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 Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.

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24th

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PostSubject: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:54 pm

Neil. I was wondering if you able to get on line over there, as it would be great to get photos while you are over there instead of waiting until you get back. I though I would post this now, as other members may have something they may want you to photograph, that’s if you have the time and your in that particular area, and that doesn't cause you any inconvenience. Just a thought.


And we will keep our fingers crossed there is still some Gin left when you get there. Wink 😕
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:01 pm

I think Neil will be a bit to busy touring the Battlefields. I’m quite happy to wait until he comes back. A bit imposing on someone’s leisure time.
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:21 am

I have a few discs of many of the battlefields, this year we are doing the route of the Pearsons Column.

2 days in Capetown, Cape Castle is where the 24th were stationed.

Durban, to Mtonjaneni. via the Nyezane, Giginlovu, possibly Eshowe. Mtonjaneni was the site of a large laager in the advance on Ulundi. Super musuem there.

The its off to Fugitives for another 5 night Gin soaking, Hopefully get to Hlobane minus mist this year. I am meeting up with Mike Snook to do the Fugitives trail again, and Martin from Brecon is no doubt joining in our squareface evenings. The must is sitting atop of Isandlwana, as the sun sets on 22nd Jan, then back to FDL for a glass of fat B*stard wine (yes real name) out of the silver chalice belonging to William Eccles Mostyn 1/24th....aaah roll on.

I will talk Colin into joining the forum, Colin is one of our regular intrepid "Drifters", he doesn't use doors, he makes holes in the wall, his G grandfather was a certain John Williams (Feilding) VC. He always goes into a amorphus heap at the Drift, but why shouln't he?.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:24 am

Enjoy the trip Neil, Im presently basking in the sunshine of Cape Town, the weather is glorious so bring your sun tan cream. Unless the internet connection has magically improved the FDL service is slightly slower than a Zulu with a cleft stick.
Enjoy
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:59 am

Springbok
I would say the internet service at FDL is actually slower than the centre column!. Although haven't they done something for the Harford Library?
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:20 pm

Neil
Last I heard Nikkie was wrestling with her consience. David was really anti technology on the farm. The landlines are really a throw back so satalite is the only option. I dont know what she eventually decided. The Library building is really fantastic, the views of the balcony down into the gorge and FD are awesum, best place for a sundowner.......try it
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Thu Dec 03, 2009 3:36 pm

I wish I never had such a big mortgage. You both make it sound, so enjoyable. Wish i was going.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:09 pm

Sorry Mr G
Didnt want to make you envious. However FDL really is a magical place, after spending the days trudging around the battlefields to be able to sit at the camp fire with a glass of red or a G & T is an experience not easily forgotten. The dining room at FDL is a mine of information, from the books left casually around to the walls covered in artifacts. Hours of browsing and reading. DInner is served at a long table, all the guests get together, so the talk is rather wonderful plus the experience of making new friends. And all the time a glance to the North and Isandlawana peeps over the fugitives trail.
So ignore the mortgage and get traveling.
Regards
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:10 pm

Springbok9. When you say Nikkie. Is that Mrs Rattray.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:46 pm

Neil. I don't suppose you could get me a small stone from the battlefield at Isandlawana. Would be appricated.

Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:46 pm

Springbok
This will be my 7th visit to FDL, I remember debating wih David about the quatermasters and the ammo, it seem like yesterday.
Nikki always makes a be-line when we arrive, in March 2007 just after Davids death we went, Davids father was there, we spent many an hour on the verhanda in front of the fire, joking and making fun, Davids father came up to us, (me and Jonesy),my long time travelling buddy, his words I will not forget.

he said, " thank you, thank you for making us all laugh again". we go back to FDL to talk long ago battles, drink gin, walk, traval and debate history, but most of all and to bring laughter back, because, it is what drives us all to visit these places after all.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:02 pm

Mr Greaves. Here's a photo of Nikkie with her husband late David Rattay.

