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 Captured cannons at isandlwana

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joe

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PostSubject: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:01 pm

hi
were the two cannons the zulus captured at isandlwana any use to them, did they know how to use them and if they did, was there any record of them causing any damage to the british army?

or was it just they took them just because they could to rub in the defeat

thanks joe
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rai



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PostSubject: Guns   Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:23 pm

Hi all,
The Zulus never used the captured guns, did they know how to use them, probably yes? they were found after Ulundi,
I have never seen any Zulu report of how they got the guns away from Isandlwana, the Zulus knew about and used horses, and i would think this is how it was done, does anyone know!
It was said that one of the guns in the memorial gardens in the Old Fort at Durban, is one of the Guns taken at Isandlwana, it is a seven pounder RML, which is correct.

Rai
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:01 am

Rai. I'm fairly sure the guns were sent back to England, where they disappeared in to pages of history,
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90th

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PostSubject: captured cannon at Isandlwana.   Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:19 am

hi all.
This from " companion to the Zulu war " by I. Knight. page 28.

" The guns themselves were dragged by hand all the way to oNdini , as a prisoner of war ERNEST GRANDIER
saw them there. There had been no time to spike them ( to make them unserviceable ). The zulus tried to make them
serviceable . They understood enough of the principles involved to attempt to detonate the charges by forcing rifle
percussion caps into the vents in place of friction tubes but this proved unsuccessful. The guns were later dragged away
towards the oLandlandlovu royal homestead , which lay between the White and Black Mfolozi Rivers. On the 11th Aug while
patrolling for cetswayo , the guns were discovered lying in the empty veldt , not far from the homestead . The barrels had been
removed from the carriages and left in the grass , while nearby were leather harnesses which had apparantly been used to
drag them , as well as shells and rockets . The barrels were mounted back on the carriages and taken to WOLSELEY"s camp
at oNdini . They were later returned to N / 5 BATTERY , rather to Harness"s embarrassment . To loose a gun in action was the
artillery equivalent of the infantry"s disgrace at loosing a colour , and Harness was uncertain how to react at their recovery.
Eventually the guns were returned to England and there they disappear from history.
cheers 90th.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:35 pm

We know the cannons weren't spiked, But did anyone know that someone had placed rifle nipples over the vents.
Neil. This is one for you. What is a Rifle Nipple and would that had done the trick.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:03 pm

Can anyone remember if Curling mentions this? I recalled he said they didn’t spike the guns. But was someone not killed trying to spike the guns. Just wondering if he put the rifle nipples in, knowing he wouldn’t have had time to do in properly.
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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:53 pm

if i remember correctly major smith did attempt to spike the guns... maybe it was doing this that he received his fatal wound?
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:16 pm

As anyone got a photo of a Rifle Nipple. I would like to see what was stated as being used to spike the Guns
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:28 am

A percussion cap would not set off the guns, its a small copper cup containing fulminate of mercury, placed on the nipple of a rifle or pistol it is hit by the hammer, the coming together of the two "agitates" the fulminate, it goes off, just like a big cap on a cap gun, this mini explosion ignites the main charge though the nipple hole.
http://www.silcom.com/~vikman/isles/scriptorium/firearm/percussion.html

The guns were set of by a friction tube, this is a 75mm long brass tube containing a substance not dissimilar to a match head. The bombardier would use a pricker to puncture the powder charge and push the tube into the fabric sac through a hole in the top of the breech. The tube has a small split ring attached, to this the bombardier clips on his lanyard and pulls, this acts like striking a match, which in turn sets of a rapid burn through the tube and boom!.

Would the zulu's figure this out?, if they found friction tubes then most possibly, to spike the guns all is needed is a spike or metal rod banged into the hole, break it off and its a scrap metal tube.

Smith was no where near the guns when killed, Curling had the chance.




