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 Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana

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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:23 am

Hello all, still trying to get my head around British defeat at Isandlwana. I accept that at the end a square with an ammo dump in the middle was probably the best option. However, on the day I think you'll agree several bad decisions & maybe some understandable one's were made. I would find it informative to get the views of yourselve's whose knowledge is far greater than my own.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:37 am

Clery: Worst decision ever to disturb Chelmsfords sleep, should have let him sleep late.
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:12 pm

Lord Chelmsford, choice of commanders left at the camp!
That was the fatal mistake.
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:50 pm

The idiot Thesiger (LC), disobeying his own orders by not laagering the camp, and then deciding to split his force in enemy territory, and leaving the inept Pulleine in command of the camp without even leaving any orders for him. LC is also guilty for not ensuring that his orders for Col Durnford were made clear and properly understandable.
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PostSubject: Thesigrs follies   Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:36 pm

Hi All,

Rule no1 for any professional military officer is :

NEVER, EVER underestimate the enemy.

....yet this buffoon did !.
He was probable one of the biggest know-alls ever seen in this theatre of conflict

Rule no 2.

Utilise , local intelligence where available.

This clown rudely rejected good advice given by very experienced and well intentioned Colonial subordinate officers. Advice , which if taken could have changed the outcome of Isandlwana.

The result of all of which was that the BA experienced an inordinately high fatality rate on 22/01/79, along with great shame and embarrassment for the British Government.

It was as well that Thesiger was quickly removed from harms way post 1879 and before more cost and damage could be incurred by his arrogant ineptness.

regards

barry
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Sat Jul 18, 2015 4:31 pm

But at least Lord Chelmsford finished what he started. I have said many times, no officer remonstrated with LC regarding his plans. Those that did, didn't have a good enough argument to persuade him other wise. The Battle of Isandlwana took place in the absence of Lord Chelmsford. The responsibility of the camp fell to those left in command. It was their actions and their orders that gave the Zulu's their victory.

And I repeat. Lord Chelmsford quote.

"When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me, if information which he obtained showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command."
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Sun Jul 19, 2015 11:27 am

CTSG
You missed out the bit on page two.
"When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me, if information which he obtained showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command."
"However if you have the impertinence to attempt to do any such thing you will run the risk of upsetting me a tad. That will result in a rather nasty missive fired of post haste that will forever blight your career and could easily lead to your early retirement from the army, from civil life and from any future social engagements so be good chaps and just do what your told, when your told and don't upset the boss."
Cheers
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90th

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PostSubject: prudent and foolish decisions    Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:25 pm

We only need to look at what happened to one Anthony Durnford he was castigated for acting independantly wasnt he !!!!!
90TH
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Sun Jul 19, 2015 11:37 pm

90th wrote:
We only need to look at what happened to one Anthony Durnford he was castigated for acting independantly wasnt he !!!!!
90TH

He wanted to fight the Zulu's on his own, based on information from a Bishop!!
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:16 pm

In making the statement that 'When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me,' LC is being quite shrewd. I think that the impression that Lord Chelmsford was attempting to cultivate was: that he expected his officers to use common sense and act on their own initiative, How can anyone disagree with that argument? For anyone hearing that statement, it would appear that he (LC) was guilt free and that his officers were incapable of acting upon or reacting to the situation as it unfolded.

Waterloo
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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:41 pm

Did anyone do anything right on that dreadful day?
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:41 pm

waterloo50 wrote:
In making the statement that 'When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me,' LC is being quite shrewd. I think that the impression that Lord Chelmsford was attempting to cultivate was: that he expected his officers to use common sense and act on their own initiative, How can anyone disagree with that argument? For anyone hearing that statement, it would appear that he (LC) was guilt free and that his officers were incapable of acting upon or reacting to the situation as it unfolded.

