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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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 Durnford was he capable. 4

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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:11 am

Julian Whybra wrote:
Phew! Many posts.

CTSG
You must look again at Durnford's final orders and read all of it carefully.  They are most ambiguous.
Ray
You cannot put your back to Isandhlwana and defend it.  Where do you put the end of your flanks so that you can't be outflanked on higher ground.  You always are.  And if you tried, you would have lost the camp anyway.
24th
Clery's verbal orders were to stay in the camp and defend it - a tautology?  Given the direction of the attack, the forces available, the natural defences available, the reported size of the threat, the reported location of the main impi, the need to deny access to the west and south of the camp, and the strictures of Chelmsford's instructions, Pulleine adopted the only perimeter line available to him.  One her very quickly, I am sure, he knew would not hold.

We know from accounts that the Zulu are was almost stopped with the amount of fire power chucked at it, this was because ammunition was in good supply. The fact that the ammunition ran out and the retreat back to the camp came to late was the cause of the disaster. If the men had stayed in the camp, there would have been more than enough ammunition to halt the Zulu Army. As we have been reminded many time the 24th were good old steady shots seasoned soldiers. And lets not forget Younghusband's take on the matter, he must have thought the hill made a natural defence, the only reason he appears to have given up was due to the lack of ammunition.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:12 am

Julian Whybra wrote:
CTSG
That's just it.  The orders were not ignored.  And yes, both officers lost the camp despite that.  And whose orders were they following?

Please explain Salute
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:35 am

CTSG

First, you have events in the wrong order. You wrote:
"We know from accounts that the Zulu are was almost stopped with the amount of fire power chucked at it, this was because ammunition was in good supply. The fact that the ammunition ran out and the retreat back to the camp came to late was the cause of the disaster."
The order of events was:
1. Zulus stopped in their tracks and lying down, providing the opportunity for a British tactical move.
2. The withdrawal back towards the camp (Durnford's attempt to concentrate the men) which they never managed because they were cut off from the ammunition waggons by Zulus entering the camp from the south and from over the Saddle.
3. Once surrounded and in coy-size groups and with the ammunition supply chain naturally broken the men obviously ran out of ammunition.

Secondly you wrote:
"If the men had stayed in the camp, there would have been more than enough ammunition to halt the Zulu Army."
The tautology is how do you physically stay WITHIN the camp and yet at the same time DEFEND it. You can't. The camp and all its stores would be lost. Simply placing the men along the perimeter of the tents and waggons was impossible. There weren't enough men (plus the fact that the rear, i.e. the mountain slope, could not be defended) and trying to move dog-carts of ammo through the tent area (even if they were collapsed) or between the waggons would have been impossible.

Thirdly you wrote:
"And lets not forget Younghusband's take on the matter, he must have thought the hill made a natural defence, the only reason he appears to have given up was due to the lack of ammunition."
Younghusband's coy proceeded, roughly speaking, southwards from the northern end of the mountain gradually up the slope. He did not gain access to the heights by try to go up the western slopes. With the coys on his right withdrawing he must have left it too late to withdraw himself and thereby become pinched against the mountain. His only route was up the mountain - and naturally became cut off from the ammunition supply.

Fourthly you wrote "please explain" to my:
"That's just it. The orders were not ignored. And yes, both officers lost the camp despite that. And whose orders were they following?"
I don't want to write that long article here that I mentioned before. Forum members tend not to read long posts carefully so they become pointless (the posts, not the members). I shall just cover ONE aspect of it. Look at one set of orders in Chelmsford's Instructions to Column Commanders (which Pulleine inherited), paras 18-20:
"Whatever tactics are adopted, it may be looked upon as a certainty - that when Zulus attack, they will threaten one or both flanks, as well as the front.
The Formation, which seems best adapted to meet such an attack is as follows - British Infantry in Front Line, deployed, or extended, with one or both flank companies thrown back.
Both flank companies thrown back - Native Contingent in line, in echelon well clear of each flank of British Infantry and well to the rear of each flank. The guns in line and in front of British Infantry. Mounted Infantry in rear of each flank, ready to move round the flanks, and rear, of the enemy ˗˗˗˗˗˗˗˗˗˗ . British Infantry in reserve well in rear of the centre."
This is the formation that Pulleine tried to adopt. It became changed as the battle developed, true (because it could not stem the tide), but this is how Pulleine started out. And these are Chelmsford's own words, signed and dated by LC, and explicitly stated as being "best adapted" to ward off a Zulu attack. They did not work. Even you and I as laymen can see that they COULD not work.

So, there's just ONE example of LC's orders not being ignored but obeyed and yet the battle still was lost. I hope I've explained clearly. You can do the same with the other orders.


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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:16 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Les
Have a careful read about that retreat, Durnford doesn't come across as 'Calm'. Snapping at the two who came to warn him, being really rough on the survivor of the Rocket Battery. Plus there is a survivors testimony that he 'lost his head'.
Cheers

Bonjour Springbok,
"Snapping at the two who came to warn him [Natal Carbineers / Trooper Barker], being really rough on the survivor of the Rocket battery [Johnson from memory]" is not a evidence for me that he lost his head (as i said before on another post).

The testimony of A. HENDERSON (I.E: "he lost his head" / letter to his father) is more intrigant...

But i don't forget:
-That A. HENDERSON had fled at Isandhlwana and at Rorke's Drift;
-The worst accusation for a "gentleman" an officier in the army (colonial or Imperial) under Victoria's regn;
-The connection's family of A. HENDERSON.

