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Captain David Moriarity, 80th, KIA Ntombe
This photograph taken when he was in the 7th Regiment prior to his transfer to the 80th. [Mac & Shad] (Isandula Collection)
The Battle of Isandlwana: One of The Worst Defeats of The British Empire - Military History

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 Defensive Square

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old historian2


Posts : 1096
Join date : 2009-01-14
Location : East London

PostSubject: Defensive Square   Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:56 pm

Could anybody tell if the defensive square was born from the mistakes made at Isandlwana? I have just read it was, but I’m pretty sure the square was deployed at Waterloo. Or was this type of square.
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PostSubject: Re: Defensive Square   Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:07 pm

Old H. I’m sure the pike square that was deployed Waterloo.
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Neil Aspinshaw


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Location : Loughborough

PostSubject: Re: Defensive Square   Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:41 pm

The origins of the square go back well before Waterloo, in the English civil was the objective of the pikeman was to protect the muskets with a wall of steel pikes. By forming a square the horse cannot find a flank.

A Horse will not jump a human, it is simply not in its list of tricks, especially as it is faced with a hedge of bayonets.

For a really good example of the rapidity a square can be formed, watch the Four feathers, with Heath Leger. Ok a poor film but a good example of the square in rapid formation and development.

The square was perfected by the latter part of the C19th, especially in the Sudan of 1884/5, Tofrek, Abu Klea, Tamaii, in finally Ondourman, a thoroughly modern army, with modern .303 magazine rifles and machine guns, in a formation that Oliver Cromwell would be proud of.

The square, as tight as it is, in my opinion would not have saved the day at isandlwana, it would have delayed the inevitable. In the words of Kipling,

"for all the odds agianst you, you crumpled up the square.

google "barrack room ballads by kiplin and look up "the Fuzzy Wuzzy" to see the qudos the British army helf the square!
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Age : 62
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PostSubject: defensive square   Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:57 am

hi olh2.
Somewhere on the forum , are the standing orders of Chelmsford which I listed a while ago, he decided to do
away with the Defensive Square in the 1st invasion , that is why Pulleine assembled his troops in the dog leg
fashion at Isandlwana. He was following the good Lord"s orders . After isandlwana the square was back in vogue,
so to speak !. So most certainly the casualties at Isandlwana caused a major re-think.
cheers 90th. 😕
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Ken Gillings

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PostSubject: Re: Defensive Square   Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:18 pm

From what I can recall, it was used effectively in China prior to the AZW.
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