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 The top of Isandlwana.

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John

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PostSubject: The top of Isandlwana.    Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:50 pm

Was look outs actually posted on top of the hill at Isandlwana.
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90th

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PostSubject: The top of Isandlwana    Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:56 am

Yes John , I've posted something on this previously , from what I can gather not much can be seen from up there anyway . Use the search box under ' Battle Of Isdandlwana ' but it may take a while to find it ! . Good Luck .
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:38 am

Its a bit of a missnomer that you cant see onto the ridge from the top. There are a lot of dead areas but there is a view all the way across to the top of Mabaso ( the theoretical area where Raw saw the main impi). Some time back I posted photos from the top of the Ngwebini valley showing the top of iSandlwana.
So yes if the lookouts where paying attention they would have seen the impi spilling out of the valley. And that is probably the biggesst support for the MFH theory because the area that L and Q ( position X ) have identified is hidden behind a ridge and also behind, partially, Mkwene Hill.

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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:23 am

Springbok wrote:

There are a lot of dead areas but there is a view all the way across to the top of Mabaso

When 90th first wrote, not much could be seen was hard to believe basically because it's looks to me like the highest peak in the immediate area! When you consider large number of Zulu were seen moving around towards the back of Isandlwana by Chard, the camp was oblivious to this, or so it seems.
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90th

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PostSubject: The top of Isandlwana    Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:28 am

Hi John
As I havent been there yet , I was basically quoting from what Ian Knight has written in his books . Salute
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:08 am

Hi John
Without a 3D image the topography is a tad complex to explain.
On the Nyoni ridge/escarpment there are a couple of high points, Mkweni and iTusi being the most prominent. Both of those are higher than isandlwana and block of big pieces of the view to the North and North East. In between those two masiffs there is the escarpment edge. When Chard saw the impi in the morning they would have been moving from BEHIND ( emphasise not shouting) iTusi and coming into view along the escarpement edge, its then possible for two seperate routes. If they passed in FRONT of Mkwene along the escarpment they would have been in full view heading to the rear of the mountain and towards the RD road. However that would have put them in front of Barries Piquet and Im sure would have been recorded as such. The other route would have been to move to the Northern side of Mkwene and in that case would have disapeared from view. So if it was that scenario then Chard would again have seen them heading towards the RD area, but a bit more removed ( Does that make sense?). Im pretty sure that it would have been the second scenario as the first would have probably stopped Chard leaving the camp because of the proximity.

90th and his quotes are pretty close, there are huge chunks missing from the view from iSandlwana, but there are equally large chunks that are visible. What we do know from history is that the Zulu were very adept at using the natural cover to hide there movements. In addition they were so convinced of their superiority on the battle field that they arrogant enough to say," here we are now what are you going to do about it." And really ignore subtefuge.

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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:10 pm

It's always going to be confusing, until one see's it for himself.

Anyway to move sideways somewhat, if someone had been posted on the top, would he have had easy access to the cave where the last of the 24th supposedly fought until he had no more ammuntion, the reason I ask, it was suggested he may have been one of Younghusband men, but based on the fact that Younghusband's men ran out of ammuntion which led to the famous charge down the slope, how would the chap in the cave had held on for so long in the manner in which he did firing from the cave. Now if he had been posted prior to the attack would he not have had his 70 allocated rounds, which would then hold water with him shooting dozens of Zulu's. Just a thought.
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90th

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PostSubject: The top of Isandlwana    Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:09 am

Interesting thought John . Salute 
90th.
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:24 am

Hi John
The cave isnt accesible from the top of the mountain, its a mountaineering job to get from one to the other, either way.
But yes Im pretty sure that the 'caveman' was from Younghusbands party who didnt get involved in the charge.

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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:49 am

A really good illustration is in 'The Zulu War then and now". Ian Knight. Page 238.

