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Zulu Dawn Film Lt. Col. Pulleine: Lord Chelmsford assures us that there is no way the Zulu can get around us without our knowing. Col. Durnford: Zulu generals have a nasty habit of doing the unexpected. It might be wise to picket the hills.
 
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Worst drafted order in British military history? Screenshot-20190305-200950-Gallery-181x240 At eZungeni, Zulu War of 1879" original painting by Hermanus Willem Koekkoek (1869-1929) (Isandula Collection)
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 Worst drafted order in British military history?

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rusteze

rusteze

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PostSubject: Worst drafted order in British military history?   Worst drafted order in British military history? EmptySun Apr 07, 2019 6:53 pm

I have to confess that in the last few weeks I have been catching up on my other obsession which is the Crimea (all pretty quiet on the AZW front i'm sorry to say). In the last few journals of the Crimean War Research Society (highly recommended) a series of fascinating articles have been written about the Charge of the Light Brigade and the controversies surrounding it. One thing that jumped out at me that brings our interests together is the above quote by Dr Douglas J Austin in his December 2018 article. The order in question is that issued by Lord Raglan from his vantage point on the heights above Balaclava - it was for for the Light Brigade to advance. The circumstances are spookily similar to Chelmsford's order to Durnford in the early hours of 22 January. Sir Richard Airey played the same part as Crealock 25 years later. He scribbled down Raglan's order and despatched it down the steep slopes to Lord Lucan in the care of Nolan. This is what it said -

"Lord Raglan wishes the Cavalry to advance rapidly to the front, follow the enemy, and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns. Troop of Horse Artillery may accompany French Cavalry is on your left. Immediate."

As Austin says, generated under extreme pressure from Raglan it makes little immediate sense. Should the Cavalry attack? In what direction and whose guns? In much the same way that Crealock's scribbled order says nothing about what Durnford is supposed to do when he gets to Isandhlwana or why he is being summoned in the first place.

So, history repeating itself leading to a similarly large scale disaster. But which is the worst drafted order in British military history?

With acknowledgement to Dr Douglas J Austin and the Crimean War Research Society.

Steve
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SRB1965

SRB1965

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Location : Uttoxeter - the last place God made and he couldn't be bothered to finish it.....

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PostSubject: Re: Worst drafted order in British military history?   Worst drafted order in British military history? EmptySun Apr 07, 2019 9:03 pm

Hi Steve,

I'm not sure of the worst order ever drafted - however Raglan's (4th Order, was it?) was vague, Airey was ambiguous, Lord 'Look-On' hated the 'Noble Yachtsman', who in turn despised 'That Indian Officer', Cathcart was having breakfast and Scarlett probably short sighted.....

It was the perfect storm of military incompetence.....

However the Old Rag, new what he meant......and where the cavalry was sposed to go......

Hay ho... c'est le guerre.....
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