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 Isandlwana, Last Stands

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barry

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PostSubject: Ammuntion supply at Isandlwana   Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:56 pm

Hi Julian,
I think I will tackle the points independantly rather that an essay which would not be so interesting. Others can then join in and add their pieces.

First, I will start with sources for this one.
The Mounted Police of Natal . by Holt page 64 (new issue )(page 62 original edition). Verbatum transcript;

......they had ( the NMP) ben sent out with all the mounted men to hold the main Zulu army in check, which they did until their ammunition was exhausted. Messengers galloped back frantically for more cartridges , but did not return, so the whole body retired. it was (later) learnt that the messengers had found the cartridges , tightly screwed up in boxes, and it was impossible to get at them.

Now, this suggests that the mounted men did not draw their ammo from a quartermaster, but helped themselves. Neither was their ammo delivered in any form of cart. It was, if available it was carried by a horseman in small quantities, as to carry a full case on a horse would have been well nigh impossible.

So the ammo carriers (messengers) debunked leaving the mounted men ammo less with a collapsing defence line. The implication is that one link in the chain collapses because of shortage of ammunition.

There is more of this from other sources which I will present in following posts


regards

barry

PS bracketing by barry
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:17 pm

Hi all

Scotch car at Isandhlwana? I thought that an officer had wanted to supply the line of fire aves mules bearing boxes of cartridges? This was written by IK!

In addition at Isandhlwana, soldiers fire too slowly to run out of ammunition ...

As I already said IK and I had deduced in our written correspondence of the 80 and 90 years that the infantry had fired 1 or 2 rounds per minute per man at Isandhlwana ...

As for Durnford, when he sends the guys look for cartridges for dozens of carbines, he hoped they bring them back how? In their pockets?

In my opinion, when he saw the mess, they did not ask and they still tried to save their skins ...

Cheers

Pascal
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:27 pm

This was posted by Neil a while ago.

"The whole issue of ammunition distribution, with particular emphasis on the quatermasters has been blown out of all proportion, and it has been churned over again and again.

The ammunition supply was not a problem, and it has been made a scapegoat for tactical error. Essex clearly reported that ammuniton was being distributed in Mule carts to the line, standard practice. The 24th had been campaigning over africa for three years, and reserve supply was always at hand.

So where does the hoary old myth about not giving ammo to colonials? or turning away native troops as it belonged to a particular battalion.

Until Durfords retirement the line was hoding quite well, OK three companies had retired from the Telehane spur, after expending 30+ rounds, the Lt's and Captains on the line would know this and would have called for ammuniton to be called forward, well before anyone ran out. Essex comments about mule wagons re-enforces the theory.

So, why did Durnford have a problem?, two causes, one a minor irritation as they could not find the wagons, which were still at the back of the saddle, and by this time that area was being pressed, or possibly even overrun, as the wagon park would have beed pretty big and scattered. THE MAIN FACTOR in all of this was not that QTRMRs were not issuing ammuntion because they were not from the 24th, THEY SIMPLY DID NOT HAVE IT.

Durnfords Men were armed with two principal (possibly three) weapons, the .577 Snider Mk3 carbine, and the .45 Westley Richards Monkey tail with its self consuming paper cartridge. (also the Calisher and Terry .50) The 24th would have no reason to carry this calibre, why carry something you will never need, when you have a nightmare of logistics as it is.

The only colonials who might have become a little tetchy would have been the NMR, The N Carbs and NMP, with thier Swinburn Henry's, firing in .450/577 calibre, The MH carbine round did exist only since 15.7.1877, the round was a smaller load 70g RFG2 and a 420 grain (as opposed to 85g rfg2 and a 480g bullet in the MK3 rifle round) . However in an emergency the two were interchangeable. With the lack of carbines actually in service (by Sept 1878 only 25,000 had been made) the Swinburn would have fired the Mk111 rifle round. In reality the demise did not occur until the right flank collapse.

The camps despositon was such that OK, the 1st battalions wagons were to the right of the road, on the far right of the camp (HQ view), but the companies retired in relatively good order, and the time they held out ammo was not a problem until they were forced into remote groups, even then the battle still raged. I discussed this with Mike Snook, hopefully this Jan when we do the fugitives trail agian we'll chew the cud on this a bit more, but I cannot see how little bits of paper would pose an issue."


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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:42 pm

Barry

The NMP and NC with Durnford retreated back from the donga to the camp and fourght on till the after noon was well spent. Clearly then they had no ammo problems.

As i always say

How did the 24h retreat such a distence with so many Zulus attacking them ?

They volleyed there way back is the answer. Once back they still fourght on. Anstey retreated over 2 full miles.

Read the Wilson Black papers, nearly all the men died in the camp.


The ammuntion is a complete myth that for some reason was used in ZV scratch



Cheers
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barry

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PostSubject: Ammunition supply   Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:44 pm

Hi Littlehand,
Thanks for posting Neil's piece.
Could either one of you please elaborate on the"litle bits of paper" bit.

