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 The ammunition question

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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:18 pm

You will be need to find out what resources were used, by the author.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:33 pm

Molife's account is at the RE museum, i have a copy, no where does he mention the 24ths ammuntion.

This is Molife's only account.





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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:09 pm

The ammunition shortage has been discussed before (ad infinitum) as Neil points out.
Wasn't the conclusion; just another urban myth?
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John

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:20 pm

Perhaps the problem with the ammuntion, was not so much the supply of. But the ammuntion it's self. Miss-firing, jamming ect.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:50 pm

There was no Ammuntion problem at isandlwana
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John

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:19 pm

Clearing jams would have had an effect on the fire rate. There are quite a few accounts of jamming.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:20 pm

John wrote:
Clearing jams would have had an effect on the fire rate. There are quite a few accounts of jamming.

scratch

Where does anyone say the 24th guns jammed ?

Even if they jammed so what ? That didn't casue the line to fall back.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:29 pm

DB. Not being critical, I enjoy your posts, but you do tend to forget it wasn't just the 24th that were fightIng at Isandlwana. There were Coloinal forces and civilians or doing their bit to stay alive.

Cant think of his name, but there was a chap with the rocket battery. Who offered to help troops to clear their jams, but they refused to give him their rifles, instead they run away, that was due to an ammuntion problem.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:32 pm

John

The other units, namely the NNC weren't important, they didn't realy " Fight " at isandlwana, as they were
basically in reserve or unable to fire as they didn't have a gun. The 7 Coys of the 24th were holding the Zulus
back with fire, the NNC couldn't do this.

I think the man was Pvt. Johnson, but the NNC had most likely never fired there weapons before. Plus the rocket
battery was cut to peices, and a few NNC wouldn't have made any difference.

A jam can be cleared in around 10 secs if you know how, the 24th would have done.



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John

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:36 pm

Everyone fought that day,

Quote :
A jam can be cleared in around 10 secs if you know how
.

I agree, if it was on a firing range or during practice, but it would be a different situation in battle conditions.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:38 pm

John

I ment they weren't as important in the defence of the camp as they didn't have a gun.

Once the retreat began they were all dead. Jamming didn't cause the retreat, so is irelivent to what casued
the defeat.



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John

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:43 pm

I'm not talking about what, caused the retreat, I was saying perhaps there was a problem with the ammunition ( Rounds) rarther than the supply, its ok having 70 rounds but not good if you can't use them. Don't agree that those who never had guns weren't as important. Who's decision was it not to give them guns, those poor souls would have had no choice but to engage in hand to hand combat,
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:46 pm

John wrote:
DB. Not being critical, I enjoy your posts, but you do tend to forget it wasn't just the 24th that were fightIng at Isandlwana. There were Coloinal forces and civilians or doing their bit to stay alive.

Cant think of his name, but there was a chap with the rocket battery. Who offered to help troops to clear their jams, but they refused to give him their rifles, instead they run away, that was due to an ammuntion problem.

The 24th would have been experts to a man at using their own personal weapons and would have suffered few jams.
Also, I doubt the native soldiers or even colonials would have been armed with the MH.
Any jams in the colonials' and natives' weapons would more than likely have been caused by a lack of competence, rather than any fault with the MH or its cartridges.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:53 pm

NNC got 1 rifle per 10 men and 5 rounds per gun.
Because the moment things went bad they legged it, and they fired everything they had at anything that moved.





heers
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John

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:59 pm

"It was proven that the thin brass of the cartridges then had a tendency to stick in the chamber, jamming the mechanism. If the cartridge remained intact in the breach, it was a relatively easy job to clear it with the cleaning rod. If, however, as often happened, the retractor tore away the iron base of the cartridge, leaving the rest of it stuck in the breach, glued like a lining to the inside of the chamber, it was a rather more complicated process to remove it with the aid of a clasp knife or other sharp tool."
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:01 pm

John

Not sure what your trying to point out ?

jamming had no part in the camp falling, so whats the relivence of it ?




