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 No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.

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bill cainan



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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:25 pm

Hi All

A couple of points.

Prof John Laband gave a very interesting talk on the Zulu attitude to firearms in a lecture at the NAM at the beginning of this year. He was absolutely clear in stating that, to the Zulu, the possession of a firearm was a matter of STATUS. There is no evidence that the Zulus changed any of their tactics to allow for the use of firearms. I would not therefore expect to see Zulu firearms having any significant effect in any of the battles during the war, even if 2/3 of the Zulu warriors possessed a firearm of one sort or another..

The distance from the Shyiane terrace to the south wall of the mission station is 385 yards (I paced it out) - beyond the effective range of even rifled muskets. As Neil has intimated, it would take a very very good shot to hit anything at that range. I agree that there are no wounds suffered by the defenders that would relate to the use of MHs.

The iNdluyengwe did not accompany the Undi Corps in their march from Isandlwana to RD but acted independantly - almost as part of the left horn. I do not think it stretches the bounds of possibility that they could have picked up some MHs and ammunition during their pursuit along the Fugitives Drift trail. However as to their subsequent use ..... ? They would not be familiar with the weapon and all it's intricacies (and of course did not have Neil to advise them !) so there would be little advantage gained, apart from after the battle to show their mates "Look what I've got !". Initially, possessing a MH would have given the owner a fair degree of kudos, which could also explain why none were found following the battle at RD.

However, as has been said above, there seems to be little in the way of evidence either way. All we can be certain of is that Zulu firearms (of any sort) had little impact in deciding the outcome at RD.

Bill

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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:57 pm

Quote :
I would not therefore expect to see Zulu firearms having any significant effect in any of the battles during the war,

This from Colonel Evelyn Wood " Camp Kambula March 30th 1879.
Directed to The Deputy Adjutant- General.

"The enemy, well supplied with Martini-Henry rifles and ammunition, occupied a hill not seen from the laager, and opened so accurate and enfilade fire,though at long range, that i was obliged to withdraw a company of the 13th posted at the rear of the laager"

"Our loss would have been much less severe than it was but for the fact of many of the Zulus being armed with the Martini- Henry rifles which were captured at Isandlwana and the Intombi River. Parties of the enemy armed with these splendid weapons finding cover under the rocks to the east and in a fold in the ground to the west kept up an enfilading fire from 600 to 1'000 yards, which inflicted all the serious damage of the day"

Quote :
However, as has been said above, there seems to be little in the way of evidence either way. All we can be certain of is that Zulu firearms (of any sort) had little impact in deciding the outcome at RD.
Totally agree. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:15 pm

Corporal Schiess was shot in the leg, and then lost his hat to a Zulu shot; Commissary Dalton, leaning over the parapet to shoot a Zulu, was wounded in the shoulder by a bullet and dragged out of the line to have his wound dressed; Keefe, 'B' Company's drummer, suffered a skin wound to the head; Corporal Scammell, of the NNC, was shot in the back, and Private Byrne, attempting to help him, was killed by a shot to the head, as was 'Old King' Cole, another private in 'B' Company (see below at hospital section). The fire from the mountain only grew worse; Privates Scanlon, Fagan and Chick were slain. At least 1/3 (five) of the 17 killed, or died of wounds, were struck at the Front wall.

I

Brown Bess: (British standard smoothbore)

Maximum range: circa 250 yards;
Maximum effective range (100 round volley): 150 - 200 yards;
Effective maximum range (Single round): 100 - 150 yards;
Optimum range: 75 - 100 yards;
Weight: 9lbs, 11oz (Small Land);
Optimum effect: At 30 yards, will penetrate 3/8" of iron or 5 inches of oak;
Rate of fire (Optimum): 4 - 5 rounds per minute;
Rate of fire (actual): 2 - 3 rounds per minute;
Rate of misfire: 20 - 40%.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:46 pm

Remember that of the 4000 to 5000 Zulus attacking the post, one in four of them carried a firearm
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:25 pm

But what fire arms?
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:25 pm

"There is even evidence that some of the attackers at Rorke’s Drift may have been armed with Martini-Henrys. Snook concludes that there could not have been enough ammunition available even if the attackers had picked up a few of the rifles. Therefore shots that sounded like Martini-Henrys must have been carbines that used a .450-inch cartridge case with a slightly loader load"
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bill cainan



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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:29 am

Hi Dave

Thanks for the quotes relating to Khambula. However, the TOTAL "British" casualties at Khambula were 18 killed and 65 wounded (10 died of their wounds subsequently) - this is out of a total strength of 2,068. The figures for Ulundi are remarkably similar - 12 killed and 70 wounded out of a total of around 5,000. So, I'll stick with my statement that the Zulu firearms did not have a significant effect. Now, if they had known how to use the Martinis they had gained at Isandlwana, the casualties amongst Wood's men would have been considerably higher and may have changed the course of the battle. This would seem to confirm John Labands point about the firearms being substantially a status symbol to the Zulus.

