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Osprey Campaign 23 : Khartoum 1885 : General Gordon's Last Stand

The two campaigns fought by the British in the Sudan, in 1884-5 and 1896-8, were far more than an attempt to relieve Khartoum and the eventual reconquest of the country. Early in 1881 general unrest in the Sudan began to crystallise around the name of an obscure man of religion, Mohammed Ibn Ahmed el-Sayyid Abdullah. Proclaiming himself the long-expected Madhi, the Guided One of the Prophet, he preached that the Sudan was to be purged of its Egyptian oppressors, and her people brought back to the purity of the true faith. Soon, the Egyptian government, installed by the British after the Arabi Pasha revolt of 1882, found itself hard-pressed to maintain authority in the Sudan, being forced into a series of abortive operations against the Mahdi's swelling hordes of followers until finding itself with only token garrisons to defend isolated posts at Sennar, Tokar, Donagla and Berber. Drawn in by the Egyptian failure to deal with the situation, the British became involved, sending General Gordon to organise the evacuation of civilians and troops. On reaching Khartoum however, General Gordon proved reluctant to do this, believing, incorrectly, that the Madhi could be reasoned with. Instead of negotiating however, the Madhi besieged the town for 317 days, as inadequate government measures led to delay after delay for the relief column as it struggled its way through hostile territory. This book looks in particular, although not exclusively, at the battles fought by the relief columns. General Gordon's first campaign from Suakim is also examined in this work by Donald Featherstone.

    Contents
  • The Rise of the Mahdi in the Sudan
  • Opposing Commanders
  • Opposing Forces
  • Graham's First Campaign from Suakim
  • Khartoum
  • Final Operations around Suakim, February - May 1885
  • Chronology
  • A Guide to Further Reading
  • Wargaming the Sudan Campaigns

 

Osprey Campaign


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