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Film Zulu Dawn:Lt. Col. Pulleine: His Lordship is of the cetain opinion that it's far too difficult an approach to be chosen by the Zulu command.Col. Durnford: Yes, well... difficulty never deterred a Zulu commander.
 
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Mac and Shad (Isandula Collection)
The Battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift
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 Isandlwana, Last Stands

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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:16 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Tasker
Suspect
To simplistic. many instances of orders being given and obeyed knowing disaster looms.
Balaclava?
Charge of the Light Brigade.
American Civil War abounds with examples.
First would war trenches.

In essence yes and no.

Idea

Springbok, no, no, no, no, no!
I am not sure if you are deliberately doing so, but you continue to miss the point entirely.
In the ABSENCE of any senior rank at hand, the senior soldier/officer in the field, on the ground, for whatever reason, becomes responsible in the duty of care to the men he is i/c of and in the execution of the mission. (This could be because the senior rank has been killed, injured, gone mad and been relieved of command, is missing, or is simply somewhere else as in the case of Chelmsford and Pulleine).

I have found myself in some shall we say, sticky situations, where for one reason or another I have found myself to be the most senior person present, and believe me, if there was/had been anything that I was not 100% confident in, I did/would do something about it immediately, and, to my own satisfaction - even at the risk of peeing off my superior! If you are there and they are not, it is all down to you!
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:20 pm

Quote :
“The accountability of the commanding officer for his command is absolute"

Now we are getting somewhere. Idea
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:25 pm

littlehand wrote:
“The accountability of the commanding officer for his command is absolute, except when, and to the extent to which, he has been relieved therefrom by proficient authority, or as provided otherwise in these regulations.

The authority of the commanding officer is commensurate with his responsibility. While the commanding officer may, at his discretion, and when not contrary to law or regulations, delegate authority to subordinates for the execution of details, such delegation of authority shall in no way relieve the commanding officer of continued responsibility for the safety, well-being and efficiency of the entire command.
.
A commanding officer who departs from orders or instructions, or takes official action which is not in accordance with such orders or instructions, does so upon his own responsibility and shall report immediately the circumstances to the officer from whom the prior orders or instructions were received. Of particular importance is the commanding officer’s duty to take all necessary and appropriate action in self-defense of the command"

The CO of the camp, iSandlwana, 22nd January, 1879?

Pulleine.

Simple as!

For once I agree with CTSG, "now we are getting somewhere" !
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:55 pm

Im actually struggling to find out what the point is.

Lets track back to the girl guides on the railway line. Your point there being if the senior person heard the train he would shoo the little angels of the track.
Fully agree.
Point to you, you win..........keep girl guides of railway tracks.

However bring back a touch of reality and deal with the actual situation.

My point is that the Victorian soldier was inculcated with blind obedience. To disobey was tantamount to treason. Im pretty sure that flogging and the death penalty were still the norm for refusal to obey an order.
I believe that Pulleine was of that mould, hence my advice to look at the photo him with his wife. The typical stiff upper lipped English Officer of his time. Theres no disrespect intended there.
To inflexible to adapt..........untill it was to late.

Durnford was the opposite, Engineer instead of line regiment, not of the same moral terpitude as the Regiments with history. He was without a doubt more Gung ho, and probably careless and I believe less able to read a broader military situation. I think if he had been an officer in a line regiment he would never have got passed the lower ranks. He seems to have a very narrow focus.
His fighting retreat for instance ( I know, its a hobby horse of mine) if he had been looking at the wider picture he would, at first sighting, turned around and rode like hell for the camp. Brought in the extended line ( he was over heard telling Pullein to do that before the battle.) and possibly, only possibly mind you, have averted a total disaster. Its debatable if would have been able to get the companies of the spur in time.

