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 Durnford was he capable.5

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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:24 pm

Julian Whybra wrote:
But I don't have my entrenching tools with me!!
And I don't believe in digging myself into a hole unless I'm sure I can climb out again.

be reassured, I am sending by mail a ladder and a shovel used by my grandfather during the First World War.
If they resisted to the hell of Verdun....
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:26 pm

Do you want also his helmet?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:35 pm

To much information!!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:46 pm

Chard
I can't find anyone recording the time of S-D's arrival - that's why I've given you the other times.
Logic dictates that S-D might have arrived at 4.30 am for the message to be read, Henderson roused, and to be delivered to AD 5-6 a.m. (Henderson would have had to cover 3 miles on horseback).
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:45 pm

Frank

As a matter of interest do you have any photos taken from inside Durnford's donga?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:53 pm

As a matter of fact ...........yes. Let me dig them out.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:28 pm

This shot is probably close to the end of Durnfords line to the North.The line stretched from here down to the trees in the mid distance[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:34 pm

Sorry struggling a bit with the descriptions.
Photo 1 is probably the most Northern point of the Donga defence
Photo 2 shows the length of the line from the North down to that clump of trees in the med distance
Photo 3, this is the infamous killing field of fire the men were down in the donga and the left horn had to run downhill at them exposed all the way.

Photo 4 shows the current height of the side wall of the donga, the horsement were practically invisible to the left horn.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:42 pm

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The Southern end of the line and the retreat line back to the mountain. This road is not the original road, that is further to the North, or right of the picture

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Heading back to the mountain. This the area I believe that the Carbineers started to stand and force back the circling left horn, that's just my belief. The rock area is the second of the dongas, In the distance are the first of the Pope cairns, the one closest could be either Pope or volunteers.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:54 pm

As you climb out of the donga there is a slight rise, this levels out leading to the second Donga. That second donga is the first defendable area between the first donga and the saddle.
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From this point till they reached Popes line and that second donga they were on a hiding to nothing.

But to come back to your point made earlier Steve. Looking at the photos the donga was such a defendable point, we already know the carnage caused to the left horn trying to get down that slope. To the west, back to the mountain there is the other slope/ridge and the reverse slope down to the second donga. To the North there are sufficient bends in the donga to accomadate a solid firing line and to the South the donga starts to level out and would require a more massed two to three deep company formation but emphatically yes if the 5 companies and colonials had got down there with enough supplies there would have been the mass killing that Chelmsford wanted.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:59 pm

Excellent Frank. Thanks very much indeed. Much more defendable than the camp I think.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:18 pm

rusteze
Defensible yes, but at the same time very exposed and isolated don't you think?
Superb pictures, Frank.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:23 pm

SD Must have dragged his heels. He left the camp at midnight?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:25 pm

In the pitch black. It couldn't have been easy. Walking pace the whole way, I dare say.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:41 pm

Julian

I incline to the view that wherever you were in that landscape you were isolated, given the scale of the attack. The donga has the important advantage of having a natural wall to allow a concentrated fire from a protected position. Something the camp did not offer short of laagering. Plus an exposed slope which had to be crossed by the enemy, again without the dead ground around the camp. Durnford's men demonstrated what could be done with limited fire power. Who else achieved that degree of stopping power, while it lasted?

I think the main weakness is to the rear and to the south, so my "what if" has to have something done about the Impi coming from the rear of Isandhlwana.

Can I say though that I have not trod the ground, which is why Frank's pictures are invaluable.

All speculation of course, it didn't happen - but it might have!

If you had to be there, and you were a common oik, whose command would you choose to be under?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:35 pm

Rusteze
Difficult one this because it comes under the what-if category which I don't normally go in for.
You may well be right -  I have no axe to grind either way.  
I do recall Essex writing about how the north-facing line was holding them easily, laughing and chatting and so on with sustained volleys and the Zulus crawling under their shields for cover or hiding in the dead ground.  I have no idea whether the north perimeter or donga fields of fire were more devastating - a Zulu would have had to have been in both to find out!!
And of course it was the donga line which was obliged to withdraw in the end.
It seems to me the solution would have been to have the firepower in the north-facing line repeated along the donga, AND in a line facing south.  Not possible of course because of the manpower.  Alternatively...
concentrate your forces into a smaller area to achieve the same devastating firepower effect.  And isn't that what Durnford realized and was trying to do...but too late.  All credit to Durnford.
Back to your original posit.
Whether that concentration of firepower would have been better down by the dongas or where the camp was, I don't know.  You'd have to start thinking about getting your ammo waggons into a suitable location off the track (if that were possible) and being prepared to lose all your supplies, transport, camp equipage, and oxen.  In the end the choice wasn't Durnford's; it wasn't even Pulleine's.  The camp had already been placed and they had to live with it (or rather, die with it).
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:16 pm

Julian

You know the reason we are resorting to "what if" is that we are waiting for you to make some fresh discoveries! Seriously though, I find that a little "what iffing" makes me look more closely at what is known. Thanks for joining in, even though it may be against your better judgement!