At Rorke's Drift how many "firearms" were there ? Who can say, but if we say 1 in 4 (per Drummer Boy above) that would be nearly 1,000 weapons. Most were clearly flintlocks and percussion rifles muskets and maybe SOME Martini-henry rifles. With perhaps two hours of daylight available, the numbers of men hit is very low - so again not a significant factor (unless of course you were one of the men hit).

I was also interested in Impi's stats on the smoothbore flintlock. Where did you get these from, Impi ? I have a short pattern musket and have fired it extensively. There is very little chance of hitting anything over 100 yards, and the penetration is very poor at any distance over 80 yards. I would love to see someone achieve the "optimum" reload figures of 5 shots a minute - one shot every 20 to 30 seconds is a more realistic figure (as is stated), but that is with trained men. The rate of misfire is directly linked to the number of times you fire it. The more shots, the greater the chance of misfire, as the touch hole gets blocked, the flint gets blunt, and the barrel gets fouled. I found that with a clean musket and a new flint, the rate of misfire is about 1 in 12 or 1 in 15 - and that is usually due to the powder in the pan having become dislodged, or the flint is not striking true.

The Anglo-Zulu War is really all about the Zulu need to close with the British to take advantage of their numbers and the British need to keep them at a distance with heavy volley fire (the latter requiring a good steady flow of ammunition).

Bill
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PostSubject: No Martini Henry rifles found at RD   Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:46 pm

Hi Bill.

Good post mate. There have been many quotes in various books, etc, saying that the Zulu fire arms would have been primative, so it could have been chance shots that hit the defenders at RD. One thing that puzzles me is that in your earlier post you said that the iNdluyengwe were almost part of the left horn, surely they were over on the Zulu right? and along with the uThulwana, iNdlondlo and uDloko, they made up the reserve force. However, they (the iNdluyengwe), took a different route to RD than the other three regiments, and attacked the fugitives at the Mzinyathi, and I wouldn't imagine that many (if any), infantrymen would have made it that far, meaning that there would be no Martini Henry rifles for the zulus to pick up, besides, any infantryman making it that far would have been out of ammo long ago, so if there was the odd M-H, what did the zulus use for ammo? The men that the INdluyengwe attacked must have been mounted men, and I thought that they had Swinburns, so it is looking like there were not many (if indeed any) Martini Henry rifles used by the zulus at RD, and if by chance there were, then I wonder where the ammo came from?

How is that bad leg doing Bill? hope it mended well for you.

Martin. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:27 pm

Martin

You're right - I meant RIGHT horn !!!!!!

Bill
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PostSubject: No Martini Henry rifles found at RD   Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:45 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Blame it on that bad leg Bill, can't tell the right from the left, or should that be left from right. :lol: :lol:

Martin. Salute
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bill cainan



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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:55 pm

Martin

Yes thanks, the ankle has healed OK (merely a flesh wound !).

Lt Anstey and maybe 60+ men made it down the Fuguitives Drift trail to the Manzimyama. we'll never know exactly which Zulu regiment overwhelmed them - maybe the iNdluyengwe ? Certainly that would be a source of Martini-Henry rifles and (some) ammunition, though some authors (eg Mike Snook) would say that they fired off all their ammunition before succumbing - but who knows for certain ?

The reality (I suspect) was that it was probably Neil Aspinshaw selling the Zulus rifles and ammunition off the back of a conveniently parked wagon !!!!!

Bill
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:37 pm

Bill
what? me selling Martini's from a wagonI.. take offence sir.... you omitted to report the "magic roundabout" theme playing from my wagon, and on the back a releflective sign, "mind that Zulu".

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PostSubject: No Martini Henry rifles found at RD   Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:33 pm

Hi Bill.

Looking through David Rattray's guidebook, he appears to have the attackers at the Manzimyama as elements of the iSangqu, uDududu, iMbube, mDlu-yengwe, and possibly elements of the iNgobamakhosi and uVe. The main attackers at the Mzinyathi (Buffalo), are shown as being the iNdluyengwe, so I would presume that the men they attacked would be mounted men.