regards,

barry
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:22 pm

Barry
With the greatest of respect you have quoted Holt, a secondary source written in the third person about 1912; you have not quoted from a primary-sourced survivor's account. You may as well have quoted from Morris. Compare what Holt wrote with the NMP survivors' accounts themselves. I'm sure I don't need to mention it but the NMP at Isandhlwana consisted of an officerless detail of 35 men left behind for a variety of reasons.
You have thereafter, without evidence, applied by extension Holt's paragraph to all the mounted men and then further applied it, again without evidence, to their means of ammunition supply and to the collapse of the line.
For information, carrying an ammunition box on horseback was not well nigh impossible. The method used was to carry it between two horsemen, each holding on to the rope handle at each end of the box (see Davies's account).
I look forward to reading your "other sources". I hope they are primary ones!
Pascal
The rate of fire you describe would have occurred at the climax of the battle when the situation was desperate. At the outset I imagine the 24th would have been firing once every 4 or 5 mins or so (staggered in two lines of course). I've even seen suggestions the rate may initially have been as slow as every ten minutes!
Davies and Henderson brought back ammunition to the firing line for the NNH as described above just before Durnford withdrew the line (not because he was running out of ammunition but because he was being outflanked on the right with the possibility that the camp would be entered).
Littlehand
THe NNH ammuniton waggon and Durnford's other 5 waggons were located to the south of the main waggon park close to the Stony Koppie (see Molife's account). The waggon would have been clearly marked with flags. Molife had no trouble finding them. It would be fair to say that the first (native) NNH troopers sent back probably did go to the wrong place to get ammunition - which is why Davies and Henderson were sent instead.
Drummer boy
For information: there is no such thing as the Wilsone-Black Papers. There is Wilsone-Black's account of his visit to the camp and the burial of the 24th, which is what you're referring to.
Barry
Littlehand is I think referring to the ludicrous idea of receiving paper requisitions.
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PostSubject: Ammunition problems   Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:04 pm



Hi Julian,
Thanks for your response.

Easy ones first.
The "paper bit" I see referred to a post some time ago and is not at all germane to this discussion. Thank you

Holt.
This man was engaged to write the regimental history of the NMP. To do so he visited the unit in Pietermatizburg 1906 and interviewed the men who were actual participants in the battle. To discount Holts work, which is regimental history, now as worthless evidence is pushing it a bit far, dont you think?.

Officerless?
Do men have to have an officer present to give an honest account of their doings?

Rate of fire
If the rate of fire was indeed at the desultory rate of 1 round every four/ five minutes, do you have any idea why was it so?.

regards

barry
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:19 pm

Barry
Holt certainly visited some survivors, not still with the unit, but 27 years after the battle. He doesn't say who he spoke to. I did not say his work was worthless - it isn't.
Let's look at that passage you quoted - "(the NMP) been sent out with all the mounted men to hold the main Zulu army in check, which they did until their ammunition was exhausted." Does he really expect us to believe that an officered body of men would have done such a thing without taking some precautions first?
"Messengers galloped back frantically for more cartridges, but did not return, so the whole body retired. it was (later) learnt that the messengers had found the cartridges, tightly screwed up in boxes, and it was impossible to get at them."
If this is true then it's referring to the NMP ammunition boxes though no contemporary NMP survivor reports this to have been the case. In any case the boxes could have been broken open or prised apart. No provenance is given for the reamrks - which for all I or you know might be anecdotal regimental mythology.
Officerless - I did not say that men have to have an officer present to give an honest account of their doings. I implied that an officer (even an NMP one) would have matters such as ammunition supply in hand before the situation reached dramatic proportions.
The rate of fire initially would have been to hold the Zulus in check in the expectation that they would eventually turn tail and run. Also they would have had no targets since the Zulus laid flat. A timely reminder every few minutes not to stand up would have been all that was necessary at the outset. In all honesty i imagine the rate of fire would have varied widely in order to respond to the various aspects of the battle as it emerged.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:32 am

Trés bien Julian ,c'est ce que j'ai toujours dis Salute

So no shortage of cartridges at Isandhlwana, just tactical withdrawals of Durnford and after of the imperial troops because of the Durnford and Zulus movements...

Ah, if the initial deployment had been different ...

Cheers

Pascal
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barry

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PostSubject: The ammunition question   Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:38 pm

Hi Julian,

Here is the next reference vis-a-vis the ammuntition problem. I have another nine, from three different authors .

Privates William and Bickley 1/24 Rgmnt, also survivors said this ;

The companies out skirmishing were now apparently getting short of ammunition, and it was being carried out to them by bandsmen and wagon drivers and other unarmed people about the camp....Meanwhile the firing line were firing volleys into the Zulu's who were only 100-150 yards distant from them. They kept this up until they ran short of ammunition... the bandsmen and men on guard and et cetera were trying to take ammunition to the companies , but, the greater part never got there , as I saw horses and mules with ammunition on their backs, galloping about camp a short while afterwards.
The timing of this eye witness report is not clear but was clearly whilst the lines were still quite extended.


The pack horses not getting through with their loads is corroborated by Tpr Clarke's report, 10 days later, in which he reports finding two dead packhorses with their loads still intact, on the Fugitives trail.


The section above is taken from Ron Lockes and Peter Quantrill's Zulu Victory, page 324 App, G, which deals very extensively with this ammunition problem.
Fo those who want to it the ISBN no is 1 868422143
More on this fiasco in the next post.

regards

barry


Last edited by barry on Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:08 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:41 pm

Barry

How did the men in the camp know how many rounds the men on the firing line many hundreds of Yards away had ?



Cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:53 pm


Hi DB14,
As I understand it, you are asking how did the two survivors know that the enemy were 100-150 yards distant.?
The report does not go that far to tell us that, unfortunatly, neither does it tell us what signalling system the regiment had for calling for more ammo.

regards

barry


Last edited by barry on Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:58 pm

I mean how did they know the men where getting short of ammuntion ?

They weren't next to them looking in there pouches.


