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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon May 14, 2012 9:40 pm

John

Barton was in command of Raw and Roberts troops of NNH that were in surport of E and F Coys, they remeined in
the line untill the retire was sounded, so they had to have ammuntion to do this.

Must have got it from somewhere else, prehaps there own ammo waggons.




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John

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon May 14, 2012 9:50 pm

Don' t forget these were mounted men so could have got to the camp quicker than men on foot. But the whole debate is based on the Ammuntion question. Ths is not the first time ammunition had been refused but quartermasters and officers. It's beyond belief that this took place bearing in mind the camp was bring attacked by twenty thousand Zulus.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon May 14, 2012 9:54 pm

John

The NNH did not have the same weapons as the 24th, diffrent ammo that would work in a Snider or a Wesly-Richard, so even if they did get the ammo it would be useless.

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon May 14, 2012 10:24 pm

Thought of that. But the men would have known that, they obviously wouldn't have gone to a waggon that had the wrong ammuntion. The officer said It's for our infantry. He didn't say it's the wrong ammunition. Don't forget these were seasoned soldiers not idiots. Barton would have said, we could find a supply of ammuntion to use with our rifles.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue May 15, 2012 9:28 am

John
Not strictly true, ammunition wagons were marked with a red flag. Natural reaction is head for the nearest, and you do not know if they have it or not. In the case of a 24th's wagon, MH rifle rounds & Pistol calibres for officers, space was a premium. Each ammunition box had a stowage weight and dimension chart and you only carry what you need and maximise its stowage.

IF the men had Swinburns, the round would interchange with the MH, and almost certainly if they were,( and denied) then there was some grounds for this debate.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue May 15, 2012 4:16 pm

Quote :
IF the men had Swinburns, the round would interchange with the MH, and almost certainly if they were,( and denied) then there was some grounds for this debate.

Unfortunately there seems to be quite a few accounts regarding ammuntion being refused to other regiments I'm starting to think there is some foundation behind it. Perhaps it would be a good idea to compile all the accounts we can find. What is ironic is the fact that its the Coloinal regiments that are being refused.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue May 15, 2012 4:23 pm

Smith-Dorrien was taking ammo from Lord Chelsmford reserve at an early stage in the battle, he was apperently
refused it, but he was on the line at a later stage giving ammo out so he must have got the ammo anyway.




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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue May 15, 2012 4:48 pm

Barton position was a lot different, he was fighting off the Zulus and were force to withdraw because they had no ammuntion.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue May 15, 2012 5:51 pm

No he wasn't, Raw and Roberts remained in line untill the bugle called out for the whole line to retire.



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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue May 15, 2012 7:40 pm

Tell me more about this Bugle call. I only know about the cease fire call
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue May 15, 2012 7:43 pm

Zulu warrior

Then at the sound of a bugle the whole british force rose from the ground and retired on the camp

Captain Symonds intervied survivors and 2 of them recorded how a bugle call was relayed along the line telling
the men to fall back.



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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue May 15, 2012 7:46 pm

Never heard of it. Who were the ones interviewed by Captain Symonds.

The Cease fire was heard twice.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue May 15, 2012 8:03 pm

LH

For Symonds account see Frank Emery's the 24th regiment at isandlwana.

His orginal manuscript is held at Breacon, unpublished as per the request of the quenn.



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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue May 15, 2012 8:22 pm

Thanks. But just to keep this discussion in perspective. It was pointed out that "Symonds" is not primary source. He wasn't there. And I doubt he gives the names of those he interviewed.
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PostSubject: The ammunition question.   Tue May 15, 2012 11:38 pm

Said by Zulu warrior uMhoti.

"Then at the sound of a bugle, the firing ceased at a breath, and the whole force rose from the ground and retired on the tents. Like a flame the whole Zulu force sprang to its feet and darted upon them"

Source Knight.

Hope this helps.

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed May 16, 2012 4:19 am

It's a bit odd that, that Cease fire was sounded during an attack.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed May 16, 2012 7:37 am

Chard

The Zulus were driven to ground, basicly, there was no targets to shoot at, except zulu rifleman jumping
out from cover to get off a shot.



