The Dervish State vs Ethiopia Britain and Italy
Major Wars Of 20th Century
Years 1899 1920 Battle deaths 6,000 The Dervish state was an early 20th century Somali Sunni Islamic state that was established by Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, a religious leader who gathered Somali soldiers from across the Horn of Africa and united them into a loyal army known as the Dervishes.In 1900, an Ethiopian expedition which had been sent to arrest or kill Hassan looted a large number of camels. Hassan in return attacked the Ethiopian garrison at Jijiga on 4 March of that year and successfully recovered all the looted animals. He gained great prestige in recovering the looted stock from the Ethiopians and he used it along with his charisma and powers of oratory to improve his undisputed authority on the Ogaden. To harness Ogaden enthusiasm into final commitment, Hassan married the daughter of a prominent leader and in return gave his own sister, Toohyar Sheikh Adbile, to Abdi Mohammed Waale, a notable elder.
Towards the end of 1900, the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II proposed a joint action with the British against the Dervish. Accordingly, British Lt. Col. E.J. Swayne assembled a force of 1,500 Somali soldiers led by 21 European officers and started from Burco on 22 May 1901, while an Ethiopian army of 15,000 soldiers started from Harar to join the British forces intent on crushing the 20,000 Dervish fighters (of whom 40 percent were cavalry).Hassan was driven across the border into the Majeerteen Sultanate, which had been incorporated into the Italian protectorate. The Ethiopians failed to get a hold on the western Ogaden and the British were eventually forced to retreat, having accomplished none of their goals.
1903 Campaign Hassan defeated a British detachment near Gumburru and then another near Daratoleh. With 1,200 1,500 rifles, 4,000 ponies and some spearmen, he occupied the Nugal Valley from Halin in the British protectorate to Ilig (or Illig) on the Italian held coast. The main British force near Galad (Galadi) under General William Manning retreated north along the line Bohotleh Burao Sheekh. This old established line had already been breached by Hassan when he invaded the Nugal. By the end of June, the withdrawal was complete.
1904 CampaignAfter the failure of General Mannings offensive, General Charles Egerton was entrusted with a response. Following extensive preparations, he united his field force at Bacaadweeyn (Badwein) on 9 January 1904 and defeated Hassan at Jibdalli the next day. The British and their allies from Hobyo harassed Hassan along his retreat, and he lost many of his camels and livestock throughout February.In early March, the second phase of operations began. The Ethiopians advanced as far as Gerlogubi, but turned back in early April. The Italian Navy bombarded Ilig in the winter to no effect. On 16 April, some ships of the East Indies Station under Rear Admiral George Atkinson Willes left Berbera to bombard Ilig in cooperation with an advance overland. The capture of Ilig was effected on 21 April, the British losing 3 men killed and 11 wounded, and the Dervishes 58 killed and 14 wounded. The naval detachment which had fought the battle remained ashore for four days, assisted by an Italian naval detachment that arrived on 22 April. Control of Ilig was finally relinquished to Ali Yusuf of Hobyo. Having defeated his forces in the field and forced his retreat, the British offered the Mullah safe conduct into permanent exile at Mecca; Hassan did not reply.In the 1920 campaign by the British, 12 aircraft were used to support the local British forces. Within a month, the British had occupied the capital of the Dervish State and Hassan had retreated to the west.