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 Zulu Alternative Tactic?

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spelk

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PostSubject: Zulu Alternative Tactic?   Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:19 pm

One thing that has been preying on my mind of late, was the question whether the Zulu's ever adopted or adapted their "buffalo formation" in any battle during the Anglo-Zulu wars? Was the formation so engrained in their military culture (and the formation of the amabutho) that it couldn't have been changed?
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu Alternative Tactic?   Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:08 pm

Spelk. Click on link below.
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PostSubject: Re: Zulu Alternative Tactic?   Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:03 pm

Why would the Zulus have considered changing the Buffalo formation? Seems to have served Shaka and the subsequent Zulu kings very well. It was spectacularly successful at iSandlwana and may have worked equally as well at Khambula, had it not been for one of the horns being drawn into attacking too early. This latter "adaptation" of the tactic probably cost the Zulus this battle and marked the turning point in the 1879 war.
If it aint broken...
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spelk

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu Alternative Tactic?   Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:25 am

I just wondered if there were any instances of the Zulu army using any different tactics.

I guess because of its previous success, and possibly the fact that the whole Zulu Army structure may be formulated around it, it was used exclusively.

I was watching a documentary whereby a guide of the site at Isandlwana, was stressing that the battle there shouldn't be looked upon as a British defeat, but more as a glorious Zulu strategic victory. Its an interesting point, but it got me thinking that if an army follows a single pattern of attack, regardless of situation, with no deviation or adaptation based on circumstances, surely this could be exploited by enemy they're facing?

As people have mentioned here, it was at Khambula where one of the horns attacked before the formation was ready to apply itself to the battle, and this deviation may have caused the loss there. So I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any other changes to the use of the formation during the War.

I'm not criticising the tactic itself, I'm just asking if there was any alternative used, ever.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu Alternative Tactic?   Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:45 pm

Quote :
I was watching a documentary whereby a guide of the site at Isandlwana, was stressing that the battle there shouldn't be looked upon as a British defeat, but more as a glorious Zulu strategic victory.

As the late David Rattay would say regarding Isandlwana.

"The British general was "out-generalled" by the Zulu general and that is the fact of this matter".
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PostSubject: Re: Zulu Alternative Tactic?   Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:10 pm

The horn formation was used in the Battle of Gingindlovu on the 2nd April 1879, but once again there was no proper co-ordination. Prince Dabulamanzi and his commanders were a considerable distance away from the objective (the British square) on the summit of Umisa Hill and their signals were probably not all that clearly visible. The left horn actually divided itself into two - a second horn formation, if you wish. As the commanders stated, they were unable to counter the massed weaponry (rifles, RN rockets and artillery).
Regards, Ken
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