This vessel was an integrated and lethal weapons system, a harbinger of things to come. Assembled on the Nile from prefabricated sections, the compartmented hull was as modern as the vessel's quick-firing artillery and Maxim machine guns firing through slits in the armour. Electric searchlights probed the darkness of the night before Omdurman.
When his railway reached the Nile a second time, at Kosheh in June 1898, Kitchener deployed the advanced and integrated weapons system that would give him absolute victory. The desire for armoured fighting vehicles goes back to the Hussite Wars of the fifteenth century. In the nineteenth century, horse cavalry would do battle with powered armoured fighting vehicles carrying heavy weaponry, and suffer badly. Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877) during the American Civil War suffered one of his worst defeats in battle with Union river ironclads. Kitchener's engineers at Kosheh set about bolting together ...read more