Waterloo

Bonsoir,
In the same vein see the order from LC to Durnford of the 8th january (2nd paragraph).
This order is interesting to analysis with the reaction of LC after the initiative taken by Durnford the 14 January at Middle's drift.
Cheers.
Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:07 am

[/quote]
Bonsoir,
In the same vein see the order from LC to Durnford of the 8th january (2nd paragraph).
This order is interesting to analysis with the reaction of LC after the initiative taken by Durnford the 14 January at Middle's drift.
Cheers.
Frédéric[/quote]

Ymob can you post the order you mention. agree
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:14 am

second paragraph of the order of the 8th January from Chelsmford:
« Should you consider that a counter-move across the Buffalo river will be efficacious in preventing an inroad of zulus into Natal, you are a perfect liberty to make it, but with the understanding that it is made with a pure defensive purpose, and that the force making it returns to its former position on completion of the duty entrusted to it »

Cheers
Frédéric

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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:41 am

Sir Robert Peel,
RESOLUTION. ADJOURNED DEBATE. [SECOND NIGHT.]

HC Deb 28 March 1879 vol 244 cc1991-2090
The Commander-in-Chief told the Government, on November 11, that it was not in its power to appreciate the gravity of the military situation. Lord Chelmsford knew what it was. A pamphlet has been sent me from the Cape, compiled by direction of the Commander-in-Chief, in which he tells his Army the strength of the Zulu Force; he says that it consists of from 40,000 to 50,000 men, well equipped for warfare. He consents to accept the responsibility, and he advances into this country with 200 Cavalry, without taking precautions to ascertain whether the enemy may be at close quarters. He divides his Force—admitting it is insufficient—into three columns, widely separated, and in this way this competent commander advances to maintain the honour of his country. I grieve to say that the despatch in which he describes the disaster at Rorke's Drift is about the most melancholy one ever written. He talks about the men not remaining face to face with the enemy. Why, they were surrounded by the enemy! The impression civilians must have from reading the despatch is that the troops, in the opinion of Lord Chelmsford, showed cowardice and ran away. Making every allowance for Lord Chelmsford, he must have been sadly wanting in the feelings of common justice when he penned such a despatch. Lord Chelmsford blames Colonel Durnford for not having fortified the camp. Why, he was there 48 hours himself with the whole of his ammunition for the campaign, and during all those 48 hours he never made the slightest attempt to do 2021 what he says Colonel Durnford should have done in four hours. The other day I asked a distinguished General his opinion about Lord Chelmsford's conduct, and his answer was—"It is to me perfectly incomprehensible. He seems to have left the camp with all his ammunition, and to have gone fiddling about looking for a parade ground, with a hostile army of 30,000 men on his flank." After the disaster we find him riding and flying for his life. And hero is one of the most painful circumstances of the whole affair—Lord Chelmsford arrives at the desolated camp at nightfall and leaves before daybreak. So far as the Papers go, he does not seem to have made the slightest search to see whether any of those poor brave, gallant fellows might not be lying in the field dying, if not, perhaps, quite dead.

Not everyone allowed LC to shift the blame.
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:39 pm

That my friend is a pretty damning summation.
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PostSubject: Thesiger dammed   Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:22 pm

Hi Waterloo500

Thanks, a nice posting.  The general summary vis-a-vis Thesiger's cowardice  echoes what most who have studied this war feel about him. However some corrections to the report are in place, and these are;

1) The total Zulu population at that time was thought to be about 50k. So the impi attacking the British could only be a max of about 20k.
2) It is well documented that Thesiger left his ammunition wagons at  Isandlwana ready to move, if called for. This was about 200k rounds with another battalion reserve of about the same amount, , ie 200k. Making a total of 400k (, all of which was captured by the Zulus along with one Gatling, 2x 7pdr RMLS and about 950 MH's .)  
It is also well documented that Thesigers force engaged in the frolick seeking out the Zulu impi only had their pouches filled with ammo, and nothing else.  ( ie 70 rds/man)
Once the line held by the NNC at Isandlwana broke the Zulus cut off the total ammunition supply in the camp. The fight was then over as many firing lines were already faltering through tardy resupply of ammo, with the ammo runners having already fled the field. This is why the battle was lost due to the inadequacy of ammunition. Now, the WO was perhaps led to believe that the ammo wagons carrying 400k rounds  were with Thesiger, thus hiding the reality of the situation in which a poorly managed battle field ran the ammo supply out , and nothing else. This fact would have reflected on the CIC so it was conveniently hidden, as described in the report posted. Just part of the bigger cover up.
3) It is not quite true to say that Thesiger's returning force did not check the camp over after their return. This they did despite the eclipse and found all the dead had been gutted and otherwise horribly mutilated. No one could survive that.

