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 Isandlwana firing line

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PostSubject: Isandlwana firing line   Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:39 am

Apologies if this has been covered in the past, but what did the British hope to achieve by extending their firing line so far from the camp? Was this simply common practise at the time?
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:32 am

Hi BC
There were a number of factors that dictated the firing line position. Initially troops lined up to support the retreat (strategic withdrawl) of Cavaye and Mostyn from the spur. In addition the guns needed a clear firing line so two companies accompanied them down to the Rocky ridge. That became the start of the firing line with other companies extending into the gap and supporting the NNC withdrawl from the area of the Conical Kopie. Pope then withdrew at an angle to the main line to occupy the ridge line. That in essence formed the front line. On Durnfords retreat that end of the line extended to meet up with his forces. It did move at times, one company advanced to be able to fire down into the dead ground and the dongas. The westernmost companies, Younghusband etc withdrew to anchor onto slopes of the mountain itself, and Popes right flank turned to combat the gap left by Durnfords retreat. So at a point, near the end the front line was actually three sides of a box.
Depends on your view point as to weather it can be attributed to following Chelmsfords standing orders on its formation, 90th and Julian are strong proponents of that, or its formation was dictated by the terms of the engagement itself, I would support the later.
Hope that helps.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:03 am

Thanks for that. Once the strategic withdrawal was completed, could the infantry have withdrawn to a position closer to the camp or the base of Isandlwana?
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:04 pm

Yes they could have, but under pressure from the impi. When they eventually did attempt to withdraw it was to late the right horn was already in the camp. You have to bare in mind though at that time the front line was in a strong position anchored on the Rocky Ridge, Pope was giving them hell and the chest was virtually ready to pack up and go home. So the initial firing line wasn't really the problem, sure it was a tad extended but throw in the right horn, Durnfords withdrawl and the extended supply line and you had the perfect storm. Through luck or judgement, and the jury is still out, every thing conspired against the British and worked for the Zulu.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:43 pm

Frank Allewell wrote:
. You have to bare in mind though at that time the front line was in a strong position anchored on the Rocky Ridge, Pope was giving them hell and the chest was virtually ready to pack up and go home. So the initial firing line wasn't really the problem
Cheers

Bonjour Frank,

And the right horn (moving behind Isandhlwana)????
There was no reserve in the British camp, all the Imperial coys were on the firing line, no?

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:05 pm

The Imperial companies and Durnford's men held their own for as long as the chest and left horn were to their front. But as soon as the left horn outflanked Durnford and the right horn appeared over the saddle from behind Isandhlwana it was all over - they were simply overwhelmed.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:55 pm

Bonjour Steve,
I am agree with your comment.
My problem is the comment given by Frank.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:49 pm

Me a problem? Never
Steve the right horns appearance was after the withdrawl, without digging into the files there is a statement that puts the right horns appearance as the Carbineers were reformed and holding back the left horn. So the sequence was outflank withdrawl and THEN right horn.
Frederic
Sorry mate don't understand the concern?
If the queerie is that I haven't taken cognisance of the right horn then I would again reiterate the sequence of events as above, the right horn was no threat to the firing line at all. That threat developed as the retreat commenced.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:19 pm

Ah, the old timeline question - now that's a subject we should explore! Very Happy  

I don't disagree with you about the sequence but I think I would say outflank, withdraw, outflank again and then right horn (or at the same time right horn?). As to whether it had an impact on the firing line, I would take your analogy of the three sides of a box and say it did. Initially, the fourth side of the box is Isandhlwana mountain with the right horn behind it, but once the right horn comes over the saddle it makes up the fourth side of the box and the firing line is surrounded.

What would you say the timescale was between Durnford's withdrawl and the right horn appearing?

Steve


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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:28 pm

Frank wrote:Sorry mate don't understand the concern?

OK . scratch
in other words:
hypothesis: Durnford doesn'nt retreat, he contains the left horn, "the front line was in a strong position anchored on the Rocky Ridge, Pope was giving them hell and the chest was virtually ready to pack up and go home".


