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 False Alarms could be quite costly.

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Dave

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PostSubject: False Alarms could be quite costly.   Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:47 pm

50,000 Rounds that rather alot, they must have been really worried.

"It was a moonlight night and clouds were flitting across the moon, and a shadow from one of these was mistaken for an advancing body of Zulus. The piquet gave the alarm and the men manned the sides of the laager. Unfortunately some of the piquets, in falling back, took refuge in this partially constructed fort. I was asleep in a tent outside the laager.

The order was for all tents outside the laager to be lowered when the alarm sounded. My stable companion, Alexander of the 21st R.S. Fusiliers, had some difficulty in awakening me, and before I could get out of the tent firing had commenced from the laager, so, striking the tent as best we could, we rushed into the laager. Undoubtedly the men's nerves were in a bad state, owing, I consider, to the fact that they were young soldiers and that the Staff never missed an opportunity of instilling into their minds the fierceness of the enemy and their love of night attacks.

In a few minutes every face of the laager was blazing away and a battery in action at one corner was firing " grape." It was a long time before the firing could be stopped, and then it was found to be a false alarm, but a disastrous one for there were four casualties, three of them in the embryonic Fort, where the walls were not high enough to give cover from fire from the laager.

It was found afterwards that there was no enemy within fifteen miles. Our expenditure of ammunition was heavy, 50,000 rounds it was said at the time. This place was more generally known after this as " Fort Funk." We had several more false alarms before we fought the battle of Ulundi, but these I will not describe here."


As anyone got any more incidents of fasle alarms.

I think the above is from : Horace Smith-Dorrien.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: False Alarms could be quite costly.   Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:52 pm

That can't be right. That was more that they fired off a Rorkes Drift. But yes after Isandlwana, I doubt there was very little sleep.
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: False Alarms could be quite costly.   Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:01 pm

CTSG
Quote :
That was more that they fired off a Rorkes Drift
Now thats a good point. Unless they had Gatling Guns. I not sure on the fire rate but they spit out hundreds in quick time.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: False Alarms could be quite costly.   Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:10 pm

Dave. I wonder if this is the same incident. "Fort Funk"

The sappers were to build a strongpoint for defending the store depot, so when they arrived at 18h30 on 6 June they pitched their tents on site and began work, well outside Newdigate's laager. About 22h00 they were awakened by shots and dived into the protection of the walls, only ,61 cm high, on which they had just begun working.
They heard the outlying picquets fire three volleys, saw them retreat, and persuaded them to shelter within the walls.

At once they all came under heavy fire from Newdigate's laager. Corporal Howe relates the story of what happened next in this dangerous and farcical situation: '

"Good heavens, they are taking us for the enemy. Under cover at once!", cried Chard, the hero of Rorke's Drift. It was not safe to move. The buglers sounded the cease fire. Our men got over the wall to rush on the laager when they, taking us for a rush of Zulus, poured another volley into us.

Back we had to go helter-skelter over the wall. Men jumped on to one another and were lying huddled in hopeless confusion, whilst shot was pouring into us like hail. Before it ceased five Engineers (including a sergeant and two corporals) had been wounded. Next morning we found the stones on the wall covered with lead and bullet marks. The artillery told us they were just going to fire when they heard our bugle sound. If they had, not one of us would have escaped'


Such was the disastrous origin of Fort Newdigate, better known to the troops as Fort Funk. Similar false alarms ruffled the columns as they continued their slow advance, and the artillery did in fact fire in one of the worse incidents just before Ulundi.

"Artillery did in fact fire in one of the worse incidents just before Ulundi." Will try and find out about this Incident.


Source: The Anglo-Zulu War as Depicted in Soldiers' Letters
by Frank Emery


Source: The Anglo-Zulu War as Depicted in Soldiers' Letters
by Frank Emery
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90th

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PostSubject: false alarms   Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:20 am

hi ctsg.
I"m positive your post is the same incident that Dave has listed , as for 50,000 rounds I find it hard to believe , possibly
a typo referring to 500 rounds , I dont even think 5,000 would be possible . Interesting what Neil may have to say.
I am currently reading " Fearful Hard Times " The Siege and Relief of Eshowe by Knight and Castle.
There are quite a few instances of false alarms with troops ordered to " Stand to " and then shots being fired
off into the darkness. Many officers believed they were the fault of the 99th Regt who appeared Jittery , These
same officer 's didnt have a great deal of confidence in the 99th. The 2 / 3rd Regt ( The Buffs ) also fired some
shots off into the dark during the siege at Eshowe , and it was revealed next morning they had been firing at a
Sailor"s shirt and pair of pants which had blown in front of the sentries and they were riddled with holes !. I
think the Fort Newdigate ( fort funk ) affair was one of the major instances of a " False Alarm " during the
campaign .
cheers 90th.
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joe

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PostSubject: Re: False Alarms could be quite costly.   Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:51 am

hi
Im with CTSG and 90th, 50,000 rounds is alot. 5000 may be more beliveble, if they used gatling guns paired with the infantry, then they would be able to use 5000 rounds in about 8mins with the gatling firing at about 500 rounds per min.