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:10 pm

As requested by springbok9


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Photo’s supplied by Springbok9
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:14 pm

2nd Photo. I can just see Neil sitting there in deep converstaion,with a nice glass of fat B*stard wine . Sad Can Isandlwana be seen from that area,
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:31 pm

I don’t know Nikki or her family, know a bit about David from the net.

Could I ask that you give her my best regards? She is a very courageous woman and deserves a lot of respect for not giving up after the lost of her husband. Its good knowing she will have friends like Neil with her in the New Year.

Ignore me I’m always be a sentimental old fool. Now give me a glass of that fat B*stard wine .
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:22 am

Admin
The first photo of Iandlawana was taken from the camp fire area. The View of Shiyane was taken over sundowners from the same area.
Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:20 am

Quote :
The first photo of Isandlawana was taken from the camp fire area
Is this looking at Isandlwana from Rorkes Drift.
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Ken Gillings



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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:27 pm

Neil, I presume that you have visited Warriors' Gate MOTH Museum in Durban. If not, it is well worthwhile. It is situated on the corner of Old Fort Road and NMR Avenue (although the names have been changed and I can't remember them offhand). The curator is Charlie van der Merwe on (Durban code) 031 307 3337. If you get stuck, give me a call (also on Durban code) 031 702 4828 or my mobile 083 654 5880.
It has what is supposedly an ammunition box from Isandlwana on dislay as well as some fascinating memorabilia from virtually every campaign fought in SA or by South Africans.
Regards,
Ken
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:33 pm

Quote :
It has what is supposedly an ammunition box from Isandlwana
Must have photo, Neil.
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90th

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PostSubject: neil"s up and coming trip.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:42 pm

hi pete,
Dont worry about the photo , I WANT THE BOX :lol!: .

I"ve been good 😕 Sad .

cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:46 pm

Ken
we just might do that!, anyway you want ammo boxes? heres a MkV Martini Ammo box at Mtonjaneni, it is correct, Dated 1878 R^L. Powder C & H (Curtis and Harvey No6), Trade powder manfr, not, Waltham Abbey.
The Cases are from Khambula and Isanlwana, apporx 400+!.
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In the next few days I will publish an image of the Snider Mk6 bullet head found in the mealie fields 200 yards in fron to Durnfords Donga, what is interesting it is a earlier pattern with the wooden nose plug, ideally these were phased out Circa 1874 but must have still been in service.
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Ken Gillings



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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:51 pm

Neil, as I've mentioned in another forum, the fellow who plundered our battlefields (using a metal detector) should have been put in gaol. We (the SA Military History Society) were working closely with the MOTHS of Vryheid to have him stopped but then Amafa suddenly approved of the relics going on display at Mtonjaneni. In our view, it is vital for Amafa/Heritage to erect a big sign there informing visitors that is illegal to do what Van Wyk did. Certainly we accept that it is a fait accompli, but we are still hearing about people looking for guides to take them to battlefields so they can use their metal detectors on them...

Anyway, regarding the Ammuntion Box story. Whenever Donald Morris visited Durban, we used to meet at the Royal Hotel for many hours of discussion. One of them was, naturally, the ammunition box theory. Donald steadfastly refused to accept that they were kicked open, claiming that the majority of those at Isandlwana were Mark 1Vs! Unfortunately. he died before he could provide proof on his next visit, so somewhere amongst his papers (which I believe he willed to his university?) must be something to substantiate his insistence about the problems with the ammunition boxes. Believe it or not, he only visited Fugitives' Drift Lodge towards the end of his life; he had heard about it but due to time constraints hadn't managed to get there. On the last occasion that I had dinner with him, I phoned David Rattray and told him that Donald was in town and we managed to get him to change his plans. He loved it, but we'll never know what conclusion both of them reached about the Mk 1V story.

Going back to your Durnford's Donga story, on the 22nd January this year, I had the privilege of standing in that site almost to the minute, with Matthew, Alison and Robert Durnford - a very emotional moment...!

Best wishes,

Ken
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:40 pm

Quote :
Going back to your Durnford's Donga story, on the 22nd January this year, I had the privilege of standing in that site almost to the minute, with Matthew, Alison and Robert Durnford - a very emotional moment...!

