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 The firing Line

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: The firing Line   Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:04 pm

Thought it may be of interest to the forum to see the firing line in full as the left horn and left chest would have seen it.
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PostSubject: The Firing line    Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:52 pm

Very Happy
90th
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:59 pm

Very nice...but what's the yellow line for? Wink

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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:54 pm

I guessing it's the firing line. Fairly spread out. We're they ordered to take up those positions, that far out from the camp ?
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:43 am

To me the 7-pounders were the line's lynchpin. The further they moved out -- and they seemed to have inched forward to fire down in to the depression before them -- the more the line had to expand to accommodate or defend them. So, to me, whoever was siting the guns was defacto positioning the line.
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:39 am

Chard /6pd
Quite right Chard that is the firing line.
The guns were situated behind the firing line firing over the heads of the NNC. It was I think H company (?) that moved forward to fire down into the donga. The position of the guns was fluid, Smith took one across to fire at the left horn. But were they the linch pin or did they slot into a vulnerable position? Interesting debate.

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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:49 am

Agreed. An interesting debate/discussion. I certainly can't prove it...but it makes intuitive sense to me that the guns would anchor the line. And I bet that company moved forward in support of the guns doing so.

The infantry would align along their flanks to protect them etc...which is more or less the way Chelmsford drew it up. The spot they chose to place the guns proved vulnerable in the long run but it commanded a very wide swathe of the battlefield in the mean time...as is evidenced by firing to help cover the British right with Smith's detached gun.

OTOH I find it hard to believe the NNC would long stay in a position with guns firing over their heads unless they were very far below. Generally speaking, that just wasn't done.
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:32 am

Its an interesting point. Time to look at Curling. 'We being mounted moved of before the infantry and took up position to the left front of the camp.' So that would seem to agree with you. Possibly the position that the guns took up was dictated by the small rise they were on. And not really knowing the battlefield etiquette, would there have been some sort of marshall to put them into position? I cant believe that they would just trundle of on there own?
Even so its pretty evident that the guns did arrive first. And then with regard to the NNC, we don't really know who they were ! Two separate theories really, they were Barries men coming down of the ridge, or they were retreating from Amatutshane. In this context not really important in that they joined the line from the front, so the British troops were arriving from the rear and the NNC from the front, theres a point in there some where that's niggling me, why did they stop in front of the line? Historically they weren't the bravest of souls so why adopt that position?
Ah heres the niggle, I wonder if the NNC arrived first, the guns then positioned themselves above the NNC on the rise and then the troops arrived. If that is the situation then the gun position was dictated by the NNC.
Interesting
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:35 am

Im going to have to do some research but isn't there a comment some where about the guns firing to low over the NNC?
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:53 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Its an interesting point. Time to look at Curling. 'We being mounted moved of before the infantry and took up position to the left front of the camp.' So that would seem to agree with you. Possibly the position that the guns took up was dictated by the small rise they were on. And not really knowing the battlefield etiquette, would there have been some sort of marshall to put them into position? I cant believe that they would just trundle of on there own?

That's EXACTLY the question. I don't think even mobile guns went running around without somebody predetermining where they were headed before they touched a caisson. And I would think that positioning the guns would be a very crucial decision at a time when firing lines were still the norm. You wouldn't just delegate that to the closest subaltern would you? It requires a bit of experience. You would have to trust that guy. So who made that determination at Isandlwana?

springbok9 wrote:


Even so its pretty evident that the guns did arrive first. And then with regard to the NNC, we don't really know who they were ! Two separate theories really, they were Barries men coming down of the ridge, or they were retreating from Amatutshane. In this context not really important in that they joined the line from the front, so the British troops were arriving from the rear and the NNC from the front, theres a point in there some where that's niggling me, why did they stop in front of the line? Historically they weren't the bravest of souls so why adopt that position?

agree I can always count on you to think things through with a fresh eye Springbok. Very, very interesting!

springbok9 wrote:
Ah heres the niggle, I wonder if the NNC arrived first, the guns then positioned themselves above the NNC on the rise and then the troops arrived. If that is the situation then the gun position was dictated by the NNC.
Interesting

That possibility hadn't occurred to me. My question however is the same as yours. What would be the advantage of voluntarily positioning yourself in a depression? That's hard to swallow especially during this time and place. You wouldn't see the threats around you. You would surrender all the advantages of high ground in battle to the enemy. If your experience of war comes from a time when people were still propelling their weapons with arm strength being downhill during combat would be a significant disadvantage. And once the cannon start shooting?!
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:34 pm

