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By constructing the mile long Sudan Military Railway, Kitchener was able, by the end of August , to bring these forces within striking distance of the Khalifa in his fortress at Omdurman. Kitchener prepared to face the Khalifa, sending out mounted patrols to scout the area around Omdurman. Artillery bombarded Omdurman, aiming to weaken the defences, including Sudanese gun positions. They quickly withdrew.

Mahdists Defeated at the Battle of Omdurman | History Channel on Foxtel

On 1 September, Kitchener set up camp on the west bank of the Nile, mere miles from Omdurman. Forming up his troops in a semi-circle, he set spotlights from the gunboats to probing the darkness around them, fearful of a night-time attack. This was when the British were at their most vulnerable, unable to see distant targets and so take full advantage of their superior weaponry.

An attack now could ruin them.

Kitchener's victory in the Sudan

At last, dawn came, and with it the showdown. The Khalifa advanced his forces downhill and swept across the front of the Anglo-Egyptian position. Wheeling around, his troops launched into a massive full frontal assault upon the invaders. Artillery, Maxim machine guns, rifles — the invaders opened up in a blaze of firepower.


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Mahdists fell in their thousands, blood soaking the ground. Most never even came within yards of their enemies. With the Mahdists in retreat, Kitchener ordered the 21 st Lancers to pursue the fleeing remnants, preventing them from retreating to Omdurman. Led by Colonel R.

But the Mahdists still had tricks up their sleeves.

Battle of Omdurman

Martin charged a thin line of Dervishes, only to find a larger Sudanese force waiting in ambush behind them. Forty percent of British casualties in the entire battle were suffered in that one brief melee. Though three men were awarded Victoria Crosses for courage in the action, and it was praised in the press, in reality it was a needless waste of lives.

Now he ordered them to advance. As the Anglo-Egyptian force marched the seven miles to Omdurman they lost cohesion. It was hard to keep 25, men in fighting order on the move, and soon gaps appeared in their lines. The Mahdists took this opportunity to launch two counter-attacks, hoping to break the British offensive. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search.


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