By Howard Whitehouse

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Extra resources for Battle In Africa 1879-1914, Fieldbooks

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At Menhaba (April 1908) 5,000 Moroccans attacked two Foreign Legion companies in camp under cover of darkness. A series of bayonet charges finally cleared the bivouac, but only after 120 legionnaires had fallen. The Moroccans made off with rifles, mules and stores. In daylight hours the Africans turned to the use of natural cover. At Dul Madoba in 1913 Yusuf's Somalis were able to use thorn brush which cut visibility to 100-400 yards - to approach and defeat Captain Corfield's Gamet Constabulary.

The Khalifa's lieutenants argued the pros and cons of each option in turn: OPTION 1 Abandon Omdurman, retire to the Kordofan deserts to wage guerilla warfare. ADVANTAGES Uses techniques successful in 1881-5; stretches enemy supply lines. DISADVANTAGES Means abandoning the tapital - and the Mandi's sacred tomb. RESULT Not chosen - the proposer thrown into jail! 2 Use the city of Omdurman as a defensive position. Uses protection of fortifications. Negate's army's offensive spirit; endangers civilians.

1895 a Scots trader, Andrew Dick, and two French companions shot and killed 100 Maasai warriors before they were overwhelmed. In general terms, however, the new weapons were far less effective in the field than their makers had hoped. There were some technical problems - eg the Martini kicked like a mule, fouled easily, and suffered from spent cartridges jamming in the breech when, in the heat of battle their brass Boxer casings expanded too much. More importantly, the troops were woefully ill-trained to deal with sophisticated weaponry.

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