I think theres often a misinterpretation here, depression/bottom of a slope. Looking at the area the guns were in ( don't forget where the RA monument is, is only an estimation by Ken Gillings and George Chadwick ) but from that area adjacent to the rocky ridge the ground slopes down then levels out. So POSSIBLY the NNC retreated to the across the flats till the bottom of the slope. The guns then positioned themselves !!!!!!!!!! above them on top of the slope. That's always a possibility. While Im at it let me give you another possibility that occurred to me last week. I was sitting on the rocky ridge, bar of chocolate and can of coke in hand ( traveling healthy) and it occurred to me that guns were only around 20 metres or so behind the NNC and possibly 3 to 4 metres above them. Can you imagine the crack that those NNC guys were hearing? Not to bad when the guns were elevated, but THEN Curling says they loaded with canister, fired of a couple of rounds and suddenly all hell broke loose. So heres a theory. The Zulu impi gets to the bottom of the ridge and works its way down the slope, the guns now start to depress and they change the load. They are now firing basically shrapnel into the Zulu ranks, the guns are depressed, the noise from the shell is different, louder, and the Zulus, by now are pretty close. Hell Im pretty sure that I would turn and bolt thinking those guns were about to fire at me. They bolt, takes a few minutes to get towards the guns, whoever is in charge of the line sees them, panics thinking the zulu have penetrated the line and sounds the recall.

The point im, badly, trying to make is that possibly the impi HAD NOT penetrated the line, the officer in charge saw a mass of black ( no rascism intended ) bodies rushing through the line and that caused the collapse. Ergo the line collapsed because of the change in ammunition of the guns and the elevation of the barrel.
Now if that theory doesn't provoke some outrage then nothing will......................

Have fun picking it to shreds.

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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:51 pm

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

This the view the left chest had coming of the notch/plateau. The NNC would have retreated over this ground to around the area of the Rondavels. You can see pretty clearly the difference in height from those rondavels to the top of the rocky ridge behind them. That's the area I think the NNC would have been. The guns were above them and around 20 metres or so back from the edge. Just in front of that position is the donga so again you can see the logic of H troop being alongside the guns and not seeing into the dead ground and so moving forward to get a clear shot. and then as the Zulus had crept forward the guns would be pretty sharply depressed. Poor bloody NNC were on a hiding to nothing, don't forget they probably had never heard the guns being fired before, and sure as hell not standing in front of them.

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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:54 pm

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This is the view from above the Rocky Ridge. You can only just see the tips of the rondavel roofs. So the NNC were virtually invisible to everyone.

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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:13 pm

springbok9 wrote:
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This is the view from above the Rocky Ridge. You can only just see the tips of the rondavel roofs. So the NNC were virtually invisible to everyone.

Cheers

Yup, that's the view Rob Caskie (sp?) presented on his tour to try to impress upon us why the guns may have been brought so far forward, thus (intentionally or not) extending the line. As a matter of fact, depending on exactly where you stand, you might even miss the rondavel roofs. I remember thinking, "Holy Cow, you could hide an entire panzer regiment down there."
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:29 pm

Can we infer from the sentence, "This of course relieved me of all responsibility for the movement of the guns." that Curling personally had picked out the placement of the guns?  

Or did he merely see they were moved to the spot that somebody present before him indicated was ideal?  If the latter, who was that person?  Melvill or possibly even Pulleine perhaps?  

What's the likelihood that somebody not in the artillery would be given -- or alternatively would have assumed -- responsibility for that rather crucial bit of business?
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:55 pm

springbok9 wrote:
So heres a theory. The Zulu impi gets to the bottom of the ridge and works its way down the slope, the guns now start to depress and they change the load. They are now firing basically shrapnel into the Zulu ranks, the guns are depressed, the noise from the shell is different, louder, and the Zulus, by now are pretty close. Hell Im pretty sure that I would turn and bolt thinking those guns were about to fire at me.

I don't care if a cannon has a giant silencer on its front, I wouldn't want to be in front of a gun firing case shot or the logical equivalent.  Yeah, that could make me rapidly displace with or without orders.  OTOH, the question is why be there in the first place?

Quote :
They bolt, takes a few minutes to get towards the guns, whoever is in charge of the line sees them, panics thinking the zulu have penetrated the line and sounds the recall.

