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 Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,

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John

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PostSubject: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:51 pm

Hows that possible with such a low body count.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:49 am

John. I have often wondered about this myself. And put it down to miscalculation of figures.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:08 pm

"The Martini-Henry breechloaders began to heat up. The wood on the Martini stocks became almost as hot as the barrels and the soldiers wrapped them in cloth. By evening, hands were burned and continuous firing took its toll on the men’s shoulders, too. The recoil increased as the rifling in the barrels became fouled. Casings also became stuck in the breech due to the fouling and failed to eject. After awhile, every shot could require prying the casing out with a pocket knife!

Meanwhile the Zulus attempted to light fire to the storehouse in order to force a conclusion to the intense battle before daylight. At 9:00 PM the British ceded another wall and concentrated their deadly firepower within their last bastion of defense. Despite further assault waves, the Zulus began to lose some of their motivation for the fight.

Nevertheless, the British prepared for a renewed onslaught in the morning. The impi chanted as the idunas exhorted the men to press forward into the darkness. The close-range flash of the British muzzles awaited each new rush from the Zulu ranks. The British had been fighting for five exhausting hours and sensed that at dawn they would go down fighting in a massive attack. All of the British forces in Natal would be forted up, making hope for reinforcements nil.

Beginning with 34 boxes of .450-inch Boxer cartridges, the British were down to six boxes. With the rounds in their pouches the soldiers had 100 rounds per man or 12,000 total. In five hours the men had used 25,000 rounds or 42 rounds an hour per man- excellent fire control!"

Source: Mark S. Knapp
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sat Apr 18, 2009 8:40 pm

With reflection to the number of shots fired and using the most plausible estimation of dead and wounded Zulu in the Battle of Rorke’s Drift as a reference, probably 500-600 dead and fatally wounded and 400 wounded, the rate of target hits was relatively low, at just one in 20, without counting the warriors who died at point of bayonet or Chard or Bromhead’s revolvers. This as been interpreted , in many opinions erroneously , as evidence of poor aim of the soldiers of company B. Even taking into account the possibility that each man who had a rifle fired an average of 200 bullets thought-out the battle, one should not forget that two thirds of combat was fought during the night, when it was more difficult to aim, Furthermore, one should not forget that although the tests carried out on the Martini-Henry had proven that an experienced man could manage to recklessly fire up to 22-24 times per minute, or eight times with precision, efficiency during combat was significantly less. There are also a series of determining factors that reduce a soldiers efficiency.
The tension and anxiety, fear, adrenaline, enemy fire, the noise of battle with the shots mixed with the cries, in the case of the soldiers and the black gunpowder smoke from the Zulu , ect., undoubtedly had a significant influence.

So there is no reason to presume that the men were bad shots, but rather that they were simply professional soldiers experiencing a furious combat, with everything that this implied. Moreover, it is estimated that after firing 100 shots with the Martini-Henry , it was impossible for a man to raise and aim his weapon adequately.
It is also known that a significant part of the men from B company were unable to move their right shoulders for days afterwards without experiencing pain and the majority of them had bruises even on the upper part of their necks.

S.D
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sat Apr 18, 2009 8:53 pm

SD. When you say “Recklessly” was in then possible that some of the British Soldiers killed or wounded by gunfire could have been due to reckless fire by other defenders.
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:03 pm

The only one I know of that was recorded was William Anderson: Cororal 3rd Regiment N.N.C Killed by a British Fire. But he was shot in anger when he tryed to run away with the others that deserted their posts.
But that is a very good question 24th.

Regards

Pete
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:30 pm

He is the only one I know about as well. But it is possible, just not recorded.

The Mark I and II Martini-Henry Rifles, and Carbine MkI's would have been the most prolific weapons issued to the British during the 1879 Anglo Zulu War. The heavy .45 caliber bullets of the Martini-Henry inflicted terrible wounds on the Zulus, and many who wondered off the battlefield with bullet wounds died an agonizing, painful, slow death.

Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift, it is presumed that volley firing commenced at a range of about 400 yards. At this range, the volley firing cut large swaths into the advancing line of Zulu warriors.

Considering bullet weight and velocity, it is possible that many rounds fired from 200 yards or less went through one Zulu, and possibly onto a next, severely wounding or even killing him.
It has been estimated that between 20,000 and 25,000 rounds were discharged during the battle of Rorke's Drift, with the vast majority of the shots missed their targets.

Chard's report, “the number of Zulu dead buried by the British was 351. It is estimated that another 300 Zulus died later as a result of wounds sustained during the battle. “

So, predictably speaking, every 25th shot fired by the defenders of Rorke's Drift resulted in an eventual Zulu death, and every 50th shot was a kill.