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PostSubject: The ammunition question.   Wed May 16, 2012 11:40 am

I can see what Chard means, it does seem a bit odd.

If the troops were pinning down the zulus due to their rifle fire, then why was the cease fire sounded and the order given to retire back to the tents, was it because the ammo was in short supply, and the men were getting very low?

If there was plenty of ammo being supplied to the men on the firing line, then they would not need to fall back towards the tents. It would therefor appear that there was indeed an ammo 'question', and that the men were fallen back to be nearer to the supply wagons, however, due to the NC falling back too quickly, gaps appeared between the companies of the 24th, and the zulus quickly exploited this, and this is what started the beginning of the end.

It is also a pity that Durnford was running very low on ammo, and that his position was becoming very vulnerable (being outflanked), and he was forced to retire from the donga and fall back towards the camp. Col Durnford, of course, did not know that Pulleine had given the order to Pope to move to his right, and it was a sad coincidence that Pope had started his move to the right at the same time that Durnford had started his retreat from the donga, fate dealt a very nasty hand there.

It does appear that there is indeed an ammunition question to be answered, as it would seem that it played a very big part in the decision making on that fateful day.

Martin. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed May 16, 2012 3:32 pm

Martin

The reason the firing line retired was because Durnford retreated from the donga because he was outflanked.
The 7 Coys of the 24th with 2 troops of NNH and several Coys of NNC were holding there own fine, but after Durnford
retreated the whole right flank was open, there for the 24th were ordered to retire.

Durnford did not control the withdrawl from the donga and was racing round the field like a headless chicken, so
his men bolted from the field and with no-one to stop the left horn and the right horn coming in from the rear
there was nothing the 24th could do.



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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed May 16, 2012 10:06 pm

But it's still begs the question. Why was cease fire sounded. They would not sound cease fire and then retire under those circumstances. It does not make sense.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Thu May 17, 2012 7:12 am

The first cease fire would have been sounded when the Zulus got to 400 yards from the line, as they went
to grond in the donga'a and there wouldn't have been any targets.

The second cease fire would most likely have been from A Coy, as they had no targets to shoot at, and because of
this they advanced 30 yards to get a better field of fire.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed May 23, 2012 5:28 pm

From Melokazulu

"Those that ran away took the direction of the Buffalo river, some throwing their guns away and
others firing as they ran."
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed May 23, 2012 10:16 pm

Those that threw their guns away did for two reasons.

1) To rid themselves of a heavy burdon.
2) No ammuntion.

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:39 pm

This is from a native who survived Isandlwana and reocords after the 24th had retreated from the firing line the

"Zulus were by this time quite close to the soldiers, who were kneeling or lying and firing very rapidly and
inflicting heavy losses."


Shows how once the 24th had fourght back from the line, they still had ammo.

Also a Zulu records the soiders retreating and

"Firing at us all the time. "



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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:04 pm

But how much ammuntion did they have. And we seemed to have agreed a while back that is was possible that soldiers were firing over their shoulders has they run. Whatever the reason they would not have had enough ammuntion to stand their ground, what they had left would have been used to try to get back to the camp.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:09 pm

They withdrew as they were outflanked on the right of the line by the Zulu left horn.

They started with 70 rounds and realisticly i can't see them firing more then half of that by the
time they had to wtihdraw, the Zulu attack was pinned down within miniutes of opening fire, plus
the amont of rounds fired in the other battles, Kambula 33 rounds in 4 hours, Ulundi 10 rounds
in half an hour, The relif battle lasted around 40 mins and they fired 15 rounds.