There's an interesting twist!  But I would add another variable to the equation.  It didn't have to be whoever was in charge of the line locally.  It could have been whoever was watching from a longer distance -- making it that much harder to pick out the red pugarees around heads and biceps -- and standing within shouting distance of a bugler.  

Quote :
The point im, badly, trying to make is that possibly the impi HAD NOT penetrated the line, the officer in charge saw a mass of black ( no rascism intended ) bodies rushing through the line and that caused the collapse. Ergo the line collapsed because of the change in ammunition of the guns and the elevation of the barrel.

I think the point is quite well made...but I still feel it more likely 1) the NNC troops would not have been sitting there and 2) the order of withdrawal was probably guns triggering a bugle call rather than a bugle call triggering the the withdrawal of the guns.  Notice that Curling mentions crew -- Smith included -- getting shot.  That means Zulu with firearms were at musket ranges...probably less than 100 yards.  At that point the guns were limbered out of simple self preservation and in any case to a gunner saving them would have a much greater imperative than saving the colours.  So, they pull out without so much as a "by your leave, sir" and a retreat begins. Maybe it was helter-skelter, maybe the rock solid 24th fell back in perfect order, but either way the relatively unencumbered NNC troops would have caught up to and passed them returning to the imagined safety of the camp.

If you are observing all that from the HQ tent up on the ridge it surely could have looked like the Zulu had pierced the line, and indeed they would have been on everybody's heels regardless.

I like it Springbok, I like it a lot...or rather I would if I could believe that the NNC had a valid reason for sitting in front of those guns to begin with...    Salute      
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PostSubject: The Firing Line    Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:55 pm

Hi All
From what I've read over the years and saw this year , the guns , I believe , were in the best place for them to be as well as the firing line , they had to be so far out to lessen the effect of the dead ground , which is , was , in front of the tented camp . I do remember thinking when I was standing on the proposed firing line and the Artillery position there wasnt a better place to be tactically . I certainly believe the tactics were thought out to a certain degree , and if they werent , they wouldnt have travelled as far out to negate the dead ground , which in effect is what they did ! , so , someone had the foresight to scout the area which I think would certainly be done before the camp was pitched . Smith may have had the say in consultation with Glyn , LC and others , even though the British Officers never thought for an instant that the camp would be attacked , they , did still , I believe , check the lay of the land in close proximity to the proposed camp site .
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:49 am

Its often said that the worse thing about trying to understand iSandlwana is the lack of detail to be able to put it together. I would rather say that this what attracts so much in that we can formulate theories and put together ideas and then kick them to death. 6pd and 90th you've both been to the battle field and stood in all these spots we discuss, hopefully with an open mind, my bigger issues are with the establishment that says 'this is what happened and that's it.'
L and Q I greatly admire because they are prepared to open different doors and re look at things. Not that I believe they are right, but because they have the red sphericals to do it. History is there for interpretation.
One thing that do on a regular basis is go through my file on survivor statements and something that is very very apparent is that we take statements from a very limited and tunnel vision standpoint and apply to wider issues. Not one of the survivors had an overall view of the battle or its lead up. So those statements concern the very small immediate neighbourhood and are to a degree tainted by conversations with other survivors afterwards. Chinese whispers.
This is a long winded way really of justifying the sometimes of beat theories I come up with, they could have happened.
TGIF.
Les
I love it when you post the excerpts, I would beg a favour mate, please attribute them so the general forum members know who says what. Thanks Bro.
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:59 am

springbok9 wrote:
Thought it may be of interest to the forum to see the firing line in full as the left horn and left chest would have seen it.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Cheers

At what point in the Battle, would this firing line position have applied.Or was this the position from the start.
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:20 am

Hi Impi
the main line would have been from the start and then extended to cover the gap between Durnford and the end of the curve, so that shown would have been the towards the end.

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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Fri Oct 10, 2014 10:44 am

The more photo's I see showing the marked positions of the various Compaines, the more i'm drawn to the fact that would have been impossible to re-supply them with ammuntion. What ammuntion was getting though, was no more that hand, and cap falls.
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:49 am

Thanks Frank, attribution, yes of course,  well the first is of course Curling
from his letter's, and the second i thought everybody would have seen by
the typeface that is was from Drooglever, but you right for the forum 
members who don't know or cant remember i will say where there from..

