Battle of Toski

The Battle of Toski (Tushkah) was part of the Mahdist War. It took place on August 3, 1889 in southern Egypt between the Anglo-Egyptian forces and the Mahdist forces of the Sudan.

Battle of Toski
Part of the Mahdist War
(War of the Sudan)

The defeat of the dervishes; a birds eye view of the fight outside Toski on August 3
Date3 August 1889
Southern Egypt, near Abu Simbel
Result Egyptian/British Victory
United Kingdom
Mahdist Sudan
Commanders and leaders
Francis Grenfell Wad el Nujumi (KIA)
Egyptian Army:[1]
6 infantry battalions,
2 artillery batteries
4 cavalry squadrons
1 camel regiment
British Army:
1 cavalry squadron
About 6,000
Casualties and losses
25 killed, 140 wounded 1,200 dead, 4,000 captured

Since 1882, the British had taken control of Egypt and found themselves involved in the Sudan war. For this reason, they decided to reform and rearm the Egyptian Army.[2] In 1885 a British general, Sir Francis Grenfell was appointed Sirdar (commander-in-chief)[3] and British officers trained and led the newly formed units.

The Sudanese, on the other hand had not renounced their ambition of spreading the Mahdist faith to Egypt.[4] In 1889, the Khalifa Abdallahi ibn Muhammad sent the Emir Wad-el-Nujumi and an army 6,000 strong into Egypt for this purpose. The Mahdists avoided Wadi Halfa where most of the Egyptian troops were garrisoned, and camped at Toski by the Nile, 76 km north of the Egyptian border. Here they were attacked by the Egyptian Army, who nearly annihilated the Sudanese after a five-hour fight. The Emir was killed trying to rally his men and only 800 Mahdist warriors escaped.[1] Apart from the officers commanding the Egyptian units, the only British troops participating were a squadron of the 20th Hussars.[5]

This battle demonstrated the fighting qualities of the reformed Egyptian Army, including the newly raised Sudanese units that made up four of the six infantry battalions present,[1] and effectively ended the Mahdist threat to Egypt.[6]


  1. Michael Barthorp. War on the Nile. pp. 134. Published Blandford Press, Dorset. 1984.
  2. Churchill, Winston (1899). The River War, Volume 1. Longmans. p. 151-6.
  3. Tony Heathcote. The British Field Marshals 1736–1997. p. 152. Published Pen & Sword, Barnsley.
  4. Churchill, Winston (1899). The River War, Volume 1. Longmans. pp. 140–141.
  5. Joslin, Litherland and Simpkin. British Battles and Medals. p. 162. Published Spink, London. 1988.
  6. Churchill, Winston (1899). The River War, Volume 1. Longmans. p. 157.

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