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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:38 pm

The view for the rear of Isandlwana is far better strategically from the summit. Pic 1
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

This is looking out over the Telehane Spur,

Next view is the road back to Rorkes Drift
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The original road can be made out cutting diagonal across. At this point, the fact the outflanking move was developing would have been very apparent. At this point did Pulleine call the retire?
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:42 pm

Where would the cave be located from the location on Neil's photo's.
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:06 pm

Either way John, does have a point, if true were was this chap during the battle! Had he made his way the cave prior to the Zulu's entering the camp or before.
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:30 pm

It would be an interesting discussion. But we all it's Victorian Military melodrama. It never happened!
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90th

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PostSubject: The top of Isandlwana   Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:51 am

Dave .
Well we dont know for sure how much is Victorian melodrama , as their are zulu witness statements that do indeed state that it did happen ! . they've been posted on here previously Salute 
90th.
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PostSubject: Lookouts on hilltops   Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:56 am

Hi 90th
Absolutely correct.
Lookouts  (OP's in today's mil speak) were posted on a number of prominent hilltops around the Isandlwana camp.
I have one record about three NMP  troopers spending the day  (21/01) on a high point on the Nqutu plateau "looking out" for the enemy.
Substantiating this, in a few days time, I will post a map produced by a military cartographer of the day showing the exact locations of these positions, and interestingly , showing also the day picquet lines which were quite a way forward of the supposed company firing positions .
One of these lookout positions  shown on the map was indeed on the very top of Isandlwana
 
 
 
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:24 pm

Why do they call the chap in the cave the last survivor scratch 

Do we know the name of this soldier?
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PostSubject: The top of Isandlwana   Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:41 pm

Hi Ulundi,
My guess is that the trooper who fought the action from the mouth of the cave was indeed one of the lookouts who had nowhere else to go after the camp fell. He would have been in a very good position to see the unfolding disaster below.
Whoever he was and the circumstances, fighting a rear guard action like this alone deserves high commendation. The number of spent MH cases found there after  the battle suggest he gave a good account of himself.
Just another case of bravery that day which perforce goes unrecognised because the details to hand are sparse.
 
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barry


Last edited by barry on Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Sat Jul 20, 2013 9:45 pm

Neil Aspinshaw wrote:
The view for the rear of Isandlwana is far better strategically from the summit. Pic 1
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

This is looking out over the Telehane Spur,

Next view is the road back to Rorkes Drift
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The original road can be made out cutting diagonal across. At this point, the fact the outflanking move was developing would have been very apparent. At this point did Pulleine call the retire?

It really seems no one had a clue what was going on. Was the likes of Pulliene informed that the Zulus always used the horns of the bull formation when attacking. Is there any written accounts that support, lookouts were posted on the top.
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:16 pm

Neil how long did it take to climb to the summit. It's there any evidence to suggest troops were on the top?
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90th

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PostSubject: The Top Of Isandlwana   Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:29 pm

Impi .
I've read it in several books where the author / authors state that men were sent to the top of the hill . Read any of Knight's books as I'm sure he mentions it , plus it's been coverered on here previously in Isandlwana threads from memory .
90th
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:33 pm

Thanks 90th I have a fewer his books. If they had seen the events unfolding I wonder how they would have let those below know. Is there a quick way up and down?
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:46 am

Impi it takes about 35 minutes.
Not much on the top, apart from rock rabbits, the trig post marker and ants the size of cats.
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:58 pm

As promised afew days ago the attached Isandlwana mapshows a number of interesting aspects, ie;

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Photo & Text by Barry.

location of the vedettes ( lookouts or O/P's). The symbol is a right
pointing arrow on a  vertical stem.
line of night outposts.
line of day outposts
location of the Pioneers on the south side of the road over the neck.

The approximate grid positions of these vedettes are ;

28deg 21' 14.18" S
30deg 39' 53.52" E

28deg 21' 07.95" S
30deg 39' 04.93" E

28deg 20' 35.07" S
30deg 39' 04.50" E

28deg 20' 27.42" S  2 NMP troopers spent the day here on 21/01/79 30deg 39'
26.85" E

28deg 20' 17.71" S
30deg 40' 23.22" E

28deg 22' 27.28" S
30deg 40' 35.44" E

28deg 20' 87.84" S
30deg 42' 01.65" E

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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:57 pm

