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 Cavalry at Isandlwana.

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Ulundi

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PostSubject: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:31 pm

It has been said, that had there been Cavalry force a Isandlwana the diaster would not have ocured. What is the difference between mounted infantry and Cavalry. Could Durnfords mounted infantry not have archived the same results.

I can't see how a Cavalry force could have turned the tide at Isandlwana. 

We have accounts that state Zulu's could keep up with those attempting to leave on horse back, at the later stages, and in some cases over taking men on horseback?
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:59 pm

hiya ulundi:D . thank god the lancer's
and dragoons were not at Isandhlwana.
it does not bear thinking about..the M.I.
and colonial's were as it were, learning
on the job, although ultimately there
scouting prior to the battle has been
found wanting.

The cavalry, were 2nd invasion,so mute
point,but open to speculation..
cheers xhosa
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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:25 am

Not sure they would have been much use, with regards to the terrain at Isandlwana. Ditches, Donga's, rocks, ect.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:32 am

Court of Enquiry evidence by Captain Gardner.
He was of the opinion that a squadron of cavalry would have cleared the left horn from the plain. That bottom area below Durnfords Donga was probably the only cavalry country.

Regards
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kopie



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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:59 am

So in a nutshell springbok, are you saying that cavalry would have helped, but it would not have saved the day?

If the left horn had been disrupted by cavalry, would the right horn and chest not have penetrated the camp, inevitably, eventually?
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:25 pm

Its an interesting debate. Gardner certainly thought so.
Its possible that if the left horn was stopped, and the plain cleared then the East facing troops could have assisted the Northern line which would leave Durnfords force free to stop the right horn on the saddle.
Lots of other issues to take into account but yes it would be possible as the ridge beyond the donga and the plain behind was made for cavalry. Solid charge with the lance ( the Zulu hated cold steel), could have done some damage.
Interesting to get other members opinions.

Cheers
PS Gardner was a Hussar so could have been a touch biased.
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kopie



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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:50 pm

Yes, could be a good discussion!
I am thinking that if Durnford wasn't able to stop the left horn due to the sheer weight of the Zulu numbers, a finite amount of ammunition, the skill and swiftness of the Zulu fighters and their well drilled out flanking tactics, together with all the other factors that the Zulus had in their favour, why would Durnford have been able to stop the right horn?
I doubt many know the battle ground better than you, so your wisdom, opinion and what you think, carries a fair bit of weight here as far as I am concerned!
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:35 pm

Both horns could have been slowed down at least, by the Cavalry. The 24th could have done some real damage to the chest.
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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:39 pm

I do think that Cavalry in strength would have changed history In my Opinion.

As Springbok9 says, Zulu's did not like Cavalry.

I know the ground was not the best for Cavalry but them being there in force would have a physiological advantage over the Zulu.

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kopie



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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:04 pm

A few machine gun crews would have slowed down the Zulu advance also, would it not?

Why did we not have some Gatling guns in action at Isandhlwana? It would have been part of the British Army's armoury, wouldn't it?

I know the Gardner gun was still undergoing testing in late 1879 so wouldn't have been available; but Chelmsford would have known that the Zulu army was tens of thousands of soldiers strong. So why were there no machine gun crews?

Not taking cavalry over the broken, uneven, rocky ground may have made sense in the original planning. But I would have thought machine guns would have been much higher up the wish list?

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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:11 pm

1879graves wrote:
I do think that Cavalry in strength would have changed history In my Opinion.

As Springbok9 says, Zulu's did not like Cavalry.

I know the ground was not the best for Cavalry but them being there in force would have a physiological advantage over the Zulu.
They did seemed to fazed at Ulundi.

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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:30 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:41 pm

Nice one Impi Salute 
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:01 pm

Good support for Allan Gardner
Salute 
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PostSubject: More Cavalry at Isandlwana   Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:29 pm

Hi All,
I tend to concur with those who believe that more cavalry would have made a real difference to the outcome of the Isandlwana battle. In my estimation as little as just two companies of properly trained, equipped and skilled ( to NMP and NC standards) and motivated cavalrymen would have made a difference.
There are proviso's however. They are ;

their deployment would have to be managed by a professional officer
ammunition must be available in adequate quantities to them, and all others, at all times
battlefield command and control would have to be beyond question
Chelmsford would have to be kept away from decisions viv-a-vis their deployment.
less reliance placed on the NNC to perform miracles

regards

barry
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:05 pm

just got in ffs i turn my back
for a minute lol, just pause
and think about it for a minute.
ive just read impi's input, there
was cavalry at Isandhlwana,
colonials..who took one look at
what was coming and started to
fall back before a host of tens of
thousands of enraged Zulu's..

Again its folly to imagine that our
cavalry would be able to cope with
the numbers involved.at the early
stages there was no need for them.

