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 2 questions from a newbie

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tony24th



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PostSubject: 2 questions from a newbie   Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:28 pm

Hello all,

Allow me if I may to share my thoughts (as trivial as they are).

I've just finished reading Rorke's drift by Adrian Greaves again, great book.

There are 2 things I've been thinking about, the book has made me think further so I wonder if anyone can assist, forgive me if they seem silly.

1. execution of zulu wounded at rorke's drift..........
I've read suggestions elsewhere that up to 500? zulu wounded were despatched by the garrison once the impi had withdrawn, I can't for the life of me remember where but I know there is a debate on it.
Something that struck me as standing out as a potential clue was a part of the recollections of Commandant Hamilton Browne NNC when he saw the result of the battle.

' One thing I noticed and that was the extraordinary way in which the majority of the zulus lay.
I had been over a good many battlefields and seen very many men who had been killed in action but I had never seen men lie in this position.
They seemed to have dropped on their elbows and knees and remained like that with their knees drawn up to their chins.'

I don't want to jump to conclusions but what do you think, indicative of a MH slug lifting a man off of his feet and throwing him backwards, or of a bullet / bayonet to the back of a man forced to kneel?
I've read no accounts of the wounded being taken in and treated / imprisoned, and to the garrison, the butchery of the patients in the hospital may well have been cause to spare no wounded enemy.
Your thoughts?


2. lack of zulu bullets found during archaeological survey at RD
I'm aware that there was a distinct lack of bullets found within the barricaded area, nothing like the amount I'd expect to have been found.
In order for poor marksmen to kill so many British soldiers and when firing from the oskarberg, they must have fired off a tremendous amount of ammunition (my own opinion).
I know the zulus fired high and not surprisingly a good number of bullets were found in the car park at RD, but it doesn't account for the lack within the fortified area, where are they?
I've always wondered as it would be great to know if and where the zulu commander had instructed the snipers to concentrate their fire if he had the tactical foresight to recognise and manipulate weaknesses in the defences using guns.
In his book, describing life at RD after the battle Adrian says........


'Conditions were terrible and to make matters worse the rain was unremitting; the interior of the fort became such a quagmire from the trampling of so many feet that fatigue parties were employed for the best part of the day in carrying liquid mud away and emptying the slush outside'.


Could this be why?, they certainly didn't sieve the mud and put the bullets back where they were found before taking it away.
Emptied where?, into the river?, it makes no sense to keep the liquid local enabling it to drain back in.


Again, these are trivial points but they've been bugging me, what do you guys think?


Tony

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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: 2 questions from a newbie   Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:56 pm

Tony

The main reason to answer question 2 is richochet, the Zulu's firing downhill unless it met dead stop would bounce up and fly off 100's of yards in the distance, .577 slugs are soft nosed, so are Martini and will deform and bounce on hitting hard earth rather than penetrate. The distance 300-400 yards, without a well guaged poweder load would cause the bullet to loose velocity on trajectory quite quickly.
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: 2 questions from a newbie   Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:55 pm

Hi Tony and welcome to the forum.
I am a newbie too, but I am learning a lot from this forum.
Between your thoughts about the subsequent emptying out the soft mud from inside the post and Neil's of the ricochets, I think you have got Q2 pretty well covered.
Q1 - There doesn't seem to have been very much prisoner taking or affording of medical treatment to the injured of the opposition post-iSandlwana - on either side. Hamilton-Browne and others do not make make any secret of the fact that injured Zulu warriors were finished off in the days following RD and they were not given much quarter in the weeks that followed either.
Enjoy the forum,
Tasker
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: 2 questions from a newbie   Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:24 pm

Quote :
1) execution of zulu wounded at rorke's drift..........
I've read suggestions elsewhere that up to 500? zulu wounded were despatched by the garrison once the impi had withdrawn, I can't for the life of me remember where but I know there is a debate on it.
Something that struck me as standing out as a potential clue was a part of the recollections of Commandant Hamilton Browne NNC when he saw the result of the battle.

There is enough evidence to show the dispatching of the wounded Zulu's was carried out after the Battle, I don't know why it's thought the British solderers done this work,when it was mainly done by members of the NNC. I don't doubt for a moment some of the soldiers didn't take part but I would put this down to pay back many of the defenders lost family and friends at Isandlwana. But I think the main reason was, there was no provisions for housing or taking care of wounded Zulu's plus I expect it would have been more human to put some of them out of there misery as they must have had some horrific wounds.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: 2 questions from a newbie   Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:35 pm

Quote :
I don't want to jump to conclusions but what do you think, indicative of a MH slug lifting a man off of his feet and throwing him backwards, or of a bullet / bayonet to the back of a man forced to kneel?
I've read no accounts of the wounded being taken in and treated / imprisoned, and to the garrison, the butchery of the patients in the hospital may well have been cause to spare no wounded enemy.

