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 Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.

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impi

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PostSubject: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:45 pm

Not sure if we have discussed this..

Is it possible that Chelmsford deliberately delayed returning to Isandlwana at the early stages of hearing that the camp was being attacked in order to preserve his own column.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:08 pm

I wouldn't go as far as saying it was preconceived.

Chelmsford would have been inevitably delayed due to the requirment to regroup his scattered forced at Mangeni. But I woundn't doubt for a moment that he ran a risk assessment though his mind before charging back. And I think most agree, he would have been a fool to so. And the casulties list would have grown. Possibly himself being one of those.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:26 pm

I have always thought he dragged his heels to save his own skin...

Perhaps it would be benifical to discuss, what action he could have taken to help those in the camp. Was he really in a position to do so. We know browne witness the last stages of the fight, and we know Harness was stopped from returning. But in-hind sight how long would they have lasted if they had, have got with in range to shell the camp. And then there would have been the chances of friendly fire killing there own troops.

The other question that comes to mind,with regards to when they did arrive back at the camp. The troops were ordered not wander around the camp, it would have been possible that some of the men wounded in action could have still been alive, but only to died of their wounds during the night left undiscovered. Question
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:35 pm

There was nothing he could have done to help those in the camp during the attack or after. The Zulus had hundreds of rifles and ammuntion. Chelmsford column would have been on the move, prime target for attack. Their luckly the Zulus left the battlefield when they did, and not continue on to engage Chelmsford.

24th i very much doub't anyone was left alive at Isandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:43 pm

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24th i very much doub't anyone was left alive at Isandlwana.

I'm sure there is an account somewhere relating to a member of one of the native units, who survived and remained hidden all night for fear of being mistaken for a Zulu.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:45 pm

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I'm sure there is an account somewhere relating to a member of one of the native units, who survived and remained hidden all night for fear of being mistaken for a Zulu.

Never heard of it. Can you post it.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:53 pm

I knew you would say that.. I dig it out. May take sometime. Unless anyone else knows the account I'm talking of.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:58 pm

take your time, I'll have a look as well. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:48 pm

Hi All.
We have certainly discussed the Chelmesford situation here previously and if I remember correctly it was a large thread .
In a nutshell LC couldnt have saved the camp , as others have said he wouldve been chopped with the rest of them .
He and his forces were spread over miles attempting to locate the impi , it would've taken hours for him to find and assemble them and then return to the camp , because he didnt even know where some of his own forces were ! . I've also read of friendly natives hiding in or near the camp because they were afraid of being mistaken as zulus , from memory I think one was a Voorlooper ( wagon driver ) I'm sure there were at least 2 or 3 instances of this . Not sure where I read it but possibly it was Zulu Rising or Hill Of The Sphinx . If I have the time I'll have a look as well .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:02 pm

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Source: The History of the Zulu War and its origin
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:13 pm

Makes one wonder, why LC was condemned for preventing Harness moving up to Isandlwana. scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:04 am

Hi Littlehand.
Yes , that makes sense . Harness couldnt have helped and he would've been chopped with the rest of them .
Cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:10 pm

Thanks LH. Do we know the name of this friendly Native Groom.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:38 am

John.
I cant find the statements of the surviving natives that stayed overnight at Isandlwana , I did though check Julian's England's sons and he states these as African Survivor accounts .

Udhlolwane , Civillian Cook to Mr Doherty , wounded in action assegai wound to the right foot , escaped by hiding till the morning of the 23rd Jan , regaining the waggon Rd into Natal and being picked up by a Missionary Waggon ( Probably that of Rev'd Witt ) and brought '' Half way to P'maritzburg '' to a mission station . This seems to be the man from Littlehands post , whose name you asked .

Anonymous , Native Waggon Driver , His remarks are recorded by Capt. W. Penn Symons , '' Wounded he remained hidden in the rocks till night , then hobbled across the river . ( This was the waggon Drvr to which I was referring , but we dont know his name )
Hope these help.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:33 am

If Chelmsford and the rest of his column had been in camp when the Zulus attacked, I believe it would have been less of a mis-match, with the Zulu claiming a victory of even greater magnitude. Less of a mismatch - that is all. It would have taken the Empire another 10 years or more to come back from that defeat, rather like the Sudan story with the death of Gordon and subsequent reconquest coming over 10 years later.

As it was, my theory is that Chelmsford froze buried his head in the sand, ignoring all the reports and other evidence that iSandlwana was being attacked, hoping that denial would make it go away. It didn't. Rather like a rabbit in headlights - "no, this aint happening, this isn't how it is supposed to be." Eventually, after some procrastination and even more urgent reports, he grasped the situation and organised the return.

The actual advance back to retake the camp was ordered, controlled and organised with the columns ready and prepared to rapidly spread to the left and right into lines, should they be attacked.
I believe that if this advance back to camp had come a few hours earlier, it would have been the Zulus who would have been taken by surprise with the column appearing to the rear of the Zulu chest and left horn in full flow. The Zulus would have ran away and the camp would have been saved. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:22 am

Possibly the easiest way to look at the morning of the 22nd with Chelmsford is to put it onto a time scale. That being said did the note from Pulleine really express the urgency that would have caused any commander concern?
Assuming that it had reflected more urgency, would the column have been able to get back to iSandlwana in time?
By 9.15 when the message was received the troops had just arrived in the Mangeni basin, having left at 4 in the morning that shows the time of travel, admittedly a great time delay was moving the guns and support wagons across the Dongas. So assuming the minimum travel time was 3 1/2 to 4 hours the earliest Chelmsford could have got back would have been 12.45 and thats assuming that all the troops where together in one place and ready to march. They werent, they were spread over a large part of the countryside. Just getting them together would have been at least 1 1/2 hours. So the earliest the column could have got back, without the guns, would have been 14.15. After the battle was over.
Second scenario
The message was received at 9.15. Then send messengers out for the mounted men, Russell, Mansell etc. They could have been on the road back by 10.45 and would have arrived in the camp area, probably close to the Quabe hill in time to help Durnford beat back the left wing.
The conjecture then would be: Would the zulu attack succeed without the left wing? Would the combined companies all facing North on the firing line be enough to stop the chest? I would say they did for a long time before Pope was forced to pull back to counter the left wing.

