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 The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana

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6pdr

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:13 pm

24th wrote:
Well of course they were. It was the truth!

Which can be highly inconvenient to all of us...but shapers of mythologies most of all.  Salute 

Quote :
Still ironic that the Indians had repeating rifles and the 7th have single shot breech loaders.

Yes, but I wonder whether Dunn wouldn't have sold Henrys and Winchesters to the Zulu had he had access to them?

Was the Springfield carried by the 7th Cavalry much different from the carbines carried by the colonial forces and the British cavalry when it arrived?

In a lot of situations I'll bet owning the rifle with the greater range was an advantage on the American northern plains which could be level for miles, but the area around Little Big Horn is not all that different from the area around Isandlwana with lots of folds in the land.


I have read other work by Hochschild, and I own that book, but I haven't read it yet. Reminds me of Milo Minderbinder in Catch-22.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:53 pm

But it was intersting in that the Indians were able due to numbers allowed to get close to the 7th within an effective killing range. And became the owners of the longer range weapons. Amazing how the chap fired off 13 rounds in just over a miniute with a repeating rifle and the other chap just four rounds, A wee bit worrying, even if you are equipped with a long range weapon. Give me the repeating rifle anytime.

That aside do we know what the ammuntion allocation was for each man in the 7th.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:43 pm

Ulundi,

Remember, Custer and Reno tried to charge into their village so the action started at short range unlike Isandlwana. Many of the Native Americans followed a practice called "counting coup" which involved getting close enough to your intended adversary to reach out and touch him before potentially killing him.  Also, while most of the Zulu had not yet really incorporated firearms into their martial traditions or daily life, the Lakota and the Cheyenne were quite experienced with rifles -- which is why they made it point to buy the best ones they could lay their hands on.

I don't know how many rounds the troopers carried but I'm not sure it mattered all that much to the men with Custer because they were overrun and butchered so quickly. From beginning to end the battle may have lasted 90 minutes, but for many of them there was more like 15-20 minutes of fighting. "The time it takes for a hungry man to eat his lunch," is one famous quote. It definitely took longer for the Zulu to overrun the camp at Isandlwana because whatever Pulleine's faults, the 1/24th wasn't being led by a lunatic.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 02, 2014 11:14 pm

Custer knew he was out numbered, but still insisted on attacking. We mustn't forget also that the Zulus were advancing on the camp at Isandlwana and had to cover five miles on foot, over rough terrain. At Isandlwana Zulu battle formations had been taking place as early as 5am, yet has someone has pointed out, the British just looked on. Like Littlebig Horn, I don't think there was a last stand as detailed in the famous painting. The British way of trying to get the credit for loosing a battle.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:22 am

Ulundi wrote:
Custer knew he was out numbered, but still insisted on attacking.

Yes, I think because whenever he attacked an Indian village before all he found there were old men, women and children. It was a bit like attacking the relatively few men at Sihayo's holdout and concluding the Zulu weren't so tough after all.

Quote :
We mustn't forget also that the Zulus were advancing on the camp at Isandlwana and had to cover five miles on foot, over rough terrain. At Isandlwana Zulu battle formations had been taking place as early as 5am, yet has someone has pointed out, the British just looked on. Like Littlebig Horn, I don't think there was a last stand as detailed in the famous painting. The British way of trying to get the credit for loosing a battle.

John Young pointed out that a great many medals were handed out to both the Rorke's Drift and Reno/Benteen survivors -- another way to claim credit for losing a battle. I think that the defenders displayed a great deal of fortitude in both cases but there is pretty obviously also a benefit to the losing armies to highlight that rather than dwell on the larger issue.

I visited Little Big Horn before visiting Isandlwana and the similarity of the scattered white markers (cairnes vs. headstones) strikes one IMMEDIATELY. It is true that the bodies were more or less consolidated on the Isandlwana battlefield, but you still notice the same pattern of dribble...dribble...dribble...small group...small group...big group. I have read many writers on military history -- whether they are talking about ancient battlefields or contemporary -- who believe that signals forfeited cohesion as opposed to organized last stands. The overwhelming number of casualties occur not in the line of battle, but after the line breaks and men flee. When surrounded, they are naturally driven together.

I do think however it is worth noting that the 24th was likely a far more cohesive unit than the 7th Cavalry and they would at least been exposed to the idea of going into square whereas that would NEVER have occurred to Custer's boys. There are also far more accounts from the Zulu saying the red soldiers sold their lives dearly. The Lakota and Cheyenne tend to dwell on how feeble much of the resistance they encountered was...though there are many cultural or political factors that might factor into that as well.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:27 am

6pd
Well done, this really encapsulates the issue.
"that signals forfeited cohesion as opposed to organized last stands. The overwhelming number of casualties occur not in the line of battle, but after the line breaks and men flee. When surrounded, they are naturally driven together."

