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 The Ammuntion Box Question.

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littlehand

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PostSubject: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:51 pm

The opening question relating to the ammunitions boxes in service during the Anglo Zulu War is this.

"Smith-Dorrien. observations on the difficulty of opening ammunition boxes led to changes in British practice for the rest of the war."

The problem, with the opening of the ammunition box was identified first hand in a combat situation.

Smith-Dorrien's observations are a primary source,

But there seems to be a difference of opinion as to wether or not there was a problem with these boxes.. My opinion is there was, and and it was partly due to this problem, that the ammuntion supply was dramatically reduced,
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:57 pm

The 24th had pioneers who were armed with tools, these men had been in action before, to think they
couldn't move a single screw is nonsence.

Melokazulu says the ammuntion boxes were " Smashed open " he makes no comment on them being
imposible to open.

Bent ammuntion box screws were found all over the field, proving the boxes could be broke open by
bending the screw.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:14 pm

Quote :
The 24th had pioneers who were armed with tools, these men had been in action before, to think they couldn't move a single screw is nonsence
.

I have already ask for the source, and the source that puts these pioneers, near the ammuntion waggons.

Quote :
Melokazulu says the ammuntion boxes were " Smashed open " he makes no comment on them being
imposible to open.

Melokazulu also says that they broke them open, difference being when they were breaking them open, they wasn't doing it in a combat situation.
And if Melokazulu says as you say the "ammuntion boxes were smashed open, does that not add more weight to my argument, that they were difficult to open normally so they " smashed them open"

Quote :
Bent ammuntion box screws were found all over the field, proving the boxes could be broke open by bending the screw.
Your source for this, I have a feeling your going to say " Ian Knight"
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thinredlineMOD

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:23 pm

if somebody's interested here's Ian Knights take on the matter

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


And as strongly as I believe in a (non-decisive) ammunition problem having existed, just seeing these boxes tells me that there's no way they could've resisted the efforts of a determined person. Pioneers, screwdrivers? ... my goodness we all have mastered more demanding tasks ....
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:37 pm

Thanks for that. However it should be remembered, that there are no primary sources to say this happen, it is all based on a theory by Ian Knight, to show how the screws found, were bent at that angle in-question.

My problem with this, is that we have Zulu accounts that state they broke open ammunition boxes, As the Zulus were no longer in a combat situation, they could have dragged ammuntion boxes all over the battlefield to where they were opened. How else could these screws be found scattered all over the field, when we know the ammuntion waggon was in the camp area, and most accounts say runners we're taking packets not ammuntion boxes.
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thinredlineMOD

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:03 pm

You're welcome. But I don't think the Zulu accounts necessarily exclude the possibility of (some of) the boxes opened on the frontline as Knight proposes. But as far as me, I'm not arguing for one or the other but I just fail to see how the opening of the boxes could've been the problem (whereever that might have been). I've seen too many high-grade steel padlocks smashed in zero time with just a folding shovel during service as to uncritically believe SD's remarks.


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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:06 pm

LH

The place of the pioneers, down to today, is with the quater-master. For a photo of them see ian Knights
Zulu-Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift.

The source for the ammuntion screws was the video you posted " Day of the dead " or something, they
had examples and found more.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:37 pm

As I though not primary sources I post the video for the benefit of the forum members. Educational !!

In my first post I have posted a primary source, that was an eye-witness to the problems associated with the ammuntion box of the day. The same eye-witness you have on many occasions quoted as fact.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:39 pm

What do you meen by Primary source ? For what ?
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:47 pm

You lost me now...
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:48 pm

You said

"As I though not primary sources."

What did you want a source for ?
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:18 pm

You have stated on three occasions.

Quote :
Quote:
The 24th had pioneers who were armed with tools, these men had been in action before, to think they couldn't move a single screw is nonsence

I would like the source that shows they were breaking open ammuntion boxes during the battle of Isandlwana.

Not a photo of them from Ian's book.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:04 pm

Quote :
You're welcome. But I don't think the Zulu accounts necessarily exclude the possibility of (some of) the boxes opened on the frontline as Knight proposes. But as far as me, I'm not arguing for one or the other but I just fail to see how the opening of the boxes could've been the problem (whereever that might have been). I've seen too many high-grade steel padlocks smashed in zero time with just a folding shovel during service as to uncritically believe SD's remarks

Apologies only just seen this.
I'm not disputing that screws were not found on the firing lines, but as we have no proof, that ammuntion boxes, were never sent to the lines, we can only summise, it was the Zulu's who took the boxes to various parts of the field. It was never mention exactly how many screws were found. Also I believe Ian's program suggested the firing lines were further out than first though. So were the screws in question found on the firing lines original locations, or where Ian supposed they would have been.