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:48 pm

Chard
Im sure SD left around 2, don't know why of hand, but 10 miles in pitch dark conditions with a potential man with a sharp stick behind very bush? Don't know if he was a brave man or brainless Mongoose ( proved later in life of course to be a very brave man.)
Steve/Julian
Ive always maintained that the best defence area would have been the koppie, the top of it isn't really conical more of a flat toped ridge. However this theoretical discussion has opened my myoptic eyes a touch. Of course in terms of supplies the koppie would win hands down the ammo wagons were metres away.
Frederic
Im not ignoring your last comments just getting my thoughts in order. You have some pretty solid views on Chelmsfords thoughts of Durnfords movements. Im thinking that once he had issued the orders to Crealock he gave no further thought to Durnford. Lets face it he had a lot of frustrating hours ahead and behind him chasing a mythical impi around the Mangeni plain. I again would think that he was surprised or even mildly concerned that Durnford hadn't arrived at Mangeni. It would I think be the last he would have expected.
I have a strong leaning to Johns thoughts on him being called up to man a supply camp, not as a permanent thing but in the short term.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:56 pm

As an aside if you look at the second last photo, the one that shows the cairn, look further at the range of hills way of in the distance. That is the Nqutu ridge and the first contact point. That's the range that the impi spilled over. It gives a pretty fearful view of the distance from one side to the other of the battlefield. Frightening really isn't it.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:30 pm

I wondered whether that was Nqutu - huge expanse of ground. On the koppie question, didn't Clery say later that he thought the saddle and koppie offered a good defensive position?

Steve
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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable    Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:28 am

I've sent about 50 or so pics to Graves1879 , who will , when he get's the time post them on here for you to look at .
90th
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:34 pm

Why did Dunford go himself, instead of send Hamer. His column could have followed on?

Around what time was the first firing heard at Isandlwana.?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:05 am

Frank Allewell wrote:

Frederic
Im not ignoring your last comments just getting my thoughts in order. You have some pretty solid views on Chelmsfords thoughts of Durnfords movements. Im thinking that once he had issued the orders to Crealock he gave no further thought to Durnford. Lets face it he had a lot of frustrating hours ahead and behind him chasing a mythical impi around the Mangeni plain. I again would think that he was surprised or even mildly concerned that Durnford hadn't arrived at Mangeni. It would I think be the last he would have expected.
I have a strong leaning to Johns thoughts on him being called up to man a supply camp, not as a permanent thing but in the short term.

Bonsoir Frank,

Your first point:

Context: 2 PM the 22 January / A riddle for all the members Wink :
You are CHELSMFORD, you are in the Mangeni, you know that 20.000 Zulus are near to your force, you don’t know where exactly but obviously the enemy is not in the Mangeni.
You have waited all the day the Durnford’s troops (his order was to go to the Mangeni).You don’t know at all where is Durnford. You have received no message from him.
Earlier in the day, at 9h30 AM, you have received a message from Pulleine, the Commandant of your rear’s base: Pulleine wrote in his message: presence of the enemy in the left of the camp.
During the morning, you have sent HB and his NNC to the camp.
Your mindset about the camp and the Zulus: The camp is not in danger despite the news given by Lt PARSONS (RA) and you despise your enemy.
You have not yet received the Gardner’s message and the second message of Pulleine.

What are your thoughts at this time (2 PM/ 22 January), particulary about Durnford?, Eventually, what are your decisions?

I.E: accuracy for any  Joker
-Durnford has no intention of disobeying his order in Chelmsford’s mind.
-Durnford understood that his order was to go to the Mangeni.


About your second point ("I have a strong leaning to Johns thoughts on him being called up to man a supply camp, not as a permanent thing but in the short term"), can you elaborate, please? (where is for you this supply camp? not at Isandhlwana i suppose?)

Cheers.
Frédéric
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 8:07 am

2nd point - Presumably at a location pre-arranged between the two of them, perhaps like the temporary Bashee camp, arrived at on an ad hoc basis.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 8:18 am

Julian Whybra wrote:
2nd point - Presumably at a location pre-arranged between the two of them, perhaps like the temporary Bashee camp, arrived at on an ad hoc basis.