Cheer
Sam
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John

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:25 pm

The point I'm trying to make is if there was any problem with either the supply or cardtridges it would have had an affect on the rate of fire. The fact that accounts have been left regarding the jamming of weapons was obviously thought to be a problem with those that the witness this.
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90th

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PostSubject: The ammunition Question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:39 pm

Hi John.
I understand what you are attempting to say , I had the same sometimes spirited debate with Julian several times on this subject which may be at the start of this thread . Way back on pages 1 ,2 etc etc . Salute
Cheers 90th. You need to study mo
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John

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:53 pm

Ok. Let's put it this way.

"At Isandwana, particularly during the final Zulu rush and the British collapse, there was no opportunity to take ‘time out’ to clear jammed guns. While blockages are unlikely to have affected the expected rate of fire of an infantry company over an extended period, it is quite possible that a number of individual soldiers faced the last Zulu rush with jammed weapons which they had no time to clear. Equally, it is possible that while experienced regulars like the 24th were able to cope with occasional jams, even during the stress of a major engagement, such incidents might have had a demoralising effect on untrained auxiliaries. Given that the morale of the auxiliaries largely failed during the retreat from the line, it is possible that the disillusion with British weapons, hinted at by Johnson, may have been a contributing factor.

In other words, while malfunctions among the Martini-Henrys probably played no part in the broader British collapse, they may have had some minor influence when the disintegration of the British line inevitably made individual soldiers more dependent on their own resources."
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:59 pm

"Hlubi Molife, who served with Durnford’s men, noted that several times during the defence of the donga, men appealed to Durnford to clear jammed weapons. Notwithstanding that he had only one effective arm, Durnford dismounted and cleared the guns, gripping them between his knees.

(Private Johnson, of the 24th, who was attached to the rocket battery, noted that the battery’s NNC escort at first returned Zulu fire, but that ‘I observed that a great number of them were unable to extract the empty cartridge cases after firing, and offered to do so for some of them, but they would not give me their rifles’"

Source: Ian Knight.
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:05 pm

"Some minor influence" certainly.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:17 am

Impi

You meen Jabez Molife, not Hlubi.

Here Hlubi's account

Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository, SNA I/1/34 No. 159.
Statement of the Chief Hlubi in the Ulundi division of the Colony of Natal.
"I and the men of my tribe that were ordered by the Government to serve in the war against the Zulus entered the Zulu country by crossing the Buffalo River at Rorke’s drift. We were under the command of Colonel Durnford. There were also the Edendale men and Zikhali’s with us. The morning after we crossed the Buffalo, a letter was brought to our camp by a mounted messenger from the camp of the General at Sandhlwana. What this letter said I do not know but we were ordered to saddle our horses and move on to the General’s camp. We did so. On reaching the camp, which was about the same time as it is now (about 10 a.m.) we were shown the advance Guards of the Zulu force. We dismounted and sat for some time, when Colonel Durnford directed us, that is, my men and those of Edendale, to go with him in pursuit of the Zulus who were said to be retiring. Mr George Shepstone was sent in another direction with the men of Zikhali. We were not long before we heard firing in our rear, and while wondering what it could mean we met the Zulus. Fighting then commenced. Captain Russell, who had the Rocket Gun was one of first to fall. After this we had to fall back upon the Camp, the Zulus following us. We reached a “donga” (watercourse) where we stood and kept the Zulus in check. While here our ammunition ran low and we asked for more, and an order was given that some of the men should go to the Camp for some. Before this could be done we saw that the Camp was being taken. Colonel Durnford rode off to the Camp with one man leaving us with Mr Henderson. We left the donga and followed Colonel Durnford. By this time we had to fight the Zulus on all sides of us. On nearing the camp, we saw the Native Contingent break and run towards the Buffalo followed by the Drivers and leaders of the Camp Wagons. The Zulus on seeing this shouted “It is beaten.” “They are running.” This emboldened the Zulus and the Camp was soon full of them. Seeing that it was useless to attempt anything beyond saving my men, having very little ammunition left, I made my way to Rorke’s drift forcing my way through be belt of Zulus on that side. I reached Rorke’s drift and crossed it, off-saddling this side. After a while I saddled up and made for Helpmakaar. On ascending the Biggarsberg, I saw a force of Zulus marching from Sandhlwana to Rorke’s drift.
If we black people had been placed under a white man whom we knew and who knew our language, and with whom we could speak, and had we been allowed to fight in our own way, instead of being placed as we were under a Soldier Chief, (military officer) we might have shown the Government what we could do for it. I believe that had the blacks been placed under men as I have already described, the end of the battle of Sandhlwana would have been different. Soldier Chief expect you to fight their way, but it was a way we did not understand, and it rendered us unfit, inasmuch as that we lost heart, and got out of the way as soon as we could, when we saw danger.
I have spoken to many Zulus who took part in other engagements against us and they say that their worst days, in which they suffered most, were Sandhlwana and Kambule. They admit that at the others they were beaten and had numbers killed, but they were not to be compared to the two stated.
The Zulus also say that they do not now know how to attack us, for the white man they find fights just as well in the open as in a camp behind wagons, and that the firing in rear of our troops is as destructive as the front. The way in which the Zulus were defeated at Ulundi quite astonished them."

