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Film Zulu Dawn:Lt. Col. Pulleine: His Lordship is of the cetain opinion that it's far too difficult an approach to be chosen by the Zulu command.Col. Durnford: Yes, well... difficulty never deterred a Zulu commander.
 
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 Isandlwana and hindsight

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bayonet charge



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PostSubject: Isandlwana and hindsight   Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:54 pm

I've been reading Zulu Rising by Ian Knight and it got me wondering about how I'd defend the camp at iSandlwana had I been in Col. Pulleine's shoes. So I thought I'd put the question forward and see what everyone's ideas are. I look forward to reading your ideas.
Chris
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:06 pm

bayonet charge, hello. i would not
form square..but would laager,as the
boer's did at blood river.
cheers xhosa2000
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:35 pm

There is a fairly indepth discussion on here somewhere, I think a lot agree, they would have tucked the men at the foot of the hill, using the hill as a rear defence, along with a good supply of ammo at various stages along the lines.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:51 pm

John's suggestion is an option, but still vulnerable to attack from the flanks. Pulleine did in fact arrange his defences in this manner, but of course, they were much further out from the hill and in extended formation - and were eventually outdone around the flanks by the Zulu horns. Closer formation and closer to the hill would have been a better defensive deployment, but would probably still have collapsed in a similar fashion, around the weak points, the flanks..

WITH the benefit of hindsight, and knowing what Chelmsford, Pulleine and Durnford did not know, the only disposition that would have stood even a cat in hell's chance imo, is a square, a quarter to half a mile to the east of the hill.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:31 pm

How could they have been outflanked?  The main reasons for the diaster, is that the men were posted to far from the camp, and with only the allocated amount of ammunition. 

If they had been located at the foot of the hill the fire power from all ranks would have been overwhelming and would have almost been continous due to ammuntion being available. The 7 pounders at the end of the lines firing canister shot would have slowed down the right and left horns. Followed up by Durnfords mounted infantry?
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:21 pm

I think through the pages of History, It's been agreed the positions of the troops was the cause of the diaster. They were to far from the camp. It's that simple. There were no formations formed that could have saved the day. They should have stayed nearer the camp. And it was Durnford who sent the men to the ridge!
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:40 pm

kopie agree  ish, the square would have lasted
longer..but the overwhelming odd's..remember
' the square that broke '..laager, wagon wheels
chained together, with all the impedimenta
pluging the gaps. xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:59 pm

…The sand of the desert is sodden red,
Red with the wreck of a square that broke;
The Gatling’s jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
Newbolt.

not even a good example of a broken square.
the ' battle' lasted just over 10 minutes.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:40 am

24th
24th wrote:
And it was Durnford who sent the men to the ridge!
That's one of the conundrums, Durnford, Pulleine?
Durnford wasn't in the camp when the second company was sent, and theres testimony that says it was Pulleine's decision for the first company.
Equally there's testimony that says it was Durnford.
A point to ponder though is Pulleine argued against sending two troops with Durnford ( against his orders from Clery: note not from Chelmsford)
So Why would he allow Durnford to send a troop onto the ridge? Is that not a pointer to Pulleine having made the decision?

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:19 am

"So Why would he allow Durnford to send a troop onto the ridge?"

Because Durnford had assumed command.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:04 am

dave. zzzz. Love!. You need to study mo 
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:04 am

Boll.cks
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:20 pm

xhosa2000 wrote:
i would not
form square..but would laager,as the
boer's did at blood river.
BTW, I thought I stumbled upon some recent research which indicates the Boer victory at Blood River may have been grossly exaggerated. Also, when making a comparison we should keep the presence of the river in mind. It would have acted as an obstacle and pivotal feature of the battle that had no analog at Isandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:38 pm

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

6pd a couple of photos from inside the Blood river Laager
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:56 pm

How big was the area they defended.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:00 pm

6pdr i agree about the river.
it became a death trap. but
that day the Boer's gave an
invaluable lesson for all to
follow. Cetshwayo knew this
and remembered the lesson.
others did not. grossly ex-
aggerated it was not. xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:25 am