See this study

"The 24th had gone into action with 70 rounds a man. Based on ammuntion expenditure of regular
infantrey companies in the other major battles of the war, and assuming that the officers and NCO's
of an experienced battaltion like the 1/24th would have exercised strict fire control, it is difficult to imagine
the men firng more then about 35 rounds each on the firing line. Two months later at the Battle of Kambula
Evelyn Woods Infantrey fired about the same amount in an action that lasted between 3 and 4 hours.
At Ulundi on 10 rounds would be expended in half an hours firing. In the case of Isandlwana even 35 rounds
would be a fairly extravagent amount against an enemy who had been pinned to ground within two to three
minuites of opening fire and held in check with only intermitent fire for a further 25 miniutes after that. Let use
assume at the maximum of four miniuts firing at the rapid rate of 3 volleys per miniute and a round a miniute
for 25 miniutes after that.This complets at 37 rounds expended. At the time of the crisis then, the majority of
the infantreyman probebly had around 33 rounds left in there pouches."


Then add in the ammo that Esses, Smith-Dorrien and the bandsman took to the line the men would
have had some extra alwell. Once in camp they re-stocked at the ammuntion waggons anyway - See Black.


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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:12 pm

20000 plus at RD. 15 hour period
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:15 pm

The Zulus at RD weren't pinned to ground, and for over 4 hours there was always something to shoot at, totaly
diffrent posistion from Isandlwana.




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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:19 pm

Why did the British retreat back to the camp at Isandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:21 pm

They withdrew as they were outflanked on the right of the line by the Zulu left horn after Durnford retreated from
the donga.



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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:44 pm

DB. To me there was an ammunition problem. The fact that so much of it was taken by the enermy. Zulu witnesses state the ammo pouches on the dead soldiers were empty.
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PostSubject: The ammunition question.   Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:41 am

Hi all.

I am with littlehand on this. There is something that just doesn't add up about all this, but I can't put my finger on it.

The 24th companies along with the NNC companies, were pinning down the Zulus. Colonel Durnford was also holding his own in the donga, however, his mens ammo was running low, and the men sent back to get more ammo could not find the wagons, and by this time Durnfords men were really short of ammo, and to make matters worse, they were being outflanked by the Zulus. Therefor Col Durnford had no other choice but to make a fighting retreat back towards the camp in an attempt to stem the outflanking movement on his right by the Zulus, and also to replenish his ammo.

This is were things start to go wrong. Durnford did not know that Pulleine had ordered Pope to make a move to his right, and just as Durnford is making his retreat, Pope is making his move to the right, thus leaving a gap between Wardell and the NNC, another gap between the NNC and where Pope has now moved to, and yet another gap between him and the retreating Durnford. Then a bugle sounds and the firing stops, and the men start to make a withdrawal back towards the camp area. The NNC coys withdraw a lot faster than the 24th coys, the Zulus see the large gaps appearing and exploit this, the NNC now see the Zulus charging towards them and filling these large gaps, and so they start to run for it leaving the 24th companies to their fate. Pope is isolated and soon overpowered, the remnants of his coy join up with Durnford in an attempt to stop the left horn joining up with the right, and go down fighting in that attempt.

Why did Pulleine order Pope to move to his right? Maybe Pulleine was trying to give Durnford some support by moving Pope, but could he not have had the artillery cover Durnfords retreat without moving Pope?

If the rest of the 24th coys were pinning down the Zulus with their fire, and the men had a supply of ammo, then why sound cease fire and withdraw? The problem was over on the right of the firing line, not along the whole line, and I do think that if Artillery had been used to support Dunfords withdrawal rather than move Pope, then things might have been different

But I do think that there was some sort of ammo supply problem, and that is the reason for the whole line withdrawal back towards the camp.

Martin. Salute

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90th

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PostSubject: The Ammunition Question   Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:41 am

Hi All.
A while back my sparring partner ( Julian W. ) on certain aspects of the war; had a rather animated debate
on this same subject and it appears some have come over to my way of thinking . Julian's and my point are clear for all to see . Salute . Salute
Cheers 90th. Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:26 am

Martin

I've already said, the 24th were outflanked on the right when Durnford withdrew, that is why they retreated, who
says the cease fire sounded when they withdrew ?



Curling says he heard it twice but doesn't say when, most likely, he heard A Company bugler sound cease fire
before they advanced 30 yards and the other one was when the attack was driven to ground.