S.D
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:31 am

Does anyone know where the emphasis was placed during training ? was on marksmanship or was it on rate of fire ?

A hit every 25 rounds seems very low for trained infantry - are details available for any other engagements of the time ?

I know i have read somewhere that a lot of ammunition was expended at night just to keep the Zulu pinned down .
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:15 pm

Gary.

A well-trained infantryman could operate the Martini-Henry rifle at the rate of twelve aimed rounds or twenty-four un-aimed rounds per minute.
So you could say emphasis was on both rapid and marksmanship. And also depending on the battle conditions and what was needed. Covering fire or more precise fire.



S.D
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:53 pm

S.D You are correct in what is expected of a trained soldier, But no one can determine the ferocity of a battle, It is then the basic human instinct comes into play survival. If they fired off between 20000 and 25000 rounds in was done purely to survive. There was so many Zulus attacking up close and personal
I doubt if they really needed to aim.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:15 am

Fight or Flight ? I don’t think you had much choice on this forum Mr chelmsford. (It wasn’t fight)
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:10 pm

The high amount is because their was always something to shoot at.

There was no big lulls in the rushes as is portrayed in the films.




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DB14
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:23 pm

Between 500 to 800 dead Zulus discount those killed by bayonet. Not good marksmanship.
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:47 pm

John wrote:
Between 500 to 800 dead Zulus discount those killed by bayonet. Not good marksmanship.

I too thought the same..

As as others have mentioned, a lot of shots were fired just to let the Zulu's know that they were there.

I think Mike Snook described a lot of Zulu's spending the battle on their belly's, so maybe the Brit's didn't have much to shoot at and don't forget 1/2 the battle was through the night and vision would have been very limited.

cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:52 pm

John, so this is what needed to be done.................

A group of Zulus come rushing out of dead ground right in front of you all intent on killing you and instead of shooting as quick as you can,

You take aim, adjust your sights breath in, count to 3 and breath out, then squeeze the trigger??


I dout they had the time to do that Rolling Eyes


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DB14
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PostSubject: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:52 am

Hello

19100 shot at Rorke's Drift and as some warriors were killed in the "melee" or have died otherwise, burned alive, buried alive by the brave soldiers of the column of Chelmsford, not to mention those who were hanged , that we after a total of Chard, 25 cartridges to kill or injure a brave warrior, which given the short ranges of the target is pretty bad ...

But you can do worse, that to flatter the vanity UK:

At the Battle of the Rosebud on June 17.1876, Brigadier - General Crook's 15 companies of the 2 nd and 3 rd Cavalry fired about 80.000 rounds Which Caused and fortunately only 31 Indian casualty - Indicating an average of More than 2.500 round fired to inflict a single casualty!

Yet the US's Army cavalry carbines Springfield Were still quite effective Within 300 yards!

Like what, but rather that the training was inadequate for the soldiers of the time ... Fortunately for their poor opponents ...

Cheers

Pascal
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:04 am

On another forum, I mentioned the book "What really happened at Rorke's Drift?" by the well known battlefield guide, Pat Rundgren, and I was taken to task by one of the leading experts on Isandlwana/Rorke's Drift (and other military matters) for suggesting that it was worth reading. Will the same happen here?

Brett
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PostSubject: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:28 am


Hi

When someone takes you to parties, defend you at 800% ...

The only expert on Rorke's Drift and Isandhlwana are those who were killed in these two battles.

Cheers

Pascal














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90th

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PostSubject: 20,000 - 25,000   Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:30 am

Hi Brett.
I have the Rundgren book and read it a while ago . I cant remember if I liked it or not !. I do remember thinking
it was interesting . I do know I didnt criticise it , or think it was '' out there '' in his ideas of R.Drift .
I think it's quite hard to come by . I'm not even sure how I got my copy , it may have been ebay .
Cheers 90th. 😕
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:54 pm

Would it have been (physically) possible for the men a RD to fire off the amount of ammuntion Chard claimed to have done.
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:01 am

Neil take up the test mentioned in this artical. Then I shall accept the MH was a good as you say it is.

THE MARTINI-HENRY RIFLE.
Otago Witness , Issue 1198, 14 November 1874, Page 3
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:06 pm

garywilson1 wrote:
Does anyone know where the emphasis was placed during training ? was on marksmanship or was it on rate of fire ?

A hit every 25 rounds seems very low for trained infantry - are details available for any other engagements of the time ?

I know i have read somewhere that a lot of ammunition was expended at night just to keep the Zulu pinned down .