Cheers

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:01 pm



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Description
The original Custer Monument at West Point before the statue of Custer was removed after objection from Custer's widow.


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Custer monument next to his grave in the West Point Cemetery.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:08 pm

6pdr wrote:
free1954 wrote:

look at how long they held out. after the indians killed off custer's command they regrouped to fight against reno and benteen,  if the indians had superior weapons where were they then?

Yes, that's a valid point but one response is that it's actually rare that an advantage in weaponry alone decides a battle. The advantage in rifles would be what in this example?  Rate of fire?  That would be very important but what percentage of the attackers would actually have been armed with Winchesters?  

Quote :
like rorkes drift, the defenders had fixed positions to fight from.

Weren't the a bit more "fixed" at Rorke's Drift though?  I mean there was at least some sheltered places to put the wounded...and perhaps even more importantly they had an adequate supply of water.

Quote :
like rorkes drift many medals were awarded.

Yes, it's interesting how similar the response was to the prior disaster in both cases.

P.S. Another interesting difference is that at Isandlwana the British led column was a sort of coalition whereas at Little Big Horn the native American force was the coalition.


i feel the advantage in weaponry and positions at little big horn and rorkes drift decided the battle. why didn't the zulu or indians overwhelm the defenders like they did with custer's command or isandlwanna? did you ever read this book?http://www.amazon.com/Keep-last-bullet-yourself-Custers/dp/0917256026 it gives another reason for the difference in deaths in custer's command.

here's a good source for indian arms thought to be used, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:27 pm

RD was a fortified position. Isandlwana and Little Bighorn wasn't. And it was the Indians who had the superior weapon not the 7th.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:51 pm

impi wrote:
RD was a fortified position. Isandlwana and Little Bighorn wasn't. And it was the Indians who had the superior weapon not the 7th.



reno and benteen were "dug in". and it has been my position all along that the repeaters were not superior in range to the 45-70 .
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:59 am

free1954 wrote:
reno and benteen were "dug in". and it has been my position all along that the repeaters were not superior in range to the 45-70 .

If by "dug in" you mean Reno's command were sheltering behind their dead horses and whatever earth and rocks they could scrape together to hide behind, then that's true.

OTOH, if you mean they had buildings, stone enclosures and biscuit box walls (well capable of stopping a bullet or spear) to shelter them, then they weren't really dug in very much, were they?
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:33 am

Fortified. Means,  Strengthen or Protect. The defenders at RD did just that with the items you listed.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 05, 2014 2:40 pm

old historian2 wrote:
Fortified. Means,  Strengthen or Protect. The defenders at RD did just that with the items you listed.

Yes, I meant to say the RD defenders were fortified and Reno's men were not. Reno's men had not the time or materials to throw up much in the way of even impromptu field works. Reno's command did however have the advantage of high ground which, combined with longer range firearms, MIGHT have been the key to their survival.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 05, 2014 6:06 pm

Bighorn and Isandlwana, we're both the same in that both commanders were over confident and thought they knew their enemy. It was their stupidly that got not only themselfs killed by their men also. Yet some choose to make Hero's of them. They have gone down in History for the wrong reasons!
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:49 pm

agree 
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6pdr

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:10 am

True, but Chelmsford got a second chance whereas Custer (and much of his family) paid the ultimate price.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:18 pm

Custer (and much of his family) paid the ultimate price..
Just like the Indian women and Children did prior to Bighorn.
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6pdr

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:34 pm

And would have again if Custer had won at the Little Bighorn. You'll get no argument from me on that point!
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:55 pm

This just in from Dick Cavett:
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:19 pm

Very enjoyable post. The obvious question now of course is why haven't you bought a dead cow or two and organised a Bar B Q on the battlesite?

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:09 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Very enjoyable post.  The obvious question now of course is why haven't you bought a dead cow or two and organised a Bar B Q on the battlesite?

I think a buffalo would be more appropriate...but I'm glad you enjoyed the piece. Is he a known quantity in your neck of the woods?
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:40 pm

Dick Cavett is not well known here in the uk, he was as
big as Leno, Letterman, in your country, i saw his interviews
with John and Yoko, and later George..to us in the uk our
equivalent would be Parkinson, Wogan (?) Harty, or Frost.
i liked Cavett, came across like a real nice guy!.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:47 pm

Not really but I do remember him from my time in Europe. I can relate to the story having met Credo Mutwa, a rather famous South African Traditional Healer ( The less politically correct term was witch doctor.) A brilliantly interesting man. If you get the chance add his 'Indaba my Children' to your reading list. The interesting thing, actually there were many interesting things, was the fact that Dick Cavett could actually 'out' himself and admit his beliefs. Also puts me in mind of a particular scene from an old old movie with I think Richard Harrris in the staring role: A Man Called Horse. maybe you would have seen it?