In my presence this 29th day of July 1879.
J. Shepstone
A. S. N. A
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Ulundi

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:08 pm

Quote :
You meen Jabez Molife, not Hlubi.

He means Hlubi according to Ian Knight.

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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:01 pm

Ok, how about a different angle on the ammuntion question. What if it was the rifle itself caused the problem with the rate of fire. Had this e-mailed to me, Can confirm what I have highlighted in yellow.

"In the movie a lot is made of the unwillingness of the Quartermaster to issue ammunition and of the difficulty in opening the ammunition boxes. In fact the boxes could easily be kicked open or smashed open with a rifle butt and shortage of ammunition was not a major factor in the defeat. The Martini Henri rifles had a tendency to overheat and jam and this was much more problematic to the British. After the battle, many unworkable rifles were found abandoned. stribution was indeed the problem at the Battle of Isandhlwana. The Quartermaster refused to even show the messengers asking for ammunition the crates, and you can't knock a crate open with a rifle butt when you don't have it. Also consider that the average British soldier at Rorke's Drift fired 260 out of his Martini-Henry Mk. II. [color=yellow]Lieutenant Chard's battle report did not include anything at all about Martini-Henrys jamming. While unworkable rifles were found after the battle, they were in the vast minority. The Zulus captured almost all of the rifles at Isandhlwana and they were hardly unworkable at the subsequent battle at Rorke's Drift. The Quartermaster was also afraid to distribute ammunition because he worried about being reprimanded about recklessly handing out ammunition."
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:34 pm

Love to know the source

"The Quartermaster refused to even show the messengers asking for ammunition the crates"

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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:43 pm

Littlehand, its the same people reading the same old books.


I would love to know where the source information regarding case de-lamination come from. it did happen, but on a very small scale indeed, Hook is the only man to report a jam, there is no doubt the rifles did jam, primarily caused by the Mk1 pattern extractor which lost tensile strength when strained. This was the most likely cause to the men at Isandlwana as they had Mk1 3rd pattern rifles, with that extractor installed But I stress again, the rod or the rod and jag does the business to knock it out.