regards

barry
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:03 pm

Hello Barry,

I think that Sir Robert Peel was making his statement based on the limited reports that he had at the time. In fairness to LC, there were others at the debate who defended him but it was Sir Robert Peel who wouldn't let LC of the hook, here is Sir Robert Peel pushing his argument home,


I recollect reading the other day on the monument of Havelock, the bravest and most heroic of soldiers, that when he led his brave companions in arms—only one-sixth more of British troops than will shortly be in the Cape fighting against these savages—against 100,000 Sepoys, he said—"Soldiers, your sufferings, your privations, your valour, will never be forgotten by a grateful country." We might say the same for the gallant fellows who fell in that miserable affair at Isandlana—53 officers and nearly 2020 1,400 men—through the gross incompetence of a General upon whose head rests the blood of these men. ["No, no!"] Upon whose head it rests, until he has been tried by court martial and acquitted. As many officers fell in that battle as fell in the great battle of Inkermann. Hon. Members say "No!" I say "Yes!" I have it that 53 officers fell in that fatal battle at Isandland and no more fell at Inkermann. But even if that was not the case, was there not blood enough to make us think of the way in which those gallant fellows fought for the honour and dignity of the country? But what can be said of the conduct of the Commander-in-Chief?
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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:26 pm

Yet again Waterloo you have pretty much nailed Lord C. I am very impressed that is a post which I suspect Lord C's supporters will find it difficult to refute.
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:44 pm

Hello Martin Henry,

Thanks for the feedback on my last post.

Some members of the House defended LC, MR M.W.H. James stated, 'If it was possible for the men whose bones lay bleaching on the ground which was the scene of the late disaster in South Africa to speak again, they would be the last, he was convinced, to join in the blame which had been so unsparingly visited upon Lord Chelmsford.'

Waterloo

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:37 pm

Waterloo, if you continue looking through the house of commons debates, you will see some defended him. If you look for the bad you will find it. But that's not really playing ball.
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:28 pm

Hi CTSG,

With respect, please read my posts again. I mentioned twice,(Post 8.44 pm) that there were those that defended LC, I even quoted one of them.

Kind Regards

Waterloo
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:40 pm

This blame issue has totally polarised this forum & rightly so. That is why we joined the forum. We are all passionate about the AZW. Let's try to be respectful & constructive, I have seen posts in ( previous threads), where members were obviously losing their cool. So let's crack on & have a good natured debate.

Ps respects to Admin if I've usurped your perogratives.
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:44 pm

The following text is an extract of John Youngs "Brevet Colonel Anthony W. Durnford"

"  On 1st January, 1879, Durnford received orders from Lord Chelmsford ordering him to remain at the Middle Drift until the invasion, scheduled for the 11th January, was under way.  When Durnford would be expected to co-operate between Pearson's Number 1 Column, which was to cross at the Lower Drift, and Colonel Richard Thomas Glyn's Number 3 Column, which was to ford the Buffalo River at Rorke's Drift.

  On the afternoon of 11th January, Durnford paid a visit on Lord Chelmsford, who had now attached his headquarters to Glyn's force.  He acquainted the General with some intelligence gleaned from messengers loyal to the Lutheran Bishop Hans Schreuder, before returning to his designated position.

  At this time rumours and counter-rumours as to the Zulu dispositions were rife.  Schreuder wrote to Durnford warning him of a threat of a Zulu incursion over the Middle Drift.  Durnford received the message on 13th January.  He hastily wrote a dispatch to Chelmsford apprising him of the supposed threat, and that he intended to meet the enemy on the Zulu side of the Middle Drift.

  At 2 a.m. on 14th January, Durnford roused his men, and readied them for a forced march at 4 a.m.  As Durnford was on the summit of Kranz Kop preparing to descend into the valley leading towards the drift a galloper from Lord Chelmsford met him.