So i am vey suspecious on this testimony...

Cheers

Frédéric
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90th

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable 2    Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:33 pm

Hi Ymob / Springy
Yes , You need to study mo ... it was Henderson whose report I was taking with a grain of Salt ? , I couldnt remember actually whose it was when I posted such this morning , but I did remember thinking there was an individual who basically lambasted Durnford and his conduct , which I thought was the only time I'd ever came across a report as cutting as that of Henderson's it seems ? . Seems Ymob has saved me some time , which I'm very appreciative of , will do other source checking either tomorrow or wednesday . Bed time , have to get up in 6 hrs No No
90th Merry Christmas
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:34 pm

Morning Frederic
But Im sure you would agree they are pointers to a rather fragile state of mind. Why on Earth would he react to William Johnson in that manner, and then leave him in the path of the left horn?
And indeed two carbineers frantically ride across the face of the left horn to deliver a message only to be rather arrogantly that 'we will cut our way through' and again 'its impossible to be surrounded.' Wow explain those reactions to me? And even then expect that they would ride back to get the commander of the watch/piquets to gather his men from their guard duties to go to his assistance? I would suggest not thinking straight.

Once into the Dongar hes then laughing and joking instead of immediately getting across to see Pulleine, and yes I know eventually, and far to late made that effort.

He knew that he had 'cocked it up, when he was overheard saying he 'wouldn't survive the disgrace'.

Sorry, to my mind some one not thinking rationally and for that, loosing his head, he needs to accept partial responsibility for the debacle.

Henderson stayed longer at iSandlwana than a lot of people, his episode at RD isn't I believe open to reproach he did what was asked of him by Chard. When his men left he with Bob Hall stayed until his ammunition had expired. And that was until after dark, Hall witnessed the hospital on fire and then commented that he and Henderson left for Helpmakaar. Don't forget they weren't in the barricades but outside in the gardens. So no I don't believe Henderson can be reproached and therefore I would believe in his testimony.

Cheers mon ami
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:27 pm

Julian please don't be put off! not only do i read
long post's i even download some and in a few
instances print them off in order to digest at a
later stage.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:45 pm

Les
You need that level of concentration to pronounce the Man C team sheet. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:53 pm

Frank, you have nothing to prove to me or anyone
else, you have your opinions which i respect a
great deal, all this shows is how passionate we all
are about these particular matters, as to Durnford's
state of mind, well of course he knew more than 
most what he was about to face!, was he in a highly
excited state? yeah i guess so, but that would for go
for everyone surely..a major engagement seemed
imminent, we can not possibly put ourself's in their
shoes..different, often brutal times.. but it's great
that we all have so many view's..is'nt it?.  xhosa

Yeah Frank, tell me about it.  Very Happy were going ok
at the mo..to many injury's.waiting for the wheels
to fall off..
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6pdr

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:57 pm

Julian Whybra wrote:
I might add, "issued a set of instructions to be adopted in case of attack which were totally inadequate for dealing with the Zulu"

Julian:
But can't this one can be spun either way? If the camp had survived somehow wouldn't we be praising his perspicacity for drawing up and communicating a coherent plan of defense that his subordinates were able to rely upon? (Here I'm thinking of what occurred after Rorke's Drift.)

It's true that his plan was inadequate for countering the threat that actually materialized but would ANY plan have worked? (I'd be quite interested in hearing you articulate the plan of defense you feel he ought to have expounded...)

To me Chelmsford has to take the lion's share of blame primarily because he allowed a hugely superior force to appear hard by his flank virtually undetected...and secondarily because he exacerbated the situation by splitting his column twice in the shadow of that superior force.

Parsing what everybody else did on the day of defeat is somewhat like analyzing how the band on the Titanic chose to arrange their deck chairs.

Springbok:
Can you be a bit more specific about what you think Durnford did wrong during his retreat back on the camp? Do you mean he did not assume command from (the largely absent) Pulleine?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:07 pm

All, i respectfully ask that you picture in 
your mind's eye exactly what the odd's
were, 1600 were massacred! over 2000
Zulu Slain..that leaves 18,000 Zulu's left
in the field,l i don't think people fully grasp
the concept of overwhelming odd's..examine
the phrase ' overwhelming odd's ' phrases
that pass in common usage do so for a very
good reason.. The British were simply over-
whelmed..end of..                       xhosa
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6pdr

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:12 pm

Chelmsfordthescapegoat wrote:

Whatever happen at Isandlwana after Durnford arrived was a matter for both Durnford and Pulliene. They were the senior officers present wether they cooperated or not, was not a concern for LC. He had his own task in hand.

Effective leaders, military or otherwise, tend to spend a great deal of time and effort concerning themselves with whether their subordinates are cooperating. To do otherwise is myopic because it allows the sum of the parts to be less than the whole. And it HAS to be argued the "task in hand" Chelmsford had was either due to his being completely outmaneuvered or voluntarily shooting himself in the foot by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:14 pm

Springbok:
Can you be a bit more specific about what you think Durnford did wrong during his retreat back on the camp? Do you mean he did not assume command from (the largely absent) Pulleine?