No problem with ammuntion, if it was how did the 24th get back ?
Maladini with his Coy of NNC saw 2 companies arrive at the camp then kneel and start
to fire volleys, plus if there was a problem answer why there are these

Why do Zulu accounts, Zulu mind you, speak of the volunteers last stand ( wasnt only the volunteers there were 30 soldiers there ) as a man, Durnford potentially, shouting fire?

Why is there a zulu account describing soldiers on there knees firing volleys ( not independant fire ) from the centre of the camp, and "another lower down".

Why is there a Zulu account describing Younghusbands band of warriors "eventually running out of ammunition on the saddle plateau.

Why is there a Zulu account of not being able to aproach the nek because of the heat of the firing.

Why is there a Zulu account of the troops on the fugitives trail firing over there shoulders as they ran.

Why are there accounts of a Zulu being shot on a the trail when he grabbed a rifle

Why is there a Zulu account of the smoke generated over the nek from the firing.



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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:48 am

Martin

Durnford did not make a fighting retreat back to camp after he left the donga, rode straight back to
camp and he was galloping round the field like a headless chicken.

Once he left the Carbineers under Scott had a fighting retreat.

Leaving the donga left the whole left horn free to charge, that is why the 24th withdrew to the camp, as they
were outflanked, aslo they may have realised that the right horn was behind isandlwana.



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PostSubject: The ammunition question.   Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:45 pm

Hi DB.

Thanks for the zulu accounts, very interesting.

There is still something about all this that is not fitting in, it's like getting a jigsaw puzzle with the odd pieces that don't fit.

Colonel Durnford didn't really have much option other than to withdraw from the donga back to the camp. Don't forget that he had sent men back for ammo, but they could not find where the wagons were parked, he was running very low on ammo and also being outflanked on his right. He may well have left Scott to perform the fighting retreat while he went back to the camp to try to find the ammo wagons and also to find Pulleine, that is most likely the reason why he was (as you say), "galloping around the field like a headless chicken", (where on earth did you get that quote from?).

I said earlier that the problem was on the right of the firing line, and maybe Pulleine saw that, but he ordered Pope to move to his right, why? Could this have been an attempt to cover Durnfords withdrawal from the donga? But by ordering Pope to move to his right, this left a large gap between Wardell and the NNC, the Zulus see this, and this is when things start to go wrong.

The rest of the firing line was supposedly pinning down the Zulus, so why didn't Pulleine order the artillery to cover Durnford's retreat, and at the same time cover the right hand side companies, the right could then have made a fighting withdrawal back towards the camp and gradually the whole line could have also withdrawn back towards the camp. They then would not have been strung out and would have been a lot nearer to the ammo wagons, there would have been no gaps for the Zulus to exploit, the companies would have been much closer together and could have formed square a lot easier. And if they had moved back towards iSandlwana hill itself, they would have had the benefit of the slopes and rocks, and also the hill itself to cover their rear, but they would have needed a good supply of ammo.

There is still something that is not ringing right about this ammo supply, but like I say, I can't put my finger on it.

Thanks again Sam for the Zulu accounts.

Martin. Salute

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:44 pm

Methinks young sam has been sleeping with HCMDB under his pillow. Definite shades of Snook poping out.