  The dispatch from Chelmsford was forthright and to the point:

Dear Durnford,

Unless you carry out the instructions I give you, it will be my unpleasant duty to remove you from your command, and to substitute another officer for officer for the commander of No. 2 Column.  When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me, if information which he obtained showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command.  Your neglecting to obey my instructions in the present instance has no excuse.  You have simply received information in a letter from Bishop Schroeder[sic], which may or may not be true and which you have no means of verifying.  If movements ordered are to be delayed because report hints at a chance of an invasion of Natal, it will be impossible for me to carry out my plan of campaign.  I trust you will understand this plain speaking and not give me any further occasion to write in a style which is distasteful to me."

So in hindsight, wasn't Durnford doing what you accuses Lord Chelmsford of.

He had no idea what he was going up against.
He would never have been able to establish a fortified position.
He would not have carrried out a recon of the area.
And he was prepaired to do what he had always stated, "If Zulu's are seen we should attack them.
His orders were to remain at the middle drift, until the invasion, scheduled for the 11th January.
So please don't tell me Lord Chelmsford was wrong to write the reprimand.

"When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me, if information which he obtained showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command"

Are you really saying, he was just being shrewd? It makes military sense, it's just a pity some of the other officers didn't take it on board.

The fact that Durnford was quite prepaired to attack a unknown number of Zulu's with a small mounted force, does nothing more than show him to be what he was, a loose cannon, and a danger within the ranks.

Was it not a wise move on Lord Chelmsford part to stick Durnford in a place where he could do no harm. Unfortunatelly Lord Chelmsford didn't bank on Durnford feeling sorry for himself as Durnford said. " I am down because I am left behind, but we shall see" and what did he do at Isandlwana, he saw the Zulu's and attacked them. We could argue that it was a well known fact that the Zulu's had intended attacking on the 23rd not the 22nd so was it Durnford knee jerk actions that cause the attack on the camp. After all it's was Durnford men, that fired upon the Zulu's that were sitting as quite a mice in the valley. Was it not!



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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:51 pm

waterloo50 wrote:
Hi CTSG,

With respect, please read my posts again. I mentioned twice,(Post 8.44 pm) that there were those that defended LC, I even quoted one of them.

Kind Regards

Waterloo

You mean 7:44pm unless your in another part of the world. There are a lot more that defended him. QV would be a good starting point.
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:07 pm

CTSG,

So you found my posts, where I point out that others defended LC


Last edited by waterloo50 on Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:18 pm

I have a query, so who is qualified to judge Lord C? It surely cannot be QV,who although the sovereign, is not a military professional. Should it be Parliament, or the Duke of Cambridge? Where there any senior Officer's who fully supported Lord C I am anxious to know in the interests of a greater understanding
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:24 pm

The accusations were started by a women, who spread a web of lies that ended up biting her in the arse. If you read QV diaries you will see how she felt about those having a go at Lord Chelmsford.
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:38 pm

The House of Lords it would appear were the people that considered a Court Marshall for Lord Chelmsford.

Waterloo

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Tue Jul 21, 2015 11:40 pm

Fanny Colenso, I presume!

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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:24 am

Chelmsfordthescapegoat wrote:
The following text is an extract of John Youngs "Brevet Colonel Anthony W. Durnford"

"  On 1st January, 1879, Durnford received orders from Lord Chelmsford ordering him to remain at the Middle Drift until the invasion, scheduled for the 11th January, was under way.  When Durnford would be expected to co-operate between Pearson's Number 1 Column, which was to cross at the Lower Drift, and Colonel Richard Thomas Glyn's Number 3 Column, which was to ford the Buffalo River at Rorke's Drift.

  On the afternoon of 11th January, Durnford paid a visit on Lord Chelmsford, who had now attached his headquarters to Glyn's force.  He acquainted the General with some intelligence gleaned from messengers loyal to the Lutheran Bishop Hans Schreuder, before returning to his designated position.

  At this time rumours and counter-rumours as to the Zulu dispositions were rife.  Schreuder wrote to Durnford warning him of a threat of a Zulu incursion over the Middle Drift.  Durnford received the message on 13th January.  He hastily wrote a dispatch to Chelmsford apprising him of the supposed threat, and that he intended to meet the enemy on the Zulu side of the Middle Drift.

  At 2 a.m. on 14th January, Durnford roused his men, and readied them for a forced march at 4 a.m.  As Durnford was on the summit of Kranz Kop preparing to descend into the valley leading towards the drift a galloper from Lord Chelmsford met him.