Cheers
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90th

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PostSubject: Isandlwan , last stands .   Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:36 pm

Hi DB14.
What I've been trying to explain about the Ammunition thing is , and I dont think I can explain it any simpler . When the troops left the camp proper they had 70 Rounds . I'm fairly certain when they began their withdrawl none of them had 70 Rounds left on them . As I've said before they DIDNT RUN OUT of ammunition , it is a case and no doubt a fact they had less when they were withdrawing than when they advanced to the front of the camp . As Barry has stated , a few survivors statements indicate that
there were pack mules etc etc , running wildly in all directions and not neccessarily toward the front line , then there is the other vexing question , how many men etc detailed to take ammo to the front saw what was in front of them and decided it was a pointless exercise and decided to flee , and unfortunately this is human nature and I've no doubt it happened .
cheers 90th. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:42 pm

90th i understand what you mean Salute

Barry look at these


Smith-Dorrien was handing out ammo on the line with other people.

Essex saw a mule cart arrive on the line, lots of boxes on a cart.

Lots of parts of ammo boxes where found on the firing line in 2000.

It was easil to open a box, rifle but, rock, tent peg could all be used



Cheers
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PostSubject: The ammunition question   Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:08 am



Hi DB14,

Suggest you read 90th's posts, the previous one, and many others he had made on this subject.
Then read all of mine on same subject...again. Then get a copy of Zulu Victory and read the section at the back which specifically deals with this problem in quite a lot of detail. That done, you should get a clearer understanding of what is being said.


regards

barry

PS :If still unsure read Ian Knights "Zulu Rising". He covers this too in various reports.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:48 am

Dont rely to much on 'Zulu Victory" there are a lot of factural errors.
The time line doesnt fit with a lot of the evidence, According to that time line the battle was over by 1.30. But consider this, Reynolds, Smith, Private Wall and Otto Witt were standing on top of Shiyane and watched part of the battle ( Witt actually stated that he saw troops in a kraal on the back of the saddle. I believe the remnants of that kraal are still there). They descended the hill when they were alerted that Addendorff had arrived, Smiths statement. That time was closer to 3 oclock.
Tie that time in with other source evidence and the time line doesnt work.

Theoretically then the battle had been fought for over three hours, with no ammunition?

Another possibility, there are no suvivors to attest, but when the companies retreated back through to the saddle they would have had access to the ammo wagons.

Much of the final chapter in Zulu Victory is speculation, as is most of the battles issues. Neil haws allready made mention of the types of ammo used by the troops in the donga. If as reported they were out of ammo, how did the NMP hold there fighting retreat? Throwing stones?

The Edenvale troop, part of the force that 'had no ammo' were responsible for saving many lives at the drift later. How did the manage that? With the few loose rounds they scrabbled around for on the ground? Martini rounds ?

The usage calculations of rounds expended based on a shot every 10 seconds doesnt ring true for a controlled British ( Notice Martin I said British ) fighting regiment.

Just some points to ponder.

Regards
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PostSubject: Isandlwana , Last Stands .   Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:27 am

Hi Springbok .
I'm not saying they had ' No Ammunition ' merely that they had less than the 70 rds when the retreat began back to camp .
As for Durnford , he retreated basically for the fact that his ammo was being spent , ( Not to mention being outflanked as well ) , not completely depleted !. It's mentioned by many
in all the sources that several people were sent back to get more rounds , you wouldnt send them back if you had plenty , would you ? . That would mean you had several weapons that werent firing on the advancing zulu. Didnt Molife try and get rounds before they left the camp ? . This was refused , and he was limited to what he and his men found lying on the ground here and there . The Edendale Troop did halt after they crossed the river and fired on the zulu attempting to harrass the fugitives , I doubt if it was a long sustained effort , who knows maybe they had 5 , 10 or 20 rounds per man , but what I'm saying is '' It's a lot less
than what they held at the start of the engagement '' . Salute
cheers 90th. Shocked
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PostSubject: The amminution question   Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:14 am



Hi 90th, Springbok.

90th
Agreed , neither you I, nor any of the accounts I have read by various authors have said that there was no ammunition.
That was not the case as , remember, 200,000 rounds were captured by the enemy.


Sprinbok
What is being said is that the supply became sporadic or erratic leading to times when the line had to considerably reduce fire to wait for the next runner to come with a few boxes. In that time the enemy saw the gap and made advances, killing a few and forcing the line back.

Each time this happened more ground was lost to the attackers. So a retreat was beaten back to the camp.
Then, when ammo did arrive furious firing or burst firing occurred which led to overheating of some barrels causing a few in the line to fall back to clean out their overheated and jammed MH chambers, leaving gaps in the defenses.

Each time this happened the Zulus did their work, very efficiently.This process carried on a number of times causing attrition to the defenses.

Sometime after one , many of those watching all of this, correctly assesed that it was a lost cause and debunked. This included , by the way, one of the 24th's quartermaters who was supposed be controlling the issue of ammunition to the front line.

So in this greater context, the time line is not too much of an issue.

Now ,if one takes some reports which say that 400,000 rounds was the starting number and others saying that the Zulu's got away with 200,000 rounds , it says to me that there had been considerable firing going on, but just not timed correctly.

regards

barry

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:07 am

Hi all

1.10PM : In the Nyogane donga Durnford's men are in danger of being outflanked on both flanks.By the uMbonambi on his left and by the iNgobamakhosi on his right.

And with the uVe on his front, when his position is untenable ,Durnford give the order to retire on the camp.

It's not a problem of ammunitions...

1.15PM : Durnford withdrawal leaves the right flank of the 2/24 th wide open and elements of the uMbonambi rush forwards into the gap.

The fire of the 2/24 th men hold back the uMbonambi for a while ,but elements of the ibutho press forwardstowards the camp...