If Chelmsford was going to issue standing orders then he himself should have respected them and fortified the camp, or even listened to the advice he was given and pitched his tent elsewhere. He didnt do that so I fail to understand how other officers can be blamed for not doing what he himself refused to do. And he did refuse, look it up. He commented that it was hardly worth while as the wagons would be returning to RD shortly. So he didnt fortify after being in the camp for quite some time, yet the argument rages that his officers should have attempted it between the hours of 8 oclock and 11 oclock. I must admit he learned his lesson fast in the second invasion he fortified ever stop over.

But thats digression really, your point is valid in terms of an officer using his own initiative. Valid in the modern era but highly contentious in the Victorian era.

Death before dishonor etc.

And now its time for bed. 4 in the morning and these bloody Aussies are still hard at it next door. Have to give in and join them......... the things I do for international relations.

Regards

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:01 pm

littlehand wrote:


While the commanding officer may, at his discretion, and when not contrary to law or regulations, delegate authority to subordinates for the execution of details, such delegation of authority shall in no way relieve the commanding officer of continued responsibility for the safety, well-being and efficiency of the entire command."

Quide???
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:12 pm

When they first arrive at Isandlwana, They saw no threats, no one was aware that the Zulu’s where hiding in the valley 5 miles away. There would have been no reason to fortify the camp to the extent we talk about. We were not going to be there that long to warrant that. The Good Lord Chelmsford left to assist Major Dartnell, when he left the camp, command was given over to Pulleine, It was only when he took command was a threat realised, and still he or Durnford made no attempt to fortify in any form, even though they were getting reports of sighting 5 hours prior. A lot could have been done in 5 hours. Simple tasks like forming a square formation with a good stock of ammo in the middle.

You need to read Littlehands post in its entirey not just bits to suit. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:04 pm

Gent's i'm getting a bit lost. Is this discussion regarding last stand's or who's to blame. I would be more than happy to split this discussion and merge the blame game discussion with the " Was Durnford Capable" discussion.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:17 pm

Springbok,
I still fail to see which order Pulleine would have been "disobeying" by reorganising the camp defences once Chelmsford had left in order to take into account that the camp was now guarded by half a column and not a whole one. Please can you clarify for me?
I am not talking about laagering up the wagons here, he did not have any kind of plan whatsoever. His Actions On could have been as simple as, "if we get attacked by any Zulus, let's form a square around the ammo truck."

Another scenario for you:
You are 2i/c in a FOB, in the Afghan today. Your OC decides to take out half the FOB force on patrol to look for some troublesome Taleban, leaving you in the FOB with half the remaining men.
Would it not occur to reassess the sentry positions, available weaponary, duty rotas etc etc to take into account that you are now defending the position with half the strength of the previous force?
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:25 pm

Thanks Bill. I've only ever seen one black-and-white image of the family plot, but no details about what or who I was looking at. I seem to recall a large obelisk in the centre, but may be mistaken. I've never seen any updated or colour images of this area. It'd be great to see Anstey's grave marked and the plot well taken care of.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:02 pm

.


Last edited by Drummer Boy 14 on Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:06 pm

What time did Col: Durnford arrive at Isandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:49 pm

John. I believe it was between 10:00-10:30 hrs.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:51 am

As I said earlier, far to simplistic take on a period of history when obedience was de rigour.

Look at the situation as it was not some mythical setting in a different era.

The GOC had issued a point by point battle plan for use whilst confronting the enemy.
I fully agree that a good commander, of whatever station, will re assess a situation at an apropriate time. However Pullein had:
No idea of the threat facing him
Was of limited combat experience
Obeyed orders in drawing up his formation according to his masters voice.

At the point he did this he obviously had every confidence in the battle plan and saw no reason to change it......untill to late that is. At that point your quite correct common sense apart from Plan B should have kicked in.

Pullein had absolutly no reason what so ever to doubt that the battle plan would work.

Hind sight is a wonderful science but to assess that situation you have to retreat in time and see exactly what conditions were prevailing.

To all intents and purpose the main zulu army was about to be confronted by Chelmsford. Thats why Chelsford had marched out of camp.

Therefore the perceived threat in the camp was not that they were facing the massed regiments of the army but more of a skirmish.

