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 British Morale during the Zulu War

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joe

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PostSubject: British Morale during the Zulu War   Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:23 pm

Hello,
I dont think this point has been discussed before, What was the average British Soldiers morale like during the battles and throughout the war?

Were the British confident they were going to beat the Zulus?

Were the British Soldiers scared of the Zulus?

Was the Martini Henry rifle liked by the men and did they beleive it was capable of easily beating any foe?

I would presume any confidence they had disintegrated after the outcome of Isandlwana.

If any views or points could be added, im sure this could be an interesting discussion.

thanks Joe
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90th

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PostSubject: british morale   Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:15 pm

hi joe.
I'll start the ball rolling , I think Morale would have been very high when the invasion began but soon changed after
22nd Jan !. The british thought they would have little trouble I think against the zulu or the people who didnt know the
zulu , those in the ' know ' may have had some misgivings . I dont think they were scared initially more than likely wanting
to come to grips with the zulu . After Isandlwana things would have been completely differant . I think the M.H would have been
very popular as it would have been an improvement on what they were issued earlier . No doubt they thought they had the
weapon to inflict a massive defeat on the zulu people . Nothing would have sapped morale more than the rain and the trying
conditions they had to put up with during the 2nd invasion . Many letters reflect this view in many publications . hope this helps.
cheers 90th.
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joe

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PostSubject: Re: British Morale during the Zulu War   Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:31 pm

Hi
Which weapon were the British Army issued with before the MH, was it the Snider?

I suppose most british soldiers (Privates) wouldnt know much about the Zulu army and would just be told from their commanders that the Zulus were a native tribe with primitive weapons (which actually was the case) they wouldnt know of their tactics.

thanks joe
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Myer's Drifter



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PostSubject: Re: British Morale during the Zulu War   Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:07 pm

Hi Joe
Confidence in beating the enemy would undoubtedly have been high until Isandlwana (as has been mentioned). But morale was another matter and would also depend on how long the different regiments had been in the Cape. The 80th Regiment for example were there during the Sekukuni and Zulu campaigns 1877-1879. This quote from an interview with Sergeant Anthony Booth V.C.gives some idea of conditions which would have affected morale:
[i]We arrived about five miles from his stronghold in October, marching from 21 to 30 miles a day, crossing rivers by marching through them belted and fully dressed. In fact, remarked the gallant soldier, from the time we left Natal in June, 1878, till I arrived in Cape Town in April, 1880, I did not take off my boots and clothing at nights, but slept in them with the rifle at my side[/i].
This together with a rather monotonous diet and dreadful weather conditions would not have done much for my morale!!
DaveB
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: British Morale during the Zulu War   Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:22 pm

I would image that with the new recruits goinginto S.A after the disaster at Isandlwana Morale would have been extremely low. Do you think the seasoned soldiers told stories to the new recruits about what would happen if the Zulu’s caught them? Kind of a wind up.
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garywilson1

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PostSubject: Re: British Morale during the Zulu War   Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:39 pm

They could have come to belieive they were up against a superhuman enemy , a bit like in WW2 in North Africa before the arrival of Monty when the British were in awe of Rommel or in Burma where the British initially regarded the Japenese with something bordering on contempt at the start but later came to regard the Japanese soldier as invincible.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: British Morale during the Zulu War   Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:48 pm

What Battle was it where the new recruits? Fled or tried. When they saw the Zulu’s for the first time.

I bet they were told of the horrors that took place at Isandlwana around the camp fires at night.
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sas1

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PostSubject: Re: British Morale during the Zulu War   Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:09 pm

Quote :
I bet they were told of the horrors that took place at Isandlwana around the camp fires at night.
And more!

24th without a doubt. They would have really gone to town with the new recruits. They would have put the fear of god into them. But that's all part of Soldiering. But when it came on top, they would have watched out for them. Morale is always low in the army. Unless your going home :lol!:
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