The weapons and ammunition recovered from that battle virtually turned his desert warriors into a modern army."

Only a small portion, not very modern, and that was short-lived. The jihaddiya was squandered in local conflicts, then effectively discarded for political reasons.

If you look at the small actions against Slatin and Emin Pasha in detail, it's apparent that the detachments of jihaddiya that engaged them were not intrinsically effective, but rather took Gordon's governors by surprise at their ability to engage with (not particularly accurate) rifle fire.

The army of the Mahdi's advantage over its opponents was zealotry compared to the poor quality of the Egyptian garrisons. It certainly did not stop the Desert Column.

After the Mahdi's death, zeal declined as the ideals of the movement were corrupted my its material success. The not-by-any-meeasure-"modern" Abyssynian army was able to give it a good kicking. And two years before Omdurman, the Sirdar took on a detachment of the jihaddiyah in fortified positions at Ferkeh and destroyed it, killing its commander, Yusuf Anqara.

If the British had the foresight to simply send a similar force against the Mahdi in 1884 that Wolseley had taken tpo crush Urabi's revolt 1882, there would never have been a Mahdist Sudan. No Maxims required.

Allen

clifblkskull28 Aug 2008 9:28 p.m. PST

Actually Mephistopeles you are 'pooh poohing' Pictors statement the same as you thought he was doing to you.
Omdurman was not really the British attacking an immobile weakened force. They set up the most pounding weapons they could with the most men and then incited ( lured) the Mahdi forces to all attack. Thus getting a superb hammering.
C

Personal logo Cyrus the Great Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2008 10:39 p.m. PST

The presence of the Mahdi at Omdurman would've made no difference. I recently reread several pieces about the battle. Omdurman was a full on pounding of the Mahdists. The Khalifa had warriors, brave warriors. They took a beating and still charged…into a meat grinder. Desert mysticism and religious fanaticism would've been no more help than a ghost shirt.

Whatever one thinks of the Khalifa's generalship, he oversaw an institution that had evolved from a desert revolt to a modern state. It was, however, a state that lacked the wherewithal to acquire the type of firepower that would've put it on a more even footing. Allen's aforementioned clash with the Abyssynians as well as the Belgians didn't help matters.

Palafox Inactive Member28 Aug 2008 11:44 p.m. PST

The advance of Hicks and Kitchener are very different indeed and the differences are clear.

Hicks commanded a flying column with scarce supplies more suited to a punishment expedition, mostly egyptian troops with bad training save 300 europeans, ambushed in a dense forest.

Kitchener advanced with an army in campaign well supplied with train and the river, well drilled troops, better artillery support, advanced scouts and with a clear objective; Karthoum, a symbol for the Madhi revolt and which the madhists would not let fall easely.

The logical conclussion is the Madhi would be defeated by Kitchener.

BullDog69 Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 4:54 a.m. PST

"Dear, dear old chap. Wogs defeating British regulars? Simply won't do"

Sneer all you like, but it rarely happened, and – when it did – the British regulars exacted a terrible toll.

Mephistopheles Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 6:43 a.m. PST

Oppiedog "I see it as a "Who Knows?". If not why are we always refighting Waterloo, Gettysburg and World War II. We as gamers/generals aren't going to do the same things history did. Of course our Zulus are going to break the square, Custer will break out…"

I always thought that this was the point of our hobby.

"…and the Nazi's will save Hilters Brain (did you order your movie yet)."

It's wonderfully worse than I could ever have imagined!

"…need to paint up some more Fuzzies…"

The response of a TRUE gamer!

aecurtis "After the Mahdi's death, zeal declined as the ideals of the movement were corrupted my its material success. The not-by-any-meeasure-"modern" Abyssynian army was able to give it a good kicking. And two years before Omdurman, the Sirdar took on a detachment of the jihaddiyah in fortified positions at Ferkeh and destroyed it, killing its commander, Yusuf Anqara."