For me, the right horn is still a danger for the British force: The right horn bypasses the mountain and attacks the British force from the rear.

So, the intial firing line WAS really the problem (I.E: you wrote the intitial firing line wasn't really the problem)
I certainly missed something scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch


I.E: Steve and Frank; i do like your analogy of the box! Salute .

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:27 am

Hi Guys
I need to take you back to the original post: 'initially' is the key word, yes it did become a problem but from the feet on the ground perspective they had the Zulu contained. The right horn at that point wasn't recognised.
Frederic yes eventually it did do exactly what you say, eventually being the key word. But again that sequence, once the Durnford force had started to retire, and the carbineers and volunteers DID NOT retire to the saddle on mass, they settled into a new firing line to curtail the left horn. There is then a mention, I will find it today that one of the colonials then heard noise behind them and noted the Zulus had got in their rear ( Right Horn ). Its so bloody difficult to call the whole sequence of that battle but Durnford was at the Donga for the retreat beginning, again there is testimony to that, The colonials retire approx. 400 metres and form a firing line, Durnford rides across to the left battle line ( Essex and Gardiner ) so all that occurs BEFORE the right horn appears. Or so my logic tells me. So Steve you could be really brave and put a time issue to that that.

So to encapsulate, my sequence:
Durnford orders withdrawl
Durnford rides across the battle field
The Colonials form new firing line
Pope reforms his right flank
The right Horn appears
The front line begins to retire/break up
Etc etc etc.

Does that lot make sense? ( Yes Gary I know, all speculative)

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PostSubject: Isandlwana Firing Line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:33 am

Very Happy You need to study mo Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:26 am

Hi Frank,
Thank you for your answer.
Effectively, i missed something: initially! Very Happy
It seems to me that the trooper of the Natal Carbineers was Barker.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:03 am

Hi Frederic
Yes it was Barker. In reading his account there seems to be quite a time lapse between him leaving the Donga and his hearing 'a rushing noise' behind him. I seem to recall he mentions firing a dozen shots? And that was in between getting back to the Carbineer lines and checking on his horse before moving back down the slope to join his friends.
So yes with that sort of time lapse Pope could well have had enough time to 'bend' his right flank. Mike Snook has similar ideas in his battle breakdown.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:31 pm

Frank,
If I understand well your hypothesis:
1°) The colonials and Pope contains the left horn;
2°) It's the right horn and not the left horn who appears the first in the rear of the British defense (and not the left horn).

I think the weakness of your hypothesis is the merit recognized by Cetewayo himself to the Regiment uMbonambi (middle-left horn); the first warriors to reach the perimeter of the tents....

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:44 pm

Hi Frederic
I see your point and would agree on the first to the tents, but does that affect the point being disussed? The umBonanbi were facing the end of Popes line and the Colonials, Pope refused his flank the Colonials retreated and allowed the umBonambi the forward movement it was that movement that the Carbineers/Colonial force was trying to stem when the Right Horn appeared over the saddle. So the contention would be that the Colonials dispersed, some heading to their horses others backing up towards the koppie and the umBonambi succeeded in forcing the camp. There had to be at some point there a resistance holding open a gap between the two to allow for the return of Durnford and the upward retreat of Pope. Durnford did get there, his body was on the hill side as were a great number of soldiers and Colonials in that particular stand. Those last two statements are incontrovertible.
Ive always, in trying to recreate the battle, centred judgement on known fact. So taking those couple of statements, Davis, Barker etc and plotting in the demise of Durnford and his known positions the options of that particular segment become pretty limited really.
Your points
1) Yes.
2) Yes.
But as always my friend they are only my own humble thoughts.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:01 pm

Frank,
Yours original analysises have the merit of forcing us to think differently and to question our certainties and therefore progress in the knowledge of this battle.
Bravo mon ami for your relevant anti-conformist thoughts! Salute  Off Topic
Amitiés.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:10 pm

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Frederic is that diplomatic French for your talking S**T. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

