Battle of Agagia

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Battle of Agagia
Part of the Senussi Campaign of World War I
Date 26 February 1916
Location Agagiya, Egypt
Result British victory
Belligerents
Flag of Cyrenaica.svg Senussi  British Empire
Commanders and leaders
Jaafar Pasha W.E. Peyton,
Henry Lukin
Strength
500
Casualties and losses
32 killed
28 wounded

The Battle of Agagia took place on February 26, 1916 during the Senussi Campaign between German and Turkish instigated Senussi rebels and British forces which ended the Senussi Revolt in North-western Egypt. The battle took place at Agagia (also known as Agagiya, Aqqaqia,or Aqaqia) east of Sidi Barrani in Egypt.

Background[edit]

The Senussi, a religious sect primarily composed of Libyan tribesmen, had fought the Italians recently in Libya, which had been part of the Ottoman Empire until 1912. The Italians had succeeded in taking Libya from Ottoman Turkey during the Italo-Turkish War. After World War I broke out, the Turks with the aid of German weapons landed by submarine to instigate a Senussi revolt against British-ruled Egypt.

By February, 1916 the Senussi forces on the Mediterranean coast were commanded by Jaafar Pasha, an Arab from Baghdad. The Western Frontier Force was commanded by Major General W.E. Peyton, and included the 1st South African Brigade commanded by Brigadier-General H. T. Lukin. The South African Brigade and associated units moved in the direction of Sollum, at the western border of Egypt. General Lukin’s force had two battalions of South African infantry, plus the Dorset Yeomanry, Bucks Hussars, Royal Scots and guns of the 1st Nottinghamshire Battery Royal Horse Artillery. Major Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster commanded the armoured cars of the Cheshire Yeomanry.

Agagiya map.JPG

Battle[edit]

The South African brigade attacked the entrenched Senussi positions on 26 February 1916 and captured it, forcing the rebels to retreat. The Dorset Yeomanry charged the retreating Senussi under heavy fire across 1,200 yards of open desert. The 184 mounted yeomen charged with sabres drawn against 500 Senussi with four machine guns. This action resulted in casualties from the Dorset Yeomanry consisting of 5 officers and 27 men killed and 28 wounded. Jaafar Pasha was captured and the Senussi revolt effectively fell apart.

Aftermath[edit]

Subsequently the border town of Sollum, which had been under the control of the Senussi rebels, was reoccupied by British forces on 14 March. Jaafar Pasha remained in captivity in Cairo before joining the Arab army of Faisal, and eventually commanding the Arab regulars. Later Jaafar Pasha was Minister of War and Prime Minister of Iraq when Feisal became king.

References[edit]

Rolls S.C. (1937). Steel Chariots in the Desert. Leonaur Books. pp. 24-26

Hell in the Holy Land: World War 1 in the Middle East, by David Woodward, 2006, University Press of Kentucky, pp. 17–18.

External links[edit]