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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:28 pm

Not a lot of people know this. scratch A Victorian Army officer he could not divorce.

Anyway she left him because of his gambling. Idea

There's More. Durnford went against Army tradition and married Frances Tranchell, daughter of Colonel Tranchell, Ceylon Rifles, while he was junior officer, Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:06 pm

For Frances Ellen the years belonged to a very unhappy period. There had been anearly close friendship that ended in separation, and by 1873 she was in love with Col. Anthony William Durnford who. committed to an unhappy marriage. could not give her the fulfilling relationship she sought.

As . Atherton Wylde' she wrote My Chiefand I in honour of Durnford when.as commander of the force sent to pursue Langalibalele, he was blamed for the colonial deaths that occurred in the Bushman's River Pass. Isandlwana was a tragic turning point in her life. Her physicalstrength was eroded by the tuberculosis contracted while nursing a sick soldier in Pietermaritzburgand she grieved deeply for Durnford.

But she devoted energy. emotional intensity and intellectual concentration to defending his reputation from what she believed was the unjustified blame for Isandlwana. With Anthony's brother Edward. she wrote A History ofthe Zulu War and its Origin, and she collaborated with him in the composition of A Soldier's life in south east Africa, a memoir of the late Col. A. W. Durnford.

Her friendship with Edward. himself a married man. grew too intense for comfort. She undertook her last book. the two-volume The Ruin of Zululand. on her father's suggestion and it contains many references to Isandlwana. Convinced that Durnford was the victim of a conspiracy of silence and calumny, Frances Ellen believed that Offy Shepstone had stolen papers from the body of Durnford which. if recovered. would show quite clearly that Durnford had not received specific orders to take command. of the camp. She pursued tangled, probably inconclusive and possibly irrelevant evidence on this point, and did so with a frightening intensity until her death.

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:36 pm

Just came across this, thought it may go down rather well.
A joke being told in the army around 1879.

Why will the Flying column not make good christians.

Because they make idols of Wood ( Evelyn ) and not of the Lord ( Chelsford).

:lol!:
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:51 am

S.D you should have posted YAWN!! On the last reply from Sprinkbok.
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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:40 pm

The Brisbane Courier. Saturday 22 March 1879. (Taken from Littlehands post)

"The Cape Argus states that it has been already elicited at a court of enquiry that Lord Chelmsford left written instructions with the officer commanding the camp that the troops remaining there were to act on the defensive, and that these orders were not obeyed. Colonel Durnford, R.E., it is alleged, against the remonstrances of Colonel Pulleine, induced the latter officer to leave the camp. At 9 o'clock it was reported that the Zulus were in immense force, and advancing, driving the pickets and scouts before them. Still nothing serious was apprehended, and it was thought that the enemy showing up in front was in retreat before the General's column. No defensive preparations were made, and the simple idea was to " drive them back." For this purpose a portion of Durnford'e force was sent out in skirmishing order, directly after its arrival in camp, Colonel Durnford having apparently relieved Pulleine of the command by virtue of his seniority. From the tenor of what has been already published, it seems as if Durnford will be made the scapegoat ; but no blame can attach to him for anything prior to his arrival at the camp. Six hours had then elapsed since the General's departure, and during that period nothing had been done in execution of the alleged orders to put the camp in a position of defence. According to the most exact statement Colonel Durnford was not in camp for any longer period than ten minutes, and from the moment when he went out to engage the enemy with the natives under his command, the two Colonels seem to have acted each without reference to the other."
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:01 pm

Brisbane Courier. :lol!: :lol!: :lol!:
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Aidan



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PostSubject: A slightly different perspective   Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:47 am

Hi all, first post for me. I have been reading this forum for some time however.

I first got interested in the subject when Zulu came out (Yes I did watch it when it was first released – in a cinema in Bristol, that should tell a fair bit about me )

Since then I have studied much military history as well as having military experience and
have – as we all do – developed an outlook that is not always totally in agreement with the ‘real historians’ - for example Hannibal would still have won at Cannae but without crippling his own army in the process if he had left the Romans a ‘line of retreat’ to rout along (and along which his cavalry could have wreaked havoc).

With regards to the subject of Isandlwana the argument that raged when I was young still goes on here, which is fascinating as there is actually no real doubt at all where the responsibility lay.

So as a first , hopefully not last, post - I thought I would approach things slightly differently from others to maybe provide an entertaining and thought-provoking scenario.

To start off I think any attempt to blame Glyn for anything, totally ignores military reality, to say he was in charge of anything is to (as two examples) suggest General Meade was responsible for the terrible failed assault on Lee’s army at Coldharbor or on the other hand credit Captain Hardy of the HMS Victory for the successful action at Trafalgar.