But that's my whole point. The army that continued to try to expand, and was ultimately defeated by Kitchener, was no longer the Mahdi's army. It was a movement that had lost its great general, and also its steam.

"If the British had the foresight to simply send a similar force against the Mahdi in 1884 that Wolseley had taken tpo crush Urabi's revolt 1882, there would never have been a Mahdist Sudan. No Maxims required."

Can't agree. The Mahdi was leading a mobile force of desert nomads. His army had not become tied to a city (read "deathtrap") as had the Khalifa's.

clifblkskull, Palafox and Cyrus the Great

What you are all basically saying is that, had the Mahdi been at Omdurman (instead of dead) his presence would have made no difference. I'm not even sure that is true, but the real question is, would the Mahdi HAVE BEEN at Omdurman, or would Kitchener have been fighting a very different campaign?

The Mahdi was not into static defenses and wild charges; he was a wily general with the ability to command a war of maneuver. His many victories proved this. I think that this is the type of war that Kitchener would have been forced to fight if the Mahdi had still been alive, and I think the outcome could have been quite different.

BullDog69 "Sneer all you like, but it rarely happened, and when it did the British regulars exacted a terrible toll."

First off, I'm not sneering at the British regulars, only the people who take this attitude. Remember that the British lost a few battles in the Victorian period, and many British soldier's bones lie in remote corners of the world, when their officers became reckless, or simply underestimated a determined enemy.

Also, no terrible toll was ever exacted of the Mahdi. He was dead long before Kitchener's campaign. Its kind of akin to saying, "Yeah, I never beat Napoleon, but I beat some French generals after him, so that amounts to the same thing."

An undefeated tribal general deserves every bit as much respect as the British army. He was, after all, undefeated.

Palafox Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 6:56 a.m. PST

You're concentrating too much on the Mahdi tactics like if he was some kind of great general assuming that could defeat anyone, the kind of advance Kitchener was doing the Mahdi tactics would have not worked.

What could have done the Mahdi against Kitchener advance?. I think not too much.

"First off, I'm not sneering at the British regulars, only the people who take this attitude. Remember that the British lost a few battles in the Victorian period, and many British soldier's bones lie in remote corners of the world, when their officers became reckless, or simply underestimated a determined enemy."

That's the point, they were not being bad led with Kitchener, he took the enemy very seriously so the logical conclussion is still the Mahdi would have been defeated.

"An undefeated tribal general deserves every bit as much respect as the British army"

Respect yes, glorification no.

Palafox Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 7:15 a.m. PST

"or would Kitchener have been fighting a very different campaign?"

BTW, there're a couple of things you forget. The conditions of the sudanese by the time of Kitchener advance were not good. A great famine had ravaged the country so even with the inspiration of the Mahdi and after a long war the mahdists would not have fighted better than with the Khalifa. Also the revolution of the Mahdi was completely religious, he did nothing to improve their tactis, weapons nor organization. He died soon, but all those were not envisaged by him anytime while he was alive.

"The Mahdi was not into static defenses and wild charges; he was a wily general with the ability to command a war of maneuver. His many victories proved this. I think that this is the type of war that Kitchener would have been forced to fight if the Mahdi had still been alive, and I think the outcome could have been quite different."

No, the victories of the Mahdi were against bad led egyptian troops led in some cases by British generals. As an example: Abu Klea was a defeat of the Mahdi against british troops, and a wild charge BTW.

Personal logo Mexican Jack Squint Sponsoring Member of TMP Fezian29 Aug 2008 7:18 a.m. PST

Mephistopheles, you don't win any friends by your oddly and unnecessarily obnoxious tone. It's not as if you had superior knowledge at your fingertips to permit you to sneer at others. As it is, you clearly know less than those who have been willing to discuss the matter.

Allen Curtis hits the key points of fact.