I think the officer's of the Artillery during the Zulu War were of the usual
high standard of the British Army of that period. so i think we can take it as
read that Smith and Curling would be able to site their pieces in textbook
fashion taking in the situation and terrain at a glance..maneuverability
and flexibility a given!, but if you read the Curling extract more carefully, it
becomes apparent! the same feature that blighted the whole of the Battle..
Complacency!!. " and having in the last war, seen equally large bodies of
the enemy, Never dreamed they would come on"! a few crucial factors that
people are not taking account of sufficiently..Sharpshooter's. in the very real
sense, taking potshots at the officers maybe? knowing that taking out the 
command structure would weaken the enemy..and if Curling does nothing 
else he conveys the SPEED as events were overtaking them. no! the guns
were in the right place, but the Zulu dictated ultimately their movement.
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:47 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Hi Impi
the main line would have been from the start and then extended to cover the gap between Durnford and the end of the curve, so that shown would have been the towards the end.

ASSUMING that gap was ever anything like "covered," even temporarily.  Apart from Pope's (potential) wanderers it might have been simply enfiladed with fire until that was no longer feasible or adequate.  Just say'in...
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:42 pm

I was speaking pretty broadly relative to the length and position of the line. There was most certainly a gap in the line. There is testimony to the effect that firing was directed from the volunteers towards their left to stop the Zulu moving through that self same gap.

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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:13 pm

Springbok, in your opinion, how long would it have taken a man to get from the ammunition wagons back to the firing line, taking into consideration the terrain, climate & Battle ?
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PostSubject: The Firing Line    Fri Oct 10, 2014 10:22 pm

Hi CTSG
For what it's worth it wouldnt have been quickly ! Salute
90th Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sat Oct 11, 2014 6:36 am

CTSG
Actually for the North facing companies ( left of camp) not to long they would have been replenished from the 2/24th waggons so around a 300 to 400 metre a one way journey so around 10 to 15 minutes. The longest would have been down towards the companies from the guns towards the donga. That's a pretty long haul so by foot could have been 20 minutes. To Durnfords force and to Popes right flank, they would have got from the 1/24th then again 11 to 15 minutes.
90ths done the walk so Im sure his thoughts would be close to those figures, but as he says not that quick.

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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:13 am

Would it have been easy for mules to cover that distence, Laiden with ammunition boxes.
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:12 am

springbok9 wrote:
Actually for the North facing companies ( left of camp) not to long they would have been replenished from the 2/24th waggons so around a 300 to 400 metre a one way journey so around 10 to 15 minutes.

Yup and as the battle went on those troops only fell back or were driven back closer and closer to the 2/24th's ammo wagons until in one prominent account they were nearly on top of it.

But um, maybe distance wasn't the only factor. Depending on whether you believe the famous Smith-Dorrien anecdote about Bloomfield's parsimony, that may have slowed the flow too...or at least until the moment he was shot. Personally, I doubt there was any problem with ammunition up north.
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:14 am

Ulundi wrote:
Would it have been easy for mules to cover that distence, Laiden with ammunition boxes.

Yes, but you have to load the mules first. In some cases drummer boys were acting as the mules.
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PostSubject: The Firing Line    Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:41 am

I think it would've taken longer to get the mules or scotch carts out to the firing line , I think Springy's times could easily be doubled , The distances are great . you dont realise how far it actually is till you get there , plus the wagons were I think at the back of the camp , and would need to find there way to the firing line , which very possibly they couldnt take the shortest route because of the camp set up etc , then you need to have someone to get them out there , the mules couldnt get there on there own ! . I wonder how many knew they were basically going to die if they stayed and decided to forget about the firing line replenishment and who could blame them . Many of those who would be needed to pack the mules were gathered and given rifles and marched off to fire at the Impi, I cant remember who mentions this , it may have been Pulleine's Groom , Williams ? from memory , happy to be corrected . I certainly believe it wasn't done quickly .
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:26 am

Do you think the firing lines were let to their own fate.

90th wrote:
I wonder how many knew they were basically going to die if they stayed and decided to forget about the firing line replenishment


If those on the firing had known ammuntion wasn't coming in sufficient amounts, should they have made their way back to the camp earlier, where ammunition was plentiful.
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:48 am

Must dig through my notes, a few years back I paced of and timed various distances from the three ammunition sources, those being 1/24th 2/24th and Regimental reserves, down to the firing line.

Hi john
Gets us back to the old discussion on if or not there was an ammunition problem/shortage.


