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 Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)

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1879graves

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PostSubject: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Tue May 24, 2011 8:11 pm

Hi All

I have come across a person in the1st 24th during the Zulu War and on his Medical notes states the following:

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Remittent Fever
Had a sharp attack
at Helpmakar February
1879 after great expo-
sure whilst entrenching
the camp of Isandula.
At Malta and Gibraltar
also suffered with fever.


My question is:
What entrenchments took place between January & February 1879?
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90th

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PostSubject: Entrenchments at Isandlwana ( Isandula )   Tue May 24, 2011 10:39 pm

Hi 1879Graves.
Although it says Isandula it certainly wasnt there as we know there were no entrenchments at the camp . More than likely
it's referring to the hasty Entrenchments made at R.D on the 23rd and onwards . It is well documented the troops had no cover
or anything for that matter to keep them warm or dry till they had retreated back into Natal . No doubt this would have contributed
to much Fever / Sickness etc etc . Once they had indeed retreated back to the safety of Natal they still wouldnt / Didnt have any
protection from the weather .
cheers 90th.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Wed May 25, 2011 7:39 am

Graves
Do you have a name this refers to? If he was at isandlwana and fled to Helpmekaar he could have been involved in the entrenchments there, under some pretty horrible conditions.

Regards
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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Wed May 25, 2011 7:50 am

Hi Springbok

It refers to 1-24/576 Private James Gardner.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Wed May 25, 2011 8:35 pm

Graves. Do you have anything else on Jame's Gardner.
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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Thu May 26, 2011 6:55 pm

Hi Littlehand

I have sent you a PM

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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Thu May 26, 2011 7:03 pm

Hi 90th

Many thanks for the info, I did not remember any entrenchments at Isandlwana being done or any mention of it.

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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:47 pm

Spades to save the day. If only they had known.?

By Sir Henry Havelock.
"If the men at Isandula had had these light spades, they would have been able, even in a few hours, to have intrenched the camp, or, at any rate, to have thrown up a few rifle pits flanking each other. Then, with the powerful weapons with which our men were armed, he undertook to say that we should not now have been mourning a great disaster;"
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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:44 am

The only thing that could have succesfully entrenched isandlwana would have been a bulldozer. The ground is extremely rocky.
Its because of the nature of the ground that the cairns are there. Shallow graves were dug, very very shallow, and rocks piled over the bodies. With heavy rains the graves were exposed on a frequent basis.

Make that a bulldozer and dynamite, very definitly not a light spade.

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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:02 am

I expect a lot of advice was give. Out after the event. Unfortunately it's normally by those who were back in England. But just for my own piece of mind. Is it true they didn't have entrenching tools ( Spades ) was this the case, right across the board or just those soldiers at Isandlwana.
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90th

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PostSubject: Entrenchments at Isandlwana ( Isandula )   Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:18 am

Hi 24th.
The 1st column must have had them or tools of some description because they entrenched / fortified at Eshowe .
The 4th Column under Wood must have also had some sort of tools as they had entrenched at Khambula and where they
were encamped earlier . By memory not sure if there is any mention of the 3rd Column or the 2nd under Durnford having such
equipment . The 3rd Column must have had some tools as they would have been required to fix / make roads for the column to
advance ?. There is also the statement from Glyn I think it is when they arrive at Isandlwana '' Should we entrench '' so one
would think they must have had some equipment with them . Hope this helps .
cheers 90th. Idea
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:24 am

Im open to correction but wasnt the entrenchment/fortification the responsibility of the Pioneer or Engineer detachments? I seem to recall that they would have their tool wagons and twould set up any fortifications using the troops as labor ( mainly the black troops).
If thats correct then I dont think the individual soldier would carry any sort of entrenchment tools.

Just a thought

regards
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:48 am

Wasn't some engineers sent up to Isandlwana by John Chard with a wagon load of tools. Or something along those line.
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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:04 am

Impi
Yes, as Chard rode back to RD he saw his engineers and instructed them to carry on to isandlwana. Either three or four of them.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:15 am

Everywhere I look on the web, in connection to entrenching tools at Isandlwana mostly states there was a " lack of entrencing tools" so in reality even if Chelmsford had decided to fortify Isandlwana, entrenching would have been out anyway. Who would have been responsible for ensuring that there was enough tools to enable entrencing to be done if needed.
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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:21 am

Could Chelmsford's idea of putting the Zulu war quickly to bed have given rise to forget the simple requirements needed by each column. There was a lack of screwdrivers and now it appears spades.
I was having a read through Havelock's speech to the house of commons. He makes reference to the Two cannon's saying that the two 7 pounders were not fit for purpose and that 9 pounders should have been used. Would 9 pounders have save the day. Did they fire a different type of shell apart from the size.
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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:15 am

John
See my earlier post regarding the possibility/impossibility of entrenchment.

Dave
All conjecture mate. There was no proven lack of screwdrivers. A myth started by brits agfter the battle to try and explain the defeat and perpetuated by Morris.
In sim ilar vein, no lack of digging implements. The engineers had a truck full. In addition to get the column to isandlwana a huge amount of modification was made to the Bashe and also the aproach road. Simple proof that they had implements.

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90th

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PostSubject: Entrenchments at Isandlwana ( Isandula )   Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:28 am

Hi all.
I'm with springbok as per my earlier postings in regard to tools / equipment with the invading columns . The lack
of Screwdrivers certainly a myth perpetuated by Morris and picked up by others .
cheers 90th. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:33 am

Dave. Perhaps there wasn't enough people trained to use a screwdriver. Wink
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:48 am

So can I take it from the replies that TWOTS is an unreliable source.
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90th

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PostSubject: Entrenchments at Isandlwana ( Isandula )   Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:06 pm

Hi Dave.
There is no doubt that when Morris released TWOTS it was the yardstick of work on the zulu war . As time has gone by and
many other pieces of info have been unearthed it has been found to be lacking in some areas . I wouldnt say it's an unreliable
source , just that some of Morris's interpretations do appear to be so . ie - Lack of screwdrivers which stopped the ammo flow.
Others which I cant remember but in time have been proven to be incorrect .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Entrenchments at Isandlwana (Isandula)   Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:51 am

There are quite a few Morris inspired myths.

He was the first to publicly use the Phrase Coffin rock.
He placed Pope on the neck.
The lack of ammunition.
The QM not wanting to issue amo to other regiments.
The screwdrivers.

There are reasons, just in general it seems he jumped to conclusions rather quickly.
TWOTS is a brilliant read, just treat with a touch of sceptisism.

Regards
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