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 Durnford was he capable.2

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John

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable.2   Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:44 pm

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The orders should have been more specific and clear has to what Durnford was expected to do when he arrived at the camp.

Why? What your missing, is that LC didn't want Durnford to do anything except for go to the camp. How could he be more specific, when there was nothing to be specific about. Nothing was happening, and LC had left a thousand men and a man in charge.
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90th

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable    Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:20 am

Littlehand .
You can debate argue all you want till you are Suspect in the face !. Durnford was to be in COMMAND when he arrived at the camp !. There is no denying that , do some research and you'll see this was to be the case . It's clear and simple , Durnford outranked Pulleine , no matter what you say you can't change that , remember the Victorian army mind set , something which you have grave doubts about !.
Cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable    Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:25 am

John .
Not to sure what you are trying to say , '' Nothing was happening '' well there was , wasnt there ! . Zulus had been spotted out in the direction that Chelmesford had gone , Durnford did what any decent officer would've done , he went to Check on Chelmesford's flank / rear . Chelmesfords orders to march to the camp were issued at 2.30 am 22nd Jan , things had certainly changed by the time Durnford arrived at 10.30 am . Durnford played his card in regard to acting independantly in enemy territory .
Cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable.   Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:51 am

Hi John.

My post above was in reply to Dave asking for members opinions at what they thought that the orders should have contained, and I was agreeing with 24th.

If Chelmsford didn't want Durnford to do anything, what was the reason for ordering him up to the camp in the first place? Chelmsford must have wanted Durnford nearby for a reason, and he should have been more specific in his orders about this.

There was nothing happening at the time Chelmsford left, but that had all changed just a few hours later, and Pulliene had done very little about it all before Durnford arrived.

As I said in an earlier post, what was Durnford supposed to do when he arrived at the camp? If, as you say, Chelmsford didn't want him to do anything, was he supposed to sit around waiting for the camp or Chelmsford to be attacked?

Durnford had the common sense to see that the situation had changed since Chelmsford had left in the early hours, and after all the reports coming in of Zulu activity in the area, he could see that Pulliene had done very little about it, and at least he made the effort to try to find out what the situation was. When he got the report of Zulus heading in the direction of Chelmsford, he did what any good officer would do, he tried to find out where they were going in an effort to protect his General.

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John

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:44 am

Quote :
If Chelmsford didn't want Durnford to do anything, what was the reason for ordering him up to the camp in the first place? Chelmsford must have wanted Durnford nearby for a reason, and he should have been more specific in his orders about this
. This is totally irrelevant to the discussion. Chelmsford had a reason for sending the order and what that reason was, was decided by Chelmsford.

Quote :
There was nothing happening at the time Chelmsford left, but that had all changed just a few hours later, and Pulliene had done very little about it all before Durnford arrived.
Agree TMFH covers that extremely well. But Dunford didn't exactly do a great deal, apart from eat Breakfast, argued with Pulliene as to who was senior and left.

Quote :
As I said in an earlier post, what was Durnford supposed to do when he arrived at the camp? If, as you say, Chelmsford didn't want him to do anything, was he supposed to sit around waiting for the camp or Chelmsford to be attacked?
Martin Chelmsford was 16km away, the reports coming in were stateing thousands of Zulu seen near to the camp. That alone should have kicked both Pulliene and Durnford into gear to start fortifying or at least open some ammuntion boxes.

Quote :
Durnford had the common sense to see that the situation had changed since Chelmsford had left in the early hours, and after all the reports coming in of Zulu activity in the area, he could see that Pulliene had done very little about it, and at least he made the effort to try to find out what the situation was. When he got the report of Zulus heading in the direction of Chelmsford, he did what any good officer would do, he tried to find out where they were going in an effort to protect his General.
Durnford's main weakness lay in the fact that he tended to be over-enthusiastic or impetuous, and that this rashness often left no room for the consideration of any possible consequences of his actions.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:52 pm

Dave wrote:
LH. Raises a good point.

What do other members think the order should have contained.