Pullein had virtually no intelligence to work with, in effect the first time he knew what was coming at him was not when the fight started on the ridge but much later when the mounted men started to retreat into camp. At that point he was blind standing on a plain looking up at a ridge that hid every thing the zulu army was doing.

He resorted to his standing orders.

Then the hurricaane hit in the shape of 20 000 zulu warriors pouring over the ridge. At that point he was dead and buried.

Ive stood many times on that section of the battlefield looking up at that ridge and tried to imagine the absolute fear that would have penetrated his body when he saw what was coming at him.


Ergo why change a standing order when there was no solid reason to do so.

I dont believe Pulleine was blameless, sure he made mistakes as did virtually every officer in that column.

All well and good to casually say he should have entrenched or fortified. Why should he, his boss wasnt concerned he was of challenging the main army.

The threat was perceived as minimal.

Regards
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90th

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PostSubject: Isandlwana , Last Stands .   Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:31 am

Hi Springbok .
You certainly wont get an arguement from me . Idea .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:35 am

Springbok, thanks, that is a very good assessment of the situation that the camp was in. I am now just starting to see why Pulleine would not have started sparking and reorganising immediately, the moment Chelmsford left the camp.
We have to assume - we will never know - that he must have got his officers together after Chelmsford left for a briefing and to thrash out some basic actions on.
They would surely have expected some skirmishing action, but as you say, all the intelligence was pointing the main Zulu army to be much further east and they wouldn't have expected to have been skirmishing with 20,000+ determined Zulu warriors. Fair point.
However, in the build up to the main Zulu assault, there were several hours during which scouting reports and intelligence must have been coming to Pulleine, intelligence saying that there were more than just a few Zulu over them thar hills?
I am not infantry trained, I am not an expert in Victorian military tactics, but how long would it have taken to organise a square round the ammo truck? Would this have been a better tactic than those used on the day? What would have been the best military tactics to use on the day?
I don't know.
One person can't be blamed for a defeat of the magnitude of iSandlwana, as you say, it seems almost every senior officer was to blame in some way. Perhaps it was simply always going to be Zulus' day. When an army, no matter how sophisticated walks into another nation's back yard, for whatever reason, that army is always going to be at a massive disadvantage and can expect a good thrashing!
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:40 am

Tasker
Interesting as the discussion has become.
Would 600 men + mounted have enough in the locker to hold off the Zulu's, IMO No, given the number of firearms in Zulu possession. The square would have only held 150 rifles per face, and very compacted it would be, a sitting duck if unable to win the firefight and little or no protection.

I often see the "why didn't they fortify" quote. Its a tough one, fortify with what?. Anyone like myself, Springie too who have spent many hours on Isandlwana will know its just too big a perimeter. All the thorn and trees available had been chopped down for firewood, so a Thorn Zeriba is out of the question. The best defensive position is on the saddle, but that was like putting a position in the middle of the M25!, with traffic jams left right and centre, it was mad to make it there.

My only "criticism", is that no defensive sangars had been thrown up, or rifle pits dug. I often read the ground is too rocky to do that, but anyone whom knows the field and I have spend days and days there, that the strata varies enormously and the various erosion dongas that cut across today show that in front of the camp, the ground is a thick brown soil, with a lighter (eroded over the years) harder soil crust. The centre of the line is "the Rocky outcrop", un- diggable, but the large loose boulders are ideal for building sangars. If anywhere the saddle is the worst as its hard coal bearing shale, near impossible to dig. We know that the area in front of the camp was diggable as I found the cross section of a latrine in 2008, the donga erosion exposed it. You can always tell ground in cross section that has been disturbed, this was three feet square, and approx three -four feet deep, in the bottom was a 150mm layer of "nightsoil, 130 year old poo in other words", indisposed with odd clay pipe stems, bits of pottery, bone and ashes. (ashes thrown on the sewage neutralises it).**

Wood had the right idea at Khambula, but as Isandlwana was a staging post they saw no need to entrench, even though Melvill wes reportedly not happy with the situation.