So in answer to the question posed the fault didnt lie with Chelmsford, it reposed in the communication from Pulleine not explaining the situation. Its remakable for its brevity, and a key factor in the defeat.

As allways happy to be proved wrong.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:14 am

Hi Springbok .
I'm not sure Pulleine actually understood the prediciment he and the camp were about to face . Dont forget the fact that no -one on the Staff or any of the Officers believed the camp was to be attacked , Pulleine no doubt saw some of the zulu force , but they did appear and withdraw at one stage , I very much doubt he thought the camp would be attacked until it was to late to do anything about it , which I think shows in his message to LC .
Cheers 90th. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:53 pm

90th
Thats fair comment.............but............. The brevity of his note is the issue. A fuller report on the situatio, numbers of reports from the hills, activity report etc. Rather than the briefest of notes, even his later note when He had been told the main impi was on its way ( George Shepstones ) it still instilled little of the activity taking place. As Ive posted it wouldnt have got the main imperial troops back in time but it is highly possible the mounted men could have influenced the battle. Even a note at 11 when Durnford departed explaining the situation could have assisted.

Cheers Mate

PS Good result against the Windies Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:38 pm

But if Chelmsford had made a move to the camp, would he not have had the Zulus he left Isandlwana to engage poking him in the rear. He would possibly have placed himself in a position where the Zulus could have advanced on him from the front and those mentioned above from the rear.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:41 pm

Littlehand
Your quite right, but he did take that chance later on in the day.
I dont believe Chelsford was a coward, if he had a chance to save the camp, even at personal risk Im sure he would have taken it.
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:47 pm

Some good points. But what would the reasoning be in preventing another officer returning to the camp. Especially one who had artillery under his command, and who could have engaged the enermy from a safer distance, than a regiment of foot. My thought aim towards Harness making Chelmsford look stupid with regards to him not doing anything. The fact that Harness was put on the panel at the court of enquiry, prevented him giving evidence at the time. Chelmsford knew that!!

I also recall reading somewhere an eyewitness account from a soldier with Chelmsford's column, who stating along the lines, they were made to wait before advancing back to the camp, and they could see no reason for the delay..
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:06 pm

Quote :
I also recall reading somewhere an eyewitness account from a soldier with Chelmsford's column, who stating along the lines, they were made to wait before advancing back to the camp, and they could see no reason for the delay..

This is the account i have been looking for.. scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:34 pm

Hi All.
As Mr Greaves and Impi have posted that a soldier in C'fords column couldnt see any reason for the delay , well I doubt very much that the average soldier in C'fords column was privy to any information regarding the Colonial Officers , NNC , etc . I doubt he would have known exactlly how many men they had to wait for to come in from scouting parties etc etc , His own company may have been ready to move out and he may merely be stating that fact . I dont see how he would have any idea on the on the wherabouts of hundreds of others , sure he may have seen many waiting around but I doubt it very much if he knew the excat amount that it seems LC was waiting for before he moved off . Hope this makes sense Salute
Cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:46 pm

Mr Greaves .
Forgot to add , Harness being made to come back to the camp didnt look good regarding LC , But luckily ( for him and his men ) he was ordered back , as I doubt Harness and his guns would've been of any use really . Off the top of my head I'm think he only had 3 possibly one more . The camp had 2 or 3 backed up by hundreds of Imperial Infantry and they couldnt stop the zulus , so what chance would Harness have had ...........NIL ! . He would've been taken care of very quickly once being caught on the open plain one would think , and I'm sure he didnt have infantry to support him as they did in the camp . As the zulu move quicky , like cavalry some commented , Harness would've been done in rather quickly . Dont forget its something like 7 - 9 miles from memory from where Harness was to the camp , so no doubt he would've been caught out in the open .
Cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:38 pm

We have to remember, those Zulu who took part in the battle were tired, hungry,and were pretty glad it was over. I would have thought a few cannon shells among them, might have hastened their departure from the camp a lot sooner.
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PostSubject: Re: Chelmsfords return to Isandlwana. Was it a preconceived delay action.   Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:08 pm

Hi 24th .
Possibly , but it would all depend how far Harness got toward Isandlwana and at what time ! . If it was at the end of the conflict your point may well hold true , but if it was as the attack was unfolding , or in full swing , I'm postive he'd have been swept away very quickly , basically like someone swatting a troublesome fly. It all depends how close he would've got to the camp and if he was proven to be troublesome . Artillery wasnt very mobile so they would've been sitting ducks you'd think . Dont forget the reserve was still on the field and hadnt been involved in the attack , so I'm sure they could've been used to snuff out harness and his few guns ! .As I said in my earlier post Curling and his guns backed by hundreds of Imperial troops couldnt stop the zulus , how was Harness going to do so without the backing of an infantry force ? .
90th. Salute
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