24th
You could play a pretty useful game of football in the middle.
The photo Ive taken was from the central cairn so using that as a radius should give you an idea.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:44 am

The battle was a massive defeat for the Zulu, they should have learned the lesson for the future, 3000 Zulu killed against 4 Boer injured.
The position of the laarger was brilliant, in the confluence between the river and a high banked stream. 12000 Zulu couldn't fit into the space between the banks and the wagons, it was so cramped one contempory account says there wasn't enough elbow room to throw a spear. The Boer just kept firing into the dense mass, pretty hideous killing field. Add that to the final cavalry charge, a la Khambula and the battle was won.
Sarel Cilliers the chaplain to the Voertrekkers, proposed before the fight, a vow that if they won the day would be forever celebrated the day as the Day of Deliverance.
It was for years known as Dingaans Day or Day of the Covenant, today December the 16th is known as the Day of Reconciliation.

Way of topic I know but what the heck.

agree 
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:27 am

Springbok, I think your point shows how terrain could help a smaller force substantially, something that was obviously missing at iSandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:31 am

BC
If the troops at iSandlwana had used the terrain better they could have survived. Bad planning really.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:06 pm

It must be maintained, that had the troops remained near the camp, with ample supplies of ammunition the out-come would have been different! I don't know the terrain, but I would image that half of the men located far from the camp, didn't see the Zulu's until it was to late, with regards to the Zulu's making good use of Donga's ect!
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PostSubject: Isandlwana & Hindsight    Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:41 am

24th one of the reasons they were so far forward WAS BECAUSE of the dead ground ! . You are correct you dont know the terrain ! , I havent been there either but have read enough and watched enough to understand  had they been up against the Mountain nothing would be any different , they no doubt may have lasted longer , they had to build fortifications etc to have had any chance ! , we know this was never going to be implimented as many of the waggons were supposed to be going back to RD to be filled with supplies that morning ! . Also the camp was to be packed up some time that day , they didnt fortify and dont forget this major point , LC said it wasnt worth it , and the ground made it to difficult to do so . They certainly couldnt have build proper fortifications in an hour or two to hold all the men that were left in the camp .


Last edited by 90th on Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:13 am

90th. i would say that was bang on. agree 
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:28 am

24th wrote:
I don't know the terrain, but I would image that half of the men located far from the camp, didn't see the Zulu's until it was to late, with regards to the Zulu's making good use of Donga's ect!
The Zulu regiments had to come over a fare size hill before they got to the plain/dongas. They were visible for a long long way. More than enough testimony to that fact.

I do agree that the two companies sent onto the hill where a waste of time. But the fact they where is not a mitigating factor in the battle. They were withdrawn in good order and took their place in the defence line in front of the camp.

There is a general impression that the camp area was on a flat plain, not true. From the mountain the ground drops down towards the first of the dongas then rises again to the rocky ridge. From there, there is a fall of down to the lower plain and a series of pretty deep dongas. If the lines were closer to the camp the Zulus would have occupied the rocky ridge, and marksmen would then be firing down into the troops. On the left of the line there were series of Dongas below the ridge line, these were occupied by the Amangwane with the troops stationed behind firing over their heads ( there is Zulu testimony to that that speaks of the damage done).

I believe there where two options for the defence.
1) exactly what Pulleine did, and defended the camp as ordered.
2) Drawn up next to the ammunition wagons behind the flattened tents in a compact force, backs to the mountain. They would have survived but the camp would have been decimated.

Cheers

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:34 pm

last night as i was posting, i was
listening to David's, magnificient
'The Day of the Dead Moon'. one
phrase always strikes me, when
i hear him say..this battle lasted
for as long as it take me to tell
you about it. cheers xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:10 pm

24th wrote:
It must be maintained, that had the troops remained near the camp, with ample supplies of ammunition the out-come would have been different!
No, it must not be maintained if by, "the out-come would have been different!" you mean that the British side would have won or even survived as a viable military force. When this battle started, it was over.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:14 pm

24th wrote:
It must be maintained, that had the troops remained near the camp, with ample supplies of ammunition the out-come would have been different!
I disagree. Sore loser! Don't be one.