When their position is untenable ,the 2/24 th men retire on the camp.

It's not a problem of ammunitions...

1.15PM : Now the withdrawal of the 2/24 th leaves the right flank of the 1/24 th wide open and Lt Col Pulleine orders a general withdrawal...

It's not a problem of ammunitions...

Cheers

Pascal
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:42 am

Barry

You cannot continue in this vein if you wish to be taken seriously. You cannot continue to quote from secondary sources without checking the primary sources. If you had, you would know the context in which remarks were made and when they were made. If you’d presented this at a post-grad session you would have been ripped apart. There is no Bickley-Williams quotation. There is Bickley and there is Williams. Lock and Quantrill are nice blokes and we help one another out but if they have an Achilles’ heel, it is conflation, the subtle manipulation of evidence out of context to support a point they wish to make. [I noted my own pencilled annotation in their book at the end of the appendix from which you quote: ‘all evidence to the contrary ignored!’].

So Bickley, who was on sentry duty outside the 1/24th officers’ mess, nowhere near the firing line, nowhere near where he would have been able to judge ammunition availability of the front line coys, witnessed Durnford’s retreat to the donga and afterwards “our men began to retire on the camp”…..then he actually said:
“The companies out skirmishing were now apparently getting short of ammunition, and it was carried out to them by Bandsmen and wagon drivers and other unarmed people about the Camp”
This indicates that he was aware that there were messengers from the coys coming to the nearby 1/24th ammunition waggon requesting more ammunition – all perfectly in order. He was also aware that it was being carried out to the coys – also all perfectly in order. That is all.

Williams, who was Glyn’s groom and was about his grooming business in the camp, nowhere near the firing line, nowhere near where he would have been able to judge ammunition availability of the front line coys, witnessed the outflanking of Durnford’s men, was himself firing at the Zulus from the near General’s tent, and witnessed “the enemy entering the right of the Camp”. Then he actually said:
“Meanwhile No. 1 [A] Company and the remainder of the 1/24th together with the 2/24th company were firing volleys into the Zulus who were only 100 to 150 yards distant from them; hey kept this up until they got short of ammunition.”
Then he relates how the Zulus “kept outside Camp some 2 to 300 yards and made round to the right of the Camp apparently intending to take us in rear, and another party had made round to the left completely surrounding the Camp except for a small space to the left of the road to Rorke’s Drift. The men in Camp, Bandsmen and men on Guard etc., were trying to take ammunition to the Companies but the greater part never got there, as I saw horses and mules with ammunition on their backs galloping about camp a short time afterwards.”
This indicates events quite late in the life of the camp shortly before its total encirclement and after the withdrawal of the line at a time when coys were being cut off and surrounded. That fully laden abandoned mules were jumping about is hardly surprising; their handlers were probably dead.

Putting the two quotations together, altering them, and pretending they are describing the same thing is simply unacceptable.

So, when you wrote “the timing of this eye witness report is not clear but was clearly whilst the lines were still quite extended”, you were wrong. The timing is clear and it was not while the lines were extended. If you'd bothered to read Bickley and Williams's accounts you would have known that the events described cannot be translated to the earlier period when the firing line was on the outer perimeter and the men were “giving it to them hot”.

You then wrote “the pack horses not getting through with their loads is corroborated by Tpr Clarke's report, 10 days later, in which he reports finding two dead packhorses with their loads still intact, on the Fugitives trail.” Finding dead laden packhorses on the Fugitives’ Trail is NOT evidence that ammunition did not reach the lines; it is simply evidence of an ammunition supply being in existence right up until the end of the battle. I am sorry Barry, but you’re going beyond extrapolation to the point of making it up as you go along. Are you sure you aren’t a politician?

Your remarks have been made out of context – history is not about manipulating statements / evidence in order to provide evidence to support one’s own particular opinion. You’ve got the order wrong: it should be look at the evidence and use it to create an opinion, not create an opinion and find evidence to support it. Now, no-one is disputing your right to post on this site but, please, if you’re going to continue with this, do so only if you have READ the primary source(s) yourself. Otherwise, it wastes others’ time and misleads.

Drummer boy

Quite.

90th

Of course none of the troops had 70 rounds of them when they began their withdrawal – that would have meant they’d fired none! They had been being replenished.and had not run out. There’s evidence aplenty for that.

I would doubt that any of the British soldiers detailed to carry ammunition fled early. It’s not part of the British army’s esprit de corps. At the end when it was sauve qui peut it would have been a different matter. If any did flee at that point, none of them survived.

You then wrote “in all the sources several people were sent back to get more rounds [for Durnford], you wouldnt send them back if you had plenty, would you ?” No you would not. But you would send them back well before you were running low. Indeed, Davies and Henderson arrived with some just before Durnford’s retreat from the donga – a tactical decision made (according to Gardner) because they were being outflanked and in danger of being cut off from the camp.

Barry

“What is being said is that the supply became sporadic or erratic leading to times when the line had to considerably reduce fire to wait for the next runner to come with a few boxes. In that time the enemy saw the gap and made advances, killing a few and forcing the line back.” There is NO evidence for this remark whatsoever.

“Each time this happened more ground was lost to the attackers. So a retreat was beaten back to the camp.
Then, when ammo did arrive furious firing or burst firing occurred which led to overheating of some barrels causing a few in the line to fall back to clean out their overheated and jammed MH chambers, leaving gaps in the defenses.” There is NO evidence for this remark whatsoever.

“Each time this happened the Zulus did their work, very efficiently.This process carried on a number of times causing attrition to the defenses.” There is NO evidence for this remark whatsoever.