There is minimal evidence to prove case de-lamination, in the official jamming report of 1885 (relating to the Sudan) only one man stated he had seen this happen in his experience, oddly enough a Royal Marine, Col Sgt Jown Drew when asked "did you ever find the extractor tore off the base of the cartridge?" he replied yes, and he removed it with a stick or pocket knife, the rest, including armourers and senior NCO's were SPECIFICALLY ASKED if they had seen this happen, in the Sudan, or indeed any time in service and they had not, so please don't confuse yourselves with this. These men were, and you will agree most likely to have seen the phenomena in action, during their service

Lt Col R.A.J Talbot 1st Life Guards
Capt EMS Crabbe (local quatermaster GCR and four years musketary Instructor )Grenadier Gaurds
Col Sgt John Slade (former armourer )Coldstream Guards
Private J Lewis (acting armourer) Scots Guards
Trooper Foley 1st Life Guards
Troopr J Maclean 1st Life Guards
Lt W M Sherstone 2nd Battn Rifle Brigade
Private J Payne 2nd Battn Rifle Brigade
Lance Segt G Baker 5th Lancers


The fact no-one else at RD reports jamming however, there is a possibility their rifles had the newer, stronger extractor in their rifles, which "should" have been exchanged, but its highly likely that the were not, and the records of the RSAF do point to this work only being put into action in any earnest to regiments on home service until 1878, and by then the 2nd battalion was on is way. If they did had a jam it was seen as a minor irritatiion, not worthy of comment.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:54 pm

Here's an interesting observation by Ian Knight.

"Smith-Dorrien’s comment that the 24th were ‘making every round tell’ should be taken as a tribute to their reliability rather than at face value. This is particularly important, because an unrealistic assessment of the potential destructiveness of rifles on the battlefield can distort our reading of events. Clearly, if the 24th did indeed hit their targets with every shot, the 600-odd men of the 24th in the firing line would have killed the entire Zulu army in 34 volleys!"
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John

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:28 pm

A few observation during the Zulu War.


The Martini-Henry was subjected to more trials during 1873 when it was issued to the 4th, 46th Regiments and 60th Rifles. Some of their findings found echoes in 1879.
“Barrels heat with quick firing...may prove a serious drawback to rapidity of fire. A barrel cannot be touched after five or six rounds on some occasions. A leather shield attached to the fore-end may be found a necessary addition.”


The Inspector General of Musketry wrote in his report, “I can only account for the inferior shooting of the 4th and 46th Regiments with the Martini-Henry rifle, by the fact of the recoil being so great; the men in most instances fire with less confidence, and consequently at a great disadvantage; the shortness of the stock also frequently causes a smart blow on the cheek, particularly at the short distances and this naturally increases the chances of bad shooting.”


     Although some modifications and improvements were made, the barrels still grew hot with rapid fire and the kick remained fearsome. This was less to do with the weapon itself but rather the black powder propellant. After a few rounds, the barrel became fouled with residue which reduced the bore slightly. This was enough, however, to produces a greater velocity and backward force when fired, thus causing the gun to kick fiercely. Bruised shoulders and cheeks, torn firing fingers and bloody noses were often the result and much of the poor marksmanship observed during the Zulu War was certainly attributed to flinching by young recruits at the moment of firing.
     The overheating of the barrel was caused by the same source and only frequent cleaning could reduce the problem. This was not an option the defenders at Rorke’s Drift had and there were instances of their barrels glowing dully in the dark. The suggestion of leather shields, which had been recommended at the trials, was shelved for later consideration. This was small comfort to the Rorke's Drift men whose hands became blistered at the touch of a scorching barrel and had to resort to wrapping their hands with rags.  Soldiers subsequently followed the Boer example of stitching wet rawhide around the fore-end and allowing it to dry and shrink to form some protection.
     The Boxer cartridges caused additional problems. As the barrels heated so the cartridges were prone to “cook” and prematurely discharge the round. The thin rolled brass became soft and stuck to the chamber while the ejectors tore off the iron rim. The soldier had to remove the empty case with a knife or try and knock it out with the cleaning rod.
     The Boxer cartridge was also found wanting in other respects. If carried for any length of time in an ammunition pouch, rounds became deformed, causing the bullets to loosen and to shed black powder. They were also prone to dampness. 


