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 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus

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ymob

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PostSubject: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:39 am

Bonjour à tous,

During the scouting in force the 21 January trooper Fred Symons (Natal Carbineers) told us:”We halted about half a mile from the hill upon which the Zulus lay (of whom not one was visible), and six men  (…) were sent up to reconnoitre .
We anxiously watched the small party disappear over the brow of the hill, and when we saw them riding the rocky hillside at a much more rapid pace than they went up we knew something was after them.
Our srmise was correct, for from one and of the ridge to the other, as if by magic, rose a long line of balck warriors advancing at the double in short intervals of skirmish order.
It was a magnificent spectacle, and no British regiment could excel in keeping their distances in skirmish at the double.
(…) on reaching the brow of the hill, heir centre halted, while the flanks came on , thus forming the noted horns of the Zulus impis.
We all thought we were to be attacked, but a shout came from the hilltop, answered by one from the right horn. The impi then halted. Another shout and the Zulus retired (…).[ Quoted in “The Journal of the AZW research society / John Young / Vol. n°3, issue n°2 p. 30]

The horsemen of the party almost got caught. Mansel later wrote:
“Immediately they [the zulus] saw us come up, they came out again and throwing out their flanks they tried to surround us. In my anxiety to see their numbers, I stayed too long and very nearly got caught. The zulus must have received orders not to fire as they never fired a shot, but they tried to catch us. If they had tried, I think they must have shot us”.
[Quoted in: “Zulu Victory” by Lock and Quantrill p.139]

Norris-Newman (“In Zululand with the Bristih army” ed. Leonaur p.68) and Harford confirmed that “no shots were fired and the Zulus returned back over their hill again” [ quoted in “Zulu War Journal, Col. Henry Harford CB”, ed. by Daphne Child p.25]

The number of the Zulus was estimated between 1.000 (Harford / p.25) and 2.000 (Norris-Newman / p.68)

The reluctance of the Zulus to open fire mystified Dartnell and his Officers.

I have two questions:

First question: Why the Zulus did’nt open fire?

-to catch prisoners ?(Mansel);
-Hope to maintain peace for Cetewayo? (“Zulu Victory” p.139);
- According to a report of prisoners “because there were too few white men to kill” ? (Quoted in RD forum “Col. A.W. Durnford R.E. “ A great man? A hero? By Michael Boyle 19/07/2008 his source :Report of Proceedings of 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24 January 1879 from Lt Milne R.N.)
-To prevent the horsemen gaining the ridge and discovering behind the hill the move of the zulu army to Ngwebeni? (RD forum: “Was Lord Chelmsford decoyed” by Mike Snook 24 October 2013)
-According to Ron Lock ( essay: “Was Lord Chelmsford decoyed?”) Ntshingwayo would have been aware of the encounter at Mangeni and believing it was a situation which could evolve to his advantage gave orders to Matyana or the Zulu commander, not to press an attack but to keep Dartnell surrounded in anticipation that British troops would be sent to the rescue. Plausible?
-Had the Matyana’s followers had been trying to draw Dartnell into a trap, if possible to draw the British after them to meet the Royal army? (“Zulu Rising” p.286)
-Others suggestions?

Second question: Who were this band of Zulus ? Matyana’s local warriors men or an element of a disciplined Royal Regiment of Cetewayo?

Personally i am in favor of the thesis of IK  (“Zulu Rising” p.298-9)
IK is more in favor of a clash with supporters of Matyana (see footnote 25 p.636)
According to the careful intelligence report compiled, Matyana commanded the service of about 700 of the Sithole (Zulu Rising p.284-5)
His force was probably reinforced by warriors of Sihayo after the destruction of his kraal, Gamdana and others local chiefs.
According to a prisoner Zulu “the force met on the 21st was simply Matyan’s tribe gpoing to join the impi from the lundini bush. Matyana was certainly there himself, as he barely escaped” “(Quoted in RD forum “Col. A.W. Durnford R.E. “ A great man? A hero? By Michael Boyle 19/07/2008)

According to Uguku of the umCijo.(source:" The Zulu war and its origins" by Colenso and Durnford, p.410): “We arrived at Ingqutu eight régiments strong (...) and slept in the valley of a small Stream (...)which runs into the Nondweni to the eastward of Sandhlwana (...). The army was under the joint command of Mavumengwana, Tsingwayo and Sihayo. It was intented that Matshana kaMondisa was to be in chief command but he having been a Natal kaffir, the other three were jealous of him and did not like him to be put over them; they therefore devised a plan of getting him out of the way on the day of the battle. they accomplished this plan by getting him to go forward with Undwandwe to the Upindo to reconnoitre, and promised to follow. As soon he had gone they took another road, viz., north of Babanango, while Matshana and Undwandwe went South of it, being accompanied by six mavigo (coys)"

The 6 companies also explain the increase of the force of Matyana.

The weakness of this hypothesis is the great discipline shown by Zulu band encountered by Dartnell ...

Another suggestion?