I believe he should have got back to the camp at the fastest speed he could. He was facing 4000 men ( aprox) coming down the Quabe valley. He was under no illusion whatsoever that it was a major attack. He went looking for a fight and got a bigger one than he thought. His first second and last thought should have been the camp. The Zulu were coming on at a trot, their normal advancing gate. a fast 5 mile gallop and he had a time frame to organise the defence.
IF he had got back timeously he would have been able to draw the line in and possibly not win the battle but sure as hell come really close.
I believe that a defence on/around the Blacks Kopie would have been a success the 1st battalion ammunition was there, the regimental reseve was a spit away, his own wagons within a throw. One only has to read the accounts of the volleys been hammered into the impi. They were on the point of giving up at one stage. then when they tried to go over the saddle they were decimated by the fire, that's in a statement some place. 1600 men on that kopie would have been a lethal force.
They could have been beaten, and Durnford could have done it. Whats the phrase 'Cometh the hour cometh the man.'

Parsing what everybody else did on the day of defeat is somewhat like analyzing how the band on the Titanic chose to arrange their deck chairs.

Possible but a lot more interesting.

To me Chelmsford has to take the lion's share of blame primarily because he allowed a hugely superior force to appear hard by his flank virtually undetected...and secondarily because he exacerbated the situation by splitting his column twice in the shadow of that superior force.

A qualified yes to the first one and a no to the second. He had absolutely no choice, Dartnell took his options away from him.
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Ulundi

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:17 pm

Perhaps LC should have had the ability to be in two places at once. He could have wet nursed both Pulliene and Durford. As well as handling his own situation.
Like Michael Cane says in the film Zulu. When you take command old boy, you do it alone?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:19 pm

Les
But surely the same applied at Nyezane, Gingindlovu and Ulundi. Khambula and Rorkes Drift I leave out because of the entrenchments. So yes while there were overwhelming odds the impi was still defeated.

Cheers
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Ulundi

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:21 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Springbok:
Can you be a bit more specific about what you think Durnford did wrong during his retreat back on the camp? Do you mean he did not assume command from (the largely absent) Pulleine?

I believe he should have got back to the camp at the fastest speed he could. He was facing 4000 men ( aprox) coming down the Quabe valley. He was under no illusion whatsoever that it was a major attack. He went looking for a fight and got a bigger one than he thought. His first second and last thought should have been the camp. The Zulu were coming on at a trot, their normal advancing gate. a fast 5 mile gallop and he had a time frame to organise the defence.
IF he had got back timeously he would have been able to draw the line in and possibly not win the battle but sure as hell come really close.
I believe that a defence on/around the Blacks Kopie would have been a success the 1st battalion ammunition was there, the regimental reseve was a spit away, his own wagons within a throw. One only has to read the accounts of the volleys been hammered into the impi. They were on the point of giving up at one stage. then when they tried to go over the saddle they were decimated by the fire, that's in a statement some place. 1600 men on that kopie would have been a lethal force.
They could have been beaten, and Durnford could have done it. Whats the phrase 'Cometh the hour cometh the man.'

Parsing what everybody else did on the day of defeat is somewhat like analyzing how the band on the Titanic chose to arrange their deck chairs.  

Possible but a lot more interesting.

To me Chelmsford has to take the lion's share of blame primarily because he allowed a hugely superior force to appear hard by his flank virtually undetected...and secondarily because he exacerbated the situation by splitting his column twice in the shadow of that superior force.

A qualified yes to the first one and a no to the second. He had absolutely no choice, Dartnell took his options away from him.
I don't think there was any command at the point of retreat by Durnford. More like every company was operating independently. Doing the best they could to get back to camp and stay alive. Many flocked to Durnfords last stand for one reason safety in numbers, or so they thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:24 pm

Ulundi
The retreat we are taking about is the one from the Quabe Valley in front of the left horn. Not the rout in the camp. And so although I crit Durnford for the decision to retreat it was without doubt a very very able example of a fighting withdrawl.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:27 pm

Sorry Ulundi just seen your first post, Chelmsford didn't need to wet nurse anyone he had already cocked up more than enough all on his own. If you don't believe that of iSandlwana then examinr what he did at Mangeni, talk about splitting forces???????

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:29 pm

ymob wrote:

So i am vey suspecious on this testimony...

Frédéric -- I agree that Henderson had "an ax to grind" but even if we weigh his testimony heavily it doesn't really change much.

We should judge Durnford by the merit of military actions...not whether we would have liked to drink a beer with him. His tactical withdrawal was the most skillful military action conducted by his side that day and his command maintained coherence the longest despite being engaged earliest. That in itself is quite remarkable since they were regarded as "mere Basuto" troops.

BTW, I just watched the film QUEEN MARGOT (La Reine Margot?) WOW! I am embarrassed to say I had never heard of it before. But I couldn't help wondering how much time is spent arguing about how the Protestants mucked up their defense during the St. Batholomew's Day massacre?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:38 pm

springbok9 wrote:
A qualified yes to the first one and a no to the second. He had absolutely no choice, Dartnell took his options away from him.

I don't agree. How does a subordinate screwing up "take options away?" A commander should never let himself think that way. It's their job to always keep the bigger picture in view. Sending good after bad is mistake, plain and simple. He could have sent a message back that said, "I didn't ask you to face the Zulu Army alone -- get yourself back here by hook or by crook ASAP."
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:45 pm

The British Army doesn't work that way Im afraid, consider if iSandlwana had not happened. Instead the impi had attacked Dartnell and devastated the force? Chelmsford would have been crucified. Nope Dartnel had to be supported, in addition Chelmsford was fully under the impression that dartnell was facing the kings army, and that's what he was in Zulu land for, to confront thrash and defeat.

