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 1562 Pte. D. Mullen 2/3rd Foot.) The Buffs – later the East Kent Regiment.

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PostSubject: 1562 Pte. D. Mullen 2/3rd Foot.) The Buffs – later the East Kent Regiment.   Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:03 pm

1562 Pte. D. Mullen 2/3rd Foot.) The Buffs – later the East Kent Regiment.

Regiment took part in the advance on Zululand and the major actions which followed.

The British square at *GINGINDLOVU. (Extract from: The forgotten battlefields of the Zulu War, 1879 by Ken Gillings.) The South African Military History Society Military History Journal - Vol 4 No 4.

North (front) face- 60th Rifles, Right flank face - 57th Foot. Left flank face - 99th Foot and 2/3rd Foot 'the Buffs' , Rear face - 91st Foot.

Each corner of the square was manned by the Naval Brigade sailors and marines from HMS. The Gatling from Boadicea was mounted in the North-eastern corner and the two rocket tubes under Lt Kerr were positioned on the North-west corner, whereas the two 9-pr guns under Lt Kingscote covered the South-west. The second Gatling and two more rocket tubes covered the South-eastern approach and these were under Commander Brackenbury.

The Zulu Impi was first observed as the mist began to lift. Even before the impi crossed the Inyezane River, it had begun to split up into the traditional Zulu horn-formation, with the two horns running ahead of the chest or loins. As the impi drew opposite the laager, it entered the water and splashed across, the right wing and loins split up again and trotted over the Umisa Hill to the west. Having split up, it became clear that the column was facing no less than six Zulu Regiments, as well as a reserve, the former totalling over 10 000 and the reserve in excess of 2000. Most were warriors who had fought at Isandhlwana, the regiments being the Uve, in Gobamakhosi, umCijo, umHlanga, uMbonambi, and the head-ringed uThulwana. The Gatling from HMS Boadicea rattled off the first shots at a range of 1000 metres, and the Zulus dropped into the long grass and reappeared some 300 metres from the shelter trench, at which range fire was brought to bear on them in volleys. This checked their advance to some extent, and prompted Lord Chelmsford to order Maj Barrow to make a somewhat premature charge with his mounted infantry, in an attempt to check the advance of the Zulu left horn. The Zulus were quick to realize that Barrow was uncomfortably far from the laager and threatened to cut him off in the rear. Chelmsford ordered him back to the safety of the laager but the men had to fight their way in.

Despite fearless determination, the Zulus were unable to advance to within more than 20 metres of the laager and this only by launching wave after wave of attacks. Despite the fact that the British were so well entrenched, they suffered some serious casualties. Lt Col Northey being hit in the shoulder, and although the naval surgeon managed to extract the bullet, at the time it was not realized that the slug had severed an artery, putting him out of the fight and resulting in his death some days later. Capt Barrow and Lt Col Crealock were also slightly wounded and Lt Courtenay and Capt Molyneux had their horses shot from under them.

Once the Zulus had realized that the Gatling had checked any further advance from the North, they turned their attention to the West (left face) of the laager and it was during this attack that Lt G.C.J. Johnson of the 99th Regt was killed. At the same time another attack developed from the direction of Umisa Hill, in the rear. Throughout the attack, the Zulus kept up a withering fire from behind the cover of bushes or long grass.

At this stage, Chelmsford ordered Maj Barrow to attack once again with his mounted infantry. They had been engaged in clearing the front face of the laager from the outside and accordingly redirected their attention to the impi's right flank. It was probably this manoeuvre that finally broke the Zulus' determination, coupled with the fact that they realized that they were unable to penetrate the laager from the rear, which they had thought poorly defended. On the appearance of Barrow's men, the Zulus broke and started their retreat, hotly pursued by the Mounted Infantry and the Natal Native Contingent.

*Gingindlovu - 'The place of he who swallowed the elephant'. The British soldiers, unable to pronounce the Zulu language, called it in typical style, “gin, gin, I love you”!

The column continued its march, Eshowe was relieved, and the Zulu impi’s finally defeated at Ulundi.



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