Bonjour Mer Whybra,
This hypothesis has already been discuted with Steve and me without success scratch
Cheers
Frédéric
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 8:26 am

I know. But you raised a question on the 2nd point. I thought it might be worth looking at again as an idea. Perhaps, relating to your first point, Durnford was awaiting further instructions from LC in the matter of a temporary camp's location (a reason for Hamer's mission perhaps?). In their absence, perhaps Durnford was going to the Mangeni to ask Chelmsford himself (perhaps the camp was to be on the Mangeni?)?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:51 am

Julian Whybra wrote:
I know.  But you raised a question on the 2nd point.  I thought it might be worth looking at again as an idea.  Perhaps, relating to your first point, Durnford was awaiting further instructions from LC in the matter of a temporary camp's location (a reason for Hamer's mission perhaps?).  In their absence, perhaps Durnford was going to the Mangeni to ask Chelmsford himself (perhaps the camp was to be on the Mangeni?)?

Then why did he go to Isandlwana?
If he was going to Mengeni via Isandlwana, why ride off in the opposite direction?
Why send scouts out to the surrounding hills?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:59 am

Frederic
Sorry I don't believe Chelmsford was expecting Durnford to arrive at Mangeni ergo I doubt if he gave Durnford a second thought until he got back to iSandlwana.
I would believe that the 'supply camp' would indeed be iSandlwana, cant see the point in one being on the Bashee so close to RD. I see the word 'temporary' has crept in, the phrase I used was 'in the short term' and that applied to Durnfords posting rather than a camp.
The proposition is : Durnford and his column would be used initially as a defensive force following behind the main assault force securing the lines of communication and supply. Probably based at iSandlwana until the next jump from Mangeni towards Ulundi and at that time then moving forward to man the Mangeni camp, always one step behind the main force. His column was ideally composed to allow for that sort of roll, an NNC component to man the camp with the Rocket Battery as a back up and a highly mobile mounted contingent to roam on patrols and secure the lines back to RD. He was effectively doing just that at middle drift and then at RD, always a step behind. Possibly that's why Chelmsford lost his cool when Durnford rode of on the offensive rather than the defensive roll allocated him.
Just a few thoughts.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:17 am

sas1
He didn't.  He was responding to the changing circumstances.
Remember, his waggons, Vause and E coy NNC remained behind at Isandhlwana, presumably awaiting orders. If Durnford had been successful in his sortie he would then, one supposes, have returned to his original orders.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:57 pm

What was  the most pressing problem Chelmsford had between 9.00am and 2.00pm, as set out by Frederic?

In my view it was to locate the main Zulu army, and he was not succeeding. He thought Dartnell had found it and he moved towards Mangeni to engage - it was not there.

Chelmsford hears that a force of some kind is reported north of the camp - he does not believe this is the main force, and hence thinks the camp is sufficiently well manned to cope.

His most pressing manpower need in that situation is the same as it had always been (and he had said as much). It is a substantial and effective scouting force - without it he is blind and does not know which way to proceed in a vast landscape (witness Frank and Gary's photos). That must be what is in Chelmsford's mind.

I do not therefore think that he wanted Durnford to remain at Isandhlwana at that point in the morning because he offered (together with Bengough) just such a boost to Chelmsford's scouting resources. I can believe though that once the battle had been joined Chelmsford may well have utilised Durnford's forces as defenders of the line of communications (as Frank says). But that was not his pressing need during those 5 hours of the 22nd. And of course, that was exactly how he had envisaged using Durnford a few days earlier. Why would he have changed his mind now that he faced the circumstances where only effective scouting was going to achieve his objective?

I don't think that means he expected Durnford to turn up at Mangeni first, but to be acting as a scouting force out from Isandhlwana in co-operation with the other scouting resources Chelmsford had. Perhaps that is what Durnford sent Hamer to find out more about.

Of course, once it became clear to Durnford that the main Zulu force was before the camp he had to adapt accordingly. Likewise, once Chelmsford realised that (somewhat later) he too was faced with a different set of problems.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:00 pm

rusteze
I tend to agree
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:22 pm

rusteze wrote:
What was  the most pressing problem Chelmsford had between 9.00am and 2.00pm, as set out by Frederic?

In my view it was to locate the main Zulu army, and he was not succeeding. He thought Dartnell had found it and he moved towards Mangeni to engage - it was not there.

Chelmsford hears that a force of some kind is reported north of the camp - he does not believe this is the main force, and hence thinks the camp is sufficiently well manned to cope.