I may point you to a case of more recent vintage. Somalia, a Blackhawk going down because the pilot didn't obey orders. And look at the amount of men thrown in to try and save them. Now I wonder what country that was????????????????????????????????????? scratch Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:01 pm

springbok9 wrote:

IF he had got back timeously he would have been able to draw the line in and possibly not win the battle but sure as hell come really close.

I see. So Durnford as Napoleon rather than Ney? But in all fairness he was really an Engineer who knew the local turf. So wouldn't it have been fair of him to act as if the command of the 24th had already been appropriately adjudicated? And after he entered that valley shouldn't he have assumed a degree of competence behind him and dealt with what he might REALLY control? You're assuming he had the foresight of a prophet...

Quote :
I believe that a defence on/around the Blacks Kopie would have been a success the 1st battalion ammunition was there, the regimental reseve was a spit away, his own wagons within a throw. One only has to read the accounts of the volleys been hammered into the impi. They were on the point of giving up at one stage. then when they tried to go over the saddle they were decimated by the fire, that's in a statement some place. 1600 men on that kopie would have been a lethal force.
They could have been beaten, and Durnford could have done it. Whats the phrase 'Cometh the hour cometh the man.'

Well, that strikes me as a lot more credible than forming square on the slopes of Isandlwana. I'll give you that! But still a BIT of a stretch, wot?

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:12 pm

springbok9 wrote:
I may point you to a case of more recent vintage. Somalia, a Blackhawk going down because the pilot didn't obey orders. And look at the amount of men thrown in to try and save them. Now I wonder what country that was????????????????????????????????????? scratch Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

What happened in the Mog is an example of the result of wishful thinking gone awry. The original plan called for far more survivable Apache gunships flying support. None were available so troopships were substituted and the mission went forward with lamentable results for everybody involved. Also, Chelmsford didn't have to deal with the UN...he just had to say, "Get your butt back here, NOW!" Once that Black Hawk went down that option WAS truly erased.  

And finally, since when do two wrongs make a right?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:18 pm

And finally, since when to two wrongs make a right?

When you are part of the South African Government and want to add an extention to your house in Nkandla.

Back to Chelmsford, by the time the rider/messenger got back to Mangeni it was already night, virtually impossible to bring back a body of men that distance, and in particular when they were potentially under the threat of attack from the impi.
And yes I predict your response will be that Chelmsfords men marched back in the dark. They didn't they only arrived in the dark. So nope the situation ruled the action.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:38 pm

Quote :
And yes I predict your response will be that Chelmsfords men marched back in the dark. They didn't they only arrived in the dark. So nope the situation ruled the action.

LOL! You make me smarter than I am!  I probably would have argued that Chelmsford marched TO Dartnell in the dark, both literally and metaphorically. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:45 pm

Quoting any of the actions post Isandhlwana are completely
irrelevant....yes of course the old fool learned the lesson!
doubly over cautious he was from then on, address the 
issue of overwhelming force and think what it means...

Durnford to all intent and purpose had an independent
command, When he was reigned in and censored by LC.
the latter still..gave him the latitude to ignore any order
if one sincerely believed it endangered the whole..should
Durnford of rode back to camp immediately? of course not!
he had decided where the threat lay and took steps to 
neutralize it..why would he even consider returning to the
camp, He had left the cream of the British army there under
Pulliene who's orders were to defend it..
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:52 pm

So springy my friend, are you saying that Durnford could have done in 25 min's, and whilst under an heavy attack from over 20,000 zulu's, what LC failed to do (and by his own orders I hasten to add), in the best part of 2 days since he arrived at the camp, and what Pulleine had quite a number of hours to do (since LC left the camp on his wild goose chase), but also failed to do, and don't forget that both LC and Pulleine where not under any sort of attack at the time.

Col Durnford was obeying orders, he had been ordered to support LC, he got the information that a large body of zulu's were heading in the direction of LC, he even said "if they are heading towards the general we must stop them at all hazards", he had to find out what they were up to just in case they were trying to cut off or outflank LC and attack him.

Les, Durnford was not a Lt Col, he was a Colonel, his promotion had been given in late 1878, but he may not have known about it in Jan 1879.

There is no doubt in my mind that the blame is with LC.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:53 pm

Sometimes the forum languishes at the rate of a post or two a day.  I go and do some work, come back, and there's one more post.  Today there must be amore than a dozen quickfire posts at a hell of rate and being asked to respond to something 15 posts ago seems a bit daft.  However...
6pdr
You wrote:
"But can't this one can be spun either way? If the camp had survived somehow wouldn't we be praising his perspicacity for drawing up and communicating a coherent plan of defense that his subordinates were able to rely upon? (Here I'm thinking of what occurred after Rorke's Drift.)
It's true that his plan was inadequate for countering the threat that actually materialized but would ANY plan have worked? (I'd be quite interested in hearing you articulate the plan of defense you feel he ought to have expounded...) "
Yes it could be spun either way THEORETICALLY...if the camp had survived somehow...but my point was that it could never have survived under those defence arrangements and therefore it could not be spun either way REALISTICALLY.
Would any plan have worked?  Well...
1.  Much more scouting and not dividing his force.  He did have sufficient mounted men.  A compact body of 16 companies' firing would have been quite some barrage of fire.
2.  Ensuring the camp was partially laagered with whatever waggons were available (there weren't enough to entirely laager the camp).  Progress would have been slower, the campaign more expensive, I know.
3.  Once attacked, adopting a Khambula/Ulundi-like defence.  They worked (at Khambula just!).  Basically, judging your perimeter by the number of men available - where they are in coy formation, and more spread out where there are laagered waggons.
and finally with the situation as it was, and not as it might have been:
1.  A retreat to the Stony/Black's Koppie as springbok suggested - this would mean abandoning the camp and the waggons and its stores - probably too big a stain on reputations for Pulleine/Durnford to bear.  The 24th as a fighting unit MIGHT just have saved itself though...but no guarantee of that.  To carry this out the men would have needed time and I'm not so sure there was enough time to have completed the manoeuvre successfully.