Yes, LH's point is a very good one. LH points out that nothing much of any excitement was happening when LC ordered Durnford to move to the camp.
LC obviously thought at that point that the camp was under very little threat.
As such, there was no need for the orders to be any more specific than move to the camp.The expectation would have been that the order of seniority between Durnford and Pulleine would ordinarily have been briefly debated and settled by Pulleine and Durnford over a relaxed brew, in much the same way that Chard and Bromhead did at RD - there was no need for LC to order one or the other to be in charge. Obviously, these matters were settled by the officers on the ground if need be.
Obviously, LC had not expected Durnford to arrive in the circumstances that he did.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:08 pm

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LC had not expected Durnford to arrive in the circumstances that he did

Now we are getting somewhere.. Everything changed.
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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable.   Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:50 pm

Everything changed from almost the moment that Chelmsford split his force and left the camp. Reports started coming in about Zulus in the area in the early hours, and Pulliene should have done something about it in the hours before Durnford arrived.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:56 pm

littlehand wrote:
Quote :
LC had not expected Durnford to arrive in the circumstances that he did

Now we are getting somewhere.. Everything changed.

I like to think I am not one of those people who get stuck in their ways, supporting one viewpoint; always learning and reading more and open to changing my mind if need be.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sat Sep 22, 2012 4:12 pm

Must admit, when I first became interested in this subject, I thought the blame was with Chelmsford. But I'm starting to see that isn't the case.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:42 pm

Well, not all the blame.
As has been stated previously, there were a whole series of failures beginning with LC's and his cronies' decision to illegally invade Zululand with out the permission of HM's government.
Combined with being totally outplayed by a smarter enemy fighting in hos own back yard.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:33 pm

I have a long way to go, but it does appear that the fault was with Durnford and Pulliene. I can't see how Chelmsford was responsible when he wasn't there.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:22 am

Ulundi
Add Dartnell to your list of people to blame.

Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:10 am

Ulundi wrote:
I have a long way to go, but it does appear that the fault was with Durnford and Pulliene. I can't see how Chelmsford was responsible when he wasn't there.

Chelmsford mistakenly believed Dartnell's mistaken and exaggerated report that he had found the main Zulu impi 10 miles away from the camp.
So LC then decided to split his force into two, to engage this phantom Zulu impi 10 miles away, whilst the real Zulu impi watched LC's column leave in the hills above the camp.
The camp defenders were then left to defend the camp, in the state of mind that they were left guarding the baggage and missing out on the main action.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:24 pm

tasker224 wrote:
Ulundi wrote:
I have a long way to go, but it does appear that the fault was with Durnford and Pulliene. I can't see how Chelmsford was responsible when he wasn't there.

Chelmsford mistakenly believed Dartnell's mistaken and exaggerated report that he had found the main Zulu impi 10 miles away from the camp.

Yes, somebody remarked earlier that Chelmsford wasn't going to let two Colonels lose the campaign for him. To which I was tempted to reply, "So he let Lonsdale (who was wonky in the head,) do it for him!?

Correct me if I am wrong but if anybody "disobeyed his orders" at iSandlwana, it was Dartnell who was asked to do a simple reconnaissance, not bivouac without supplies in an exposed position while asking for reinforcement. Have you ever asked yourself why Dartnell gets passed over by the scapegoaters and Durnford is always handed an extra dozen dollops of attention? My suspicion is that it has a lot more to do with today's politics than history.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:40 pm

Springbok
Quote :
Add Dartnell to your list of people to blame.

What's this another attempt, to find justification for Durnford leaving. Question

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:50 pm

littlehand wrote:
Quote :
Chelmesford had to order Durnford to the camp


Being an Engineer he would have been best suited sorting out defences. Just like Chard had done at RD.

Actually this is a case where a title can be misleading. Sure Durnford was an RE. But he was not like Chard at all. For one thing Chard had been in country for only a handful of days. Durnford had been living in South Africa/Natal for enough years to be notorious/famous. Sure, he was not beloved of settler society for his role at (and opinion of) Bushman's Pass, but he was equally well known as a man who could raise and train native troop formations. The British Army turned to him for this and he so with estimable results. There was not enough colonial cavalry or mounted infantry for Chelmsford's needs and Durnford filled the gap (as much as it was going to be filled.) If there was a "unit of the match" on the British side it would have been awarded to the Edendale contingent for outperforming expectations. (This would have been all the more astonishing at the time because they were NOT leavened with white NCOs which was thought necessary by just about everybody EXCEPT Durnford.) They were heavily engaged in the battle and yet were the only unit to retain cohesion throughout --the only British unit which did. They even continued fighting for a time on the Natal side of the Buffalo when everybody else was simply fleeing for his life. Obviously we must primarily credit the men of "Durnford's Busutos" themselves, but there is definitely some left over for the man who organized and trained them. BTW, they remained loyal to him after his death.