The colonial's were doing there job
either well or indifferently. so at
what point in the attack would our
cavalry be deployed.

The lancer can only kill one man at a
time and did very well after Khambula
and Ulundi during rout's. now,
imagine the scene, the attack is now
fully developed the 17th and the KDG
are in the thick of it.10 warriors to
each trooper all attacking him..10 of
them, repeated all over the field.
what do you think would happen, i
think the same always.extinction..
cheers all xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:13 pm

impi wrote:
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Nice link impi, well found.
Can't help but think that there is just a teeny weeny bit of bias in the publication however!!! Clearly a cavalry journal, from its title, feeling sore about their lack of involvement in the first invasion! It was written in May 1879. And there were videttes!!! This article implies there wasn't.
When I think about it, I am afraid that I can only imagine and see what xhosa sees.
Sure, cavalry would have helped to slow the horns down a little and make a few eyes water, but inevitably, the sheer weight of the Zulu numbers would have overcome and the result would have been the same.
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:18 pm

Kopie wrote:
Sure, cavalry would have helped to slow the horns down a little and make a few eyes water, but inevitably, the sheer weight of the Zulu numbers would have overcome and the result would have been the same.

Not so sure, if you consider the chest is part of the formation that pushes through. They would have ran headlong into all of the 24 th companies and colonial regiments. Those companies would not have been required to move away from the camp. The cavalry being mounted could have held the horns back with the help of the 7pdr ( as stated in the artical) and could have made a reasonable retreat back to the camp. I think the chest would have been destroyed or gave up. It would only take one element of the Zulu formation to break and the other two would fail. I can't remember which Battle of hand, possibly Kambula where one of the horns engaged to early which had disastrous effect on the other eleiment. Or something along them lines. 
For me it's has always been, that the men of the 24th were sent to far from the camp. If cavalry had been there, they could have formed an extended line at the bottom of the hill will ample supplies of ammuntion. 

Question? 
How many cavalry units would have been needed?
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:24 pm

This explains better than me, what happen at Kambula.

"After noon on March 29, the Zulu right horn was spotted moving around to the northwest while the center and left horn approached from the south. Seeing an opportunity, Lieutenant Colonel Redvers Buller suggested a preemptive attack on the Zulu right. Agreeing, Wood dispatched a mounted force which rode out and fired one volley at the Zulus before quickly retiring. This action caused the right horn to attack prematurely and without support. Surging forward, around 11,000 Zulus charged into a hail of British rifle and artillery fire. Taking heavy losses, few Zulus succeeded in reaching the laager and those that did were quickly bayoneted."
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:04 am

impi, i now no longer take pity
on you...entrenched position Shocked Shocked Shocked 
and after Hlobane, Isandhlwana..discuss.
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6pdr

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:19 am

Ulundi wrote:
I can't see how a Cavalry force could have turned the tide at Isandlwana.
Trained cavalry conducting routine reconnaissance would have detected the Zulu army while it was on the march and thereby prevented Chelmsford from splitting his force, getting his base camp overrun, and his supply lines threatened. Or to put it another way, give Chelmsford a cavalry brigade -- maybe even a particularly skillful battalion -- and there is no battle of Isandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:10 am

Nothing quite fearsome as a squadron of imperial cavalry on the charge 250 men 2 metres apart will cut a swath of half a kilometre wide through a Zulu impi. No matter how brave you are you aint going to stand up to a charging horse with a mad sod on top with a three meter chunk of very sharp steel coming at you.
A comment earlier that there was a cavalry detachment ( Durnfords Horse ) they weren't cavalry, more like irregular horse. Ah well my old regiment of the 11th Hussars would have cleared the left horn so bloody fast Mo Farrah wouldn't have caught them.

Cheers
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:15 am

6pdr wrote:
Ulundi wrote:
I can't see how a Cavalry force could have turned the tide at Isandlwana.
Trained cavalry conducting routine reconnaissance would have detected the Zulu army while it was on the march and thereby prevented Chelmsford from splitting his force, getting his base camp overrun, and his supply lines threatened.  Or to put it another way, give Chelmsford a cavalry brigade -- maybe even a particularly skillful battalion -- and there is no battle of Isandlwana.
I think Ulundi was talking about cavalry being on the field during the battle. Not prior.
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6pdr

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:01 pm

impi wrote:
I think Ulundi was talking about cavalry being on the field during the battle. Not prior.
OK. Either way, cavalry turned out to be useful during the second invasion. Clearly Chelmsford didn't have the option of Imperial cavalry during the first. I had thought one of the reasons was that horses simply didn't fare too well there due to certain diseases and the insects that transmitted them. At least, there seemed to be a lot of talk of tse-tse flies and so forth. So my question is what changed minds (apart from the defeat) and allowed cavalry to be brought over later? Was it all just superstition? Were the horses especially vulnerable at one time of year and not another? Veld vs. lowlands? Inquiring minds want to know...
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:29 pm

