Battle of Firket

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Battle of Firket
Part of: Mahdi uprising
Egyptian troops storm Firket
Egyptian troops storm Firket
date June 7, 1896
place Firket in Sudan
Exit British victory
Parties to the conflict

United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom Khedivat Egypt
Flag of Egypt (1882-1922) .svg

Ansar (Mahdists)


Horatio Herbert Kitchener


Troop strength
approx. 9500 British, Egyptians and Sudanese approx. 3000 men

20 dead

1000 dead

In the Battle of Firket in northern Sudan on June 7, 1896, an Anglo - Egyptian army under Horatio Herbert Kitchener defeated the supporters of Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad, who died in 1885 . The battle was the culmination of the Dongola expedition against the Mahdi uprising .


In Sudan, which came under the rule of the Ottoman viceroys ( Khedives ) of Egypt from 1821, the Mahdi uprising began in 1881 and culminated in 1885 with the conquest of Khartoum . Horatio Herbert Kitchener had been preparing for the reconquest of Sudan since his appointment as sirdar in the Egyptian army in 1892. On March 12, 1896, he was finally ordered to march along the Nile and attack the Mahdists. Thereupon the Anglo-Egyptian Nile Expeditionary Force was put on the march under his command. In the so-called Dongola expedition , the northern province of Sudan was first to be occupied and the logistical prerequisites for a campaign to Omdurman were created. Advance troops reached Akasheh on March 20. A railway line to Ambigole could be driven forward by the end of May. From here Kitchener prepared the attack on Firket, where the Mahdist army was located.


Kitchener's troops

Kitchener's army was divided into the River Column and the Desert Column .

  • Desert Column (Major Burn-Murdoch)
    Cavalry Brigade (Major Burn-Murdoch)
    Camel Corps (Captain Tudway)
    12th Battalion - Sudanese
    1 battery of mounted artillery
    2 Maxim machine guns

The River Column was 7,000 strong and the Desert Column 2,100 strong .


The Mahdist army was about 3000 strong. It was led by the Emir Hamuda. There were 57 other emirs in the Mahdist army in Firket.


The main Anglo-Egyptian force, the River Column , advanced along the Nile, the Desert Column marched through the desert. The River Column began its advance on the evening of June 6th. The units marched from Akasheh to Firket in complete silence. At 4:30 a.m. they formed into rifle line. The Desert Column had meanwhile bypassed the position of the Mahdists and took a position behind them. The three brigades attacked the various Mahdist camps near Firket and were able to completely surprise the Mahdists. At 7:00 a.m., the Mahdists were overcome and turned to flee. The Anglo-Egyptian army lost 20 men, the Mahdists mourned around 1,000 deaths, including 44 emirs. Kitchener could now have marched further in the direction of Dongola . He preferred, however, to await the arrival of the gunboats and to advance the railway line further south. As a result of the victory of Firket, Dongola was finally taken on September 23rd.


  • W. Dennistoun Sword, Henry SL Alford: Egyptian Soudan. Its loss and recovery. With Records of the Services of the Officers (1896-8) . Macmillan, London et al. 1898, (Reprinted by Naval & Military Press Ltd, Uckfield 2001, ISBN 1-84342-100-3 ).