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ciroferrara

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:53 pm

there is a photo of the guns after they were found near ondini in FWD JACKSONS HILL OF THE SPHINX
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:05 pm

I was reading it as though the rifle nipples had been placed in the vents to prevent the cannons being used, due to not having time to spike the cannon properly. Placed there by a British Soldier.
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90th

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PostSubject: What happened to the deserters Lts Avery and Holcroft NNC ?    Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:27 pm

As usual with Newspaper reports from that period and indeed it still happens today ! , Mistakes are evident , most of us know Maj
Smith wasnt Assegaied attempting to spike the second gun ! . He was killed virtually at the river I think in the company of Lt Horace Smith - Dorrien and possibly a trpr of the NMP or NC whose name escapes me at the moment . Actually neither of the guns were spiked . Notice the commas after Captains Allan , Gardner , Smith , Dorrien , etc etc , Allan & Gardner - Smith & Dorrien being the same person . Also Mcphail escaped and lived into his late 90's if I'm not mistaken , it's difficult to believe as gospel, any of the reports regarding casualties etc that were released in the early aftermath of the battle . I think Julian is correct as I've also read someone stating that Avery & Holcraft did indeed come back to the camp after leaving Dartnells position .
Cheers 90th. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:13 pm

Quote :
90th, Mistakes are evident , most of us know Maj Smith wasnt Assegaied attempting to spike the second gun !

.
Extract from Curling Court of Enquiry
I was with Major Smith at this time, he told me he had been wounded in the arm.

Extract Smith-Dorrient. Memories of Forty Eight Years Service.

"I then came to Fugitives' Drift, the descent to which was almost a precipice. I found there a man in a red coat badly assegaied in the arm, unable to move. He was, I believe, a mounted infantryman of the 24th, named Macdonald, but of his name I cannot be sure. I managed to make a tourniquet with a handkerchief to stop the bleeding, and got him half-way down, when a shout from behind said, " Get on, man; the Zulus are on top of you." I turned round and saw Major Smith, R.A., who was commanding the section of guns, as white as a sheet and bleeding profusely ; and in a second we were surrounded, and assegais accounted for poor Smith, my wounded M.L friend, and my horse."
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90th

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PostSubject: What happened to the deserters Lts Avery & Holcroft NNC ?    Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:44 pm

Hi Littlehand .
No he wasnt assegaied attempting to spike the guns , the following from TWOTS page 381 .
'' The limbered guns got through the camp and over the track , losing half the gunners , and the fugitives clinging
to the horses on the way . Stuart Smith and Curling rode ahead , clearing a path with flashing sabers ( I'm not to sure on that point - Does Curling mention that in his letters ? ) Morris goes on to say what we know that the guns were caught up and the horses were dangling in their harness over the gorge and stabbed also the drivers were pulled from the limber and assegaied .
Stuart - Smith and Curling rode on , with the Major nursing an Assegai thrust in his arm . Not to sure where Curling got to after this incident but Morris says the following ...Smith - Dorrien dismounted on the bank to look for a path down the steep slope , and a mtd Infantryman named Macdonald , who had been assegaied in the arm , asked him for help . Smith - Dorrien fashioned a tourniquet out of his hankerchief and riding crop and started to help the man down the bank , when a voice behind cried out
'' Get on , Man , the zulus are on top of you ! '' He looked up and saw Maj Stuart - Smith bleeding profusely and white from the loss of blood , and in the same instant the inDlu- yengwe dropped on them , and propelled them into the water . Macdonald , Stuart - Smith and Smith - Dorrien's horse all died on the bank .
Cheers 90th.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:03 am

90th Google This..

"major smith was assegaied inthe arm whilst spiking the guns"
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90th

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PostSubject: What happened to the Deserters Lts Avery and Holcroft NNC ?   Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:24 am

Hi Littlehand .
I have many , many reference books on the AZW and have never read that Smith was Assegaied when attempting to spike the guns , if the guns were spiked why would you need to try and save them , the reason guns were spiked was that they couldnt be saved and had to be left on the field ! , they are useless afterwards . Surely if they are close enough to stab you in the process of spiking a gun you'd be dead and not wounded , you have to be standing next to the gun to spike it , Sorry , I dont buy it ! .
Cheers 90th.
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90th

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PostSubject: What happened to the deserters Lts Avery & Holcroft NNC    Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:29 am

Hi Littlehand .
Your newspaper post echoes my thoughts on the '' Non Spiking of the guns '' .
We are also off topic as this is the Holcroft & Avery thread , I think we have also covered this '' Spiking '' story previously .
90th.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:20 pm

LH

I think Curling states that Smith told Curling that he had been shot in the arm when they were fleeing the camp.
Curling also says there was no time to try and spike the guns.