“Sometime after one , many of those watching all of this, correctly assesed that it was a lost cause and debunked. This included , by the way, one of the 24th's quartermaters who was supposed be controlling the issue of ammunition to the front line.” There is NO evidence for this remark whatsoever.

“Now ,if one takes some reports which say that 400,000 rounds was the starting number and others saying that the Zulu's got away with 200,000 rounds , it says to me that there had been considerable firing going on, but just not timed correctly.” Nobody knows how much the Zulus took with them. There were no witnesses. As for the timing remark there is NO evidence for this remark whatsoever.

You cannot just make things up. Look at the evidence, form an opinion based on that evidence.

Pascal

Yes. Despite your standard of English, you seem to have grasped the salient points better than those whose native language it is.

I leave to run a four day residential course. I look forward to a better standard of argument, properly evidenced, when I return.


Last edited by Julian Whybra on Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Isandlwana , Last Stands .   Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:43 am

Hi Pascal .
What about the statements were he sends two lots of people back to the camp to get Ammunitions , the second time he sends officers .This happens before 1.10 obviously ? . It may have been even more attempts than two to get Ammo .
Once again I'm not talking about their being any major problems , just stating the fact that when the troops withdrew they didnt or wouldnt be still carrying 70 rds . That is the point everyone seems to be missing . Suspect
cheers 90th. Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:47 am

90th
So what? They weren't carrying 70 rounds when they withdrew - no-one would expect them to be. i don't see your point.
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PostSubject: Isandlwana, Last stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:00 am

Hi Julian .
The point I'm trying to make is that when the troops withdrew , they may have been down to 30 , 40 or 50 Rounds . In Which
I'm attempting to determine that not all the ammunition sent to the front was actually getting there , or am I flogging a dead horse ? . Can you see the point I'm endevouring to make ?.
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: The amminution question   Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:58 am


Hi Julian,
It precisely because I have examined many facts on these matter that I take the condidered view that I have. I might add that there is no obligation for anyone to read what I write, or believe it either, just dont read it, QED .
However I havn't finished, there is more coming.
Lastly, what was the cause of the problem then, if everything was going so swimmingly?

regards

barry
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PostSubject: The ammunition question,   Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:07 pm



Hi 90th,
I do.

regards


barry
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:01 pm

90th
Are you maintaining that AFTER the withdrawal there was NO further ammunition supply to the troops and that therefore they had to rely on simply what they had left in their pouches?
If so, there is no evidence for that either way. I would say that the fact that no bandsmen carrying ammunition escaped indicates they did their duty or attempted to until the last. Also the length of time that elapsed after the withdrawal until the end of the battle indicated that the troops could continue to fire for a very long time. The officers would certainly not have left behind any opened ammo boxes on the firing line - they would have been brought with them.
Barry
I am sorry but not bothering to read what Bickley and Williams actually wrote and what stage of the battle they were recording does not constitute examining "many facts on these matter [sic]" and taking a "condidered [sic] view". If you are trying to influence others' opinions there is an obligation on you to research fully and properly. To misrepresent what was written (not deliberately, I admit, but by default) is always worth responding to and correcting and I shall continue to do so. Like Michael Caine's Bromhead, I fully believe in gifted amateurs and hope at some point to be impressed.
P.S. That is not what QED means...as it patently hadn't been demonstrated.
"However I havn't [sic] finished, there is more coming." Fine, just make it properly evidenced.
"Lastly, what was the cause of the problem then, if everything was going so swimmingly?" - note that at no point do I maintain that everything was going swimmingly (you are again putting words into my mouth) but the answer to your question lies in troop disposition.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:04 pm

Hi all

Dear Garry

Although the defense had worked well, it would have eventually send people looking for ammunition to the extent of the attack ...

and Durnford did not even wait for his own before leaving to join Lord Chelmsford ...

At the very least he was ahead and go with ...

And as Pulleine thought of a battle of the kind delivered against the Xhosa, he did not think that the 24th companies would need of their reserves of cartridges ...

Even with all its ammunition on hand, Durnford is forced to retreat because it is outflanked and so all those on his left are forced to do so then ...All the british army is outflanked first by her left and after by her right...

This is not a lack of ammunition the problem, but a bad deployment from the beginning ...

Even with all its ammunition on hand, Durnford is forced to retreat because it is outflanked and so all those on his left are forced to do so then ...

This is not a lack of ammunition the problem, but a bad deployment from the beginning ...

Cheers

Pascal
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PostSubject: The ammunition question   Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:57 pm

Hi Julian,

Thanks for responding.
I will answer some of your question first, before asking one of you.
No, I am not a politican, writer of "fairy stories", or a post grad student who needs or asks for approval from anyone. I have already been there. But seriously, before moving back to the subject in hand : your belief is that deployment of forces at isandlwna were at fault in the battle. In that belief you are not alone at all.
So, how in your mind should have troops at Isandlwana been deployed to have done a better job and how would that have changed the battlefield modus operandi?.


