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 Changes after Isandlwana

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John

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PostSubject: Changes after Isandlwana   Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:39 pm

What changes were made after the Battle of Isandlwana with regards to British regulations. I know the square formation was adopted once again, and some ammunition boxes where un-screwed ready for distribution along with screwdrivers.
Should the Zulus have had other victories, or were the British to relaxed and over confident.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:23 am

The Zulu impis were more akin to a militia or in US terms, "the national guard."  They were not a standing military force and when they were called up it might be for non-military functions.  So, in the abstract one might argue that it would have done better to fight something more akin to a guerrilla war than fixed battles, but that wasn't an option with the harvest to be brought in. Of course the great fear even before Isandlwana was that Zulu bands would invade and lay waste to Natal. Cetshwayo forbade that strategy and to me it's unclear what the outcome of that would have been.  

It comes down to political will. The British had the resources to maintain a full time professional army but it was extremely expensive as a garrison force, let alone when it had to be reinforced to make multiple forays.

Apart from the minor things you mentioned the British also didn't wear their red uniforms or carry their colours on to the battlefield much after the AZW either.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:15 pm

John,

John wrote:
Should the Zulus have had other victories...

They did at Ntombe & Hlobane.  Months on from iSandlwana British forces were still underestimating the forces opposing them.  Just my thoughts.

In answer to your original question, some of Lord Chelmsford's manuals of instruction were issued in a 2nd Edition, but sadly the advice still went unheeded.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:37 am

the British also didn't wear their red uniforms or carry their colours on to the battlefield much after the AZW either.says 6pdr..

see video posted on Nairne thread. The 1st War of Indepedence..the Battle
of Laings Nek was said to be the last occasion Colours were carried on
campaign.

At the first battle at Bronkhorstspruit, Lieutenant-Colonel Philip Anstruther[4] and 120 men of the 94th Foot (Connaught Rangers) were dead or wounded by Boer fire within minutes of the first shots. Boer losses totalled two killed and five wounded. This mainly Irish regiment was marching westward toward Pretoria, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Anstruther, when halted by a Boer commando group. Its leader, Commandant Frans Joubert, (brother of General Piet Joubert), ordered Anstruther and the column to turn back, stating that the territory was now again a Boer Republic and therefore any further advance by the British would be deemed an act of war. Anstruther refused and ordered that ammunition be distributed. The Boers opened fire and the ambushed British troops were annihilated. With the majority of his troops dead or wounded, the dying Anstruther ordered surrender.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:48 pm

Yup, and you know who else survived that one? "Lucky" Essex. That guy was a talisman...or maybe in Royal Navy terms, a "Jonah."
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:20 pm

John Young wrote:
John,

John wrote:
Should the Zulus have had other victories...

They did at Ntombe & Hlobane.  Months on from iSandlwana British forces were still underestimating the forces opposing them.  Just my thoughts.

In answer to your original question, some of Lord Chelmsford's manuals of instruction were issued in a 2nd Edition, but sadly the advice still went unheeded.

John Y.

Totally Agree. Why did it take so long for the British to get it right.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:27 pm

"Lucky" Essex. in my opinion was a
soldier of his time! he faced enemy
fire in the open, guess that makes
him as brave as the next man..
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6pdr

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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:32 pm

Perhaps so...but he had a regrettable habit of turning up at military disasters.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:53 pm

"From this it would appear that the Boers had only two killed and five wounded, but I cannot reconcile this with the statements of several non-commissioned officers of the 94th, who, on going to a farm close by the camp the day after the action, saw 27 coffins lying outside, close to an open grave, ready for burial. A Boer there told them there were others lying dead on the farms round about, but the number he could not or would not tell." - Journal of Edward Essex
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:10 pm

"A thing that stuck us both (the Provost Sergeant was with me) was that there appeared to be an unusually large number of saddle horses standing about the premises. We thought little of it at the time, and dismissed the matter from our minds. Had we only realised, this was a very significant and sinister fact, as we did later, when we were informed by the Boers themselves that this farm was the rendezvous of the Boers who had been following the regiment during the past two days, at a distance, all the way from the house in which was being held the 'friendly' meeting of which the Colonel had been informed on the 18th December." - Journal of Edward Essex