I don't know on what part the emphasis was placed but I'm not sure if both are mutually exclusive. But the men were no snipers and trained as such. Even if, the firing accuracy wouldn't have been much better. To become an expert in an even quite simple mechanical task you need to do it about 10,000 times. There's no way recruits would ever fire away that number during basic training. Most soldiers wouldnt' shoot that often in a whole lifetime. So one hit in 25 shots is not really bad at all. And combat shooting differs much from the training ground (which is hard enough). Just moving the rifle at the decisive point a tiny millimetre, i.e. when triggering, can make the bullet impact one metre off the target (depending on distance, oc). If you now look at top athletes who literally do nothing else than training their bodies you'll see how strong their body movements are even after very short periods of commitment.
And as you say, a lot of firing would've been suppression fire which is just as important. A little bit simplified, it is sometimes more important to keep five people down with a high shot, rather, than killing one and the other four rushing you.

cheers, Salute
Dave


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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:06 pm

Litthehand
If somebody had the ammo spare, I'd fire the fecker til the solder on the sight melted, LOL.

with Stephen Manning overseeing for his Opsrey book, 8.7.12 I did four LIVE, MH rounds in ten seconds, and hit the target with every one, he was amazed that after 20 rounds in 20 mins he could grasp the rifle barrel no worries.

Average Sunday Morning in a shirt we'll do 30-50 rounds in just over an hour, after 50 you know you've done it, but over ten hours, absolutely 200 rounds could be done......... You'll be sore mind!.

Volume firing tests C1875 were mainly done on a mechanical rest, as they were testing mean accuracy over extended periods too, so a rest provides a constant. However many were carried out at Hythe.

Lt Col H.C Fletcher: October 1875 to the Inspector RSAF. results of rapid firing with dried sand tests.
Rifle No 87 & 647 fired over four days without cleaning.
• 400 Rounds fired, Two handfuls’ of dry sand poured in action & three rounds fire with no problems.
• 2 rifles buried in Snow, sand and earth, again 10 rounds fired and worked perfectly.
50 rounds fired with great rapidity, had become extremely hot “some extraction difficulties”, but on cooling the rifles worked well. , he continued:

• 20 Rifles tested, each with 140 rounds rapid, with sand tests.
• Rifle 7576 20 times extraction issues found
• Rifle 8489 5 times extraction issues found
• Rifle 8304 2 times extraction issues found
• “No other casualties occurred”.

You'll note my bolding of the last bullet point, 2800 rounds, rapid, 27 potential blockages, less than 0.97% makes you think.?.


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PostSubject: Testing the MH   Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:43 pm



Hi Neil,

Indeed interesting, but not conclusive. Three questions arise however;
* what was the ambient temprature on the day of the test/s ?;
* which cases were used, rolled or drawn brass?
* were any of the cartridges used in these tests deformed?

regards

barry
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:20 pm

Barry

1)Not recorded
2) Rolled, solid case didn't exist
3) Not recorded, but no reason to use anything else but MkIII.
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:52 pm

Quote :
• 20 Rifles tested, each with 140 rounds rapid, with sand tests.
• Rifle 7576 20 times extraction issues found
• Rifle 8489 5 times extraction issues found
• Rifle 8304 2 times extraction issues found
• “No other casualties occurred”.

Still it does show they wasnt consistent. You woundn't want to have been issued Rifle7576 at Isandlwana.

But as said before, the tests were carried out on a rifle range, with no hostilities, and not with ammuntion that had travel thousands of miles by ship, carts, man handled, probably dropped, ending up in ammuntion pouches on soldiers belts, subjected to various temperatures.
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:02 am

Dave

The report does later say what the matter was with Rifle Number 7576, but I agree, you wouldn't want that one on the day.





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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:09 pm

Hi all,
i would have thought that a lot of firing would have been at muzzle smoke /flash you may not see the target but fire rounds at the area the fire is coming from, so it may take some time to suppress that position.
Also a lot of it was at night with only the aid of burning buildings (that wouldnt help your night vision) . Your mates are being hit all around you and you havent had food or drink in many hours so your vision cant be that great.
Close quarter fighting with anything to hand and add to that a bayonet on the end of your rifle.
Thr British government being past or present has never thrown a lot of money at peace time training with live rounds thers always been other things to do .
When all said and done they did the job they were being paid for and they did it well they had to break the zulu and they did .It was a close run thing .
The Zulu wanted to have a fight at Jims and they got it, no matter how much brass was expended by the defenders it did the job .
Sorry to ramble on.
Regards Gavin.
P.S my spell check is stuffed so sorry for the bad grammer.
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PostSubject: Re: Between 20,000 - 25,000 rounds during the defence of Rorke's Drift,   Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:06 pm

Gavin. You make some good points. But no matter how we look at their situation, it sure was a lot of ammuntion. Suspect
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