Xhosa
YOU might read lengthy posts.  Others don't and repeat the same questions.  Anything that's article -length I'm saving for my volumes.

ray63
87 Europeans survived the battle - possibly another 4.
Of the definites 44 left one or more accounts.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:02 pm

Mr M. Cooper wrote:
So springy my friend, are you saying that Durnford could have done in 25 min's, and whilst under an heavy attack from over 20,000 zulu's, what LC failed to do (and by his own orders I hasten to add), in the best part of 2 days since he arrived at the camp, and what Pulleine had quite a number of hours to do (since LC left the camp on his wild goose chase), but also failed to do, and don't forget that both LC and Pulleine where not under any sort of attack at the time.  

Well put! And according to Springy he would have had to do it by moving everyone from Isandlwana to Black's Kopie besides! Nice work if you can get it.

(NB: Durnford left ~11:30 so Pulleine would have had only about one hour.)
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:14 pm

6pdr.

I think you have misunderstood, I mean Pulleine had many hours to sort out some proper defences after LC left in the early hours of the morning, not after Col Durnford had left to see what the zulu's were up to and try to protect LC's rear at 11.30.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:17 pm

Julian Whybra wrote:
He did have sufficient mounted men.

He had irregulars and mounted men but no professional cavalry IMO.

Quote :
A compact body of 16 companies' firing would have been quite some barrage of fire.

Assuming an intact regiment rather begs the question however. Pulleine had to rely on a plan that would work with with less than a full battalion.

Quote :
Basically, judging your perimeter by the number of men available - where they are in coy formation, and more spread out where there are laagered waggons.

Well put but, given his experience level, not something Pulleine was likely to be capable of...

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:19 pm

6pdr and Martin
Don't forget that Pulleine did not have the amount of time you indicate.  He only knew he was confronted by the full impi when they appeared over the escarpment.  He had the same amount of time as Durnford which is why I wrote:
"A retreat to the Stony/Black's Koppie as springbok suggested - this would mean abandoning the camp and the waggons and its stores - probably too big a stain on reputations for Pulleine/Durnford to bear.  The 24th as a fighting unit MIGHT just have saved itself though...but no guarantee of that.  To carry this out the men would have needed time and I'm not so sure there was enough time to have completed the manoeuvre successfully".
I don't for a minute think that springy meant that Durnford could have accomplished this by himself in the time available.

Martin
It was not Pulleine's task to be sorting out permanent or temporary defences for Isandhlwana.  his task was to be packing up and making ready to move to the new camp.

6pdr
Mounted infantry:
Exactly.  Ideal cavalry for the country - who better than Africans and colonials.

"Assuming an intact regiment rather begs the question however. Pulleine had to rely on a plan that would work with with less than a full battalion."
See my last point 1. above.

"Basically, judging your perimeter by the number of men available - where they are in coy formation, and more spread out where there are laagered waggons.  - Well put but, given his experience level, not something Pulleine was likely to be capable of..."
But you weren't asking me what Pulleine should have done, you were asking me what I would have done...and that's how I answered.


Last edited by Julian Whybra on Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:08 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:19 pm

Mr M. Cooper wrote:
6pdr.
I think you have misunderstood...

You're right Mr. Cooper. I did misunderstand. Apologies! Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:29 pm

Hi Julian.

Yes, I understand that, however, he had been getting reports of zulu movements about the camp for hours, you would have thought that even an admin officer (which is what Pulleine was better at than being a line officer), would have had the sense to arrange some sort of defences against a probable attack. And there were also other senior line officers there with him, you would have thought that they would have offered some advice to Pulleine about defences.

6pdr.

No problem my friend.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:32 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Morning Frederic
But Im sure you would agree they are pointers to a rather fragile state of mind. Why on Earth would he react to William Johnson in that manner, and then leave him in the path of the left horn?
And indeed two carbineers frantically ride across the face of the left horn to deliver a message only to be rather arrogantly that 'we will cut our way through' and again 'its impossible to be surrounded.' Wow explain those reactions to me? And even then expect that they would ride back to get the commander of the watch/piquets to gather his men from their guard duties to go to his assistance? I would suggest not thinking straight.

Once into the Dongar hes then laughing and joking instead of immediately getting across to see Pulleine, and yes I know eventually, and far to late made that effort.

He knew that he had 'cocked it up, when he was overheard saying he 'wouldn't survive the disgrace'.

Sorry, to my mind some one not thinking rationally and for that, loosing his head, he needs to accept partial responsibility for the debacle.