Quite simply, if your superior officer is physically present then he is the one giving the commands whether ship or army formation. That is why Glyn's statement to the effect that he was under Chelmford's orders was all that he needed to say.

In fact even if not present his (Chelmsford's) orders still have to be obeyed as when Chelmsford ordered Durnford to Isandlwana. Chelmsford shows himself to be very particular about this when he reprimanded Durnford earlier for moving his column without permission .

So bearing this in mind I turn to the critical points that lead up to the reverse at Isandlwana and use some what-ifs to identify the critical decision point.

What-if : Durnford arrives at camp at around 10:30am. He only has orders to move to the camp. It actually is irrelevant whether his orders further stated that he was to take command or to reinforce the camp, he had no orders to do anything else and as senior officer he automatically becomes commander of all forces left in Pulleine’s charge.

In-Fact: Sound military practice was followed – to a degree- by Durnford and mounted parties were sent out to locate the enemy and try to discover his numbers, an action which should have been continually undertaken from first entering Zululand. (Durnford did not need to go in person however, nor did the rocket battery have to be so terribly exposed by going out too).-
In my scenario though, as senior officer he takes command, finding from Pulleine that large numbers of Zulu have been seen- though their exact whereabouts, numbers or movements are unknown.

Durnford immediately orders that the wagons and other materials to hand (boxes – mealy bags – the huge supply of loose rocks close to hand) – be used to create a large lager on the lower saddle.
Once this is done then the camp will be struck. If the Zulu’s come on to the attack then the work parties will retire into the laager protected by fire from the laager and sections that had been positioned for the purpose (who will also retire into the laager).

Ok – so all this is done without incident and the camp at Isandlwana is now fortified, though still in a bad position if the Zulu’s attack because it is overlooked from Blacks Koppie and Isandlwana hill so casualties from firearms can be expected.

A message is sent to Chelmsford advising that due to the presence in the locality of a large number of Zulu the orders to defend the camp have been carried out and that therefore Chelmsford’s order for Pulleine to bring the whole camp forward to join him has had to be ignored.

There is now one decision to be made by Chelmsford which will avert disaster or, ironically, make it far more complete than is the case historically.

Because, unknown to Chelmsford or Durnford – but known to us, the Zulu commanders had no intention of attacking on the 22nd January – due to the New Moon they had already moved their forces into bivouac positioned to attack the camp around dawn on the 23rd

In my ‘what-if’ scenario, as Durnford has NOT sent out his patrols to locate them, the Zulu remain quietly where they for the rest of the day.


Now Chelmsford has two options open to him:

1. Immediately return to the now fortified camp with the rest of the column (and hopefully not stumble across the Zulu’s on the way back)

If he makes the return uneventfully I suspect he might well have some nasty things to say to Durnford about fortifying up – after all the Zulu have been conspicuous by their absence – from Chelmsford’s perspective – all day.
- However the Zulu commanders now only have the choice to retreat or attack the fortified camp on the 23rd – an action which would certainly have lead to their defeat – or at least be repulsed with large casualties to them and relatively few to the British Force.


2. Remain separated from the camp, but realizing that the presence of a large force of Zulu whose exact location cannot be determined puts the forward column in imminent danger, does the sensible thing, finds a good position and orders it ‘fortified’ for the night.

- He could send back reiterating the order that the forces at Isandlwana move forward to join him but , given that it would likely be 2-3pm by now , and the fortifications would have to be removed, the wagons reloaded etc etc , this would not be feasible.

If he makes any decision other than immediately retiring to rejoin the camp then the Zulu commanders by that evening would know they have the British in ‘Check’, the initiative is now entirely with the Zulu and no matter what the British do next the Zulu have a high probability of being able to annihilate the whole Column

Most of you will already see the problem for the British and the opportunity for the Zulu but I will spell it out anyway

The Induna’s gathering in the late afternoon are informed by their scouts that the camp has fortified and also the location and disposition of the forward column, which has fortified a position on high ground (or even worse just camped out on it).

If the forward column has not fortified then the choice for the Induna’s is easy – move into position to attack and overwhelm the forward column at dawn.


If fortified the Induna’s have the following options:

1. Attack one or other of the two fortified positions
2. Split their forces and attack both
3. Position their forces either side of the trail between the two positions (that is the route along which wagons can move in either direction) and await events on the 23rd

Knowing their business they would almost certainly choose option 3

If either column breaks fortifications and moves to join the other it will be ambushed
on the march and annihilated.