With regards to the method of opening a modern day ammuntion box with a folding shovel, the boxes then, were a lot more robust, and screwed shut. If they had have been a simple padlock, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Perhaps SD observations made the ammuntion box what it is today.
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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:10 pm

Did Ian Knight not prove, on. Camera that an ammunition box could be opened with the strike of a MH rifle butt. Dispelling the myth they had trouble opening the box because they did have enought screw drivers.
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:13 pm

Sorry guys, we've done this issue to death,


If you want an official Primary Source you need to refer to " A Treatise on Ammunition 1897" HMSO. but to save you the trouble.
whilst referring to the MkX, MkX111 & MkX1V boxes, of the time, Small Arms Ammunition : para Xiiii notes in respect to MkV box (by then obsolete).
Quote " Some of the early patterns had the lid fastened with a brass screw, but the unscrewing occasioned loss of time, so the split pin (Mk1X Box..my note) was adopted. On emergency the lids secured by screws may be opened with a good kick or blow with a stone on the edge furthest from the lid"
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Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:23 pm

Sorry Neil. New to this subject.

In laymans terms, what type of box was in use at Isandlwana. And could it be kicked open with heel of a boot.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:40 pm

Quote :
Sorry guys, we've done this issue to death,


If you want an official Primary Source you need to refer to " A Treatise on Ammunition 1897" HMSO. but to save you the trouble.
whilst referring to the MkX, MkX111 & MkX1V boxes, of the time, Small Arms Ammunition : para Xiiii notes in respect to MkV box (by then obsolete).
Quote " Some of the early patterns had the lid fastened with a brass screw, but the unscrewing occasioned loss of time, so the split pin (Mk1X Box..my note) was adopted. On emergency the lids secured by screws may be opened with a good kick or blow with a stone on the edge furthest from the lid"

Neil Can we assume then, that Lord Chelmsford was unaware of these various shortcuts you mention. Because not long after Isandlwana, he implimented the the following order:

"The regimental reserve boxes must have the screw of the lid taken out, and each wagon or cart will have a screw driver attached to one of the boxes so that it may be ready for opening when the screw has not been taken out".

Why would he implement that, if the opening of these boxes, were as easy as you say to open. And was SD unaware of these methods.
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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:49 pm

As DB14 says in the second post on this thread, the 24th had been in Africa for years prior to the loss of the camp.
They would have been able to access the ammo in these boxes within seconds, blindfolded. They would have known every trick in the book and would have dispensed with farting around with a screw driver long before.
I believe ammo supply was an issue during the battle of iSandlwana, but it was not the boxes that were the problem.
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thinredlineMOD

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:22 am

littlehand wrote:
With regards to the method of opening a modern day ammuntion box with a folding shovel, the boxes then, were a lot more robust, and screwed shut. If they had have been a simple padlock, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Perhaps SD observations made the ammuntion box what it is today.
Maybe I should add that I didn't mean padlocks of ammo boxes but of lockers which especially recruits have a habit of loosing their keys of. I had never reason to open an ammo box myself. (Not even sure how many I've seen which actually were padlocked)
Anyways ... I used that particular example merely to illustrate the point of makeshift tools doing such kind of jobs just fine.
And well, modern rifle ammunition boxes of similiar size look less robust than their Victorian counterparts but we had an abundance of equally robust crates. And I remain convinced that I (or at least the heavy guy in the section) would've got everyone of these open with a riflebutt if necessary. (Not that I recommend that)
The only practical explanation I have for SD's complaint is that they didn't see smashing the boxes open as an option. Maybe he feared destroying parts of the content or was afraid of a heap of ammo packages on the ground with no means to transport it anymore.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:32 am

But unfortunately, we need to go back to rules a regulations. And let's face it back it the Victorian era especially military, things had to be near perfect

The opening of the ammo boxes would have be as laid down in the field regulations of the day. I guessing that the quarter-master who have had total responsibility over the movements, opening and issuing of the ammuntion under his control, It may sound laughable now but SD who is a primary source, says:

"
Quote :
Bloomfield, the Quartermaster of the 2/24th, said to me in regard to the boxes I was then breaking open, " For heaven's sake, don't take that, man, for it belongs to our Battalion." And I replied, " Hang it all, you don't want a requisition now, do you ? "

We can never know for sure if this conversation took place or not. Either way Bloomfield wasn't happy with what SD was doing, had he not been killed, would Bloomfield had carried on opening ammo boxes with his screwdriver. Who knows.

Quote :
24th had been in Africa for years prior to the loss of the camp
.
Good point. But your forgetting, these lads were on the firing lines fighting and waiting for supplies, those supposedly breaking open thevammo boxes and running with ammo, we're Transport officers, civilians, stretcher-bearers' Bandsman ect.


