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 What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?

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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:26 pm

I have always wondered what would of happened to Durnford if he had survived the battle as he was wrongly accused and was made the scape goat for this defeat. He was accused of taking men out of the camp thus weakening the defence, while his orders as camp commander were to axt strictly on the defencive.
This was shown to be incorrect when his original orders were located and read properly for trhe first time at the Royal Engineer museum in the 1960s they stated " march to this camp at once" there was no mention of taking command.
So had Durnford survived he would have been able to produce these orders to clear his name.






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John

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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:07 pm

That's where the issue lies. Was it take command of the camp or reinforce.
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:21 pm

In fact it was neither. The order stated "You are to march to this camp at once with all the force you have with you of No. 2 Column. 2/24th, artillery and mounted men with the General and Colonel Glyn move off at once to attack a Zulu force about 10 miles distant. So Durnford was not told to take command or reinforce. So i think he thourght his command would be Independent to that of Pulliene.
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:22 pm

Drummerboy.
When you say survived, are we talking that he escaped the battle with the rest of those who were lucky enough to have a horse. Or are you saying Durnford held his ground and the Zulu's withdrew.
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:45 pm

I am saying if his last stand on the stony koppie had held out till help arrived and the Zulus withdrew.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:01 am

Much as I hate what ifs............
If the right wing of the army had stood firm there was still the issue of the left wing being under pressure from the wide spacing of the troops. Assuming the column as a whole had stood firm it would have counted as a major victory so there would have been no recrimenations, courts of enquiry etc. I would sugest that the biggest issue would have been a straight fight between Pulleine and Durnford as to who was in charge and therefore who was the hero. With of course Chelmsford probably insisting it was all part of the master plan. RD would probably not of happened so the illustrious names associated would have been consigned to an ignoble history. scratch
Oh yes, Michael Cain would probably have enjoyed a wonderful career as a painter and decorator in East London. :lol:

And Pete would probably be sitting at home thinking hard of a web site subject to occupy the odd few hours or so. :)

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:29 pm

Nows that's a thought. "No Zulu Victory"
Chelmsford' new best friend would of course be Durnford, Both would have had many a conversations behind closed doors. Durnford would have been recommended for the VC, Pulliene would have been the one and only scapegoat. And those that escaped the battlefield would have become deserters.
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:38 pm

New to the forum and enjoying broadening my knowledge (such as it is) of Isandlwana.
From what I've read, can't imagine Durnford being part of the "in" crowd for too long.
Probably his role would have been downplayed and that of Pulleine enhanced.
Just watch snippets of "Zulu Dawn" again last night on YouTube and was disappointed with how messy it was at the end and how the reality of the battle wasn't represented - particularly re Durnford's stand.
With the small group of colonials with him, can't imagine they held out more than 10 or 15 minutes.
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:35 pm

Saul David

It may be an obvious question, but are you the actual historian and author ?

Back to topic. I don't think Chelmsford and Durnford would necessarily be friends, considering Durnford would then be able to question how his senior commander missed the obvious signs of a large Zulu force in the vicinity, including why did Chelmsford go against his own field instructions to officers before the invasion started. If anything, Durnford being alive would be his worst nightmare, as he wasn't one for holding back his views, and with his reputation and notoriety beforehand, the newspapers would be all over it. Edward wouldn't have been the one demanding an investigation afterwards - he would. It was more convenient him being dead, as you can imagine the consequences had he survived.
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:59 pm

Colin J

Firstly, yes he is the one

Secondly I fully concure

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:52 pm

Two posts sent to the ring. ( Off Topic)
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:28 pm

Hi all thanks for the replys i have just read How can men die better so i now know how and when Durnford died. Once he split from H company he was doomed so if Chelsmford had arrived as the mixed group was still together then they may of survived. Younghusband probebly would of survied but Anstey would most likely of been killed. The battle would still be a Zulu victory considdering over 1000 british and allied people died. But what of Rorkes Drift? The reserve would of already moved on to attack the mission station but could it have been relieved or would Chelmsford of lingered at Isandlwana or moved on to Rorkes Drift?
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:26 am

Its irrespective if he was re-enforced, (and thats what Pope was probably trying to do) as the right horn was on its way into the weakly defended rear of the camp, Its still a done deal.
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:11 pm

Nice discussion, but I think Neil is right.
What I really do wonder about, is what would have happened if iSandlwana had been attacked with the whole of the Central Column in camp and not just half of it.

