July 11, 1882,
British army of 31 units opposed to Khedive Egypt army of 21 units
for a battle of complexity 0.45 at Company(I) level
on a 2.5 Km/Hex map
for 14 turns of Half Week each.
by Piero Falotti submited on 09-04-2004
Rugged-Defense Playing Statistics
1882 British Landings in Alexandria
This scenario is using the XIXth Century database engine. You can download it here
In the late 1870’s, Egypt’s economy was becoming less and less stable. This did not suit Britain (who, in 1875, had purchased the Suez canal) or France, the two European powers with the greatest interest in the area, and, in 1879, they persuaded the Sultan of Turkey to replace Ismail Pasha with his son, Mohammed Tewfik.
This gave the two powers more control over the country, but was colossally unpopular with both the common people of Egypt, who wanted an independent ruler even if he did bleed them dry, and with the nobility, who objected to “fairer” taxes as it lessened their incomes. This resentment was even more pronounced in the army, under control of the Under-Secretary of War, Lieutenant-Colonel Ahmedt Arabi, and a major drain on the country’s economy.
In May 1882, a force of some eight battleships and eleven gunboats were sent by the British to Alexandria as a show of support for Tewfik. Unfortunately, this gesture inflamed matters further, and throughout May and June nationalist-inspired chaos reigned in the cities of Alexandria and Cairo, culminating in the massacre of several Europeans.
On 3rd July 1882, Alexandria’s European population was evacuated to the waiting fleet, now reinforced, and an ultimatum was issued to the Egyptians: surrender the defences of Alexandria to the British or their ships will bombard the city.
The Egyptians did not respond so, at 7am on 11th July 1882, the bombardment began: putting the Egyptian defensive artillery out of action by the end of the morning. On the following day, after setting fire to Alexandria, Arabi’s men withdrew southwards to Kasr-el-Dowar, and the British landed marines and sailors to restore order.
By 16th July, the British had established control of the Alexandria area, and, after an abortive attempt to persuade the Turkish Sultan to send troops to restore order, and with the French refusing to get further involved, decided to send an expeditionary force to quash what was now a full-scale rebellion led by Arabi. Until this force could arrive, the 4000 or so British troops in the area would keep Arabi occupied with a series of feints and skirmishes designed to convince him that they were the only force that Britain was prepared to send to deal with the situation.
By 25th August 1882, the British had landed 25,000 troops under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir Garnet Wolseley. After the Suez had been made safe by a naval expedition supported by a party of Cameron Highlanders; Wolseley decided to move his men 150 miles south-east to Ismailia, which had been cleared of rebels and secured by the navy around the 20th of August.