I think I can understand the emotion effect. My first visit to Beauchamp Hatch in search of Chards grave. As I walked up to the grave, it was as though I was going to see an old friend. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know the answer. I can only say it was like playing a part in saving private Ryan. But to stand somewhere almost to the minute when Durnford and his men took their last breath is beyond emotion. I imagine there was a spiritual calmness where Ken, Matthew, Alison and Robert Durnford. Stood.

Like I said I don’t know what this overwhelming feeling of loss represents, when visiting these locations.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:03 pm

Ken
I think Donald thoery on ammoboxes has created a myth for over 40 years now, I used to subscribe to it, that ws before I looked deeper into the evidence.
I do not see the quatermaster diligently undo-ing screws, it just isn't feasible, Regimental supplied were sent out on mule carts and Pack mules, that could be 20+ boxes. The is now undesputable evidence that these boxes were making it out to the line, why would the companies do anything but?, it was straight from the manual.

I do think HLSD comment about "our battalion" was refering to the 2/24th reserve, which Chelmsford had ordered be at the ready, and the comments had become miscontrued.

The issue of Martini henry Ammo boxes has not really been studied, but history is quite good at giving clues and hard facts.
The Mk1V box, had been issued in 1874 to replace the Mk111 which had been in service since 28.9.1870, on 5.1.1876 the MkV pattern was sealed, and contined until May 1880 as the Mk1X.
The MkV11 was for India only, the MkV111 (24.11.1879 had minor alterations, fastening screws were brass, and here most importantly IN THAT THE HOLE FOR THE LOCKING SCREWS STRENGTHED BY A SMALL PEICE OF TIN.

this para in the LOC is interesting, that if anything the lid securing screw was a weak point, why else would they want to strengthen it?

The plot thickens in the LOC for the Mk1X box "it differs from the previous patterns, the object of preventing delay and difficulty in opening boxes in the field". The MK1X box had a split pin not a screw. So, what can be read into that? well, it could be said that there was difficulty in opening boxes, becuase of lack of screw drivers? maybe so, but I beleive it was more to do with the fact that without a screwdriver the only recourse was to bash it open, thereby preventing its re-use. Why would they want to beef up the screw hole in 1880, when the security of the ammo box lid had been such a problem in 1879..it does not stack up.

Also, it is often forgotten that for every 5 Martinis, there was 1 No implement action, so in a company of 100 there would be...20 screwdrivers.

I often get acused of jumping to my own conclusions, but I always back up with facts, not heresay. The War office were good at dotting the T's.

Something too which always gets my goat, it the problem of ripping open the tin lining, sorry, don't buy that either, the ones I have studied have the lid placed flat onto the recess then secured by a simple lead solder, easy to tear. The only historical evidence to change on this is LOC3752 "the tin closing plate also differs from the previous pattern in that it having a larger wire handle in order that it be more conveniently torn off.", later LOC of Feb 1882 states "In future when packing.. a slack band of tape will be placed around the last two bundles of cartridges as to facilitate their removal". So if these boxes were the big failure of 22.1.79 why did it take three years to gat the perfect box?, probably bacause they really did not see it as a big issue then (my emphasis).
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:06 pm

I cannot find anything with reference to the ammunition boxes at Isandlwana, written by any of the Great Zulu War Great correspondent’s or any of the officer’s biographies. I have checked the House of Commons nothing.

If the ammunition boxes were partly to blame for the defeat at Isandlwana why doesn’t anyone from the ere mentioned it, its highly publicised now 130 Years.

The only article I found was from Dorrien Smith, but he suggesting the ammunition was getting out. I'm starting to believe the ammunition boxes had nothing what so ever to do with the lost of Isandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:24 pm

Morris suggests that the ammunition was too far from the firing line and that the seventy rounds each man took to the firing line was not adequate. But, this has been all but discounted by modern historians, drawing on detailed surveys of the battlefield in 2001. The "ammunition" explanation, still remains a established myth as to why the British were defeated and, certainly, in the immediate aftermath of the battle it was a more edible excuse for the disaster - courageous troops who would have held out had not their ammunition failed - than putting it down to human error on the part of the commanding officers - none of whom imagined the risk or need for more secure defensive precautions.

