The River War - An Account Of The Reconquest Of The Sudan By Winston S. Churchill

 -  The colonel was directed to take a small mixed force
into Kordofan and to reconnoitre the enemy's position. If possible - Page 450
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The Colonel Was Directed To Take A Small Mixed Force Into Kordofan And To Reconnoitre The Enemy's Position.

If possible, he was to attack and capture Abdullah, whose followers were believed not to exceed 1,000 ill-armed men.

The 'Kordofan Field Force,' as its officers called it, was formed as follows:


Assistant Adjutant-General: LIEUT.-COLONEL MITFORD

Deputy-Assistant Adjutant-General: MAJOR WILLIAMS


Two squadrons Egyptian Cavalry 2nd Egyptians XIVth Soudanese Two galloping Maxims Two mule guns One company Camel Corps.

Camel transport was drawn from the Atbara and from the Blue Nile. The troops were conveyed by steamer to Duem, and concentrated there during the first week in 1899. The camels were collected at Kawa, and, although several of the convoys had to march as much as 400 miles, the whole number had arrived by the 10th of January.

The prime difficulty of the operation was the want of water. The Khalifa's position was nearly 125 miles from the river. The intervening country is, in the wet season, dotted with shallow lakes, but by January these are reduced to mud puddles and only occasional pools remain. All the water needed by the men, horses, and mules of the column must therefore be carried. The camels must go thirsty until one of the rare pools - the likely places for which were known to the native guides - might be found. Now, the capacity of a camel for endurance without drinking is famous; but it has its limits.

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