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 Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?

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impi

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PostSubject: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:30 pm

Sorry Guys I need some help to understand. There appears to have been lots of movements around the camp. The General himself, Major Dartnell, Colonel Harness, Hamilton-Browne and all the men that would have been with them. What I find impossible to believe is the fact that no one seems to have heard any gun fire coming from Isandlwana although it would have been continuous from around 10:00hrs there would have been a combination of Rifle, Cannon and Rocket. It 1879 there would not have been any noise pollution to obstruct the sounds and going by the history books it was a nice day (Weather wise) Now I don’t know the distances and the speed of sound ect Colonel Hamilton-Browne states.

“At about 11 o'clock I was on ahead and looking through my glasses when I saw a puff of smoke rise from the hills on the left of the camp. It was followed by another. They seemed to come from a huge black shadow that lay on the hills. Presently another puff and in a moment I knew they were bursting shells. Not a cloud was in the sky, and I knew that the black shadow resting on the hills must be the Zulu army moving down to attack the camp.At once I dispatched the second message.”

(This is where Neil I hope comes in)

Brown says he saw puffs of smoke would he not have heard the sound as well, its just seems unbelievable that no one heard the Battle at its peak. I could be wrong and would appreciate if someone could post an account of someone who was not at Isandlwana who reported hearing gunfire coming from the camp?

P.S What time did Milne climb to the hill to observe the camp through his telescope?
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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:39 pm

Impi. Good post. I have often wondered the same.

(No name ) An officer in advance from Chelmsford's force gave this eyewitness account of the final stage of the battle at about 3 P.M..

"In a few seconds we distinctly saw the guns fired again, one after the other, sharp. This was done several times -a pause, and then a flash - flash! The sun was shining on the camp at the time, and then the camp looked dark, just as if a shadow was passing over it. The guns did not fire after that, and in a few minutes all the tents had disappeared."

For all we know this could be Brown? scratch

But if not its another account of someone seeing the Guns fired. ( Doesn't say heard) This officer i tnink is also mentioning the eclips.
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:43 pm

Thanks for the quick responce Littlehand. Yes it’s mystifying. With thunder and lighting, you see the flash first the noise comes after. It must be the same for Guns.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:47 pm

Impi. Was there any reports from R.D after their Battle, that they had heard the gunfire coming from Isandlwana. We need to understand the speeds of sound I think . Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:54 pm

Not sure will have to check. But when Brown was at Isandlwana he did say this about R.D

Quote :
"I looked across the Buffalo Valley. By the road it was a long way, but as the crow flies quite a short distance, and in the direction I knew Rourke's Drift to lie I noticed a lot of tiny flashes. I called Black's attention to them, saying, " Those flashes must be musketry." He looked in the direction indicated and said, " Yes." I told at once said, " Yes,

So again we have someone saying seeing not hearing. Like I said mystifying. Anyway thats enough for me. See yer later.
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:37 pm

"After Spalding’s departure, Chard went back down to the pontoons. It would appear that he was not taking the Zulu threat seriously and was not overly concerned when he heard the distant sound of rifle fire. Likewise, Bromhead and his party at the post had heard this fire coming from the direction of Isandlwana, but did not think much of it."
[i]

And Bromhead was known as the deaf duffer. But it's appears he heard it.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:48 pm

Here I go again - just read Zulu rising.

From what I read, it seems to me that,
1. Chelmsford tended to think that the messages and info he was receiving from Colonial officers was not as reliable as that from his own British officers. Colonials were prone to exaggeration.
2. The native troops with Chelmsford's half of the column certainly heard artillery and gunfire and did mentioned it. "can't you hear that?"The Colonial officers in turn reported it to Chelmsford - see above.
3. Chelmsford was inclined to think that this gunfire was minor skirmishing around the camp but still believed the camp was not in danger. He still believed the main Zulu impi was near his location where he was skirmishing.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:58 pm

Hard to believe that the constant firing which was going on for hours was thought to be a skirmish. Was Chelmsford further away from Isandlwana than those at Rorke's Drift.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:36 pm

i am happy to be corrected on this, but the fighting at iSandlwana was intense and over in little more than an hour, two at the most.
also, as Chelmsford's force was itself engaged in what they thought were the opening skirmishes with the main Zulu impi, they would have been focussing on their own tasks.
apparently, noises like thunder repeatedly echo around the hills in the area of iSandlwana and so distant gunfire could have been mistaken for the echo of gunfire from Chelmsford's own force.
i believe Chelmsford was some 12k from iSandlwana and RD is 16k from it.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:32 pm

20th jan once Chelmsford had established the camp at Isandlwana, he sent out two battalions of the Natal Native Contingent to scout ahead. They skirmished with elements of a Zulu force which Chelmsford believed to be the vanguard of the main enemy Early hours of the 22nd Jan. He divided his force, taking about 2,500 men.

The Zulu attack commenced between 09:00hrs-10:00hrs.The final stage of the battle at about 3 P.M. Around 5 hours.

Chelmsford column never saw any action.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:14 am

Tasker
Brown watched the battle for around three hours from the time of the left horn moving around to the final sighting of a "square" moving up to the saddle. Once that square had moved onto the saddle ( its debatable who the square could be, Brown says Younghusband but it was possible that it was C E or F companies. Convention seems to suggest that Younghusbands retreat was on the scree slope behind the tents) The was still fighting in progress as Anstyes men fought a retirement engagement down the reverse slope. The battle could have lasted 4 to 5 hours.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:38 am

I wonder if there was a breeze blowing that day that carried the sound towards Rorke's Drift, but away from Chelsford?

Brett
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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:14 am

Chard: "Chelmsfords column never saw any action"

Various elements did indee see action, Datnell in particular. Harford and Maxwell were both involved in skirmishes And the Carabineers at Phindo

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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:17 pm

Dartnell was sent ahead of the Column. I meant the Column Chelmsford was travelling with to Dartnell assistance.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:38 pm

Hi All
This is copied exactly from p437 of Ian KNight's ZR, sourced by Norris-Newman's "In Zululand with the British, 1879". He is with Chelmsford's detachment.

...."Suddenly there was the faint sounds of shells bursting on the iNyoni ridge. Some Zulus captured in the skirmishing were being questioned nearby, and one said "do you hear that? There is fighting going on in the camp." The sun was shining brightly on the white tents which were plainly visible, but all seemed quiet. No signs of firing or an engagement could be seen." Reassured, Chelmsford returned to his new camp site.

If the sounds of artillery shells bursting were faint, where would that leave rifle fire? The thought of a breeze blowing from east to west had crossed my mind also. Does anyone know the wind direction on the 22nd?
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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:59 pm

Hi All

There was a discussion last year about this on the RDVC forum.

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It may add to this forum.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:12 pm

Hi All

I read this from a friend.

The following comes from "From Midshipman to Field Marshall" by Sir Evelyn Wood
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Why Was Gun Fire Not Heard. No Wonder They Didn't Believe The Camp Was Under Attack ?   Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:45 pm

Odd how they only heard Chelmsford's guns, they would have be the same caliber as the cannons fired during the Battle. And Wood in confirming that the guns could be heard 50 miles away.

Might be worth compiling one of our lists to find how many accounts confirm the guns could be heard at Isandlwana.
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