So, NO, he would not have been better building a laager or pushing a wagon or passing ammunition. He was better leading the units he built...and they did him proud.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:27 pm

Does it really matter who was good at what. They was all in the same boat. That was half the trouble Durnford had been in SA to long and thought he knew best. He of all people knew the ways of the Zulus military regime, he knew how they fought and how well they fought. He certainly knew the fighting formation of the Zulu, and yet he was still prepair to leave the camp. Chelmsford is criticised for not forming defences, Dunford knew this was nessesary to beat the Zulu, yet he done nothing, but was prepair to fight the Zulus in the open.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:58 pm

littlehand wrote:
Dunford knew this was nessesary to beat the Zulu, yet he done nothing, but was prepair to fight the Zulus in the open.

By the time he arrived at the camp ~10:30 it was too late to build anything. It is to his credit that after a brief conversation with Pulleine he understood further reconnaissance was necessary. That demonstrated a tactical awareness Pulleine had not displayed.

But ultimately, analyzing iSandlawana strictly from the POV of Pulleine and Durnsford is a lot like trying to understand Hamlet strictly from the POV of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Has anybody asked Mr. Stoppard for his opinion of the battle?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:04 pm

You don't beat 25K Zulu by cowering in camp.
It was Pulleine who had done nothing.
Durnford launched an aggressive, intelligence gathering patrol. He tried to cover LC's back. He tried to do something.
He was trying to make up for lost time after arriving at an already untenable, hopeless situation.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:27 pm

Quote :
Durnford launched an aggressive, intelligence gathering patrol

He sent out patrols that accidentally came across the Zulu Army. That's what you get for chasing young Zulu boys with cattle. The only thing Raw and co had on their minds was the capture of the cattle. Worth money they are.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:38 pm

"The Zulu War.

Lord Chelmsford's Despatch.

(Spectator, March 8.)

