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 Casualties ?

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Cromwell

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PostSubject: Casualties ?   Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:47 pm

Hi Guys, (great forum by the way)

My question is (in your opinion) why were there only 350-450 Zulu dead at Rorkes Drift when close to 20,000 rounds were fired and I believe 2000 dead at Isandlwana.
The Bayonet and cannon fire must account for some of these, I know fear, smoke heat haze etc must be a factor, is there any thing else which could cause such a low hit rate.
I believe from 400 yards inwards the Martini was accurate in the hands of a trained person.

What do you think.?

Ps Can some one send me the coordinates for fort Northampton so I can mark it on my Google earth map.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:18 pm

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Cromwell

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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:17 pm

Thanks for the Link, and after reading it appears it was as inconclusive then as it is now.
20000 rounds fired (not a pile of damaged ones),lets say 800 rounds fired in say 15 minutes in daylight by fresh soldiers using the barricade to steady the barrel with cool clean weapons against a body of men shoulder to shoulder running at you.

Even a 10% hit rate in the first hour would account for all the casualties and by then the Zulus would have given up and retired. (there is no mention of smoke being a issue at RD)

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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:56 pm

Looking at in a different light, the Zulu with their old muskets were better shots than the Brits.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:10 pm

Most the rounds were fired in the dark at moving targets, they'd have been extremly hard to hit. There was probebly a lot of fire directed at the hills were the Zulus were sniping from and most of them probebly missed. Also no one knows how many Zulus were killed at RD, probebly over 450 with more then that wounded.




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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:51 pm

Some say 800 + personally I don't think there were that many rounds at RD. and I don't think the MH Rifles were up to it.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:58 am

I can understand a lot of rounds being wasted at night and firing at distance into the Oscarberg hills, its the initial attacks (charges) at the south/north walls that don't add up. Reports suggest the British (say 30 to 40 men) opened fire at 500mtrs at an enemy who hadn't faced volley Rifle fire before- jogging to the wall would take about 1 minute 40 seconds (educated guess) 600 rounds well aimed shots should have been fired and by all accounts only 60 fell. For the whole engagement 350 dead and 500 wounded (including Bayonet casualties).

Was it poor training, faulty sights or sub-standard or damaged ammunition that caused this low hit rate. By all accounts the Martini Henry was a well tested and respected rifle.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:01 am

Many of the defenders say, the Hospital being set alight was the saviour as they could see the Zulus. But your right, day light, 500 yards, 6 rounds per min per man. Very low hit rate.

Unless they fired 19000 warning shots. Shocked 

No matter how you look at it, and make excuses. 20,0000 is still a lot of rounds.
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:25 am

I have always been of the opinion. That something was quite right with the amount of ammunition claimed to have been used at RD. compared to the kill rate. The darkness excuse is a poor one.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:21 am

There is a possibility of course in an accounting error. Most estimates are of a 20 000 starting point with a box left over. The 20 000 is a figure gleaned from the Commiseriat figures and should be pretty close, there are refernces about only one box remaining there fore the difference between the two equals usage !
Is there perhaps a missing point in that during quiet times in the fight ammunition was handed out and as there was a big lull after 4 oclock is it feasible that all approx 150 defenders stocked up on ammo ready for what they anticipated would be a renuwal of the fight at dawn ( the favourite Zulu attack time). Therefore if that approx 150 men had all stocked up with around 100 rounds each ( and never used ) it would mean an additional 15000 rounds unaccounted for in the tally. Assuming they started of with 70 rounds each the figure of 30 x 150 would be a stock increase 'in hand' of4500 rounds. That would decrease the expenditure by pretty close to 25%.
Just a theory.

The darkness could easily have accounted for 'missed target' firing as well. Last time I was at RD I walked over the battle site after dark. It really was dark with virtually nothing to be seen looking down from the barricade area. So again some form of noise followed by a couple of volleys and there go a few hundred rounds blasted into the orchard trees and the orchard wall.