What needs to be stated is that the Mahdi's early armies were NOT made up of mobile desert raiders. They were largely made up of Nile valley villagers who served as infantry. Supply was haphazard, and mobile elements were very limited. Indeed, one thing the Khalifa brought to the table was his Baggara kinsmen, who (while primarily cattle herders) owned horses and camels.

Moreover, the Mahdists' first objectives were the few key cities of the Sudan. They wanted to capture settlements. Indeed, that's why they were at El Obeid in the first place, besieging and capturing it. Omdurman was a small place in 1884; it was the Mahdi who began the process of turning it into the city that his successor stood in front of in 1898.

The army of 1898 was certainly past it's prime, and morale was not as high as it had been (read Babikr Bedri's account of his increasing disenchantment with the Mahdist Cause and how he and his friends faked an incident where one man pretended to be wounded and his pals helped him to safety). But Kitchener's success was built on massive logistical and manpower strength over a two year campaign, far beyond anything available in 1884-5.

The Mahdi's ability as a leader seem to have been primarily due to his charisma and the appeal of his cause, rather than his own tactical skills. Indeed, he seems to have left much of the military planning to his senior emirs, especially Wad El Nejumi (who was killed leading an abortive invasion of Egypt in 1889). This was clearly sensible, and the Khalifa's alienation of those leaders was stupid and self-defeating. However, it's a touch questionable to call the Mahdi 'undefeated' when he sent out forces that were defeated (Abu Klea, Abu Kru) while he was besieging Khartoum. The Mahdi was far more competent in every way than the Khalifa, but let's not overdo it.

Caesar29 Aug 2008 7:30 a.m. PST

Assuming that the Mahdi didn't wage a guerilla style war and faced Kitchener…

BullDog69 Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 7:35 a.m. PST

Caesar

Kitchener is in a pretty unique 'club' of conventional generals who won a guerilla war.

BullDog69 Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 7:42 a.m. PST

Mephistopheles

Your tone certainly came across as sneering.
British regulars lost just a handful of battles aginst 'tribesmen' in about a century or of colonial warfare in Africa. This alone would suggest to me that the most likely winner of any hypothetical encounter would be the British – whether or not Lord Kitchener was in command.
I am also unaware of British regulars losing any significant encounters against the Mahdi, but feel free to correct me on this matter.

MatrixGamer29 Aug 2008 8:08 a.m. PST

That point about the British not losing to tribal armies in a century is well taken. When the British moved into Balluchistan in the 1820's they did so with sepoys and muskets. Tribal armies have political advantages and a few tactical ones but strategically they bite.

Connard Sage Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 8:31 a.m. PST

Mephistopheles, you don't win any friends by your oddly and unnecessarily obnoxious tone. It's not as if you had superior knowledge at your fingertips to permit you to sneer at others. As it is, you clearly know less than those who have been willing to discuss the matter.

Don't feed the

troll

Mephistopheles Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 8:54 a.m. PST

Palafox "You're concentrating too much on the Mahdi tactics like if he was some kind of great general assuming that could defeat anyone, the kind of advance Kitchener was doing the Mahdi tactics would have not worked."

Okay, have you got anything to support that conclusion? Give me some evidence, and I'll listen.

"Respect yes, glorification no."

I'm not glorifying anybody, I'm advancing an argument.

Mexican Jack Squint "Mephistopheles, you don't win any friends by your oddly and unnecessarily obnoxious tone. It's not as if you had superior knowledge at your fingertips to permit you to sneer at others. As it is, you clearly know less than those who have been willing to discuss the matter."

LOL! Pot, kettle, black, stifle.

Palafox "…the victories of the Mahdi were against bad led egyptian troops led in some cases by British generals. As an example: Abu Klea was a defeat of the Mahdi against british troops, and a wild charge BTW."

The defeated have always loverd blaming their underlings for the defeat. Hicks got his army into a situation that would have resulted in the destruction of anybody. Blaming "badly trained Egyptians" is totally unfair. By all accounts, Hicks' troops performed quite well; far better than their British officers.

