Battle of Shubra Khit

Last updated
Battle of Shubra Khit
Part of Egyptian Campaign
Date13 July 1798
Location Shubra Khit, Egypt, Ottoman Empire
Result French Victory
Flag of France.svg France Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg  Ottoman Empire
Flag of the Mameluks.svg Mamluks
Commanders and leaders
Napoleon Bonaparte Murad Bey
23,000 men [1]
3 gunboats
1 chebek
1 galley
4,000 Mamluks
10,000 Fellahin
7 gunboats
Casualties and losses
"Several" killed [2]
20 wounded

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 lined his forces up into infantry squares, a tactic which helped defeat the Mamluk cavalry, largely due to their inability to penetrate them without severe casualties [3] .

French campaign in Egypt and Syria conflict

The French Campaign in Egypt and Syria (1798–1801) was Napoleon Bonaparte's campaign in the Ottoman territories of Egypt and Syria, proclaimed to defend French trade interests, weaken Britain's access to British India, and to establish scientific enterprise in the region. It was the primary purpose of the Mediterranean campaign of 1798, a series of naval engagements that included the capture of Malta.

Murad Bey Egyptian noble

Murad Bey Mohammed was an Egyptian Mamluk chieftain (Bey), cavalry commander and joint ruler of Egypt with Ibrahim Bey. He is often remembered as being a cruel and extortionate ruler, but an energetic courageous fighter.

Infantry square combat formation of infantry

Historically an infantry square, also known as a hollow square, is a combat formation an infantry unit forms in close order usually when threatened with cavalry attack. With the development of modern firearms and the demise of cavalry this formation is now considered obsolete.



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. [4] For about the first three hours, the Mamelukes circled the rectangles, looking for a place to attack. Then, as the French and Egyptian flotillas offshore met, the Mamelukes attacked. [5] 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, [5] 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. [6]

Battle of the Pyramids battle

The Battle of the Pyramids, also known as the Battle of Embabeh, was a major engagement fought on 21st July 1798 during the French Invasion of Egypt. The French army, under Napoleon Bonaparte, scored a decisive victory against the forces of the local Mamluk rulers, wiping out almost the entire Egyptian army. It was the battle where Napoleon employed one of his significant contributions to military tactics, the divisional square. Actually a rectangle, the deployment of the French brigades into these massive formations repeatedly threw back multiple cavalry charges by the Egyptians.

Shubra Khit in Beheira Governorate, Egypt

Shubra Khit is a village in Beheira Governorate in Egypt, which is famous for being the place of the "Battle of Shubra Khit" between the army of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Mamluk cavalry under Murad Bey on July 13, 1798.

The flotilla under Captain Perree was attacked by the Mamluk flotilla at about the same time as the land battle began. [7] 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. [7] 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. [7]

Related Research Articles

Battle of Waterloo Battle of the Napoleonic Wars in which Napoleon was defeated

The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in Belgium, part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time. A French army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by two of the armies of the Seventh Coalition: a British-led allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington, and a Prussian army under the command of Field Marshal Blücher. The battle marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

Battle of Leipzig 1813 Napoleonic battle

The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations was fought from 16 to 19 October 1813, at Leipzig, Saxony. The coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Sweden, led by Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg, decisively defeated the French army of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. Napoleon's army also contained Polish and Italian troops, as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine. The battle was the culmination of the German campaign of 1813 and involved 600,000 soldiers, 2,200 artillery pieces, the expenditure of 200,000 rounds of artillery ammunition and 127,000 casualties, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.

Battle of Friedland battle in the War of the Fourth Coalition

The Battle of Friedland was a major engagement of the Napoleonic Wars between the armies of the French Empire commanded by Napoleon I and the armies of the Russian Empire led by Count von Bennigsen. Napoleon and the French obtained a decisive victory that routed much of the Russian army, which retreated chaotically over the Alle River by the end of the fighting. The battlefield is located in modern-day Kaliningrad Oblast, near the town of Pravdinsk, Russia.

Battle of Marengo battle

The Battle of Marengo was fought on 14 June 1800 between French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte and Austrian forces near the city of Alessandria, in Piedmont, Italy. Near the end of the day, the French overcame Gen. Michael von Melas's surprise attack, driving the Austrians out of Italy and consolidating Napoleon's political position in Paris as First Consul of France in the wake of his coup d’état the previous November.

Mamluk Muslim slave soldiers

Mamluk is an Arabic designation for slaves. The term is most commonly used to refer to slave soldiers and Muslim rulers of slave origin.

Battle of Jena–Auerstedt decisive battle of the Napoleonic Wars, allowing the French Grande Armée to occupy Prussia

The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt were fought on 14 October 1806 on the plateau west of the river Saale in today's Germany, between the forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia. The decisive defeat suffered by the Prussian Army subjugated the Kingdom of Prussia to the French Empire until the Sixth Coalition was formed in 1812.

