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 Lt Harry Davis and Trooper Edwards

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Frank Allewell


Posts : 6927
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 71
Location : Cape Town South Africa

PostSubject: Lt Harry Davis and Trooper Edwards   Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:04 am

(In the Donga) Davis noted with concern that the uMbonambi were massing in the hollows bellow the conical Kopie, risking cross fire to press between Durnfords left and Popes Company. He, Davies, then took 15 men and went for ammunition, on his way back with some 600 rounds, he noticed that groups on uMbonambi had penetrated between Durnford and Pope and were fast aproaching the tents.

..................men began to realise the hopeless position (in the donga) suddenly one shouted, "The zulus are in the camp", and they were with a vengeance.

The uMbonambi were credited by Cetswayo as being first into the camp. So before the donga gave way the Zulu were allready behind the mounted men, to the left and to the right and in the camp.

Therefore if contempory authors, Snook te al, are to be believed , ( and they have gone to considerably lengths to prove that point) Pullein had positioned himself to the left front of the camp area to see the right flank. The question now arrises that if we accept all these facts why didnt Pullein pull back Pope before Durnford abandoned the donga. I beilieve the military minded among the forum would call it refusing the right flank.

Just a thought for discussion.

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PostSubject: Lt Harry Davis and Trpr Edwards .   Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:48 pm

HI Springbok .
Bare with me here I'm only summarising as I havent walked the ground at Isandlwana . The ground I believe is rather difficult
possibly Pulleine couldnt see Pope's Co from the position he was occupying ? . If I remember correctly , Durnford only
abandoned the donga because he was running out of ammunition , therefore Pulleine wouldnt have had any idea that
this was about to happen ? . Also didnt Pulleine send Pope to the donga in the hope of holding the donga with the
extra men ? . Poor Charlie Pope was on his way to the donga ( hence him being to the right of the firing line ) when
Durnford mounted up and withdrew , basically leaving Pope out to dry . Also as I stated Durnford was running low on
ammo as he had sent back several people to get ammo but they basically came back empty handed if they came back
at all or were fruitlessly searching for their ammunition wagon ! . Durnford could more than likely see that the left horn was
getting around his right flank and knew they would be cut off , so therefore his position became untenable and he had
no option but to withdraw .
cheers 90th. Idea
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Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Re: Lt Harry Davis and Trooper Edwards   Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:23 am

Hi 90th
Point by point.
Yes from various points of the firing line the Donga is invisible. However from around a third of the way down Popes line, hypothetical placing, it is highly visible.
Mike Snook has gone to great trouble, in attempting to exonerate Pullein, in placing him at the front line. Its conjectured by him that it was Pullein who called for the withdrawl on seeing Durnford pull back, therefore the donga would have been visible.
The area of penetration between Pope and Durnford would therefore have been visible, after all if you see a bunch of screaming Zulus heading towards your tents its pretty obvious that some thing is afoot. From that point the left horn has curled around Durnfords flank, he is seperated from Pope by the incursions. So he packs up, loses control and runs for it. The point Im trying to make is I suppose that there were other factors over the 'low ammo state' that caused the withdrawl and subsequent loss.
Assume Dirnford had a mythical supply of ordinance, would ir have made a difference? Zulus to the left of him, Zulus to the right, ( with apologise to Alfred Lord Tennyson) and Zulus about to perform rectal surgery. The line was breached the best case scenario would have involved a pocket of men isolated in the Donga while ethe left horn streamed around him.
Does that make any kind of sense?
I spent some time walking the position from the guns position down to the end of the donga, just passed the road crossing. Its a hell of a distance to cover. When I walked back to Popes cairns and you look around, you only then start to apreciate the vast length covered by Pope, Bradsteet and Durnford. Plot the aprox number of men onto the mind map and it just doesnt come across as a perfect defensive position. Probable Durnfords position was a wrong choice, if he needed the shelter of the donga he should have taken up a position a few hundred meters closer to the conical Kopie. Even then, that would have closed the gap and made the line stronger but would have made the left horns flanking movement evem easier. No win situation.

Just thinking aloud is all.

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PostSubject: Lt Harry Davis and Trpr Edwards .   Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:12 pm

Hi Springbok.
I can see your point in regard to Durnford having the mythical rounds . Ie . He would as you say still have little choice
but to withdraw as he wasnt in the best position the Donga could have afforded ? . So , there wasnt much he could have done
either way ?. Interesting thoughts .
cheers 90th. Idea
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