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 Battle of Kambula Hill,

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Dave

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PostSubject: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Sun Nov 29, 2009 5:43 pm

"The Zulu War : Battle of Kambula Hill, March 29.": by "Prior, Melton (Zulu)":

This looks like a very good defensive position. Its that some form of laager on the ridge.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Sun Nov 29, 2009 5:55 pm

I have been waiting to post this. Its Sir Evelyn Wood writes of interrogating Zulu prisoners in 1879 after the battle of Kambula:

“When I had obtained all the information I required I said,"

“Before Isandhlwana we treated all your wounded men in our hospital. But when you attacked our camp your brethren, our black patients, rose and helped to kill those who had been attending on them. Can any of you advance any reason why I should not kill you?’ One of the younger men, with an intelligent face, asked, ‘May I speak?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘There is a very good reason why you should not kill us. We kill you because it is the custom of the black men. But it isn’t the white man’s custom.’”
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Ken Gillings



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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Sun Nov 29, 2009 7:22 pm

Good evening everyone.
I'll send Admin a photograph of the same site. As with most of the war artists' sketches, many of the features are somewhat over exaggerated. 130 years have taken their toll on Col Wood's redoubt, but it is still clearly visible on the Battlefield.
The British graves are well maintained but there is no sign of the pit in which the Zulu dead were buried. According to local people, it is situated 'somewhere there' (with an indication down in the same valley as the British graves). There are a few indentations in the ground that become visible when the veld has been burnt, but only an archaeological investigation is likely to reveal their true locality.
Khambula battlefield has been terribly plundered by people using metal detectors - now illegal.
Regards,
Ken
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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:18 pm

Khambule-Wood's redoubt from west
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Khambule-Wood's redoubt.
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Photo’s Supplied by Ken Gillings
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:27 pm

Thanks Admin for posting Ken Photo's.

I wonder why Prior's image show very steep hills almost Mountain like.

Ken says in his post.
Quote :
“many of the features are somewhat over exaggerated”
but this would appear to be a vast exaggeration of the area where the British fought.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:21 pm

Is this correct. The soldiers of the 13th and 90th Regiments expended an average of 31 rounds per man during this battle.

Participating Regiments.

Royal Artillery, 11th Battery, 7th Brigade.
1st Battalion of the 13th Light Infantry: later the Somerset Light Infantry and now the Light Infantry.
the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry: later 2nd Battalion the Scottish Rifles; disbanded in 1966.
Mounted Infantry
Frontier Light Horse under Lieutenant Colonel Buller
Boer Commando
Native Contingent of Swazis
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:55 pm

Was the Battle of Kambula an important factor in the Zulu war, what was achieved by fighting this battle? Would it have cause a significant inconvenience if we had lost this Battle.

The reason I ask is. Lord Chelmsford informed Wood that all orders were cancelled, and there would be no reinforcements, therefore Wood would have to face the entire Zulu Army.
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90th

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PostSubject: kambula   Sun Nov 29, 2009 11:07 pm

hi 24th.
Kambula was the turning point in the war , if Wood"s column had got the chop who knows what the British may
have done. Or for that matter the zulu nation. It was a closely ran thing according to Wood, if he hadnt used
Buller to make one of the horns attack early and therefore throw the zulu army out of cohesion , Wood tended
to think they would have been overwhelmed in much the same manner as at Isandlwana.

ken.
Thanks again for the wonderful photo"s.

cheers 90th.
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Ken Gillings



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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:32 am

Dave, the indentation to the right of the letter 'A' may be one of them but bear in mind that the countryside has ben ploughed and even placed under Wattle trees for several decades.
I'll try to photograph them next winter, after the veld has been burnt.
Incidentally, the rocks behind which the Zulu right horn took refuge after being beaten off are clearly visible in the photograph that I took from the redoubt (looking east - in the direction of Col Wood's earlier camp).
You may be interested to know that when I first visited Khambula 43 years ago, the main features of the battlefield were marked out by the late Alf Wade, who used to take me under his arm with regard to Hlobane and Khambula. He lined the site of the palisade with posts (one of which can still be seen), identified the cattle laager with steel markers, the main laager site in a similar fashion and placed a red 200 litre drum on the site of the manure heap, from which the Zulu 'snipers' positioned themselves in the long grass.
Alf used to hold an annual memorial service on the site. In the first photograph, you can see a hole; that is where the original monument (with an interpretive sign) was positioned and it could be seen from the main Vryheid/Dundee road, about 20 km down the White Mfolozi valley. The river's source (a spring in the rock face) is a few metres below the site of the cattle laager. If you visit the Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Game Park, the Mfolozi section is bounded by the Black and White Mfolozi Rivers, which have their confluence on the south-eastern boundary and then become the Mfolozi River. It used to have its mouth at St Lucia estuary but was diverted in the 1950s to irrigate the flats for sugar cane.
Regards,
Ken
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:53 pm

Ken
fascinating to see Khambula devoid of grass, heres a couple of my images we took in Jan, firstly from approx Priors drawing perspective, .