The forward column, short of rations and most likely water is the most vulnerable of course but – nothing having happened on the 22nd, Chelmsford may well have again ordered the camp to move forward.

In which case the Zulu attack them on the march and annihilate them, if the forward column moves to assist then Zulu forces positioned for that eventuality attacks them to either overwhelm or pin them until the camp column is finished off, at which point the whole Zulu force turns on the forward column and completes the slaughter.

If the forward column does fall back towards the camp then the reverse applies.

Given the Zulu commanders knew their business I can see little chance for survival of any significant numbers from either part of the column – every scenario leaves them stuck in fortifications and unable to move or strung out on poor trails and being assaulted from all sides (reminiscent of Kalkries or the retreat from Kabul?)

So of the several wrong decisions (or non-decisions) made we can identify the most critical as:

1. The failure to choose a suitable campsite
2. The failure to fortify that campsite immediately
3. The failure to send out mounted patrols in every direction to ascertain if the Zulu army was present and if so where and in what numbers
4. Splitting the column in absence of that information.

It was this last decision (given the situation caused by the three failures) that was fatal and any decision or order made following it simply determined how much of a disaster was going to happen.
The irony being of course that virtually every possible decision OTHER than Durnfords command riding out and locating the Zulu army, thus precipitating the attack on the camp, would most likely have resulted in the whole column being destroyed instead of ‘just’ the camp.

Responsibility:

1.As the senior commander Chelmsford should have recognized that the choice of campsite was bad and overrode his subordinates to have the camp resited further out on the plain where it was not overlooked by high ground.
2.As the senior commander he should have insisted on the camp being fortified immediately, which is not only sound military doctrine but in accordance with his own dictum on the subject.
3.As the senior commander he should have ensured that the column stayed in the fortified camp while mounted patrols thoroughly covered the ground to ensure that the column would not be threatened when it moved forward next.
The mounted patrols should also have identified a suitable camp position for the next move forward of the column if the Zulu army was not in a position to threaten the column on the move to that site.

Though I use hindsight to identify the peril -Chelmsford’s failure to follow sound military doctrine in the above three points doomed the men at the camp and could well have resulted in the entire column being destroyed.


Have at it if you like CTSG – if , as you say, you were in 3 Para in the Falklands - (in which case you may know three mates of mine, Bob Dando (in later years a Sergeant Major of 3) , Johnny Chick (3 para medic) or Chrs Keeble?) - you should know full well that as senior commander on the spot and knowing the 3 critical points above, Chelmsford was responsible for the failure to have them carried out and the responsibility therefore quite properly remains with him.

Blame is a slightly different issue, blame is more probably due to the general complacence, incompetence and arrogance of the military establishment of the times and can be seen from the first Afghan War to the Second Boer war – and even for at least the first half of WWI (Kissinger, French, Haking, Hunter-Weston, Gough to name just a few).

Sorry it’s such a long post folks but I hope you found it at least a little thought provoking

Aidan

:lol: :lol:
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:03 am

CTSG
Nice one Wink

Aidan
Nice post.
WE could do well to remember the following.
Wolseley " .....Regarding the disaster where the blame was thrown upon Durnford, the real object being apparently to screen Chelmsford."
or
Ellice, the Adjutant General writing to Chelmsford.
My Lord
The Field Marshal commanding in Chief, having very carefully considered the evidence taken before the Court of Enquiry on the Isandlwana disater: the suplementary evidence afterwards sent home, and the answers transmitted by your Lordship to certain questions I had the honour to address to you on the subject, I have it in Command to aquaint your Lordship that his Royal Highness has come to the conclusion that the primary cause of the misfortune, and that which led to all the others, was the under estimation formed of the offensive fighting power of the Zulu army.
This was not unnatural. Nowhere either in Southern or Central Africa, did such a powerfully organised, well disciplined and thouroughly trained force of courageous men exist as lay at the disposal of Ketchwayo."

The letter was a confidential letter sent to Chelmsford from Horse Guards. It goes on to analise in great detail subsequent faults and problems but the bottom line is the arogance shown by the leadership in dealing with the Zulu.
Having spent time in the Eastern Cape dealing with the motley crew down there, they expected the same level of resistance and were not prepared to listen to sage advice from local residents.
To my mind that is the route cause of the defeat.
Trace it back from there to missleading commands, bad military decisions, brilliant command of Ntshingwayo kaMahole, and tactics suited to the massive force he had at his disposal. By offering slight resistance to Darnell, sending small parties to occupy the scouts, forcing Chelmsford to split the column, the rest could never be in doubt.
Durnford could have had another two hundred men, it would not have made the slightest difference, the left horn had the density to be able to carry on moving Southwards and outflanking him. Thats what they did forcing him to retire and opening up the right flank of Popes G company. If the left horn didnt succeed surely the right would have done being virtually unoposed.