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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:15 pm

From measurements on the ground. Need to realise that at the time I carried no more than a haversack camera etc and was dressed in shorts, T shirt and Trainers. But only used a brisk walk. At a jog, carrying ammo wearing serge and boots ? Take your pick.
1/24 to Durnfords donga 2 kms, travelled along the track 24 minutes. Return uphill 29minutes.
2/24th to Durnfords Donga 2,6 Kms  cross country at right angles to camp then across small donga and diagonal, bad going 36 minutes. Returned uphill 42 minutes.
1/24th to Popes centre of line 1.1 kms down track to small donga then diagonal 13minutes returned same route 16 minutes.
2/24th to Popes centre of line 1.3 Kms 90 degrees to camp to small donga then diagonal 17minutes
returned same route 21 minutes
Reserve/hospital tent area to Popes centre of line 1.22 kms vertical to camp across small donger 17minutes, return 22 minutes
2/24th to guns position/Porteous 750 m easy going across rear of camp then down line 9 minutes, same return
2/24th to Younghusband withdrawn position into line. Across rear of NNC camp 400 metres 6 minutes
2/24th to Younghusband forward position under ridge same route 750 minutes 8 minutes  
2/24th to Cavaye position on ridge 1.8 kms 38 minutes return same
1/24th to Cavaye position on ridge 2.4 kms 51 minutes across rear of NNC across plain then broke of as village in the way, sidetracked around village and picked up measurement at foot of ridge, continued using track. No return measurement.
2/24th to 1 /24th 600 m 7 minutes.
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90th

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PostSubject: The Firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:27 pm

Hi John
I dont know if the firing line was left to its own fate , we know they were brought in at some stage during the Battle . Way , way back in the Ammunition Question , I did actually question if the withdrawl back to the camp was indeed compounded by a lack , or a supposed shortage of rounds , getting to the firing line , several think that this wasnt the reason they fell back , but as others say , I do think an open mind should be exercised . Once again it's conjecture I know , but the Battle is basically one of conjecture in regard to what actually happened on the 22nd Jan . I'm not having a swipe at Springy and his times , I do think though it took longer to get the wagons / mules to the firing lines , we know there are reports of individuals taking ammunition to the front line , which to me suggests that the Mules or Wagons were taking possibly to long to get there ? . Happy to be picked apart as my mate Springy has said numerous times !! Don\'t agree Shocked .
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:27 pm

Fully agree with my antipodean mate, we don't and will never know. the times Ive posted are what it took me to cover the distances, in battle conditions with an arm full of ammo or driving a donkey cart or even leading a recalcitrant mule, they could be faster slower or never get there. The ground conditions are really bad down on the rocky ridge or East of the small donga, unless using the track, so Im not even certain they could get a cart or wagon down there.
To the Northern front Cavaye, Younghusband I wouldn't say there were any problems getting supplies, once past the guns, different story.

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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:44 pm

And never lose sight of the fact of what they facing..
i wonder how many of those legs were wobbly with
fear and trepidation, how many orders went un-
heard in the confusion, how many hands and fingers
tremble and refused to obey a brain that was being
overwhelmed with the unfolding horror!.
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:06 pm

We also have reports that mules were seen, wondering the Battlefield laden with ammuntion boxes, kicking them off in a state of panic. Wonder what happened to those leading the mules. Perhaps 90th suggestion is correct, those taking the ammuntion bolted while the going was good.
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:41 pm



One day the penny will drop, and the true events of Isandlwana, will be what we have all known it to be. There's no mysteries as to what happened. 
The fact of the matter was, there was nothing but mass panic, there was no command, every company worked separately from other Companies, main aim getting the hell out of there. The last stands only come about because they were herded together by the Zulus. The eyewitness statements from those that escaped were generated around camp fires and behind closed doors ensuring most sang from the same hymn sheet a coverup to excuse the fact that nearly all those that escaped were officers who were luckily enough to have horse. Odd how the only VCs awarded was to those who had left the battlefield none awarded for valour on the Battelfield yet we here so many acts of bravery, Durford last stand, Younghusband's famous charge, Shepard killed in the act of tending a wounded man. The fact is my friends, the British were truly caught with their pants down, and then were so bold as to blame the NNC for their cock-up.  The commanders fought the battle, with their eyes wide shut. 
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:19 pm

Mate the penny dropped along time ago... agree
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:34 pm

That was all very cosy! till you remember ( if you ever knew ) that
most of the accounts telling of the incredible Bravery of the British,
Colonials and the Native troops came from the opposition the Zulu's!
sorry boys but you failed again, no goldfish. no coconut!   Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:46 pm

Xhosa wrote:
sorry boys but you failed again, no goldfish. no coconut!