     Colonel Redvers Buller VC wrote a memo after the Zulu War in which he was heavily critical of the Boxer cartridge compared with the Snider; “My men carried their service ammunition in bandolier belts. This did very well for the Sniders, but the Martini-Henry ammunition is more delicate. It becomes unserviceable far more rapidly than the Snider -
i.   By becoming bent in the front of the swell.
ii.  By getting bruised more easily.
iii. The bullet is far more apt to drop out.
iv. It is far more liable to get damp. This I consider very important.
I found that Snider cartridges hardly ever became unserviceable from this cause, but a good shower of rain would spoil at least one-third of the ammunition (Martini-Henry) exposed to it. I could not account for this to my satisfaction, though I made many experiments. The result was always the same; Snider remained good, Martini-Henry carried in the same bandolier became damp.” 
Maj. Gen. Newdigate also wrote to the War Office, "Numerous complaints were made about the ball-bags; the weight of the cartridges makes the bags open, and when the men double the cartridges fall out". 


Lieutenant E.O.H.Wilkinson of the 3rd Battalion 60th Rifles wrote of the Battle of Gingindlovu; “...and we followed suit, firing volleys by sections in order to prevent the smoke obscuring the enemy, and we had repeatedly to cease fire to allow the smoke to clear off, as some young aspirants out of hand paid little attention to section firing.” He concluded; "One lesson we learnt in our fight was, that with the Martini-Henry, men must  fire by word of command either by individuals, or at most, by sections: independent firing means in firing in twenty seconds, firing at nothing; and only helped our daring opponents to get close up under cover of our smoke. Officers had to be everywhere, and to expose themselves to regulate the fire within bounds, and I feel sure that for the future, only volleys by sections will be fired.”


At Gingindlovu, the British volleys commenced when the Zulus reached the 800 yard markers yet the Zulus were still able to get to within yards of the British lines. There are several reasons for this including the fact that the Zulus were in vast numbers and many soldiers fired inaccurately or too high. However, Capt. Wyatt-Edgell of the 17th Lancers noted that, after the battle, there were few Zulu bodies further than 300 yards from the British line. "At 300 yards a thin boundary of black bodies and white shields might be traced; at 200 yards and 100 yards from our lines their walls of dead were more thick".
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John

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:35 pm

RD Defenders account,

Private George Mossop, who fought in the Zulu War of 1879, described how:

‘We were armed with Martini-Henry rifles charged with black powder, and each shot belched out a cloud of smoke; it became so dense that we were almost choked by it - and simply fired blindly into it. There was one continuous roar from cannon, rifles and the voices of men on both sides shouting.
'The smoke blotted out all view. It made every man feel that all he could do was to shoot immediately in front of him - and not concern himself with what was taking place elsewhere.’
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:16 am

Various newspaper reports regarding the M.H

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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:31 am

A few quick note before I go off to sunnier climates for a couple of weeks. Whilst I love your enthusiasm, all due respects but your comparisons are a little "off target", The many hours I have spent at the archives in Leeds and Kew, have proved a revelation, and so far the jamming issue alone chapter of my book is 8,000 words and believe me it needs it. I had the pleasure to take Stephen Manning to the range yesterday. He's writing the new Osprey book on the M-H, I believe he went away rather surprised, in particular the recoil when I let him fire a) modern solid lead shot, with b) paper wrapped bullets over 85g of Curtis and Harvey No6, exact to the original load. Hopefully he's left just a bit of space to write about it.



John

You cannot compare the trials of 1872-73, the ammunition was Mk1 Boxer, by 1874 the MkIII was standard issue and was far heavier in design, three extra base cups and improved anvil.

For rifle heating trials you need to read the official 1875 reports by Col H C Fletcher and the sighting tests carried out by Capt Thompson DAA general for musketary at Hythe 1875. This time with the approved service rifle (Mk1 pattern 3) and ammuntion. (MkIII).

Littlehand

The first para you quote is I believe from the Wimbledon competition of 1871, too early for the 577/450 arm, but the straight "Long Chamber" martini, so again difficult to compare.