Cheers
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:49 pm

Hiya Les, Your lads came second by a whisker. Macherano was brilliant, Messi had a bad day at the office.
And Angela Merkle really does need to talk to a stylist.
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6pdr

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:54 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Not really but I do remember him from my time in Europe. I can relate to the story having met Credo Mutwa, a rather famous South African Traditional Healer ( The less politically correct term was witch doctor.) A brilliantly interesting man. If you get the chance add his 'Indaba my Children' to your reading list. The interesting thing, actually there were many interesting things, was the fact that Dick Cavett could actually 'out' himself and admit his beliefs. Also puts me in mind of a particular scene from an old old movie with I think Richard Harrris in the staring role: A Man Called Horse. maybe you would have seen it?

Yes, as Les says Cavett was our closest thing to David Frost...except with a rather more waspish wit.  I am familiar with Credo Mutwa and believe I might even have his book.  Certainly I've read about him.

But it is my sad duty to report the loss of a South African literary giant:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/books/nadine-gordimer-novelist-and-apartheid-foe-dies-at-90.html?emc=edit_na_20140714&nlid=47545546

I'm glad the old dame got her due before this day arrived.  Sad

-6pdr

P.S. Yes, I watched A MAN CALLED HORSE when it was released in the theatres many, many moons ago. I had no idea who Richard Harris was and after that I tried not to remember those scenes!
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:24 pm

That one particular scene is very close to the scene Cavett described pain/discomfort radical heat build up etc. My mind flicked to it soon as Id read Cavett. Nadine Gordimer was quite a thorn in the side of BJ Vorster and even worse to PW Botha.
Credo Mutwa had the self same cadence in his voice as Tutu, same sort of hypnotic pitch. Interesting guy to listen to. He was incidently the healer in the made for British TV film about iSandlwana with Ian Knight.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:40 pm

Gordimer was a true artist.  She couldn't HELP but be a thorn in their side.  Most would have cashed in their chips nonetheless and moved to London or somewhere else with more boutiques and teashops.  Not her.  She kept at it relentlessly, barely stopping to acknowledge her awards.  But even if one did not appreciate her politics, she was a brilliant novelist. Most seem to think her success was tied to her  political notoriety, but really I think it is quite the reverse.  Her politics obscured the appreciation of her on literary merit alone. She worked hard and got down to the bone. Her literary stature will only grow in the future -- mark my words.  Before her you have what, AN AFRICAN FARM and CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY? Now that she's gone you only have Coetzee left...and he is more or less her contemporary.


Last edited by 6pdr on Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:50 pm

Hey Frank, not a classic game, but riveting to watch, the
longer it went on...well we know the rest, one piece of
opportunistic, cold deadly finishing..pleased for the kid
though, Angela Merkel, you could not make that body
language/ shape up! one day president of a federal Europe?
( heaven forbid ).
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:03 pm

Excellent and inciteful article 6pdr, thank you!
another ' one off ' is no more.

History is a clock that people use to tell their time of day,
it is a compass that they use to find themselves on the
map of human geography. It also tell them where they are,
and what they are. Most importantly, an understanding of
history tells a people where they still must go, and what they
still must be.

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:36 pm

Just reading this very interesting thread. My impression ids that most of the men Reno lost were killed in the attack on the village and the retreat to what became their "fortified position" on the ridge. That is quite a formidable position, not overlooked at all, and any one approaching it had quite a climb or at least a very exposed approach. How many men did Reno lose after he had retired to the ridge line?
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:37 pm

That's a good question Northbank. I don't know.

Fewer than 400 men made it atop the hill according to Philbrick's THE LAST STAND. They were attempting to hold off approximately 2000 Lakota and Cheyenne. The official casualty count for Reno's battalion was 18 dead and 52 wounded across both days of fighting. You are right their position was not overlooked but there was a ridgeline to the north called "Sharpshooter Ridge." And height can work both ways...i.e. it makes those on top the center of attention. Due to its exposed position along a high(er) ridge line Benteen's H company at the south end took double the casualties as any other company during the second day. There were also blindspots in their field of fire to the southwest (I think) that allowed their boldest foes to get within 10 yards of their "entrenchments" in one area. But my overall point is that because they were so elevated H Company tended to take fire from sharpshooters all around; it hit a lot of men.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:40 am

Northbank66 wrote:
Just reading this very interesting thread. My impression ids that most of the men Reno lost were killed in the attack on the village and the retreat to what became their "fortified position" on the ridge. That is quite a formidable position, not overlooked at all, and any one approaching it had quite a climb or at least a very exposed approach. How many men did Reno lose after he had retired to the ridge line?