It all comes down to not taking note of the known Zulu tactics. And the arrogance of the General Staff.

Just some thoughts.

Regards

Regards
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90th

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PostSubject: durnford was he capable.   Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:49 am

Hi all.
Thought this may raise a few eyebrows :)
' Chelmsford had not neglected to assess the fighting capabilities of his enemies , his officers had all been issued with a pamphlet
describing the organisation and methods of the zulu army in detail - but knowing was not quite the same as believing . Laager's
had not been neccessary on the Cape Frontier , and it seemed highly unlikely that the zulus would stand up to the disciplined fire
of the Imperial Redcoats any better than the Xhosa had done . When Colonel Glyn suggested to Chelmsford that the camp at
Isandlwana be laagered he received a curt reply which can only have reminded him of the superfluity of his position as Column
Commander ' It is not worthwhile , it will take too much time , and besides the wagons are most of them going back to RDrift for
supplies ' . From ZULU - Isandlwana & Rorkes Drift 22-23 January 1879 by Ian Knight . I know I have said this before the
Good Lord's Standing Orders for the Invasion of Zululand are in the 5th Edition of the Anglo zulu war historical society's Journal.
Here is a link at a good price , a couple of other topics which we have looked at recently are also in this edition .



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

Aidan great first up post . Good to see you jumping in at the deep end .
cheers 90th. Idea





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Aidan



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:30 am

@Springbok : I agree entirely that the Zulu commander/s handled their side of the business very well, Chelmsford made it a whole lot easier for them than it should have been however.

A well sited fortified laager and thorough scouting would have limited or removed the Zulu options for tactical surprise or exploiting their numbers and (very well known -classical even) - battle tactics

It would - most probably - have left them with the option of pulling back and hoping for a better opportunity, or attacking the laager - which would likely have resulted in another Blood River...

Another old military maxim comes to mind, it's the side that makes the least number of mistakes that is likely to win.

@90th Thanks for reminding me that Glyn did have the temerity to at least suggest the camp should be fortified,
Chelmsford's response is still one of the most telling points of the whole sad tale given that he himself had repeated the dictum that camps should be fortified before the invasion he then chooses to ignore it for the sake of convenience ? weird scratch

I vaguely recall that after Spartacus' slave army had already defeated several attempts on them by Roman commanders a Consular amy was sent against them.
The said consul also didn't bother to have a marching camp erected as was the standard Roman practise and his army was attacked and routed that same night - history tends to repeat itself almost as much as Seinfeld reruns :lol!:

And thanks for the welcome :)
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:47 pm

But once again we are looking at scenarios. The problem is, it did not happen that way. The good Lord Chelmsford thought he left capable men in charge. I keep referring back to what the Good Lord Chelmsford said and I will again in this instance.

"When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me, if information which he obtained showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command."

At Isandlwana there were two commands neither one of them took the opportunity to disobey Chelmsford orders even when he had given them every latitude to do so. If they had then maybe the diaster would not have happen.

Aidan says
Quote :
"In my scenario though, as senior officer he takes command, finding from Pulleine that large numbers of Zulu have been seen- though their exact whereabouts, numbers or movements are unknown.

Durnford immediately orders that the wagons and other materials to hand (boxes – mealy bags – the huge supply of loose rocks close to hand) – be used to create a large lager on the lower saddle."

And this is what should have happen. And would have if they had disobeyed The Good Lords Chelmsfords orders.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:35 pm

CTSG. Did someone once say that quote you keep posting was Chelmsford's get out clause. We call it covering ones *rse.
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90th

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PostSubject: durnford was he capable.   Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:59 am

hi all.

sas , what can I say :lol!: ,
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:21 am

Im afraid that quote doesnt work for me for one reason. Pulleine had approx 6 hours in charge. Durnford was there for two hours. If the camp was to be fortified/lagered it was down to the man in charge to have done it BEFORE the 22nd.
There are quotes from Dunbar, Hamilton Brown, lonsdale et al , all being ignored in there comments on the lack of security.
I dont believe that the camp could have been surrounded by a defence, far to many tents etc, but to build some mutually supported sanguins or strong points would not have been to monumuntal of tasks.
Comes down to the man at the top who has intrinsicly involved in every decision made, offten to the exclusion of his senior staff, he was the one who should/could have objected to the camp site or followed his own orders.
I agree with SAS 1, its a nappy clause.
I also have a problem with a debate that at one points lays blame for disobeying orders and uses the same arguement for encourageing disobeying orders
Regards
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90th