The 24th had done this at Cetane only a year or so before, they knew how to do it, and knew how to use it effectively, the fact it wasn't done can only come from up high, but I wont get involved in that one, I'll end up "in the ring", LOL.


** there is no means of proving it was pre or post battle, the fragments of glass and pot were exact for the time, it could have been dug in the burial parties labours. But the fact it was proves it was not that hard to do it.


Last edited by Neil Aspinshaw on Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:54 am

Neil
Well put, does explode a few myths.
Personally if I was going to defend the area it would have been a square on top of Mahlabamkhosi. But again that would have conceeded the camp to the Zulu, not a good idea.

Tasker
I think Neils covered the square myth pretty well. The cavalry receiving square was not the be all and end all its been made out to be.

90th
The Aussie invasion onto my hotel floor has reached epidemic proportions, after last nights session ( straight from that to breakfast) Ive been made an honoray Aussie..........Is that good thing? scratch

Im still totally amazed at the eradition of a 14year old boy, and the amount of pocket money he seems to command for buying books.

Regards
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PostSubject: 22/1/1879 - Were the best tactics employed on the day?   Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:55 am

Apologies if this thread is already in existance, please let me know if I can find some thoughts and analysis on it elsewhere.

My Question is this:

With the wonderful benefit of hindsight, knowing there were 20,000 Zulu closing on the camp, if you had been i/c of the camp at iSandlwana that morning a few hours before the attack, what would you have done with the forces at your disposal?

Did Pulleine organise his resources in the best way possible on the day? Or might there have been better ways to organise those men, that would have stood more chance of success in repulsing the Zulu attack?

I am absolutely no expert in Victorian military tactics to say the least, but I would have thought that in the hours preceding the battle, I would have struck down the tents, set the ammo wagons in the centre of the most open ground to allow the clearest lines of sight and formed an infantry square around the ammo.

Feel free to laugh, rip me to shreds, point me in the direction of some expert military thought on the matter or add your own thoughts.


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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:09 am

Thanks for taking the time to add you thoughts Neil, Springbok.
I have started another thread, rightly or wrongly on what the best tactics that could have been used on the day. Perhaps admin will merge them for us.
Springbok and i think square, Neil thinks the siuation the defenders at the camp were in was hopeless, no matter what, if I understand correctly.
DB14 is going places for sure.
And being half English, I have no doubt that England will win the Webb Ellis. Being half Welsh, I dream that Wales will win it, but hope that NZ do because they play tremendous rugby, are the best team by far and have been for over 100 years!
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90th

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PostSubject: Were the best tactics employed on the day    Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:18 am

Hi Tasker .
I can tell you the tents should have been struck in the first instance of an attack , that point was to have been performed .
I think the only reason they werent struck was because the troops had marched out to the firing line when there was an inkling
there was going to be an attack on the camp , therefore when you need 4 - 6 people I think from memory to pull them down ,
they didnt have the manpower or the time , as there were many many tents .
cheers 90th. Idea
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90th

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PostSubject: Isandlwana , Last Stands .   Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:28 am

Hi Springbok .
I agree with your and Neil's thoughts , I did post last week about the hopelessness of the square , as Neil pointed out 150 or so
to each face wouldnt have saved the day . To the determined zulu advance it would have seemed to be a Red speed hump
on the way to taking the camp . No disrespect is inferred in any shape or form .
cheers 90th. Idea
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90th

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PostSubject: Isandlwana , Last Stands .   Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:32 am

Hi Springbok .
Forgot to add , cherish your honouary Aussie status as you will wish you weren't in the morning ( Hiccup ) if you get my
drift . :lol!: . As we say '' Go hard or go home '' !. What happens once we do you on Sunday ? . :lol!: :lol!: ..
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:33 am

90th
Whatever happens Monday is going to be hell. Shocked

Regards
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:56 pm

Could Smith- Dorrien have got his timing wrong, And what Guns would have been firing at Isandlwana causing him to head back.