Para 2) newspaper reports will always sensationalise, it sells papers. For the full facts on the Sudan, as I've mentioned you needThe Report on the Jamming of Cartridges in Martini Henry Rifles and Complaints with Regard to Bayonets 15 October 1885 to 19th April 1886 HMSO , also the report by H T Arbuthnot Superintendent RSAF 17th Sept 1885 regarding rifles from the Sudan.



Para 3) I believe this is the Melbourne Argus report 1897, similar reports can be found in New Zealand, who actually chose the MH as they did not think the ranges they had would be safe for the higher velocity rounds.

guys, only an observation, not a criticism, but the real facts are there. The root of the topic is the "failures of rifle and ammo" and its potential outcome changing possibilities. I will always back up with fact from primary sources of my own, rather than the opinion of contemporary writers. In particular in my earlier post, regarding Capt EMS Crabbie, who in four years as Musketry Instructor had not seen any cases of cartridge de-lamination is a primary scource, he had seen many a jam, but not the style contemporary writers have liked to portray, or indeed the official W^D report mentions. I do not doubt it happened, but to the extent that has been sensationalised in post 1950's books is now proving very easy to discount as a major factor.
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:18 am

Understand all that, but the smoke must have had at some point a visibility effect along with defect cartridges due to damage. They were using the soft rolled bass type. and I wonder if the barrels become so hot that a round would self fire. I would like to know more about the metal state the men would have been in regarding remaining steady and trying to load a weapon when the enermy are within yards of them.

Is there any documented evidence to show if there were any rifles found after the battle that showed they were are un-useable due to continous firing.
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:31 am

Impi

No difference from the massive black powder battles of the previous two centuries.

Not sure about the "cooking off", TBH its a bit of a red herring and introduced to "bull it up", again H C Fletchers report is the definitive trail, the RSAF tested rapidity of fire, to a point the solder on the barrel melted and the sight ladder fell off, it did not cook of rounds. The report would say so. If the chamber is that hot it explodes the powder the wood would be heavily scorched first. Black powder is fairly inert and difficult to explode from heat, it happens in machine guns firing 1000 rpm, but rifles?,
Yesterday we fired 36 rounds in approx 40 minutes, including three in ten seconds to prove to Stephen Manning the heat of the barrel is just the same as a shotgun, rifle or carbine is today, hot. he agreed.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:45 am

RD Defenders account,

Private George Mossop, who fought in the Zulu War of 1879, described how:

‘We were armed with Martini-Henry rifles charged with black powder, and each shot belched out a cloud of smoke; it became so dense that we were almost choked by it - and simply fired blindly into it. There was one continuous roar from cannon, rifles and the voices of men on both sides shouting.
'The smoke blotted out all view. It made every man feel that all he could do was to shoot immediately in front of him - and not concern himself with what was taking place elsewhere.’

At least Mossop account adds some weigh to the theroy of the smoke.
I remember as a kid throwing 22 blanks on to a fire and they went off. So would the heat from a hot barrel have the same effect.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:52 am

This gives a good overview, even gives Neill a mention.

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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:51 pm

OH2
I actually took Richard to the range to evaluate the Martini for himself, this weekend I did the same for Stephen Manning (author of Pillar of Empire Evelyn Wood VC) he doing the new Osprey title.

I sort of proof read Richards dissitation for him, and for a young man an excellent job he did too.

Regs
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John

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:00 pm

Neil, Next time you do a shoot, are you able to set-up a video camera behind you, so we can see the target, and again after you have fired this will enable us to get our heads around just how much smoke is admitted in-front of the target. Hope you know what i mean.
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:16 pm

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90th

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PostSubject: The Ammunition Question   Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:06 am

Hi Oh2 .
I see you have George Mossop's account of firing a M.H under R.D Defenders Account , he wasnt at R.Drift but a survivor of Hlobane .
Cheers 90th. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:41 pm

This is one of the best explanations, I've ever seen.