It must be maintained that I, Kopie, if it hadn't been for the fact that I am 5 or 6 stones too light, lack the requisite strength, stamina, skill and reflexes and if I hadn't been caught with those 2 LUCKY swift blows to the head right at the beginning of the first round, that I Kopie, would be undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World!
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:20 pm

kopie wrote:
I Kopie, would be undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World!
agree  Joker  Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:51 pm

kopie wrote:
24th wrote:
It must be maintained, that had the troops remained near the camp, with ample supplies of ammunition the out-come would have been different!
I disagree. Sore loser! Don't be one.

It must be maintained that I, Kopie, if it hadn't been for the fact that I am 5 or 6 stones too light, lack the requisite strength, stamina, skill and reflexes and if I hadn't been caught with those 2 LUCKY swift blows to the head right at the beginning of the first round, that I Kopie, would be undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World!
Kopie, just check around your neck, to see if you have one of those little snuff boxes hanging down! Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:17 pm

LOL!
Perhaps you could send me one!
Maybe then, despite all my failings, I will become undisputed heavyweight champion of the world!
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:43 pm

£30.00 you pay for P&P?
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:14 am

impi wrote:
£30.00 you pay for P&P?
Very Happy I will happily pay that if is half as good as CTSG says it is!!! Make a lovely medallion too!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:24 pm

The red dust inside is from the original formular used back in the day!

If your told, I used Ghost chillie power, take no notice. Just take a tea spoonful, place on back of hand, and snort the lot up in one go.  Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:48 pm

It's a mixture of Bauxite and gunpowder Very Happy 

one sniff and it blows your mind. Shocked 

agree 
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:30 pm

The contents, of these snuff boxes, would it have been on par with the Drug known as Angle Dust. Used a lot in the states in the 80s early 90s
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:42 pm

Trying to answer the original question is pointless because it's done with the benefit of hindsight and presupposes knowledge that Pulleine didn't have at each stage of the battle. It strikes me that it is impossible to answer 'what would I have done' because it also requires the phrase 'at each particular phase of the battle' to be added to the question. That's what Pulleine had to do. My (his) answer will (did) differ at each phase.
What would I have done at 11.30 when as far as I knew Chelmsford was engaging the enemy to my right front and therefore the force on the plateau could only be a subsidiary one? Probably what Pulleine/Durnford did (given Chelmsford's orders).
What would I have done when the realization hit me that there was sizeable force on the plateau and the enemy were streaming down its slopes towards me? Probably what Pulleine did (given Chelmsford's orders).
What would I have done when the enemy kept coming and it became evident that it was THE main impi and they were outflanking me on the right. Probably what Pulleine did (given the location of Durnford's men at that moment in their retreat).
What would I have done when Zulus appeared over the saddle and an encirclement was taking place? Probably what Pulleine/Durnford did (given the timing of the discovery). It would be nice to draw in the line of defence earlier but, realistically, if there had been time to do this, they would have done it.
That's what makes the battle so fascinating. The outcome was almost predetermined. There was nothing they could do. Fate caught poor Pulleine and Durnford at every turn.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:52 pm

Julian Whybra wrote:
Trying to answer the original question is pointless because it's done with the benefit of hindsight and presupposes knowledge that Pulleine didn't have at each stage of the battle...The outcome was almost predetermined.  There was nothing they could do.  Fate caught poor Pulleine and Durnford at every turn.
Precisely.  I only differ from you in the use of the word "almost."  If you are not comfortable with a unqualified "predetermined," then how about, "From when the forces engage at about 11:30 the outcome of the battle was inevitable."   Those who seek to refight it with 20-20 hindsight might as well be taking part in the Monty Python skit, "What if Napoleon had B-52s at Waterloo."
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:54 pm

worth mentioning again Julian,"The outcome was almost predetermined". you said!.
i say 25.00 to 1500, short of a Boer type laager, which was never going to happen.
the out come, after any scenario was inevitable. cheers xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:01 pm