Essex had to be rousted from his tent by a sergeant to realize the battle of Isandlwana was taking place. He was no more perspicacious here...with lamentable consequence for those around him. I think he should have been called "What, me worry?" Essex.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:17 pm

When i think of some of the officers in that
campaign, the phrase ' lions led by donkeys '
springs to mind, and they did'nt fare much
better in the second show not that many
years later, but i dont think Essex could be
blamed or ridiculed for being ' lucky '..
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:33 pm

Still, one might have thought that coming from the transport arm of the army, Essex of all officers would have been sensitive to such anomalies. Do you know how ridiculous it was? Instead of getting suspicious, they became worried about their men eating from the peach trees on the farm. So they paid some money for the "damages" and went on about their business until ambushed.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:38 pm

Dave,

The simple answer to your question is arrogance.

The same root cause of defeats such as the Braddock Massacre in 1755; Saratoga in 1777; New Orleans in 1814; Kut in 1916 and Malayan Peninsular & Singapore campaign of 1941/2 to quote some other British examples.

Not that it is an exclusively British attitude: Adowa 1896; Pearl Harbor 1941 & Dien Bien Phu 1954, all illustrate that other nations are equally capable of underestimating the prowess of the opposition.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:00 pm

Certainly Ntombe was based on arrogance! The problem is who's to blame for that disaster.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:01 pm

How old
do you think Essex was at this time, and where
was his vast experience gained so soon after
Isandhlwana?. i think you might be being just
a little bit harsh on him! i hope you know the
mindset of young officers fresh off the playing
fields of Eton and the such like, the power of
that indoctrination can never be underestimated!
they called it ' breeding ' naivety can and often
did carry an awful pricetag..and it carried over
into the great war, but one thing about the
english officer, he was on the whole sanguine and
cheerfully got slaughtered along with his men! not
much room for independent thought, that was
anathema to him.
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PostSubject: Changes after Isandlawana   Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:05 am

Dave
Captain David Moriarty was the officer in charge at Ntombe , so therefore it seems quite clear he was at fault ! .
90th
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:58 pm

xhosa2000 wrote:
How old
do you think Essex was at this time, and where
was his vast experience gained so soon after
Isandhlwana?

Essex was born 13 November 1847, so 31 at Isandlwana and saw out the war (being present at Ulundi) as Director of Transport. At Laings Neck and Ingogo he would have been only 33 BUT by that time he had been promoted to major and made Quartermaster General of the Natal Field Force, suggesting he ought to have been able to tell a hacksaw from a hand grenade. The man he worked for, Colley, apparently could not -- with the result that he was killed at Majuba.  

Quote :
i think you might be being just
a little bit harsh on him!

Yes, I am.  Napoleon famously said bring me lucky generals by which he meant those present at victories.  I think he would have found Essex did not fit the bill.  I once saw a reporter interview an athlete after he was on his fourth different championship team.  She asked him what accounted for "his incredible string of luck."  Many of us in the audience wished her to consider that his presence may have been more than a series of happy coincidences...that he had certain talents that teams sought out.  

Quote :
i hope you know the
mindset of young officers fresh off the playing
fields of Eton and the such like, the power of
that indoctrination can never be underestimated!
they called it ' breeding ' naivety can and often
did carry an awful pricetag..and it carried over
into the great war, but one thing about the
english officer, he was on the whole sanguine and
cheerfully got slaughtered along with his men! not
much room for independent thought, that was
anathema to him.

I don't think the situation encountered by a lieutenant or even a major in 1914 was comparable to the colonial period where the actions were of so much smaller a scale as to not be relevant. Besides the discontinuity in scale, the emergence of new weapons and tactics made it such that the British Expeditionary Force of 1914 was not likely to have been able to anticipate the war it was embarking upon.  And in any case the French, Germans and armies of the east made equally disastrous mistakes in 1914.  One important point about the colonial period is that you CAN evaluate (or at least theorize about) the  responsibility for and decisions of individual [colonial] officers...even if we will forever disagree on their merits. The mass armies of 1914 make that ever more problematic going forward.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:28 pm

i hope you know the
mindset of young officers fresh off the playing
fields of Eton and the such like, the power of
that indoctrination can never be underestimated!
they called it ' breeding ' naivety can and often
did carry an awful pricetag..and it carried over
into the great war, but one thing about the
english officer, he was on the whole sanguine and
cheerfully got slaughtered along with his men! not
much room for independent thought, that was
anathema to him........


