- Apr 2017
The Mahdists had artillery and modern weaponry. Their greatest success came against the Egyptians. They were no where as good as the Zulu. They were actually quite stupid and mindless in their approach despite the advanced technology they were wielding.Comparing these battles to those Zulu battles where no machine guns were used is just strange to me. There is no similarity in what was faced.
The Zulu were better trained and they carefully scouted the enemy and overwhelmed them by moving extremely fast but in a coordinated and tactical way. There is actually about the Zulu written by an Englishmen. They only failed when met with fortification. This type of warfare eluded them.
For what they lacked in term of technology they made up for in term of martial prowess. It's actually an incredible feat for a melee army to actually defeat a British of around 2,000 men. 2000 men is significant. India was conquered with actually very few men using a divide and conquer strategy.
Most non-European armies would actually flee after a few volley but the will and discipline of the Zulu were demonstrated not in victory but in defeat. They actually kept charging against fortification. The Mahdists would have panicked almost instantly. This takes unusual discipline. The Russians for example had to place a machine gun behind their men to discourage them from retreating.
The Mahdists were pathetic. The Zulu deserves admiration. We are talking about the British army with battle hardened colonials in the mix. People just don't realize how good the French and British armies were even in small numbers. These people could conquer entire countries with a few thousands men.