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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:54 am

The Zulu losses are impossible to determine, there has certainly been less has been said ... Salute 

The gravediggers of that time are not even agree among themselves, for example there have been testimonies and discussions on this particular subject of the soldiers of RD explained that they were not in agreement with the official thesis... Salute 

When to know the Zulu Isandhlwana losses, it is obviously impossible ... Salute 
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Cromwell

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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:04 am

24th wrote:
Many of the defenders say, the Hospital being set alight was the saviour as they could see the Zulus. But your right, day light, 500 yards, 6 rounds per min per man. Very low hit rate.

Unless they fired 19000 warning shots. Shocked 

No matter how you look at it, and make excuses. 20,0000 is still a lot of rounds.

I have always wondered what would have happened if the Hospital hadn't been set on fire, had they made provisions for the hours of darkness.?

The second wall and the Redoubt was the saving grace and having the time to build them.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:25 am

Hi

A RD, it took an average of 25 rounds to put a Zulu hors de combat fortunately there was the bayonets ...

Salute 
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:03 am

Pascal MAHE wrote:
Hi

A RD, it took an average of 25 rounds to put a Zulu hors de combat fortunately there was the bayonets ...

Salute 
Was questions asked by the military bigwigs as to why.? (any link on the subject welcome)
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PostSubject: Casualties ?    Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:11 am

Hi Cromwell .
I'm unaware of any reports asking as to why the ammunition expenditure was high compared to the Casualty returns . I expect the ' Bigwigs ' were just happy to have held out and won the Battle ! . You will find that in the battles where these records were kept it was commomplace for the expenditure to be high compared to the Killed and wonded ratio . Also hard to get a confirmed number of wounded , as the zulu warrior was very resiliant , and 100's made there way home from the battlefield .
90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:28 am

Yeah, be noted that the soldiers of the second battalion was well worth those of the first battalion were well trained and had experience of war, they not shoot quickly and accurately so ...

25 rounds to put a Zulu hors de combat may be due to the fact that the fight had taken place partly at night (despite a building in flames that lit the situation) or is a special Zulu tactical deployment?
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:15 am

Cromwell wrote:
Hi Guys, (great forum by the way)

My question is (in your opinion) why were there only 350-450 Zulu dead at Rorkes Drift when close to 20,000 rounds were fired and I believe 2000 dead at Isandlwana.
The Bayonet and cannon fire must account for some of these, I know fear, smoke heat haze etc must be a factor, is there any thing else which could cause such a low hit rate.
I believe from 400 yards inwards the Martini was accurate in the hands of a trained person.

What do you think.?

Ps Can some one send me the coordinates for fort Northampton so I can mark it on my Google earth map.
The total casualty figures for the impi was much higher than the 450 dead counted on and near the field of battle. Ian Knight has estimated a toll of +1000 Zulu casualties including the wounded. Also, even a 1:40 hit ratio (in reality it must have been closer to 1:20 if accepting Knight's estimates, wounded included) should be considered as very good statistics indeed. For instance, in the age of smooth-bore, muzzle-loaded muskets, the hit-rate was calculated at as low as 1:200 or even 1:350. I.e. in the Napoleonic wars and earlier, anything between 200-300 bullets were fired for each (shot) casualty on the field.

We should also keep in mind that 1) most of the firing done during the battle of Rorke's Drift and other battles consisted of supressing fire to keep the enemy at bay (including night-time fighting in the dark), and 2) trying to hit fast-moving targets in the midst of battle is a completely different thing than hitting a stationary target at the shooting-range. In most respects, the Zulus resembled a cavalry force rather than the comparatively slow-moving and tightly packed linear formations still employed by western infantry.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:13 pm

The Zulu losses are impossible to determine, there has certainly been less has been said ...Salute 

The gravediggers of that time are not even agree among themselves, for example there have been testimonies and discussions on this particular subject of the soldiers of RD explained that they were not in agreement with the official thesis... Salute 

When to know the Zulu Isandhlwana losses and other battles of this war it is obviously impossible ... Salute 
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:16 pm

Another factor is that it was dark for most of the time at RD.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:33 pm

Fort Northampton - have you not been there???

