It goes without saying that there are numerous problems with attempting to ‘study’ history while resolutely wearing psychotically anti-British blinkers… not that this stops certain South African so-called ‘academics’ from so doing. Of course, adopting this bizarre hatred of all things British leads to people making all manner of ridiculous claims, and frantically – if amusingly – attempting to twist history to fit their preferred narrative.
A good example of this occurred on Quora, when one such deluded fellow attempted to answer the question ‘what was the most one-sided battle in history?’ Not pausing for a moment, this half-wit leapt into full-on anti-British mode, and hammered out the following nonsense:
The Battle of Omdurman in 1898 was probably the most one-sided battle of all time. As the British began their push to colonize Africa at the end of the 19th Century, they ran into trouble in modern-day Sudan. In 1894, Sudanese rebels led by Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad revolted against British rule. After a year of fighting, the Mahdi’s succeeded in defeating the British colonial forces, killing Maj. Gen. Charles “Chinese” Gordon in the process.
In response to their defeat, the British organized a force to suppress the Mahdi’s uprising. They sent 12 gunboats down the Nile backed by 8,000 British and 17,000 Sudanese and Egyptian troops. The British were equipped with modern rifles, artillery and machine guns, including the legendary Maxim gun. While the Mahdi’s force of 50,000 was equipped with obsolete muskets, swords and spears.
When the Mahdi’s forces attempted to confront the British at Omdurman on the outskirts of Khartoum, the British simply mowed them down with rifle, artillery and machine gun fire. When the dust settled, 12,000 of the Mahdi’s troops were killed, 13,000 were wounded and 5,000 were captured. The British only sustained 48 killed, most of whom died when a young lieutenant named Winston Churchill decided to mount a cavalry charge into the Mahdi’s lines, believing that the Mahdi’s defeat was not sporting enough.
It is clear that this fellow (like so many others) was less interested in history, and much more interested in promoting the following woke agenda:
1) British Empire = bad
2) British army = bad and stupid
3) Churchill (due to being British, having been in the army, and not a socialist) = bad
Alas for this fellow, such was his swivel-eyed rush to push his anti-British agenda, that actual history got trampled on, and inconvenient facts got left by the wayside.
In reality, Great Britain ‘inherited’ responsibility for the Egyptian-Sudan when they assumed control of Egypt (which had been part of the Ottoman Empire) in 1882. This was done in response to an attempted coup against the Khedive, to put down violent anti-Christian rioting, and to protect the vital Suez Canal.
A couple of years thereafter, and in response to an uprising in the Sudan by followers of a religious nutcase known as the Mahdi, General Gordon was sent to Khartoum to over-see the evacuation of westerners from that remote desert outpost. Not wishing to leave the townspeople – and the hordes of refugees who had taken shelter therein – to the tender mercies of the rebels, however, Gordon instead disobeyed his orders and decided to hold Khartoum until relief was sent by London. With no British garrison present, Khartoum was taken in 1885, and Gordon killed. The Mahdi himself then died six months later.
The Sudan Campaign – of which Omdurman was one battle of – took place from 1897–1898 (ie. more than a decade later) and was fought to re-establish Anglo-Egyptian control of the territory. You will note that the Mahdi was long dead by the time of Omdurman.
Churchill (who was only a junior officer of the 4th Hussars, attached the 21st Lancers – ie. the regiment involved) did not ‘decide to mount a cavalry charge’ – he did, however, take part in it. It is patently ridiculous to claim that a supernumerary lieutenant could have ordered a regimental cavalry charge.
I have also never read anything to suggest the cavalry charge was mounted because anyone believed the defeat ‘was not sporting enough’. In reality, the Lancers charged what they thought were only some 150 Dervishes hiding in a wadi… but it turned out the wadi was, in fact, swarming with enemy warriors, up to 12 deep, and totaling some 2,000 men. Regardless, the lancers crashed into them, and through them, the frenzied two-minute melee causing the cavalrymen 21 dead and 50 wounded, out of 310 officers and men.
The moral of the story is simple (and one that really should be heeded by many when it comes to the Boer War): desperately twisting reality to fit your blindly anti-British agenda only makes you look like the prize buffoon you are.