6pdr
I used the words 'almost predetermined' because the ONLY way the day could have been saved, in my opinion, was if Pulleine's initial 8.05 message had been more forceful (although I admit that at 8.05 he was still not aware of the full scenario which lay in front of him) and if Chelmsford's reaction to it had been more sympathetic (and I know that at 9.30 Chelmsford was still not fully aware that the impi might not lie in front of him). If a large enough force had turned around to go back to camp such that it was visible on the plain to Ntshingwayo on the plateau, then he might not have committed his impi to a full attack. (On the other hand he might. And once he'd caught his enemy in the open the massacre would have been more complete than it was.)
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:07 pm

6pdr wrote:
Julian Whybra wrote:
Trying to answer the original question is pointless because it's done with the benefit of hindsight and presupposes knowledge that Pulleine didn't have at each stage of the battle...The outcome was almost predetermined.  There was nothing they could do.  Fate caught poor Pulleine and Durnford at every turn.
Precisely.  I only differ from you in the use of the word "almost."  If you are not comfortable with a unqualified "predetermined," then how about, "From when the forces engage at about 11:30 the outcome of the battle was inevitable."   Those who seek to refight it with 20-20 hindsight might as well be taking part in the Monty Python skit, "What if Napoleon had B-52s at Waterloo."
6pdr, I am not sure if that is a fair comparison; no one on here has suggested that Pulleine or Durnford should have used any resources other than what should have been available to them, including intelligence.

Julian, words like "predetermined" and "fate" are too close to "luck" for my liking.

Am I the only member of this forum who thinks that the Zulus won the Battle of iSandlwana, in no small part due to their intelligence, planning and tactical nous?
If "poor Pulleine and Durnford" and Chelmsford for that matter did not have the correct intelligence to inform their decisions then WHY NOT?
The Zulus KEPT IT FROM THEM by stealth and good tactical awareness. Think! Was manouevring 25,000 keen and highly strung warriors into a position to attack the camp, without the enemy being aware (until too late) all just down to good luck?

Hello - is there anyone out there?
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:10 pm

kopie i agree with all that, and ive
been saying the same for more
years than i care to remember. agree 
xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:13 pm

xhosa2000 wrote:
kopie i agree with all that, and ive
been saying the same for more
years than i care to remember. agree 
                               xhosa
Fab!
Well at least that's 2 of us!
agree 
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:20 pm

kopie/xhosa
No, predetermination and fate do not mean the same as luck.  And, note, you used 'luck', I didn't.
And I also believe that the Zulus won the battle due to their intelligence, planning and tactics (I would add bordering-on-the-fanatical bravery too). So that's three of us.
What you say about poor British intelligence and Zulu stealth is also perfectly true...BUT that was not what was being asked in the original question.  That was: once the battle had commenced, how would we (I) have fought it.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:29 pm

kopie wrote:
Am I the only member of this forum who thinks that the Zulus won the Battle of iSandlwana, in no small part due to their intelligence, planning and tactical nous?
You are most certainly NOT.  Nothing I have said is inconsistent with that position...and, while I cannot speak for him, logically speaking nothing Julian wrote is inconsistent with that either.

The B-52's I mentioned were in lieu of other unnatural advantages such as "the perfect laager," "the perfect square," "the perfect commander," "gatling guns," or most egregiously of all, "perfect 20-20 HINDSIGHT." I have seen all of these posited in this forum if not in this thread.
   


kopie wrote:
Was manouevring 25,000 keen and highly strung warriors into a position to attack the camp, without the enemy being aware (until too late) all just down to good luck?
Of course not, but that occurred PRIOR to the day of battle and the infinite micro-analysis endlessly conducted here.  You just have a chip on your shoulder wrt this issue.  "Inevitable" has NOTHING to do with luck.  It indicates a status of checkmate, which usually occurs after making superior moves.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:41 pm

Thanks for clarifying Julian, 6pdr.