  The dispatch from Chelmsford was forthright and to the point:

Dear Durnford,

Unless you carry out the instructions I give you, it will be my unpleasant duty to remove you from your command, and to substitute another officer for officer for the commander of No. 2 Column.  When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me, if information which he obtained showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command.  Your neglecting to obey my instructions in the present instance has no excuse.  You have simply received information in a letter from Bishop Schroeder[sic], which may or may not be true and which you have no means of verifying.  If movements ordered are to be delayed because report hints at a chance of an invasion of Natal, it will be impossible for me to carry out my plan of campaign.  I trust you will understand this plain speaking and not give me any further occasion to write in a style which is distasteful to me."

So in hindsight, wasn't Durnford doing what you accuses Lord Chelmsford of.

He had no idea what he was going up against.
He would never have been able to establish a fortified position.
He would not have carrried out a recon of the area.
And he was prepaired to do what he had always stated, "If Zulu's are seen we should attack them.
His orders were to remain at the middle drift, until the invasion, scheduled for the 11th January.
So please don't tell me Lord Chelmsford was wrong to write the reprimand.

"When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me, if information which he obtained showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command"

Are you really saying, he was just being shrewd? It makes military sense, it's just a pity some of the other officers didn't take it on board.

The fact that Durnford was quite prepaired to attack a unknown number of Zulu's with a small mounted force, does nothing more than show him to be what he was, a loose cannon, and a danger within the ranks.

Was it not a wise move on Lord Chelmsford part to stick Durnford in a place where he could do no harm. Unfortunatelly Lord Chelmsford didn't bank on Durnford feeling sorry for himself as Durnford said. " I am down because I am left behind, but we shall see" and what did he do at Isandlwana, he saw the Zulu's and attacked them. We could argue that it was a well known fact that the Zulu's had intended attacking on the 23rd not the 22nd so was it Durnford knee jerk actions that cause the attack on the camp. After all it's was Durnford men, that fired upon the Zulu's that were sitting as quite a mice in the valley. Was it not!


Some good points there!
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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:35 am

Seriously though can anyone shed light on who was competent to judge Lord C? With all due respect, QV was influential but so was Disraeli as PM. Was it a lack of moral fibre/ testicular fortitude that he was put out to grass? Would it not have been bad for the Army, in their view, if he was court-martialled or tried by his peers?
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:05 am

Disraeli disliked just about everyone other than himself.
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:08 am

Chelmsfordthescapegoat wrote:
Disraeli disliked just about everyone other than himself.

It's today people who carry on the Colenso venom, that started the lies.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:54 am

Waterloo
The oft-ignored Peel quotation you gave was very pertinent. It is also true that you did even-handedly provide the source of remarks defending LC.
I think some of the criticisms levelled against Peel's quotation are unfair or incorrect, viz.

"The total Zulu population at that time was thought to be about 50k. So the impi attacking the British could only be a max of about 20k."
In 1828 the Zulu population was estimated as 250,000 alone. By 1879 the population was well over 1,000,000. The size of the Zulu impi at Isandhlwana has been reckoned at 24,300 at the most.

"It is well documented that Thesiger left his ammunition waggons at Isandlwana ready to move, if called for. This was about 200k rounds with another battalion reserve of about the same amount, , ie 200k. Making a total of 400k. It is also well documented that Thesigers force engaged in the frolick seeking out the Zulu impi only had their pouches filled with ammo, and nothing else. ( ie 70 rds/man)."
Then is it not true that LC took his men out to the Mangeni with an inadequate amount of ammunition as charged by Peel? If the camp couldn't hold back the impi, what chance LC's men on the Mangeni?

"Once the line held by the NNC at Isandlwana broke the Zulus cut off the total ammunition supply in the camp."
The 24th withdrew to a position at the foot of the mountain such that access to one of the battalion ammunition waggons was still available for a time. In addition each coy would have its own supply. As each coy was surrounded of course it would obviously run out of ammunition.