28.335954, 30.538033

Hope I have the technology right - but if you cross over bridge at the drift toward Isandlwana then after 500 metres take a left turn on the track - L2043. Where the track takes a right hand bend about another 500 metres there is Fort Northampton to the west.  It is opposite the site of Fort Melvill on the RD side of the river. Remember also the small cemetery on the east side of the RD-Isandlwana road north of the drift at 28.345548,30.542924 where the fever victims were buried.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Fri Aug 16, 2013 1:55 pm

The only Zulu losses which one is certain are the amounts of warriors counted and buried by their conquerors after each victory ... But even there, the actors or witnesses veterans ect ... will not agree, then it gives a resulat tangible ...Salute 

We need to find an author who is fun to count the actual Zulu losses after every victory, warriors counted and buried by their conquerors, even if it is a skirmish, we should also mention the Zulu warriors captured in this war ...Salute 
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:47 pm

Kenny wrote:
Fort Northampton - have you not been there???

28.335954, 30.538033

Hope I have the technology right - but if you cross over bridge at the drift toward Isandlwana then after 500 metres take a left turn on the track - L2043. Where the track takes a right hand bend about another 500 metres there is Fort Northampton to the west.  It is opposite the site of Fort Melvill on the RD side of the river. Remember also the small cemetery on the east side of the RD-Isandlwana road north of the drift at 28.345548,30.542924 where the fever victims were buried.
Thanks for that info, I have found it marked in one book but not in any other with fort/earth works etc marked.

PS why would I have been there ?? (would love to one day)
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:27 pm

Cromwell

It is just that many people visit RD and Isandlwana - and do not take the opportunity of visiting Forts Melvill and Northampton, and the little cemetery on the other side of river. Similarly at Isandlwana very few take the trouble to find Sheptone's grave - not easy, but memorable.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:45 pm

About the number of deaths, I read that there had been 7000 or 8000 Zulu killed in 1879!

Curious to know how it was calculated??
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:00 am

Cromwell
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Fort Northampton, The hole in the rock is the well point sunk at the time.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]



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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:04 am

Kenny
Unfortuantly there is a sign just to the South of Shepstones grave that now prohibits access to that side of the mountain. Its probably the most ignored sign in the world.

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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:13 am

Good photos Very Happy 
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90th

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PostSubject: Casualties ?   Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:19 pm

Hi Springy .
I echo Rascal's post , indeed interesting photo's , why is access denied to the Western side of Isandlwana , is it private property ? . If , and when I get there , I'll certainly be ignoring it ! Shocked  Shocked . I wont be going all that way to take notice of a sign in the middle of nowhere ! . LOL.
90th. agree 
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:26 pm

Hi 90th
Im sure its more on an environment issue, the ground gets a bit steep, rockfalls etc. Climbing onto the summit is now forbedden as well.

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PostSubject: Casualties ?   Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:39 pm

Hi Springy .
Not to sure I'd be climbing Isandlwana , but I'd certainly be going to pay my respects to George Shepstone .
90th Salute 
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:00 pm

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This shot shows the Western Face you can see the Shepstone cluster quite easily. Shows how steep the terrain is.
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The grave itself

Because of the extreme;y dry weather a lot of the bush has died of makinh it easier to find the isolated graves.
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PostSubject: Casualties ?   Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:43 pm

Hi Springy .
Thanks for the photo's very much appreciated . You need to study mo 
90th Salute 
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:37 pm

Thanks for the pics Springbok, was it more of a temporary fort its a bit hard to tell the layout.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:09 am

Hi Springy .
I echo Marsupial post.
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Pascal
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:41 am

Cromwell
Literally a rectangle in shape long side towards the river and looking towards Fort Mellvil. Have a look at the grid ref that Kenny provided on Goggle Earth and you will still see the outline. The walls would have been fairly substantial amongst the ramp material are an abundance of rocks. So yes I would have considered it a fairly substantial structure.