Of course, good laagering, perfect square, better commanding and Gattling guns would have been feasible on the 22nd January 1879.
B52 deployment was not an option 6pdr, as I have a sneaky suspicion, you are fully aware!
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:48 pm

kopie wrote:
Thanks for clarifying Julian, 6pdr.

Of course, good laagering, perfect square, better commanding and Gattling guns would have been feasible on the 22nd January 1879.
B52 deployment was not an option 6pdr, as I have a sneaky suspicion, you are fully aware!
True, B-52's were not available to Chelmsford...or for that matter, Napoleon either. They are clearly an American armament.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:53 am

Kopie
I believe everything in life requires a certain amount of luck.

"Luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity"

Think of the series of points the impi could have been seen.

Lt Brown on the 20th, if he had gone South around Silutshane instead of North.
The Mounted volunteers on the 21st, moving a bit faster up the valley instead of having a cup of tea on the Mangeni stream.
A look out being on top of iSandlwana.
The look out on Quabe hill ( God only knows where he was looking.
Chelmsford being stopped by the two messengers on the night of the 21st whilst on a recce across the Nyoni Plateau.
The Carbineer patrols out on the morning of the 22nd, Bullock?

As my alter ego, "The Devils Advocate " would say, what on earth was so good about Ntshingwayo?
He nearly gets discovered on 6 separate occasions. Allows his regiments to go walk about all over the plateau on the morning of the 22nd ( That directly lead to the battle.)
Then looses control of his whole army and lets the battle start.
Cant change tactics fast enough to avoid loosing 20 to 25% of his men.

Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


Just thinking out loud Very Happy 
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6pdr

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:34 pm

springbok9 wrote:

As my alter ego, "The Devils Advocate " would say, what on earth was so good about Ntshingwayo?
He nearly gets discovered on 6 separate occasions. Allows his regiments to go walk about all over the plateau on the morning of the 22nd ( That directly lead to the battle.)
Then looses control of his whole army and lets the battle start.
Cant change tactics fast enough to avoid loosing 20 to 25% of his men.
Hmmm indeed. Didn't Napoleon say something to the effect that the winning General is the one who makes fewer mistakes? Or was that somebody else? Salute 
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:37 pm

Sounds more like Paton, and he made some beauts.
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kopie



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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana and hindsight   Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:33 pm

springbok9 wrote:

Ntshingwaya: Allows his regiments to go walk about all over the plateau on the morning of the 22nd ( That directly lead to the battle.)
Then looses control of his whole army and lets the battle start.
Cant change tactics fast enough to avoid loosing 20 to 25% of his men.
 
I can see where you're coming from in much of what you said above springbok, but the points up there I have some problems with.
I dispute that the Zulu were directly lead into battle against their plans by Raw's patrol discovering them, or that Ntshingwayo lost control of his army.
The Zulu army were clearly in their appointed positions to commence the attack when Raw "discovered" the impi (if "discovered" is the correct word. (Very much like saying Tasman "discovered" Australia, or Colombus "discovered" the Americas - hell, the non white man was there first, no?)
I also dispute that Ntshingwayo lost control of his army.
What makes me think this, what is the evidence?
The evidence is what happened in the next couple of hours.
Clearly, Raw came upon the Zulu army as it was about to commence its attack. Obviously when Raw came upon them, the Zulu regiments were in their appointed positions at the start of the attack. During the battle, each and every Zulu regiment knew its role, knew where to be and when, where to go and ultimately wiped out over a thousand defenders with superior weaponry, in a few hours. If that is "losing control" of your army, then perhaps more generals should have lost control of their armies over the coming ddecades.
If the Allies had lost control of their army on the first day of the battle of the Somme as just one example, perhaps they'd have been a little more successful on that first day?
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