Wednesday 16 February 2011

ABC Wednesday E is for El Teb

Thanks are due to the Energetic Denise Nesbitt and her Erudite and Efficient Exponents of this Entertaining meme. Click here for more Es.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons 
The Battle of El Teb took place in East Sudan on the Red Sea coast on 29th February 1884.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah was a young Muslim who proclaimed himself Mahdi (Islamic messiah) and raised a jihad, leading the Sudanese Jihadist Arabs or Mahdists against the Khedive of Egypt. The Khedive depended on British support to eradicate the Sudanese slave trade and to safeguard the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal was of great importance to the British as the most direct route to India, then part of the British Empire.

During the First Battle of El Teb on February 4th 1000 Mahdists overwhelmed and slaughtered the majority of an Egyptian force of 3500 led by the British officer, Baker Pasha. Following this the British government diverted British troops returning from India to quell the Sudanese Jihadist Arabs.

The British troops numbered around 4200 and faced a force of unknown numbers of  between 10000 to 15000 Mahdists. The success of the smaller contingent lay in the deployment of a closely packed formation of infantry called the square, a strategy that has been used, in different forms, since Roman times.

Two Victoria Crosses (VC) were awarded for this battle, one to Captain Arthur Wilson, RN who held off a Mahdist attack so that his men could bring their Gardner gun into action. The second was awarded to Sergeant William Marshall, 19th Hussars, who rescued his wounded commanding officer whose horse had been shot, dragging him back through the enemy troops to his regiment. Several Distinguished Conduct Medals (DCM) were also presented by Queen Victoria at Windsor.


  1. I love a bit of history, fascinating!

  2. Piece of history I didn't know.
    Interesting: I was reading your post when my e-mail popped up and it was your comment on MY blog-thx.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  3. Interesting choice for E day, Janice.
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  4. Can't imagine 20,000 men in battle, especially under a scorching sun! Ouch!

  5. Always enjoy the history!!! Some things don't seem to have changed much, have they! Great one for the day, Janice! Hope your week is going well!

    ABC Team

  6. Did you know this or did you have to lok it up?
    An informative post.

  7. What a fascinating post. I wrote a short story of my undead Texas Ranger caught in that battle. How odd. You have a great blog. Roland

  8. Ever interesting, especially after the struggle in Egypt we just witnessed.
    Happy Week!-

  9. Laurence Olivier played the Mahdi in the film Khartoum, which was my full knowledge the history.

  10. Very interesting read!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and following. I'm following you right back!

  11. very interesting...thanks for sharing!

    Check out my ABC Wednesday entry as well. Much appreciated!

  12. You always find such fascinating snippets for ABC - great post for E.

  13. The more things change, the more they stay the same! Seems like half the world is in uprising and turmoil and the other half in economic distress.

  14. I always enjoy history blogs.

  15. I have a hard time with stories about war, no matter who the victor is, there are thousands of moms who lose, I guess. But this was well researched and the graphics really added context. Thanks very much, and as I always close, Peace, Amy


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