You see its comments like this that halts discussions. Always on the offensive. No
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:54 pm

Sorry LH.i think you might be right. but
reread the above posts and see if i dont
have a point. i might be on the offensive,
but if i'm wrong then tell me why! do you
think i'm posting against an army of
schoolgirls..
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:08 pm



LH accounts by Zulu regarding the Battle of Isandlwana were all taken from Zulu interviewed by the British. So I would count on them being correct. 

Here's a good example.  Note how the Native in-question knew the names of nearly every officer that was at Isandlwana and the various companies. 

" Information received from Umtegolalo, a Zulu well known to Mr. Longeast, Interpreter to the Lieutenant-General, found wounded at Rorke's
Drift on the 23rd January. 
   Statement made by Natives regarding the Action of the 22nd January, at the Sandhlwana Hill.

   THE Zulu army had, on the day of the 21st January, been bivouacked between the Upindo and Babmango Hills, from which position a portion of them were able to see our mounted men, viz., the Natal Carabineers and the Mounted Police, on the Ndhlaza Kazi Hill, and were seen by them.
The army consisted of the Undi Corps, the Nokenke and Umcityu Regiments, and the Nkobamakosi and Inbonambi Regiments, who were severally about 3000, 7000, and 10,000 strong, being the picked troops of the Zulu army.
   During the night of the 21st January, they were ordered to move in small detached bodies to a position about a mile and a half to the east of the camp at Sandhlwana, on a stony table-land about 1000 yards distant from and within view of the spot visited by Lord Chelmsford and Colonel Glyn on the afternoon of the 21st January.
On arriving at this position, they were ordered to remain quiet, not showing themselves or lighting fires. Their formation was as follows:—The centre was occupied by the Undi Corps ; the right wing by the Nokenke and Umcityu ; and the left by the Inbonambi and the Nkobama Kosi Regiments.
   Their orders from the King were to attack Colonel Glyn and No. 3 Column, and to drive it back across the boundary river. They had, however, no intention whatever of making any attack on the 22nd January, owing to the state of the moon being  unfavourable from a superstitious point of view. The usual sprinkling of the warriors with medicine previous to an engagement had not taken place, nor had the war song been sung, or the religious ceremonies accompanying been performed. They were going to make their attack either during the night of the 22nd or at daylight on the 23rd, and, trusting in their number, felt quite secure of victory.
When, on the morning of the 22nd January the mounted Basutos, under the command of Colonel Durnford, R.E., discovered their position and fired at a portion of the Umcityu Regiment, that regiment immediately sprung up without orders, and charged. It was at once followed by the Nokenke, Inbonambi, and Nkobamakosi Regiments, the Undi Corps holding its ground. 
   Up to this point in the day there had been no fighting. Early in the morning, soon after the departure of Colonel Glyn and the troops with him, a bod (probably a company of the Natal Native Contingent) had been ordered to scout on the left, but do riot seem to have come upon the enemy. About nine A.M. (approximately), Colonel Durnford arrived with 250 mounted men and 250 Native Infantry, who were at once divided into three bodies, one being sent to the left, east (who came into contact with the Umcityu Regiment), one to the left front, and one to the rear, along the wagon-road (which is supposed to have gone after the baggage wagons brought up by Colonel Durnford,R.E). 
   At this period of the day the position of the troops was as follows. They were drawn up to the left of the Native Contingent Camp, with the guns facing the left. A message was now brought by a Natal Native Contingent officer, probably one of Colonel Durnford's mounted men, that the Zulus were advancing in great force, and firing was heard towards the left (the firing of the mounted Basutos against the Umcityu Regiment).
   It is stated by a wagon driver that a consultation now took place between Colonel Durnford and Colonel Pulleine, during which he imagined there was a difference of opinion, Colonel Pulleine ultimately, however, giving way to his superior officer.
A Company of the 1st Battalion 24th were then moved up to the neck between the Sandhlwana Hill and the position occupied by the Zulus, where they at once became engaged with the Umcityu Regiment whose advance they completely checked for the time. The distance of this neck is about a mile and a half from camp.
   Meanwhile the Zulus had advanced in the following order. The Umcityu Regiment formed the right Centre, and was engaged with one company 1st Battalion 24th Regiment, and about 200 of Colonel Durnford's natives; the left centre was composed of the Nokenke Regiment who were being shelled by the two guns as they advanced. Next to them on the left, came the Inbonambi Regiment with the Nkobamakosi Regiment outside of it) both making a turning movement and