And lastly what time roughly would you say, he left Rorke’s Drift to got to Isandlwana at 8am.

After starting the gallows, I went up to see Captain " Gonny " Bromhead, in command of the company of the 24th, and I told him a big fight was expected, and that I wanted revolver ammunition. He gave me eleven rounds, and hearing heavy guns over at Isandhlwana, I rode off and got into that camp about 8 a.m., just as Colonel Durnford's force arrived. Colonel Durnford was having a discussion with Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine of the 24th, who had been left by Lord Chelmsford in command of the camp, Lord (Chelmsford and all the troops, including the 2/24th, having gone out to attack the Zulus. Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine's force consisted of six companies of the 1/24th, two guns under Brevet-Major Smith and Lieutenant Curling, and some native levies.

Source: MEMORIES OF FORTY-EIGHT YEARS SERVICE
GENERAL HORACE SMITH-DORRIEN
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:03 pm

Most of you experts on here who have visited the field tend to concur that the half column were up against fairly hopeless odds.
Once again, this begs the Q, how would the column have fared if the entire column had been in camp that morning? Any reason to think the tents would have been struck? Any reason to think they might have formed a square? Any reason to think the ammo would have been distributed any more efficiently? How would 300 rifles per side have got on in comparison to 150?
Any reason to think that if the entire column had been in camp, the disaster would not have been twice as big?
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:07 pm

An observation from Smith- Dorrien.

"Forty-five empty wagons stood in the camp with the oxen in. It was a convoy which I was to have taken to Rorke's Drift for supplies early in the morning, but which was stopped until the enemy should be driven off. These wagons might have at any time been formed into a laager, but no one appeared to appreciate the gravity of the situation, so much so that no steps were taken until too late to issue extra ammunition from the large reserves we had in camp."

Source: MEMORIES OF FORTY-EIGHT YEARS SERVICE
GENERAL HORACE SMITH-DORRIEN


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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:26 pm

John wrote:
An observation from Smith- Dorrien.

"Forty-five empty wagons stood in the camp with the oxen in. It was a convoy which I was to have taken to Rorke's Drift for supplies early in the morning, but which was stopped until the enemy should be driven off. These wagons might have at any time been formed into a laager, but no one appeared to appreciate the gravity of the situation, so much so that no steps were taken until too late to issue extra ammunition from the large reserves we had in camp."

Source: MEMORIES OF FORTY-EIGHT YEARS SERVICE
GENERAL HORACE SMITH-DORRIEN



This was written years after the event, but even so, it is by a reliable and honourable witness who was there.
No one disputes that there was plenty of ammunition, but this seems to confirm that it wasn't handed out or supplied at a fast enough rate to repulse the Zulu attack. No point in having plenty of ammo if it is securely stored in a wagon beneath the QMs ass.
In the hours leading up to the main Zulu attack, what was Pulleine doing? Obviously, he was not appreciating "the gravity of the situation."
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:59 pm

Smith Dorrien was a wonderful man, but his memoirs were written at a rather advanced age. Its possible his memory wasnt as good as he thought. There are a few areas where this is apparent.

He says he left the camp at around midnight and arrived at RD at dawn ( ten mile ride ) Dawn would be around the time that Chelsford was leaving the camp approx 4 to 4.30. So his ride time was around 4 hours. That makes sense in that he rode through pitch darkness, believe me in africa without a moon it really is dark.
He sent his depatch after Durnford and then tended, after breakfst I would assume, to the building of the reim stretcher.

Its difficult to imagine however him doing all that and getting back to the camp by 8 oclock.

Its well documented that Chard was at the camp and left after the first sightings occured, on the way he met up with Durnford close to the stream.
Its also well documented that Durnford arrived between 10 and 10.30.
If SD was to have arrived close to Durnford he would have had to have left RD at around the same time. So its possible he LEFT at 8 not arrived.