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 8:58 a.m. PST

"Kitchener is in a pretty unique 'club' of conventional generals who won a guerilla war."

Against the Boers? Well, he lost the peace by "winning" the war, I would say.

I won't argue with MJS; that way lies madness. But I would say Mephistopheles made a fair point in his response to me. It's hard to compare the army of the Mahdi to a proper British army, as we only have the Desert Column engagements to go on: not full teams and not the primary generals for either side.

My interest in the period--and the Sudan in relation to the rest of the scramble for Africa--has really been revived this year. I hadn't thought all that much about a "what if", full-scale matchup of forces early on, but it's something to ponder.

Certianly Wolseley had a different set of logistics challenges than did Kitchener, as Howard suggests.

Allen

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 9:06 a.m. PST

And now I must go make coffee, as my sleep-induced typos are really bugging me…

Allen

BullDog69 Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 9:19 a.m. PST

aecurtis

Yes – against the Boers.

Though I think I know what you are driving at, I am not sure I can agree he 'lost the peace' – the two Boer Republics were brought into the British Empire, South Africa was united under the Union Jack, and her men fought alongside those of the Motherland in two World Wars.

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 9:27 a.m. PST

The end result was that… well, actually, the final end result hasn't happened yet, but would include independence and the end of apartheid. Still, I take your point.

Even so, the public reaction at home to Kitchener's tactics was strong enough that the peace agreement was very favorable to the Boers. And I would argue that the losses suffered by Boer and black civilians in the camps tainted the military victory. That made it a very modern war, indeed.

Allen

BullDog69 Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 9:39 a.m. PST

aecurtis

I take your points too, and agree that there were / are long term ramifications due to Kitchener's resolution / ruthlessness. However, I do wonder what was so 'favourable' about the peace? The Boers lost their independence, and were absorbed into the Union of South Africa in 1910 – that doesn't seem to favourable to me! Indeed, compare the result to other guerilla wars, and it starts to look pretty resounding.
Of course, as the Afrikaaners out-numbered the English settlers by a ratio of roughly 60/40, they were bound to dominate the politics of a future united South Africa – at least until the vote was extended to the Africans.

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP29 Aug 2008 10:26 a.m. PST

"If the two forces actually had clashed, what result? Kitchener was able to beat the Khalifa, but how much of that was due to loss of the religious zeal (and the support derived thereby) that was attributable to the Mahdi? How much of it was his generalship?"

If the only additional thing the Mahdi brought to the party was religious zeal, then in the event of a battle, it would have been another massacre, just like Omdurman. I suppose the Mahdists might have got another 100m closer to the British lines before being shot down, but frankly against massed magazine rifles and modern machineguns they didn't stand a chance.

If you want to postulate some mythical guerilla campaign rather than an actual battle, then I'm not qualified to say really. Mexican Jack Squint is of course, but you've stifled him.

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 10:27 a.m. PST

OK, now I'm on shaky ground; It's been thirty-some years since *that* college course! So i won't argue.

But I did think that the peace settlement included pretty hefty reparations paid by the British, and promises of limited self-government for the republics which was later granted.

But then I guess one could argue that the inclusion of the republics into the empire made their incorporation into the Union eight years later possible. The part that was always fuzzy to me was how the Boers' self-identification shifted to become British South Africans under the Union, in such a short space of time. Even with some continued resistance, and later some lack of support for the empire during the Great War…

I'm prepared to be re-educated. Or maybe just educated, since it didn't stick the first time!

Allen

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 10:29 a.m. PST

"If you want to postulate some mythical guerilla campaign…"

You mean like the Mahdi goes and hides in a cave, and no-one can find him? Hmmmm…

evil grin

Allen

Connard Sage Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 10:42 a.m. PST

But I did think that the peace settlement included pretty hefty reparations paid by the British, and promises of limited self-government for the republics which was later granted.