“Perhaps the most persuasive view, however, recently supported with evidence from the battlefield, such as Ian Knight and Lt. Colonel Snook's works, (the latter having written How Can Man Die Better?), suggest that although Durnford's men probably did run out of ammunition, the majority of men in the firing line did not. The discovery of the British line so far out from the camp has led Ian Knight to conclude that the British were defending too large a perimeter.”"

S.D
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:44 pm

S.D The Battle of Isandlwana will possibly be the only time that an army in ownership of half a million bullets in unopened boxes was devastated because its troops ran out of bullets, because the British quartermasters were so troubled with details they missed the greater picture.

S.D
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:47 pm

Sas1. I take it you based this on the film Zulu Dawn.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm

S.D Morris also states that as long as the soldiers kept firing, the Zulus were held at bay. He conjectures that with 500,000 rounds of ammunition and the right formation on the saddle, and using the wagons as a fort, the British could have held back the warriors.

As I stated before “ British quartermasters were so troubled with details they missed the greater picture.”
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 9:11 pm

Don't forget what Mehlokazulu kaSihayo ka Xongo Ngobese told The Rev (Bishop) Lee: "A little more [ie, continous firing from the British line] and they [the amabutho] would have broken and retreated". As many of the afterwards told me. "We died", they said, "ngamaviyo" - ie, by companies. But at that time, the supply of ammuntion began to fail." Rev Lee's account was written, if I'm not mistaken, 3 to 4 years after the Battle.
Regards,
Ken
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:13 pm

I think Bertram Mitford as made his own mind up a few years after the Battle.

“I climbed to the summit of Isandhlwana, which ascent is neither long or perilous, being at the north end gradual and easy, albeit good exercise for wind and limb. From the top a good sweeping view is to be had, and the whole battlefield lies spread out beneath like a map.

I suppose that for many years relics of the conflict will keep on turning up — assegai heads, buttons, and such like ; here and there a bullet is to be found, and cartridge cases in plenty. Every now and then you come across a heap of these, and begin to speculate on how some poor fellow made a long stand for it on this particular spot until his ammunition failed. On closer inspection, however, the illusion is dispelled, for about eight out of ten of these cartridge cases have never been fired at all, as you may see by the unexploded cap and the marks of teeth where the enterprising savage has torn open the case to extract the powder and ball.

I particularly noticed that none of these unexploded cases were to be found on the outskirts of the field, all there having been fired off ; not until one got upon the site of the actual camp did they become plentiful, pointing, if anything, to the fact that the fight in camp was hand to hand, our men being rushed before they had time to fire many shots, whereas those forming the outer lines of defence would have had plenty. And the above circumstance seems to make against the idea that there was any faikire of ammunition.”

I think that this has recently been posted on another thread.
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90th

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PostSubject: neil"s up and coming trip.   Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:26 am

hi Neil.
Thanks very much for the great photo of the ammo box , I assume the 400 + is aussie $ . :)
And where can I get one !!. Rolling Eyes .
cheers 90th.


MrG, what do you think of MITFORD"S book ?.
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:20 am

SAS, there is no evidence to the fact the men were not getting ammunition, and, were still in possesion during the retreat through the camp. Aa I posted before, no single 24th private, corporal or sgt, from that line lived to tell the tale.

The 600 round boxes were being despatched, Essex quotes so, so does Smith Dorrien.

The rate of fire, even in a tough Victorian stand up battle is not excessive,
Khambula 33 rounds per man over 3-4 hours, at Ulundi 10 rounds in half an hour, even Abu Klea the blast fest was approx 30 rounds per man. Miawand has many comparisons, the 66th held out for quite some time, it is only when the Indian troops on the flank is rolled up the line disintegrates, sound familiar?