My take on the issue, all speculative of course.
Start of with Lt Scott. When the action started he was manning a piquet on top of the conical koppie. He left that and went down into a donga between the koppie and the ridge. Effectivly he was the last link in the chain with Pope on his left and the koppie on his right, the last link in a 2.5 kilometer chain.
We know this because Barker and Hawkins were with Scott and Barker saw the rocket battery fall.
Durnford came around itusi from Quabe as Nourse was fighting elements of the left horn and picked him up as well as Private Johnson. At that point the line was in its foremost position, we know this because Pope was to Scotts left and he was devastating the uMbonambi, zulu testimony.
As the iNgobamakhosi came down the notch the line started to fall back ( for that to happen there had to be some form of audible command, the Bugle?) Wardell, Pope and Lonsdale fell back onto the rocky ridge, its a fair old distance as well. It must have been around this time that Durnfords force got to the the Donga.
Scott we know ended up on the other side of the battlefield so its probable that this was the time he headed back to the Mounted Detachment with Bradstreet and then down to the DOnga. Pope started to move behind Lonsdale towards Durnford to close of the gap.
Davies says in his statement that there were zulus 'sneaking in between the two forces'. We also know that the back of the Nkengeni ridge was virtually invisible to Durnford and the uVe were outflanking him. Bradstreet was being stretched further and further. Eventually they withdrew. I believe that there was another stand in the smaller Mpofane donga. One reason behind this believe is that Durnford came across Barker and Hawkins and sent them down to the donga 'ahundred yards in front of the camp'. Again this could have been Scotts time. There are a couple of references to the carbineers making this stand. I further believe that the collapse had allready started and the fact that the carbineers made there stand gave sufficient time for the companies to get back towards the saddle. Pope got caught with the uVe, coming through the gap that Durnford left. looking at the cairns it reads like two seperate actions took place one centre on Popes position and one closer to Durnfords line of retreat.
The firing line had been steadily withdrawing untill it was close to 400 yards from the camp. There are very few cairns at this distance, evidence that there were few killed ergo close contact had not been made. There was another bugle call that called the open firing line to contract into companies, again there is zulu evidence for that. As a regiment the 2/24 didnt exist, it was now a company by company issue. Most of them managed to get back to the saddle for the final battle to be played out. To do that they had to be able to defend themselves therefore they had ammunition, bayonets alone couldnt have done it. The distance is huge, so the zulus had to be kept at a distance. The line of cairns from the front line to the saddle tells the story of the retreat very clearly. Sam has very ably given chapter and verse of zulu quotes about the heat of the firing on the saddle, men firing over their shoulders etc. its possible that did happen but I firmly believe that the fall back to the saddle was, companywise, extremely disciplined. It had to be otherwise they would not have got there.

Littlehand your quite right the zulus did find little ammo in the pouches, the troops did obviously run out of ammo, but at the very end not the beginning or on the retreat.
Martin,
Durnford fell back because he was outflanked, both sides, Its highly debatable that Durnford was even in the donga to order that fall back. Yes there is a source that Gardner was told it was ordered by Durnford, there are also sources that place him else where on the battle field, Essex for one, Hawkins for two, Davies for three. I dont believe that the Durnford column was ammunition expended, there was a fighting retreat back to the little donga and even there, seem to recall it was Davies that rode up with a box of ammo.
The fact that there was a stand below the saddle by the carbineers, before the wagons were reached shows they had ammo, zulu testimony points to a man that kept shouting fire, and eventually they too ran out and fought with knives and fists, so yes they had ammo.
And as to your question why the artillery didnt support Durnford, Answer is, they did. Stuart Smith moved the guns across and shelled the left horn. At one point they were sheltering in a kraal, the artillery blew it up.

AS to why the line pulled back? Any ones guess my thoughts are that either the NNC bolted, the zulu were getting very close. Or Pulleine realised that pure force of numbers were against him and his line was being forced back onto the tented area.
Or possible it wasnt a single event, Durnfords fall back, the NNC running, the zulu getting closer to the line, why not all three. The reason left out is any ammunition expiry, they may have used a significant amount, thats what it was there for but no where at all is there a shred of evidence that says they ran out.
Oh yes, I dont believe that a bugle sounded from the line would be heard wayyyyyyyyy over in the donga. That bugle call, I think it would have been the second occured after Durnfords force had started to retreat.
If Pulleine was on the front line, he should have been, unless he was on the extreme left with Younghusband he would not have been able to see the donga and would only have been aware of a pull back when the horsemenhad covered probably 200 metres or so.

Very happy to be proved wrong of course, thats the beauty of debate....................bring it on.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:44 pm

springbok9 wrote:
we know this because Pope was to Scotts left and he was devastating the uMbonambi, zulu testimony.

"Here were we were standing were some parties of soliders in red coats who kept up a heavy fire as
we came over, my regiment was here and lost a lot of men they kept tumbeling over each other. Then the
iNgobamakhosi regiment advanced and swept round the hill as to outflank them, the soilders on seeing this
fell back and took cover in a donga and fired at us from there, we could not advance as the fire from the donga
was to heavy."


Edwards NC places Durnford in the donga at the withdrawl, page 389 of Zuu Rising.




