The Battle of Suakin (also known as the Battle of Gemaizah) occurred on 20 December 1888 when Francis Grenfell defeated the Mahdi forces near Suakin, a chief port of Sudan. After one and a half hours of fighting, the casualties were 12 on the side of the British and Egyptians, and 1,000 on the side of the Arabs. In this battle, three of the swords of the 20th Hussars broke short, an incident which later caused debate in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. From Suakin, a sortie was launched against Osman Digna and his Dervish forces, who were attempting to capture the Water Forts. The Dervishes advanced on Suakin with an intention to invest it.