We get the impression that the companies were firing away for all that is was worth at massed enemy, in reality sheer scale of the battlefield meant the Zulus would have been quite well spaced in skirmishing order, firing would have been controlled and orchestrated in a fashion that continued for the next quater century, why would isandlwana be any different?

Once the companies became isolated and remote from further supply then indeed ammunition was a problem, but Mikes HCMDB illustrates this as companies held out for a long period, until attrition takes over.

The chance for the Zulu's to replenish black powder from the cases would not have been scourned, the boxer round being rolled and then pressed together in a three peice compresion die, only crimps the bullets on two annular rings, trapping the paper wrap and cannelures on the bullet itself, is is quite a loose fit compared to modern crimped bullets. Once the bullet is removed the card discs and the beeswax plug would have to be teased out, then the powder would pour free.

Woodgate (red Soldier P175) made a note after Khambula of the firearms collected, which amounted to 325, but only 14 martinis and 1 snider, the rest a hotch potch of muskets and Enfield muzzle loaders, Still, evidence that the distribution of firearms in the Zulu army was quite widespread.
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:03 pm

I think Mitford is saying a lot of rounds inside the camp had not been fired, but the rounds with-n the firing lines located away from camp had been discharged, Meaning ammunition was getting o the fire lines but just not fast enough, The fight inside the camp was mostly hand to hand therefore the soldiers did not have enough time to fire the rounds let alone distribute them.

G
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:39 pm

I agree, the whole reserve of two battalions were captured. But I do not endorse that the weight of fire was hampered by the ammo flow, 70 rounds is a hell of alot to fire away and far and beyond the rate of fire from any battle before or after Isandlwana.

History is a good barometer, if massed Martini Henrys barely held its own at Abu Klea, it just about did the business at Tofrek, It was a close thing at Tamaii and Khambula, and that was with close order companies volleying flat out into massed enemies, how would a fragile over extended line hold off oods of 40:1 ?
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90th

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PostSubject: neil"s up and coming trip.   Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:52 pm

hi all.
Neil has hit the nail on the head , how could an over extended line outnumbered 40 /1 have any chance
of holding back the zulu, 70 rounds is a lot of ammo. One only has to look at Khambula , they were entrenched
the ammo boxes were all opened up , and it was a close run thing according to Wood. The distance of the
firing line from the camp obviously didnt help , but as said earlier , Essex and Smith-Dorrien both said the ammo
was reaching the line. When the troops were forced to retreat back on the camp it was the beginning of the end.
No amount of bullets could have stopped the zulu wave as they were very agile and damm fast !.
cheers 90th,
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:55 pm

Hi Neil. I’m not sure how far the firing lines were away from the camp, but I’m not sure it would have been a steady retreat back to the camp, more like one of panic. Therefore I don’t think a soldier would have stood his ground loaded, taken aim, fired then move on and repeating this process until he reach the camp. I can imagine a soldier loading on the run firing behind him without taking aim. But in any case he would have wanted to cover as much ground as possible away from the on coming enemy, therefore he would have been using his ammo but in most cases probably missing his target.

sas1
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:13 pm

The sheer weight of numbers was a factor, as well as the disposition of the British troops (they were spread out too thin).They could have had 500 rounds each. Same Out come.
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90th

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PostSubject: neil"s up and coming trip.   Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:42 pm

hi sas1.
I think the firing line was about 900 yds or maybe even more from the camp. Most likely a general panic did occur
during the retreat with the overwhelming numbers pressing onto them . I suppose you cant blame them. It would
be bloody frightening .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:26 am

Afraid Im still in the minority but I have long held the opinion that the rot really set in with the Zulu right horn coming through the wagon park.
The troops on the front line were seasoned veterans with skilled officers. They had the amunition, they had the training, therefore a phased withdrawl should have been standard procedure. Something else triggered that collapse, and not just the left wing, the donga isnt visible from the front line, the higher point of the saddle is though.
Just a thought.
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:35 am

Springbok
I agree 100%, it was the failure of the flanks which started to rot.
Like you am I lucky enough to have spent many hours at Isandlwana, the topgraphy is hard to imaging from maps in books.