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Next is the view from the cemetary, the battlefield marker is directly above the solitary tree.

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This shows the steady incline up, a real killing ground if ever there was one. The area top right, just behind the grass bales had been ploughed up, alot of evidence of Woods, defensive works, metal stakes and angles at 45 degress in the ground. it was here I picked up quite a nice MH slug, it went to the MOTHS in Vryheid.

The redoubt was strewn with broken Squareface bottles, so much for wood claiming it was a dry camp!
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:38 pm

I can’t see any resemblance to the image by Melton Prior. Did he actually see the Battlefield of was it an imaginary sketch, how he interpreted it to be, or as the landscape change that much. Two members have posted cleared detailed photos but the area to me look very flat and open. Maybe it’s me who is miss-reading the photos.

Dave.
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:50 pm

Quote :
24th asks. Was the Battle of Kambula an important factor in the Zulu war, what was achieved by fighting this battle?

Chelmsford used Kambula as an excuse for the British to redeem themselves after the disastrous and embarrassing defeats at Isandlwana, Hlobane and. iNtombi Drift. Demands were issued to King Cetshwayo before negotiations could take place, such as given up the royal cattle herd and all firearms.

S.D
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:01 pm

24th posted. Lord Chelmsford informed Wood that all orders were cancelled, and there would be no reinforcements, therefore Wood would have to face the entire Zulu Army.

Chelmsford had a habit of promising re-enforcements then changes his mind. Did he not do the same at Eshowe, and did he not tell Pearson that he also faces the entire Zulu Army.
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:14 pm

24th The conclusion of this battle was a great support to Chelmsford, showing him that his army’s self-confidence was re-established and making it possible for him to advance to Pearson’s camp and then on to defeat the Zulu King, Cetshwayo, at the Battle of Ulundi. So the battle at Kambula was a major contribution to ending the Zulu war.

S.D Chelmsford well may have had some personal issues, but so did most of the British Soldiers, who lost friends and brothers at Isandlwana.

G.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:05 pm

SD / Greaves.
Thanks for your replies. Both make sense.
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sas1

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:25 pm

As the crow fly’s how far is Ulundi from Kambula. Was Chelmsford near Ulundi when the Battle of Kambula commenced? I have also read that over 2000 Zulu’s died in this battle mainly on the Battlefield after the Battle. scratch

sas1
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Ken Gillings



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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:05 am

Between 1000 and 2000 warriors were killed in the Battle of Khambula - many of them senior members of the nation. Almost 800 were apparently buried in the vicinity of the camp alone and dozens more bodies were discovered along the route of the Zulu army's retreat. It is also generally agreed that a large number of them died from their wounds at their imizi (homesteads).
At this stage, Chelmsford was trying to rebuild his shattered army ans as far as I am aware, was in Pietermaritzburg.
Ulundi is situated about 120 km by road from Khambula.
Regards,
Ken
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:51 am

Dave

The picture is from the position of the garrison refuse tip, used by Zulu snipers to harry the shirmishers led by Bright. Prior had is topography right but scale wrong.
Kens image is 100 yards closer than mine and lower down, however the redoubt hill is approx the same. In kens image, the wagon laager would not be seen, in mine it would have been on the hill line left image.

Ken s other image is the view from the redoubt west, If I am correct Ken to the position of Woods first camp.

Your google earth snap is not the battlefield, google Vryheid, then go to co-ordinates 27 deg 41'34 south then 30 deg 40'21 East will take you to the battlefeild marker,. the view will be due north. The marker is on the position of the redoubt. go due west, the road is approx position of Artillery, over the road due west the rocky ledge is where the laager was.

Due North of the position is where the FLH forced the premature charge.
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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Tue Dec 01, 2009 12:24 pm

Dave thanks for your e-mail Goggle Earth photo has been changed. Neil is this the correct image.

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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:35 pm

Admin
Yes spot on, the road running from bottom right to top left is the farm track which bisects the two camps.
At the fork in the road (slightly low left of centre), the road curves around the bottom position of the hill redoubt. you can make out the locals footpaths over and around the hill.

There is a light brown shaded area, that was formerly whattle plantation,that is the limit of the saddle where the guns where.

The grey mottled area to the left of the road is the laager position.

If you look carefully you can see a few small buildings to the south of the road, that is a zulu homestead. between that and the camp is the stony lip and escarpment that the zulu's took advantage of, the bayonet charge and subsequent firing down into is that portrayed by Prior, he would be looking from left to right on this image.
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:40 pm

Admin. Thanks for changing the Photo, Neil thanks for the break down of photo.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:56 pm

Kambula - 29th March, 1879
11/7 Battery (less one section)
Four 7 prs
Rocket Section
Two rocket troughs
Section 7 prs
Two 7 prs

"Lt Nicholson’s 7 pr section was in the redoubt, while the four guns of 11/7 were inaction outside. Nicolson was mortally wounded early in the action.
With a muzzle loading gun, it was necessary for one of the men to 'serve the breech' by placing his thumb on the vent during the sponging out after each round was fired. This prevented a draught, which could cause the smouldering fragments of the previous cartridge to burst into flame. The Zulu attack at Kambula was so fierce and the guns, as they poured forth shrapnel and case, became so hot that water had to be poured over them to allow the breeches to be served.After his capture, Cetewayo said that it was only with the greatest difficulty that his men could be forced to face the guns. One round of case killed ten headmen of his own regiment, in addition to wounding others."

