The troops left Khartoum as night was falling and sailed south up the Nile. To mislead the Dervishes they sailed past Wad Alkazy during the day, only returning once night had fallen. Disembarking they marched for the Jamaldeen Oasis before dawn, achieving complete surprise when they attacked. After a brisk fight the Dervishes were dispersed and mission accomplished the column formed up to return to Wad Alkazy. Spirits among the troops were high as they neared the Nile. This is the point at which our game begins.
|Looking west towards the Nile and Wad Alkazy|
Anstruther received the unwelcome news that a large dust cloud was approaching from the east. He immediately dispatched Firth-Newsome with orders for two of the British battalions to deploy into line and with the support of the machine gun stop the enemy advance. The remaining two battalions of the British brigade, together with the field gun, would deploy further back to cover the retreat of the first line; whilst the Egyptian brigade was to march quickly to Wad Alkazy, take up a defensive position and cover the retreat of the British troops. Firth-Newsome delivered the message and watched as, with parade ground precision, the British troops formed line and the machine gun deployed for action. The leading ranks of the Dervish forces appeared through the dust and the British volleys began their deadly work. Despite their undoubted courage the Dervishes could not advance further into the maelstrom of lead and their commander ordered his supporting units to deploy to the flanks to work round the British line.
|The rearguard deploys|
|The Egyptians come under attack|
|The Sultan and Victoria prior to the Dervish attack|
|The British square under attack|
|The square breaks|
Ahmed Bey was struggling to hold his command together. Two battalions had fought themselves to destruction, but their sacrifice had enabled the remaining battalions to form up and prepare for the next Dervish onslaught. The artillery was excelling itself, destroying one unit of cavalry and stopping another as it attempted to charge home. The machine gun had tried to fire in support of the infantry, but had jammed and now the crew were struggling to clear the jam.
|The Dervishes attack Wad Alkazy|
The crisis of the battle was now approaching. The Emir saw that his men were tiring, but one final push may secure victory. Orders went out to press home the attacks on the Imperial forces. From his position in the square formed by the South Essex, Firth Newsome could see the enemy attack developing. To his right the square of the Rutlands was attacked by two units. The Rutlands had the machine gun as support and this fired into the nearest enemy unit. However, once again mechanical failure quickly appeared and whilst the crew worked feverishly to clear the jam the enemy were upon them. Fighting against overwhelming odds the brave gunners stood by their gun in a hopeless struggle. One by one they were cut down, but each gallant Briton was surrounded by a number of enemy dead. The third square, formed by the highlanders was also attacked by two units. With the highlanders low on ammunition the South Essex tried to give supporting fire, but it proved insufficient to stop the determined Dervish charge. The highlanders absorbed the shock of the charge, but gradually weight of numbers began to tell. Colonel Munro the commander of the highlanders saw Dervish troops forcing their way through the ranks and into the square. Moving forward he dispatched several with shots from his revolver. When this was empty he drew his claymore and waded into the melee. Order began to break down as clumps of highlanders formed, each fighting against numerous opponents. Colonel Munro was one of the last to fall, surrounded by a mob of the enemy.
|The highlanders square is overwhelmed|
Almost as soon as it began, the attack was over. The Emir decided that he should pull back his forces and regroup. Anstruther was too aware of the tiredness of his troops to order any pursuit. Aided by parties from the steamers the dead were buried and the wounded transferred to the ships. Finally, as dusk fell, the weary Imperial troops marched into Wad Alkazy, ready to board the steamers and return to Khartoum. Once back, Brigadier Anstruther wrote a report which highlighted the excellent conduct of the Egyptian troops. He also pointed out the need to look at the provision of ammunition with a view to avoiding the likelihood of the infantry running low during periods of sustained firing. However, the key point in his report was the inadequacy of the current machine guns, which were far too prone to jamming at the very moment they were needed most.