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 Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!

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Richie

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PostSubject: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:07 pm

Hi All,
I don't know whether this has been posted before (please don't shoot the new boy if it has- having a go with an assegai is OK) but I am half way through reading Eyewitness In Zululand the reminiscences of Walter Dunne. One major question which came to mind considering the major logistical problems was "why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force?"

I have a numerous pile of newly acquired books to read (Thanks again 90th) and the answers may lie in them. Please remember I am a newbie and not as well read yet, as most of you are.

At times columns were constrained by numerous factors such as the distance they could travel, the terrain, fording rivers and setting up bridgeheads, the weather, being strung out over a large distance to name a few.
Surely this would have made laagering, forming square or any other defensive position difficult. So why did the Zulu's not take more advantage of this.

Was it down to tactics, terrain i.e. no concealment, there own logistics and supply problems. I can understand some of the views pointed out in another post of why the Zulu's did not attack Chelmsford's column after Isandlwana. Having just fought a battle, but surely with such a mass of impi in the right place defence would have been very difficult.

Just would like a few thoughts to ponder on.
cheers
Richie
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90th

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PostSubject: Why did the zulus not ambush the moving column ?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:29 am

Hi Richie .
That has puzzled me and many others I would think , I know its mentioned in a couple of books why it was thought that it
didnt happen . They seem to be to me illogical reasons . The only time they attacked a column on the move was Inyezane ,
which was earlier in the morning on the same day as Isandlwana & R.Drift . The only other time was at Ntombe Drift but they
were not on the move , but still encamped early in the morning on the banks of the the flooded Ntombe River .
As for not attacking C'ford , to put it basically they were spent ( The Zulu ) 34 Deg on the day of the battle , little or no food for 24 hrs , no water etc etc . Many wounded whom they tried to take with them . Plus their losses were very heavy so they wouldnt
have wanted to cop that again by attacking the rest of the column . Hope these basic answers are helpful . Salute
cheers 90th. Salute

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:42 am

90th
You missed out Hlobane as a col on the move.

Tut tut Salute
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90th

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PostSubject: Why did the zulus not ambush the moving column ?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:56 am

Hi Springbok .
Yes I did , Intentionally , didnt think to include it as it wasn't really out in the open , as opposed to the top of a hill with steep sides etc etc . Hope this makes some sense .
cheers 90th. Salute
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Richie

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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:15 pm

Hi 90th & springbok9,
Thanks for the feedback.
cheers
Richie
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:48 pm

It does seem a bit odd, as they always wanted to fight the British in the open, a moving column who have been the ideal time to do it.
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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:35 pm

Opportunity?
I don't think the Zulus would have had an issue with attacking a moving column, had the opportunity presented itself.
As 90th points out, they did indeed attack one at iNyezane, so it was not due to a lack of anything other than the right opportunity.
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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:48 pm

A good one would have been LC moving back to Isandlwana. They didn't take the oppertuntinty.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:50 pm

Chard1879 wrote:
A good one would have been LC moving back to Isandlwana. They didn't take the oppertuntinty.

They couldn't Salute


Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:12 pm

DB. More than they couldn't would be nice.. Salute
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:14 pm

They hadn't eaten in 24th hours

They had hundreds of wounded to look after

Lots of them had already left

They would have been shattered



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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:23 pm

But the 3000+ Zulus that attacked RD could have done, that's if they hadn't attacked RD that is. But let's face it even those Zulus that fought at Isandlwana could have wiped out LC coloumn. And it woundn't have taken long. A few more hours of the Zulus time would have made no difference to them being hungry or anything else.
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90th

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PostSubject: Why did the zulus not ambush the moving column ?   Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:46 pm

Hi Littlehand .
All I'll say is Have you ever been starving Hungry ( I dont mean peckish ) , dehydrated and fought a pitched battle over 5 hrs in 35 + plus heat ? .
Not to mention post battle trauma and many other variables , it wouldnt be a walk in the park ( A few more hours ! ) Not meaning to have a dig at you at all , but think about what the zulu army had gone through , the likes of which they hadnt ever seen let alone experience . As DB said they were well and truly spent . The reserve if they knew where the good lord was exactly , may have decided to have a go at them . But R.D was only held by a small force and they thought it would be a walk - over after Iandlwana , they werent banking on their being defences put in place . etc etc .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:25 am

Hello Richie

The logistics of armed Zulu does not allow them to stay long in the field.

So after a battle like Isandhlwana, they are forced to withdraw ...

In this war they could resist much longer with another tactic (such as the Xhosa, for example, who have continued to adapt) but this was impossible for the zulus, because of their military system rigiditée .. .

For example, the instructions of the king, which prohibits the affair as Kambula and Ulundi, are marred by the impetuosity of the regimentsinGobamakhosi and umCijo ...

At Isandhlwana, there would not have had to battle, but the impetuosity of the regiment umCijo at all distorted ...

For the Matabele in 1893, is even worse ...

The armed Zulus and Matabele do not really work as European armies ...

Cheers

Pascal
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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:12 pm

Agree with 90th, LH !
I have seen soldiers return from battles and skirmishes. Even contacts that last minutes are totally, emotionally and physically draining. At the time they can fight for hours and hours , days if necessary or however long it takes, but when that contact is broken, and the adrenalin drops and that is that, massive downer. No more fighting for several days at least, only sleeping.
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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:06 am

HI all

The only thing preventing a Zulu army to stay long in the field, it is logistics.

The rest is literature.

If the Zulus had had a service to care for wounded and another to deal with regular supplies of food as a European army , the Zulu remained in the countryside at Isandhlwana and also crushed Chelmsford on 22.

Cheers

Pascal

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Richie

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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:33 am

Hello,
24th, tasker224, Chard1879, DB14, littlehand, 90th and Pascal.
Thank you all for participating so far, some food for thought in your comments.

However, if we want to stick around the area of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift for the moment then one the most decisive decisions should have been to attack the other moving column. The Zulu's tactically got Isandlwana right with the placement of their impi's. But tactically got the follow up wrong!

The Zulu intelligence was good as they had this force at Isandlwana and a second force waiting at iNyezane. Did they send appropriate size impi's to meet the size of force in front of them? (Did they expect to fight Chelmsford column aswell on that day) I agree with you tasker about opportunity, as well as your other points, but the opportunity was there.

If the Zulu's could not stay in the field for long periods, understandable, (but they were they for the fight) why did they not take the impi's from iNyezane to wipe out the main column. Did the Zulu attack at iNyezane have any tactical advantage compared to Isandlawana?

Sorry I seem to be coming up with more questions. I seem to agree with you littlehand why did they turn and the other impi go to Rorke's Drift when the fight was in front of them. A lot of the Zulu's were fresh.

I need to clear the head, I am sure I will be back shortly with loads more questions.
cheers
Richie
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PostSubject: Re: Why did the Zulu's not ambush the moving columns in force!   Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:41 pm

Pascal.


Richie-A Zulu regiment never gives two battles in one day.

The Zulu had estimated before leaving Ulundi that the third column was the most dangerous, for Zululand ...

Has Nyezane ,the zulus have not any advantage , they were not numerous enough to withstand the firepower of the first column of Pearsons.

And their regiments were discovered prematurely, as at Isandlawana ...

But at Isandlawana they were numerous enough to implement their usual deployment, but not at Nyezane ...

They preferred attack RD because they suspected they well knew that there was less troops there.

Even though they knew that Chelmsford had much more ...

If attacking Chelmsford, the Zulu reserve could never overcome the british, because other Zulu regiments were unable to support it ..

cheers

Pascal
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