(Frédéric est que diplomatique français pour ' votre parler S ** T)

agree Joker
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:13 pm

Your hypothesis is plausible for Pope and Godwin-Austen.
As you know Snook is probably wrong on this point.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:23 pm

Frank Allewell wrote:
Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Frederic is that diplomatic French for your talking S**T. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

(Frédéric est que diplomatique français pour ' votre parler S ** T)

agree Joker

Frank, Master Po
A spontaneous confession of admiration...  but please repeat my words to anyone, it's kissing. Off Topic

Amitiés.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:28 pm

Pope and Godwin were definitely on or close to the saddle that's just one of the many reasons I have for the theories I hold around that area of the battlefield. Actually in all the battlefield that segment is probably the easiest to re construct.
Mike Snooks whole theory on that area revolved on the company being decimated along the lines of the upper Donga ( Bassage Diary ) he stakes everything on that diary entry. But theres nothing on the ground that supports it. I broached him once on the number of cairns and the size of those cairns in comparison with the number of men in the company. He couldn't justify an answer. There are possibly between eight and ten cairns spread over a large area and 4 in the area refered to by Bassage. Even allowing for 10 bodies per cairn ( the average was 6) that's still less than 25% of the strength.
So as good as Mikes Battle build up works, that section doesn't and because that doesnt his breakdown of the Durnford/Colonial defence falls apart.
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PostSubject: Isandlwana Firing Line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:37 pm

Hi Frank
I think I remember reading either in Alfred Boast's burial reports that the Average number of bodies per cairn was 2 to 4 ? . I thought that was a lowish number at the time . I also remember that the companies were down on numbers , instead of the 100 which was the required number , some were as low as 80 or so , happy to be corrected . You need to study mo
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:50 pm

From Mr Julian Whybra ("Understrength  companies at the firing lines Isandlwana / 28 /07/2015):

"Re the 1st bn: 413 men divided between 5 coys gives 82.6 men per coy.
It's quite correct that some men would not have been with their coys.  The band acted as stretcher bearers and ammo carriers. One pioneer per coy would have been at the ammo waggons - this reduces the number available on the line to 383 or 76.6 men per coy.

Alongside this we have the evidence of men like Williams who said that everyone was ordered out of camp to the line - thus the 7 from the 24th, plus 4 officers and 5 ORs on the Staff, and 6 from the 90th - a total of 22.
This would raise the number to 405 (81 per coy).

If the 50 men of the R.A. not out with the guns are included then the total becomes 455 (91 per coy).

Some men would have been in hospital of course though some were mobile and could handle a rifle.  One can play with the statistics endlessly but whichever way you play it, it's difficult to get below a figure of around 80".

172 men from the 2nd bn /2/24th


G Coy (Pope / Godwin-Austen) and probably a "composite coy" (Jackson "Hill of the Sphinx") under Dyer.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:19 pm

I'm still struggling with this last sequence of left and right horn, so help me out if you will. We are agreed, I think, that the left horn reaches the tents first. Durnford had been holding them but was eventually outflanked. The right horn was coming over the saddle, Pope and Godwin Austen were on or close to the saddle (but still grappling with the chest?). Colonials were either leaving where they could or now backing up the Koppie with Durnford (is the left horn above them or below them?). Before that, Durnford had been across to the camp and returned through a "gap". Is that right? Which forces was the gap between?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:25 pm

Quartermaster Pullen (1/24th) with a composite group near the colonials.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 6:56 am

Morning all.
Gary, yep I agree, save and except the 2/24th left in camp, around 170 approx. men.
Steve
Its only thoughts from my point of view. Ive postulated that Durnfords men were on the line of the Donga, Popes men were strung out along the line of the Rocky Ridge, that's much closer to the camp.
When Durnfords men retreated they weren't hotly pursued up the hill towards camp, the left horn had been taking cover from the strong fire directed at them and were at least 250 metres away. The balance of the left horn were busy outflanking on the Southern side of the defenders.
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This is the position in the donga, the slope and ridge would have been littered with Zulu dead as they took cover behind the ridge.
The Colonials then mounted their horses, in the donga out of sight of the Zulu and rode post haste back to the camp.
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The view from the donga back towards the mountain and the significant distance the umBonambi had to travel.

