Battle of Shubra Khit
|Battle of Shubra Khit|
|Part of Egyptian Campaign|
|France|| Ottoman Empire
|Commanders and leaders|
|Napoleon Bonaparte||Murad Bey|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Shubra Khit (also known as the Battle of Chobrakit) was a battle that took place during Napoleon's campaign in Egypt on July 13, 1798. On their march to Cairo, the French encountered Mamluk cavalry under Murad Bey. Napoleon formed his infantry up into squares, which helped defeat the Mamluk cavalry.
To repulse the Mamluk cavalry, which heavily outnumbered the French cavalry, the French formed their divisions up in rectangles. Formed up out of infantry six to ten ranks deep, the rectangles had a small group of cavalry and baggage in the center, with artillery at each corner. For about the first three hours, the Mamelukes circled the rectangles, looking for a place to attack. Then, as the French and Egyptian flotillas off shore met, the Mamelukes attacked. They were immediately stopped by fire from the French artillery and infantry. The Mamluks regrouped and attacked a different square, but were again stopped by the French artillery and infantry fire. After about an hour of defense, Napoleon ordered his troops to attack to relieve the naval flotilla, pushing the Mamluks back to the village of Embabeh, where they engaged Napoleon at the Battle of the Pyramids. There, Napoleon based his plans on the rectangular formations used at Shubra Khit.
The flotilla under Captain Perree was attacked by the Mamluk flotilla at about the same time as the land battle began. The Mamluks, with seven gunboats manned by Greek sailors, attacked the French. Within a short while, two gunboats and the galley had to be abandoned by the French, leaving only the chebek and the third gunboat, both of which were laden with civilians and troops that had abandoned the other ships. These came under attack from the Mamluk flotilla, along with small arms fire and cannons from the shore. However, the Le Cerf managed to score a hit on the Mamluk flagship magazine, which caught fire and blew up the vessel. At about this time the ground forces were about to charge again, but the explosion sent both the flotilla and ground forces in full retreat.