Martin. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:47 pm

Martin

Some of these regiments were actually from the Zulu centre. In the pursuit down the trail I would not expect individual regiments to hold their integrity, with much intermingling taking place. This is why I'm sure it could well be possible for some of the iNdluyengwe to have picked up Martini-Henry rifles and/or ammunition - it might explain why Bourne refers to the "crack" of a MH, not that they seem to have hit any defender !

I think I owe Neil a public apology for inferring that it may have been him selling MHs to the Zulus. This was of course a cheap shot and unworthy of the position I hold. There is no evidence at all to support this theory. Clearly it is not the official viewpoint of the RW Museum. Having said that, I suspect 8 out of 10 people reading this thread, and who Know Neil, would probably accept it as a given fact !!!!!!

Bill
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PostSubject: No Martini Henry rifles found at RD   Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:04 pm

Hi Bill.

Yes, I am not ruling out the possibility that the zulus could have had M-H's at RD, but I think that the ammo for them would be in very short supply indeed.

I would think that all the members on here, and all the regular visitors, will know that it was just a bit of good humoured banter with Neil, even Neil joined in with the humour, so I should think that everyone knows it was just a 'bit of fun', and it would have brought smiles to peoples faces.

Martin. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:32 pm

Martin, Bill was just having a wind-up with Neil. He was joking with the public apology... :joker:


Bourne account.

"The Zulus had collected the rifles from the men who they had killed at Isandhlwana, and had captured the ammunition from the mules which had stampeded and threw their loads;" could be the answer as to where they got there ammuntion.

I know he wasn't there, but he must have heard it from somewhere, because we know mules with ammuntion did run with those leaving the battlefield.
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Sat Oct 13, 2012 1:50 pm

In Knight's Zulu Rising, he writes about the ammo boxes in the camp being smashed open during the end game of the battle, and soldiers grabbing ammo from the boxes, much of which was, and would have been scattered all around.
There was an ammo supply and distribution issue to parts of the firing llines during the main battle. However, there was plenty of ammo in the camp, in the boxes, all over the ground on the donkeys as LH mentions. There was ammo in the pockets and pouches of the fleeing fugitives - more than they would ever have used whilst fleeing on horseback. (I am no expert, but I would guess the MH is not that easy to fire on horseback).
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PostSubject: MH's at Rorkes Drift   Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:21 pm

Hi All,
If there were MH's at Rorkes Drfit hey would have been in the hands of the sniping team up on the Oskarberg., and not used by the elements of the Impi fighting up at the parapets fighting close up and personal with their Ikwla's. Thus, no such rifles reported being found as the men on the mountain were too wiley and distant to be captured or killed.
Ammuntion would have been no problem at all, as remember, the whole 200,000 rd battalion reserve held in wagons at Isandlwana was captured as well as about another approx 100,000 rds "at the front".
Bolting mules carrying supplies were another source.
Trooper Clarke, NMP, reporting finding on 10/02/1879, during an inspection with Maj Black , two dead pack mules with their loads still intact on the Fugitives trail and large amounts of unspent MH ammmo lying on the ground "up on the hill".
From all of this it would seem there was a good probablity that there were some MH's in the enemy hands at RD

regards

barry
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:46 pm

I guess the deciding factor on that would have been, it would have depended on what Zulus had picked up the Martinin Henry they would have been collected by all elements of various regiments. It might be worth considering that they may well have some Zulus that took part in the Battle at Isandlwana, who broke off and joined in the chasing of those soldiers ect that were escaping.
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PostSubject: No MH Rifles found among the zulu dead at RD.   Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:31 pm

Hi All .
Its probable that some of the zulus who were engaged at Isandlwana decided to continue on to attack RD but I think
its highly unlikely . One must remember that they had travelled for at least a couple of days to get there , what food they had was more than likely minimal , and also the day was stinking hot , about 34 deg if not hotter ! . After what they the survivors of Isandlwana had been through and seen against the troops , I have grave doubts that anyone would want to expose themselves to that again so quickly . Let's not forget that there was much to do and plunder in the camp , cant see why anyone would wish to go and fight another battle in light of what they'd gone through earlier . There are many reports that the zulu attacking Isandlwana were becoming overcome with thirst ! . The zulu have said that they drank anything they found in liquid form , which resulted in the deaths of several . It's like the debate about the rifles , we will never know for sure as there is no hard evidence , also I'm fairly certain I've never read a zulu account in which any state they took part in both battles .
Cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: No Martini Henry rifles found at RD   Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:03 am

Hi 90th.