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PostSubject: durnford was he capable.   Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:39 am

Please read my earlier post ............. ' Glyn said to CHELMSFORD , should we laager , the good Lord's reply
verbatim ' It is not worthwhile , it will take to much time ' That was his reply on the 20th or 21st jan , well before
he recieved Dartnell's message for re- enforcements , so if he isnt to blame you cant blame anyone else !!!!.
Can you imagine the uproar if and C'ford did order the camp to be moved to Mangeni Falls , Pullein's reply , sorry I have laagered
the camp . Fairly certain he wouldnt have been in charge of the refuse pits after that reply Suspect
As for the columns acting independently , sure if you are Pearson , Wood and Rowlands . Durnford acted on his own
and has been lambasted ever since , so dont give me the ' acting independently ' line as a cover for Chelmford Rolling Eyes .
cheers 90th.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:10 am

Quote :
so if he isnt to blame you cant blame anyone else !!!!.

90th. I’m not taking sides here. My in-put on this topic has been minimal (Not that knowledgeable like you guys)

But if Chelmsford did say.

"When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me, if information which he obtained showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command."

Maybe Glyn should have disobeyed his orders and laagered anyway. It was know that large numbers of Zulu’s were in the area, so could have been seen as be injurious to the interests of the column under his command.
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90th

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PostSubject: durnford was he capable.   Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:20 am

hi 24th.
Sorry I dont disagree , Durnford got crucified because he left to find the zulus , it wasnt known there were large numbers
in the area , those that were seen kept dissapearing over the hills in the distance . Like I said the other columns sure
they could disobey those orders but his column which was the one destroyed not likely , how could glyn laager the camp
when cford was still going to be there in that camp for the next 30 hrs or so after he told him it wasnt worth it. He didnt get the Dartnell message till 1.30 am
on the 22nd , they had been at isand since the 19th or 20th .
cheers 90th.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:25 am

24th. "I knew I'd make a Soldier out of you yet!" Idea ( At least someone is getting to grasps with the facts)

sas1 says
Quote :
"Chelmsford's get out clause"
Maybe. This simple statement gave all officers under his command the chance to stand on their own two feet when the heat came on top. But of course they let him down.

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:27 am

Quote :
Durnford got crucified because he left to find the zulus
And so he should have, He was told to take commard of the camp. Not to go on jolly looking for Zulu's
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:10 am

CTSG

Prove it
With Source material, not wikepedia.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:31 am

[quote="When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me, if information which he obtained showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command."[/quote]

sas1 says
[quote="Chelmsford's get out clause"[/quote]

CTSG Says:

[quote= "Maybe. This simple statement gave all officers under his command the chance to stand on their own two feet when the heat came on top. But of course they let him down."[/quote]

[quote="Durnford got crucified because he left to find the zulus"

CTSG says:

[quote=And so he should have, He was told to take commard of the camp. Not to go on jolly looking for Zulu's[/quote]

:lol!: So in one post they should use the 'Get out' clause to disobey their orders to - literally at the 11th hour create a laager - and in the very next post Durnford should have obeyed his (unproven) order to defend the camp rather than using his initiative to locate the Zulu ? To such absurdities are arguments reduced when trying to defend the indefensible :lol!:
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:54 pm

Well said Aidan, nice shot across the bows.
Interesting thing about that statement is that its contained in a letter admonishing Durnford for doing exactly that, using his discretion to counter a possible Zulu attack on intel from the Bishop.

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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:24 pm

Quote :
So in one post they should use the 'Get out' clause to disobey their orders to - literally at the 11th hour create a laager -

They had plenty of time to laager, when they first arrived at isandlwana

Quote :
So in one post they should use the 'Get out' clause to disobey their orders to - literally at the 11th hour create a laager - and in the very next post Durnford should have obeyed his (unproven) order to defend the camp rather than using his initiative to locate the Zulu ? To such absurdities are arguments reduced when trying to defend

I said, "He was told to take command of the camp" Not defend it. Being a royal Engineer I would have thought, he would have the know how to construct some form of Laager. (After all


Quote :
When Colonel Glyn suggested to Chelmsford that the camp at
Isandlwana be laagered he received a curt reply which can only have reminded him of the superfluity of his position as Column Commander '

This would have been an idea opportunity, to disobey Chelmsford, Why the hell did Glyn suggest this to The Good Lord Chelmsford. He should have done it anyway.