It is with deep regret that we feel compelled to join our Tory contemporaries in asking whether the Government still intends to continue to entrust the active command of the British army in Zululand to Lord Chelmsford. The cold de- termination which supports an officer under even merited disaster, because of a conviction that it is the sense of support which makes great officers, has usually our cordial approval ; and we have read history enough to know how often capable commanders, and even commanders of the first rank, have fallen into disastrous errors. Kings have learned to be conquerors very often because they could not be removed for defeat, and the democratic impatience which cannot be satisfied without victory has cost hecatombs of human lives. There is nothing, moreover, in Lord  Chelmsford to exasperate public opinion. His military record, both in India and Abyssinia, was a very good one, and though he may have owed his position in South Africa to his connections, so did Marlborough, Welligton, and many another  greatly successful General. He did not do any- thing that is known to provoke this war, he asked perseveringly for reinforcements, and he appears from the first, if we may judge from his manifesto to the colonists imploring them for   mounted men because " I have no real cavalry,"  to have recognised the arduous nature of his undertaking. Even in his despatch on Isandala,   on which the public has condemned him, a despatch written on January 27 at Pietermaritz burg, the fine nature of the writer is conspicuous to all who read. It is the despatch of a man utterly saddened ny events, full of pity for his people, disdaining all concealment, resolute to tell his superiors the whole truth, painful or satisfactory, so far as he knows it. But it is also the despatch of a man who, unless great soldiers can see in it something which wholly escapes civilians, should not be entrusted with the command of a large army, engaged on a most difficult and hazardous undertaking. From first to last, it is the diary of a man who may be a good officer, or even a fair leader of a brigade, but who has not the qualities required in any large independent command. He has not the primary faculty of understanding what his own subordinates and the enemy are about. He had collected no accurate idea of the country he was about to invade, even for ten miles from his own starting point, saying, with the heart- breakin naivete which runs through the whole communication, " the country "—i.e., the country ten miles in advance of Rorkes Drift" is far more difficult than I had been led to expect, and the labor of advancing with a long, train of waggons is enormous. It took seven days' hard work by one-half of No. 3 column to make the ten miles of road between Rorke's Drift and Insalwana Hill practicable, and even then, had it rained hard, I feel sure that the convoy could not have got on." Those surely were primary facts in ¿ululand campaigning, the very first ideas upon   which the Staff plans should have been based. How is even one day's work to be arranged, when   the country a mile ahead is to the General like   the surface of a new planet? He was at once aware of the necessity of guarding his com- munications, and utterly neglectful of them. He says, "The line of communication is very much exposed, and would require a party of mounted men always patrolling, and fixed entrenched posts of infantry at intervals of about ten miles." Yet he kept up no communication  between Isandala and the point ten miles in  advance to which he accompanied Colonel Glyn,   with the bulk of the latter's column, in order to  assist Major Dartnell, who had been ordered out to reconnoitre a stronghold, who found the   enemy in force in front of him, and who had made up his mind to an attack. Lord Chelmsford, moved by urgent messages from this officer, who had been sent out with   nothing to eat—for biscuit had to be forwarded on the night of the 21st to his soldiers—moved out very early on the 22nd from Isandala to  support him, taking again nothing but biscuit for his men, for he specially mentions in his   despatch that the men had had nothing else, and very little of that, though Major Dartnell had asked permission to attack, though thousands of Zulus were in the neighbourhood, and though he himself dreaded an attack on the immense con- voy at Isandala. This is evident, for Lord Chelmsford ordered up Colonel Durnford by ex- press with his native column to strengthen   the camp, and left strict instructions with the officer in charge of the camp—Lieutenant- Colonel Pulleine—not to quit it, orders which  were, at first at least, strictly obeyed. But Lord Chelmsford never provided the entrenchment he himself says is necessary, kept no patrol on the way, though he had mounted men, and but for an accident would never have heard of the attack     on the camp, and would himself have ridden into the midst of the victorious Zulus to his certain death. His own account of his own proceedings we must give in his own words, for it is simply wonderful, both in its transparent truthfulness and its extraordinary ineptitude. He had just driven off the enemy, when, at 9 a.m. of the 22nd,—" Colonel Glyn received, about 9 a.m., a short note from Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine,   saying that firing was heard to the left front of the camp, but giving no further particulars. I sent Lieutenant Milne, R.N., my A.D.C., at once  to the top of a high hill from which the camp could be seen, and he remained there at least  an hour with a very powerful telescope, but could detect nothing unusual in that direction. Having no cause, therefore, to feel any anxiety about the safety of the camp, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Russell to make a  sweep round with the mounted infantry to the main waggon track, whilst a portion of the in- fantry went over the hill top to the same point, and the guns, with an escort, retraced their steps. I, myself proceeded with Colonel Glyn to fix upon a site for our new camp, which I had determined to shift the next day to ground near the Mangeni river, which runs into Matyana's stronghold. One battalion of the Native Con- tingent was ordered to march back to camp across country, and to examine en route the different deep dongas or water-cuttings which   intersect the plain, and which might very possibly conceal some of the enemy. Having fixed upon the situation for the camp, and having ordered the troops then on the ground to bivouac  there that night, I started to return to camp with the mounted infantry, under Lieutenant- Colonel Russell, as my escort. When within about six miles of the camp I found the 1st   Battalion Native Contingent halted, and shortly after Commandant Lonsdale rode up to report that he had ridden into camp and found it in  possession of the Zulus. Lieutenant Milne, speculating for an hour from a high hill, through a telescope, on the condition of a camp which a mounted man could have reached in the time, and reporting all right, and the Com- mander-in-Chief then riding on with a few  Volunteer troopers into that camp, at a moment when it was in the possession of 15,000 of the  enemy, and Captain Lonsdale's report are, we venture to say, unexampled incidents in war. " The camp, Sir," one hears the gallant Volunteer say, " is in possession of the enemy." Once warned, Lord Chelmsford recalled his men from the front, and marched rapidly back to camp, to bivouac for a night of horrors among the débris of the plundered camp and the bodies of the slain Europeans, now at last known to have exceeded 900 in number:" At early dawn the   following morning I ordered the troops to move off with all speed to Rorke's Drift, about which post I was in some anxiety. The troops had no spare ammunition, and only a few biscuits, a large portion of them had had no other food for forty- eight hours. All had marched at least thirty miles the day before, and had passed an almost sleep- less night on the stony ground. No one, there- fore, was fit for any prolonged exertion, and it was certain that daylight would reveal a sight which could not but have a demoralising effect upon the whole force." If Rorke's Drift had  been lost, as it seemed to be, for flames appeared ascending from it they were flames from the house of the Swedish Missionary Witt, and not from the post itself it would seem as if the British column, already half-starved, would have been absolutely without supplies, and must have perished of fatigue and hunger ; while if the Zulus had known of the ghastly bivouac among the dead, the whole column, Lord Chelmsford included, must have been cut up. Attacks by night are the Zulus' forte, and the Missionary Witt reports in his narrative that it was the light of his blazing house which helped to foil the attack upon Rorke's Drift. Fortunately, Lieutenant Chard's bravery and cool resourcefulness in stock- ading the garden of the post with sacks of Indian corn, and the courage of Lieutenant Bromhead and the men, had protected the post, and thereby saved Natal from a terrible invasion. But not for this result is the country inducted to any       generalship, or any precautions, or any attention to the commonest rules of warfare exhibited by Lord Chelmsford. If he had been riding to hounds in Leicestershire, he could not have been less wary or more easily taken in, and he would have taken far more trouble to know the country.