This ties in with the sounds of Gunfire he heard that prompted him to ask Bromhead for ammo ( that gunfire would have come from the engagements around the Mangeni area ).

His is also the account that says the troops ran out of ammo on the firing line. There is so much evidence that counter acts his statement. And yet Essex tells of his orders to a transport officer (SD) to arrange a mule cart to take ammo out to the line. Again his memories could be conceivably be at fault.

There are a number of other areas that his memory lets him down, in particular on the fugitives trail.

Magnificent soldier that he was I would be careful about taking his evidence at face value.


Regards



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ADMIN

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:14 pm

What is now perhaps required, is detailed analysis of TMFH primary source material PRIOR to Durnford's arrival, and then ask if the battle was already lost?


Just a thought. Idea

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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:41 pm

.


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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:09 pm

Reading the statement's from the various sources, I find it hard to believe that nothing was done in any form to protect the camp against an all most certain attack. In some of the statements numbers of Zulus are mentioned. I counted 16,000. What makes a lot of sense is that when Chelmsford divide the column it gave the Zulu's the perfect opportunity to attack and win a decisive victory regardless of the New moon theory.
Mehlokazulu gave two statements, one while in captivity and one when he was release. The one when he was release is the one that should be considered as the true line of events. I would appreciate other members views. This document
The Missing five hours. Certainly brings new evidence to light, most of all it, doe's make sense. There was so much Zulu activity prior to Durnford's arrival. Perhaps the conversations between Durnford and Pulleine were more along the lines of why had nothing been done.
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PostSubject: Isandlwana , Last Stands .   Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:28 am

Hi Chard 1879 .
Your last line basically sums it up , and is also one of the main reasons I think Col Durnford left the camp in the first place !.
He needed to know what was happening out there among the heights and all across their front and flanks . Also he believed
The Good Lord had a battle on his hands and rode off to make sure he ( C'ford ) wasnt about to be cut off . As his note from
Crealock clearly stated the General was moving out to attack a force 10 miles distant . I dont think Durnford did a lot wrong
except for his basically sacrificing the Rocket battery and its men .
cheers 90th. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:17 am

Hi Pete
TMFH is still pretty much out there as a theory. I know that Col Snook was going to compose a rebutle, as far as Im aware he hasnt done so as yet.
Neil spent some time wandering over the area with Mike trying to locate the 'ridge' and checking sight lines. Last comment I remember was that he didnt think there was sufficient cover to hide the regiments concerned.
I was there a couple of weeks before them and found the area in question. All I can say is that its a perfectly feasable theory. Really well researched and presented. Makes a lot of sense in explaining the regimental movements.

The bottom line really concerning the debate in question though is that the high command on the plain had no idea what was coming at them untill it happened. 90ths comments about Durnford needing to know what was happening makes sense, thats why Raw etc were dispatched to sweep the ridge, and that, to give Durnford his due, was the first real attempt to gather intelligence. Pity he screwed up so badly after such a good start.

I know Tasker loves his comparative arguements so try this one. The school bully decides to pick on a little kid, as he aproaches him, fist cocked, sneer of triumph on his face................... the kids 5 older brothers all profesional cage fighters appear, stripped for action.

Thats the suprise that the troops got.

Tasker your right there was a lot of tooing and froing of people back and forward to the ridge but because of the impi manouvers the messengers brought back conflicting reports, Zulus withdrawing etc. when they were in fact manouvering for tacti cal position.

Addendorf brought back a key message but because of his thick accent he couldnt be understood so Higginson (?) was sent up to look.

It all took time.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:27 am

Tasker

Just spotted your World Cup predictions and hopes Suspect

Half Welsh, half English. Hummmmmmm, seem to remember the last time that combination took on the mighty mighty Africans..........22 Jan??? :lol!: Idea

Good Luck though

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:23 am

90th.
Quote :
Also he believed The Good Lord had a battle on his hands and rode off to make sure he ( C'ford ) wasnt about to be cut off .