regards

barry
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:15 pm

Barry
I'm about to go out the door to run a course but I'll be brief. I'm an historian and I don't travel down the 'what if' road, only the 'what was' road, nor do I claim any prior knowledge on military strategy which makes me a military genius. Since you ask the question, however...
First, troop disposition was largely taken out of Pulleine/Durnford's hands since they were given a template they were expected to follow. It would have helped if (a) this had not been at fault and advice had been taken and (b) they had been allowed some leeway. A subsidiary point, none the less important, relates to Durnford's orders over the few days before the battle, which did not help clarify the situation and, if anything, muddied the waters.
Secondly, the fact that the camp was being packed up in readiness to move on to the Mangeni meant that waggons were being loaded and placed in the waggon park to facilitate that onward movement. The Zulus by happenstance attacked just at the right moment.
I don't believe an open square (as at Ulundi) would have worked - there weren't enough British troops for it to be effective. Ideally, at Isandhlwana the tents would all have been down, the cattle driven off, and a waggon laager formed (as at Khambula where they had time to prepare) with prepared positions. Some waggons/supplies would also have had to be abandoned so that unnecessary ground was not included for defence. A tight, compact laager with the fourth side close to the mountain (and therefore not requiring so great an extent of firepower on that side because the Zulus would not have had the opportunity to mass) might have worked if they'd had time to construct one.
Even then, we are talking about the first engagement of the Zulus with the British - the enthusiasm of the Zulus, their elan, their tendency to self-immolation might have been enough to carry the day for them whatever the British defence. As I have said before, if there had been 1 Briton and 26,000 Zulus, then the Zulus would always win; if there had been 1 Zulu and 26,000 Britons, then the British would always win. Maybe the 2,200 to 26,000 figures are the fine balance at which the Zulu side will always have the advantage. You can do the mathematical probability equations yourself.
The Rorke's Drift scenario is an interesting one - there the British just managed to hold the Zulus off - but it was a close run thing. The British there did almost run out of ammunition and the post was nearly taken. Even so, a prepared position of 150 men held off 5,000ish Zulus.
On balance a Khambula-style laager was the best option at Isandhlwana, but as I've said, it might even then not have been enough. Nothing is written. Rorke's Drift and Isandhlwana were two throws of the dice in a game of chance - you win some and you lose some.
Gone 4 o'clock, I'm going to be late!
Barry, don't take any criticisms I make personally, I appreciate what you write, but if you're going to be controversial then you have to have a robust, watertight defence (or perhaps a Khambula-syle laager!).
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PostSubject: The ammunition questioni   Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:09 pm



Hi Julian,
Thanks for giving your time and answering that last one.
Believe it or not we do have some commom ground. However, we are still to get to what the differences in modus operandi would have been, but that can wait.
Your responses gave me a great amount of mirth, I enjoyed your robust debate , and was chuckling the whole afternnoon. However, you are still to beat springbok9's hypothesis that Durnford was Chelmsford's ex brother-in-law and that this "shady" pair were in cahoots with an Indian scarp metal dealer in Durban.

regards


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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:50 pm

good evening

If the 24th running out of cartridges, how is it that in Zulu have recovered so much ?

When the supply of 24 th in the battle, it was organized, with mules and no scoch car ...

In addition when Pulleine to ordering the folds of the 24 th was for him to avoid being outflanked by his right ...

When the 24 th begins its tactical retreat, the soldiers still have a lot of cartridges on them ...

If not resistance is possible...

Cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:52 pm

If not resistance is impossible...
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PostSubject: The ammunition question   Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:24 pm


Hi Pascal,

Just to reiterate what Garry and I said this morning, no one is saying that there was no ammunition.

There was in fact lots.

This is born out by the fact that 200,000 rounds was captured by the Zulu's. BUT, this stock of 200,000, ie the battalion reserve, was being held, on Chelmsford's orders. I will shortly be making a post on what was said by various individuals to substantiate this.

Ammunition was indeed well suppled at the beginning of the fight, but as the opposition grew bigger, the ammunition supply line faltered, became erratic, firing became sporadic, even vicious bursts at times ,but not consistant.

The Zulu's were all watching this and knew where the gaps where and took good advantages of them attacking when the firing had slowed right down. Each time this happened the Zulus pushed the defenders back another 20-50 yards, or so.

The story about the lack of screw drivers I think was an excuse by the quartermasters to "husband" their ammo. The ammo runners were in no position to argue with them so took the story back to the lines, ie no screwdrivers, no ammo.

Now the persisting trickle of ammunition even gave cause for some officers to leave the lines and go back to the Qm to see what was going on there .

Not that I dont think there was some cause for "husbanding" the reserves as the NNC were notorius for being very nervous and wastful . There are many accounts of them being scared in their lines at night and blazing away thousands of rounds at ......nothing.


regards


barry


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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:43 pm

Hi Barry

The men did not retreat 50 or 20 yeards until the buglea called out a general retreat on all fronts, the 24th in fact advanced on the Zulus at the hight of the battle.


The ammo runners were in no position to argue with them so took the story back to the lines, ie no screwdrivers, no ammo.

When you say line do you mean the 24th line ??


Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:59 pm

Barry

I couldn’t keep away. I’ve stopped in some urban sprawl and am in an internet café.

“This is born out by the fact that 200,000 rounds was captured by the Zulu's [sic].”
I repeat that no-one knows how much the Zulus captured; it may well have been more than this. There is no need to post Chelmsford’s order. It is well-documented that Pulleine was instructed to keep a waggon ready with reserve ammunition ready to send forward to the General’s reconnaissance at a moment’s notice. This indeed was the very waggon that Smith-Dorrien had broken into.

“Ammunition was indeed well suppled at the beginning of the fight, but as the opposition grew bigger, the ammunition supply line faltered, became erratic, firing became sporadic, even vicious bursts at times ,but not consistant.”
How can you write such arrant nonsense. There is no evidence for this at all. You can’t just invent events!

“The Zulu's were all watching this and knew where the gaps where and took good advantages of them attacking when the firing had slowed right down. Each time this happened the Zulus pushed the defenders back another 20-50 yards, or so.”
Twaddle! There’s no evidence for this at all. Complete unsubstantiated supposition!