Would the end result have been the same?

(My gut feeling is it would have been a closer run thing, but with the victory again going to the Zulu impi).
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:28 am

A close running call for sure, but the positioning of the troops were have been deployed more effectively. The Good Lord Chelmsford would have seen to that. Plus Durnford would have remained in the camp, as there would have been no excuse to leave. And those officers who left the battlefield on horseback also would have stayed. Melville and Coghill may even had gone down in history as the one's who rallied the troops to the colours, instead of running off with them under the pretence they were trying to save the regimental colours.
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:02 pm

Pretty sure it would of been a Britsh victory. The camp was desigened to be held by 12 companies of infantry. If these had all been their along with 6 guns and the hundreds of mounted men then i am pretty sure the Zulus would have been defeated. However if the colum was in the process of moving then they might have been overwhelmed. But one must remember that the Zulus planned to attack on the 23rd not the 22nd.
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PostSubject: What would have happened to Durnford had he held out.   Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:10 pm

Hi Drummerboy14.
Not sure the result would have been any different , there were still no entrenchments made or would have been under
construction . The camp may have been designed to be held by 12 Co's of Infantry but you must remember these Co's
that were actually there were all well under company strength if I'm not mistaken . Happy to be corrected . From Memory , Company
strength was / is 100 men , positve many of these were down to 70 if not less !. Think this is quoted in several of Ian Knight's
publications . Ctsg .... As for '' The Good Lord seeing the disposition of the troops set out correctly '' Bah !! . Pulleine followed
Chelmesford's standing orders to the letter and look what happened . I dont know if you have these standing orders but if
you buy ' The Journal Of the AZW Historical Society Vol 5 ' you will be able to read them for yourself .
cheers 90th. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:08 pm

Thanks for all those thoughts.
The overwhelming numbers of the Zulu warriors, the speed of their attack, combined with their formidable encircling tactic, certainly seemed to have been way too much for the poor lads left at the camp. The rate of the distribution of the ammo and fire/kill rate of Zulus needed was just not achievable on the day and the lads in camp were inevitably overwhelmed.
I just feel that if the number of lads in camp had been double what it was the rate of fire and kill rate would have been doubled, and tthey may have successfully defended the camp.
BUT, and it is a big but, the rate of distribution and replenishment of ammo would also have been halved.
OK, the Zulus would have suffered twice the rate of casualties in the opening stages of the battle, but my feeling is that they wouldn't have retreated or been disheartened by this, but that they would have pressed home the attack equally as determinedly and ferociously as they did against that half column on the day.
I think we would have been looking at double the disaster.
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:17 pm

Hi 90th the Companies where around 80 strong with the exceptiion of G company. If there had been 12 companies, 6 guns and well over 300 horsemen then i am pretty sure the day would have been won. Tasker224 the men on the firing line did not run out ammo or where even short of it. The Zulus did not just charge home they had been pinned down by the fire of the 24th and it was only with Durnfords withdrawl that forced the 24th to retreat and even then they where overwhelmed. Most managed to get back to the Saddle or at least near it. Apart from G company that was cut off and butchered to a man. The 24th performed one amazing fighting retreat. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:34 pm

I realise the Zulus didn't just charge in to the camp, they were not stupid.
However, once they had surrounded the camp and entered it the defeat was rapid and unavoidable.
Sheer weight of numbers and determination would have produced the same result in the end, even if the end may have been longer in coming. Durnford can't be blamed for the defeat, he was just one small part of the overall defence on the day.
It was always going to happen. The Zulus should consider themselves unlucky that Chelmie and the other half of the column were not at home.
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PostSubject: Re: What would of happened to Durnford if his stand had managed to hold out till help arrived?   Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:46 pm

Good points however if all the forces had been at the camp then i am pretty certain the Zulus wouldnt have been able to break in. If they did the the result would of been the same. I agree Durnfords was not totally to blame. Idea
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90th

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PostSubject: What would have happened to Durnford had he held out.   Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:31 am

Hi Drummerboy14.

One other point which Tasker mentioned was the encircling tactic . It wouldnt have mattered who or how many troops were in
the camp as basically nothing would have been done to prevent the zulu storming in the camp from the rear , which was what
happened and led to the final result .
cheers 90th.
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