Henderson stayed longer at iSandlwana than a lot of people, his episode at RD isn't I believe open to reproach he did what was asked of him by Chard. When his men left he with Bob Hall stayed until his ammunition had expired. And that was until after dark, Hall witnessed the hospital on fire and then commented that he and Henderson left for Helpmakaar. Don't forget they weren't in the barricades but outside in the gardens. So no I don't believe Henderson can be reproached and therefore I would believe in his testimony.

Cheers mon ami

Bonsoir Mate,
A good reading as usual...

1°) For Johnson:
I have in mind the attitude of the Bristih General (and French General) during the first worlsd war. At this time, they didn' like their men...The life or the death of the "private" was not a problem for them.
But i am not sure it was the case for Durnford...

2°) For the Natal Carbineers
Don't forget that Barker and his mate were two troopers, "two colonials", DURNFORD a Lieutenant-Colonel in the British army..
They have contested a decision of a lIeutenant-Colonel...A sacrilege!!!

Yes, DURNFORD was arrogant and rough with subalterns.
As others high officers in January 1879:
-CHELMSFORD to Major DUNBAR "use the bayonets" (Fortin in the Batshe Valley / "Hill of the Sphinx" p.11 and p.16 note 3 / sorry i don't have my books at hand only my notes in French)
-CHELMSFORD to Sub-Inspector F.L. PHILIPS (NMP) / "Zulu Victory" p.134
-CLERY to Inspector MANSEL (NMP) / "Zulu Victory" p.133
-CLERY to DUNBAR / "Hill of the Sphinx" p.12
-CREALOCK to DUNBAR (the camp in the Batshe Valley / "Zulu Rising" p.229)
Others examples Very Happy ?

Mike SNOOK had said: No officers in all the British amy had never fought the Zulus.
It was the problem...
With arrogance.
The Zulus are not the Xhosas.

4°) Losing his head...
I am not with or against DURNFORD, i am always with the research of the truth.
But i am against SNOOK on this subject (DURNFORD "the Cowboy" No No )
And i think that you are partially agree with him Wink
So i am vigilant with you on this specific subject. Very Happy

Yes, i am agree: DURNFORD needs to accept partial responsability for the debacle...but he does not lost his head for me.
For me the testimony of HENDERSON is suspicious.
The question is not what i think of him, the question is what HENDERSON had in thoughts.
I think he was afraid to be taken for a coward...
See GARDNER (with CLERY), RUSSEL ("a fragile Flower" for WOOD), HIGGINSON and ADENDORFF, COGHILL and MELVILL (for Wolseley)....

Bye bye, mate.
Frédéric





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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 4:45 pm

Julian Whybra wrote:

It was not Pulleine's task to be sorting our permanent or temporary defences for Isandhlwana.  his task was to be packing up and making ready to move to the new camp.

Such a key point and so often overlooked. At a minimum Pulleine was on the horns of a dilemma.

Quote :
6pdr..re: Mounted infantry:
Exactly.  Ideal cavalry for the country - who better than Africans and colonials.

I really wonder about that. There is a tendency to believe that the quality of horses and riders determines the quality of cavalry. But looking at things like Jeb Stuart's conduct at Gettysburg I would argue that we ought to evaluate cavalry far more on their scouting discipline than their dash and fight. Most of reconnaissance must have seemed like boring drudgery. (Think of those poor sods walking the Mangani.) Independence can be a narcotic however. Swanning about, raiding, and picking fights on horseback sounds like an endless temptation, but it proved far less effective for commanders like Lee...and alas, Chelmsford.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:07 pm

Martin
Yes, he had been getting reports of Zulu movements BUT and it's a BIG BUT where, in Pulleine's mind, was the Zulu impi?
Answer:  On the Mangeni in front of Chelmsford.
Had anyone disabused him of that fact?
Answer: No.  So why should he begin to scramble about making defences?
As far as Pulleine/Durnford were concerned the main impi could NOT be on the plateau for LC was fighting it across yon plain, was he not?

6pdr
Be that as it may, the colonial and native mounted infantry were the best cavalry they had and was there any reason to suggest that they were not up to the task of scouting adequately?
Answer: No there was no such reason.  Why, hadn't Dartnell the Magnificent and his mixed bag of colonials/NNC found the main impi out on the Mangeni?  Yes!  Of course he had!

Martina and 6pdr - try not to judge with hindsight but put yourself into Pulleine's mind and view the day as he saw it.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:28 pm

As Julian quite rightly points out. hindsight is always 20/20..
I address Durnford as a Lieut Col in the context of his time
up to Isandhlwana, all knew him as such, of course Martin
he never lived to hear about his promotion.      xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:46 pm

Martin et al
Again as I said to 90th earlier. I made no suggestion that Durnford do what Chelmsford or Pulleine didn't. My point is that with an additional amount of time Durnford 'COULD' have done what he tried to do later. Get the men together. If this was in the middle of the battlefield out to the North, South East or West, it makes no difference. A cohesive firing platform could have been created with a retreat towards the koppie. Ad please don't say it couldn't be done, it was done during the course of the battle.
I am not anti Durnford, pro Chelmsford or a supporter of Manchester United. I am however interested in the actuality of the day. if that means I suggest there is fault then so be it.
Durnford can not be whitewashed by attacking Chelmsford, or vice a versa.