Tasker

Higginson didn't desert Isandlwana or RD, at isandlwana he left when everyone else did and he had no men or
didn't go past RD.



Cheers
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:24 pm

90th said: (...) '' Spiking '' story previously .
. [/quote][quote]

Hi 90th,
Correct (see "Tpr F SECRETAN, Natal Mounted Police-KIA iSandlwana")
Letter 3/02/1879 / A.J. SECRETAN -N.M.P- to his father / "The Standard » 25/03/1879

"(....) The gunners were stabbed to a man where they stood by their two guns, the captain himself being shot whilst in the act of spiking the last one".[i

Regard

Frédéric
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:40 pm

ymob
But AJ Secretan was not at Isandhlwana. He's repeating rumour or what he's seen in the papers. Neither gun was spiked. The gunners were not stabbed to a man by their two guns. Smith was not shot whilst spiking one.
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90th

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PostSubject: What happened to the deserters Lts Avery & Holcroft NNC ?   Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:15 am

Hi Ymob .
From the books I've read no one was stabbed standing next to the guns ! . The only instance of anything like this happening was
once those who had got on board the guns and had managed to get through the camp and across the road , those that were left were killed when the guns had become entangled in the shrubbery and the hosres still in their Harness's were dangling over a gorge or something similar , this is mentioned by either Curling and or possibly Smith - Dorrien also others may have recorded it as well . The common theme is that those that were still with the guns at this point were dragged off them by the zulus and massacred on the spot . This is mentioned in every book I have on Isandlwana . I think I may have posted this from either Smith -Dorrien or Curlings account a couple of days ago , also we are off topic as this is the Avery - Holcroft thread Very Happy Very Happy
Cheers 90th. Salute
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:37 am

Julian Whybra wrote:
ymob
But AJ Secretan was not at Isandhlwana. He's repeating rumour or what he's seen in the papers. Neither gun was spiked. The gunners were not stabbed to a man by their two guns. Smith was not shot whilst spiking one.
[quote]

Bonsoir Mister WHYBRA,

I know that.
In my previous post, i only wanted to recall to 90th the origin (the source) of the rumour.
AJ Secretan was with Chelsmford's force.
It's his brother Francis "Louis" (also NMP) who was at Isandhlwana (and killed)
Smith was with Smith-Dorrien, Mac Donald and other men when he was killed (source:Smith-Dorrien, Curling)
Moreover, this letter to his father contains others unfounded rumours (torture...)...
Regrettable situation because his anecdote (in the same letter) on the courage of Durnford loses of its relevance...

Sorry for my indistinctness (and my bad english).

Best regard

Frédéric

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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:11 pm

Apologies for going off topic again, but if the guns were not spiked during the flight from iSandlwana, were they recovered and used again?
HC Harford seems to think so. He writes that the guns were recovered from iSandlwana and taken to Ulundi where Wolesley had HQd himself, and that the Union flag was proudly flown between the 2 guns. Is this correct?
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:39 pm

No. They wasn't used again. I recall reading they were brought back to England and stood in some barracks Where they went after, no one knows. Scrapped I should think.

http://www.1879zuluwar.com/t1820-captured-cannons-at-isandlwana?highlight=Cannon


Last edited by impi on Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Guns Part 2   Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:41 pm

Tasker
Harford is correct. There is a photo of them.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:10 pm

"The two cannon of N Battery, 5th Brigade, Royal Artillery that were lost at Isandlwana were 7-pounder, 200lb Rifled Muzzle Loading guns on mounted on Kaffrarian carriages.