If Durnford had used his forces sensibly, he could have achieved the same. By dividing his mounted units one deployed against each of the horns. Impi is right in respect of the 24th Compaines and colonial units taking care of the chest.
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:39 pm

Chelmsfordthescapegoat wrote:
If Durnford had used his forces sensibly, he could have achieved the same. By dividing his mounted units one deployed against each of the horns. Impi is right in respect of the 24th Compaines and colonial units taking care of the chest.
I believe he sent 2/3rds of Zikali's troops against the right horn and Hlubi's horse and the Edendale contingent against the left horn, albeit unwittingly. In any case, they were not sufficient to the task despite occupying favorable terrain. What "sensible" deployment would have turned the tide exactly?
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:44 pm

6pdr wrote:

I believe he sent 2/3rds of Zikali's troops against the right horn and Hlubi's horse and the Edendale contingent against the left horn, albeit unwittingly. In any case, they were not sufficient to the task despite occupying favorable terrain. What "sensible" deployment would have turned the tide exactly?
Correct unorganised chaos! No plan of deployment. He rode out to meet the Zulu's. As he said, if we seen the Zulus we should attack them. 
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:49 pm

Some good comments there and a lot to think about.
I think 6pdr is correct. Perhaps if regular cavalry (better trained, experianced etc) had been used, and the Zulu impi moving into position had been rumbled on the 21st January, then yes, no battle!
Perhaps one of the biggest blunders of this battle was that 20,000+ Zulu warriors were able to move undetected into the hills North of the camp and remain undiscovered until long after Chelmsford had split his force.
Also Springbok's image of a charging cavalry is quite spmething. Perhaps a charge of this nature would have terrified the Zulus into submission. It would have been a charge that would have put many other historical charges such as Omdurman, into the shade!
"The Charge of Isandhlwana!"
Perhaps the battle of Isandhlwana would have been famously remembered for a different reason today.
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90th

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PostSubject: Cavalry at Isandlwana   Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:16 am

Hi CTSG
You wrote ... '' Correct unorganised chaos ! No plan of deployment . He rode out to meet the zulu's . If we see the zulus we should attack them '' . .....
LC did nothing different , he could'nt wait to leave the camp and join Dartnell , never left appropriate orders for others or even worse , left it for others to do ! , he also had no plan of deployment , his and Dartnell's forces were spread far and wide , and it was LC who initially said we need to crush them in one blow , it was LC who was afraid the zulu army wouldnt attack ! .
Cheers 90th Shocked 
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:03 am

all,ffs, kopie, said it..look at the number's.
20.000-to 25.000+ matt carrier's,womenfolk.
again I say. LOOK AT THE NUMBER'S, if you
have heard the expression overwhelming!!!
again..overwhelming Superior force.
apply it in this case. or, as we do.speculate
and theorize..usuthu..credit were its due.
cheers xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:15 pm

Whilst the "Charge of Isandhlwana" would have (if it had happened) been right up there with the legendary charges of Omdurman and the Lights and Heavies at Balaklava, it would have been an heroic act, but not a game changer!

As xhosa says, look at the numbers. From what I have read, the battle of Isandhlwana was not even a close run thing; it was a rout. Cavalry would have dished out a few body blows for sure, but unless each lancer/hussar/dragoon had killed 50 men each at least - which is clearly ridiculous - the superior numbers of the Zulu impi was always going to tell!
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:10 pm

Kopie/Xhosa
Big numbers for sure but look at the area they were spread over.
All speculative I know but: A squadron of lancers moves across the plain from the Ulundi road to the conical kopie. The left horn wouldn't have stood up to a charge and would have retreated very fast. The left chest was closely involved with the left horn and would have seen that retreat. They were pinned down in the dongas under massive fire, suddenly there friends start running behind them. Whats the reaction going to be? Then again at a point the attack was balanced on a knife edge. A mass retreat by one regiment would have tipped the scales.
Just my opinion but I reckon the 17th lancers or similar regiment would have a nice battle honour, iSandlwana, on their Guidon.


heers
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:59 pm

90th wrote:
Hi CTSG
You wrote ... '' Correct unorganised chaos ! No plan of deployment . He rode out to meet the zulu's . If we see the zulus we should attack them '' . .....
LC did nothing different , he could'nt wait to leave the camp and join Dartnell , never left appropriate orders for others or even worse , left it for others to do ! , he also had no plan of deployment , his and Dartnell's forces were spread far and wide , and it was LC who initially said we need to crush them in one blow , it was LC who was afraid the zulu army wouldnt attack ! .
Cheers 90th Shocked 
Actually. LC refused at first to assist Dartnell. It was Glyn who pushed the issue!
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:25 pm

I think "refused to assist" is a bit of an exaggeration; he merely wasn't convinced. Glyn convinced LC it was worth doing, LC made the decision - he was in charge.
I can't see LC as being the kind of man who'd be pushed around by any of his inferiors.
The decision to split and chase the Zulus was Chelmsford's.
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:27 pm

Nope! He refused!
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:31 pm

Extract from Statement of Lieutenant-Colonel J. North Crealock, Acting Military Secretary.