Quote :
His officers had all been issued with a pamphlet describing the organisation and methods of the Zulu army in detail.
They should have read it.

It sound to me like The Good Lord Chelmsford was fed-up with wet nursing them.

As Aidan said

Quote :
What-if : Durnford arrives at camp at around 10:30am. He only has orders to move to the camp. It actually is irrelevant whether his orders further stated that he was to take command or to reinforce the camp, he had no orders to do anything else and as senior officer he automatically becomes commander of all forces left in Pulleine’s charge.
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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:50 pm

Wow!! This topic has moved on, will have to read it all later didn’t expect so many posts. I see CTSG is still giving us a run for our money.

Hi Aidan see you have hit the ground running. Well done mate Idea
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90th

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PostSubject: durnford was he capable.   Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:25 am

hi ctsg.
To quote one of your statements , ' They had plenty of time to laager at Isandlwana ' That is what I have been trying to
get through to you !, Glyn said on the 19th or 20th shouldnt we laager , The Good Lord says no its not worthwhile !
I can imagine Glyn saluting , walking away and then shouting out ' Prepare to laager ' what do you think the Good Lord
would have done ........... Why the hell are you laagering when I have just told you it's not worthwhile !!. Go back to
R.Drift and stay there till I can deal with you !!!!!!!!!!!!. Then maybe Pulleine should speak up and yell ' Prepare to
laager ' , And we all now what Chelmsfords response would be , A full cart of officers going back to Natal for not listening
or obeying orders Suspect . The old saying , you cant have your cake and eat it too !. Then Durnford , isnt he allowed
to act independantly by trying to ascertain the strength of the zulu and also making sure the Good Lord hasnt been cut off ?.
Sorry I forgot , we NEED A SCAPEGOAT . ctsg you need to purchase a book that has C'f ords standing orders to column
commanders issued in Dec 78 . I will even post a link for you , it will only cost you 5 quid plus postage . Maybe we can take up
a collection Idea .

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

cheers 90th. No Disrespect is meant or inferred :lol!: .
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:07 am

Quote :
Glyn said on the 19th or 20th shouldnt we laager , The Good Lord says no its not worthwhile

Like i said before
Quote :
"Why the hell did Glyn suggest this to The Good Lord Chelmsford. He should have done it anyway"
without consulting The Good Lord Chelmsford.


The Good Lord Chelmsford had a to much on his mind, they had just adavnced into Zululand, and they had already draw first blood.

I'm sure if Glyn had started to create a laager which we all know to be right. The Good Lord Chelmsford would have let him continue.

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:05 am

CTSG
For an ex member of the armed forces you display a complete lack of understanding of military protocol.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:11 am

An issue Ive never come to terms with is that Chelmsford was aware, through his scouts his disposision of his forces through messages etc that there were large scale manoevers of Zulu forces. Dartnel had made contact Harford had and yet in the Mangeni Gorge he is quite prepared to travel with an escort of twelve, plus his military staff and squat down for a luncheon picknik.
Does this display
A) confidence in his widely scattered troops ability to protect him.
B) Total disdane for his oponents
C) A complete lack of understanding of the situation.
D) An unparalled arogance.
E) Total stupidity

Any Thoughts?

Regards
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90th

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PostSubject: durnford was he capable.   Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:30 am

hi springbok.
I love multiple choice answers , this is a soda ......... The one you forgot . F ) . All of the above Rolling Eyes
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:36 am

90th
Just listened to your Bugle call, possible its the recall.

Regards
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90th

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PostSubject: bugle calls   Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:42 am

hi springbok .
Thanks for that , is their anyone on the forum who could post that bugle call ?. So I can finally find out if that is the
bugle call's name . Dont know about you guy's ,but when I hear that call the hairs on the back of my neck stand up scratch .
Sad I know :lol!: .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:03 pm

Hello 90th
Bit off topic
Heres the "Recall" bugle call, I dont think it is the one in zulu (could be just my ears)

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thanks joe
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:27 pm

Topic Locked
Well. Thanks to all those who participated in this topic started by Dave on the Wed Feb 24, 2010 at 3:44 pm. There have been 281 replies. Must admit bit near the mark on some occasions, and enjoyable with lots of humour. However I feel this topic has run its course and there’s nothing to be gained by continuing. However you all know I’m a reasonable man, and if members think otherwise, let me know and I will re-open. Majority rule.