"Many accounts of the battle concentrate on the failure of the ammunition supply to the companies, usually placing the blame on the lack of suitable screw-drivers to unfasten the boxes. This myth needs to be corrected. The ammunition re-supply to the 24th failed, not because of failure to open the boxes, but because the ammo dumps were too far from the troops in action; it took too long for a soldier to make his way from the company to the quartermaster's ammo point, stand in line while earlier arrivals were served first, then collect his allocation and make his way back to the company and hand out the few extra rounds he had collected. This was a failure by Pulleine as commanding officer of 1/24th, but it affected Pope's 2/24th men as well, and any other troops who needed re-supply. The ammunition re-supply should have started well before the soldiers commenced firing, so that acompany dump was placed behind each line, only a few paces from the men in action. On top of that, a regular top-up run should have been in motion to ensure that company dumps were not depleted. It is noticeable that, with many men simply standing around minding officers' horses back in the tented lines, nobody - least of all the quartermasters - grabbed them and the horses to provide a very much quicker way of getting ammunition to the firing lines. The failure of the supply, however, lay with the basic organisation. This was an historical problem in the battalion; Pulleine had simply inherited an inadequate arrangement - or lackof arrangement - and his responsibility for the failure lay simply in not quickly appreciating the situation and making rapid corrections. On the whole, it is unfair to blame Pulleine for this particular operational failure; rather (if at all, for one suspects it was an army-wide problem), any fault could be laid at Glyn's door as the former commanding officer.

The ammunition boxes themselves were designed for long life, not for quick dispensing of their contents. This was a fault attributable to the designers at Woolwich arsenal - but, nevertheless, one can detect the quartermaster mentality at work again. It seems that at Isandlwana there was not a lack of screwdrivers to open the boxes. But even if there had been, the boxes, too strong to have been easily opened by a simple blow from a rifle butt as has often been suggested, could have been opened very quickly by a pistol shot through the screw - and the quartermasters had pistols as their personal weapons. As it happened, though, the quartermasters' assistants did all the screw removal without problems.

A genuine problem related to the ammunition itself. The Martini-Henry became very hot after repeated firing and the brass of the cartridge, not properly formulated to resist the heat, expanded to form an immovable fit in the breech; in addition, the rim was too soft to allow the case to be firmly pulled out. The result was that many rifles became jammed, having what is called a "hard extraction" - which would be better called "non-extraction" - with the case solid in the breech, the extractor having torn through the rim. Many soldiers carried folding pen-knives to dig the recalcitrant metal from the rifles. Needless to say, this problem reduced the effective fire-power of each company after several volleys as soldier after soldier stopped firing to dig out a cartridge case. Having made that comment, it would be wrong to imply as some reviewers have done that whole companies ceased fire to deal with the problem; it was restricted to individual men here and there. It did not have the effect of allowing the Zulus to get up close; that was caused by the dispositions of the companies."

Source: Major Hugh M Jones.
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PostSubject: The tricky ammunition supply   Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:32 pm


Hi ulundi,
Right on.
All of these points have been covered earlier in this thread by myself and others. Dr Machanix and Prof Laband concur with these findings by Maj Jones. What amazes me however, is how some of the often quoted authors could fail to mention this at all, as it was a major contibutor to the rout.
So the question is begged,..... what other important issues did they miss?

regards

barry
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:57 pm

Ulundi, that account is fictional nonsence.

Barry

Out of intrest have you read or payed attention to a single post by myself, Springbok or Julian ?
We have proved using accounts from those who were there that there was no ammo failure.

What evidence do you have that there was one ? Don't invent accounts from people like Doig or Shannon, use
only the accounts from those who were there, and your theroy falls apart.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:06 pm

DB. Read the account properly. The artical is showing some of the problems that exisited. The accounts you mentioned are from individuals who only saw what was taking place at a particular time in a particular place. It was a very vast area.

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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:17 pm

Quote :
Barry Out of intrest have you read or payed attention to a single post by myself, Springbok or Julian ?

