adowa, battle of

adowa, battle of defined in 1939 year

adowa, battle of - Adowa, battle of;
adowa, battle of - Fought March 1,1896, between the Italians and the Abyssinians. Anxious to enlarge their African territories, the Italians made a treaty with Menelek, Prince of Shoa, providing him with arms in return for certain concessions. The parties quarrelled. After a success at Coatit, in 1895, an Italian army entered Abyssinia and met with two reverses. Their general, Baratieri, then concentrated his army of about 25,000 men, including 15,000 natives, in a fortified camp in the hills. Hard by were encamped 120,000 Abyssinians, most of them armed with French rifles. Baratieri was prepared to wait in the hope that hunger would compel his foe to move, but being urged to act by the Italian premier Crispi he continued operations.

Dividing his striking force into four brigades, each about 4,000 strong, Baratieri arranged for a night march through the hills. Maps and guides were untrustworthy, spies numerous, and the Italian plans failed. One brigade, the left, took a wrong direction, was attacked by overwhelming numbers and almost annihilated, while another, the right, sent to its succour, after a stubborn engagement was destroyed. The two remaining brigades, with a victorious enemy around them, suffering from thirst and weariness, were ordered to retire. The Italian losses were over 6,000 killed and about 4,000 taken prisoner. The Abyssinians lost between 15,000 and 16,000.

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