“The story about the lack of screw drivers I think was an excuse by the quartermasters to "husband" their ammo. The ammo runners were in no position to argue with them so took the story back to the lines, ie no screwdrivers, no ammo.”
This is getting ridiculous.

“Now the persisting trickle of ammunition even gave cause for some officers to leave the lines and go back to the Qm to see what was going on there.”
No doubt your source also states that they stopped to have a digestive biscuit and a cup of Assam brew whilst visiting.

“Not that I dont think there was some cause for "husbanding" the reserves as the NNC were notorius for being very nervous and wastful . There are many accounts of them being scared in their lines at night and blazing away thousands of rounds at ......nothing.”
What has this got to do with the 24th??? Is someone mischievously putting you up to this?
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PostSubject: The ammunition question   Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:35 pm



Juluan,

The post to which you respond was actually addressed to Pascal in which he asked for an opinion.
I gave it to him.
Further, I have every entitlment, without your arrogant interference to do that . Now it is clear that your version of history might not be in accordance with mine. The difference being is that I might just be a little closer to reality, than you are.
Further, it has got nothing to do with them and us, and I do not need anyone to put me up to anything, I am quite capable of doing that myself. It is not your place either to dictate what evidence I may produce. You are overstepping the mark and behaving in a rather unprofessional manner.

have a very pleasant evening

barry
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:39 pm

Well said "Barry"
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PostSubject: Isandlwana - Last Stands    Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:59 am

Hi Julian .
Responding to your post directed to me , No , I'm not saying that , I'm attempting to point out , and I dont know this to be factual , but I think the Ammo flow wasnt as uninterupted as people are led to believe when the firing line was still in its original place . Therefore DURING the act of withdrawing they were left with what was on their person . Wouldnt it be extremely difficult to distribute ammunition in the required fashion when attempting an organised retreat ? . Also didnt Essex mention the fact that
all those able to take ammunition to the front were ordered to do so ? ie , camp attendands etc etc . How many of these who probably didnt have the same ' espirit de corps ' as you bestowed on the Bandsman of the 24th , bolted when they saw what confonted them ? , and left the ammo where it was ? . This we will never know , but we do know that a pitched battle is never conducted in an orderly manner and all that can go wrong , will go wrong , especially for the side that's as heavily outnumbered as the British force indeed was . As you know Julian I respect your work no end , but I find it hard believe all the ammunition that was to be taken to the firing line actually got there , but we will never know , thats the beauty of Forums we all have our own thoughts . I do and will still keep an open mind on the subject of Isandlwana , as no-one knows with 100 % certainty the events that transpired on that fateful day .
cheers 90th. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:08 am

I really enjoy Assam tea, with a fig biscuit though.
I also enjoy debate, in particular when source material is used as opposed to historians opinion.
Possible both of the currant protagonists could substantiate there respective arguments with those sources. I do of course mean first hand not second or third, stories do have a way of changing on re telling or interpretation.

As my old house master used to say whilst beating me with a strip of leather, "facts fool facts and nothing but". Shame he got run over by a No 13 Bus in the High Street, I did so enjoy that.

Regards

Rolling Eyes

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PostSubject: Isandlwana - Last Stands    Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:30 am

Hi Springbok .
I assume you had a driver's Licence !. :lol: .
cheers 90th. Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:46 am

Hi all

1 - If the firing of 24 th become sporadic, when it folds, it is that makes the opponent is moving very fast, has a digital supérioritée overwhelming and it is an opponent does not prisoners.

The poor 24 th guy knew this, there necessarily was a bit of panic, especially with the young soldiers of the regiment who had not used such a situation ...

So the decline in the 24 th was very fast and did some shots for the withdrawal ...

2-Pulleine so sure of himself, had not even provided a covering force may be covered by their fire unit of folding yet ...

What is the settlement of the British army in a battle with a defensive line deployment .

Compare with the deployment of Pearson on the same day.

3 - Formation in laager would have been possible if it had been implemented before the arrival of Durnford.

That might be allowed to take longer because the Zulus have taken twice as defensive positions after an assault in the zulu war, at RD and Kambula ...

The barricades blocking the attacks of Zulu and so they remain under the lights longer , this is the secret of victory for a British army that is fighting an opponent with ten times more men...

4 - A Gingindlovu and Ulundi, the Zulus are not numerous enough to catch the opponent ...

5 - The case of the square at the foot of Mount Isandhlwana, which would have protected one of his side, I have spoken at length with DB14, last year, I no longer believe, as the defenders were not enough of them and anyway, this was no longer in the habits of British infantry , who then relied on long-range rapid fire of MH, to break any charge, including of cavalry ...

6 - A Isandhlwana ,the most important is the timing, what arrangements would we had to take and what time?


Cheers

Pascal
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:54 am

Morning 90th.
Another lovely day dawns at the foot of Africa.

Thought I would inject a much needed touch of humour to the debate. Actually all three of you have valid points, yours the most difficult to get to ( its that bloody Aussie accent ). I believe Julian is a tad out of order but I can understand his frustration, most of Barry's quote are from Holts, written 27 years after the event, doesnt carry much weight really. Still will be interesting to see the post he has promised.

Im busy putting my trip together. I have some specific targets. 1) Walking the route from position 'X' 2) photos from the top of Shiyane to the old Kraal and also down the river valley and 3) photos front and back from the firing line of each of the companies..

Ive allocated 5 days and if I can get a connection from the Hotel will log on and give some local color.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:00 am

Pascal
In general I agree. Except your comment on the decline of the 24th being fast. Cant agree with that. AS Ive posted before there is sufficient evidence available to suggest that tha battle raged untill approx 4 oclock, if not longer. As it started around 11.30 then thats a 4 1/2 hour battle, not a fast decline at all.

