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The Info List - Anglo-Egyptian War

Co-belligerent(s):

France

Egyptian and Sudanese forces under Ahmed ‘Urabi

Commanders and leaders

Garnet Wolseley Beauchamp Seymour Tewfik Pasha

Ahmed ‘Urabi Mahmoud Fehmy Mahmoud Sami El Baroudi

Strength

40,560 regulars Unconfirmed number of regulars

v t e

Anglo-Egyptian War
Anglo-Egyptian War
(1882)

Alexandria Egyptian Expedition Kafr El Dawwar Kassassin Tell El Kebir

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The Anglo-Egyptian War
Anglo-Egyptian War
(Arabic: الاحتلال البريطاني لمصر‎ al-āḥalāl al-Brīṭānnī al-Miṣr) occurred in 1882 between Egyptian and Sudanese forces under Ahmed ‘Urabi
Ahmed ‘Urabi
and the United Kingdom. It ended a nationalist uprising against the Khedive Tewfik Pasha
Tewfik Pasha
and vastly expanded British influence over the country, at the expense of the French.

Contents

1 Background 2 Reasons for the invasion 3 Course of the war

3.1 British bombardment 3.2 ‘Urabi's response 3.3 British order of battle 3.4 Battle of Kafr El Dawwar 3.5 Battle of Tell El Kebir

4 British military innovations

4.1 Railway 4.2 Telegraph 4.3 Army Post Office Corps

5 Aftermath

5.1 ‘Urabi's trial 5.2 British occupation

6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Background[edit] Main articles: ‘ Urabi Revolt
Urabi Revolt
and Bombardment of Alexandria In 1878, an Egyptian army officer, Ahmed ‘Urabi
Ahmed ‘Urabi
(then known in English as Arabi Pasha), mutinied and initiated a coup against Tewfik Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt
Egypt
and Sudan, because of grievances over disparities in pay between Egyptians and Europeans, as well as other concerns. In January 1882 the British and French governments sent a "Joint Note" to the Egyptian government, declaring their recognition of the Khedive's authority. On 20 May 1882, British and French warships arrived off the coast of Alexandria. On 11 June 1882, an anti-Christian riot occurred in Alexandria that killed 50 Europeans. Colonel ‘Urabi ordered his forces to put down the riot, but Europeans fled the city and ‘Urabi's army began fortifying the town. The French flotilla demurred from direct hostilities but, an ultimatum to cease the arming of the town having been refused, the British warships began a 10½-hour bombardment of Alexandria on 11 July 1882. Reasons for the invasion[edit] The reasons why the British government sent a fleet of ships to the coast of Alexandria is a point of historical debate, as there is no definitive information available. In their 1961 essay Africa and the Victorians, Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher argue that the British invasion was ordered in order to quell the perceived anarchy of the ‘Urabi Revolt, as well as to protect British control over the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
in order to maintain its shipping route to the Indian Ocean.[1] A.G. Hopkins rejected Robinson and Gallagher's argument, citing original documents and second-hand sources to claim that there was no perceived danger to the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
from the ‘Urabi movement, and that ‘Urabi and his forces were not chaotic "anarchists", but rather maintained law and order.[2]:373–374 He alternatively argues that British Prime Minister William Gladstone's cabinet was motivated by protecting the interests of British bondholders with investments in Egypt
Egypt
as well as pursuit of domestic political popularity. Hopkins cites the British investments in Egypt
Egypt
that grew massively leading into the 1880s, partially as a result of the Khedive's debt from construction of the Suez Canal, as well as the close links that existed between the British government and the economic sector.[2]:379–380 He writes Britain's economic interests occurred simultaneously to a desire within the ruling Liberal Party for a militant foreign policy in order to gain domestic political popularity to compete with the Conservative Party.[2]:382 Hopkins cites a letter from Edward Malet, the British consul general in Egypt
Egypt
at the time, to a member of the Gladstone Cabinet offering his congratulations on the invasion: "You have fought the battle of all Christendom and history will acknowledge it. May I also venture to say that it has given the Liberal Party a new lease of popularity and power."[2]:385 John Galbraith and Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid-Marsot make a similar argument to Hopkins, though their argument focuses on how individuals within the British government bureaucracy used their positions to make the invasion appear as a more favourable option to Gladstone's cabinet. First, they describe a plot by Edward Malet
Edward Malet
in which he portrayed the Egyptian government as unstable to his superiors in the cabinet.[3]:477 On Galbraith and al-Sayyid-Marsot's reading, Malet naïvely expected he could convince the British to intimidate Egypt with a show of force without considering a full invasion or occupation as a possibility.[3]:477–478 They also dwell on Admiral Beauchamp Seymour, who hastened the start of the bombardment by exaggerating the danger posed to his ships by ‘Urabi's forces in his telegrams back to the British government.[3]:485 Course of the war[edit] British bombardment[edit]