However the time taken would br greatly decreased if there was 2 gatling guns.

thanks joe
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keith4698



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PostSubject: Re: False Alarms could be quite costly.   Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:24 am

In real life you would not fire a gatling or even a modern machine gun at anywhere near its max rate of fire, if you
could even crank the handle that fast it would soon heat up and jam
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: False Alarms could be quite costly.   Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:24 am

Doe's anyone have information on this Incident. I have looked nothing.
Quote :
"Artillery did in fact fire in one of the worse incidents just before Ulundi." Will try and find out about this Incident.
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90th

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PostSubject: false alarms   Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:23 am

hi ctsg.
This is all I could find regarding the firing of artillery.
From " Narrative of the field operations connected with the zulu war of 1879 "
6th June ...." The tents were immediately struck , and the troops manned the wagon laager to recieve the expected
attack . Fearing that the piquets might be shot , Gen Newdigate now ordered the " close " to be sounded
, and very soon afterwards the troops opened fire from all faces of the laager , and two rounds were fired
by the ARTILLERY . Orders were promptly issued for this firing to cease ".
cheers 90th.
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90th

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PostSubject: false alarms   Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:05 pm

hi all.
More from " Narrative of the field operations connected with the zulu war "
6th April......At 3.30 am on the morning of the 6th April , a sentry of the 91st fired a shot at what he took to be a party of the
enemy. A piquet of the 60th Rifles , which was on the opposite side of the entrenched enclosure , on hearing this
shot , hastily fell back , as did some of Dunn"s scouts , who had been still further in advance . The main body of
the 3 /60th who were within the entrenchment , opened fire on the party , thus hastening toward them , and the
result was that 5 of the 60th , and 9 of the native scouts were either shot or bayoneted . Of these 1 man of the
60th was killed on the spot , and 2 of the natives died of their wounds shortly afterwards ".

On further investigation from " Casualty roll for the zulu war " by Tavender .
Regarding the 3 /60 th Rifles. Casualties on the 6th April...... J.BARKER 783 wounded near Imfuchini , W. BURTON 1939
severly wounded in thigh near Imfuchini , T. CROWDSON 3279 wounded near Imfuchini , F. LAMBERT 1982 Severly wounded
near Imfuchini , and last but not least , R. WINTER 2033 severly wounded near Imfuchini . No mention of a 60th REGT death !!.
Once again we dont have any definitive proof either way.
cheers 90th.
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SirDCC

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PostSubject: Re: False Alarms could be quite costly.   Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:18 pm

More of the same, just I'm to lazy to write it all out Wink

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90th

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PostSubject: false alarms   Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:48 am

hi all.
I am reading for the second time ! , Campaigning in Zululand by Capt . W.E.Montague
The following is his version of events at Fort Newdigate. I think from memory 6th June 79.

" I was lying snugly in bed - two blankets and a waterproof sheet laid out on some charming specimens of Quartz
having further indulged in taking off my boots , in anticipation of a good nights rest , when ping ! ping ! ping ! went three
shots, the signal of an attack. In an instant the drowsy camp awoke as if by magic . The native cont crowded into the laager,
buzzing like bees. Our own men raced each other, in a hurry to be first within welcome cover. The bugles rang out the " Assembly '
a weird sound , between the pauses were heard the words of command. Flop came the tent about my ears , and I was outside in
the darkness. The air was full of the noise of hurry and bustle . Confusion put in its own voice, and was heard. From a rift in the
clouds a streak of light fell on the heads of silent men in the waggons peering out , and gave promise of the rising moon . Here
and there flashed a bayonet , pointing outwards . Inside the wagons was a space, ten yards across , left vacant for a roadway,
and within this lay the vast crowd of oxen, tied by the head , and breathing noisily. Between them, here and there were the horses,
picketed in lines, straining nervously at their head ropes, the men beside their horses ready to mount . At that moment came a volley far down the hill where a picket had been posted , its rattle clear and distinct in the night air. A staff officer gallops past,
and in an instant the rear face is lit up with fire , taken up all along the line of wagons. Crash go the volleys everywhere, belching
out flame and smoke, till the front is one thick white cloud , pierced only by the sharp and vivid flashes from the muzzles . ' Whisht '
comes a bullet overhead , ' Whir ', follows another. Crash goes a volley close by , and the face in our front is once more framed
with fire. Then the big guns in the corner give out an answer , booming their bass notes high above the rest. The bullets are flying
merrily overhead , and the soldiers , young lads half of them , with a wholesome dread of the zulus in their poor little hearts , and
funk plainly written on their faces , crowd under the wagons for safety , quickly to be pulled out again by their officers in every style
of undress , many with their red nightcaps still on. Out come the skulkers in droves , only to vanish again round the next wagon.
The fun grows furious , bullets sing and whiz past in flights. The smoke is stifling , and hides up everything. Half a dozen horses,
maddened by the din , are rushing about . In the narrow pathway left round the wagons it is impossible to move freely , so crowded
up is it with oxen and horses. Native soldiers squat in masses in the middle , and continually let off their guns in the air , keeping
the butts firmly on the ground . Conductors blaze away into the nearest wagon- tilt . Tents lie flat, their ropes still tied to the pegs,
sure traps for the unwary. Chaos is everywhere , even in the wagons , where the men lie firing incessantly , and paying scant
attention to the orders shouted at them. twenty minutes of this work , and a bugle sounds the ceasefire , and the flashes die out
and leave the laager dark and silent as the night itself. Then our General followed , and gave his censure pretty freely on the
wretched scare , and shame sat on many a face at its recollection. Not a zulu had been seen , the picket who had commenced
the row firing at what it thought was some " blacks ", but might have been a cloud . It was said afterwards by the zulus themselves
that there 15,000 of them ready to attack , but gave it up on finding us so well prepared. The tale may be true or not , and was
some small consulation to those who helped in the fun , though hardly so to the wounded men on our own side , shot by their
comrades , who were picked up after the firing ceased. From that day , the spot where the scare happened was called in memory
of it , Fort Funk.
cheers 90th.
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