Here is a photograph of the guns after they were recovered.
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The recovered guns back under the Union Flag, Ulundi."
Copy Right: John Young Collection. Taken from the Victorian War Website. 
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Sun Jan 04, 2015 10:15 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:01 pm

In hindsight were the guns actually used, to full capacity.
Could they not have done more. Cannon were designed to cause mass destruction from a distance.
Were they actually hitting the targets.
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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:15 am

One witness described the fire as 'erratic', " owing to the fact that guns had not be unlimbered and were on carriages to which the horses were harnessed, the horses were naturally excited and became unmanageable"
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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:45 pm

Which witness says that? Knight says the guns were unlimbered (page 354 of Zulu Rising). And Curling says the guns were limbered up before moving back through the camp (page 93 Curling Letters). Can you actually fire an artillery piece while it is still limbered to horses?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:03 pm

Lt Stafford.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:54 am

Staffords statement January 1938
"Our artillery fire was eratic owing to the fact that the guns had not been unlimbered and were on the carriages to which the horses were naturally excited and becoming unmanageable."
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:05 am

He also claimed to have witnessed the Blue on Blue incident. So yes they could hit the target.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:26 am

The one with Roberts? Is he the only one that witnessed that I wonder?
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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:35 am

Ive just had a re look at Stafford. He didn't witness the Roberts incident, he 'heard of it later'. So interesting question, who did witness it?
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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:26 am

Thank you CTSG/Frank. Find it hard to imagine how you aim and fire an artillery piece while still attached to the limber and horses. What happens to the recoil? Does anyone else mention it?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:12 am

Hi Steve
I think a fair amount of Stafford is subject to interpretation. Its highly possible for instance that he saw the artillery limbered up when Smith changed position and assumed the rest. I don't believe the recoil would allow a gun to be fired with the horse in rein.
There are a number of instances where the 80 year old Stafford ( the statement was in 1938) errs. For instance the ammo boxes he maintains had 9 screws holding the lid in place. Overall its an invaluable piece of work though.
His various statements do tend to conflict, in one he speaks of Durnford and Pulleine arguing but in another, discussing.
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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:08 pm

Thanks Frank. Comes to us all I suppose! Now, where's my glasses.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:30 pm

Reading Curling account, it could be Stafford was correct.

Curling says "The enemy advancing still, we began firing case, but almost immediately the infantry were ordered to retire. Before we could get away, the enemy were by the guns."

How long would it take to hitch up a cannon? He also says they were told to remain harnessed.?


COE Curling's account.

"B.
From Lieutenant Curling to Officer Commanding No. 8. Helpmakaar, January 26, 1879.
SIR,
I HAVE the honour to forward the following report of the circumstances attending the loss of two guns of N Brigade, 5th Battery Royal Artillery, at the action of Isandlwana, on January 22. About 7.80 A.M. on that date, a large body of Zulus being seen on the hills to the left front of the camp, we were ordered to turn out at once, and were formed up in front of the 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment Camp, where we remained until eleven o'clock, when we returned to camp with orders to remain harnessed up and ready to turn out at a minute's notice. The Zulus did not come within range and we did not come into action. The infantry also remained in column of companies. Colonel Durnford arrived about ten A.M. with Basutos and the rocket battery ; he left about eleven o'clock with these troops in the direction of the hills where we had seen the enemy. About twelve o'clock we were, turned out, as heavy firing was heard in the direction of Colonel Durnford's force. Major Smith arrived as we were turning out and took command of the guns, we trotted up to a position about 400 yards beyond the left front of the Natal Contingent Camp, and came into action at once on a large body of the enemy about 3,400 yards off. The 1st Battalion 24th Regiment soon came up and extended in skirmishing order on both flanks and in line with us. In about a quarter of an hour, Major Smith took away one gun to the right, as the enemy were appearing in large numbers in the direction of the Drift, in the stream in front of the camp. The enemy advanced slowly, without halting; when they were 400 yards off, the 1st Battalion, 24th Regiment advanced about 30 yards. We remained in the same position. Major Smith, returned at this time with his gun, and came into action beside mine. The enemy advancing still, we began firing case, but almost immediately the infantry were ordered to retire. Before we could get away, the enemy were by the guns; and I saw one gunner stabbed as he was mounting on to an axle-tree box. The limber gunners did not mount, but ran after the guns. We went straight through the camp but found the enemy in possession. The gunners were all stabbed going through the camp with the exception of one or two. One of the two sergeants was also killed at this time. When we got on to the road to Rorke's Drift it was completely blocked up by Zulus. I was with Major Smith at this time, he told me he had been wounded in the arm. We saw Lieutenant Coghill, the A.D.C., and asked him if we could not rally some men and make a stand, he said he did not think it could be done. We crossed the road with the crowd, principally consisting of natives, men left in camp, and civilians, and went down a steep ravine leading towards the river. The Zulus were in the middle of the crowd, stabbing the men as they ran. When we had gone about 400 yards, we came to a deep cut in which the guns stuck. There was, as far as I could see, only one gunner with them at this time, but they were covered with men of different corps clinging to them. The Zulus were in them almost at once, and the drivers pulled off their horses. I then left the guns. Shortly after this. I again saw Lieutenant Coghill, who told me Colonel Pulleine had been killed. Near the river I saw Lieutenant Melville, 1st
Battalion 24th Regiment, with a colour, the staff being broken. I also saw Lieutenant Smith-Dorrien assisting a wounded man. During the action, cease firing, was sounded twice.
I am, &c. (Signed) H. T. CURLING, Lieutenant R.A."
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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:04 pm