Bombardment of Alexandria

Main article: Bombardment of Alexandria The British fleet bombarded Alexandria from 11–13 July and then occupied it with marines. The British did not lose a single ship, but much of the city was destroyed by fires caused by explosive shells and by ‘Urabists seeking to ruin the city that the British were taking over.[4] Tewfik Pasha, who had moved his court to Alexandria during the unrest, declared ‘Urabi a rebel and formally deposed him from his positions within the government. ‘Urabi's response[edit] ‘Urabi then reacted by obtaining a fatwa from Al Azhar
Al Azhar
shaykhs which condemned Tewfik as a traitor to both his country and religion, absolving those who fought against him. ‘Urabi also declared war on the United Kingdom and initiated conscription. British order of battle[edit]

The Seat of War - Alexandria and the Nile-Delta (1882)

The British army tried to reach Cairo
Cairo
through Alexandria but was stopped for five weeks at Kafr El Dawwar. In August, a British army of over 40,000, commanded by Garnet Wolseley, invaded the Suez Canal Zone. He was authorised to destroy ‘Urabi's forces and clear the country of all other rebels. The engineer troops had left England for Egypt
Egypt
in July and August 1882. The engineers included pontoon, railway and telegraph troops.[5]:65 Wolseley saw the campaign as a logistical challenge as he did not believe the Egyptians would put up much resistance.[6]

Order of battle
Order of battle
of the British Expeditionary Force

Commander: Lieutenant General Sir Garnet Wolseley Chief of Staff: Lieutenant General Sir John Adye

1st Division (Lt Gen GHS Willis) 1st Brigade (Maj Gen HRH The Duke of Connaught)

2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards 1st Battalion, Scots Guards

2nd Brigade (Maj Gen Gerald Graham
Gerald Graham
VC)

1st Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers
Royal Irish Fusiliers
(Princess Victoria’s) 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers
Royal Irish Fusiliers
(Princess Victoria’s) 2nd Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment

Divisional Troops

19th Hussars
19th Hussars
(2 Sqns) 2nd Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry A Battery, 1st Field Brigade, Royal Artillery D Battery, 1st Field Brigade, Royal Artillery 24 Field Company, Royal Engineers 12 Company, Army Commissariat and Transport Corps 1 Bearer Company, Army Hospital Corps (Half) 3 Field Hospital, Army Hospital Corps

2nd Division (Lt Gen Sir Edward Hamley) 3rd (Highland) Infantry Brigade (Maj Gen Sir Archibald Alison)

2nd Battalion, Highland Light Infantry 1st Battalion, Black Watch
Black Watch
(Royal Highlanders) 1st Battalion, Cameron Highlanders 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders

4th Brigade (Maj Gen Sir Evelyn Wood VC)

1st Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment
Royal Berkshire Regiment
(Princess Charlotte’s) 1st Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment 1st Battalion, The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry

Divisional Troops

19th Hussars
19th Hussars
(2 Sqns) 3rd Battalion, The King’s Royal Rifle Corps I Battery, 2nd Field Brigade, Royal Artillery N Battery, 2nd Field Brigade, Royal Artillery 26 Field Company, Royal Engineers 11 Company, Army Commissariat and Transport Corps 2 Bearer Company, Army Hospital Corps (Half) 4 Field Hospital, Army Hospital Corps 5 Field Hospital, Army Hospital Corps

Indian Contingent (Maj Gen Sir Herbert Macpherson VC)

1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment 1st Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders 7th Bengal Infantry 20th Punjab Infantry 29th Baluch Infantry 7 (Mountain) Battery, Northern Division, Royal Garrison Artillery (plus their own Commissariat, Engineers etc.)

Cavalry Division (Maj Gen Drury Curzon Drury Lowe) 1st (Heavy) Cavalry Brigade (Brig Gen Sir Baker Creed Russell)

Household Cavalry Composite Regiment
Household Cavalry Composite Regiment
(1 Sqn each from the 1st Life Guards, 2nd Life Guards
2nd Life Guards
and Royal Horse Guards) 4th Dragoon Guards 7th Dragoon Guards

2nd (Bengal) Cavalry Brigade (Brig Gen H. C. Wilkinson)

2nd Bengal Cavalry 6th Bengal Cavalry 13th Bengal Lancers

Division Troops

N Battery, A Horse Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery Mounted Infantry Battalion (formed from Mounted Coys of line infantry battalions) 17 Company, Army Commissariat and Transport 6 Field Hospital, Army Hospital Corps