I'm sorry this can not be accepted. is orders clealy stated "Take Commard of the camp" Its that simple. The siuation that day did not allow for brownie point scoring by trying to in-press the Good Lord Chelmsford.

PS If your going to refer the Chelmsford as the Good Lord, be kind enought to add Chelmsford. He's not God. although most of the troops under him thought he was.. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:32 am

CTSG
You have consistently avowed that the orders were for Durnford to "take charge". On being pressed for a source for this you have bounced away onto difference aspects, ie: He was senior officer.etc

Without digression, once and for all please provide your original source proof of that statement.

Your only prievious sources have been the discredited Crealock or Wikipedia. Neither of which can be taken seriously.

You have at the same time gone against virtually the entire zulu academic world in branding the written orders found on Durnfords body as being forgery.

At the same time as doing this you have consistently quoted from the letter sent to Durnford by Chelmsford. And yet this letter was part of the package found on Durnfords body.........bonded together with the same blood.

Time to put up.......................
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90th

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PostSubject: Isandlwana , Last Stands .   Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:41 am

Hi Ctsg.
I know its hard for you to accept but you do need to read what I posted earlier about the orders sent to Durnford .
It cant be any planer than how it was written by those who were there , including Crealock who was proven to have
not told the truth on more than one ocassion . I have even given you the reference to the parlimentary papers proving
he was never told to take command / or take command of the camp ! .
cheers 90th, scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:26 pm

I am starting to become convinced that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent the Zulus from winning their victory at iSandlwana, even if Pulleine had been a lot sharper.
Which again, leads me to refer you back to my Q above. Would the Zulus have defeated the WHOLE column if it had been at the camp?

As for Chelmsford, WHY would he have told Durnford to take command of the camp? I have understood his order to have been to go and reinforce the camp, based on the few books I have read - no point in he and his troops hanging aroung at RD.

But as I mentioned above, reinforce or take command - it would have made no difference to the outcome of the battle.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:06 pm

If the whole colum had been present then it MIGHT have been diffrent. The men would still have been deployed BUT their might have been enough men held in reserve, maybe a company of regulars and Durnfords NNH who could have gone around the back of isandlwana and held off the Right Horn. No ideas but i think if this had happened then the battle could have been won.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:09 pm

Well it doe's appear that a neighbouring Impi, was set to attaked Chelmsford coloum, but this was postponed until the camp at Isandwana had been destroyed, if it had gone to plan Chelmsford column may have chopped as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:24 pm

impi wrote:
Well it doe's appear that a neighbouring Impi, was set to attaked Chelmsford coloum, but this was postponed until the camp at Isandwana had been destroyed, if it had gone to plan Chelmsford column may have chopped as well.

I think you are right impi, either way, I think Chelmsford and the 2/24th had a lucky escape.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:15 pm

...


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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:33 pm

Bertram Mitford's disussion with Vumandaba one of Cetywayo's military chiefs,

The Kandampemvu regiment was in the thick of the battle at Isandhlwana, and foremost in carrying the camp, though it suffered severely in the earlier stage of the conflict from the fire of the outlying companies ; and now its chief told me how stubbornly some of our soldiers had fought to the last, many of them using their pocket-knives when their bayonets were wrenched from them. Some even astonished their savage enemies by a well-directed ' one, two ' straight from the shoulder, flooring the too exultant warriors like nine-pins. The Zulus could not understand how men could use their hands as knob kerries, for the native is quite a stranger to the art of fisticuffs. ' A few of the soldiers,' said the chief, ' shot a great deal with " little guns " (revolvers), but they didn't shoot well. For every man they killed, they fired a great many shots without hitting anybody.'
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:28 am

The beauty is, we'll never know.
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Chris



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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:57 pm

Tomozulu wrote:
How many troops would it have taken if they had secured ammunition to form an impenetrable British Square?