At that point there had to have been a significant pause or time gap for the UmBonambi to realise that they were no longer pinned down and for them to make up the distance running up hill towards the camp.
Pope was set further back along the line of the ridge and probably had that significant time gap to reform his men, refusing the right flank to face due south. Popes company were then formed in a dog leg. At the top of that dogleg, closer to the mountain the colonials reformed in line with Pope. That would then be the 'Box' I refer to.
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The second smaller donga and the end of Popes line.

Durnford had in the meantime ridden across the camp meeting with Gardiner and Essex on the way and being observed by Davis en route. He at some point, I would suggest when the knuckle collapsed, rode back across the face of the camp towards his own men.
Again I would postulate that AT THAT TIME the right horn had not yet appeared or was just making its presence know.
On the saddle there were a significant number of men already gathered, Qms dishing out ammo, pioneers and not least components of Durnfords force.
It was through that 'corridor' that Durnford rode to take command of the defence.
Its pretty self evident that the defence line in the South did compact into a series of strong points, its from here that I disagree with Mike Snook, he has Pope being surrounded and cut down way down the slope on the Rocky Ridge/ minor Donga line. There is no doubt that some of his men did die in that position and its those bodies that Bassage comments on.
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This is the area that Bassage wrote about the end of the rocky ridge.

The balance of those men I firmly believe are the men that Pullen and later Durnford gathered together to form a defence against the umBonanambi. But in the meantime the line per se had crumbled allowing them into the camp of the 1/24th. The right horn coming over the saddle, severely weakened by the numbers chasing of after the fugitives and blocking of the road over the Manzimyama, ran smack into those groups on the saddle.
That's how I read progress of the battle and how the majority of the companies from the Norther front managed to fight there way back towards the saddle. And there is no doubt what so ever that the vast majority of deaths occurred on the lower and upper saddle rather than the original firing lines.
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This will I hope put things into perspective, standing just below the saddle on possibly the site of Chelmsfords tent area looking down the battlefield. The cairns up close are where I believe are the resting places of Pope and his men. Further down the slope is the final stand of the Colonials and the point they rallied to hols back the left horn. Down the slope even further you will see the old road bending to the right at a line of trees. those trees grow along the banks of Durnfords Donga.

Just my thoughts Steve, hope it makes sense.
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PostSubject: Isandlwana Firing Line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:07 am

Good photo's Frank , the last picture looking down the road to Durnford's Donga is significant , in that I believe Durnford's men occupied the donga using both sides of the current road , the pic you showed earlier of the donga , shows the donga to the left of the current day ford crossing , I believe as do others , that they were also extended to the right of the current day road as the donga is deeper and wider , also the actual old wagon track is on the right side , as you look down your picture showing the road . It is a little further to the right of today's trees . It's also stated that Durnford's men occupied a large area , there were over 250 of them plus horses etc .
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:25 am

Morning 90th
Spot on they had to have spread out and covered a fare amount of the Donga. The area behind the present day hospital I believe was covered by the carbineers and men from the camp. Im not so sure I would agree on the road being behind the trees though, the original old trading post, Lundins Store was on the South Side of the road and those old foundations are still there on the North of the present road so if anything the old road was more to the north.
Ive got the old maps and photos tucked away in a file some place, must dig them out.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:42 am

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John Youngs old photo shows the road North of the Colonial cemetery

Found the old Natal Roads map

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This was when the road was changed to pass the colonial cemetery on the opposite side

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Nothing what so ever to do with the topic but found this old photo while diffing through the files
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This is the one I was looking for though, the old trading post
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:01 am

Still digging through that old file, thought I would share this one, its the old Noggs newman map

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PostSubject: Isandlwana Firing Line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:31 am