Hi. Just a few questions if you don't mind.

Nicolson was mortally wounded early in the action: Any information on the death of Nicolson would be welcome.

I have highlighted in yellow the next question. I don't understand what placing a thumb over the vent means. Again any information welcome. (Sounds a bit risky)
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90th

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PostSubject: kambula hill.   Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:59 am

hi john,
Had a quick search and came up with this.
From THE SOUTH AFRICAN CAMPAIGN OF 1879 , by J.P. MACKINNON and S.H. SHADBOLT.
LT . NICHOLSON who died at Kambula on the 30th March , from wounds recieved in action on the previous day ,
While directing the fire of his guns from the parapet of Major Leet"s redoubt , which was detached from the camp.

This from " FROM MIDSHIPMAN TO FIELD MARSHALL by EVELYN WOOD.
LT. NICHOLSON , standing on the gun platform , fought his guns with the unmoved stoical courage habitual
to his nature.

Thats all I have.
cheers 90th.
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Ken Gillings



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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:36 am

As an artilleryman, I can answer the query about 'serving the vent'. Until fairly recently, an ordnance commander (known as the No 1 on a gun) carried a rammer which, according to tradition, he was entitled to 'chide' any member of his crew with by hitting him over the head with it if that member was not performing satisfactorily.
This traditional 'chiding' was a relic of the days when guns were swabbed out after each round was fired in order to extinguish any smouldering powder remaining in the bore of chamber.
As an additional precaution, one the gun's crew was required to place his thumb over the vent when the gun was rammed to prevent the rush of air causing any remaining small sparks to flare up and ignite the new powder charge - an action known as 'serving the vent'. If the gunner baulked at this task or failed to perform it, the No 1 hit him over the head with the rammer.

I'm about to hitch up my caravan and disappear into the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and will only return home on the 26th, leaving again for the Free State (where I'm doing some research on the battles that took place in the Brandwater Basin in July 1900) from the 29th December until the 8th January 2010. I may only be able to respond to queries after that, so in case I'm not around, I hope you all have a great festive season and a very successful New Year.

Regards, Ken
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90th

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PostSubject: battle of kambula hill.   Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:47 am

hi Ken .
Have a good trip, thanks for all your help during the year , have a safe and merry xmas .
Looking forward to what you may post in the new year . :confused: .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:36 am

Ken
If you find yourself around Mtonjaneni Lodge on 19th Jan (tues) drop in for Gin.
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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:21 pm

Was it fairly safe to undertake this task (Apart from the risk of concussion from No 1 hit you over the head with the rammer. Or were casualties recorded.


Neil-Ken i hope the Gin is only used for preserving insects
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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:25 pm

littlehand wrote:

Neil-Ken i hope the Gin is only used for preserving insects

I like that one littlehand :lol!:
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Thu Dec 24, 2009 1:36 pm

Could be along the same lines.

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:02 pm

I have been reading and looking at the various maps connected with the Battle of Khambula.

Am I right in saying the Zulu’s did not use their traditional battle formation. On the Map its looks like one section of the right horn falls in between the head and the loins. And the other section falls in behind the loins. The left horn manoeuvres as expected, swinging around to encircle the 90th and 13th regiments. Would there have been a reason for this change in tactics.

Do forget I’m an armature.

sas1
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:18 pm

Sas1. When you get a chance could you post a photo of the map in question? It would make it easier to understand. I don't think the Zulu's ever deviated from their normal formation. But could be wrong!!
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90th

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PostSubject: kambula hill.   Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:12 am

hi sas1.
If you can post the map or tell me where you saw this map , if its a book there is a good chance I will
have it. I know there are two places on the attack plan for the right horn because , Wood sent Buller
and his mounted men out to draw them on earlier before the zulu army were in its proper positions .
This worked and more than likely was the reason the british actually won the battle . In Woods own
words " It was a close run thing ". The right horn was chiefly the iNgobamakhosi who had done plenty
of Damage at Isandlwana and really couldnt wait to get amongst the british troops again. And basically
were sucked in by Buller's sortie and decided to attack well before the zulu army was in position.
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:11 pm

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sas1
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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:45 pm

sas1 I think the map in-question is showing the left horn and chest attempting to make attacks on the camp at an assortment of points around the outskirts from the south to the north-east.
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PostSubject: Re: Battle of Kambula Hill,   Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:51 pm

Thanks CTSG. So were the Zulu's forced to break their normal attack formation. I can see the left horn forming up with the chest, but would this not have left the right horn in a In a weak position. They were supposed to meet at some point.
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