Cheers

Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:50 am

...unless the six companies formed the band encountered by Dartnell
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:56 am

Morning Frederic
I will post a couple of pictures of the area in question. Im pretty certain the impi in question were Matyanas men, he was in fact chased I believe on horse back and one of his sons was killed in the skirmishing on either the 21st or 22nd.
The area the Zulus occupied was a ridge that separated the Mangeni valley from the plain along which the main army travelled from iSiphesi to the valley on the morning of the 21st. I would therefore subscribe to the belief that those Zulu were a screen for the main army. Lt Browne ran into a smaller screen just below that ridge on the flats.
I do believe, again only thoughts, that this impi then stayed to monitor the Mounted men through the day being aggressive to a point to drive them away from a vantage point that would expose the main army but never seriously wanting to engage, hence no shots fired. In essence being the bulldog at the gate.
Again I would suggest that the impi stayed through the night lighting fires to remind the Colonials that they were still around. I don't believe that it was a deliberate ploy to entice Chelmsford out of the camp. Suffice to say that IF Ntshingwayo was keen on doing that then how would he know that Chelmsford would split his force instead of packing up and taking everyone with him? If Chelmsford had done that, Ntshingwayo would have on the 23rd attacked an empty camp ! So what was the point in progressing to a position where he was ready to attack ?
I would further suggest that Matyanas impi was one of the groups making their presence known on the Nyoni plateau in the early hours of the 22nd, possibly looking for where Ntshingwayo was camped, possibly showing of for the British.

Hope that helps.
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:37 am

Hi Frank,
Thank you for your help.
Essentially, i have the same thoughts.
But  I think the band of Zulus (Matyana's followers) acted on his own iniative the 21 January to lure the British into a trap or to constitute a screen for the royal army (or both).
Indeed, Matyana himself arrived  only  the next day in the same area without knowing that the British were present (Testimony from Magema Fuze to Bishop Colenso quoted /it seems to me/ in "Cetewayo's Dutchman" by C. Vijn)
Cheers
Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:22 am

Frederic/Frank

I go along with you on this but your question raises another in my mind. The deployment of the main Zulu army and of Matyana's forces reflects the fact that Chelmsford could only progress along the one available road. When the Zulu army first decided to gather their strength along the Ngwebeni were they necessarily aware that Chelmsford was going to camp at Isandhlwana? Or were they, and Matyana simply preparing to fall upon the column wherever it paused along that road. Chelmsford splitting his force would therefore come as a surprise. I still don't quite understand why Chelmsford's straggling band were not attacked as well, particularly when there were Zulu reserves.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:42 am

Hi Steve
There was only one road, the traders track, so Chelmsford had no other route to follow other than across country. Chelmsford had decided on the 15th where the next camp would be and I have no doubt that Gamdana kaXongo would have sent of a runner to Ondini to alert Cetshwayo as to the progress. Then the column actually made camp on the 20th so the Zulu commanders would have known well in advance of their target area and the local topography.
So really comes back to my point if the impi had marched with a specific target and location in mind what would be the point in enticing the British out of the camp, a day before the scheduled attack, and so have to choose another battlefield miles away. It just doesn't add up
Im sure the Zulu reserve were held back in case of need at iSandlwana, the Zulu commanders were after all up against an unknown quantity, and when they were finaly unleashed and ended up at RD the moment for attacking the balance of the force some 12 miles from iSandlwana, itself 6 miles from RD, had lapsed.

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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:04 pm

Yes. The more you look at the pursuit to Rorke's Drift, and the stand-off, the more foolish it appears as a tactical move. They would have been much better attacking Chelmsford and I think would have succeeded. It points to the fact that the Zulu commanders did not have the control of events that we sometimes imagine.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:16 pm

Bonjour steve,
Good question: i would say yes with their spies.
I am not at home but i know that some zulus were surprised when on the morning of the 23 january they saw the redcoats moving to RD ("Zulu war journal" Harford / "Zulu Rising" Dedekin from Elandskrall...): they thought all the white men had been killed at Isandhlwana (some of them evoked ghosts). Clearly the zulus troops were unaware that Chelmsford had divided his forces (but the high command?).
Finally, the Zulus were exhausted ("Zulu Rising" Dedekin from Elandskrall) and many of them returned to their village.
Cheers
Frédéric

IE: the thesis of L and Q has no success... Very Happy Very Happy

Cheers

Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:39 pm

Upon returning towards Isandhlwana, Hamilton-Browne saw Zulu troops waiting between him and the camp.
These troops were certianly in reserve.
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Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Wed Sep 30, 2015 3:47 pm

That's my belief Frederic
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Thu Oct 01, 2015 3:22 pm

J.C. RUSSELL  wrote in his report of 1st april 1879: "a written memo was put in my hand, sent by Comdt BROWNE to the effect that "there is a large force of the enemy between him and the camp"".

This report confirms the testimony given by HB.

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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Thu Oct 01, 2015 4:46 pm

So does Davies Frederic. The interesting bit is now look at the strength of the right horn regiments, some actually came up against Cavaye so they weren't full regiments. It starts to become apparent how the fugitives managed to get away by road.

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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Thu Oct 01, 2015 5:06 pm

..with possible happy consequence on the tarnished reputation of Adendorff.............
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:11 pm

How far from the camp was Brown when he saw the enemy?
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:50 am

Post for 90th

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Hamilton viewed the goings on at Isandlwana from the hill on the left.
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:57 am

Bonjour,
Thanks to you and Gary.
Frédéric
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PostSubject: 21st Jan , Scouting in force , 2 questions about the zulu's    Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:00 am

Hi Graves
Thanks very much for the quick work , much appreciated .
Ray
As you can see , H-B wasn't that far away agree
90th
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:17 pm

The view from the top of 90ths hill with a telescope.
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PostSubject: 21st Jan , Scouting in force , 2 questions about the zulu's    Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:24 pm

Hi Frank
Excellent pic mate , note how you cant see any of the villages ! .
90th agree
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PostSubject: Re: 21 January, scouting in force, 2 questons about the zulus   Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:27 pm

Same echo!
Cheers
Frédéric
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