Siege of Acre (1799) unsuccessful French siege of the Ottoman-defended, walled city of Acre (1799)

The Siege of Acre of 1799 was an unsuccessful French siege of the Ottoman-defended, walled city of Acre and was the turning point of Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and Syria. It was Napoleon`s first strategic defeat as three years previously he had been tactically defeated at the Second Battle of Bassano.

Battle of Pułtusk

The Battle of Pułtusk took place on 26 December 1806 during the War of the Fourth Coalition near Pułtusk, Poland. Despite their strong numerical superiority and artillery, the Russians suffered the French attacks, before retiring the next day having suffered greater losses than the French, disorganizing their army for the rest of the year.

1798 was a relatively quiet period in the French Revolutionary Wars. The major continental powers in the First coalition had made peace with France, leaving France dominant in Europe with only a slow naval war with Great Britain to worry about. The leaders of the Directory in Paris feared Napoleon Bonaparte's popularity after his victories in Italy, so they were relieved when he proposed to depart France and mount an expedition to Egypt to gain further glory.

Battle of Abukir (1799) first battle of the French campaign in Egypt and Syria to be fought at Abu Qir

The Battle of Abukir was a battle in which Napoleon Bonaparte defeated Seid Mustafa Pasha's Ottoman army on July 25, 1799, during the French campaign in Egypt. It is considered the first pitched battle with this name, as there already was a naval battle on August 1, 1798. No sooner had the French forces returned from a campaign to Syria, than the Ottoman forces were transported to Egypt by Sidney Smith's British fleet to put an end to French rule in Egypt.

Coalition forces of the Napoleonic Wars

The Coalition Forces of the Napoleonic Wars were composed of Napoleon Bonaparte's enemies: the United Kingdom, the Austrian Empire, Kingdom of Prussia, Kingdom of Spain, Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, Kingdom of Sardinia, Dutch Republic, Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, Kingdom of Portugal, Kingdom of Sweden, various Confederation of the Rhine and Italian states at differing times in the wars. At their height, the Coalition could field formidable combined forces of about 1,740,000 strong. This outnumbered the 1.1 million French soldiers. The breakdown of the more active armies are: Austria, 570,000; Britain, 250,000; Prussia, 300,000; and Russia, 600,000.

The Battle of Amstetten was a minor engagement during the War of the Third Coalition between the First French Empire and the alliance of Austria and Russia. It occurred on 5 November 1805, when the retreating Russo-Austrian troops, led by Mikhail Kutuzov, were intercepted by Marshal Joachim Murat's cavalry and a portion of Marshal Jean Lannes' corps. Pyotr Bagration defended against the advancing French troops and allowed the Russian troops to retreat. This was the first fight in which a major part of the Russian Army opposed a significant number of French troops in the open. The total number of Russo-Austrian troops was around 6,700, while the French troops numbered roughly 10,000 troops. The Russo-Austrian forces suffered more casualties but were still able to successfully retreat.

The types of military forces in the Napoleonic Wars represented the unique tactical use of distinct military units, or their origin within different European regions. By and large the military forces during the period had not changed significantly from those of the 18th century, although their employment would differ significantly.

Napoleonic tactics describe certain battlefield strategies used by national armies from the late 18th century until the invention and adoption of the rifled musket in the mid 19th century. Napoleonic tactics are characterized by intense drilling of the soldiers, speedy battlefield movement, combined arms assaults between infantry, cavalry, and artillery, relatively small numbers of cannon, short-range musket fire, and bayonet charges. Napoleon I is considered by military historians to have been a master of this particular form of warfare. Napoleonic tactics continued to be used after they had become technologically impractical, leading to large-scale slaughters during the American Civil War, Austro-Prussian War and the Franco-Prussian War.

Mamelukes of the Imperial Guard

The Mamelukes of the Imperial Guard was a cavalry squadron of Napoleon I's Imperial Guard.

Siege of Cairo

The Siege of Cairo also known as the Cairo Campaign was a siege that took place during the French Revolutionary Wars, between French and British with Ottoman forces and was the penultimate action of the Egyptian Campaign. British commander John Hely-Hutchinson advanced to Cairo, where he arrived after a few skirmishes in mid June. Joined by a sizeable Ottoman force Hutchinson invested Cairo and on 27 June the surrounded 13,000-strong French garrison under General Augustin Daniel Belliard, out-manned and out-gunned then surrendered. The remaining French troops in Egypt under Jacques-François Menou disheartened by this failure, retired to Alexandria.


  1. "Napoleonic Wars: Battle of the Pyramids, Page 2". HistoryNet. July 31, 2006. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  2. Harold, p. 101.
  3. Paul Strathern - Napoleon in Egypt
  4. Harold, p. 98.
  5. 1 2 Harold, p. 100.
  6. "Napoleonic Wars: Battle of the Pyramids, Page 3". HistoryNet. July 31, 2006. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  7. 1 2 3 Harold, pp. 100–101.


International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.