Well done. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Aug 22, 2010 8:32 pm

Due to various messages. This topic has been un-locked. Enjoy!!!
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Aug 22, 2010 8:51 pm

You know it makes sence. :lol!: Bring it on your old Pulliene & Durnford lover's
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:21 pm

CTSG. Someone must be looking down on you. I thought this topic was done.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:25 pm

That would be the " Good Lord Chelmsford himself" He can't rest until the truth has been told. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:31 pm

Ha Ha. We all know why he can't rest.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:36 pm

sas1. Ouch!!!! :lol!:
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:37 pm

I see already we are back on the road to no where with this topic. Can we stay on topic. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:45 pm

Totally agree with you Admin. This topic lost its way ages ago.

S.D
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PostSubject: Durnford   Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:52 am

When Durnford arrived at camp the situation as I understand it was this:
Chelmsford had made 'contact' with the main zulu impi (as it turns out this was not the case but nobody knew this at the time) and had taken over half of his force (including ordnance) to engage.
The camp itself was almost at the point of preparing to join Chelmsford (unless I have my timings wrong) [as an aside was this the reason that the tents were not lowered - as per standing orders upon making contact with an enemy - so that it would make the pitching easier when the camp did move towards Mangeni - and thus when viewed from afar it seemed that the camp had not come under attack with the tents still standing?].
Durnford, keen on supporting his commanding officer/making contact/improving his (at that point) tarnished image etc possibly tried to find the best of both worlds whilst maintaining an independant command ie , strike out towards Chemlsford where prospect of engagement seemed probable but, mores so being totally on horseback, being in touch with the camp at Isandhlwana in case they experienced any issues.
I don't think that Durnford would have wanted to/or in fact been in his nature to/ taken command of a pitched camp. Certainly not one that was in no prospect of seeing action and was due to move up the avlley towards Chelmsford anyway.

Thoughts...
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PostSubject: Durnford   Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:59 am

And another point - thinking about my use of 'independant' command - it is interesting to see that the memorial at Isandhlwana for Durnford is quite apart from the base of the hill itself, true there may have been wagons or even zulus in the camp by the time he arrived back which would have prevented his command from getting closer to where the remaining men were forming groups and making their own last stands but do you not feel that it is indicative that Durnford's last stand took place seemingly separate from the rest of the regiment? Certainly the conical hill to his back offered no protection.
He could have attempted escape on horseback.
Pretty brave chap if you ask me!
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:06 pm

Younghusband wrote:

The camp itself was almost at the point of preparing to join Chelmsford (unless I have my timings wrong) [as an aside was this the reason that the tents were not lowered - as per standing orders upon making contact with an enemy - so that it would make the pitching easier when the camp did move towards Mangeni - and thus when viewed from afar it seemed that the camp had not come under attack with the tents still standing?].

The order sent back by Chelmsford was not for the whole camp to move up to join him. It was for the tents and baggage of the troops currently with him to be sent up. along with rations/supplies/ammo sufficient for five days operations.

It appears from this, that he was intending on continuing with a split column for the next five days.

The question 'was Durnford capable' - to get back on topic - requires some qualification, capable in what ?

It really does remain irrelevant exactly what among the three postulated versions received by Durnford at RD is the correct one - once he arrived in Camp as the senior officer he was de-facto in command.

Sending mounted patrols out was a sound decision but there is a little more to this, not least that first of all he eats lunch, hardly indicative that Durnford had any more sense of urgency than Pulleine had.

He also requests two companies of infantry to accompany him, which, along with taking the rocket battery, suggests either he intended to find and engage the Zulu himself, or that he thought the detached column was in danger and required support.

Pulleine and Melville were quite correct in pointing out that this would leave them quite incapable of defending the camp (per Clery's orders when Chelmsford took the rest of the column out).

Without infantry support the mounted patrols orders, as to direction of movement, seem reasonable, but why was the rocket battery not left at the camp?

Durnford holding at the Donga rather than returning with all his force back to the camp immediately is a critical error, it would have been more sensible to race right back to the camp and would have enabled the defense to be better distributed than was the case.

As it was Pulleine made good on his promise to support Durnford by moving 'G' company into a position that, upon Durnford's precipitate retreat when flanked, left 'G' and the whole right flank exposed with the results we know.

So I don't think Durnford was making the sort of decisions that a man of his rank and experience could have been expected to make in the circumstances. However I don't think any decision or combination of decisions would, by this stage, have saved the men at Isandlwana.