Julian
I fully agree with your last post, Pulleine believed the impi was at the Mangeni that's born out by the quote " What a fool a fellow is etc etc"
The FIRST person to get an inkling of the threat, apart from Raw Roberts etc, was Durnford. He looked up from haranguing two carbineers and saw a few thousand rather upset gentlemen with pointed sticks coming for him. That is a key point in the progress of the battle, his instant decision. My view point is that decision was wrong. Love it or hate it, but cha cant ignore it.

Pulleine's moment of truth was lining those troops up as the came of the ridge. One call would have helped, a call to close ranks and ignore the camp.

Cheers all
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:59 pm

Julian Whybra wrote:
Martina and 6pdr - try not to judge with hindsight but put yourself into Pulleine's mind and view the day as he saw it.

I can see the point that assumptions and expectations were what they were. Nobody (including Pulleine) knew better about the location of the Zulu impi than what Darntnell was telling them. To that extent we don't disagree.

But to some extent we're arguing in circles because history DOES judge (or seeks to apply order to) events...and it does so in (supposedly) 20-20 hindsight.

So I take your point about exercising historical imagination. In other words, an historical novel written from Pulleine's point of view ought to render his decisions as logical to himself and those around him. No problem there.  But that same historical novel could easily introduce an (almost certainly fictional) ex-cavalry officer who voices concern about the lack of proper scouting procedures as they move up the virtually non-existent road.  ("Where is our screen, Anthony?")

The larger point I am trying to make is that the invasion of Zululand was conducted more like a road building project than an invasion into the home country of a powerful foe.  That failure of imagination was Chelmsford's, but at the same time he was not an incompetent because once he wised up, he succeeded where many would have failed.

Oh, and he NEEDED the 17th Lancers with him right off the bat.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:57 pm

JW wrote:
Martin
It was not Pulleine's task to be sorting out permanent or temporary defences for Isandhlwana.  his task was to be packing up and making ready to move to the new camp.

I think Julian raises a good point.

Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.

I LEFT the force with the General about 10.30 A.M., and rode back to Isandlana Camp, with the order to Lieutenant-Colonel. Pulleine to send on the camp equipage and supplies of the troops camping out, and to remain himself at his present camp, and entrench it.


Had the supplies for Chelmsford men been pre-packed and ready for the off, or was in Pulleine's job to pack the supplies.

What I hadn't noticed until now regarding Gardner's statement, is what made LC change his mind about Isandlwana in that he for whatever reason expected Pulleine to entrench the camp, although he clearly stated in other reports that the ground was to rocky to entrench and would have taken to long. Surly the entrenchment of the camp would have been more fitting for Durnford being a Engineer, and Chelmsford did say in a few posts back, they he wanted to keep Durnford near because of his engineer skills.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:19 pm

impi wrote:
What I hadn't noticed until now regarding Gardner's statement, is what made LC change his mind about Isandlwana in that he for whatever reason expected Pulleine to entrench the camp.

impi Gardner could have said just about anything, Pulleine couldn't exactly dispute it!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:23 pm

CTSG. I can't see what could be gained, by Gardner in making such a statement, agree Pulleine couldn't dispute it, but Lord Chelmsford could have, after all the Order came from him. I haven't seen anything by Lord Chelmsford to contradict Gardner!
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:36 pm

I can see no reason as to why Lord Chelmsford would have ordered the camp to be entrenched. There would have been no point, as the camp was being moved that day anyway. Happy to be corrected.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:52 pm

impi wrote:
CTSG. I can't see what could be gained, by Gardner in making such a statement, agree Pulleine couldn't dispute it, but Lord Chelmsford could have, after all the Order came from him. I haven't seen anything by Lord Chelmsford to contradict Gardner!

Impi,

Gardner was entrusted with the message from Chelmsford telling Pulleine to prepare the camp to be moved. That's why he arrived at the camp just as the battle was starting. Moreover, when Pulleine displayed a degree of consternation over having to simultaneously move and defend the camp, Gardner said something to the effect of, "The General is only thinking of how the Zulu are behaving over where he is. Don't concern yourself with moving immediately." You are entering new information into the historical record by suggesting that Chelmsford wanted him to entrench the camp at the same time he was charged with moving it; nor did Gardner claim he personally suggested as much.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:06 pm

6pdr wrote:
impi wrote:
CTSG. I can't see what could be gained, by Gardner in making such a statement, agree Pulleine couldn't dispute it, but Lord Chelmsford could have, after all the Order came from him. I haven't seen anything by Lord Chelmsford to contradict Gardner!

Impi,

Gardner was entrusted with the message from Chelmsford telling Pulleine to prepare the camp to be moved. That's why he arrived at the camp just as the battle was starting. Moreover, when Pulleine displayed a degree of consternation over having to simultaneously move and defend the camp, Gardner said something to the effect of, "The General is only thinking of how the Zulu are behaving over where he is. Don't concern yourself with moving immediately."  You are entering new information into the historical record by suggesting that Chelmsford wanted him to entrench the camp at the same time he was charged with moving it; nor did Gardner claim he personally suggested as much.    

Not new information at all. Just using primary source material.

Statement by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars. Camp, Rorke's Drift, January 26, 1879.