"I don't think the situation encountered by a lieutenant or even a major in 1914 was comparable to the colonial period where the actions were of so much smaller a scale as to not be relevant."


Kindly reread the above again! yes mechanisation caught the british on the hop initially..for
instance we fully expected to engage in cavalry charge's only to encounter the maxim's! my
point which you sidestep as usual is the mindset of the officer class! your comment in
quotations immediately above my post i'm afraid illuminates my point..the officer class where
considered gentlemen! ( their title of course ) and gentlemen were expected ( forced ) to
behave in a certain way..it was only after the first year or so, that the cream of the
'aristocracy ' the gentlemen referred to were blown away and replaced by a new breed of
officer!!!. these new lieutenants,captains, majors,and even to some extent the colonels
would learn very quickly this ' new ' art of mechanised warfare..

They say the life expectancy of front line junior officers was only several weeks, and if they
did not listen to the senior nco's who did know better, and were appalled at the casual
way the gentlemen had thrown away countless thousands of lives..well their life expectancy
could be counted in days..bang.one in the back of the head!. of course the real monsters
was the butchers like haig and french and their ilk.these are my own opinions..
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:29 pm

Maybe so. And? The French officer class nearly wiped itself out in 1914 as well...wearing white gloves while doing so, btw. (Before there was American exceptionalism...there was British exceptionalism.)

My guess is that the enforced insularity of behaving like a proper gentleman was more of a detriment during the colonial period because so many of them survived and prospered for so long. You are right that things changed radically during the early part of the Great War. It's also important to note men like Richard Burton and T.E. Laurence when making generalizations.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:01 pm

Maybe so. And?....(Before there was American exceptionalism...there was British exceptionalism.)


the early part of the Great War. It's also important to note men like Richard Burton and T.E. Laurence when making generalizations......you can pick two examples out of many thousand's..you my friend
are just too simplistic! exceptionalism..thats an americanism is it not...of all the beautiful words in
the ENGLISH language you chose that..ouch my ears are bleeding!.  Very Happy 
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:07 pm

90th wrote:
Dave
Captain David Moriarty was the officer in charge at Ntombe , so therefore it seems quite clear he was at fault ! .
90th

Wasn't there a Lt on the other side. Harwood ?
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PostSubject: Changes after Isandlwana    Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:35 pm

Dave
Moriarty was in command , it was his decision to build the V shaped laager where and how it was built . Harwood was a Lt who was on the other side of the river , a Capt as you are aware outranks a Lt , Major Tucker the day or so before the massacre saw the Laager and told Moriarty he wasnt impressed with it as the wagons were to far apart , it seems Moriarty did nothing to strengthen the position . The story goes Harward sent a message to Moriarty stating that his sentry ( Harward's ) had heard a gunshot from Moriarty's side , Moriarty did nothing , and paid the price with his life and his men's not long after ! . Harward fled when things were looking grim on his side of the river , leaving Clr Sgt Anthony Booth to soldier on ! , not sure if you are aware but Booth earnt the Victoria Cross that day . Harward's excuse for fleeing was he'd gone for help ! . He had to face a courts - Martial , was cleared , although Wolseley wasnt happy with the findings .
Cheers 90th
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:41 pm

90th wrote:
Harward fled when things were looking grim on his side of the river
I think Harwood defended his actions, by saying he was the only one who had a horse.
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PostSubject: Re: Changes after Isandlwana   Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:11 pm

Impi,

That's if you discount the two Mounted Infantrymen on that side of the river.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Changes after Isandlwana   Fri Jul 11, 2014 5:14 am

Impi why did he Harward have to go ? , he could easily have sent Booth or another NCO ! . That he owned the horse isnt a valid point in my opinion . A horse is a horse , someone else could've gone for help ! .  No 
90th

PS . And let not forget Harward's first words when he fell through the door or whatever to see Tucker , '' they are all killed ! ''
If you were riding for help as Harward suggested , I doubt those words would be the first out of your mouth ! . He thought they would all be dead , because , when he left he saw no hope of any of them surviving , so he departed , and quickly I'd imagine !  You need to study mo .
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