"I was. not present during the conversation between Major Clery, Staff Officer to Colonel Glyn, and the Lieutenant-General, but the evening before, about 8.30 P.M., on this officer asking the Lieutenant-General if the 1-24th " Were to reinforce Major Dartnell in the Magane Valley," he said " No."  The General received, I believe through Colonel Glyn, a subsequent representation which caused the fresh orders at 2 A.M. the 22nd, and the orders to Lieutenant-Colonel Durnford."
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:43 pm

Thanks for the statement by Crealock, littlehand.
It doesn't change my view. I reckon one could use that statement to support either your refusal theory, OR, my not yet convinced theory!

But I think mine is right!


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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:44 pm

littlehand agree 
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:47 pm

" Were to reinforce Major Dartnell in the Magane Valley," he said " No."

I can't see how anything else can be read into this. Its clear. He said "NO" It's primary source.
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:51 pm

littlehand wrote:
" Were to reinforce Major Dartnell in the Magane Valley," he said " No."

I can't see how anything else can be read into this. Its clear. He said "NO" It's primary source.
Why did he say "no" ?

Chelmsford wasn't convinced (yet) that it was worth reinforcing Dartnell. Not enough Zulus to go after. When Chelmsford had been convinced there was a sizeable force of enemy there, he was off like a shot! And without a backwards glance. This is the point 90th was attempting to make.
If Durnford is to be accused of rashly chasing Zulus, then so must Chelmsford be.


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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:51 pm

"Just my opinion but I reckon the 17th lancers or similar regiment would have a nice battle honour, iSandlwana, on their Guidon". wishful thinking frank, but i'm not surprised. ex cavalry wallah Very Happy . but we have been ' jacked ' by the blame game..again.lol.
this was just for fun, was'nt it. No . xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:06 pm

I agree xhosa.
CTSG started it, 90th countered, littlehand joined in, then I, then you agreed with littlehand!
Back to the cavalry thing...we'll never know!
I don't think the Zulus would have run away, not the mood they were in that day. Thousands of Zulus faced the rifle, the bayonet and died on the end of it.
I don't think it is valid to compare the Zulu morale and performance at Ulundi to Isandhlwana.
At Ulundi, the Zulus were essentially in the last minutes of extra time after a hard match. They were fatigued , hungry and low in spirit. At Isandhlwana, they were up for it. The 2 armies were chalk and cheese at these 2 battles.

And whose fault was it anyway, that no one thought to take cavalry on the first invasion?
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:11 pm

The Lancers at Ulundi, we're only used at the end of the Battle, they played no part during.
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:17 pm

Thanks CTSG, I realise that.
As you imply, I don't think cavalry would have been significant, or changed the game at Isandhlwana very much. Do you?
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:25 pm

Not in a situation where the Zulu's were attacking in such large numbers, as they did at Isandlwana. Cavalry are at their best when charging against a static position, or chasing down a retreating army. No good against a mass army on foot moving towards them. That's my opinion anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:29 pm

And whose fault was it anyway, that no one thought to take cavalry on the first invasion?

said kopie agree 

hiya ctsg agree  .
cheers xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:30 pm

The Duke of Cambridge!
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:38 pm

xhosa2000 wrote:
And whose fault was it anyway, that no one thought to take cavalry on the first invasion?

said kopie agree 

hiya ctsg agree  .
                                                                                             cheers xhosa
Lord Chelmsford invaded Zululand without the knowledge of the British Government in the hope that he could Capture Cetshwayo, the Zulu King, before London discovered that hostilities had begun.
 
Asking for Cavalry at that stage would have been a bit of a give away, to their intentions.
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PostSubject: Re: Cavalry at Isandlwana.   Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:20 am

hiya 24th Very Happy  your right ish, Complacency..
cheers xhosa
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90th

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PostSubject: Cavalry at Isandlwana   Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:55 am

24th .
LC did ask for re-inforcements back in 1878 ! , as the threat of war with the zulu was paramount in his opinion .
The home office basically told LC there were to be no extra troops sent out to Sth Africa , because , they were more worried about Russia and the situation in Afghanistan . I'm fairly certain LC did actually ask for Cavalry to be sent .
The home office or Govt in England told LC etc , that every effort was to be made to ensure there was NOT a war with the zulu nation at that time . Showing their intentions had nothing to do with it , as I said he'd asked for extra troops back in 1878 .
90th
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