Hi Frank
I'm not sure what the map or maps may disclose , but I can tell you the old Wagon Track ( or one of them ? ) which was used as a donga crossing is still there down among the trees , I used it this year as a reference point from last year's walk along , and through the Donga , to where I stood this year in the Donga to the right of the road . Will keep my mate '' Graves '' busy by sending the pics from last year , and this year , the track only goes for 5 - 7metres then its completely overgrown .
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:45 am

I know the track you refer to Gary it leads up to the old homestead on the hill a few hundred metres behind the hospital I remember wandering along it a (large) number of years back. There was another one that was used to get to the Church as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:48 am

By the way have you looked at the Auction site, theres a number of interesting 1st editions.

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PostSubject: Isandlwana Firing Line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:55 am

Hi Frank
Yes , that's the one , I've checked the site there are a few 1st Editions but I did think they were quite expensive ? . I didn't find anything to tickle my fancy , I'll leave it all for you this time ! Rolling Eyes Joker agree agree . You didn't get the Clarke book in the last auction did you ? scratch .
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:51 am

No I didn't I backed out when it hit 125 US. These days that's close to R2000
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:59 am

Theres 4 items that im going to look at, Ive just had some more shelves built and they are empty so gotta fill them. Very Happy agree
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:52 am

Frank

Excellent and fulsome response, I am very grateful. As you know, in my book your theories carry a lot of weight and so no modesty is necessary. Now I've got more studying to do!

Regards
Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:39 pm

Same echo from me Salute
Cheers
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:38 am

Steve Frederic
Have a careful read of Davies in context of the above. See what you make of it.

Regards

PS Sorry not being enigmatic but would value your opinions untainted by my wild and wooly thoughts.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:52 pm

Frank
I have had a read of Davies account.

The following seems relevant to your proposition. Having retired to the Donga, Davies and the rest of Durnford's men manage to stall the advance of part of the left horn "for quite a while". He says that to his immediate left are regular troops. While the Zulus in front of him lay down he redirects his fire towards the flank of the Zulu chest on his left, who are now very close to the camp. After one or two volleys his men call for ammunition and he takes a few men to get some from the tents of the Carbineers. He tries to return to the Donga but sees everyone is now leaving it "and Zulus close on us". He says "About 40 got into the camp" (I take them to be UnBonambi). Then he sees a great many waggon drivers etc. leaving camp going directly towards the river. He sees Zulus pouring down in great numbers at the back of Isandhlwana which he takes to be the right horn. He says just before that he sees Col. Durnford "on the spot where the guns had been in the morning" - which I take to mean the RA camp on the saddle. So this is Durnford's stand?

So the sequence we have from Davies is = the left horn (umBonambi) entering the camp first - Durnford, seen by Davies at the location of the RA tents on the saddle surrounded by Zulus (his stand?) - and then the right horn coming in large numbers from behind Isandhlwana.

Steve
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:37 pm

Hi Steve
Davies is probably one of the most interesting statements, its lengthy, detailed and covers virtually the entire day.
When he says about 40 Zulus got into camp, that's not a great invasion really, some of them were shot he comments. So yes that was undoubtedly the uMbonambi claiming first rights.
But straight after he mentions the guns had ceased firing and we do know that they then headed back through camp, arriving generally before the retiring infantry so there had to be a passage for them to do so. Again we know the Carbineers had established a firing line, Davies says he then tried to take up a position on the koppie, that would be the area the left horn (Undi Corps?) had arrived at when out flanking. In sequence he only then mentions the right horn: "I saw from here ( the koppie ) the Zulus pouring down in great numbers at the back of iSandlwana hill cutting of our retreat." Note he doesn't say entering the camp but pouring down the back of the mountain. So potentially at that stage the right horn had still not entered the camp, only 40 uMbanambi had penetrated the defence, Durnford had left the front lines and was on his way back.
There is so much in his statement including confirmation that the reserve didn't go behind the mountain with the right horn but was out on the plain.But that's another discussion.
For this discussion when we talk of the uMbonambi entering the camp its always conjured up thousands of warriors swamping in, but that's not really the case from Davies point of view.
So if Pope was keeping the main left wing occupied ( there is other testimony to that effect ) the right horn wasn't in the camp at an early stage, and the flanking move by the Undi was being engaged it surely points to the main threat as coming from the chest itself and to a degree would/should change the perception that the whole collapse was due to Durnfords retreat. In terms of time scales, think on this, Durnford was at the donga when he ordered the withdrawl ( Barker) He then road across to the opposite side of the camp had a chat with Essex etc and still had time to ride back across the camp (seen by Davies) all in the space of time that the left horn was being held back by the colonials/Pullen. That's a pretty large chunk of time, I would suggest at least 15 minutes. So was Durnford and the withdrawl culpable?
Or am I way off?