There is precisely the same incompetence to obtain information visible in the General's specu- lations as to the fate of the unfortunate garrison of the camp :" Une company went off to the extreme left, and has never been heard of since, and the other five, I understand, engaged the enemy about a mile to the left front of the camp, and made there a most stubborn and gallant resistance. So long as they kept their faces to the enemy, the Zulus were, I am told, quite unable to drive them back, and fell in heaps before the deadly fire poured into them. An officer who visited this part of the field of battle on the following morn- ing reported that the loss of the Zulus in killed could not be less than 2000. When, however, the Zulus got round the left flank of these brave men they appear to have lost their presence of mind, and to have retired hastily through the tents, which had never been struck. Imme- diately the whole Zulu force surrounded them, they were overpowered by numbers, and the camp was lost. Those who were mounted ran the gauntlet, and some small portion managed to reach the river, which, however, at the point of crossing was deep and rapid. Many were shot or assegaied, and many were swept away by the current, and, it is presumed, have been drowned. Had the force in question but taken up a defen- sive position in the camp itself, and utilised there the materials for a hasty entrenchment which lay near to hand, I feel absolutely confi- dent that the whole Zulu army would not have been able to dislodge them. It appears that the oxen were yoked to the waggons three hours before the attack took place, so that there was ample time to construct that waggon laager which the Dutch in former days understood so well." Yet this simple precaution had not been taken by Lord Chelmsford, who had contented himself with ordering that the camp should not be left—an order only disoboyed when, after Lieutenant- Colonel Pulleine had, in obedience to Lord Chelmsford's orders, rejected an appeal from Colonel Durnford to lend him some men for an attack, the Zulus drew him out by a feigned re- treat. It is easy, and may be just, to blame Lieutenant-Colonol Pulleine for carelessness in not striking the tents and not linking the wag- gons, as the Dutch do ; but where were the orders to make those preparations of which the General has so high an opinion? The truth is, the General knows little about the matter, less probably than is known by experts here, and he is too truthful not to reveal the plenitude of his own ignorance. That little touch about one company—the general does not know which— which went off of itself the General does not know where—except that it went somewhere " to the left " into space, and on the fate of which he has not even a specula- tion, speaks volumes as to the capacity of the General, who had or ought to have cross-ex- amined the one or two men, including one officer at least, who escaped to Rorke's Drift. There is a want of grasp of the situation, of mental energy, of everything except sad reflectiveness, which, coupled with the self-made revelations of want of precaution, leave in our ming no possibi- lity of any other conclusion than that the General is by nature unadapted to independent command. The despatch is the melancholy, reflective, but ill-informed report of a special correspondent to   his employers about a disaster for which he is in himself no way responsible. It is a document   to excite, not anger, or even contempt, but deep pity for a man of fine qualities, placed in a posi- tion to which he was obviously unequal, and who, we cannot help thinking, feels his inequality. There is every reason to be just to the sad man who has to record such a narrative of failure, yet who, from first to last, never offers one self-excusatory word ; but jus- tice does not require that he should again be left in supreme command of a British army which, when the reinforcements have joined, may seem small to Continental crisies, but which will number exactly five-sixths of the European army in India when the Mutiny broke out, which broke up a Sepoy army of 100,000 men, and captured Delhi before a single regi- ment of the reinforcements had arrived. Is there no competent soldier in England of rank sufficient to supersede Lord Chelmsford, without   punishing him, who would undertake the task?  It is not even yet too late, for a new General could reach the Tugela before the troops, and   might be worth a further division of reinforce- ments. This Government thinks much and talks much of prestige, but does not appear to value the prestige of victory which gives soldiers such confidence, even in men like Lord Gough, who they knew might waste their lives, but who, up to Chillianwallah, had behind him a record of unchecked success."
 

 

 


 

 
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:53 am

littlehand wrote:
Springbok
Quote :
Add Dartnell to your list of people to blame.

What's this another attempt, to find justification for Durnford leaving. Question


I dont have to justify anything, I post, you agree, you disagree, you bury your head in the sand.

Analise Dartnel carefully rather than trying to justify your obsesive pursuits. You may even learn something.

Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:09 pm

Dartnell was a former British army officer of considerable experience; his men were devoted to him. He made a tatical decision not to attack the Zulus as there were far to many to attack with the force he had with him, He then made another tactical decision to concentrated his troops on a hill in a defensive square of sorts for the night, sending a message to LC asking for more men so he could attack at first light the next day. That what's an experienced Millitaryman would do.. I just wonder what the opinion would have been if LC had left Dartnell, only to find out that they had been wiped out. Would we then be blaming LC for not going to his assistance. Would we be saying he could have taken half the force from Isandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:32 pm

littlehand wrote:
He made a tatical decision not to attack the Zulus as there were far to many to attack with the force he had with him, He then made another tactical decision to concentrated his troops on a hill in a defensive square of sorts for the night, sending a message to LC asking for more men so he could attack at first light the next day. That what's an experienced Millitaryman would do.

If there were too many to attack with his force, why on earth was it correct to hang around with skirmishers unsupported in the HOPE that Chelmsford would send reinforcement? He was sent on a reconnaissance which he turned into an attack by hanging around without orders. And if you think he was supposed to attack the Zulu main force then why were they without proper food and ammunition for a prolonged battle?

This was HARDLY the act of a disciplined campaigner. Rather, he was infected with victory disease, the same thing that made Chelmsford and Durnford rush forward looking for a fight...but in one case you deplore it and in the next you frame it as "experienced" conduct.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:40 pm

I don't think for a moment they would have attacked the Zulus at Isandlwana if they had know how many there was. Remember who fired first. Although Dartnell wanted to attack but he didn't. He played it cool.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:16 pm

Dartnell was merely pointing out in his message, that he would not attack unless he had a few Compaines of the 24th as reinforcements. He did not go on the offensive. His situation had he tryed to return to the camp who have been an open coloum on the move. He had no choice other than to stay.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:35 pm

impi wrote:
His situation had he tryed to return to the camp who have been an open coloum on the move. He had no choice other than to say.

Interesting POV. They had all day to scout out an area 10-12 miles with light troops and return to camp. They were unencumbered by a baggage train. So, if I take your point at face value it indicates the real real problem with Chelmsford's force -- it wasn't properly constituted to prosecute an attack on Ulundi. No matter how that mixed column had proceeded, sooner or later the far more mobile Zulu army was going to catch a part of it on the march and defeat it in detail. The supply wagons would have been constantly in peril as they moved further towards the Zulu capital. And that's the problem with regarding history as a hunt for scapegoats. Who exactly the anvil was going to fall upon was mostly a matter of chance and circumstances.

Dartnell crawled out a lot further on the limb than Durnford ever had a chance to do...but the anvil fell on the latter.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:38 pm

littlehand wrote:
Dartnell was a former British army officer of considerable experience; his men were devoted to him. He made a tatical decision not to attack the Zulus as there were far to many to attack with the force he had with him, He then made another tactical decision to concentrated his troops on a hill in a defensive square of sorts for the night, sending a message to LC asking for more men so he could attack at first light the next day. That what's an experienced Millitaryman would do.. I just wonder what the opinion would have been if LC had left Dartnell, only to find out that they had been wiped out. Would we then be blaming LC for not going to his assistance. Would we be saying he could have taken half the force from Isandlwana.

I doubt it. Dartnell made a terrible misjudgement and so did LC.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:39 pm

We have all got lost, in spending to much time blaming those would we're not at Isandlwana. When LC and Darnell were at Isandlwana nothing was happening no one was concern. The whole concept changed after LC left. What took place at Isandlwana only affected those that were there, it was for those in command to adapt to the situation as it was. LC and Dartnell had no influence or control over what should have been done. Leaving over a thousand men at arms does show that Chelmsford did put some form of defence in place. It's was purly down to Pulliene and Durnford how they used those resources.


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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:48 pm

impi wrote:
We have all got lost, in spending to much time blaming those would we're not at Isandlwana. When LC and Darnell were at Isandlwana nothing was happening no one was concern. The whole concept changed after LC left. What took place at Isandlwana only affected those that were there, it was for those in command to adapt to the situation as it was. LC and Dartnell had no influence or control over what should have been down, leaving over one thousand men at arms does show that Chelmsford did put some form of defence in place.

Fair point.
But half the force splitting away from the camp on a wild goose chase left those left behind in an impossible position.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:50 pm

But they wasn't to know it was a wild goose chase. The same as they didn't know nearly 30000 Zulus were within 5 miles of the camp.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:53 pm

impi wrote:
But they wasn't to know it was a wild goose chase. The same as they didn't know nearly 30000 Zulus were within 5 miles of the camp.