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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:33 pm

DB
As I said theres evidence he was there and even more that he wasnt. What is sure is that the battlefield was immense and he wasnt superman, the positions he was placed in makes his sighting in the donga very very suspect, either that or he didnt get across to the camp area. Its all a tad suspect really.

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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:58 pm

He says Durnford was holding his horse. Also Garder met Durnford on the withdrawl and Essex was speaking
to Durnford on the right of the line.



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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:29 pm

Springbok

This is from Trooper Edwards NC

Men began to realise the hopelessnes of the situation in which we were landed, then came the order
"Stand to your horses; retire on the camp."
We all dashed for our horses but mine had disapered, but a voice behind said
"Here's a horse is it your ? "
Colonel Durnford was holding it and walking close behind me, without further ado we went back to camp.



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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:01 pm

Ian Knight.

"One aspect of the battle, which has caused consistent controversy, is the question of whether a failure of ammunition contributed to the collapse of the British firing line. This is despite the fact that most contemporary accounts do not support this. Lieutenant Smith-Dorrien commented in a letter written to his father the day after the battle that ‘I was out with the front companies of the 24th handing them spare ammunition’.(7) while Private Bickley noted that ‘the Companies out skirmishing were now apparently getting short of ammunition, and it was carried out to them by the Bandsmen and wagon drivers and other unarmed people about the Camp’.(8) Most significantly, the survivor Captain Essex recalled that, when he first noticed that some of the 24th companies were running low on ammunition, he sent out first a number of unattached men with boxes, and then loaded boxes into a mule cart.(9) Essex’s evidence is particularly important because it is supported by archaeological findings; the handles from the linings of opened ammunition boxes were found along exactly that stretch of line he referred to. Although it is true that the ammunition box broken open in the programme was a replica – and that there is still a possible margin of error, compared to the real thing – the test in my view provided convincing confirmation of how boxes could be broken open. Screws that have been found on the site over many years exactly match the damage to the retaining screw in the box lid.
A more feasible explanation of why the 24th’s impressive firepower was unable to hold back the Zulu attack is to be found in the archaeological evidence that the initial firing line was further forward than has been previously supposed. Although the programme did not evaluate this as thoroughly as the archaeological team might have liked, the solitary spent cartridge, found outside the current battlefield reserve, was part of a chain which suggests that the line had initially been placed close to the dongas which run across the northern face of the battlefield, below the iNyoni heights. It must be stressed that the exact location of this initial line is still to be determined; indeed, since it might well lie under a modern Zulu settlement, there is a distinct possibility that it may never been found. However, the evidence found so far has a number of important implications. It answers one of the nagging questions that have dogged tactical analysis of the battle – why exactly were the British companies sent out so far? The extended position in fact uses the ground to good effect, turning the dongas into a defensive feature. It would have denied the Zulus the use of dead ground at the foot of the heights, and turned the opposite slope, approaching the dongas on the far side – which would have been fully exposed to the 24ths fire – into a killing ground. It must be remembered that when Pulleine first deployed his troops, the Zulu threat was perceived to come from the north of the camp. As David Jackson first pointed out in the 1960s, the line initially faced entirely in that direction.(10) Moreover, the slopes above the donga, nearest the camp, form a natural feature that extends eastwards towards amaTushane, the hill generally known as the Conical Koppie. It is conceivable that the 24th officers intended amaTushane to anchor their right flank. Certainly, there are hints that Lt. Pope’s company of the 2/24th might initially have been further from the camp than has sometimes been supposed, and that it might have covered the ground towards amaTutshane. It is also significant that the view from this advanced position is limited, due to the low-lying ground; any Zulu movements beyond amaTutshane – the left horn’s attack on Durnford – would have been blocked from view until they emerged into sight were much closer to the camp. This perhaps explains Essex’s comment that, as the attack of the Zulu centre developed, the 24th retired from their forward position to a more viable one closer to the camp; this second position was secured on the right by the low, boulder-strewn rise which features in so many references to the firing line. It would have also offered a better view of the battlefield as a whole. It was among these boulders, incidentally, that the team found five expended Martini-Henry cartridges in a heap, all apparently fired by the same rifle.
In my view, it was the sheer length of this line that diluted the 24ths firepower. With the men in open order, and gaps between the various units, it was simply too over-extended to cope with the attack of the Zulu centre and left. When Durnford retired from the donga, it was no longer tenable, and was withdrawn in the hope of taking up a tighter formation closer to the camp. The Zulus took advantage of this movement, however, to launch a fresh assault, and the line disintegrated."
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:03 pm

As anyone got or can post a link to:

The Official Enquiry the main reasons given for the massacre at Isandlwana are as follows.