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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:25 pm

Just out of interest. Does anyone own the Book " Zulu VIctory"
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barry

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PostSubject: Zulu Victory   Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:05 pm


Hi Littlehand,
Yes, can I look something up for you?.

regards,

barry
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90th

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PostSubject: The Ammunition Box Question   Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:21 pm

Hi Littlehand .
I also have it . You need to study mo
Cheers 90th. Salute
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:24 pm

Thanks Barry, I also have the book.

Gent's May I ask that you turn to page 322. And let me know your thoughts
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90th

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PostSubject: The Ammunition Box Question    Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:31 pm

Hi Littlehand .
Its 5.30 am here I'm about to go to work , Barry is probably on his way to bed I think its 10.30 or 11.30 pm in Sth Africa , will pull the book out now so I dont forget to read it when I get home in 9 hrs time !.
Cheers 90th. :lol:
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:33 pm

LH

One thing they have wrong page 323, there weren't 3 firing line's there were 2.

Durnfords 2 troops of NNH

7 Coys of the 24th, 2 troops of NNH, RA guns and some NNC Coys.

The one on the Spur was only in action for around 15 mins, then it joined the one bellow.

The rest is mostly pure speculation, doesn't prove anything.
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Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:45 pm

Who was in commard of the 2 firing lines.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:45 pm

Pulleine.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:53 pm

Quote :
The rest is mostly pure speculation, doesn't prove anything.

Yet most of the accounts you use are there.

Your attidude, and mannerism in the way, you have posted lately is starting to reflect that of another members bold and brassin attidude.

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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:56 pm

LH

Its the truth though, what they write doesn't prove anything.
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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:57 pm

90th, Barry. I will await your views on the matter. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:06 pm

:lol: Littlehand, it's taken you a while, to work out DB is being used as an instrument, to put another members arguments across, it's called e-mail . :lol: I worked it out a while ago, when a question is posted to DB he takes to long in answering, then he comes back with a well spelled, grammar correct reply. :lol:

Tasker dropped a hint not long ago.
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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:09 pm

scratch

Are you saying you don't believe i'm 15 ?
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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:19 pm

I'm saying your posts are not you own.. Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:29 pm

CTSG

First off your wrong my posts are my own.



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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:45 pm

Don't waste my time DB.. :sleep:
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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:54 pm

The ammuntion box used to dispell the myth. Is not made out of teak or mahogany the ammuntion boxes in the Zulu War were.

I no expert on wood, but is anyone willing to say, the box in this photo is Teak or Mahogany.I say its neither.
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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:39 pm

This from Peter Quantrill & Ron Lock.

"Now here is a challenge for anyone to take us up on. We will wager GBS 1,000 to be donated to the charity of the winner’s choice, that an exact replica be made to the exact 1879 ammo box specification. On completion of construction of the box, with a body of independent experts agreeing that the replica is as near as possible, (type of wood, dimensions and specifications) in every respect, to the Isandlwana ammo  box, (whatever the original year of manufacture of the boxes that were present at Isandlwana.)
  Let us then see  a Martini Henry being used to open such box with a single blow. In front of cameras if possible!"


Now there's confidence. Anyone wishing to take up this wager, let me know so the neccessary arrangements can be made.
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:54 pm

That's one wager. I will miss. Hate losing....
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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:18 am

DB i am sure you are indeed 15 and it is great to see a younger person with such an obvious love of history .
However i have to say that recently i have been suprised by some on your posts . In one thread you tell admin to lock a thread because you have said all you have to say . This comes across as very arrogant ; do you not consider someone else may have something to add ?

I am not trying to take sides on this , merely to say i understand why other members are beginning to think your work is not all your own .

Gary.
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barry

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:15 am

Hi Db14,
What Locke and Quantrill write in "Zulu Victory", is probably the most accurate and difinitive account of this epic battle. It is corraborated by the writings left by survivors and other reputable authors. By "trashing" the works of the reputable authors, variously : Locke, Holt, Knight, Laband and the findings of professional military researchers such as Dr Machanix, you are not doing your integrity any good at all. As a result, you and your mentor are not being taken seriously, as your views are patently without credence and somewhat tiresome to follow.

regards

barry.
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barry

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PostSubject: The box   Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:58 am


Hi littlehand,
I have taken a look at the picture of the ammunition box which you posted, and make the following observations about it ;

1) the joints are dovetailed.
2) the metal bands do not look the same good quality as the original
3) the picture has been digitally corrected giving an overall reddish tint.
4) removing the reddish tint, the wood colouring would be too yellow for teak or mahogany.
5) lastly, and most importantly I see what looks like a knot hole in the wooden top panel. If it is a
knot, then he wood is of the softer variety,ie gum, or worse still pine, which has been
coloured with varnish or stain

