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Commander Crawford Caffin, R.N
H.M.S. Natal, aboard which the prisoner Cetshwayo was transported from Port Natal to Capetown. Caffin had joint charge of the King with Captain Ruscombe Poole, R.A. (Isandula Collection)
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 Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way

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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way   Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:59 pm

Gent'sTheory Only

Cetshwayo sends an army of 20,000 Zulus to hide in a valley. Then despatches others to lure the British further into Zululand leading the British away from Isandlwana and the valley. It started to go wrong when half of the Good Lords Chelmsford’s column was left at Isandlwana, and of course their discovery by Raw this was not meant to happen; the Zulus had hoped that all of the British Soldiers would leave Isandlwana.

If all the British soldiers had left the Zulu’s could have rested, and the next day launched an invasion into Natal. The only British force left to stop the Zulu’s would have been at Rorkes Drift, who of course would have been completely un-prepared for any attack it would have been over in minutes, The Good Lords invading forces would never have been able to return in time to prevent the invasion. And I cannot think of anything that would have stopped them if they had invaded, In-fact Natal would have been completely unaware of any impending Zulu Invasion.

Comments Welcome....
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90th

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PostSubject: isandlwana the intended target   Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:36 am

hi ctsg.
Just a quick reply , Cetshwayo never had any intention of invading Natal because he wanted to be seen as the victim and not
the agressor this is quoted in many sources . The Zulu army did intend to attack number 3 column but not until dawn on
the 23rd Jan . The zulus had realised there wasnt any entrenchments or earthworks and certainly no Laagering was put into
practice . So they would have fancied their chances . It was just unfortunate for the British that Raw stumbled across the army
on the 22nd when The Good Lord had left the camp earlier in the morning when going to the assistance of Dartnell who had
asked / pleaded for re- enforcements . For what its worth If the Good Lord hadnt Left the camp I dont think the result would have
been any differant . A zulu victory with much bigger loss on both sides . We must remember there were only 1500 European troops
in number 3 colmn along with 2,500 Natives , also Pulleine set the defence as per the instructions in Chelmsford's orders to Column
Commanders issued in Dec 1878 . Which made no mention of the British defensive square as it was viewed to be ' Old hat ' .
Looking forward to the thoughts of other members Idea
cheers 90th.

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way   Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:32 am

CTSG/90th
Have to agree, Cetswayo went out of his way to forbid any encroachment into Nata. The British forces did not of course know that.
I think if Cetswayo had wanted to invade there were so many options other than messing around at Isandlwana. Middle Dirft for instance was completely unguarded. To defend that border would have taken a lot more troops than Chelmsford had available, all he could attempt was to try and draw the Zulu Army into battle, and that he did that succesfully at GinGindlovu, Nyezane and Kambula .
90th
I would beg to disagree on the statement that it wouldnt have made any difference if the column had stayed together. The camp would have been under a more experienced leader, Chelmsford, double the men to, probable defend half the space. Plus of course a larger cavalry contingent that could have stopped the left horn in its tracks.
I think Wood proved that point at Kambula.........Just a thought.
A key point here in terms of the day of the attack. Cetswayo issued instructions to the impi commanders that before opening hostilities they were to engage the British in talks to try and avert a war. The vanishing Zulus in front of Chelmsford were there to do one thing, lead him away from the impi, not to trap him (no evidence of that) but to stop him finding the main army, so presumably to give the Zulu time to send their peace delegation to the camp. Raws discovery pre-empted that.

All grist to the mill, as they say.

Regards

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90th

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PostSubject: isandlwana the intended target   Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:12 am

hi Springbok .
Glad you beg to differ , Idea . Thats what makes the world go around . I respect your thoughts on the camp not being divided
at Isandlwana . But I still maintain that with only 1500 Imperial troops the result would have been the same . allbeit taking longer
to happen . Also Wood's Force was behind barricades and he had 1,200 Imperial troops from the 13th and 90th Regts , luckily
he had Buller and his force but as Wood said so often ' It was a close run thing ' also goading one of the horns to attack early
certainly helped them , as the zulu were over confident after their display at Isandlwana .
cheers 90th.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way   Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:39 am

Cetshwayo never had any intention of invading Natal because he wanted to be seen as the victim and not the aggressor this is quoted in many sources.

If this was the case, would it not have been better to do nothing rather than mass an army near the location where the British would carry out there invasion.

Cetshwayo had become the victim, after the British attacked Sihayo's Kraal.
He could have quite easily have lunched an attack on the Good Lord column as it advanced to Isandlwana, this attack would have caught the British out in the open, and totally unprepared, just as they did at Isandlwana, but he didn’t the Zulu’s remained silent waiting for the British to move further into Zululand.

I will have to end there will carry on after work.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way   Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:48 am

90th
Yep fair comment. Its difficult to really try and do what ifs, mine would stem from reading that the line held firm against the frontal attacks. The Zulu breakthrough would have been by the left horn against the donga. so to take that forward, assume that the donga had held. Would it be possible to assume that the line could have carried on holding? Remember that the Zulu frontal attacks were at one point ready to call it a day and go home, it was only when the fire slackened, because of the retreat to defend the left horn, that they made any inroads. So if I assume that the line was strong then with the additional cavalry and forces available to Chelmsford Im pretty sure that left horn would have not been able to outflank.
The mounted men would have made all the difference in the world, that flat plain to the front of the camp would have been a killing ground.
CTSG
I dont think there is an incident in the whole war that the Zulu attacked troops on the move? Wasnt their style to ambush I assume.
Dont forget that Cetswayo was under a lot of pressure from his Amabuthu to do something about the invaders. The Zulu saw themselves as superior to all the tribes, that included the white men. Cetswayo had to appease them and opose the invasion. Yet still in the 11th hour he wanted to negotiate rather than fight.
Regards
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90th

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PostSubject: isandlwana the intended target   Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:11 pm

hi all.
ctsg.