Over 3,000,000 worth of 'compensation', self-government for the Transvaal (1906) and the OFS (2007)

Source: Thomas Pakenham 'The Boer War' 1979 pp572-578

There were a few other things – such as enfranchisement for the native population, that took a little longer…

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 10:52 a.m. PST

"Source: Thomas Pakenham 'The Boer War' 1979 pp572-578"

Don't tell me that, please, as I have it and was too lazy to re-read it…

Allen

Connard Sage Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 11:03 a.m. PST

I have a family interest in the Boer War :)


OFS (2007)

I meant 1907, of course

BullDog69 Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 11:08 a.m. PST

GBP 3m in return for another few hundred thousand square miles of Empire and control of the richest gold reef on earth? But good points nonetheless, an interesting discussion and I think we have hi-jacked the thread for long enough!

Todder Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 11:10 a.m. PST

This was a fun read. I don't know much about the period but it is fun to see Mephistopheles get owned in these arguments. I haven't been on this site for that long but I've never seen someone get owned like him and keep coming back for more. aecurtis and Mexican Jack Squint gave him such a kicking here.

BullDog69 Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 11:15 a.m. PST

Martin Rapier

"If the only additional thing the Mahdi brought to the party was religious zeal, then in the event of a battle, it would have been another massacre, just like Omdurman. I suppose the Mahdists might have got another 100m closer to the British lines before being shot down, but frankly against massed magazine rifles and modern machineguns they didn't stand a chance"

A very good point and I would be tempted to add that – against magazine rifles and maxims – fanatical religious zeal is counter-productive.

It is perhaps more interesting to ponder what might have been the result had the dervishes attacked the British positions at Ondurman at night – from what I have read, that was the 'nightmare scenario' dreaded by the British commanders.

VCarter29 Aug 2008 12:51 p.m. PST

I seem to remember that at Omdurman the Mahdist main attack fell on Egyptian/Sudanese troops. They drove them back quite well.

Perhaps I have this wrong.

Then the same troops that were so badly beaten in 1880's come back strong in the 1890's.

Palafox Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 12:59 p.m. PST

"Then the same troops that were so badly beaten in 1880's come back strong in the 1890's."

That's right. Egypt army underwent a lot of reformation under british "counseling", the egyptian army that fought the Madhi was the same one beaten by the british the year before.

Palafox Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 1:10 p.m. PST

"Okay, have you got anything to support that conclusion? Give me some evidence, and I'll listen."

I've already given much more evidence than you have showed, you have said the Mahdi was undefeated and that was wrong. The evidence is that when the Mahdists under the Mahdi fought the British army in campaign they were defeated. The victories were against the egyptian troops.

"The defeated have always loverd blaming their underlings for the defeat. Hicks got his army into a situation that would have resulted in the destruction of anybody. Blaming "badly trained Egyptians" is totally unfair. By all accounts, Hicks' troops performed quite well; far better than their British officers."

Should they have performed so well they would not have been massacred. Some british were leading an army they had defeated the previous year, Hicks claimed he did not trusted the troops under his command, the egyptian officer corps was a mess, expecting these soldiers to fight as well as their european counterparts in that situation is too much.

All this shows the Mahdi was very lucky that the british foreign office did not got involved and only a mediocre army, not very well led, with inadequate supplies was sent against him. This is not a tribute of the Mahdi generalship, but of his luck.

Palafox Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 1:11 p.m. PST

"Don't feed the

"

Oww.. don't spoil the fun. evil grin

Arundel Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 4:21 p.m. PST

This discussion seems pretty well wrapped-up, but I will add that I agree with the majority of the posters here that the Mahdi would have been roundly defeated if he had met Kitchener (or any other British general for that matter).

The dervishes were tremendously brave, as the English themselves admitted at the time, and that is admirable, but I'm not convinced they ever showed much strategic sense-whether it were against the Egyptians, the British or the Abyssinians. Looking at their most respected generals, like Nejumi, Abu Anga and Osman Digna, there isn't much evidence of tremendous battlefield savvy. Osman Digna was probably the best of the bunch, but it seems to me the only great battle he had against the British was Tofrek, when he came within an ace of giving M'Neil a terrible thrashing.