Maps of the Anglo-Zulu War
"War and its battlefields are not only a testing ground for weapons ... but also for mapping systems.'"
While the Anglo-Zulu War generated a vast amount of cartographic activi­ ty, the maps themselves show that techniques lagged behind the volume of maps produced. The latter was so great that, within two years, probably as many maps were produced for Natal and Zululand as in the previous forty years, setting aside large scale farm plans. On the technical side however, very little advance was made in 1879 and 1880. Inevitably during the course of the war a great deal of cartographic knowledge was acquired in a spatial sense. For example, Zululand was virtually unmapped by 1878 but two years later a basic framework had been laid. Nevertheless, vast areas were still blank in 1880. A typical map of the period shows relief by means of shading and hachures, rivers, forests, kraals and tracks. Large areas are empty, but a false impression of completeness is given by the addition of annotative detail, fashionable at this time. The use of annotations is in itself an indication of cartographic underdevelopment, for, at a scale of 1:63360 or smaller, the amount of information to be mapped from a complete survey demands sym­ bolization. The annotations on maps of this period cover topography, drain­ age and vegetation. with the state of drifts and tracks and additional informa­ tion on the local populace, especially population figures. It is perhaps true. To say however that a certain amount of such military information could only be mapped with the aid of notes.
By 1878, the state of cartography in Natal was such that the military had access to maps accurate enough for strategic planning, or had the ability to furnish them themselves. One such map2 summarizes military thinking on a pre-emptive strike into Zululand by 5 columns - this map is dated 1878. As the war progressed however, it became obvious that the military lacked the large scale maps which could influence tactical thinking. This was the heyday of field sketching and scouts' reports, and both were likely to be misleading if not totally inaccurate in the confusing and contorted terrain of Zululand. The first six months of the war produced a spate of mapping, largely based upon sketches and estimations, but most of these were of restricted areas, as for example the maps drawn of the Isandhlwana battle­ field or of the routes followed by the invading columns, and all were for purposes of reporting rather than planning.
The war did however lead to a greater general coverage of Zululand at smaller scales, of about ]: 300000. Such maps reflect the major concern of the times in that they contain socio-political information such as boun­ dary claims, tribal areas and popUlation. This is true of both War Office maps and those commercially produced. The former are more functional while the latter are more sophisticated and are in colour. The Anglo-Zulu War also prompted the appearance of Natal's first newspaper map, which ori­ ginally appeared in the Cape Argus. This map is clearly based upon official. War Office, maps, but is notable for the fact that it shows the location and date of the battle of Isandhlwana which had been fought only six days before. The aftermath of the war and the activities of the boundary commissions in the early ]880s led to a further spate of mapping, with prominence given to the boundaries between Zululand and the Transvaal Republic and Natal, and the internal division of Zululand into thirteen chieftainships.
The Anglo-Zulu War thus significantly influenced the qualitative carto­ graphic coverage of Zululand. Its effect on maps of Natal was quantitative ­
5 major maps of Natal were published within two years, distinguished from their predeccessors largely by the greater topographic detail they carried. Overall, it is hard to conclude that Natal and Zululand were well mapped by the early 1880s even though the events of the Anglo-Zulu War had been such an incentive to this end. The lack of a general and reliable survey for military tactical planning was to be echoed in a more extensive and longer war, two decades later.
References
1. COBB, D. A. 'Maps and scholars', Library Trends, 25 (4), Ap. 1977, pp. 819-32. 2. Distances and various access points to Zululand with routes converging on Undi (Ulundi). In Correspondence re military affairs in Natal and Zululand. C 2234, BPP
25, 47 (Natal Archives). Facing p. 3.
The New Cathedral Centre
CHRISTOPHER MERRETT
Natalia 1, 1971, featured an article by Rt. Rev. K. B. Hallowes. Bishop­ Suffragan of Natal, entitled "A New Cathedral Centre for Pietermaritzburg"
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:17 pm

Barry
Do you have the names of the Vedettes.
Tahelane Spur: ?
Mkwene Hill: ?
Nyoni:?
Amatutushane: Scott
Itusi:
Quabe: Barker and Hawkins ( Snook and L and Q place them here, Knight puts them on Itusi )
Nyezi: ? Whitelaw plus 1 other ( Knight puts him on Nyoni Ridge 0

Why this is of interest is that Barker and Hawkins saw two groups of zulus ( Knight ) and the contention has been that they thought they were being surrounded so rode down to inform Scott. Its long been muted that they were driven of to mask the aproach of the main impi.
If they were on iThusi then thats feasible but if they were on Quabe it would be a longer distance away and the sighting could have had an entirely different conatation.

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PostSubject: Details of vedettes and locations   Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:34 am


Hi Springbok9,
I will check the records for more detail and revert with what I find, shortly.

regards

barry 
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:11 am

Hi Barry
Thanks for that. Better do it quickly a cold fronts hit Cape Town and the tems dropped very very sharply. Its on its way to you and enough to freeze the extremities.No 

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: The top of Isandlwana.    Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:21 am

Hi Springbok9,
Hau Baba!, Yes indeed the synoptics are showing the front at PE at 06h00Z today. These things roll along at 40kms/hr, so tonight I will dig into the papers.


regards,

barry
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