Fair point again impi.
Durnford didn't know he was making a tactical misjudgement either.
The only one who appears to be conspicuous in his absence and lack of action to me, is Pulleine.


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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:02 pm

impi wrote:
We have all got lost...

No, it is you who are lost because you can't pull the lens back. You refuse to see the forest for the trees. iSandlwana was not lost due to the failings on any single officer, (though final responsibility must fall to LC as GOC,) and there is little profit in blame fixing. The point of history is to obtain a more thorough understanding, not to relive the same old traumas as if improved perspective is never possible to achieve.

Chelmsford should never have split his force and sent about half of it south with a superior force bivouacked five miles away on his northern flank. We can argue what responsibility, if any, Dartnell bears for that decision...but Durnford bears absolutely none. And you cannot argue the Durnford superseded his orders at iSandlwana if you don't first admit that Dartnell did the day before. That's just logic.

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:04 pm

impi wrote:
But they wasn't to know it was a wild goose chase. The same as they didn't know nearly 30000 Zulus were within 5 miles of the camp.

!!!!! And whose responsibility was THAT?!
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:12 pm

As I have said you are all concern with what others were doing outside of Isandlwana. Chelmsford splitting his forces was a decision made by him., for reason we all know. That decision is neither here or there, he still had left over a thousand men at arms. Those men if used correctly could have beat the Zulu Army. We could argue, why did Raw fire on the Zulus, they were just sitting in a valley waiting to attack the next day, but then the camp woundn't have been there. Should they have fired or should they have returned to report what they had seen.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:31 pm

The Good Lord Chelmsford had been the logistics chief of the British expedition into Abyssinia to rescue hostages years before; that army of 5000 men never went hungry or thirsty nor lacked ammunition or, indeed, anything else. Chelmsford knew logistics. He didn't make errors in Abyssinia and it is certain that in South Africa he did what was best with what was available.

This is of academic interest only as it had absolutely nothing to do with the battle itself. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:14 pm

Chelmsfordthescapegoat wrote:
The Good Lord Chelmsford had been the logistics chief of the British expedition into Abyssinia to rescue hostages years before; that army of 5000 men never went hungry or thirsty nor lacked ammunition or, indeed, anything else. Chelmsford knew logistics. He didn't make errors in Abyssinia and it is certain that in South Africa he did what was best with what was available.

I agree. But not enough was available. Due to the lack of a professional supply arm he had to spend undue time and effort working out the logistics to the detriment of other operational planning. It's part of the reason he split his forces into 5 columns originally. That's EXACTLY my point. He was no boob. He learned from his mistakes and his second expedition was a different kettle of fish. And this entire discussion is completely academic. What else could it be at this point?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:28 pm

impi wrote:
As I have said you are all concern with what others were doing outside of Isandlwana.

No, we are concerned with the campaign that culminated with the defeat at iSandlwana.

impi wrote:
Chelmsford splitting his forces was a decision made by him., for reason we all know. That decision is neither here or there,

That decision is commonly regarded as the crux of Chelmsford's defeat by military historians. But even if you don't believe that it remains relevant to the discussion of everything that took place downstream from it (in terms of time.)

impi wrote:
he still had left over a thousand men at arms. Those men if used correctly could have beat the Zulu Army.


This is the crux of our disagreement. To me this is the myth of 20-20 hindsight. Except for time travelers, there were no British leaders who would have won that battle on that day.

impi wrote:
We could argue, why did Raw fire on the Zulus, they were just sitting in a valley waiting to attack the next day, but then the camp woundn't have been there.

Or much more probably the Zulu would have caught Pulleine's force on the move and inflicted an even worse defeat.

impi wrote:
Should they have fired or should they have returned to report what they had seen.

Disagree there should be ANY discussion. It's a red herring. Raw was spotted before he fired and the British position had been spotted long before that. The Zulu were not tackling dummies. They were an enemy army.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:29 pm

Dartnell's request reached Chelmsford, around 01:30hrs Three hours later, as dawn began to spread its light over the way, Chelmsford himself led the 2/24th minus Lieutenant Pope's company still on picquet duty and Bromhead's back at Rorke's Drift and five of the artillery's guns to the support of Dartnell. And that, effectively, takes Chelmsford and the troops with him right out of the story.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:15 pm

"Vaynights" is in order I think... Salute We don't want anyone on " Jankers"
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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable    Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:43 am

Hi Littlehand .
You write '' And that , effectively , takes Chelmesford and the troops with him right out of the story '' . I write '' Which consigns the Camp to destruction , due to the ambiguous nature of the orders left behind for either Pulleine or Durnford to interpret !.
Cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:11 am

Quote :
due to the ambiguous nature of the orders.