Army Troops

Naval Brigade Battalion, Royal Marine Light Infantry G Battery, B Horse Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery F Battery, 1st Field Brigade, Royal Field Artillery H Battery, 1st Field Brigade, RFA C Battery, 3rd Field Brigade, RFA J Battery, 3rd Field Brigade, RFA T Battery, 3rd Field Brigade, RFA Royal Marine Artillery 1 Battery, London Division, Royal Garrison Artillery 4 Battery, London Division, RGA 5 Battery, London Division, RGA 5 Battery, Scottish Division, RGA 6 Battery, Scottish Division, RGA

Army Train

A (Bridging) Troop, Royal Engineers C (Telegraph) Troop, RE Railway Troop, RE 8 Field Company, RE 17 Field Company, RE 18 Field Company, RE A Company, Queen’s Own Madras Sappers and Miners I Company, QOMS&M 8 Company, Army Commissariat and Transport Corps 15 Company, ACT Corps Auxiliary Company, ACT Corps 2 Bearer Company, Army Hospital Corps 1 Field Hospital, AHC 3 Field Hospital, AHC 7 Field Hospital, AHC 8 Field Hospital, AHC Army Post Office Corps (M Company 49th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers)

Battle of Kafr El Dawwar[edit] Main article: Battle of Kafr El Dawwar This battle took place on 5 August 1882 between an Egyptian army, headed by Ahmed Orabi, and British forces headed by Sir Archibald Alison. Seeking to ascertain the strength of the Egyptian's Kafr El Dawwar position, and to test local rumours that the Egyptians were retreating, Alison ordered a probing attack on the evening of the 5th. This action was reported by Orabi as a battle, and Cairo
Cairo
was full of the news that the advancing British had been repulsed. While, most historians describe the action merely as a reconnaissance in force which was never intended as a serious assault on the Egyptian lines. However, the end result was that the British abandoned any hope they may have had of reaching Cairo
Cairo
from the north, and shifted their base of operations to Ismailia
Ismailia
instead. Wolseley arrived at Alexandria on 15 August and immediately began to organize the movement of troops through the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
to Ismailia. This was quickly accomplished, Ismailia
Ismailia
was occupied on 20 August without resistance.[5]:67 Battle of Tell El Kebir[edit] Main article: Battle of Kassassin
Kassassin
Lock Main article: Battle of Tell El Kebir