1 "The inadequate organization of the ammunition supply.

2 The available ammunition boxes could not be easily opened, because they were surrounded at both ends with copper bands, securely fixed with multiple screws.

3 There were not enough screwdrivers and thus not enough boxes had been opened before and during the action.

4 The copper bands had to be forced open, using anything at hand from stones to bayonets!

5 The tin-plate lining of the ammunition boxes was not easily torn open to get to the packets of cartridges inside. (This tin-plate lining was used to keep the cartridges dry by preventing moisture seeping through.)

6 The Martini-Henry cartridges, could not be easily extracted, as they frequently jammed in the breech. The extractor was inadequate, and thus valuable time was lost during the action: the ramrod had to be used via the muzzle of the rifle to push the cartridge case out of the breech, thus the overall firepower of the troops was reduced, especially as the Martini-Henry was a single-shot rifle."
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90th

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PostSubject: The Ammunition Question.   Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Hi Dave .
Not sure what you want ? .
Points 2 & 4 have no bearing on the supply of Ammo , the copper bands are at the ends of the boxes and dont need to be prised off or broken for the box to be opened , there was only ONE screw holding the lid not multiple as you suggest !.
Cheers 90th. Salute
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:40 pm

Dave

Where have you got this from? as we've debated many times this is factually wrong.

there was no official enquiry into the performance of the rifle or indeed the ammunition until the Sudan campaign, and it was held between Oct 1885 and April 1886. I have a copy, and whilst there was numerous complaint about jamming, it tended to be over-estimated, if it was an issue, RD and Booths little motley crew extricating themselves from Myers Drift would be Vulture snacks.

As we've suggested before, the boxes only required a single screw to open it, not the copper bands, in 1880 the area around the screw hole was strenghtened (yes strengthened) with a tin liner as it was a weak spot and easily split. In 1881 the box was sealed with a split pin with a calico seal, the boxes were designed to be re-used, and damage would render them useless, the suggestion that they were hard to open is not bourn out by the facts.

In 1880 the handle of the tin lining which was actually soldered on, was made bigger but there was no suggestion it was anything but making a better grip. The seal was a normal thin lead solder bead and the tin lid itself overlapped the aperture in the boxes tin lining.

As I proved at Brecon with the "implement Action Martini henry" (1 per 5 rifles supplied) there is three screw drivers, and these would be in the hands of NCO's, so that puts roughly 100 screwdrivers on the field.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:12 pm

Here it is Neil. I thought it was part of the "The Official Enquiry"
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:34 am

Dave

IMO another case of re-writing the same pre conceived facts. No one survived to complain about any of his points, but they did at RD and only Hook makes any reference to it, albeit it after he states how "very fine" his M-H was, I find that odd.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:20 pm

Peter Quantrill wrote:
The24th DID run out of ammo and the boxes were inaccessable. Read ZV1. In addition stacks of primary and secondary to support this statement. ( Bickley, John Williams,Essex,Higginson,Molife, Symons et al.)

Were do Molife, Bickley and Higginson say the 24th " Ran out " of ammuntion ?




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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:06 pm

Quote :
Were do Molife, Bickley and Higginson say the 24th " Ran out " of ammuntion ?

DB. If this is what PQ said, then you can rest assure, he wouldn't have said it, unless it came from a primary source. Where that source is I know not.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:37 pm

Higginson says he saw 2 men of the 24th a sergant from Lonsdale's coy fetching ammuntion for there part of the line.

Molife doesn't even mention the 24th's ammuntion.
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