Good afternoon? Good afternoon my arse. Get yer 'ands up!
This campaign concerned Sir Robert Napier's punitive expedition to release the imprisoned British Consul and his staff. Initial negotiations were successful and the prisoners were released, only to be re-arrested - along with the negotiators!
The British Government reluctantly authorised the use of force, knowing full well the cost of financing such an expedition and a force was assembled in India and duly dispatched to Abyssinia (today's Ethiopia). A harbour had to be constructed before the troops could land and a railway was built to transport them across the lowland plain to the interior.
Careful planning circumvented the logistical problems incurred by such huge distances and garrisoned waystations ensured the security of the lengthy supply route, along with the bribery of local tribal chieftains! It was an incredible feat of both engineering & soldiering, but once the plateaux of the central highlands had been ascended, the capital Magdala lay within reach.
The city was captured with only two killed - surely the lowest casualty rate of any campaign? King Theodore deemed it prudent to commit suicide rather than face capture and the city was razed to the ground in typical colonial fashion.
Albeit a costly affair, it did re-establish Britain's reputation as a nation to be reckoned with following the debacle of the Crimean War and many useful lessons were learned of consequence. Unfortunately, many were also forgotten; the main one being how to handle African despots who get a bit lippy.
More here: Abyssinia campaign Abyssinian Campaign