"The fight was then over as many firing lines were already faltering through tardy resupply of ammo, with the ammo runners having already fled the field."
There is no evidence whatsoever that the ammunition supply to the line had been faltering. In fact the opposite was true.
Neither is it true that the ammunition runners fled the field. There is no evidence for this. Some would have been shut out or prevented physically from returning to their parent coys it is true. And how many ammunition carriers/stretcher bearers actually escaped? Answer: one (Wilson). His account may be read.

"This is why the battle was lost due to the inadequacy of ammunition." [sic]
The battle was lost because the 24th was surrounded and outnumbered.

"It is not quite true to say that Thesiger's returning force did not check the camp over after their return. This they did despite the eclipse and found all the dead had been gutted and otherwise horribly mutilated. No one could survive that."
It is true to say that some officers examined small parts of the destroyed camp (I'm not quite sure what the early afternoon eclipse has to do with this). At least one found a (dying) Zulu still alive. On entering the camp 3 or 4 NNC were still alive and showed themselves (they were fired upon initially) and there is at least one unverified account of a European (J. Raymond) doing the same. The Zulus were thorough but, I go along with Peel, it is still possible that one or two might still have been lying there mortally wounded.
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:03 am

LC was not particularly senior in army terms, so there were plenty of people competent to judge him. It would have been a matter for the CiC, with the political backing of the government in power (don't forget Disraeli's government had fallen as a result of the disaster). But Gladstone had a difficult job on his hands. The South African question was far from resolved with the Transvaal in revolt. To my mind QV's backing of LC was as much to do with her loathing of the new Liberal government as her desire to protect one of her own. It is clear that the Liberal government were not going to respond to the pressure in parliament to have LC censured, not because they thought him innocent but because of much wider political considerations. Add to that the fact that that a large number of key witnesses were dead made it a non starter in my view. To say Fanny Colenso had anything to do with all of that is giving her way too much credit.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:23 am

Rusteze,
thanks for the points of clarification. I suspect QV was fairly insulated from what was really going on, & relied on the "expertise," of those of a similar class & background as Lord C. Politics raised it's ugly head & continues to do so...unfortunately. As for Nell Colenso she was no more than an irritant, nothing was ever going to change from the official version of the story. Mercifully I think the fog is clearing now, despite some still voiceiferous partisanship.

Regards

Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:29 am

Sir Robert Peel stated that, 'The other day I asked a distinguished General his opinion about Lord Chelmsford's conduct, and his answer was—"It is to me perfectly incomprehensible. He seems to have left the camp with all his ammunition, and to have gone fiddling about looking for a parade ground, with a hostile army of 30,000 men on his flank." After the disaster we find him riding and flying for his life.

The term 'Incomprehensible', is significant, it is being used to describe Lord Chelmsford's conduct.  I suspect that many high ranking officers held the same view. It would be interesting to know which 'Distinguished General', made the comment.

Do the Government propose to supersede Lord Chelmsford in his command?" And the answer was—"As at present advised, No." Well, since that answer was given Papers have been received, and we have had the melancholy despatch of the 9th of February from Lord Chelmsford himself. I think that despatch of Lord Chelmsford, coupled with the conduct of Sir Bartle Frere and the action of Sir Henry Bulwer, forces upon us this conclusion—that, in this South African business, there have been clearly three policies working. The first policy was the policy of the Government, the second was the policy of Sir Bartle Frere, and the third, from the 4th of January, when Sir Bartle Frere gave the entire responsibility to the Commander-in-Chief, was the military policy of Lord Chelmsford. Now, I shall speak with every fairness—the policy of the Government up to a certain date was clear and distinct. The policy of Sir Bartle Frere, whatever you may say of it in the House, had, at all events, this quality—it was bold, energetic, and determined, and it resulted in a most complete fiasco. The third policy was a military policy, with full responsibility of action from the 4th of January, and that policy of Lord Chelmsford, as we all know, resulted in that great disaster of Isandlana. Now, I make this assertion, and I am sure the House will agree with me, that if the policy of the Government had been really adhered to, both the fiasco of the High Commissioner and the disaster of the Commander-in-Chief would in all probability have been avoided.

'Fiasco', 'Disaster', Strong Words aimed at Frere and Lord Chelmsford.

Waterloo
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:33 am

Boom!!!
the grenade has just been tossed.

agree
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:21 pm

Barry,

Pulling you up on one point of your post of 3.22pm of yesterday.