You are almost right, there were some elements of zulus that went down the trail chasing the fugitives, but these were stopped from crossing the river by an induna, so none of the zulus that were at iSandlwana crossed the Manzimyama, so they were never at RD.

Salute

All.

The two mules were from the rocket battery, and their loads were found intact, however, I doubt that they would have been any use to anyone with a Martini Henry rifle, they were rockets!!

No fugitives on foot got further than the Manzimyama, so there would be no Martini's after that, and the iNdluyengwe didn't attack at the Manzimyama, they came around the northern side of the Mpethe and attacked coming down the valley at the Mzinyathi. The men they attacked would have been mounted men, and they didn't have M-H's, the iNdluyengwe then moved upstream linking up with the uThulwana, iNdlondlo and uDloko to attack RD.

The zulus that killed Melvill and Coghill were locals, probably Gandama's men. And Davies was told that most of the dead at the river were killed by locals and not pursuers, and that they didn't attack anyone that was armed, and the only record of anyone returning fire was the Edenvale contingent.

So it is looking like the zulus didn't have any Martini's at all at RD. All those M-H's that were at iSandlwana and all the ammo, wouldn't have got passed the Manzimyama. The iNdluyengwe could only have attacked mounted men at the Mziinyathi, and they did not have M-H's, and according to Davies, Gandama's men didn't attack anyone that was armed, so no rifles there then, and besides, they didn't attack RD. So if there were any Martini's used by the zulus at RD, where did they get them from, and where did they get the ammo for them? scratch

Salute
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:49 am

Martin click on link. See Brickhills account. Page 5

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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:53 pm

The Zulu regiments that descended on RD from iSandlwana did so because they had missed out on the main action at the camp. The odd individual from the other regiments may have tagged along for the same reason, but any individual who had fought hard and killed at iSandlwana would most likely have sloped off fairly early from the battle of RD, once it became evident that the defenders were not going to lay down easily.
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:38 pm

As been said before we have two accounts to say there were MH at RD and none to say there wasn't.
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PostSubject: No Martini Henry Rifles Found among the zulu dead at R.D.   Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:06 am

Hi 24th.
Just because you have two accounts saying they were there doesnt mean they were there ! . I think those reports were made by a couple of soldiers who assumed they were there , if your going by Bourne 50 yrs after the event in which he says he heard them ! . As Neil has already explained all the firing of any of the weapons sounds the same . As for Hitch saying he saw them , well no one else did ! . Not Chard , Bromhead or any others that were there . Its up to you to make your own conclusions but I dont think I'd say they were there beyond any shadow of doubt , simply because there is no hard evidence to back it up . No wounds were inflicted by the MH . One would think if they were used for sniping , sooner or later one round would have found its mark !. I'm certainly not convinced one way or the other , the possibility is they may have been , but no 100 % factual evidence has come to light , yet !.
90th.
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:41 am

Hi

My belief is that there were SOME MHs at RD - probably picked up somewhere on the approach to RD (this would account for Bourne reporting the "crack" of the rifle). However, because of the inexperience of the users, no casualties were inflicted by them.

Bill
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:04 am

Thinking about it, if Hall & Hendenson had hid just down the road from RD, which none of the defenders had known about because they thought they had left, perhaps it was their rifles they heard shooting.. Just a thought.
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:27 pm

Neil Aspinshaw wrote:
Tasker
As I have written before, Black powder weapons Do sound the same, and I dispute the testimonies. I've been in the butts with all manner of black powder arms comong down range, I can assure you, a Martini, a Snider, a 45/70 or Sharps, there is little noise variance, just a deep "WHUMP!" , not the "crack-whack" of a modern arm.

On the Short Siberia at Bisley, on the 100 yards, if someone is shooting on the 200 at the side of you, again, you can tell the BP shooter, but not what h's shooting.



Hi Bill, as Neil has already explained, there is no "crack" from a MH, just a "whump". Please see above.
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:25 pm

Tasker

I think it's a matter of description/perception. I would agree fully with Neil (having seen him fire Martini-Henry rifles) that there is significant difference between the MH "noise" and a modern high velocity weapon ("crack whack" as he terms it). However, as I've also fired a lot of smoothbore muskets, I personally perceived a distinct difference in noise between the two - whether you call it a "whump" or a "crack" or a "crack whack". However, the point I believe Neil is making is that there is little difference between a MH, a Snider, a 45/70 or as Sharps. This is NOT the same as there being no difference between a smoothbore musket and a MH !

