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Flyblown shithole and former Anglo-Egyptian condominium (though we pretty much called the shots), the Sudan is famous for the wars fought there during the late Victorian period, notably the reconquest following the enforced departure of the British & Egyptian armies a decade earlier.

The death of General Gordon at Khartoum a decade earlier still rankled both the British & Egyptian authorities - especially as followers of the self-proclaimed ruler, or 'Mahdi' were still very much in power, despite the earlier demise of their 'god leader'. The year-long campaign eventually succeeded in capturing the stronghold of Khartoum and the Mahdi's tomb was destroyed - something that still causes much offence to this very day.

Far from being an easy campaign, the troops suffered awful conditions and lack of supplies due to the river transports having to wait for the Nile to inundate to enable navigation up-river. Many casualties were incurred through disease and heat stroke (and the odd squaddie being eaten by crocodiles), as many miles of desert had to be covered on foot.

By modern standards the kit was poor and barely adequate for the job. Boots fell apart and the days were long. Troops spent interminable hours in camps filing the heads off thousands of rounds of ammunition so as to enable them to stop the drugged up 'fuzzy wuzzies' in their tracks. All character building stuff.

The final battle at Omdurman cost the British over 500 casualties, which was little compared to the slaughter of the Dervishes, who suffered 10,000 dead. Three cheers for the Maxim Gun!

The famous charge of the 21st Lancers was foolhardy and ill judged, the order to charge being given before the true disposition of the enemy was realised. It was nothing short of miraculous that the regiment wasn't decimated by the hordes of Dervish troops masked in a topographical depression - dead ground. For the Lancers it very nearly was! A certain Winston Churchill partook in this very engagement.

Recently, the Sudan has been in the news due to the (peaceful) Muslim persecution of the black (and largely harmless) non-Muslim population in Darfur province. It has also been in the news of late due to some dim-Scouse teacher foolishly allowing her class to name a fucking teddy bear... Mohammed! Bad move. All in all, best avoided.