threatening the front of the camp, while driving before them a body of Colonel Durnford's mounted men, supported by a patrol of Volunteers. The Undi Corps, on seeing that the other four regiments had commenced the attack, as above, inarched off to their right, and, without fighting, made for the north side of the Sandhlwana Hill, being concealed by it until, their turning movement being completed, they made their appearance to the west of the Sandhlwana at the spot were the wagon road crosses the neck. Meanwhile the Nkobaroakosi Regiment had become engaged on the left front of the camp with our infantry, and Buffered very severely, being repulsed three times, Until the arrival of the Inbonambi Regiment enabled them to push forward, along the south front of the camp and complete their turning movement. This produced an alteration in the position held by those defending the camp. Two companies of the 24th Regiment and all the mounted Europeans being sent to the extreme right of the camp, at the spot where the road cuts through it. The guns were moved to the right of the Native Contingent camp, having the nullah below them to their left lined by the Native Contingent; three companies of the 1st Battalion 24th Regiment remained on the left of the camp, supported on their left by the body of Mounted Basutos, who had been driven back by the Umcityu Regiment. The one company of the 1st Battalion 24th Regiment which had been thrown out to the neck, was now retiring, fighting.
    By this time the attack of the enemy extended along the whole front of the camp, a distance of not less than 800 yards, and along the whole left, a distance of about 600 yards, and although they were still held in check by our fire, they were advancing rapidly towards the gaps between the troops. Up to this point their advance had been steady, and made without noise, but now they began to double and to call to one another. The camp followers and the Native Contingent began to fly, making for the right, and in a few minutes more the troops were forced to retire upon the tents to avoid being cut off, as the Zulus had now burst through the gaps. So far, very few men had fallen on our side, the fire of the enemy being far from good, but as the men fell back the Zulus came with a rush, and in a very few minutes it became a hand to hand conflict. About this time also the Undi corps, made its appearance on the right rear of the camp, completely cutting off any retreat towards Rorke's Drift. Fortunately the Nkobamakosi, instead of attempting to completely surround the camp by making a junction with the Undi, followed the retreating natives, thus leaving a narrow passage open for escape, which was taken advantage of by such as were able to escape out of the camp. A few were met and killed by the Uudi, but that corps, believing that the camp was already plundered, decided to make the best of their way to Rorke's Drift, and plunder it, never dreaming that any opposition could be offered by the few men they knew to be there.
The loss of the Zulus must have been exceedingly heavy.  The Umcityu were frightfully cut up by the single company of the 1st Battalion 24th Regiment, which was sent out of camp, and never returned; the Nkobamakosi fell in heaps ; the hill down which the Nokenke came was covered with slain; and the loss of the Undi at Rorke's Drift cannot be less than 500; they killed all their own wounded who were unable to get away.
Much astonishment was expressed by the Zulus at the behaviour of our soldiers, firstly, regarding their death dealing powers considering their numbers; secondly, because they did not run away before the enormous numerical superiority of the enemy.
(Signed).
W. DRUMMOND,
Head-quarter Staff."

Source COE
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:31 pm

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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:53 pm

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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:58 am

For the forums interest this is the walking map I did a few years back.
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Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:28 am

Springbok. Looks like a complexed map, can you give a break down, regarding representation of what it all means.
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PostSubject: Re: The firing Line   Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:54 am

Hi Mr G
It is a sketch I drew as I was walking around the battlefield. The kidney shape to the left of the page is the mountain itself then below that a horizontal line represents the road and below that a circle represents the Blacckc Koppie. At the top of the page is a wavy line, that is the position of the Nyoni ridge and to the right another circle is the conical Koppie.
It was drawn just so I could put the measurements down, from key places to areas things occurred ie: the distance from the ammunition wagons to Durnfords donga and to the front line etc.
Ive made many sketches such as this all over the battlefield from Ngwebini through to Mangeni they really are for my own edification so I can test statements such as the distance ammunition was carried etc.
When wondering around the battlefields I wear a pedometer and concurrently time the walks. All part of the "hobby". Very Happy I just thought it may be of interest .

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