90th what part of the Orders do you not understand. Those who received them understood them, apart from Durford, who understood them up to going to the camp. After which he done his own thing.
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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable    Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:28 am

Littlehand .
Pulleine and yourself obviously didnt understand the orders either ! , you have been ridiculing Pulleine
for sending the troops so far from the camp , when the orders told him to draw in his line of defence if I'm not mistaken ! . Pulleine as I've said for the length of this discussion , had no choice but to send the troops out as far as was necessary to negate the ' dead ' ground which is on the plain in front of the camp . Chelmesford obviously wasnt aware of the problem because the ambiguous orders he / Clery left didnt take the dead ground into account .
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:29 pm

90th wrote:
Littlehand .
Pulleine as I've said for the length of this discussion , had no choice but to send the troops out as far as was necessary to negate the ' dead ' ground which is on the plain in front of the camp .

And that, in a nutshell, is the value of walking the battlefield. The line was moved forward in that area to get a clear shot at their attackers. Otherwise it's dead ground that would partially negate the value the Martini Henry. But again, the idea that the British were defeated at iSandlwana because of some minor tactical point is more rooted in the recriminations after the battle than a valid understanding of the overall situation. By the time Raw stumbled on the waiting impi, Pulleine's command was "for it." It was all over but the shouting.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:59 pm

Quote :
had no choice but to send the troops out as far as was necessary to negate the ' dead ' ground

No one is disputing this. But hey, he must have reaslised how far he was sending them, and how long it would take to get back if ammuntion was required. So set-up some ammuntion dumps nearer the firing lines.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:25 pm

John wrote:
Quote :
had no choice but to send the troops out as far as was necessary to negate the ' dead ' ground

So set-up some ammuntion dumps nearer the firing lines.

I was doing some research. From what I can tell the British Army of that day issued detailed instructions on how to build a camp of bell tents. It did not, however, have any documented procedures to move and distribute ammunition to a firing line. Most of us have read Smith-Dorrien's account of his part in the battle -- how he voluntarily lent a hand. But that was just him taking the initiative to help out. One would have thought there were some defined procedures in place. Nope. It was, by nature apparently, an ad hoc affair. Curious.

This is a slightly different issue from the mess the British Army got itself in during the Crimean War. There had been some reforms but basically the quartermasters were still all on their own, particularly on the battlefield.

I'm just putting this out there -- you can make what you will of it -- but how exactly would a quartermaster to know where to position himself during a surprise attack? At the start of the battle there was absolutely no shortage of ammunition available during iSandlwana or Rorke's Drift.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:32 pm

The ammunition re-supply should have started well before the soldiers commenced firing, so that a company dump was placed behind each line, only a few paces from the men in action. Plus a regular top-up run should have been in motion to ensure that company supplies were not depleted. It is noticeable that, with many men simply standing around minding officers' horses back in the tented lines, nobody - least of all the quartermasters - grabbed them and the horses to provide a very much quicker way of getting ammunition to the firing lines. Durnford troops would have been useful for this purpose. The failure of the supply, however, lay with the basic organisation. This was an historical problem in the battalion; Pulleine had simply inherited an inadequate arrangement - or lack of arrangement - and his responsibility for the failure lay simply in not quickly appreciating the situation and making rapid corrections. Lack of experience Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:58 pm

littlehand wrote:
This was an historical problem in the battalion... Pulleine had simply inherited an inadequate arrangement - or lack of arrangement - and his responsibility for the failure lay simply in not quickly appreciating the situation and making rapid corrections. Lack of experience Salute

It was a problem endemic to the British Army, not merely the battalion. The 24th was blooded. Pulleine was not. He had arrived only a few days earlier and was only left as a caretaker where no action was expected. So a lot of things didn't occur to him, least of all that he should commandeer Durnford's mounted troops (which were in short supply) and turn them into stevedores before it was obvious there would even be a battle.

There is confusion of cause and effect here. A shortage of ammunition did not cause Chemsford's defeat at iSandlwana. Rather, men running out of ammunition at the end was the RESULT of the battle having been lost. They were simply driven away from the wagons by weight of numbers.



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.2   Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:55 pm

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