This engraving of an artwork by Caton Woodville was published in the Illustrated London News with the caption 'The relief of Suakin: Charge of the 20th Hussars on the enemy's cavalry in the action at Gemeizeh.' The trooper in the foreground has plunged his sword into the chest of a Mahdist and pulled him off his horse. The look of anguish on the face of the hussar is understandable as his sword is stuck in his opponent's body while the sword knot is still attached to his wrist. Gemeizeh highlighted the problem of cavalry swords because three of them broke off in the heat of battle. A question was asked in the House of Commons by General Goldsworthy, MP for Hammersmith, on the issue. No broken swords can be seen in the illustration but the artist has highlighted a problem of sorts here.

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by Stephen Luscombe