The facts are that you simply cannot see the whole picture unless you are at a very high vantage. The 11 minutes ( I timed it) it takes you to walk from the left of the line to the last company on the line (Pope) is testimony to the over extension.,

The centre of the line cannot see the left, the right cannot see the centre, only the position of the guns, which had a reasonable field of fire could traverse 80% of the front. The you have the dead ground in front of the line, it is really that bad, flat desert this ain't. How could companies self support if they cannot see what is to their left or right.

Cairns are not battlefeild markers, as I have written before, they show the localiy of various bodies, maybe 10-30 yards. If the rout was so general, why are there so few between the line. (Wolfes rearguard and those who had gunshot wounds) and the saddle itself? Mike Snook illustrates this beautifully in HCMDB. There was three factors at work, and a quite narrow timescale.
1) Durnford retires, Pope has to turn to close the gap created. His 150 odd simply cannot stop the left horns rapid advance
2) Pulliene sees this, (by this time it is far to late) orders the retirement, which is back through a STANDING CAMP. No struck tents. Companies withdraw, by the time the saddle is reached the 1 Batts camp and it ammuniton wagon is lost.
3) Retirement to the saddle, good field of fire but now the left horn, sweeps in behind and the battle is now well and truly two fronts, not one. Groups are now isolated and are picked off in turn, those Zulu's with firearms cannot miss. End of game.



It remains testimony to fact that after this, entrechment was order of the day. At Khambula wood had devised all manner of barricade and man trap, in most of the battles of the sudan, a thorn bush Zeriba prevented a 1:1 comntact wherever possible, massed rifles are simply not enough if that massing is not numerically sound.

Why could they not have made a Zeriba?, 2 reasons... 1) there were hardly any trees, 2) most had been burned for firewood.

I can't see that screwdrivers and ammuniton led to disaster, In the words of the late David Rattray , "it was a tactical withdrawl..which failed".
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:02 am

Neil
Ah and I thought I was alone in my thinking. The back of the mountain is a debate Ive never seen really started. Four seperate columns, uNokhenke attacking Shepstone and pushing up onto the slopes, iSangqu free to cross the saddle, and the iMbube and uDodulu free to attack the fugitives and cut the retreat. Brilliant piece of tactical work by Untshigwayo. I also believe that the established fugitives trail is far to narrow. Ive wandered around the Koppie and often thought that the right horn pushing over the saddle, Durnford doing the job he was supposed to, that leaves a gap to the front of the Koppie. This to my mind was the Primary escape route with the more traditional one being opened up by Ansteys force clearing a gap............. Dont know if that makes sense?
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:55 am

Springbok

We will never know, as the erosion on that face has obliterated any traces, apart from Shepstones grave, The fight across the scree slope of the saddle is testimony to the amou nt of cairns to be found there.

I do think the majority of the defenders would have attempted to keep the road open, that was the way in and out, they would act like shoppers in the supermarket when the fire alarm goes off, yes stright out the entrance door...not the fire exits. It's human nature.

Don't forget the left horn then spilling over Malhabamkhosi, the cairns on the slope, well up and beyond the concrete base of the old orientation cantre belies the fact that the jaws were closing, if the pincer was blunted it would just go around further.

This year, fire had cleared alot of the bush, we found many cairns well down from the route of today, I have been discussing this with Mike Snook, we found an old kraal, this had been heavily defended, we are going to take a closer look this Jan, as it is maybe 200 yards from todays path, and closer to the Mazimyama, route cut off by the large ravine/donga.

I beleive, and it stand true of Hlobane devils, that soil erosion has taken maybe a foot or more earth from todays topography,and such alot of the boulders, prevalent now did not exist. If you go to the lip of the "ravine", there are strange mounds, around bushed that has not been taken away due to roots, inplces this is two feet higher than the ground around it. Such is that ciarns which did exist post 1950 are now long gone, and the evidence this would provide with it.