I will dig out some photos of Fort Mellvil,, the two are line of sight.

90, Pascal allways a pleasure.

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PostSubject: Casualties ?    Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:36 am

Hi All / Cromwell
If anyone has a copy of Laband and Thompson's '' A Field Guide To The War In Zululand 1879 '' , the plans of Fort Northampton , along with all the others are in the book , possibly someone may scan and post it . agree 
90th You need to study mo 
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:20 pm

And they are also in the fortress n°35 Salute 
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:11 pm

90th wrote:
Hi All / Cromwell
If anyone has a copy of Laband and Thompson's  '' A Field Guide To The War In Zululand 1879 '' , the plans of Fort Northampton , along with all the others are in the book , possibly someone may scan and post it .  agree 
90th You need to study mo 
Funny enough I am reading that now and I can find no mention of Fort Northampton. (must be a different version or reprint) it is very precise with all the other forts, earth works and laagers etc . I was wondering whether it had been renamed or something.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:18 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Cromwell
Literally a rectangle in shape long side towards the river and looking towards Fort Mellvil. Have a look at the grid ref that Kenny provided on Goggle Earth and you will still see the outline. The walls would have been fairly substantial amongst the ramp material are an abundance of rocks. So yes I would have considered it a fairly substantial structure.

I will dig out some photos of Fort Mellvil,, the two are line of sight.

90, Pascal allways a pleasure.

Cheers
Those coordinates take me to a desert in Minya by the Nile, no wonder I couldn't find it.Rolling Eyes 
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:12 pm


Try:
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Fort Northampton is post-AZW - named after Northamptonshire Regt who were based there - the regiment was formed in 1881 from 48th Foot and 58th Foot. Maybe this is why it is not included in the Field Guide.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:42 pm

This fort has another name please?
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:14 pm


Not a far as I know - it was built after the Zulu war by the Northamptons who were then policing Zululand .
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:04 pm

It was built after the Zulu war ! LOL Very Happy LOL Very Happy  LOL Very Happy 
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PostSubject: Casualties?   Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:32 am

Hi All.
I seem to remember we've had this conversation / question before ! . I'm certain Kenny is correct , as I think I tried to find Ft Northampton in the ' Field Guide ' a while ago , only to find it wasnt in there , as it was built after 1879 , possibly something to do with the First Boer War scratch , happy to be corrected .
90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:25 am

LOL LOL LOL
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:17 am

I have Northampton as being built in 1881 by the 6th Dragoons
The 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire regiment was staioned there in September 1884 abd bolstered in November that year by H Battery 4th Brigade Royal Artillery.

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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:38 am

Eh yes, nothing to do with the wars of the Zulu LOL LOL LOL
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:06 am

It is highly possible that this would have been the site of the first camp in zululand after the crossing at RD, It makes logical sense that any encampment would have been used to protect the ponts
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This photo is taken from Fort Melvill looking out over the area where the ponts were operating. The line of trees from right to left is the location of Fort Northampton. So it is entirely possible that the camp would have been sited around about there.
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The ruins on the left are of Fort Melville in the middle distance is a rather large rondavel roof. That is RD Lodge and marks the original crossing point.

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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:54 am

Still beautiful pictures!
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PostSubject: Re: Casualties ?   Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:36 pm

Springbok

In the corner of the cemetery at Rorke's Drift which contains the 24th Regiment memorial, there is a separate headstone to Pte Thorne of 6th Dragoons - who died/drowned as a result of accident with a pont. I have note of a date of death as 25/10/1888 - I assume this must be 25/10/1881.
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