Where did the Gatling Gun come into it?

John Y.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:17 pm

JY
Bravo John, my eye slipped past that one!!
Julian
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:58 pm

John Young wrote:
Barry,

Pulling you up on one point of your post of 3.22pm of yesterday.

Where did the Gatling Gun come into it?

John Y.

I can hear the sounds of humble pie being eaten!!! Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:43 pm

HC Deb 28 March 1879 vol 244 cc1991-2090 1991

“SIR CHARLES RUSSELL appealed to the House for indulgence for a short time while he defended an old comrade and an absent man. He meant Lord Chelmsford. He promised the right hon. Baronet that he would meet the question as fairly as he had himself met it, and he would be more moderate in his language and more considerate of those who were unable to defend themselves. The first charge brought by the right hon. Baronet against Lord Chelmsford was that on the 4th of January he took over from Sir Bartle Frere the responsibilities of the position, or, in plain language, that he obeyed the orders of his superior. With regard to the plan of the campaign, the right hon. Baronet had criticized that with great severity; but, unfortunately, he was not possessed of what he was pleased to call "a well-informed military mind." The plan of that campaign was submitted to competent military authorities in this country, and was approved. The difficulties which Lord Chelmsford had to face were not of his own creating. After he had crossed the Tugela and got to the camp at Isandlana, he remained there making some 2024 reconnaissances, and with practically his whole Force. He did not, therefore, think it necessary to intrench the camp, and he (Sir Charles Russell) ventured to challenge the right hon. Baronet, who had spoken of that as a single instance, to point to a single case where a General moving with his whole Force had ever in Cape warfare intrenched his camp. He would go to the length of saying that even small detached parties did nothing of the kind. That was well known in Cape warfare, and he defied the right hon. Baronet to show one instance in which a laager defended by British troops had ever been taken. Well, Lord Chelmsford, hearing that the enemy was somewhere to the North-East, went with a large Force in search of him, and some time after he left he became engaged with a Force, and was occupied four hours in driving back that Force. When he left the camp, he sent a written order to Colonel Durnford to come up and take the command of the camp. The witnesses differed as to whether the order directed him to "strengthen" the camp; but he wrote by his military secretary to Colonel Pulleine to give the camp over to Colonel Durnford, and to "defend the camp." Lord Chelmsford had left before daylight. Now, as he should have to cast some reflection upon those who were dead and gone, and who had nobly died in discharge of what they conceived to be their duty, he trusted the House would not think he was in the least degree dealing to the memory of those gallant men so cruel and unjust a blow as that which the right hon. Baronet had dealt to the living. But the House would agree with him that, however much they might respect the memory of the dead, they were not entitled to give them that respect at the cruel expense of the living. His gallant friend, Lord Chelmsford, after he had left the camp before daylight—he spoke from memory, and without his notes, for he little dreamt that in a discussion of a Motion in which all mention of Lord Chelmsford's name had been left out a discussion of this sort would take place. He was not, therefore, prepared by reference to his marked Blue Book to give chapter and verse for everything he said; but he assured the House that he would state nothing that he could not prove. After Lord Chelmsford left the camp, Colonel Pulleine had notice that the enemy was accumulating in force on heights about four miles off. He assembled his Force and put them to the east side of the camp, keeping them under orders for some time, when they were sent to their parades. At 10.30 Colonel Durnford arrived and took the command of the camp. It was abundantly evident that some discussion took place between Colonel Durnford and Colonel Pulleine. Colonel Durnford said he had seen some of the enemy on his left flank, and he asked for a couple of English companies with which he would go out and look for them. "No," said Colonel Pulleine, "I dare not do so, for my orders are to defend the camp," and that, Colonel Durnford's aide-de-camp said, was repeated over and over again. Ultimately, as if the poor fellow had a strange presentiment, Colonel Durnford said to Colonel Pulleine, "If I get into difficulties will you come to my rescue?" They had the testimony of one survivor of the rocket battery which accompanied him that Colonel Durnford attacked the enemy, with the result they all too well knew. Had the troops remained in camp and a laager been formed, which could have been done in half-an-hour or an hour—had the orders received been obeyed and the camp defended—the defence would have been complete and perfect. But it was said that the General sent back Captain Alan Gardner with an order to intrench the camp. He did so, but that was when he had found another camping-ground, which he determined to leave to Colonel Glyn, and in sending back for ammunition and provisions he added—"Intrench your camp." And why? As long as he had his mounted force at the camp he was sufficiently strong; but when he sent the order the force was divided. Let them now look to what occurred at Rorke's Drift. There they had an hour's notice that the enemy were about to attack, and that the camp was to be defended. Did Lieutenant Chard say—"Give me some men, and I will go out to meet the enemy?" He did not; but he and Lieutenant Bromhead set about throwing up defences, and they succeeded in repelling what was in proportion a larger Force than that which made the attack at Isandlana. Thus it was clear that where the men obeyed and clearly understood the General's orders, the defence was com- 2026 plete. Another point on which the right hon. Baronet made an attack on his (Sir Charles Russell's) absent friend was as to an alleged want of feeling which he showed when he left the camp at Isandlana before daylight on the morning after the disaster. But why did he go before daylight? He did so for two reasons—first, because he felt obliged to hasten to the assistance of the little garrison at Rorke's Drift; and, secondly, because he very properly wished to spare his men the horrible sight of the mutilated corpses of their comrades; for he need hardly remind the House that in African warfare it was notorious that the Zulus never left a wounded man living on the field. Where the wounded were not carried off for more brutal purposes, they were killed on the spot. If, indeed, Lord Chelmsford had incurred the risk of further loss, he would have deserved some small portion of the blame which the right hon. Baronet imputed to him. Let him remind the House of Lord Chelmsford's career. He had served the country for 35 years; he was present in the Crimea and attained the medal and clasp. His high courage was known to him and to everyone else who saw Lord Chelmsford, and they would give him credit for great capacity. Then, again, he served in the Indian Mutiny and attained the medal, and as Assistant Adjutant General he accompanied the Abyssinian Expedition and was present at the taking of Magdala; and in one of his despatches Lord Napier of Magdala said he desired to speak "specifically of his great ability and great energy." Was the man who had thus served his country, and who one day met with a disaster for which, in his conscience, he believed—and he said it on his honour as a gentleman—Lord Chelmsford was utterly irresponsible, to have his career in life cut short because charges such as they had heard, and which were incapable of being sustained, were, in his absence, made against him? If so, they were going to take a course which would not only be a grave injustice to the General himself, but also to the Forces that served under him. He did not quite understand the allusion of the right hon. Baronet to the case of Admiral Byng? Did he understand him to mean that they were to have such another murder?”
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:03 pm