.....so if any softer woods were in reality used on this test, the results are completely invalidated. I tend to agree however with L and Q that opening one with a single bash of a rifle butt would not do the job. This begs another quesion ; if this was attempted, how much damage was been done to the MH's ?

regards

barry
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90th

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PostSubject: The Ammunition Box Question   Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:56 am

Hi Littlehand .
I'll check that page out later and post a reply .
Cheers 90th. Salute
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PostSubject: The Ammunition Box Question   Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:38 pm

Hi Littlehand.
I've read page 322 but not sure what you wish me to comment on ? . It's what we already know , Black Troops were sent back to camp to get ammo , they were refused as either they couldnt find their wagons or as Lock and Quantrill write they ( the wagons ) hadnt arrived at this point , so if they attempted to be rearmed from the british they wouldnt have been given any rounds and also they had differant rifles as opposed to the Imperial army who had the M.H. I'm certain the Colonials had Sniders among others etc etc . Obviously with no ammo replentishment
worth speaking of and also because of their position which was becoming untenable , they did the only thing they could do and that was withdraw . As Lock and Quantrill point out it was no use these troops even staying on the field if they couldnt get any ammo so they withdrew , and found that their wagons had arrived at this point so they grabbed what they could and went to F.D where they managed to hold off the zulus allowing many of the survivors to get across the river . Its well known that if it wasnt for the Edendale troops laying down a covering fire at the river there would have been a far smaller number of survivors - if any !.
Cheers 90th.
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90th

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PostSubject: The Ammunition Box Question   Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:49 pm

Hi Barry / all .
I dont profess to be an expert on the Ammo boxes of the time but I do own an original 1875 box , and for all intent and purposes wouldnt differ much from the ones in use in 1879 . Now , I think if you struck the sliding lid in the correct place the lid would break the screw and therefore the ammo could be got at . If not the first blow surely after
1 or 2 more which is only going to be a split second in time differance . It would be a different matter if you attempted to bludgeon the box from the sides or the ends , then multiple blows may be required , the bands on the box wouldnt effect getting into the box because as I said you'd be trying to hit the sliding panel which has a tongue and groove joint . I'm sure our resident expert Neil has covered this scenario several times and hopefully he will enlighten us all again .
Cheers 90th. You need to study mo
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bill cainan



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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:50 pm

Hi all

One point re the ammunition boxes. These are expensive items of kit and were designed to be returned to the UK and refilled - this is achievable if you open them carefully with a screwdriver. If you smash a box open, then it can not be re-used. However, in an emergency that's just what you would do. In the Brecon Museum, we have a genuine ammo box recovered from the Isandlwana battlefield, and next to it a replica one to show how the one screw/sliding lid works.

I have no doubt whtsoever that a strong blow agains the edge of the lid opposite the screw will result in the wooden side of the box that contains the screw splintering, and probably causing the screw to bend in the process - but if it's not an emergency, heaven help you when the Quartermaster (who has responsibility for the boxes - full or empty) gets hold of you !

Whether the blow is caused by a Martini-Henry butt, a studded boot, a rock, or a pick axe, a hammer, or ........ etc etc is not really of any consequence. Neil's quote says it all !

Bill
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90th

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PostSubject: The Ammunition Box Question   Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:55 pm

Hi Bill .
Seems we posted virtually at the same time . Salute . Is there any chance you may be able to organize a photo for the forum of the ' Brecon Isandlwana Box ' ?????. I dont expect you to hobble around to do so - possibly one of your team members may be able to help you out ? .
Cheers 90th. Very Happy
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bill cainan



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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:09 pm

Hi 90th

No camera with me today and then I'm off for three weeks (R&R after my broken ankle) ! I WILL do it as soon as I get back.

Bill
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PostSubject: The Ammunition Box Question   Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:14 pm

Hi Bill .
Thanks mate , that will be very much appreciated I'd think by all on here . Shocked
Cheers 90th. Salute
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: The Ammuntion Box Question.    Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:15 pm

barry wrote:
Hi Db14,
What Locke and Quantrill write in "Zulu Victory", is probably the most accurate and difinitive account of this epic battle. It is corraborated by the writings left by survivors and other reputable authors. .

Barry

I'm sorry but Zulu Victory is by no means the most accurate account, there are dozens of major and minor
mistakes in it, they also invent stuff, like Godwin-Austin being the last one standing instead of Pope, when
its impossible to know which one died first, they also confuse Henry Dyer with Pat Dally.

If you want the most accurate read Jackson, this uses only the survivors accounts, and is rated by Knight, Young, Whybra.



Cheers
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