Battle of Omdurman
A new military technology was used by Britain in the massacre of the army of Sudanese Dervishes, near Omdurman on 2 September 1898.
The massacre of the army of Sudanese Dervishes on a plain near Omdurman in the Sudan was an occasion that a new military technology was tested – to devastating effect – by Britain in battle. It proved a major factor in Kitchener’s victory, in his efforts to re-conquer Sudan from the Madhists who had killed General Gordon in 1885, as well as to safeguard the Suez Canal and ensure the region against the threat of French occupation.
The key to Britain's presence in Egypt and the Sudan (Egypt's backdoor and the source of the Nile) was the Suez Canal, opened in 1869. The new quick route to India had to be safeguarded.
As ‘Sirdar’ or commander-in-chief of the Anglo-Egyptian army, Major-General Herbert Kitchener, an engineer and veteran of the Indian army, had spent over two years training his troops and building up extensive railway and steamship supply lines with a view to attacking the Mahdist state to the south.
The Khalifa Abdullahi, leader of the Sudanese and religious successor to the Mahdi, aware of Kitchener’s intentions, had assembled a large army near Omdurman, since 1885 the Mahdist capital, across the Nile from Khartoum.