The house of commons debates are already on the forum.

John, Julian I'm surprise you don't know about the Gatling Gun.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:22 pm

CTSG
Tell us, tell us, I can't wait!
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:32 pm

In which case I'll keep you waiting!
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:14 pm

Ulundi,

I am a little confused over the sentence 'unfortunately, he was not possessed of what he was pleased to call "a well-informed military mind." , who was Lord Russell referring to, is he talking about Bartle Frere, LC or the Baronet that made the accusation?
The language of the period is very convoluted and its taking me a while to completely work my way through all of the speeches made during the debate. The debate really gives a sense of how the whole campaign was viewed at the time, I particularly enjoy the later debates about the press writing their 'harsh reports', and the House of Lords view of how the General Public viewed the campaign. In some ways going to the original sources is better than reading accounts written by historians who sometimes unwittingly add their own bias to the story.
Cheers

Waterloo
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:35 am

Waterloo I think TBH it was the Baronet that made the original accusation. Though, it could certainly be a charge laid at Sir BF & LC also.
PS Gatling Gun? Can anyone clear that up please?
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PostSubject: Prudent and Foolish Decisions At Isandlwana    Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:33 am

ctsg
Your much earlier post where you think Durnford was doing the same as LC isnt quite the same , Durnford had a fast mobile force , he could certainly retreat if he came across a strong contingent of zulu , LC couldnt , and would've died were they stood ! . So I think you certainly cant compare the situations ..
90th
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PostSubject: Re: Prudent & Foolish Desicions at Isandlwana   Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:13 am

CTSG
We have a l-o-n-g wait.
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