French Fear Guerilla War in Egypt, 1798

Note: My talk on Napoleon’s Egypt will be shown in the US on CSPAN-2 at 10 pm EDT on Sunday evening, September 9.

At the Napoleon’s Egypt blog, a late 18th century complaint from a regular officer about the enemy’s guerrilla tactics:

“The Mameloucs [Mamluks]*, though beaten, may re-assemble. Their manner of making war authorizes the idea, that the country which we have traversed, and from which we have just driven them, ought not to be looked upon as conquered; since there is nothing to prevent their re-occupying it. In a country where the enemy attaches no kind of importance to the maintaining of a particular position, it is very difficult to determine him to quit the ground altogether. What secured our conquests in Italy, was the absolute refusal of the Austrians to advance, the moment they discovered their route lay near a fortress garrisoned by the French. The Mameloucs attack us at the distance of fifty paces, flee, and return the next day to attack us, in the very position from which we had driven them.”

Read the whole thing.

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*The martial ruling caste of Egypt, fickle vassals of the Ottoman Empire.

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