His most pressing manpower need in that situation is the same as it had always been (and he had said as much). It is a substantial and effective scouting force - without it he is blind and does not know which way to proceed in a vast landscape (witness Frank and Gary's photos). That must be what is in Chelmsford's mind.

I do not therefore think that he wanted Durnford to remain at Isandhlwana at that point in the morning because he offered (together with Bengough) just such a boost to Chelmsford's scouting resources. I can believe though that once the battle had been joined Chelmsford may well have utilised Durnford's forces as defenders of the line of communications (as Frank says). But that was not his pressing need during those 5 hours of the 22nd. And of course, that was exactly how he had envisaged using Durnford a few days earlier. Why would he have changed his mind now that he faced the circumstances where only effective scouting was going to achieve his objective?

I don't think that means he expected Durnford to turn up at Mangeni first, but to be acting as a scouting force out from Isandhlwana in co-operation with the other scouting resources Chelmsford had. Perhaps that is what Durnford sent Hamer to find out more about.

Of course, once it became clear to Durnford that the main Zulu force was before the camp he had to adapt accordingly. Likewise, once Chelmsford realised that (somewhat later) he too was faced with a different set of problems.

Steve

Of course his military experience in handling men, in a combat situation was about has good as Bushman's pass.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:34 pm

John
At this distance it is easy to be cynical of an event that occurred 5 years beforehand. Don't forget that AD was a professional soldier. This is after the time of purchase of commissions. He had to get where he was by ability and merit.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 5:10 pm

No John, I don't buy that. Colonial sour grapes in my view - they couldn't come to terms with the reactions of some of their inexperienced young men at the pass. But this is about what was in Chelmsford's mind during that morning five years later - what do you think?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 5:28 pm

"Colonial sour grapes in my view"

Well said Steve. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 5:51 pm

I notice that the mention of riding off in the 'opposite direction' has cropped up again Suspect

Isn't it about time that this 'tired baby' was finally put to bed for good scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 5:58 pm

Martin
I couldn't agree more. The perpetuation of these silly myths serves no purpose and distracts from the main view.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:29 pm

Thanks Julian.

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:57 pm

Unfortunatly it isn't a myth but cold hard fact. Nobody has yet disputed the map directions. I would advise you to look at google, plot a line ( a straight one will suffice) connecting the camp with the mangeni valley. Then draw a line from the left hand ( Northern ) side of the camp traveling due east and then turning northe east up the Quabe Valley. The lines diverge not converge. One can draw as many inferences as you want, Pincer movements pursuing an imi. The bottom incontrovertible line is simple Durnford was not moving towards Chelmsford. A simple easy point to remember, if he was he would have bumped into Gardner and Smith. And he didn't, or at least Gardner had a senile moment and forgot about it. The maps don't lie gentlemen.

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:31 pm

This a down load from Google the route shown as taken by Chelmsford is the traders route, and the approximate position of todays road. That is incontrovertible, its on all the maps. The position of the Mangeni falls is extremely apparent. The ridge above the falls where Chelmsford and his party looked back at the camp is also as marked. The route shown for Durnford is out of the Northern side of the camp ( that where is troops were sent on arrival) and the a turn up the Quabe valley. That route is also marked on the maps examined and suggested to have been annotated by either Henderson (Whybra/Jackson) or Wood ( Lock and Quantrill). The only argument is how far Durnford travelled along the Quabe Valley. I personally believe the maps refered to above.
There is no dissention from any modern Author /historian on the route Durnford and Chelmsford took. Knight has the maps in a number of his books, Greaves has as well as do L and Q and virtually every serious writer.
So assuming that Google maps are correct and so are all the August historians and writers, why is it still insisted that the divergent paths are a myth?
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More than happy to be proven wrong

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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.5   Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:51 pm

Frank, without wanting to stir things up again, please take another look at my post in DWHC5, page 17, on Friday Jan 9th 2015, at 13:03 pm.

You say that maps don't lie, and I totally agree, and that is why I gave all the compass bearings in my post (above) for people to follow on their own maps. If Durnford had been going in the 'opposite direction' he would have been going North West and not South East.

He did set off in the direction of LC, ie, South East, but then veered further to the East in an attempt to get between LC and the reported zulu's heading in LC's direction. It seems obvious that he was making an attempt to intercept them before they could either attack LC's rear or flank, or they could join up with the zulu's that LC was thought to be attacking, little did he know that it was the left horn of the main impi that was making its move to attack the camp until he almost ran into them and was forced to retreat back towards the camp and made a valiant defence in the donga.

But like I say, he could not have been going in the 'opposite direction' as that would have taken him out of the camp towards the North West and not the South East.

Hope you see what I mean.

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