I read a third of his men!
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:12 pm

What is the source? You just make me realize another difference between Isandlwana and the Little Big Horn though. The Zulu actually suffered MORE casualties than the British & Co...whereas I doubt the Plains Indians suffered half as many as 7th Cavalry.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:45 am

How many different tribes were there at Big Horn. Based on the Indian nations getting together.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:56 am

Their were three, the Arapaho, the Cheyenne, and the Sioux..
the Sioux comprised of three main branches..The Santee, Yankton-
Yanktonai and Lakota also called Teton who were from the far
west of Dakota.and were renowned as great hunters and the
fiercest of fighters.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:11 am

Hunkpapa (Lakota): Sitting Bull, Four Horns, Crow King, Chief Gall, Black Moon, Rain-in-the-Face, Moving Robe Women, Spotted Horn Bull, Iron Hawk, One Bull, Bull Head, Chasing Eagle
Sihasapa (Blackfoot Lakota): Crawler, Kill Eagle
Minneconjou (Lakota): Chief Hump, Black Moon, Red Horse, Makes Room, Looks Up, Lame Deer, Dog-with-Horn, Dog Back Bone, White Bull, Feather Earring, Flying By
Sans Arc (Lakota): Spotted Eagle, Red Bear, Long Road, Cloud Man
Oglala (Lakota): Crazy Horse, He Dog, Kicking Bear, Flying Hawk, Chief Long Wolf, Black Elk, White Cow Bull, Running Eagle, Black Fox II
Brule (Lakota): Two Eagles, Hollow Horn Bear, Brave Bird
Two Kettles (Lakota): Runs-the-Enemy
Lower Yanktonai (Dakota): Thunder Bear, Medicine Cloud, Iron Bear, Long Tree
Wahpekute (Dakota): Inkpaduta, Sounds-the-Ground-as-He-Walks, White Eagle, White Tracking Earth
Black Powder (Sioux Firearms trader): Black Powder, Johann Smidt
Northern Cheyenne: Two Moons, Wooden Leg, Old Bear, Lame White Man, American Horse, Brave Wolf, Antelope Women, Thunder Bull Big Nose, Yellow Horse, Little Shield, Horse Road, Bob Tail Horse, Yellow Hair, Bear-Walks-on-a-Ridge, Black Hawk, Buffalo Calf Road Woman, Crooked Nose, Noisy Walking
Arapahoes: Waterman, Sage, Left Hand, Yellow Eagle, Little Bird.

Lifted off the net..The Native American Command..
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:00 pm

Are these not individuals.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:11 pm

hiya impsta..not if you look at them collectively!
see the post previous..  Very Happy 
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:10 pm

Blackfoot, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Crow, Apache, Arapaho
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:45 pm

Blackfoot, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Crow, Apache, Arapaho.

You just named some random native american tribes!
in the thread..Blackfoot ( Sioux ) Cheyenne, Arapaho,
all were engaged at TBLBH. Crow were enemy's of the
above, Custer used them as scout's, when they took
off their uniforms on the day of the battle, to put on
their native dress..Custer instantly dismissed them!
i think the ' bad vibe ' was slowly sinking in!.the other
tribes you mention have nothing to do with it.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:40 am

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:29 am

Got ya, cool tune..back in the day.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:38 pm

Very Happy agree 
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:11 pm

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:19 pm

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:24 pm

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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:27 pm

I was watching Ken Burns last night, one of Americas finest film documentary
makers, this from, The West...his documentary on the Civil War is extraordinary!.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:13 am

xhosa2000 wrote:
I was watching Ken Burns last night, one of Americas finest film documentary
makers, this from, The West...his documentary on the Civil War is extraordinary!.

His brother Rick is even better.
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Sat Aug 30, 2014 12:28 pm

Agreed 6pdr, outstanding work from the Brothers,
a shining light in a world of mediocrity..
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PostSubject: Re: The comparison of the battles of the Little Bighorn and Isandlwana   Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:19 am

xhosa2000 wrote:
...outstanding work from the Brothers...

But WAIT, there's more!  Ken's documentary on the Roosevelts may be the best yet!

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