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:54 pm

I see what your getting at regarding the chest. Davies says they were very close to the camp when he redirected fire at them before he went for ammunition. I am not sure though at what stage he sees Durnford - he talks about his  mounted orderly standing in front of him with sword drawn surrounded by Zulus - is that crossing the camp to return to his men or is it Durnford's last stand?

That aside, I do think there are grounds for questioning whether it was the arrival of the right horn that was fatal.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:43 am

Where can i get an account of Davies testimony of the battle i dont think i have read it { in which book can i find it }

thanks
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:22 am

Aussie
Best source is probably Keith Smiths Source Documents, an invaluable book if you can get hold of it.
or try this
http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/4493728

Cheers


Last edited by Frank Allewell on Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:34 am

Steve
Davies sighting of Durnford was 'where we saw the guns that morning' I traced back on that from the time Davies got to camp and Curlings description of the mornings events. Curling says that they stood to around 10 oclock and stood down around 11 oclock. He says they formed up in front of the camp and only at the next call out went to the Left front.
So Durnford would have been seen somewhere to the North of the road in front of the camp, behind Popes centre. And that would have been probably when he was retreating back towards the saddle, he would have passed within a few yards of him. So before the right Horn came over the saddle.

Cheers
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:00 am

Frank

Like so much related to this battle it is a bit ambiguous. Davies refers to seeing Durnford "on the spot where the guns had been in the morning". As you say, that could either mean in front of the RA tents, or as Davies says a few sentences earlier, "They had been firing from somewhere in front of the NNC tents when we arrived in camp in the morning the guns were somewhere near the Carbineers tents in front of them" (there is no punctuation in the middle of this sentence which does not help us understand its meaning). What seems clear is that Durnford was unlikely to have been in front of the NNC tents when Davies saw him, whereas a location for him in front of the RA tents is much more likely. The reference to his orderly "standing with drawn sword" is also ambiguous I suppose. He says "mounted orderly" and so perhaps "standing" means still mounted, not on his feet and therefore not making a last stand. You have to be so careful with the words!

Aussie

You can also get copies of the original Davies report from the UK National Archives - it runs to 10 pages and is not difficult to read (unlike some).

Steve
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:15 am

Hi Steve
I read Davies in conjunction with Curling who says that they were on stand to in front of the camp. They only moved to the Left Front later in the morning. So yes I would concur, in front of the RA tent area.
The other issue of course is if Durnford was in front of the NNC area, Davies would not have been able to see him because of the double slope of the battlefield.

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PostSubject: Isandlwana Firing Line   Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:50 pm

Aussie
Here are the details to find the Lt Davies Report , The National Archives , W/O 33/34 Enclosure 2 in No 96 ; Davies .
90th Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:51 am

THANKS 90TH

I never look for anything on the National Archives before can it be found online can you provide a websight mate i tried to google it and got no where

HELP PLEASE
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana firing line   Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:52 am

Aussie

This is the catalogue entry for the folder at the National Archives that contains Davies report (among others). It is not available on line but you can order copies by pressing the order button, either the whole thing (there are 178 pages so be careful!) or just the pages you want. Davies report runs from page 142 to page 151.
http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C2536414

Steve
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