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 Artillery supplies

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Ray63

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PostSubject: Artillery supplies   Sun May 18, 2014 10:32 am

What supplies did the artillery have when on the march. We see Lieutenant-Colonel Harness, Royal Artillery. Being order not to return to Isandlwana, but to stick to his original order. What impact would Harness have had if he had returned. Would he have had enough supplies ie shells. Powder ect. To have held his ground if attacked.? Did the Artillery crews have MH rifles?
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Artillery supplies   Sun May 18, 2014 4:07 pm

Ray63,

I'll answer your last question.

Twelve 0.577 Snider carbines per-battery, so two carbines for each cannon of the battery so to speak.

In addition there were seventy-four sword bayonets. Not quite enough for a battery-strength of what should have amounted to a hundred & sixty-seven other-ranks.

To my knowledge there were no pistols or swords worn by the other-ranks of the battery, with the possible exception of the battery's Serjeant-Major & the Quartermaster Serjeant. I believe the events of Isandlwana changed that though.

Details of the number of shells carried on the limber can be found on [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

John Y.
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Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: Artillery supplies   Sun May 18, 2014 10:29 pm

John thanks for the quick reply. Do we know what range the guns had.?
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barry

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PostSubject: Range ,RML 7 and 9 pounders   Mon May 19, 2014 6:10 am

Hi Ray63,
These cannon used in the AZW by the RA , the RML 7 and  9 pounders had an effective range of 3000 and 3100 yards respectively. The range may have varied a little, depending on the type of shell used.
The AZW started with the  RML 7  in use, but that was  was changed, as the war advanced, with the introduction of the heavier RML 9's. These were mostly borrowed from the RN ( eg HMS Boadecia) on which improvised carriages were used.
The carriage of the RML7, originaly intended as a mountain gun, was modified for South African use. The design changes  included the fitting of larger diameter wheels on the carriage, thus giving an increase in height to improve ground clearance.

regards

barry

PS : The construction of the barrels in the early guns was interesting in that there were three parts to it including a twisted steel forging ( much like the Damascus barrel shotguns) comprising the mid section and an outer tube enclosing it.  Rifling was three groove in the inner tube.


Last edited by barry on Tue May 20, 2014 6:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Artillery supplies   Mon May 19, 2014 9:06 am

There are quite a few letters from soldiers that returned to Isandlwana in the aftermath. Some say they re-took the camp, cannons clearing the ground ahead. Would this have been the case or had the Zulu left the camp Prior to there arrival?
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barry

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PostSubject: Clearing the camp   Mon May 19, 2014 9:31 am

Hi 24th,
It is recorded that when Chelmsford returned to the camp on the afternoon of the disaster that the RA's RML 7 cannon were used and three or four shots were fired into the camp. As it was already dark  when this happened the efficacy is in question, so in my mind the short cannon fusillade  would hardly have cleared anything and really only served to make a lot of noise.
The few Zulu's who were left in the camp at that time were probably too intoxicated to move, who, in their orgy of pillage and destruction had  cleared out the  Brigade Surgeons tent and drank  demijohns of surgical spirit and anti-septic carbolic solution.
So, the enemy opposition remaining then was about nil ,.... if they were still bipedal and/ or compus mentus.
However , before going in, Chelmsford did rally the  troops telling them to fix bayonets and do the good thing. All too late however, as the Impi had  already departed .

regards

barry


Last edited by barry on Tue May 20, 2014 6:41 am; edited 2 times in total
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Artillery supplies   Mon May 19, 2014 6:14 pm

Do we know exactly what these Zulu's were supposed to have drunk, surgical spirit wouldn't kill you, you would vomit before any harm was done!
I read that some drank ink. Are we saying that the British didn't have water supplies in the camp.
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Artillery supplies   Mon May 19, 2014 10:29 pm

The two recovered cannon of N Battery, 5th Brigade, Royal Artillery back under the Union Flag.

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The recovered cannon of N/5, photographed early September 1879 at Ulundi.
John Young Collection.

Charles Norris-Newman describes the firing of the four remaining cannon in his book:

C. L. Norris-Newman wrote:
...At a distance of within a mile, where the ground rose to the site of the camp, we could see, by the shadows against the horizon, on the top of the neck of land, where our road ran back to the Bashee Valley, and so on to Rorke's Drift, that the enemy had dragged numerous waggons, so as to place a sort of barrier across our only road back.  And from behind this we thought we could hear the hoarse cries of the enemy, and the rattle of their knob-kerries and assegais against their shields.  A halt was therefore made to allow the guns to pour four rounds of shrapnel into the barricade, when the advance was resumed. ...

John Y.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Artillery supplies   Mon May 19, 2014 10:49 pm

Why did I expect the barrels to be larger? They hardly look man enough to cause enough damage to turn the enemy.
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barry

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PostSubject: The RML 7   Thu May 22, 2014 2:25 pm

Hi Littlehand,
Agreed, the fitting of larger wheels made the already puny weapon look more ridiculous. However ,it was originally designed as a mountain gun and kept small for hauling around high places, but it was totaly inadeqaute for the task in SA. So, once the wheels were changed the trail and the spade were also modded, making it a real ugly duckling. It was however soon replaced by the RML 9, its big brother.

regards

barry
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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Re: Artillery supplies   Thu May 22, 2014 3:18 pm

Hi Barry.

I seem to remember reading that the larger wheels were fitted for haulage through long grass, but they do look a bit odd with such a small weapon.

Hope your keeping well mate.  Salute 
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Re: Artillery supplies   Thu May 22, 2014 8:36 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Artillery supplies   Thu May 22, 2014 8:50 pm

it might be me, but the prices seem cheaper
than the uk!. thanks for that.
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barry

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PostSubject: RML 7pounder wheels   Fri May 23, 2014 4:18 am

Hi Saul,
Thanks for that.
The diameter of these original wheels, being 36 inches means that the axle tree was less than 18inches off the ground. That well illustrates the unsuitablilty of the RML7 carriage , as originally designed, for SA conditions .

regards

barry
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