Bill
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:29 pm

Luckily it's not a " Nick Nack Paddywack” :lol:
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:39 am

bill cainan wrote:
Tasker

I think it's a matter of description/perception. I would agree fully with Neil (having seen him fire Martini-Henry rifles) that there is significant difference between the MH "noise" and a modern high velocity weapon ("crack whack" as he terms it). However, as I've also fired a lot of smoothbore muskets, I personally perceived a distinct difference in noise between the two - whether you call it a "whump" or a "crack" or a "crack whack". However, the point I believe Neil is making is that there is little difference between a MH, a Snider, a 45/70 or as Sharps. This is NOT the same as there being no difference between a smoothbore musket and a MH !

Bill

Thanks Bill and yes, I get that. The point I was trying to make and didn't do very well, was that the key point Neil is making is that he disputes the testimonies of Bourne et al, who claim to have heard MH's at RD.
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:40 pm

bill cainan wrote:
Hi

My belief is that there were SOME MHs at RD - probably picked up somewhere on the approach to RD (this would account for Bourne reporting the "crack" of the rifle).  However, because of the inexperience of the users, no casualties were inflicted by them.

Bill

"Bourne’s account in Listener is heavily influenced by Colonels Paton, Glennie and Penn Symons’s regimental history; Bourne admits that he knew nothing of the details of iSandlwana at the time, but it may be that the realization that the Zulus had captured so many Martini-Henry rifles at iSandlwana shaped his impressions of Rorke’s Drift after the event"
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:09 pm

 That proposition is difficult to disprove but that doesn't necessarily make it true.  The Zulu reserve at Isandlwana were held back...i.e. they were in reserve and didn't set foot on the battlefield.  And yet it was the Zulu reserve which crossed the river to fight at Rorke's Drift.  It's impossible to prove the absence of something, so I can't assert with any authority there were NOT MH's in Zulu hands at RD, but it's difficult to see how they would have got there under the circumstances.  Still, I'm sure some collector out there believes he owns one.[/left]
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PostSubject: No Martini Henry's found among the zulu dead at RD   Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:18 pm

Hi 6pdr.
'' Not me '' unfortunately ! . It's impossible to prove either way , but it's obvious according to the records that no casualties at RD were the result of being '' hit '' by a MH round . There may have been one , two or a handful at RD but with minimal rounds . It isnt beyond the realms of possiblity that the reserve came across some stragglers and killed them and took their rifles , we will never know ! , of course one of the said collectors may enlighten us 6pdr ! Shocked 
Cheers 90th Salute 
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:47 pm

What do we know about "Colonels Paton & Glennie ?
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:04 am

Hi 90th,
I seem to recollect that somewhere in the annals it is recorded that one of the RD defenders was shot and killed on the back wall, by "long range fire from the Oskarberg", ie sniper fire. Now, if this is factual the weapon used was most likely an MH. This will never be proved of course because nothing was ever found up there.

regards

barry
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:13 am

What is consistently overlooked in this debate is this statement:
"Lots of us had got the same rifles as the soldiers used, having bought them in our country, but some did not know how to use them, and had to be shown by those that did."
Royal Engineers Journal 2nd February 1880 pp22-24: Statement by Mehlokazulu.

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24th

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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:35 am

Wasn't that statement made after Isandlwana, referring to the rifles they had taken?
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:45 am

Don't believe so, he specifically says they bought them, not stole. Seems to predate the battle or am I reading it wrong?
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:54 am

It would not have changed anything, they would not touch an elephant into a hut...
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PostSubject: No Martini Henry's found among the zulu dead at RD    Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:21 pm

Hi Barry.
I've read Dugald Blair Brown's book which is titled ' Surgical experiences in the zulu war and transvaal war ' in which he describes all the injuries of those wounded at RD , there is no mention of anyone being killed or wounded by a round from a Martini Henry . As they make a wound nothing like the old muskets that the zulu used , had someone been wounded , or killed by a MH , Brown being a surgeon would've certainly noticed and mentioned that fact .
Cheers 90th
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:10 pm

All gunshot wounds of the RD garrison was by Enfield rifles, it is well known...
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PostSubject: Mh's at RD   Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:00 pm