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:23 pm

Pete
Your first decision was correct.
We have allready established that: Durnford was capable.
Chelmsford was incapable
CTSG cant tell the difference.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:38 am

Hi Aidan
You make valid points.
On the basis that Durnford was an Engineer, not part of a fighting regiment, I believe he made decisions based on his limited military skills. The decisions he did make were all based on the premise that NOBODY CONSIDERED, the camp would ever be attacked.
All and sundry were of the opinion that the' Zulu were out there! Staulking Chelmsford.
In actuallity therefore Pullein was the only one that was grounded in reality, protect the camp.
I agree Durnfords better course of action would have been a swift return to camp, but would that extra, 20mins max have made a difference with the line up of the troops.
Pullein committed his forces based on his instructions laid down by Chelmsford in standing orders. He had allready made it quite clear to Durnford he wasnt going to deviate from his orders.
So a swift Durnford return would have been interesting, would he have rested control and enforced a different battle plan?
There wasnt enough time to lager, probably his only option would then have been to form a square with a supply of ammunition in the centre. To get to that, two options, move the men to the ammo or the ammo to the men. Not a lot of time for either.
Even then, would the troops on the ridge have had the time to get back and join the square or been isolated?
I believe a critical mistake was sending the troops onto the ridge, its debatable that this was a Durnford order, I think it probably was. Those troops when returning to join the line had probable expended a large amount of their ammunition, in volley fire on the ridge and individual fire on the retreat. Once in the line they were at an immediate dissadvantage and would have probably been the first to experience ammunition shortages on the fighting retreat through the camp.
Thats the enigma of this battle, more questions than answer and a hell of a lot of what ifs.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:43 am

When Chelmsford left Isandlwana, Was there anything that would have given him course for concern. He seemed happy enough to leave Col: Pulleine in command. What I can’t get to grips with, is the issued with the orders. (Take Command- Reinforce the Camp) What difference doe’s it makes everything was falling into place for one of one of the biggest British Military disasters.

By reading some of the accounts the British at Isandlwana did not seem overly concerned even though large numbers of Zulus’ had been seen in the area around Isandlwana. Maybe if Durnford had been summons to camp before Chelmsford had actually left, so a clear and concise of who was actually in command was identified.

Would Durnford have formed a defensive position, even if he had time, I don’t recall Durnford complaining about the set-up of the camp when he did arrive, he was quite happy to sit and eat breakfast first, so again there was no sense of urgency or though we are told the Durnford knew the ways of the Zulu.

Curling makes an interesting comment. “When we turned out again about 12, the Zulus were only showing on the left of the camp. All the time we were idle in the camp, the Zulus were surrounding us with a huge circle several miles in circumference and hidden by hills from our sight. We none of us felt the least anxious as to the result, although they came on in immense number, we felt it was impossible they could force a way through us”. (The Curling Letters of the Zulu War)

So even as the Zulu’s were forming their traditional attack formation no-one including the officers were overly concerned, including Durnford.

Taking into account what Curling says, “we felt it was impossible they could force a way through us” Was it not possible that the British just had too much faith in there superior weaponry?

My own opinion is that the two officers’ in command were quite happy to work in opposite directions, doing what they though was right at the time, although there was an obvious disagreement as to who was in-charge, but a chat over breakfast seems to have solved that problem.

I would like to mention another statement made by curling that brough a colonial outrage down on his head.

"You will see all sorts of accounts in the papers and no end of lies. Most of those who escape were volunteers and native contingent offices that tell any number of lies".

Col: Harness closely question Curling before the court of enquiry and made him omit all personal observations and views from his account, the result of which was a short and drily delivered report. Curling did however convey the sense of chaos and lack of command. (The Curling Letters of the Zulu War)
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:01 pm

Aidan. I would like to thank you for bringing this discussion back to normality.
It’s also refreshing to see, the discussion being based around the two officers that were responsible for the disaster.


Chard1879
Quote :
"You will see all sorts of accounts in the papers and no end of lies. Most of those who escape were volunteers and native contingent offices that tell any number of lies".

And that’s coming from a British Officers who escape from the same Battle. ?????
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:11 pm

Curling got into a lot of trouble with that statement and in particular when it was ponted out that 5 regular officers and 26 other ranks were amongst the Fugitives.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:13 pm

Why is the Battle of Isandlwana known as a (Blunder)

Is it because we had far superior firepower? But was defeated.

Was it because of the mix-up or miss understanding regarding the orders to Durnford ECT?

Or was it because the British underestimated the opponent.



I’m not sure it fair to say it was a blunder, when the men at Isandlwana stood their ground and fought to the last, there was far great number of the enemy killed, than on the side of the British. Did the Zulu’s see it as a British Blunder in 1879.Or did they see as Brave men that fought like lions.
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