September 12, 2016

The Battle of Shaykan

Commemorated by Sudan in 1984 the Battle of Saykan was fought between the forces of Egypt and Sudan and was part of the Mahdist War.

Also referred to as the Battle of El Obeid it was fought on the plains near the town of El Obeid.

The main commanders of the forces were "Billy" Hicks in charge of the Egyptian forces and Mohammed  Ahmed, the Mahdi commanding the Sudanese forces.

At the time it was estimated that the Sudanese forces numbered around 40,000 Sudanese warrior although this number was probably exaggerated.  The Egyptian forces numbered around 11,100. The majority of this force were Egyptian soldiers that were recently released from prison and didn't have their hearts in the fight.

The Egyptian government had heard that Ahmed and his forces were laying siege to the Egyptian town of El Obeid and decided that he must be captured.  Despite warnings against this plan by Hicks, the operation got under way.

While in transit, El Obeid had fallen to the Madhist forces, but the Egptians continued on to relieve their governor in Darfur. According to Winston Churchill the Egyptian forces were "perhaps the worst army that has ever marched to war".

Through mistake or on purpose the guides leading the Egyptian forces were led astray and soon found themselves surrounded.

At this point the regulars started to desert and on November 3rd the Sudanese forces began the attack.  The Egyptian forces formed a square and some reports state that they persevered for up to 2 days.

500 of the Egyptian troops surrendered and were later freed, all the officers who were mainly European were killed.



September 04, 2016

György Dózsa

Stamp issued in 1972 by Hungary
György Dózsa was a  Székely man-at-arms from Transylvania who led a peasants uprising against the Kingdom of Hungary's Nobility in the 1500s.  

He was born in 1470 during the Hungary's war with the Ottoman Empire and grew up to become a soldier of fortune who was well known for his valour. 

In 1514, under the direction of the Hungarian Chancellor, Dózsa was asked to put together an army to fight the Ottomans.  He raised an army of 40,000 mostly peasants, students, priests and friars.  At the conclusion of the training his army started complaining about their status and the treatment they were receiving at the hands of the nobility.  

As a result the nobility started to treat their families poorly and placed retainers on their return to reap the crops that were due to be harvested.  This combined with the nobilities lack of military leadership led to to Dózsa's army to lead a war of revenge against the nobility.

Dózsa was successful and on all accounts seemed to operate honourably and with the exception of those nobles who were extremely greedy he rarely tried to execute those he captured.  His primary concern was his lack of control over his followers.

His successes were becoming a bigger problem for the King and  his capture was a necessity.  This was accomplished at Temesvár.  After his capture Dózsa was tortured and killed.