Ceteswayo was forced by the british to make a decision of where he could try and halt the invaders. He thought the central
column was the most dangerous so therefore it drew the short straw . Ceteswayo couldnt just sit back and wait for peace he
had to and was forced to make a statement . By electing to attack in the region of Isandlwana the ground was most appealing
for the zulu army as history has shown , it worked !. Idea

springbok.
As I havent been to Isandlwana it makes it difficult to comment on the Topography but try this one . It is well and good talking
of the front line holding and the left horn being stalled by the Mtd Horse , but what of the right horn coming from the western side
of Isandlwana ? . How could / would they have stopped the zulus from entering the camp through the back door ?. Dont forget
there wasnt any attempt to laager or entrench whereas Wood had done all of that . Idea

Forgot to mention , the only time that a Column was attacked on the move was Pearson's on the Nyezane on the same day
as Isandlwana and R. Drift . I still find it difficult to believe that the zulu didnt adopt this tactic , Losses would have been far greater
and possibly caused a rethink from The Good Lord and Sir Bartle Frere ?.
cheers 90th. :)
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PostSubject: Re: Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way   Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:22 pm

Again, allways difficult to predict what ifs.
However think about the experienced military brains that werent in the camp, Chelmsford, Glynn, Hamilton Brown, Russel and my personal favorite, the indomitable Major Black. Thats a hang of a lot of savvy. Im sure that if that lot were in the camp with another 1000 men at their disposal they would have spotted the back door and firmly bolted it shut.
Also do you not think its possible that a different aproach would have been used and a lot less territory defended?
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PostSubject: Re: Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way   Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:27 pm

90th
Its really suprising that they didnt attack a column on the move. Maybe the Zulu tacticians were so brainwashed from iShaka days about the heads and horns that they couldny adapt? One things beyond doubt though, the brits on the move were spread over miles, a semi decent attack would have crushed the invaders.

Regards
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90th

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PostSubject: isandlwana the intended target   Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:49 pm

hi springbok.
In regard to your previous statement about the brains missing from Isandlwana and another thousand men able to bolt the
back door shut ! . The whole thing to me boils down to the fact that there were only 1500 Imperial troops in the central Column.
For my way of thinking not enough to hold an unfortified position against 20,000 + . And I agree with you on the ' What if's ' difficult to
mount cases either way . Whose to say the ammo flow would have been any differant ? . It may have been worse because of the fact
more troops would have meant it would have been exhausted earlier ????. Chelmsford after all if he had stayed in camp would certainly be on the move or running supply trains back and forth to R.D. Hope this makes sense Idea
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way   Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:36 pm

Quote :
Its really suprising that they didnt attack a column on the move.
Now don't you think that was a good enough reason for the Good Lord Chelmsford to drag his heels "as they say" back to Isandlwana. He had received confirmation that the camp had been taken; he was told there was an estimated 20.000 Zulu's involved. Was he not right to delay getting back to Isandlwana, he would have had an army on the move in line formation into an area that could possibly contain 20.000 Zulus. What would you have done in his place? Led another 1500 men to their deaths.

The other mystery is Cetewayo said never attacked a fortified British position. You would have thought columns on the move would have been the ideal targets.
So why did they wait for the British to get established before attacking ? Why!!!!

Take Ulundi for instance again there were an estimated 20,000 Zulu warriors, yet they waited until the British had formed the defensive square position before attacking. I wonder what would have happen if the Zulu’s had attacked when the British were arriving at the Battle site in line formation. They knew all to well from other engagements that they could not win under sustained firepower, especially when cannon and Gatling guns were involved.

Was it good tactics on the Zulu’s part at Isandlwana or just luck and over whelming numbers? That won the day. I really do believe that the 20,000 Zulu’s that hid in the valley were there for a reason, and Isandlwana was not that reason.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way   Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:57 pm

I have also wondered why the Zulu's never hit the Brits on the move.

CTSG That is a good point as to why; Chelmsford didn't get out of first gear when returning to Isandlwana. It must have been a hard decision knowing that the men at Isandlwana were possibly relying on him returning, But then again he left a thousand men there. I guess another 1500 men would have been just to must to bear.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way   Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:31 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Not sure where this is from, but it doe's suggest Natal was at Cetshwayo's mercy. The rest also make a lot of sence..
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PostSubject: Re: Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way   Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:23 am

CTSG
Again we agree, getting to be a bad habit.
I dont believe that Chelmsford did drag his heals. His force was split all over the area trying to chase down the Zulu. He himself was halfway back to Isandlwana, the infantry was miles behind. He did the logical thing, group the forces before advancing.
Why he had his column split so badly is another issue all on its own.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way   Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:28 pm

Quote :
Why he had his column split so badly is another issue all on its own.

"When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me, if information which he obtained showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command" :lol!:
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PostSubject: Re: Was Isandlwana Really The Intended Target. Or Was It Just In The Way   Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:15 pm

There is no way the Zulu’s that defeated the British at Isandlwana, would have hung around if they had seen Chelmsford column coming back to Isandlwana, they would have been completely done in. Good example was when Chelmsford relief column arrived at Rorkes Drift; the two armies just passed each other without a shot fire. Maybe Chelmsford was just being cautious.

Mind you if some told me 20,000 Zulus had just taken a camp guarded by 1000 men, I think I would have made rapid movements in the opposite direction.
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