Tell El Kebir

Ismailia
Ismailia
was quickly reinforced with 9,000 troops, with the engineers put to work repairing the railway line from Suez. A small force was pushed along the Sweet Water Canal
Sweet Water Canal
to the Kassassin
Kassassin
lock arriving on 26 August. There they met the enemy. Heavily outnumbered the two battalions with 4 guns held their ground until some heavy cavalry arrived when the force went onto the offensive, forcing Arabi Pasha
Arabi Pasha
to fall back 5 miles (8.0 km) with heavy casualties.[5]:67–68 The main body of the army started to move up to Kassassin
Kassassin
and planning for the battle at Tell El Kebir
Tell El Kebir
was undertaken. Skirmishing took place but did not interfere with the build up. On 12 September all was ready and during that night the army marched to battle.[5]:68 13 September 1882 - Urabi redeployed to defend Cairo
Cairo
against Wolseley. His main force dug in at Tell El Kebir, north of the railway and the Sweet Water Canal, both of which linked Cairo
Cairo
to Ismailia
Ismailia
on the canal. The defences were hastily prepared as there was little time to arrange them. ‘Urabi's forces possessed 60 pieces of artillery and breech loading rifles. Wolseley made several personal reconnaissances, and determined that the Egyptians did not man outposts in front of their main defences at night, which made it possible for an attacking force to approach the defences under cover of darkness. Wolseley sent his force to approach the position by night and attacked frontally at dawn. Surprise was not achieved, rifle fire and artillery from redoubts opened up when the range was 600 yards (550 m). Continuing the advance, the defending troops were hampered by the smoke from their weapons blocking their vision of the advancing British. The three battalions arrived in the enemy trenches all together and with little loss, resulting in a decisive victory.[5]:69 Officially losing only 57 troops while killing approximately two thousand Egyptians, the British army had more casualties due to heatstroke than enemy action.[6]:130 The ‘Urabi forces were routed, and British cavalry pursued them and captured Cairo, which was undefended. Power was then restored to the khedive, the war was at an end and the majority of the British Army went to Alexandria and took ship for home, leaving from November, just an army of occupation.[5]:69 Lieutenant William Mordaunt Marsh Edwards
William Mordaunt Marsh Edwards
was awarded a Victoria Cross for his Galantry during the battle. British military innovations[edit] Railway[edit] During the build up to the battle at Tell El Kebir
Tell El Kebir
the specially raised 8th Railway Company RE operated trains carrying stores and troops, as well as repairing track. On the day of the battle they ran a train into Tell El Kebir
Tell El Kebir
station at between 8-9am (13 September) and "found it completely blocked with trains, full of the enemy's ammunition: the line strewn with dead and wounded, and our own soldiers swarming over the place almost mad for want of water" (extract from Captain Sidney Smith's diary). Once the station was cleared they began to ferry the wounded, prisoners and troops with stores to other destinations.[7] Telegraph[edit] In the wake of the advancing columns, telegraph lines were laid on either side of the Sweet Water canal. At 2 am (13 September) Wolseley successfully sent a message to the Major General Sir H Macpherson VC on the extreme left with the Indian Contingent and the Naval Brigade. At Tell El Kebir
Tell El Kebir
a field telegraph office was established in a saloon carriage, which Arabi Pasha
Arabi Pasha
had travelled in the day before. At 8.30 am (13 September) after the victory at the battle of Tell El Kebir, Wolseley used the telegram to send messages of his victory to Queen Victoria; he received a reply from her at 9.15 am the same day. Once they had got connected to the permanent line the Section also worked the Theiber sounder and the telephone.[7] Army Post Office Corps[edit] The forerunners of Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
(Postal Section) made their debut on this campaign. They were specially raised from the 24th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers (Post Office Rifles) and for the first time in British military history, post office clerks trained as soldiers, provided a dedicated postal service to an army in the field. During the battle of Kassassin
Kassassin
they became the first Volunteers ever to come under enemy fire.[8] Aftermath[edit] ‘Urabi's trial[edit] Prime Minister Gladstone initially sought to put ‘Urabi on trial and execute him, portraying him as "a self-seeking tyrant whose oppression of the Egyptian people still left him enough time, in his capacity as a latter-day Saladin, to massacre Christians." After glancing through his captured diaries and various other evidence, there was little with which to "demonize" ‘Urabi in a public trial. His charges were down-graded, after which he admitted to rebellion and was sent into exile.[2]:384 British occupation[edit] Main article: British occupation of Egypt British troops then occupied Egypt
Egypt
until the Anglo–Egyptian Treaty of 1922 and Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936, giving gradual control back to the government of Egypt. Hopkins argues that Britain continued its occupation of Egypt
Egypt
after 1882 in order to guarantee British investments: "Britain had important interests to defend in Egypt
Egypt
and she was prepared to withdraw only if conditions guaranteeing the security of those interests were met—and they never were."[2]:388 Consistent with this view, investment in Egypt
Egypt
increased during the British occupation, interest rates fell, and bond prices rose.[2]:389 See also[edit]

List of conflicts in the Near East

References[edit]

^ Robinson, Ronald; Gallagher, John (1961). Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism. London: Macmillan.  ^ a b c d e f g Hopkins, A. G. (July 1986). "The Victorians and Africa: A Reconsideration of the Occupation of Egypt, 1882". The Journal of African History. 27 (2): 363–391. doi:10.1017/S0021853700036719. JSTOR 181140.  ^ a b c Galbraith, John S.; al-Sayyid-Marsot, Afaf Lutfi (November 1978). "The British Occupation of Egypt: Another View". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 9 (4): 471–488. doi:10.1017/S0020743800030658. JSTOR 162074.  ^ "The Bombardment of Alexandria
Bombardment of Alexandria
(1882)". Old Mersey Times. Archived from the original on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-13.  ^ a b c d e f Porter, Maj Gen Whitworth (1889). History of the Corps of Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
Vol II. Chatham: The Institution of Royal Engineers.  ^ a b Kochanski, Halik. Sir Garnet Wolseley: Victorian Hero. ISBN 9781852851880.  ^ a b Porter, Whitworth (1889). History of the Corps of Royal Engineers, Vol. II. London: Longmans, Green and Co.  ^ Wells, Edward (1987). Mailshot - A History of the Forces Postal Services. London: DPCS. ISBN 0951300903. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War.

British Occupation Egypt
Egypt
Occupation Egypt
Egypt
1882 Old Mersey Times. The Bombardment of Alexandria
Bombardment of Alexandria
(1882) MILITARY OPERATIONS OF 1882-1885 IN EGYPT Autobiography of Sir John Stokes Fiorillo, Luigi. "Alexandria Bombardment of 1882 Photograph Album". American University in Cairo
Cairo
Rare Books and Special
Special
Collections Library. 

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