D.B. I think you need to watch you attitude.
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:32 am

LH

The article proves nothing, there is no evidence given from anyone who was there, they also invent this

"Many accounts of the battle concentrate on the failure of the ammunition supply to the companies"

CTSG

Its a simple question, we've proved that there was no ammo problem, but why is the evidence we provided ignored ?
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PostSubject: The ammunition question   Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:32 am

Hi Db14,

To answer your question, NO, I definitely only pay attention to the works and findings of professionals who have researched their subject properly. I dont think that you are in that league, or anywhere close to it.

regards

barry
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:37 am

Hi Barry

I don't mean to be rude, but Springbok and Julian are Professionals.

Also Dr Machanix isn't a professional on the Zulu War; otherwise he'd have given some evidence for what he writes.

When you say “Researched “surely that means looking at the evidence and facts from those who were there, and not just making accounts and things up and implementing them as fact?
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:16 pm

Hi DB
Very flattering but I cannot be in any put in the same class as Julian. He is an extremely gifted historian and researcher, Im an amateur bumbling around by comparison.
Your right about Machanix though, his articles, and there were more, are usual dredged from Morris or based on highly risque speculation. In no way what so ever can he be classed as a serious scholar. Non of his utterings relate back to source material. Anyone who relies on his articles to formulate a view point is destined for disapointment.

By the way, there are far more serious things in life than the Zulu Wars, dont get to wound up, its admirable but there are so many issues that you will go bonkers trying to figure them all out. As my Grand kids like to say "Chill".

You will go far one day I have no doubt.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:46 pm

DB

There are many so called experts commenting on the "failure of the ammunition supply".

Not one of them can answer two simple questions

1) Give a source that says the ammunition was expended, ran out etc.

2) Explain how over 500 men could make there way across close to a mile of rocky undulating terrain keeping of approx 15000 Zulu warriors with a blood lust and then last for over 90 minutes without cover/shelter or barricades.

Various Forum members who are convinced the ammunition ran out, and they have right to their opinions, have been asked these questions directly and have never come up with a satisfactory answer. We usually get quotes from second/third hand sources, wild interpretations or inaccurate quotations from sources that mention "ammo running low". There is a significant difference.

So I will put these two questions up for debate...........again.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: The ammunition question   Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:26 pm

Quote :
1) Give a source that says the ammunition was expended, ran out etc.

I think it was agreed, that the problem was, that not enough was getting to the firing lines, as only handfulls were being taken back. We have one account from Essex who stated he sent out ammuntion boxes to the firing lines on waggons, but he doesn't say which firing line, or how far the firing lines were away from where he supposedly sent it from, he also doesn't state if it actully got to the firing lines and neither does anyone else.

The fall back of the firing lines was because off the overwhelming numbers of the enermy breaking though, but I also feel that it was also due to a lack of ammuntion. A Zulu account states that the dead soldiers pouches were empty. Law of averages must allow for, soldiers panicking and running way, rifles fowled up, miss firing, cartridge jams, ect. And the fact that so much un-used ammunition was taken by the Zulus must suggest that it just was going out fast enough. As Ian Knight pointed out, if all the British at Isandlwana that day had fired 35 well aimed volleys into the Zulu's they would have wiped out the entire Zulu army.


Quote :
2) Explain how over 500 men could make there way across close to a mile of rocky undulating terrain keeping of approx 15000 Zulu warriors with a blood lust and then last for over 90 minutes without cover/shelter or barricades
.

If we say each man was carrying 70 rounds of ammunition x 500 that equates give or take a few to 35,000 rounds of ammuntion, that's a lot of lead to pour into the enemy, and with that much fire power I'm not sure even 15,000 Zulus would have been to keen on running head long into that, plus the Zulus would have had to cross over exactly the same terrain as the British before them, difference being they would have being ducking and diving behind boulders ect as hundreds of bullets would have been pouring into them. So I'm guessing there would have been one hell of a gap between the British and the Zulus over the mile you mention.
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