Just a thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:10 am

Interesting discussion, I've stayed out because alot has been debated on this on previous posts.

I try not to do "conjecture" "what ifs" etc, so a couple of points on this, historically how they did things, I will edit this post when I can quote the accurate LOC numbers and dates which corroborate my post facts.

As Julian states separate fact from conjecture: the main fact is no-one in the front line, survived to report a) no ammo, b) jammed rifles c) no screwdrivers, so heresay is the only possible explanation. So from a historical aspect: hard fact can be used to either defend or prosecute the case.

1) The Ammuniton Box . These were designed to be re-cycled and re-filled. Bear this in mind from an Army Bursar/ QMr perspective.

The ammo was distributed to the line in the boxes, majority of which of the time were mainly MkV, (introduced LOC 2848 5.1.76) secured by one screw. ( Look at the post myself and Dundee Boer discussed recently for the facts) The Qmr would not be undoing these box by box. That would be done out on the line, The MkV box was not diffcult to open, it did take time, in desperate measures, the housing could be broken by impact. How do we know this?, in Jan1879 LOC 3653 MKclearly states a tin liner is to be inserted into the screw housing to "strengthen it", clear fact that it was a weak point on the box.

Time to open the box: clearly this was an issue, not only in the unscrewing process when pressed, but also the handle soldered to the tin lid (this was disposable) was considered too small, the 1880 LOC states is was to be "enlarged". The Mk1X box of May 14l 1880, dispensed with the screw, but used a split pin, sealed with a calico seal, and a copper draw wire. in the LOC it states to "preventing delay and difficulty in opening the former when a screwdrive is not at hand". Clearly a reference to the time factor, but also most likely to stop Tommy Atkins busting open the box in haste, thereby rendering a perfectly re-useable item Fubar.

2) Ammunition distribution on the line, the sight of bandsmen with helmets to fill is rubbish, the OC would allocate the distribution by decanting from the box in the packets. In 1877, the army issued a "Bag, Canvas, Ammunitoon" (LOC 3263 10.12.77) basically a canvas shoulder throw with two large pockets front and rear, with a central head hole, with this a single soldier could carry 400 rounds 200 front 200 rear representing a weight of about 40lbs. "for use in conveying ammunition from the regimental reserves for distribution to men in the ranks". How many of you have ever seen or heard of this?, not many. I will draw the peice, and post it.


3) Screwdrivers. As previous posts, in the event of no screw driver being present, each 5 martini rifles were supplied (20 rifles in a box) with one "implement Action" a tool for gun maintenence, it has three screw drivers on it. The soldier was not expected to do anything on the gun (that was the regimental artificers job) apart from clean it, this involved using the jag with an oily tow, to clean the barrel (Jag, Muzzle protector and oiler..kit supplied to each soldier), also occasionally to remove the block for a thorough clean/oil (after than the soldier did not and ws not expected to do anything else). The Implement allowed this with its tools, naturally NCO's would keep on in hand to do on the spot "gun upkeep".

4) Jammed rifles, I have already posted plenty on this as to its causes, effect, and remedy, so a browse to previous post is recommended.


Last edited by Neil Aspinshaw on Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:09 pm

Sure, the cartridge boxes were too heavy to be carried by soldiers and there was no scotch cars at Isandhlwana, but can be that the equipment described by Neilwas was not at Isandhlwana because an unknown officer tried to organize a distribution of ammunition with mules, ...

Springbok, the rout begins to 1.10PM with the withdrawal of Durnsford is fast enough especially since the 24th was not committed at11.30am...

Cheers

Pascal
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:15 pm

Pascal
Nope.
Cavaye et al came into action at 11.30 engaging the right wing. Ammunition was expended from then. Battle therefore had commenced.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:47 pm

Yes it's true the first salvo to 800 yards on the zulu regiment
uNokhenke is about to turn the defenders from the north-west ...

This Zulu movement does not care Pulleine, he has sent no unity on the other side of Mount Isandlwana !

Cheers

Pascal
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:42 pm

Barry can you please show the evidence you have for these remarks Salute


The ammunition supply line faltered, became erratic, firing became sporadic, even vicious bursts at times ,but not consistent.

Each time this happened the Zulus pushed the defenders back another 20-50 yards, or so.

The ammo runners were in no position to argue with them so took the story back to the lines, ie no screwdrivers, no ammo.

Now the persisting trickle of ammunition even gave cause for some officers to leave the lines and go back to the Qm to see what was going on there.


Last edited by Drummer Boy 14 on Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:32 pm

Bonsoir DB14

It's not a problem of ammunitions... :lol:

1.10PM : In the Nyogane donga Durnford's men are in danger of being outflanked on both flanks.By the uMbonambi on his left and by the iNgobamakhosi on his right.

And with the uVe on his front, when his position is untenable ,Durnford give the order to retire on the camp.

It's not a problem of ammunitions... :lol:

1.15PM : Durnford withdrawal leaves the right flank of the 2/24 th wide open and elements of the uMbonambi rush forwards into the gap.

The fire of the 2/24 th men hold back the uMbonambi for a while ,but elements of the ibutho press forwardstowards the camp...

When their position is untenable ,the 2/24 th men retire on the camp.

It's not a problem of ammunitions... :lol:

1.15PM : Now the withdrawal of the 2/24 th leaves the right flank of the 1/24 th wide open and Lt Col Pulleine orders a general withdrawal...

It's not a problem of ammunitions... :lol:

Cheers

Pascal
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