As for the Mahdi, he really wasn't a general per se. He was certainly audacious in commanding the attack on Khartoum to beat the relief expedition, but he had made some tremendous gaffs as well (like at El Obeid). Kitchener or any well-supplied British army would probably have given him just as good a "dusting" as was actually given to the Khalifa. Even against a well-fortified position with a total lack of surprise the British would win, as happened at Atbara. Bulldog makes the excellent point that the only Omdurman option that might have given the Brits serious bloody nose was an attack at night. Some officers also voiced their relief that the Khalifa did not make the battle take place in the streets of Omdurman itself, which could have been nasty indeed.

Arundel Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 4:38 p.m. PST

Oh, there was a native leader who waged a long, protracted guerilla war against the British, and that was the so-called "Mad Mullah" of Somaliland. He fought a war that was very challenging for the British to fight effectively. The Boers were the ultimate in this area, but they have already been mentioned.

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 6:32 p.m. PST

Indeed. At one point, the "Mad Mullah" was successfully thumbing his nose at the British, the Italians, and the Abyssinians simultaneously.

Allen

Mephistopheles Inactive Member29 Aug 2008 7:09 p.m. PST

Yep, I got owned, guess I'll crawl away and whine now. evil grin

However, before I beg for mercy, I guess I'll never understand how everybody is so utterly sure of this argument when the Mahdi managed to beat British trained troops with inferior armaments.

Palafox "Should they have performed so well they would not have been massacred. Some british were leading an army they had defeated the previous year, Hicks claimed he did not trusted the troops under his command, the egyptian officer corps was a mess, expecting these soldiers to fight as well as their european counterparts in that situation is too much."

Oh, that's right, bunch of cowardly wogs. Hicks would have done better to send them all home, break out his trusty elephant gun, and go Bleeped text hunting. Could've bagged the whole lot doncha know. *baloneyl*

Personal logo Mexican Jack Squint Sponsoring Member of TMP Fezian29 Aug 2008 8:35 p.m. PST

Well, here's the thing. You know, the history thing.

Hick's army was a very bad one indeed. Far from being a "British trained army" (and that, in itself, was certainly no guarantee of success) the Egyptian army in the Sudan in the early to mid '80s was in many ways the dross of a not especially good army – one that had not fought well against the British in 1882. The Sudan was where officers were sent as a punishment posting – mostly it seems for political offences. The soldiers were mostly conscripts from Egypt proper – who hated serving in the Sudan. It's worth noting that Valentine Baker's army that performed so badly at El Teb I in 1883 were made up of the same sort of very unwilling soldiers.

The Egyptian army was completely reformed under the Sirdarship of Lord Cromer from 1885 onwards, with the replacement of Egyptian officers by British (a lieutenant became a major in the Egyptian army) and the end of a forced levy of villagers as conscripts. New Sudanese battalions were raised from troops from the Southern Sudan, and these were seen as the cream of the army. From 1887 onwards Egyptian forces sparred with the Mahdists along the Nile frontier, and won conclusive victories at Argin (1888) and Toski (1889). It's worth looking at Wingate's "Mahdiism nd the Egyptian Sudan" for details of these little known actions.

Unless you've stifled me, of course, in which case you won't know any of this.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Aug 2008 10:04 p.m. PST

So I was thinking about using Clash of Iron, as mentioned before, to do some Zulu War stuff and it seemed like it would work pretty well for the Sudan too. Certainly the Celt/Roman dynamic would work well for this situation.

I'm still getting set up here but should have some stuff together by next weekend so I'll let you know how the initial test play goes when it happens.

Connard Sage Inactive Member30 Aug 2008 1:50 a.m. PST

To be PC for a moment, 'wog' is almost as bad as 'nigger' (there, I said it)

Can you all pack it in?

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