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 Fight us In the Open.

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John

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PostSubject: Fight us In the Open.   Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:42 pm

I have read several accounts, where Zulu had challenged the British to fight in the open, and instead of hiding behind Laagers. I’m not sure the British would have been able to stand-up to; let’s say a fair fight (No disrespect meant) if we look at The Battle of Hlobane, and Isandlwana the proof is there, the British were not laagered and they were defeated. I think the outcome would have been the same at Ulundi if this Battle had been fought in the open. When it came to hand to hand combat, the Zulu’s were far superior to the British. What do other members think?
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PostSubject: Re: Fight us In the Open.   Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:18 pm

Isandlwana granted us an object lesson of what happens when out-numbered colonial troops did not take elementary precautions. The British troops were poles apart over fairly large areas to be overcome in detail. The British troops were astonished and had to fight where they were, near their tents and away from the supply wagons, which not only contained their ammunition supply but also could have formed straightforward fortifications. These self-protective mistakes allowed the Zulu to make use of their superior numbers to the fullest, and gave them an undeserved status for military effectiveness.

As it was, even in victory, the Zulu military was crippled by the heavy fatalities incurred. This was hardly surprising, as many of the colonial enemies that the British faced did not have complicated attack configurations and tactics. They would use what is so graphically illustrate in the movie "Zulu" as "the loin and the horns". Fundamentally, the natives would seek to use their superior numbers to attack from the front and the flanks in a bid to overwhelm the British.

It’s near impossible to state who would win, in what you called a fair fight. The Zulu’s in both Battles you mentioned has far superior numbers.

E.H
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PostSubject: Re: Fight us In the Open.   Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:26 pm

How would you define a fair fight? in close quarter battle a British soldier with fixed bayonet would have the advantage over a Zulu with a shield and stabbing spear in a one to one situation but of courses battles are not like that.

Keith
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PostSubject: Re: Fight us In the Open.   Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:02 pm

How would you define a fair fight? Good question Keith.

The British were sophisticated in their strategy. As well as having weaponry of great tactical firepower (breech-loading Martini-Henry rifles), the British troops were highly flexible tactically due to the subdivision of their units. The troops could be fought in line at the beginning, with designated units to rebuff their flanks when the natives got too close and threaten the ranks.

A square could be created quickly by redistributing the regiments accordingly, with regiments to the front continuing to dispense hot fire on the enemy. With this kind of flexibility, and with the firepower of the weapons, the natives could not be victorious unless the British make some sort of mistake.
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Re: Fight us In the Open.   Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:37 pm

Elizabeth. This is true.! And as you know, following Isandlwana, we can see that in none of the other actions of the Zulu War did the British endeavour to fight again in their typical linear formation in an open field battle with the main Zulu impi.

SD
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Fight us In the Open.   Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:38 am

An interesting coincidence. I bought a box of books on auction last week, because they were all connected with RSA history. At the bottom was a small booklet written by Prof Labrand called "Fight us in the open". He explores the whole concept of Cetshwayo's express instructions to his commanders not to fight the Brits if they were behind walls with "little holes for firing through".
Ulundi is often held up as an example of the British superior tactics in fighting from a square against an unsophisticated oponent. But pause to think for a second and try and transpose the time of Ulundi to a time possibly prior to 22nd Jan when the Zulu army was INTACT. It hadnt been decimated and demoralised by the losses of Isandlawana, RD, Kambule and Gingindlovu. Frankly my hard earned cash would be on the Zulus for a win.
Quotes from Cornelius Vijn, The general remarks from the Zulus was," Why could the whites not fight us in the open.........we have never fought with men who are so afraid of death as these.......... The English burrow in the ground like wild pigs, The Boers are of more worth, who dare to come at once into open field. Pretty scathing.
Regards


Last edited by springbok9 on Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:13 am; edited 1 time in total
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Fight us In the Open.   Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:00 am

Interesting point that I havent heard rered to before, " I told Ntshingwayo not to go to the English troops at once, but to have a conference (with his officers) and then send some chiefs to ask the English why they were laying waste to the country and killing Zulus, when they had plainly said they had not entered the country to fight, but to talk settlement."Cetshwayo.
Cetshwayo refers to the same point of settlement on a number of occasions. When the army was in hiding before the battle on the 22nd ..............."the officers of the different regiments assembled in order to come to an agreement as to which chiefs they should send to confer with the English........... to settle matters with words and not by arms."
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Fight us In the Open.   Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:06 pm

Cetewayo had on many occasions asked for peace. But after the embarrassing defeat at Isandlwana the British had no intention of give up with out a fight, even though it could have all been settled with peace talks. The British had made their minds up that the Zulu nation could be conquered quite quickly from the out set. Lord Chelmsford invaded Zululand without the knowledge of the British Government in the hope that he could Capture Cetshwayo, the Zulu King, before London discovered that hostilities had begun.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Fight us In the Open.   Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:10 pm

Quite so Mr G.
Point here is that I wasnt aware that he had issued the instruction for his chiefs to engage the British before opening hostilities.
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Fight us In the Open.   Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:27 pm

Quote :
he had issued the instruction for his chiefs to engage the British before opening hostilities.

Could you name your source from where this came from.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Fight us In the Open.   Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:37 am

Mr G
Extracted from the conversations and letters of Cetshwayo in captivity at Cape Town Castle. quoted from "Fight us in the open" Prof J Laband.
Regards
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ADMIN

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PostSubject: Re: Fight us In the Open.   Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:10 pm

Originally posted by 1879Graves.

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Hi sas1

This copy listed on the net is signed and is only £18.00. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

£45.00 is far too much for this book.
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