The way I read it, is that the horses remained harnessed to the limber. The gun was detached from the limber when required for action. I'm guessing it would only be a case of dropping in a metal pin when reconnecting the cannon to take up another position.



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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:07 pm

We need an old Gunner to advise. I have no problem with them remaining harnessed in camp so that they can respond quickly - they are not fighting the gun at that point. To my mind there are two problems with the notion of firing while still limbered. First, wouldn't the recoil either break the connection to the limber, or smash the limber, or perhaps unseat the barrel if the gun was prevented from moving back?  Second, remaining connected to the limber means the trail of the gun is raised from the ground - which then means you cannot elevate the barrel to fire. Doesn't seem likely to me. I don't know specifically how long it takes to hook up to a limber, but thinking about the King's Troop RHA at the Royal Tournament it can be done very quickly indeed.

Steve
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Tue Jul 14, 2015 7:52 am

LH I'll go with that! Makes sense..
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:56 pm

This is from 1812 but its gives a clue to reloading whilst limbered.

Royal Artillery practice was to place the limbers 25 yards and the ammunition wagons 50 yards from the rear of the gun. The guns were usually positioned between 36 and 60 feet apart. This spacing was maintained so that limbers and horse teams could easily and quickly move around the guns should a change of position become necessary, to minimize the danger should the ammunition at one gun explode through accident or enemy fire and to keep enough distance so that the noise of the discharge of one gun did not drown out the commands being shouted at an adjacent piece. If artillery officers knew that action was imminent, they usually loaded on the move, fixing the priming wire down the vent to hold the cartridge in place.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:02 pm

agree
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90th

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PostSubject: Captured Cannon at Isandlwana    Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:08 pm

I've come across reports by LC stating the cannons weren't to open fire to the zulu were within 800 yds , another of his wonderful insights ! . I'm still away , I'm sure JY . frank or steve can dig it out , it may have been in LC's enlightening booklet which he produced for the Column commanders , in either Nov or Dec 1878 , you know the one , the one he didnt adhere to himself !!!!! .
90th
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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:59 am

I'm not sure following orders would have made an ounce of difference. Those orders that were issued on the Battlefield of Isandlwana led to disaster. The only people looking after their men were the Individual company commanders.
LC comment re-lating too they should have used the hill as a natural rear defence, bears out with Younghusband's company.
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barry

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PostSubject: Modelling of 7pdr RML gun battery   Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:11 pm

Hi LH,
Thanks for posting those lovely  pictures of the model RML 7 pdr field gun battery.
It looks to me however that the model depicts the larger wheels which came about with the redesigned  carriages, which were introduced post Isandlwana and designed especially for operations in SA.
Firing was possible  "on the hoof" but range and accuracy would have taken a back seat. The normal procedure was to steady the gun by disconnecting from the limber and bedding the trail in the ground.
The 7pdr RML, as originally designed, was a "mountain gun". It was kept small and light to facilitate manhandling in high places. In this role it served the forces in India. It was thus totally unsuitable and too puny for effective action in Zululand. It was quickly superceded by the RML 9 pounder mounted on a more suitable  carriage.
.
regards,

barry
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:30 pm

Here's a real one you could have bought for £7,500.00
https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19796/lot/213/

Steve
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Captured cannons at isandlwana   Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:51 pm

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Same as cannons used at Isandlwana.
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