Intelligence has been received from our reporter, Fanhard, who has been with a column near the troubled town of Khufurah.
As we reported last week, after a great victory and subsequent setback the Allied Garrison once more set out to retrieve the bodies of their fallen comrades.
Fanhard was allowed to travel with the Durham’s and returned his copy immediately after his return to camp.
It was decided by Stewarton that a large force should assemble to return once more to the Khufurah plain.
Our troops were an Anglo Egyptian force comprising the Durham’s, the Guards, along with a naval crew manning a gatling gun, protecting our right flank were the colourful gentlemen known as Bashi Bazouks. They carried more weapons upon their persons than was normal. To the left of the British forces were a mixed force of Egytians and Sudanese troops, with lancers and cavalry protecting the left. After we broke our morning fast the sun was already searing the sands. We set forth into the unknown, our target was a small wadhi where numerous vultures were circling. As we advanced a great shout came from our front and left flank as numerous enemy forces appeared as if out of the very earth itself. Their guttural war cries were, demonic as they bounded forwards, intent on our downfall.
The Bashi Bazouks sensing an easy prey galloped forward to engage the enemy. However, as they did so a unit of enemy horse appeared out of the heat haze behind them.
The Durham’s to which I was attached, fired at range and stopped the advance of the horse. The Guards poured fire towards the infantry to their front, as the range was extreme, few casualties fell. Off on our left more and more enemy forces appeared heading straight for our Egyptian allies. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the enemy’s strategy. Some units would attack without delay and others would merely melt away into the sands. On our left flank, the cavalry always ones for glory, rashly charged a unit of Mahdist infantry.
The cavalry on our right suddenly seemed to rally. The Officer commanding the Durham’s ordered a square to be formed, which they did with military precision. Fortunately, they did so as the enemy spurred their mounts and charged into a withering fire. Across our whole front more enemy appeared. With regular volleys, the Gurads and Durham’s kept the enemy at bay. The Sudanese troops were assaulted by fast moving camel riders and after taking heavy casualties were pushed back. The lancers on our extreme flank were unable to exploit any enemy weaknesses as their officer, unfortunately, dithered over what to do.
Sensing that the weakness in our force were the Egyptians, the the enemy threw everything at them, but our plucky allies managed to hold them and turn the tide of battle. After it’s initial problems, the Gatling gun was brought to bear on the camels and in a roar of fire reduced them to an insignificant trifle.
The gunners had certainly got their aim in and enemy after enemy were scythed down in their droves. The roar of the gun bolstered the morale of our Egyptian allies who advanced into the fray. Sadly the dithering of the lancers meant they were charged at the halt by overwhelming odds.
They fought bravely, but with mounting casualties they were forced to retire as a spent force. The Sudanese however, carried on with their advance even though reduced to less than half their number.
The Bashi Bazouks mopped up forces as they galloped along the enemy flank. With mounting casualties the enemy eventually melted away into the haze and our forces halted to help our wounded and collect our dead.
Wounded enemy were dealt with accordingly. Once everything was organised, with our wounded and fallen protected by a small force we marched onwards to meet the horror of the massacre the week before.