I LEFT the force with the General about 10.30 A.M., and rode back to Isandlana Camp, with the order to Lieutenant-Colonel. Pulleine to send on the camp equipage and supplies of the troops camping out, and to remain himself at his present camp, and entrench it. Between twelve and, one o'clock I reached Isandlana, and met Captain G: Shepstone, who told me he had been sent by Colonel Durnford for reinforcements ; that his (Colonel D's) troops were heavily engaged to the left of our camp, beyond the hill, and were being driven back. We proceeded together to Colonel Pulleine. I delivered him my order; but the enemy were now in sight at the top of the hill, on our left Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine sent out two companies about half-way up-the hill, and drew up the remainder, with the two guns in action, in line, on the extreme left of our camp, and facing towards the left, from which direction the enemy were advancing in great numbers. For a short time, perhaps fifteen minutes, the Zulus were checked, but soon commenced to throw forward their left, extending across the plain on our front. We had between 30 and 40 mounted men, and I asked permission to take them down in the plain, and check the enemy's turning movement. Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine told me to do so, and I accordingly galloped them to the front, and lined the spruit running across the front of our camp. The Basutos who were previously retiring, formed line with us and the enemy halted and commenced firing from behind cover. Leaving the mounted men who were under Captain Bradstreet, I returned to Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine who had previously told me to remain with him. Shortly afterwards, observing the mounted men retiring, I rode back to ascertain the cause. Captain Bradstreet told me he had been ordered to do so by Colonel Durnford, who soon afterwards told me himself that he considered our position too extended, and wished to collect all the troops together. But it was now too late. Large masses of the enemy were already in the camp and completely surrounded the men of the 24th Regiment. Numbers of these were also on the road to Rorke's Drift. The guns limbered up and attempted to retire to the left of that road, but were surrounded and overturned. The few mounted men remaining retreated up the small hill on the right rear of the camp, but were soon surrounded by the enemy advancing from the left and front. Many were killed. A few of us managed to escape by riding down the hill on the right, but many were shot riding along the narrow valley, and more drowned and shot in crossing the Buffalo. When I saw all was lost, I sent an order by a Basuto to the officer on Rorke's Drift, telling him to fortify and hold the house. I also sent a similar order to Helpmakaar.. We reached Helpmakaar about five P.M., and near a laager round the Commissariat Stores I endeavoured to obtain a messenger to go to Colonel E. Wood, as I feared the General's force would be cut off, and hoped he, Colonel Wood, might be in time to lend his assistance. No one would go, the Basutos saying they did not know the way. So on the return of the two companies who had started for Rorke's Drift, I decided on going myself, and riding all night reached Utrecht about four o'clock the next day. I then got a messenger to go to Colonel Wood and returned myself to Helpmakaar. On the road, learning that Colonel Glyn's head-quarters were at Rorke's Drift, I proceeded thither. I trust I may not be thought, presumptuous if I state my opinion, that had there been a regiment or even two squadrons of cavalry the disaster at Isandlana would not have occurred. The enemy's advance across our front which was requisite in order to turn our right was in extremely loose order, the ground was an open plain and could easily have been cleared by a determined charge. The enemy's shooting was so indifferent that our loss would .have been - very small. -The result moreover of a cavalry charge would have had a very different effect on the enemy's morale to the retreating fire of mounted skirmishers, and I feel confident we could have held our own till the return of the General's force.
(Signed) ALAN GARDNER,
Captain, 14th Hussars, Staff Officer, 3rd Column.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:21 pm

impi wrote:

I LEFT the force with the General about 10.30 A.M., and rode back to Isandlana Camp, with the order to Lieutenant-Colonel. Pulleine to send on the camp equipage and supplies of the  troops camping out, and to remain himself at his present camp, and entrench it.

Ah, I see now!  Gardner is saying that Chelmsford wanted Pulleine to split the camp in two...dispatching half and entrenching the rest.

I've never seen that before or never understood it entirely.  Thanks for pointing it out and sincerest apologies for my going off at half cock!

If Gardner is telling the truth that's game, set and match against Chelmsford then.  He couldn't know the Isandlwana camp was under threat of direct attack when Gardner delivered his message but such an order would mean that the General fully intended to keep his forces split indefinitely despite "knowing" the Zulu impi was expected in the vicinity.   This would make him even MORE culpable for the defeat.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:40 pm

So what did LC Really know!!! Why the sudden change of plan !!!
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 8:47 pm

Impi Sir. . control your passions. A professional soldier must keep cool and thoughtful in times of stress.
No doub't Lord Chelmsford was just being considerate in that, if he and his force had been anilated, going to Dartnell's assistence, the force at Isandlwana would have had a fighting chance had those zulu's attacked the camp. Remember no one knew the larger Zulu army was hidden in the valley 5 miles away. He was just putting up saftey nets for the men under the command of Colonel Glyn.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 4   Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:03 pm

Chelmsfordthescapegoat wrote:
Impi Sir. . control your passions. A professional soldier must keep cool and thoughtful in times of stress.
No doub't Lord Chelmsford was just being considerate in that, if he and his force had been anilated, going to Dartnell's assistence, the force at Isandlwana would have had a fighting chance had those zulu's attacked the camp. Remember no one knew the larger Zulu army was hidden in the valley 5 miles away. He was just putting up saftey nets for the men under the command of Colonel Glyn.

There's a term of art in chess known as Zug-Zwang.  It means you lose either way.   Under this line of reasoning that's what Chelmsford was setting his troops up for -- for the Zulu to choose whichever half of his force they wanted to take down first?  I doubt that.  Here's another possibility.  Chelmsford may have intended to set up "entrenched" positions at each of the supply depots he established on the way to Ulundi.  Gardner also goes on to talk about Durnford's troops to the left of the camp...so possible he was just mistaken?
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