Testimony that Ansteys group git as far as it did, proves that co-ordinated retreat, even in the face of overwhelming odds, was possible,
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:24 pm

Neil
Pretty sure I know the old Kraal area you refer to. I will be interested in your observations on it when you get back. At least with the fire cleaning the brush the snakes are easier to see.
Have Fun
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:53 pm

Neil
Gardner alludes to the "small hill to the right of the camp " as an escape route taken by a few untill the left horn came around and forced them into the valley.
Still an interesting thought. When your sitting on the mountain on your upcoming visit, look at the line of cairns progressing up the Koppie, they could quite easily be interpreted as a retreat line.
Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:28 pm

Hi Ken . I saw your post on the RDVC. (Hope You don't mind)

Quote :
“A new theory was proposed that the Zulus had moved forward to the folds of the ground between the top of the Nyoni heights and the upper reached of the Ngwebini stream and had been there for most of the morning of the 22nd January (1879 of course).”

With reference to the new theory put forward, would this have had any impact on the out-come of the battle. Or I they saying the Zulu’s were in a much better position to attack than first thought.


Dave.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:32 pm

Just one more, I need to put to bed.

During the Battle of Isandlwana did a company who were repairing a road disappear, or is this just a myth. ????
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:30 pm

Dave, there was a little more to it!

Here is the posting:
I was there and I'm afraid I was one of the sceptics about some new intrepretations about the locality of the Zulu amabutho...
A new theory was proposed that the Zulus had moved forward to the folds of the ground between the top of the Nyoni heights and the upper reached of the Ngwebini stream and had been there for most of the morning of the 22nd January (1879 of course). The argument was well presented but doesn't tie in with what Mehlokazulu's son (Mnandi) told me, what I learnt from George Buntting, SB Bourquin, Des Pollock and George Chadwick, all of whom interviewed either participants in the battle or their children. Nor does it correspond with what Inspector Fairlie (ex Natal Police) told me from his interviews with AZW participants.
As I have said, Peter, Ron and I have agreed to disagree.


The point you made about he outcome is valid. I don't believe it would have made a difference under the cicumstances.

In my opinion, it is impossible for all 20 000 warriors (excluding the 4 000 reserves) to have been hidde in the folds of the valley fromthe top of the Nyoni heights to the opening of the Ngwebeni valley below the Mabaso.

By the way, there are other consideratons for Nel and Mike to consider when you walk the Fugitives' Trail, regarding the cairns and the burialo those that were killed along it. Bear in mind that just before the 50th anniversary of the battle in 1928, the part of the battlefield where most of the cairns were situated was fenced off and the cairns outside of the perimeter were no longer maintained and became almost identical to the surrounding area. Then in 1958 a graves curator flattened many cairns to make them appear as normal graves, thus exposing many of the skeletons. The authorities immediately ordered reconstruction work to be undertaken but it was almost impossible to relocate many of them. This is probably explains the recent discovery of the remains near the new Ezemvelo/KZN Wildlife building along the Fugitives' Trail.
Regards,
Ken
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:46 pm

Ken.
Quote :
It is impossible for all 20 000 warriors (excluding the 4 000 reserves)

I agree there is no doubt they would have been spotted a lot sooner than they did. However It was a remarkable feat on the Zulu’s part getting to the valley without being see in the first place 20,000 plus moving across near open land.

Has it ever been suggested, that maybe the Zulus had reached the valley a few days before the battle, instead of the day before as written in the books. This would certainly have answer the question as to why they were not seen.

Quote :
By the way, there are other considerations for Neil and Mike to consider when you walk the Fugitives' Trail,

I believe someone mention a drawing by Mr Boast who marked where the graves were, maybe this would help Neil and Mike to get a rough idea of where the graves are or were.
If someone could post it on the forum.

Dave.
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PostSubject: Re: Neil’s up and coming trip to the land of the Zulu.   Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:57 pm

Quote :

I believe someone mention a drawing by Mr Boast who marked where the graves were, maybe this would help Neil and Mike to get a rough idea of where the graves are or were.
If someone could post it on the forum.

Drawing from 90th

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