I have read this as well, my own thoughts would it not depend on the size of the person being hit. I can see this happening with the younger Zulu. And how close was the target when this occurred. Chard made a comment about seeing a Zulu who had been shot in the head, there was a small hole in the front, but the whole back of his head was missing as though it had been removed with an axe ( or along those lines) i'm not sure if some bullets through malfunction or whatever do more damage than a normal bullet. Neil might be able to help here. Would it be possible for some rounds to be overloaded with power and would this allow the round in question to cause more damage to the target. Just a thought.
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: 2 questions from a newbie   Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:00 pm

To give you some idea the MH bullet is 480 grains, (appro 1 oz) its going at 1320 ft (400m) a second and when it hits it flattens out with rapid expansion like a mushroom, the kinetic energy is collosal. If it hits bone the effect is quite devastating. My Mk2 will smash it way clean through a railway sleeper at 300 yards, indeed in the design brief, the stipulated penetration was tested as such at 100 yards
Elm plank; 14 x1/2 inch planks
Earth :two feet
Iron Plate 3/8th inch (10mm)
Steel plate 1/4" 6mm
Fir in 3 inch planks: 6 planks
Brick wall 9 inches
Oak in 2" (50mm) planks : 3 planks

Finally 4 x 3/8" planks was penetrated at 3000 yards!.

A snider impact is potentially worse in soft tissue as the nose of the MkV1 bullet had a boxwood pointn, in effect a dum dum round, later Snider ammo the Mk!X had a hollow point, spun over, throw a tomato against a wall, thats whats going to happen. in 1879 & 1880 in trials at Dungeness, ricochet test were carried out, at 100 yards ricohets were recorded to 800 yards, and at 1400 yards and additional 250 yards were recorded.

More powder will not affect accuracy, a great deal, it'll make it go faster, but too much powder in a lead bullet can ciause the bullet to break up due to centrifugal force, hence the MH round has 12% tin content to harden it up, a poor fitting bullet will, in which it will tumble, with all ballistics gone, but you wouldn't really notice the distance if hit by it!
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Re: 2 questions from a newbie   Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:26 pm

With reference to the position of the Zulu's that were hit. Elbows, knees drawn up. Could this be consistent with a shot to the stomach.?
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: 2 questions from a newbie   Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:18 pm

Could this not merely be the foetal position, into which many people curl up into when in discomfort through ilness or injury?

The Standard journalist, Archibald Forbes, accompanying the expedition to the battlefield on the 21st may 1879 noted amongst other vivid descriptions of the dead,

"There lay a form that seemed cosily curled up in calm sleep, turned almost on its face, but seven assegai wounds have pierced its back."
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tony24th



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PostSubject: Re: 2 questions from a newbie   Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:28 am

Thanks for the speedy replies and the welcome everyone, much knowledge to be gained here for a novice.

So the dispatching of the wounded is accepted as fact, I must say I can understand why, malice, necessity and compassion must all have played a part.
Does anyone know off hand where I might find more of Hamilton Brownes material?

Neil, great to hear your explanations, I must admit, I had assumed the ground would absorb the rounds but you've made perfect sense, I can see now that richochet covers it.
Your impact assessments are frightening, I knew the MH was a powerful round but a railway sleeper at 300yds!! WOW.
With that being the case, how much protection would the mealie bags and biscuit boxes have afforded the defenders?




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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: 2 questions from a newbie   Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:50 pm

Hi Tony
I am posting this link to you, that forum member Littlehand posted up for me some weeks ago:

Tasker here you go read for free
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

PS Click on page to turn

Hope it is useful - it is a fascinatingread, but apparently, HB was prone to a bit of embellishment in his story telling;
apologies if you have it already.
Tasker
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tony24th



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PostSubject: Re: 2 questions from a newbie   Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:14 pm

Tasker, I'm indebted, this is just what I'm looking for.
My thanks too to Littlehand.


I found a similar site offering a free read of BLACK SOLDIERS OF THE QUEEN by P.S Thompson, I'll go and find the link.
It has 5 pages missing but that is a condition of the preview they offer.

Off to find it.


EDIT......

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: 2 questions from a newbie   Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:44 pm

Glad to be able to help in some way!
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