Hi Bill, 90th, Springbok9 ,

Indeed, anyone who has been at the "sharp end" and has had the smell of blackpowder, cordite or nirtropropllent on the wind and  up his nose knows very well the type of weapons  in  the enemy hands.  So, I would tend to give some credence to what  the men on the ground were saying about what they were hearing.
Gun running into Zululand during the latter half of the 1800's was a major problem. The NMP spent much time and effort trying to nail the miscreants. I don't know how successful they were. NMP men in mufti were even placed fulltime "fishing" on the Zululand coast near St Lucia, where the gun running ships ships anchored close inshore at night and sent the longboats in, braving the 4m surf, with the powder and guns. However I do not believe these were the more modern weapons , rather the surplus out-of-date ball and powder weapons from burgeoning European  arsenals. So what Mehlogozulu said was actually right.
Gun shot wounds which have both entry and egress points in flesh are very difficult to identify vis-a-vis caliber. Even with modern forensic technology this presents a bit of a problem with that type of wound.

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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:31 pm

L Very Happy  L As they could not get MH , to hit targets from the Oskarberg they used necessarily, rifled musket, therefore enfield rifles ...
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:38 pm

L Very Happy L Oh I forgot ,this is Barry himself who told me that in one of the many e-mails he sent me in the past, explaining that there was even no more than 80 Zulu with firearmes to RD and I think it has already been said about the old posts on the same subject ...
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:40 pm

I think the British would have mentioned if any had been killed or wounded. By MH rifle fire. Would have made more heroic reading back in the day. " Even Zulus with modern rifles couldn't beat the British at Rorkes Dift!

We know from Mitford, that the Zulus would bite open the cartridges to get at the powder for their muskets.
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:27 am

agree  Perfect John, that is correct Salute 
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:43 am

Hi John
AS Barry has pointed out, if there is an exit wound how would they know? Im not aware that autopsies were carried out on any of the dead troops? There were copious amounts of guns being sold in Natal, is it not possible that some were MH? Mehlokazulu being an ardent gun lover seems to think so. His statement goes into some detail on how ammunition was used in training.
The Mitford statement needs to be put into context in that the episodes of the Zulu biting of the bullet heads to get to the black powder for their muskets is exactly what it says and really has no baring on the MH save to indicate that there where a variety of guns in use from Enfields through to Tower muskets.
Dablamanzi the gun and horse affecionado was in charge of the Zulu at RD, his area of influence was the coastal reserve and on the path for any gun runner coming in from the sea or from Mozambique. Also a close friend of John Dunne. So it puts him in prime position to have got his hands on the MH.
All circumstantial I know.
Bottom line I suppose is that there are two references referring to the use/ownership of MH, depends if you accept those or not?

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:54 am

DB stated that one in four of the Zulus at RD had rifles.  I believe that's an assumption by or has come unsourced from a modern writer.  It can't be taken as true in any shape or form.  After all, how would anyone know?
Secondly, with the exception of Mehlokazulu (quoted by springbok a little way back) who said that before the war some Zulus had obtained the same rifles as the soldiers used but didn't know how to use them very well, I know of no Zulu sources (from RD) which mentioned using captured rifles.  The Zulus certainly had guns at Isandhlwana (witness the long-range casualties among the artillerymen and Bloomfield).
Thirdly, logic would say, re the two British statements that the Zulus were using captured rifles, that this was an assumption on their part.  They could after all hardly stroll over the barricade and up the Oskarsberg to ask the Zulus where they'd got their rifles from and what sort they were, and there were none found after the battle either (though, there again, if there were any I imagine that the Zulus would have carried off with them those dropped by fallen comrades).
Fourthly, none of the Zulu regts involved in the attack at RD would have had contact with any large body of soldiers carrying MHs.
Fifthly, the British wounds do not indicate MH fire.
It is difficult to see how the Zulus would have had been able to arm and supply themselves in any great numbers with MHs.  That said it would be foolish to state that NO Zulus had MHs and knew how to use them, but, on the evidence available, not in anything like sufficient numbers to make a difference.


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PostSubject: Re: No Martini Henry Rifles Found Among The Zulu Dead At Rorkes Drift.   Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:12 am

Yes none of the Zulu regts involved in the attack at RD would have had contact with any large body of soldiers carrying MHs.
Except those of the reserve, who fought a Isandhwana at the extreme left of the left horn , but they do not go to RD ...
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