As far as last stands go, my very limited understanding of the square is that it was drilled as a battalion-sized formation. On a parade ground, the 24th would have moved from line into square using the center companies as the front face. (Richard Holmes, Redcoat) On the field at Isandlwana in the heat of battle, this would have been extraordinarily difficult with six companies across a broad front, one of which was from the regiment's other battalion. To pull this off before the line was flanked and penetrated likely would have required a fairly adroit commander (not to mention a ruthless one willing to abandon the NNC and mounted contingent to their fate). Even so, the "impenetrability" of the square is mainly in reference to cavalry. There was nothing to prevent charging warriors on foot from closing with a square, and as others have suggested, it almost certainly would have been impossible to lay down the volume of fire necessary to pin down an enemy that was already at close range and moving in fast.

As for deploying in square before the battle (a la Ulundi), I think at the very least it would have been a near-run thing. Recall that even at Kambula, where the Zulus attacked a prepared British position, they still managed to close and fight hand-to-hand under withering fire. At Isandlwana a square also would have presented the problem of what to do with the substantial number of NNC. Do you deploy them in the center with the baggage or risk them in the rear face to allow more redcoats on the front and sides? But as others have said, it's difficult to predict how changing the initial tactical dispositions would have changed subsequent events. Perhaps the Zulus still would have managed to overwhelm the garrison. Or perhaps the 24th could have kept them pinned down long enough to discourage, if not break, the attackers. Momentum, after all, can be a pretty important factor. Or perhaps something else entirely would have developed. Counterfactuals are quite difficult in part because you can't just change one element of the story and hold the other events constant. But that's part of the fun I suppose.

Anyway, first post done. Hope it didn't come off as too ignorant. Thanks for an interesting forum.

Cheers,
Chris
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:35 pm

Chris
Well put and welcome.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:06 pm

"The square continued in use into the late 19th century by European armies against indigenous warriors. However, this was different in form from the Napoleonic formation:

"The new square was not simply infantry in static defence but a large, close-packed formation of some 1,000 to 1,500 men, capable of slow movement with ranks of infantry or cavalry forming the four sides and artillery, wheeled machine guns, transport carts, baggage animals and their handlers in the centre. Such a square could only survive where the enemy were without modern firearms."
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Chris



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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:35 pm

Mr Greaves wrote:
"The square continued in use into the late 19th century by European armies against indigenous warriors. However, this was different in form from the Napoleonic formation:

"The new square was not simply infantry in static defence but a large, close-packed formation of some 1,000 to 1,500 men, capable of slow movement with ranks of infantry or cavalry forming the four sides and artillery, wheeled machine guns, transport carts, baggage animals and their handlers in the centre. Such a square could only survive where the enemy were without modern firearms."

Right, this is how it was used at Ulundi. Point taken that there is a big difference between the square as a discreet formation akin to line or column and the square as a means to deploy a large force of combined arms.

My first paragraph hypothesized the earlier kind of square as a last resort by the regular troops at Isandlwana, rather than a preconceived strategy encompassing the entire force. Late 19th-century British infantry drill is well beyond my nonexistent expertise, but I am guessing line battalions in 1879 still had the Napoleonic square in their repertoire. My point is that ordering this formation in an emergency at Isandlwana as the OP's original query hinted at - with the men under fire, in some disorder, and with one company from a different unit - would have been difficult if not impossible to execute, and probably wouldn't have saved the day.

All the best,
Chris
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:50 pm

Yes. At Ulundi I believe the square was already formed, when in moved on the battlefield. What would the opinion be. If Pulliene had ordered this formation, just after Chelmsford had left. Would they have been in a better position to defend the camp.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana, Last Stands   Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:54 pm

Had this force followed the recommendations of the Boer commanders and formed a laager it is likely they would have withstood this attack. The successful defense of Rourke's drift reinforces this fact in my opinion.

The Battle of Blood River 16 Dec 1838 had 450 Boers armed with single shot muskets against an estimated force of 10 - 15 000.

At Isandlwana we have 1 200 against 20 - 25 000. They were mostly trained and experienced combat soldiers as opposed to civilians (admittedly as good if not better shots).


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